My husband and I just completed a transatlantic cruise on Celebrity's Reflection,a brand new ship. 3000 passengers, 2700 of whom were repeat Celebrity travelers, 1000 of whom were Elite status. It was our first time on Celebrity so I can only compare it to Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam which we took 2 years ago from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale in it's maiden year. Both ships are beautiful with wonderful staff - Celebrity's from many different countres, Holland America from Indonesia and the Philippines. Cabins and public rooms were very similar and the food was equally good. We ate in all of Nieuw Amsterdam's specialty restaurants whereas on Reflection only Murano appealed to us. It is a beautiful room with excellent service, food good but not outstanding.
The passengers on Reflection were very international - Canadian, British, German, Dutch, French and Spanish speaking whereas Nieuw Amsterdam seemd to be mostly American and Canadian.Ports of Call: N. Amsterdam made many ports in Spain and Portugal but Reflection only 2 - Mallorca and Malaga. The 3rd port, Tenerife, was cancelled due to engine trouble which slowed us down so we had 9 days at sea from Malaga to Miami. My main complaint is the lack of Bridge playing set up. On Nieuw Amsterdam we had bridge instructors who taught in the morning and supervised duplicate bridge in the afternoon set up in a large well-lit card room. On Reflection there was no supervised play, we were stuck in the Qsine restaurant and half the time with no cards. We finally (about 50 of us) organised ourselves into tables of party bridge. The mah jongg players were equally upset. The "game room" is small, poorly lit and only 5-6 tables most of which were interactive game tables. I realize that bridge is not a money producer but with such a long at sea time we needed something ! Bingo was another sore point. $38 for three games. Only 25 players showed up when I played (100s on other ships) and I actually won the day I played and received the magnificent sum of $73.
Two other complaints: the reduction in size of the Observation or Sky Lounge. It offers only 90 degrees of sight rather than the customary 180 degrees. It didn't matter on this trip as there was nothing to see, but for voyages thru the Panama Canal or areas with beautiful scenery it would be disappointing. The other complaint is about the deck walking area. Usually it is on the lifeboat deck and goes all around the sip - 4 times around is a mile. On Reflection you have to walk around the top (deck 14) to go around the ship, dodging sunbathers, bocce players and LOTS of flesh ! We wound up walking back and forth many times on the boat deck which is blocked at each end. Both transatlantic trips were enjoyable but sorry, Celebrity, my vote goes with Holland America.