My wife and I have just returned from a relaxing 10 day cruise aboard the Silhouette, we are maiden cruisers with Celebrity, having previously cruised with Princess and Cunard and this was our first cruise without our daughter, who we packed off to University only 4 days beforehand.
Embarkation in Southampton was very smooth and relaxing as we choose to spend the night before in a hotel to save on the stress of braving the M25 morning traffic. The shore staff were very efficient and made us feel very welcome.
Due to the turn around of passengers on the ship, we had to wait a couple of hours for the staterooms to be ready but the bars were open and the time passed quickly.
Our state room (deck 7, starboard, balcony cabin) was very spacious, a minor grumble would be a lack of coat hangers but on the whole we were very pleased with it. Dressing gowns were provided and it was nice to have a large shower cubicle for a change. All the way through the cruise our cleaner was brilliant, knowing our names from the 1st time he spoke to us and always happy to see us. He could not have been more helpful. The only other negative regarding the accommodation would be that there was no access to an iron, which we found strange considering the evening attire tended to be smart casual so obviously shirts and dresses were the order of the day more often than not.
The main focal point of the ship, the atrium was a little bit dated and it seemed that the glass elevators were the highlight of the area instead of the staircases and splendour that you would normally associate with it, although the ship is going in for a refit in February so I would guess this is one area that may look very different after that.
The entertainment team, led by Bethany, were the best we have ever come across on any ship we have cruised on, the talent of the singers and dancers was truly exceptional and the shows were top draw. The Celebrity Band were brilliant and the general entertainment around the ship during the day and evening were also top draw. We attended a Q&A with some of the performers and it was quite eye opening to see how the shows came together and the lengths they had to go to just to become an entertainer with celebrity.
There was always plenty to do around the ship, plenty of quizzes, art auctions and lectures etc... to keep you busy during the sea days. The indoor pool was very nice and both outdoor pools were also lovely to spend time around (just a shame they weren't a touch longer). We didn't use the gym or Sauna but both looked very good if that's what you were into. The spa area was well equit but from conversations with other guests, it was a bit pricey.
The casino area was very good but never overly busy, even in peak times, this tended to be the bar to go to if you wanted to catch up on the world sports news.
The ship had plenty of bars to choose from and we really enjoyed the service and quality of the drinks in the World Class Bar every evening. There were plenty of cocktails to choose from at every bar and all the staff were equally as good at making what you wanted. Be careful though as the classic drink package did not include all the drinks (up to $11) and even the premium package had a couple of drinks not included in it (up to $18). A slight grumble with the bars was that there never seemed to be enough seating available in the evenings and getting a drink could sometimes be challenging.
During the sea days, the lack of seating was more evident around the bar areas, although the seats that were provided were very comfy, which was probably why people tended not to vacate them once sat down!
There were plenty of well stocked shops, some you could argue were more geared towards the very high end shopper and, as such didn't seem to get to much custom other than the window shoppers. This maybe an area where possibly more seating areas could be gained instead?
Dining is probably our most contentious issue, the evening traditional dining was as good as any we have ever had, the food was 1st class but I feel the service from the wine waiter especially, could have been much better. The dress code tended to be smart casual with 2 formal nights, it was good to see so many make an effort on the formal nights with tuxedo’s a plenty as, the smart casual nights were interpreted very differently by guests, more so the gentleman, some going for a suit, others going for the jeans and shirt and some slightly less fancy in t shirts. Our issues though were with Breakfast and Lunch in the Ocean View Café. There just was not enough seating for the amount of guests on the ship and it became quite a chore to find a seat, quite often meaning you had to eat in relays in order to keep your table, which was not a nice experience. To guarantee a table you would need to go to breakfast before 8am or after 10am and the same for lunch, again you needed to get there for 12pm or after 3pm. Obviously between 8am-10am are always going to be busy, but when there is 2800 on the ship and only 680 seats in the café you can see the problem.
That said, the quality of the food was brilliant and it never seemed to run out, although my wife would have loved to see a bit more shrimp and prawns during lunch. The drink service during lunch was also a bit ‘hit and miss’ but this was probably due to the shear volume of guests in the café at peak times. The waiters/waitresses didn’t seem to just do an area and tended to float around everywhere, meaning that some times nobody asked if you would like a drink and other times 3 different waiters/waitresses would ask, but to be honest the quality of the food more than made up for this.
My wife turned 21 (again
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