Celebrity Silhouette Review September 2014

 

plus my wheelchair guide, hopefully helpful, but you might want to seek further advice from your cruise consultant.

           

Silhouette berthed  in Dubrovnik , to view Katakolon  photo click on this image

Godmother of the ship, Michelle Morgan, a woman's whose personal life is as inspiring as her incredibly successful life. Like each of Celebrity's Solstice class Godmothers, Michelle has courageously battled with breast cancer. But she didn't allow the disease to define her "I found that if I continued with my life and work and behaved positively, banishing all negative thoughts, it would take over the core of her personal life and it did." Michelle has two daughters who she raised as a single parent. Michelle also has four grandchildren who she call the cornerstone of her personal life. She likes gardening; cooking and of course travelling. You can see her full story on the plaque on Deck 3 opposite the port side lift exits.

The wheelchairs on this trip were the push style and there were no obvious smaller battery ones. The score for the ship was 10/10 as we didn't encounter any problems.

Master Captain Emmanouil Alevropoulos

Born in Athens, joined Celebrity in 1993 as an Apprentice Officer and worked his

way to his Master’s position. Involved in the new builds/launching of Galaxy [sold];

Millennium; Infinity; Summit; Constellation; Solstice; Equinox; and two Azamara ships.

Cruise Director Sinan Ulucay

He is well known back home in Antalya, Turkey. After his studies he discovered his

talent for performing arts and has appeared on stages all around the world. In 2001

he joined his first cruise ship and has been with 2 others before joining Celebrity

cruises.

Executive Chef Carlos Miguel Fernandes

Born in Portugal he had a great passion for food and it grew into his career working

in Michelin star restaurants as well as boutique resorts. He has visited more the 70

countries as a result of his culinary exploits and remains extremely passionate of

everything to do with food and excellent wines.

Staff Captain Ioannis Kasimatis

A native of Athens serving 2 years in the Greek navy after graduating from the

Merchant Marine Academy. Spending the next 10 years in tanker ships; followed

by ferry boats and smaller cruiseships. He joined Celebrity in 2000; promoted Safety Officer in 2002 and Staff Captain in 2007 and is of course 2nd in command

to the Captain.

Chief Engineer Yannis Chazandroulis

Hailing from Piraeus he began his shipping career on cargo ships as an apprentice engineer. He joined Celebrity as a 2nd Engineer and played a significant invisible role

involving direction and management of all aspects of the ships physical properties.

More recently he has been involved as the Project Manager in the overhaul and

maintenance on all the Celebrity ships.

Hotel Director Daniel Simon

Born and raised in Sweden after serving 4 years in the army he decided in a change

of career in spent 20 years with the Four Seasons Hotel group, working a far away

as Japan. Daniel’s family reside on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’l.

Food and Beverage Manager Stefan Minchev

Born in Bulgaria and has 25 years in the hospitality experience working in 5 star

hotels. Stephan is responsible for the largest department on the ship with over 600

staff, who supply some 13,000 meals per day. Stefan loves to scuba diving and

sailing in the Caribbean.

Guest Relations Manager Sinisa Micetic

Sinisa comes from Croatia and in his early years he became involved in the travel industry and during his 4th year of his studies he took on short break seasonal work

with Celebrity; this led to 15 years in leading up to his current role. Sinisa lovers

water sports in the Adriatic, whilst on hols wife is wife and son.

Captains' Club Hostess was Marlene Marquez and was located in the Grand Foyer

off Deck 3.

When I booked the cruise on board in 2013 we had a $600 on board spend, but

unknown to usthis was changed to OBC $300 now plus a Classic package but

following theintervention of Richard from cruise.co.uk, who was dealing with this

cruise for us, the outcome was a $400 OBC plus the Classic drinks package, which

covered us for spirits up to $8 and wine $9 along with bottled water and coffees.

We flew down on the day prior to our flight to Heathrow with a private

taxi cost £19 each way. The flight was 50 mins late and when we got to the

luggage belt at Heathrow another 45 mins passed by until the belt started up.

However the private hire car driver was still there, so it was just 10 mins transfer

between the airport and the Hilton at Terminal 5. We had arranged to meet Jim

and Colleen at 8.30, but they were there upon our arrival. It was great to see them

again and catch up on that was happening.

Our flight to Venice was via a Celebrity Group booking for 50 guests. It did mean we

had to wait until we arrived at Heathrow before we could get our air ticket, but it did

go better than I expected. I found the BA desk facing me as I entered the building

around E/F on the overhead signs and she pointed me to G or 20 where the assist

staff could be found. One came out with me to wheel in Christine whist I dealt with

the luggage trolley. So the ticketing was sorted out quickly and we headed over to

the assist area to await out fast track to the gate. If you did arrive by bus you would

likely need the lift to get up to Level 2.

The flight left on time and on arrival in Venice there were staff waiting to assist those

with wheelchairs, we were transferred to wheelchair taxis and 15 mins later we

arrived at the port and boarded the Silhouette. Our accommodation was ready and as

on previous cruises we were in 2101 Deck 12 where Meiling & Aleksandar did a great

job looking after us with Meiling doing a fantastic breakfast service. Our luggage

was delivered by Aleksandar within 1 hour of joining the ship. This was the first time

we had stayed on the ship rather than a hotel prior to the start of our cruise, but all

went well. They only difference on this cruise was there were no chocolates left on

your pillow at night, but clearly we never missed them as it wasn't until we got home

the chocolate dropped !!! Now we have met some who are good at this, but she

was brilliant link

In the Main Diningroom it was table 313, just on the left as you entered. We had 4

fellow guests to our right, a couple from Brazil and and couple from Scotland, all

seated at tables for two.

Our 1st port of call was Koper, Slovenia, but the weather was wet and cold so we

never left the ship, but what you could see from the ship it looked an interesting

and worth a visit, but it will have to wait to another time. The temp never rose above

56 degrees. Red rose from Captain’s club arrived this night. No wheelchair guide as

we were not off the ship

Our 2nd port of call was Ravenna, on arrival greeted with more rain but it did clear

by 11 a.m. but the max temp was only 59 degrees, but we did see some sunshine

from 2 p.m. onwards. There was a shuttle bus into the area by the railway station,

where the most of the main shops were located, the cost being $20 per guest, but it

was available for multiple trips but with a journey time of 25 mins each way, might

mean that wasn’t a likely an option. Looking to the east a large beach was very close

by, but no sign of any life and a bit further round a mobile caravan park could be

seen. No wheelchair guide as we were not off the ship

Our 3rd port of call was Split in Crotia, this was a new port of call for us and it was

really worth a visit. After leaving the tender we turned up to the left and crossed the

road, then headed to the left following a line of restaurants. We stopped at the first

postcard shop, they refused to take Dollars or Euro’s but the next shop did. We saw

a number of exchanges, but no idea what rate they offered. Clearly although now

part of the EEC after an 8 year wait, they still wanted to hang on to their currency. We

stopped at the last café, they initially refused to take Euro’s but as I got up to go

they suddenly changed their mind. Just sitting there it reminded me of Cannes,

with the street lined with palm trees but it had more ships and yachts to look at. On

our way back instead of crossing to the right from where we came we decided to

keep going and was just about to cross when we looked up to the left where we

could see a large open market. There was the usual range of gifts but was well

worth a look. We then came to a junction to go ahead or go right and the, we

chose to go right as the condition of the pavement was much better. This brought

us to the fresh fruit and veg section thereafter turning right at the bottom and back

to the ship’s tender. Both coming and going the staff did a great job getting

Christine on and off the ships tender. During our walkabout we only saw push

wheelchairs and no mobile ones. As far as wheelchair score goes most areas were

a safe 7/10 and in some 8/10.

Our 4th port of call was Dubrovik in Crotia. [Temp 26] This is the first of many visits

no direct bus into the centre but a taxi dropping us off at the same as in the past

with the Celebrity bus, just 5 mins walk away; the taxi fare was 10 euros, this compared

with 25 euros return each last year charged by Celebrity. There is a large sign advertising the taxi cost as you come off ship, the sign including an option for a tour for 50 euros. Wheelchair guide mainly 7/10 in odd areas 6/10

Our 5th port of call was Kotor in Montinegro. [Temp 27] Many thought it was not

as great as Split or Dubrovik and on reflection I think that is probably true but still

great to seeif you have not visited it before. If you are using a push wheelchair

make sure youuse the ships tenders, the private ones have a much narrower

entry/exit access. Leaving the tender just 500yds ahead then left to the crossing

sometimes controlled by the police on the other side just to your left for a set of steps;

wheelchairs should go right and follow the street and cut in to the left to get a smoother

surface. The usual shops and cafes but quite a number older historic buildings and

a wall thatyou can walk around. We paused for coffee on one of the many coffee

shops before heading back at the ship. On getting back to the jetty it was obvious that

Silhouette was much further way from the jetty compared to Equinox in 2013, but an

officer said the forecast was for thunder and lighting and the authorities advised

this area was the safest to be berthed.

Wheelchair guide 6/10

Our only day at sea [Temp 25] with the usual fun and games with the officers playing

the guests at H20 Volleyball Challenge. Guests on the first and the officers second.

There was Ice carving and done at high speed approx. 16 mins. Fun dance under the

sun. Captain’s Club Celebration. Ocean’s Ahead a chat with the Captain in the

Silhouette Theatre. Heartbeat of the operation : Tour of the Galley. Junior Cruisers

Fun Trivia. Blackjack Tournament and many more.

Our 6th port was Katakolon Greece [Temp 30] The smallest port of call we have ever

visited,only around 1,630 inhabitants, however a very interesting port. There were plenty of shops but with narrower pavements some with merchandise outside the shops.

There were a number of ramps on both sides of the street, so managed to keep

to the pavements. Some other wheelchair users used the road, I thought that a

might dangerous. We did buy more here than at the other stops. The shopkeepers

could not have been more helpful. The access from where the ship was berthed was

not bad some areas 7/10 others 4/10 but we did manage. In the main street there

was quite a variation again 3/10 up to 7/10, but Christine was never in any danger.

The majority of shops had a high step to get you inside the shop, but there were

some were that was not a problem. At the far end of the street before it veered to

the right about 200yds ahead we took a right down towards the sea and saw

the restaurant of and many further beyond easily seen from the ship.

the line of restaurants, one even had a tank with all sizes of fish swimming about.

On departure it was obvious that was the spot where the horse drawn carts left from,

the cost was 3 to 5 euro’s, I had developed a sore ear but this figure would be about right.

On the last part of the journey back to the ship we did use the road as there was no

pavement. Obviously we could encounter traffic but we were facing it, but none appeared.

On the way out we passed a Duty Free shop and popped in there to see if Christine’s

cigarettes were stocked and for 45 euro’s we got 600 Benson & Hedges.

Wheelchair guide 6/10 but there were some areas where this could easily have been

lower.

Our 7th port of call was Valetta, Malta, we have spent two weeks here in the 80's

and visited twice already so an island we have spent more time in than most.

We left the ship and decided to head to the centre, the way the majority were

heading but when we crossed the road it was a very steep incline but a bubble

taxi came to our rescue. They are like a bubble car but a bit bigger with a box on

the back that would take Christine's wheelchair. The driver could have been nicer and

as we approached the centre we thought we would be dropped there but no these

vehicles are allowed to drive right into the centre and given there was a turkey horn

fitted every time we passed a group blocking the access off went the horn most

found it great fun but some didn't. So were dropped off outside a café and the car

was plugged in to keep the charge up awaiting the next fare. Now the taxis were

€14 whilst the bubble taxi was just €8.

At the ship Centre of town and plugged in

As you can see they all have names, unfortunately both my photographs were of

Amanda.

Our 8th port was Sicily [Temp 28] It was immediately obvious that there was a major

problem, yes there were pavements but with lots of the half curved shapes so we

decided to take a bus trip from the ship, we went through the middle big door of a large

building we passed as we walked around from the ship, we met up with a guide looking

for passengers and it had a section at the back of the bus, so the bus was lowered down and on we went, Just 15 euro’s each but they on charged for one with it was interesting, unfortunately we were dropped in the city centre. We thought it would be a good idea for a look around, but thanks to a friendly tobacconist he called a taxi for us so all was well.

Wheelchair guide 3/10

Our final port of call was Naples [Temp 29] as last year getting about with a wheelchair

was extremely unpleasant for Christine in the chair and I pushing it. We did manage to

cover a bigger area this year but future visits will be via a taxi tour.

Wheelchair guide 3/10

Finally we departed on arrival at Civitavecchia, the departure was smooth with a minibus

which took us and another couple to the airport. As we were on this block booking we

faced getting off at Heathrow, collecting our luggage then booking in for the Edinburgh

flight, but a very helpful BA supervisor managed to do a through booking to Edinburgh,

which made life much easier.

There are images taken at each port plus some around the ship together with some

of the various activities on the ship, but both Christine & I have not been well and

these will follow as soon as I can get the time.