Embarkation. The day before we left we got an email from Celebrity that the embarkation will be delayed by an hr. to sanitize the ship as a precautionary measure. We sailed in Celebrity twice before, this our 1st embarkation from Port Liberty. Our daughter dropped us at so called cruise terminal. What an eyesore of a terminal with tents and old dilapidated warehouses converted into passenger terminal. We got through check in formalities very quickly and then we have to wait more than hr. to transport us the ship which was docked 2 blocks away. After 5 minutes bus ride and 10 minutes waiting we were allowed enter the ship. We were asked to proceed to Sea View Cafe on Deck 14. There was wall to wall people, hardly any room for sitting. After another 15 minutes wait we got a place to sit to have lunch. Because Code RED we were not allowed to serve ourselves, lines everywhere for food. Eventually they made an announcement around 4 PM that our state rooms were ready. We rushed to the elevators to Deck 7
SILHOUETTE FIRST IMPRESSION. "It's a big ship, but you won't notice it. This ship is over a thousand feet long, making it one of the largest ships afloat. The dining room was at the back of the ship or AFT. Far away from our stateroom! No question that the ship is elegant and extremely well decorated. Speaking of elevators, the Celebrity claims a new high Tech. Not only are they fast, smooth and clean but when they arrive, a light above them changes from blue to pink with arrows pointing up or down, many time we ended up in the wrong direction for not paying attention to direction of the arrow.
There are two pool areas. One is for the masses with kids and games and noise the other (adults only) Spa pool is quiet, shaded with some chairs available. The deck lounge chairs on the deck 14 occupied with pool towels on them, one has to reach there before 9 AM to get a lounge chair. There is a jogging track on this area a distraction.
One, the Sky Observation Lounge high on deck 14 is special with a great look and view forward, they conducted dances classes during the day, Captain's club reception and band played at night for dancing. During the day it was not crowded and an ideal place to sit and read.
This Solstice class of ships feature a half acre of well-maintained lawn on Deck 15 where the passengers can play bocce ball, mini golf, or walk barefoot. The ship also has a large theater and a mini theater where the show movies, various demonstration
STATE ROOM. Forward section room 7153, a Verandah State room. Room sizeis same as in other cruise lines, due to layout our cabin appeared very roomy, with lots of closet spaces to store the clothes, supplies for 12 day of our cruise. We had a 32 " flat screen TV there is lots of CNN, MSNBC, Fox, BBC, ESPN, etc. The saving grace is the number of free movies you can get. The bathroom is large and helped by a shower that has an enclosure that is curved and full length that was easy to use with no fancy dials. All the expected amenities and lots of fresh soft towels. Could not find fault or ask for more. Most of the light switches under the bed are hidden away, after a search we realized it was conveniently located to reach from the bed. The bath room lights had high and low beam and at night it served as night light, a convenient feature. Ice bucket was small but our room attendant filled it up 2 times a day. The balcony was spacious. We had our breakfast there every morning in the afternoon quiet and a great place to read .
Then announcement came that about emergency drill at 5:15 PM at the Silhouette Theater. Emergency drill was all video presentation and very quick. Because of code red, Purell dispensers placed everywhere and crew members also dispensing the hand sanitizers. The ship left the port promptly at 7 PM cruising through Hudson under Verrazano's narrows to Atlantic Ocean. We booked this cruise just before Christmas we did not get to eat in Grand Cuvee dining room. We met Matre-de and made a request and we ate at the Sea View cafe. We went to the show to watch the preview of upcoming events.
The collection of specialty restaurants are all located at the stern (AFT) of Deck 5 with the main dining room directly below on decks 4 and 3. An easy way to remember where to go is "dining-aft, casino-middle, and entertainment-forward".
The passageways and rooms are decorated with large black and white photographs by various European artist-photographer and some Statues. Deck 4-5 ship's shopping arcade is located. Deck -3 housed, Customers relations, Port tours. There is a Grand foyer on this deck where they had band played every evening while people were dancing. Deck 7 had hideaway a great area to read. In this deck ships hanging tree located between 2 banks of elevators on Star board and Port side of the ship which can be viewed from Deck-3- Deck 14. Deck 10-11 Ship's Library located with very nice collections of book.
The Captain ship officers were mostly Greek. Professional at all times and they made me feel safe. Captain reports everyday was filled with humors. The room attendants and dining room staffs were from Croatian, Italian, Indian, Hungarian, and just about every other European and Asian country. The diversity was good. Our Cruise Director Lisa Richards a fantastic women. She came from Up state NY, She had an MBA and was senior Vice President of a Company. She quit her job and joined Broadway Musical and the she joined the ship. She can sing, dance, tell jokes.
On Saturday we were assigned a table for 2 for 6 PM dining . The Grand Cuvee dining room is impressive with large 3 story high ornately hidden wine cellar in the back. There were over 1000 passengers eating for 1st seating at 6 PM. The noise level was deafening with conversations from everyone in this elegant room. On Valentine's all ladies received Red Rose from dining room staff which added more grace to the occasion.
The choice of vegetarian food in the Grand Cuvee(Main) Dining Room is excellent, my wife who eats meat and fish said the food choices were superb. Our Assistant waiter Savio from Mumbai, our waiter Roger from Mauritius and Assistant t Matre` D from Croatia took care my daily needs during the dinner time, and made the dining experience pleasurable. We had a table for 2, it took us almost 90 minutes to finish our dinner in a perfectly slow paced manner.
The Ocean view Cafe on Deck 14 is a winner. It offers a huge buffet for breakfast. lunch and dinner. Just like NCL they have station for different foods, and desserts. They had Italian Station Salad Station Cheese, bread Station, Chinese Thai Food, India Food Station but they are not well marked often one has to look for them. The Ice cream station had many flavors of Ice cream, Yogurt Ice creams and Sorbet, soft Ice Cream every day. The pizza station was open long hours ( 2 noon-past midnight) and the pizza was excellent! It was a great place for a mid-afternoon or a late-night snack.
DRESS CODE . On 12 days Voyages 3 had formal night out of which mid one was optional. Most ladies dressed elegantly, most men either wore a suit or Tuxedo, some defied rule and came just shirt and jacket. I took my Tux and suit which I wore almost every day during the dinner time.
ENTERTAINMENT This is a mixed bag, Silhouette Singers Dancers and acrobats were on for 3 different nights. Singers were good and dancers and jugglers acrobats Ok but not of high calibers. The Comedian are excellent, Judy Kolaba, The Pianist, Cathy Hamilton were excellent, solo Violinist had a violin covered with Cubic Zirconia that is the highlight of his show, but he is OK.
Short comings. Embarkation and disembarkation is very hard due to location and lack of proper cruise terminal. In this cruise 95% of passengers were 65 and older ( like our age group), many with mobility problem and were using motorized wheel chairs which added discomfort for them during arrival and departure to get on and off the buses from and to the terminal.
Dinning room noisy.
TV News were not available during the port days.