Sailed on December 8 on the new Celebrity Reflection. Not quite knowing what to expect we were mildly disappointed. Being new we thought there might be something special regarding the ship. We felt there was not. Clean, nice and not very much fun was our opinion. The crew was courteous but no more so than on RCCL or Holland America. The cabins were actually smaller than I had thought they would be and the balcony - we were in a concierge class cabin - was quite small. Though the balcony furniture was better than most other ships on which we have sailed.
With concierge class you do get flowers in the cabin until the last couple of days of the trip. A bottle of sparkling wine in your cabin at the embarcation and a better quality soaps/shampoos etc. We also received canapes in the afternoon if you were in your cabin. If you were not in your cabin then nothing was left. Frankly, the quality of the canapes left a great deal to be desired so it was not a big loss. We did receive a very nice tote bag but, the value of a concierge class cabin is very questionable in our opinion.
This was the Christmas season and we expected to see a lot of lights and lots of Christmas music. There was quite a bit of decorations but they were all muted, almost dull. During the 7 days of sailing we did not hear one Christmas carol.
There were a couple of very nice Broadway class productions in the main theater but the rest of the evenings were somewhat amateurish. The biggest disappointment was the lack of entertainment in the main bars on the ship. Many bars are large and quite nice and exceptionally boring. A recent trip on the NCL Epic was terrific because the entertainment was exceptional everywhere on the ship. Not so on the Celebrity Reflection.
We did eat at four of the specialty restaurants and they were generally pretty good. We liked the Tuscan Grill the best and it was the least expensive at $30. The Qsine experience is just that, an experience but, at $40, we were not sure it was worth it. The Bistro on 5 is a pretty good deal at $5 a head for terrific crepes and salads and it was usually not too busy. We did a lunch at Murano and at $25 each for the lunch it was not worth it. Only two or three entrees offered and people were seated wearing shorts and flip flops. Not a classy dining experience.
Evidently, one of the iconic offerings by Celebrity is the real grass on the top deck. It is just there and not too much was ever going on when we walked by and located on the grass area the cabana style alcoves at $125 a day rental while at sea are a joke. You can not even watch the water from the alcoves. Windy and hot are about the best thing I can say about them.
This review must sound more critical than I intend it to be. No doubt Celebrity has a nice product. It just seems like it is for the older crowd - and I mean really old - as there is just not too much going on. They did have two enrichment programs and Cathy Ace - an author - was terrific while the other "lecturer" talked/sang about Cole Porter. Her stories were good but her singing of many of the Cole Porter songs not so much. But, the disappointment with Celebrity is that they had only two enrichment programs! We were at sea for four days. Not to much going on and not to much to do while at sea. Easy to fix but, none of the cruise lines, except Cunard, seems interested.
The best about Celebrity is that they limit ship announcements. No loud calls to bingo or to the really nice (not) art auctions. We also felt like they were not attempting to sell us something all the time. Take note NCL, RCCL and Carnival. And, this is basically a non smoking ship. There are a couple of places on the upper decks that smokers can go but no smoke in the casino, balcony or cabins. Hooray!
Disembarcation was pretty bad. Took way too long and the area that the luggage finally arrived was much too small and congested. The line to go through customs was terrible. All in all, a bad experience and a bad way to end the cruise.