After spending four outstanding days in Rome, we took the train to Civitavecchia full of anticipation for our cruise on the new Reflection.
Embarkation: Their were no taxis available from the Civitavecchia train station, so we dragged our luggage for nearly 1/2 hour to the point where the cruise ship shuttle stops. Somewhere I read that this was only 5 blocks - don't believe it! The general process was not as smooth as some we've experienced, but not bad either. Surprisingly, there was no "greeting committee" when we boarded the ship. We had sailed on the Eclipse a couple of years ago so finding our room was not a problem, but it would have been nice to be welcomed aboard.
Cabin: This was the first time we had a starboard cabin. If you are taking a north to south itinerary and want a sunny veranda book a port side cabin. We did not have sun on our balcony at all the entire trip. The 7th floor balconies are unobstructed, but the lifeboats are immediately below your balcony. Keep that in mind if this matters to you. We especially like the large bathroom and enclosed shower on the S-class ships.
Public Rooms: Our cabin was located fairly close to The Hideaway - Celebrity's new addition of a supposedly relaxing public space. There are nice little "pods" where you might enjoy curling up with a good book while you have your coffee from the convenient station located here. Unfortunately, The Hideaway became a big "hang out" space for unruly and unsupervised children during our cruise and it was really irritating. Celebrity needs to decide what the function of this space is meant to be and then enforce it. To us it seemed to be a popular dumping ground for parents who didn't want to be responsible for their children.
The main foyer on the third floor is the place for gathering, dancing, guest relations and excursions. It is WAY too small for all of these activities, and certainly too small for dancing, yet it is the only venue for dancing on the ship other than the Sky Lounge for dancing in the wee hours of the morning. This is the one area where we feel Celebrity is really lacking.
Dining: We chose the Select Dining option and it worked out very well. The main dining room was on the third floor and Select was on the fourth floor. Overall the food on this cruise was outstanding - far better than the Eclipse! We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants on this trip because the main dining room food was terrific. Very nice choices every evening, and lots of creativity too. The fish in particular was excellent. The Oceanside Cafe was fine for breakfast and lunch - Celebrity has wisely chosen to offer many stations at the buffet so there isn't much congestion.
Entertainment: The song and dance shows were very good and featured singers were quite talented. Everyone was raving about the ventriloquist who was featured one night, but we missed him. There were also shows featuring a single woman singer and another featuring a single man. We passed on both of these. An acapella group, "These Guys" occasionally popped up for a short time, as well as a jazz trio. Both groups were good. D'Revelation (rock 'n roll type band) was energetic and well received - we saw them on the Eclipse too. Much of the evening activities (Family Feud, Karaoke, etc) begin at 10:00 p.m. which we felt was too late on such a port intensive cruise when your next day would begin by 8:00 a.m. We didn't see any of this kind of activity because of the timing.
Activities: Lots of trivia and little else except for a couple of line dance classes.
Ports: I'll post information on the various port excursions on the port pages. Basically, we enjoyed the itinerary, but mostly Greece was a disappointment for us. We enjoyed Italy much more, and were very pleasantly surprised by how much we liked our stop in Kusadasi and the excursion to Ephesus.
Clientele: There were lots of passengers from Great Britain, several from Australia and Canada, not so many from the U.S. There were also LOTS of families with very small children, many of them in strollers!
Summary: We were very happy with the ship and the number of crew who extended themselves above and beyond to give excellent service. We didn't especially enjoy the majority of our excursions. The ones we booked through the ship were pretty ho-hum, but maybe that's because the places we visited weren't all that interesting. The excursions we booked independently were generally only slightly better. If we visit these ports again I will do much more research to find some unique and interesting things to do. The Mediterranean was VERY calm and I can't wait to take another cruise in this area.
Disembarkation: We chose to do the self-disembarkation option, along with 3 other couples who shared a van to the airport. Between the 4 couples, we were given three different sets of information as to which floor we should use to exit the ship. This mis-communication was pretty annoying since we were all pulling bags of luggage and trying to get off the ship in an orderly fashion.
Bottom Line: Celebrity has a big hit with the Reflection. Top notch crew, excellent food, good entertainment . . . all in all, a great vacation!