It’s only our first official day on the cruise, a day at sea, and I’m already blown away by Celebrity. Out of all the mass market cruise lines that I’ve sailed on, this has quickly become a favorite thanks to the ship, staff, and cuisine. It’s just right for travelers in search of an affordable option that’s a notch above the other large-ship cruise lines. After seeing the difference, it will be hard for me to recommend another mass market brand to my clients besides this one.
When we boarded yesterday, I was immediately impressed with the friendliness of the staff and ease of check in. We were there just in time for what is usually the worst meal on a cruise: that first buffet lunch. It’s almost always overcrowded with guests piling on the food, killing time until their rooms are ready and indulging in day one of their vacation from both reality and from their diets.
However, yesterday’s lunch exceeded my expectations. I am not a big fan of buffets, but the one on board the Celebrity Silhouette is clean, fresh, and not only edible, it’s actually tasty! Guests can choose from an array of items, many of which, like the pasta, are made to order and prepared right in front of you.
By the time our staterooms were ready, we had toured around the ship a bit. What it lacks in size from some of the other mega-vessels currently at sea, it makes up for in elegance. The Silhouette is a gorgeous ship – well appointed, modern decor, top-notch amenities. The atmosphere is casual yet classy without a hit of pretentiousness. Also, I love the size – not too big, not too small. Having been on the largest ship at sea, as well as one of the smallest, I’m perfectly content with this happy medium. Not to mention, the rooms don’t feel cramped and there’s actually counter space in the bathrooms, which is nearly impossible to find on a several-thousand passenger ship.
Since the specialty restaurants were offering a discount for the first night, we decided to eat at the Lawn Club Grill. We could not have made a better choice – the service, food, and experience made the best possible first impression. Once seated, our waiter told us to act like we would in our own backyard and explained the concept: this restaurant would be an interactive experience or we could sit back and let the chefs do all the work.
Always up for learning new recipes, mom and I decided to make our own flatbread. Naturally, my first attempt wound up with a basketball-sized hole in the middle.
However, with the help of the wonderful kitchen team, I eventually made a delicious flatbread without a single rip in the dough.
For the main course, guests can select from a number of items to throw on the 500 degree grill: filet mignon, salmon, tandoori chicken, vegetables, snapper, shrimp & scallops, lamb – and that’s only about half of the list.
Dad and Papa decided to assist in this part, bringing their mean grilling skills to the kitchen (in other words, they watched over the chef’s shoulder and pointed at things on the grill when they had questions).
Thanks to their delegation, we had a fantastic dinner followed by an even better dessert: a warm chocolate chip cookie prepared in a soufflé dish with ice cream on top. It tasted like the half-baked cookie creations that my college roommates and I would make while cramming for exams. I was in heaven.
The night was made even more memorable by the staff – the maitre’d, Dani from Brazil, and another waiter from Macedonia spent an extra hour with us, showing off napkin rolling skills (see Nana’s new pet, Ralph the Macedonian Mouse) and mind games, some of which we knew already.
That’s a sign that you’ve been on too many cruises, when you can guess how to turn a set of five broken toothpicks into a five-point star without using your hands. Not sure how to do that? I guess you’ll just have to sail on the Silhouette to find out for yourself.