We are middle aged (this means old but young at heart)travelers, and this was our tenth cruise, but our first transatlantic voyage. This review is a bit wordy, but we tried to give highlights, info for other passengers and credit to all the people that made this a great voyage.
Getting to Rome was a challenge, as our flight was delayed for maintenance, then we had to reboard another plane and finally left 6 hours after we were scheduled. We stayed at the Hilton Airport hotel on points, and the service and courtesy was exceptional. Transfer to the pier, which I cannot spell or pronounce was flawless. Roma cabs did an excellent job, prompt, courteous and safe.The cars were new, clean and as long as you don't mind traveling at 145 kph, there is no problem.
Celebrity Silhouette is a magnificent ship. We had a C2 cabin on the 12th deck. There is plenty of storage, and the bathroom is equipped with a night light. We found the hors d'oerves to be less than appetizing, so we requested a substitute, so a fruit and cheese plate was promptly delivered each night, and tasted great. We want to send our thanks and compliments to Collin and Manuel, our cabin attendants, who were so efficient, courteous and hard working. They are indicative of why Celebrity has the reputation it does.
DINING: We had early fixed seating for dinner, which great. The food was very well prepared, artfully presented and very tasty. Our waiter and assistant waiter, Jorge and Oxana, made each evening just delightful. We cannot forget our wine steward Earl (the Duke), who chose wine for us that complimented what we were having each night.
Qsine Restaurant: As the daily program calls it, uniquely unordinary. This is an understatement. The meal was ordered off an I pad, and was whimsical, innocent and a lot of fun, in addition to being just great food. The spring rolls are delivered in springs, the fish and chips in popcorn boxes, and the sliders (don't miss these) are served on a cast iron griddle. If you are lucky, you will have Artur from the Ukraine as your server, and he will make the meal fun and truly enjoyable.
Tuscan and Morano were just great also, very worth the upcharge. No steak house in Chicago can beat what the Tuscan produces. We did not get to try the Lawn Club grill, as the weather kept us and everyone else indoors.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT miss the sea day brunch. It is just a small line in the daily program, but it is a feast for the eyes and the palate. The amount of work the staff does to prepare for this is truly amazing.
The weather was a major factor on this cruise. Lisbon was our last stop before the crossing. This was the first day of a major storm with high winds and rain. We were going to go ashore, but looking outside, you had to walk from the ship about 200 feet to a building where the tranportation was parked. Instead of braving the wind and the rain, we stayed in the Oceanview with a glass of wine, making side bets as to which umbrella would invert next, or whose hat would blow off first. That afternoon, the storm was still coming ashore as the ship went out to sea. The storm was tracking northeast, so the Captain decided to hang a left and go south of the Azores. Good decision. Even with the stabilizers deployed, the ship did rock all night. Being that our cabin was on deck 12, we got the benefit of extra motion. I swear there were whitecaps in the toilet. We got through it just fine, but there seemed to be fewer passengers out and about the next day.
The pool area had no problem with finding a lounge chair. It was probably due to some days with 20 foot waves and 80 knot winds, which caused the pool to be drained. Therefore we had the pool bar to ourselves. Had a great time with Eric, LJ and Musak - great bartenders and a joy to talk to. Thanks guys.
We saw some new venues not seen on other Solstice class ships. For example, during the first few warm nights, we enjoyed live concerts up on the Lawn. Blankets and back supports were provided, and bar service was available. We especially enjoyed Jonny Mantra, a solo guitarist that we could listen to for hours, and we did in the Ensemble lounge. "As Time Goes By" - we will always remember him. Thanks again Jonny.
Captain Pagonis gave a presentation on the navigation of the ship, and the procedures utilized to divert the ship from the original course. The following day was to be a Q&A with the Captain/Chief Engineer/Hotel Director. Due to the rough seas, the Captain stayed on the bridge, and the Engineer stayed in the engine room. Another good decision. Instead reps from various departments (5 in all) were on hand for the Q&A. This included a rep from the home office. He was asked the question that boiled down to 'How much loyalty is Celebrity willing to loose with all the additional upcharges and fees'. This was met with applause from the audience. The home office rep wore out his shoes tap dancing around this issue. Botton line - the cruise line will continue to upcharge as much as they can get away with.
DISEMBARKATION: This was a true disaster, and it had nothing to do with Celebrity. The ship arrived in Bayonne at 8:30 AM instead of 3:00 AM, and customs or immigration would not release the ship so the passengers could get off. Most people had flights at noon or 1PM, and we were not allowed off until close to 10:30AM. We had to take a bus to pick up the luggage, which was arranged by numbers from the luggage tags, but it seems that some individuals cannot tell the differnce between a 6 and a 9, which caused us scurring around the terminal to find the bags. Customs was quick and easy, and then the mad transfer to Newark Airport, but we arrived alive, and barely in time for the flight.
SUMMARY: A great adventure on the newest and most beautiful ship. The Silhouette's changes make her stand out from her other Solstice class sister ships.
For all that sailed the Transatlantic, and past and future cruisers on the Silhouette, one last thought...
"Stand clear of the doors please".