Having been on the inaugural cruise of 'Silhouette' last year out of Hamburg, we were expecting great things from a 14 night Eastern Meditterranean cruise on 'Reflection', beginning in beautiful Venice, with a really good itinerary, and ending in Barcelona. We had a good Celebrity Reflection organised boat excursion around the Venice lagoon and islands with a very good commentary, on our first full day, before setting off towards Dubrovnik. We took the bus into the old town and had a lovely walk around this jewel of a city, before leaving that night heading towards Rhodes.
The weather was not too kind to us and we were buffeted by continual very strong winds and rain, and at around 7.00pm there was a very loud bang and 'graunching' noise, on the starboard side of the ship, followed by the ship shuddering. We immediately looked out over our balcony at the aft of the ship and saw that instead of leaving two white wakes behind the ship, we were down to one, and checking on the More
navigation channel on our TV screens, our speed had reduced hugely! Bearing in mind that we heard this from Deck 11 on the ship, then it was fairly clear that something major had happened to the starboard engine pod or propellor. We expected some kind of an explanation during the evening, but explanation came there none!! That evening, we were treating ourselves to dinner at the Tuscan Grill, and during our meal we became aware that the remaining engine pod went silent too, (not accompanied by a bang this time!), but it was only for about 20 mins., and then the engine noise and vibration began again. It was not until the next morning that the Captain deigned to tell us that there had been a technical problem with a switch and that because our speed was reduced, we would NOT be visiting Rhodes--a huge disappointment. And this was our disappointment---the fact that the Captain was not honest about what the problem had been and what was going to be needed to cure it----for our whole cruise! We finally arrived in Barcelona, still being pushed in the main by the port propulsion system, and although we had not felt that the ship was in any danger at any time, I would NOT have wanted to continue across the Atlantic without a properly working ship.Fully operational ship. Why, oh why, we're our requests for information ignored. Why was the Captain 'economical with the truth' . His attitude merely encouraged the hundreds of different stories that we're circulating around the bars and dining rooms. I was amazed at how much dissatisfaction there was amongst so many people. Dissatisfaction with the motion and vibration of the ship,(certainly noticeable at the aft of the ship---we had practically the same stateroom on Silhouette, and experienced NONE of the vibration that we had to put up with for nearly all of this trip---despite crossing the Bay of Biscay!); dissatisfaction with the 'cruise director' Nick Weir, his attitude really annoyed many Americans , and we found his constant insistence that we 'showed our appreciation' more than a little irritating; dissatisfaction with on board shore excursions---they cancelled one of ours-----again!
Good things: Reflection is a lovely ship(or will be when she is sorted). The staff in the bars, cafe al Bacio, waiting staff and sommeliers were all superb. Stateroom care not quite as good as Silhouette, which was a shame, but the mattress was less comfortable than on Silhouette, so did not sleep well.
Food excellent,especially Murano.Shows often very good, as were some of the lectures. Used the gym 3times---very good. Had a wonderful manicure in the Beauty Salon, by a very proficient girl. Really bad things:Guest Relations!!!! They would listen, note down, and then ignore!!! Shore Excursions: too quick to cancel! Have not yet received any account of how our Premium Package was spent, despite being promised!
All in all, we will think hard about whether to take another Celebrity Cruise as we don't want to be further disappointed. Less
Celebrity Reflection Cruises to the British Isles & Western Europe
Deck 11,1690. Typical concierge aft facing stateroom. Shower room a good size and with lots of storage. There is a decent sized wardrobe with enough hangers, for most people although I did take, and use, about five of my own. The cupboards above the bed are difficult to access though, and more drawer space, instead of the fridge would have been useful. Had problems with the plumbing immediately we arrived in the stateroom, there were certain items missing, and during our trip, the fresh flowers disappeared for three days, and we were left with dead roses in the shower room,fruit wasn't replenished. After a note was left these problems were rectified, but it should not have been necessary! The TV accounts didn't work and needed repairing, and the phone didn't have voicemail for the first half of our trip, an essential, since apparently Guest Relations rely on them to leave messages, so they don't have to speak to you in person! Interestingly, the balcony in the next door stateroom is considerably larger(1692--but the room is the same size! On Silhouette, the opposite applies, 1690 has the wider balcony!) Noticeable vibration, wonderful views from the balcony.
Original trip cancelled by the Cruise ship(NOT by the local company though---we checked!), so we had to take a coach tour so that my husband could see the famous Leaning Tower! Good guide, but he talked for so long standing outside the Cathedral, there was not enough time to investigate inside the three major sites. However the weather was beautiful showing off the Baptistry, Cathedral and Leaning Bell Tower to perfection.
Hop on Hop off bus tour---the worst HOHO we'veeverused! we were told to get on, get off three times and the commentary was worse than useless, being mainly adverts for shopping and little to do with the places we were passing. However Malta is lovely, especially the wonderful harbour area.
Wonderful trip,picked up by mini-bus at the exit of the port with an excellent guide, Andreas. he made the trip funny and really interesting, and did not push us around Pompeii, but allowed us to really enjoy our experience. Good time to go, as it was pleasantly warm without being too hot, and the sun was shining. Then we had fresh Pizza and a drink(included) and then were driven up Mount Vesuvius to the area from where those who wish can walk to the craters edge. Quite chilly up there, but wonderful views, we did not do the final trek, but had a coffee instead! Then back in good time to the ship. Excellent trip.