Someday is finally here!
With the cruise industry slowly kicking back into gear, I was lucky enough to be one of the first guests aboard one of Celebrity Cruises‘ comeback sailings.
On my six-night voyage, I had the chance to enjoy the surroundings of the ‘revolutionised’ Celebrity Silhouette while enjoying calls to several of the UK’s most interesting cities, including Belfast and Liverpool.
3 July 2021 – Southampton: Boarding & Embarkation
Boarding and embarkation were very swift. After the initial stress of waiting to receive our PCR results – which we had arranged independently with Boots – and printing out the various documents required*, we were welcomed aboard Celebrity Silhouette within minutes of arriving at our pre-arranged time. After a quick small safety briefing in The Theatre, we headed off to find our accommodation and settle in for what promised to be a memorable trip.
*I’d recommend printing out your certificates – from talking to the staff, it seemed that many guests did not have access to the NHS app or the wifi/internet was not allowing guests to access and show proof,
We had been allocated an AquaClass Stateroom for our cruise, which was pleasantly decorated with plenty of space and featured a large sofa, balcony with table and two chairs and a widescreen TV. The bathroom had a large walk-in shower complete with aqua jets and plenty of storage space. Celebrity Silhouette was recently given a bit of a touch-up, with all accommodation categories now offering exclusive eXhale bedding, luxurious Cashmere mattresses, and a variety of upgraded amenities.
As AquaClass guests, we were given access to the Persian Garden Spa, where we could use the hotbeds, steam room, sauna and tropical walk-in showers once a day throughout the trip. Aqua Class guests also have access to Blu – an exclusive restaurant reserved for the Aqua Class guests.
Due to our late boarding time, we chose to eat in the Oceanview Café whereby rather than serve yourself at the buffet you ask the waiter behind the counter to serve you so that you do not touch the food or cross-contaminate. After the initial confusion – and trying to decide what to have – we worked out the system enjoyed our first meal. Drinks including coffee and tea were handed to you by a server, so again there was a bit of queuing to be had for both obtaining meals and drinks.
The evening activity consisted of watching England play football against Ukraine in the Casino Bar served by a lovely barman from Ukraine with the company of Shirley Ballas from Strictly Come Dancing – it was a good result that night!
Sunday 4 July – Dover / Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
In Dover, we had a choice of shore excursions, so we opted for a trip to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. Travelling with just eight other guests, we were required to stay together for the duration of the trip, with independent exploration not permitted due to enhanced safety protocols as a result of the pandemic. However, experiencing the trip in such a small group certainly had its benefits; we had our own tour guide and safari jeep, from which we spotted giraffes, zebra, and many more animals. It’s definitely a shore excursion I’d recommend and perfectly suited to young and old alike.
Upon our return to the ship, we spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool listening to music and enjoying the jacuzzis. As night fell, we headed to the eye-catching Sky Lounge; a beautiful lounge area serving delicious cocktails and benefitting from terrific views courtesy of large panoramic windows.
Late that evening, we choose to eat at Blu. Exclusively reserved for AquaClass guests, the food was fantastic and service excellent – it was lovely to see how happy the staff were to be back cruising.
Following dinner, we took a trip to The Theatre to watch Celebrity’s production of ‘Life’. We’re not huge show fans but were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it. The dancers and singers were amazing and it was such a treat to experience the thrill of a live show after such a long time!
Monday 5 July – At sea
We sampled breakfast at Blu – there was a range of choices and it was lovely to be waited on overlooking the sea with such friendly staff.
The Persian Garden was our morning sanctuary where we sampled the hot stone beds, steam room and aromatic room as well as enjoying the adult-only covered pool and Jacuzzis which are located just next to the Spa. The water in the pool was really warm and you certainly can swim some lengths to work off the excess!
Dinner was in one of the speciality restaurants, Tuscan Grille. Specialising in classic steakhouse fare, the food and service were incredible – it was an effort to squeeze in dessert, but it was absolutely worth it. If you’re travelling on Celebrity Silhouette in future, then you simply HAVE to try this restaurant, it was one of the highlights of our trip.
Tuesday 6 July – Belfast / Coasts and Antrims Tour / Glenariff National Park
The day required an early start so we decided on room service for breakfast, which arrived precisely at our requested time, with a courtesy call prior so that we could open the door.
The shore excursion we booked showcased the beautiful coast of Belfast as the coach meandered along the coast by the sea up in the countryside to Glenariff National Park. Sadly there was a miscommunication as most guests on the coach thought we were hiking 2.5 miles to see the waterfall. The guide was very apologetic and somewhere along the way the details of the excursion had been changed possibly due to strict Covid rules in Northern Ireland. Despite this little inconvenience, we were able to take photos from the viewpoint and enjoy the scones and tea from a café that had been booked exclusively for the guests.
For lunch, we took advantage of one of the speciality restaurants and tried Sushi on Five. Neither of us had tried sushi before and with the help of the waiters, we selected 2 dishes each. They were very tasty – albeit a bit spicy for me. The rest of the afternoon was spent by the pool, where we were treated to the sight of dolphins jumping and playing alongside the ship.
Pre-dinner drinks in the Sky Lounge were accompanied by a speech from Shirley Ballas, who was obviously having a good time on the cruise. She also made a point of saying that everyone should use a travel agent – you won’t hear any complaints from me!
For dinner, we had booked Qsine – Le Petit Chef. It was an interesting and fun experience whereby using digital animation you are served dinner by an animated chef on your plate, the table comes to life as you are served each course. The fillet mignon was amazing and would recommend this speciality restaurant for a fun entertaining evening.
The evening show was Barricade Boys – it was awesome! Two of the singers have been in Les Miserables and one plays Freddie Mercury in Queen the musical show. It was a breathtaking show. The late evening was spent listening to other live bands located around the Foyer area and also in the Ensemble Bar, which is a lovely little lounge with beautiful décor.
Wednesday 7 July – Liverpool
How nice it was to wake up to the sights of Liverpool from our balcony! Silhouette docked right in the centre of the city, so within a few minutes, we’d met up with a tour guide for a 4-hour walking – including a stop a The Beatles Story museum. I absolutely LOVE The Beatles, so it was cool to see the famous Cavern Club and see where the boys would have a pint after their gigs or rehearsals. I’d recommend this tour if your cruise itinerary stops in Liverpool – I might even come back for a weekend to see a few more of the local attractions.
Back on board, we had a light lunch in Oceanview Café and then caught a bit of a Beatles tribute band in The Theatre – very apt as it was Ringo Starr’s birthday! The rest of the afternoon was spent sampling the delights of the Persian Garden Spa.
For our evening meal, we chose the main dining restaurant, Grand Cuvee Restaurant. We had a lovely table for 2 next to the window so we could look out to the sea. Again, the waiters were very attentive and friendly and were able to cater for my husband’s gluten-free diet. To finish up the day, we watched England play Denmark in the main theatre – it was well attended and had a buzzing atmosphere.
Thursday 8 July – At sea
The late-night celebrations called for room service the following morning, which we enjoyed at our leisure before heading to The Lawn Club Grill. This speciality restaurant is located on the top deck and overlooks the lawn alcoves. The burgers were superb and you watch your meal being prepared on the grill.
The afternoon was topped off by watching Wimbledon on the Lawn’s big-screen television and visiting The Retreat area which is exclusively for suite guests where they can enjoy the newly renovated sun deck and jacuzzi on decks 14 and 15. This is a beautiful spacious area which would be a great retreat to just relax and take in the sun.
In the evening we took dinner in Blu and said our farewells to the waiters and crew. We watched the theatre show and then had our last nightcap in the Ensemble Lounge listening to another fabulous live band.
Friday 9 July – Southampton
Early disembarkation at 7.30. I think as we were one of the first to leave – we just left our stateroom and walked straight off the ship to find our baggage and out of the port within 10 minutes.
– I would highly recommend Celebrity Cruises and Silhouette. They offer so much variety onboard and you’ll never find yourself looking for something to do. The shore excursion programme works well, even at a reduced capacity, and presents the perfect way to explore the ports you visit.
– The food onboard was delicious – but the short duration of our sailing meant we ran out of days to try Murano, The Porch, and Luminae, sadly.
– I think we managed to test all the bars – our favourites was the Sky Lounge for pre-dinner cocktails, the Ensemble Lounge for after dinner, and the Sunset Bar for late-night.
– The Hideaway was a great find – it’s peaceful, beautifully decorated and the perfect remedy for those times when the weather isn’t so pleasant.
– The adult pool area is popular, but we could always find somewhere to sit or a sunbed – not sure if this would be the case at full capacity?
– The entertainment caters to guests of all ages. We were very impressed with the shows and live performers. Special mention to the inspiration guest speakers – Derek Redmond was of interest, especially when we found out our old PE teacher was his coach.
– My only complaint is that the basic WiFi package isn’t really sufficient – if you’re trying to work while away, you’ll really struggle – especially when it comes to uploading times etc. We even upgraded to the next tier, but that wasn’t much better.
Celebrity Cruises offer an app that they advise you to download prior to embarking. It has all the information you need and includes a daily planner – it’s an easy way to find out what’s going on. You can use the app to reserve tables in the restaurants and see what’s happening throughout the day with regards to entertainment, activities and shows.
For those that don’t have access to the app, each night, every stateroom receives a hardcopy detailing everything you need to know about the next day.
Everyone onboard Celebrity Silhouette is required to be fully vaccinated. Face masks were needed for moving around the ship, and the lift was limited to four guests, though I understand this may change on 19 July, depending on the next government announcement. It was pleasing to see many of the guests adhering to the mask regulations, while the dining venues and threats had ample seating in order to allow for the necessary social distancing.
Print off hard copies of your negative Covid tests and also the double vaccination certificate to speed up embarkation.
– Godmother: Michelle Morgan (president and chief executive of Signature Travel Network, a cooperative of North American and Canadian travel agents.)
– Tonnage: 122,000
– Length: 1024 ft, Draught: 27 ft
– Cruising speed: 24 kts
– Maiden Voyage: July 23, 2011
– Revolutionised: Feb 14, 2020
– Staterooms: 1,451 (85% balconies/74 suites)
– Guests: 2,902 at double occupancy; Crew: 1,285
Have you cruised with Celebrity Cruises before? If not, would you be interested in a voyage on Celebrity Silhouette? Let us know your thoughts below!