I have cruised on several cruise lines including Princess, Holland America, Azamara, and Oceania. My daughter is new at cruising. I was interested to see what she thought about the cruise as a novice, and from her perspective from a younger point of view. What I will write will reflect both of our experiences and I will try to be objective.
Embarkation was a little disorganized as we were in an Aqua Suite and there were too many people trying to speak to the ship personnel at once to get checked in. Some man was pressing me from behind and I had to ask him to back off. Suggest that the ship have personnel to keep order or draw a line on the floor to stand behind to wait for your turn.
We walked onboard after evading the photographer, and no one greeted us or offered the traditional glass of champagne. We found the elevators and had to wait, but easily located our cabin. Our butler, Al, came in just a few minutes after we entered our cabin. Al was the highlight of our cruise as he made sure we had everything we needed and had a wonderful attitude-always smiling and willing to help us in any way.
We ate our lunch in Bistro on Five after reading Library Lady's review. Food and service were very good -well worth the $5 dollar charge. We ate dinner in Blu, more on that later.
Our cabin was nice, bathroom very well laid out, but one of the mirrors had a chip on the bottom and you had to be careful not to open the medicine cabinet door or you could get cut. Surprising as the ship is only a few months old. Veranda had a very big round beam that did obstruct the view slightly but was good sized with a nice table and chairs with foot rests. When we went out on the balcony and someone was smoking two balconies over -we called and that didn't happen again.
About the food-disappointed in Blu. Unless you arrived before 7, it was very crowded and service was slow. We both felt that some of the food had been prepared hours in advance, and that most of the entrees were OK, but not that great. We ate in Tuscan Grille-very good and Murano twice. Murano tries too hard to be an upscale dining experience as we felt the waiters were a bit condescending and the food was good, but not 5 star. One of the nights we arrived in Murano there was an empty table near the window and when we asked to sit there we were told it was reserved for another guest who ate there "every night". We thought that others should have an opportunity to sit in one of the three best located tables-saving it for the same couple every night seemed a bit unfair as we were paying the same amount to dine there.
The buffet was not very good-the men working the pasta and pizza stations had a bad attitude and the rest of the food was only 'OK'. We ate in the ports for most of our lunches so not much effect on us. We had breakfast on our veranda and that was good.
We booked our own tours by going on Trip Advisor and had wonderful private guides for less than the ship's group tours. We used Bobs Limos in Rome for our transportation to and from the ship and they were great.
Overall, Reflection is a beautiful ship but needs to improve dining options.
We tried the Spa but could hear the staff talking in the hallway during our massages so didn't go back. Persian Garden was not relaxing as other guests were talking loudly while we were trying to relax on the heated beds. My daughter tried to use the sauna but when she opened the door there were two men kissing and she left. So being Aqua Class did not offer as much as we had hoped.
There are over 3000 passengers on this ship and the food reflected this. Overall, you can cruise on Celebrity for a reasonable fare, but if food is important then Oceania's Marina or Riveria is a better choice.