Have just returned from a beautiful cruise aboard the Celebrity Silhouette. We travelled from the UK to Venice with Jet2. No problems with flight. Easy transfer to port with Celebrity transfers. However, when we arrived to check-in, the queue was very long and a bit confusing, with passengers having to drop off their luggage at one place and then joining the long queue to embark. I think the whole process took about 1 & 1/2 hours. The staff didn't seem to be bothered about some passengers who should have had priority check-in, they were just ushered to join the 'ordinary' passengers. Once on board, we were welcomed with a glass of 'bubbly'. We made our way to the Ocean view buffet for lunch, which was surprisingly quiet. By the time we had eaten lunch, we were able to go to our cabins. Luggage arrived about an hour later. The cabins were immaculate and remained that way throughout the cruise.
We ate in the Tuscan Grill on the first night, as we were on late seating in the MDR, and after an early start, we didn't want a late night and we also had an early excursion the next day. We were offered a discount in the Tuscan and had a very nice meal in there, although there was too much.
I got the impression throughout the cruise that the speciality restaurants were not very busy, because there was always someone asking you to dine and offering discounts.
After the first night, we ate in the MDR every evening and enjoyed some very nice food. Our waiter, Peter, was very attentive, offering people more food or different dishes if they didn't like their choice of food.
The Oceanview buffet was again very good, offering varied dishes ranging from salads and cold meats to curries, chinese, mexican and carvery. The tables were cleared promptly, and there was never a problem getting a seat, even on sea days. The Grand Buffet has gone, but as I wasn't very keen on it anyway, that wasn't an issue. There was a special lunch in the Oceanview one day, where there were ice carvings and chocolate fountains and more special choices.
There has been a lot of discussion on here regarding the drinks packages. We had a Classic package included in our cruise. Following the remarks made by some reviewers, we were getting a little concerned as to what we might have to drink. However, there was still plenty of choice for spirits and beers and cocktails. Perhaps there was less choice for wines, but the Pinot Grigio was very pleasant and my husband found the Shiraz and the Merlot equally good. We were able to get Bailey's on ice and Drambuie too. So really, there was no problem.
Entertainment on the ship was disappointing. There was the usual Songs from the Shows, a Cirque du Soleil type show, an illusionist [who we didn't see], an American comedian, who just made fun of the audience, not very funny. The best show was from an English jazz singer who was accompanied by the big band. Much more to our taste.
On our last Celebrity cruise, we used to enjoy going to the Ensemble Lounge, where live music was played, but this time we hardly went in there, because the music was very quiet, alternative jazz, and with the dimness of the place, was enough to send you to sleep.
We chose this cruise for the ports of call and were not disappointed. The weather was very nice. Not too hot but sunny.
Overall a very pleasant cruise and we would choose Celebrity again. Yes there are some cutbacks, back haven't we all had to tighten our belts. Cruising is becoming more affordable to more people and there are so many cruise ships to choose from, they have to be competitive.