Let me preface this review by stating that I am not a seasoned cruise traveler (and don’t know whether I will ever be one), but I approached this adventure with an open mind, eager to see what all the fuss is about. I now live in Fort Lauderdale and on a daily basis, I watch from my balcony as the cruise ships arrive and depart Port Everglades. I decided it was time I got on one of them again. A friend and I booked this cruise through a travel agent who secured our staterooms; we both paid the supplement to have private rooms, which were adjacent to each other. Because we were apprehensive about cruising (the second such experience for each of us), we picked a short 3-night and 2-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau.
First, the good: the Celebrity Silhouette is roughly 6 years old and most common areas of the ship look brand new. Dining experiences exceeded my expectations; we chose to have lunches in the buffet (Oceanview Café) and dinners in the main dining room (Grand Cuvee’). There are also a host of informal grills and cafes with free food throughout the ship as well as a handful of “specialty dining” restaurants, to which a “cover charge” applies. Entertainment options were numerous; something for everyone. The majority of the daytime events centered on the pool and the outdoors, as one would hope and expect. Evening options included live bands with dancing, games in the ship’s lounges, a colorful casino, and two or three nightly shows in the ship’s theater. The beverage packages seemed reasonably priced to me; we certainly got our money’s worth each day. We took one excursion in Nassau and it was a good one: the “Sea and See”, which is a combination of 1) a ride on a submerged vessel, giving one a close-up view of fish and coral, and 2) a bus ride through the old town, with a stop at a centuries-old fort that has the best view of the island. For someone who has never been to Nassau, it was a perfect blend of nature and history.
The downsides: I felt like I was nickel-and-dimed the whole cruise. Everywhere you turn, the ship is trying to sell you something extra or push upgrades on you, and the in-your-face promotions got old fast. My stateroom, for which I paid roughly $1100 for 3 nights (!), was very small, although the balcony was a decent size. We were on Deck 7, and our rooms were directly above the enormous orange lifeboats, which compromised the views. There is no coffee maker in the room. There is a small fridge, although most of the space inside of it is occupied by minibar items. My stateroom 7183 included a badly-worn sofa and bathroom drawers that were stained and scuffed. The towels were old and nearly threadbare; I asked for (and received) newer, fluffier towels, but I shouldn’t have needed to do that at these prices. On a positive note, my cabin steward (Abdul) was exceptionally good. He responded to every request almost immediately, and always with a smile.