This was my wifes and mine first cruise and didnt really know what to expect. That being the case I did a lot of research to determine the best Cruise line to fit our lifestyle for our 25th wedding anniversary.
What I will say from the outset is that I normally dont like to go home, but this was the first time in my life I have been mentally satiated from my vacation. Our honeymoon, two weeks in Hawaii has always the trip to beat over the decades, this cruise laid it to waste, metaphorically speaking of course.
Again, because it was our first cruise, we also wanted to try the big cruise ships, not the small river cruise style. Based on my research that may be for more seasoned cruisers,
Entertainment, dinning and dress code catering to adults. i.e: no kids running around amuck or drunken, party folks with 1980s shorts and high Adidas sports socks with running shoes in every venue. May sound uppity but, too bad, so sad. Its my money and I choose where and how to spend it right?
New and luxurious accommodations,
Mediterranean ports of call,
My research consequently led me to the Celebrity Cruise line and ship Reflection. Ok, so now Ive got the ship and the location but we still didnt know what to expect. Were we required to wave a streamer from the railing while singing Auld Lang Syne?
To make a long story short the following are my Pros:
Well It all started from check-in. I had heard of long lines and cranky people (Reflection can hold >3000 people plus staff) but it was effortless and very professional AND we were provided a special credit card to hold line of credit info, passport info etc. Great idea.
Ok, so after a pleasantly quick check-in we head up to our Aqua Class stateroom 1550. I notice on the elevator ride up and walking through the halls the level of workmanship of everything. The walls, the ceilings, the stairs, trim, marble tiles. Everything is top notch and solid, built to last. I felt like I was back at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I kid you not, this is a very very pretty ship!!
Anyway, we make it to our stateroom, and wow, everything is so clean and new with a pleasant fragrance provided by some aroma sticks (for want of the proper terminology). Bathroom was larger than I had anticipated, bed was Queen size, a couch, and yes, the room wide sliding door to the balcony with two reclining chairs and foot rests. Winning!!
We met a lot of new people from around the world. That was excellent! We also met another couple that we did the tours with and will hopefully be lifelong friends. Additionally, some we spoke to were seasoned cruisers and indicated that this ship and line were the best theyve ever encountered.
Other salient points:
Food was plentiful and very well prepared and variable,
Service, especially in our specialty restaurant Blu was beyond top notch. Ive never experienced that level of service anywhere. Thats what you get when you have trained adults providing service!
The ship is constantly being maintained and cleaned,
Everyone that works on the ship seems genuinely happy in their role as they perform their duties as though it was an enjoyment to them.
Everyone I dealt with on the ship was pleasant. Not just some or most, but all!! The only thing that is likely constantly overlooked are the support staff. The staff you never see behind the scenes like cooks, chefs, cleaners, laundry, engineering and engineering support etc. So kudos to them as well!
Entertainment was great and plentiful. Its literally impossible to be bored on this ship.
Lots of food locations and bars,
The Aqua Spa is fantastic and the workout areas are state-of-the-art. Wow.
Reflection dwarfs the other cruise liners when you arrive at port and you feel really proud pulling up in the state of the art ship. Everyone on the docks and other ships just look in awe.
Were telling friends and colleague thinking about taking a cruise to go on the Celebrity Reflection.
I dont want to call these final point Cons because, our experience was sublime, but rather points for potential improvement:
Stretch resolution on TV? You can't change it or at least I couldnt. This is 2013, I dont like watching stretched video displays, it looks very cheap.
Can't connect smart phone to TV due to security concerns. There are much bigger security concerns than worrying about changing settings on TV.
Internet setup not intuitive or user friendly. For non-power users it can be very daunting. Scripting is setup to show the user not necessarily the correct information. It needs a complete overhaul. Its not cheap either, although wireless is free which only means you can text people.
Although acquisition of bandwidth use and time online is very well recorded. Money in side of the equation is sound, however, the end-user side is full of holes and is relatively immature.
It would be good to have a smartphone/tablet app in addition to the daily news/schedule being delivered. Some people don't have smartphone/tablets yes? However, many of us do and we are the current demographic with the money to take these cruises which will keep this industry going!!!
Every elevator and various key points along halls on every deck it would be great to provide an info screen like CityPulse and Navigation channel. It doesn't have to be interactive but that could be a second implementation.
Nav channel needs to display current time!
Need a server or cloud for people to share/upload/store videos, photos etc while on board. Some smartphones can't communicate directly and/or people don't know how to set it up on their device.
In closing, my wife and I cant recommend Celebrity Cruise lines enough, especially with the ship Reflection. Im looking forward to going again.
Hope this helps someone.