The Reflection is a phenomenal ship. It is one of the easiest ships to navigate -- even though is one the largest (about 3100 passengers) that we'd been on. It is simple; the entertainment is in the front of the ship & all the restaurants are in the back. Bars are everywhere.
As I mentioned, the ship is new -- only about 3 months old when we sailed. Naturally, everything was in good condition. It seemed as if the ship was constantly being cleaned, the workers do a great job. Despite the large number of people, there was always a quiet place to hang out. The vocal talent on the ship was fantastic. This refers to the single & group acts that were on stage, in a public area, or in a bar. The shows were mixed. The first production show was OK, the second was horrible, the final show was fantastic. The first comedian (Ryan Hamilton) was very clean & very funny. The magician was good, but card tricks get old -- and that is all he did the entire show. The special acts More
(contortionist, acrobats, etc.) were awesome. There is a single act, Haley, who is a young acrobat/contortionist that is as good as it gets.
The Valentines day brunch (day 5 of the cruise) was spectacular; 12 ice carvings, sushi, ham, prime rib, salmon, and hordes of desserts. Qsine, however, was the eating highlight. This is the "must do" if you're looking for a specialty restaurant. The menu, the service, the presentation, the food, and the ambiance make this a simply unique and wonderful place to eat.
The ride from Miami was rough. The seas were choppy, but it did not seem like there was not enough wind to warrant the swaying. (this was our 4th cruise, so we did know what to expect) This was the case on any deck -- not just the high ones. I'd read about stabilization issues with the Reflection, but apparently, everything was working "OK" on our trip. I don't agree.
Blu. A lot of people have raved about Blu. I will not be among those. If Blu was not busy, we'd see our waiter more that once. Usually, we only saw them one time and that was when they took our order. The poor assistant waiters ran non-stop. Blu simply did not have enough help to give decent service. We ate in the main dining room one time and had better service. This was frustrating since Blu calls itself a "specialty restaurant" and Blu is the place we paid for with our cabin class. We had 4 different waiters during the week & this was the case with all of them. Funny -- the ship had plenty of bar help & someone was always there to get a drink order. So if you wanted alcohol in your drink, you were in luck. If you wanted a coffee refill, or if there was a problem with your meal, you were out of luck.
The fitness center is nice, but the instructors "working" there will not talk to you unless you want to purchase a product or take part in a class (which cost money than they should). One of the perks of the Aqua class staterooms is access to the Persian Gardens. First, the room key does not work for Persian Gardens. You have to stand in line; give them your room key to get another key and stand in line again to get your room key back. Since they typically only have 1 person at the counter taking phone calls, etc. this process can take a while. It sounds cool, but twice, during our visit, the alarms went off. It took the staff 5 minutes (each time) to come out to reset them. Not cool to have alarms blaring in a area meant to relax ones soul & mind.
Aqua class. There is a lot of confusion with what was included with our cabin. For example, guest services told us we received 1 free meal at any specialty restaurant -- the restaurant told us we did not. Upon returning to guest services (and speaking to the same person) we did not get a meal. We did receive priority embarkation in Miami, but did not get the priority embark/debark at any of the ports like we were told. We did not get priority debark upon returning to the United States either. Free yoga is advertised as a perk. What is not told is that it is free on-demand yoga, which means you can watch yoga on TV. (keep in mind there is no room in the staterooms for a couple to do this activity) We were supposed to receive canapes in our room every day, we did not the last 2. We did receive fresh fruit most days, the last day we did not. We had flowers in our room, but they were not replaced during the week. None of these are a big issues alone, but together they paint a picture of a crew that does not have its act together.
In summary, Aqua class is a waste of money & Celebrity advertises amenities that are not what one might expect. I wish I'd saved the extra $800 and gone to a specialty restaurant each night. Service on the ship is great in spots, but inconsistent overall. In a visit to guest services later in the week to discuss the above issues, I found a long line. A second visit resulted in the same, so the only place Celebrity will find out about these issues is on the comment card we left or by reading this review. Less
Celebrity Reflection Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
My wife & I had never been to Puerto Rico. The ship passes a historic fort as it enters the harbor. It is an amazing sight from the water. The time we were in port was a little strange -- arrived at 3 pm; left at 10 pm. Finding & arranging a tour once we were off the ship was easy & Maria, our tour guide was great. We saw "Old & New" San Juan and stopped at a few historic locations during the tour such as the fort. Two things struck as we drove around. The first was the large number of police all over the town. The second was that all cops wore bulletproof vests. While there was a sense of comfort knowing they were around, we realized this was not a place to get lost or a place to be out much after dark.
After the tour, we were dropped in "Old Town" near a market of hand-crafted goods. The shop owners were very friendly and not pushy like what one might find in Haiti or Jamaica. The pina colada (they say) was invented in San Juan. We found that location (which is also a restaurant) since it gives out free samples. Since darkness was upon us after dinner, we quickly made our way back to the ship - well ahead of the 10 pm deadline.
The history of San Juan is fascinating; the old buildings are remarkable; and the people are lovely. If you've never been, it's a port to enjoy -- carefully.
Of our 3 ports, this was the most updated, impressive place we visited. It appears that the dock & all the shops are new within the last few years. We tried to arrange a tour with the guys at the dock, but they kept changing the pricing & the tour. So, upon the advice of some other cruisers (who'd been to St. Marteen 15 times) we caught the water taxi into town -- a short 5 minute ride.
There is a lot to do in Phillipsburg -- if we'd seen the island, we could easily have stayed in this area all day. We rented segweys, jetskis, hung out on the beach, and had lunch on the boardwalk. But, we still wanted to see the island & see Maho Beach -- famous for the close encounters with aircraft. We found a taxi to drive us around the island & drop us at Maho. There is a great little bar on the beach which posts the arrival & departure times of aircraft. Our time at Maho was some of the most fun we had on the trip. It's hard to explain, but watching people being blown off the beach and into the ocean by jet airplanes just did not get old.
St. Thomas was another port I'd never been to. Again, we found a tour guide to take us around the island. At the top of a mountain (which I believe is the highest point on St. Thomas) is the "home" of the banana daiquiri and a great souvenir shop. The view is amazing as it overlooks Megens Bay which is the most popular beach on the island. We were let off in a market in the downtown area. Jewelry dominates the shopping scene in St. Thomas. One can do very well if they know what they are doing. My wife found some diamond earrings for Â½ of what they cost on the ship and 1/3 of what they would have cost in the U.S.
Wanting to escape the shopping, leads to a problem with this stop. Six ships were in port at the same time. Things were very crowded. That is about double the number of people that should be on the island. Finding a beach was not easy. Our guide suggested Emerald Beach which was not as chaotic as Megens -- but it was still very busy. We found a great little beach restaurant & caught a taxi back to the ship. Overall we felt safe the entire time. We were on the island from 9 until 6 pm. We'd visit St. Thomas again if we were looking for jewelry & if there were not as many ships in port.