Celebrity still a great vacation value: Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by Travel Writing Mary

Celebrity Silhouette 5
Travel Writing Mary
Member Since 2011
405 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Celebrity still a great vacation value

Sail Date: October 2012
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Other
I was intrigued with the port-intensive itinerary on this 12-night cruise that departed from Rome and visited Naples, Malta, Ravenna, Bari, Sicily, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia and then finishing up in Venice (which makes for a terrific grand finale!). This was my fourth Celebrity cruise. Last year I sailed with my husband on a 12-night Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona on the Solstice and loved it. This time it was a 'chick trip' with a friend who loves art, so that was our focus on this trip (along with a LOT of walking).

Thanks to our very active, over-200-member Cruise Critic roll call, we joined a group for a shuttle from our hotel in Rome to the port of Civitiavecchia. That went smoothly, and embarkation only took about 25 minutes. We boarded around 2 p.m. and our cabins were ready. We dumped our backpacks, and sped to Bistro on Five for a relaxing lunch at only $5 each. This way we avoided the huge lines and crowds upstairs at the buffet. I hate to let that More secret out, but it was not crowded at all in Bistro on Five when we went.

The ship is beautiful, the colors subdued. I liked the decor on the Solstice better, but nonetheless the Silhouette is spotless and gleaming in an understated way. Our cabin, a balcony cabin aft portside, was great. I especially like the larger bathroom configuration on the Solstice-class ships. Some things are different on the Silhouette compared to the Solstice. We loved the 'Hideaway' on deck 7. This quiet area is fun and whimsical, and you can get tea and coffee there any time. We saw people there all the time, using the 'nooks and crannies' for lounging and reading. Art classes (crafts, really) are now offered where the glass show used to be. (Art studio).

I was excited that Zumba was offered but the venue for it was awful. There is an open area just in front of the Silhouette Theater called 'Celebrity Central' and that is where they held Zumba. There was not enough room for us all in that area, plus I didn't like it that others could watch us jumping around. Later in the week it was moved poolside which was better, but why not offer it up in the fitness center? Who needs gawkers? Another problem was the performances done in the main lobby area which forced us to try and find a spot around the railing to watch the dance contest etc. It would be difficult for elderly passengers or those who cannot stand in one place for long periods of time to enjoy these performances. The Martini bar was very busy the entire cruise and probably the most popular bar on the ship.

I enjoyed all the ports of call, and found the Rick Steves 'Mediterranean Ports of Call' and other books helpful for self-guided walking tours.

The food, having been slammed in previous reviews, I found to still be excellent. On a 12-night cruise I think a couple hits or misses are to be expected. I figured out that by ordering my steak medium instead of medium well, it came to the table exactly as I wanted it, just a little pink inside. The steaks had great flavor. A couple of the pastas were very bland. However everything else I had was good. The special brunch buffet was amazing with a million choices. It was crowded but seemed quite well organized. I do have a complaint about the service. Obviously Celebrity has cut back on the number of waiters. Some nights in Select Dining at tables of 6, it took two hours to get through dinner. That is way too long. If you get a table for 2, it goes much more quickly. Those tables are still right next to others so you can talk and meet new people that way without the long waits between courses.Getting on and off the ship, even when tendered, was easy. No delays. If you want to get off early, just go get in line for a tender ticket ten minutes before they start passing them out. If you are going off with a CC group make sure they meet you a few minutes before you want to get off the ship; go down and get the tender passes early, and you should get right off. It may have gotten crowded later on. We did have to wait about 15 minutes for a tender back to the ship in Kotor, but we probably chose the busiest time to go back, between 1 and 2:30 p.m.

Overall I felt this was a great cruise for the money. We each bought a bottle of wine in Rome to take on the ship (you can bring one bottle per person on board only on the day of embarkation), asked our room steward for a wine opener, and had a glass before dinner the first five nights, which saved us some money!

I will definitely travel with Celebrity again! Less

Published 11/04/12

Cabin review: 1B7727 Deluxe Veranda

7277 was great. It's a bit of a walk to it from the elevators, but it was totally quiet. We didnt hear anyone near us at all. Can be a little noisy on the balcony but that is true no matter where your cabin is located. I would definitely book this cabin again!

Read All Deluxe Veranda (1B) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

I had a self-guided walking tour of Bari that we used. We walked through these twisty streets, early in the day when not much was happening, but we loved it. This is a glimpse of Italy that is 'real'. People were going about their daily business. The main Cathedral is very interesting as is the archaeological museum in the basement, well worth seeing.
Read 141 Bari Reviews

We went horseback riding in Corfu with Sally, operator of Trailriders. It was raining, a misty rain, and when she picked us up she took us to her stable, where she provided us with riding pants, jackets, helmets, and rain gear so we could still ride and stay dry! We had a very enjoyable jaunt into an area of Corfu few cruisers see. Afterwards she dropped us off in Corfu Town and we walked around town for a few hours. Enjoyable day!
Read 499 Corfu Reviews

We walked round the walls and it was a blast. You can only pay in Kuna or use a credit card for the ticket to go around the walls. There are ATM machines all over the place to get a few kuna from. We enjoyed Dubrovnik. It is a glorious picture everywhere you turn. We enjoyed the monastery there with its museum as well. A delightful day!

We took an excursion here with Kotorbay Connect, to Our Lady of the Rock Church and Peralst, a nearby town. This entailed getting tender tickets for 8 of us; I was in line for them 10 minutes before we could get them, got the time I wanted, and our group was off the ship and over to the place where the boats waited, by 9 a.m. The boat ride was very chilly so if you do it bring a jacket. There was supposed to be a guide for us on the island but he/she never showed up there. However it isn't really necessary since the woman working in the church explained everything and took us around. Very quaint. There are bathrooms there (yaaaaaay). Then we were shuttled across the bay to the town of Peralst, which in October was pretty much closed up. My friend and I hiked up to what I think was the ruin of a church. We explored the cathedral, and walked around a little, then were taken to Kotor. Kotor was very crowded, but the main church there is well worth seeing along with its museum. The scenery when sailing out of Kotor is spectacular. I got up to watch the sail-in but it was rather dark (October) so sailing out is more spectacular.
Read 454 Kotor Reviews

People think Naples is dirty. It's just OLD. We got a group of CCers together for a walking tour there. It rained like crazy and our feet got soaked but everyone toughed it out and we had a blast. Our guide took us to some areas a little off the tourist track and we had opportunities to sample Naples pizza and Capaccino and cannolis. We explored some churches. Don't miss the arcaded cloister where the pillars are covered in tiles! Beautiful! We ended at the archaeological museum, and I used a Rick Steves guide I brought along to help us understand everything we looked at. I loved that museum. Then we walked back to the pier; it's all downhill and is about a 40 minute walk (the sun had come out and it dried us out nicely). I did not feel unsafe at any time during our walking around town.
Read 1161 Naples Reviews

I brought some Rick Steves walking tours and we toured the Pantheon area using our ipods; and especially enjoyed the walk in the Jewish Ghetto the morning before our transfer to the ship. Rome is amazing. You need days and days before the cruise to see it all, and it can exhaust you, so plan only enough for a few hours a day and use the rest to just wander.

We used a Rick Steves guide to explore Split. Wonderful town, interesting Cathedral and remnants of Diocletians' Palace. We walked the promenade down to see the sculptor Ivan Mestrovic's house/museum. It is in a lovely setting. We had the entire place to ourselves. He is considered the Croatian equivalent of Rodin. We walked further down the street to see the chapel he had built with his huge wooden reliefs lining both walls. Very interesting! Split is a lovely town, very lively.
Read 290 Split Reviews

Venice is amazing. It would be a sin to end a cruise there (or begin one) without a couple days to explore it before going home (or getting on board). It is lovely, confusing, fascinating, full of art, crowded (although if you go to St. Mark's Basilica at 4 p.m. there is no line!), expensive, and altogether just wonderful. Favorite port on our 12-day cruise. I used the Rick Steves guide to Venice extensively and we got a lot out of our two days there. Stayed at Al Ponte Mocenigo hotel and just loved it. Don't pay for a water taxi from ship to hotel. Just go to the people mover, about a 7-minute walk, then from there get a ticket for the vaporetto and ride it to your hotel. About 12 euros total. Fun and easy. Anyone physically able, who is including Venice as a port of call, should use a backpack for a carryon, and wheeled luggage that is taller than it is wide, for getting to/from Venice area. I found it easy with a backpack and my one not too big piece of wheeled luggage. It would have been a pain had I taken a wheeled carryon AND a wheeled suitcase.
Read 1126 Venice Reviews

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Travel Writing Mary
Member Since 2011
405 Forum Posts
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