First Time Cruiser Opinion
Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Okay, I may not actually be a true 'first timer' but it's been over 20 years since I was last on a cruise. Living in South Florida and not going on at least one cruise is a heresy...so I decided to try it out. I chose Celebrity Silhouette (CS) based on line reputation and the style of vessel. Not too big, but loaded with amenities and a good track record for dining. I chose correctly. This vessel met or exceeded expectations right from the start. Impeccably clean, and I mean, we looked for it like health inspectors. The food did not disappoint and in many ways was consistently beyond what we had expected. I may have gone in with low expectations (my wife and I are cooks and we traveled with a gourmet chef), nevertheless from start to finish we were pleasantly surprised at the variety and quality of the dining experience. Both my wife and I purchased drink packages, hers was a 'classic' and mine was 'premium'. i would say for moderate social drinkers this may have been more than we needed. Unless you are hard straight quality liquor drinkers, a classic package is more than enough (and for some, maybe even too much). Be advised: you will be encouraged to upgrade to premium every step (bar) along the cruise. Living in South Florida, we did not feel the need to indulge in many of the shore excursions, so our highlights focused mainly on the vessel, the crew service, the food, and the on vessel entertainment. We were not disappointed. The crew was extremely professional and friendly...to the extreme! It got to the point where different crew members knew us by our first names and went out of their way to engage us in friendly conversations, often telling us of their experiences and backgrounds...my wife, the people person, loved these encounters. The one exception were the busy bartenders. As a former bartender, I was maybe more acutely aware of the 'behind the scenes' activities of the bars. And, in defense of the staff, which are from all around the globe, there may be cultural and language issues at play. I would recommend a couple of simple changes to the delivery of drink services, particularly during busy periods (aka, 'surges' which can be anticipated based on history). First, use 'bar-backs' to run glasses and replenish supplies to a busy bar...keep the bartenders at the bar. Second, encourage and train the bartenders to 'work the bar' in a specified and orderly manner, and make eye contact with the next in line patron (and if really skilled, take that order while filling another). Everyone knows they are working hard, but most folks just want to know that there is some 'method to the madness'. The on-board services and amenities were very good to excellent. The casino, while it could use a few more different card games, was great and rarely ever crowded. Needless to say, we lost overall, but we did have our share of 'ups' during the cruise. There were numerous activities and entertainment venues, some we participated in, many we did not out of personal preference. Everything, from the shows, to the lounge dancing, to trivia contests, were fun and thoroughly enjoyable. Even riding the elevators was cool on this vessel. Art shows, scotch tastings, expense gift drawings...lots of very entertaining sidebars. There's a lot more I could comment on, the leadership of the vessel, the social director, the room attendant, the sommelier...all just plain excellent. If I had to throw in one last recommendation for improvement, and this is purely selfish, add a variety of salsas and srirachas in the Oceanview Cafe buffet area. Good ones are not all 'hot' and overly spicy...but can add just the right amount of flavor (even coloring) to make an ordinary something (think scrambled eggs), extraordinary!. We will do this again, for sure!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Decide if you are into the cruising and maximizing the on-board services or plan to take full advantage of the shore excursions. We were the former, and do not regret it. This is a quality cruising vessel, chock full of excellent amenities. Our goal was to focus on everything on board.