My wife and I were fortunate to spend 7 fabulous days on Reflection from 1/5/13 to 1/12/13 which was the ship's tenth cruise. It is a truly beautiful ship. I am not going to write a traditional review on this voyage, but instead I would direct you to the long review written by Artemis on this board. I agree with what he wrote. Instead I thought I would just share some tips and experiences I hope you will find useful on your cruise.
Embarkation: Very smooth for Aqua Class. Arrived at 10:30 a.m., no line for Aqua Class check-in. Waited approximately 45 minutes and were escorted onto the ship by a Celebrity employee. We entered Reflection on deck 5 and went immediately to Bistro on Five where we had a relaxed meal until our cabin was ready. I also learned that The Porch is also open for embarcation day meals on deck 15. These are both good alternatives to the crowded and chaotic OceanView buffet.
Aqua Class: This was our first time in Aqua Class. This is my new preferred style of travel on Celebrity. Our cabin was as advertised with all amenities we expected. We asked for the firm pillows from the pillow menu and our cabin steward was there within 30 minutes with memory foam pillows. We asked for cheese and crackers instead of canapes and we received a plate of 3-4 types of cheeses with grapes, dried fruit, and crackers each day. I really enjoyed the shower tower. The jets were forceful and helped ease those sore knees and muscles after our port days. We also had our breakfast delivered to our room on one occasion and our steward had it there on time and correct and set it up on our veranda for us to enjoy.
Blu: I am a middle aged mid-western male. When my wife first explained to me about the "health food" menu I was going to enjoy I was a little skeptical. Boy was I wrong!! I loved the food in this restaurant. Each evening we had a choice of 3-4 appetizers, soups, salads, and 3-4 entrees. They were reasonably sized portions, not the huge ones we have become accustomed to in our restaurant portions. Each evening you had a choice of beef, seafood, pasta, vegetarian, or game, lamb, etc dish. I even ate pheasant one night. We discovered that the pasta dishes were very good, so we would order one as a side dish to our meal. It was easy to do since the pasta portion was small and easy to split between 2 people. We also learned that you could get shrimp cocktail if you wished to have it. Our dining room team of Lestarte, Rolando, and Anna were very professional and made our dining experience very nice. The desserts were particularly nice.
For breakfast in Blu, I would recommend the french toast. I also ordered eggs each day and they were prepared exactly as requested and served with a small helping of potatoes and mushrooms.
Captain Nicholas Pagonis and Crew: What an interesting man. Capt. Pagonis was interesting and visible throughout the cruise. The crew was always greeting us in the hallways and decks of the ship and asking about our day. They would also ask if they could be of assistance if it looked like we needed anything. You should not miss Capt. Pagonis' speech on navigation on the next to last sea day in the Reflection Theatre. It is interesting and he spent 20 minutes answering questions from the audience after the presentation. The questions ranged from questions about his background, size of his cabin, engine problems with Reflection (more about that in a minute), the Costa Concordia disaster, Celebrity policy and crew life at sea. He answered each question gracefully. You should also make sure you catch his 10:00 a.m. morning announcement because he gives you information not only about the ship, but also things about the land areas and history of the areas near the ship at that time. His weather reports on the Cruise Director's Channel on the television in your cabin are also very informative and worth watching.
ENGINE PROBLEMS: The Captain was kind enough to offer to answer this question for me after his presentation was finished. He told me that the specially manufactured part for the famous transformer should be on the dock in Miami upon the ship's return from our cruise and would be installed forthwith. It is clear from our cruise that this has not affected the ship's performance on our cruise itinerary as we were at each port of call at least one hour earlier than expected. People who have been worrying about this issue should stop.
PROGRAMS; My wife and I enjoyed the artwork onboard this ship. While not big fans of modern art, it suits this ship's personality and is beautifully displayed. You can take an escorted tour of the ship's collection on the next to last sea day offered by the Art Studio. It began at the Art Studio on deck 15 and lasted approximately one hour. You do walk all over the ship so be prepared. We also enjoyed the Art History in 30 minutes talk given by the Park West Art Auctioneer in one of the ship's conference rooms. He has a degree in Art History and a good sense of humor, so it was a good way to spend some time. I attended lectures on the Red Baron of World War 1, aviation safety, and the future of aviation. My wife went to some of the cooking presentations and enjoyed her yoga classes. I also want to say the Celebrity Reflection went out of its way to accomodate those of us who wished to watch the College Football National Championship Game. They were able to get it on the satellight and showed it in Celebrity Central complete with a buffet of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, fries, chips, and a full bar. Wow! I suspect they will do the same for other notable televised events when their position allows them to get the television signal. We also would urge you to pack early on your last night on board so you can attend the Wonderland Party in the Grand Foyer. What a great show! You will have a great time interacting with the Reflection singers and dancers on the floor, the stairs, and even the elevators.
Disembarkation: We had a 2:00 p.m. flight so we asked for a 10:00 a.m. debarkation time which was granted. We had a leisurly final breakfast in Blu and then sat in nice comfortable chairs on deck 3 near the Guest Relations desk. Used the time to catch up on e-mails and watch the frenzy as people lined up to get off the ship. At 10:00 a.m. we went to our debarkation assigment which was the Opus Dining Room Starboard and side and was told at the door to proceed off the ship. From that point to the airport shuttle outside was 30 minutes. This is the way to go if your airline schedule will allow it.
I am always happy to answer questions and wish all of you smooth sailing.