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PRE CRUISE After a number of cruises across various parts of the world, a cruise to the Baltic/Russia always seemed like the ultimate goal, and thankfully this year we were able to complete that goal on board the stunning Celebrity Silhouette! Part of the reason for choosing Celebrity is the fact that the ship seemed amazing, we had also been wanting to return to Celebrity after a few cruises on Royal (and a one-off Carnival...), but most importantly, the itinerary! For Summer 2018, Silhouette has been based out of Southampton which is the port that we had wanted to leave from for this itinerary (previous years it had been Amsterdam), plus this particular itinerary offered the unique opportunity to actually have almost 3-full days (2 nights on board) in Saint Petersburg, Russia (as opposed to the more traditional 1 night arrangement), which meant we would have more time to see the jewel that is St. Petersburg and its surroundings. Furthermore, I had always wanted to get on board one of the Solstice-Class vessels from Celebrity, so having Silhouette fit the bill quite nicely. And lastly, after checking out some similar itineraries with Royal and other lines, bottom line came down to Celebrity being a better value all around just for the itinerary alone, so we selected June 9th as the date for this long-awaited cruise. Ended up booking around mid-January 2018 taking advantage of one of Celebrity's many promos they run throughout the year. This one was a special $50 deposit. We were not able to receive further perks as we chose to book an interior cabin only. Most perks are offered to bookings of categories Balcony and above (i.e. beverage package, wifi, etc.) We also did our own travel arrangements choosing to fly direct from the States to Gatwick airport (do note Gatwick is a bit further away from Southampton if that is something that is important to you when booking a similar itinerary, it is also the smaller of the two leading London-area airports). We spent a full 5-days in England before heading to Southampton having visited relatives in Cambridge and also spending a couple of days in London-proper (booked hotel with Marriott Points). Having done some research (and having already had some time to sample British Trains/The Tube, etc.) we ended up choosing to make our way to Southampton via the Train from Waterloo Station. Using the Tube from our Hotel to Waterloo took only 1 quick train change and around 20 mins. from our Kensington-area hotel. Train service from Waterloo Station to Southampton Central was efficient (around 1:20 hrs) in a comfortable train. Once at Southampton Central Station we took a quick 5-min taxi ride to the pier (around 5 pounds). We took a 10:15 service from Waterloo in London and were on board Silhouette before 12:00 noon! So all in all, not a huge time investment. EMBARKATION Cruise lines have come a long way now with their expedited boarding procedures, and Celebrity did not disappoint. We had completed our Xpress Pass (pre-boarding information) well before our arrival to the ship, so it was a just a very short cue to hand in luggage outside terminal, another small cue (2 - 3 couples at most ahead of us) to take your picture and check your credit card at the desk, and get handed our SeaPass Card. If you have pre-booked packages (i.e. beverage package) these will likely be re-confirmed during this short process. They also took our Passports at this time (being non-EU passport holders) and were told these would be returned the next day after proceeding through European immigration at our first port of call outside Great Britain - Zeebruggee (Bruges), Belgium. After this short procedure, we headed straight up to the gangway and entered Silhouette, Deck 5 - forward by the Silhouette Theater. All in all, the process took no more than 20 mins. from being dropped off by Taxi to being on board Celebrity Silhouette. Kudos! THE SHIP Silhouette is absolutely gorgeous and spacious throughout. Very nice and thoughtful touches can be found around every corner. One distinctive feature I liked, was the many random quotes placed in the Gentlemen's bathrooms. It was fun to find new ones every time. As I mentioned before, the decks are spacious, and ship hardly ever feels terribly crowded (except for the peak times for breakfast/excursion departures while in port, after muster drill, etc.). It's also nice to have public decks that are taller than a "standard stateroom deck", it really helps to add to the spaciousness of the ship. There always seemed to be plenty do around the ship, even though we had a few sea days with less-than perfect weather forcing everyone to stay mostly inside. The solarium could easily be expanded on an itinerary like this as it always tended to be a very popular spot during sea days. Did experience a bit of a chair shortage on a couple of occasions, but of the most part, we were lucky to find a couple of chairs, even if at the very back. Pool attendants were always handy, as well pool-bar attendants if needed. It was also nice to get back to the level of detail offered by Celebrity, like ensuring there are clean towels on available deck chairs (2-per chair in the Solarium!) and also provided lovely blankets for guests to use on open decks. Other details like these extend to the lavatories throughout the vessel always making sure there is an attendant present (in the evenings) and offering individual cloth towels, instead of just the traditional paper towels or air-dry systems. Loved all of the multi-deck spaces offered throughout the Solstice-class ships (like the Entertainment Court, Galleria Shops...) including my favorite, the Grand Foyer, which really got a lot of use on this cruise truly being the central hub for all the comings-and-goings of the cruise. You could find nightly entertainment starting at 5:45 usually at the Grand Foyer, the Lovely Ensemble 5 Lounge, and the Sky Observation Lounge. For this cruise we had a nice variety of a versatile House Band (5 members), a very nice Jazz group (3 players and a singer), a Brazilian Contemporary Duo, a guitarist, a classical duo, and a random appearance outside of the main theater of the very talented Silhouette Orchestra. Entertainment was good to pretty good overall with the aforementioned mix of performers at the various venues of the ship, plus 3 production shows and a varied rotation of invited guests in the main Silhouette Theater. Only quibble was that after the 1st week, most of the permanent music acts started to sound a tad repetitive, and also a couple of the production shows were a bit less than stellar, as well as one or 2 of the invited acts. Nonetheless, worthy efforts all around and a very solid entertainment experience put forth by Celebrity. Best shows were their "Cosmopolitan" production (almost Cirque-ish) and the invited "Stars of Saint Petersburg" during one of the Russian overnights. Other worthy mentions were "Voice UK" Winner - Leanne Mitchell, and Freddy Mercury-tribute artist: Steve Larkins. Also worth mentioning Sue Denning being a fantastic (and multi-talented!) Cruise Director! Not too obtrusive, but always visible. As far as activities, there were plenty of trivia sessions, and other type of group activites (i.e. Line dancing, choir, etc.) some of which we did not partake in. Overall, these seemed to be sufficient, but I would have liked to have had other options other than trivia etc. to do during a cold sea day. Also, they seemed to be pushing their "Silent Disco" quite a bit... seemed to be a tad popular, but I still don't quite get the fascination with it... PORTS BRUGES, Belgium Great port for a quick visit (due to ship's itinerary). The ship docks in Zeebrugge Port, about a 30-min ride to downtown Bruges. Celebrity did offer a $8 return shuttle to the outside of Bruges (bus parking) which we took advantage of. Pretty easy to walk from drop off area into center of town. There is a lot of history here dating back to Medieval times, so if that is something that interests you, you should consider booking a guided excursion. For us, we found it sufficient to walk around town seeing some of the beautiful sights and sampling lots of Belgian chocolate (brought home a few...) After Bruges we had a rather rocky (and cold) day transiting the North Sea and into the Baltic as we made our way to Denmark (more on ship stability later). COPENHAGEN, Denmark One of the great Scandinavian Capitals, Copenhagen was a lovely stop. The Ship was conveniently located at the Lagelinie Pier which is at a reasonable walking distance to Amalienborg Palace, with the City Center a just a little further off. Celebrity offered a last-minute option to purchase the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour (operated locally) and charge directly to SeaPass account. This was very convenient and we made use of both bus routes offered by the Sightseeing Tours open-top buses (these buses can also close their roofs in case of inclement weather, thankfully for us, it was mostly sunny and dry at every stop!) We had used the Hop on Hop Off bus in London and found it very convenient (though we had 2 full days to see London, and only a few hours most other places...) we were able to see most of the sights of Copenhagen in about 3.5 hours. We spent some time by Christiansborg Castle and the main shopping area of Copenhagen with lots of high-end shops. It was also nice to see Tivoli Gardens and Rosenborg Castle. On the way back to the ship, we decided to get off the bus one last time by Amalienborg Palace, the main "living" residence of the Danish Monarch & Crown Princely Family, which is actually a collection of 4 almost identical residences set around a lovely square with one end facing the harbor and the stunning Opera House, and the other the very large-domed, Marble Cathedral. From here we decided to just make our way back to Langelinie on foot, having a nice walk along the harbor. We also got to see the bronze statue of "The Little Mermaid" (the fairy tale, which originates here in Denmark) and were also able to souvenir shop with a small shopping promenade open right by the ships. This day we were parked next to Balmoral. All in all, we had a great day in Copenhagen, and found it rather small and quaint, and quite easy to navigate. We ended up investing around $38USD per person (for Open Top bus charged to our shipboard account) and felt we got to see most of everything we wanted to see in a panoramic way. STOCKHOLM, Sweden After another day at sea (this time through the much calmer Baltic and in better weather) we transited the lovely islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago before arriving at the Swedish Capital. Much like we had done in Copenhagen, we decided to go our own way and try the Open Top bus. This time, we we charged directly by the tour company and were not able to charge back to our shipboard account (but no big deal...). In Stockhom they also offer 2 different tour routes, one by bus, and one by boat. We opted to take just the bus option which we felt was sufficient, but in a way a tad shorter than in Copenhagen (just a thought for those that might just want to see the core of Downtown, it might be cheaper to explore a taxi, etc.) Also, for this sailing, Silhouette apparently had to moor further away than the cruise port she tends to use, but the Open Top buses were running the longer route specifically for our ship, otherwise, a taxi into Gamla Stan (Old Downtown) might have easily been around 20+ mins. from the pier, so all in all, the open top bus worked out great, even if it seemed like a shorter loop. We did get off by the Royal Palace and the Old Town (Gamla Stan) where there are plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. Found this to be a lovely area of town and you can easily walk to Drottinggatan (The Queen's Way) which is another very fashionable, pedestrian only street full of lively activity. It is also very easy to walk around the harbor/lake and get to parks and other highlights aroudn the smallish core of Downtown Stockholm. Had we planned a little better, I think I might have liked to have taken the short river cruise up to Drottingholm Palace, specially on a lovely sunny day like we had in Stockholm (albeit with a tad of a cold breeze), but oh well, perhaps an excuse to go back. TALLINN, Estonia After a lovely reverse evening transit through the Stockholm archipelago, we were fast on our way towards the Gulf of Finland and our next stop in Tallinn, which we found to be a fantastic surprise. We had read a lot of great things about Tallinn, but words do not do it justice. It truly is a charming, medieval town (Old Downtown) filled with all sorts of architectural highlights. The old town is easily visible from the very modern cruise port which is able to accommodate multiple cruise ships at one time, as well as a full-time working ferry terminal, plus a full commercial port further down the coast. Estonia is a great mix of old and new, with the skyscrapers of the new core of Tallinn also rising on the horizon making for a striking contrast between the Gulf of Finland, Old Town, and New Town. Old Town is easily reachable (after about a 15-20 min. leisurely stroll) from the pier, but as in other ports, there were Shuttles as we as the Open Top option available for purchase right as you stepped off the ship. There is also a huge bazaar full of local souvenirs, etc. right at the base of the piers, and everything seemed very lively today as it was yet another sunny (and warm!) day and 4 ships were in port. (AidaMar, MSC Orchestra, Saga Sapphire & Silhouette). We decided to walk and it ended up being a great choice. We found ourselves wondering thorough Old Town which is quite manageable (except for some steep climbs/steps, to get to the higher part of the walled city), however, there are other ways to get around this as there is a small trolley that does a loop around the highlights, etc. Nevertheless, it is great to just walk around and find the different squares full of stores, cafes, museums, etc. with amazing architecture to boot! We ended up making our way up to the higher part of the city and found ourselves with what would be our first taste of lovely Russian Architecture: the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky, a can't miss spot! A shame you cannot take pictures inside, but the most amazing thing is that this is a 100% full-time working church, so entrance does remain free, but you must observe a respectful behavior when entering, etc. (i.e. no shorts, remove hats, remain quiet, etc. etc.) After making our way back to the lower part of Old Town, we decided it was time to head back to the ship. We walked the short stroll back and lost ourselves in the little bazaar by the pier (though we had done our souvenir shopping in Downtown at much more affordable prices! Estonia was one of the more affordable stops along this itinerary) Before making it back to the ship, there were also many bike-taxis around offering a way back to the ship (keep that in mind in case you might feel to tired to walk back after going up and down the steep parts of the city). The bazaar was great, and the prices were just slightly higher than what we had seen in town, so for just a quick souvenir stop, this works great. Also, this area offers free wi-fi in certain areas, so a lot of people were also making use of this service, not to mention a great spot to take a picture with the ships in port (sadly for us, Silhouette was parked the furthest, so the pictures don't feature all her beauty!) All in all, another great stop on our way to the "piece de resistance" - St. Petersburg, Russia. ST. PETERESBURG, Russia (2 night overnight aboard Silhouette) For Russia we had planned from the start to just book a certified excursion as the easiest way to navigate through Russia's visa requirement for many nations (including US Citizens like ourselves), this means that the tour operator you book with, hold your "temporary, 72-hour visa" to explore under their "supervision" (if you must...). Otherwise, people choosing to transit freely through the 2-night/3-day stop in St. Petersburg, must have their visa paperwork processed before embarking on this cruise. It must be said Celebrity (as I'm sure other cruise lines running these itineraries do) does a great job at making sure guests are informed that a visa is required in one way or another for the vast majority of nationalities (some exceptions do exist, so make sure you check before you book), all that being said, I did some shopping around to check on prices for a full 3-Day (ended up being more like 2.5 days, to be honest...) excursion hitting all the highlights (i.e. Hermitage, Churches, Palaces, Summer Residence, Peterhof, etc.) and in the end decided to book directly through Celebrity as we know cruise lines usually give priority to their own guests and we had read that immigration process at the Pier could take quite a bit of time. Also, he price was only $10-20 higher than some of the other independent excursions we had looked at, and also included lunch on the 2 full days (Day 1 & 2, day 3 was treated as a "full day" but in reality were off the ship only 5 hours, the rest were 10 hour days). I feel we ended up making a great choice as it was true that Celebrity Excursion guests were let off the ship first (ship docks at 6:00 am, we were getting off around 6:45/7:00 and immigration ended up being around 15 mins on the 1st day only, as do note you will have to go in and out of immigration every time you enter/exit the pier in St. Petersburg). Independent guests were told to wait till around 8:00 am (but I am sure this was quicker as most of the theater with Celebrity Excursions guests was almost clear by 7:15 am). I was not able to find out if people with private excursions did end up getting a full Day 3 of their excursion, but we were plenty satisfied with our experience with Celebrity Excursions (and seemed about a little less than half the ship used in-house excursions while in Russia) We had a great guide named Tatiana who was extremely knowledgeable of every place we visited. Cruise Excursion guests also benefit from what we heard were "early openings" at places like The Hermitage and Peterhof Palace (so make sure you check if you are booking an independent operator, that they can also access these earlier hours) it seemed like we got to see everything (although very crowded) but with enough time for each group to be able to see and appreciate the highlights presented. The tour was also well divided with great highlights along the almost 3-full days, and I felt the pace was good as each place seemed to get better than the one we had seen before. Day 1 included a visit to the Summer Palace (Great Palace of Catherine I and Park) in Tsarkoye Selo (the Tsars Village) in the town of Pushkin about 30-40 mins away from the pier. It must be said St. Petersburg has invested quite a bit in infrastructure recently and the very modern port can accommodate multiple ships at once. On Day 1 Silhouette joined the already docked PO Ventura, Balmoral and Crystal Symphony, and we were joined shortly after we docked by Queen Elizabeth II (whom we had seen on the way in from Tallinn, sailing almost side by side for a couple hours, until we passed her to be able to dock before her). The new cruise port is only a short 10-15 min. drive from the core of St. Petersburg and it also connected to their very modern elevated highway system (to be able to pass high above the harbor at some parts, etc.) Our tour guide had mentioned that the ride to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo would be about an hour, but it really felt much shorter. Plus she filled our time filling us in on all of the history of the sights we would see ahead, and in the next 2 days of the excursion. After a full morning walking around the lovely Summer Palace of Catherine I, we were lead back into Downtown St. Petersburg for our first, of 2 included lunches. It was an "authentic Russian Lunch" (although it was served in an English pub...a bit odd, but the food/service were great nonetheless, and truly Russian!) We were treated to Caviar (albeit just Salmon caviar, not the full decadence of sturgeon caviar), the traditional ice-cold Vodka, and even a glass of champagne, and a full 4-course lunch (Salad, Soup, Beef Stroganoff, and dessert/coffee), so a great deal and again, praising the pace of the tour, giving our group a nice time to rest (90+ minute lunch) to where we never felt too rushed or like we were going to slow and missing anything along the way. After lunch we were treated to a visit to the famous/infamous Yussupov Palace, former home of a princely family, and site of the murder of Starets Rasputin before the Russian Revolution. It was a great stop, and aside the ghastly story of Rasputin, the palace itself is a stunning beauty and a testament of the opulence in which the Russian nobility of those days lived, do make sure you are able to make a stop here. Last stop on Day 1 was a visit to the St. Peter & Paul Cathedral and Fortress across the Neva from the famous Palace Embankment. Along the way we were able to see Nevsky Prospect and also had some time to stop for souvenirs (at a Cruise-sponsored store, which was very pricey, but we just walked a block over to Nevsky Prospekt to find the real deals!) we also got to see some of the other sights we'd be visitng later like the Mariinski Theatre, and St. Isaac's Cathedral. Our stop at St. Peter & Paul Cathedral was also great, full of history and highlights, and we were able to zoom through all of it rather quickly as it was getting later in the day and our 1st day tour was coming to an end (where did 10 hours go so quickly? I guess time does fly when you're having a great time) and as I said, day 1 and 2 of the tour ended up being a full 10 hours (from around 7:30 am to 5:30 pm) with the last day being 5 hours (around 8:00 am to 1:00 pm) Again I note that your "visa" is only valid while on tour, so despite the fact that we were back around 5:30/6:00 pm to the ship, we did not really have an option to go out "on our own" to see St. Petersburg at night (unless of course you book another tour, etc. and they do offer St. Petersburg by night, Ballet, etc.) so a bit of a bummer, but in the end it ended up working out for the best as it allowed us time to rest up from the long days, and enjoy the on board food (also sprinkled with some local specialties here and there) and get to bed early enough to be ready for Day 2, etc. Nevertheless, another excuse to come back, as due to the closeness of the Summer Solstice, it does not get dark in St. Petersburg till well after 10:30/11:00 pm every night, so you do need to stay up late to catch the amazing buildings and squares all lit up. In any case, you do get some great views from the port of the new, more modern side of St. Petersburg with the stunning Gazprom Tower (tallest in Europe) rising across the Gulf as well as the brand-new, Zenit Arena (built for the World Cup, which of course was going on at this time and you could sense a general feeling of excitement across the city, plus the aforementioned crowds everywhere). Day 2 begun early again, but it gave us a chance to see the famous Palace Square and the Winter Palace (main building of The Hermitage Museum) with almost no crowds. Our tour also included a full river tour around the Neva and adjacent rivers giving us a chance to see some of the sights a bit further out from the main core. After our cruise, we were able to access The Hermitage (early opening hours), and as I mentioned before, despite the crowds, were were able to see all of the highlights which were very well presented by our fully documented, and incredibly proficient tour guide in her almost perfect English. I must say visiting the Winter Palace/The Hermitage can get a bit overwhelming at moments, and not only because of the crowds, but just because of the limitless beauty housed in every room. When you feel like you've seen it all, they manage to wow you again in the next gallery. In all, we had a brief but very complete visit, and yet another excuse to come back and really sit down and explore the many, many, many galleries that abound this wonder of a museum. After all of the excitement of The Hermitage, it was time for another traditional lunch, this time in a very traditional restaurant right on the banks of the Neva. The food was again very well presented in 4 courses with all of the details mentioned before (this time all different dishes, but still traditional Russian) letting us try more of their very delicious (in my opinion) food. Following lunch, we headed to the very impressive St. Isaac's Cathedral (one of the most important in St. Petersburg) and our guide was again fantastic in filling us with all the details of it's stunning construction and incredible interiors. It truly does make a difference in St. Petersburg (as in any other place) to have a fully documented guide filling in the blanks, specially in such mind-blowing spaces. After St. Isaac's we had another opportunity for some shopping (at a very well stocked, and much more reasonably priced location this time around) before we headed off to The Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood (another one of the gems of St. Petersburg). Due to the World Cup, the FIFA Fan Central was built right next to the Cathedral, so our bus had to drop our group off just a short way down from the Church, but this was very nice as some people got to do some extra shopping on the way back (with may street side vendors located alongside the canal leading up to the Church) and it afforded some great photo opportunities of the exterior of the onion-domed wonder (too bad the main spire is in rehab currently, and was all scaffolded-up). This church does leave the spectator speechless with it's size and beauty! Funny to think Stalin almost had it destroyed! Thankfully for us, it's still there (and will look even better after rehab!), after this stop it was back to the ship to rest up for the final day of touring. Day 3 was the must-see stop of Peterhof Palace, we also were supposed to have the early opening, but for some reason, they ended up opening up around 30 minutes later than they said they would, which was a tad uncomfortable for some of the crowds waiting outside the palace, as even though it was only 9:00 am, the sun was beating down strongly (no wonder the Romanovs also liked this place in the summer...). The visit of the Palace itself was fantastic and we made it out just in time for the ceremonial starting of the famous fountains of the Grand Cascade (at 11:00 am), a true sight to behold! All in all, I ended up feeling like we were a little rushed to get through all of Peterhof in the short time allotted (from around 9:30 to 11:30) as we had to get back to the ship by 1:00 pm (even though all aboard was not until 5:30 pm), nevertheless, we got to see all of the highlights guided by our expert guide, Tatiana. There was also lots of affordable souvenir shopping outside of Peterhof, but as we were told we needed to be back by a certain time, we felt we did not get enough time altogether.... I know this is probably a precaution due to immigration at the port, etc. (and also to avoid a 3rd lunch provided during the tour), but in any case, perhaps Celebrity should consider naming this a 2.5 day excursion instead. In all, we felt our time in St. Petersburg was well spent and it went by quicker than we would have liked, and soon it was time to leave Russia behind and head back down the Gulf of Finland to the Baltic to start making our way back to Southampton via Warnemunde, Germany. WARNEMUNDE/ROSTOCK, Germany After another day at sea (a tad cold and cloudy, but at least not rocky) after St. Petersburg, we made our way to Warnemunde, Germany. This quaint little beach town on the coasts of the Baltic made for quite a great first impression of this great country. Before heading to the cruise, I had done some research as this stop is billed by the cruise companies as "The Gateway to Berlin or Hamburg", but one should note that it is a full 3+ hour drive from the port to Berlin. After some consultation, even German friends recommended that we stay in the general area of Rostock/Warnemunde (Rostock being the seat of the district, and just a short 20-min train ride from the port). Indeed this turned out to be a great recommendation, and we ended up taking the quick and efficient train ride to Rostock (which was getting ready to celebrate their 800th anniversary this year! wow!) with it's lovely main market square and main shopping promenade. After Rostock, we decided to walk around Warnemunde itself, and with it being a very hot and sunny day, this area was really hopping with activity (even though Silhouette was the only ship in port). We walked along the canal and main shopping area of Warnemunde all the way to the beach and the beachfront promenade. We had a lovely and relaxing time in this area after our very busy past few days in Russia. After Warnemunde, we had 2 extra sea days before reaching Southampton again, which were great to spend resting and packing at a very leisurely pace. In all, kudos to Celebrity for a well planned itinerary with plenty of ports, enough time in between to relax and enjoy the ship without it being too much to get too bored. FOOD & SERVICE Great all around, although there were a few misses here and there (sometimes too crowded at Oceanview Cafe, sometimes one of the appetizers wasn't the greatest at the MDR) but all in all, a home run from Celebrity in the food and service department. Staff was always smiling, always wiling to help, and the MDR kept it decently varied through the 14 nights we dined there not never have us too bored to try to eat elsewhere. They do a good job (as on any other ship with specialty restaurants) to try to get you to try the other spots on the ship, but in the end, we found ourselves being in love with most of the creations coming out of the MDR that we felt we did not need to splurge any further. I also ended up getting the Premium Beverage Package and that ended up working really well being able to enjoy top shelf cocktails at all the bars on board really does make it fore a more rounded off experience. They really do try to make you feel like a "Celebrity". Also, our room attendant was the best we've had on any cruise yet! He was super fast, and always visible and attentive to what we needed (and we were not even Aqua Class or Concierge Class! just regular interior room!) and as mentioned before, MDR, Oceanview Cafe and all bar staff we promt, friendly, and attentive. Great, great, great experience all around! LAST NOTES ON SHILOUETTE As mentioned before, Silhouette is gorgeous and does not need very much of anything else. The entertainment was quite good, to excellent, and the ship held up well to the mighty North Sea (both coming and going, the roughest part of the voyage). Captain Pappas does a great job of keeping everyone in tip top shape, even though he might not be the most visible or sociable of Captains we have seen. Again, attention to detail was great, even when getting on/off the ship all the staff would bend over backwards to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Also kudos to celebrity for always setting up a lovely sort of "pier rest area" at every port, with a full set of loungers for people to rest as they were coming or going from the ship, and always having staff offering fresh cold water (infused with fruit) or even hot and warm Bouillon! Truly made you feel premium. Overall "Cruise Life Activities" could have been a little more varied... but also the demographic on this cruise def. eschews older, so a more subdued program is probably best. It wasn't until after Germany that I began feeling ever so slightly bored, but it was also great to have some time to just unwind and relax, and like I said, pack in no kind of hurry and prepare ourselves to re-join the real world again. Would I cruise Celebrity again? In a heartbeat! It seems like they have pretty good deals and when you consider all-around value, you're better off sticking to one of these more premium-lines as you will definitely get your money's worth!

Great Experience on Celebrity Baltic/Russia Cruise

Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by Er12001

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Inside Stateroom
PRE CRUISE

After a number of cruises across various parts of the world, a cruise to the Baltic/Russia always seemed like the ultimate goal, and thankfully this year we were able to complete that goal on board the stunning Celebrity Silhouette!

Part of the reason for choosing Celebrity is the fact that the ship seemed amazing, we had also been wanting to return to Celebrity after a few cruises on Royal (and a one-off Carnival...), but most importantly, the itinerary! For Summer 2018, Silhouette has been based out of Southampton which is the port that we had wanted to leave from for this itinerary (previous years it had been Amsterdam), plus this particular itinerary offered the unique opportunity to actually have almost 3-full days (2 nights on board) in Saint Petersburg, Russia (as opposed to the more traditional 1 night arrangement), which meant we would have more time to see the jewel that is St. Petersburg and its surroundings.

Furthermore, I had always wanted to get on board one of the Solstice-Class vessels from Celebrity, so having Silhouette fit the bill quite nicely. And lastly, after checking out some similar itineraries with Royal and other lines, bottom line came down to Celebrity being a better value all around just for the itinerary alone, so we selected June 9th as the date for this long-awaited cruise.

Ended up booking around mid-January 2018 taking advantage of one of Celebrity's many promos they run throughout the year. This one was a special $50 deposit. We were not able to receive further perks as we chose to book an interior cabin only. Most perks are offered to bookings of categories Balcony and above (i.e. beverage package, wifi, etc.)

We also did our own travel arrangements choosing to fly direct from the States to Gatwick airport (do note Gatwick is a bit further away from Southampton if that is something that is important to you when booking a similar itinerary, it is also the smaller of the two leading London-area airports).

We spent a full 5-days in England before heading to Southampton having visited relatives in Cambridge and also spending a couple of days in London-proper (booked hotel with Marriott Points). Having done some research (and having already had some time to sample British Trains/The Tube, etc.) we ended up choosing to make our way to Southampton via the Train from Waterloo Station. Using the Tube from our Hotel to Waterloo took only 1 quick train change and around 20 mins. from our Kensington-area hotel.

Train service from Waterloo Station to Southampton Central was efficient (around 1:20 hrs) in a comfortable train. Once at Southampton Central Station we took a quick 5-min taxi ride to the pier (around 5 pounds). We took a 10:15 service from Waterloo in London and were on board Silhouette before 12:00 noon! So all in all, not a huge time investment.

EMBARKATION

Cruise lines have come a long way now with their expedited boarding procedures, and Celebrity did not disappoint. We had completed our Xpress Pass (pre-boarding information) well before our arrival to the ship, so it was a just a very short cue to hand in luggage outside terminal, another small cue (2 - 3 couples at most ahead of us) to take your picture and check your credit card at the desk, and get handed our SeaPass Card. If you have pre-booked packages (i.e. beverage package) these will likely be re-confirmed during this short process. They also took our Passports at this time (being non-EU passport holders) and were told these would be returned the next day after proceeding through European immigration at our first port of call outside Great Britain - Zeebruggee (Bruges), Belgium.

After this short procedure, we headed straight up to the gangway and entered Silhouette, Deck 5 - forward by the Silhouette Theater. All in all, the process took no more than 20 mins. from being dropped off by Taxi to being on board Celebrity Silhouette. Kudos!

THE SHIP

Silhouette is absolutely gorgeous and spacious throughout. Very nice and thoughtful touches can be found around every corner. One distinctive feature I liked, was the many random quotes placed in the Gentlemen's bathrooms. It was fun to find new ones every time. As I mentioned before, the decks are spacious, and ship hardly ever feels terribly crowded (except for the peak times for breakfast/excursion departures while in port, after muster drill, etc.). It's also nice to have public decks that are taller than a "standard stateroom deck", it really helps to add to the spaciousness of the ship.

There always seemed to be plenty do around the ship, even though we had a few sea days with less-than perfect weather forcing everyone to stay mostly inside. The solarium could easily be expanded on an itinerary like this as it always tended to be a very popular spot during sea days. Did experience a bit of a chair shortage on a couple of occasions, but of the most part, we were lucky to find a couple of chairs, even if at the very back. Pool attendants were always handy, as well pool-bar attendants if needed. It was also nice to get back to the level of detail offered by Celebrity, like ensuring there are clean towels on available deck chairs (2-per chair in the Solarium!) and also provided lovely blankets for guests to use on open decks. Other details like these extend to the lavatories throughout the vessel always making sure there is an attendant present (in the evenings) and offering individual cloth towels, instead of just the traditional paper towels or air-dry systems.

Loved all of the multi-deck spaces offered throughout the Solstice-class ships (like the Entertainment Court, Galleria Shops...) including my favorite, the Grand Foyer, which really got a lot of use on this cruise truly being the central hub for all the comings-and-goings of the cruise. You could find nightly entertainment starting at 5:45 usually at the Grand Foyer, the Lovely Ensemble 5 Lounge, and the Sky Observation Lounge. For this cruise we had a nice variety of a versatile House Band (5 members), a very nice Jazz group (3 players and a singer), a Brazilian Contemporary Duo, a guitarist, a classical duo, and a random appearance outside of the main theater of the very talented Silhouette Orchestra.

Entertainment was good to pretty good overall with the aforementioned mix of performers at the various venues of the ship, plus 3 production shows and a varied rotation of invited guests in the main Silhouette Theater. Only quibble was that after the 1st week, most of the permanent music acts started to sound a tad repetitive, and also a couple of the production shows were a bit less than stellar, as well as one or 2 of the invited acts. Nonetheless, worthy efforts all around and a very solid entertainment experience put forth by Celebrity. Best shows were their "Cosmopolitan" production (almost Cirque-ish) and the invited "Stars of Saint Petersburg" during one of the Russian overnights. Other worthy mentions were "Voice UK" Winner - Leanne Mitchell, and Freddy Mercury-tribute artist: Steve Larkins. Also worth mentioning Sue Denning being a fantastic (and multi-talented!) Cruise Director! Not too obtrusive, but always visible.

As far as activities, there were plenty of trivia sessions, and other type of group activites (i.e. Line dancing, choir, etc.) some of which we did not partake in. Overall, these seemed to be sufficient, but I would have liked to have had other options other than trivia etc. to do during a cold sea day. Also, they seemed to be pushing their "Silent Disco" quite a bit... seemed to be a tad popular, but I still don't quite get the fascination with it...


PORTS

BRUGES, Belgium

Great port for a quick visit (due to ship's itinerary). The ship docks in Zeebrugge Port, about a 30-min ride to downtown Bruges. Celebrity did offer a $8 return shuttle to the outside of Bruges (bus parking) which we took advantage of. Pretty easy to walk from drop off area into center of town. There is a lot of history here dating back to Medieval times, so if that is something that interests you, you should consider booking a guided excursion. For us, we found it sufficient to walk around town seeing some of the beautiful sights and sampling lots of Belgian chocolate (brought home a few...)

After Bruges we had a rather rocky (and cold) day transiting the North Sea and into the Baltic as we made our way to Denmark (more on ship stability later).

COPENHAGEN, Denmark

One of the great Scandinavian Capitals, Copenhagen was a lovely stop. The Ship was conveniently located at the Lagelinie Pier which is at a reasonable walking distance to Amalienborg Palace, with the City Center a just a little further off. Celebrity offered a last-minute option to purchase the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour (operated locally) and charge directly to SeaPass account. This was very convenient and we made use of both bus routes offered by the Sightseeing Tours open-top buses (these buses can also close their roofs in case of inclement weather, thankfully for us, it was mostly sunny and dry at every stop!)

We had used the Hop on Hop Off bus in London and found it very convenient (though we had 2 full days to see London, and only a few hours most other places...) we were able to see most of the sights of Copenhagen in about 3.5 hours. We spent some time by Christiansborg Castle and the main shopping area of Copenhagen with lots of high-end shops. It was also nice to see Tivoli Gardens and Rosenborg Castle.

On the way back to the ship, we decided to get off the bus one last time by Amalienborg Palace, the main "living" residence of the Danish Monarch & Crown Princely Family, which is actually a collection of 4 almost identical residences set around a lovely square with one end facing the harbor and the stunning Opera House, and the other the very large-domed, Marble Cathedral. From here we decided to just make our way back to Langelinie on foot, having a nice walk along the harbor. We also got to see the bronze statue of "The Little Mermaid" (the fairy tale, which originates here in Denmark) and were also able to souvenir shop with a small shopping promenade open right by the ships. This day we were parked next to Balmoral.

All in all, we had a great day in Copenhagen, and found it rather small and quaint, and quite easy to navigate. We ended up investing around $38USD per person (for Open Top bus charged to our shipboard account) and felt we got to see most of everything we wanted to see in a panoramic way.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden

After another day at sea (this time through the much calmer Baltic and in better weather) we transited the lovely islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago before arriving at the Swedish Capital. Much like we had done in Copenhagen, we decided to go our own way and try the Open Top bus. This time, we we charged directly by the tour company and were not able to charge back to our shipboard account (but no big deal...). In Stockhom they also offer 2 different tour routes, one by bus, and one by boat. We opted to take just the bus option which we felt was sufficient, but in a way a tad shorter than in Copenhagen (just a thought for those that might just want to see the core of Downtown, it might be cheaper to explore a taxi, etc.) Also, for this sailing, Silhouette apparently had to moor further away than the cruise port she tends to use, but the Open Top buses were running the longer route specifically for our ship, otherwise, a taxi into Gamla Stan (Old Downtown) might have easily been around 20+ mins. from the pier, so all in all, the open top bus worked out great, even if it seemed like a shorter loop.

We did get off by the Royal Palace and the Old Town (Gamla Stan) where there are plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. Found this to be a lovely area of town and you can easily walk to Drottinggatan (The Queen's Way) which is another very fashionable, pedestrian only street full of lively activity. It is also very easy to walk around the harbor/lake and get to parks and other highlights aroudn the smallish core of Downtown Stockholm.

Had we planned a little better, I think I might have liked to have taken the short river cruise up to Drottingholm Palace, specially on a lovely sunny day like we had in Stockholm (albeit with a tad of a cold breeze), but oh well, perhaps an excuse to go back.

TALLINN, Estonia

After a lovely reverse evening transit through the Stockholm archipelago, we were fast on our way towards the Gulf of Finland and our next stop in Tallinn, which we found to be a fantastic surprise. We had read a lot of great things about Tallinn, but words do not do it justice. It truly is a charming, medieval town (Old Downtown) filled with all sorts of architectural highlights.

The old town is easily visible from the very modern cruise port which is able to accommodate multiple cruise ships at one time, as well as a full-time working ferry terminal, plus a full commercial port further down the coast. Estonia is a great mix of old and new, with the skyscrapers of the new core of Tallinn also rising on the horizon making for a striking contrast between the Gulf of Finland, Old Town, and New Town.

Old Town is easily reachable (after about a 15-20 min. leisurely stroll) from the pier, but as in other ports, there were Shuttles as we as the Open Top option available for purchase right as you stepped off the ship. There is also a huge bazaar full of local souvenirs, etc. right at the base of the piers, and everything seemed very lively today as it was yet another sunny (and warm!) day and 4 ships were in port. (AidaMar, MSC Orchestra, Saga Sapphire & Silhouette). We decided to walk and it ended up being a great choice.

We found ourselves wondering thorough Old Town which is quite manageable (except for some steep climbs/steps, to get to the higher part of the walled city), however, there are other ways to get around this as there is a small trolley that does a loop around the highlights, etc. Nevertheless, it is great to just walk around and find the different squares full of stores, cafes, museums, etc. with amazing architecture to boot! We ended up making our way up to the higher part of the city and found ourselves with what would be our first taste of lovely Russian Architecture: the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky, a can't miss spot! A shame you cannot take pictures inside, but the most amazing thing is that this is a 100% full-time working church, so entrance does remain free, but you must observe a respectful behavior when entering, etc. (i.e. no shorts, remove hats, remain quiet, etc. etc.)

After making our way back to the lower part of Old Town, we decided it was time to head back to the ship. We walked the short stroll back and lost ourselves in the little bazaar by the pier (though we had done our souvenir shopping in Downtown at much more affordable prices! Estonia was one of the more affordable stops along this itinerary) Before making it back to the ship, there were also many bike-taxis around offering a way back to the ship (keep that in mind in case you might feel to tired to walk back after going up and down the steep parts of the city). The bazaar was great, and the prices were just slightly higher than what we had seen in town, so for just a quick souvenir stop, this works great. Also, this area offers free wi-fi in certain areas, so a lot of people were also making use of this service, not to mention a great spot to take a picture with the ships in port (sadly for us, Silhouette was parked the furthest, so the pictures don't feature all her beauty!)

All in all, another great stop on our way to the "piece de resistance" - St. Petersburg, Russia.

ST. PETERESBURG, Russia (2 night overnight aboard Silhouette)

For Russia we had planned from the start to just book a certified excursion as the easiest way to navigate through Russia's visa requirement for many nations (including US Citizens like ourselves), this means that the tour operator you book with, hold your "temporary, 72-hour visa" to explore under their "supervision" (if you must...). Otherwise, people choosing to transit freely through the 2-night/3-day stop in St. Petersburg, must have their visa paperwork processed before embarking on this cruise. It must be said Celebrity (as I'm sure other cruise lines running these itineraries do) does a great job at making sure guests are informed that a visa is required in one way or another for the vast majority of nationalities (some exceptions do exist, so make sure you check before you book), all that being said, I did some shopping around to check on prices for a full 3-Day (ended up being more like 2.5 days, to be honest...) excursion hitting all the highlights (i.e. Hermitage, Churches, Palaces, Summer Residence, Peterhof, etc.) and in the end decided to book directly through Celebrity as we know cruise lines usually give priority to their own guests and we had read that immigration process at the Pier could take quite a bit of time. Also, he price was only $10-20 higher than some of the other independent excursions we had looked at, and also included lunch on the 2 full days (Day 1 & 2, day 3 was treated as a "full day" but in reality were off the ship only 5 hours, the rest were 10 hour days).

I feel we ended up making a great choice as it was true that Celebrity Excursion guests were let off the ship first (ship docks at 6:00 am, we were getting off around 6:45/7:00 and immigration ended up being around 15 mins on the 1st day only, as do note you will have to go in and out of immigration every time you enter/exit the pier in St. Petersburg). Independent guests were told to wait till around 8:00 am (but I am sure this was quicker as most of the theater with Celebrity Excursions guests was almost clear by 7:15 am). I was not able to find out if people with private excursions did end up getting a full Day 3 of their excursion, but we were plenty satisfied with our experience with Celebrity Excursions (and seemed about a little less than half the ship used in-house excursions while in Russia)

We had a great guide named Tatiana who was extremely knowledgeable of every place we visited. Cruise Excursion guests also benefit from what we heard were "early openings" at places like The Hermitage and Peterhof Palace (so make sure you check if you are booking an independent operator, that they can also access these earlier hours) it seemed like we got to see everything (although very crowded) but with enough time for each group to be able to see and appreciate the highlights presented. The tour was also well divided with great highlights along the almost 3-full days, and I felt the pace was good as each place seemed to get better than the one we had seen before.

Day 1 included a visit to the Summer Palace (Great Palace of Catherine I and Park) in Tsarkoye Selo (the Tsars Village) in the town of Pushkin about 30-40 mins away from the pier. It must be said St. Petersburg has invested quite a bit in infrastructure recently and the very modern port can accommodate multiple ships at once. On Day 1 Silhouette joined the already docked PO Ventura, Balmoral and Crystal Symphony, and we were joined shortly after we docked by Queen Elizabeth II (whom we had seen on the way in from Tallinn, sailing almost side by side for a couple hours, until we passed her to be able to dock before her). The new cruise port is only a short 10-15 min. drive from the core of St. Petersburg and it also connected to their very modern elevated highway system (to be able to pass high above the harbor at some parts, etc.) Our tour guide had mentioned that the ride to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo would be about an hour, but it really felt much shorter. Plus she filled our time filling us in on all of the history of the sights we would see ahead, and in the next 2 days of the excursion.

After a full morning walking around the lovely Summer Palace of Catherine I, we were lead back into Downtown St. Petersburg for our first, of 2 included lunches. It was an "authentic Russian Lunch" (although it was served in an English pub...a bit odd, but the food/service were great nonetheless, and truly Russian!) We were treated to Caviar (albeit just Salmon caviar, not the full decadence of sturgeon caviar), the traditional ice-cold Vodka, and even a glass of champagne, and a full 4-course lunch (Salad, Soup, Beef Stroganoff, and dessert/coffee), so a great deal and again, praising the pace of the tour, giving our group a nice time to rest (90+ minute lunch) to where we never felt too rushed or like we were going to slow and missing anything along the way.

After lunch we were treated to a visit to the famous/infamous Yussupov Palace, former home of a princely family, and site of the murder of Starets Rasputin before the Russian Revolution. It was a great stop, and aside the ghastly story of Rasputin, the palace itself is a stunning beauty and a testament of the opulence in which the Russian nobility of those days lived, do make sure you are able to make a stop here.

Last stop on Day 1 was a visit to the St. Peter & Paul Cathedral and Fortress across the Neva from the famous Palace Embankment. Along the way we were able to see Nevsky Prospect and also had some time to stop for souvenirs (at a Cruise-sponsored store, which was very pricey, but we just walked a block over to Nevsky Prospekt to find the real deals!) we also got to see some of the other sights we'd be visitng later like the Mariinski Theatre, and St. Isaac's Cathedral.

Our stop at St. Peter & Paul Cathedral was also great, full of history and highlights, and we were able to zoom through all of it rather quickly as it was getting later in the day and our 1st day tour was coming to an end (where did 10 hours go so quickly? I guess time does fly when you're having a great time) and as I said, day 1 and 2 of the tour ended up being a full 10 hours (from around 7:30 am to 5:30 pm) with the last day being 5 hours (around 8:00 am to 1:00 pm)

Again I note that your "visa" is only valid while on tour, so despite the fact that we were back around 5:30/6:00 pm to the ship, we did not really have an option to go out "on our own" to see St. Petersburg at night (unless of course you book another tour, etc. and they do offer St. Petersburg by night, Ballet, etc.) so a bit of a bummer, but in the end it ended up working out for the best as it allowed us time to rest up from the long days, and enjoy the on board food (also sprinkled with some local specialties here and there) and get to bed early enough to be ready for Day 2, etc. Nevertheless, another excuse to come back, as due to the closeness of the Summer Solstice, it does not get dark in St. Petersburg till well after 10:30/11:00 pm every night, so you do need to stay up late to catch the amazing buildings and squares all lit up. In any case, you do get some great views from the port of the new, more modern side of St. Petersburg with the stunning Gazprom Tower (tallest in Europe) rising across the Gulf as well as the brand-new, Zenit Arena (built for the World Cup, which of course was going on at this time and you could sense a general feeling of excitement across the city, plus the aforementioned crowds everywhere).

Day 2 begun early again, but it gave us a chance to see the famous Palace Square and the Winter Palace (main building of The Hermitage Museum) with almost no crowds. Our tour also included a full river tour around the Neva and adjacent rivers giving us a chance to see some of the sights a bit further out from the main core. After our cruise, we were able to access The Hermitage (early opening hours), and as I mentioned before, despite the crowds, were were able to see all of the highlights which were very well presented by our fully documented, and incredibly proficient tour guide in her almost perfect English. I must say visiting the Winter Palace/The Hermitage can get a bit overwhelming at moments, and not only because of the crowds, but just because of the limitless beauty housed in every room. When you feel like you've seen it all, they manage to wow you again in the next gallery. In all, we had a brief but very complete visit, and yet another excuse to come back and really sit down and explore the many, many, many galleries that abound this wonder of a museum.

After all of the excitement of The Hermitage, it was time for another traditional lunch, this time in a very traditional restaurant right on the banks of the Neva. The food was again very well presented in 4 courses with all of the details mentioned before (this time all different dishes, but still traditional Russian) letting us try more of their very delicious (in my opinion) food. Following lunch, we headed to the very impressive St. Isaac's Cathedral (one of the most important in St. Petersburg) and our guide was again fantastic in filling us with all the details of it's stunning construction and incredible interiors. It truly does make a difference in St. Petersburg (as in any other place) to have a fully documented guide filling in the blanks, specially in such mind-blowing spaces.

After St. Isaac's we had another opportunity for some shopping (at a very well stocked, and much more reasonably priced location this time around) before we headed off to The Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood (another one of the gems of St. Petersburg). Due to the World Cup, the FIFA Fan Central was built right next to the Cathedral, so our bus had to drop our group off just a short way down from the Church, but this was very nice as some people got to do some extra shopping on the way back (with may street side vendors located alongside the canal leading up to the Church) and it afforded some great photo opportunities of the exterior of the onion-domed wonder (too bad the main spire is in rehab currently, and was all scaffolded-up). This church does leave the spectator speechless with it's size and beauty! Funny to think Stalin almost had it destroyed! Thankfully for us, it's still there (and will look even better after rehab!), after this stop it was back to the ship to rest up for the final day of touring.

Day 3 was the must-see stop of Peterhof Palace, we also were supposed to have the early opening, but for some reason, they ended up opening up around 30 minutes later than they said they would, which was a tad uncomfortable for some of the crowds waiting outside the palace, as even though it was only 9:00 am, the sun was beating down strongly (no wonder the Romanovs also liked this place in the summer...). The visit of the Palace itself was fantastic and we made it out just in time for the ceremonial starting of the famous fountains of the Grand Cascade (at 11:00 am), a true sight to behold! All in all, I ended up feeling like we were a little rushed to get through all of Peterhof in the short time allotted (from around 9:30 to 11:30) as we had to get back to the ship by 1:00 pm (even though all aboard was not until 5:30 pm), nevertheless, we got to see all of the highlights guided by our expert guide, Tatiana. There was also lots of affordable souvenir shopping outside of Peterhof, but as we were told we needed to be back by a certain time, we felt we did not get enough time altogether.... I know this is probably a precaution due to immigration at the port, etc. (and also to avoid a 3rd lunch provided during the tour), but in any case, perhaps Celebrity should consider naming this a 2.5 day excursion instead.

In all, we felt our time in St. Petersburg was well spent and it went by quicker than we would have liked, and soon it was time to leave Russia behind and head back down the Gulf of Finland to the Baltic to start making our way back to Southampton via Warnemunde, Germany.

WARNEMUNDE/ROSTOCK, Germany

After another day at sea (a tad cold and cloudy, but at least not rocky) after St. Petersburg, we made our way to Warnemunde, Germany. This quaint little beach town on the coasts of the Baltic made for quite a great first impression of this great country. Before heading to the cruise, I had done some research as this stop is billed by the cruise companies as "The Gateway to Berlin or Hamburg", but one should note that it is a full 3+ hour drive from the port to Berlin. After some consultation, even German friends recommended that we stay in the general area of Rostock/Warnemunde (Rostock being the seat of the district, and just a short 20-min train ride from the port).

Indeed this turned out to be a great recommendation, and we ended up taking the quick and efficient train ride to Rostock (which was getting ready to celebrate their 800th anniversary this year! wow!) with it's lovely main market square and main shopping promenade. After Rostock, we decided to walk around Warnemunde itself, and with it being a very hot and sunny day, this area was really hopping with activity (even though Silhouette was the only ship in port). We walked along the canal and main shopping area of Warnemunde all the way to the beach and the beachfront promenade. We had a lovely and relaxing time in this area after our very busy past few days in Russia.

After Warnemunde, we had 2 extra sea days before reaching Southampton again, which were great to spend resting and packing at a very leisurely pace. In all, kudos to Celebrity for a well planned itinerary with plenty of ports, enough time in between to relax and enjoy the ship without it being too much to get too bored.

FOOD & SERVICE

Great all around, although there were a few misses here and there (sometimes too crowded at Oceanview Cafe, sometimes one of the appetizers wasn't the greatest at the MDR) but all in all, a home run from Celebrity in the food and service department. Staff was always smiling, always wiling to help, and the MDR kept it decently varied through the 14 nights we dined there not never have us too bored to try to eat elsewhere. They do a good job (as on any other ship with specialty restaurants) to try to get you to try the other spots on the ship, but in the end, we found ourselves being in love with most of the creations coming out of the MDR that we felt we did not need to splurge any further. I also ended up getting the Premium Beverage Package and that ended up working really well being able to enjoy top shelf cocktails at all the bars on board really does make it fore a more rounded off experience. They really do try to make you feel like a "Celebrity". Also, our room attendant was the best we've had on any cruise yet! He was super fast, and always visible and attentive to what we needed (and we were not even Aqua Class or Concierge Class! just regular interior room!) and as mentioned before, MDR, Oceanview Cafe and all bar staff we promt, friendly, and attentive. Great, great, great experience all around!

LAST NOTES ON SHILOUETTE

As mentioned before, Silhouette is gorgeous and does not need very much of anything else. The entertainment was quite good, to excellent, and the ship held up well to the mighty North Sea (both coming and going, the roughest part of the voyage). Captain Pappas does a great job of keeping everyone in tip top shape, even though he might not be the most visible or sociable of Captains we have seen. Again, attention to detail was great, even when getting on/off the ship all the staff would bend over backwards to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Also kudos to celebrity for always setting up a lovely sort of "pier rest area" at every port, with a full set of loungers for people to rest as they were coming or going from the ship, and always having staff offering fresh cold water (infused with fruit) or even hot and warm Bouillon! Truly made you feel premium.

Overall "Cruise Life Activities" could have been a little more varied... but also the demographic on this cruise def. eschews older, so a more subdued program is probably best. It wasn't until after Germany that I began feeling ever so slightly bored, but it was also great to have some time to just unwind and relax, and like I said, pack in no kind of hurry and prepare ourselves to re-join the real world again.

Would I cruise Celebrity again? In a heartbeat! It seems like they have pretty good deals and when you consider all-around value, you're better off sticking to one of these more premium-lines as you will definitely get your money's worth!
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Cabin Review

Inside Stateroom
Cabin 10 9170
At 180+ sq. ft., our Interior Cabin offered more than enough space for 2 people for our entire 14-night voyage. Celebrity has done a lot to improve even interior accommodations, and it shows, room lay out is fantastic with 2-twin beds, and a comfortable seating area (could be used as a 3rd bed!). TV's pretty modern and offered a decent selection of channels throughout the voyage. Also, probably the best bathroom we've had at sea. Great roomy shower, and plenty of nooks and crannies for all your stuff.
Panorama Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews