We were on the first Caribbean sailing of the Silhouette out of Bayonne, NJ on November 6, 2011. We are Elite members of Captains Club, which does give us some extra perks. Due to the fact there were so many Elite aboard, they utilized the Sky Lounge for our daily evening cocktail parties.
Our cabin was AQ class, which we booked after having been on the Solstice in this class. The main reason we booked AQ is for the benefit of eating in Blu. There are also some added amenities such as free bottles of water and different teas in your cabin daily.
We drove down from Boston on Saturday, and stayed at the Westin in Jersey City, then drove to the pier Sunday morning.
Embarkation in Bayonne was relatively easy. We drove to the port and parked our car there for the duration of the cruise. The cost is $19.00 per day. You prepay when you park, so when you arrive back after your cruise you can just get your car and leave. This works out very well. You pull up to the terminal, the porter takes your bags, you park your car, walk back to the terminal, check in, grab a shuttle bus that takes you to the ship. From the terminal to the ship is only a short distance, but due to the fact that this is a working area with loading and unloading from the ship, it is not safe to walk, so you must hop on the shuttle bus.
Unfortunately, disembarkation is not as smooth as embarkation. They call too many numbers at once, you are backed up on the stairs leading to the gangway. Then they hold you downstairs because they have to wait for the shuttle buses to come to take you to the terminal. They really have to get their act together with the disembarkation process.
Upon boarding, we went to Bistro on 5 for lunch. We always do this in lieu of going to the buffet, since it usually is a circus. The Bistro serves delicious crepes of all different types, soups, and salads. It is worth the $5.00pp.
Many people that have done the Transatlantic have already stated that there is not a lot of storage space for clothes. However, we traveled with a full size clothing suitcase, and two regular suitcases. The advantage of the clothing suitcase is everything is hung on hangers, and you can put hang your suitcase hangers with the clothes directly into the closet. They also provide many hangers in the closet, and if there isn't enough, they will give you more. The only thing we put in the drawers were shorts, t-shirts, underwear, bathing suits, and a few other items. Even my husband's polo jerseys were hung in the closet. We also utilized the cabinets above the bed. Suitcases fit under the bed. The bathroom, as others have stated, was more than adequate, with good storage space, and a Hansgrohe shower head.
The first day weather was OK, but the next day and a half we had rough seas, a lot of people stayed in their cabins due to seasickness. We do not get sea sick, so the rough weather didn't bother us. It just kept us from being able to go outside.
The staff on the ship has to be the nicest, most accommodating we have ever had on any cruise (we have been on over 40 on different lines). The majority of people on this cruise were seniors, who relied on scooters, wheelchairs, walkers and canes. We having nothing against seniors, and give them all the credit in the world for going on cruises, however sometimes the scooter and wheelchair people block areas and you have to be careful you don't get run over.
The food in Blue was excellent. We ordered several things that were not on the menu, because we didn't find something in a category, on a specific night. Don't be afraid to ask. They are more than willing to accommodate you.
The shows were OK. Several of the performers were very good, others just OK.
Pools on the ship were great, although you had the usual chair hogs. We watched as a group of people set up shop on chairs in the sun and shade. I will say that this may be the first cruise that we actually saw the pool butlers clearing chairs.
Went up to the lawn club, sat in the sun and had drinks. People didn't seem to be utilizing the rental alcoves that were up at the lawn club. Personally I think it's a waste of space to have them. Again it could be due to the age of the people on this cruise. In fact we were up there several times and it was never busy. I think rather than waste the space for this lawn club venue, they could put another pool up there with more chaise lounges.
Contrary to the people on the European and TA cruises, we never had a problem with internet service. It is Wi-Fi throughout the whole ship. I brought my netbook and never had a problem connecting anywhere. Another perk of being Elite is that we each got free 90 minutes of internet time. The 180 minutes were more than enough for the 12 day cruise.
The bars are all very nice, with each having a different "theme". These are also a nice area during the day to read, since most of them are not open during the morning & early afternoon.
The islands we visited were great, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Antigua. We have been to all these islands before, so anything we did was on our own, not ship excursions. We have also stayed on land vacations on St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Antigua.
We will definitely cruise again on this or any other of the S class ships.