Live From Celebrity Reflection: First Impressions on Suites, ‘See-Through’ Showers and Cabin Stuffing
I’m onboard the 3,030-passenger Celebrity Reflection, the fifth and final ship in Celebrity Cruises‘ hugely successful Solstice class, for a pre-inaugural cruise along the coast of Holland.
For me, Reflection marks the absolute high water mark in terms of design refinement. The idea being, take the best pieces of the previous four Solstice-class ships and incorporate them into the fifth. This is largely what Celebrity has done.
A lot, therefore, is the same — the bevvy of alternative restaurants; the stunning, glass-and-steal covered Solarium pool; the grassy top-ship Lawn Club — but there are a few major changes to Reflection on which the jury is still out.
The first — and biggest — change came by way of slicing the top-ship Sky Observation Lounge in half to introduce a new private suite enclave, which includes five Signature Suites and the house-sized Reflection Suite (dining area pictured below).
To access the area, passengers need to swipe a special key card (it’s a bit like The Haven complex on Norwegian Epic), and enter a long corridor flanked on one side by the Signature Suites with the Reflection Suite at the end. Unlike Epic, Reflection’s suite enclave isn’t a true “ship-within-a-ship” — there’s no associated restaurant or private pool.
The Signature Suites are 441 square feet with a 118-square-foot verandah, and feature some neat touches like:
And the Signature Suites are proper suites, with two separate rooms (unlike the AquaSpa Suites, detailed below).
The 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite is breathtaking. The accommodation features an enormous living room, two bedrooms and a vast bathroom with the already-famous overhanging shower attached to the side.
Cool features include:
Up to six can stay in the Reflection Suite and up to four in the Signatures — so a group of 26 can occupy the whole space.
First thoughts? Well, in terms of the new use of this space, I was disappointed. On previous Solstice-class ships, I always really liked the roomy feel and the quiet of the Sky Observation Lounge during the day. You could always find some out of the way spot to gaze at the sea through floor-to-ceiling windows — with half the public space, it just doesn’t feel the same.
Celebrity has also ripped out Quasar, the mod-futuristic nightclub found on the first four Solstice-class ships, and moved the dance floor up to the Sky Lounge. With the floor occupying what was seating space, passengers now have even less space to find a private spot. Quasar, by the way, was nixed due to lack of use — Celebrity’s social yet sedate crowd just wasn’t tearing it up on the dance floor. (The Conference Center is now on Deck 4 where Quasar was.)
But the Sky Lounge did occupy a huge piece of Solstice-class real estate, so Celebrity must have thought building a new suite complex was a better way to maximize revenue. And, with the largest of said suites priced at upwards of $1,000 per person per day, you can understand the logic.
The other major change to Reflection is the addition of 32 new AquaClass Suites where the Conference Center used to be (Deck 13). Again, the goal is to get more bodies onboard.
Each of the AquaClass Suites has 300 square foot of interior space with a 79-square-foot verandah. There are lovely, marble-floored bathrooms with bathtubs and Bulgari products. AquaSpa suiteholders also have exclusive access to Blu, a specialty restaurants serving light(ish) Mediterranean cuisine, and the Persian Garden spa area, comprised of a warren of treatment rooms (think rainforest, desert, etc.). But honestly, these aren’t “suites” — they’re cabins with a bigger seating area.
So these are the big changes compared to Silhouette, but there are a few other smaller additions including, for those who don’t like to share, a private for-fee gym area (treadmill, weight machine, etc.) you can rent for $45 per hour; Flywheel, a bike-based exercise class that takes place in a pitch-black room with blaring music (an at-sea first we’re told); and TRX Training, which offers a full body workout using suspension cords.
And finally, although the Lawn Club Grill, a combination cooking class and steakhouse restaurant, and Porch, a casual salad and sandwich venue, are not new — they debuted on Silhouette — it’s good to see them on here on Reflection. They have proved extremely popular on Silhouette (despite the hefty $40 cover for LCG and the more modest $5 for Porch), and in my view it’s a much better use of space. This area of the Lawn Club is occupied by a glass show on Solstice, Eclipse and Equinox. The private cabanas are also up here, coming in at a very hefty $99 per port day charge and $149 on sea days.
Reflection is a beautiful ship, and a fine addition to what was already a game-changing class.
See photos and news from the Celebrity Reflection launch on our Celebrity Reflection ship review page.
Want to know what else is on the drawing boards? Don’t miss our guide to New Cruise Ships.
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