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Sail Date: December 2012
We have cruised annually in recent years with our teenage children and this time and on Celebrity due to the suitability of the departure from Bayonne at the time of year we were travelling to the USA from Australia. Getting to the port ... Read More
We have cruised annually in recent years with our teenage children and this time and on Celebrity due to the suitability of the departure from Bayonne at the time of year we were travelling to the USA from Australia. Getting to the port of Bayonne from Chelsea Manhattan was a quite a challenge with no Manhattan cabs wanting to take us. Ended up getting the Path Train to New Jersey, and then the light rail from Jersey City to a stop near the port and then managed to flag a cab. A fair bot of stress but got there in the end. The ques to Board the ship was the longest in our cruising history but were on the ship in maybe an hour. Well boarding the ship we said wow, being only a few months old the ship was in A1 condition. We normally get the older ships travelling out of Sydney so this was quite a change. We had 2 balcony cabins one for our 3 teens and one for my wife and I. The balcony railing opened so we were able to access our kids cabin. The cabins were suitable with no complaints, probably a little tight in some areas. Travelling with the teens we ate in the main dining room each night, we had wonderful service from our waiters and drink steward. The food quality was good, and had good reports from others dining in the specialty restaurants. Had to use the ships hospital for an injury incurred during and on board activity and again the doctors and service received was A1. Enjoyed the breakfasts on the balcony was being incapacitated. We organised our own shore tours for the majority, but we booked a catamaran snorkeling cruise in St Johns through the ship and had a fantastic time. The buffet when we had lunch or a late afternoon sushi seemed to be better than other cruise ships we had attended. The entertainment was so so but comparable with others although some entertainers were great. Enjoyed the Caribbean and Celebrity and will be returning to both. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Embarked in Bayonne, where an expensive pen set disappeared from the check in bin. we noticed immediately, but no one saw anything and since we thought there was an outside chance we left it at home (which we didn't) and decided not ... Read More
Embarked in Bayonne, where an expensive pen set disappeared from the check in bin. we noticed immediately, but no one saw anything and since we thought there was an outside chance we left it at home (which we didn't) and decided not to press the issue. We had requested rhe First seating at a table of 6 to 8, and were put on a standby wait list. We wound up at a table for two , situated not 8 inches from another couple. Space was very limited. Food was "spotty" , one evening fine - the next dinner poor. All ships "Nickel and dime' you but Celebrity is the most obvious about it. My biggest peeve was the shore excursions. We booked 5 and they were so-so. The trip to Toulon to see the Notre Dame du Garde Cathedral involved within the allotted 1/2 hour,climbing 400 steps, a bathroom break, a tour of the church and returning to the bus bygoing down these 400 steps This was a tour that was considered moderate. Moderate for whom?? At least 9 other people and myself could not manage these stairs whic were not properly described in the brochure. When we complained, I was refunded $8.00, a mere fraction of the cost of the tour. But by far the most frustrating and annoying part of the journey was using the web site prior to the trip. It was complicated and inefficient and I had to do my shore bookings by phone. When I complained, the Rep stated she heard the same complaints over and over. When I asked her why this was not corrected, she said that the "Powers that be" don't see any problems with the website. I will be a long time , if ever, that I will consider taking another Celebrity Cruise. Too Bad. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Bayonne, NJ: Getting on and Getting off were very easy. I was pleased we didn't have the problems others had or Celebrity got their act together. We left out of Bayonne a few years earlier and it was a madhouse with people getting off ... Read More
Bayonne, NJ: Getting on and Getting off were very easy. I was pleased we didn't have the problems others had or Celebrity got their act together. We left out of Bayonne a few years earlier and it was a madhouse with people getting off ship at the same time. It pays to wait your turn. Bayonne parking was a ripoff for $228.00. They could have washed the car for that. But we were happy that Celebrity chose and will hopefully continue to use a port for our northern states. It was so much better than flying even though we had a 6 hour drive. The extra sea days were nice to have! The twelve days went too fast. Our room was great and our cabin was always in order and quickly done. No complaints. Bathroom was great and so was the shower water pressure. Plenty of storage there. The big screen was nice, but the internet was hard to navigate on it. Brought my own laptop but didn't use up the minutes, but it was nice to be able to use it in your room. We did bring a short clothes line for our bathing suit to dry on the balcony. You couldn't leave it there long, as they cleaned the decks above and your balcony got wet. Even though Celebrity heard it enough, there was not enough storage and I was living out of my suitcase, which fortunately fit under the bed. I'm wondering if all the Solstice ships have the same limited amount. If so, they should listen. It was hard to hang two tiers of clothes too. Yes, I brought too much but 12 days is a long time. They took our clothes iron from us. You can have curling iron, steamer but no small clothes iron. So we stayed wrinkled but that was freeing too. I think carpet colors in hallways and bedrooms stayed the same on the last few ships, and they should have changed that too....boring. Service was great everywhere. Too bad our politicians don't work on tips. Food was good and consistent in the cafeteria. The layout was good so there were no lines. But who needs Mexican and Indian everyday? While drinks were very expensive (red wine - $10 w tip, beer about $6), we had no desire to spend more in the restaurants that charge. There were too many, in my opinion. We did, however, eat most of our meals at Blu which was very good. They were not large portions but plenty. I didn't see any grand buffet or special midnight buffets on this trip, although you could get pizza & salad until midnight. I only gained 2-1/2 lbs. on this trip. I tried to stay away from the breads, which was hard to do. Their bakery items were very good. Desserts were small but that was good too. Casinos were not hitting. It is frustrating to lose all your money quickly, so it doesn't take long to say, no more nightly deposits. They could let you play a bit before they zing you. They tell you they pay out each day but I think the receipts used over and over as people move from machine to machine. Shows were good for most people, but we were not impressed. But that is us, so no complaints. It was nice to have some good movies on the tv in our rooms, but the same movies played in the theater. I wasn't crazy about the bands or singers on board. They were okay but nothing we wanted to make sure we stayed and listened. Celebrity had better groups in the past. We are sun people and liked to sit out. I think Celebrity should have two more towel stations on each deck. I think people would use them for their old towels when they were done. We always thought lounge chairs were saved by leaving a towel, and we never had a close seat near the pools. Pool butlers were there but they didn't pick up old towels either. The captain was great, and we enjoyed his talk about the ship as we pleasantly answered our questions. He was funny and his staff loved him. We loved the balcony, the food, the rest, and the entire ship. I guess we have to complain a little bit, but it was so minor. Each day, I was grateful for being on the ship and enjoying the sea. How mesmerizing the velvet waves can be! It's easy to find fault, but seriously, it was an awesome cruise! There were few announcements on this ship which is nice, but unless you carried your daily calendar of events, you didn't know how much was there. We probably could have use some more things to do after dinner. If you didn't want to drink, gamble to see a show, it was bedtime. (funny..you could get bored) Occasionally, they offered 2 for 1 drinks, but even bartenders didn't know the schedule. I guess they play that by ear. We did like to dress up for dinner and walk the ship. Sometimes the ship sold affordable items to take home like watches, jewelry, t shirts, which was good. They used to say how many pound of beef, chicken, flour that they used in the last newsletter. We didn't see one. The claim to fame for Celebrity was chefs cooking from scratch. I wonder how much a food service is used these days. I worry about salt and MSG and prepared foods, and would like to know that answer. Thanks to Celebrity and its crew! Another fine cruise at sea!!   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
My sister and I decided to be adventuresome and the 2 week Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the Celebrity Silhouette. We began our cruise out of Bayonne, New Jersey. When we pulled into the area where the cars were lining up with the ... Read More
My sister and I decided to be adventuresome and the 2 week Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the Celebrity Silhouette. We began our cruise out of Bayonne, New Jersey. When we pulled into the area where the cars were lining up with the passengers to embark, I was somewhat anxious that the process would take over an hour or more. But, to our surprise, the cars moved forward at a nice pace and within 15 minutes, we parked under a large canopy and started to unload our luggage. Before we knew it, a porter was by our side ready to help us with my wheel chair and our luggage. In a matter of minutes, we were through customs and security and on board. I was in 1022 (an accessible room) and my sister had a stateroom next to me. Our stateroom attendants were there within minutes introducing themselves and asking us if we needed anything. When we asked them to remove the partition between our two balconies, it was done in a flash. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of my stateroom and the size of the bathroom. Once we unpacked, we took off to have lunch with some of the cruise critic members that we had met online. I had rented a scooter from special Needs at Sea and was surprised to find that it was not working properly. Guest relations brought me a replacement. Thank God. The bed and pillows could not have been any nicer. We knew that the food in the main dining room was going to be mediocre based upon the reviews that we'd read, so we made reservations at the specialty restaurants for most of our meals. We found that Bistro on Five to be one of the best values. Also, the Tuscan Grill had 2 for one nights that we took advantage of as well. The food in these specialty restaurants could not have been better and the service was impeccable. We only saw one of the shows that featured a very talented man that was the runner-up to Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent. Most evenings we found ourselves chatting with folks seated next to us at dinner. Everybody that we met were delightful and a lot of fun to get to know. We did venture into the 14Th floor lounge area and saw some of the guests and officer shows which had us in stitches. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Embarkation: A breeze. We arrived at Bayonne via bus (Entertainment Tours) at noon, and were sipping our welcoming champagne at 12:30. (We were Concierge class which had a short, fast moving line.) Room: Rm 9277 Port Side. Our ... Read More
Embarkation: A breeze. We arrived at Bayonne via bus (Entertainment Tours) at noon, and were sipping our welcoming champagne at 12:30. (We were Concierge class which had a short, fast moving line.) Room: Rm 9277 Port Side. Our room was clean, spacious, bathroom and shower perfect size. Lots of shelf space in bathroom. A little concerned about the closet space, but everything did fit in perfectly. We could have used at least 2 more drawers, but the shelves above the bed were big enough for the rest of our clothes. It's just awkward if you're under 6' tall and need to reach for those clothes. The balcony was spacious and the chairs and footstools were quite comfortable. Nice TV w/great reception almost throughout the entire cruise. The room also came w/a good hair dryer, binoculars, and 2 umbrellas (which came in handy one day!) Ship: Most of this ship is beautiful. I was not "wowed" by the Atrium though. Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty area, but small and to me, not as impressive as other atriums. The rest of the ship was beautiful, (the porch, lawn club, library, hide-a-way, all the clubs and specialty restaurants were very pretty and always in spotless condition. The main dining room was beautiful, but cramped. The most cramped I've ever been on a ship. I felt bad for the staff in there as it was a tight squeeze for them to move around in. They were always welcoming, and cheerful. The pool was a decent size, though we usually don't sit in that area, we like sitting on the 15th deck where it's quiet and breezy. Very comfortable lounge chairs in all the deck areas. We tried the martini bar a few times and that was a show in itself. We saw 4 to 10 martinis poured at the same time and were very impressed with the bartenders there. You've got to stop by and watch, even if you don't have a drink, it's fun to see how they can pour several at one time. Food: We had select dining and were very happy with that option. I booked the times we wanted to eat 2 weeks before departure and it worked out fine. We never waited more than 3-5 minutes once in the "reservation" line. The food was very good and service was superior in the Grand Cuvee'. I'd like to mention that our Cruise Critic group had a farewell luncheon on the last day at sea in the Grand Cuvee restaurant, and our group really appreciated the dining room staffs special efforts towards this gathering. My husband and I also dined in the Murano which we thought ranked Food:4* Service 5* (out of 5), Qsine food and service 5* and Lawn Club Grill Food 4.5* service 5*. Note: I don't feel these restaurants should be priced so high ($40. pp), but we were able to get "2 for 1" prices which made it reasonable to us. They don't always offer this, but I think when the specialty restaurants aren't busy, they have offers during the week(s) of the cruise. Qsine was fun and had so many delectable entree's to choose from. We highly recommend going there if you want to give your palate a treat! We ate lunch at Bistro on Five ($5.00 cover charge) I got a salad and crepe for desert. It was a nice change and the crepe's were delicious! We ate most of our lunches and breakfasts in the Oceanview cafe which we found very good, I especially enjoyed the paninis at lunch. We are early risers so the lines at breakfast were never long. Entertainment: The Celebrity Orchestra was excellent! We went to 80% of the shows and thought they were favorable. Doug Cameron (violinist) was wonderful! They also had a Cirque du Soleil type of show and that was good, but incredibly good was the act where a women aerialist came down from the high ceiling, and did incredible acrobatic moves while many feet up in the air, using a long sheet/rope to hold her. She was awesome. Another great entertainer was Jordan Bennett who performed a few nights and had a beautiful voice. Disembarkation: Also a breeze. We were called off at 8:45, grabbed our luggage, went through customs and were on our bus at 9:05. Very well organized. This was a great ship, and wonderful cruise. I would gladly sail her again! Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We are from the Uk and were on our 1st cruise. We are couple in our mid 40's (left children 19 and 16 at home) and were hoping for great things but were unsure of what to expect from our Silhouette cruise. Flew form ... Read More
We are from the Uk and were on our 1st cruise. We are couple in our mid 40's (left children 19 and 16 at home) and were hoping for great things but were unsure of what to expect from our Silhouette cruise. Flew form Heathrow-Newark. Stayed at Rennaissance Hotel Newark overnight. Embarkation at Bayonne very well organised as we benefitted from arriving early. Boarded the ship at 11.30am - WOW - Silhouette was close to perfect and exceeded our expectations, Boutique style and very modern quality design. We have travelled to various countries and stayed at various levels of hotels, however this ship was definately 5* quality. We had room 7126 on front starboard side with balcony, no noise whatsoever. Location was great, albeit next time we will choose mid ship (less walk along long corridors). The room, attendants and room service (24hours if required) were faultless and the room had 6ft comfy bed, sofa, lcd tv, power shower etc, everything designed with perfect use of space. We chose to eat in Cuvee MDR most nights and the quality and service were excellent. If you wanted 3 starters or any extra, the waiter was happy to arange. Nothing was a problem and they encouarged people to try different dishes. We ate in Murano once. Food very good (had better in local restaurnts in UK), service was excellent (32$ each). Would recommend booking 3 restaurant package early in cruise(99$), as we heard good reviews of Tuscan and Qsine, but ran out of time. All on board payment is via Celebirty card and account statement can be viewed in room tv. We did not take out any drinks packages, and felt this was a wise choice as we are not big drinkers (approx 6 bottles Bud & 3 G+T/ cocktails per night) There is food and drinks (tea, coffe, lemonade, fruit squash, ice cream) available 24 hours per day at various locations - no charge. Entertainment was good and varied. Theatre was well organised and various bars to suit all tastes, we liked Martini bar and Ensemble Jazz bar. Weather was good from day after departing NY (30th March-9th April), about 30's each day with slight breeze, you need to find shade. Visited 5 islands -St Thomas, St Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia, St Maarten and enjoyed them all, albeit all very similar. We usually arranged a tour of each island from the port and went to soime loveley beaches. We went on America's Cup racing boat trip in St Maaretn, which we enjoyed. We finished the day at Maho beach will planes landed just above beach, good experience and great bar on beach. We may go back to St Maarten, but have other places to visit before that and have also been to Meeru-Maldives, which is our perfect beach and switch off location. There were approx 3000+ people on ship + 1300 staff, you could always find space and there were plenty of activities throughout the day, if you want to get involved. 80% Americans on ship and we like their 'have a go' positive attitude to life. 80% of guests were over 55, lots of British from 20-80. Age is only a problem if you make it! I would recommend this cruise and especially Celebrity Silhouette to anyone. We made a future reservation $100 dolars each, which gives room credit for future cruise. Next time we will cruise Eastern Med, which will be less flying. We added to extra 2 nights in NY at end of cruise and stayed in New Yorker Hotel room 2135, fantastic views, hectic city, great to visit, lots to see an do, but would recommend this trip before cruise to anyone else. CELEBRITY SILHOUETEE or REFLECTION - WE WILL BE BACK! probably with friends who wish to sample the experince we have had. ENJOY Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
My wife and I decided to once again take a wonderful and relaxing vacation so I booked a cruise on Celebrity. Our other two cruises were on Princess and we loved them, but we wanted a longer cruise and we were willing to try Celebrity. ... Read More
My wife and I decided to once again take a wonderful and relaxing vacation so I booked a cruise on Celebrity. Our other two cruises were on Princess and we loved them, but we wanted a longer cruise and we were willing to try Celebrity. One of the main reasons was that the Cruise was out of NJ, which is much closer to home and did not require a flight to Fla. II booked the cruise on the Silhouette knowing that it was a new ship and not much more. Overall Celebrity did an awesome job. The Silhouette is a magnificent ship. It is well laid out, easy to navigate with some of the most comfortable chairs on the planet. The crew was fantastic, and their attention to detail was superb. The ship was always very clean and the staff was always helpful and very cheerful. The food was fantastic, served by a superb wait staff that would meet every need. My wife and I are both very aware of the fact that you can come back from cruising with some extra weight, however, the portion sizes were perfect. The Ocean View Buffet had a great Breakfast with offerings to meet anyone's needs/wants. If cruising Celebrity, and enjoy alcohol or premium non alcoholic beverages the drink package is a must. The Classic alcohol package cost a tad over $600 per person. Keeping track of our consumption, we saved about $500.00. It is not hard to spend $100 for 2 people per day, it equated to about 5 drinks per person. The entertainment was excellent. The production crew was vibrant and energetic. The flair is European and lot's of fun. The only down side was that the night life for the younger crowd was lacking. My wife is 37 and I am 48, we enjoyed the multiple shows that Princess offered, however the quality of the entertainment was superb. 6 sea days were great. I was worried about it being to long but the 3 days going down were relaxing, and after 5 port days 3 days going back were nice. It allowed us to unwind and prepare for the end of our vacation. Overall it was a fantastic vacation, relaxing and rewarding. I look forward to sailing with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Embarkation; Decided to go early and beat the crowds. Big mistake. Seems everyone had the same idea and it was a madhouse. Felt a little sorry for my driver. Once we got to the drop-off area everything smoothed out and was handled ... Read More
Embarkation; Decided to go early and beat the crowds. Big mistake. Seems everyone had the same idea and it was a madhouse. Felt a little sorry for my driver. Once we got to the drop-off area everything smoothed out and was handled very efficiently. Lunch; Last cruise was same ship, in the Med in October. Almost nobody in Bistro on 5. Very crowded this time. Lots of folks seem to be reading CC. Lunch was very good, as usual Cabins; In the cabin before 1:30. Very clean and still new looking. Had the same cabin in October. Overall; Ship still in fantastic condition!!! Public areas more crowded than last cruise but that abated after the first couple of days. Coffee in the Hideaway still pretty good. Al Bacio; Service and coffee very uneven. One woman (Jerina) very rude, almost to point of being hateful. Only saw her there twice so maybe she was just angry about having to work in a different place??? I love IGLU's. First one that I got was very good. 2nd was like warm chocolate milk with a little coffee in it. 3rd one cold chocolate milk with coffee. I gave up and switched to Cappuccino. Blu; Still fantastic. I think the food was even better this trip. More crowded this time around so service a little slower. Even the MD was bussing tables and taking orders at times. Still see the teamwork. Love it, love it!!!!! iLounge; Very good service this trip. Very efficient and very helpful. Photo shop; Another wave. I wanted to buy some of the photos this trip. The ones on my TV were from the previous occupants so I went in search of mine. Never was able to get them. One guy offered to sell them to me and then he would make sure they got to my cabin???? I ask him if he thought I was going to buy them sight unseen and he just shrugged his shoulders and told me that was the way they did business. I didn't buy any photos. Didn't buy the camera that I was looking at either. Brunch in MDR; OMG, are you kidding me? There should be a law against putting that much food in front of a person, especially when it is so good. Entertainment; Overall improved. The orchestra was very good. The drummer was incredible. Rory Bolton is sorely missed however. They should have kept him on. Lots of energy on the stage, those kids really were trying hard to put on a good show. The comedian and the ventriloquist were OK, not my thing so they may have been quite good to someone who appreciates that sort of entertainment. Tours; I only booked one, a Sail and Shop. The guide told us we would get sea sick if we went on the sail part however a few of us wanted to go anyway. He then refused to take us but let us cancel the tour since it was the sailing part that we had purchased that particular tour for. Promised we would get our money refunded. I went down to the tour desk after supper and the gentleman told me no problem, gave me a form to fill out. Filled out the form then returned to the desk the next day where I encountered a "well, we'll just have to send this to Miami and see what they say" clerk. I told her that I had been told that I would get a refund and she disagreed and repeated that it would have to go to Miami. There was another clerk at the desk who was not busy. I told her that it was OK, that I would be in Miami next month and could stop by the office and talk to them myself. I also stated that I would talk about this in my review on Cruise Critic. I saw a man's head jerk toward me as I sauntered off planning what to say when I got to the office in Miami. I got back to my cabin about 15 minutes later and there was voice mail telling me that I had been refunded the full amount. I'm still smiling. Apparently they didn't want that discussed in depth on CC or they didn't want me in their Miami office with a complaint. And, yes, I would have gone to the office in Miami next month, I was not making an empty threat. I don't do that. The passengers; Overall very nice group. A few scooters, mostly very considerate. One woman who used it as a battering ram to get on a full elevator. I met very few of the "nasty people" that I've heard so much about. Most folks were considerate and polite. Most of the children that I saw were well behaved or taken to task if they weren't. (There may still be an adorable little blond headed girl standing in the corner in the buffet for misbehaving). Right after muster, the elevators were pretty crowded. The one that I was on was full but a mother shoved her three small, quite ill children on. They were feverish, coughing constantly (no covering of mouths). Unfortunately I caught their virus and missed a couple of ports. Didn't get real sick but enough to not want to go ashore, just flake out in the cabin. Toward the end of the trip, I saw several folks with colds. Sure wish they would monitor sick children and either quarantine them or prevent them from boarding. Nobody goes on vacation to catch an illness from a sick child. Qsine; Our CC group met for dinner there and had a fantastic time. The waitstaff were wonderful. What a great group of people and so much fun was had by all. I believe the waitstaff even enjoyed us. I think this is best done with a group and the more the merrier. If you go take some friends and your appetite, be prepared to have a lot of laughs and a lot of pretty good food. Disembarkation; Not great. Waited around for about 30 minutes or so then crowded off, found the luggage without a problem but then had to fight the other 98 people who were also trying to catch their rides. It all worked out but it was very crowded. Pool; Not a pool person since I read that children in diapers are not banned. Looked to be pretty crowded which is to be expected on sea days. Overall experience; Wonderful cruise with Celebrity. Have a B2B to the Caribbean next month on the Milly and another TA on Silly in December. Can hardly wait to get back on her. Celebrity has got it together and, in spite of an occasional wave, I am one happy cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Getting to Port Liberty is a bit of a challenge due to very poor signage as you wind through secondary roads in an industrial port area. The port facility itself is extraordinarily unsuited as a cruise terminal: traffic is chaotic, and ... Read More
Getting to Port Liberty is a bit of a challenge due to very poor signage as you wind through secondary roads in an industrial port area. The port facility itself is extraordinarily unsuited as a cruise terminal: traffic is chaotic, and the drop-off/pick-up area is simply not designed for efficient handling of close to 3,000 passengers debarking as the first of the embarking 3,000 start showing up. The necessity of boarding a bus for a hundred or so yards from the terminal to the ship emphasisizes the unsuitability of the facility. That said, the check-in process was very efficient and quick - less than twenty minutes from getting out of the car to boarding the ship is a record. The ship is modern, and fairly well laid out. The lack of a full promenade deck is unfortunate - and is not made up for by the narrow jogging track on an upper deck - which gets dangerously slippery in wet weather. There are numerous attractive bars and lounges, and the theater is very well laid out. The entertainment was about average -- very good production shows balanced by a fairly poor stand-up comic -- offset by an amazingly good ventriloquist. There are a number of speciality restaurants - which deserve their good reviews -- but which make the quality of the food in the main dining room suffer in comparison. The service was good, but the meats were generally tough and tasteless, the fish almost uniformly poorly prepared. The Ocean View cafeteria was well managed, and the quality of the food there seemed batter than in the MDR. The cabin - "luxury" verandah - was spacious, with an ample verandah area, and the bathroom was very well designed - with above average storage space and a spacious shower with curved sliding doors -- a distinct improvement over the usual small space with a curtain which tends to cling to the bather. The clothes storage was a real problem - one small closet (with no shelves), which was so shallow that clothes had to hang at an angle - using up much of the already insufficient space. Much of the under-bed space was taken up by wire baskets holding life preservers. The very small side tables had no drawers, making them almost useless. Theere was a large storage space above the head of the bed - which was difficult for anyone much shorther than 6 feet tall to use --- and a good portion was dedicated to some duvet filler.The staff were uniformly helpful, competent and cheerful. The attitude of the staff was the strong point. I found the senior personnel, from the captain with his delightful sense of humor, to dining room managers and passenger service staff all above average. All told, the itinerary, the quality of the staff and the good weather combined to make an enjoyable cruise: good value for the fare -- and which largely overcame some of the unfortunate design elements and the disappointing quality of the MDR food -- since the service and the itinerary were what mattered most to me, I would have to rate the over-all experience as good. I would like to sail Celebrity again - hopefully they can focus on food quality, while maintaing staff attitude. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Links to photos, daily schedules, and menus can be found at: http://www.sjajg.com/travel/cruise2012C/Silhouette_2012/Silhouette_February_2012.html This was our fifth cruise to the Caribbean from the north, having taken three on ... Read More
Links to photos, daily schedules, and menus can be found at: http://www.sjajg.com/travel/cruise2012C/Silhouette_2012/Silhouette_February_2012.html This was our fifth cruise to the Caribbean from the north, having taken three on Celebrity from Baltimore and one on Princess from Brooklyn. I'm almost able to tell where we are on the route from the sequence of potholes in the ocean. So you understand our perspective, we're in our 60's and half-retired (DW is, I'm not). We like traveling, listening to classical music (and the occasional folk singer), and chatting with friends. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Our embarkation and disembarkation at Bayonne on our sailing to Bermuda in June was one of the smoothest we'd ever had -- and we expected a similar experience this time. I'm not sure if it was the additional 1,000 passengers, but this was a completely different experience. Everything was crowded. If we had parked any further from the terminal, we'd have been on a different pier. Luckily, there was a shuttle bus to help us. After navigating the scanners and lines in the terminal, we finally made it to the ship. (Note that the deck plan they provided on request at check-in doesn't include any specific locations, including cabin numbers, but just notes what public spaces are on each deck -- print deck plans from the website if you want that.) Disembarkation was no better, getting off the ship about an hour after our scheduled time, which helped us locate our luggage and get through customs faster as we were almost the last group to disembark. But then we had to contend with the crowds of arriving passengers to get our car to the terminal building and get our luggage. Overall, I think this was one of our worst experiences with this part of the cruise. Cabin: We were in 8160, which was very close to the forward elevators and one of the cabins on the angle of the forward hump -- with a large balcony. As mentioned by others, storage is very limited -- three drawers next to the refrigerator (which made them fairly warm), a closet with no shelves, and storage over the bed. You need to be 6' tall to use that -- or stand on the bed. Our cabin had the bed near the window, which made it a bit easier to get dressed near the closet. The bathroom was roomy, as was the shower (which has sliding doors (no more floor floods!). However, counter space is limited because they put a tray out covering about half the available space, which is then used for the tissue box because the tray is a bit too narrow. The shelves in the bathroom have doors, which prevent air circulation. The bed was comfortable, as were the chairs and chaise on the verandah. Our major complaint was the lack of storage. Ship: This was the largest ship we've been on (although the Caribbean Princess carries about 10% more passengers) and everything seemed further away than on other cruises. The extra decks of cabins meant that going to the dining room or buffet was a deck or two further up or down than on our other Celebrity sailings -- and the mid-ship elevator was a trek from our cabin as well. One thing I noticed was that there were only two pairs of restrooms on the main public space decks whereas the C- and M-class ships had three pairs, resulting in more lines than we remember from other sailings. I really appreciated the solarium on the rainy cold last day -- the pool & hot tub felt great! And it was nice to be on a brand new ship and see the interesting artwork (some of which came from the Mercury collection). It is definitely a pretty ship and a credit to the Celebrity fleet. On the downside, and others have made similar comments, Celebrity seems to have decided that we must have very loud pop music everywhere. Even the Hideaway, promoted as a peaceful place, is not good place to relax since it (and the library) open to the atrium, which is now a major entertainment venue, with amplified music going for hours every day. One evening, we went to hear the string / piano duo in Cellarmasters and it was impossible to appreciate their performance because of the noise level from the atrium. We used to sit in Cova Cafe on the Mercury and Summit, enjoying a quiet conversation over coffee and tea, with an occasional performance by the string group. We tried this one evening in Cafe al Bacio and the loud music from the atrium blocked all attempts at conversation. People: Celebrity does a great job at training its staff to be friendly to the guests. Every member of the staff, including the person cleaning the stairs (they even vacuum the carpeted underside of the stairs) stopped to greet me when I walked by. Everyone was very friendly. Food, MDR, and buffet: What would a cruise be without food? We ate dinner in the MDR every night and had breakfast and lunch in the buffet. Although Celebrity seems to be eliminating the more expensive meals (no more chateaubriand, for example), what food we ate was tasty and in portions large enough that we frequently didn't finish the serving (and I'm a big eater). Our only complaints were about the temperature. Some foods in the buffet were not as hot as they should have been, and some of the chilled foods (such as the shrimp cocktail) in the MDR were tepid. The buffet arrangement was interesting. There were rarely lines for any of the food areas. I think the beverage areas could have been designed better as they're concave arcs, which forces everyone into a small space. A straight line or convex arc would have been better -- and easier to maintain. That was the one place in the buffet that always seemed to need attention (clean-up, napkins, teaspoons, etc.). Although the Celebrity site said there would be three formal nights, the second formal night became "Cocktail (formal optional)." We did see some men in tuxes (I wore mine), but many chose to be more casual. The dress code was not well enforced. One man at a table near us wore his usual dinner attire of jeans with a T-shirt on formal night and was allowed in probably because he was wearing a jacket (which he removed before sitting down). Ports: We docked in all six ports, which made getting off and back on fairly easy. There were no major lines in either direction. The only organized activity we used was the ship excursion to St. John from St. Thomas and that was very well organized. We had booked that tour on an earlier sailing and it was canceled so we were definitely looking forward to it. I enjoyed the underwater park (snorkel gear was included, although I used my own). The only warning is that the water on the ride to and from St. John can be choppy. Also, they warn you of the need to be a good swimmer as the underwater park is in water too deep to stand in. The beach in Labadee was quiet and relaxing, as was the beach at Sand Castle on the Beach in St. Croix, both of which were return trips. We hiked up the hill to see San Cristobal fort in San Juan and had a brief foray into town on Antigua. On St. Martin, we grabbed a taxi for a ride to Marigot, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and seeing the local craft market. Overall: Despite my negative comments, we did enjoy the cruise. We enjoyed relaxing on our veranda almost every day and having a nice meal in the MDR every night. The ports were a good mix of beach and other activities. We'd probably take the same cruise again if Celebrity offered it in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Embarkation. The day before we left we got an email from Celebrity that the embarkation will be delayed by an hr. to sanitize the ship as a precautionary measure. We sailed in Celebrity twice before, this our 1st embarkation from Port ... Read More
Embarkation. The day before we left we got an email from Celebrity that the embarkation will be delayed by an hr. to sanitize the ship as a precautionary measure. We sailed in Celebrity twice before, this our 1st embarkation from Port Liberty. Our daughter dropped us at so called cruise terminal. What an eyesore of a terminal with tents and old dilapidated warehouses converted into passenger terminal. We got through check in formalities very quickly and then we have to wait more than hr. to transport us the ship which was docked 2 blocks away. After 5 minutes bus ride and 10 minutes waiting we were allowed enter the ship. We were asked to proceed to Sea View Cafe on Deck 14. There was wall to wall people, hardly any room for sitting. After another 15 minutes wait we got a place to sit to have lunch. Because Code RED we were not allowed to serve ourselves, lines everywhere for food. Eventually they made an announcement around 4 PM that our state rooms were ready. We rushed to the elevators to Deck 7 SILHOUETTE FIRST IMPRESSION. "It's a big ship, but you won't notice it. This ship is over a thousand feet long, making it one of the largest ships afloat. The dining room was at the back of the ship or AFT. Far away from our stateroom! No question that the ship is elegant and extremely well decorated. Speaking of elevators, the Celebrity claims a new high Tech. Not only are they fast, smooth and clean but when they arrive, a light above them changes from blue to pink with arrows pointing up or down, many time we ended up in the wrong direction for not paying attention to direction of the arrow. There are two pool areas. One is for the masses with kids and games and noise the other (adults only) Spa pool is quiet, shaded with some chairs available. The deck lounge chairs on the deck 14 occupied with pool towels on them, one has to reach there before 9 AM to get a lounge chair. There is a jogging track on this area a distraction. One, the Sky Observation Lounge high on deck 14 is special with a great look and view forward, they conducted dances classes during the day, Captain's club reception and band played at night for dancing. During the day it was not crowded and an ideal place to sit and read. This Solstice class of ships feature a half acre of well-maintained lawn on Deck 15 where the passengers can play bocce ball, mini golf, or walk barefoot. The ship also has a large theater and a mini theater where the show movies, various demonstration STATE ROOM. Forward section room 7153, a Verandah State room. Room sizeis same as in other cruise lines, due to layout our cabin appeared very roomy, with lots of closet spaces to store the clothes, supplies for 12 day of our cruise. We had a 32 " flat screen TV there is lots of CNN, MSNBC, Fox, BBC, ESPN, etc. The saving grace is the number of free movies you can get. The bathroom is large and helped by a shower that has an enclosure that is curved and full length that was easy to use with no fancy dials. All the expected amenities and lots of fresh soft towels. Could not find fault or ask for more. Most of the light switches under the bed are hidden away, after a search we realized it was conveniently located to reach from the bed. The bath room lights had high and low beam and at night it served as night light, a convenient feature. Ice bucket was small but our room attendant filled it up 2 times a day. The balcony was spacious. We had our breakfast there every morning in the afternoon quiet and a great place to read . Then announcement came that about emergency drill at 5:15 PM at the Silhouette Theater. Emergency drill was all video presentation and very quick. Because of code red, Purell dispensers placed everywhere and crew members also dispensing the hand sanitizers. The ship left the port promptly at 7 PM cruising through Hudson under Verrazano's narrows to Atlantic Ocean. We booked this cruise just before Christmas we did not get to eat in Grand Cuvee dining room. We met Matre-de and made a request and we ate at the Sea View cafe. We went to the show to watch the preview of upcoming events. The collection of specialty restaurants are all located at the stern (AFT) of Deck 5 with the main dining room directly below on decks 4 and 3. An easy way to remember where to go is "dining-aft, casino-middle, and entertainment-forward". The passageways and rooms are decorated with large black and white photographs by various European artist-photographer and some Statues. Deck 4-5 ship's shopping arcade is located. Deck -3 housed, Customers relations, Port tours. There is a Grand foyer on this deck where they had band played every evening while people were dancing. Deck 7 had hideaway a great area to read. In this deck ships hanging tree located between 2 banks of elevators on Star board and Port side of the ship which can be viewed from Deck-3- Deck 14. Deck 10-11 Ship's Library located with very nice collections of book. THE STAFF The Captain ship officers were mostly Greek. Professional at all times and they made me feel safe. Captain reports everyday was filled with humors. The room attendants and dining room staffs were from Croatian, Italian, Indian, Hungarian, and just about every other European and Asian country. The diversity was good. Our Cruise Director Lisa Richards a fantastic women. She came from Up state NY, She had an MBA and was senior Vice President of a Company. She quit her job and joined Broadway Musical and the she joined the ship. She can sing, dance, tell jokes. Dining. On Saturday we were assigned a table for 2 for 6 PM dining . The Grand Cuvee dining room is impressive with large 3 story high ornately hidden wine cellar in the back. There were over 1000 passengers eating for 1st seating at 6 PM. The noise level was deafening with conversations from everyone in this elegant room. On Valentine's all ladies received Red Rose from dining room staff which added more grace to the occasion. THE FOOD The choice of vegetarian food in the Grand Cuvee(Main) Dining Room is excellent, my wife who eats meat and fish said the food choices were superb. Our Assistant waiter Savio from Mumbai, our waiter Roger from Mauritius and Assistant t Matre` D from Croatia took care my daily needs during the dinner time, and made the dining experience pleasurable. We had a table for 2, it took us almost 90 minutes to finish our dinner in a perfectly slow paced manner. The Ocean view Cafe on Deck 14 is a winner. It offers a huge buffet for breakfast. lunch and dinner. Just like NCL they have station for different foods, and desserts. They had Italian Station Salad Station Cheese, bread Station, Chinese Thai Food, India Food Station but they are not well marked often one has to look for them. The Ice cream station had many flavors of Ice cream, Yogurt Ice creams and Sorbet, soft Ice Cream every day. The pizza station was open long hours ( 2 noon-past midnight) and the pizza was excellent! It was a great place for a mid-afternoon or a late-night snack. DRESS CODE . On 12 days Voyages 3 had formal night out of which mid one was optional. Most ladies dressed elegantly, most men either wore a suit or Tuxedo, some defied rule and came just shirt and jacket. I took my Tux and suit which I wore almost every day during the dinner time. ENTERTAINMENT This is a mixed bag, Silhouette Singers Dancers and acrobats were on for 3 different nights. Singers were good and dancers and jugglers acrobats Ok but not of high calibers. The Comedian are excellent, Judy Kolaba, The Pianist, Cathy Hamilton were excellent, solo Violinist had a violin covered with Cubic Zirconia that is the highlight of his show, but he is OK. Short comings. Embarkation and disembarkation is very hard due to location and lack of proper cruise terminal. In this cruise 95% of passengers were 65 and older ( like our age group), many with mobility problem and were using motorized wheel chairs which added discomfort for them during arrival and departure to get on and off the buses from and to the terminal. Dinning room noisy. TV News were not available during the port days. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
First a brief overview: Strengths - Highest regard for health and safety - Gorgeous, well maintained ships - Great value for the base price - Generous frequent guest program - Reasonably robust Internet at reasonable prices - Good ... Read More
First a brief overview: Strengths - Highest regard for health and safety - Gorgeous, well maintained ships - Great value for the base price - Generous frequent guest program - Reasonably robust Internet at reasonable prices - Good TV programming and on-demand movies - Happy crew -- it's obvious they are well treated - Lots of recreation/entertainment -- but it's not Broadway or Hollywood - Right tempo -- a minimum of blaring, obtrusive noise - Fairly priced shore excursions - Mostly very good to great alternative dining venues - Good logistical design for buffet - Good liquor and coffee bars - Very good indoor pool -- albeit missing thaslotherapy - Multiple sanctuaries on-board to get away from the masses Weaknesses - Lack of food consistency in Blu - Minimum in-cabin storage - Presently overpriced alternative dining - Persian Garden has lost the spa feel with spa rooms set at 50 C - No true mid-ship elevator bank - Ice cream quality and variety diminished - Limited options at pool grille - Pool butlers provide limited servicesThe #1 issue is food quality and consistency. We did not experience the MDR, but since Blu has evolved into just another MDR extension (in a much more intimate setting) from a food perspective, it's likely that our experiences are similar to MDR diners. Once upon a time Celebrity tried to make every dining experience memorable - no more. It seems that their objective for included dining has moved from "please" to "satisfy". The on-board chefs are no longer chefs but simply cooks following the rigid dictates of Miami (corporate)(this applies to every aspect of the on-board operations). JVS seems to like to try complex, edgy dishes with unusual spices. With a more limited food budget than in the past it just doesn't work -- the highs are high and the lows very low, and the inconsistency can be maddening to a guest. Alternative dining venues suffer less from the JVS edginess and sometimes benefit from his creativity with their better cooks and higher food budget. Murano is simply the best -- as good as any at sea IMHO. We are Tuscan Grill enthusiasts, but maybe we just ordered the right dishes and got a great server -- others have been negative on Tuscan Grill. Qsine is something to experience once with a group and then maybe never go back or go back with clear food preferences. The menu is confusing, the volume of food overwhelming, and the waiters trying to be "captains for the food journey" somewhat distracting. For us Lawn Club Grille is a confused concept; we have no desire to be interactive and cook on vacation and find pizza and a "no better than buffet" salad a strange setup for a great steak. The space would be much better utilized for a southern style, semi-outdoor BBQ restaurant focused around the grills. In general although Celebrity claims this is not true, we found that the only places we could get very good steaks and seafood were in the alternative dining venues; some of the Blu steaks and fish were a disaster. Kudos to Celebrity for expanding and upgrading Cova to Cafe Al Bacio -- it became a central part of our on-board experience linked with our premium non-alcoholic beverage package. Karen Sawking in Al Bacio was the greatest -- can't wait to meet up with her again on Reflection! BTW -- Secondo Al Bacio on 14 is a very poor impostor -- it is manned by bartenders rather than Baristas and they don't have the ingredients or knowledge to make many of the coffee drinks (a poor, misleading choice of name). Cabin design is overall a mixed bag. It's unique and visually attractive and the bathroom layout is terrific in every regard. From a drawer/closet perspective it's hard to believe that a group of leading women were engaged as design consultants. Eventually a place is found for everything, but not conveniently or without undue wrinkles. The sofa has limited, if any utility, and could be replaced by a smaller sofa with a chest of drawers beside. The veranda is completely functional and meets every reasonable expectation, except that there is no veranda lighting for night use. Sailing from Bayonne is chancey with three days at sea on each side. We encountered rough seas and a minimum of temperate climate, so we would not do it again. We learned we are not good candidates for a crossing. Why is it your choice whether you have a Premium Plus or Premium Minus Experience??? If you stay within the budget of the base price you will get an uneven dining experience (probably entirely satisfactory to those happy with the food on NCL/RCL/Carnival), terrible coffee, and an otherwise middle of the road experience on a somewhat better ship than the direct competition and will be served by a very happy crew. If on the other hand you choose to take a beverage package among the non-alcoholic to alcoholic choices, eat in alternative dining venues on nights when the MDR/Blu menu doesn't line up to your food preferences, and seek out the many on-board sanctuaries, you will have a premium plus experience (albeit, not a luxury experience) at a total cost still far below the per diems of the next step up (e.g. Oceania, Regent etc.). For us, when Celebrity has the right deal it's a no-brainer because the base price and base value is so great. Next adventure is to "step-down" to Solsticized Millenium class ships, as we think that a step down in size may, in fact, be a step-up in experience. Happy Cruising to all on Celebrity! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly A review of the Celebrity Silhouette sailing of 2/10 to 2/22/12 The Good The crew is top notch. We did not encounter a single sullen, rude or depressing individual (save one). There were some ... Read More
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly A review of the Celebrity Silhouette sailing of 2/10 to 2/22/12 The Good The crew is top notch. We did not encounter a single sullen, rude or depressing individual (save one). There were some exceptional examples as well. The Master of the ship, Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis, was available, informative and exceptionally personable. Matteo Pavoni in Guest Relations handled a particularly vexing luggage issue with understanding, professionalism, and an accommodating smile. Everywhere we went aboard ship we were greeted with good morning/afternoon and a smile. In the past the concept of variable dinner seating has not been the most efficient, although we had "select dining" the exceptional attention of the Maitre D', Mr. Fazli, ensured that we had the same table and wait staff for the entire cruise (Sebastian and Joel) so that they could "learn" our preferences. The crew is outstanding and is the reason we will only sail on Celebrity. We met many crew who "loved" their jobs and signed multiple contracts. When we arrived it was clear that someone on a previous cruise had been smoking, Guest relations searched for and found an available cabin and offered a move Since we were travelling with friends we declined but they took extra effort to deodorize the cabin. Another example of Celebrity fixing problems they did not cause! Kudos to management for excellent training and motivation The food was average to good. There were some misses ( a too tough steak/ a salty soup/and a boring stuffed lobster) but on balance the meals were well prepared, presented and served. There were some hits, we enjoyed the French onion soup as well as an excellent Caesar salad. The Buffet was amazingly varied. For lunch there was stir fry, freshly prepared pasta, fresh turkey and ham carving stations, pizza, a salad bar, a station with varied rolls, biscuits and breads, a grill (franks/hamburgers/fries), a cold cut and cheese station, as well as daily specials such as a taco bar or braised ribs, all accompanied by fresh fruits and vegetables. Breakfast consisted of standard fare (Pork or Turkey sausage, Canadian and American bacon, corned beef hash, hash brown potatoes) as well as an omelet station and a carving station of ham and Canadian bacon. The pastries and rolls were all fresh made and even jelly donuts were available as well as yogurts, cereals, cottage cheese etc. The entertainment was generally good. The normal shipwide entertainment consisted of a fair a cappella group (The Riptides); a good classical duo (Bel Canto duo); a good steel drum duo Big Vibe); an excellent party band (Sipra) and an outstanding Guitarist/Vocalist (Martin Andales). There was a different movie available everyday. In addition there was the standard cruise fare "Newlywed game", trivia contests and Bingo. Thankfully there were no art auctions! They were replaced by Acupuncture , Botox, non surgical facelift, and the history of Faberge seminars (among others). The theater shows by the Celebrity singers and dancers consisted of a good "Cirque del sol" production as well as a fair "Broadway Nights" revue. The guest entertainers consisted of an energetic singer/comedian (the ubiquitous Judy Kolba), an equally ubiquitous but entertaining singer (Lindsey Hamilton), an excellent pianist (Brooks Aehorn) who did an outstanding one handed version of "March of the Wooden Soldiers", a unique solo violinist (Craig Halliday) who did not lack for enthusiasm; a good comedian from Boston (Don Gavin); a fair comedian (Kevin Flynn) who seemed a little tentative, and a great seven piece theater orchestra! The Bad We had a balcony stateroom which seemed smaller than previous Celebrity ships and lacked sufficient or convenient storage for a twelve day cruise. Limiting the Silhoutte to seven day cruises might make the situation better. There were two spaces above the bed, three drawers and two cubby holed nightstands for storage. The closet lacked a shelf at the top or a drawer at the bottom. Considering Celebrity scheduled three formal nights there was definitely a lack of efficient storage. The bathroom was well designed both for storage and utility and one of the better we've seen at sea. Although we are far from being marine architects, the design of the stairs and elevators is a problem. There are only two vertical banks, although referred to as aft and forward stairs/elevators they really "bracket" midships(each hump end). At least there should have been a true aft and forward staircase if they did not want three elevator banks. People who had stern cabins needed to walk almost half the ship to find a staircase/elevator. (the proof here is that passengers in the rear are to use crew stairs to reach the boat station, which was not practiced during the drill). The dining room chairs are virtually immovable, only hydraulic pistons can effectively move you in or out from the table! When the photographer came to our table of six for pictures, we declined the group shot because of the ordeal of moving about. Many venues lacked sufficient seating for events, for example they would schedule an activity in Michaels Pub which seats maybe fifty people and seventy to a hundred or more would show up. We saw many people arrive only to leave unaccommodated. (Bring back the Piano Bar concept!) There definitely seems to be a lack of real space on this ship. What space exists is poorly allocated and many times blocked up by photographers. There were many places almost empty and others over crowded. The Grand Foyer seems to have less square footage than the Quasar disco!? People were sitting on the stairs during performances in the Foyer. Lawn space concept almost unused on this itinerary, only saw one alcove in use ( and it was possible the gentleman didn't realize it to be "rental" space, for most of the sea days it was closed for maintenance/high winds/weather. Perhaps this is one the reasons why Celebrity is abandoning New York as well as the barely endurable Embarkation/Disembarkation procedures (which is certainly not any fault of Celebrity; as usual they take an intolerable situation and somehow make it seem acceptable). The Ugly The noro virus!! Embarkation was delayed by the need to clean the ship. Unfortunately, Celebrity chose to use crew to accomplish this task instead of having a group of professionals waiting for the ship to dock, so that the crew could perform their usual transition duties. The cabin setup simply suffered from the protocol (no preorderd drink setups were available, no pen or paper/ no ice/ no fruit /no room service order forms/no bedspreads/binders etc) until the next day (when the stewards "caught" up). There were no books in the library for four days The food service was a nightmare. EVERYTHING had to be served only by wait staff for four days. If you wanted a cup of coffee the server needed to fill the cup, then pour the cream/milk (a little more please) and then hand you the sweetner (White/Blue/Yellow/Brown) with a set of tongs. NEXT person in line please! Passengers could not handle anything. Not salt shakers nor pepper mills. Thus all food service took forever! Clearly this, again was not the fault of Celebrity...they really didn't have a choice as they marshaled an army of Purrell squirters and handrail wipers. (The casino and shops clearly had the virus licked early on, as chips flowed hand to passenger hand, slot handles were pulled repeatedly, merchandise was touched and retouched, jewelry tried on and examined etc). We guess library books are more prone to infection. Well I'm almost the end... remember the (crew save one)..it was DJ Benji who to us (and others) looked as if he were in a trance. On "request" night he declined to play any songs from the 60's as he said "we have a night for that". Oops, sorry, thought it was request night. What music he did play was not accompanied by DJ patter (such as song ID, Artist, facts) just a bored and motionless far away stare...hmmm. Perhaps he was sailing his own magic ship! Ultimately, we enjoyed this cruise despite the events. We would, without a doubt, sail Celebrity again...their crews can overcome anything...just might consider a Celebrity ship with a different design. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Departed from Bayonne (not listed in departure ports list) SUNSHINE - Ship is elegant and gorgeous. The central lighting in the MDR is amazing! Likewise the twelve-deck towers of glass elevators in the atrium. I loved looking across the ... Read More
Departed from Bayonne (not listed in departure ports list) SUNSHINE - Ship is elegant and gorgeous. The central lighting in the MDR is amazing! Likewise the twelve-deck towers of glass elevators in the atrium. I loved looking across the atrium space to gathering areas on the forward side. - Cabin stewards were wonderful. The halls were always full of stewards going about their business and offering cheerful greetings to every passer-by. - Dining room staff went above and beyond. We loved them. The manager stopped at each table nearly every day asking for feedback. Friends and table mates who tried premium restaurants assured us they were a waste of money -- that standard dining room meals were equally good and well-presented. - Security for reboarding was nicely handled. - Cabin was generally comfortable, with lots of hangers. Other storage is limited, as noted later. - Bathroom was excellent. Lots of hot water, and towels seemed to be changed within minutes after leaving cabin -- even though we always rehung, indicating we would reuse. Would be even better with drying line. - Mattresses were supremely comfortable. I actually like being able to hang my toes over the end. - We liked the dim light that remains always on in bathroom. Nightlight in cabin was welcome in interior unit, though we'd feel safer if it remained lit when power was off. We had a power outage in an inside cabin once and became totally disoriented, making it hard to locate our flashlight or find our way to the door. - Bathroom ventilation was excellent. - Front desk staff were cheerful and always tried to be helpful, though they were usually not well-informed, and not always believable. - I appreciated that we docked near town in San Juan rather than at the newer remote dock that fellow cruisers told us about. - Hamburgers at the (free) grill were superb and fries outstanding. - The Captain's Club reception at the end of the cruise was terrific. - My two favorite places to hang out were the Hide-Away and the Library. One type of chair in each location was tolerable to sit in for prolonged reading (see later comment about chairs). - The self-service complementary coffee and tea on the Hide-Away was a welcome treat, especially for those of us with cabins far to the front of the ship. - Unlike dining room chairs, chairs in the buffet area were comfortable and easily positioned. - Staff in the buffet area did a splendid job of keeping tables cleared and cleaned. - Trivia was great, though some specialty sessions seemed absurdly obscure, and many times staff had the answer wrong, but were disdainful of looking things up. - Tea selection was awesome. MILD OVERCAST - Food was okay, with great variety. Some dinner entrees were disappointing, others magnificent. One meatless pasta entree tasted like pot roast on noodles, yuck! I should have sent it back. Chefs may have gone overboard on entree innovation. Vegetable servings were meager and seemed to have been waved through a column of steam too quickly to soften -- the result was predictable raw-tasting, tough veggies. Fortunately salads were great. Overall, the food was adequate, not cause for complaint, but I don't pretend to be a foodie. - Variety of activities was fantastic, but it wasn't always clear what was free and what fees were involved, or how to sign up. Activities Director Pete seemed not to know the ropes and repeatedly dropped ball after encouraging me to set up a free event. He told me it would be in the daily bulletin. Later I learned that Celebrity protocol precludes listing unhosted events in the bulletin (understandable). In spite of his assurances, it did not even appear on the announcement board until an hour beforehand. (Pete acted surprised to learn this, and I heard him make a call directing staff to take care of it right then the previous evening). Promised assistant never showed with promised paper and pens, and set-up staff was preparing for a different gathering presumably scheduled to use the room at the same time. Needless to say, results were discouraging. Is this because Pete was leaving for vacation the next day, or maybe he was just clueless, or staff acts in a vacuum? Not impressive! - Educational lectures during sea days were occasionally misleading or inaccurate. One speaker jumped around a lot and seemed not to have control of her material. I attended only one and decided to skip the rest. - Lounge area for Trivia was marginal. Foot traffic often interfered as passers-by called out answers. Furniture was difficult to move for large-group sessions and quite uncomfortable to perch on. SHADOWS - All seats on sun decks were lounges. There were none available for sitting upright. - The "free" coffee was disgusting -- perhaps to encourage sales of premium brands? Sorry. I dig in my heels at that type of coercion. I switched to tea. - Clothing storage in cabins is lacking. We had lots of hangers we could remove from the rod, but the closet lacked shelves, and we had only three extra deep, narrow drawers, enough for one person, but definitely not two. Shallower ones would be better. We climbed on the bed to use overhead bins for stacking folded shirts, jeans, etc. This complaint was shared by people in all cabin categories. - The awesome bathroom lacks a drying line for wet swim suits, which take much longer on the small hanging knobs. - Furniture placement in cabin was awkward, not like illustration photo. When in use, the desk chair blocked access to the far side of the bed. No reading light was available for the one armchair (not two like in photo). - Interior hallways and lounges were over-cooled on warm days. The ship's doctor I consulted for the cold I caught mid-cruise blamed the constant shift from the hot outdoors temps to frigid hallways. - Most chairs aboard were far too deep for the average woman but the ones in the buffet have good lumbar support, thus encouraging a slouching position uncomfortable for many with back problems. Some chairs did have cushions, but the cushions were fixed in place, furthering the problem rather than helping. I spent a lot of time perched on the edge of chairs, trying to keep my aging back straight. - Dining room chairs are world class awful. They are elegant to look at, but way too deep for the anyone shorter than 5'10". They must have been chosen by basketball players! Fortunately pillows are available for those who think to ask, but some pillows were better than others, and having to tell the servers "Please give me the striped pillow rather than the red one, and please don't ever give me that horrid thick cushion again ..." makes me feel like a whiner and does not enhance the dining experience (even though our servers were awesomely obliging, anticipating every need)! The chairs seem to weigh 100 lbs, with thin legs that sink deeply into the carpet. Even with assistance it's nearly impossible to position them precisely, and leaving the table for the ladies' room was too awkward to contemplate -- thus dinner was cut short a couple of times. - The theater and shows were a huge problem for me. I attended fewer than half the shows in the Silhouette Theater. This is less of a problem than it might seem, because I don't generally enjoy the sort of shows Celebrity features under any circumstances, but I don't like being forced to make that choice because attending them is painful! They were physically painful for two reasons. First, they were way too LOUD! After the first night, I wore ear plugs, which made the volume tolerable, but fuzzed out the sound. It's ironic that they control smoking to protect lung health even though when in international waters, but think nothing of assaulting tender ear nerves with sound equivalent to large jet engines. My macho uncle lost most of his hearing because he refused to use hearing protection. The second pain source in the theater was the seats. The backs are positioned to encourage lounging. They slope enough that I kept sliding forward in my seat, causing my lower back to sag and go into spasms. Carrying in a pillow was not an option I'd consider. I will not attend shows on future cruises, should I book any. Suppose I could get a discount? Yeah, right! - Music in Deck 3 Atrium was also deafening, making it unpleasant to join the throng of dancers. (It's tough to have sensitive ear nerves and great hearing.) - I did not attend any late evening events in Celebrity Central, the Sky Lounge, or the pool area because they were even louder than the ones in the theater, and based on feedback from friends, it was nearly impossible to find a place to see the action anyway. The really good ones I watched on t.v. later. - Even the MDR was quite loud. It was barely possible to carry on conversations at the dinner table. But that was poor design, not amplified noise, so more tolerable. - When I filed a formal complaint about the volume, I was solicitously assured by customer relations staff and the cruise director himself that "we will look into it and turn it down a tad." Yeah, right. If anything, it got louder! Overall, I'd rate this cruise experience three stars. If I disregard the activities, noise and chairs, I'd rate it 4.5. But the uncomfortable seating and noise levels don't even rate a 2. I'd rather go on a smaller ship with fewer loud entertainment events and more comfortable lounging and reading facilities, and it seems unfair that I am unable to enjoy the premium entertainment I'm paying for on Solstice class ships. We only signed up for one Ship Excursion (that cost only twice as much as buying the same tickets ashore), and that only as insurance against unforeseen delays returning to the ship. We had a great time getting around on our own, as did most of the people we met. DO NOT expect the helpful staff to provide any shore information not connected with ship-sponsored excursions. Remember -- they are there to sell excursions and ship services, not to help us find free WiFi, drugstores, or public libraries ashore. In spite of my ambivalence about this cruise, I do like cruising, especially the longer cruises with more sea days and am disappointed at Celebrity's news that next year all cruises will leave from Florida and be limited to a single week.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I had taken a Caribbean Cruise last year on Celebrity's Mercury. The ship carried roughly 1/2 the passengers and I enjoyed my time on it. I took along paperwork from some projects I am working on and I find that the ship provides an ... Read More
I had taken a Caribbean Cruise last year on Celebrity's Mercury. The ship carried roughly 1/2 the passengers and I enjoyed my time on it. I took along paperwork from some projects I am working on and I find that the ship provides an excellent environment for such activity. Outside of Puerto Rico and Haiti I had been to the islands previously and I already had a taste of them. I wanted to see the actual country of Haiti (one of the poorest countries in the world) but Celebrity would not allow it. (The Cruise line owns a part of the island that is fenced off from the rest) If some of my fellow travelers were able to see how these people lived in Haiti there may have been less complaints. The ship design was beautiful and it actually seemed less crowded than the Mercury(which was not crowded to me). I understand that Celebrity is trying to "sell" their experience in order to sign up more people for it's cruises. There is some hype involved. There is going to be a difference between those who board the ship with "high expectations" and those who are just open to experiencing life as it unfolds. Celebrity talks of it's art collection, while the ship was well decorated I saw no one standing around admiring it's art. I liked the idea of having an Apple IStore on board and having staff there who could educate you on all what Apple has to offer. I am not that computer literate and it was something that I was interested in. As it was they were not Apple trained and seemed to have limited knowledge of the applications. (would not be working the "genius bar") They had classes that they charged for and most of the time I saw them were working with people on how to connect up to the internet. The internet prices range from 78 to around 40 cents a minute. To stay in touch with the office I would check my Email maybe 10+ times a day. The connection is slow and it may take 1-5 minutes just to check. I spent over $200 basically to do just that. (They have different packages available and if you sign up the first day you get 20% more minutes) Since my Verizon phone didn't work outside of NY, this was the only way for me to communicate. I heard one of the attendants say that SKYPE works on occasion. Also some of the Islands had either free WIFI or low cost ($5 a day). The seating in Blu (Aqua Class) was not assigned. I did like the designated seating on Mercury where you sat down each evening with the same fellow guests. This much smaller and beautiful restaurant sat about 140 and most times had less than 1/2 that seated. You might be on a small table a few feet from some other guests. Some would strike up a conversation while others focused on each other. All good. I enjoyed all the food (as I did on Mercury) the staff was very accommodating and made me whatever I requested (informed them the night before) The staff on the ship were all new to the Silhouette and if you were suddenly working with a new group of over 1000 fellow workers, it would take some time to work out all the kinks. It was my view that the crew did a good job. If these people were not working 7 days a week as well as aprox. 10 hours a day for low wages, the cost of the cruise would be much higher. On a previous post someone said the noise in 1537 kept them up at night. It is near a service area and a few times there was some banging. I never was awaken at night (a sound sleeper) and I did not consider it an issue. (I spent quite a bit of time in that room, which was beautiful) Throughout the ship there are many automatic hand sanitizers. Several days into the cruise something happened. Now there was an attendant before you entered the restaurants to make sure you were using the hand sanitizers. Serving yourself food was no longer allowed (main lunch cafeteria etc) Salt shakers etc. was removed from your dining table, books were removed from the library... Norovirus or something similar had arrived and Celebrity was trying to contain it. They were low key about it (if you were Celebrity how would you have handled it?) It was included in some of the announcements about the importance of washing your hands etc. My sense was that a lot of people were sick (I heard figures from 400=1100). I don't know how many staff knew the count, but those who did were not broadcasting it. This was going to cost Celebrity millions. What would be the point of having a daily count? I had heard that there had been an outbreak on the previous cruise and someone wrote that if they knew that, they would have cancelled... I talked to several people who did get it and they were quite sick for a day or 2 and then it seemed to pass. From my understanding it was the passengers who brought this sickness onto the ship. I would say the typical age of my fellow passengers was 65-70. There were some power wheelchairs but nothing that caused any problems. (I thought it was great that these people could be in a wheelchair and still enjoy a cruise) I was told there were 20 children on board. To board I was there at 10:30 am, They had a special seating lounge (Aqua), which was comfortable, I boarded at around 11am. Simple. Leaving was just as smooth. I was told that next year they will be leaving from Florida not Bayonne. I really enjoyed the cruise for I enjoy everything I do. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Embarkation This was our seventh cruise and the fourth on Celebrity. We travelled by car (4 hours) from Northern Virginia to Newark, staying at the Marriott International at Newark Airport on Saturday night. The hotel is consistently ... Read More
Embarkation This was our seventh cruise and the fourth on Celebrity. We travelled by car (4 hours) from Northern Virginia to Newark, staying at the Marriott International at Newark Airport on Saturday night. The hotel is consistently good and had a nice package, including a full breakfast and dinner. Valet Parking was additional, but well worth it because we gave up hauling luggage a long time ago. Our room was clean and quiet, and had good bath amenities. Staffers at all levels were very accommodating and friendly. Cape Liberty is about a 20 minute ride from the hotel. I would encourage you to use Celebrity's directions and not rely on GPS or the hotel's directions, the latter two of which have steered us wrong in the past. We arrived after 1, unloaded the luggage, parked the car, picked up the free shuttle (tip only); and walked into the check-in area. The main check in area was packed, but with AQ we got priority registration. No wait - We immediately boarded a bus for the ship. We were greeted by a cheerful and friendly staff offering sparkling wine and juice; however, the elevator area (two banks) was very congested with people waiting in wheelchairs and walkers and becoming increasingly frustrated with the sluggish system. We chose to walk up a few flights and followed CC reviewer advice to have a leisurely lunch at the Bistro on level 5. It was a delightful way to start our cruise and well worth the $5 pp charge. Cabin It was great to have a fresh and new cabin, with a well appointed bathroom/shower. The room had a flat screened TV and an adequate closet with lots of hangers and floor space that accommodated only shoes. Luggage had to go under the bed, which is also where the life jackets were stored in a crate. Storage space in the bathroom was good, but that cannot be said for the cabin area. There are only three deep drawers and then two overhead bins over the bed. Vanity space was quite limited. The sofa was huge and very hard, uncomfortable and very impractical. Instead of night stands with drawers, we had small stands with two open shelves. Information in the room directory indicated that 5 women were involved in the planning and design of the cabins. Their input for the bathroom was great; however, not for the cabin storage space. Amenities: We enjoyed thick, fluffy and large bath sheets; a five jet glass enclosed shower; slippers and robes, and fresh fruit and flowers. Another AQ benefit is bottled water and herbal tea in a carafe each day. We had hors d'oeuvres delivered every evening at around 5. In the future, I plan to be more specific about our likes and dislike on this amenity. For instance, we should have told them we do not like cucumbers and caviar, which always made frequent appearances. Herbal teas are a nice touch, but perhaps better upon request which is the procedure for the hors d'oeuvres. The AQ perk that I enjoyed the most was free use of the Persian Garden. Relaxing on a heated tiled lounge and enjoying the aromatherapy and steam rooms was a treat that I tried to squeeze in our busy schedule. Our balcony chaise lounges and foot rests were very comfortable and although not very wide the balcony was deep. We had breakfast there several mornings. Chocolates were always there at turn down, but you needed a scissors to remove the wrappers. Cabin Attendants Our cabin steward and assistant were always available and accommodating when asked. The problem was that we were not attentive to details. First day, there was no shampoo. Next day, the TP roll was removed and not replaced -- fortunately there was a spare. On the positive side they were happy to clean the room early, we had room service several times and it was on time and well prepared. No cute towel animals at turn down, but we survived! Ship Info This cruise was not about the ports, but more about our first time on a brand new ship and The Silhouette fully met our expectations. The library was well stocked and attractively designed. We also used the gym regularly and enjoyed the state of the art equipment and most of the time did not have a wait for our choice of equipment. All of the bars, restaurants, and lounges were beautiful. The art work was lovely and well placed and we got a kick out of the digital birds in their cages. The Internet Lounge was well appointed and connections to the server were much faster than other ships that we have been on. I got a 90 minute package which was enough for 12 days of checking emails and minimal sending. One important tip for the internet users is to be sure to Log Off upon completing your session. I met one person who did not and had built up an $800 internet bill, which eventually was adjusted. The theater was the typical Celebrity multi tiered design and seating was adequate; however, the drink holders were not well designed for holding anything other than a stemmed glass. The climate and lighting in the big theater were comfortable, but the small theater was stuffy and dark. The casino was large and always drew big crowds and you could find me at a slot on most evenings after theater. I saw several large ($2,000 - $8,000) slot jackpots go. Table games were very active with lots of high rollers. Restaurants In AQ our dining was scheduled to be in Blu, which seats about 160 people. We were somewhat excited about it because after the first night, we could dine there without reservations and we thought it would be more intimate. Unfortunately, our first night was not a good experience. They did not have enough help, the cocktail and wait service were not attentive, the menu did not offer the diversity of the main dining room, and the food was disappointing. We did report our displeasure to the Maitre D, and he was apologetic, but did not offer us any incentive to return. We had breakfast there on a few mornings because dining in the MDR and buffet area became impossible due to the restrictions for the Norovirus (separate topic). Breakfast was much more acceptable in terms of service, but the selections were limited. The next day, we were fortunate to get a good placement at a table for six in the MDR for the 8:30 seating, and were happy to be placed with very compatible table mates. Food in the MDR was not as good as in previous cruises. There was plenty of variety, but quality has diminished. The warm water lobster tails were filled with breadcrumbs stuffing, there was no offering of prime rib and NY Strip steaks were not up to par. We also missed the tableside bread service. Instead we had a basket of bread sticks and French bread slices. Service was adequate, but not personable. Our most exciting dining experience was in Qsine. It is a very eccentric dining experience with diverse offerings (from building your own cocktails, kobe burgers, build your own cupcakes to exotic international taste treats or fish and chips.) Each course is created collectively based on Ipad menu selections by your whole table. There are multiple courses and you eat for at least three hours, not knowing what is coming out next. It was great fun, but something that you only need to do once per cruise. It is well worth the $40 pp extra cost. We also had a great dinner at Murano. Service was impeccable. Cocktail servers throughout the ship were excellent. They always remembered your choice of drinks and how you like it served. The entire crew was very pleasant. Lisa, the Cruise Director, was engaging and quite a good vocalist. One assistant on the Activities staff organized a Choir of passengers and they performed for us on the last night. It was a very impressive undertaking. Entertainment on the ship was fabulous. There was something for everyone. The Celebrity cast was amazing and there was a British pianist who brought life, amusement and great stories to the classical music he played. He was brought back for an encore the next day and packed the house. The Activities Crew went way out to make sure we did not miss the Super Bowl. Their effort to provide "stadium food" in the theater was a mild disaster as they were not prepared for the crowd there. Other venues apparently where the game was shown apparently went better. There also were several navigation type presentations by the Captain and other officers which were very interesting, especially in light of the Concordia incident. We used the gym nearly every day. It was busy at times, but you could always adjust your routine based on what was available. Norovirus About mid-way in our itinerary, we started getting reports about people being very ill. A number of people had been treated in the medical unit and were quarantined. The Silhouette took extreme precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Purell was forced on you everywhere. Everyplace you turned, crew members, with masks on, were wiping down elevators, counter tops, and any surface that people would touch. All books were removed from the library; news summaries, puzzles and port information were only available upon request at Guest Services. The buffet and dining room areas were severely restricted, not allowing anything to be self served. All tables had to be sanitized before you sat at them. The precautions were extraordinary and impressive; however, they really were not staffed to handle the high level of sterilization and sanitation that was required. Guests became frustrated over long waits for simple things like salt, pepper, butter, sugar, cream, and condiments. The only good thing that came out of it was that tableside bread service was returned in the MDR and restaurants. Despite the inconveniences, we managed to enjoy the last half of the cruise, took extra precautions in washing our hands, and we did not get the virus. We would definitely cruise again on The Silhouette again. We will be taking her older sister, The Eclipse, to Scandinavia and Russia in June. Shore Excursions Antigua was our favorite island and we hope to return there someday for a more extended stay. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Celebrity Silohuette Bayonne New Jersey to the Caribbean and Back 1/5/12 to 1/17/12 About us: My wife and I, in our sixties, were on the Sky Suites aft( 1668) on the 11th deck. This is our 9th voyage, our first on Celebrity. ... Read More
Celebrity Silohuette Bayonne New Jersey to the Caribbean and Back 1/5/12 to 1/17/12 About us: My wife and I, in our sixties, were on the Sky Suites aft( 1668) on the 11th deck. This is our 9th voyage, our first on Celebrity. Previously we have sailed with Windstar, Oceania, Norwegian and Holland American. Embarkation: We arrived at 1:30 for a 5 Pm departure and the process went fairly smoothly. The registration was rather straight forward, there were enough agents and we were at the "Buses" to take us to the ship, within 15 minutes not withstanding the gentleman who could not understand that if you were in the US illegally you were going to be denied access to the boat. First Impressions: The ship is very handsome, well designed and both pleasing to the eye and practical for the passenger. The atrium lobby is impressive and the elevators provide an impressive birds-eye view of the interior of the ship as you go to your stateroom. The suite was very adequate with enough room to store your " stuff" and to sit comfortably in your cabin if you chose to withdraw from the ship to a private place. ' The ship is large enough so that it rarely feels very crowded except for the buffet on the first day, which looked and felt like a high-school cafeteria, albeit the food was a few notches better. The pools looked very inviting albeit it was cold and cloudy when we left. By the time the sun warmed us, the pool area would become the central point with music, 'swimmers" and chatters occupying much of the space on that deck. The staff: Friendly, efficient and solicitous ....unanimously. After a few days we were on first name basis with several of them. Our stewart knew, almost better than we did , when we would be going to breakfast and dinner, and our butler, Dennis, was very careful to deliver snacks each evening which were the least caloric( a task which was by no means easy) available. In the restaurants the waiters , maitre d's and staff were in every case solicitous friendly and efficient. Grand Cuve Dinning Room: Pleasant on the upper level, massive on the main floor but the food quite good . We ate there only once, but the food we ordered on that one occasion was quite good, well presented and the waiter solicitous and engaging. Blu: We are both very weight conscious so we opted for Blu as our restaurant of choice. Although it is dedicated to aqua class , it also will provide service to Suite passengers on a " space available " basis, for an extra charge ( 5 dollars per person for dinner , gratis at breakfast) The food at Blu was always excellent, well presented and completely adequate. If you want to keep the eating to a " dull roar" that is the place for you. At breakfast the Muesli prepared table-side and the smoothies made for welcome and very satisfactory selection. There are other possibilities that are too numerous to mention, but as a whole the experience was totally satisfactory. Murano: A much smaller venue, elegant , giving you the sense of a very fine up-scale , intimate restaurant. The service excellent in all respects. The food was outstanding , the Lobster in Mustard sauce memorable and the souffle at the end of the meal totally satisfactory. If it is your intention to choose only one specialty restaurant , that would be my choice, hands down. Toscana: A steak house and Italian fare . I think we made a mistake and ordered fish, which was undistinguished . We later found out that the correct choice should have been " steak". So....it was just OK for the fish....try the steak. Qsine: A novel experience. You order from and Ipad and desert from a rubbix cube. Do not go there as a couple as the food is too much for two. That was what we did and we were overwhelmed after the Turkish Messe "suitcase" ....who can eat so much? those who came in groups of 6 or 8 , I think fared better. The Grill: Alot of fun. flat bread( a.k.a pizza) hand made with your participation ....a complete salad and meat of your choice grilled by you and a grill master. Although I am the family grill master and my friends and family love my grilled meats , I managed to learn alot from the chef who instructed us. A lot of fun. Go there where the weather is good. We tried to go there on our way back to Bayonne and it was blowing like blazes( they refunded our money). Bistro on Five: Great soup and crepe , modest extra charge. Good alternative to the buffet for lunch. Persian Garden: Nice space on the front of the ship. Available without extra charge to Aqua class passengers only. We had to pay 20 dollars per person. The space is " co-ed" so if you want to use the steam room and " power showers" you have to wear you bathing suit. In the men's changing room there were no hand towels, razors, after shaves, deodorants,combs, hand soaps etc. probably the worst set up I have experienced, including the YMCA. Entertainment: Lounge singers, dance band violin and piano, a cappella all excellent. did not see many of the large shows. Ports: Most of the ports are well known and well described no need for me to add to the chorus. La Baddee a stop own by HAL , was truly wonderful... we decided to get the " cabana " which made the stop even more wonderful. General observations: There is a general tendency to charge....charge.....charge for everything. , expresso etc. 4.5 dollars, drinks on the expensive side some of them in the 15 and 20 dollar range ( for a glass of wine!) water when you go on a tour ( 3 dollars) etc. etc. after a while it wears on you. We met some lovely people aboard , and in general I had the sense that our fellow passengers were attentive and generally good humored. The disembarkation was a disaster, but that is much more the " fault" of the authority in Bayonne. Celebrity would do well to find another venue ( NYC is much better ). All in all a very nice trip. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Overall, the cruise was wonderful and we found Celebrity to be a great fit for us so we purchased an open booking while on board. We enjoyed the activities, the music, the smoking policy and the focus on adults (only 15 children on this ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was wonderful and we found Celebrity to be a great fit for us so we purchased an open booking while on board. We enjoyed the activities, the music, the smoking policy and the focus on adults (only 15 children on this cruise -- we like children, but enjoy adult-oriented vacations at this stage of our lives) compared to our experiences with RCI,though have had many wonderful cruises with them. The staff was very friendly and we also liked the people on board and found many people of all ages who we enjoyed talking to -- we even found some new friends that we did things with throughout the cruise. I think every cruise has a certain feel and I felt that there was an overall good feeling on board this cruise -- most people seemed happy and pretty relaxed (I know we were!). Here are the highlights of the cruise: Pre-cruise: Drove down from VT -- loved not having to fly, and stayed at Country Inn and Suites as recommended by CC people. Very nice hotel (on the boarder of not so nice neighborhoods, but we felt safe there), with Ruby Tuesday a few steps away for dinner (and a place to practice drinking before getting on the ship). The free breakfast there was quite good. We drove to the port the next morning at 10:30 and parked there (port is about 20 minutes away). You can get good deals for safe parking at the hotel, but we wanted to be able to just jump into our car upon return and head home (and not deal with shuttles each way to/from the port -- would definitely do this again if they were keeping the ship in Bayonne next year). It wasn't too crazy at ~ 11:00 -- we were able to park easily at the terminal and unload our luggage -- we got a very nice porter who joked around with us and put our bags gently on a cart (not the usual from what I've heard). He told us where to go to park so we circled around to the parking area across the road (very close to the terminal). The parking fee is paid upon entry (they take cash or credit cards -- $228 for 12 days). A free shuttle showed up immediately and a friendly driver took us and our carry-on luggage back across the road to the terminal. Embarkation: Though not a well-appointed terminal, it was well-marked -- we saw the "Suites and AquaClass check-in" sign and walked into that separate room. We were checked in within a couple of minutes and had a glass of champagne in our hands in no time (on at 11:30). We had time to explore and grab some food at the OVC. We usually avoid RCI's equivalent venue, but I must say that we did find some tasty things in the OVC. If you want to skip the heavy stuff, they have a nice sandwich bar with different rolls and breads with delicious chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad and cold cuts, cheese and veggies -- there is someone who will grill it for you if you wish. We had purchased the premium drink package so we had to try that out immediately and soon had yummy drinks in hand (and no paper receipts). Cabin: We had 1503 AquaClass. Loved that area of the ship -- it was close to the Relaxation Room, which was usually just that -- it had a beautiful forward view of the ocean, was usually quiet, had soft music playing and smelled wonderful. Being 1 door down, we could open our door and peek in to see if it was busy or not. There were nice teas in there and big coolers of water with oranges or limes/lemons. It was a great place to read on rainy or cool days (luckily we had few of those). Occasionally there were some loud people in there who probably didn't realize it was a relaxation room -- the spa people came in once and very nicely asked some people to keep their voices down (to the relief of those of us who were reading). Our hallway was very quiet and we had nice, quiet people in our neighborhood. The cabin attendant, Jonathon and his assistant Rogelio were wonderful -- they were attentive, while respecting our privacy. Our cabin was under the aerobics part of the gym so we did hear some noise above us occasionally -- it wasn't that troublesome. Our neighbors in 1501 loved their cabin -- they had booked it on a previous cruise and requested it again. They were probably under the spa veranda so didn't get the gym noise. The balcony received a lot of sun, mornings on the way down and afternoons on the way back -- we enjoyed lots of sun out there on sea day afternoons when the pool decks were crazy. We loved the shower, the huge towels and the bed was amazing -- my husband's back issues cleared up in the 12 nights. That bed was so big and comfy, with soft, good-smelling sheets and lots of great pillows to choose from -- I miss it! As others have discussed, the storage in the cabin was not optimal. I took the drawers and my husband the above the bed storage -- it worked out okay, but was glad that I had been fore-warned so I took fewer clothes. We used the free laundry coupons for Elite (had Diamond Status on RCI so had Elite status) and got 2 huge bags of laundry done for free (up to 30 items each time)- if the bag of laundry was given to Jonathon in the morning, the clean clothes were delivered the following afternoon. Dining: The main reason I booked AquaClass was because of Blu -- I am not a big fan of the MDR experience anymore -- on RCI it was often crowded, noisy and under-staffed. Although Blu was definitely a step up, our experience there was a bit inconsistent. My husband's main course was undercooked one night, over-cooked the next and then a seafood dish had little flavor -- though I enjoyed most of the dishes I had, he was less enamored of Blu. The waiter came over to check on things the night the seafood was tasteless (hadn't come over in time the other times to make a switch) and immediately wanted to make it right -- he insisted on getting him something else -- he got him the rib eye, which was excellent. The matre d' came to the table to see how things were and my usually quiet husband let him know what he thought (he remained polite and said it was his opinion only). The matre d' was very apologetic and said others had complained that the seafood was not great that night and he would take it up with the kitchen. Their desire to make things right was impressive. We then had several specialty restaurant experiences and didn't go back to Blu much for dinner, but did have another good meal there on a formal night (the baked goat cheese was superb and the lobster delicious). We heard from others that they loved Blu and some who had been somewhat disappointed with Blu, but all in all it was still great to have a smaller, quieter venue as our main dining area. The breakfasts in Blu were quite good -- seats by the ocean on nice, sunny days made it a great place to be (and they had real Vermont maple syrup for the pancakes) and delicious fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice. We liked the seating in Blu -- very few "bad" tables. We had a table for 2 each night- some were by themselves (we liked the one near the pole on the far side -- that side of the room tended to be quieter) and others were fairly close to another couple. We felt that we could either strike up a conversation or just keep to ourselves, depending on our moods. We met some nice people there and it was a good place to exchange ship gossip. We vowed to relax on this cruise and really liked that we could just show up for dinner when we felt like it. We often went at peak times, but never had to wait -- we didn't get the same table or waiter each time, though enjoyed Jesus when we got him (just couldn't warm up to Yuni). I would definitely do AquaClass again -- we may have had a few issues with Blu, but overall would rather have it as our dining room. We liked Vereinia (not sure about spelling) as our sommelier in Blu -- she was very knowledgeable and encouraged us to try new wines. Mast Grill was surprisingly good. The burgers were juicy and the fries hot. Once we had one burger, we ended up going back a few more times. The hot dogs with sauerkraut looked good too. AquaSpa Cafe was good for a quick bite of healthy stuff at breakfast (didn't go there for lunch). Yogurts and yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, Museli, fruits and omelets made to order at breakfast. It was a handy for us to run up for a frozen yogurt cone since we were just below the cafe. Room Service: Excellent and always hot. The cabin attendants delivered the food (never saw that on RCI) - we were about as far away from the galley as possible and somehow the food arrived hot. The choices were better than RCI, IMO. My husband laughed one night when he asked what I had done for lunch that day and I said that in the end I just wanted to stay on the balcony in the sun so had room service deliver shrimp cocktail, a cheeseburger and crème brulee. It was so delicious and it felt good to be pampered. The specialty restaurants were all amazing. We went twice each to the Tuscan Grille, Murano and Qsine and the Lawn Club Grill once. We had excellent food and more importantly, a memorable experience, in each venue. We booked one each ahead of time at full price so we could have our choice of times (specialty restaurants were often all booked except for 5:30 and 9:00 when we were on Allure and Oasis). We found that they seemed to have openings for good times on board (we were often there at prime times, often with plenty of empty tables) so waiting to get the cheaper package on board (or converting to a dinner package) makes sense. They often offered a venue at 20% off in the dailies for certain times or had people bringing around coupons. On the last night we decided to go to Murano and asked if they were offering 20% off as some other venues were that night and the matre d' said they weren't offering it, but he would give us 20% off anyway. Qsine was a great place to try new things. We loved M's favorites, which was a big collection of Mediterranean foods, which we tend to have avoided in the past -- we tried a little of everything (12 items), with the marinated lamb chops our favorite. The Painter's Mignon was one of the best steaks we'd ever had and the lava crab, disco shrimp, make your own guacamole and baby back spring roll with white truffle BBQ sauce were also amazing. We only got part way through our choices the first time so of course we had to go back to have our favorites and work our way through other choices (you order all that you want ahead of time, but just wave the white flag when you can't eat another bite). The waiters there are excellent and make it a really fun experience. It was fun to watch the surprise on the faces of "Qsine virgins" around us -- I knew a bit about the dishes because of reading CC, but tried to read as little as possible ahead of time in order to be somewhat surprised. One downside was that they had $13 special cocktails which were not covered by the premium drink package (all other places on the ship that the premium drink package is honored we just paid difference between $12 and price of the drink, if greater). Luckily I had heard about it on CC so ordered wine instead, after verifying with the waiter that it was indeed true. The Lawn Club Grill had excellent food, but you need to pace yourself if you actually want to eat the wonderful grilled seafood, steak, lamb, chicken, kabobs, etc. that you get to choose from in the big glass case when you arrive (the steaks were huge and high quality). We had had cocktails before dinner so lost enough self-respect to go up and put on aprons and toss pizza dough around -- it was a lot of fun and we have great pictures they took with our camera. The flatbreads we made were surprisingly good (of course we placed all our favorite items in good quantities on them) and the salad bar quite good, though we tried to save ourselves for the main event. My husband went up and donned a chef's hat and another apron and helped cook the meat -- he thoroughly enjoyed the experience -- very few people participated in our particular group of people, but those who did were laughing and having a wonderful time. The grilled meat was excellent (we had filet mignon, shrimp, scallops, marinated lamb chops and red snapper), as well as the sides, such as lobster mac and cheese. As a bonus, there are often musicians with a wine and cheese event under the stars on the lawn in the evening so you may also have some nice entertainment during dinner. Murano was an elegant experience and we took full advantage of the wonderful food there: arugula salad with quail, diver scallop Wellington, lobster flambeed table side, a rolling cheese table, warm chocolate souffle, etc. They also had caviar for those who like it. They bring you a dish of six unique dessert bites, whether you order dessert or not -- very tasty. The dessert sampler was really good -- it was beautifully displayed with 6 different small containers of things including cotton candy and sorbet -- my advice is to somehow save room for dessert! The sommelier there was great at helping us pair the wine to our food and they used Riedel glasses, which really do make a difference IMO. Tuscan Grille: I assumed this would be more of a mediocre experience since it was the least expensive specialty restaurant, but I actually liked this one the best. The first night we ate there was for the Wine Tasting Dinner ($95/per person). We had some dishes not on the menu (the most amazing rack of lamb and a creamy seafood soup to die for), paired with wonderful wines. It was a great experience (only 40 people so book early at Cellar Masters if you are interested-they turned several people away). We had been booked for the next night previously and thought we might cancel since we opted for the wine tasting dinner there, but enjoyed it so much we went back. I would highly recommend the cioppino, the lobster linguine, the shrimp and scallop scampi and tiramisu. Casual Pay Venues: The Porch: At $5 per person, this was very good -- we went there for lunch about half the time. The soups were so good (1 hot and 1 cold each day) and we had favorite paninis, which came with chips. Dessert is also included -- they have several choices. Most of the time it was not crowded and the staff were friendly. There was a good view of the ocean, as well as the track that was also a path for people on deck 14. I hate to say it, but it was interesting to watch the interactions of the people who went round and round on the track and those who just wanted to get from point A to point B. IMO, Celebrity messed up when planning the track -- I watched unsuspecting people get nailed by runners on a daily basis. Tried the breakfast paninis one morning -- they were pretty good and come with pastries, fruit salad and juices, coffee, tea -- no one else was up there at that time. Cafe al Bacio: We loved going there every morning after breakfast for mocha expresso or tea (have the brand Tea Forte, which is excellent). These were covered under the premium drink package so we liked trying new things. The girls there were always trying to tempt us with sweets -- the chocolate croissants and eclairs were good and no extra cost. The gelateria had amazing ice creams that varied each day ($3 for 2 scoops and ~$5 for 4 scoops -- included lovely freshly-made waffle cones). The last full day we had lost some of our appetites and just had ice cream for lunch -- yummy! The free OVC ice cream was pretty good too, but this was really good. Bistro on Five: Was not impressed with breakfast crepe -- maybe the lunch crepes were better. They had fresh squeezed OJ and coffee and teas. They also offered us dessert after our breakfast -- their desserts looked like some of the best on the ship, but we just couldn't handle them at 9:30 AM. Wine Tasting: Outside the OVC right after boarding we met Ferhad, one of the 24 sommeliers on board. I felt that RCI was quite weak in this area -- it was hard to get help in the dining rooms when choosing wine so I was thrilled to hear about all the sommeliers on this ship and all the wine tasting opportunities. We signed up for Wine Appreciation 101 ($10 and the same as the Captain's Club wine tasting though with 6 wines instead of 4 at the Captain's Club free tasting), Walk Around the World Wine Tour ($20 with 6 whites and 6 reds from all over the world -- some tasty hors d'oeuvres were included), Connoisseur's Wine Dinner ($95 each at Tuscan Grille with champagne at Michael's followed by 5 courses with 5 paired wines- well worth it!), Riedel Comparative Crystal Glass Workshop ($87 each -- that includes a set of 4 beautiful Riedel glasses - $15 extra to ship within US, but we just carried ours off the ship -- as others have said on CC, this is pretty amazing. I went in with healthy skepticism, but was a convert to Riedel glasses by the end) and the Art of Food and Wine Pairing ($15 each -- very well done and great handout for future reference was given out). The only ones we missed were "Champagne Tasting" which was $15 each and Premium Wine Tasting which was $40 each. With the premium drink package, we stuck with wine by the glass with meals. There were many excellent wines available -- many of them we had tasted at the wine tastings so knew what we liked. We had many nice wines under $12, but also had some greater than $12/glass and paid the difference. The sommeliers often encouraged us to try new things (knew us from the tastings) so we had a good time exploring outside our comfort zone, knowing we could get something else if we didn't like it, with the premium drink package. They had recently changed the wine lists in some of the restaurants so some sommeliers were willing to open some bottles and have us try the new wines (not sure if they were to be sold by the glass since they weren't on the menus yet). The Enomatic Wine Machines were pretty cool -- we had used them on Oasis and Allure and liked having small tastes of different wines. As previously discussed, a separate card needs to be purchased to use them on Celebrity ships. We bought a card the first day and got a bonus amount on our card ($60 for $50) -- I didn't use it that much so on the last day I had a $37 balance. We took a couple of new friends to Cellar Masters and tried small pours of several wines (~ $1.50-4.50 each) -- it was a lot of fun. Bonny, the sommelier there, is very helpful and fun to be around. Bars: We had a lot of fun at the Molecular Bar with Sergei. We loved the 20 year martini and most of the other cool drinks there -- it was worth going there just to see Sergei make the drinks and see peoples' faces when their drink arrived with mist coming off from it, beautiful tasty foam on top or rose petals suspended in it. It was a good gathering place -- low key and fun. My husband likes good beer so enjoyed going to Michael's. They had a fun beer tasting in there one night. He found an IPA that he really liked (unusual for him on a cruise to find a beer that he likes). At his request the male bartender (my husband can't remember names), put some glasses in the freezer for him as he does at home so he had nice frosty glasses waiting for him. The female bartender was not as friendly -- he wandered into a couple of private events in there and she was not very pleasant when asking him to leave -- he felt she could have smiled and said "sorry, we're doing a private event tonight" instead of acting perturbed (like I do when he is clueless about something). Anyway, the guy in there received a nice tip at the end of the cruise for his great service. All in all, I found the bartenders to be friendly and good at what they do. We never felt that having the premium alcohol package impacted our service (since we didn't have slips to sign, we didn't add an extra dollar or two as we usually do) -- we did tip those who went the extra mile at the end. The Ensemble Lounge was a great place to meet up with friends and listen to music. There were many comfortable seats and attentive bar staff. There was sometimes a lot of traffic through there on the way to Blu and the specialty restaurants at night, but it made for some good people watching. Entertainment: We didn't go to many of the shows - we were spoiled with the last 2 cruises on Oasis and Allure with Broadway musicals, diving and skating shows, superb comedians, etc. We were actually glad that we didn't have to rush to evening shows on this ship since they seemed to be the usual cruise ship productions (I'm sure the performers are excellent, but that just isn't our cup of tea). We did enjoy the comedians and would have liked more opportunities for late night comedy. The on board musicians were top notch: Martin Andales, singer/guitarist, Les DeMerle Jazz Band (and we don't generally like jazz), Big Vibe Caribbean duo and Sipra, the party band were all good. It really helped make it an outstanding cruise that we had so many excellent musicians on board. We met a couple who loved to dance (including ballroom) and they said that they had found that there were many more opportunities to dance on this ship than on the RCI cruises they had done. Ports: We stayed on the ship in St Thomas, Antigua and St Maarten (except for short trips on shore to use free wireless). We love having a quiet ship on port days and took full advantage of sunbathing in the comfy padded lounge chairs (harder to get on sea days obviously - everyone seemed to take one for themselves and one for their totes, etc., but you could find an open chair somehwere). We took a Celebrity shore excursion on St Kitts called Essential St Kitts. It was an ok excursion -- was not my favorite island. On advice of CC, I booked a non-Celebrity tour with Cosol Tours in St Lucia. He did not disappoint. We had the most amazing day -- we fell in love with beautiful St Lucia and had 7 fun hours with the charismatic Cosol for $65 each. The local foods that he provided were absolutely wonderful (a breakfast buffet of multiple goodies and a lunch of freshly baked warm bread with local cheese -- it was all so good) and the mobile bar in the back of the van was a big hit with us and with the 7 "crazy" Canadians in our van. Highlights included visiting a banana plantation and tasting fresh bananas, visiting an active volcano and spending time on the beautiful Jalousie Beach between the Pitons. Some advice: bring a few $1's for bathroom stops along the way and a few dollars to tip the volcano guide, if desired. One other suggestion: go easy on the spiced rum that is offered late in the tour -- some of the guys had 2 shots of that high test moonshine, including my husband and they were a bit obnoxious, but so funny -- it was a hilarious ride back to the ship after that -- we have never had so much fun on a tour!! Cosol promises to get people back to the ship on time, though says that if he doesn't, not to worry, all the ladies can stay with him -- seriously, he has done this for many years and has back-up vans ready if needed to get us back on time if something happens. Other Thrills: - Going under the Verrazano Bridge during the Welcome Aboard party in the Sky Lounge -- very cool - 10 straight days of sunshine - Martin Andales singer/guitar player -- my husband was his biggest groupie so he was greeted warmly by Martin each time that he was at one of his sets and eventually I was greeted as well. He is an amazing artist and a lovely person -- we enjoyed many hours listening to his wonderful music. He took requests and played some of our favorites. Low Points: - For the first time, I was sea sick on the 1st full day -- the seas were quite rough and many people were sick -- may have been worse because our cabin was high and forward. I was fine the next day with no problems after that. I will bring ginger next time. - Signing up for wireless minutes was a bit tiresome -- they had a deal for extra free time if purchased the 1st day -- there was a long line with 1 person signing people up -- she very nicely helped set up accounts in people's laptops, Kindles, iphones, etc. and some people had all 3 (and some people were technology challenged so it took a while). I got to the head of the line after waiting 30 minutes and then had to go to muster -- someone in line suggested we all get a number so we could come back in the same line after muster. I came back with my number 1 and finally got set up, but I would suggest getting there early if you go the first day to get the extra minutes - I suggested on my evaluation that they have more than 1 person available when offering a special deal. I ended up with 120 minutes for $49.95 after my Captain's Club discount -- I budgeted 10 minutes/day to check my email and it worked out well (had free wireless in ports). Just don't forget to log off each time or you will use up your minutes very quickly! - Tight slots in the casino (though I did have so much fun losing my money) Disembarkation: Always sad, but less stressful with no flights to catch and pat downs to be subjected to, etc., etc. We had a nice relaxing breakfast at Blu at 07:30 and the cabin attendants said to take our time when we returned to the cabin a little after 0800 and promised to hurry. We were number 12 for departure -- not sure how we lucked out with a low number when we didn't have a flight to catch or anyone waiting for us, but didn't question it. We were scheduled to meet in the Theatre at 08:25 -- there was a big crowd there and lots of confusion at first, but once they started calling numbers it went pretty fast -- we were off the ship by 08:45.The worst part was the shuttle bus -- we were packed in like sardines with all our carry-ons and sat for about 10 minutes waiting for the bus ahead of us to unload. Other than that, it was pretty smooth and we were able to get on the road by 09:00. We drove away thinking about all the lucky people who were getting ready to take our places for 12 wonderful days... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We were excited about leaving from Newark which would eliminate having to fly to Florida. From the moment we stepped on the ship, we encountered problems that should not have occurred. First of all, we had booked our dining reservations ... Read More
We were excited about leaving from Newark which would eliminate having to fly to Florida. From the moment we stepped on the ship, we encountered problems that should not have occurred. First of all, we had booked our dining reservations in July 2011 when we were on another Celebrity cruise. This was confirmed at the time of booking as well as in the email sent from Celebrity two weeks before our cruise. When we arrived in our room, the paper we were given stated that we had second dining at 8:30PM. We went to guest desk to asked that we be given the early seating which had been confirmed. They referred us to the dining room. There we encountered a long line of people who had similar problems. After staying on line for 45 minutes we were told that there was nothing that could be done about it. We went back to guest desk and asked to speak to a supervisor. A woman came out and said that the dining room supervisor was busy and that our concerns would be noted. They would try to resolve our problem. She suggested we go to the dining room at 6PM. We arrived at 6 and the maitre d said that he could not assign us to a regular table but was able to give us a table for two. We wanted to be at a table with other people as part of the cruise experience. But, this was never done. We can't understand why our initial confirmed request for early dining was not able to be honored when we made this reservation since July. While the room was clean, we noticed that the closets were small and that there were no shelving for storage. The cabin staff were pleasant and tried to solve any problems we had. The dinner menu in the dining room did not compare well to our previous celebrity experience. The dining room staff were professional. The large production shows were well done. However, the entertainment in the evening was not up to par with our other cruising experience. The biggest problem was the outbreak of stomach virus that happened. We were not officially informed of this until 8 days into the cruise although we had spoken to several people before such time and knew that there was a problem. Official report as of yesterday from the CDCP stated that 174 passengers and 11 crew were affected. We know that several of the people we had spoken to were ill for one or two days and did not report this so many more people were affected by this virus. It was only after the official notice went out that the ship began to enforce the cleaning of hands before entering the dining room and passengers were no longer able to serve themselves in the buffet area and tables were cleaned after use. Although of a few occasions we had to ask that the table be cleaned. While we cannot blame the ship for the virus happening, we feel that these precautions should have been put into place way before they were. We were asked to be ready to debark at 9:15 and were told to go to the theater and wait. We sat there for one hour and 15 minutes before we were told to leave. Disembarking was disorganized and we had a problem finding our luggage. We are hoping that the Silhouette can address some of these issues in the future. We have serious reservations about leaving from Newark again. On a more positive note, we are appreciative of the dining room and cabin staff who were always pleasant and did their best to accommodate us. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Was on the silouhette and it was our first with X. The crowd was certainly the oldest I have ever seen and the average age estimate of 70 would be accurate. Ship is just awesome and spectacular with the public area well designed.. ... Read More
Was on the silouhette and it was our first with X. The crowd was certainly the oldest I have ever seen and the average age estimate of 70 would be accurate. Ship is just awesome and spectacular with the public area well designed.. Too many shops in my opinion that are taking too much room. That beeing said the over all spirit on that cruise was going with it and we found it was VERY SLOW!!! Alot of older people just having a nap on chairs right in the grand foyer in the middle of the day or all around the public area!!! some were funny to watch on the other hand... Most of the people were not very interested into beeing "a part" of the cruise but more interested in beeing a spectator.. We met some very nice people but also some very rude and not so pollite ones that would only care for themselves.... More than any RCL cruise i have done before. Beeing older does not mean that you are the owner of the ship or the world and that you can ignore the rules of "etiquette" that makes cruising so nice and relaxing. It was only a few individuals that were like that so it was ok but it just struck me and my patience was going away by the last day. People working at the guest relations desk are PATIENT like you would never believe and i noticed a few times some older guests beeing so rude,loud and cranky with them for little things. I was stunt by that since it was the first time after 6 cruises I could notice such behavior from at least 3 guests over the duration of the trip.. Oh well!!! Weather was awesome the entire trip and service was just amazing and the best we have experienced over the years. Food in the MDR was good to excellent and we ate there every night. Pasta dishes were not tasty according to my girlfriend and i can also back that statement. Some entrees were also barely warm but i can understand that FOR SUCH A BIG OPERATION and there was absolutly no problem to have it warmed up when we would mention that to our fantastic waiter. Overall it was a very nice food experience and beside those 2 little points there is nothing else to say... Buffet was very good with more choices than you can think.. Just can't understand the people that are complaining about the food on this ship.. What are they eating at home??? We did not eat in the speciality restaurants as they are WAY OVER PRICED. Room attendant was very good and like a ghost and our room always very clean. The service was awesome onboard and i really enjoyed the beverage package deal. It was practical,fast and just very nice not to think about your bill adding up... I think it would be a very good idea to extend that to the RCL fleet. I did missed the activities and interaction I normally find on RCL and the good laughs we normally have when cruising but it was still an amazing cruise. Bands,and some comedians were good. Celebrity Singers (males) were not good and cirque du soleil type of show was simply poor and not up to standard.Celebrity dancers were awesome. Cruise director was just ok and seems to be a little tired of doing that job. Certainly not funny and spontanious like we've experienced on previous cruises. Ports were nice and weather helped.. Took a a half day snorkeling excursion in STE-CROIX with the ship and it was bad.. 100$ to jump on an over crowded with 34 other guests.. Boat was way too small and it was not even half as good as what we did in the past on "catamaran" well design for that type of excursion. The old fishing boat used in STE-CROIX was way too small and we had a hard time just to move so imagine what it was to put the snorkeling gear on!!! Will I cruise with X again? Not sure and it would be a decision based on the ports off call only and area to visit. We liked it and it was nice but just not exactly aimed for people under 65 i think. Are they trying to make it a little more active and fun? I think but it's hard to please everyone especially when you are shooting in every direction at the same time.... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
As seasoned cruisers, we have an appreciation of the many facets on a vessel that may escape the eye of a novice. You must understand the most important point -- I have never met a cruise that I did not like. And, this includes this one. ... Read More
As seasoned cruisers, we have an appreciation of the many facets on a vessel that may escape the eye of a novice. You must understand the most important point -- I have never met a cruise that I did not like. And, this includes this one. That is why we cruise and will continue to enjoy the benefits of cruising. The ship -- Stunning to the eye with many different venues to enjoy. Quite frankly, even though this was a 12 night cruise we did not have the opportunity to enjoy everything the ship had to offer. Our dinning experiences did not take in all the various options and were limited to the Ocean View Cafe, MDR, and Tuscan. We heard many positive comments about the other specialty restaurants from our fellow travelers. The bathroom was roomy. The shower was a little bigger than on most ships and greatly appreciated by many of us. Although the actual size of the stateroom and balcony may have been of equal or better square footage, but somehow, they both felt very tight. The TV was great. The bed was very comfortable and the position of the bed alternated (by the entry or by the balcony) room by room. Our bed was by the balcony which I preferred. There was one universal complaint expressed by almost every woman on the ship. "There was not enough storage and that which they had was poorly designed!" Overall the design of the ship is geared towards an older passenger base. The nooks and crannies for settling in and reading a book popped up every where. Most fellow passengers were seasoned cruisers and universally expressed pleasure in the ship's ambiance. A big disappointment centered on the earlier dinner time. Both the main dinning and select reservations suffered by the attempt by the ship to accommodate too many at the earlier seating. This taxed the limited space of those on Select Dinning by interspersing those without reservations into the population. It ended up making everyone unhappy. This carried over to the "early" show. Since well over 50% of the people were being served an early dinner there was an overload on the seating. Since our Select Dinning reservation was slowed, we ended up missing two shows because of a lack of seating. The food -- In the MDR, every dinner meal with only one exception (The Chef's Special -- A meatball dish that I could not eat) ranged from good to every good. The lunches both in the buffet and MDR were very good. (I especially enjoyed the Mexican and Asian buffets). Breakfast was as good as any I have enjoyed. Many of the season passengers were not overly pleased but I do not possess a very demanding pallet and was more than satisfied with the food. The children's accommodations -- My recommendation is that you stay away with children. The activities -- There are many for the mature person to enjoy. Service -- There were many exceptional people serving everyone with smiles and friendly attitude. To mention some -- the casino manager, who really helped with our "slot pull" by giving us a trophy, a shirt, and assistance; the husband and wife team, who served as the two select dinning maitre d', they were most pleasant and accommodating; and there were many exceptionally trained waiters and assistants. Unfortunately, there were many very inexperienced servers included in the staff. Although they were pleasant and attempted to be attentive to the table's need, their lack of experience showed. This was not expected on a new ship to where, historically, the best of the best service usually move up. The entertainment -- In the theater, there were some very good performances that covered a wide range of personal interest. Also, the on board entertainment in the main lobby and elsewhere was very good. You would have been hard pressed not to have been able to find something that pleased your fancy. The Elite Happy Hour -- This was excellent!!! This was true of all the Elite perks. The Concierge Class Room -- The amenities may appear minor but do add to the overall appreciation of your accommodations. I had one major disappointment on this cruise. It was the manner in which you were seated for dinner at Select Dinning. There must be an over abundance of tables for two and a shortage of larger tables. Although we requested a large table on our pre-cruise reservation and each time we entered we requested to share, six out of eleven times we placed at a table of two. Our complaints fell on deaf ears. An example was as follows: We requested to share a table upon entry to the dinning room. We even stated that we would wait. Shortly three couples, including us, were escorted past several open tables of six down to the first level to be seated in three tables of two that were scattered throughout the dinning room. The service had to work extra hard to seat us in this manner. As a foot note: The next day we met one of the other couples in the Elite Happy Hour. They said that they could not understand why we were separated since they too had requested to share. Finally, a word about the Noro-Virus episode on this cruise: We appreciate the additional demands put on the staff to meet challenges of controlling the spread of the disease. We accept that these changes in how you served both in the MDR and buffet may have taken away from your normal high quality of service. The staff was on constant effort to wash down every surface and had to use extra help serve each meal. Yet, there was not one muttering of complaint by them. Thank you Celebrity for all the extra effort required due to this outbreak. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2012
One of the reasons we selected this cruise was because it was out of Bayonne, so we didn't have to worry about taking any airplanes. In fact, it was a very short ride from our house to the pier. Embarkation went smoothly and lasted ... Read More
One of the reasons we selected this cruise was because it was out of Bayonne, so we didn't have to worry about taking any airplanes. In fact, it was a very short ride from our house to the pier. Embarkation went smoothly and lasted maybe a half hour. You had to take a bus from the processing area to the ship, which was no problem. We learned from another passenger that Celebrity became 'disenchanted' with the facilities at this pier and will cease cruises after the fall. We had previously been on Silhouette's sister ships Solstice and Equinox, so we knew the layout of the ship already. One disappointment involved the elimination of the glass blowing feature that is on the other ships. My wife and I really loved our cabin on deck three since it was almost midway between the theater & the restaurant. We were close to the shore excursions desk that is right next to one of the main entertainment spots on the ship. At almost anytime we could stroll out of our stateroom and walk down the hall and enjoy the ship's guitarist, classical music duet, the steel drum duet and the main band that came on at night that played a variety of music with a great deal of gusto. The nightly entertainment on the Silhouette was the best we've seen on any ship. The core entertainers of singers and dancers were superb and the other acts were great too including; pianist Antonio Salci, impressionist Steven Scott and others. For the first time in eight cruises I skipped a dinner in the main dining hall to watch the 49er's - Giants game. Who sits next to me but the entertainer, Steven Scott. He was wearing a football Jersey and nobody seemed to notice him, and I didn't say anything till halftime when I asked his name and then said, "You were on last night, right?" He smiled and said he was glad to be able to watch the game. Anyway, it was a lot of fun watching the whole game with him along with hundreds of other shipmates who were all going wild over the Giants that night. The food on the ship was excellent, which included breakfast & lunch in the Ocean View Cafe & dinner in the main dining hall. The grill on deck 14 did a fine job with burgers & hot-dogs. It's a tossup, but Holland America might have the edge over Celebrity on the subject of food, but I was happy with the dining experience on this ship. Also, our server & assistant server at dinner did a tremendous job of doing everything possible to make sure we always had a wonderful dinner every night. The ship was steady and beautiful and despite its 1,047 foot length, we never felt like we were walking forever to get from one side of the ship to the other. The outdoor swimming pools and the enclosed pool were fine, though we favored the indoor one slightly. The first stop was my favorite, St Thomas/Virgin Islands. We went to Sapphire Beach and had a blast snorkeling right near shore where we saw many beautiful fish swimming near some isolated rocks and the reef. Orient Beach at St. Martens was very nice as was the beach at St. Lucia. At St. Kitts, we went on a brief tour to see some gardens, but were disappointed with the beach part of the excursion because the beach was loaded with pebbles and rocks since it was volcanic. When it was over, I felt this was definitely one of the best cruises I'd ever been on and I would highly recommend taking a cruise on the Silhouette. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Postponed a January trip on RCI upon learning of Celebrity Silhouette's sailing from Bayonne. Booked through a travel agent and received free bus rides to and from. Boarding was quick and our room was ready in no time at all. ... Read More
Postponed a January trip on RCI upon learning of Celebrity Silhouette's sailing from Bayonne. Booked through a travel agent and received free bus rides to and from. Boarding was quick and our room was ready in no time at all. Needless to say, the ship is beautiful and we quickly learned where everything was located. Buffet was nicely laid out with plenty of seating. We booked early seating in Grand Cuvee dining room but found many unhappy table mates upon arrival. Most left and our table for twelve was quickly filled with replacements as most opted for the early seating. This made the theater quite crowded at showtime and one needed to find a seat immediately after dinner or risk having to stand. There are many small bar areas as well as the expansive Sky Lounge above the bridge. The single worst problem Celebrity failed to address was the lack of proper enforcement of hand washing rules. Numerous Purel dispensers outside every food venue but no one there to enforce their use. As a result, many became ill and a few from our table were quarantined to their cabins. No announcements regarding the outbreak but daily newsletter items about the importance of hand washing. Once the illness took hold, everything changed at mealtime. Every food station at the OVC buffet was wrapped with plastic and nobody served themselves anything. A cup of coffee could take ten minutes to obtain as cream, sugar or whatever had to be dispensed by serving staff. Tables in the Grand Cuvee were devoid of salt, pepper, sugar, rolls and butter making it much tougher on the staff. Our waiters Kumar and Haddish handled it well but the extra work made it all the more difficult. On the final night prior to docking the next morning, the Purel dispenser outside the theater, port side, fifth deck was totally empty. Rather than replacing, staff tried fruitlessly to dispense minute drops to everyone prior to entering the theater. After the show, I noted the dispenser had been removed. While I haven't been on many cruises, I know RCI, NCL and even Carnival take the hand washing issue far more seriously. Most make it a game and everyone walks away singing WASHEE WASHEE while ensuring a germ free environment. Celebrity needs to get far more serious before I'll consider returning. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We spent 2 nights in Manhattan prior to the cruise,we used dial 7 to get to Cape Liberty and the cost was $100 including tolls and tip,this was for 4 passengers.On arrival at 1pm we were met by a huge queue of passengers and immediately i ... Read More
We spent 2 nights in Manhattan prior to the cruise,we used dial 7 to get to Cape Liberty and the cost was $100 including tolls and tip,this was for 4 passengers.On arrival at 1pm we were met by a huge queue of passengers and immediately i noticed how many seniors there were and i mean over 75.Anyway it took 1 hour and 15 minutes before we were aboard. Once aboard we were greeted with champagne and then went straight to our stateroom,very nice,really good size and excellent size bathroom for an inside. Our luggage arrived approx 6pm. Sailaway nothing special,not like on princess and p and o. First impressions of the ship were very good but no WOW factor at all,the atrium is very dark and gloomy.Lots of artwork all over,which i liked. We ate in the MDR 7 out of the 12 nights,food was good not excellent,certainly no better than princess or p and o.Service was good not excellent,we were on select dining and never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table,however several nights the adjoining table was left littered with dirty dishes etc after the diners had left and remained so for 30 minutes or so - not good. The speciality restaurants were all excellent,we opted for the 5 dinner,3 bottles of wine package for $379 for 2 which was well worth it,the food and service were fantastic,Murano deserves a special mention,FABULOUS!!! The formal nights were nothing special at all,nowhere near as good on other lines,lots of people did not adhere to the dress code which really spoiled it for us,one lady on formal night came out of the MDR in pyjamas and another couple of ladies in jogsuits,this should not be allowed and no i wasnt seeing things. Entertainment was very good,the guitarist who performed on the Lawn Club was excellent,lovely setting with candles,blankets and cushions with a nice glass of wine and cheese and biscuits under the stars-different. We were fortunate to have excellent weather and enjoyed all ports of call Antigua being the favourite and St Croix the least favourite. I mentioned earlier about the age of passengers and we were dismayed to find that the majority of passengers were over 75 and i mean at least 3/4 of all passengers,it was like a floating nursing home,i have been slated for commenting about this on the forum but this is the truth and it totally spoiled the atmosphere,it was like a ghost ship after 10pm and many other agreed with me,even passengers in their sixties commented.We are no party animals but we do like a bit of atmosphere on our holidays.The ships DJ may as well jumped ship as it was permanently empty.I have absolutely nothing against seniors but i certainly do not want to spend my holiday with about 2,000 people over 75,we were told the average age on board was 79!!! The dreaded norovirus struck on the 8th day,lots of precautions taken,ie library books removed,all bread baskets,menus,cruets etc moved from tables and all food served by staff,no self service in The Oceanview Cafe.This slowed everything down but i suppose it had to be done.Call me a cynic but how come the casino wasnt closed down-something to do with revenue maybe. Anyway to sum up,we had a lovely time but it could have been better,think we will stick to princess,lots more atmosphere without being rowdy and a more mixed age group. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I do not know how to begin to review this cruise other than it was very un-expected and changed the whole tone and mood of the cruisers on this trip. First, lets take care of business and let you know that this ship is about 9 months ... Read More
I do not know how to begin to review this cruise other than it was very un-expected and changed the whole tone and mood of the cruisers on this trip. First, lets take care of business and let you know that this ship is about 9 months old, so mostly everything works and it is of high quality, and the crew and captain have been hand picked from the best of other vessels. The cabin is spacious, well distributed, many have balconies, with decent size and good furniture. Flat screen TV's, plenty of hot water, toiletries, minibar ... etc as expected. The cabin attendant was always smiling, provided us with information, attention and care. Plenty of food venues, from the plentiful buffet, great burgers on sun deck, specialty restaurants galore and many other options. The main traditional dining was excellent too, no need to go to specialty, unless you are dying for superb sushi or other exceptional food experiences. In most port of calls we were the envy of other cruisers, since Silhouette had always out a welcome and departure service point with cold drinks, ice towels and even sofas to rest if you needed it. For the un-usual cruise experience, this trip departed 12/24/11 thru 1/5/12, and the almost 3000 passenger capacity was booked solid. We expected mostly US travelers and this was not the case, there were plenty of Brits, Mexicans, Russians, US, Germans, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Latin Americans. In addition, it seems that a lot of people had the same idea at the same time, so there were plenty of families with children. The Ship carried between 600 and 700 children of all ages and they had plenty of opportunity to socialize or follow the activities designed for them, and you could review on your TV screen if you wanted to! In addition, we traveled with our son 23, the cabin phone kept on ringing from new friends, when he decided to take a break from the activities and rest in the cabin for a while, asking him to come out and join the fun! I have never seen so many passengers running thru the halls at the same time (other than in a sinking ship!), when the announcements from the PA system let them know that Santa had arrived on the ship and was making his rounds on all decks starting on deck 14. We also even enjoyed two new year's eve, since the ship crossed the time zone at 12:15am and rolled the clocks to 11:15pm and had another new year's eve for 2012. We run into friends on Amadea bound for Lima, Peru in St. Martin and out of the 1460 cruisers there was not a single child on board. They could not understand how we could cope with 600+ children on our ship without going nuts, it must be miserable to travel like that and we disagreed completely. Actually I never knew how much more pleasant our trip could be, having all these mini-cruisers having a blast on board of a superb ship catering to all their needs. Great Going Silhouette, if anybody can do babysitting in style you can! Read Less
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 4.6
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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