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CHICAGOPAUL LIVE BLOG!!!!!! December 13th, 2019 - SILHOUETTE SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN

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Hi Paul, very late to the party (caught up a couple of days ago) but very much enjoyed your blog. How did this cruise compare to the Equinox where we met, also on an ABC itinerary though we didn't visit Grand Cayman?

Any big difference weather-wise?

 

Gill

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16 hours ago, Space Coast Cruisers said:

What a wonderful idea! Unfortunately we won't be able to get our own stationary before we board tomorrow however, we will before we do our B2B2B on the Silhouette this summer! Thank you for the wonderful review. Cheers!

We, too, bring our own stationery for thank you notes. Lately we’ve also done a midcruise note to Hotel Director outlining superb service by certain staff members ( listing them by name & outlining what special thing(s) they’ve done to make our cruise special. . This is in addition to any extra gratuity, comment card, etc. Melody

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5 hours ago, awhfy said:

We, too, bring our own stationery for thank you notes. Lately we’ve also done a midcruise note to Hotel Director outlining superb service by certain staff members ( listing them by name & outlining what special thing(s) they’ve done to make our cruise special. . This is in addition to any extra gratuity, comment card, etc. Melody

I can tell you the staff really appreciate you noting them either on the attention to detail form or personal letter.   We recently complimented a couple crew members for exceptional service.    They thanked us profusely and said they were called up for special recognition at the Hotel Directors morning staff meeting and also received a voucher to spend in the gift shop.   When our waiter told us, he bought some kitkat's we picked some up at the next port and would leave him one every night.   It became a fun exchange every night.  

 

We also had some special note cards printed using Vista Print.   They are invaluable.   I finally found ones that fit nicely in my dinner jacket pocket and use them on every cruise.

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11 hours ago, Jim_Iain said:

I can tell you the staff really appreciate you noting them either on the attention to detail form or personal letter.   We recently complimented a couple crew members for exceptional service.    They thanked us profusely and said they were called up for special recognition at the Hotel Directors morning staff meeting and also received a voucher to spend in the gift shop.   When our waiter told us, he bought some kitkat's we picked some up at the next port and would leave him one every night.   It became a fun exchange every night.  

 

We also had some special note cards printed using Vista Print.   They are invaluable.   I finally found ones that fit nicely in my dinner jacket pocket and use them on every cruise.

Great idea on the Vistaprint notecards, I have an order ready for more cruise cards, I’ll update it to include note cards...fabulous idea Jim, thanks!  Melody

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Excellent review as always..the  feelings, insights and positive outlook are so much appreciated!  Til next time.........

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The last day, is always the sad day but we were lucky with good weather (albeit a bit windy as the day went on). Our morning started with drinks at the sunset bar and then we went to do a little shopping. We had some on board credit to spend, in total we had $160 non refundable to go through plus an additional $250 of refundable that we could get back if we wanted to. Originally I wanted AirPods but they were sold out. They sold out the last cruise and hadn’t gotten any new ones in yet. FYI for those of you who are asking they do not carry the AirPod Pro, at least not on the Silhouette.

 

We then decided to look at watches. Nothing expensive, but just something new for us to have. We actually fell in love with this Bulova with a rubber band. On sale it was $347 so we decided to get it. I’ll post a photo of it later. It reminded me a little of the Hublot Big Bang but with out the $15k price tag. After this we went to Luminae for lunch. The plan was for a bunch of tables to get there at the same time (around 12:15) and have Claire call Lara with a fake problem. You see it was Lara’s birthday and they were going to have a cake ready for her with candles and we were all going to sing happy birthday. The plan worked well! Everyone was on time and Lara came by at 12:30 to tend to the guest “questions.” I’ll have a video posted of this.

 

For lunch Edward had the chicken flatbread which he said he enjoyed and I had the Luminae burger, the first time I had it on this cruise. Again I’m impressed with the meat quality on this ship. It came out close to rare which is what I ordered and the toppings all tasted fresh. The bun was especially good.

After lunch we walked around a bit and then went back to the room to pack. We wanted to get that out of the way. We did our packing, I did a little writing and tended to a few work issues and then we took a short nap. We ended up getting ready early this night and made it to the Martini Bar by 5:15/5:30pm. The plan was to have a drink there and then meet up with our new friends Keven and Cedrick. We ended up having a martini at the martini bar and then meeting them at World Class bar after. The martini bar was especially packed that night and everyone was in a great mood, a better mood than usual on the last night of the cruise. Maybe it was the holiday season helping things along. Well, after our martini we left and went up to World Class Bar which was also busy but definitely quieter. We chatted with our friends and ordered a Zacapa old fashioned. Before we left Umit the bartender came over to see if we needed anything. Then he remembered I posted a photo on Instagram showing him balancing a drink on his arm and Kadek at the martini bar balancing multiple martinis on his head. The caption was “Who was more impressive.” Clearly the answer was Kadek. So Umit wants me to post something different. So I told him how about he makes a drink and I’ll post him versus Kadek and we will see which drink “tastes better” and see what peoples responses are. So he made something special off the menu you’ll see pictured below. It was actually very good. It almost tasted like a mix between egg nog and a pina colada. A pretty good drink to have at seas during the holidays.

 

Dinner in Luminae the last night was great. I started with the salmon sashimi and then had the escargot. Edward had the french onion soup from the MDR and we both had the Moroccan chicken that I raved about last time. The breast portion of it was a bit dry but besides that everything else was excellent. We skipped dessert and just finished our wine and said goodbye to everyone. Gave our cards to Velimir, Dev, Claire/Andrea and then headed to the martini bar to see our friends for one last goodbye drink. We were in bed by 10:45 or so.

 

As I mentioned earlier today debarkation today was pretty painless. Not as painless as debarkation was on the Edge with facial recognition but not bad. Being in a suite with suite/zenith luggage tags got us into a priority line to go through passport control and the cab wait wasn’t too long. We had a good cab driver who was old school, meaning he took care of all of our bags going into and out of the cab. We had some traffic leaving the port and by the airport but overall it was a relatively quick journey. Total cab fare was $19.75.

 

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C8C8E9F5-8490-45A8-813A-D5E88BF5E718.thumb.jpeg.6ced570d475dd0f64311ec3f784d5b9d.jpeg

 

Umits drink at World Class Bar

 

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Last nights menu 

 

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Christmas decorations fully up in the grand foyer 
 

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Hey Paul,

All caught up on your report.  Thanks again for taking the time to post all of the great information.  Really appreciate it.  Hope you guys have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!

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Thank you for another wonderful blog. Melody

82746CBD-25CC-4EF9-810C-CC5FFFDF9FC2.jpeg

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Merry Christmas Paul and Edward,

Your blog was great as always.  Hope you enjoyed your cruise and had an easy trip home.

Enjoy the holidays.

Safe Travels,

Bob and Terry

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Again another great review. Followed along while I was on the Oasis. Lots to do, lots of restaurants 150 was our fav.

Crew friendly. even though it didn't feel crowded it was just to many people for me. Looking forward to my TA on the Reflection 04/24/20.

Norma

PS when is your next cruise?

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Well, lets dive right into the cruise recap. I’ll share with you some comments from other cruisers as well that will hopefully help provide you with a full well rounded review.

 

Questions: There were a couple unanswered questions so let me get to them.

 

Captain: Captain Pappas

 

Are AirPod Pros sold on board: No, they are not selling them currently on board.

 

Extended Stay Question: According to Lara in Michael’s Club she has not heard of them doing this on the ship. I told her that it appeared online but she said her understanding is that it is still prohibited. At the very least she has not had anyone doing it in Suites but she did stress her knowledge is that it currently is not an option at the current time but she thought maybe it was available in the near future and the crew simply has not been briefed on it yet. So because of this she couldn’t answer the question about using extended stay in conjunction with luggage valet. My guess is that you could use still us luggage valet but you still would have to go downstairs and clear customs during the extended stay just like the release that Celebrity put out said. Sorry Jim was hoping to get you a definitive answer!

 

Food & Restaurant Service

 

We were very pleased with the food on board, but with this being said keep in mind we ate in Luminae for almost every meal, including lunch and were only in the ocean view cafe a couple of times.

The meat quality in Luminae and at the Lawn Club Grill was excellent. I stress that this is not meant to be subjective quality as I’m not talking about the seasoning or the taste, I’m simply referencing the quality of the meat. Across the board from beef to lamb to chicken the quality was very very good, probably the best we’ve had on Celebrity. This goes for the filet at dinner to the strip steak at lunch to lamb chops, to the burger. They must have switched suppliers recently or are getting stricter on their quality control. Whatever it is they’re doing they need to keep it up. Now I realize the MDR, Blu, etc. may be totally different so I cannot speak to them, only to Luminae.

 

For the meat I ate in Ocean View which consisted of chicken fajitas, beef marsala, and chicken marsala, I found the quality to be very good. The beef which they use in their Indian food or stews sometimes can be chewy but I was lucky with each meal we had in Ocean View.

 

Luminae was run very well. From Claire and Andrew knowing everyones names to all the wait staff greeting us by name after day one. I was very very impressed. They worked well together and at the times we were there they never seemed rushed. I will add that when we were there they always had a good amount of tables (except for a few times at lunch) but never seemed overly packed. Nothing like some of the very busy lumina we’ve seen before on the Reflection.

 

MDR We did not eat in the MDR but talking to some guests they were not overly impressed with the MDR this cruise and the wait times to select dining seemed much longer than usual. One CC reader told me that she usually likes to eat in anytime with a sharing table which barely happened this cruise and even though she was willing to share a table some nights her wait times were up to 45/50 minutes despite being quoted 15 to 30 minutes. I also noticed many more pagers at the martini bar and I noticed these people with the pagers being able to sit down, order a drink, drink the drink, and even contemplate ordering another one before the pager went off. I’m not sure if they were simply having some management issues in MDR or if everyone just wanted to eat around the same time this cruise (between 6:30 and 7:30). But I definitely think it is an observation worth noting.

 

Bar Service

 

I have no complaints about bar service. The bars we visited were: Sunset Bar, Ensemble Lounge, Michaels Club, Martini Bar, and World Class bar. All bartenders were friendly and out going despite which bar you were at. Even in Ensemble when we were there late the bartender made sure to leave and find me a proper glass for my cognac (even though I did not ask her to do this). The martini bar was not pouring a lot of flights but Kadek was killing it with some great balancing acts and even some magic tricks. The martini bar crew seemed to work pretty well together and even some of the backup staff they brought in to handle the crowds some nights seemed to know all the martinis and poured everything properly.

 

Big shout out to Kadek and I Gede for taking care of us each night. After day one they knew we liked our sparkling water on the side if we had probably finding a seat they’d somehow figure out a way to squeeze us in.

 

I also want to mention Umit and Danny at World Class Bar. Both were excellent at making drinks and this cruise they were making a lot of them. This bar was the busiest I have ever seen it. A couple we met, Bradley and Nate, were going there every night. They drank themselves through the menu and Danny was inventing new cocktails for them. One day Danny saw them at Al Bacio and was all excited to tell him he researched a couple new drinks for them to try that night. That is what you call excellent service and going above. They were absolutely amazed at his level of service, but more so his passion for his job and craft cocktails. Cheers to Danny.

 

My morning Sunset Bar service was flawless. They new our drinks after the first day and I never had to ask again. I just sat down, started chatting with them and the drinks appeared. We never noticed the bar too busy, but when it was moderately crowded they handled the crowds well. In the evening the bar service by the lawn part of Sunset was very attentive which we definitely appreciated while smoking cigars. If anything maybe too attentive! I think we had a bit of a hangover the following morning.

We were in Al Bacio about every other day in the afternoon having tea. In some cases I was there doing a little bit of work. I found the service very attentive. One day I was on my laptop and was half way through my tea. The young woman waitress came over, apologized for interrupting me, but told me her name and said she could see I was busy so she would just leave me alone but to feel free to flag her down or come up to her if I needed anything at all or a refresh on the tea. Everyone there was very friendly and always smiles.

 

Shows

 

We did not see the shows this cruise, but I can tell you the shows were well attended, especially the late show was fully packed having talked to some guests. The comedians on board seemed to be a good hit, the violinist not so much. The productions shows I heard a mixed bag about, nothing to do with the vocals or dancing but just the story line. But I’m sure many of you know these shows so I don’t need to explain that any further.

 

Cabin Steward & Butler

 

Our cabin steward was Hamilton. He was very friendly and we only saw him a few times but our room was always cleaned quickly after we left in the morning, with the exception of one day it took him just a little longer than usual, but no big deal. Everything was always clean and he even made a habit of rolling up our phone and computer charger cords we had left on the desk which I thought was a nice touch. We did have a couple flowers delivered to the room throughout the cruise, as well as fruit which was refreshed from time to time throughout the cruise. Never really touch the fruit but did eat the grapes this time.

 

We never saw our butler Alex much but this was by choice. We saw him on the first day and he called a couple times to check in and we saw him when he was dropping off our laundry. I sent shoes out to be shined, laundry out a couple times, and of course asked him to keep our room stocked well with regular water and sparkling water. This was always done, we were never low. In addition our ice bucket was filled twice a day each day without asking.

 

We found our cabin very clean this cruise. I think there was only one afternoon I noticed a slight odor in the bathroom coming back to the room, almost like a sewer odor but that didn’t last too long. Easy to happen if water is not in the traps and air gets through.

 

Cabin Noise 2115: We did hear some noise. It never bothered us, but if you’re very sensitive it might bother you. We did hear the wheeling of some carts above us. That was evident, but only a few times but on a daily basis. We never heard it at night or never heard it early in the morning. More so mid morning or middle of the afternoon. On a windy day when there was some movement we did hear some creaking in the cabin and in our tender port of Grand Cayman the room was vibrating a bit. Was it the perfect cabin in terms of noise? No. Was the noise to a degree that it was disturbing? Not for us.

 

Michael's Club

 

This cruise we were in Michael’s Club a few times. I must say that Lara is very personable and at least from my interactions with her, she is in the right position. She loves to talk and makes you feel like you can approach her with any issue. That is something I appreciate in a Micahel’s Club Concierge. Her messages on the voicemail were long winded, but that was a good thing actually. She would explain the daily events in Michael’s and would give her thoughts on the evening show, etc.

Sergui the bartender in Michael’s was awesome. We’d see him if we stopped in there in the evenings. We were there the second night of the cruise and he made a point to ask us what we prefer to drink, what brands, etc. and said if he didn’t have it he would surely get it for us and have it stocked. As new guests came in he knew everyone by name and their drink orders. He was extremely personable, talkative when Michael’s was dead and really seemed to care. If Michael’s had been busier we probably would have been in there each night.

 

Public Restrooms / Public Area Cleanliness

 

I always like to comment on this because if a restaurant or hotel can’t keep their restrooms clean then I fear what is not kept clean that is hidden from public eyes. No issues at all on the cruise. Towels were well stocked in all the public restrooms we used and the floors were clean. Again some slight sewer odor in one of the stalls one time but that was it. I do remember a few years ago always seeing someone outside the restrooms that would hit the door button for you to enter. Don’t see that anymore now, but I still see people in there cleaning. My guess is just a slight staff cut and now they’re responsible for more bathrooms so there is just less downtime. But everything was clean and well stocked.

 

You have the people that wipe down the railing, buttons in the elevators, etc. Usually we see them occasionally, but this cruise I saw them much more than usual. Maybe it was just our schedule on the ship that we’d run into the same people cleaning, but they definitely seemed more present than before. As always they were very friendly and smiling and always overly apologetic if they thought they were even remotely in your way.

 

Officer / Manager Visibility

 

There were a few bar managers that we always saw out and about checking on things, especially in the evening. One in particular I saw around probably 3 or 4 times a night. I saw the captain out a couple times in the evening walking about by the martini bar. We did see Nina, the hotel director around the ship numerous times. She was always talking to a passenger and seemed very approachable.

This is one cruise we never really saw Sue, the CD, out and about. We saw her during the helipad sail away but I don’t think I ever saw her around the bars or passing through. Usually she is more visible, but I know she was opening all the shows and doing some numbers on stage and given our schedule of having a drink and then dinner we probably just missed her.

 

Live Music / DJ

 

Shanty was the guitarist on board and I really liked her but there were some days she wasn’t playing much. The house band I thought was very good but I wish they would have played more in the grand foyer. There was a gap I believe from 6:15 to 7:45 (sometimes even until 8:15/8:30) in the grand foyer when no music was playing at all except for what was piped through the speakers. Given how busy the martini bar is at this time as well as Passport bar even a DJ would have been welcome to keep things lively. Now I’m not talking about the DJ playing club music, but each night could have been a slightly different theme like they had in the past or he could have taken requests and kept the music volume loud. I know not everything can fit my schedule, but given how busy the bars were around this roughly 2hr gap I would like to see them work on more live music or at least less of a playlist type of music during this time.

 

My Thoughts

 

In the past couple of months there have been many very differing reports regarding the Silhouette. Some have talked about lots of little misses and others have had bigger problems. Some people have had no issues at all and found everything to be perfect.

 

We had a great cruise and didn’t really encounter any issues with the exception of just a few minor things here and there. It’s important to note that this cruise were in Luminae so I can’t speak to the food in MDR (with the exception of my Escargot and Edward’s French Onion Soup).

 

It’s obviously no secret, I am more of a “glass is half full” type of a person, but this is by choice. I can’t control what the person next to me says or does. I can’t control the cooks in the kitchen or the weather for that matter. All I can control is how I choose to respond. I do my best to show up as the best version of myself in any situation. Don’t let the happy facade fool you, there are plenty of times I might be thinking sometime different in my head or feeling totally miserable! haha, but I look at it like this: I just want to be happy and I find it much easier to be happy when people around me are happy. So even if I’m not, I’ll fake it until I am. On a cruise it’s so easy to be happy I think. There are usually no cares in the world and most cares on a cruise are trivial in comparison to others. There are times when some of the staff are not in a good mood. Sometimes you catch them on a bad day, on a rough day, or on a sad day. While as passengers it is not our responsibility to uplift the staff or try to “turn their frown upside down” as people, as part of humanity, it is our responsibility. You never know what kind of day that crew member is having. What bad news they received from home or what stresses they’re dealing with. You never know when that crew member needs YOU to show up as the best version of yourself. This transcends of course into all walks of life. It truly is remarkable how situations can flip from a negative to a positive solely based on you react to something. It really is amazing, that when problems do arise, how a positive attitude and a positive way of dealing with a situation can get issues corrected immediately.

 

So with this I’ll end the writing portion of this blog. I have some videos to get up on YouTube from the martini bar and Lara’s birthday surprise in Michael’s, etc. I’ll get those up and post the link here. I also have some other photos too from around the ship I’ll post on here as well. Also feel free to ask questions and I’ll still happily answer.

 

Our next cruise is April 20th on the Eclipse departing Hawaii and ending in Vancouver. Someone also asked when we will hit Zenith. Ah its so far out! But, at our current cruise rate (if we average the same mix of cabins we book and numbers of days a year) I’ll hit Zenith around 45/46 years of age. I can only imagine the program changes that will happen by then!

 

As always thank you so very much for following along and being a part of our cruise. Your comments, your questions, your sharing of stories of staff members is what I LOVE about writing these blogs. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and a spectacular new year!

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Paul -  Thanks much for checking on the Extend Your Stay.   I appreciate you taking the time from your cruise to check.  I'll post more when we are aboard in March. 

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11 minutes ago, chicagopaul said:

Our next cruise is April 20th on the Eclipse departing Hawaii and ending in Vancouver. Someone also asked when we will hit Zenith. Ah its so far out! But, at our current cruise rate (if we average the same mix of cabins we book and numbers of days a year) I’ll hit Zenith around 45/46 years of age. I can only imagine the program changes that will happen by then!

 

 

I hope you and Edward enjoy the Hawaii to Vancouver sailing as much as we did in 2016.  That was on Solstice and our first time in SVs.  The sunsets sailing east for five days were amazing.

Happy New Year!

Susan

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Paul,

Thanks so much for writing your live blog and your cruise wrap-up.  I really enjoy your writing style and I believe you are a very caring individual.  So happy that you are a "glass half full" type of guy!  Enjoy your next cruise.  I'll be looking forward to reading about it.

Janice

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4 hours ago, Jim_Iain said:

Paul -  Thanks much for checking on the Extend Your Stay.   I appreciate you taking the time from your cruise to check.  I'll post more when we are aboard in March. 

 

My pleasure and please do! I'm very curious about that program and would love to see it in the works, especially if we could use it plus luggage valet.

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7 hours ago, chicagopaul said:

MDR We did not eat in the MDR but talking to some guests they were not overly impressed with the MDR this cruise and the wait times to select dining seemed much longer than usual. One CC reader told me that she usually likes to eat in anytime with a sharing table which barely happened this cruise and even though she was willing to share a table some nights her wait times were up to 45/50 minutes despite being quoted 15 to 30 minutes. I also noticed many more pagers at the martini bar and I noticed these people with the pagers being able to sit down, order a drink, drink the drink, and even contemplate ordering another one before the pager went off. I’m not sure if they were simply having some management issues in MDR or if everyone just wanted to eat around the same time this cruise (between 6:30 and 7:30). But I definitely think it is an observation worth noting.

 

Paul,

 

Thank you for another great live blog and recap! My wife and I were on this cruise and it was excellent all around in our opinion.  We wanted to stop by and say hello but you and Edward were very popular on the cruise.  😁

 

 We had select dining and went to MDR on the 2nd formal night for the 1st time and asked for a table for 2.  We were seated in less than 10 minutes, think it was around 6:45.  Lobster was excellent, splurged and had 2 of them.  Bar service in MDR was a little slow initially but after some small talk and sharing some laughs with the server, it was excellent from there. 

 

Actually, we ate at the Oceanview Cafe most meals and always found something that was very good.  Agree with you on the meat quality, we noticed in the buffet and specialty restaurants as well. 

 

I’m a very firm believer in the below:

 

Attitude is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react. 

 

Thanks again! 

Edited by Fjcpooh17

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Paul, thanks for taking the time out of your cruise to “take us along” with you and for sharing your thoughts on living each day with a positive attitude. Excellent advice for all of us!

Sharon

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Thank you for another great review!  I love your writing style and your pictures!

 

We are on the Edge for the first time in March,  so I am going to go looking for your Edge review to read again.

 

Looking forward to reading about your next trip. 

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2 hours ago, micheleata said:

Thank you for another great review!  I love your writing style and your pictures!

 

We are on the Edge for the first time in March,  so I am going to go looking for your Edge review to read again.

 

Looking forward to reading about your next trip. 

 

Thanks for following along! I hope you enjoy the Edge. Here is the link to our live blog from the Edge

 

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Thanks again Paul for this amazing review.  I found your Alaska review last night and read it again. On the fence about Alaska via celebrity.  I keep reading that Glacier Bay is the most important stop.   However, your review makes me lean back to Celebrity . 

Edited by maggieq

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Paul,

Thank  you so very much for your blog.  Loved following your cruise.  Its was so nice to read the blog from someone with the glass half full. So refreshing.  We are so looking forward to our Summit cruise in 41 days.

 

I was curious about 1 thing.  You used choice air, have you used it before?  Have you ever had any problems with flights or arrangements?

 

Thanks,

Lorie

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Fabulous blog!  Thx for sharing so much info in such an interesting and positive way.

 

One last question:  when there was music in the Grand Foyer did you notice if people were dancing and, if so, did the floor look crowded?

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