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Celebrity Silhouette-an update
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By Steven B. Stern


          In mid-April, 2014 we cruised on the 122,400-ton, 2,856-passenger Celebrity Silhouette that was launched in 2011, the fourth of the Solstice-Class Celebrity ships. Although the crew represented dozens of nationalities, most of the passengers were North Americans (of various ethnicities) and  the median age was fifty.

          Ninety percent of the staterooms faced the sea and 85% of these had balconies. In our 194 square-foot stateroom storage and wardrobe space were about average for ships of this market class. Included in our accommodations were a sitting area with a long couch, a coffee table, a makeup desk with 110v and 120v outlets, a flat-screen TV, a stocked mini-bar( with charges for all items including bottled water),  and an electronic safe. Our 54 square-foot balcony comfortably accommodated two chairs and a small table. The bathroom had a nice-size, glass-in shower and numerous cubbyholes for storage.

          Concierge-class and Aqua-class staterooms had the same dimensions with some additional amenities. The various classes of suites ranged in size from 300 square feet with 77 square-foot balconies for the 44 Sky Suites to 1,291 square feet with 385 square-foot balconies  with outdoor Jacuzzis for the two Penthouse Suites.

          In addition to nightly production or cabaret shows in the three-level main theater and nightly comedy club entertainment, the Silhouette offered passengers numerous dining options. Specialty, reservation only dining venues charged from $35 to $45 plus a 15% gratuity and tax. They included Murano, an elegant, white glove gourmet dining room with some table-side preparations; Tuscan Grill, an Italian steakhouse with typical Italian dishes and several cuts of beef (the steak tartar was wonderful but the rib eye wasn't); Qsine, offering Asian-fusion cuisine with menus and wine lists on ipads; and  Lawn Club Grill, a semi-outdoor venue atop ship featuring grilled items and salads.

          Other dining options that exacted a charge were Bistro on Five for crepes and salads, and several locations around the ship for health foods, grilled sandwiches, pastries, specialty coffees and gelato. Aqua-class guests had their own exclusive restaurant with emphasis on healthy items.

          No-charge dining was available  in the Ocean CafĂ©, a 24-hour buffet-style restaurant with multiple food stations; and in the two main dining rooms, one offering traditional fixed seating, and the other for those who wished to dine when and with whom they pleased.

          Over the past two decades we had always been delighted with the dining experiences on Celebrity ships; however on this cruise, although the presentation was still excellent, the fare was hit or miss        Two somewhat unique imbibing venues were the attractive, oval shaped Martini Bar with its frozen counter top and performing bar tenders; and Cellarmasters, a wine bar featuring an impressive selection of wines that could be purchased by the bottle or glass.

          Other passenger facilities included two swimming pools, one permanently protected by a glass roof, a jogging track, a lawn club lounge area with real grass, outdoor Jacuzzis, a fully-stocked casino, a movie theater, an art gallery, an observation lounge atop ship, a clubby disco, over a dozen retail shops, an excellent, supervised Internet facility, a library, a card room and an impressive fitness center, as well as a spa with numerous treatment options and a beauty salon/barber shop.

          Loyal Celebrity repeat passengers accumulate points for days spent on Celebrity ships. These points qualify them for various perks and amenities while aboard ship not available to the other passengers.

          My personal pet peeve is the extra charge for specialty coffees, soft drinks, bottled water, ice cream, pastries, sauna and steam¸ and the high tariffs for the specialty restaurants. This represents somewhat of a diversion from past Celebrity cruises I have taken over the years. The two trends in the cruise industry seem to be those ships (mostly in the luxury and high premium categories) offering "all inclusive"; and those, like Celebrity, offering attractive fares to entice the passenger onto the cruise, and then hitting them with on-board charges that can easily exceed the per diem cost of the cruise. I have been told that many of the new breed of cruisers have no objection since they are used to paying for such items ashore; however seasoned cruisers will nostalgically recall the days when they boarded ship and left their wallets and charge cards in the safe.

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