Cruise journalist Gary Buchanan was a recent guest aboard the latest addition to the Celebrity Cruises fleet, the Celebrity Silhouette and was kind enough to share his thoughts with us below. If you have any questions for Gary, please leave a comment below.
The fourth of five ships in Celebrity Cruises’ mini-navy of Solstice Class ships was launched in Hamburg on 21st July 2011. I was curious to see what innovations have been added to this 2,884-passenger vessel, following the addition of the Qsine Restaurant and innovative i-Lounge aboard Celebrity Eclipse which has been sailing out of Southampton this summer and last.
When Celebrity Solstice was launched over two and a half years ago the most striking feature was the addition of a half acre lawn on Deck 15. Now this eclectic space has found a new role on board Celebrity Silhouette with the addition of the Lawn Club Grill. For $30 per person, passengers can dine at cruising’s first outdoor interactive grill venue, choosing select cuts of meat and opting to cook them alongside the grill’s chefs if they wish. During lunch the menu features comfort food and guests can participate in interactive demonstrations such as pizza-making.
Adjacent to the Lawn Club Grill are eight cabanas, called The Alcoves, each one accommodating up to four people. They are available for a hefty $149 a day when the ship is at sea, $99 on port days. The alcoves are wi-fi enabled; there are complimentary fruit plates, mineral water, cool towels, and the use of a pre-loaded iPad. Passengers can order picnic baskets or stroll across the grass to The Porch – a new casual café that serves sandwiches, wraps, paninis and melts all day long. Deck 15 is now very much the place to see and be seen aboard this impressive new ship.
During my two-day pre-inaugural cruise I also had the chance to see some of the other changes to the original Solstice template. The über-elegant Michael’s Club, a Celebrity mainstay, has been transformed from its clubby ambiance, whilst still keeping its wood-panelled interior, into a sports bar, featuring 46-inch televisions. There’s a selection of more than 50 international, artesanal beers, while bar snacks include homemade gourmet potato chips and breadsticks along with caramel popcorn.
Decadence was restored during Champagne Afternoon Tea in the delightful surroundings of Murano – one of the alternative dining venues. Here, for a $25 surcharge, I enjoyed a white glove tea service choosing from a selection of six Tea Forte loose teas served in custom made Wedgwood China teapots, accompanied by freshly made finger sandwiches, elegant savouries, and pastry accompaniments. If ever a new ship exuded a ‘wow-factor’, Celebrity Silhouette has in spades.
Gary Buchanan is a specialist cruise journalist who can often be found in publications such as The Times, The Telegraph and World of Cruising. If you’d like to ask any questions, please leave a comment below.