It’s always fun to cruise on a new ship, and in a lot of ways, even more fun to cruise on a new cruise line. This time we boarded the Celebrity Silhouette in Miami for a seven night trip around the eastern Caribbean. Silhouette is owned by Royal Caribbean, so were we Wowed? Was it better, the same, or a disappointment from our former experiences? Take a look at what we found:
The Boarding Process
One of the things that instantly impressed us was the fact that, since we have a certain status aboard Royal Caribbean, and since Royal Caribbean owns Celebrity, our status was transferred over to Celebrity. For us, we didn’t get much out of the deal, but then again, our status isn’t all that impressive to begin with. But it was fun to be able to board a little early. For some of our cruising friends out there, this could be important since the higher you go, the more you’re recognized. Unfortunately, our stay aboard the Celebrity ship did not increase our status with Royal Caribbean, but did count toward Celebrity. Confusing right?
What We Found
We’re used to big ships. If you’ve read any of our other posts, you might remember that we go in for the Wow factor of the Royal Caribbean Oasis, Anthem, and Freedom class ships. We like the big interior promenade.
The Celebrity Silhouette is much smaller. Instead of up to 6,000 guests like some of the monster sized boats, Silhouette carries something closer to 2700. Not small by any reasonable standard, but still much smaller than the huge new ships from Royal Caribbean.
We found the Silhouette to be a classy, well maintained and modern ship with all the amenities we needed. Our room was as big and comfortable as most ships we’ve been on, and even better than some. There were adequate power plugs in the room and we were able to spread out and get things put away the way we like with ample stowage and storage. We were not able to score a kettle for heating water like we usually do on Royal Caribbean, but we were able to use the TV to watch our shows that we brought along on our hard drive.
The ship is reasonably new too. First cruise was in 2012 and she continues to be in good repair and modern in design. We especially liked the design of the buffet restaurant, the Oceanview Café, but more on that later.
Celebrity uses a dining plan similar to most other cruise ships. You can elect to have an assigned dining table at a specific time each night, or you can reserve a time, even different each night if you want. You can also just walk in to the dining room and get the first available table. You set these options up when you lock in your cruise reservations.
In the classic dining plan, you are assigned a table, along with other cruisers. You may or may not know these folks, depending on your circumstance.
At the risk of sounding a bit jaded, we usually don’t go on shore excursions when we’re in the Caribbean. It’s not that we have anything against the Caribbean, it’s just that we’ve been travelling in the region for literally decades. There aren’t many things we haven’t seen.
The exception is that when there’s an excuse to scuba dive, we’re there. On this trip we made a shore excursion in St. Thomas to dive a local spot, and while the area has recently been through a major hurricane, we found it to be a good choice. The dive operators were professional and attentive and provided a good diving experience.
This cruise stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico. One of the classic day tours for this stop is the fort, Castillo San Felipe del Morro. This is an interesting stop, and it’s also a National Park under the US Park Service, so things are a bit familiar in terms of signage, rules, and so forth. It’s also rumored that this fort served as an inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney.
As we mentioned before, this was our first time cruising aboard a ship from the Celebrity fleet. We have seen the ships many times before as they docked in ports next to other cruises we were on, but we’d never been aboard one.
In a lot of ways, the experience was what we expected because, while cruise lines differ, they are really more alike than they are different. The room was the high quality we expect for a cruise line of this type, the food was better than most, and the amenities aboard the ship seems to be comparable to any modern ship of this size. If this one ship is any judge of the total Celebrity line, they are staying relevant in the 21st century of cruising.
The final question is, will we cruise on Celebrity again? The simple answer is, of course we will. When we find a cruise that goes where we want, when we want, and it happens to be a Celebrity line ship, we won’t hesitate.