I had taken a Caribbean Cruise last year on Celebrity's Mercury. The ship carried roughly 1/2 the passengers and I enjoyed my time on it. I took along paperwork from some projects I am working on and I find that the ship provides an excellent environment for such activity. Outside of Puerto Rico and Haiti I had been to the islands previously and I already had a taste of them. I wanted to see the actual country of Haiti (one of the poorest countries in the world) but Celebrity would not allow it. (The Cruise line owns a part of the island that is fenced off from the rest) If some of my fellow travelers were able to see how these people lived in Haiti there may have been less complaints.
The ship design was beautiful and it actually seemed less crowded than the Mercury(which was not crowded to me).
I understand that Celebrity is trying to "sell" their experience in order to sign up more people for it's cruises. There is some hype involved. There is going to be a difference between those who board the ship with "high expectations" and those who are just open to experiencing life as it unfolds.
Celebrity talks of it's art collection, while the ship was well decorated I saw no one standing around admiring it's art. I liked the idea of having an Apple IStore on board and having staff there who could educate you on all what Apple has to offer. I am not that computer literate and it was something that I was interested in. As it was they were not Apple trained and seemed to have limited knowledge of the applications. (would not be working the "genius bar") They had classes that they charged for and most of the time I saw them were working with people on how to connect up to the internet. The internet prices range from 78 to around 40 cents a minute. To stay in touch with the office I would check my Email maybe 10+ times a day. The connection is slow and it may take 1-5 minutes just to check. I spent over $200 basically to do just that. (They have different packages available and if you sign up the first day you get 20% more minutes) Since my Verizon phone didn't work outside of NY, this was the only way for me to communicate. I heard one of the attendants say that SKYPE works on occasion. Also some of the Islands had either free WIFI or low cost ($5 a day).
The seating in Blu (Aqua Class) was not assigned. I did like the designated seating on Mercury where you sat down each evening with the same fellow guests.
This much smaller and beautiful restaurant sat about 140 and most times had less than 1/2 that seated. You might be on a small table a few feet from some other guests. Some would strike up a conversation while others focused on each other. All good. I enjoyed all the food (as I did on Mercury) the staff was very accommodating and made me whatever I requested (informed them the night before)
The staff on the ship were all new to the Silhouette and if you were suddenly working with a new group of over 1000 fellow workers, it would take some time to work out all the kinks. It was my view that the crew did a good job. If these people were not working 7 days a week as well as aprox. 10 hours a day for low wages, the cost of the cruise would be much higher.
On a previous post someone said the noise in 1537 kept them up at night. It is near a service area and a few times there was some banging. I never was awaken at night (a sound sleeper) and I did not consider it an issue. (I spent quite a bit of time in that room, which was beautiful)
Throughout the ship there are many automatic hand sanitizers. Several days into the cruise something happened. Now there was an attendant before you entered the restaurants to make sure you were using the hand sanitizers. Serving yourself food was no longer allowed (main lunch cafeteria etc) Salt shakers etc. was removed from your dining table, books were removed from the library... Norovirus or something similar had arrived and Celebrity was trying to contain it. They were low key about it (if you were Celebrity how would you have handled it?) It was included in some of the announcements about the importance of washing your hands etc. My sense was that a lot of people were sick (I heard figures from 400=1100). I don't know how many staff knew the count, but those who did were not broadcasting it. This was going to cost Celebrity millions. What would be the point of having a daily count? I had heard that there had been an outbreak on the previous cruise and someone wrote that if they knew that, they would have cancelled... I talked to several people who did get it and they were quite sick for a day or 2 and then it seemed to pass.
From my understanding it was the passengers who brought this sickness onto the ship. I would say the typical age of my fellow passengers was 65-70. There were some power wheelchairs but nothing that caused any problems. (I thought it was great that these people could be in a wheelchair and still enjoy a cruise) I was told there were 20 children on board.
To board I was there at 10:30 am, They had a special seating lounge (Aqua), which was comfortable, I boarded at around 11am. Simple. Leaving was just as smooth. I was told that next year they will be leaving from Florida not Bayonne.
I really enjoyed the cruise for I enjoy everything I do.