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!!! SILHOUETTE !!! Western Caribbean- The Ultimate Review & Complete Pictorial Guide!


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Lets see, here we go again =)

This cruise will forever be in our memory as "The horrible weather cruise!" not entirely a bad thing =)

This will be my second attempt at writing a complete travel guide.

I have 40 gigabytes worth of pictures, videos and notes (I will need sometime to sort things out).

I have Celebrity Today, Documents, Menus, Wine/Drink lists, ship tours, tips and much more.

If we ate it or drank it, I have a picture of it. Yum Yum =)

I truly enjoy writing these reviews and sharing our adventures with everyone.

I hope everyone has as much fun reading this as we had during our cruise ^_^



We invite you to come and cruise with us aboard THE STUNNING X SILHOUETTE !!!




In advance I would like to apologize for some grammatical errors and exclusion of words, I tend to do that from time to time. English is my second language and sometimes I struggle with it. I will however proof read everything prior posting and try my best to do a good job so its easy to read and understand.



Image courtesy of Futurama






Hello everyone, I go by Gambee around these boards, I am a 29 year old guy. On this cruise I was traveling with mom, for those of you who know me from the RCCL board and are wondering why my partner did not come with us? He was busy with school and had lots of work ahead of him for April, so it was better for him to stay home and study. Mom and I recently discovered cruising and quickly became addicted to it, everything about traveling on a cruise is just amazing. The freedom, entertainment, food, drinks, destinations, the magnitude of the ocean that surrounds you at all times... Ahhhhh life is good ^_^


This will be my second attempt at delivering a fully detailed review with lots of pictures, tips and information. My first review was of the Norwegian Sky it was a short non-detailed review, it was my way of getting my feet wet into the review world. My first real attempt at a detailed review was the Allure of the Seas Review, it did very well for itself and CC awarded it with 5 stars =). None the less there were mistakes done and missed information, I am hoping that in this review I will be able to correct most of those issues. If you're are curious about my writing style feel free to take a look at the Allure of the Seas Review. I like to have fun with my reviews and at the same time deliver a great deal of information that will be useful for future cruisers with their planning and overall cruising experience.


I will try my best not to do comparisons from line to line as I know that there are a lot of loyal people to some lines and I don't want step on anyones toes. However, since I know I am bringing some RCCL readers to this thread, I will ask politely to refrain from discussing and comparing cruise lines. I will try to keep this review X specific, up until the end when I will compare both lines. In the conclusion I will dedicate a good amount of time comparing both lines, this section should be useful for those who wish to expand into X or not to.


If there is a specific question, ask away and I will answer. My thread is open to all questions and comments, I try my best to answer to everyone individually. These reviews require an incredible amount of work and part of the motivation for them, are all the questions and comments posted by fellow CC addicts :D.





Pre-Cruise Information


After we got back from the Allure we decided to book a cruise on Celebrity Reflection, but that was later changed to Norwegian Breakaway, because I saw the opportunity to sail a new class of ships. I am a fool for new technology, so I took this opportunity and decided that we could sail Celebrity in the future. We are very open minded with cruise lines and we would like to try them all as long as they are in our price range. Some of you might be asking why did we decided to book a cruise in March out of the blue, if we had the May cruise already. We are by no means wealthy and at this point in our lives cruising is a luxury that we do not take for granted, we were very fortunate that we managed to make this cruise possible.


This is how the story goes. One day I was planning our next cruise, since it was going to be around October we had few choices since most lines had already pulled out of florida for the summer. We were mainly looking at Carnival Breeze and Disney Dream, in the end we settled for Disney, but the price kept bothering me, it was simply too much to justify for a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas.


On one occasion I was interchanging emails with my good friend David (dmwnc1959) fellow CC member and he suggested that instead I looked at celebrity. He did indeed triggered my curiosity (we really wanted to try out those S-class ships), but since they pullout of Florida for the summer I had dropped them from our list. That meant that I would have to move our travel dates to a sooner time. After looking at our schedules I found out that mom had a week off from work during spring break and that if played my cards right at work I could also get those same days off from work as well.


After a few days of thinking I decided that it would be a great idea and we would get the chance to try out Celebrity, something that both of us were looking forward to. I ended up booking the cruise with our preferred TA who gave us free gratuities and $200 OBC, it seemed like a good deal and we were both happy with it.


Ironic as it was that I promise myself not to go back Jamaica ever again, here we were heading to Jamaica one more time :rolleyes:. Never say Never, eh?… We really wanted to do the eastern route and during that week Reflection was doing it. Unfortunately it was priced much higher than western on Silhouette, that is why we decided to repeat the same itinerary. We booked our Celebrity cruise 45 days ahead of time, so that gave me plenty of time to plan excursions and research the ship. Since we were doing a very similar route to the one of the Allure I wanted to do different activities at the ports to so it would seem like a brand new adventure for us and give me something new to write about here.



It was settled, we were going on another Cruise Adventure =)







Aboard this Magnificent Vessel!



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After sailing on a balcony stateroom it is hard to go back to interior stateroom (although not impossible), I did lots of research to pinpoint a good balcony room for us. I wanted to make sure that if we were going to spend the extra $$$ for a balcony that we would have a great one to enjoy. I noticed that I have an obsessive behavior when picking balconies, there is a good amount of criteria that I like the balcony to follow.


The S class ships have a few dips and humps, I knew for a fact that I wanted to be on hump for a better view, as we did not wanted an obstruct view downward. After a few days I decided to settle on a FWD starboard balcony room on deck 8 category 1C, cabin 8142. It seemed to be a good choice, it had a clear view of the bridge and only very little obstacles on the way down for a view of the water. This was our first time sailing in a FWD cabin and I was intrigued about it, in our other two voyages both ships had minimal movement, we wanted to experience some (although at the same time petrified about getting sea sick) the ironies of life, lol. (And boy did Gambee get some odd weather on this trip…)


It also had the benefit of being near the elevators and most of the areas of the ship that appealed to us were FWD or Mid ship such as Quasar, Celebrity Central, Silhouette Theater, Solarium, Molecular and the Sky observation lounge. The only caveat with this location was that most of the dining areas were in the aft of the ship, but considering we only eat 2-3 times a day I would much rather be located near the activities. This was the total opposite from our Allure trip were we had to walk a lot get anywhere in the ship and it was a welcomed change.




Deck 4, Celebrity Central, Quasar, Theater




Deck 8, Our Room




Deck 12, Solarium



Deck 14, Sky Lounge









Note: For those of you who like doing lots of research about cabin placement don't forget to checkout either fellow CC member Librarylady19 compiled spreadsheet or Cruise critic board S-Class Cabin Information Compilation. I also used google pictures from the exterior of the ship and counted cabins to verify the placement of the cabin.


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Before I keep on going with the review, I will mention my equipment quickly. On my other review I did this post on a later page and most people would miss it. I thought that by placing it here early it would help the odds of people not missing it. I am still more than happy to talk about cameras, if you have a question, ask away =).


Disclaimer, I am a enthusiast/amateur photographer and by amateur I mean that my finger is permanently attached to the shutter, I will take pictures of anything and everything. All my training in photography comes from books and a few instructional videos. I love photography and being able to share my pictures with the world is a big part of why enjoy doing these reviews so much.


Ok back to business, I have a serious addiction to electronics and cameras are big part of them. Over the years I have owned many point & shoot cameras and one Nikon DSLR(sold them all). A few months before my Allure trip I decided to buy another DSLR, I did a lot of research and ended up buying a compact system instead. I went for the Sony NEX-F3, this camera is among the most affordable cameras on the NEX lineup, yet still has the same sensor as some of it's more expensive siblings. This is a great little camera, you will have a hard time finding a camera in this price range that produces such great images, while keeping its size so compact.


Along with my camera I have a few lenses;


The Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar 24mm F1.8 is my main lens, it handles low light very well, captures a lot of detail and it's nice and sharp. This is my baby, as much as I like the other lenses, I always end up coming back to him for my crucial pictures. The one big flaw is that he is not stabilized, so taking video with this lens is nearly impossible. I had to learn this the hard way with my Allure review, as most of the videos came out unusable…


The Sony 10-18mm F4 is a Ultra Wide angle lens, I purchased this lens specifically for cruising but it also works great for landscape and urban settings. While not a very fast lens, it offer the ability of fitting a lot in one frame and it can create high depth of field to work with. After this trip I can say that this lens could easily become my favorite one, such an amazing range to work with!


The Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 is a zoom lens, all my long distance pictures were taken with this lens. This lens manages to take very crisp pictures in day light, however talking pictures in poor light represents a real challenge. I wish Sony would release a faster zoom lens for the Nex cameras, who knows maybe in the near future.


The Rokinon 8mm F2.8 Fisheye lens is just like a experimental lens for me. I mainly got it in an attempt to be more creative. This is my first fully manual lens and this cruise was my first real experience using this lens.


For any of you out there wondering, the Kit lens 18-55mm that comes with the camera produces very sharp images, the only reason I don't travel with it anymore is because I don't use that focal range that often and it would be just making my bag heavier. But if you're are planing on buying the camera with just the kit lens, I can guarantee you that you will love the results that the lens delivers.




Left to right: Sony NEX-f3 with the 24mm Zeiss attached, SEL 10-18 ultra wide, 55-210 Zoom and 8mm Fisheye.




Waterproof Camera


After 10 years of usage I decided to upgrade from my old 2 megapixels Sony DSC-U60. When I was looking for a new underwater camera I mainly wanted a thin, light and compact, something not easily found in this class of cameras. Fortunately I came across the Sony DSC-TX20 which was the only waterproof camera to get more than 4.5 stars on Amazon. Of course the main goal of this camera is to capture underwater images, but I also had other plans for it. I used it in situations where the Nex was simply too bulky to bring with me and also to capture videos when I had the other camera occupied taking pictures. She is not without her flaws, but for I what I wanted her it was the perfect choice and considering my last Sony underwater camera is still alive after years of ABUSE, I can only expect the same from this one. I also got a great deal on it.






Software & Image Hosting


Ever since I added my email address to my signature I been getting numerous emails asking for help on the review writing process. Most of the questions are regarding what applications I use for photo editing, that is why I decided to add that to this review. These are the apps I use, I am not saying that you should use them, all I am saying is that they work well for me.


For most of my picture editing I use Lightroom, like I said I am not a pro. I use this software for some light color correction and sharpening, it is also great at compressing 5mb files into 400kb files with minimal quality loss. The one thing that I don't like about lightroom is that it is not capable of doing panoramas on its own, for that you will need Photoshop CS6 (you can also use the in-camera software or other tools). And last for collages I use Picasa and Paintbrush for adding arrows and text to some images. All these images are hosted by photobucket, I have the 20gb account and pay $3 a month, I don't really need the 20gb, but I do however need the unlimited bandwidth as I use a lot of it.





I will be posting a few videos in the process, to view the videos just click on the SMALL pictures. If some you are just looking at pictures, keep in mind that any small picture will be a video. Once in youtube don't forget to change the quality of the video to 720p or 1080p HD, it makes the video so much better.



Here are a couple of examples:



I recommend watching this video, HAL ships have a lot of fun leaving port with their horns.




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Planning this trip was short and sweet, this cruise above all was going to be one to relax and enjoyed a very beautiful ship. I was lucky enough to find a Celebrity Today and got most of the information from there. Since this ship did not require reservations for shows, that made it easier and one less step worry about.



Specialty Restaurants


There are 4 main specialty restaurants on the Silhouette, Murano $45 (French), Qsine $45 (Modern), Lawn Club Grill $40 (Interactive grill) and Tuscan Grille $35 (Italian), you can also purchase all 4 for $125 and save a few bucks. Aside from the main 4 there are also two more options Bistro on Five $5 (Crepes) and the Porch $5 (Paninis), there is also Blu but the restaurant is reserved for Aqua class passengers this venue has no additional cost.


I was on the fence with wether we should just go to Murano & Qsine or to get the 4 venues dinning package. I was not thrilled about the Lawn Club Grill concept as I had zero intentions of making my own food during my vacation. And as for the Italian restaurant, well I consider myself a decent cook and Italian food is one of my specialties. But I was also intrigued by the different atmospheres and what each venue had to offer, it was a complicated decision.


In the very end I decided to buy the package, this would not only allow us to experience more of the ship, but also give my readers more inside into the different dinning options.



Wine & liquor


Celebrity offers a all inclusive package for those who are thirsty drinkers ($308 for the classic and $378 for the premium on a 7 day sailing), but unfortunately this was not an option for us, it was simply too expensive. Instead we opted for a in stateroom bar setup (bottles start at $80), I decided to purchase a couple of bottles and go from the there. In addition to that we would bring our allowed 2 bottles of wine to consume in our cabin.



IMPORTANT INFORMATION! I am also attaching the drink package spread sheet to calculate costs and compare if the drink package fits your needs, or if you're better off on the pay as go method. The spreadsheet also contains lots drink prices.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION! I used a fellow members reviews for drink lists and menus, here is the link for those sources. Menus and Drink lists and for the most complete list of MDR drink prices go to this site MDR drink prices.






Internet is our only way of communication when we are on cruises. On this trip we bought the $100 internet package, although the connection was questionable at best. More on that later.







We managed to score free gratuities from our TA, this is second time that we take advantage of their "free gratuities" deal. We always give more here and there, but to know that the main chunk was already taken care off was good relief for us. I will probably talk more about gratuities during the review as we do tend to take care of those who take care of us.



Trip Insurance


As suggested by many fellow CC members, I went to Insure My Trip and shopped around for a travel insurance. My mom wanted some kind of insurance just in case we needed to be lifted out the ship in case of an emergency. We ended settling for HCC Medical Insurance Services with the Atlas International plan, total plan was $34.16 for both of us. Much better than the $110pp I paid for my past trip, but of course it had much less coverage.





And as usual I come up with a spreadsheet, this is just for a general guideline, I hardly end up doing what was planned. But it is still nice to have it so at least you know what not to miss. Attached is the excel copy for those of you who are interested in doing one.





Drink Calculator.xls

Silhouette Spreadsheet.xls

Celebrity Beverage package evaluator version 1.4.xls

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Well, I guess we all have to learn lessons one way or another. This time I got very, very lucky. Always call your TA rather than using the internet to make the reservation, lesson learned :D.


So this is how the story goes,


About a week after I booked my reservation someone on our roll call announced a price drop, "crap" I thought… Well I decided to call my TA and see what they could do for me, the only thing they could do was to upgrade me to concierge class. The problem with that was that I did not like the location of any of the cabins in that category and we were really happy with the location of ours, in the end I decided to decline the upgrade and accept the loss. I had no intentions on changing our cabin just for a few extras, to each their own (I know many will saw "WHAT?!?!").


Anyway, right before I was going to thank her and tell her good bye, she says to me "Sir, you still have not decided if you want to keep your OBC or you want the unlimited classic beverage package? You have one more day to decide". At that point I almost had a heart attack :eek:, it was to my understanding that the unlimited package was only for european sailings. Plus I had already got free gratuities. I replied to her "you mean the unlimited alcohol is available for this sailing? are you sure?", she then explained to me the 123 promotion and I learned that they had phrased wrong the statement in their TA website, that is why I got it wrong.


It took me about a millisecond to tell her to change us to the drink package, I was beyond excited, not ever I could imagine being able to afford this package. After it was all done, I went online to tell my roll call that I scored the free package, someone replied telling me that they got it as well and then they upgraded to the premium one. The premium package was of great interest to me, since I am almost exclusively a martini kind of guy and most martinis fall in that category.


I called back my TA and asked her about that, she called X and was told that it was $161 for both of us, that was a good thing since it was exactly how much I had planned to spend on the two bottles of vodka. The only problem was that since we changed to the classic package, we had lost the OBC and that was the money that I was going to use for the specialty restaurants. I decided to do it anyway, it was simply put an excellent deal to let slip away, we would have to compromise in other areas. This was our chance to sail with such a great package. I was so excited that I hardly slept that night, this was just something unimaginable for us. We were looking forward to trying as many drinks as possible in one week :D, not usually my style but when in Rome, well you know ;).





To say that I was excited is a HUGE understatement!!!



Image courtesy of Family Guy



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OK my friends, now I need sometime to unwind and start scanning documents. I also have to work today so I think that is all I will post for today. I will do another set tomorrow and on tuesday I will go full blast and try to get some really good stuff posted :D.


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OK my friends, now I need sometime to unwind and start scanning documents. I also have to work today so I think that is all I will post for today. I will do another set tomorrow and on tuesday I will go full blast and try to get some really good stuff posted :D.



Signing up Gambee!! Just cause I love your reviews :D

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Yes, grinning ear to ear at the thought of another amazing Gambee Review! :D


Your writing technique is simply outstanding.


Oh, and P.S....


Thanks for the Honorable Mention! ;)



Edited by dmwnc1959
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Hi Gambee,:) ...congrats on that drink package...Sweet:D

Looking forward to reading and seeing all your review has to offer.


Oh, a big thank you too for the part (at the beginning)asking folks

to let you tell your review:D...seeing it is an X ship;)

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We're going on our first Celebrity cruise in January on the Silhouette so am very excited about this review! So detailed already. Looking forward to thoughts on the alternative dining options and hopefully info on the shows in the main theater and comedy show. We are doing the eastern cruise but am most interested on ship info right now as I already have ideas for our port excursions. So glad you got the beverage package...that is the promo that got me to make the snap decision to book our cruise. Have had to cut back a lot in vacations the past few years but after the long WI winter with no break I'll make any cuts necessary for a cruise next winter. I have almost 300 days to pay for it.


Fun and informative writing style...would never know English is not your first language!


Sent from my Motorola Electrify using Tapatalk 2

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OK my friends, now I need sometime to unwind and start scanning documents. I also have to work today so I think that is all I will post for today. I will do another set tomorrow and on tuesday I will go full blast and try to get some really good stuff posted :D.



Work!! Unwinding!! You tease.

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