We cruised the 1/17/12 sailing out of Bayonne and traveled with another couple. All of us have cruised many times but this was just our 2ND Celebrity trip. We loved not having to fly and enjoyed the stress free packing and worrying about the weight of our suitcases, going thru security,etc.
Up until now, RCL was our favorite cruise line. We were just so impressed with the quality of service on Celebrity that it has become our cruise line of choice.
EMBARKATION: We drove up from Delaware the day before and stayed at the Country Inn and Suites. Great deal for $138 total which included parking our car for 12 days in a gated area. We drove to the pier thru Independent Driver with other CC members. This was organized by one CC member (thanks Bob!) and it worked out well. It was $10 each way pp plus we gave a tip. We arrived at the pier at about 10:30. Check in was a breeze! We were then led to the lounge for CC, AQ and above. They served danishes, coffee and tea. It was such a nice place to wait before getting on board.
We arrived on the ship around 11:15, got our champagne and went to the OVC. We were one of the first ones so there were no lines. Food was varied and very good. We mostly ate breakfast and lunch there as the food was tasty with many choices. Our rooms were ready around 1:30, luggage arrived and was put away before the 4:00 muster drill.
SHIP: The ship is beautiful and tastefully decorated. There are so many areas to read, lounge or just people watch. We loved the Relaxation Room, which was at the end of our hallway. It is placed at the very front of the ship so you can watch the ocean, sleep or read. Just so peaceful and tranquil.
CABIN: We loved our cabin...except the storage was a minor complaint. We managed to make it work-I took the drawers and my husband took part of the over the bed storage. For convenience, he kept some things in his suitcase under the bed. We loved our location...not too far forward and close to elevators/stairs. Our cabin Stewart Jonathan and his assistant Rogelio were wonderful. How they knew when we left the room is still a mystery! They were both professional, friendly and efficient.
We loved the bathroom with plenty of storage. The shower was wonderful. And the bed was comfy. The perks in AQ were nice. We enjoyed the flavored water which changed every day as well as the fresh fruit daily. Canapes were also brought each day. The plush robes, towels and personal stationary were a nice touch.
ENTERTAINMENT: After reading negative comments, we were concerned about what to expect. We really enjoy going to the shows on board and consider it part of the cruise experience. We were so pleasantly surprised! The four of us loved the shows and we attended every one. We thought the talent was great. Each night we were thoroughly entertained. We loved the show band. The singers and dancers were very talented too. In addition, we saw a very talented comic/magician, pianist, impressionist,singer and comedian. We enjoyed each show-some more than others. We were amazed at the quality of talent not only in the theater but in all the lounges. There was something for everyone. The acappella group was awesome. Furthermore, we enjoyed the passenger and crew talent show. The passenger chorus and dancing were fun to watch!
Also, each night we made deposits in the casino...very tight slots. We didn't win anything -and we sure tried!
DINING: This area is very subjective. We certainly ate much better than we do at home! Since we were in AQ we ate in Blu. We enjoyed the meals and the service. Only 1 night one in our foursome had a bad meal. Of course, the staff was so concerned and wanted to make it right. But he was content (and full) from the other courses. We ate one night in the MDR. The food was delicious and the service great. However, we did notice how much "heavier" the meal was compared to Blu; and, the room was much nosier. Also, we enjoyed Blu so much that we saw no need to go to speciality restaurants for extra charges. This was a first for us as we have always tried the specialty restaurants on other ships.
Further, we enjoyed the burgers, fries and hot dogs at the Mast Grill. And the selection in the OVC. The pizza and ice cream were a couple of our favorites.
STAFF: The staff and crew on the Silhouette surpasses any other we have ever sailed. The Captain was very visible and informative. The entire staff from Sr officers to waitstaff was friendly and gave excellent customer service.
PORTS: Since we had all been at to the ports previously, we only took one excursion. Because we had visited St Lucia once before, we took a ship sponsored tour. We enjoyed touring the island -seeing the Pitons and the plush scenery. Our tour guide was very informative and had a great sense of humor. The other ports: St Thomas-just shopped at the mall by the pier. We also just toured the areas close to the ship in St Kitts and Antigua. However, in St Maarten, one of our favorite islands, we took a cab to Marigold and enjoyed shopping at the flea market. Bought some nice silver jewelry for, what we thought, was a good price.
MISCELLANEOUS: We enjoyed sail-away with other CC members in the Sky lounge. It was great to put names and faces together of people we had communicated with on our Roll Call. Also, we attended the CC Connections party which included an intro by the Cruise Director. We all agreed that CC is a valuable resource for our cruising needs and that we appreciate the exchange of information on the boards.
Surprisingly, our fellow passengers were mostly friendly and polite. There were rare incidences of people on scooters who thought they had the "right of way". But overall, we enjoyed meeting so many nice people.
The men bought the beverage package. But, said they wouldn't do it again. With the 2 for 1 drinks at certain times and 1 with another 50% off at other times, they didn't think it was necessary. Overall, we didn't think the alcoholic drink prices were too pricey.
We were all impressed with the enrichment offerings on this cruise. Although we didn't participate they offered art and computer classes as well as informational lectures.
DEBARKATION: This took longer than the embarkation but went smoothly. We were late getting off the ship but it was painless. We found our luggage, got on the bus and back to the terminal. We called Independent Driver who picked us up (same group of CC members organized by Bob) and drove us back to the hotel.
FINAL THOUGHTS: We loved this cruise, staff, length of cruise and ports. Also, we loved the convenience of sailing out of Cape Bayonne. We are disappointed that Celebrity won't be going out of NJ next year. We enjoyed this cruise experience and will be looking for other Celebrity cruises in the future-preferably longer than 10 days. Being able to transfer cruise credits between RCL and Celebrity is also a plus.
Overall, the four of us thought sailing on Celebrity Silhouette was a great cruise experience.