Friday, March 22, 2013

Celebrity Silhouette - How Upscale to Luxury is a Celebrity Cruise Experience? - Part II

Continuing with my pre-cruise discussion of our upcoming March 24, 2013 family cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette in two Concierge-Class staterooms, this is my third cruise on Solstice-class ships. 

I was invited on a Pre-Inaugural Cruise on the Celebrity Solstice (where I sailed in, and have ever since been sold on, Aqua Class). I wrote about my experience, of course and our family sailed on the Celebrity Equinox on a Holy Land cruise.  You can read all of the articles on the Goldring Travel Cruise Review page.

One thing you will notice is that Celebrity has tweaked and improved each iteration of the Solstice-class ships, so the Solstice (while a great ship) was improved upon when the Equinox was launched and the Silhouette has some features that are not found on either of those two ships.  For example, the Lawn Club (an acre of real grass...and very cool and relaxing) now has The Alcoves, where you can rent cabana-style areas where you can hang out for the day with fruit plates to picnic baskets to wine and cheese.


Celebrity also eliminated the Glass Blowing facility and added The Lawn Club Grill where you can grill your own meal with a Celebrity chef.


There are also some new spaces like the Hideaway


OK, now where is this cruise going and what is it that the Goldring Family has planned for this cruise?  Well, as a Caribbean cruise the ports really aren't that important to us and the plan is really just to have a nice, relaxing, time with a few cool things on the agenda.

Departing out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we will fly in the night before, have a relaxing morning and then head to the ship for an afternoon of exploration and relaxation.

Our first full day is a sea day.  My family loves sea days and it gives us a great opportunity to settle into our favorite areas of the ship, meet people and chill out (more). 

We then spend the day in Cozumel, Mexico where we have a family SCUBA diving day planned.  We are going to take a quick lesson, do a one tank dive from the beach, have a nice lunch and then head out to sea for a dive off of a boat down to 40 feet.  It will be the first diving experience for the kids and they are really looking forward to it.

The next day we arrive in Grand Cayman where, as you may know, there is a good chance we won't be able to disembark because it is a tender port and the seas sometimes prevent it.  Assuming we get ashore, my daughter has decided that she is hitting Seven Mile Beach for some sun.  As Stingray City, which we previously experienced, is not quite the same as what Bora Bora gave us a couple of years ago, and we will just have been diving, whatever we do it will be low key.

This is followed by our next sea day:  Falmouth, Jamaica.  I have never had a good experience in Jamaica and, honestly, after all of the aggressive taxi drivers and hawkers and the crime issues, none of us can think of a good reason to abandon all that the Celebrity Silhouette offers to endure that.  No complaints from any of us!

Our second "Big Day" is Labadee, Haiti where a day of Zip-Lining, Wave Riders and fun on the beach is planned. This is Royal Caribbean's highly acclaimed private island.  My wife was just there after being an Ensemble Travel Group host for a cruise on the Explorer of the Seas, so she is in charge.  My job:  Rum Punch taster!

Having been totally exhausted the day before, our final day is a day at sea for some rest and relaxation before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

You may have notices something not very typical for me:  I am "cruising" more than "traveling".  This cruise is more about the ship and a couple of activities.  There will not be any great cultural immersion.  No awesome culinary experience. No wine tastings at Chateau Margaux, Lynch Bages or Carmasac. 

As Jimmy Buffett sings, taking this cruise is a "License to Chill".