January 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Silhouette
I have sailed on almost all of Celebrity's ships but this was my first time on the Silhouette. Overall it is beautiful, easy to navigate and luxurious. The service is friendly and attentive. But... there are some areas where it is obvious that Celebrity is cutting back and economizing.
The positives: the Aquaclass rooms are lovely. Boarding was excellent and our bags arrived quite promptly. Blu -- the special dining room is also excellent. We enjoyed all of the specialty restaurants. I also liked the new Spa concessionaire --Canyon Ranch. The treatments and staff were also excellent.
Excursions: we only did one excursion and I highly recommend it. It is a new excursion in Labardee-- New World Sailing Adventure. Only 20 of us on a beautiful yacht, sailing along the coast and learning about this part of Haiti and Columbus. Rum punches, beer, water. Plus they dropped anchor and we could swim off the boat. Heavenly.
On board we took the cooking class in Murano -- just 6 of us with the chef. We assembled and did a little cooking of the appetizer and then he carefully explained the preparation of the main course (Steak Diane) and the pastry chef explained the dessert (Grand Marnier Souffle). Then we all got to eat it for lunch -- complete with multiple glasses of champagne. Terrific. But even here there seemed to be some economizing. We were given white "Top Chef" aprons to use in the kitchen -- but then had to hand them back!
But now for some complaints -- all relatively minor but they add up.
1. It would be nice if Blu would offer a special or two or more choices.
2. It seems there have been little change in the menu in Blu or the specialty restaurants since I last sailed on Celebrity (Jan. 2014). This is particularly true of Q-sine and the Italian restaurant. I still love the menu in Murano. The service in all of them are excellent.
3. In Blu -- a sometimes found the servers seemingly more interested in "entertaining" us -- joking around about each other -- than serving us.
4. Spa services -- Canyon ranch only offers its Port Day Specials until 1 p.m. no matter how late the ship is in port.
5. The casino has apparently raised its minimums on roulette and blackjack. No more $1 tables. I enjoy roulette but I only want to spend a limited money gambling -- so I felt deprived.
6. Service in the pool area -- especially during port days was hard to come by. One day I waited 30 minutes before someone took my drink order.
7. I was surprised that there were no talks on board about the region or on any other subject.
8. Probably my biggest complaint was the entertainment. Celebrity's entertainment has been declining for several years -- fewer small groups of performers in the public areas. This time it reached a new low. Very few performers in public areas and some of them were not very good. I've also enjoyed the string trio or quartets that play light classics, etc. This type of music was nowhere to be found. It seemed they wanted you to shop.
9. Though I don't go the shows, I found they now usually featured one or two performers -- a singer, a comedian and not real shows.
10. Even Bacci has changed. No longer are there little sandwiches available at various times. I loved the way they used to serve ice tea -- a pot of tea and a container of ice. You could make multiple glasses to suit yourself. Now, it is served in an 8 oz. glass already prepared for you. If I had to pay for this -- I didn't because I had the beverage package, I would have been annoyed.
11. In Aquaclass there is supposed to be a pillow menu -- I was never asked if I wanted different pillows.
It may sound like I had a lot of complaints, but most of them were small. But it did take away from some of the enjoyment and luxury I expect on Celebrity -- I am an Elite member of the Captain's Club. I heard some people say it was the doing of the new president who is from Royal Caribbean. I don't know, but I may consider another cruise line.