More energetic and with more extra-fee attractions than its three Solstice-class predecessors, the 122,400-ton, 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted in July 2011 as the fourth of five ships in the now-iconic series. The Solstice signatures -- a stable of themed dining venues, a public hub that smells of waffles, a strikingly green and grass-covered deck space, the use of glass and marble throughout -- are all there. But Silhouette also reflects a handful of significant modifications to the blueprint.
The most visible are found on the Lawn Club, a half-acre of real grass that tops every Solstice-class ship's stern sun deck area. On Silhouette, the public park has become something of a gated village green, and the space is much more exclusive -- and expensive -- to use than those planted on Solstice, Eclipse and Equinox. Gone is the (free) Corning Glass Show, replaced by the breezy Lawn Club Grill, where participants pay for a combination meatfest and cooking class under open skies. The Porch, a for-fee casual lunch or dinner option modeled after a private deck in the Hamptons, has also been slotted into space previously free to occupy. But the most controversial additions to Silhouette's Lawn Club are the eight alcoves, private cabana rentals that occupy prime real estate in what was a common sunning area on previous lawns.
Silhouette's custom-collated multimillion-dollar art collection is also a key differentiator. Two installments that draw the most shouting, laughing and exuberant pointing: caged birds on video screens and the enchanted forest with piped-in chirps, positioned in a vestibule through which hundreds of passengers walk en route to the ship's specialty restaurant hub.
Still, despite these distinctions (or perhaps in spite of them, considering the Lawn Club changes), Silhouette is nothing if not quintessential Solstice Class. It's the most sophisticated experience you'll find on a nearly 3,000-passenger ship -- see the focus on wine, sleekly styled spaces and upscale dining -- without being overly stuffy. Celebrity does a commendable job of keeping the pretentiousness quota in check by inserting playful touches, like an ice-topped martini bar that features juggling bartenders, the aforementioned cook-your-own steakhouse and another restaurant, Qsine, where passengers are encouraged to play with their food. Solstice-class stalwarts won't miss a beat, and for first-timers, Silhouette will showcase why the series has become one of the most acclaimed in modern cruising.
Celebrity Silhouette Gratuity
Tips aren't included in the cruise fare, but suggested gratuities are automatically added to your onboard account at a rate of $14.50 per person/per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $15 per person/per day, if you're in a Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $18 per person/per day, for passengers in suites. If you would like to adjust the gratuities, you can do so through the Guest Relations desk. An 18 percent charge is added automatically to all beverage and mini-bar purchases as well as spa and salon purchases. You can't remove these gratuities but can add to them. The currency onboard is U.S. dollars.
Note: Australians and New Zealanders do not have the service charge added to their account; fares automatically include this gratuity as long as the cruise was booked in AU or NZ dollars.