The Celebrity Silhouette

From 31 October we were officially, all at sea! And for those of you who haven't tasted the delights of luxury cruising, the Silhouette has it all. The ship is 324 metres long, weighs 122,400 tonnes and carries 2,886 passengers. It is literally a floating five star hotel.

From our hotel in Venice we walked back across the bridge over the canal and found the 'people mover', a monorail that transports cruise passengers from the Island to the dock in just a few minutes. Once there, we checked in our luggage and enjoyed a quick and professional boarding process.

As we walked down the gangway and entered the ship we were astounded at the size of the interior and the opulence of the fittings. It was some time before we could go to our cabin (known as a stateroom) so we located one of the twelve bars/lounges on board and had a celebratory glass of wine. Within an hour we had caught one of the eight glass enclosed lifts up to deck 8 and after initially finding ourselves geographically misplaced, found Cabin 8285.

This first night was Halloween and around the ship there were many reminders in the form of pumpkins, ghosts and witches, etc. We chose to eat at one of the seven specialty restaurants, the Tuscan Grille on deck 5, and enjoyed fabulous Italian cuisine and service. As a matter of course, each of the dining venues (eleven in all) allows you to eat as little or as much as you choose from the menu. This was the start of our love affair with gourmet food. In fact, one of Jim's four courses each night was escargot and on one occasion, frogs' legs.

On subsequent nights we dined in the Grand Cuvee main dining room which was located on both decks 3 and 4, at a table for six. We shared our table with two couples, Paul and Diane from Halifax, Canada and Jerry and Janice from Philadelphia, USA, with whom we spent many fun-filled evenings. Breakfast was served in a number of locations, however most mornings we chose the Oceanview Cafe buffet on deck 14 which offered fabulous views of whichever port we happened to be in, and more variety of food than we have ever seen.

Each evening passengers were provided with live entertainment that included 'Hollywood spectaculars', vocalists and dancers, a concert pianist, other musicians and bands, comedians, a magician, a ventriloquist and even a mentalist. We availed ourselves of just about every show and also attended talks given by the Captain, various crew and even an art historian. During the day, when not on shore, we had use of a state of the art gym, several pools and spas, a library, a card room, a beauty salon and many locations in which to read and use our computers. My personal favourite was the Hideaway with its art deco chairs and tea and coffee day and night.

We even had virtual budgees in cages...

The photographs tell the rest of the story.