Just back from a wonderful trip on The Reflection. Here, in a nutshell, are some quick thoughts and tips.
Embarkation and disembarkation each took only a few seconds. We had stayed overnight in Civitavecchia at the Tenuta dell' Argento, which has excellent food and service. We arrived at the ship at about 11:30, after Filippo from the Tenuta helpfully brought us to a wine store and pharmacy. Basically, we strolled right onto the ship. For disembarkation we were in a late group (71, supposed to leave at 9:30)and we ended up strolling off the ship at about 9:10.
Transportation: We used RomeCabs and they have been great!
Cabin: Concierge Class, 1158. The stateroom attendant, Juvy, was extremely efficient and nonintrusive. For those considering Concierge Class: the fruit WAS changed to only apples, and there weren't any flowers! However, there is a comment card that you are asked to fill out on the 2nd or 3rd day of the cruise, and when I politely mentioned that I missed these amenities, they magically appeared! It seems as if it doesn't hurt to ask for what you are interested in, and the staff and management of the Reflection actually listen! The stateroom was clean and quiet, and the bed and pillows were extremely comfortable. The canapes were different from the ones we had last year, more like chips and dips and less like tea sandwiches, but they still tasted meh.
Food: We ate in Opus and also purchased the four meal specialty package. On the first night, I was disappointed in the location of our table on Opus, we were near the entrance, but not near a window or the main dome. Also, we had a table for 2 and I was expecting to be placed at a larger table. However, I just stopped thinking about the table placement and grew comfortable with it. Our waiter, Elias, seemed a little harried and our Wine Steward, Fernando, seemed so eager to please that he was being a bit oversolicitous. Both were nice guys, who did their jobs well. I thought the food in the Opus dining room was great -- better than the food had been in the past. From the classic side of the menu, I enjoy the onion soup and the creme brulee. My husband always goes for the
apple pie with ice cream. The protein portions were always large, but I would personally have enjoyed larger portions of vegetables. I'm glad that we purchased the specialty meals, but mostly because they were fun and a change of pace, not because the food was THAT much better. In fact, I liked the Opus just as much if not more than Murano (heresy!) . Usually we were so busy that we ate breakfast in our room, which suited us fine, except the omelets were kind of yucky. Stick to croissants, fruit, yogurt, cereal, that kind of stuff. We sometimes visited the Oceanview during the day, for scones and jam (dangerously yummy) or sushi. We also went to the Cafe al Baccio once a day or so for coffee and tea.
Drinks: We had received the drinks package as an incentive when booking. Although we are not big drinkers, it was fun and liberating to have the package. First off, it was nice not to search for cheap bottled water at every port, and I found the classic package fine for our purposes. We spent an hour or so each evening at the Sunset Bar (Ray, the waiter, is super nice!).
Excursions: We booked 3 with Celebrity and 2 on our own. In Naples, we just wandered around with an eye toward finding good pizza and pastries (mission accomplished). In Santorini, we did the Oia excursion, which served mostly as a way of avoiding the donkey path -- which everyone seemed to HATE. The vineyard that we visited had pretty views, and so-so wine. In Istanbul we did the Complete Istanbul tour, which was interesting, although the guide started to grate on my nerves by spouting her political opinions far too frequently. It wasn't that I disagreed with her, it was just that it was inappropriate in that context. I DID hate the carpet tour visit, which was NOT listed on the brochure. We were hostages for about 1 1/2 hours, and that cut back significantly on the amount of time we had for other things, such as the Spice Market. And I actually like carpets! But that wasn't supposed to be the plan for that day. The Ultimate Ephesus tour we had was fine -- I would recommend it. The two excursions we did on our own were both outstanding: The Athens Food Tour, which is part of the Athens Walking Tours organization, and the St. John Resort in Mykonos, which was beautiful! We had the less expensive option, but others who took advantage of the more lavish options, said the breakfast and massages were wonderful!
Persian Gardens: this is a lovely facility with poor management. There was always a problem checking in, like not enough lockers, robes, slippers, etc. The front desk people seemed preoccupied and unfriendly. Again, it's a lovely facility, but needs better administration if it's meant to be relaxing. Also, in case someone from Celebrity or the Spa company sees this: there really should be another option for drinking water other than a metal water fountain. I would have much preferred something in a cup or glass.
The Shows: didn't see many of them, but the Cirque-like show was good, as were the couple of others that I saw parts of. The 11:00 comedy show was packed: standing room only. Clearly there's a need for more of that kind of entertainment.
Music: These Guys, the accapella group, were GREAT! I didn't focus on most of the other music options, although it's always pleasant to hear classical guitar.
Galley Tour: Our's was a disappointment. We had the chef from Blu, who seemed to just hurry us through. We checked out a couple of other Celebrity Life options, such as Dancing with the Stripes and the Cooking competition, and they were fine, a little cornball, but fine.
All in all we had a great time! Please feel free to write me at email@example.com if you have any questions or I can clarify any of my thoughts.