Celebrity Silhouette 12 night Southern Caribbean Cruise 3/24-4/5/2019
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Ft. Lauderdale – Wyndham Garden Airport/Cruiseport, Dania Hotel
2 Sea Days
St. Thomas (replaced St.Croix) – Sapphire Beach
St. Maarten – Little Bay Beach & DIY downtown Philipsburg & boardwalk
St. Lucia – Cosol Tour
Grenada – DIY St. Georges
Barbados – Silvermoon II Catamaran
Dominica – Fredos Taxis & Tours private tour
St. Kitts – Thenford Grey Tour
2 more Sea Days
Had a fantastic cruise again on the Celebrity Silhouette! This is our third time with Celebrity, all on the Silhouette. While I love the ship, I would have preferred to try a different ship as I love exploring new-to-me ships. The first two times we sailed her were 7 night cruises which were our relative’s choice. This time we chose her for the itinerary, and the previous great experience. This would be our 18th cruise over 40 years on various cruise lines including NCL, RCCL, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. The smallest being about 16,000 tons to the largest of 130,000 tons. We haven’t really been drawn to try any mega ships yet. This 12 night cruise would be our longest so far and we loved the extra time!
PRE-CRUISE – FT. LAUDERDALE
We booked about 4 months out and got a decent price for our inside cabin with no extra add-ons. Being a spring break week, airfares were higher, as were hotel prices. We flew in one day prior, but could only get a flight arriving at 10:30pm within our budget. So we knew we didn’t want to have to pay a lot for a 12 hour stay in a hotel. After much research finding hotels $200 plus, we found the new Wyndham Garden Airport/Cruiseport Dania with a Black Friday sale rate of only $155. Upon arrival, we called for the complimentary airport/hotel shuttle (I think it runs till 1am) which was outside waiting with others onboard and we had a prompt departure. Check in was easy at 11:00pm. It’s a very basic, modern hotel near the airport/cruiseport. Our room was clean and new and just as it looks on their website.
This hotel does not offer complimentary breakfast, although they have a small restaurant/bar in the lobby, with a breakfast for $10. The breakfast hasn’t gotten great reviews, so we just used the in-room coffee maker and ate granola bars we brought with us as we knew we would be eating on the ship in a few hours. They had two complimentary bottles of water which we took with us on the ship to use in port. Before departing, we took a quick look at the pool, which was basic and nice, on the third floor, I believe.
Check out was quick at about 10:30am. We originally were just going to take a cab to the cruiseport, but when I asked them to call for one, they said it might not be allowed into the port because there were so many ships in port (I think about 6) which seemed odd (never a problem before). She called for me but it was an electronic system, so I was doubting that it would show up. The Wyndham shuttles ($8) were already sold out, but there was a guy in the lobby hawking his private company shuttle for $10pp, so we hopped on that which had others waiting to depart. It was a quick drive over- we had to stop at a few other ships first, but that was fine because it was still early.
EMBARKATION – SUNDAY, MARCH 24
Embarkation at pier 29 was a breeze with no real waits. We brought our allowed 2 bottles of wine (in bubble wrap), which we moved from our checked luggage to our rolling carry-on prior to arrival. By 11:15am we were stepping onboard our old friend, the Silhouette. We were greeted with a rose bubbly. Ahh…our home for the next 12 days.
Since we hadn’t had a real breakfast, we headed up to the buffet first, which was fairly empty at this time. We enjoyed a delicious variety of items for brunch. I remembered how much I love the Ocean View Café set up and variety of offerings. Our most recent cruise prior was on the Crown Princess to the Med, which we loved, but we did not care for the small buffet, which has less offerings than Celebrity (although it was good food).
We headed out to the aft seating area which is one of our favorite places on the ship. After a long winter, we were ready to enjoy the mostly sunny day with temps in the 70’s, while we watched the residents of Ft. Lauderdale enjoy their boating activities. Since we were already familiar with the ship, we didn’t need to do a lot of exploring, so we spent some time lounging on a couch/bed near the pool enjoying the live music. I also went to guest services to have them punch a hole in my card to attach to my lanyard.
They announced that the cabins were ready about 1:30pm. We had chosen inside cabin 9328 on deck 9, slightly aft of the glass bank of elevators, which was a great location. Upon entering the first thing I said was “Where’s my couch?” So the first time we sailed Celebrity, we had a couch in our inside room, the second time no couch – so when we booked this time I specifically asked the Celebrity phone agent to check to see if this room had a couch and he said yes. Now, it isn’t a major issue for us, but we like to have a spot to sit and to lay out some of our stuff, especially when preparing for our next port of call. Oh well, the room did have a lot of space in that area, so we just rearranged a bit by putting the oval table near the door. We did have a chair in the corner by the bed. We also brought a couple of pop-up square cubes (from the dollar store) which held some of our extra stuff. We had plenty of hangers. We also used the storage above the bed. The bathroom had plenty of storage, so we didn’t use an over the door hanger this time. We brought magnet hooks from home for the walls. And a flat magnetic decoration for the door to help us find our cabin quickly.
We met our friendly room attendant Melroy, who did an excellent job of keeping our room clean all week and stocked with ice per our request. I think this staff works really hard and just a reminder that you can make their job a little easier by not leaving your belongings all over the bed or sink area when they are coming in to clean.
Our checked luggage hadn’t arrived yet, so we decided it was afternoon coffee time. We don’t buy any drink packages at all. We like the included Lavazza coffee, which you can get in the OV, the Spa Club Café or the Hideaway. In the morning, they usually also offer paper cups with lids if you will be walking around. We like many of the no-charge pastry offerings at Café al Bacio, so we headed there, but had to bring our coffee with from OV. All the coffee at Bacio is for a fee. Delicious bite-size tarts are offered everyday there (chocolate, lemon and fruit). Anyway, we love to spend time right outside there on the “promenade” deck in lounge chairs, which are quite often in the shade. The other side of the ship outdoors on deck 5 is the smoking section and has chairs.
Time for the mandatory safety drill in the Ensemble Lounge for us. I think their animated video is ridiculous, and many people didn’t have a view of the TV screens anyway. However, it is important, so we all obediently suffer through it. After that, we headed to the aft Sunset Bar for a casual meet up with Cruise Critic members. We had a pretty active roll call and it was great to meet some of them the first day and throughout the cruise!
We enjoyed some drinks and conversation while we waited for sailaway which was delayed about an hour. I believe we were the last ship out that day and it was starting to cloud up by the time we headed to sea.
We went back to the cabin where our luggage had arrived, so we unpacked and decided to eat in the buffet tonight. We had select dining for the MDR, but it is usually a little hectic the first night anyway. The Ocean View Café buffet has many choices at various stations. I will describe some of the general choices here. Not necessarily from this first night, but from the whole cruise. After dinner, we enjoyed the comedian Dan Grueter in the Silhouette Theatre before finishing unpacking and turning in for the night. Bed seemed slightly hard, but we got used to it quickly.
Ocean View Café Buffet Dinner General Info:
Dinner hours are 6-9:30pm
Pizza, Pasta and salad bar is available everyday from 12noon-1am
Pizza – I liked it better than last time, the cheese seemed better. They offer pepperoni, sausage, cheese as well as pizza of the day choices. I loved all the veggie choices.
Pasta – They have a variety of fresh veggies and some meat you can choose in a bowl, which they will cook for you and then you tell them your choice of pasta i.e. spaghetti, rigatoni, bow ties. Next you choose your sauce from about 4-5 choices. They will also cook your pasta in pesto which was delicious if they have it, it’s in a small metal container. Sometimes they have meatballs. You can always get garlic bread here, and sometimes other choices of flavored toasted breads. Occasionally, they also have ready-made dishes like mostaccioli when it is busy.
Salad Bars offer Iceberg lettuce, spring mix, and spinach with a large variety of fixings. One thing I think is newer is a station for Ceasar Salad with the large bowl for you to mix it, and a separate bowl for no bacon or croutons (VG, GF). They have small pieces of chicken there to make it an entrée salad. There are also a variety of other types of ready-made salads. And two soups offered. There is always a changing cheese, lunchmeat and various bread stations available.
The grill area offers cooked to order thin chicken breasts (DH loved these all cruise), minute steaks which are delicious with their chimichurri sauce, pork chops and fish of the day. Next to that is an amazing Stir Fry station which allows you to choose your veggies and meat for them to stir fry and then a choice of noodles or rice. The sauce is perfect, and I had this several times. They work really hard here as they have hot oily steam in their faces and they have to wash the pan between each and every order. The one guy there always had the biggest smile as he handed you your stir-fry. Sometimes it is a bit of a wait, but worth it.
There are also stations with various carving meats, some we saw through the cruise: turkey (so moist, and DH was thrilled to snag a drumstick), roast beef, pork, corned beef, lamb and ham. General other choices of things like mashed potatoes, potato wedges, cooked vegetables, grilled veggies, stews, meat loaf etc.
There is always an ever-changing station of delicious Indian foods and it was a great opportunity for us to try some of the dishes that we haven’t had before.
Mexican food usually included beef and chicken fajitas, beans, guacamole, nacho chips, cheese and more.
In addition to all of that, they have special theme of the day offerings. Sample of our dinner themes:
Doner Kabbab/Crepes Station – we loved the gyros and the dessert crepe
Gourmet Sandwiches and Subs
Taste of China
Taste of the Caribbean- delicious jerk chicken, stews, plantains, rice etc.
Taste of the Phillipines/Bananas Foster
Taste of France/Crème Brulee (a choice of brulees, but not with carmelized tops like in the MDR
Tapas Buffet – some cold tapas, but not as good as Barcelona : ;
Taste of Italy -
Meatballs –which seemed like an odd theme, but many were enjoying numerous choices of meatballs!
Taste of Asia/Butcher Shop/Nachos – an odd combo theme, but had some great Chilaquiles and Asian dishes
Desserts: A large variety of changing desserts, pies, cakes, trifles, cookies, pudding, jello etc. I especially liked their mousses, flan, panna cotta, tiramisu, and anything made with their delicious crème which I am sure was not great for my cholesterol level.
You also have the ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft serve station that serves the most delicious changing flavors and lighter sorbets. Here you can also get cookies and some candy for a sundae or just in a small dish to eat. They serve you here.
So that’s just an overview of the offerings. We ate dinner here about half the time, but even if we ate in the MDR we would usually stroll through just to see the choices and see if there was anything we needed to taste.
The staff in there was great throughout the cruise.
SEA DAY – MONDAY, MARCH 25 – FIRST CHIC NIGHT
We like to rise early and enjoy the hot tub in the Solarium which is indoors and a very relaxing place to be. You can also get coffee in here at the SpaClub Café as well as some healthy breakfast choices (I liked the bagel with PB, bananas & apples, and the mini nut/seed bars) They also make smoothies for a fee. This morning was a bit chilly, cloudy and drizzly at times, but did clear up by about 1pm.
Later, we had breakfast in the OV buffet. There are plenty of delicious choices and we ate there most mornings. Usually we could find a spot, and preferred eating outside weather permitting.
Again, I will give an overview of some of the offerings each morning:
OV Buffet Breakfast 7-10am, Late Breakfast 10-11:30am (I guess less offerings for late)
There are two cooked to order egg stations on opposite sides of the room for fried eggs, omelets, etc. There are also ready-made fried eggs (sometimes overdone) and hard boiled eggs (which were cooked perfectly).
Bacon, sausage, usually ham at the carving station, fried potatoes, triangular hash browns.
Pancakes, waffles, blintzes and toppings.
A large variety of pastries, breads, bagels, toast, cheese and lunchmeat. I saw herring but no smoked salmon.
They offer English breakfast items like fried bread and their fatty bacon, not to my liking.
Naturally various cold cereals as well as hot oatmeal and grits.
Yogurt (wish they offered plain Greek yogurt) with lots of toppings like walnuts, granola, seeds, blueberries etc.
Fresh fruit: cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, watermelon, bananas, apples and oranges. Other fruit: figs, apricots, peaches, prunes etc.
Some fruit juices are only available at breakfast and are located on the yogurt island and usually included orange, cranberry, prune, grapefruit, pineapple and tomato.
We enjoyed attending the Beyond the Podium Guest Speaker, Benjamin Radford, giving a talk about Marine Mysteries and Monsters in the Silhouette Theatre. They had another speaker on board also who we didn’t get a chance to hear. Nice to see this offered as an option on longer cruises.
That morning we had our Cruise Critic Celebrity Connections party in the Cellar Masters Bar which was pretty well attended and got to meet some more CC roll call members, as well as the officers and Captain #1 Georgios Iatrou who was replaced a couple days later for a scheduled change with Captain #2 Althanasios Peppas. Ciao for now!
Lunch Buffet was Taste of USA offering large platters of fried chicken drumsticks, BBQ ribs, corn on the cob and mac and cheese. Delicious!
The lunch buffet is similar to the dinner buffet with many offerings, daily themes and the addition of a made to order sandwich station including cold and heated panini type sandwiches. They also usually have ready-made burgers and fries, which they might also have at dinner.
We really enjoy trivia, so we tried to attend when possible. We had missed the morning for the CC gathering, but were able to attend the 3:30 music themed and 4:00pm general trivia. We enjoyed playing with various CC members and meeting new friends throughout the week. Love the Sky Lounge where it is held because it is large, bright with great sea views.
This evening Chic Night we ate in the MDR where we were seated in I Made and Anthony’s station, where we would be most of the cruise when we visited the MDR. They were terrific and gave us great, prompt service. I guess even in select dining they try to give you the same station so the servers get to know you, as they did this last year also. We ate at different times, with no reservations and only had a wait with a pager to be seated one time for about 20 minutes. I didn’t really keep track of everything we ate each night in the MDR, but this evening I had steak Diane which was good. Love the bread and breadsticks with the trio of butters and spreads. As for appetizers, I had the shrimp cocktail often, love the French onion soup and my DH loves the Caesar Salad. We tried many other appetizers as well. Some evenings the menu didn’t wow us, but you can always choose a steak, salmon or chicken from the everyday menu. Overall, everything we chose was very good. My favorite dessert is the perfect crème brulee! Or for something lighter, the sorbet.
Enjoyed the singer Travis Turpin that evening in the Silhouette Theatre. From there we headed straight to the first of three silent discos offered. That’s always a blast to partake and watch!
SEA DAY – TUESDAY, MARCH 26
It was a nice day, just a bit windy. It seemed that chair hogs were pretty busy in the pool area. Although toward the end of the cruise on a sea day, we encountered an employee with items in his hand that he was taking to lost & found because people had left them too long on lounge chairs. Not sure how often it happened, but glad to see that it does.
I like how many shady areas there are to lounge on the Silhouette. One thing I didn’t like was the smoking section on one end of pool deck 12 which is semi-enclosed by the windows and the overhang. The smoke lingers and the smell travels throughout the entire side of the ship. We sat there once and needed to move.
Today was the Captain’s Club party that we were invited to at noon, in Sky Lounge. It was nice to get some complimentary drinks, mingle with the officers and meet up with more CC members, while enjoying music and the great sea views. The lunch special theme in OV was Taste of the Mediterranean. Enjoyed more afternoon trivia.
We like to have afternoon coffee and snacks, so we enjoyed the OV daily Afternoon Tea 4-5pm which offers small tea sandwiches like egg or chicken salad, ham, caprese, mini-empanadas and quiches. Also various sweets, cookies, crumbles and my favorite the scones with optional clotted crème and jelly.
Saw a beautiful sunset. Another enjoyable evening show with comedic magician, Chad Chesmark. Dinner in the MDR, we enjoyed trout and flank steak. Didn’t make it to any other evening entertainment, as we wanted to get ready for our first port tomorrow.
ST. THOMAS – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27
So originally, when we booked, we were supposed to visit St. Croix which we had never been to before and were excited to visit. We learned on CC that it had been changed to St. Thomas. Some people received an email which we never did. Celebrity was confusing in not knowing when you called and still showed St. Croix on their website. Although we hadn’t booked any excursions, apparently it took a long time for them to correct it on the website and offer excursions. Anyway, we understand that according to our cruise contract they are able to change ports. They added insult to injury when we boarded the ship and our cabin TV navigation page said enroute to St. Croix! Ha, that was changed quickly, probably after many calls to guest services.
Celebrity uses Crown Bay which is further from the town and has much less shopping than Havensight if that interests you. Check out the iguanas that like to lounge on the large rocks next to the water. We have been here many times, so we chose to go back to Sapphire Beach for a relaxing beach day and snorkeling on our own with our own gear. Taxis are easy to get with a dispatcher and set rates listed below. Ours was $11 per person and they dropped other passengers at Red Hook ferry and somewhere else in our cab that day, taking about 40 minutes to Sapphire with morning traffic.
Sapphire Beach was nice and empty when we arrived by about 9am. We walked to the left when facing the water past the bar to the rental shack for chairs. We paid $9pp but like this spot because there are a few trees for shade. They offer no umbrellas currently and most of the beach is sunny. It is a beautiful, light sand beach with great views and swimming. We snorkeled to the left facing the water where there is more coral and saw a variety of fish, seeing larger fish further out. We also bring our own vests to wear for safety. Most of the middle has no coral, but some sea grass where you will sometimes see rays and turtles (we didn’t). We also walked to the right out to the point for pretty, rocky pictures. This beach has a nice big beach bar/restaurant which I think was rebuilt after the 2017 hurricane. They offered live music in the afternoon. Bathrooms are okay. Drinks were $5 Carib beer and $8 rum punch. The beach got more crowded as the day went on, but still has a nice relaxed vibe. Several excursion groups arrived also. It’s easy to get a taxi back, in this case one of the large open air trolley type trucks.
Enjoyed another pretty sunset and sailaway at the Sunset Bar. For dinner we enjoyed the OV buffet with several Caribbean specialties this evening including jerk chicken and plantains. We did not attend the show tonight because it was the production show Life which we have seen before and didn’t care to repeat it.
ST. MAARTEN – THURSDAY, MARCH 28
Another beautiful sunny day. We started our day going to Little Divi Beach which is not too far from the cruise port. They put us in a van with others going there for $5 pp. Nice and empty early in the morning. $15 total for 2 chairs and an umbrella. Another low key beautiful beach for swimming, not good for snorkeling to my knowledge (unless you want to swim a long distance to where the catamarans stop to snorkel). There are several resorts/condos located here. We set up in front of Gizmos bar/restaurant and enjoyed a few hours here.
Next, we headed via taxi to downtown Phillipsburg to enjoy walking Front Street and the shops there including the Yoda Guy store/museum which has Star Wars memorabilia. Continuing on we walked most of the boardwalk along Great Bay Beach. We also found cool respite in a couple of pretty churches along the way where we thanked God for our blessings. We got lots of steps in this day. Enjoyed a few Carib beers ranging from $1.50-$3. St. Maarten also has the cheapest prices on bottles of liquor to bring home.
We walked back to the port area which was another 20 minutes, rather than take the water taxi. We then enjoyed the shops in the port area including sipping a Guavaberry Colada while listening to steel drum music. Funny/odd story – I love steel drum music and almost always tip those musicians that greet the ship with the iconic Caribbean music which instantly puts me in the tropical zone. So while listening here, I noticed not many people tip them, so my DH goes to tip them and request the song Yellow Bird. They said they didn’t know it (really?!) and continued on with their, I assume, scheduled break and played nothing else for us! Oh well, won’t judge all the nice people of St. Maarten that we met today by them. Time to board the ship.
Also got to see the group of motorcycles that were lining up to return to the ship. I have seen this on other cruises and it must be really cool to bring your motorcycle along to ride on each island, although not so sure about the hilly ones. I imagine it is quite pricey also to do this, but a once in a lifetime experience for sure.
Returning to the ship, we headed straight up to the Mast Grill (open 11:30am-6pm) for some delicious hamburgers and fries. Enjoyed another beautiful sailaway from St. Maarten, enjoying a $6 small margarita special.
Ate in the MDR. Saw the show Raegar which was a pretty good duo of country/rock. Couldn’t quite stay up for the Full Moon Party up on deck (we have on a previous cruise), but we strolled out there on a beautiful night and saw “the full moon”.
ST. LUCIA – FRIDAY, MARCH 29 – COSOL TOUR - 2ND CHIC NIGHT
Awoke to another beautiful day as we arrived in St. Lucia. We had previously been on the Cosol Tour and decided to take them once again. We were greeted by Baptiste our tour guide/driver and a fun group of CC passengers. I believe we had 12 in our van, and I think Cosol tours had a total of 3 vans that day. A very manageable group to me.
We enjoyed having Baptiste as our tour guide. He told us all about St. Lucia, with a great sense of humor and kept track of us all day long. It is a busy day, just based on the distance from the port to the highlights of the Pitons, Sugar Beach, waterfall and mud baths, but still very enjoyable. The roads are windy, with many “hairpin” turns, so I did take a little non-drowsy Dramamine, and ginger candy, and requested to not sit in the back of the van and I was okay, as was everyone else on our tour as far as I could tell.
The various stops along the way do break up the ride. As we exited the busy city, he gave us info on what we were seeing leading up to our overlook stop for a great view of the Silhouette. Onward to a banana plantation where we not only learned about their growing process, but had a sample of rum, banana ketchup and banana hot sauce on a banana chip, and a fresh banana. YUM to all. We apparently learned that one group of bananas is called a hand, which we should have remembered when it happened to be a trivia question later in the week and we missed it!!
Continuing on past the countryside and little villages we reached our brunch stop. This is a new upgrade to us from our last tour with Cosol in 2007 where we just had some basic snacks at Mama’s. This was a complete meal in an open aired building where you gathered your food from various buffet tables, and mostly ate standing, casual style. The local brunch food was great to immerse in the culture of St. Lucia. There was a whole table of cut up fruit including mango, papaya, passion fruit, coconut, sugar cane, watermelon and soursop. There was a variety of local hot food items like chicken, stew, Johnny cakes, deep fried snacks, plantains and more I don’t remember and didn’t take a picture. Also, a dessert table with samplings of local treats to enjoy. Delicious and quite filling. The included beverages (water, soda, Piton beer, rum punch) were also readily available from the cooler that traveled with the tour.
Also new to the tour since we took it several years ago was the boat ride to Sugar Beach (which used to be called Jalousie). It was fast, somewhat bumpy as we were in the very front, but had great scenery around a Piton to arrive at beautiful Sugar Beach in about 5-7 minutes. The area where non-resort guests can sit is not very large at all, rocky with old lounge chairs. I came for the snorkeling, so I just stowed my gear next to a tree as all the loungers there were taken. The snorkeling is terrific there, it is just a bit of a rush to do it and be back at the boat within an hour. But I would still rather do it for a short while then not at all. And being surrounded by the majestic Piton Mountains while snorkeling is a real “pinch me” moment. I have no underwater photos because I learned my camera leaked and ruined the SD card. Although you cannot sit in the resort area, you are allowed to stroll that beach if you like. You then take the boat back to the village where your guide is waiting for you to reboard the van and head on.
Next up were the warm mud baths. We chose not to partake, but most of our tour enjoyed that. We should have because it is reported to take 10 years off your age!! A short distance away we visited the refreshing Toraille waterfall to cool off.
Returning we had a stop at an overlook for a beautiful village view with the Pitons in the background! And then on the way back we stopped for warm "bat shaped" bread and cheese with rum punch and Piton beer. They watch the time carefully to make sure you get returned to your cruise ship in plenty of time before departure. A great day in the beautiful lush country of St. Lucia!
It was a very enjoyable, but exhausting day, so we relaxed in a hot tub and enjoyed some music on the ship. We didn’t feel like getting all dressed up for Chic Night so we ate at the OV buffet where they had a theme of Taste of France/Crème Brulee. We skipped the show of Domenick Allen – multi-instrumentalist, so can’t comment on that.
GRENADA “THE SPICE ISLAND” - SATURDAY, MARCH 30
The day started with some darker clouds over the mountains, but basically a nice day. We were a bit undecided about what we wanted to do in this port having been there before and enjoying a tour. Also, it was the 4th port of 7 on this port-intensive cruise. We decided to make it an easier day and enjoyed walking the town starting early in the morning before it got too hot. First, we walked through the narrow Sendall Tunnel (be really careful as you share it with traffic) to the Carenage harbor area. It was slowly waking up, but we enjoyed the peace as we walked along the water. We went as far as the touching Christ of the Deep statue.
We headed back towards the port area via a different route to avoid the tunnel.
We next visited the local market which had fruits and vegetables, in addition to all things SPICE – packets, necklaces, etc. Lovely smells, but we’ve been there, bought that previously. We enjoyed a local Christian group singing praise music. Not a lot for tourists to buy in this particular market, but colorful local flavor, and we returned later after lunch to have a couple of inexpensive Carib beers.
Even though we have previously visited Fort George, we decided to climb the steps/hill up for the exercise and views. We skipped the actual fort this time. The steps begin next to Sendall Tunnel. You get here by walking right as you exit the cruise terminal for about a block. Back in the port area we strolled the colorful outside shops. We saw one of the trolley trains you can take a tour on.
We were glad we went back to the ship to enjoy the delicious Mexican themed lunch in the OV, while sitting outside enjoying the views of St. George’s harbor. We also enjoyed more afternoon trivia in the Sky Lounge. We also happened to pass by the Martini Bar where they were hosting a martini tasting (for a fee), but were excited to watch the bartender with his show of pouring numerous martinis at the same time. Impressive!
We enjoyed yet another beautiful sunset for sailaway from Grenada while sipping a Mango Daiquiri (my new favorite drink!) and a Rum-Runner for DH at the Sunset Bar. Ahhh…I could get used to this…oh wait, I already am!
Sadly our departure was delayed briefly for a passenger and his family to depart the ship for medical reasons. He was in a wheelchair, while they waited for transport. Hopefully, his medical situation was able to be handled well and I hope they had trip insurance. At least Grenada has an international medical school, so it might be a better place to end up sick on a cruise rather than some of the other islands. It must be so stressful for the patient and their family. In this case, as we could see over the rail, there were several Celebrity crew members out there assisting them.
The lights of St. George’s were twinkling as we sailed away. We enjoyed a dinner of Ceviche and Snapper for dinner in the MDR. We passed on the Pearl production show in the theatre as we have seen it before and didn’t care to see it again.
BARBADOS – SUNDAY, MARCH 31
Yay, another sunny day! We received the following information: “The Celebrity Silhouette has been assigned to Break Water South berth located approx. 0.2miles from the terminal building or 6-8 minutes walk – a comfortable walking distance. The Port Authority will provide a complimentary shuttle service from the pier to the cruise terminal for guests with walking difficulties……Please be advised the shuttles are limited and only one of the buses is wheelchair accessible…..” We departed the ship as soon as the all clear announcement was made and there were about 3 shuttles waiting. We did walk, but be advised it is a raised walkway and does have a few stairs several times. It took less than ten minutes to walk but is in full sun. At the pier near the terminal building was the smaller Marella Explorer ship which I had never heard of. Anyway, not a big inconvenience and not sure if they use this pier all the time or not.
Again, having been to Barbados previously and exploring a lot of the beautiful island, we decided to do something different this time. We have never really done a true catamaran, so we did our research online and decided to reserve the extremely well-reviewed Silvermoon. They require a 50% online deposit. There cats are all a maximum of 12 passengers which is one of the many great selling points. Originally, we booked the Silvermoon II and were notified well in advance that it would no longer be available due to being off-island (they do sometimes charter the whole boat), and we accepted the switch to the Moondance. Once we arrived at the pier, we were told we were back on the Silvermoon II which was fine with us. Just be aware, that they can make changes. Other than that, everything ran perfect from the pick up at the cruise ship dock in the morning to the drop off in the afternoon. They also have the more upscale, and more expensive Silvermoon catamaran which offers a more deluxe boat, food and the guarantee of adults only. There was another group of CC passengers that were booked on that one, and I heard great reviews of that also.
They pick you up in a van right outside the cruise terminal for a short ride to their pier for check in. The catamaran is spotless and just as pictured on the website. We loved that it is limited to only 12 people and is definitely worth the price, when you see some of the other catamarans and boats full of people out on the water. We were with another couple, and a family of 8, that we met onboard and enjoyed sharing the day with. We were greeted in the morning with an option of drinks and chose fresh pineapple juice. Later we had a snack of fruit kabob. The crew was wonderful: Luke, our excellent captain who is a wealth of info on all things Bajan; Chris who is a fish in the water and assisted us in snorkeling and onboard the cat; and Jamar who assisted us on the cat with food and drinks and sailing. After some safety and snorkeling instructions we were on our way motoring right past the Silhouette.
The snorkeling sites aren’t that far as they are off of Carlisle Beach. We were impressed that they were able to get us quickly to the snorkeling areas as they can get busy with other boats. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day, with smooth seas and crystal clear waters. Snorkel equipment is provided, but we brought our own to use, and the crew was happy to apply no-fog to our masks. You are not allowed to wear fins with the turtles so you don’t injure them. There are steps and a ladder on the back of the cat, which makes it easy to exit/enter. Chris was our fishlike guide in the water. We were delighted to see the green turtle who swam among us as that was one of the selling points for me! I could see the beautiful pattern of its shell which looked like a quilt. We also enjoyed seeing several large rays swimming in that area.
Back on the cat to snorkel the shipwreck area, which is not far away. We had never snorkeled shipwrecks, so again highly impressed with being so close to them to see such detail and very impressive sea life! We viewed the Berwyn (Berwind), Bajan Queen, and the Eillon. Again, we beat the crowds, but by the time we were leaving, many were arriving. So be sure to stay near your guide to stay safe in the water. Chris did a great job of keeping track of us in the water. I was bummed that my water camera had died the day before, so I couldn't get any underwater photos. I will just have to find some on the internet.
Once we were finished snorkeling it was time for their delicious rum punch. Be careful, it is strong. They also offered a variety of drinks: water, soda, Barbados Banks beer, wine, and other choices of alcohol. An empanada-like snack was served as an appetizer to lunch. It was so relaxing to enjoy sitting out on the front deck and nets as we sailed, enjoying the sites of the Barbados coastline. When I had enough sun, there was plenty of shade inside. Soon it was time for a delicious Bajan buffet lunch of flying fish, chicken, salad, cole slaw, macaroni & cheese, rice and bread. So great to try the tasty local dishes.
While anchored we had time to jump in the water to swim and cool off. DH had to try his usual cannon ball jump with large splash! Being so far south, the water was noticeably warmer than our first snorkel day back in St. Thomas. As we neared the end of our 5 hour tour we sailed back to their pier, while sipping a refreshing pina colada. Once again, we boarded the van for our short trip back to the Silhouette. Such a perfect day to be pampered in style while enjoying beautiful Barbados aboard a stylish Silvermoon catamaran. It is definitely worth the price and we would highly recommend it. It was one of the top highlights of our 7 port cruise for sure!
After that amazing experience, we were definitely ready for an afternoon nap to recharge ourselves for the evening. We opted for another casual dinner in the OV, as we always find plenty of tasty food choices. It was UK Mother’s Day per the Today newsletter and I noticed a few desserts dedicated to them. Later we enjoyed the “seriously ridiculous” Aaron Bonk, who is a Guinness World Record setting Whip Artist and Juggler. Highly entertaining.
DOMINICA – MONDAY, APRIL 1 – THE NATURE ISLE
Our daily newsletter was called “Yesterday” for the Celebrity Apex dated Monday, April 1st, 2063!!
April Fools!! HaHa
We arrived to colorful Dominica with partly cloudy skies, and some ominous clouds over the mountains, but that’s pretty common.
We have been to the beautiful, lush, tropical island of Dominica twice before and have enjoyed many of the highlights including Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge, Emerald Pool, Mr. Nice Fruit Stand, and Champagne Snorkeling. There is a popular saying stating that if Christopher Columbus were to return to the Caribbean one day, Dominica would be the only island he would still recognize. We were happy to see Dominica on our itinerary, knowing that their tourism which is so important for their economy was returning after the devastating 2017 Hurricane Maria.
We wanted to do our own thing, so we looked up the guide we had used previously, Fredos Taxi & Tours. This is the third time we have used Fredos Taxis & Tours while on cruise ship port visits: 2007, 2010 and now 2019. We used him for private tours with the things we wanted to do and he is very accommodating to your wishes.
He is a genuine, nice guy that shows the love for his country of Dominica. He shares his wealth of knowledge about the nature and history of his island during his time with you. We were quickly off the ship and down the short pier to be greeted by Fredos. A short walk to his van which is slightly worn, but safe, with seatbelts and excellent A/C. He also now has a larger tour bus, which you can see on his FB page.
We were so happy to see the island recovering from the devastating hurricane of 2017. The rainforest still looked pristine as it heals itself. Many repairs to buildings especially roofs have taken place, although you still see some that are in need of repair. Fredos recalled how traumatizing the hurricane was for everyone on the island as their first recorded cat 5 (which he said felt like 15). It hit overnight, which made it more terrifying in the dark. About 65 people lost their lives, including a family of 7 whose house was washed away. They were without electricity and running water for months. Obviously, more work needs to be done, but he said they did get a lot of outside assistance in the months after.
Along the way, we saw an interesting wooden statue in a yard. Fredos said it pays homage to the now deceased, longest living resident of Dominica at 128!! He said the island has a higher average life expectancy, so I did a little online research at home and found this interesting info:
Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean, is gaining recognition as a modern day “Fountain of Youth.” The island was home to Elizabeth “Ma Pampo” Israel who died in October 2003 at the age of 128. At the time, she was considered by many to be the world’s oldest living person.
Dominica has the second highest longevity in the western hemisphere, second only to Canada and above the United States, according to Janice Jackson, Executive Director of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. “If this is juxtaposed with the major difference in health care expenditures – less than $200 per resident in Dominica, compared with over $3500 in the US, this figure becomes even more significant.” Jackson said.
Worldwide, average life expectancy for women is 64 to 67 and for men it is 61. In Dominica the average life expectancy for women is 78 to 81 and for men it is 75 (2001). There is clearly something special about Dominica – an island with a population of 70,000 (2010 Census) which is home to twenty-two recorded centenarians.
We were thrilled to be the first visitors to arrive at Trafalgar Falls. So nice to feel the peace of the rainforest as we hiked up to the viewing platform (which has been rebuilt) to view the amazing Father & Mother Falls cascading down. Still as beautiful as I remembered. Soon others began to arrive, just as a quick rain shower also arrived. We put our ponchos on and headed back down. It ended as quickly as it began.
Heading back down to town, we stopped at the beautiful overlook of Morne Bruce, with a view of Roseau and the Silhouette. Time for a local Kabuli brewski, which was sold up here.
We visited the Botanical garden in town which was quite dry right now in dry season. The rainforest in the mountains gets enough rain, so that is quite lush, but not in the city. I imagine it also took a big hit from the hurricane. They even lost their small aviary that housed Sisserou parrots, the national bird of Dominica, which are an endangered species. But, even before the hurricane, the botanical garden is more of a park than what we think of as a traditional botanical garden. It is a nice large area of “green space” for their town residents, but it is rather sad as a botanical garden. I wish some special interest group with a grant could take it on and make it into something more tropical and enjoyable for the residents, as well as tourists. There is an interesting large banyan tree with multiple hanging roots that forms a room where weddings are sometimes held. And the Baobab tree continues to grow despite being toppled onto a bus during a hurricane back in 1979. So don’t go to the Botanical Garden and expect to see the magnificent flora of Dominica, get into the rainforest to see that!
In town, we saw the “other White House” for the President of Dominica. Saw a colorful market and bar, which had live music in the afternoon. It was sad to see their public library and a church in town that were heavily damaged from the hurricane.
It was another more relaxed day for us and it was heating up so we returned to the ship for lunch. We were happy to be able to enjoy this beautiful tropical island again while helping to support their economy. I would definitely recommend Fredos for your private tour. He will work with you or your small group. He also said he offers guided hikes. Be sure to ask him to hear a sample of his awesome calypso singing!
Enjoyed another scenic sailaway while standing on the grass on Deck 15 near the Sunset Bar. We were entertained this evening in the Silhouette Theatre by Donovan and Rebecca with a combo of dance, vocals and amazing acrobatics. They are also Guinness World Record holders and were in the top ten on the TV show AGT.
ST. KITTS – TUESDAY, APRIL 2 - THENFORD GREY TOUR
We arrived to our last port of call to another beautiful day, and colorful port. This would be our only new port on this cruise, so we were happy that it was last and gave us something extra special to look forward to. Having never been here, we wanted to do an overview of the island, so based on research here and on TripAdvisor, we booked the Thenford Grey “Grand Tour of St. Kitts” online, payable the day of the tour. Our ship arrived at 7am, but we didn’t need to meet until 8:30am. We got off about 7:45am to explore a bit, but the shops naturally we all still closed. We just hung out in the large open air building (which has a tourist info booth, and nice bathrooms). The calypso guys began playing at 8am. Ahh….my favorite Caribbean sound…”down in Kokomo…”
Just a note: our Today newsletter had advised us to avoid contact with animals including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds and bats. Practice caution and avoid carrying monkeys because they might be aggressive and bite. There are locals with monkeys on leashes who want payment for photos, so avoid that. We saw the monkeys at South Friars Beach, but they stayed on the rocks, and are fed by the bar personnel only. The only other animal we saw besides birds was a small mongoose (who eats snakes).
Soon it was time to check in for our tour. There were 2 mini-buses doing this tour and we were luckily enough to get Thenford himself as our most excellent tour guide. His nice nephew drove the bus which is modern with good A/C and viewing windows. I believe most of the bus where CC members, although we had only previously met one. A nice group. Thenford is such a nice gentleman, with a wealth of knowledge, love for his country, sense of humor and a deep James Earl Jone’s voice. He even sang for us a couple of times, and quoted poetry! The Grand Tour gives you a great overview of many of the highlights of the island.
We briefly toured the town of Basseterre: Among the highlights: Berkeley Memorial set amid the hustle and bustle of The Circus (patterned after Piccadilly Circus in London), Independence Square (formerly the site of a slave market), St. George's Anglican Church and the Co-Cathedral of Saint Johns/Basseterre. Visit shops. Snap photos. Experience city life Caribbean style! After seeing the downtown area, we stopped for a pretty overlook of a bay with a view of our cruise ship. Continuing along the coast past several villages and international medical and vet schools, we stopped briefly to see a memorial to the original inhabitants, the Carib natives, with a replicated petroglyph rock. There was one of those monkey photo guys here that we avoided, he was not pushy, just asked politely (the man that is, not the monkey…he didn’t talk…or I would have paid for a video of that!)
Onto the beautiful, lush Romney Gardens where Thenford walked with us and explained the lush flora that we were seeing. Although not real large, this is a true botanic garden. We also visited the Batik shop here for a quick demo. Very photogenic, colorful place, some with ocean views. We learned this info from Thenford, and found this on his website: Visit the vestiges of the 17th century manor of Capt. Samuel Jefferson, great-great-great grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson, and today home to a batik studio whose artisans produce prints and apparel of vibrant tropical themes and colors. Stroll the stately grounds and admire beautiful botanical specimens collected from the four corners of the world, including groves of Bismark Palms, Traveler Palms and a magnificent 370-year-old African Saman Tree. We also learned: Alexander Hamilton was born and spent part of his childhood in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis in the Leeward Islands (then part of the British West Indies). Nevis is the smaller of the 2 islands comprising the nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.
There is also a snack shop if you need refreshment such as a Carib Beer or a “Ting with a Zing” which is Ting grapefruit soda and CSR spirit which is similar to white rum. We usually just bring a bag of nuts or granola bars from home to hold us over on tours like this that don’t include meals (as it is a no-no to take cruise food off the ship).
We traveled onward and upward to the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress which is really interesting and has awesome views of the ocean and neighboring islands (St. Eustatius and Saba). The fort is a 300-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site. The road up has a very narrow arch which requires awesome driving skills to navigate through without taking off the mirrors. After some commentary from Thenford, we were free to roam the grounds ourselves, as there are several levels. The walk up to the highest level is quite steep, and a good workout, but worth the views! We were even lucky enough to be there on the parking lot level for the changing of the guard. There is also a snack shop here.
St. Kitts is roughly oval in shape except for a long, narrow peninsula to the southeast. We had explored the northwestern end and were now back to the southeastern narrow section of the island where you find many of the upscale resorts and golf courses, and popular beaches. Our tour included a visit to a beach. We took a bumpy short road down to the small beach area of South Friars Beach with gold/black sand. This is where the Shipwreck Bar is located. Shipwreck is a very Caribbean, laid-back, pirate/parrothead, sand under your feet, open-air type of bar. It was pretty quiet the day we were there. You will also see monkeys here, on the rocks behind the bar. The beach here is a very narrow strip, not the most scenic, but some were enjoying it. We had already had quality beach time on this cruise so it didn’t matter to us, but it wouldn’t be my choice for a beach day. According to the tour description they sometimes go to Cockleshell beach (which looks prettier), but our port time departure was a little early (all aboard 3:30), so I think that is why we went to South Friars which is closer. The tour offered the option of spending an hour here or going back to the ship. Our whole group decided to go back, but we got to enjoy exploring the area and taking photos for about 15 minutes.
On the return journey the last highlight was the amazing view from Timothy Hill where you see the “backbone” of St. Kitts beautiful volcanic mountains and the Caribbean and Atlantic seas at the same time. Gorgeous! Great photo opportunities here and on the other side of the parking lot.
We quickly returned to port where we still had some time to explore. The port area here is very nice with a variety of shops. They are building a new pier which will accommodate two more cruise ships, so I imagine eventually we will see St. Kitts on more itineraries. We loved our visit to St. Kitts and the Thenford Grey tour. Would definitely recommend him!
After getting some late lunch at the Mast Grill and OV tea time, we enjoyed the relaxing scenic sailaway from lounge chairs on deck 5.
After sailaway we enjoyed a hot tub as others prepared for dinner. Another casual dinner for us in the OV where I had another delicious made-to-order stir fry, rather than the “meatball” theme of the day. We once more skipped the main show Cosmopolitan, because it is a rerun for us. Enjoyed the Renaissance Modern String Duo in the Ensemble Lounge.
SEA DAY – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3 – CHIC NIGHT (LOBSTER)
After 7 ports in a row, it was great to have two sea days at the end of this cruise. Also nice to be able to sleep in, although not too late because we wanted a sit-down breakfast in the MDR and the hours are 7:30-9:00am. It was nice to be served my delicious hot eggs benedict. My husband liked his bacon and eggs, but wished they offered steak and eggs, with those minute steaks from OV lunch and dinner buffets.
We attended another Beyond the Podium talk, and morning trivia. We had a complimentary $5 credit at the Casino that could only be used for one hour. We are not gamblers so that was a funny experience. The last time I used a slot machine you put a coin in and pulled the lever. None of this complicated digital stuff with 10 choices of options! DH did win $10. WooHoo …he can buy one beer! The day was mostly sunny, with a brief shower, but otherwise perfect for those hanging poolside, and enjoying the officers vs. guests volleyball.
The OV lunch theme of the day was Pub Lunch – We sampled many of the tasty offerings including freshly fried fish and chips (very popular), shepherd’s pie, and numerous British meat pies. All really good. More afternoon trivia in the Sky Lounge where we all needed to pause to see a pod of whales out the window! That was exciting! They didn’t really photograph well as they were too far from the ship, but you could see their backs and spouts of water while viewing them.
We ate early in the MDR for our last chic night to enjoy the lobster. I think they are pretty good (not the best I’ve ever had), but I still had two! We made sure we got good seats tonight for the Uptown show as we have seen them twice, but they are definitely worth repeating. High energy trio dancing, and singing soul and R&B, including lots of Motown. We love their act.
LAST SEA DAY (for this cruise anyway) – THURSDAY, APRIL 4
One last early morning soak in the peaceful Solarium hot tub, before breakfast. Since it was the dreaded packing day, we interspersed that with other fun activities all day long. We finally won a trivia game with some CC friends this morning! Since I love snorkeling so much, I purchased one of the WWF fundraiser t-shirts which helps to save our oceans. They also had a walk-a-mile to go along with that, but I was packing instead.
Today, was the Lunch Buffet EXTRAVAGANZA in Oceanview Café!! Lots of extra special offerings including several stations of carved meats including turkey, pork and prime rib. Shish kebabs and grilled veggies. Fried chicken and corn on the cob. Lots of fancy dessert cakes, which they were serving for you. And a chocolate fountain for dipping fruit, cake and churros. And some fancy carved displayed items like shown in the cheese photo. And fluffy, scrumptious cream filled swans.
The rest of the afternoon was more relaxing on a hammock bed on deck 12 while enjoying the music of Ocean’s 5, until it was time for our final trivia games with our CC friends. Afterwards we went to redeem our prize tickets for a sunglass case. Managed to get our checked luggage outside our door before dinner, even though you have until 10pm, it is helpful to the crew. One more mango daiquiri at Sunset Bar before heading to the hilarious comedy show of Dan Wilson. Also one last casual dinner in the OV, before enjoying more string music in Ensemble where the gals thrilled my husband by playing the Game of Thrones theme song.
DEBARKATION – FT. LAUDERDALE - FRIDAY, APRIL 5
After our last buffet breakfast, we grabbed our carry-ons and headed to the Silhouette Theatre to wait for our group #11 to be called (scheduled for about 8:20). We were called at 8:15am and easily exited the ship. We arrived in the new terminal 25 which had facial recognition. Quickly found our luggage and sailed through the customs area without even having to stop and show passports. Easy-Peasy! Walked to the cab line which was moving quickly and arrived at the Ft. Lauderdale airport by 9am. Of course, being a Friday, there were only two ships in port. We had plenty of time to relax before our 12:25pm flight.
Fantastic cruise! And we really like the longer cruise. We will definitely consider Celebrity again in the future. There were plenty more activities available each day that I didn’t list. We enjoyed all of the rotating musicians on the ship. We appreciate the live Silhouette Theatre orchestra as we hear some cruiselines are going to do away with those. Sometimes we felt the music in the Atrium was too loud (eek…now I sound old!) as it traveled all the way up to the library and card room. I understand the point is to draw people into the action down there, but that’s just my opinion. The entertainment staff was very good, including cruise director Rich Clesen, who seemed to be everywhere and was very down to earth. In general, we don’t really care that much about who our CD is unless they are annoying, but he is not that. All of the crew on the ship were friendly and hard-working from our observations. As always it was great to meet crew and passengers from all around the world, as well as the lovely people of all the Caribbean islands that we visited. So once again, I wish to thank all of you on CC who have given great advice to make my cruise more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy my review and learn something from reading it. I learned I use the word enjoy too much!! But what can I say…I love cruising and really ENJOY it!!! Read Less