Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by howardrd: 5 star Celebrity
Overall Member Rating
5 star Celebrity
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Aquaclass on Celebrity Cruises is THE best value in mainstream cruising period. A bold statement but one which has held true since the introduction of this category. #1 reason is Blu restaurant which is a step up from the main dining room offering superb cuisine and flexible dining times without the need of day-to-day reservations. However, on Reflection, the increased number of aquaclass staterooms/suites, whilst minimal, did give the feeling that a few more tables had been added within Blu giving it a slightly crammed appearance and the service levels were not quite as good as we experienced on other Celebrity ships with the same restaurant especially at breakfast which could be rather slow.
That aside Celebrity put out a very tempting specialty dining package - for just $89pp you got to dine once in each of the 3 supplementary restaurants; Murano, Qsine and Tuscan Grille (plus a couple of reservations at Dine on Five).. can't remember if this upgrade was just for "aqua" More guests but it had to be purchased on the day of sailing.
The additional casual dining spot "Porch" looked very appealing ($5 cover) but food and service were disappointing.
The entertainments director needs to anticipate customer needs better. The ship had just completed a transatlantic reposition to Miami for a season of 7 night Eastern Caribbean winter itineraries. Consequently the needs of the clientele were much different. In particular "Michaels Club" (which Celebrity has attempted to turn into a beer sampling bar with TV screens) is a half hearted transition from what it used to be (a cocktail lounge) and what many passengers expected it to be (a sports bar). The fact that Michaels Club hosted welcome parties there for French and German guests on the Sunday afternoon when American guests turned up expecting to enjoy a few beers whilst watching football was, in my opinion, a big oversight. Even when some passengers brought this to the attention of Guest Relations the bar at Michaels remained closed all afternoon. Top cruise lines stay ahead by anticipating customer needs - Celebrity should have thought this one out or, at least, react to the demand on future cruises.
Any negativity in my comments will hopefully appear minor as overall Celebrity do provide possibly the best value for money in this category of cruising. However, no matter how good they are there is always room for improvement! Less
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Aquaclass staterooms are essentially the same as standard balcony cabins with a few enhancements. The internal size is identical but you get a power shower, upgraded towels and linens, flowers and aroma oils. Functional and perfectly adequate for most guests especially as they limit occupancy to a maximum of 2 persons (therefore less attractive to families so fewer kids!). On Solstice Class I always go for the (slightly cheaper) A2 category located forward. These staterooms may not have the slightly larger balconies that A1 affords but they do not sit under the shadow casted by the pool deck above. Also A2 forward are located below the relatively tranquil Spa area (on some Solstice Class ships A1 midship has the pool deck directly above). Has looked at the Aquaclass suites for 2014 but 50% more space costing 50% more cruise fare I cannot reconcile the value.
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