Celebrity Reflection - December 15, 2012 (Puerto Rico, St. Martin, St. Thomas)
In comparison to the elaborate Celebrity Eclipse, the Reflection is a straightforward cruise ship designed to accommodate more guests. The extra deck built into the Reflection for more guest staterooms was mostly apparent in the elevators which were always filled at maximum capacity and never worked well for those waiting up to five minutes for availability. This created a huge inconvenience for guests using mobility devices.
The one improvement I really like on the Reflection is the Hideaway which replaced the Earth Room. This area was inviting and cozy. Unfortunately, there are many areas of the ship that disappointed me. The conversion of the Quasar dance club to a conference room is baffling considering that the conference room was closed most of the time, and the reason Quasar was removed was due to lack of use. I liked Quasar. One of the best features of the Eclipse is the Sky Lounge which is beautiful in the daylight sun and gorgeous in the nighttime stars. This exclusivity is gone on the Reflection; the Sky Lounge was reduced to one corner of the forward ship in order to add one large guest suite, the one with the fancy shower. The Sky Lounge on Reflection was rarely visited on my sailing and used mostly for art auctions. The Art Studio on the Reflection is not as unique and stimulating as the Hot Glass Show on the Eclipse. Deck 15 is restrictive and confusing. Guests do not know where they are welcome to go. The Alcoves are unattractive and deprive the beautiful lawn of the attention it deserves. The unusual cabanas of the Alcoves overpower the other features on this deck, including the Sunset Bar which seems lost in the back somewhere.
The restaurants, bars and lounges of the Reflection are very similar to the other Celebrity Solstice ships. The Tuscan Grill changed menus and decor, which was not as appealing to me as the original. I love the new decor of the Martini bar, including the interesting chairs and shiny foil drapes. I also love the Reflection Theatre which is beautiful. The ceiling reminds me of a painted, Asian cocktail umbrella.
Service: There were problems with the quality of food in Opus. One night, I received raw chicken. Another night, the steak was presented medium rare instead of medium well, even though the waiter wrote the order correctly. We also received a few dishes that were cold. I was never upset about the problems. The service staff was very quick to respond and resolve our problems. They worked hard and maintained professionalism at all times, even though they appeared exhausted most of the time. The hotel staff was extraordinary. Ma Annie and Rogai called me by name on the first day and spoke to me throughout the cruise. They treated me like family. In the Aqua Spa, I wasn't comfortable with the attempts of staff to sell me cosmetic products and additional treatments. I had a facial and a manicure, both of which were excellent.
Stateroom: Concierge Class #1634 was spectacular and awesome. The veranda was in the perfect location, blocking all of the wind. The only item which should be noted if you're interested in this room is that there is a camera mounted on the top edge of the veranda which looks down the starboard side of the ship. Most of what one does on the veranda can be seen on this camera. The stateroom is quiet and located close to the elevators, but out of public view. No walk down the stateroom corridors is required to access this room.
Entertainment: I loved Adam Trent, the Comedian and Illusionist. He's also very cute. I was honored to be a small part of his 'Up Close and Personal' show. He made my wedding band disappear and reappear. I wasn't sure I'd like the Celebrity Life Activities, but they were actually a lot of fun. I really liked the game shows and the 1980's dance party. One game in particular was called Liar Liar, and I laughed so hard I cried. The Theatre shows were a mix of typical cruise ship acts with remarkably talented contortionists and dancers that would wow even Cirque Du Soleil. Haley Rose Viloria left me speechless. Unfortunately, I missed the comedian Troy and the singer Rory Bolton. The cruise director, Paul, was okay. I'm somewhat biased on cruise directors. I loved cruise director Mike on the Eclipse.
Itinerary: We arrived late in Puerto Rico, around 5:00 pm. There was nothing to do and nothing to see at night other than police responders and street beggars with very serious health ailments. St. Martin was wonderful, and the Rhino Safari excursion was thrilling and awesome. In St. Thomas, the ship was docked at Crown Bay which I did not like because there is nothing to see or do there. The port at Long Bay is located next to the best shopping in St. Thomas and we had to take an expensive taxi to go there. The morning snorkel excursion with sea turtles and stingrays was amazing. In the afternoon, I took a horrible open-air safari taxi to Megan's Beach. The beach was crowded, but I thoroughly enjoyed delicious pizza and rum punch at the local bar. I took a different taxi back to the ship. The taxi fare to Megan's Beach was $19.00 per person, a complete rip off considering that they squeeze up to 25 people in one taxi. That's a total of $475 for a 15 minute ride through downtown, and they also expected a tip.
Embarkment and Disembarkment: Getting on and off the ship was easy and fast. There were problems with luggage at the Port of Miami, both arriving and departing. When I arrived my luggage was left on the curbside for over an hour, even though I tipped the porter. I stood by and watched until my luggage was secured and taken away. When I departed the ship I waited an hour to receive my luggage, and I heard a lot of unhappy people complaining about their missing luggage.
Miscellaneous: The music played on the ship in general was great. It was modern and relevant. I even liked the music selections on the Celebrity TV channels and listened to it while in my stateroom. I purchased a piece of framed art, a serigraph/sericel animation. I was told I bought it at a substantially lower price than anyone could get it. I later found out that I did not save any money buying it on the cruise ship, but I'm still happy to have it.