Notes on Silhouette Cruise Nov 18, 2011
Crew and staff top notch. Professional, personable, can-do able! Top marks for these wonderful folks. Ship's public areas always very clean!
New design of Oceanview CafÃ© with food stations instead of long lines was very good. Larger cups for coffee, larger glasses and paper cups for take-away coffee were thoughtful. But there are no trays, only quite heavy square plates, necessitating two or three trips from table to food area. But the evening buffet is much more varied than it used to be. Kudoes on this one!
The specialty restaurants were wonderful! We ate in Murano 3 times, the Lawn Club Grille for lunch twice, Tuscan Grill once, Bistro on Five twice and The Porch twice. Our favorite was Murano. But so much food! And great service! We also ate breakfast and a few dinners in Blu. The best part of Blu was the service and the serenity.
Design of ship has some flaws. A third elevator bank/stairs badly needed aft. It is a loooooong walk from the mid-ship elevators to the cabins on the stern of the ship.
Cabin design very poor. Cabins seem to be longer but narrower. There is a protrusion/ indentation of about 12 inches that is located where "the living room" section is located. The coffee table adds to the bottleneck. We stowed ours under the corner of the desk. Our bed was by the balcony, hence a late night visit to the commode had to run the gamut (almost literally!) of the coffee table, desk and straight chair. Putting the coffee table to the side and as much under the desk as possible was some help. But when one person was using the desk, there was no room for the other person to slide by on the way to either the commode or the exit. Closet space was cramped and inconvenient to get to. Overbed storage was almost totally useless. Drawer space was meager. The closet is much smaller than in the M class and C class ships. We had to have the steward remove the fluffy bath robes in order to have room to hang our clothes. We pack lightly, but this storage was inadequate. The sofa was a big hard blob that was good for nothing but to put things on. It was most uncomfortable for either sitting or lying down, and there was no good reading light. The tv screen faces this box and not the more comfortable bed. Oh well, we do not watch tv when we are cruising!
There were some comfortable areas around the ship including the library and the Hideaway, but the reading light was poor to non-existent in these rooms, which are on the inside of the ship as are the card rooms and the computer room.
The Grand Foyer on Deck 3 was often the venue of musical groups. They play under an immense tower of space where the elevators are located. Thus the noise is carried all over the ship. Not too bad during the day, but intolerable at night. The use of this space for dance classes seems a bit odd. The use of other public space on Deck 4 for ping-pong tables also seems inappropriate. Passengers walking by on the way to the Casino, the cinema, the theatre and shopping are at risk of being knocked over by enthusiastic players. This may be a lawsuit waiting to happen.
My DH thought that the men's locker room and shower at the Gym were real bottlenecks and not at all designed well.
There was no Thalassotherapy pool! The pool in the Solarium was unheated. In my conversations with other Elite Captain's Club members, the loss of the T-Pool was cited as most grievous.
Overall the design of the ship sacrifices comfort and functionality to style and glitz. That may be fine for the younger crowd that Celebrity is trying to attract, but is not so appealing to we older ones who are Celebrity's best and most loyal cruisers.
Would we travel Aqua Class again? Depends on the price. Except for Blu, the other amenities didn't float our boat. Every time we went to the Persian Gardens or the Relaxation Room, they were full. The daily deliveries of teas and canapes we requested the steward stop. Our balcony was frequently unusable because the "gentleman" on the next balcony smoked on his balcony.
Overall, would we cruise with Celebrity again? Yes, but hopefully in the M Class ships or the Century.
Sailing from an East Coast port like Bayonne or Baltimore is very appealing to us, and we will cruise from either or both of these ports again.
Our first Celebrity cruise was in 1998 and we have seen changes we do not like. There was no Roman Catholic priest aboard as there used to be, and there were no religious services of ANY kind. With Thanksgiving intended as a day to thank God, we were surprised there was not even an interdenominational service available. The inside cabins on the old Zenith were more comfortable than the cabins on the Silhouette. And there were great T-pools on Galaxy and Mercury. Even the larger T-pools on the M Class ships were soothing.
I will be happy to answer any questions any one might have. Just post to the Celebrity board on Crucon dot com and I will reply.