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Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by snorkelbum

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Celebrity Reflection
Celebrity Reflection
Member Name: snorkelbum
Cruise Date: December 2013
Embarkation: Miami
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Cabin Category:
Cabin Number: 7157
Booking Method:
See More About: Celebrity Reflection Cruise Reviews | Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews | Celebrity Cruise Deals
Member Rating   4.0 out of 5+
Dining 2.0
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 4.0
Entertainment 4.0
Spa & Fitness 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 3.0
Embarkation 3.0
Service 1.0
Value-for-Money 4.0
Rates Not Rated
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Ship Facts: Celebrity Reflection Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Celebrity Reflection Deck Plans
Reflecting on Celebrity Reflection: Gorgeous Ship...But.....

The ship is absolutely gorgeous! The decor, while contemporary, is elegant with no element of glitz. Lots of shine, carrying through the theme of Reflection, but not garish. Art work, stairways, the Opus (main) dining room, all were thoughtful and tasteful. And it was all decked out, very tastefully, for Christmas.

The balcony cabin was spacious enough, with adequate storage. There is more than ample bathroom storage and we ended up using some of those nooks and crannies for underwear! I'm short, and found the wall-mounted storage compartment above the bed to be inaccessible. We took a couple of tips from Cruise Critic members and brought Command hooks, which we used for camera bags, snorkel bags, handbags, totes in the hall area and robes near the bed. We also brought small magnets which held papers, the daily newsletter, tickets, an envelope for receipts, customs and customer service forms, all on the wall near the vanity table next to the mirror, rather than cluttering the top of the table. The shower doors were sliders that were really cool, as were the shower controls. Lots of heat and pressure. And I love desalinated sea water for washing hair-it leaves it so soft! The rust and beige color combination in the cabin was very quiet and dull. I guess it was restful, but not at all festive or reminiscent of the sea or world of cruising.

The ship has lots of small spaces and nooks so you never feel the hugeness of a mega-ship. Even the dining room seems to be sectioned off. There are lots of small public sitting areas, both indoors and out, for small groups like couples to groups of 10 or so. And even mid afternoon on sea days, we did not have trouble finding chaises at the pool, in the sun. The ship was about 98% filled to capacity, so that was quite a feat!

The main showroom entertainment was pretty good. Craig Dahn, a pianist, rocked the house one night, as did Lindsay Hamilton, a British songstress. The Reflection team were good, not great, and the orchestra was to be commended. The showroom has a lot of floor to ceiling support poles that obstruct vision, each blocking several seats behind them. I'd never seen that before, and think it was very poor engineering. Fortunately the shows were not crowded, so we could find other seats relatively easily. There was a nightly jazz group called Soulstice that I thought were excellent. The singer was of the style of Ella Fitzgerald. And we enjoyed Front Row party band, which played a lot of the '60's music we enjoy. Music venues were generally at the right volume to enjoy the music without drowning out conversation,

Food in the main dining room was fair, no better than that. We had a few good things and really dried out fish a couple of times. Desserts were prettier than they tasted. Vegetables were generally done very well. Side salads were diverse and interesting and fresh. One lunch I ordered a main course cobb salad. The chicken was cubes of chicken roll, spongy and tasteless, really poor quality. Conversely, salads with chicken in the buffet were surprisingly good.

Food and beverage service were severely lacking. We're not big drinkers, so it's a relief not to have servers constantly pestering for drink orders. But when you do want a drink, it's hard to find someone or get attention. Often you have to go to the bar to order. My husband ordered a scotch with a glass of ice water on the side, got plain ice, and the waitress was not to be seen again. Another time he asked what the bar scotch was, and they told him it was any kind he wants. He rephrased it to inquire about the "well scotch." Same answer. He asked what he'd get if he just ordered "scotch," and was asked what kind he wanted. He finally gave up and ordered Johnny Walker Black. Once, at the pool, he ordered a bottle of Corona and a cigar. He got a bottle of water and a pack of Winstons. He sent them back and was assured the bill would be credited. He finally got a Corona, no cigar. It took two phone calls and 12 hours to get the bill reversed. He ordered NY sirloin one night and got prime rib. I ordered a variety of salad, soup and appetizer, with no main course one night, specified the order I wanted them in, and it was delivered all mixed up. Every morning my husband ordered oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins. Every morning it came out with nothing, until the last morning. He tried to be very specific with the waiter and the waiter was snippy, saying "I know what you order. I tell YOU what you order.) He got the oatmeal, plain. Then, with his bagel and smoked salmon, he got a bowl of dry Raisin Bran! One night for dinner we were seated (open seating) next to a waiter station and had a horrid view of the waiters piling up uneaten food on one plate and hearing the stacking of dishes all meal long. Okay, SOMEONE has to have the yucky table. The next night they went to seat us at the same table, and I asked the maitre'd to please give us another table, and told him why. He moved us sideways one table, with the same view. I asked to be away from the wait station, so he placed us near the kitchen. I again rejected the table, now feeling like a nuisance, but wanting a pleasant dining experience, and willing to wait, and horrified at how badly so many tables were placed. We finally did get a decent location. Be aware of where you are being seated! You do better at a larger table with other people than at tables for two, unless the table is near the railing in the middle of the room. One night it took 2.5 hours to have three courses for dinner, a meal that should have taken perhaps an hour and a quarter! I do think there is a language problem with a lot of the waitstaff that causes all the mistakes and hope these will be ironed out. I don't think there's an easy solution to the mediocre quality of the food.

That said, we did eat at Murano, one of the upcharge restaurants, on the last night. Based on that experience, I would buy a package and try all the upcharge restaurants! It may have been the finest dining we've experienced anywhere! Restaurant decor and ambiance, food quality, preparation and presentation, service were all perfect. Absolutely faultless. Next time I will allow 3 hours for dining and go very slowly. I could not even get through the main course, and only lightly sampled the cheese course, which was amazing, and had to cancel my grand marnier souffle for dessert. I had a scallop appetizer in puff pastry with a creamy spinach sauce bed and truffle infusion that may have been the best thing I ever ate. Then we shared Chateaubriand served with beautiful roasted vegetables. The man at the table next to us had Dover sole prepared table side, and watching the waiter remove the entire bone structure from the fish was amazing! Just an all around great dining experience.

Our cabin steward paid attention to details very nicely and accommodated our needs without being asked. He was excellent, well-trained, and worked to please. Extra gratuity was definitely in order there! Concierge staff at Guest Services were also excellent and helpful. The people who work in the shops were not attentive, not knowledgeable, and very lackadaisical in my experience. I wanted a specific item and they didn't have it and said "Maybe Thursday." I returned on Thursday, and it was never intended to be in stock. I tried to buy some "gold by the inch" three times before I succeeded, and then only by raising my voice and saying that "no, I would not come back again later after having been told that twice before. A manage finally told one of the salesmen to take care of me and he'd watch his station. I wanted three pieces, and there was much confusion over them. And one broke that night! I was able to fix it myself, didn't want to deal with them again. I also bought a bathing suit cover up that was marked $39 (no indication of a sale reduction), rang in at $14.99 and, being honest, I questioned it. The lady was clueless as to my inquiry, and I finally gave up and enjoyed the unexpected discount. Really, other than the Guest Services Department and our cabin steward and Murano, our experience revealed a horrendous lack of competent service on a cruise line that is noted for good and attentive service. It will not deter us from sailing Celebrity Solstice ships again, just warn us to have lower expectations, still hoping that it will improve, and go for the upcharge dining experiences for dinner.

My husband used the fitness center, without extra charge classes or facilities, and said the equipment was fabulous. There were about two dozen diehard, fitness buffs there at 6:30 am. He said it was clean and in great condition, with plenty of "wiggle room."

Publication Date: 12/31/13
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