It’s been a long 18 months since travellers have been able to step on board a cruise ship, and with a reported two million people from the UK taking a cruise in 2019 and a high repeat booking rate, many cruise companies rerouted their ships this summer to offer sea-starved brits the chance to take a ‘seacation’ around the British Isles.
Bedford-based independent travel agency Eagle Travel sent their award-winning team member, Sheena Todd, on the inaugural sailing of Celebrity Silhouette around the British Isles, making her one of the first to experience life on board a cruise ship since the start of the pandemic.
Read on to find out what Celebrity Cruises are doing to ensure their guests are not only safe but also that their much-longed-for holiday lives up to expectations.
Ahead of embarkation we, and all other guests needed to complete PCR tests no more than 72 hours before boarding.
On UK sailings these are paid for by Celebrity and the whole process was simple and swift, with tests arranged nearby at The Courtyard Hotel in Luton taking just 10 minutes. Armed with proof of negative test results and our double vaccinations the whole check-in process was very efficient and straightforward using the Celebrity App, although you can check in without it.
Thanks to excellent weather we were able to enjoy the outdoor facilities on deck – there were plenty of open spaces and places to relax including The Retreat Sundeck, part of the exclusive Retreat facilities reserved for Suite guests.
Everything felt incredibly safe with sanitising stations at regular intervals and masks worn when moving around inside the ship (masks are not required outside but the crew wear masks at all times).
The restaurants are well laid out to promote social distancing and there is no self-service in the buffet restaurants to minimise touchpoints. However, they still offer a great variety of food with influences from around the world.
The entertainment on offer was excellent and varied, including live music, acrobatics and dancing, alongside casinos and reimagined bars such as the Craft Social and the Passport Bar.
To the relief of many, the semi-final of the Euros was also shown.
There were numerous activities on board, especially on sea days, and the onboard daily paper told us of all the entertainment and events happening that day. Retail therapy is possible – and tempting – with a selection of new boutiques onboard, and reimagined Spa facilities allow guests to really unwind – perfect for days when it was not quite as sunny.
The great weather meant we could easily forget we were cruising around the UK until we looked out at our unique and breathtaking coastline.
Our ports of call on this cruise were Dover, Liverpool and Belfast, with sea days in between. We enjoyed excellent excursions to Giants Causeway, Dover Castle and a walking tour of iconic locations in Liverpool including The Cavern Club and the Liver Building.
The excursions were in small groups and felt very safe, following all safety protocols. As an added precaution, only those with pre-booked excursions could leave the ship, and visiting shops ashore was not allowed
Celebrity Silhouette has recently been “reimagined” with a multi-million-pound makeover, but the real stars of the show were the staff; they simply could not do enough for us and they were professional, knowledgeable and the epitome of service with a smile (even whilst wearing a mask).
A fantastic week and a welcome return to cruising.
Keep up-to-date with changing travel advice
Keeping up with the ever-changing government travel advice is complicated. Book your next holiday or cruise with Eagle Travel and we will guide you through all the requirements needed for you to take that well-earned break, at no additional cost.
If you have any questions or to find out more, speak to the award-winning cruise consultants at Eagle Travel on 01234 348882 or email email@example.com
Eagle Travel is recognised as one of Celebrity Cruises’ top ten preferred agencies, due to our in-depth knowledge of the brand.
This means our team of experienced cruise consultants have access to Celebrity Cruises Concierge services, so you will enjoy an even more personalised and seamless booking experience from the first enquiry to setting foot on board.
September sailings on sale from Thursday 22 July
Take advantage of FREE car parking in Southampton and Ocean View to Balcony upgrades when you book your September Staycation.
4th September – 7 nights
11th September – 7 nights
18th September – 9 nights
Round Trip Southampton
Our offices are open
Eagle Travel is operating slightly shorter office hours from 10 am – 3 pm on Monday to Friday, and have welcomed our team back on a staggered basis.
If you do wish to come into the office please do book an appointment to ensure social distancing can be adhered to.
If you have any questions about cruising and to find out more about Celebrity Cruises, speak to the award-winning Cruise consultants at Eagle Travel on 01234 348882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sheena Todd
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