Walking along the real grass lawn on board Celebrity Silhouette, I had to do a reality check. Was I actually on board a cruise ship?
I knew Celebrity Cruises were one of the leaders in luxury cruising, and I did expect to see modern luxury, but a half acre grass lawn, an ice bar and private cabanas – I did not expect. Every deck I explored was more lavish than the next, not in a gaudy way, more like a relaxed country club. The furnishings are bright with no heavy carpets or gilded mirrors. Instead there are crisp whites, natural fabrics and bright flooring. The ship felt fresh and airy and above all, bright. There even appeared to be more windows on Silhouette than an average cruise ship.
Every evening a schedule of daily activities is left in your cabin, so there are no noisy announcements throughout the day. Over 85% of the cabins onboard have balconies, so decks are never crowded. Many people will happily stay on their balcony, reading a book or admiring the view, so thankfully there is no need to rise early for a sun lounger. Speaking of which, loungers are extremely large with comfy cushions. There are numerous places to relax: tub chairs, cabanas and hammocks are strategically scattered throughout the ship, giving the overall feeling of pure relaxation.
It’s not all about the large open spaces, the interior is pretty special too. Wandering through the shopping area and seeing the Breitling and Bvlgari stores, not to mention the impressive art gallery, I wondered how much people actually spend onboard? Did people get swept away by the romance and purchase a $10,000 watch? I’d like to think so.
There is also an iLounge, which is a combination of an Apple store and an internet cafe. It sells Apple merchandise, the only one of its kind at sea. There is a massive fitness area with spectacular ocean views, the nicest place to work out I’ve ever seen. The spa next door is the perfect place to unwind after a day on shore.
I was really impressed with the wine tasting area. When you find the one you like, you can order it for dinner that evening. Prices were very reasonable, I spotted one of my favourites, Villa Antinori which was only $5 a glass. If wine is not your thing, you could always try a cocktail at the ice topped martini bar, it is very cool.
The main restaurant was very impressive, in fact, I am sure there are many people who eat there every night. If however, you want to try different restaurants each night, there are over ten to choose from. Each speciality restaurant offers tastings on your first day, so you can sample their dishes. You can then choose to pre-book a table anytime during your cruise. We ate at the Tuscan Grille. The fillet steak and lobster pappardelle were first class, and I was told by a colleague that the tiramisu was ‘to die for’. They also offer fine dining restaurants, Japanese, Pizzeria, you name it it’s onboard. Some are included in the price of your cruise, others have cover charges which range from $7.50 – $50, depending on the restaurant. Contrary to what some people think you don’t need to eat with the same people each night. Celebrity’s select dining means you can select a table for two and eat together at anytime, once you pre-book.
The evening entertainment includes top west end shows in a theatre which caters for 1500 people. They offer two shows each night and like most of the activities onboard, they are free of charge. After the show you can enjoy a drink in one of the many bars, both indoor or outdoor, or try your luck in the casino. For any night owls there is a night club open until 4am.
Although their standard staterooms are some of the most spacious at sea, you can also opt to go for one of their suites – the ultimate in luxury cruising. Complete with 24/7 butler, premium drinks package and a choice of dining options, these really are a different class. The one of a kind reflection suite (on Celebrity reflection only) comes with a jaw dropping shower, cantilevered over the ships side, you have to see it to believe it.
If the suites are beyond your budget, you can opt for a standard stateroom and book an outdoor cabana for the day. These are $149 during sea days or $99 when in port. Situated on the top deck beside the grass lawn, they come with iPads and wifi access. When you are feeling peckish you can pick up the phone and call your waiter. Not only will he bring refreshments, you can even choose to have a themed picnic from one of the speciality restaurants. You have arrived!
The Celebrity Silhouette is one of the Solstice class ships. There are five ships in this class; Eclipse, Equinox, Reflection, Silhouette and Solstice. Most of the features on Silhouette are similar across all the ships. They cruise to 7 continents, stop in 286 destinations in 78 countries. They offer many overnight stays in top cities, even during festival periods. Their prices are extremely good value with many early booking offers available. They have listened to what their customers want and offered just that – modern luxury.