Wow! Back to back cruising with Celebrity Cruises now that is a spectacular way to see the world! This is something that you just have to do – 28 nights cruising onboard the Celebrity Silhouette. That is 14 nights cruising from Southampton to Russia and Scandinavia and 14 nights cruising from Southampton to Iceland and Ireland.
There is just so much to tell you about both cruises and all of the ports so be sure to check out What to See in Russia in Two Days, Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle, Iceland’s South Coast, Cruising Northern Europe with Celebrity Cruises, Things to see and do in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
As you may already know from my Hawaii cruise post, I absolutely love cruising with Celebrity Cruises. This is the second time I have been on the Celebrity Silhouette after cruising around the Caribbean from New York a few years back.
Let’s start at the very beginning before you even board the ship. If you have booked a Russia, Scandinavia, Iceland or Ireland cruise it is very likely that you too will cruise out of the port of Southampton, England. Southampton is just under two hours south-west of London by car and if like me you don’t live close to the cruise terminal then you will want to stay a night or two in Southampton to rejuvenate before starting your adventure.
We stayed at the Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa for one night before our cruise and four nights after. This was enough time to recover from the 24-hour flight from Sydney, Australia and also see the main sights of the south after the cruise finished.
A big bonus of staying at the Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa is using the complimentary transfer service to the cruise terminal.
Celebrity Cruises Check-in
This was such an easy process at Southampton. They have modern port facilities, are well organised and the staff are more than happy to help. So after following the check-in signs and providing the relevant documents (passport, credit card, cruise ticket booklet) at the check-in counter, you will be walking up the gangway and onto the ship in no time.
You will find that Celebrity Cruises has outlined all of the check-in details in your ticket booklet including what time you should arrive at the port which helps maximise your check-in experience. It’s now time to let the holiday begin!
Celebrity Cruises Ship Life
The real truth about ship life… You will eat, then you will eat some more and then you may actually just continue to eat some more! There is so much food, there is something for everyone and just when you think they don’t have a particular kind of food… abracadabra there it is!
There are bars, restaurants, coffee shops, retail shops, a casino, a spa, hairdressers, night clubs, future cruise shop, iLounge, library, pools, photo gallery, shore excursions desk, theatre, gym, art gallery and wait for it… even a lawn club with real grass! We were never bored and honestly found that we couldn’t fit everything in.
Every night when your amazing cabin steward is turning down your bed and leaving you that delicious little Celebrity Cruises chocolate on your pillow (that you just don’t need after eating 1000 other things during the day, but you still eat it anyway), they will also leave you a daily newsletter that will show you every activity that will be happening onboard the next day.
I did count them for you but seriously there were so many that I lost count! The activities include things like fitness classes, dance classes, cooking demonstrations, guest speakers, bingo, wine tasting, stage shows, bands and a gazillion more!
Eddie our Celebrity Cruise director, who was extremely upbeat and highly entertaining made sure that everyone on board was not just having a good time but an “AH-MARRZING” (yes that’s how he said it) time. It is clear that all of the staff are there to make your trip ah-marrzing and are also there to have fun themselves.
There is so much food to eat that you will never ever go hungry and yes it’s true you may come home a couple of kilos heavier! Celebrity Cruises has catered for every taste bud in the entire world. There are Asian, Italian, French, Mexican, Indian and a whole lot of other delicious cuisines to choose from every day. The good news is that the restaurants range from casual eats to the oh-la-la, so it doesn’t matter whatever mood you’re in you’ll be covered.
As like most cruise ships the Celebrity Silhouette has inclusive dining and specialty restaurants. Inclusive is included in your fare and with specialty restaurants, you simply pay a small cover charge to order whatever you like from the menu. Both options are great and we had some delicious lunches in the main dining room, but we really like specialty dining as it was a little more exclusive and intimate.
Grand Cuvée – The main restaurant for breakfast, dinner and lunch on sea days. The prawn pad thai and the satay sticks were so YUM! Actually, they were so good we got 2 serves!
Oceanview café – This is a buffet-style restaurant, I must admit I am not a fan of any buffet so we only really had the freshly made pizza and ice cream here!
Spa Café – Offer juices and healthy food which was light and tasty for breakfast (some shakes did incur a surcharge)
Blu – Exclusively for Aqua class guests for breakfast and dinner which has a focus on clean dining. One of my favourites!
Luminae – Is the exclusive restaurant for suite guests, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although we didn’t eat here we had a peek at the menu and inside which looked very impressive
Mast Grill – Here you could get burgers, chips and hotdogs by the pool for lunch. We preferred the main dining room
24-hour room service – In-room dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We loved getting this for breakfast on port days
Qsine – A unique experience, expect the unexpected. The lava crab, meatball trilogy and the Persian kebob were all great! Don’t be fooled by the lollipops, they are not so sweet and innocent as they are sushi and wasabi….Very Hot! As my husband discovered
Tuscan Grille – Perfectly Italian, you can’t go past the lasagne or meatballs. Definitely one of my favourites
Murano – French classic dishes, this was nice but I definitely preferred the Sushi on Five
Sushi on Five – Japanese (my absolute favourite, try the shrimp tempura sushi with no seaweed and the chicken and ginger gyoza – I ate so many of these and wish I was having them right now!
Lawn Club Grill – Grilled meats, pizza, burgers and the most delicious warm cookie with ice cream. You must have the warm cookie it was delicious. Try and book on a good weather day as it can get quite chilly. They do provide blankets though which is a nice touch
The Porch – This is a seafood and sangria inspired restaurant, making delicious Mahi Mahi tacos
The Café al Bacio & Gelateria – The perfect spot to sit and enjoy an espresso or cup of tea with a french pastry, a slice of cake or Gelato – yum!
It is hard to choose a favourite as we had so many delicious meals. But if I had to choose… I would say Sushi on Five, the shrimp tempura sushi and gyozas were so good!
Make sure you stop by Café al Bacio for coffee and cake. You have to try the peanut butter cookies. We got up every morning and went to Cafe al Bacio to get a takeaway coffee to enjoy on deck before breakfast. We may have added a couple of peanut butter cookies to that order too!
If you are feeling a little thirsty while onboard you will find many cafes, bars and restaurants that will be able to prepare your favourite cocktail or mocktail! There is tea, coffee, water and some juices available in the Oceanview Café that are included in your fare, but the variety is limited.
Specialty coffees, soft drinks, mocktails and alcoholic beverages will incur a fee, but don’t be too concerned as the prices are relatively similar to what you would pay at home. Celebrity Cruises do offer alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink packages that can be pre-purchased before you leave or once aboard.
To date, I haven’t purchased a drinks package. Three of the Celebrity Cruises I have been on included the classic package due to a promotion Celebrity Cruises was running at the time.
This offer isn’t normally available for longer cruises that have a lot of sea days, which was the case on my cruises trip from Sydney to Hawaii. I decided not to purchase the drinks package after considering the following:
- How much do I really think I will drink when I’m on board?
- How many port days are there? (If the majority are port days you will be spending most of your time on land, not on the ship)
- Is there any promotion that will give me a free drinks package?
What I did like though about having the classic package included was there were so many good quality choices of beer, wine and spirits. This meant I could get almost any drink I wanted just by showing my sea pass card.
If you are unsure if you should pre-purchase a drinks package, then just wait till you are on board. This way you can get a feel for costs and how thirsty you get. If after a couple of days you decide you want one of the packages then you can sign up! Just be cautious though as they will stop package purchases at a certain point during the cruise.
We booked an Aqua class stateroom for both cruises. These were on deck 11, stateroom number 1610 for cruise one and stateroom number 1605 for cruise two. These were towards the middle of the ship and have one of the biggest verandahs of the balcony rooms on board.
Changing rooms after the first cruise was easy, the cabin stewards made sure our new room was ready early and helped us move everything over. Stateroom 1610 had the bed next to the balcony and 1605 had the bed next to the bathroom.
We preferred the bed next to the balcony as you could lay in bed and look at the water and TV! Aqua class gives you access to the Persian Garden heat lounges and the Blu restaurant, this is one of the main reasons we book the Aqua class.
The Celebrity Silhouette has different staterooms for every budget which range from internal rooms to penthouse suites. The rooms have plenty of storage and all of the mod cons (TV, latest movies on demand, mini-fridge, bathrobes, slippers, safe, hairdryer, room service, bathroom products). Your cabin steward will ensure your stay is perfect.
The first time we went on the Celebrity Silhouette we stayed in Sky Suite #1668 which was AMAZING! Totally recommended! There was a huge porthole that you could lay down in and a great sized verandah. I would love to stay in this room again!
If you are prone to seasickness you should consider a stateroom midship on a lower deck. We found that our midship cabin although on a higher deck, there was less movement than towards the back or the front of the ship.
Entertainment onboard is where Celebrity Cruises really shine! You will be entertained by some really talented performers and speakers. We found the Celebrity Theatre was packed out for most shows, besides the magician, but hey I must admit I am not a fan of any magic show.
Celebrity Cruises have their own cast who perform Broadway-quality shows throughout the cruise. In addition, Celebrity Cruises book professional entertainers that join the cruise at certain ports. This adds further variety and really takes showtime up a notch! Jayne Curry was an absolute highlight! You will find there is some form of entertainment every night in the Celebrity Theatre and even late-night shows for the night owls!
Explore – Ports
We love back to back cruising, we go to bed in one country and wake up in another! It’s the perfect way for us to see so many different countries and countries that we thought we would never actually see….like Northern Ireland and Estonia.
During this 28 night back to back cruise adventure, we visited 9 Countries, 13 Ports and had 4 two-night stays in Stockholm, St Petersburg, Dublin and Reykjavík. We found that we also had plenty of sea days in between to kick back and relax!
Russia and Scandinavia– 14 Nights
- Bruges, Belgium
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Tallinn, Estonia
- St Petersburgh, Russia
- Berlin, Germany
Iceland and Ireland – 14 Nights
- St. Peter Port, Channel Islands
- Cork (Cobh), Ireland
- Waterford, Ireland
- Dublin, Ireland
- Akureyri, Iceland
- Reykjavík, Iceland
- Belfast, Northern Ireland
Celebrity Cruises do have shore excursion desks onboard. We did book a day tour for Russia and Akureyri, but we really enjoy booking independent private tours direct with local tour companies as it gives us an opportunity to see what we want and fit more stops in!
To check out how to spend your day in each port visit:
Cruising Northern Europe with Celebrity Cruises!
What to See in Russia in Two Days
Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle
Things to see and do in Ireland
Sea Pass Card
A sea pass card is issued to every Celebrity Cruise passenger at check-in. This is a magic little card that acts as your room key, EFTPOS card to charge all purchases to your room while onboard and identifies you to staff. It will generally show your room type, package entitlements and your Captain’s Club status.
Each time you disembark or embark the ship you must show your sea pass card. The Celebrity Cruise staff will scan you on and off the ship so they know if any passenger hasn’t returned from a day trip. This also makes for a great memento!
Good to Know
Back to back cruising allows you to unpack your bags once. If you can book the same stateroom for both cruises you won’t have to move a muscle. If you have to change staterooms (we did) your stateroom attendant will help you, it’s easy peasy!
All back to back passengers will be invited to catch up with a crew member a couple of days before the first cruise ends to ensure you have all the relevant information regarding what you need to do as a back to back passenger.
The day your second cruise starts you can stay on board or disembark. We chose to stay on board so we could enjoy the ship’s facilities all to ourselves! It was great!
The only small thing I didn’t consider when booking my back to back cruise was that some of the menus and entertainment are repeated. This wasn’t a big problem as there were so many shows to see and so many different restaurants to try, but just something to consider
For cruise tips and information on Celebrity Cruises’ reward program see Cruising onboard Celebrity Solstice
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