Day 1 VENICE
Arrived 215 at pier from flight via Amsterda, so one of groups to board. Heard of very long lines around 11/12 when most direct flights from UK land and also boarding from overnighters in Venice. 1-2 hrs seemed a standard boarding times unless you had Elite, Aqua etc. Also limited security check provisions with 2 scanners from 1 line. Venice not as geared up for large ship boarding as Barcelona or Southampton. Did note however that the ship switched terminals on our return to Venice later in the cruise so this may enhance the boarding process for future cruises.
DAY 2 KOPER
Charming town, food festival, old town directly opposite ship, lovely waterfront, plenty seats. Not much to buy for tourists. Nice uncommercial port of call.
Show "Captains Gala Toast & Showtime Broadway Nights, mix of West End Smash Hits, Footloose, DD, Fame, Les Mis, etc ending with a bit of Mamma Mia. Very good.
DAY 3 SPLIT
No euros accepted anywhere. As it was Sunday it this had little impact. 20 min tender time ashore, but beware of long waiting times on a ship this size.
Slick, classy town. Shorefront cafes frequented by well to do locals.
DAY 4 KOTOR
Euros. Tender again approx. 20 mins ashore with long lines for tickets, they added local boats to speed up process.
Spectacular sail in lasting over an hour.
DAY 5 DUBROVNIK
Euros accepted in shops, taxis and cafes, kunes only required for walking walls.
Taxi $10 per car into town, 10 mins or $50 per 1 hr scenic town tour. The ship no longer offers shuttle buses. You could walk if feeling energetic and pre planned your route. Taxis plentiful on pier at immediate disembarkation and later in morning.
Lionel Richie tribute - Malcolm Pitt excellent.
Motown hour in Sky Lounge with the " Smart Casuals" house band.
By this point in the cruise there had been no entertainment at pool at all during port days or background music. There are very limited entertainment / activities staff these day. An elusive cruise director, who was instantly forgettable, even his name I can't recall. Very friendly officers. Pool livened up later in cruise, perhaps people had commented on this. Older passenger demographic on this voyage was predominately over 65% averageing 65yrs, this does have an impact on the entertainment choices for those of us in their 40s and younger couples. Mix of European, Chinese/Japanese, USA and Australians predominantly. House band "Smart Casuals did try to cater to all. Very versatile and good sound, but probably dictated to of what they can and can't play by HQ in Miami.
SELECT DINING hectic at times but never encountered a queue to be seated, but maybe we were lucky, ate after 830 apart from one evening at 715. Never booked. Different table and waiter every night, RCCL tend to keep flexible dining generally within same waiters service area, but you could request certain waiter or areas.
I prefer the food and portion sizes on this line, even as big eaters, you never leave the dining room too stuffed to enjoy the rest of my evening. After all food is plentiful at any time...the tables for two extremely close together, sometimes good, other times invasive. Set up is more like a table for 6 or an 8 with a 5cm gap.
ROOM : STANLEY 8258 excellent room attendant.
Discounts on all speciality restaurants available on this sailing heavily marketed. If you ask you could get 30% off Tuscan Grill, instead of usual $45, for $31.50. Half empty on this particular cruise demographic. Sides dishes are small but you can order as much as you wish. Service excellent.
DAY 6 CORFU
Official tour to the Achilleon Palace, including a photo STOP at Mouse Islands and a short walking tour of Corfu Town. Our guide Philip was excellent. However, for the most photographed image in Greece, there was no photo opportunity. The bus literally kept driving, and a brief mention by the guide as we passed. I raised this with Shore Excursions and was offered picture taken by one of the staff, not quite the same as taking your own ! Especially as tour did mention photo stop and it was chosen specifically.
Lots shopping opportunities in Corfu Town. It is a long walk to the port in the heat, maybe 30 mins. Shuttles expensive. Around $25. There were some taxis outside the port gate. Public holiday so lots parades in national dress, brass bands etc. Some pretty good fake handbags to be openly found in shops if that's your thing, but do your research before you go if you really want to buy something.
DAY 7 KATAKOLON for OLYMPIA
Charming village, nice shops and waterfront cafes. Shabby beach which was a pity as it was right next to the ship. Show about "Dance".
DAY 8 SEA
Show, mix of comedy juggler/Lionel R tribute. Plenty sunbeds to be had in shade or sun. Not as many passengers wished obviously to sit out on sea days, and it was a hectic itinerary.
DAY 9 MALTA
Official Tour, Island Panoramic. Vittoriosa, Marsaxlokk, via Blue Grotto, Dingli Cliffs, drive thru Rabat, short 15min stop Mdina, then Mosta. Around city walls of Valletta to ship. $46.
Quick stops, comprehensive and hit the spot for us who find full days way too long.
Laura Broad was Celebrity Showtime, previous runner up in Britains Got Talent. Like a young Jane McDonald for those UK passengers.
DAY 10 CATANIA
Thunder and lightning early on. Most took tours or used HOHO at gate, 10 min walk to
Duomo, main plaza and shopping street
Beware beggars, gypsy types, constant police presence in tourist area.
Nice cafes serving local pastry delicacy cannoli.
DAY 11 SEA
Mostly emphasis on shops. lots of tat as usual or high end jewellery/watches which regular cruisers would choose to purchase ashore in the Caribbean at hugely negotiable discounts. Beware gift sets are not quite the quality of the impression given behind the displays, when closely examined after purchase!
Formal. Most in suits or dinner suits, but many with suits and open neck shirts too. Airline baggage restrictions make it more difficult to pack formal wear these days.
DAY 12 RAVENNA
Shuttle $20 each, tix purchased at shore excursions desk with allocated times and no walk ups before 10 !? However tickets appeared to be on sale past terminal and line mixed in. Buses after 11 would have much shorter lines.
Continue straight outside pier terminal if pre purchased tix, $20 each.
Beautiful city, well worth visiting, 20min bus ride. Central landmarks, quality shopping, nice courtyard cafes. Affluent town, lots of locals on bicycles. Plenty churches, museums and history if you're into that.
There are beaches adjacent to pier, depending on season. Ship arrives early and departs 7pm so plenty time.
DAY 13 VENICE OVERNIGHT
Ship shuttle $28
People mover about €2 each way, 5 min from pier to Piazza Romale. Big lines at 10am arrival.
Celebrity seems to have organised their Venice tenders better than they did a few years ago. No lines at all this time, allocated times on the tickets seemed to work here. The Ailaiguna vapareto was very central for St Marks and departed the pier every 30 mins, about quarter to and quarter past. Also if you use this company you can change line at San Marco for Murano.
Marco Polo Airport
Arrival was excellent, quick baggage, coach and Celebrity staff.
However Return awful, dropped at airport and and check in desks for KLM do not accept bag drop for passengers with boarding cards until 2 hrs before. So way too many cruise passengers around area with no seating, no queue discipline, free for all. Very hot. I understand fully why the cruise line would need to drop off so many so early, however I would choose my flight route and times more carefully in future. Horrendous delays for security although once there the checks were organised.
When you do get through security there are plenty shops and food options. Would not fly to pick up a ship in Venice again. Barcelona is a better option with an overnight in Venice mid cruise. If you chose you could even disembark the previous day, which could be a good option if lots of ships in port, probably after midday.
Overall good cruise but more and more emphasis on dining options with supplements. Also more perks for Suites (the new VIPs) than Elites these days. Passenger average age way too high for us on this cruise. Many rude foreigners who do not have any etiquette to line up and take your turn, but if you cant beat 'em join 'em...
Excellent ports of call but felt the Silhouette missed the X Factor, friendly officers, nice crew but just something missing to WOW. Just cant quite put my finger on it, and something commented on in previous reviews.
The priority boarding and priority tender tickets are a big advantage to us, returning to this cruise line. We did not attend Elite Cocktail Hour due to nice weather and cocktails at five being very early. Also having the Classic Drinks package influenced our decision. A high proportion did appear to have some sort of drinks package but there were still plenty bar waiters around, and Sommeliers. It was never a problem either to walk up to any bar and get served immediately, or take a drink into dinner too.
Plenty choices of beverages on the Classic package, bottled water was acceptable and the wine choice were good. A nice Prosecco available too.