Immediate gratification. I had previously experienced three other cruises (a new Princess ship in 1992, Carnival in 1992, and Royal Caribbean in 2007...the Royal Caribbean being my favorite) and was excited but honestly a little jaded about this trip. I was not a newbie, not easily impressed.
The Celebrity Reflection blew every expectation I had about cruising out of the water.
You need to also know that I live in a world of luxury: Beverly Hills. I have been in the finest establishments with impeccable service and lifestyle, and unbelievable un-real beauty. regularly attend five-star events and go to the best shows, with world-class shopping right in my backyard.
This cruise experience was above par in every aspect mentioned above.
We never felt crowded...always found a seat where we wanted to sit at any show...and let me tell you the production and talent of every show was outstanding.
We never lacked for company...met some of the nicest people in the world; talked to everyone. New friends!
We never missed a meal...scrumptious servings at every seating (and never got around to the Specialty Restaurants for dinner; didn't feel the need!)
We never had to ask twice...every want was filled in an enthusiastic, friendly way. Made us feel like family.
We always had a fantastic time, notable for:
THE SPA with the heated tile loungers in the Persian Garden (actually fell asleep there) and the spa services DID NOT over-sell product during treatments (I actually got to relax!)
THE SOLARIUM with a perfect temperature pool and two jacuzzis not overcrowded any time!
THE ART STUDIO where I got to paint to my pleasure (favorite activity onboard, trumping trivia!)
THE ENSEMBLE LOUNGE where the waitress was a delight and the music was again perfect
THE LIBRARY where my love wanted to just relax but I kept dragging him away
THE CELEBRITY THEATER where we enjoyed movies, Apple classes, Bingo, COMEDY(!) and more
OUR CRUISE DIRECTOR IAN who we wanted to take home with us (you too Micky)
OUR CRUISE STAFF (oh James Taylor you are so sweet)...I call shenanigans!
We didn't even need to get off at the ports which were fun (although we loved the excursion to St. John,) found the shopping on the islands ridiculous (no charm, just shoved diamonds & tacky trinkets in our faces) but the beauty of the beaches was shore-worthy. Happiest on the Reflection.
Sea days were by effortlessly, with loads of fun things to do, people to enjoy, and again, great food. That the James Beard people oversee the menus just made it that much more impressive.
As for our accommodations, we booked an Interior Cabin (as my love tends to get queasy when he sees the motion of the ocean...no window for us.) We booked our vacation via Costco Travel; inadvertently booked a handicap stateroom. Warned later by the line that if someone who needed those facilities made a reservation, we would be moved to a like-level room, we were fortunate that our room stayed in our booking.
WOW~245 square feet of luxury; a gi-normous room with ample walking area, and the bathroom, oh the bathroom, tremendous! The oversized shower had a fold down seat inside; great bath products are always appreciated! FYI, the room itself was far larger than what we have in our Beverly Hills apartment. The most comfortable of beds (though pushed together to make a king, we did not notice any cavern between the mattresses!) and the bedding itself was very luxurious; soft.
Our steward was on top of things instantly. We would leave the room for a couple of minutes sometimes, and as if a genie had appeared, when we would return everything would be spiffy. Great flat screen TV as well; we didn't even realize that there were actual channels available until our fourth night.
There is usually at least one bad thing about any experience; the only lackluster annoyance was the opening comedian for the Sin City Comedy Show.
Painfully unfunny...and the burlesque aspect was completely out of place, not well done, and bothersome (all of our fellow passengers who we discussed the show with felt the same way; here-say, yes, but true.)
LOVED our experience, we are now completely captivated by Celebrity and plan to cruise again.