From Dec. 15 to Dec. 22, I cruised on the Silhouette with my daughter, son-in-law and nine year old grandson. The ship is stunningly beautiful and newly appointed. The cabins were very well appointed and we had just average adjoining veranda cabins, but they were really lovely.
EMBARKATION: slow and tedious. Luggage delivery was promised by 1:30 pm but the luggage did not arrive until after 4:00 pm. The cabins were not ready, and all passengers were shunted off to the buffet for lunch, which was a madhouse.
FOOD SERVICE: Service is minimal in the buffet, and it was so crowded I fell. Luckily I did not hurt myself. We had the early dinner seating in the dining room. We were escorted to our table, which was occupied by people who had no reservation for the table. Then the staff stood by and did not help us. They blamed the mishap on our travel agent -- ridiculous. After a few minutes, we elected to sit at an empty table. When the occupants of that table arrived, the staff tried to get us to leave, but we refused. Service was poor, and the repeated excuse was that the ship had just come over from Europe. After dinner, I complained to the head of restaurant services, and we were seated at a much better table for the remainder of the cruise, but ate there only twice. The food in the main dining room was dull and the chef served bland food - protein with processed mashed potatoes (I hate salt and don't like overseasoned food, but this food had no taste). For example, lamb chops were tasteless. We ate most of our meals in the buffet (barf-et?)(where food was plentiful but not that well prepared. The Chinese stir fry looked like glop, the sushi was not particularly fresh and tasted rubbery, the fruit and pastries never varied. The service was minimal -- we had to get our own cutlery and napkins and coffee was not poured -- we had to get it ourselves. Several times, we bussed our own table. The touted Qzine specialty restaurant was quirky, but the food was mostly fried and did not taste great.
ENTERTAINMENT: The band, singers and dancers were fine but they worked with mediocre material. I did like the magician/hypnotist. The singers in the atrium were good. There were insufficient lectures and activities. The cruise director, Patty, was nowhere to be found except at the first night's show and at the last night's show. The televised material about ship's activities was not good. I did like the lectures given by the guy who headed up the art store run by Park West, whose canned art is ubiquitous on cruises.
THE PORTS: I knew they would be boring, and I can't fault Celebrity for the fact that the Caribbean is little more than a bunch of beaches unless you choose to take more time than a cruise offers.
DISEMBARKATION: This was a real mess. It took way too long, and I felt I was getting off a boat from steerage with snaking lines and waiting and waiting.
BILLING: As a P.S. to a substandard cruise, I discovered that I was charged more on my credit card than the bill sent to me at the end of the cruise stated. When I called Celebrity, I was told this was for the minibar -- which I never used and which was locked the last night before I received the final bill. I don't know if this was a scam, but it sure seemed to be.