Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Silhouette, Western Mediterranean and Atlantic
By Tony and Angie on 07/10/2023
Its been a year since we cruised with Celebrity, and two years since we sailed on the Silhouette.
So we were looking forward to this 8-night northern Spain and France cruise. The embarkation process was smooth, speedy and hassle-free - we were on board within minutes of arriving at the terminal. However, being reunited with our luggage wasn't without problems. Having waited several hours for our bags they then arrived two hours apart from each other.
For this cruise, we had a sunset veranda cabin as we really liked the views from the back. It seemed smaller than we had remembered but it was perfectly serviceable- with a comfortable bed. There was just about enough storage space and a small bathroom with a shower. There was a large TV with limited channels but it did have Sky sports news and Sport 24 for the football so all was good.
There were many bars and lounges. We found the Ensemble Lounge to be very dark, the Martini Bar to be always crowded, so we spent a lot of time in the Sky Lounge which was bright and spacious - located on deck 14 forward. There is also the Passport Bar on Deck 3, the World Class Bar (which often appeared to be empty) on Deck 5, the Pool Bar on Deck 12, the Mast Bar on Deck 14 and the Sunset Bar on Deck 15.
We only spent a little time in Café Al Bacio on deck 5 due to its close proximity to the atrium both the noise levels from the entertainment in the foyer on deck 3 and the low lighting were off-putting.
There is the usual expensive Spa, a well-equipped and modern gym, and a solarium with an indoor pool and hot tubs.
On Deck 15/16forward is The Retreat an outdoor area for suite guests. There is also a private Lounge for suite guests on deck 5.
We are Elite Plus on the Celebrity Loyalty programme and attended the majority of the events which were laid on. Our favourite which was new to us was a Music and Mixology event which was great fun. There was also a Senior Officers Cocktail Party, a welcome event, wine tasting and a Backstage Tour.
Other benefits of being Elite Plus include some free laundry, discounts on the Internet, drinks packages and speciality dining.
With regard to food, there is a main dining room the Grand Cuvee on two levels and you can either opt for anytime dining or early or late sitting. There is also the Oceanview Café the buffet on Deck 14 where some choice of food is available from 6 am till 1 am.
There are numerous speciality restaurants available for an extra charge - Tuscan Grille, Murano, Le Petit Chef, Sushi on Five, The Porch and The Lawn Club and for what it's worth we find them expensive compared to other cruise lines.
We didn't eat in the main restaurant very often as although it was easy to get a table, service was slow between courses, and the food wasn't always hot by the time it reached you. Quality was fine there just wasn't enough variety generally in the MDR or the buffet.
There was a varied choice of lounge entertainment - acoustic, jazz, party, classical. Celebrity seems to have moved away from entertainment in the Sky Lounge with the exception of quizzes - great to be entertained at a number of these by the charismatic former Captains Club Host David Perrien.
There were a number of guest entertainers during the week including the talented Jo Little, and The Barricade Boys as well as the usual production shows.
We didn't book any shore excursions as we found them to be very expensive compared to other lines we cruise with.
In summary, it's fair to say we fell a little bit back in love with Celebrity. We had an enjoyable cruise and actually booked two more cruises while on board. This was partly due to being made to feel more valued, something we hadn't felt in recent times with Celebrity. Max - the Guest Relations Manager and Tania - the Captain's Club Host were absolutely brilliant. We are very well aware that Silhouette in the scheme of things isn't a large ship these days, but it is to us, and its certainly the largest ship we would be happy to travel on moving forward - we are definitely small ship cruisers at heart.
If you are new to Celebrity we believe you will absolutely love them, but if you have travelled with them more frequently you will certainly notice a decline in standards and a rise in prices. That said we will continue to travel with them just not exclusively as in the past.