We are a family of 4 and we have sailed with Royal Caribbean and with Norwegian in the past. This was our first Celebrity Cruise on the lovely Silhouette. We had originally booked it because it was scheduled to go to Egypt, we stuck with it because our travel agent said we would love it!
We checked in after a 5 day stay in Rome. Civitavecchia was a 45 minute train ride to the port. Very easy and cost effective. What was not so pleasant was the shuttle system from the pier entrance. It was poorly organized and there was no defined place to stand and wait for the shuttle to check-in. We basically had to read the sign on the shuttles arriving to make sure it was going to our ship and make a run for it. After 3 attempts we finally got our luggage stored under the bus and got some seats. A big free for all with a me first attitude. Not so fun with kids in towe.
Once we arrived to the check-in tents, yes, tents....the luggage porters motioned for passengers to load their own luggage onto the carts which was a first time experience for us on a cruise. The benefits of a concierge class booking made no difference upon check in. Actually, people who took the train with us from Rome who had standard rooms made it through their line faster than us.
Our daughter's luggage arrived to the stateroom damaged and an item was missing.
After all this was done and forgotten we did begin to enjoy this beautiful ship.
The ship is very elegant and stylish. I loved it but the kids found it boring compared to the Allure which we sailed on last March. We, my husband and I, thought it was a great size and had everything a couple could want.
Adult activities were plentiful and we certainly enjoyed the wine tasting events. The sommeliers were informative and pleasant and it made for lovely and pleasant afternoons on sea days.
Our 16 and 9 year old children enjoyed the Fun Factory and the X-club however the amenities for children on a ship like the Silhouette were for the most part non-existent compared to what they have experienced on RCCL and Norwegian. The biggest disappointment was the small pool on the pool deck and the fact that only half of it was made available to the 400 children on board during our sailing. There was no kids pool area.
The service level we experienced was fabulous throughout the cruise. It was exceptional at Bistro on 5, Murano, Tuscan Grill and Qsine. The specialty restaurants were delectable!
Where the service was mediocre was at the ilounge and at the buffet. There were a few people that worked in the ilounge but the guy who seemed to oversee the lounge was arrogant and easily flustered which led him to speak without a fliter in a very unprofessional manner. We tried to avoid the buffet the most part but on the days where we had to go there we found that it was a little less polished and the wait staff was generally more aloof. It might have had something to do with the "Me first attitude" of many of the guests on board and the general pushiness of the guests in crowded areas and on the elevators.
This brings us to the culture of the guests on board. This European cruise was a first for us so I'm not sure if this is just the way it is or if this was unique to the dynamic of the guests on the cruise for this particular sailing.
One thing Celebrity must resolve is the inability of the pool butlers to execute Celebrity's no reservation policy of chairs on the pool deck. The amount of reserved chairs not being used for several hours at a time was ridiculous and even more ridiculous was that people were saving 2 sets of chairs. One set in sunspots and the other in shaded areas.
The ports were fabulous and I can't really comment on the shore excursions because we booked all our ours independently through local tour guides. If I had a magic want though, we would have had a full day in Santorini, the 6 hours were just too short once you factored in tender time to get on and off the ship. I would have easily traded the 3rd day in Israel for and extra day in Greece. Do not walk up or down those steps in Santorini. Big mistake unless you like navigating donkey poop on marble steps.
Our Stateroom was very clean, new, elegant and would have been perfect for the 2 of us. It was a little crammed for 4 people and I found the storage area above the beds hard to reach. The bathroom was nice and spacious and the storage there was plentiful. We did not really order canapes so I am not sure I would book Concierge class again. The 4th bed was a trundle and I do not like the set up. It makes the balcony near impossible to get to after turn down service. We much prefer the pullman system.
The shows were good and our cruise director was very entertaining but we only saw him on stage. As a family we agreed that we preferred the shows we saw on the Allure though. We found the ones on this sailing got repetitive after 3-4 nights. What we did love was the live entertainment on the pool deck, in the lounges and throughout the ship. There was a fabulous a Capella group from Michigan and a lovey Jazz band that accompanied our new favorite jazz singer Azure McCall. She was simply sensational! What a voice!
The Captain was adorable! Being of Greek descent I guess he couldn't help it! His daily updates were witty and charming.
Disembarkation was quite easy but again when it came to the shuttles, directions to the shuttles were non-existent and getting on was another free for all reminiscent of embarkation. Party was over!!! Loud and clear!!!
In summary, my husband and I would love to cruise with Celebrity again once we are empty nesters. We know we will enjoy elegant and refined surroundings with delectable food and wine with excellent service. If and when we do, will will go out of our way to avoid boarding any ship in Chivitavecchia. Until then, we will likely stick with RCCL. Same company more suited to families. I will miss Murano until then that's for sure!