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Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Cruise Review

Updated on August 17, 2017
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

The Celebrity Silhouette
The Celebrity Silhouette | Source

Let me preface this review by stating that I am by no means an expert when it comes to cruising. I have been on exactly three cruises in my life and two of them were over thirty years ago. So what you are getting here will be my take on our recent trip aboard the Celebrity Silhouette through the eastern Mediterranean. I’ll tell you what I liked and what I didn’t like. If I have any biased opinions here they come from the fact that I have always stated that I am not a cruising person. I would much rather have my feet on the ground exploring new places than sitting in my lounge chair with 3,000 of my new friends while staring into the abyss of the sea. But, I did end our cruise with a big smile on my face so something must have appealed to me.

The first thing I’ll say about the Silhouette is that it’s big. The ship is part of Celebrities Solstice-class and weighs in in at a hefty 122,000 gross tons. It measures 315 meters in length, which is over 1,000 feet, and about 37 meters wide. The ship has the capacity to carry 2,886 passengers along with a crew of 1,500. All told the ship could have almost 4,400 people on it when you set sail. The Silhouette was completed in 2011 in Papenburg, Germany at the Meyer Werft shipyard and cost about $750 million to build. The other Celebrity ships in the Solstice Class include the Equinox, Eclipse, Solstice and the Reflection.

The Celebrity Silhouette
The Celebrity Silhouette | Source

The Silhouette sails in both the Mediterranean and the Caribbean depending on the season. During the summer and fall months the Silhouette can be found patrolling the Mediterranean while in the winter it heads west to the warm waters of the Caribbean. Although Celebrity can change a ships itinerary for a season the Silhouette has been fairly consistent since it launched. While in the Mediterranean it sails from Rome (Civitavecchia) and Venice. In the Caribbean it sails from Fort Lauderdale.

The Good

For our trip we flew to Rome and sailed from Civitavecchia and finished up in Venice. Our cruise was twelve nights and we stopped in Naples, Malta, Mykonos, Ephesus, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, Crete and then on to Venice. One of the things that really appealed to me about this particular cruise was that we were in an interesting port almost every day, and at most of our stops we were there all day.

Prior to this cruise I was always a little hesitant about cruising as I thought I would be bored out of my mind stuck on the ship. This fear was mostly offset by the fact that we only had two days at sea and one of them was at the end of the cruise as we headed to Venice. So if you are looking for a cruise where you have the opportunity to explore some pretty neat destinations then you might consider a similar itinerary. The two days at sea was just right and gave us a chance to recharge before heading off to explore someplace new.

Are you a cruising type person?

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B markerNaples, Italy -
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C markerMalta -
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D markerMykonos, Greece -
Míkonos, Greece
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E markerKusadasi, Turkey -
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F markerRhodes, Greece -
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G markerSantorini, Greece -
Santorini, Greece
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Life on board

Whether or not you enjoy living in a floating hotel will come down to your own personal preferences. Some people love this and others perhaps not. I was okay with the whole shipboard experience and while there were many things that I liked there a few things that I did not care for.

Veranda Class Room
Veranda Class Room | Source

Let’s start with some of the things that I liked. Having a place to call home for twelve nights was certainly something that I enjoyed. Our normal trips to Europe involve packing and unpacking and repeating the whole process over and over as we move from one location to the next. I have to say that I really enjoyed unpacking and leaving everything in one spot and not having to worry about it. While the size of rooms on-board cruise ships today will certainly vary we opted for a room with a view, or a veranda as they call it. The room was plenty big enough for the two of us and it was nice to have a small balcony to go out onto.

Our Little Balcony
Our Little Balcony | Source

The amenities on these large cruise ships will vary but most of them nowadays will have a gym, plenty of pools, a spa, shopping, a casino for those wishing to gamble, a few theaters, numerous bars, and plenty of food courts, restaurants and other places for one to indulge in what seems to be the number one activity on a cruise, eating.

As I like to run, having the gym and also a small outdoor track really came in handy. I was up early most mornings to get my exercise in before we headed off the ship and I liked having this option available. The gym was large, well equipped, and very clean. They really stress cleanliness on these ships today, or at least they do on the Silhouette, and with all of the negative press lately about people getting sick this is a good thing. It seemed to me that there was a steward around every corner with their disinfectant spray and hand gel and we had no issues with the norovirus or any other aliment.

The Casino
The Casino | Source
The Gym
The Gym | Source
Silhouette Pool
Silhouette Pool | Source
The Library
The Library | Source
With Captain Dimitris Kafetzis
With Captain Dimitris Kafetzis | Source

A lot of people like to cruise simply for the entertainment and night life. While the reviews of cruise ship entertainment can range from pretty darn good to downright awful I wasn’t expecting this to be very important to me. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the entertainment that we did see.

While we did not attend a show every night, as we wanted to be up early on certain days, the shows that we did see were pretty good and very entertaining. We saw dancers, musicians, a comedian and a few lectures on our ports of call. The cruise director, Lisa Richard, was actually very talented herself and I thought she did a great job with the entertainment. Even the captain of the ship, Dimitris Kafetzis, was extremely funny and could easily have a career as a comedian when he gives up sailing cruise ships. I think he was actually funnier than the comedian. Seriously, this guy does a great job as the captain but definitely has a humorous side to him, he is very personable.

Silhouette Theater
Silhouette Theater | Source

Food

Dinner in the Grand Cuvee dining room every evening was great. The food was wonderful and we happened to latch onto a very entertaining crew of waiters who worked very hard and were very personable. We did not eat in the dining room every evening but we enjoyed our dining room staff so much that by the end of the cruise we very much looked forward to seeing them and having dinner there.

The cruise ship offered three dining time options; early, late, or a flexible option that we selected. Because we were never sure of exactly what time we would be returning to the ship each day we wanted to have some flexibility as to when we ate. This worked out well.

Overall I thought the quality of the food, especially at dinner was very good. Each evening the dinner menu had a few items that were available every evening along with a handful of new and unique options. The dessert choices were always delightful and tasty.


Some Interesting Food Statistics

Food served during an average 10-day cruise on the Silhouette
lbs, dz, gal
Whole Chicken
4,500 lbs
Tenderloin
3,000 lbs
Pork Loin
1,150 lbs
Rack of Lamb
2,750 lbs
Salmon
1,900 lbs
Eggs
2,300 dz
Butter
3,800 lbs
Potatoes
12,300 lbs
Cookies
3,000 lbs
Ice Cream
1,000 gal
Fruit
75,000 lbs
Meals served in the Grand Cuvée Dining Room
9,000/day
In the Grand Cuvee Dining Room
In the Grand Cuvee Dining Room | Source

The Not so Good

Now onto a few areas that rubbed me the wrong way. So let’s get back to the food. While my overall impression of the food was very good, there were a few things that I did not like. In addition to the Grand Cuvee Dining Room and the Oceanview Cafe there are a number of alternative dining options available on board but these are not part of the "included food" options and you will have to pay for your dining experience in these restaurants. I am much too cheap to pass up a pretty good "included" meal for a "dining experience" and thought this was pretty petty of the cruise line to charge extra for this.

Bill DeGiulio
Bill DeGiulio

On days when we ate in the Oceanview Café, aka the cafeteria, the experience was mixed. The Oceanview Cafe is akin to a large cafeteria with multiple buffet serving stations and a lot of guests used this option for breakfast, lunch and dinner so it was often crowded. If we happened to be there at an off hour it was fine. But during lunch or dinner time it felt like a feeding frenzy. There were just too many people going in every which direction that it made my head spin. And because there are a number of different serving stations you kind of have to mosey around a bit to see what is being served. Between bumping into people and then having to wait for them while they seemed hell bent on touching everything was sort of a turnoff. The more I ate in the Oceanview Café the more I told myself I would not eat there again during peak hours. As the cruise wore on we did learn to avoid the crazy feeding rush and the experience is certainly much improved when you are not competing with hundreds of hungry people.

Kitchen
Kitchen | Source

So other than my personal problems with the Oceanview Café the food overall was pretty good. I can certainly see how people can go on a cruise and come home a few sizes bigger. Eating does seem to be the number one activity for most people along with drinking. Perhaps they feel like they're getting their money’s worth if they eat themselves into oblivion?

Can you really experience a destination in a day?

While we did have the opportunity to visit a lot of very interesting places one of the things that has always turned me off about cruising is that you really can’t experience a place in one day or less. For instance, we spent a day in Malta and there were so many things that I wanted to see and do but we just did not have enough time. So while we certainly got a taste for how great Malta is we’ll have to return someday to really explore and see all that this wonderful island has to offer. The same can be said about many of our stops and I suppose that if you really want to spend some significant time on a particular island then a cruise might not be the best way to do it. On the other hand, if you want a taste of numerous interesting places to help you determine which ones you might want to return to someday then this is exactly where a cruise such as this becomes the perfect venue.

Beautiful sunsets are a common sight

Another beautiful sunset
Another beautiful sunset | Source

The last thing I’ll take a poke at was the lack of a few things that I was looking forward to trying. I’ve seen where some of these large cruise ships have neat surfing pools and climbing walls and I was kind of looking forward to trying some of these things. Looking back perhaps it’s best that these things were not available as I probably would have regretted them after the fact. There’s nothing worse than looking like a fool and getting hurt all at the same time.

Okay, so one more thing to comment on. As you are all probably aware cruise ships offer excursions. These are overpriced but convenient side trips while you are in port. If you opt for a few of these you can expect to spend hundreds of extra dollars on top of the cruise fare. While I am not a fan of these organized excursions I can see how there is a place for them in the cruise industry. Many people just don't have the ability to safely get themselves off the ship and to some remote site. While visiting a foreign country there is always the issue of safety and of course you always need to keep in mind the ships departure time as they are not waiting for you or anyone else.

While we did not do any of the organized excursions, we did plan a day in each port on our own and did it all for just a fraction of what the cruise line wanted. If you enjoy planning then you can certainly arrange ahead of time on your own any side trip that the cruise line is offering. We setup a few tours with wonderful guides and had all this arranged ahead of time.

Our wonderful guide at Ephesus, Ertunga Ecir
Our wonderful guide at Ephesus, Ertunga Ecir | Source
Our wonderful guide in Athens, Vicky Miniotis
Our wonderful guide in Athens, Vicky Miniotis | Source
Welcome to Mykonos
Welcome to Mykonos | Source

Summary

Overall I can say that I definitely had a great experience on the Celebrity Silhouette. The ship was modern, clean, stopped at some great ports in the Mediterranean, and offered plenty of quality entertainment to keep me happy. I thought they did a great job of planning their ports of call and I really appreciated the fact that we could spend 10 to 12 hours in most ports. This gave us the flexibility to spend pretty much all day at some destinations. Regarding the food issue I guess I can offer up no better process for feeding 3,000 guests and I’m sure they have researched the best ways to accomplish this. If you don’t like crowds you may have to adjust you’re eating habits to avoid the crush of people at certain times of the day. Otherwise the quality of the food was fine, actually exceptional in the Grand Cuvee Dining Room. The staff top to bottom was also wonderful. They were always very helpful, and these are some of the hardest working people I have ever met.

So the ultimate way to rate this cruise would be for me to ask myself if I would do it again, and I think I just might. I would like to see some different ports in the future but I would have no problem taking another cruise with Celebrity or on the Silhouette. While I don’t think cruising is something that I would do every year it does offer a change of pace to what I am used to. I look forward way too much to exploring new destinations and getting lost, which would make getting back to a departing cruise ship a bit of a problem.

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage

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© 2014 Bill De Giulio

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    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Case1worker. Thank you for the comments. Both Norway and Denmark would definitely interest me. Probably a much different experience from the Mediterranean but certainly interesting and beautiful scenery. My sentiment was much like you husband in that I wasn't sure I would like it but overall it was a great experience. Thanks again, have a nice weekend.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Peggy. Cruising is not for everyone. I don't consider myself a "cruise person" but I did enjoy our trip through the eastern Mediterranean. It helped that we stopped at a lot of locations that I had a keen interest in. Alaska would definitely interest me and I think a smaller ship would definitely be to my liking.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great weekend.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 2 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      A fair review of the ship- I have heard other people complain when they have to pay extra at the other restaurants and I think a lot of people would share your concerns at a feeding frenzy.

      We did our first cruise to Norway this year and are going to Denmark in April- My husband thought he would not like it but was very surprised to find out that he did

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My husband has never been interested in taking a cruise. He even won one once and gave it away to one of his employees. Then all the negative press came about and I am afraid it would be an even harder 'sell' now. I did enjoy reading your review.

      My mother and I once considered taking an Alaskan cruise and were all set when we found out the smaller ship that the travel guide recommended taking was full. It was too late in the year to plan another cruise on that ship and we just did something different that year.

      Your photos are wonderful as always. Up votes and sharing.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Taranwanderer. Thanks for stopping by. We really did enjoy the Celebrity Silhouette, especially the ports of call. Check it out, it might be appealing to you. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 2 years ago

      I've been checking out cruise ship cabins recently and never heard of Celebrity Silhouette. Great hub, and it's encouraged me to look into this one.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi carter06. Nice to see you. I was very worried that I would be going out of my mind trapped on a ship but it was fine. The fact that we were in a different port pretty much every day really was perfect for me. It did turn out much better than I thought it would and I am happy to say I would do it again, in a few years perhaps. Hope all is well, thanks for stopping by.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Hi Bill..I recently checked this cruise out and bookmarked it as a possibility for our next time OS..like you cruising is not my thing and have always hesitated, so it is great to have a first hand review..it sure sounds like your experience was better than you expected.. Cheers

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi teaches. I've never really been a cruise person but I have to admit that we had a great time and saw some amazing places. It was a nice change of pace from what our vacations are usually like and this particular ship was spotless and very nice. Give it a try, you might love it.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      My hubby and I have been talking about a cruise for years now but have yet to actually take action. Your sharing here has inspired me to share with him and discuss the possibility for next year. I didn't realize it was like a floating resort. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Tori. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Having never been on a cruise ship I can understand your concerns, especially with all of the negative news in the press lately. Perhaps a short two or three day cruise might be a good place to start just to see how you do. I think the key is to find a cruise with stops that really interest you. There is plenty to do on these ships other than drinking and nightlife so I think you might be pleasantly surprised at the options available.

      Good luck whatever you decide and thanks again for visiting.

    • Torrs13 profile image

      Tori Canonge 3 years ago from California

      I really enjoyed reading your perspective because my boyfriend and I have discussed taking a cruise in a few months. I have never been on one and of course I'm terrified that something is going to go wrong or I'm going to get sick. Obviously I can take medicine ahead of time before that, but I still don't know how I would do on the water for a few days. On the other hand, I think it would be great to get to do something different and have everything I need in one place. I don't drink and I'm not big into nightlife, but I would enjoy going to the shows and taking advantage of the gym, pool, and sights.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pam. Thanks so much. I'm sure we'll cruise again but maybe in a few years. We really did have a great time and saw some amazing places. I definitely agree with you about the time of year, I would never go in the summer. I think spring or fall would be ideal. Thanks for stopping by, very much appreciate it, have a great week.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      I have been on several cruises and have found the time of year you travel is very important. In mid-summer there are lots of children and it is just generally crowded. I prefer early April. I has some of the same likes and dislikes as you. I do enjoy the cruises, including the days where you just cruise. I have met interesting people and love the activities or just sitting in a comfortable chair reading a book breathing in the salt air. This is a very interesting hub.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Magen. Not sure what to suggest to get over the flight fear but I can tell you that once you get over there you won't want to leave :) Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

    • SaBBa profile image

      SaBBa 3 years ago

      hm see here better http://myfilms.ga/

    • Magen Morris profile image

      Magen Morris 3 years ago from Chicago

      I've always wanted to go on a Mediterranean cruise! It's on my wish list. Unfortunately, I'm quite terrified of the long flight times to get over to Europe. That is why I haven't visited! Seeing this though, makes me want to reconsider.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Travmaj. Wasn't Malta wonderful. I would love to return and spend some extended time there. I do think that this type of vacation does give you a taste of places so you can return someday if you are inspired. So glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Joe. Thanks for the visit. The two cruises I took over thirty years ago were when I was single and they were in the Caribbean. A much different experience than this recent cruise. The eastern Mediterranean has much more interesting and historical islands to visit and we really enjoyed that. Thirty years ago we were stuck in a very small room but I was surprised at the room we had this cruise. The ships are also bigger nowadays and seem to have more amenities.

      I will give your Hubs a read, two topics I am very interested in. Yes, I have always wanted to visit Antarctica so can't wait to read about your experience. Thanks so much for stopping by. I'll let you know I've read your hubs with some comments.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Linda. We had looked at a number of different itineraries and this one with all of the interesting stops was the one that really appealed to me. I am not a "sit in the sun" person so I was not really interested in spending days on end stuck on the ship. I was, on the other hand very excited about seeing Malta, Ephesus, Athens, Santorini, etc.. We really did see some amazing places. Have a great week.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Shelley. The masses of people can be difficult to deal with so figuring out how to avoid them is the key. Of course a smaller ship with less people sounds pretty good also. We did see some amazing places and that's the bottom line for me. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      I've been on a few short cruises lately and really enjoyed them. Yes, sometimes the days ashore are not long enough to investigate a place (like Malta) I always like to think I can revisit the places that have inspired me. Loved your story and brilliant photos - thank you.

    • Joseph Hollick profile image

      Joseph Hollick 3 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada

      Hi Bill again. I have another comment about cruising that may interest you.

      If you plan to visit Antarctica, you may wish to read my Hub on cruising there as per this link: https://hubpages.com/travel/Cruising-the-Antarctic...

    • Joseph Hollick profile image

      Joseph Hollick 3 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada

      How would you compare your two cruises from over 30 years ago to this recent cruise that you did?

      I also cruised once over 30 years ago and have cruised several times in the past eight years.

      Here is a link to my Hub on my comparisons: https://hubpages.com/travel/Princess-Cruise-Ships-...

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for this detailed review and the lovely photos, Bill. The statistics that you shared are amazing! The only type of cruise that I would want to go on is one like you experienced where more time is spent exploring interesting places than cruising. It sounds like you had fun!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      Like your other friends above me, Bill, I have never been on a cruise as those masses of people are off-putting and the ship is so high (like a high-rise building). I really enjoy being close to the sea - an ocean going yacht would be my dream. I went on one in Cape Town cruising just outside the harbour, before it left for Rio. Marvellous experience. I do thank you for sharing yours. Up, interesting and useful.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Flourish. With all of the recent negative news on cruises lately we were a little apprehensive also. Things did work out well however and we had a great time. I think the Mediterranean is probably pretty safe and we visited some amazing islands. When it comes down to it I'm still not a "cruising" person but I'm game to go anywhere I haven't been before. I'll say one thing, there was a beautiful sunset every day.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I have never been on a cruise so I was very interested to read your perspective. I have always had second thoughts about food safety on cruises as well as personal safety issues in international waters where no laws seem to apply should something go wrong (I must watch too many Dateline NBC and 20/20 shows). You seemed to have had a pretty good time on balance though. one day I suspect I may try it. Great hub and the photos were terrific. That sunset!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I really didn't know if I would enjoy this cruise but it did turn out pretty good. I think the many interesting islands we stopped at had something to do with it. Just being on the ship on the days at sea I was getting antsy so too much of that would not have been good for me. This year we are back to hitting the ground running so I'll be more in my element. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Honestly, Bill, I don't think a cruise is something I would enjoy. It's always interesting hearing from someone with experience, so thank you for this. I was amazed by how big the rooms were. I was expecting something smaller. Nice accommodations. Thanks for the tour and have a great week my friend.