Great Time on the Silhouette: Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by Russterus

Celebrity Silhouette 5
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Great Time on the Silhouette

Sail Date: March 2013
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
After reading a number of negative reviews of the Silhouette, I had some slight concerns. The majority of reviews were positive, but you never know. After spending a week on this ship, I find those negative reviews to be ridiculous. My wife and I aren't terribly experienced cruisers, but this was our sixth and we felt this was the best ship we had been on, hands down.
Our party consisted of my DW and I, early 50's, and my son and his soon to be fiancee, more on that later, in their late 20's. We booked Aqua Class cabins primarily to enjoy Blu, both because the reviews were good, and we were looking for a slightly healthier food option. Some of the other amenities were nice, but not a big deal for us.

Arrival and Embarkation. DW and I arrived a few days early. Had an opportunity to work in our Florida office so that worked perfectly. My son and gf arrived Saturday night. I had booked the Holiday Inn Express North Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport for work purposes and it More turned out to be fine, just a bit longer drive to Port Everglades. They actually upgraded one of rooms (mine of course!) to a suite. We left for Port Everglades about 10:30 , parked my son's car at Park n Go and shuttled over to the ship. Upon arrival, check in was very fast, no waiting and fifteen minutes later, we were sipping a glass of champagne on the ship. We went right to Bistro on Five for a great lunch, avoiding the madness of the Oceanview Cafe on embarkation day. We also tested out our Premium Drink cards.

Cabins. We had 1568 in Aqua Class located on the Starboard side, near midship. There was plenty of storage for us and we are heavy packers. The room is nicely laid out with the bed next to the verandah door. Plenty of room. I am a fairly large guy and although the bathroom was small, it was big enough. We enjoyed the shower with the three nozzles shooting to the side. Balcony was adequate and the chairs there comfortable. We had a bottle of champagne and fruit waiting for us as well. With the temps being what they were, it was quite comfortable to open the doors at night as we slept and be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves. I use a CPAP machine and although there wasn't a power socket near where I kept it, I called and they brought an extension cord. We also carry a small Belkin power strip which allowed us to keep all the gadgets charged and ready. Felix and Khoury took care of our room and did an excellent job.

Ship Interior. Beautifully laid out. Nice art everywhere, very easy to get around. I know there were some complaints about only two banks of elevators, but it didn't seem a problem to us. The aft elevators is actually a double bank. Everything else is quick and easy to get to. The library, Hideaway, card room and iLounge are all located on different levels of the atrium. We made use of all of them, except the iLounge. Went down there one day trying to sign on, but the service was poor and I finally figured it out on my own. They could probably use a few more board games in the card room, but the library was well stocked. The specialty restaurants were located in a cluster on deck five, except for the Lawn Club Grill. Plenty of bars scattered throughout the ship. Never too far from a drink if you want. The casino was nice enough. I work in the gaming business so wasn't terribly interested in playing, although I did join a poker tournament one day.

Ship topside. The lawn area was kind of cool, but much of it was fenced off for repairs during the trip. We played in a bocce ball tournament one day. The alcoves were used a bit, but not all of them. We stopped by the Sunset Bar a few times and enjoyed that part of the ship. I am not a pool person and prefer to hang out on my verandah and read there if I want to do that sort of thing, but the pool area appeared too small for the number of people on the ship. My son and his girlfriend wanted to hang out there, but chair hogs were in high numbers and they couldn't find a decent spot. The solarium seemed nice, but we didn't use it. I would like to see a bit more of a jogging track as well, and it shouldn't go through a smoking area!

Food. We ate in Murano the first night, and Qsine the second. Both were excellent. The food in Murano was superb, and the concept and presentation in Qsine a lot of fun. Aqua Class had a two for one deal the first night for any specialty restaurant. We ate the rest of our dinners in Blu and really enjoyed it. The food ranged from merely good to great, but really for us it was about the service more than the food. Great service, food always hot, and they catered to all of our request and then some. Joey was our primary waiter and he was great, but the rest were excellent as well. We also ate most of our breakfasts in Blu and they were great. Really loved the smoothies in particular. We did do one room service breakfast that was decent, although not as good as Blu. We had breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe on the final day and one lunch there and found it adequate, but uninspired. Also tried the Mast Grill which had excellent hamburgers, and the MDR for lunch a couple of times. Food there was decent, although service wasn't nearly as good as Blu.

Drinks. Three of us had the Premium Alcohol package and one the Premium non-Alcohol one. They were well worth it and we certainly got our money's worth there. We stopped most evenings for a drink or two or even three at the Molecular Bar and made our way through most of the offerings there. Also tried many of the other bars. For those of you worried about the service with the package, we never had poor service and it was almost always great. The Sommelier in Blu took good care of us and they kept our wine glasses full. I would get the package again unless we are on a more intensive port cruise where it probably would not be worth it.

Entertainment. We attended four shows, the two main production shows, a comedy one, and a final variety show. Enjoyed them all, dancers were good (although I am not a big fan of that stuff). Liked the Cirque du Soleil style show especially. There was a party band that was fine. Didn't listen to them much. A couple of guitar playing singers that I thought were really good. An a cappella group that was good if you like that stuff, and a female jazz singer who sounded great. We found the sea days busy and full of interesting activities. We especially liked all the trivia contests, but participated in many other things as well.

Ports. San Juan was our first stop, arriving at 3 in the afternoon. We just got off and walked around Old San Juan a bit, doing a bit of shopping and stopping off for some mofongo near the ship. Nothing major for us in this stop. Our next stop was St Maarten. We had booked a trip with Capt. Bob before the cruise. This tour takes you around the island in high speed boats stopping for snorkeling and swimming stops as well as lunch. They go fast and the waves can be quite jarring, so be aware before you book that if you are worried about such things. We loved it. The snorkeling was fun, the beaches great and Capt. Bob was a funny tour guide who really cares about his customers. In advance, my son asked Capt. Bob to help set up his proposal to his girlfriend. He set it up for our lunch break by placing the ring in a lunch delivered to some beach chairs set up a bit down the beach from where the rest of us were. She found the ring when she opened her food and my son got down on his knees to propose. Once she accepted, the rest of us all cheered. Very nice. In St. Thomas, we booked one of the St John tours just to get the ferry over. Once there, we, along with about 75% of the boat, ditched the tours and headed out to the beaches. We went to Trunk Bay which was beautiful, but a bit crowded. They did have snorkeling gear, drinks, and food available along with shower and change facilities.

Disembarking. No problem. We were called off the ship at 8:20, picked our bags, and were through customs by 9:00.

There is a lot more I could say about the cruise, but this review is already quite long. Bottom line, all four of us really loved the week on the Silhouette. The service was awesome, the crew mostly very nice and smiling. Even the passengers seemed pleasant and always had greetings for you in the elevators, with a couple of the usual grumpy exceptions. The passengers ranged from kids to elderly and skewed a bit older than some of our past cruises, but that wasn't an issue and the 20 something's in our group had no problems. My future daughter-in-law posted it was the best vacation of her life. Was everything perfect? Of course not, but near enough so and I don't sweat the small stuff. We are ready to book our next Celebrity cruise and they are our new favorite line. Less

Published 03/13/13

Cabin review: A11568 AquaClass

Balcony is underneath an overhang. No problem unless you want a lot of sun. Fairly quiet. Heard deck chairs early in the morning, but only because we had the verandah door open.

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