Pat contacted me needing some help finding the right cruise that she could combine with a family trip to New York. It was a good job she did as she and her husband would have ended up on a party cruise around the Caribbean! I suggested a more suitable package and they were lucky enough to have an amazing holiday just before Covid-19 hit.
What seems an awfully long time ago, at the beginning of this historic year, we were incredibly fortunate to spend a fabulous few days cruising with Celebrity Cruises on their Silhouette ship from Fort Lauderdale, Florida around the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) islands in the Dutch West Indies.
We had spent a few days in New York followed by a short stay in Florida prior to boarding.
Coronavirus was just beginning to make news and care was taken by the shipping company to ensure our health was safe with standards of hygiene proficiently administered.
Prior to travelling, we had been asked if we had been to China and those that had were told not to travel. When checking in at the port we were again asked about any recent trips and our temperatures were taken.
The ship had recently been refurbished in Spain and we were the first set of customers aboard. The decor was magnificent - everything sparkling clean - and our outside cabin with a balcony was lovely.
The food onboard was amazing with a great range of cuisine to choose from in the buffet restaurant. Luckily, we were booked on a set table for our evening meals, something we would highly recommend, as we heard stories of people having to wait for over an hour to be seated.
The dining room meals were very good, however service was provided by a new crew, many on the ship for the first time, and on occasion, their anxiety and eagerness to please was rather overwhelming.
The dining room was also noisy and hearing over our fellow diners was difficult at times. At lunchtime, there were several places to eat and the à la carte menu in the main restaurant was faultless.
Room service was exceptional, and the evening entertainment was well worth seeing with acrobats, ballet dancers and comedians along with the ship's brilliant entertainment crew.
The ABC islands were fascinating places to see.
We would particularly recommend a visit to the Slave Museum in Curaçao which graphically illustrates how the slave trade worked, the appalling treatment of slaves and the extreme wealth that many people enjoyed out of the misery of their fellow men. It was a harrowing experience but one that we felt essential to see.
In conclusion, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and once it is safe to travel again, we look forward to discussing other potential destinations with Susan, whose assistance and knowledge was invaluable.