This was a first cruise for both myself and my husband and it was perfect. The ship is absolutely fantastic. We cannot imagine for us how it can be bettered.
From start to finish everything was great.
Embarkation for us was a very easy process. We were travelling concierge class. We only booked the cruise through our agent, Viva Voyage (highly recommend) and made our own separate arrangements to travel to Rome spending one day there before the cruise and two days after. We travelled Jet 2 then took the bus to Rome then the following day the train from Rome to civitavecchia. Easy and we met lots of cruise passengers along the way. We arrived at the ship at about midday and were on board for about 12.30. Our prepaid drinks package was not on but was sorted out in 1 minute at Guest relations. Still no queues at that point. Our first view of the interior of Silhouette did the wow factor for us! We liked the ocean view cafe with its huge outside deck and the grand cuvee is beautiful. The shops arcade and theatre, library and observations decks were great as is the grassy Lawn Club. We looked around the pool decks which are nice and the excellent fitness centre. We do not like hoards of people around so knew we would not be by the pool but would find a quiet spot to relax.
So our thoughts as first time cruisers. The stateroom was better than than we anticipated it was spacious and very light. Our attendant was superb bright and cheerful and she is to be highly commended. The cabin could do with some more drawers rather than hanging space but it was not a problem. The shower was good and the on demand films etc excellent with all news channels. We were happy meeting people on the Lawn club and ocean view deck rather than on the pool deck and reading and sunbathing on our own veranda was heaven. The pool deck looked too much like sardine cramming. We cannot comment on the behaviour of people as we did not go there.
The shows we went to 2 were ok but nothing special but to be honest we were happier watching films after our port days and dinners.
The food we have not had better in any part of the world we have visited and we felt no need to go to the specialty restaurants. We always breakfasted on deck in the Oceanview cafe. It was never crowded, lots of people but more than enough food and places.
For lunch if we could! there was salad in The Ocean view or a burger on the Mast head on Deck. We could never fault the food.Icecreams were available all day. I miss them!
As to dinner we were on select dining. The waiters were fantastic, we certainly never came across any that needed training! Everyone without exception was good, attentive and we so enjoyed it. Our thanks particularly to Ivana, TW and assistant and our friend from Bulgaria and Indonesia who made our dinners so much fun. The quality of the food and choice was superb .We had amongst others the best tornedo rossini, duck, lamb and salmon dishes.The brunch on the final sea day was excellent so much so that a large number of guests were filming. Do not miss it!
Our one gripe is that we were surprised that the dress code was not really observed in the dining room, it should be jeans and t shirt should be banned and the behaviour of some families with children Particularly Italian families should be checked. We have 3 children but would never have allowed them to behave in such a way. It is unfair to those dining around but unless a code is put into place and observed which should be done then the behaviour will carry on. It did not affect us too much but there were rumblings from people we spoke to. Children and pushchairs should not be allowed into restaurants in the evening.The buffet is available and should always be available. I am sure all reasonable parents would understand this!! Apart from this perfect. As to shore excursions, we did our own every time. Sorry organised tours are not for us.
We got the tender to Fira, the cablecar then the local bus to Oia and back. We did everything at our own pace. All details found on web for bus times etc
We were intending to take the metro to the Acropolis but as soon as we left the boat we saw the red hop on hop off Athens Bus. We hopped on (22 euros each)
took the tour to the Acropolis then hopped back on for the remainder of the tour then back to the boat. Brilliant and avoided all the walking in the heat
Israel. We had family here and were very disappointed about not going to Ashdod but understood. It did not spoil anything. For two days we had the services of Matyo who we can highly recommend. 0525762086. He was on the port in Haifa where together with 8 other passengers who we just met, he took us on two great days around Israel to Acre, Rosh Hanikra and Jerusalem. He also took our friends to the Dead Sea and Massada, a really good guy reliable and reasonable rates. In Haifa you are also next to the train station
We had intended to go to Capri but the hydrofoil queues were too bad so plan b we walked to the station and caught the train to Sorrento. Beautiful,you can always stop in Pompei too
Hotels booked via travelrepublic and Last minute. Great. Used open top red hop on hop off bus . Visit the Vatican on Saturday afternoon no queues! Also get your ticket for the forum/Colosseum at the forum. Less queues!