16 of us boarded in Rome on November 1, 2013 for the 15 day transatlantic cruise to Miami. 10 travelled in Aqua Class and 6 in suites. The addition of another deck with the addition of 104 more Aqua Class passengers only benefits Celebrity financially, but not any of the passengers. Formerly there were 258, now 362.
There was usually a waiting time since Blu restaurant is only slightly larger (in fact, 2 feet wider). It was unbelievably crowded, noisy and the food was neither creative, interesting nor innovative. In fact, it was among the worst of any cruise we have been on. Many of us deserted Blu for the Opus main restaurant after the first week. All of us are Celebrity Elite or Elite Plus passengers and none of us would ever pay anything extra for Aqua Class on the REFLECTION again.
We ate in all of the alternate restaurants. The music was turned up so loud in Quisine that it was impossible to hear one’s table companions. In spite of three complaints that we had all paid $45.00 extra for a unique dining experience, not an evening at a disco, I was advised that this is the new policy at CELEBRITY, i.e. wanting to please younger passengers, although the average age of the 3,100 on board was at least 60.
Beware of the beverage packages. Several of us purchased the deluxe beverage package with wine available at up to $12.00 per glass. Well guess what? In Murano and the Lawn Club, the least expensive glass was $13.50! In the classic package you have only one white (Wente Chardonnay) and one red (Anakena cabernet sauvignon) from which to choose. On a 15 day cruise, you get mighty sick of the same red or white wine, but no alternatives were possible. Ordering another wine, even at $8.50 or $9.00, and there were plenty from which to choose, you paid not .50 or $1.00 extra, but for the full amount. A total rip off, in my opinion.
Gone is the classical music quartet, and it was the final cruise for the 4 acapella singers, all replaced by the worst type of elevator music imaginable played in all of the restaurants, lounges and even the corridors starting at the end of the first week. Other than staying in your cabin, there was simply no way to escape from it. Amplifiers were even placed outside of the shops blaring the most awful music. Each day, just as we were preparing to have a late afternoon cocktail by the pool, zumba classes were held there and passengers were even forced to move their deck chairs for the zumba classes. The noise level was truly unbelievable.
Gone is the wonderful Captains Club party with roast beef carvings, crepes suzettes, cherries jubilee, fresh fruit for dipping in cascading chocolate fountains. It is replaced by one devilled egg, one half a cherry tomato and 2 tiny shrimp, all served in minuscule throw away plastic thimbles. No wonder only 48 of 400 showed up on our CONSTELLATION cruise last week. Most simply don’t bother attending, which I presume Celebrity is hoping will happen. Next they will be able to say that it is being cancelled for lack of passenger participation!
Guest speakers were held in Celebrity Central and hundreds showed up, unable to find seats. CELEBRITY is well aware that with 11 sea days and no intellectual pursuits other than the morning speakers, six or seven hundred normally show up. Previously on all other transatlantics, these functions were always held in the theatre. We were told to watch it on TV in our rooms. Just bad planning Mr. Celebrity.
Gone, for the past 15 months are flowers on the tables in the restaurants. Irrelevant to some, but obviously another cost cutting measure.
Gone is one half of the Sky Observation Lounge, turned over to half a dozen suites for greater revenue. Instead of a wonderful 300 degree view, it is reduced to 150 degrees or less and feels like just a long corridor. It was so crowded; we could not even get in the door for the Elites 5 to 7 p.m. cocktail party, as there were 1,340 of us aboard.
The only thing to see during the first 4 days from Rome to Tenerife was the Rock of Gibraltar. It was too cold to be on deck, so we all headed up to the Sky Observation Lounge and all of the blinds were closed and so called “art works” were being set up directly in front of the windows, for an art viewing for an auction to be held later that afternoon. What sort of idiotic planning was this? There were 10 more sea days to have an art auction.
Gone in all standard balcony cabins, is anything on the room service menu other than pizza, pasta, hotdogs or hamburgers. How about $20.00 for a steak, and $11.00 for your cheese platter to have with cocktails on your balcony? For breakfast, how about a crab cake for $9.00, steak n’ eggs for $7.00, smoked fish for another $7.00, fruit skewers for $6.00 or chocolate coated strawberries for $5.00. It could easily add up to $50.00 for a couple each time room service is ordered.
On a positive note, and there were many, the vessel was kept in a spotless condition. Our Stewart was discreet, never once intruding or even knocking on the door.
By now it should be obvious that we are not at all happy with the direction in which Celebrity is being taken with its new President.
As for REFLECTION, having been on all Celebrity ships except for SILHOUETTE, we would never again choose REFLECTION for our vacation. There are just too many negatives, and too many superiour alternative choices.