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7 Hamburg to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was my first cruise on MSC and I should have paid better attention to the reviews. There were so many things wrong, the list is long: 1. Food. I was on the ship for 15 days and the same cold breakfast buffet was offered everyday. ... Read More
This was my first cruise on MSC and I should have paid better attention to the reviews. There were so many things wrong, the list is long: 1. Food. I was on the ship for 15 days and the same cold breakfast buffet was offered everyday. There is no service in the buffet unless you pay for items from the buffet bar. 2. Be prepared to add the cost of water, tea or coffee in the main dining rooms. They will not bring you a glass of water, but offer a bottle of water for Euro 3,44. That is per meal. Also don't bother to go to the dining room to get away from breakfast or lunch in the buffet. The same buffet is is set up both places. You can order from the menu, as I did one morning but they just put buffet food on the plate. 3. You have an assigned dining time and a seat and DON'T ever move to another table with empty seats or they rush over to make you feel like a criminal. It happened to me. I sat at a table for 8 the first night and no one else came. I am a solo traveler, but that is no excuse. Three nights later, I was seated again at my proper seat and table. No one came, I put the napkin on the table and walked over to a table speaking English-table for 6 with only 2 diners. Immediately the waiter approached, arms flailing stating "You can't change tables!" My response was "I just did. I refuse to eat another meal by myself.". "You have to check with the boss and he has to OK the move." Have they never heard of "my time dining" or "pick your own dining time" as many other lines have? 4. Four ports we visited, we were notified the night before that we would be docked outside of town, but they would offer a "shuttle" to get us into town. Of course, there was a price, averaging euros 10 per person. When you are told you are 30 min. away from the town via bus and don't have a clue where you are docked, what other option do you have? My theory is the cruise line has to pay to dock the ship and areas out of the center of town are cheaper, so it is another way to make money. This wasn't busy tour season, and when we got to towns, there were places for more ships and none of our rides took near as long as they stated they would take. 5. I got off 1 day early, and on that day we were told we were 30 min. away from city center. I have my luggage so what else do I do but pay for the shuttle? When I went to the excursion desk to sign up, I was told I could not use the shuttle because I was disembarking. "What, you are just going to drop me God knows where and I have to find my way?" After a phone call, he permitted me to buy a ticket. 6.On disembarkment day, I was not the only one leaving. We were told to have luggage out in the hall before 8am but would not be able to leave until 4pm or after and were instructed to meet in one of the bars and someone would come and give instructions. Our luggage could be picked up in the terminal. I, along with others, obeyed and sat there, Well, no one came. We decided to get off on our own and find our luggage, and as were were exiting, we met people coming back onto the ship and said there is no luggage in the terminal. They had to come back, then get off another deck and look for their luggage on the dock. Luggage was found, but what a mess! 7. If you enjoy the shows, don't go on this ship. They were almost non-existent. The ones they did have were nice, only ever lasted less then 1/2 hour. 8.I did not use all my pre-deposited money I added to my ship account before sailing, so I ask customer service desk how to get it back. The response was, "Come back on disembarkment day and we give you euros." I returned as told, talked to the same girl and she said, "We don't give you cash back". Wait a minute, "You were the one that told me how this works and only yesterday. I came for my money." She went to the back room and when she returned, she said, " I will give you the money in euros." 9. I attended a CruiseCritic reception, and the officers in white uniforms were to come around and talk to the passengers. I sat there 50 minutes, making direct eye contact with the men and NO ONE approached me. The cruise director, Darren was there and I asked to speak to him. I told him about the "criminal" way I was treated in the dining room and also had some real issues with a laundry package I had pre-purchased. He said he would check into the laundry issue and get back to me the next day. I'm still waiting. Four days later, I went to the service desk, and told them I had not heard from him. They called his office and said the office would call me and set up an appointment. I expressed my disappointment in Darren and said he must not be a man of his word. I am still waiting for that call also! There were a few good things that were appreciated.: 1.The cabin was neat and tidy, and clean daily. 2. I enjoyed the 9 ports we visited and the excursions I did go on were orderly and well run. 3. The ship was beautiful and always clean. The cruise director stated at the CruiseCritic meeting that MSC was putting 14 new ships in the water in the next 12 months. If they are are going to be a big player in the American cruise industry, they will need to make some changes and have some organizational skills with much better communication between staff and toward passengers. It seems there is only chaos and no one knows how or why things are to work or run. I have been on Avalon, Viking, Holland, Princess, Celebrity, and NCL over the years and they were all better than this. I will not be booking another cruise with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We flew to Hamburg from London on the day of the cruise. We had arranged a Transfer from the airport to the ship by Azamara. The Quest staff was waiting for us at the bottom of the Baggage Claim escalator. They grabbed our bags and off we ... Read More
We flew to Hamburg from London on the day of the cruise. We had arranged a Transfer from the airport to the ship by Azamara. The Quest staff was waiting for us at the bottom of the Baggage Claim escalator. They grabbed our bags and off we went. We got a scenic tour of Hamburg on the way to the Port. Check-in took all of 1-minute and took place on the ship (we had done the registration on the Internet site before the trip). The itinerary focused exclusively on Norway, with 3 stops above the Artic Circle  including a side trip to the Arctic Circle Monument where we had a party. This was our first opportunity to see European pelagic and land birds. We always had Br & Lu in the Buffet on the 9th Deck. It operated like a dining room with waiters to get your tea, coffee, Cappuccino, Energy Drink, Smoothie, etc. You can order omelets from your table, if you wished. We loved the fresh and crispy Waffles. Outside the Buffet they have the menus for Dn in the Dining Rm and Buffet. The Buffet always has a theme Dn like Thai, Moroccan, Scandinavian, French (wonderful Escargot over puff pastry), Greek, German, etc. They have Lobster in the Dining Rm pretty often and it is Awesome! They have complimentary Red & White Wine, and draft & bottle beer at Lu & Dn. In Honningsvag the Captain & Sr Officers when fishing and caught 330 lbs of Cod we later had for Dn. After we left Flan the ship stopped in the Fjord while the Rescue Boat went ashore to get fresh Raspberries from a farmer the Captain knew. At most Ports the Quest took on some fresh provisions. In the beginning of the cruise there was too much going on  like seeing Puffins off the side of the ship  for us to go to the evening shows. The Broadway highlights show toward the end of the cruise was good  especially the ending with a hilarious version of Motion of the Ocean from Hairspray, with the Cruise Director as the cross-dressing Mama! The WiFi worked very slowly on the ship. I could never get Yahoo Mail to let me attach pictures. We used the Sauna, Thalassotherapy Hot Pool, and Rainforest Showers in the Spa on a daily basis. They were never very busy. You can get complimentary Gatorade in the exercise room. You can get coffee, tea, and small sandwiches from the Coffee Bar on Deck 5 from 7am till late. Coffee & tea are always available at the Buffet on Deck 9. We did 2 Land Discoveries  In Honningsvag we did the Bird Safari and saw a million Puffins on the water and Sea Cliffs, plus dozens of White-tailed Eagles sitting & circling, Shags & Cormorants were resting, Black-legged Kittiwakes were nesting in their Cathedral, and Murres & Razorbills (the penguins of the North that can fly) were up-close  we loved it! In Flm we did the RR Trip  it was good once, but if there is a next time, I would hike up the valley from Flm. Bergen, lesund, and Olden have scenic hikes you can do on your own. In Tromso we Docked next to the free Arctic Botanical Gardens  beautiful flowers from the mountainous & cold regions of all the Continents. In Svolvaer we walked to the base of the Goat - an 1849ft granite Pinnacle with 2 Horns just outside town. We saw 11 bird species here including Coal Tits, Eurasian Blue Tits, Fieldfares, & Tree Pipits. We found an Op Shop near the Visitor Center. In Honningsvag we found a cobblestone beach  with Beach Glass. We found 4 ceramic cylinders that the Captain later told us were old-fashioned screw-in fuses of the kind that are not used in Norway any more. We also found an old fish net weight. There are 5000 Reindeer on the island, so sightings are almost guaranteed, as are giant fish drying racks. The Azamazing Evening was held in lesund (on my wifes birthday). The eating part of the event was held in a very large waterfront restaurant that once was a Cod Liver Oil Factory. Everyone from the ship attended. Most people walked the short distance thru town, but Quest had special handicap vans for people that needed them, and the local tourist trams for people who didnt think they should walk the small grades and cobble stone streets. The Azamazing Evening occurred all over the historic part of town. First stop was a church near the Pier for a short pipe organ recital. Next was a series of street events, including: a Birch Bark Horn demo, folk music and dancing, accordion playing, a tour of the Fish Museum to see how Cod Fish used to be dried in salt and cod liver oil made, and finally - Brown Cheese tasting. All the food and drinks at the Restaurant were on the Captain! They had cold Ox roast (very tender), Reindeer sausage, Cod Fish cakes with Aioli, Beautiful large red & juicy Strawberries, dark chocolates with a liquor filling, very large green grapes with hard cheese, and a local dipping chip. They gave everyone a small vile of local Moon Shine that had Cardamom added. I asked the Captain how much input the Captains have into any itinerary. He said he had personally customized this cruise inside the company with extra scenic cruising, many of the events tonight, and the welcoming flotilla from his hometown we would see tomorrow night at the Arctic Circle Monument. This was the first time lesund had hosted an event like this. Everyone loved it!! The weather was Absolutely Amazing. We had Sun (a few times for 24 hrs), warm temps (short sleeve weather every day above the Arctic Circle), calm seas, and no rain on Port days  a feat possibly never to be repeated! Most of the time we thought we were in Key West, except for the Fjords with 5000 ft mountains, prolific waterfalls, and Puffins. Beautiful!!! We saw 63 bird species on the cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Background Information Hotel Info (if any) I stayed at the Intercontinental hotel in Hamburg and was pleasantly surprised to find it very close to the American Embassy there. The hotel was really nice, and had free wi-fi (which was ... Read More
Background Information Hotel Info (if any) I stayed at the Intercontinental hotel in Hamburg and was pleasantly surprised to find it very close to the American Embassy there. The hotel was really nice, and had free wi-fi (which was very slow though) in the lobby. Ship Info I went on the Inaugural sailing of the Celebrity Silhouette out of Hamburg, Germany to Rome, Italy. It was very similar to the Celebrity Millennium (the only other Celebrity ship I've been on). The ship was brand new and they were putting some finishing touches in the main centrum area of the ship when we were boarding. Activities I used the Casino and played Bingo. The Bingo didn't go over very well, mainly because the majority of those on board were German, and I guess they don't play too much Bingo. The Casino was typical, although I think the payout could have been higher. Service The service was excellent, with one exception. I don't drink alcohol, so had the Soda package. Sometimes it felt like staff didn't want to get you a soda, since they tend to make $$/tips on the alcoholic beverages. Otherwise, everyone on board was very friendly and helpful. There were quite a few Filopino on board, they enjoyed helping me learn a few Tagalog phrases (I learned how to say "Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, Thank You and Good bye). Not to be outdone, my Maitre D' taught me how to say "Thank You" in Turkish. *smiles* Port & Shore Excursions The only port we stopped at was Barcelona. You have to take a bus (which you have to pay for) into town. I guess I feel like if you have to take a bus into whatever port city you get to, it should be included in the cost of the cruise). We chose to do the Hop-on, Hop-off bus because we only had about 12 hours in town. We were off the ship about 10 hours. Barcelona was nice (and we were very safety conscious to not be targets for pickpocketers). The cruise ended in Rome, the port is about an hour from the City by train. There *is* a bus that takes you to the local town and then you can walk about 3-4 blocks to the train station from there. Summary Overall, the ship was beautiful and the staff were great! Travel To Port of Embarkation Since I currently live in Germany, I just took the train to Hamburg and then took a taxi to the port. The port was a little chaotic, but we got through the boarding process in less than 30 minutes. Stateroom I had a concierge level balcony cabin. I didn't eat all the evening canapes, I didn't care too much for the room service for breakfast I did a couple days (the food was a little cold, and don't order the smoothies... they're separated by the time you get them). I liked having a footstool on the veranda, this is the first time I've had a balcony cabin. There was one day that someone above us must have been smoking on their veranda, we had ashes on our veranda, and we don't smoke and we could smell the smoke that day. Yuk! The bathroom was a nice surprise... no shower curtain and a larger glass-enclosed cabin. Dining I did the "my-time" dining, but ended up eating about 6:30 each evening. The food was great. I loved having Escargot almost every night and Creme Brule' almost every night. The food was good, I didn't hear any complaints from my table-mates. I did eat in the Murano one night, it was okay. I can't eat too much at one time, so I feel that eating in the fancy restaurants is a waste of money for me. I thought the service in the Olympic dining room on the Millennium was more precise. I felt the Murano was a little more crowded, but that also made it feel a little more intimate? The wait staff were great in the main dining room. Children's Clubs - not used Entertainment The entertainment was okay, I tend to enjoy the music throughout the ship more than in the theater. I did enjoy the acrobatic show one night. I'm not into the "Broadway" type shows. Disembarkation It went smoothly, no problems. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
What a voyage! My 6th cruise in the last 30 months and the best and not for the obvious reason that it is a brand new ship. Aqua class was a treat and Blu is the place you will/should be spending most of your dining time. So many ... Read More
What a voyage! My 6th cruise in the last 30 months and the best and not for the obvious reason that it is a brand new ship. Aqua class was a treat and Blu is the place you will/should be spending most of your dining time. So many places on this ship to call your own and to hide out, if you had 2 weeks you could find a new nook every day to call your own. Crew was really great as you would expect on the maiden voyage. Rooms are narrower and longer than in the Millennium I sailed on in December. Entry way is different, doors open out instead of in. Closet has been moved to the side of the bathroom instead of across from it. Greatly reduces storage space though there are some over the bed compartments to partially make up for it. Great multi-head shower and good bathroom storage. Full time night light really nice, no more blinding yourself on those late night trips to the head. Large flat screen TV with lots of entertainment choices. Bed alternate room o room with half being close to the balcony and half having the couch closest. The walls are not perfectly straight and bend around the beds for room to get by. I can go on and on about what worked but let's talk about what didn't. Shower leaked out onto the bathroom floor. Sink stopper broke the second night and still wasn't fixed by the time I disembarked. A constant "bongo drum" sound coming from the water waste line. Adult only indoor pool, rules not enforced e.g., kids.... Water too cold in both pools and spas. Aqua cafe on deck 12 always crowded, hard to get a seat. Bistro on 5 food not very good (especially given it is an extra charge) and service there was by far the worst on the ship. Security at our one port call very slow, over 30 minutes to get back on board at an "off time". Was only after people started complaining that they opened a second line which was even more maddening because they had the staff and ability to do it all along. Entrainment was uniformly great but too much over lap and no live entertainment in Michael's or the Wine Cellar. Speaking of the Wine Cellar, at least one or two selections at every machine (6 in all) out of service or empty. Also way too pricey for what you get. Some "tastes" (about 2 sips) cost in excess of $10. However, as a place to go hang out or relax before or after dinner, very very nice. Sky lounge very nice as well. Good mix of seating. Only eat at the buffet twice, once for breakfast which they do not even open up until 7. Lunch was packed, packed, packed, despite only being at 70% capacity. And for a new ship, they didn't put much effort into cleaning up the dining area. Even first thing in the morning, dirty tables everywhere, debris on the floor and windowsills. Room service menu only available via the TV. Both days I ordered breakfast it arrived hot, exactly what I asked for at the time I asked for it. Eat at Quisine which at $35 in my opinion wasn't worth it. Sure it is different, but for all that showmanship you get very little substance in the food. Tuscany Grill has the best view of any eating location on the ship. But again for the extra $30, very little "wow" factor in the food or service and if your going to advertise yourself as a "steakhouse" you better get it right. My medium rare steak was medium well at least. Blu was the star of the show both in service and food quality. All of the service was at a very high level throughout the ship though the wheels sort of fell off our last day at sea. Blu very slow and they botched my order. Bistro on 5 service was non-existent ( I had to go complain to the person in charge) and I promptly got "Helga", the no personality, 250 pound waitress. The menu is also misleading, so make sure to ask. For instance my "brownie" was actually 4 small bites of brownie buried under whip cream and some fruit sauce. The $13 charge for the bus shuttle into Barcelona was a complete rip off. Should have been provided for free. Getting on board could best be described as "chaotic" though once you did get to a window you were on board in 10 minutes though it was the steepest climb I had ever experienced. However, getting off could not have been smoother. Didn't partake in any of the SPA offerings but the relaxation area forward nice but noisy. Persian Spa was also nice, but again noisy, especially in the sauna where something in the room was squeaking with each passing wave. Overall a highly recommended experience. I hope I get to sail on her again in the near future. Past Celebrity passengers won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This is our third cruise with Celebrity Cruises having previously travelled on Eclipse last year. We were soo impressed with Celebrity that on our return from a Caribbean cruise on Eclipse in January we couldn't hesitate but to book ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Celebrity Cruises having previously travelled on Eclipse last year. We were soo impressed with Celebrity that on our return from a Caribbean cruise on Eclipse in January we couldn't hesitate but to book the next cruise with Celebrity. Anticipating the launch of Celebrity Silhouette we decided to try our first maiden voyage on a brand new ship where we just returned from on Saturday.To sum up the overall experience on Silhouette and Celebrity Cruises in three words?Stunning; Fabulous; Incredible!Celebrity like previously cruises were simply amazing from start to finish and what a week to remember!Special thanks to the booking agent Carl who gave us some great on board spending credit which certainly came in handy with lots of cocktails!!Silhouette is by far the most impressive ship in the Solstice class and the newest features onboard simply adds to an already impressive experience. The hideaway is my favourite location and just located on Deck 7. The new lawn club gets a makeover although my major gripe was the sheer extortion on the cost involved in hiring the new Alcoves at $100 a go! The Porch was also a nice addition but was surprised to see a service charge of $5! given the limited food options available. OK thats where my nit picking stops!! Overall Silhouette is one amazing new vessel and is worthy of its 5 star awards. The food onboard was simply delicious and to an exceptional high level - from the fine dining in the main restaurant to the Ocean View restaurant where the food was consistently fantastic over the 7 nights onboard. The ship interior is plush, sophisticated and elegant. Unlike P&O ships the quality on Celebrity's vessels are amazing and you can tell that Celebrity has invested heavily into its ships where the whole sailing experience is simply out of this world! I have posted some photos I took of the new Silhouette on Flickr and for those who would like to see the ship in all its glory check out this link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/65844463@N03/My biggest love of Celebrity is also down to its professional staff who are simply amazing. Everyone is treated like Royalty and staff are incredibly friendly from the ships officers to the cabin stewards and waiters. Staff onboard take a genuine personal interest in its passengers and they are committed to providing a professional and high quality service and nothing is too much trouble or hassle. All they want is for you to enjoy yourself and for you to have the best cruise experience. A special thanks to our cabin stewards, our restaurant staff & waiters; Charles, Recaldo and Marian (table 404) for providing the BEST service we have ever received on all of our cruises. These guys deserve a glowing recommendation and nomination for employees of the year!!. Entertainment was fantastic from the first night with a rich variety of theatre shows of which we have come to admire from Celebrity Cruises. Very good all round day activities on board throughout of the maiden voyage.Our cabin on Silhouette (like Eclipse) was elegant, smart and everything you wanted to make you feel at home - including a variety of on-demand TV channels and movies. The bathroom was amazing and felt more like a 5 star hotel (proper vanity units, full size double width walk in glass shower) rather than a giant piece of plastic as we have found on other cruise ships such as P&O. Like Eclipse the cabin and service provided by the cabin steward was simply ranked as first class!We cant wait but to venture again with Celebrity Cruises and we are already looking to book our next cruise on the brand new yet to be launched Celebrity Reflection. If you haven't yet cruised with Celebrity Cruises my only advice (as former disgruntled P&O passenger) is to give Celebrity a go! You wont be disappointed and you wonder why you hadn't made the decision earlier! They are in my opinion as an experienced cruiser, THE best cruise company I have come to known. Thanks Celebrity yet again for an amazing holiday!! See you on Reflection!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This, our first cruise, had been booked and eagerly anticipated since September 2010. What a magnificent ship,unbelievably huge, clean and white. We arrived at Hamburg dock to be shuffled with masses of people, through what seemed like a ... Read More
This, our first cruise, had been booked and eagerly anticipated since September 2010. What a magnificent ship,unbelievably huge, clean and white. We arrived at Hamburg dock to be shuffled with masses of people, through what seemed like a temporary storage shed-the only clue that this was a special Inaugural Cruise being a few pathetic blue balloons, an 'Oom-pah' band, and a foretaste of the money grabbing photographers, who in the midst of this melee, tried taking pictures of everyone against a false backdrop--not designed to keep you calm! Eventually we managed to clamber aboard, only to be told to wait in a lower floor bar area, while the staff finished getting the rooms ready!!!! Eventually, an hour and a half later, we were directed to the lifts and found our room. Our room was somewhat narrow, bur long and opened out onto a good sized balcony at the back of the ship. The stateroom facilities were faultless, the bed extremely comfortable, and, when you worked out where it all was, plenty of storage room for all our belongings. Our stateroom attendant and her staff introduced themselves and were excellent throughout our cruise. We were quite overwhelmed by the size and magnificence of the ship, and by what was on offer. We then went up on deck and watched for the next two hours as 'Silhouette' steamed up the Elbe and out to the North Sea, preceded by a fire-boat spraying fountains of water, and many people in Hamburg who lined the banks for many miles to see such a magnificent and somewhat awe inspiring sight. But that was IT--oh, apart from a row of bunting that was strung along the ship from stem to stern!! Where were the bands on the quayside, maybe the odd firework, but there was nothing. The Silhouette left Hamburg with a whimper and not the magnificent 'bang' that I had expected! The Dining Room, the Grand Cuvee, served excellent food, and depending on where you sat, the service too was excellent, so much so that we cancelled a 'Speciality Dining' reservation that we had made. The theatre was quite magnificent, the envy of many a town hall, as were the shows, especially the final night. We attended many talks and lectures in the smaller theatre, and I especially enjoyed the History of Art lectures given by Armando. I also attended the art classes, and was delighted with the progress I made during the week. I had a manicure at the spa, a lovely experience, and the fitness room, adjacent to that, was very well equipped, although the 7.30 yoga classes were too early for me ( I was on holiday!). The pools and hot tubs looked very inviting and were well used in the calmer waters of the Med. There were other delights that we didn't really have time to explore, the Hideaway, the Library. the Casino, and the 'high-end shopping. For the price of a Bvlgari watch, I could take another cruise! We spent much time in 'El Bacio' for coffee and light snacks, and some of the top deck bars for cocktails. And of course, we loved our Captain Demetrius's daily position updates and quips--of course to us he is 'Captain...Out'!! So what was wrong about this cruise. I tried booking packages and excursions and spa treatments online. It was very, very difficult although I ultimately succeeded in ordering a beverage package, a spa treatment and two tours online. Never succeeded with the dining packages! Eventually, after much badgering and expensive phone calls on my part,I managed to get online acknowledgement that I had paid for these, (despite the money having been taken from my account, several days earlier!). On the first rough night at sea, I woke to a bad smell that seemed to emanate from the AC. It did not dissipate, but did not get worse, so I reported it next day. Something must have been done, because it did not happen again. I was asked if there was anything they could do for me--actually I would have preferred it if a compensatory offer had been forthcoming--I am not used to demanding this kind of thing, but I know that 'speciality dinners' were offered to another couple who had a 'gripe'! But our main problem was with Customer Relations and Shore Excursions. Due to a misunderstanding we were charged $4.50 for a bottle of water standing by the TV in our room. Having replaced it,(We had a Premium Beverage Package that include bottled water!) we wanted the money refunded, and it took them 4 days and repeated visits and phone calls, to get them to take it off our bill. Finally by about 10.00 pm on our last night, that item had been removed. As for Shore Excursion-my advice is don't book through Celebrity-do some personal research and do-it-yourself. They cancelled, very belatedly, the tour that I had arranged and paid for, to Barcelona.Despite being refunded the money, we were hugely disappointed, but having paid 13 Euros each, just to catch a shuttle bus from one side of the port to the other, we bought Hop-on Hop-off bus tickets and had two tours around Barcelona in an open topped bus. I also organised that we would take an organised trip and transfer to Rome, as we were staying there for a couple of days. The guide was a very nice, but disorganised lady, who, by the time we arrived outside St Peters Basilica, first of all had us all trudging into St Peters Square for a 'loo-break' and then trudging back to where the coach had dropped us, to pick up audio sets and a male guide whose english was difficult to comprehend, and then back again into the square-, where, because we did NOT have 'Skip the Line' tickets, we had to stand for half an hour in temperatures of 30+ degrees, queueing to get into the Basilica. Then straight onto the Colosseum, where there was still much hanging about, and very steep stairs to climb that I could not manage due to an operation on a knee. The lady guide took me to the exit where I waited for the rest to finish the tour. We had paid nearly £100.00 each for this tour, and the least I expected was no waiting in lines to get in--that is WHY you are willing to pay premium prices--so I do wonder who has pocketed our money--Celebrity or the Tour company in Rome. The following day we had already arranged a limited group tour of the Colosseum and the Forum through Viatours for £34.00 each. We had an excellent guide, no waiting in any lines, group of 10, were privileged to see the underground area, and the third floor, for those who could climb!! And her descriptions of the history in the Forum brought the whole thing to life. Now that was value for money! So all in all would we cruise again--yes, I think so. We are looking at another Celebrity Cruise, and we, much like the company, have learnt lessons that we would apply to future cruises. It would pay the company to learn how to say 'Sorry' occasionally--it takes the sting out of difficult situations. Our stateroom attendant was mortified that I had not woken her at 3.00am when I smelt a bad smell-she was sorry -on behalf of the ship!!But maybe that is an american 'thing'-possibly for them, saying sorry admits liability and someone will sue!! I wouldn't suggest that anyone builds up the idea of going on an inaugural cruise--in our experience you'll be mightily disappointed. But you will love the ship, and you will miss her when you leave her. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
My husband and I joined the New ship in Hamburg, the weather was not good. We had flights included with the package which included the transfers which we heard from others were expensive if booked individually. It was $91 return ... Read More
My husband and I joined the New ship in Hamburg, the weather was not good. We had flights included with the package which included the transfers which we heard from others were expensive if booked individually. It was $91 return from the port in Rome to Rome Airport. Embarkation was fast but we are Elite so not sure if that made the process quicker. No coaches to wait for, you walk straight onto the ship up a walkway. Welcomed with Champagne as we crossed the ships rail, very nice touch! We were in a balcony cabin, on the side of the bump which had a huge balcony and you could see the bridge to the front and all along the bump cabins to the aft. Would defiantly recommend upgrading to 1A. The bed is by the sliding doors in this cabin, with plenty of space underneath for suitcases. As this was our first celebrity cruise we cannot compare storage space in the cabin, but for two people we had plenty of space for storage and the bathroom cabinet had lots of space for toiletries. The bathroom also has a nightlight which stays on permanently, which is great for those who get up in the night! (especially with Seasickness!) The shower is big enough for two! The safe is large enough to get an ipad in easily. Flat screen TV which is all interactive for music, photos, the bill, TV etc. The room steward does a turn down service every night and leaves chocolates on your pillow. MDR food was acceptable, nothing to complain about but nothing special either. The waiting staff were polite and helpful at all times. One annoying thing about the MDR, even if people don't want to eat there they still get allocated to a table, this sometimes leaves couples sitting on tables set for eight on their own - something that should be addressed by Celebrity. We ate in the speciality restaurant Tuscan grill one night, the views are wonderful if you can book a window seat. The food was very good, meats, fish, pasta etc and the service excellent. Our waitress and waiter were very attentive and friendly. we thought it was worth the extra $30 per person. We also ate lunch at the Lawn Grill. This was a special (not normally open for lunch) as it was booked out for evenings all week and people were complaining. We suggest if you want to eat here, book on line or as soon as you get on board. $30 per person. It was fantastic, you can either cook your own food with the chef or they will cook it for you, but the fun is defiantly in doing it yourself! Again the waiting staff were excellent, and you never have an empty glass. I should point out that we were on the classic drinks package, which we would absolutely recommend. It includes non alcoholic speciality coffees and morning bucks fizz as well as beers up to $5 and other drinks up to $8 and sodas. The only extra drink we had to pay for was in the Micro bar near the art gallery where they serve speciality Martini's with a twist that are $12 each plus Tip. Defiantly worth trying at least one, some even have liquid nitrogen on them!! They have three shows on board of which two were presented on the first cruise. One is a circus show, which is fantastic considering it is at sea however in our opinion it was too long. The second show was a musical review of the Westend shows and again was fantastic. The singers and dancers really put their heart and souls into the performances. Other entertainment that we saw was a fantastic jazz singer and band who sung everywhere, a guitarist guy, another band and a barber shop quartet, again all great. The cruise director was Nick Weir who we found to be very friendly and sociable. The captain was also very sociable, a very funny and witty guy, he even attended a Cruise Critics Cabin Party that was held by one of our group. We didn't visit the casino so cant review, however we can say that the bottled beer from the casino bar was the coldest on board. Great for us. The sky lounge has great views as you would expect from the top of the ship, however, celebrity have decided to allow smoking inside the sky Lounge on one side and unfortunately this does drift across the whole area. That said it is a very smart area with comfy chairs and sofas to chill out with a book if you don't mind smoke. The hideaway is great with comfy round chairs and free coffee but was always busy so get there early on sea days :) The Library is great and full of books and the card room had lots of board games to occupy the sea days, although there are also lots of bars to keep you busy on sea days too. The best bar in our opinion is the sunset bar on the lawn area at the back of the ship. It has cane chairs and sofas, and is a great place to relax in. The bar service was slow however this was more that there was not enough staff on duty rather than the staff not doing there job. A brunch was served on the last but one day which was out of this world, so well presented and you were spoilt for choice. Definitely worth a visit. Plenty of towels available on the pool deck, blankets are available on chilly days. There are double beds available for romantic couples and one half of the ship is a smoking area. Plenty of shaded areas for the non sun-worshippers. The mast Grill does great burger for those not wanting formal lunch. The solarium is a nice area with wooden beds and thick mattresses, the salad bar in the solarium is superb with nice tea/coffee and soft drinks available all served on china crockery. Disembarkation in Rome was very well organised, we were requested to be in the Curvee dinner room at 8am and were called to disembark at 8.15. The luggage was waiting for us and we were shown straight to our transportation. Rome port is 1 hour and 10 minutes from the Airport (FCO) All in all we had a fantastic cruise and really couldn't see much to complain about. We have definitely been converted to Celebrity from Royal :)and will be sailing on Silhouette again next year. Lets hope she is still as beautiful.... Read Less
Sail Date July 2011

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