Oh Ship! Baby you’re doing just fine!
As with a resort revisit, I find it is important to have a look at cruise ships many years after their debut. The Celebrity Silhouette embarked on her maiden voyage in 2007. Although she carries 2886 passengers – she is not considered a mega ship, but a mere baby in comparison to RCCL’s Oasis class – which is almost double her size. I mention size because I find this ship to be the perfect mix of having enough things to do onboard (entertainment and dining options galore) AND intimate enough so that no venue is ever too far away.
First, the ship looks beautiful. Carpets have been refreshed. Furniture is in excellent shape. Buffets are appetizing and well-stocked at all times. Cabins are appealing and comfortable. And the staff is kind, friendly, knowledgeable.
Congrats on Celebrity’s first FEMALE cruise director, Sara. I have to wonder why it has taken so long to break this glass ceiling. Sara is charming, bright and engaging. The entertainment onboard has been vastly reworked and improved. Celebrity embarked on a very aggressive fleet-wide reform of their programming to include 18 new shows in 18 months. I had the pleasure of watching one such show entitled “Life” – which incorporates contemporary music and unique choreography with aerial acrobatics to create 45 minutes of delightful theater. Bravo!
A change from Steiner to Canyon Ranch spa has made for a drastic difference in onboard treatments with far more variety PLUS outstanding massage therapists. This was perhaps the first time I thought cruise ship spa services were worth the price tag.
Celebrity has succeeded in appealing to a younger clientele, adding in activities that are more interactive and engaging. One such activity is called Silent Disco, whereby passengers don oversized headsets on which they can select a particular music style. The headsets light up to reveal the color that coordinates with their music choice. Participants will know what music genre you are listening to by looking at your color – and they will gravitate toward their own “kind”. Everyone is dancing, smiling, singing and mingling – and the only ones who can hear the music are those with the headsets on. In addition, Celebrity has added in some late night theme parties, Food and Film deck events (Millennium class) and more adventurous shore excursions to further engage a younger more active set of passengers.
Culinary additions include Luminae, a restaurant reserved for suite passengers. Aqua class guests continue to dine in their own private restaurant called Blu. Both Luminae and Blu are private intimate dining rooms serving breakfast and dinner daily and lunch on embark and sea days. Although the food in the main dining room is among the best in the large ship market – these venues offer more personalized service, upgraded cuisine and open seating dining for its guests. Menus are more limited than what you would find in the main dining room, yet the dishes are more creative and elegant. What was once Bistro on Five (a salad and crepe eatery) has become Sushi on Five – a comprehensive sushi and ramen outlet. Unlike Tuscan Grille, the Lawn Club, Qsine and Murano – the Silhouette’s alternative dining venues that impose a set surcharge, Sushi on Five operates on an a la carte basis. Your bill will add up quickly if you aren’t careful – as prices mirror land-based prices for similar items. Food was fresh and delicious! Also worth noting is the Porch (which used to serve paninis) – a casual outdoor café with a $30 pp fee. Open for lunch and dinner, patrons can order lobster rolls, ceviche and cold seafood platters in addition to gourmet burgers and snacks.
Celebrity used to feature a few things that I wish they would reinstate – live music in the dining room, cold towels and sorbet around the pool – perhaps they will bring some of this back. I will say that the live music we did enjoy onboard was far superior to what I found on previous voyages. For example – the entertainment in the atrium was wonderful – an acoustic guitarist/singer, a pop trio and singer – both superior and contemporary.
Overall, Celebrity offers a terrific value for incentive passengers. Groups automatically receive amenities as part of the “go best” package, where the client can choose from one of the following four amenities: classic open bar package, free internet, $150 pp onboard credit and comp gratuities. If you add $45 pp/day to the bill – you get ALL of these included for your group ANDthe classic beverage package is upgraded to premium. To put this into perspective – if you ONLY wanted the premium beverage package and bought it onboard, the price is $75 pp/day PLUS an 18% gratuity. Think about it! This may be the best deal in the industry.
Perhaps the most exciting news at Celebrity is the imminent arrival of the Edge class. The 2900-passenger Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Beyond - twins that are going to pack a punch will have a big reveal coming on March 13th. You will be among the first to hear about it.
Now, go SAIL something… :) We are here to help you.