Throughout the voyage across the Atlantic, I had the feeling that the resources and facilities on the Silhouette were being stretched to the maximum to accommodate a bloated number of passengers. There was a constant shortage of chairs and tables in the Aqua Spa area and martini bar, there were not enough lockers in the gym, the public entertainment areas on the 3rd and 4th decks were seriously short on space and chairs. In the main dining room, tables were crammed so close together that there merely three to four inches separating them.
The whole system of Select Dining (where they make you pay your tips in advance) broke down because there were not enough tables to accommodate those opting for this venue at an alternate time to the fixed dining. You're not allowed to "select" any dining time. You either wait in line (30 to 40 minutes) for something available or go at 6:30 or 8:30 pm, the same time as the fixed dining. We finally opted to go back to fixed dining. The managers of Celebrity would do well to study how NCL has resolved freestyle dining. I asked them why there was such a system breakdown and one of the managers said that people were lingering too long at their tables!!
Notices in the daily bulletin urged passengers not to linger at their tables in the buffet in order to make room for others. This doesn't sound like a five-star ship to me.
While there were shortages in the above areas, certain other dining venues remained deserted, i.e. crepe bistro and 5th deck lounges and the large commercial spaces on the ship devoted to "selling".
Very disappointed with the cuisine and not the normal standard of Celebrity. Dishes tended to be insipid and tasteless, a grade above hospital food. This was the worse we experienced on a Celebrity cruise.
Our balcony cabin reflected some new features of safety (such as leaving a dim light on in the bathroom at night) and a general utilization of space that gave one the impression the cabin was larger than it really was. It was comfortable with a large balcony where I could do my daily yoga. However, there was a marked shortage of drawers to store things (only three shallow drawers). Happily our cabin was a refuge from the above crowded conditions.
The attempt to build two more classes (Concierge and Aqua Spa) out of the same basic balcony cabins is a bit of a stretch.
The crew have been trained well and were accommodating and wonderful up to what they were able to do. It's the basic decisions of the upper management re: the above issues that are the problem.
I expected a more educated and discerning passenger profile but the flow of alcohol at times accentuated boisterous, pushy and rude behavior. Quite obvious were the elite members of the Captain's Club staggering out of the free cocktail hour into the dining area.
Bayonne, NJ terminal is the pits and located in sub-standard, dirty warehouses. The debarkation was a horror but the main bottleneck was not Celebrity, but Homeland Security.
All in all, a most uncomfortable trip in a beautiful, new ship.