REVIEW: Wheelchair Accessible Cruising on the Celebrity Silhouette

review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouetteI absolutely love cruises. I also love letting people know that taking a cruise is probably the easiest way for wheelchair user to see the world. I’ve been fortunate to have taken three cruises as a full-time wheelchair/scooter user, and they have all been different experiences. However, my most recent cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette has by far been the most amazing! It’s almost as if the Silhouette was designed for wheelchair users, and here’s why.

review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouettePublic Spaces. Your first introduction to the Celebrity Silhouette as soon as you board will be the public spaces. One thing I noticed is how much space there is to maneuver. I never felt crowded or cramped, and there was always room to move between seats and other furniture in the various lounges and seating areas around the ship. My best friend and I spent a lot of time in the entertainment court and small theater on deck 4, and I was always able to fit somewhere. There is also plenty of space on the pool deck, as well as in the indoor pool/solarium area. One of my favorite spaces was the Sky Lounge, or observation deck on deck 14. I could easily get between the comfortable leather lounges to reach the window for an amazing view outside. There are also numerous little spaces and review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouettelounges to read and relax and, like the hideaway and the library. I had no trouble finding a spot in any of these in my scooter to do a little bit of work on my laptop. Every public bathroom I visited had a separate accessible stall with pushbutton entry and exit.

celebrity silhouette wheelchair accessible inside cabinCabins. My best friend and I stayed in a wheelchair accessible interior cabin on deck 8. Compared to previous cabins I have been in on Royal Caribbean and Princess ships, this one was tiny. However, after we asked our cabin steward to remove a leather chair and a small table, I had room to maneuver in my scooter and transfer into a manual chair for some of the shore excursions. More importantly, there was plenty of room for me to maneuver in my scooter in the bathroom. It had a fold down seat in the roll-in shower, and you should know that this seat is not meant for a large person. If you fit that bill, you may celebrity silhouette wheelchair accessible inside cabinwant to bring your own shower chair. The lighting is rather dim, so I ended up putting on my makeup in front of the mirror by the desk. You may want to bring your own portable vanity mirror if you need better lighting or a closer view. There are emergency pull cords by the toilet as well as next to the bed on the nightstand. While I did not have a balcony, I contacted Celebrity and they informed me that accessible cabins with balconies have a smooth ramped threshold to access the balcony by wheelchair.

Thanks to my awesome electric scooter, I’m able to safely roll around destinations all over the world – including on the Silhouette. Find out if it’s a good fit for you, too! Pride Mobility Go-Go Ultra X 3-Wheel Travel Scooter

review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouetteDining. We ate in both the main dining room on deck 4 and the buffet on deck 14 pretty much every day. Both were very positive experiences. There is plenty of space between tables in the main dining room, and the servers are more than happy to push in chairs or move them out of the way to make sure you can sit where you want. We had the select dining option, and we found that eating early allowed us to sit at tables by the window without any trouble or wait. The buffet gets very busy, but its attendants are very eager to help you get your food and take it to the table for you. I never had any trouble getting my meals together there. There are also several tables that are reserved just for wheelchair users in the buffet restaurant. The food quality is also outstanding! We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants, but a quick peek inside led me to believe that accessibility at any of them would not be a problem.

review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouetteEntertainment. There are two nightly shows in the main theater, which has two levels. Accessible seating is fantastic, with large movable chairs for companions and big blue floor mats with the wheelchair symbol next to them as designated spaces for wheelchair or scooter users. You do need to arrive at the theater at least 15 minutes before the show in order to secure a spot in one of these accessible spaces that isn’t behind a pole that partially blocks your view of the stage. However, this is an issue with several parts of the theater and not just the accessible seats. There are also accessible spaces in the front row of the theater on the bottom level, which can be accessed with the review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouettehelp of a crew member who will take you to a special elevator on the port side of the theater. We attended almost every trivia session, which was held either in the Quasar club on deck 4, the Ensemble lounge on deck 5, or the Sky Lounge on deck 14. The daily game shows were usually held in the entertainment court on deck 4, for which you need to arrive early for a comfortable spot because it gets pretty crowded. Sometimes the game shows and also bingo were held in the much smaller Celebrity Life theater, which has ample seating for wheelchairs and scooters on both sides in the center section. Probably the coolest entertainment related thing about the Silhouette is the fact that the dance floor in the Sky Lounge has a flat entry. Every other cruise ship I have been on has an elevated dance floor, and it was fantastic to chair-dance in my scooter with my friends!

review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouetteShore Excursions. I cannot comment on the quality of Celebrity’s shore excursions because my best friend and I made arrangements for independent wheelchair accessible tours at each port of call. There were dozens of passengers with mobility issues that I spoke to, but many of them could walk short distances, so they were able to take part in excursions that could accommodate their scooters or walkers on large buses. While more cruise lines are offering accessible shore excursions, my experience has been that these usually involve windshield tours, or tours that involve short drives around the city where you only get off the bus once or not at all. I suggest you review the availability of accessible shore excursions through the cruise line before booking an itinerary, and I can also help you find independent accessible shore excursions for many ports of call around the world. I can say that it was easy to get on and off the ship at each port because they were all docked stops, and crew members helped me get up and down the gangway whether I was using my scooter or a manual chair.

I spent a lot of time in a rented (i.e. not customized) manual chair and in my leather scooter chair during this cruise. Here’s the cushion I used to make my trip SO much more comfortable! Coccyx Seat Cushion – Comfortable & Supportive Memory Foam with Orthopedic Design 

review wheelchair accessible cruising on the celebrity silhouetteGeneral Comments/Observations. The vast majority of passengers on this cruise were senior citizens. There were dozens of people using rented mobility scooters, power wheelchairs, manual chairs, walkers, and canes. Celebrity clearly caters to this demographic, as the attention to detail when it comes to wheelchair accessibility throughout the ship is evident. It was also clear which scooter users were renters, as the level of expertise when it came to driving, maneuvering, and parking varied quite a bit. However, it was really nice to be in such common company aboard the ship when it came to my mobility needs. Bartenders made it easy for me to sign receipts, the tables in the casino weren’t too high, and even the martini bar was at a more reasonable than usual height. The ship in general is very luxurious and totally spotless. They also got a 100% rating in their last health and cleanliness inspection. From now on, it will be very difficult for me to cruise on a line other than Celebrity because I was so spoiled!

If you would like to find out more about wheelchair accessible cruising, or if you would like to book your next accessible cruise itinerary, please visit my accessible travel agency page at Spin the Globe/travel!

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  1. […] (and negative) impact on my ability to travel – and especially to fully relax while doing so. I absolutely love going on cruises, but they pack a one-two punch for me. I’m terrified of all the norovirus outbreak reports on […]

  2. […] cruise line keeps wheelchair users in mind when designing their ships. I went on a slightly different version of this cruise in November 2017, and everywhere I went on the ship (the Silhouette at the time), it felt like it […]

  3. […] cruise line keeps wheelchair users in mind when designing their ships. I went on a slightly different version of this cruise in November 2017, and everywhere I went on the ship (the Silhouette at the time), it felt like it […]

  4. Bob W

    I’d like to add a few comments to Ms. Longmire’s excellent review of accessible cruising on the Celebrity Silhouette.

    During the seven years since my wife was diagnosed with a neurological condition that has confined her to a wheelchair we have had the opportunity to cruise on the Silhouette as well as the other four Solstice class ships in Celebrity’s fleet (Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse and Reflection). Based on this experience I can say that everything that Ms. Longmire said about accessible cruising on the Silhouette is equally true of the other four Solstice Class ships. Each ship has about thirty accessible state rooms. We have always stayed in veranda rooms, but I believe that the following comments apply to ocean view and interior rooms. Accessible rooms have automatic doors that open when the key card is inserted. The room doors and the bathroom doors are extra wide (32”) to easily accommodate wheelchairs. The bathrooms have well placed grab bars and roll-in showers with fold-down seats. There are emergency call cords in the bathroom and by the bed side. The rooms are about fifty percent larger than the regular rooms, so there is plenty of floor space to maneuver a wheelchair both in the bedroom area and in the bathroom. The veranda rooms have ramps that make it smooth and easy to get over the three or four-inch threshold between the room and the veranda. In summary, accessible rooms on the Solstice class ships are more wheelchair-friendly than any room we’ve found in hotels on dry land. I’d like to add that Celebrity’s Millennium class ships (Millennium, Constellation, Infinity, Summit) are less wheelchair-friendly than the Solstice Class ships. We have no personal experience with Celebrity’s brand-new Edge Class ships.

    Ms. Longmire mentioned that she went on accessible shore excursions that were not booked through Celebrity. We have used Celebrity’s Special Access Shore Excursion office to arrange excursions at numerous ports. If you decide to do it this way, it is best to make arrangements before the cruise by contacting the special access representatives at [email protected]. Strictly speaking this office is run by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity’s parent company. However, they make arrangements for Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara. When you contact them, you will be asked to fill out a form with information defining your level of disability. Some of the tour vehicles require the traveler to be able to stand and step in and out of a van, while others have wheelchair lifts. By contacting them at least six weeks before departure you can be sure of getting a vehicle that matches your needs. It is possible to arrange excursions while onboard the ship, but your options may be more limited. Our private excursions have lasted from three to six hours and cost between $350 and $1100. These numbers may cause some sticker shock, but keep in mind that the vehicles can accommodate at least four and sometimes six people. We always travel with two “cruise buddies” so for the four of us the cost per person has been competitive with non-accessible shore excursions.

    As mentioned in the article, dining in the main dining room and Ocean View Café is very good, but for an evening of relaxed and pampered luxury, I recommend checking out any of the specialty restaurants. They’re a bit pricey, $40 to $50 per person, but as we all know, no one goes on a cruise to save money or lose weight. If you want to go to more than one specialty venue, you can get a discount by buying a package deal.

  5. Ellen K. Hannan

    Please add me to your mailing list

  6. Charles

    I am so glad Celebrity made you feel luxurious. Since first sailing on their ships we won’t go anywhere else. We are not mobility limited, but we love how much attention they give to everyone. They seem to be always looking to provide the best experience to a diverse passenger group. And the food is the best non-exclusive line. Enjoy your future cruising.

  7. Adele J Cartwright

    Hi, thank you for your review. Is there any accessible swimming pools, please?
    Kind regards,

    1. Unfortunately, no.

  8. […] first began my love affair with Celebrity when I sailed on the Silhouette for 12 nights from Rome in November 2017. My best friend and I visited multiple ports of call in Greece and Israel, and I distinctly […]

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