Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by BaaHarry
- Sail Date: July 2018
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
The Cruise cost us approximately £2k each with an additional £500.00 spent on excursions and £400 spending money. We bought the 'classic' drinks package and paid gratuities 'up front'. (Still leaving money for the cabin steward as he had looked after us so well).
The standard of the boat was excellent and the staff could not do enough to make you feel welcome and solve any problems you may have. The food in the buffet was delicious, we felt that the more formal dining was like a production line and the menu choice was not as good as the buffet so only used the resturant on three times.
As the holiday went on, we became increasing surprised/disappointed at the hidden costs. Each time the ship docked - the price of the shuttle to the main town was a flat $20.00 dollars/20 Euros each!, two of the transfers being less than 15 mins. If you wanted Wi fi in your cabin it was a further $210 for one device for two weeks.
The Classic drinks package offered any drink up to the value of $11 - but we found that many of the drinks served (in particular the cocktails) were priced at $12 each, we were told that we could 'upgrade' to the premium drinks package, but as my husband does not drink any alcohol and I only drink moderately we felt we had no need to; it was never explained that if you wanted a drink over $11 if you would be charged for the for the full cost or just the 'extra amount. In addition there was very limited non- alcoholic beers available and my husband frequently had to wait for a non-alchoholic beer to be bought from another bar. Gustav the beveridges manager was outstanding in trying to resolve the situation but we experienced the problem at least once, if not more every day.
In respect of the excursions - due to the difficulty of obtaining visas for Russia we booked three excursions via the Celebrity webs site whilst in St Petersberg. The first a trip on the canals and Rasputins home, the second to see the palace and fountains at St Petershoff and the third a 'moderate' walking tour to the Church of the spilled blood.
The first trip on the Canals, there was a mix up on the time the excurision commenced, which meant that we were left waiting to board the canal boat and also arrived at Rasputins home early and had to wait outside.
The second day, due to the volume of visitors we had to queue for 50+ mins in very high temperatures with no shade at St Peterhoff - not the ships fault but once we had gained entry we had to 'shuffle' around not being permitted to stop. On exiting to the gardens there were approximately 500,000 visitors!!! so perhaps pick a less busy time to participate in this one.
The last trip was a disaster - we booked a walking tour of St Petersburg to finish at the Church of the Spilled Blood. Although the guide was speaking English it was impossible to understand what she was saying and in the end we gave up!!! We did walk for a while, but if we walked half a mile I would have been surprised! In addition 30 mins of the walk (and the tour we paid for) we were directed into a sovenier shop! We felt that the tour was extremely poor value for money and on arriving back at the ship I spoke to the excursion team to request a refund which they were very relucant to do - offering 20% initially as 'good will' upping this to 30% after a heated discussion. I feel that the starting point should have been 100% as the whole purpose of the tour guide was to understand and appreciated what we were looking at as we could not understand her we had no idea in addition the 'walking' part was very limited and really did not match the description of what we purchased.
Overall we felt that the trips were not good value for money. There was no 'feed back' form at the end and I would suggest that Celebrity instigate implementing these so they can ensure that the trips they are promoting via their web site are value for money and are of the standard they would expect for their customers as the ones we went on certainly did not meet our expectations or the quality of the service/facilities we experienced on board.
This was our first cruise and a couple of things I would recommend that you research if you were thinking of a cruise, when booking check for any hidden extra's ie, shuttle bus, wi fi, the value of your drinks package as you could incur considerable extras. Make sure you get water for your cabin at the bar. We ordered two bottles of water to use in the kettle in the cabin at a cost of $13.00 (customer services did credit this back to us). Research what you want to see when you leave the ship - there is so much to do and only limited time so you want to make sure that you know what you want to see. Think about the size of the boat, there were 3,000 people on board and on the days at sea it was very difficult to get a sunbed round the pool and breakfast and lunch were like being in the school dining hall!
80% we had a brilliant time ; the majority of staff could not do enough for you, the food was excellent and varied; the entertainment was enjoyable, the activities varied (great 'silent' disco), the cabin and the ship spotless and embarkation/ debarkation was efficient and it was such a a pleasure not to have to go through and airport to start the holiday.
Unfortunatly the holiday was spoilt by the hidden charges and the poor quality of the excursions to St Petersburg that had been bought via the Celebrity web site.
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