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Celebrity Silhouette

5

There should never have been the amount of stress pre cruise that we (English) and especially the Americans were put through. The lack of communication from Celebrity was a common theme. We all jumped through hoops to get on this cruise.
Pre- embarkation we had to arrange for PCR tests within 3 days of leaving. The choice was use Eurofins, recommended and linked to Celebrity who then forward results to both yourself and Celebrity directly, or book a test independently and claim the cost back up to a max. For simplicities sake and no comebacks we chose Eurofins. Now the Eurofins testing sites are scattered thinly across UK. Our nearest was a 45 minute drive away. It was a tiny cabin behind Asda. There a bored looking young guy handed us a swab and told us to stick it up our noses (only) and move it around for 10 seconds. This we did and handed back our swabs in the plastic tubes provided. That was it. Half a day off each and a couple of gallons of petrol to stick a swab up our noses for 10 seconds.
Travel Tip - We got the all clear email the next day and proceeded to Southampton the morning of the cruise having finally tracked down some petrol. Now even though it is less than a 3 hour drive the stress I felt in case of breakdown, an accident or even protesters gluing themselves to the road has already made me book a B&B the night before our next sailing in June. We left super early and sure enough there was a 4 car crash behind us on the M25. Point proved.
Embarkation was as smooth as it could be given all the checks and the staff were grateful we had printed everything off. This sped up getting aboard. Less than 30 minutes from parking to first cocktail.
Our CruiseCritic sailaway meeting for the original time of 4pm would have been perfect but then Celebrity decided to change sailaway to 6pm - the same time as first dining so that spoilt the party.
If you do not have an internet included package then you can go onto 'WiFi-Guest-Silhouette'. i.e. You get to use all that the Celebrity App offers but without internet. Especially useful if you wish to text a message to someone on board.
Balcony Tip - I do a lot of research and noticed on the ship last time that a few balconies are half as big again as most others. This is due to the cabin stewards storage areas being between some rooms. Also making them quieter. To this effect I booked Sunset veranda 8348. These larger balconies generally run vertically up the ship and can be identified from the outside by 3 whole glass panels under the railing between balconies.
In March 2020 I completed the medical Specialist Needs request form asking for a flexible shower hose and table for 2 fairly near the dining room entrance nearest the toilets. Neither of these requests were implemented. At least on the previous cruise they managed to get the table bit right. Our Personal Celebrity Concierge even rang 'specialist requests' to remind them shortly before the cruise. Photocopies of emails sent and received regarding above request soon resolved this oversight. Tip - Take photocopies of everything with you.
Good news, on the second night cushions thankfully appeared for the uncomfortable main dining room chairs. I think they were merely re-covered during the 'Revolution'.
Brilliant news, garlic snails are still on the menu.
Theatre shows are now at 7pm and 9pm so if you have early sitting dinner you cannot make the early show any more. So if you want to see the show it will be a much later night than it used to be.
The World Class Bar still creates cocktails as good as they get with old favourites on the menu. i.e. Celebrity No 10 and Ketel One Strawberry Fields.
Ensemble lounge for a civilised drink listening to jazz duo. Passport bar for general meeting place. Igor's a great barman here. Martini ice bar is as popular as ever with regular Flights and Flair shows.
The ship was less than half full but there are only half the staff which is good for space (unless looking for a sunbed) and good for getting lifts and disembarking the ship but it can be a bit ghost ship like sometimes - not sure I like it. There was still plenty going on throughout the day though.
The Celebrity shop advertised a sale for 3pm on the App but when people turned up at 3pm the staff said they were sold out all bar 3 tee shirts as people had been coming here since 9am! So sale days ignore the App timings.
Live sport tip - If you want to hear a live game as well as see it go to the casino bar. Craft Social show live sport but the sound is turned down and 70% of the seats do not face the TV's. Plus there is often live music / events in the atrium and that noise drowns out everything.
Table football was interesting in the Craft Social bar. The hard plastic ball had been replaced by a smaller cork ball which the 'players' cannot reach so you are forever lifting the side of the table to get the ball back in play.
Tobacco tip - We thought 49.95 euros for 10 x 50g pouches of Golden Virginia was good in Vigo BUT the cheapest turned out to be 40 euros for 10 pouches in Tenerife. Both in the main duty free shop and the little duty free kiosk on the quayside by the ship. 10 packs in Tesco would cost £258 as against £33.90 in Tenerife.
Rough sea's meant first stop in Vigo looked unlikely. All excursions were cancelled but we made up time and eventually had 4 hours to walk around. Just enough time for some shopping!
Not long before the start of our cruise we were informed Celebrity had pulled the plug on Portugal completely, our main reason for choosing this cruise. So Spain and Canaries only now. Had to cancel planned independent excursions. Porto and Lisbon were replaced by Cadiz which we have visited previously.. We had originally booked a mix of independent and Celebrity excursions. The independent tour operators gradually all pulled out so we switched all ports to Celebrity but then a few days before the cruise Celebrity pulled the plug on several of their tours. Mainly the best ones according to most CruiseCritic members we spoke to, so they once again had to be re-booked.
Despite Celebrity saving a fortune in port fees for the one less stop they are refusing to repay the port fees we have already paid them. A lot of disgruntled passengers talking about this topic around the Sunset Bar.
Drinks anomaly - I can have a glass of Pinot Gris in the Sunset Bar using my premium drinks package but would have to pay for a bottle at $67 should I wish to drink same in main dining room or Tuscan. (Last cruise I was offered a Pinot Gris by the glass in the Tuscan).
Even at half capacity you would have to be up at 7am to beat the sun lounger hogs. A sea of towels and large brightly coloured pegs.
Some excellent seminars aboard including two by the ships Executive Chef: How to cook the perfect steak and How to cook the perfect fish. Informative, entertaining and some great tips. Only down side, all the huge chunks of prime beef the chef cut from , all the fish and all the beautifully cooked food had to go in the garbage! Health and safety. Criminal.
Excursions: If there is one thing Celebrity need to do it is to sort out their itinerary descriptions. A lot more detail is needed. Compare to independent tour operators sites. For example the 'Camel ride and Fire Mountains' in Lanzarote states 1.5 miles of walking. The actual walking involved could be measured in metres. Whereas with 'Argaete, valley and Finca' in Gran Canaria there is no mention of much walking but there was a walk around a village / harbour and steep trek up through the vineyard up to the restaurant and tastings.. We absolutely loved it but there were a few who couldn't make it and a car (pick up truck) had to be hastily arranged for those who thought they were merely on a coach tour. After the forced excursion cancellation we ended up walking around Vigo. Lanzarote Camel ride and Fire Mountains was pretty good but a lot of time stuck on a coach. Plus when things return to 'normal' there is a lot of time spent queuing for camel rides and entering national park apparently. In Tenerife we chose Anaga Mountains and La Laguna. A very scenic tour but when we arrived for lunch the restaurant had chains around the gates. After some negotiation by tour guide and Celebrity head office they agreed to open up if we went for a walk around town for 20 minutes or so. (A lot of people needed a toilet break by this time). Pleasant walk around and an unexpected bonus was the very old church was opened up for us as they were preparing for a funeral. Back to the restaurant which did not look the cleanest in the world, nor the staff come to that. The toilets certainly weren't. We had 2 slices of dryish baguette, olives, water and one glass of wine. Come on Celebrity £66 per person 5 hour tours should include a decent lunch. Toilet arrangements need to be sorted as well. None of the coach tours included buses with toilets. We now had an hours ride after water and wine to the next stop, La Laguna, where we were informed there are no public toilets. You are advised to buy something in a bar and use their facilities but there was no time. Even our long awaited walk around town was cut in half. Another anomaly here - On all tours we were told to strictly stay together in our group, keep masks on at all times and not go into shops or engage with locals. Yet as well as having to use toilets in bars if you want to do your own thing in port that's okay, off you go and do what you like. The roads are incredibly narrow up the mountains and luckily we had the early morning start. On the way back we spent ages waiting for cars to reverse then trying to squeeze through. One young lunatic came flying around a blind bend, left a long trail of rubber and ended up millimetres from our coach driver. Very scary moment, especially for him.
In Gran Canaria we chose 'Argaete, valley and Finca. I've already mentioned how good this excursion was and it was a favourite place of Stephen Hawking apparently. Luckily the temperature was only 76F. The day before it reached 102F. In Cadiz (the late replacement for Porto and Lisbon) we used the Hop on Hop off bus, about £20 each and strolled around the old town afterwards making sure we visited the fish market. This place has to be seen to be believed. I had my favourite meal of the whole cruise here. Simply the best oysters I've had in years. Stood at the stool, the lady fishmonger gave me a half lemon, cracked them open whilst I stood there guzzling them down. Fresh is not the word. Wow.
Mass confusion on return to Cadiz port. There were no signs telling you that on your return you could not get straight back on your shuttle bus. The police sent you away pointing towards a port building we had not previously come out of. Turned out you had to walk through this building , then customs, before circling back to the shuttle buses and entering them via the back gate. Signage or at least fore-warning needed here.
Food wise aboard there were one or two disappointments this time in the Grand Cuvee but also some highlights. Main disappointment was the Tuscan speciality restaurant though. Two years ago I spent the extra money and had an USDA prime dry aged NY steak, probably the best I've ever had. Keen to repeat the experience I asked for the same. It was not the best bit of steak sadly. The rest of the food and the service were as good as ever.
Entertainment wise the 'Barricade Boys' stood out. Four stars of Les Miserables in the West End. Not my usual cup of tea but they were superb and got standing ovations. The other highlight was Matt McGurk, magician. Put on a great show but it was his sleight of hand tricks that blew your mind. Went to his seminar a couple of days later and learnt some awesome tricks which were so simple to remember. Good fun. Look out for this guy.
Celebrity . . . why 90% kids films when there was literally only one child on board?!! Surely you can adjust features according to demographics.
Now – Relocation Forms . . What an absolute nightmare. We joined a 2 hour queue in the morning but soon gave up when nothing moved. The link from the App to the government site not working properly was the crux of the problem but people like us who had no internet were also unable to send form and receive an email of confirmation with QR code. Fair play, they flooded a whole area with staff to try and alleviate the problem but there were queues most of the day. The sheer amount of questions to be answered and glitches within those questions compounded the problem. When we returned much later it still took 1 hour from queuing to printing paperwork. I know we were the guinea pigs but did no one check the App / Govt site link? Frustrated passengers and a huge waste of time. The irony . . when we all disembarked not one passenger was asked to show their Passenger Locator Form / QR code. VERY angry people in car park.
Personal message to Celebrity – Either have soft close toilets in all restrooms and cabins or in none. I kept forgetting which had and which hadn't so would occasionally flick one down only for it to loudly crash.
Covid appeared to be dealt with efficiently with the captain keeping us updated with cases. Three fellow passengers were off-loaded to a hospital in Cadiz and indeed one of our fellow CruiseCritic members succumbed and had to wear the full Hasmat suit when disembarking in Southampton following 3 days of isolation. Check your insurances!
Overall a great cruise only spoilt by not going to Portugal but hey-ho we got away. We even had blue skies and very warm sun on our last full day at sea before Southampton.
Special thanks to Billy our waiter and Ingrid his assistant.

Adam
Post Date: 24/03/2022
Score
Cruise Overall
5
Ship Overall
5
Dining
4
Service Onboard
5
Accommodation
5
Public Rooms
5
Boarding & Disembarking
5
Excursions
4
Value for Money
4
Customer Reviews
Anna wrote a review in Sep, 2021
A UK cruise with no single supplement departing from Southampton. The ship is refurbed and colours are now muted, verging on dull. However, she is very clean looking and the balcony cabin was fine. ...
Ben wrote a review in Sep, 2021
Sheil wrote a review in Sep, 2021
An excellent, relaxing holiday. Very well looked after. Good food and entertainment.
Louise wrote a review in Sep, 2021
Sailed with Celebrity many times and on Silhouette twice pre Pandemic. We enjoyed the new Retreat class The lockdown has catapulted Celebrity into near 6 star service category as the training in custo...

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