12 Night British Isles (Amsterdam Roundtrip) Sail Date: July 15, 2015 Ship: Celebrity Silhouette Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 2 years ago
Not sure we will take another Celebrity cruise after our experiences on Silhouette. From beginning to end, there was one issue after another which started with the embarkation process at the cruise terminal. The embarkation process was extremely long. After completing the initial check-in, guests stood in line for about 2 hours before boarding. There was another 30 minute queue to reach the British Immigration processing tables. Once our passports were turned into the ship’s employees (which were held until reaching Cork), we had an opportunity to see our cabin, meet our attendants and grab a quick bite to eat. Both the accommodations and attendants were great. The food, throughout the cruise, was average at best and food service was dicey. Wine service with Sidney was great; however, Francesco poured two glasses from a new bottle and brought the bottle back with just an inch of wine in the bottom! Not sure what happen, he said another sommelier probably poured single glasses from our bottle for other guests! It was evident there was no backup plan for the emergency weather conditions and poor communication from the caption/crew during these situations. Rearranging excursions was problematic. Since our British Open excursion on July 18 had to be cancelled due to dangerous tendering conditions, we were rescheduled for July 19. However, when we returned to our cabin that evening, about 9:00 PM, we discovered another pair of British Open tickets ($300 each) for the next day (Monday) which we had not booked, as well as a pair of tickets for an Edinburg excursion, also for Monday. We had tried to book the Edinburg trip, but were told it could not be arranged by the Excursion Desk the night before; therefore, made other plans. The 2nd set of Open tickets were never requested or booked. The Excursion Desk could not be reached by phone so we ran down stairs in hopes to resolve the problem. Thankfully, we were able to cancel both and get credit. Sadly, there was no explanation for the mix-up and no apology.
Our last “day at sea” was shortened when the captain announced stormy weather was forecast for Amsterdam, so the ship had to be maneuvered through the locks before it hit. Shopping, the casino, food service, etc. were shut down about 12:30 P.M. The next morning before disembarking, breakfast in the Cuvee Café was less than desired. It was obvious the crew had started preparations for the next group of passengers and did have time to give attentive service to the guests disembarking. In the Cuvee Cafe, there were only 3 choices for diners. When the meals arrived, one was wrong and the other looked like leftovers from the day before, i.e., undercooked toast, bacon bits (not slices), overcooked hash browns. You had to wave or call out to get any service and the restaurant only had a few customers. It was like they were not happy that we did not go to the buffet. Not a great ending!!! Disembarkation was easy, but luggage was a little hard to find. We were staying in Amsterdam so we just caught a cab to our hotel.
The British Open and our visits to Scotland, Ireland and England were bucket list items. Consequently, we were not disappointed we booked a cruise to travel to see the golf event at St. Andrews and these beautiful countries. It is sad that all the issues we encountered dampened the experience.
Food and Dining
1 out of 5
Getting a table during select dining was never a problem. Only twice on the 12 day cruise, we were given a beeper and had a 10-15 min. wait. The quality of food in the main dining room was disappointing. The meals were generally tasteless and showed below average preparation (beef ranged from tender to too tough to cut; fish served over cooked most times to raw – watch out for bones; lamb was great; chowder and creamy soups were very poor … even the onion soup was below average.) No condiments are offered with hamburgers, steak or breakfast toast. One of the worst experiences came on our last night at dinner in the Cuvee restaurant. We were not able to sit in the area with the servers we had for most of the cruise. The head waiter made us feel like we were not welcome in his area because we had not sat there previously. We were ignored except to take and deliver our food order. When the entrée was too tough to cut, he cut it for my wife and laughed as he struggled to dice it into bite size pieces, but never offered to bring a replacement or apologize. He quickly left and avoided our table. Another issues arose when we ordered a bottle of wine. We told the wine steward, Francesco, we would only drink one glass each at our meal and would be taking the rest of the bottle to our room. When we finished dining, we had a difficulty getting anyone’s attention to retrieve our bottle of wine. We were finally able to flag down our assistant waiter to ask him to find our sommelier, Francesco and ask him to bring our wine. Francesco finally came over, placed our wine bottle on our table and walked away. When we picked up the bottle, we discovered there was less than an inch of wine left in it. Again, we had to run someone down to find Francesco. Finally, he returned so we could remind him he had poured only one glass each from our bottle (2 glasses) during the meal and I showed him the tiny amount remaining in the bottle. Francesco claimed someone must have mistakenly poured single glasses from our bottle for other diners. We knew this could not be the truth since the wine list showed our wine was only sold by the bottle, not by the glass. Francesco left to get a replacement bottle and while he was gone the guests at the table next to ours told us there had been several problems with Francesco’s wine service during the cruise. We should have found a manager to complain about our disgusting experiences with the service, food and wine, but this was our last night so we did not want to waste more time. We just wanted to get out of the restaurant and return to our cabin.
The buffet was not open he for early excursions. If you arrived close to opening time, it’s chaos!
3 out of 5
The emergency drill was a video which was difficult to see and hear. The golf demonstration and history presentation on Ireland we attended were both very good. More activities are needed, specifically for a day at sea since this is not a "fun in the sun" cruise. Poor publicity on activities while on board. Just received daily handouts for shopping.
3 out of 5
Singers ranged from off key to superb.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
We had a great waiter named Hakan, assistant waiters named Marko, Marko B. and Mellaine and Sidney tended to our wine orders in open dining; poor service was given by waiters, Michael and Rodney, and the wine steward/sommelier, Francesco; the Cuvee café receptionist, Andrea, was very efficient. Our room attendant Howard and his assistants were outstanding. The excursion staff struggled to adapt to the change in schedule because weather.
5 out of 5
The design was nothing out of the ordinary, but very clean. No personality.
Research each port and consider exploring on your own. Most of the destinations were easy to navigate without a guide by using the shuttle, local buses or the train for transportation.
Amsterdam is an easy place to navigate on your own. Lot’s to see and do. There are buses, trams, trains & cannel boats. If you stay in “city central” you can easily walk most sites. The lines are long, but we highly recommend seeing the Anne Frank house. Don't miss trying their cheeses, waffles and hot chocolate!
We have been to London in the past and love it, but chose to see Dover and Canterbury instead. If you don't feel like taking a tour, staying in Dover and exploring the castle is a great way to spend the day. You can take a shuttle bus to the town and the castle. A half day excursion to Canterbury is a wonderful experience.
Our excursion took us past a few highlights in Belfast and around Ards Peninsula. This was great! Grey’s Abbey is interesting to see and the quaint port town tour in Donaghadee ended with an Irish coffee and sampling of traditional breads.
Go online and find a walking tour...and meander the area. Start at Trinity College, see the beautiful churches on the way to the Guinness brewery. Dublin is very easy to navigate and the locals are super friendly!
The town of Cobh is nice. The train station is across from the ship. It was very simple to buy a ticket to Cork & there is a train every 30 minutes. It’s a nice little walk around town … a day of leisure. Try the tea and scone at O'Connell’s.
Cobh (the port) is fun to check out if you don't want to make the trip to Cork.
Beautiful port. Walk up to the university and gardens. It’s worth the stroll. Stop by their churches and the castle is near the ship. Victor Hugo’s home was there, too, although you can’t go inside. Oh, don’t forget to stop for tea and scones near the harbor to enjoy the view.
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