Last month after flying into Dubrovnik I visited Kotor and Budva in Montenegro, Matera in Italy, the island of Corfu and finally Valletta in Malta. Five destinations in five days without taking another flight. Clever huh? Actually it couldn’t have been simpler – I sailed out of Dubrovnik on board Celebrity Silhouette, a luxury cruise ship, and spent an exciting, enlightening few days on my first ever cruise exploring some fascinating cities as well as discovering the ship and life on board which was a whole new experience in itself.
I’ve always booked my travels independently, figured out the logistics, the best flights and transfers, researched hotels, B&Bs and what sights and experiences to include. I’d never considered going on a cruise before but the more I thought about it the more it made sense and when Celebrity Cruises invited me to spend time on board one of their newest ships ‘Silhouette’ I didn’t need to be asked twice. Just think about it – lots of new places to explore but only having to unpack once – tick! No waiting around in airports or haggling with taxi drivers – big tick! Time to enjoy the swimming pools, Jacuzzi, restaurants, entertainment and even some Spa time – tick, tick, tick! In fact the only stress would be trying to enjoy as much of the ship as possible while it transported me on my journey in complete comfort and luxury.
Of course I’ll be sharing photographs and tales of the destinations I visited but first I’d like to show you around Silhouette herself, after all she is the star of the show…
Let’s start in my light and airy stateroom, the epitome of a room with a view filled with everything needed for a comfortable stay; en-suite bathroom, toiletries, bathrobes, crisp cotton sheets, white fluffy towels and turn-down service. But the best bit was my little balcony where I loved to sit awhile just watching the ever-changing scenery and allowing myself to be mesmerised by the vastness of the ocean before me.
I’m not usually a morning person but the excitement of waking up to a new view and sailing into a different city each day got me up and out on my balcony shortly after sunrise every morning. I’d even leave the curtains open so I could sneak the first glimpse from my pillow!
What to do on a cruise ship?
There’s so much to do when you’re not out on a shore excursion you’re are truly spoilt for choice. Maybe start with a bit of shopping in the designer shops or an art exhibition. There are trivia contests, cooking and dance classes, a gym, fitness sessions and a craft area for painting and drawing. Join in pool volleyball, basketball or Zumba on the deck is just as entertaining to watch as it is to take part.
Aqua Spa and relaxation
If all of that sounds like too much hard work then head to Aqua Spa and instantly unwind on one of the heated beds whilst gazing out into the vast expanse of ocean. On our day at sea I booked myself in for a bit of pampering and chose a blissful Elemis facial from a long list of indulgent treatments. I walked on air all the way back to my state-room afterwards – I haven’t been that relaxed in months!
Of course there are countless other ways to relax. There’s an outdoor pool lined with Jacuzzis, loungers for sunny days and the same amenities in the solarium area for not-so-sunny days – and because there are full-length windows you won’t miss out on the views.
The Lawn Club was a favourite place to spend time and feel the grass between my toes or have a game of croquet or bowls. There are hammocks and cabana-style alcoves – perfect little havens.
Did I mention that Celebrity Silhouette is a huge ship? I mean really huge….!
There are havens and hidey-holes all over the ship – I loved this area with quirky little pod chairs. There’s even a library and card room.
The theatre is the venue for evening entertainment and hosts some excellent shows – we saw Steve Hewlitt a very funny ventriloquist from the UK, a mentalist who somehow managed to infiltrate my mind and plant the word ‘juxtaposition’ (I know!) and a fantastic acrobatic troupe who performed a Cirque-style show. There’s also a casino, slot machines, dancing and live music.
Dining on Silhouette
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned the food yet? The food on Silhouette was exceptional. With six speciality restaurants, the main Grand Cuveé dining room, Ocean View Café and Sunset Bar among others.
Outstanding Celebrity Service
From the time I was greeted at the gangway, totally over-awed by this huge ship looming above me, to the time I was waved off I was amazed at the outstanding service. The staff were more than happy to help with any request, they were interested, attentive, friendly and provided some of the best service I’ve experienced – and I’ve stayed in some top-notch hotels.
Think cruise holidays aren’t for you? Think again.
In the past I’ve been sceptical about cruises, despite never having experienced one(!) and thought it would be full of elderly people, overly formal and maybe even a teensy bit boring. How wrong was I! There was a complete range of ages aboard including some children, it wasn’t formal at all except for Saturday nights when you could dress up a bit more – I spotted some long gowns and the odd tux or two – but there were more casual dressers as well and it’s a case what you feel comfortable with. As for being boring – NO CHANCE! Having been on my first cruise I’d recommend Celebrity Cruises without hesitation. Taking a cruise is the ideal way to satisfy the wanderlust whilst enjoying exceptional cuisine, superb accommodation and sparkling entertainment – the perfect combination of exploration, recreation and relaxation.
Huge thanks to Celebrity Cruises who kindly hosted me and Mr Jones for five nights. As always views and opinions – good, bad or otherwise – are entirely my own.
A photo tour of Silhouette