We have cruised extensively on Crystal, Oceania, and Silver Sea and this was our first mega/ large ship experience. The cost of the crossing was about 50% of the ships listed above. The Silhouette is lovely and the staterooms spacious and the baths well detailed with a fantastic shower jet system. The architectural spaces of the ships interior are dramatic! There are both outdoor and indoor pools with ample deck chairs and loungers for the 3000 capacity. There are many comfortable seating locations for passenger enjoyment ( not so on Oceania and Silver Sea) . Captain Kafetzis became celebrity with the humor of his daily announcements and his presentation on ship navigation. The quality of service ( room and dining) was the to the highest standard. Bravo .
A unique feature is The Lawn Club with real grass lawns where both bocce and croquet are played. However, for reasons unknown( perhaps they can't grow grass in the sea environment) they discourage the use of the lawns and only offered a few one-half hour games and many days none at all. This is said to be a "signature" feature of the Silhouette but the guest experience would be better with the addition of a few artificial grass areas to port and starboard (like the competition) upon which play would be encouraged.
The enrichment lectures were a disappointment and the bright lighting in the theater made viewing of images on the screen difficult .
Music, Music everywhere and often TOO LOUD ! Aqua Class Blu restaurant had the background music so loud on the first days that one could hardly have a conversation at the table. We and others made several requests to lower the volume and were old the volume was determined by "corporate in Miami. " Within a few days they must have gotten permission to turn it down and Blu became an enjoyable dining experience. No so at the specialty tapas restaurant Qsine . Again the music was the dominate feature of the dining experience and ruined our evening. No one in our party of six would even consider returning. The IPad menu is perhaps a bit too gimmicky for the ship's customer demographics. The IPad had a wine list which was well presented with pictures and the pricing of each bottle. However, the prices on the IPad wine list were not the prices being charged - there was another price list with higher prices. It seemed like "bait and switch" but the manager when questioned defended the double pricing as "being in transition by corporate in Miami." The wine lists at all dining venues are extensive, pricey and printed in small fonts that make it difficult to even read.
Unlike the grill cafeteria and main dining room which have the ambiance of an high school facility, the specialty restaurants are well appointed. However, due to the up- charge to as much a $45 extra per person, they had few diners who weren't on special pricing. It seemed that about 50% of the food dining options on the ship had ala-carte pricing or a special fee. Strawberries, blue barriers, and raspberries were scarce as were artisan cheese selections. A special luncheon buffet featured hot chocolate fountains but no strawberries to dip!
There are several classes of passengers including Aqua Class, Concierge, and Captains Class with overlaps within each category. There are special deals for each category and discount coupons & free drink coupons etc. Free cocktail/wine coupons are not taken in the specialty or main dining room and dinners run back and forth from the bars to their dining tables with their "freebies." Too many side deals/coupon clipping for our taste. A tour of the ship was priced at $150 ! If you like to play "let's made a deal" you may enjoy this on-board price point policy. We did not.
The Casino will not give out the slot machine payout ratio - but it was rumored to be significantly less than in Las Vegas. Perhaps that is why the slots seemed to get little play.
The ship carries enough life boat capacity for the guests and has life rafts for those not fortunate enough to secure a seat in a life boat. On most cruise lines during emergency and muster drills the crew ware brightly colored hats which make them easily identifiable. During our muster drill, however, the crew wore only brightly colored vests which would be nearly invisible under a life jacket in a real emergency. One can only image the confusion in a crisis situation.
PUBLIC HEALTH 101 - There was a upper respiratory bronchitis which spread among the ship's crew and passengers on our cruise ( reported to be as high as 40% ). There was a real effort to have diners in the cafeteria and grand dining room to have their hands sanitized by an attendant at each entry with hand squint bag and the gym practiced the highest level of personal hygiene regarding machine use.
However, the casino with the slots had sanitizers at only one entry pint and the slots must have a high level of cross germ pollination. There was also a lack of hand sanitation stations by the elevators and stairs hand rails where the push buttons could provide for a rapid spread of germs through the ships population. This situation could have been much better controlled by more comprehensive public health procedures regarding hand sanitation. Both my wife and I contacted the "ships crud" and have been under doctor's care since our return. I noted in the cruise reports of the Center for Disease Control ( CDC) in Atlanta that four on the nine cases on norovirus outbreaks in 2013 were on Celebrity owned ships. Until Celebrity adopt more stringent hand sanitation policy we will not be cruising on their ships.