Where to begin this review of the Celebrity Reflection.....I will begin with all the positives and move then to the Negatives and my conclusions. So that you know where we come from, we cruise about 6-8 weeks per year and our cruises are now mostly on Celebrity, Princess, Silversea and Seabourn. We have sailed most of the lines (Oceania next). We were onboard from April 13 till May 6, total of 24 days. If I had to guess, I would think we have 800-900 nights of cruising under our belts and are in our mid 40's so that's our demographic. We enjoy cruising.
What a beautiful ship the Celebrity Reflection is. The art collection onboard is gorgeous and the dEcor throughout the ship is beautiful and similar to the other Solstice class ships. The flow of passengers is good and the public spaces afford lots of spaces to sit and relax. For the first cruise which was a Caribbean, ALL the deckchairs were full on sea days, sometimes 40 people in the little pool. For the second cruise which was the transatlantic, the average age went up 15 years and the deck was ½ full and pool empty most days.
We were in a Sky Suite on Deck 12 and we found the room very lovely and our Butler was helpful and able to Sew on buttons on a moment's notice and help us pack up at the end. Beds were comfy, sheets were of high standard and the Bulgari toiletries were lovely and a nice touch. Some people claimed to hear noise from the buffet above, we did not. I think cabin placement is key to this. Our cabin was further forward. On this ships design they moved The Penthouse, Royal and Celebrity suites down one deck to avoid being directly under the "noisy" pool deck as they had many complaints from the other ships. Glad to see they listen.
The staff onboard was Very Friendly, and always willing to help. That said, there were some employees who need to learn to smile. The front desk on 3 was nice and friendly and all requests were dealt with quickly and efficiently....a very smooth operation. Overall we found the service onboard excellent....everyone was willing to help and many of the people genuinely seemed to enjoy working for Celebrity. Kudos to Celebrity as they appear to treat their employees well. Celebrity has rolled out 5 brand new ships in 6 years so the training of employees must be a bear.
We had access to all restaurants and we found the main dining room to have good-Very good food and enjoyed our excellent service and wait staff there. I felt the main dining room was efficiently run and handled and we enjoyed eating here very much. Some of the waiters had excellent personalities, as we see on many ships.
Tuscan Grill and Qzine were up to their normal standards of fabulousness!!! Great food, excellent servers, friendly faces and a good time was had by all. These are well worth whatever Celebrity charges as the quality is clearly there. We did not eat at Murano this cruise. Bistro on 5 was also very nice for two of our lunches. Also, we did not realize they were open for dinner, but alas, they are.
The Aqua spa grill had lovely healthy foods made with yogurts and fruits and grains and healthy options. They will even make you fresh fruit shakes for an additional charge. Some days you could get a piece of grilled salmon but the days of grilled, chicken and tuna and pork are gone with the new changes. This appears to be moving into a more "for pay" venue.
The onboard activities were plentiful and the speakers and movies and Zumba were much fun. We had a change of cruise director mid cruise and both of them were very capable and seemed nice. We met the hotel Director Julian who was very friendly and assisted us with several things. We felt comfortable knowing he was running things and hope to sail with him again.
We all LOVED Cafe Bacio and the drink packages were excellent value for both Coffee, alcohol and bottled waters. We most definitely got our monies worth with the packages and would purchase them again. The sandwiches and snacks served here were very tasty, especially the almond croissants. We also very much liked Stefan who seemed to know what we wanted before we did.
Reflection was enlarged to accommodate an additional 150+ Aqua Class/Aqua class suite guests.....This has shown in numerous places onboard. ONLY Reflection was made larger, all other Solstice class ships are less 200 passengers. NONE of the restaurants was made larger to accommodate this. AND at the cruise sales area, Celebrity cruises deceptively advertises the Reflection as the same size as the sisters.....She is indeed not. Also, we felt the ship to be more crowded than the other 4 sister ships in elevators, public spaces and in dining.....There were people everywhere. IMHO
One of our favourite innovations that Celebrity has come up with is Blu. It is a private dining room for everyone who is in Aqua class or above. It is supposed to be more personalized service and a "healthier" menu. They added capacity on this ship of a "possible" 150 Blu passengers with all beds full and added 10 chairs? Our dining experience in Blue after dining on all the other Solstice class ships was a mess. Mediocre service and poor food....food that tasted like it had been sitting around. This said, if you have never been to blue on the other ships, perhaps this would be fine as your expectations have not been set so high. We always thought of Blu as a "small ship" in a big ship concept and this was dashed on the reflection. A real mess IMHO.
Celebrity made a monetary decision to add revenue from an additional 150+ passengers onboard and I am disappointed with this decision. That said, I hear it is THE most profitable ship in the fleet.....So that additional 150 people must really have helped. I think perhaps it's the way cruising is going...bigger and bigger. Not necessarily where we want to go.
We enjoyed our cruise immensely and 85% of the product Celebrity delivered very well. We would sail with Celebrity again however will look around a little more next time as Celebrity sold us out a bit with the addition of those passengers and loyalty is a two way street.
We look forward to enjoying Celebrities hospitality and food and service on many of their other ships and our bookings now reflect the other Solstice class ships and not the Reflection. We feel Celebrity has an excellent product when executed properly with the proper equipment and I wish you all good health and much travel!
Happy Sails to all!