On September 1st, 1996, Candi and I took our first Celebrity Cruise on the Zenith in what the New York Post described later as the Cruise to Hell. Although we were tossed around for two days in the Atlantic with 40 foot seas and tropical ... Read More
On September 1st, 1996, Candi and I took our first Celebrity Cruise on the Zenith in what the New York Post described later as the Cruise to Hell. Although we were tossed around for two days in the Atlantic with 40 foot seas and tropical storm winds, we persevered and after the cruise was over, we decided, in spite of the experience we would like to go on another one in calmer waters. That began our love affair with cruising. We tried other brands including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Holland America and always came back to Celebrity because we felt it was a cut above the other mass market cruise lines as their tag line of Modern Luxury defined our style. Our last seven cruises were on Celebrity.
We recently sailed on the Silhouette that sailed from Stockholm on May 28th, 2015 and found it to be the worst cruise we ever sailed on. From the beginning we noticed many changes. Check in, was anything but smooth as it took a half an hour once we reached the agent. There was no problem with our documents. She just didn’t know what to do and there were no supervisors to assist her.
Once we entered the ship we were continuously solicited, nagged, harassed and badgered (you get the idea) for purchasing or upgrading the beverage package. In the first two days of our trip, every waiter, bartender and bus boy we came in contact with would stop us and ask if we wanted to upgrade or purchase a beverage package. Quite annoying to say the least. Equally bothersome was being aggressively stopped every time you boarded the ship or exited/entered the elevator lobby by the Oceanview Café to reserve a table at the specialty dining rooms. On several occasions, a member of the staff approached us while we were enjoying a glass of wine in a public room or chatting with friends, trying to sell us a half price meal. We stopped going to the specialty restaurants as the experience was always hit and miss (usually miss). In one instance, the waiter, while serving our dinner, stopped to pitch a half price meal at a specialty restaurant while our food was getting cold on his shoulder. There was no end to it. We found it quite ironic that the Celebrity Passenger Code of Conduct states-
Solicitation is not permitted onboard as it is considered a disturbance to other guests. Perhaps the management at Celebrity Cruise Lines needs to follow their own rules.
We also found shopping on the concourse to be equally irritating with someone, every night pitching non stop on a loud speaker the deals of the day. Even walking by some of the shops was a challenge as there was always someone trying to engage you in conversation and draw you inside reminiscent of a Turkish Bazaar. So much for Modern Luxury.
On a ship that carries 3,000 passengers, one would expect several venues for music and entertainment. On this cruise, there seemed to be only one. Gone is Michaels Pub (reserved for suite guest. Every time we looked in, it was empty) and the piano bar and other intimate areas that offered a variety of entertainment depending on your mood. Instead, there was one loud band that played every night on deck three. You either had to jam yourself on the small dance floor or be a spectator looking over the rail on the upper decks. If you wanted a quiet dance with your spouse or singing along at a clubby bar, you were out of luck. Also, gone are the special events that would take place on the pool deck at night. No deck parties at all. No special brunch in the main dining room. Nada. They did have a 12 piece oompah band at the Sky lounge with brats and pretzels (beer extra, of course) which was fun but there wasn't enough room for all the people who attended. I can go on...
When we signed on, we were given Celebrity Select Dining. We thought it was a good idea due to the flexible itinerary. In practice, getting seated every night was always an issue. Most of the time we were a group of four and occasionally there were seven of us. No matter what time we came down, we had to wait. The seating hostess couldn’t figure out she could take two adjacent tables for two, slide them together and voila! (We learned she was a cocktail waitress on the last cruise). When seven of us came down, we were told it was especially difficult and a reservation should be made in advance. We tried but we were told that we could not be accommodated. When we were finally brought inside, there were many empty tables of all sizes.
Once seated, it was hit and miss as far as the staff. On some evenings, we lucked out and got a very capable, professional staff (and tried to get seated there during subsequent meals). On other times, we got a staff that did not get the order correct and would rush us through. One night, the waiter spent about ten minutes trying to convince the table to order a particular entree. I saw he did this with other tables near us. I can only assume the kitchen had a surplus of this particular dish and wanted to move it. We never, ever saw the maître d. In the past, a headwaiter or maître d would stop by during every meal to check to make sure everything was OK. I suppose with his tip guaranteed, he or she could hide in the kitchen during the meal. On the plus side, the food was generally good (except for the tough as nails New York Strip that I order once on every cruise and get the same low quality slab of beef. Read Less