I've read the prior Silhouette reviews and while I agree with all of the positive comments, I can report that most of the negative comments were very minimal on the Sept. 15th sailing. The ship is beautiful and exceeds expectations. The Holy Land destinations were wonderful, since I had only been to Mykonos before. Due to the numerous destinations and excursions, my wife and I really didn't get a chance to take advantage of all that the Silhouette had to offer. I would note that we did purchase the package of 5 specialty restaurant dinners, going twice to the Tuscan Grille. The food and atmosphere in these restaurants exceeds that of the main dinning room, though that is not to say that the MDR's food is not acceptable. It is very acceptable. The Tuscan Grille was our favorite, though all the other specialty resturants have their own uniqueness and charm. You should do Quise and the Lawn Grill at least once...just for the experience.
To comment on the prior negative comments. First the ship's entertainment was a mixed bag. I agree that the Cruise Director needs to dial himself back a bit. However, the ship's singers/dancers I found to be very professional and entertaining, especially for the best of Broadway production. No, these are not the stars of the original Broadway shows, but they are very good and very entertaining. The poolside entertainers were by far some of the best that I have ever seen on any cruise ship. My wife loved Johnny Mantra...actually so did I. The Aquaudio was a great harmonizing group of four Michigan guys (our home state). And the other band (forgot name) did a wonderful job, especially the lead female singer. One of the ship's officers even played lead guitar on a couple of songs one day...rock on George! My wife and I didn't attend performances by any of the other entertainment acts in the main theater, so can't rate them.
Relative to staff friendliness, I did not encounter one staff person that did not acknowledge me, say a greeting, and/or be other than completely customer oriented. Since we had many early morning excursions, we ordered room service breakfast on six mornings. Dany, our room stewart, delivered those trays on time and totally complete. Great job! Jesus was our MDR head waiter. He was new and it showed...he had a little trouble on who got what at our 8-person table, but Adelina,the asst. waiter, was there to help him out, and it was never a major problem. We did have the 8:45pm late seating in the MDR, which is a bit late. 8:15 or 8:30pm would be better.
On sea days, the pool area did get crowded, but we always found a lounge (which was very comfortable)somewhere. Obviously, the earlier you get to the pool, the more choices you will have.
Yes, the in-cabin storage is challenging. I do not like the overhead storage, but it works. Under bed storage for suitcases is good. The overall cabin is very comfortable and roomy, especially the larger bathroom/shower. I agree that a light on the balcony would have been nice.
Relative to excursions, we did not book through Celebrity. The Cruise Critic roll call board was terrific. We scheduled all of our excursions with other CC roll call members and had wonderful transportation and guides--for probably half the price of official ship excursions--and in much smaller and intimate groups. For Israel, we used Guided Tours of Israel (email@example.com)for 3 days and Moti (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the first day out of Ashdod. In Athens, we used prvategreecetours.com. In Naples, we did the Amalfi coast and Herculaneum tour, and used www.allarounditalys.net. BTW, don't miss Herculaneum, the site is much more preserved than Pompeii, and very interesting. We spent 2 hrs there with a knowledgeable guide--and still left more to see.
Note: For us getting off the ship was smoother than getting on. We arrived about 12:15pm and a large crowd was already gathering. We did the registration, but had to wait til 1pm to get access to our cabin. However, no major problems with embarkation. Remember to print out all Silhouette online documents and get luggage tags sent to you...saves time. My recommendation, don't plan to walk from train station to port or ship. Split a taxi with someone, much more convenient and comfortable. Getting to Rome airport after the cruise, again we had a shuttle lined up with Cruise Critic friends. The shuttle picked us up right outside the luggage area of the ship...no problem at airport in about an hour (actually we stayed overnight at the Domus Lina hotel right near the airport--great little hotel and very reasonablly priced plus good location for food and shops. 15 euros to airport in the morning).
Overall, a totally wonderful cruise adventure. The Silhouette was outstanding. The people we met were interesting. The staff was very customer focused. The ports were totally amazing. Can't wait to book another cruise (if only I could do something about the awful and exhausting airline flight schedules to get to and from Rome from Michigan, especially when using airlines frequent flyer miles to book...oh well, that's the price we pay or don't pay). Now, home tired, but satisfied, and eager to cruise again. Ciao!