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86 Rome (Civitavecchia) to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Reviews

After setting our hearts on a Baltic cruise this summer but not finding any really good value deals, we were finally tempted by a 12 day Mediterranean and Holylands cruise on the new Celebrity Silhouette, which was being promoted in a ... Read More
After setting our hearts on a Baltic cruise this summer but not finding any really good value deals, we were finally tempted by a 12 day Mediterranean and Holylands cruise on the new Celebrity Silhouette, which was being promoted in a special 3 day sale in May. Even though we had visited 75% of the ports on previous cruises, we decided it would be nice to re-visit them and see Israel as well. Normally we would reserve an inside cabin as we don't see the point of paying a premium for an outside cabin that we would normally not spend any time in. During the 3 day sale however, an outside balcony cabin was being offered with a price difference of only £100.00 per person so we decided that the small difference could be justified in this case. After booking, we joined the CC Rollcall and started to get to know some of our future cruise companions. We signed up for the Celebrity Connections party and started looking forward to our cruise. Using the Rollcall, we managed to arrange a shared minibus transfer from Rome airport to the port and got valuable tips for booking excursions in Israel. We also picked up many tips, for example stopping at a supermarket on the way to the ship to buy bottled water and on our journey to the port, our driver didn't mind pulling over so that we could all jump out to buy a six pack and a bottle of wine to have on our balcony at sailaway. On the departure day, we arrived at the port around midday and went immediately to the check-in area where we were allowed to board. The check-in process only took a few minutes and we were on the ship in no time. I did hear complaints of extensive queues and boarding times in excess of 1 hour later in the day though. At the entrance to the ship we were greeted with waiters offering wine or juice and then shown to the lifts. We were told that the cabin was ready but when we got there it was still being prepared. Our cabin attendant did however let us leave the water and our hand luggage in the cabin so that we could go and have lunch and take a look around the ship. The Oceanview Cafe was quite chaotic as it seemed that everyone had headed straight there, but we found seats on the outside rear deck and enjoyed a lovely varied lunch. The Oceanview Cafe is made up of many different stations to avoid queues and in general it was very well organized. The different stations included pasta and pizza, salads, bakery, Carvery, Mexican food, Indian curries, hot station, desserts, Ice Creams and beverages. Around 1.30 it was announced that the staterooms were ready so we went to investigate. We had been allocated cabin 6305 on a guarantee basis and this was the very last cabin at the end of the corridor. The walk did become a bit tedious after a while but the extra exercise helped to walk off a few pounds over the duration of the cruise! The cabin was very light and spacious and the dEcor was cool and classy. As we unpacked we found plenty of storage space including a double wardrobe with plenty of hangers, three large deep drawers and a long shelf unit above the bed. It was also no problem to stow the empty cases under the bed which I have not usually been able to do. The bathroom was the biggest surprise as this was more spacious than on other ships and included a large walk in shower with double sliding doors, washbasin, toilet and a large wall unit with lots of storage as well as two small drawers. The shower was a fixed head with different settings and the water pressure and temperature were perfect. The only complaints would be the lack of shower gel (only blocks of soap were provided) and the bathroom sink tap was silly in my opinion as it was not close enough to the basin and spilt water everywhere. The in-cabin t.v (32" lcd) had many channels including BBC World and Sky News as well as various movie and entertainment channels. There was also a music section with all kinds of music choices as well as the usual channel showing re-runs of recent shows and activities on the ship. One thing to note is that there was only one European and one US power point so it may be an idea to take along a double adapter for charging appliances etc. The mini bar was initially locked but could be opened by the stateroom attendant if required. The safe was of adequate size to fit in our notebook computer and other valuables. The balcony of the cabin was accessed by a sliding patio door and was larger than expected. There were two adjustable chairs/loungers and a small round table. There was total privacy and lots of peace and quiet. We never encountered anyone smoking on their balcony (and in general the smoking policy on the ship seemed fair to us as non-smokers). The afternoon was spent familiarizing ourselves with this huge ship. Starting on deck 3 at guest services we worked our way upwards exploring all of the bars, lounges, and shopping arrears. The Hideaway seemed to be one of the more popular areas on the ship during the voyage and seemed to be well-liked. There were an assortment of unusual chairs and seating areas and coffee and tea dispensers were available. Above the Hideaway was the well-stocked library and again this seemed to be well used by people reading and using their laptop computers. The ilounge on deck 6 did have many Apple computers available to use for those who did not bring their own, although the internet rates did seem a bit on the steep side with the ship advertising clearly that connections speeds were not comparable to those on land. iPads were also available for hire by the day or for the entire cruise and judging by the number of people carrying them around, this service seemed to be popular. Once up on deck 12 we came across the large stylish pool area with one adult and one children's pool as well as four Jacuzzis. Initially we appeared that there would be plenty of space and sunbeds once we got underway (that later proved to be an inaccurate judgment!). The sunbeds had comfortable cushions on them and the towels were self-service without having to check them in and out with your seapass (as with RCI). Double beds and other relaxing chairs and loungers were available in a variety of styles which was a nice touch. We noticed that there were clear signs up next to the adult pool and two adjoining Jacuzzis advising that they were for the use of guests over 16 only and that there was to be no jumping, diving or horseplay and that infants and persons in diapers were not to use them under any circumstances. These signs proved to be useless as they were blatantly ignored throughout the cruise and these rules were never enforced by the poolside staff. This became very annoying throughout the cruise as it was impossible to swim in the pool without being hit by a ball or jumped on by children being oblivious to others around them and when complaining to guest services we were told that there was nothing they could do if people chose to ignore the signs. It is worth noting that this particular cruise was made up of 80% non-English speaking clients (French/Spanish/Italian/German) and that the signs were only printed in English! Moving further through deck 12 we came to the indoor solarium which was also reserved as an adult-only space. This was very elegant with lovely comfortable sunbeds, squishy mattresses and luxurious towels. The only problem was that it was always cold (because of the air con..) and the water in the pool too was cool to say the least. The dancing water feature was a lovely touch and there were another two hot-tubs for adult use. A couple of times we did see kids trying to swim in the indoor pool and they were asked to leave by the pool attendants. I'm therefore not sure why the same could not be done in the outdoor adults pool?? Through the solarium we came to the Aqua Spa with all kinds of different treatments being advertised and there was a free prize draw being advertised. Next were the changing rooms and men's and women's saunas and lastly the fully equipped fitness centre which was open from 6am to 11pm. The equipment was very hi-tech and on the first morning it took around 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer before I was up and running. We were booked for the late dinner seating at 8.45pm and our booking confirmation said that we would be seated on a table of 8. When we were shown to our table we had been given a table of 6 with the other 4 people being Russian people who only spoke very basic English. It transpired that they had another two friends who had been placed on a table for two opposite. We therefore out of courtesy offered to exchange tables so that the three couples could sit together. We really did not want to sit alone so at the end of the meal we asked the maitre'd if there was another table we could change to for the following evening where there would be some English or American people we could speak to. We were informed that as the cruise was so full of Europeans, there were no other suitable tables unless we wanted to switch to early sitting. We therefore decided to stay where we were. The following night was formal night and due to the total lack of atmosphere in the dining room, we decided that we would try the buffet restaurant the following evening so that we could try to meet other guests. On the first morning we decided to check out the Oceanview Cafe for breakfast and we found a great breakfast selection to suit all tastes. Once again the buffet was arranged with different stations and everything felt quite organized. Throughout the cruise, we loved taking our plates out to the open-air seating area and watching the wake of the ship. After breakfast we still had not received out invitations for the Connections welcome get -together and we were excited to meet all of the people we had been chatting online with over the last few months, we paid a visit to Guest Services to find out the time and location of the get-together. We were shocked to be told that the party had taken place at 10 o'clock that morning and that we had missed it and that we must have misplaced the invitation. I insisted that we had not received any invitation in our stateroom but we received no apology or any gesture to compensate for our disappointment. Unfortunately, even by the end of the cruise, we had not managed to meet any of our online 'friends'. This, along with our disappointment about the dining room, did not put us in great spirits for the start of the cruise. On day four, we met some lovely people in one of the bars and were invited to join their table in the dining room being as they had three spare seats. We took them up on their offer and had some great evenings in the Grand CuvEe. The food we found to be just OK really - nicely presented and relatively tasty just nothing to get really excited about. The menu consisted of two sides, the first being classic favourites which were on offer every evening and the other side being the specials of the evening. As well as the main dining room, we did try the open buffet a couple of times in the evening but found that very disappointing compared to the breakfasts and lunches. The choice in the evenings was not good at all, and in the end we stopped going apart from a midnight snack after the second seating shows. The only one of the specialty restaurants that we tried was the Lawn Club Grill which was really enjoyable. Two of us decided to get 'interactive' and it was a lot of fun. The steaks and seafood were really tasty and of course well-cooked! The entertainment on board was fairly standard; during the day there was the usual mix of different trivia quizzes, port talks and other general activities and in the evenings a fairly good mix of shows and musical events. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the musical acts and a special mention has to be given to Aquadio (4 piece acappella group) and Allegria Strings ( a 3 piece string group from Ukraine). The Broadway show was well performed and the comedian Neil Austin was as hilarious as he was on the Voyager of the Seas in 2009. Port1 - Santorini. As we had visited Santorini previously we decided not to do any tours and instead we waited for everyone to go ashore and then went across ourselves. We walked up the path to the top of the hill rather than taking the donkeys or cable car which we had done before. The walk took approximately 30 minutes and shouldn't be too much trouble for anyone who is relatively fit. The walk back down took approximately 10 minutes only. As we were there until 10pm, we had the opportunity to watch the sunset from the top of the cliff which was absolutely amazing. Port 2 - Kusadasi. As we had already done Ephesus on a previous land based holiday in Turkey we decided to just have a walk around the town. There's nothing much really worth noting about Kusadasi but if anyone has any questions I will try to answer them. Port 3 - Ashdod. Here we arranged two separate full-day tours through Guided Tours Israel prior to traveling and arranged to meet their rep at 8am next to the ship. The first day was to Masada & The Dead Sea which were both great and the next day to Jerusalem & Bethlehem. Port 4 - Haifa. Initially we planned to visit Tel Aviv on the train but after various bad reports we decided to stay in Haifa. First we visited the Baha'I Gardens to take some photos of the city and then descended back to the train station where we took the train two stops to the Haifa beach. I must honestly say this is one of the best beaches I've ever been to and this was one of the nicest afternoons of the entire holiday. Port 5 - Athens. Again we had visited Athens twice before so just decided to take the new hop on hop off bus from Piraeus port into Athens. This costs €20 per person. There were stops at all of the major sights so we got off at the Acropolis, The Greek Parliament and the Temple of Zeus and then made our way back on the 16:50 bus in time for departure. Port 6 - Naples. At first we tried to get a taxi to the train station but this was impossible as the drivers only wanted to do longer journeys or full day tours. We therefore decided to take the 15 minute walk to the station and then took the 1 hour train journey to Sorrento. After a walk around the lovely town, we took the short bus ride to Positano for €7.20 return and had a thoroughly lovely day. Both towns are well worth seeing! The things we particularly liked about this cruise were; the staterooms (very spacious compared to other lines and lots of thoughtful touches). The lawn (great for laying on during busy sea days at the pool). No announcements (very annoying on other cruiselines). Beverage stations (well placed and available 24 hours a day with a good selection). Oceanview Cafe (being able to sit outdoors at the stern to take meals). Leaving and re-boarding the ship (extremely organized and trouble-free). The Champagne Brunch - this was a far better idea than the midnight buffet and the food was scrumptious (best food of the cruise). The things we didn't like were; the pool deck (far too small for the number of guests and no control whatsoever of rule-breakers). The food in general was very disappointing. We'd heard so many people say how superior the food on Celebrity was and we were left very under-whelmed by the MDR and by the evening buffet. The chairs in the MDR were the worst I have ever come across. They were far too big and heavy and on a long table it was impossible to get in and out without causing a big spectacle every time. I honestly think that wooden benches would have been more suitable than these hideous things. The biggest and most disappointing aspect of the whole cruise (and one which may stop me ever booking another Celebrity cruise) was the staff's complete unwillingness to 'control' the rulebreaking and complete ignorance of other guests. The whole pool deck was one big chaos with tens of unused sunbeds being blocked by towels and bags, children completely over-taking the outdoor pools (including the adult-only one) and a lack of staff-presence in general around this area. As a final summary, although I enjoyed most things about this cruise, I found nothing at all which in my opinion made Celebrity stand out over any other cruise line I have sailed with. If in future I was considering booking a cruise and an identical cruise was being offered by Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, I would most likely choose RCI. I hope that the Silhouette manages to resolve the blatantly obvious failings as she is a beautiful ship and deserves better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was a first cruise for both myself and my husband and it was perfect. The ship is absolutely fantastic. We cannot imagine for us how it can be bettered. From start to finish everything was great. Embarkation for us was a very ... Read More
This was a first cruise for both myself and my husband and it was perfect. The ship is absolutely fantastic. We cannot imagine for us how it can be bettered. From start to finish everything was great. Embarkation for us was a very easy process. We were travelling concierge class. We only booked the cruise through our agent, Viva Voyage (highly recommend) and made our own separate arrangements to travel to Rome spending one day there before the cruise and two days after. We travelled Jet 2 then took the bus to Rome then the following day the train from Rome to civitavecchia. Easy and we met lots of cruise passengers along the way. We arrived at the ship at about midday and were on board for about 12.30. Our prepaid drinks package was not on but was sorted out in 1 minute at Guest relations. Still no queues at that point. Our first view of the interior of Silhouette did the wow factor for us! We liked the ocean view cafe with its huge outside deck and the grand cuvee is beautiful. The shops arcade and theatre, library and observations decks were great as is the grassy Lawn Club. We looked around the pool decks which are nice and the excellent fitness centre. We do not like hoards of people around so knew we would not be by the pool but would find a quiet spot to relax. So our thoughts as first time cruisers. The stateroom was better than than we anticipated it was spacious and very light. Our attendant was superb bright and cheerful and she is to be highly commended. The cabin could do with some more drawers rather than hanging space but it was not a problem. The shower was good and the on demand films etc excellent with all news channels. We were happy meeting people on the Lawn club and ocean view deck rather than on the pool deck and reading and sunbathing on our own veranda was heaven. The pool deck looked too much like sardine cramming. We cannot comment on the behaviour of people as we did not go there. The shows we went to 2 were ok but nothing special but to be honest we were happier watching films after our port days and dinners. The food we have not had better in any part of the world we have visited and we felt no need to go to the specialty restaurants. We always breakfasted on deck in the Oceanview cafe. It was never crowded, lots of people but more than enough food and places. For lunch if we could! there was salad in The Ocean view or a burger on the Mast head on Deck. We could never fault the food.Icecreams were available all day. I miss them! As to dinner we were on select dining. The waiters were fantastic, we certainly never came across any that needed training! Everyone without exception was good, attentive and we so enjoyed it. Our thanks particularly to Ivana, TW and assistant and our friend from Bulgaria and Indonesia who made our dinners so much fun. The quality of the food and choice was superb .We had amongst others the best tornedo rossini, duck, lamb and salmon dishes.The brunch on the final sea day was excellent so much so that a large number of guests were filming. Do not miss it! Our one gripe is that we were surprised that the dress code was not really observed in the dining room, it should be jeans and t shirt should be banned and the behaviour of some families with children Particularly Italian families should be checked. We have 3 children but would never have allowed them to behave in such a way. It is unfair to those dining around but unless a code is put into place and observed which should be done then the behaviour will carry on. It did not affect us too much but there were rumblings from people we spoke to. Children and pushchairs should not be allowed into restaurants in the evening.The buffet is available and should always be available. I am sure all reasonable parents would understand this!! Apart from this perfect. As to shore excursions, we did our own every time. Sorry organised tours are not for us. In Santorini We got the tender to Fira, the cablecar then the local bus to Oia and back. We did everything at our own pace. All details found on web for bus times etc Athens We were intending to take the metro to the Acropolis but as soon as we left the boat we saw the red hop on hop off Athens Bus. We hopped on (22 euros each) took the tour to the Acropolis then hopped back on for the remainder of the tour then back to the boat. Brilliant and avoided all the walking in the heat Israel. We had family here and were very disappointed about not going to Ashdod but understood. It did not spoil anything. For two days we had the services of Matyo who we can highly recommend. 0525762086. He was on the port in Haifa where together with 8 other passengers who we just met, he took us on two great days around Israel to Acre, Rosh Hanikra and Jerusalem. He also took our friends to the Dead Sea and Massada, a really good guy reliable and reasonable rates. In Haifa you are also next to the train station Naples We had intended to go to Capri but the hydrofoil queues were too bad so plan b we walked to the station and caught the train to Sorrento. Beautiful,you can always stop in Pompei too Rome Hotels booked via travelrepublic and Last minute. Great. Used open top red hop on hop off bus . Visit the Vatican on Saturday afternoon no queues! Also get your ticket for the forum/Colosseum at the forum. Less queues! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We booked a family cruise, including retired parents, brother and sister and their teenage sons to the Eastern Mediterranean. Flew from Heathrow to Rome for embarkation at Civitavecchia, which was quite un-organised and with ittle ... Read More
We booked a family cruise, including retired parents, brother and sister and their teenage sons to the Eastern Mediterranean. Flew from Heathrow to Rome for embarkation at Civitavecchia, which was quite un-organised and with ittle assistance for elderly parents. Once aboard, we found the Silhouette spacious and comfortable, with plenty of room in the deck 7 balcony staterooms. The dining experience was very good, particularly the Grand Curvee double height dining room for formal dinner and the Lawn Club Grill for DIY BBQ's. Favourite activities were the dance & art classes, gym and lectures. The service was friendly and usually prompt, but lacked the attention to detail found on the Cunard line, e.g offering an alternative rather than just "no" if something is not available or possible. The entertainment was very good, from the individual musicians (zylo-synth, violin, A Cappela vocals to the orchestra, jazz band, circus perfromers, show dancers and singers. Our port excursions to Santorini, Athens, Haifa and Naples were efficient and well managed, the one to Jerusalem less so. By contracts to embarkation, the process of disembarkation was smooth and efficient. In summary a very good experience, excellent value for money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Great ship with some faults, maybe we expected too much? It is without doubt that the Silhouette is a beautiful ship. In my review I try to make some observations for future passengers to take into account. We booked aft balcony ... Read More
Great ship with some faults, maybe we expected too much? It is without doubt that the Silhouette is a beautiful ship. In my review I try to make some observations for future passengers to take into account. We booked aft balcony cabins on the 22 August 2011 departure for the holy land cruise. We are a couple in the mid thirties from Finland. Arrival: We stayed at Best Western Santina pre/post cruise. Located next to Roma Termini, it provided a very good connection to Civitavecchia by taking a straight train between Termin and Civitavecchia. Upon arrival in Civitavecchia, it is about a 10-15 minutes easy walk to the shuttle buss station. It is not clearly marked but you can just follow fellow passengers walking in the same direction. The shuttle buss service was OK. Check in: Compared to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, this was a mess. It was very confusing where to delivery your suitcases. There were rows and crowds everywhere (later we found out that this behaviour was mainly due to fellow cruise ship passenger). After delivering your bags, you had to go into a tent and a large crowd was trying to push itself through one door. People really did their best to go in front of you. Once in the check in line, it went smoothly. But the unclear marking, pushing of other passenger in the Italian heat was not a pleasant experience. Room: We had an aft balcony room on the 8th floor. It was a very clean and nice room. We were a bit disappointed by the balcony as it was smaller than expected (e.g. RCI Jewel has great spacious aft balconies). The bathroom was really nice and clean. However, the shower was a "non moving" shower, so you could not take it off. That is a minus. The bed and pillows were just extraordinarily great. The tv is a flatscreen with free movies, ample tv channales, individual music selections, possibilities to order room service, etc. That reminds me of room services. We ordered breakfast room services 10 out of 12 nights and always delivered accordingly (time and food (food being quite standard, but it beats to have a coffee and porridge on the balcony instead of the buffet). Also once we ordered room service during the day and got delivered right on time (and was actually delicious). Ship: Without a doubt, the Silhouette is the nicest cruise ship we have ever been on. A beauty. Everything is so new, elegant and so many places you can discover. The bars, clubs, lounges, cafe's, everything was really beautiful and well designed. What a nice and luxuruous ship. Btw: muster drill takes place via screens in allocated public areas, very convenient. Entertainment: Compared to other cruises we have bee, the entertainment in the theatre was OK, but not outstanding.The bands in on the ship playing at different venues were really good and entertaining though (even when playing at the pool doing daytime, the sound was way too loud). The cruise director was mainly seen at the theatre events only. I do not mind if the cruise director does not pop up all the time at any event, but he didn't really appear in public throughout the cruise. Food: MDR: As our view on holidays is to relax, and wearing suits, etc. at work most of the time, we prefer to keep those clothes at home. Therefore we usually do not attend the MDR dinners, including this cruise. We were there once for brunch, which was really nice. Even beware, they sell "champagne" during brunch, but what you get is sparkling wine. 15USD for 2 sparkling wines isn't a good deal. Commenting did not help. Paid venues: We used the coffee bar once, which was really good. Oceanview Cafe Breakfast: We used the breakfast buffet twice. Standard fare and busy. In addition we used the Spa cafe a few times for breakfast. At the end, certain items were sold out (Vitalinea yoghurt drinks e.g.). Spa cafe has nice dishes, but the prepared fruitplates did not contain a lot of fruit, so you had to take several plates in order to have a decent breakfast. Oceanview Cafe Lunch: We used frequently. There was quite a selection of food. Including the all day/night long pizza and pasta buffet and the ice cream stand (which had really delicious icecream. Try to avoid the lines at certain times though). However, the variation of the food throughout the cruise was not very good. Very repetetive selection, always the same Indian, Mexican and slight variation at the Asian corner. Same with desserts. The food also didn't taste that great. Especially from Celebrity we would have expected different. Also the food was not hot/warm. Once you managed to find a table and sit and eat, most of the dishes were already cold. Royal Caribean definitely tops Celebrity on this item. The salad buffet is really nice, but also here were items sold out (the guy at the salad bar was "hiding" the cherry tomatoes and only put them on your plate upon request. I find this very bad logistics from Celebrity. Also note the Mast Grill at the pool serves really nice burgers. Recommended. Oceanview Cafe Dinner: We used the dinner buffet every evening. Same comments as above for the lunch, with the exception that the selection during dinner was limited to 1/3 - 1/2 of the lunch buffet, which meant even less variation throughout the cruise. A real pity and disappointment. Again, Royal Caribean offers a lot better quality. The good thing was the dinner was relatively quiet from people point of view and you could have a really nice dinner outside. Oceanview General comments: The most negative thing about the Oceanview cafe were the follow passenger and mainly the Europeans (read: Italians) (and not I am European myself). They were very loud, occupying a lot of space, pushing, getting in front of lines. It was extremely annoying. During lunch it was extremely busy. People did not adhere to the dress code (people walking only with swimming pants on!). Another issue was the people were filling up their water bottles at the drink station. They put the water bottles on the lid itself, which is extremely unhygienic. We went to guest relations 3 times, spoke with the manager of Oceanview cafe 2 times, but nothing was done (please note this behaviour can cause a virus outbreak). Guest Relations: As mentione above, we addresses a certain issue to Guest Relations 3 times, but nothing was done. The 3rd time we went there, the person at the desk was very disinterested. Pool: One negative aspect of Celebrity's wonderful lay out is that there is not enough space for the pool(s) and more important, sun lounging areas. A lot of space has been taken by restaurants/grassfield. This means, the pool/lounging areas were very crowded and simply not enough space. Add to this our wonderful fellow passengers reserving seats without using them, reserving seats for both shade and sun side, you have to be there quite early if you want to enjoy a full day of sun. We used our balcony and came to the sun lounging area around 4pm, then you were able to find some space. Shops: As usual on cruise ships. Smoking: There were certain allocated areas for smoking. I thought it was OK, but I can imagine people having a cabin on deck 6, right above the allocated smoking area on desk 5. What a smell and noice it would have been. Crew: Everyone was friendly and polite. The captain was funny and charming and appeared quite often "in public". Everyone was very nicely dressed. Fellow Passengers: This was one of the main negative issues on our cruise experience. I have read in the past some comments from people that they mentioned "beware, this cruise has a lot of Europeans". Whilst one cannot categorize a nation or a continent in one group, I can now understand the phrase "beware, this cruise has a lot of Europeans". During our cruise, we thought back often of our Caribean cruises, where the passenger were predominantly from North America and a lot more polite than on this cruise. We felt there were a lot of southern Europeans (read: Italians) and they have other manners then we are used to. Ignoring line ups during lunch/dinner, pushing, loud, occupying was too many seats for a too long time, going into the elevator without others letting out first, going out of the elevator but keep discussing with their family still in the elevator while all other guests had to wait for this. over occupying sun loungers. Please take into account this fact when travelling during European summer holidays on a European cruise. Excursions: We almost always arrange our excursions ourselves. Only for Israel had an exception. We booked our trip through cruise.com and got a message from cruise.com shortly before our departure we were signed up for a vacations vignettes program and received a free excursion to Nazareth. Whilst this came to us as a surprise, rather than organizing this trip ourselves, we attended the excursion and thought it was really well organized and a very goog guide Telling a lot about Israel. As our port of call Ashdod got cancelled due to security measures, we made the last moment decision to go to Jerusalem/Bethlehem by a Celebrity Organised tour. It was 189USD pp. But a quick calculation showed the a cabs to Haifa-Palestinian border-Bethlehem-Israeli border-Haifa alone would cost more than the whole excursion. From organisational point we thought it was a good choice to take the Celebrity excursion. Negative points were, no water or anything provided during the tour. We left at 8am and our lunch stop was at 2pm and no possibility for any food/drinks during that time. The group was large (40-50 persons) and Jerusalems streets are narrow, so it was a challenge to stay with the group, follow the guide and listen to the information provided. Also the lunch at a hotel in Jerusalem was not spectacular. The Bethlehem part was really interesting, especially the border crossing and the "wall". At least 1/3 of the time was spent in a souvenirshop. Luckily it was right next to the "wall", so you could explore this instead a bit. The was one tender port, Santorini. Please note that if you do not take any tickets to take an allocated tender departure, you have to wait 2-2.5 hours to get on the tender (and in addition stand in line for the cable car up to Fira, so not much time left in Santorini). Overall: The ship itself was very nice, the intinary was very interesting. The stateroom was clean and nice. The staff was very polite. The aft balcony was a bit disappointing. The buffet food was diappointing and you have to beware of the issue of having a lot of southern European fellow passengers. As mentioned above, in my review I try to make some observations for future passengers to take into account. They are critical, but wanted to assure everyone we had a great and wonderful cruise on a wonderful ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
What a pleasure to be on the brand new Celebrity Silhouette. The ship was beautiful and everything as befitting a new ship was in pristine condition. Celebrity did a wonderful job of designing the public spaces on the ship. Despite its ... Read More
What a pleasure to be on the brand new Celebrity Silhouette. The ship was beautiful and everything as befitting a new ship was in pristine condition. Celebrity did a wonderful job of designing the public spaces on the ship. Despite its size the ship never felt crowded unless you were at the pool. We booked the Holyland cruise as we really liked the fact that the itinerary gave us 4 days in Israel and an opportunity to see a number of important sites. Although we didn't get to see as much as we hoped as due to security concerns, the ship did not move from Haifa to Ashdod as originally planned. We never really knew why the decision was made as a Royal Caribbean and Princess ship did move to Ashdod at the same time. Maybe because the Silhouette was a brand new ship, Celebrity was reluctant to take any chances. I have to respect their judgment, but it did mean that we could not get to Masada and the Dead Sea. While our private tour company would have been willing to take us, our group decided that 3+ hours in a bus each way was not how we wanted to spend our time. Plus it would have meant we would have arrived in Masada when the lines for the cable car were the longest. We decided rather than be disappointed, we would use it as a reason to visit again. In the category of disappointment, it appears that Celebrity sold a large number of cabins to another cruise line. What that meant for us was that we had a large number of first time cruisers who had no idea as to proper behavior on board a ship. It got to the point where we avoided the buffet at peak hours as you would have thought these people were worried that Celebrity would run out of food. The whole ambiance of the ship was changed and I felt like I was on a Carnival cruise. I understand that there were also something like 300 children on board. While I endorse broadening a child's horizon with travel, clearly a large number of parents felt that they could abdicate any responsibility for their children. There were children who had nothing better to do than push every button in an elevator or run up and down the halls at all hours of the day. There were so many complaints about misbehaving children that Celebrity made sure that there was security in the Solarium because children were running all over that area and using the adults only facilities. On my comment card, I said that if I had not cruised with Celebrity before and had to judge them based on the current cruise, chances are I wouldn't be back. So what I have learned is never again cruise in the summer. I will be back on the Silhouette in April and am hopeful that the experience will be much more like the usual Celebrity experience. There were definitely some high points on the cruise and I will talk more about them in the port section of the review. We were very pleased with the meals in the main dining room - Grand Cru. The food overall was top notch and the noise level in the restaurant seemed better than on other Celebrity ships. The buffet was well designed and provided an ample choice for breakfast. lunch and dinner. The only specialty restaurant we used on this trip was The Tuscan Grille and the meal was exceptional. I like the location of the restaurant and the menu was great. We did have lunch at The Porch which for $5 provided a quiet area with a menu that focused on paninis and salads. We tried to dine at Bistro on Five, but ended up with a less than satisfactory experience. As we dined in the Bistro on other ships and enjoyed the experience, I will chalk this up to still working out the kinks. When we went to the Bistro, only 3 tables were filled. After ordering and waiting 35 minutes with no food we decided to leave. Other tables around us were receiving their orders, but we were ignored. We definitely didn't order anything special, just regular items from the menu. We'll give it another try in April with hopefully better results. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We left Montreal for Rome on Aug 6th . I wanted us to enjoy this city before our HOLYLAND cruise . Our flight was on AIR SARDINE CAN ,,,better known as AIR TRANSAT . Food on flight was horrid as were the narrow seats Very difficult to ... Read More
We left Montreal for Rome on Aug 6th . I wanted us to enjoy this city before our HOLYLAND cruise . Our flight was on AIR SARDINE CAN ,,,better known as AIR TRANSAT . Food on flight was horrid as were the narrow seats Very difficult to relax or sleep . WE arrived in Rome ,gathered our stuff and met our driver from ROME CABS...punctual,reliable very professional..... to take us to our Hotel in NORTH ROme The SUNRISE . Hotel was charming,clean . Staff was nice,bathroom was very big breakfast was more than adequate .Lovely hotel I found CHEAp on Hotwire .True far from everything in a residential area but the quiet was very appreciated , WEnt to 2 restaurants in the area which were fine. I enjoyed the flea market in the neighbourhood Bus # 60 brought us quickly into town WE walked for miles everywhere in Rome Saw the main sites . Got lost often ...walked some more ...Rome was nice and VERY HOT Food was so-so .. Pizza and Pasta all the time and NOT cheap to boot . You realize how GREAT we have it here when comparing prices A good meal was over 60 EUROS per person TRANSLATION 90$ ...OUCH Like I said NOT CHEAP!!!!With all due respect to Rome I found food very ordinary ...our Italian food HERE in Montreal is WAY better and not as expensive Rome cabs picked us up and 6 others for our transfer to CIVITAVECCHIA ...once again reliable,punctual very professional BRAVO STEFANO A bit of a madhouse in Civitavecchia for registration and baggage handling but doable Ship was sparkling clean.WE headed for our cabin dropped everything off ,locked valuables off to lunch at buffet . Big beautiful layout .lovely dishes Food stations I enjoyed the Indian/Asian station . Ate outdoors ...nIce First night out on balcony DREADFUL smoking odors . Called guest services sent someone to check Lo and behold we were midship SMACk on top of a smoking venue .Never told about our cabin choice having this ...... BOO CELEBRITY You told me I had a GREAT cabin NOT SO ! !!!At night below us people would gather to smoke and YAK YAK very loudly forgetting we were above them I wrote to Hotel Manager who poopooed my complaint ..did not offer anything to pacify us Cabin was too cold or too hot with AC blowing on us when sleeping ....poor design Caught cold FROZE all cruise .I had the wrong clothes next time I will bring sweaters ...lots of them ..not cute summer dresses Food in dining room was more MISS then Hit .Soups were either too salty or insepid ..meat was tough like old leather ...not too impressed with any meal Friends went to specialty restaurants and got VIolently ill Some said food was not any better plus very expensive over and above cruise rate I refused to go and pay extra for same stuff Service was fine .They tried to please but some events were beyond their control WE asked for chicken soup one night It was horrible I offered to make one for them . The chef must get a more hands on approach ...duh how about tasting it before you serve it to guests !!!Some of the food was downright horrid ...nothing like Millie Apparently new menu does not mean improved .Hello Celebrity WHA HAPPENED????Get Millies Chef FAST and improve food on Silly wet The itinerary was great WE had private tours everywhere . Santorini tendering was a MESS but we finally got there Beautiful place but hard on the legs and knees...all uphill or downhill but very lovely EPHESUS was very interesting Enjoyed that excursion a lot . Carpet demo interesting but way overpriced Israel was AWESOME .Our guide was a hoot I called her a GAZELLE she would zoom everywhere Loved Zefat and our lunch in Tiberius Jerusalem Massada and Dead Sea UNIQUE Athens we hung around PIRAEUS Naples we did AMALFI coast ...a feast for the eyes . EVERYWHERE it was HOT HOT HOT .WE had water bottles and very comfy vans Evenings we were to dead tired to do much after dinner .WE did see a few shows which were OK I enjoyed the acrobats Pool was too small .NO THALASSOTHERAPY pool here ..BOOHOO I could have used one after exhausting days touring All in all cruise was very intense in history but EXHAUSTING due to the heat and the miles we walked !!! So all in all Silhouette was ok but I expected better .Smoking issue bothered me a LOT .Food was a total disappointment Cavalier attitude of senior staff was VERY disappointing ...learn from MILLENIUM STAFF THEY were the BEST EVER !!!! Quality contriol must get on Silhouette and fix the problems I mentioned Not too sure If I would go CELEBRITY again ...too bad because I really liked Millie Michele Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My husband and I are very experienced cruisers we have sailed on Seabourn Silversea, Crystal, Regent, and Princess to name a few so we were very curious how Celebrity Silhouette would hold up. The ship is beautiful, decorated in a elegant ... Read More
My husband and I are very experienced cruisers we have sailed on Seabourn Silversea, Crystal, Regent, and Princess to name a few so we were very curious how Celebrity Silhouette would hold up. The ship is beautiful, decorated in a elegant and understated style she never feels as large as she is so we were very pleased. We stayed in Aqua Class and found the room to be very comfortable especially the bed and other than small storage areas it worked out nicely. I loved the shower and T.V. system. The staff are friendly and very well trained. We ate in Blu most nights and found the service and food to be very good but my husband thought the menu was a little too minimalistic, I liked it. Our small experience with the main dinning room was to have lunch there a couple of times but we were not pleased with the service. We ate lunch most days in the buffet and they out did themselves with food choices but on sea days it can get a bit crowded but it is worth it. The outdoor grill needs a few more choices but the hamburger is delicious. Specialty restaurants: We ate at the Lawn Club first and it was on a port day so it was not windy the steak was perfectly cooked and the service was excellent. Next we ate at Murano this is a very special restaurant and if your looking for excellent food and amazing service this is the place, they go out of their way to please you. Next we ate at Tuscan it was beautiful but the service could have been a bit better maybe they were busy that night I don't know but the food was fab. I have no comment on shows we never go but we do go to the casino most nights and found the staff to be very friendly and there was lots to do if you like to gamble. We tour on our own so no comment on shore excursions. The pool was a mad house on sea days it was impossible to find a chair as most of the people got up at the crack of dawn to put their stuff on the chairs so we stayed away. We tried the Alcoves on one port day and were not very impressed. The Alcoves do not face the water or the views they face the lawn and after 5min looking at the lawn there is nothing else to look at, they should have thought this through. the Captain on the ship is the friendliest Captain I have ever sailed with and his mid day comments were something I began to look forward to. All in all we had a very pleasant time my only big suggestion to Celebrity is if your going to have a dress code and my preference would be smart casual as it is easier to pack for you should enforce it. On formal nights my husband and I took the time to dress appropriately but found people in all types of dress everywhere. No one seemed to care and my husband was not pleased he had to be uncomfortable. I will sail this ship again, the quality you get for the price cannot be beat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We arrived one day before cruise,stayed in hotel Traiano in Civitaveccia,decent size room,clean,good breakfast,highly recommend. We had great time overall,with few exceptions. What we did not like: Shows - outdated and ... Read More
We arrived one day before cruise,stayed in hotel Traiano in Civitaveccia,decent size room,clean,good breakfast,highly recommend. We had great time overall,with few exceptions. What we did not like: Shows - outdated and boring.On the other side,some costumes were interesting and unique. Smoking policy - Smoking is allowed in some public areas,but not on stateroom's balcony.I 'd rather people smoke on their balconies instead of any public areas. Customer Relations desk is next to dance floor area where music is played,and music is played there even when there is no dance.I could barely hear customer relations person over all the music,and we had to yell.Not the best location for such place. No wrap-around deck,no place to walk outside,only small area on deck 5.Jogging track is in between loungers above pool deck,so it gets crowded and slows you down even when you are walking by,let alone jogging. Do I need to hear all announcements repeated 5 times in a row,in 5 different languages??? One TV channel should be allocated for that. In fairness,fortunately there were not too many announcements. On 2 occasions,in main restaurant,they forgot to bring us salads. Buffet food selections are pretty limited,and olive oil is available only when salad station is open during lunch.Any other time,you have to ask for it,which does not make any sense,since any other condiment is readily available. Connie tour guide in Capri,her main purpose was to get us spend some money,buy showing us ways around via shops,even though we asked for shortest way,making us wait for ferry tickets back to the ship,and even directing us going back via shops,when clearly was not the best way back.To get money,you have to provide service,not push you to buy stuff,we have same at home for cheaper price. Liked:ship's layout,food in main dining room,service in general,room service,adult-only pool area,our cabin - concierge class veranda,our itinerary. We definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Having just returned from the Holy Land Cruise on the new ship Silhouette, I thought I would like to vent some frustrations as well as point out the things Celebrity does well. The Pre Cruise Hotel Empire Palace in Rome was ... Read More
Having just returned from the Holy Land Cruise on the new ship Silhouette, I thought I would like to vent some frustrations as well as point out the things Celebrity does well. The Pre Cruise Hotel Empire Palace in Rome was clean and comfortable. The rooms although small by American standards, provided more comfort than we expected for a European Hotel. Transfers were on time and the ride was comfortable to the port. Once we arrived at the port it was bedlam. The lines for boarding were excessive. We were in concierge class and select status but we still waited in Disney type lines in a hot building. The process took over an hour. Our prepaid drink package was not on our sea pass and we had to go to guest relations to get it sorted. The cabin was on deck 10 and aft. Our veranda accumulated ash from the smoke stacks. Cabin stewards Reynaldo and Michael were exceptional. The washed the veranda and furniture in the morning so the ash was only a minor inconvenience. It seemed the ship had a problem selling the cabins and resorted to a practice we had not seen before on Celebrity. The empty cabins were filled by many Europeans who seemed to get a bargain. They had many children (infants up) and were rude and loud. The children lived in the pools along with their diapers, went into the no children hot tub and pool near the spa. Celebrity officials looked the other way. It was upsetting when the mothers and grandmothers changed the dirty diapers and bathed the children in the public shower next to the pool on deck 12. They even were allowed to run around in the Specialty restaurant Qsine during our dinner. The food was up to Celebrity standards; however our waiter and assistant waiter were not experienced or simply did not care. Drinks ordered were not delivered; steak knives appeared long after the steak was served. They certainly need more training. One hour before sailing from Haifa (about 9PM) to Ashdod in Israel the captain announced that we were staying in Haifa for two more days. This only was a problem for those of us that had prepaid tours from Ashdod and we had to re do itineraries at some extra cost. We felt that they could have announced the diversion sooner, so our tours could have been changed with more thought. My wife and I felt that Celebrity did not fulfill their mission on this cruise Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We booked this cruise last April 2010 and had been looking forward to what we hoped would be an amazing cruise experience having only cruised before on Louis Cruise line, Ocean Village 2 and P&O's Oceana last year. We expected ... Read More
We booked this cruise last April 2010 and had been looking forward to what we hoped would be an amazing cruise experience having only cruised before on Louis Cruise line, Ocean Village 2 and P&O's Oceana last year. We expected Celebrity and her new ship to be a superior cruise line and have come away with mixed feelings. On the whole we had a great holiday on Silhouette and have come home feeling very sad that we have had to leave her behind! She is a beautiful ship and never having sailed on a Solstice ship before we were blown away by the stylish, modern interior, amazing choice re bars and dining venues and sheer size. The Hideaway (which we believe is new) is a great new area. The cabin was fabulous and we were more than happy with our SV view and layout of the cabin (with the bed near the balcony). The cabin became our 'sanctuary' on sea days when the pool areas were really noisy and most sunbeds 'taken'. The benefit of a SV meant that we had the sun nearly all day, every day and most days there was also an area of shade (which suited hubby and I as he prefers the shade, while I am more of a greenhouse flower!)We found the cabin to be extremely quiet and never heard a thing from those around us! We also found that the balcony was very private and we could only be seen from above if we were right by the rails. Despite what we had read on previous reviews we were pleased to find that we had got more than enough cupboard & storage space. We chose to keep the mini bar and this was really useful. We didn't use it alot but we found that it very convenient and we had enough space to store our own wine bottles inside. We did not find the walk to the lifts too bad, and failed to see why other passengers have complained. Similarly, we did not experience an issue with soot on the balcony as some passengers had and found that the cabin staff hosed it down each day to remove any tiny particles of soot that may be there. Our cabin steward was delightful. The only criticism of the cabin was that we were unable to lower the temperature below 21 degrees and we found that it was really hot at night. All in all though we would give the cabin 10 / 10 We chose Select Dining and found that we had different experiences depending where we were placed. If you get a choice ask for table 409 - a nice table for 2 beside the balcony area where the service from the 'team' in that area is first class. Our wine steward, waiter and assistant waiter were fabulous and we could not fault them at all. Unfortunately, across the other side of the dining room things tended to be less efficient and not as friendly - some of the staff were ok, but the majority needed a course re people management! We found that the food in the main dining area was generally not of a standard we had expected from Celebrity, it definitely was not as good as the food we had received on Oceana last year and were generally disappointed. It wasn't inedible, but sometimes rather bland. The best part of the meals was definitely the deserts, so well done to whoever is responsible for them! We ate at Qsine and Muranos as well and found that the quality of the food at Muranos was the best we had experienced on the ship - but at £100 extra it should be! Service in both of these restaurants was generally good, though at Qsine we did feel that the staff tried too hard and sometimes we just wanted to be left alone to eat and enjoy our meals without someone asking us if everything was ok about every 3 minutes. We would give food in the main dining room a 7 / 10 and the other 2 restaurants a 9 / 10. Service in the dining room has to vary from 10 / 10 to the team near table 409 and 3 / 10 for some of the others on the other side of the dining room. The food at lunchtime in the Oceanview Restaurant was excellent, with a huge variety of choice. After a few days we found that the most peaceful spot for breakfast was right at the back outside. Very relaxing. We had room service a number of times for breakfast and it became a bit of a joke that they never (out of 5 times) got it right ! Not sure if we were doing something wrong with the cards or there was a problem at their end! We laughed it off, but can imagine that it could have annoyed other guests. We ate in the buffet restaurant on one occasion and did not find the choice that good and service from the staff particularly friendly. Strange, as it was so good during the day. We did not watch any of the shows etc so can not comment on them. We were, however, very impressed with the band Sipra who performed most days / evenings. There was generally a good range of entertainment around the ship during the day and around the pool and it was of a generally high standard. We'd give 9 / 10 for that. The Solarium was a fantastic escape from the heat and also the noise around the pool area. The pool was very cool though, but a great place to chill out and enjoy a child free swim. Unfortunately, we can not say the same about the pool area which seemed pretty chaotic most of the time and on sea days we chose to stay on our balcony and have room service. By 10 am it was impossible to find a decent sunbed (or any empty sunbed) and it was really frustrating to find most sunbeds empty but covered by blue towels. I got the feeling that someone had been up early and reserved their whole family a sunbed at the expense of any other passenger. The pool rules were generally ignored by a huge chunk of the passengers and it was almost impossible to use the adults only outdoor pool without children and teenagers diving in, messing about etc etc. The Celebrity staff did nothing at all to ensure that the rules were enforced which was disappointing and caused a lot of antagonism between guests. For the outdoor pool areas we'd give about 3 / 10 as it just was not for us and was far too 'chaotic'. Not a fault of the design of the ship but because no one bothered to enforce the rules. We loved trying out the different bars each evening - our favourites became the Passport Bar and the Martini Bar. The staff here were very professional and friendly and we can't fault them at all. 10 / 10 there and thank you! I know that on some reviews people have had an issue with smoking areas. I am pleased to say that we did not have this problem or see anyone breaking the rules. Formal nights were a little disappointing. Though we are not 'dressy' people we found that the formal nights lacked atmosphere, not just because many people totally disregarded the dress codes, but because they seemed to lack the 'buzz' / atmosphere we had experienced last year on P&O. It was annoying to see a lot of people ignoring the dress code and get away with it --- why? One thing that we thought was lacking was that the Captain and senior staff were almost invisible! We knew that there would be no announcements on Celebrity but we came home having missed just the odd announcement from the Captain at sail-aways or when passing a sister cruise ship. One announcement at noon lacked 'oomph' and just did not create the atmosphere and excitement we had expected. The excursions we took with Celebrity were excellent and could not be faulted. The trip to Massada and the Dead Sea was an incredible experience and would go on the cruise again just to repeat this day. We were more than happy that the ship had not gone to Egypt and enjoyed our visits to Ephesus and Galilee. We have come away with some amazing memories of the places we have visited and found that Celebrity organised the daily 'mass evacuation' of the ship to our tour buses really well. 10 / 10 for the ports of call and excursions. We had cancelled out premium drinks package and were glad that we did as we only spent £600 on drinks rather than the £880 it would have cost us. Thanks to anyone on Cruise Critic for the advise given re drinking water - we stocked up with bottles at each port and saved a lot of money not having to use Celebrity's rather expensive bottled water ! We had expected drinks on the ship to be very expensive, but were pleasantly surprised that they were generally of a typical 4 star price (UK) and the measures more than large enough! On one occasion we happened to mention that we could not taste one of the cocktails and the waiter appeared with another large shot 'on the house'!Going that extra mile to make passengers happy is what we had expected. Reading this back it seems a little negative. We did have a great holiday and if Celebrity put right the things that we felt were not up to our expectations we would be booking Silhouette for August 2012 rather than looking through a P&O brochure. We are really fond of The Silhouette as we have watched it develop from a lump of metal in March 2010 into a simply stunning ship. Though we had a good holiday we feel that she now deserves better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This is my first review on Cruise Critic! I've been cruising for many years and have enjoyed my various experiences. For this review, my family and I cruised on the month old Celebrity Silhouette. This was my second time on Celebrity, ... Read More
This is my first review on Cruise Critic! I've been cruising for many years and have enjoyed my various experiences. For this review, my family and I cruised on the month old Celebrity Silhouette. This was my second time on Celebrity, as well as my second Mediterranean cruise (first for both was on the Celebrity Summit). This was my first time in the Eastern Mediterranean. I've always been a fan of Celebrity with their excellent service and fine cuisine. However, this time, I had some concerns with the Celebrity service. Otherwise, I had a great time with the Silhouette. Check-in Check-in was horrible. For some reason, Civitavecchia has not invested in a permanent terminal for cruisers. In fact, that day, there were at least five other cruise ships. The first problem I had was that Celebrity did not automatically send me luggage tags beforehand. With previous cruise ships as well as Celebrity, I have always been sent tags ahead of time. I did not know that guests had to request them before hand. This was noticeable when many guests had to ask for tags at the port. However, when I did line up for tags, an elderly Italian woman decided it was okay to skip the whole line to get tags as she had a "note" from her doctor that she had a bad back. In fact, she was very aggressive and pushed her way through. I did not know that having a "bad back" allowed you to skip the line. In fact, if you have a "bad back," I suggest you not cruise! To me she looked fine and was clearly taking advantage. What was worse was that the person who handled the tags defended her and allowed her to skip. This angered most of the line. After sending the bags, we entered the tent of hell. A dock worker handed me a health form to fill out. Since we were in a Concierge Class cabin, one person in my party asked where our priority line was. She did not know and in fact, I don't think she understood English. Anyway, once inside, it was chaos and hell. The "priority line" was just as long as the regular line. In fact, there were some that clearly were not allowed on the priority line on it. Also, the same woman with the "bad back" was able to skip the line again. In addition to Mrs. Back, There were numerous elderly Italians who ran right past the lines and ran to the nearest desk as soon as it opened up. Workers didn't enforce the blatant line cutting and some workers were chatting with each other. Once at a desk, the woman who checked us in was pleasant and efficient. However, the worker next to her did not know what he was doing and constantly asked her for help. Another thing I noticed during check-in was that there was someone from the ship was walking around the check-in area asking people if they wanted to make reservations at the specialty restaurants. Apparently Celebrity is more concerned about making dinner reservations rather than to help improve check-in or build a permanent building for cruise ships. However, check-in was pretty quick and we made our way to the ship. The Ship Since the ship was under a month old when I went, it was very brand new. I could smell the new ship smell. This was my first time on a Solstice Class ship. The interior design was elegant yet modern. With my experience with the Summit, this was nicer and had a cleaner design. The Cabin I booked a Concierge Class Cabin on the deck 11. However, it seemed like a long walk each time since we were almost at the back of the ship. The cabin was roomy and had plenty of storage spaces for us. We were welcomed with fruit and a bottle of champagne, which were nice touches. The room had a large 32in. flat screen TV that was powered by Apple. Some of the features of the TV were on-demand movies, making dinner reservations, photo ordering, room service, and purchasing shore excursions. The bathroom was large as well. There were many storage space to put things. The best thing about the bathroom was the plush and oversized towels that were the speciality of the Concierge Class cabins. Also, the balcony was great for which we spent much of our time there as the pool deck was crowded on sea days. However my biggest complaint was that since most of the guests on board were European, they ignored the "no smoking rule" for balconies. This was evident in which both of our neighbors used their balconies as smoking posts. This issue only happened early on the cruise and seemed to dissipate since there is a fine for those who break the rule. I loved the bed but my friends did not like the curved design and thought it was not comfortable. I also loved the oversized pillows. Our cabin steward (Bernadeth) was very nice and great with all our requests. There was one time where the toilet suddenly burst out water and she came out within seconds. She told me that this happened before on the charter cruise before us. Food The one thing I come back to Celebrity for is the food. It is one of the best and innovative food for a mass market cruise. The breakfast options were good but were a little bit boring after a while. Plus, when we reached half way, I could tell that they were running out of food. When we reached Israel, the yogurt switched to an Israeli brand which I did not like. The lunch buffet was good but I noticed that they repeated options towards the end of the cruise. For lunch, I ate mostly at the Oceanview Cafe but ventured to the Grand Cuvee (the main dining room) twice on two sea days. Celebrity had an excellent brunch on the last sea day in the Grand Cuvee. The problem I had was in the Oceanview cafe, there were crowds. Since most of the ship had European guests, they decided to take their time eating. At sometimes, they were just sitting there for a good hour. Furthermore, there were some couples (again, European) that took up a large table. We enjoyed the Grand Cuvee. Most of the time the food was great. However, some people at my table sometimes said that their food was too dry. I loved the presentation of the dishes. The service was excellent and exceptional. We sat next to a window so we always had the best view. Our waiter and assistant waitress (Jorge, a.k.a. George, and Adelina) were great. We also enjoyed eating at the speciality restaurants. Celebrity has a dining packages for which you can eat at three of the restaurants for a fixed price. Therefore, we ate at the Murano, Tuscan Grill, and QSine. My favorites were Murano and QSine. I thought Tuscan was okay but not great. Murano had great and excellent service. QSine was very innovative and we were full by the end of the night. There is another option, the Lawn Club Grill but we did not try it. The head of the F&B department said to book early since one night they were full but I saw one night that they were half full. On one sea day, we ate at the Bistro on Five. We loved the food at the Bistro and thought it was the most value for your money. However, the unusual thing was that our waiter at Bistro disappeared mid meal and was replaced by someone else. Entertainment Here is where Celebrity is lacking. The entertainment on Celebrity is not as great as entertainment on NCL. In my opinion, NCL has the best entertainment. The three main shows, Broadway Nights, Velocity, and Silhouette (the signature show on the ship) lacked a cohesive theme and seemed amateurish. There was also entertainment from a Capella group, a trio of cellists, and a guy (Dave Myers or something) for which he played a xylosynth (a cross between a xylophone and a synthesizer). I personally did not like it and I noticed that many people walked out of his show. I also noticed that shows did not start on time (about 5 or 10 minutes late). I did not venture into the casino but noticed that it was empty at most times. Activities on board Here is the good thing about Celebrity: they know how to keep you busy everyday. We did a lot of trivia and learned new things. Celebrity experimented with our cruise with interactive trivia sponsored by Jack Daniels and the "Eat This, Not That" book series. My friend won the Jack Daniels one and walked away with a T-Shirt. I went to many of the cooking demonstrations and enjoyed it. However, there was a demonstration for crepes at Bistro on Five that was chaotic. First of all, it was free so many people assumed that they were getting free crepes. Second, all of the Europeans that went to it left their manners at the door. They were aggressive and pushy. I noticed that the chef at the Bistro was a little bit frustrated. I saw that one Italian girl made at least 10 crepes for herself. I wondered if she was applying for a job. I felt bad for the South African chef who was constantly bombarded with demands to refill the crepe batter after the same Europeans spilled most of it to make a few crepes. On most sea days, I explored the shops. The Silhouette has the first Bulgari and Michael Kors stores at sea. Also on sea days, I usually went to the Celebrity iLounge. However, there were some classes held at the iLounge for which the place was closed during the class times. I know that there was Wi-Fi throughout the ship and I had my tablet but I wanted to use a computer. I also noticed that guests had to pay for classes for which I thought was a waste of money. Why would someone pay to learn how to use iTunes? Just ask a young person for free! Furthermore, I thought the staff at the iLounge were a little bit rude. I overheard someone complaining about how slow the Internet was and one worker said that it's not her problem and the guest should deal with it. Since we cruise with Celebrity before, we were invited to the Captain's Club reception which was great. For the Silhouette, they added cabana's called the Alcoves. I thought it was a waste of money ($99 for port days $149 for sea days) but saw some people forking over the money for it. However, I did enjoy the free part of the lawn club. Staff The staff on the ship were generally nice, friendly, and helpful. We give big points to our cabin stewardess and assistant steward for being on call and quick to solve our issues. I heard "hello's" and "good mornings" everyday. The only complaint I had was with the staff of the iLounge but I'm pretty sure they work for Apple rather than Celebrity. The cruise director, Nick Weir, had good presentation but I seemed to never see him outside the theater. His staff was friendly and approachable. Fellow Cruisers My biggest complaint was that most of the guests on the ship were from Europe. I theorize that the airfare from the US/North America was too high, Celebrity decided to sell to Europeans at a discounted price. I don't want to paint all Europeans with the same brush, but the ones we encountered were the rude ones. They expected people to speak their native language and in return did not understand any English at all. There was pushing and aggressive behavior. On sea days, the pool area was crowded in the early of the morning. I noticed that they just put one thing on the chair and leave to eat a meal or go off somewhere else. When it came to leaving the ship on port days, it was total chaos. One day, I was shoved and pushed my an elderly Italian man. In response, I said 'excuse me' and he then proceeded to call me out for pushing him. I don't know how the staff puts up with these rude and vile people. Whoever said that Europeans are elegant and polite did not see these folks. Furthermore, they had no volume control and decided to shout in elevators, theaters, and more. I would have had a better cruise if there were less rude Europeans on board. Ports of Call We chose this cruise because we have never been to Israel before and always wanted to go. Also, this was my first time to Turkey as well. I've been to Greece and Naples before so I knew what I was up to. For shore excisions, I did research and I decided not to go with the ship since I found better value tours on my own. Santorini In Santorini, we arrived in the early afternoon. The tendering process was a nightmare. It took longer than expected since there were high winds. However, once on the island, we were relaxed. We only explored the part where the gondola drops you off. Santorini was great for the short time we were there. Kusadasi (Ephesus) This was my first time in Turkey. We used a company called Ephesus Deluxe. The total price for a van for 9 people including a guide, entrance fees, and lunch came up to be $560. The guide we had was very nice and provided good information. However, it seemed like she was pushing us to buy things we did not want. We went to a carpet place, a leather store, and jewelry store that so happened to be her friends. We had a good time in Kusadasi. Ashdod (Jerusalem/Tel Aviv) Another first for us was Israel. We had two days in Ashdod so we went to Jerusalem first. We used G.U.Y. Tours. Our guide, Morty, was originally from America and spoke fluent American English. We loved Jerusalem the most and wished we had more time to see it. Our second day was in Tel Aviv. This time, we used Gold Carpet Tours. The downside with going with Gold Carpet was that the driver and guide were the same person. This problem was evident when he had to look for parking. However, he was great. Also, entrance fees were not included as well as lunch. However, we had a lovely meal in Tel Aviv that our driver/guide helped book for us. Haifa In Haifa, we again used G.U.Y. Tours. Our guide was friendly as well and our driver was the best, beating most of the cruise shorex buses to the sites. We saw the Sea of Galilee and the area around it. Athens Since my group has been to Athens before, we decided to go on our own. We used a taxi to get to the main area. However, I might have been cheated as my taxi paid 20 Euros where as the second taxi paid 13 Euros. Furthermore, our assistant waitress (from the ship) said that it should cost 15 Euros. We went to a couple of museums and ate Greek food. Be warned that at the port in Piraeus, there are people trying to sell you fake goods. Someone came up to me and tried to sell me a fake iPhone 4. Naples In Naples, we used APT Tours. APT was good but not great value, as it was one of the most expensive tours ($1000 for 9 people) but did not include anything beyond the driver and guide. However, they were both professional and great, and it was the first time I've seen a female driver. In fact, we planned to go to Pompeii, which was closed due to strikes, but instead went to a lesser known place, Herculaneum. in fact, we beat the crowds since we were the first people there. We spent the rest of the day in Sorrento and Positano. Final words On a final note, the one thing that I notice throughout the cruise was that they were constantly pushing guests to buy things. One night when we ordered wine, the sommelier gave us a pamphlet describing the wine events. During most of the cooking demonstrations, they suggested for guest to buy their cookbook. These were just some examples of pushing of products. I understand that they need to make money but they should not push it in your face. Overall, I had a great cruise with the Celebrity Silhouette. However, it seems as if they have some teething problems. Rude European guests need to learn some manners. I understand that Celebrity has no control for their behavior but they should at least say something. I also want Celebrity to fix the check-in process. Even though they probably outsource the people who do check-in, it reflects badly for Celebrity when staff don't know what they are doing and don't do their job properly and with professionalism. We liked our room but however, we would probably not book a Concierge Class cabin again because we feel like we did not get much value. However, I will continue to sail with Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Celebrity Silhouette Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.5 3.7
Service 5.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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