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Silhouette Review - January 6 - 13, 2013

Host Anne

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Lois ~ this ones for you!!!



JANUARY 6 – 13, 2013


Cabin 1245, C2 (Concierge Class)



We sailed Celebrity Silhouette on Jan. 6, 2013 with a group of family & friends to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. The Celebrity S-class ships are great and having previously sailed Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse, I was certain Silhouette would be a great choice for this celebration. I was right!


The majority of our group stayed at the Hyatt Place Ft. Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port. Since this was the weekend of the BCS National Championship game in South Florida, room rates were higher than normal. I was happy we made reservations months out as our rates were about $100 less than those about a month out. I like Hyatt Place hotels. They are consistently good, comfortable and a decent value (breakfast is included). We booked a rate that included a transfer to and from the ship (valued at $8 per person) and a week’s parking. When you check in you tell them what time you want to go to the ship (10, 11, Noon or 1:00). They contract with a local transportation company. We’ve used this twice now and both times they were prompt at the hotel and the ship after the cruise. Great way to go if you are driving to the port.


I arranged for a pre-cruise dinner at The Field Irish Pub (www.thefieldfl.com) that was just a five minute ride from our hotel. GREAT way to start the cruise. They reserved a large table for us next to the stage where a great Irish band played throughout the evening. The food was terrific (typical Irish fare but very good) and very reasonable ($11 - $25 for entrees). We’ll be doing this again.



We departed the Hyatt Place promptly at 10:00 AM and made one stop to drop some folks off at a Holland America ship before heading to Silhouette. We arrived at the terminal (the dreaded terminal 25) by 10:30 AM. Check in was quick and easy. We were directed to a seating area to await boarding. There was no differentiation for Captain’s Club members in this area. Everyone was seated as they arrived. It wasn’t a big deal but priority embarkation is really nice where it is available.


Within 30 minutes, boarding began. The cameras to take your photo for your Sea Pass at Check-In were not working so that meant everyone had to get their photo taken once you arrived on the ship like they used to do it. It slowed things a bit but it wasn’t a long delay.


We all headed to the Oceanview Café to grab lunch and relax until our cabins were ready around 1:00 PM. Nearly everyone in our group purchased the drink package (this was a first for us …. more on this later) so people were anxious to start getting their money’s worth.


Lunch at Oceanview was great. I enjoyed carved roast beef on a croissant with a nice glass of wine. Being back on an S-class ship felt like being at home. I wasn’t wild about the removal of the bar on the aft deck of Oceanview. The bar staff now serving passengers here have to go all the way to the front bar at the entrance to Oceanview to get drinks. They do NOT go up the stairs to the Sunset Bar (which is far closer) for drinks. I’m guessing that is so they are not walking up and down stairs with drinks. Makes for much slower service and we often just walked up to the Sunset bar on our own throughout the cruise to get drinks with lunch.


Cabins were ready a little after 1:00. Everyone in our group got Concierge Class cabins. Most on deck 10; one on deck 11. We also had angled balconies with extra room. The only noticeable change (and much improved) to the cabins over other S-class ships is that the couch was upholstered versus pleather and the nightstands now have enclosed shelves. I still like these cabins a lot. The bathrooms are spacious; the beds comfortable; storage sufficient. We were just off the mid-ship stairs and elevators which everyone liked. We walk the stairs almost exclusively and deck 10 made it easy to get up or down to the public decks.


Luggage arrived promptly and we unpacked two suitcases prior to muster at 3:30. Our final suitcase arrived when muster was over so we were unpacked by Sailaway. We enjoyed sailing away from the Sunset Bar area. We spent a lot of time up here. Great bar staff and we love the back of the ship.



Having sailed this itinerary many times in the past, this cruise was about relaxation and enjoying time with family and friends. Our typical tour the ship from top to bottom didn’t take place as we were so familiar with S-class ships. We did check out the new things – Lawn Club Grill, Michael’s Club but overall, Silhouette has a very familiar feeling. The subtle changes (like the angle of the stairs in the grand foyer) were only noticeable because I was looking for those things.


Our favorite things about these ships, Ensemble Bar, Café al Bacio, the main dining room, specialty restaurants were still among our favorite places. We enjoyed many coffee drinks and pastries in Café al Bacio. Evenings often started out in Ensemble or Michaels.


I’m not sure what I think about the changes to Michaels. The addition of flat screen TVs for sporting events was nice but the overall layout of this room still doesn’t lend itself well to a “pub” atmosphere. For example, as you walk in everyone has to walk past those trying to watch one of the three TVs as it’s immediately inside the front door. The bar isn’t open very often, except at night. If they want this to be a place people go to watch sporting events and try craft beers, they should be open when sporting events are on TV and that includes events happening overseas. There were quite a few foreign guests on our cruise who went in here to watch Premier League soccer but there was no service at the time. Celebrity could also do themselves a favor by creating some type of ‘tailgate’ atmosphere in here during games. Come up with some creative cocktails for playoff games, offer some simple food items (there was nothing other than a small bowl of potato chips offered in here) and promote it. Make it a place people want to go. One of the funniest things was that a trivia was scheduled at 11:00 PM (yes, PM) on formal night in Michael’s while the BCS National Championship game was on TV. They did change it when I mentioned it but Celebrity needs someone who is paying more attention to events that they can turn into a fun party and make use of a place like Michaels.


We thought the food across the ship was some of the best we’ve had on a ship in a long time. Food in the main dining room was very good at all times. Choices and quality in the Oceanview was great (Celebrity continues to improve their pizza). Burgers at the Mast Grill were good (although they continue to place the slowest crew here … I’ve never understood this). Our specialty restaurant experiences were great and good. Overall, for the money paid, the value is great.



We dined at the Lawn Club Grill on Monday evening. What a great place. It’s about fun, great food, lovely atmosphere, funny and pleasant staff. Had our dining room food not been as good as it was, we would have returned here. My husband volunteered to make flat bread with one of the chefs. The chef’s teaching had us laughing while they cooked up darn good flat bread pizza (I meant to get the dough recipe and forgot). We ordered four for our group of 10. Three would have been sufficient.


We didn’t choose to grill any of our main courses because we were in a little hurry to watch the national championship game but all of the food – steaks, shrimp, fish were excellent. I wish we had more time to sit and enjoy the atmosphere here. We will definitely go back here on a future cruise.



Qsine was the other specialty restaurant we enjoyed. We have eaten here before on Eclipse and it was a great night. While our waiter was fun, he handled the evening in a completely different manner than our first experience. He pretty much ignored the majority of the items we wanted and brought other items to the table. While the idea of Qsine is to try a lot of different things, instead of bringing two of one item, he brought four of everything. Since many of them were things we didn’t want, much of the food went back uneaten. Of the seven or eight items I asked him to bring out, we only got three. Two of my favorites were missing and as time went one, too much food had been brought out and it was getting late.


We had one person with us who was on a very restricted diet. She had selected four items she could eat. After he brought out the first four things (four of each) and nothing she could eat, I reminded him that he needed to bring items she could eat. He asked what those were again. It was almost as if they totally ignored what we wanted and brought what they wanted. In fact, we noticed that many of the other tables all had the same items we did.


While some of the food was good, bringing four orders of sushi lollipops when we may have had two people try them was wasteful. The suitcase with Mediterranean samplings went largely untouched and every table received one of those.


Our first experience was so different, it didn’t occur to me that most of the things we’d get were not what we wanted. For the future, and I recommend this to anyone eating here, make a list of six or seven items you want and tell the waiter you ONLY want those items. Discuss the items with your tablemates first and then give them to your waiter. Tell them not to bring you items that are not on your list.


Finally, it took forever for them to run our bill which was a little crazy. We all had complimentary vouchers for dinner and we all had the drink package except for two people. Running the bills should have taken seconds. It took more than 30 minutes. While we normally would not have cared, we had already been there for three hours. I still think the concept is fun and the food, if you get what you want, is good. It just could have been better and less wasteful.



When the drink packages went on sale last year, we decided since this was a celebration, we’d give it a try. I know that I wouldn’t necessarily drink $44 a day but to my surprise, I probably came closer than I thought I would. I had fresh squeezed orange juice every morning. We drank far more bottled water than we normally would and I have to admit, it was really nice not to have to sign for anything. I probably also tried a few different drinks that I normally wouldn’t since I knew if I didn’t like it, I didn’t need to finish the entire thing.




San Juan

As I mentioned, we’ve been to all the ports before. However, we did something we never do when we got off in San Juan. We were just going to walk for a little bit, find a place to drink. As we made our way away from the port where taxis were offering tours for $20 (which was half price of the ship’s tours), taxis started offering tours for $10! We had considered a taxi to the fort anyway so we figured, why not! So ten of us piled in a van and had a great two hour tour of San Juan. It was perfect. Gave us a nice overview, got to see two forts and then had a stop for drinks and a mofongo before heading back to the ship.


St. Maarten/St. Martin

We booked an island tour with Bernard Tours (www.bernardstours.com) for the entire day. “Mailman” was our driver and provided a GREAT day the encompassed most of the island. We visited an iguana farm, several beautiful beaches, stopped for lunch in Marigot at a restaurant frequented by locals (my favorite thing to do) and then a final stop at Maho to watch the last flights come in over the beach. Overall a nice day.


St. Thomas/St. John

We always head to St. John when we stop in St. Thomas. This cruise was no different. 11 of us made the trip (we had a few people in our group ill…more later). It was the only day that we had off and on light showers. But it didn’t matter. We got to visit the best beaches in the world (to me), enjoy beach walks and stop for lunch at Shipwreck Landing (www.shipwrecklandingstjohn.com), one of our favorite restaurants on St. John. An hour or so for shopping before heading back to St. Thomas made for a great day.



I can’t say enough good things about the crew on Celebrity ships. Sure, not everyone is super upbeat all the time but no one is. Given the number of passengers they deal with on a daily basis and the extraordinary number of hours they work each day, the crew does an incredibly fantastic job to please passengers.


Our cabin attendant, our dining room waiters, bartenders and servers, the cruise director and his activities staff, guest relations, etc., were all pleasant, helpful and caring. It is one of the reasons we love to cruise.



Thanks to all the folks that showed up for the Cruise Critic party on Monday, our first full sea day. I didn’t get an actual count, but I think there were around 60 - 70 folks there. Stewart, the Cruise Director, did a nice job at hosting the party and helping me give away Cruise Critic goodies. Michael’s Club was a nice venue for the event.



While we didn’t taken in a show in the theater this trip, we did enjoy much of the musicians around the ship. The jazz band in Ensemble were outstanding (hope we sail with them again sometime). Sean the guitar player was very good, playing a wide range of music all around the ship. He also did an evening wine and cheese set on the Lawn Club which was very, very nice! The steel drum band at the pool was great and the party band was one of the best we’ve heard in a long time. We only heard the a cappella group once (at the pool) but they sounded great as well.


The only thing I found odd (and we never made it) was that the same comedian did the same late night show (11:30 PM) four nights in a row. I can’t ever recall the same show like this four nights in a row. I wish he was on just a little earlier (10:30) and maybe we would have made it.





In summarizing, there are always some things that can be improved.


Flowers in Cabin ~ For example, the flowers in our bathroom died by Wednesday (concierge class room). It took a day for the cabin attendant to remove the dead flowers and they were never replaced. Seems cheap to me to promote fresh flowers as a benefit of this class of cabin then not replace the flowers when they die by day three.


Mast Grill Server ~ Better staff training to move the long lines along at the Mast Grill is still needed. I like that they have added a little condiment bar but it take way too long to put a burger or hot dog and fries on a plate here.


Dress Code ~ I am not one to normally make a big deal out of dress codes. But I do think people should be respectful. We all know that the limits of the dress code get stretched quite a bit but I say if you are going to have dress codes, then enforce them. The majority of the people abide by them and on our second formal night most looked terrific. However, the teenager walking into the main dining room in baggie jeans, a plaid flannel shirt and a backwards baseball cap sent me over the edge. Don’t ask me why. I guess I’m just really tired of people being disrespectful about everything! I pointed it out to the maitre ‘D and they did approach the family and ask the teen to remove his cap. The mom was in a ball gown and the teen in jean and a ball cap. REALLY??? It has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the evening. We had a great one. I just wish people would start being more respectful in general. Rant over!


Laundry ~ As elite Captain Club member, I took advantage of the free bag of laundry like we always do. Never had a problem. Didn’t even send all the items (30) we were allowed. Imagine my surprise when one of my shirts (a flowered casual top) didn’t come back. It was a shirt my husband just bought me for Christmas and I had only worn it once. I had taken a photo of everything I sent to the laundry so I could show our cabin attendant exactly what was missing but unfortunately, he didn’t locate it. I went to guest services and they gave me a form to complete and turn into my insurance. I was kind of annoyed. What a pain to have to go to my insurance for a claim on a $30 shirt. When I turned the form back into them the guest relations person asked the value of the shirt and told me to wait. He came back a few minutes later and said they decided to provide me an onboard credit of $30 to cover the shirt so I didn’t need to turn it into insurance. I learned a few lessons. NEVER send anything to laundry of any value or that you can’t stand to lose. Fortunately, I can easily replace the top at home. Second, you really have no recourse if they lose something of yours other than your own insurance if they don’t decide to step up and take care of the situation. There is no way to really prove that you didn’t get back what you sent unless someone from the staff is with you when you open the bag and you have a photo of exactly what you sent. Even then, it didn’t help. I was pleased that Celebrity did the right thing but it will make me think twice before sending anything but underwear to the laundry again.


Specialty Restaurant Fees ~ I think Celebrity has begun to overprice their specialty restaurants. $40 is beyond the price point that I think people are willing to pay. The Lawn Grill was empty most of the cruise. Staff from this restaurant regularly walked through the Sunset Bar trying to get people to make reservations. $40 is also beyond the price point for Qsine. I would have been very disappointed if I had paid $40 for dinner in there. I didn’t eat anywhere near $40 worth of food at Qsine. I hope that Celebrity goes back and re-evaluates their pricing on the specialty restaurants or I fear many of them will struggle to fill.


Cellar Masters

I think this is the biggest wasted room on the ship. The removal of the bar in here to make this essentially a ‘self-service’ lounge has killed the ambience. You can’t use the drink package in here so we weren’t going to pay for wines when they were included everywhere else. I’ve always loved this room but Celebrity has never figured a way to make it useful.



What an unpleasant way to end the cruise! LONG lines getting off the ship; a long walk to the terminal building; disorganized longer lines after you get your luggage; unpleasant Celebrity employees barking instructions that just don't work because there is no organization in the terminal. Add dingy, dark and ugly and disembarkation is summed up perfectly. If you disembark from Terminal 25, get off first. I think it's the only way to avoid the mess.



I should mention that we had several people in our group who became ill. One with the flu (she was quarantined for four days); the other two with bronchitis although I think they may have had the flu, too. I caught it on the last day heading home. Nasty cough, congestion, achiness. I went home to bed for 24 hours. Seems like a fair number of people were suffering from the same thing. I can’t stress enough to wash your hands OFTEN and if you aren’t feeling well, stay in your cabin away from everyone else. I am pretty sure I likely got it from someone in our group who sat behind me on one of our tours and she coughed and sneezed all day. Please think of others around you.


I still think the S-class ships are among the best ships at sea. Celebrity’s food was high quality all the way around and the staff was the friendly, service-oriented crew we’ve come to know and love. While there were a few things that could be improved, we feel Celebrity still provides an awesome value for the money we pay. We enjoyed a great time on Silhouette with family and friends and enjoyed the cruise immensely. So much that we all re-booked on the 1-2-3 promotion for next January. Life is good!


I've uploaded my photos for anyone interested. Here's how to view them:


Click this link: http://silhouettejan2013.shutterfly.com/


Then click on PHOTOS & VIDEOS (top of the page)


Then click VIEW ALBUM (just under the first photos that appear)


Then click ALL (just below SilhouetteJan2013) and all the photos will appear.



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Hi Anne:) thanks...excellent, detailed review, as usual:)


I must say, the Qsine experience? Sounds really, REALLY funky.....:eek:

Not the regular way of doing things at all. Why fill out the I-pad if the

wait staff is not going to abide by it?:confused:


Overall, sounds like you had a great time though:D....I will be

sailing her in April and looking forward to it:)


Oh...give Andy a belated Happy Birthday wish from me too.


Anne, I should have asked you this....did you speak with the

Maitr'd in Qsine? To have made it clear what the waiter did was

not acceptable?......The whole point is to order what YOU want......


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Lois ~ I didn't talk to the Qsine Maitre 'D. He asked how everything was but it was late, we had a lot of people with us and I didn't want to stir things up. it wasn't worth it. It wasn't "bad" it just wasn't how Qsine was supposed to be -- a fun experience. I learned from it and it will be different next time. Our waiter was good and I have a feeling that it wasn't all our waiter's fault. it was strangely obviously that all the tables were getting nearly all the same food.


Texed ~ I promise to never let it happen again!!!

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Anne - thanks so much for your review. So glad you enjoyed your overall cruise. We sail on the Siihouette in March and are really looking forward to it. Totally agree about the cost of the restaurants. We always did at least one each cruise but on our last cruise on the Summit this past June, decided that $40 was just too much especially since the food in the MDR had improved so much. Also agree regarding Cellars Masters - it always seems empty on every cruise we have taken.. We did one Princess cuise a couple of summers ago and really enjoyed their wine bar - several different types of flights available and if you purchased a glass of wine, you could get complimentary tapas. We enjoyed this concept and something perhaps Celebrity should look into.



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Is the Lawn Club Grill hot? Even borderline warm?


I'm asking because my DH hates eating outside if it's the slightest bit hot. We're Floridians and used to a lot of airconditioning.

He will, of course, eat a hot dog or hamburger by the pool, but I'm wondering if he would balk at siting near a grill, outside if its hot and then paying $40 to sweat. :confused:

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Vickykay ~ You reminded me how much we liked the Wine Bar on Oasis last month. They do wonderful wine flights with tapas. Just enough food to enjoy with a variety of wines. I'm sure Celebrity doesn't want to put some kind of kitchen in to service Cellar Masters but if they ever want it to be a place that is well used, they should (or should have) considered something similar.


Mafig ~ it was not hot at all at the Lawn Grill. The sun was down, we were moving. If anything I would have been concerned it would be windy and chilly. It wasn't. There are plexiglass barriers on either side of the grill area that have three or four inch spacing that allows airflow. The back "windows" were open to the lawn area. There are also fans above the tables but they were not on (not needed) the night we were there.


One thing I forgot to mention. The Porch! I really liked what they did with this area. It's a lovely spot however we didn't eat here. They basically serve paninis (which someone in our group said were great) but I didn't feel like spending the extra money when I felt we could get food as good in Oceanview or the main dining room. My friend also said these are the same as the paninis they used to serve at Bistro on Five but now they have moved the paninis to The Porch.


I will try to post photos later today!

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Host Anne, thanks so much for your lovely review! :) We sail on her in April and are very excited! I'm definitely in agreement with you about Qsine and Embarkation and Disembarkation. I felt like there was a big push for us to select M's Favorites. I know for our group it wasn't just the waste of food, but more that it was food overload. Just when we thought it would end, more would arrive. It wasn't something we wanted to spend $40 each for, so we will not be doing it this trip. You have my interest piqued with the Porch though. That may have some possibilities! :) As for our December cruise, we will probably dine in Murano and stick with Blu for the rest of our dining....I'm with you on the prices.


As for getting on and getting off the ship and the barking of directives by RCCL/Celebrity Employees, I don't quite understand this-especially when a cruise line is billing itself as *Modern Luxury*. Compared to the many wonderful people here on CC we haven't taken that many cruises, however I can honestly say we never encountered anything like what we did December 11 Eclipse cruise on any one of our Norwegian cruises. With the exception of one employee in Qsine that seemed to have a chip on her shoulders due to an error made to our reservation, every employee we encountered was fabulous and made our first experience very special! I could not say that for the port staff and it was not impressive whatsoever. This is area that Celebrity needs to work with their employees.


Again, thanks so much....we are so excited about our second cruise on Celebrity and really hoping leaving from FLL is better than MIA.

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I've uploaded my photos for anyone interested. Here's how to view them:


Click this link: http://silhouettejan2013.shutterfly.com/

Then click on PHOTOS & VIDEOS (top of the page)


Then click VIEW ALBUM (just under the first photos that appear)


Then click ALL (just below SilhouetteJan2013) and all the photos will appear.



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Islandgirl ~ in fairness to the port staff, passengers weren't exactly pleasant to them, either. I'm sure the situation of long walk off the ship and long lines in the terminal makes the situation unpleasant for both passengers and shoreside staff. Staff tries to tell passengers what to do, passengers don't listen, there are people everywhere, far more than the queue lines can hold. It leads to an unpleasant situation for everyone. Work needs to be done on this terminal to help alleviate these challenges for all.

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Anne, welcome back and thanks for the review! We sail on Sunday and are so excited about all of the things that will be new to us on the Silhouette. Your review and photos have really added to the anticipation.


And hi to Sharon! I am sorry that we are going to miss you and Mike this time. Happy sailing!

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WOW...Anne, your pictures are awesome:D...and thanks for posting

the group pictures of The Lawn Club Grille for dinner. I had booked

for myself and it is now looking like there will be 9 of us but not

everyone could get the same time as I reserved on line. Hopefully

when I go see the Maitr'd after boarding the ship they will be able

to set it up for all of us:)...looks like you had a group of 10?


Did you like those Iquanas?;)....you got a lot of photos of them!

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Host Anne, the pictures are BEAUTIFUL! Thanks so much for sharing your memories with us.....really can't wait to go!



Anne, welcome back and thanks for the review! We sail on Sunday and are so excited about all of the things that will be new to us on the Silhouette. Your review and photos have really added to the anticipation.


And hi to Sharon! I am sorry that we are going to miss you and Mike this time. Happy sailing!


Mary! Sorry we are going to miss the two of you too! We always talk very fondly of our wonderful evening in Blu! Pat and I have two booked for next year with the guys.....looking forward to the Silhouette AND the Reflection. Have a wonderful trip! :)

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Lois ~ you won't have any problem making arrangements for all ten of you once you board. I was concerned about this, too, before we got on board. However, the Lawn Grill is probably the most under-utilized specialty restaurant. I never saw a crowd there. We did have 10 and it worked out well. Just head up when you board and they'll take care of you. GREAT crew here. The goal is great food with lots of fun. I hope it catches on!


The iguanas were great! I like all creatures. Love photographing them, too!


Islandgirl ~ thanks so much! I see you know Mary, too! GREAT people the Tiki's are!!! :)

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Great pictures Anne. Looking forward to sailing on Silhouette along with Lois and Islandgirl in April :)


I think our group will take your advice on Qsine and have a list and make sure the waiter knows that is what we want and only that. I was stunned that a waiter would be allowed to ignore your choices in favor of what he wanted. I want to avoid a situation like that when we go.

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One other recommendation for Qsine, depending upon the size of your group. Ask for the waiter to bring you no more than two of any one dish. Then if there are things you really like, ask them to bring you more. The fact that they brought four of everything for our table made for the wasted food. Again, we had a nice time and the food was good, we just missed the things we really wanted and never saw. :)

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