We flew to London on August 16 from Houston, Texas. We visited London, Paris, and Venice before our August 24th sailing on the Silhouette. We are not new to cruising (10 cruises on Carnival, one on Princess), but new to Celebrity. Our ... Read More
We flew to London on August 16 from Houston, Texas. We visited London, Paris, and Venice before our August 24th sailing on the Silhouette. We are not new to cruising (10 cruises on Carnival, one on Princess), but new to Celebrity. Our party consisted of me, my 16 year old son, and my 11 year old daughter.
I'll start with Venice since that is where the ship leases from! We flew from Paris two days early because I really wanted to experience Venice. Unfortunately, I had broken my heel the month before, so getting around Venice was difficult.....plus, it rained. So, I don't feel we got a good feel for Venice. I can say, we stayed at the Hilton with the really neat pool on the roof, however, the hotel was having a private pool party. So, for what we paid, I was a bit disappointed in the Hilton and wouldn't recommend it,
Embarkation was smooth. Of course, I was on crutches and also booked a concierge cabin, so we went straight to the front of the line. We were on the ship within 30 minutes.
The champagne and mimosas was a nice touch. Having usually cruised with Carnival, I'm not used to all the "specialty" restaurants. This seems weird to me. Part of the experience and value of cruising, in my opinion, is everyone meeting in the dining room every night where the waiters usually put on a show and your dining is included with your cruise price. So, we had ever dinner in the main dining room.
I'm going to do a final comparison to Carnival here and then focus on Celebrity. I immediately noticed that Celebrity blows Carnival away in three areas......food, service, and cleanliness. I would say the only area that Carnival has Celebrity beat is with the kids programs and activities. My kids missed the waterslides and such. And the activities on Celebrity for each age group were really "immature". My kids got a good laugh at the daily itinerary for their age groups and chose not to participate at all.
Now to focus on Celebrity. Our cabin was on deck 10, the Sky deck, concierge cabin 1122. We could not have asked for a better cabin. It was larger than any cabin I have ever had and because of our location on the ships "angle", we had an extra large balcony. Further, and thank goodness with my injury, we were just a couple of cabins down from the main elevators to the atrium where all the activities were usually going on.
Dining: We usually had lunch at the big buffet. It was very pleasant, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean. There was an incredible selection and I always had a staff member offering to carry my plate around so I could manage my crutches. For dinner, we had Celebrity Select Dining. The first night, when I saw the line, I thought I was going to hate it. But they sat us immediately at a little table (#505) and we instantly fell in love with our head waiter, Aleksander, and his assistant. We learned that all we had to do was let the hostess know what time we would be coming for dinner the next day, and they would have a table waiting. I'm not sure if they are supposed to do this, but we requested and received the same table every single night. It didn't matter if we got there at 8:00 or 9:30, they had the table ready for us. These guys really made our cruising experience fantastic.
Sea Days: Surprisingly, it was somewhat difficult to find an empty chair near the pool. People were saving chairs with towels, the typical rude behavior, but regardless, we always found a place.
Entertainment: We went to the show in the theatre the first night and it just wasn't for us. We later caught the ventriloquist and he was much more entertaining.
The ports: Kotor, Montenegro was surprisingly beautiful. Can't believe I have never heard of this place. We had booked an excursion through the cruise line where we took a banana boat to The Blue Cave for a swim, then on to a small beach. The ride over was really long and we got back to the ship late. I think I would have preferred to stick around the port and explore the town of Kotor, but anyway, live and learn.
Santorini, Greece was incredible. I had hooked up with a group of people from Cruise Critic and we arranged two private boats to take us to a private bus to take us to the gorgeous town of Oia. Oh my gosh, the place is heaven on Earth. The most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life. Afterwards, our boats took us to a mineral hot spring for a swim, then back to the ship.
In Athens, I had booked the Acropolis tour with lunch. DO NOT DO THIS TOUR. First, we went to the Acropolis. We could not hear a word our guide was saying, We stayed a long time and I was exhausted. Then we got back on our hot bus and went for a few picture stops. We stopped at a hotel for lunch. It looked good, but wasn't. Then it was back on the miserable bus for an hour and 45 min ride to the Temple of Zeus. The whole way there, we passed all these beautiful beaches and I just wanted to scream "STOP". Plus our driver was horrible. He never once offered to help me step down off the bus with my crutches. He was apparently too busy texting. I was never so happy to see a tour end.
Lastly was Katakolan. My son and I just grabbed a cab and went to a local beach. It was nice, and gave me a chance to relax.
Debarkation went smooth, no problems there. I was glad we had the transfers.
So, would I do Celebrity again? Absolutely, but as a couple. I think Celebrity is best suited for couples or families with older children who want to hang out with their parents like mine did. Singles, families with young children, and probably the elderly.....this is not the cruise for you.
The staff was incredible, helpful, and engaging. There was only one person at the customer service desk that was less than helpful when I needed to get cash. And the sad part was, although gratuities were included with our fare, I wanted to give something extra to our waiters. She didn't care.
The ship is beautiful, clean, and has a wonderful staff. Read Less