We sailed out of Cape Liberty on Nov 30th aboard this beautiful new ship and there wasn't one thing about the cruise that disappointed us.
Arrived to the port by private car around 11 am, unloaded luggage easily, parked easily, and had a short walk to the embarkation area. The whole process went smoothly and we were onboard and exploring the ship by noon.
The cabins became available shortly after 1 pm, but there was a glitch with the computerized seapasses that made them inoperable in unlocking cabin doors. This was a minor inconvenience to us, as we just continued to explore the ship while the problem was being worked out by the crew, but many fellow passengers took the opportunity to get VERY bent out of shape. We just didn't see any point in starting out our vacation on a negative foot. It was clear that the crew was doing their best to make things right and were mortified by the whole ordeal. Why make things worse?
We got to our cabin after the muster drill and found our luggage waiting for us. Our balcony cabin was near the forward elevators and on the aft side of the 'bump out' which made our deck absolutely HUGE (at least 3x normal size) and very comfortable as it was protected from the wind. We enjoyed this very much.
The first 3+ days were 'at sea', and we passed the time easily between onboard activities, relaxing in any of the VERY numerous public areas that are so well designed that you never feel crowded, visiting a bar, restaurant, shop, casino, etc etc. Not a moment of boredom, and we are not 'joiners'.
We usually ate breakfast in the Ocean Cafe (buffet) - good variety and we prefer a casual atmosphere for this meal. Lunch was often from the Mast Grille (weather permitting). The main dining room is lovely but a bit noisy. Service was quite good and the food was above average. We had the late (8:30) seating which was a bit too late for our liking. But we mixed in 5 evenings in specialty restaurants so it worked out ok. Tuscan Grille is beautifully located at the back of the ship where the wake is illuminated - a very pretty setting for a very delightful dinner service and meal. 'Kudos' to our favorite waiter of the trip "Max" --- recommend you ask for him if you want to be entertained --- and he will not steer you wrong if you need help deciding what to order. Murano is a very fine dining experience and you won't have any idea you are on a ship. It's soothingly quiet, the food is plated beautifully, and the service is impeccable. Qsine is awesome - so innovative and inventive - just beware that you'll fill up fast on the many small plates that are served to you, so save room if you have your heart set on any of the entrees or desserts. The Lawn Club has the best location on the top deck of the ship, but we were very perplexed by their menu. Not sure exactly who thought that flatbread pizza was a sensible starter before a very large steak - and despite the promise of great variety, we found the salad bar sorely lacking. We also weren't in to 'cooking it ourselves'. So, of all the specialty restaurants, we would skip this one next time around. We did find that twice during the cruise, we were approached with a two-for-one offer to dine in Tuscan Grille. It's a large restaurant and they were not full either time we ate there --- so you might be on the lookout for this deal.
Our ports of call were St. Maartan, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Thomas. We did Celebrity excursions at each port and probably overpaid a bit, but we found each excursion to be well run and well worth the money. We did the Funmobiles in St. Maartan - what a hoot driving in those little machines up and down the hilly streets on the way to Orient beach. The time at the beach was short, but since the day was overcast we didn't feel cheated. Did the 'America's cup racing' in Antigua --- there were only 2 couples signed up for this excursion so each of us had our own 30' sailboat and crew, which was awesome!! Each of us got to 'captain' the boat for a good amount of time, which was great fun. Did the jeep safari to the rainforest in St. Lucia - a good way to get around the island but the hike thru the rain forest was muddy and humid. We really needed the stopover at the beach that came later. Took the Catamaran trip to Nevis from St. Kitts, which included 30 minutes of snorkeling (disappointing - nothing much to see) and a beach BBQ which was fine. The onboard rum punch and local beer was really flowing on this popular excursion! From St. Thomas, we took a 6 hour excursion to St. John - cruised the coastline and then spent time shopping and having lunch. Many people on this excursion went to one of the beaches instead of shopping, but you had time to do both.
I've read a lot of negative reviews about the quality of the entertainment onboard. There's no question that we've seen better shows on other ships, but the only show we really didn't like was the opening 'circue-like' show at the start of the cruise. It just didn't appeal to us, although the performers were doing their darndest to deliver in spite of the material. The comedians and cabaret performers were quite good.
We found the casino very enjoyable and the machines far friendlier than at any land establishments we've visited recently. The ice martini bar is AWESOME and you should not miss their martini tasting event - it was one of the most entertaining things we did onboard. Be sure to bring your camera! Michael's pub was a great place to watch the Giants with like-minded football fans. We also enjoyed playing bocce on the lawn, bingo, Wii bowling, Apple classes, dancing in the foyer, reading in the Hideaway, and people watching (our favorite!) from just about anywhere onboard. No matter where you are on the ship, the surroundings are beautiful and it was truly a special treat to watch their holiday decor unfold slowly over 7-10 days until the entire ship was transformed.
Disembarkation came all too soon - 12 days have never gone faster! This process dragged out and we were waiting about 2 hours in the public areas of the ship for our number (36) to be called. Once we got off the ship and were bussed to the port, we found our luggage with no difficulty and cleared customs quickly. We were driving out of the parking lot by 11 am.
We were very sad to learn that the Silhouette will not be sailing from New York in 2012. Hopefully, Celebrity will consider having Reflection embark from Cape Liberty after she debuts. It's such a convenience to go/come from this accessible port. Can't wait to do it again!