We love cruising and are still surprised that so many people ask what cruising is like. So we jumped at the chance to review one of the current top ships, the Celebrity Silhouette.
We were booked onto a Mediterranean cruise for a 12 night cruise and when we arrived at Romes, Civitavecchia Port (Italy) there were a line of cruise ships. There was only one that stood out and looked more impressive than the others. This massive white ship with a blue cross on its funnel, the mark of Celebrity, which could been seen from a few miles away as we were driven towards the dock was going to home.
Just like any other holiday offering, each cruise line is different. There are party ships, family ships, sporty ships, small ships, big ships, expensive ships and the more reasonable ones. Celebrity is a 5 star, luxury ship, and although it has things for kids to do, in our opinion it is more an adult ship.
Just so that you know this review is of the ship and not the stops we made. Itinerary’s change and different are countries visited but one thing about cruising stays the same, every day you get to wake up in a new country and explore!
The chance to visit 10 different towns, cities and Countries on one holiday, whilst unpacking only once and being treated like a celebrity between stops is why cruising is becoming the choice holiday for many people.
Back to the Silhouette ship review, when people say this ship is big, it is huge. Until someone stands beside it, they cannot get an idea of how big it is. If stats are your thing then this behemoth stands in at 315 meters in length has 16 decks, 122210 tonnage, carries 2886 passengers and has 1500 crew. That probably sounds like a lot of people in a small space but don’t make that mistake.
Getting on board
We had been allocated our state room and been sent our luggage tags, which after getting off the plane we put around the handle of our bags. Pulling up to the docked ship the cases are whisked away by the dock hands and we jumped in a fast moving queue to check in and get our cruise card.
This card acted as our ID, passport, pay card whilst on board (if a credit card is registered) and room key. Once through the check in desks, a short walk along the dock with the bow of the ship in front of us made the first impression a good one. Pristine white hull and what looked like a sky-scrapper coming out of the water, up to the funnels, it was stunning.
Getting to the gangway just after midday, a host of staff were waiting to greet us, offering a glass of bubbles or orange juice, cold towels and a warm smile. Scanning our new cruise card through security we entered the air conditioned, luxurious ship. After bringing on our carry on bags (always pack a swim suit in your hand luggage) we made out way to the lifts and set off exploring the ship.
Our room would be ready at 3.00, so we had a few hours for lunch and some time to sit in the sun, hence the packed swimwear. Our cruise card worked straight away so we did not waste any time grabbing a couple of beers and soaking up a few rays. We will cover food in the sections below as well as the swim and deck areas.
Now we had been very kindly allocated a balcony stateroom, on deck 7, port side at the back of the boat. At 3.00 we wanted to see our home for the next 12 days so made our way to the back of the boat. Using our cruise card we opened the door and saw the room. The photo does not do the room justice, with the sun streaming through the window and the decor it felt welcoming and classy.
A large bed at the end of the room by the window, enough wardrobe and storage space for what we had packed, a fridge, safe, hairdryer, TV, Sofa, desk area and bathroom all perfect for our stay. There was both European and US plug sockets by the desk.
And the best, was outside the sliding glass door, our own balcony, with loads of room, 2 chairs and a table, for when we wanted some alone time.
The room had everything we needed, but our plan was not to spend a lot of time there as there was loads of spaces that needed exploring.
Our luggage was delivered to the room within an hour after we got there and that gave us time to unpack, shower and get out for our first proper dining experience on board.
Our state room attendant was brilliant, we only ever saw him in the corridors, smiling and wishing us a great day, we never caught him in our room, but every day it was cleaned, bed made and bathroom tidied. Then each night the bed was turned down, chocolates on the pillow and the bathroom tidied (again).
Dining and food.
Our first night on board we booked and tried out the Murano on Deck 5. This was when we discovered how far the staff will go to make sure our stay was going to be off the scale.
The Murano is one of the specialist restaurants on board and there is a cover charge/dining fee, but it was worth it. Having been shown to our table, the waiter was busy looking after us, chatting, engaging and offering us everything we needed, bread, water, wine, beer anything at all (beer from another bar) all sorted.
The menu was amazing and we could have ordered it all. The waiter seeing us struggle to make a choice, suggested he could bring us a second dish, so it was decided the surf and turf needed to be ordered. The chateaubriand was the most tender piece of meat I had tasted for a long time and the lobster, fried in butter in front of me was juicy and delicious. I really cannot remember the starters or the desserts but I know they were fantastic as well, but that meat, I can still remember how good it was.
The other nights we dined in the main restaurant on Deck 4 (part of the cruise package) we had a change of menu every day and the staff were all willing to wait on us hand and foot. We had been allocated an open dining, meaning we could eat when we wanted, rather than the set early or late dining times.
Dining in the larger restaurant had a different atmosphere to the more quiet and reserved specialist dining areas, but the food was wonderful and other cruisers are all willing to chat and share stories.
Of course eating food like this, 3 times a day would mean the swimsuit might be a bit tight by the end of the cruise, so we decided to dine in the Oceanview cafe on deck 14 for breakfast and lunch (and the occasional midnight pizza).
The Oceanview cafe never ceased to amaze us, the food was always top quality, brilliantly presented and the choice was huge (as was our expanding waists). The hot stands constantly changed and they provided different meals from around the world, Mexican to Indian, to Roasts and salads (not to mention the pizza area) and many more as well as a dessert and ice cream stands. The view from the high decks, meant fantastic views whilst we planned our days and great sea views when we were sailing through them.
One day we felt the need to do something a little more healthy and found the Spa cafe in the Solarium on Deck 12, where we had some great healthy snacks and drinks. Although if we were honest we only did it the once as there was little alcohol on offer but the food was great.
There is always somewhere to grab a beer and we happened to put ourselves out to try as many as we could, in the interests of writing this review (honest). From the Sunset bar on Deck 15, with grass beneath our feet (see the ‘what else’ section below) to the Martini bar, where most nights we sat mesmerized by the skills of the martini experts flicking bottles and pouring multi coloured concoctions into glasses on a frosted bar.
The Martini bar on deck 4 was our choice of an evening drink, as I am sure you can tell, it was the choice of others as well. Getting a chair around the bar meant an evening of entertainment and being looked after by the bar staff. All of them were happy to chat and made great cocktails from the menu, or if you ask for something different, they are happy to mix a new exciting drink for people.
There were many other bars, we enjoyed the Sky Observation lounge, on deck 14 with the view at the front of the ship as we sailed away out of a port or close to land and the many bars around the in door and out door pool areas. A coffee lounge on Deck 5 (next to the Gelateria bar) where most days a violinist played soft tunes, a wine cellars on Deck 4, and a night club on Deck 4 called Quasar.
There are 2 bars around the pool, one by the pool on deck 12 and the Mast bar on deck 14, next to the running track and the view of the pool.
There are 2 areas on board, the sometimes busy (sea days) outside 2 pools and the more calm and quieter indoor Solarium pool both on Deck 12.
The outdoor pool is divided into 2, a shallow pool for families and a deeper pool for adults. All around the pool on the open deck are loungers and plenty of shade. Towels are on offer and pool attendants eager to please, always tidying or taking drinks orders. Again the cruise card acts as your cash, so all you need is your room key.
Around the upper deck on 14 (there is no deck 13) where the running track is painted onto the deck (more for decoration we presumed?), there are even more loungers with shade, and we found it a little cooler as there is bit more of a sea breeze when the ship is moving. Of course on sea days we were not interested in getting dressed to use the Oceanview Cafe so a trip to the hotdog and burger bar, The Mast grill on 14 sufficed.
There is always a constant change over of beds, people leaving, moving and gathering and the staff stay alert to tidy towels and allow others to use empty beds. At the end of the pools there is a stage where live music plays most afternoons and the entertainment teams put on a bit of a show. It is all great fun and people clearly enjoyed themselves.
What else is on board
There was loads of other things to see and do. The library over 2 decks, (10 and 11) offered a great select of reads, along with a guest book exchange shelf (swapping of books), comfortable seats and a quiet area to read.
The card and game room on deck 9 allowed people to meet and challenge each other to a hand or two. If money is your drive, the on board casino on deck 4 will have all the games you want, from Black jack to Poker and Roulette to Fruit machines (this is only open when not in port). The shopping is great, on decks 4 and 5 diamonds and watches are plenty, as well as a clothing and photo shopping.
The Theater is a great way to spend an hour in the evening, watching comedians, to singers, entertainers and the ships very own theater company. They all work so hard and as we sat watching, there were staff running around getting drinks and orders to our seats.
There is a cinema on Deck 4 and fitness centre and gym on Deck 12 next to the Canyon Ranch Spa club, where they do beauty therapies and hair styling.
The Lawn club is something else. On Deck 15 with more specialty restaurants, the main attraction is the lush green lawn. Kicking off our shoes, strolling over the grass, finding a wicker chair and table and ordering a beer to drink as we watched the coast lines glide by and changing seas wash past was perfect. We were very lucky to watch dolphins playing in the waves from here.
There is the Hideaway on Decks 7 and 8, seating areas and a coffee machine. An Apple I-Shop on deck 6 and a Future Cruise office on Deck 4 where we found about the brand new Celebrity ship the ‘Edge’.
With Guest relations on Deck 3 with Shore excursions opposite the whole ship is a joy to wander around and explore these great areas. Whilst wandering we got to see the grand staircase, the high ceilings and decor of the ship.
This is truly an amazing ship. Things we should also be listing such as every evening we had a news letter left on our bed that helped us plan for the next day and many more but we fear this review could have gone on long enough. Celebrity Cruise line were great it felt like they had thought of everything. From the smallest of things to the biggest that made us go “wow”, we were enthralled, entertained, fed and relaxed. The staff were friendly and helpful with the views and the level of luxury we experienced, we now love Celebrity Silhouette and we know if you get the chance you will too.