I’ll admit it—until last week, I had never been on a cruise, nor had I any desire to. I’m more of a “get out and explore” type of person; I like to pick a great city and wander, checking out hidden restaurants and absorbing the local color and culture. I imagined a cruise to be, at best, boring, and at worst, a stifling, over-scheduled affair. It was with that pre-judgment that I boarded the Celebrity Silhouette last week for its inaugural trip in North America as it launched from Bayonne, New Jersey for two days of wining and dining.
One of my fears—that I would be bored—was assuaged immediately. Actually, it was hard to cover the entire ship in the two days I had to explore. Every single element of the ship is designed to make its guests feel at ease, pampered, and glamorous—to feel, in essence, like a celebrity. From the outdoor Lawn Club (designed in collaboration with Wilson Butler Architects), a half-acre of real Bermuda and ryegrass with private Alcoves in front of the interactive Lawn Club Grill, to the AquaSpa, where guests can treat themselves to bamboo massages, 24K gold facials, or relax in the Persian Garden with heated mosaic chairs overlooking the ocean, Celebrity’s concept of “modern luxury” was evident. Also evident was the care and passion the Celebrity team has for the design of their ships, and making that design process a collaborative one. Speaking with Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises, his enthusiasm for the smallest detail was infectious—including the effort put into making the large ship easy to navigate for passengers. “We spent a lot of time on the transition spaces; we wanted the movement between two points to be a journey,” Fain says. The transition spaces he’s talking about are enhanced by an impressive art collection that evokes the “sensuality of the silhouette,” curated in collaboration with International Corporate Art (ICArt), and features on-site art installations.
A shot of the private Alcoves overlooking the Lawn Club
…oh, and did I mention the food? Delicious, and deserving of the elegant, thoughtfully designed restaurants, of which there are six onboard. But the most surprising thing about the entire trip: while wandering through the retail area, tempted by Michael Kors and Bulgari boutiques; stopping by Bistro on Five for a gelato; reading in the grand Library; or sipping coffee in a cozy treehouse in the Hideaway, I kept forgetting that I was, in fact, on a ship. I was doing exactly what I want to do on a vacation: wandering, exploring, and absorbing the culture.