Our family cruised March 9-16, 2013 on the Celebrity Reflection to San Juan, St Maarten, and St Kitts. This trip was our third Celebrity cruise. We had cruised on the Celebrity Solstice in 2011 and the refurbished Celebrity Summit in 2012 on our previous cruises. We had high expectations before going and our expectations were all exceeded.
Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of Miami at 11:00 am and the check-in process was smooth and efficient. However, we had to wait in line against the wall for over 30 minutes before being allowed to board the ship.
Ship: The Celebrity Reflection is a brand-new, state-of-the-art ship that incorporates elegance, functionality and a touch of class on every level. It is well laid-out. The food is at the aft or back (the Opus Main Dining Room on the 3rd and 4th level, the Tuscan Grille, Blu, Qsine and Murano on the 5th level, the Oceanview Cafe on the 14th level), the money is in the middle (shops, art gallery and casino) and the entertainment is at the front (Reflection Theater on the 3rd, 4th and 5th deck, Celebrity Central on the 4th level).
On the 5th level, you'll find the Bistro on Five and Cafe Al Bacio, which turned out to one of our favorite spots to enjoy a specialty coffee and a treat. On the 7th level, you can enjoy the main Hideaway lounge, a great place to grab another cup of coffee and read and relax. While on the 9th level, you can get a chance to play on the electronic games in the Game On room. You can also unwind in the Library on the 10th and 11th deck.
Moving to the 12th level, you can locate the Fitness Centre at the front of the ship. While on the ship, you probably spend part of your days on the 14th deck enjoying the pools, eating in the Oceanview Cafe or having a drink in the Sky Observation Lounge. A great place to enjoy the sail away is on the 15th deck at the Sunset Bar.
Staff: Captain Apostolos Bouzakis and his entire staff are to be commended on an outstanding cruise experience. Captain Bouzakis redirected the ship so we would sail in calmer seas to San Juan, so passengers wouldn't get seasick.
Overall, the staff was friendly, professional and accommodating.
We wanted to point out the outstanding work of the team of professional photographers on the Celebrity Reflection. They did an excellent job of capturing our vacation memories. We would recommend that you buy a CD of your pictures at the end of your cruise.
Food: From the Oceanview Cafe to the Opus Main Dining Room, the food was excellent. For breakfast, we ate primarily in the Oceanview Cafe. There were plenty of choices at breakfast every morning. There was also fresh fruit and an omelet bar for breakfast. We ate breakfast one morning in the Main Dining Room and it was nice to be served in a relaxed atmosphere.
There were also several stations set up to allow for the flow of people in the Oceanview Cafe. There was a Mexican station, a Carving station, an Indian Stir Fry station, a Pasta station and a Pizza Station.
Our waiter was Felipe and his assistant was Jasmina in the MDR. Both were outstanding and took excellent care of us. Not only did Felipe make food recommendations, he also gave us an overview of the islands that we were about to stop at.
On Tuesday, we ate in The Tuscan Grille and our meals were simply amazing. My son and I ate the filet mignon and my wife had the rib eye steak. It you enjoy an excellent meal in a classy and elegant environment; you need to try the Tuscan Grille. The Tuscan Grille is well worth the $30 charge per person.
We ate lunch in the Bistro on Five on Friday and we thoroughly enjoyed our crepes. It was well worth the $5 surcharge.
We also grabbed a cheeseburger at the Mast Grill twice during the week and we wished we had done it more often.
It was also an Excite the Senses cruise and we did enjoy the various specialty restaurants display their culinary skills and dishes one day on deck 4 during the week.
Cabin: Our cabin was 7272 and located midship on deck 7, just around the corner from the Hideaway Lounge and the elevators. The bed was comfortable and the room was well designed. Our attendant was Leslie. We enjoyed sitting on our balcony looking at the ocean.
Entertainment: Our cruise director Paul Baya was visible, interacted with the passengers, and did an excellent job of emceeing and introducing the acts all week. Paul's assistant David was also great and appears to be ready to a CD on his own ship.
The a cappella group These Guys was amazing and a delight to listen to. The best production of the week was Reflection-The Show, which features acrobats performing Cirque du Soleil moves in a Rock and Roll musical in the Reflection Theater. We also enjoyed Landon Swank and his illusions.
D'Revelations was also a great band and played many top 40 hits of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Ports of Call: We had toured San Juan on our previous cruises, so we didn't book any excursions. We decided to walk around San Juan and returned to the ship.
I would recommend that you go up to the port or left side on the 14th deck and take pictures as the ship sails into port in San Juan. It is a great opportunity to capture beautiful pictures of the old fort.
In St. Maarten, we booked a private speedboat tour through Soualiga Destinations with Captain Bob (email@example.com). It was the highlight of our cruise and a great way to tour St. Maarten. For great reviews, go to Soualiga Destinations on Trip Advisor.
While in St Kitts, we booked through the ship and went on a 4 x 4 Land Rover and beach tour, which was an excellent way to tour the island.
Disembarkation: While the staff made every attempt to accommodate the passengers and even kept the Cafe Al Bacio open, the Miami custom officials were slow in processing the passengers and we were delayed 90 minutes in getting off the ship. However, it didn't tarnish an outstanding cruise on the Celebrity Reflection.
While we enjoyed our other two cruises, this cruise was a cut above the rest and by far our best vacation. Thank you to the dedicated staff and crew of the Celebrity Reflection for creating wonderful memories for us!