Pas­sen­gers in an ideal po­si­tion to save money

The Jewish Chronicle - - TRAVEL & CRUSING - BYLYNNEHOUGHTON

MINIA­TURE UNION jacks are wav­ing as the band plays and cham­pagne corks shoot into the air. The busy few hours get­ting to Southamp­ton and set­tling into my cabin on Celebrity Sil­hou­ette are be­hind me. Now, the rev­elry be­gins. De­part­ing on a transat­lantic cruise re­calls the glory days of the great ocean lin­ers, when trav­el­ling by sea was the only way to get to the New World, Aus­tralia and beyond. The party mood is ev­i­dent as our 2,886-pas­sen­ger cruise ship pulls away from its berth at the Ocean Ter­mi­nal and ev­ery­one hoots and hollers.

Our ship will en­ter the Solent, then the English Channel, with the At­lantic Ocean beck­on­ing just beyond. Af­ter seven nights, I will pass the Statue of Lib­erty in the early hours and our ves­sel will dock overnight in Cape Lib­erty (New Jersey) be­fore sail­ing on to Florida with­out me. Sadly I will fly back home from NYC.

Celebrity Sil­hou­ette is leav­ing North­ern Europe for Fort Laud­erdale, where she will be based for a win­ter sea­son of Caribbean cruises.

The pur­pose of a re-po­si­tional cruise is to get a ship to its new base. A cruise ship that has been sail­ing itin­er­ar­ies in, for in­stance, the Mediter­ranean all sum­mer will have to cross the At­lantic to be based in the Caribbean for the win­ter. A re-po­si­tional cruise needs to be ef­fi­cient and will prob­a­bly cover a large dis­tance with as few calls at ports as pos­si­ble.

So, will I be­come bored at sea? Af­ter all, there will be seven nights of con­tin­u­ous sail­ing. The ship, in fact, is the des­ti­na­tion. Will I feel un­nerved at not see­ing land af­ter the shores of western Ire­land are far be­hind us?

Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. It turns out to be the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the wide-open sea and all the ameni­ties on board.

First stop in my ori­en­ta­tion of the Sil­hou­ette is the top — deck 16. Open to the air, this sun-soaked area has loungers aplenty and the views over the open sea are in­spir­ing.

Be­ing sur­rounded by indigo as far as the eye can see takes my breath away and I never tire of it.

The deck be­low, 15, is cov­ered with grass — uniquely among cruise lin­ers. The lawn is the out­door spot where I plan to spend most of my time, start­ing with a lively game of cro­quet.

The ship’s out­door restau­rant, the Lawn Club Grill, is also here; I can choose my food and grill it my­self or hand it to a friendly BBQ mas­ter to do it for me.

There is a clean space for cook­ing fish-only or veg­e­tar­ian-only meals, with no risk of com­ing into con­tact with the meat. And there are plenty of op­tions for non-meat eaters — a whole va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles to grill and a full salad bar.

All restau­rants on-board cater well for those not want­ing to eat meat.

Deck 14 fea­tures my favourite bar on the ship, the spa­cious Sky Ob­ser­va­tion Lounge, a great place to meet peo­ple, as well as the jog­ging track.

From the grand foyer on deck three, the atrium soars up three sto­ries, giv­ing a feel­ing of space and el­e­gance. Mean­while, bar­gain hunters must make reg­u­lar trips to the sales in the shop­ping precinct, deck four. Who can re­sist duty-free on-board shop­ping?

Also on this deck is the the­atre, where I in­dulge my en­ter­tain­ment habit vir­tu­ally ev­ery night.

There is a Las Ve­gas-style casino, too, where I have a few goes on a slot ma­chine just for fun. I also find my­self hav­ing a spe­cial­ity drink more than once at the Mar­tini Bar (a Clas­sic Mar­tini with a twist hits the spot), while the Cellar Masters is the place for wine afi­cionadi.

Spa treat­ments at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club are a de­li­cious ex­trav­a­gance — I can rec­om­mend a Swedish mas­sage with laven­der oil.

The deck 12 Canyon Ranch Spa Club is next to the well-equipped gym. The morning stretch ses­sion is a great way to start the day and I du­ti­fully turn up at 8am each time.

If the weather dis­ap­points, re­tire to the so­lar­ium, a cov­ered area with swim­ming pool, loungers, heated spa baths and plants to give a trop­i­cal vibe.

Or curl up in the sur­pris­ingly se­cluded Hide­away, fur­nished with hang­ing wicker chairs and cosy 1960s-style egg pod chairs, where you can curl up with

Celebrity Sil­hou­ette: the ship it­self is the des­ti­na­tion

Who needs to go ashore when you have a cro­que­tready lawn on deck?

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