We had 3 couples in their 50's, 2 couples in their mid-late 20's. 5 of the group were 1st time cruisers. We chose a cruise for the ease of travel and spending time together - while satisfying a diverse group. We had never sailed on Celebrity but from our research decided it would best fit the group (age/atmosphere/foodies/drink packages). Mission accomplished!!!
The Reflection - we were impressed. This is a lovely ship and while larger than ones we usually sail,it never seemed crowded - with the exception of the pool/sun decks on sea days. There was usually "standing room only" in the center pools which were on the small side to begin with. The ship's decor was very modern/beautiful and the extensive art added special interest and conversation points.
Our group stayed in adjacent cabins - we were in a corner Sky Suite aft, the others were in aft Concierge 1 cabins and we opened the connecting balconies. Support beams & dividers kept this from being as open as we would have liked but we could pass from balcony to balcony easily. All 5 cabins were spacious and comfortable, especially the sky suite. Nice amenities and bathrooms. We love AFT cabins - There was no soot on our balcony during the trip and we really enjoyed the complete 180 degree view it gave us. Unless you were standing at the rail, privacy was not an issue. Noise was fairly nonexistent, very quiet being at the back. We had heard complaints of flushing toilets but only heard these once or twice on the whole trip.
All 10 of us were very pleased with the food. We had Select Dining (eat anytime) which we enjoyed and the MDR was surprisingly exceptional every night we ate there. The Oceanview Cafe (buffet) was also a wonderful surprise - this wasn't cafeteria food! All very fresh, lots of cook to order, very broad selection - something to please everyone! Mast Grill served very popular and delicious burgers/fries. The Lawn Club Grill was the group's Unanimous specialty venue favorite. Relaxed, great fun, super staff (Jordan and Regulas), delicious food. Qsine was a fun experience and the food was good, but done once we would likely not do again.
For the most part, we found the service to be exceptional. The staff was fast, friendly and accommodating. As others have commented, the pool bar area staff were very slow and I wish Celebrity would add areas where guests leaving could easily drop their used towels. Most left them on their chairs so you didn't know whether they were still occupied...
Our best port day was St. Maarten. We did a private charter on the Paasat sailing schooner for the group and had a wonderful day sailing to the French side, swimming in the gorgeous water and a lovely lunch onboard. A real treat to have the boat to ourselves - Great day and we would do it again in a heartbeat. Our favorite day of the whole cruise!
Embarkation was smooth. Our party of ten arranged a prepaid private shuttle (Super Shuttle). All we had to do was go out from baggage claim and they put us on the first available shuttle - very fast and efficient. Disembarkation was as expected - a little chaotic. We did self disembarkation and so did a lot of others. But we were patient and once the line started moving it was fairly quick. We went down at 7am and were off the ship and through customs by 8:15 am. Our Super Shuttle return was scheduled for 9:30 but we called and they sent a van within 15 minutes.
In summary, great, great trip. Pleasing a large group is often tricky but this exceeded our expectations and we will be returning to Celebrity and the Reflection. Modern, comfortable, good demographics aboard - really a wonderful cruise line.