Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by newcruiser126
- Sail Date: July 2018
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Ocean View
We moved heaven and earth to make this cruise. Our insurance was pulled after a routine blood pressure check revealed a possible heart problem (and the policy small print says they must be notified if there is a change to your health. BEWARE - check YOUR policy!)).
We paid £1000+ for quick private medical tests in the week prior so that it became a "diagnosed condition" (atrial fibrillation). An extra £90 (on top of the £800 we had already paid) reinstated the policy on the morning before we sailed. And the car broke down on the way! (Thank heavens for the AA)
So we were pretty stressed by the time we boarded.
Embarkation went smoothly and we were delighted with the cabin (3141 - ocean view - just off the foyer). But they were playing loud jazzy music which we hate - little did we know that this would be a constant companion for the whole cruise. For us this negated all the good things about the Silhouette.
So the gripes (most were small niggles really):
1) Muster Drill. We were squashed into a small area and had to crane to see the screens. There was an infantile animation for 10 minutes on how to wash our hands! And then came the serious business of what to do on the order "Abandon Ship"... a ridiculous spy spoof film no less!! The comments by the guests are unprintable!
2) There was no map/layout guide to the ship - we were totally disorientated for a couple of days. The plastic cut-outs by the lifts were inadequate.
3) There was no information folder about the drinks package or the ship or the menus or the destinations or the TV or anything. A daily sheet was delivered the evening prior and the TV had promotional channels - for most things you needed to know you had to queue at Guest Relations..
4) There was a welcoming bottle of water and a box of Pringles in the cabin. Nice touch we thought...til we found the fill-in price sheet at $6.50 and $4.00 respectively. This cruise was going to be about selling!
5) There were not enough seats on sea days and evenings though we identified lots of nooks and crannies and areas where they could have placed them.
6) Don't forget any basic essentials (soap;shampoo; sun cream; sewing kit; stationery; paperback etc.) Lots of posh shops selling posh stuff but no "ordinary" shop.
7) The ship often docked miles from civilisation e.g Rostock and Stockholm. And they did not supply a free shuttle. The ship's charges for transport were high - and this was particularly annoying as local arrangements were not given until the daily newspaper the evening prior. e.g cost of Celebrity shuttle £37 - local shuttle 8 Euros.
8)The entertainment/activity program consisted mainly of inane quizzes and games or were geared to selling - art auctions;spa treatments; speciality restaurants; wine cellars etc. There was an interesting series of talks about Matt Monroe (oh that lovely gentle melodic music!). And as for .....
9) THAT MUSIC!!. Everything was loud and beat and blues and jazzy. Not one public corner of the ship was spared. Some was live (and even described as "classical"); jazzed up versions played with amplification enough to deafen you. (Just once we heard a pure classical duet.) Some was "background" piped over the lounges; sundecks; bars and cafes. Even the library was not a quiet zone as it was open-plan to the foyer. We yearned for familiar melodies and ballads. Even upbeat tunes - how about some Carpenters; Sinatra; Elvis; Abba: Beatles; Beach Boys; Shadows; Simon & Garfunkel etc. some recognizable golden oldies? And at volumes we could listen to and hum along with or talk over?
10) SHOWTIME - the best and the worst! A lovely 60s band - "The Revolvers" (the only musical act we really enjoyed); a great comedian; authentic Russian Cossack dancers. But the MUSIC in the rest..... again acts were ruined by the volume. Even the soft songs started well but rose to the inevitable ear-splitting climax. The most talented act "The Barricade Boys" was drowned out. Their lovely harmonious voices had to compete with the Silhouette Band. The drummer of this terrible group thought he was the star of the show and the rest obviously believed their job was to compete with the main act. The term "accompanists" did not apply. An unbalanced out-of-tune cacophony of noise!
And what we DID enjoy:-
1) The cabin (our refuge of silence). Comfortable beds and good storage. Hospitality tray. Great cabin steward. Only ocean view but the best we've ever had.
2) The main restaurant. Excellent food and wonderful service. Absolutely no complaints.
3) The lifts were amazing. And almost never any queue except on mass exits from the theatre.
4) Everywhere was spotlessly clean.
5) The service was prompt and polite and efficient. The staff would try to fulfil every request and we loved being treated like royalty.
6) The Oceanview cafe/restaurant had lots of choice (although we would have liked more fish) and we could usually find a seat. We learned to visit early or late to avoid the crush! The temptation was to eat too much.
7) We booked this cruise when there was a good deal available (including drinks package) and we think we got excellent value thanks to the advice of the agent at Iglu. We visited a balcony and a concierge cabin and did not think the extra price tag was worth it. (£1000 pp extra for the concierge).
7) The ports of call were all first-time for us. We loved St Petersburg and hope to return to all the cities. As we have restricted mobility we took Celebrity's "mild activity" ones. Somewhat expensive and often too short but generally enjoyable with knowledgeable guides. Now we've had a taster we hope to learn much more before our next cruise.
Will it be with Celebrity? As you can tell from this review the music was a HUGH turn-off for us. Because of this issue alone the answer is (unfortunately) probably not. Because of this we will not give the 5 stars the rest of the holiday deserved. We will do some careful research before we choose our next ship.
(PS Whilst on a guided tour we were told about the flood prevention barriers. She explained that hey had been deployed during the high winds two weeks earlier thus preventing the previous cruise ship docking in St Petersburg. So possibly not the Captain's fault?).
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Alternate cabins had the sofa near the door of the cabin with the bed by the window.
The attendant was lovely and the cabin was larger than we expected.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Tivoli GardensTivoli Gardens & Harbour Tour. Expensive at £75 pp for 4 hours.View All 55 Tivoli Gardens Reviews
The tickets had not been purchased in advance so we had to queue for ages while other parties walked through. Needed longer in the gardens. The Harbour tour was nice and we ended at the Little Mermaid.
We could have had a further 2 hours at Tivoli to fully appreciate it.
Rostock (Warnemunde)We docked miles from the town at an industrial dock. (Other large ships were berthed in the centre of Warnemunde. We objected to the high fare for a shuttle ride by Celebrity so joined with others on the dock for a taxi to Warnemunde. A lovely charming town.View All 364 Rostock (Warnemunde) Cruise Port Reviews
We decided to visit the IGA Park and the Ship Museum which was highlighted in our guidebook. Built for an International Flower Festival in 2003 the photos looked wonderful. "The hop-on-hop-off bus stops here".
We took a local train (what a contrast to British ones - clean uncrowded and punctual). But we found a huge expanse of abandoned weed strewn concrete without a bus or taxi in sight. The park did exist but was deserted and overgrown. We decided not to look for the museum! Luckily we eventually found a local lady who phoned for a taxi to take us back to the ship.
Maybe we should have taken the shuttle......
View Cruise Critic's Rostock (Warnemunde) Cruise Port Review
City TourWe took 4 tours here - all chosen for the least amount of walking.View All 341 City Tour Reviews
1) Day 1 - Panoramic tour with photo stops. Afternoon tour. Enjoyable.
2) Day 2 - ditto (almost the same but with St Peter and Paul Fortress) Morning tour. Enjoyable.
3) Day 2 - St Petersburg by night 11pm - 2 am. Fascinating. Best tour of all. Stopped for photos. Watched the bridges opening. Marvelled at the huge amount of boats on the river. Because there were no crowds at this time the coach could stop by the Hermitage and we got beautiful photos.
Day 3 - Shopping on Nevsky Prospect. Afternoon. We had 2 hours free time but didn't go far as it was extremely hot. But very interesting to be in Russia.
Note - all daytime tours included a stop at a souvenir shop!
StockholmThe ship docked at Nynashamn about 1 hour from Stockholm. We took the expensive Celebrity shuttle bus although with hindsight we should have waited and chosen a local one. We took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour round the city which was quite good. We felt this was a lovely city and hope to visit again.View All 12,792 Stockholm Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Stockholm Cruise Port Review
TallinnOne of only 2 "Mild Activity" excursions offered. (the other was sealspotting and very expensive). Because the old town was pedestrianised our coach couldn't take us in. We had to be content with tantalising glimpses through archways.View All 12,792 Tallinn Cruise Port Reviews
Would take the local bus next time.
View Cruise Critic's Tallinn Cruise Port Review