Just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Reflection. Even though the overall experience on the beautiful ship was wonderful, there are multiple areas where the crew falls short. Will try to be as specific as possible.
First of all, most entertainment areas usually seen on ships this size have been replaced with fee-based dinning options, presumable to generate more revenue for the cruise line. Besides the main theater, most entertainment occurs in the hallways. Celebrity refers to it as whole ship entertainment, but in reality it means that "we have no where else to place the performers."
The house band Vibe was great, but was relegated to performing between the elevator shafts on Deck 3 in the main Atrium. If you want to enjoy the music, you will either have to stand or sit on the floor, since little seating accommodations are present. This was not quite my expectation.
Same goes for a vocalist and guitarist who performed in another hallway on Deck 4 used for ping-pong during the daytime and performances in the evening. Again, close to no seating and interferes with guest flow when leaving the main theater from Deck 4 after performances. If you are unable to find a seat, you can choose to either be trampled by guest leaving the main theater if you sit on the floor, or be pushed along with the crowd leaving the theater if you stand.
Shows were wonderful, entertaining for all ages and up to part. The hypnotist was so-so.
Fun factory for children of all ages was a major hit with my children. They loved being there and the staff was very attentive to the children, I would score this as a solid 5/5.
Food in the Oceanview buffet is actually descent as far as buffets go, but the food is repetitive without changes from day to day. Same fare day in and day out for lunch and dinner. Will talk more about service below.
Specialty restaurants are a hit or miss situation based on guest reviews. Since I have young children, I was not courageous enough to venture there myself.
The main dining room (Opus) was a horrible experience. I requested early seating or my time seating at the time of reservation since I have young children. Based on my prior cruising experience, I am well aware that young children can't wait for the late seating at 8:30 PM. Some of the reservation computers were down at the time of my booking and I had to follow up multiple times with customer service to have this addressed. On the day before embarkation, the dinning time had not been fixed. I was told to follow up with the maitre'D on the vessel. I did exactly that and was told by both the Maitre'D and the manager for the food and beverage services (his manager) that I could not be accommodated. The second day at sea was the formal night and my kids were dressed up for the main dinning room. They were devastated by this turn of events. I complained with guest relations on the vessel and they were unable to intervene (or probably unwilling to do so). I have NEVER encountered a management team so unwilling to assist Captain's club members who are time and again return customers. Manager of guest relations attempted to address the issues the next day, but how do you address the sadness in the eyes of your children who were let down on something they were looking forward so much.
Service at the Oceanview buffet was also lack luster. Tables were not being cleared, yet the buffet was not busy. After pointing this out to the manager, he got his crew to clean up promptly. Asking for a spoon, jelly, straws or others usually resulted in some excuse from the staff as to why they couldn't assist or find the item. Yet after getting up myself, these items were readily available.
The cabin and cabin steward were phenomenal. That can only attest that the lack of willingness to assist the guests in pervasive in the food and beverage arena only. After my discussion with the food and beverage manager, it is my opinion that he is incapable of managing such a complex enterprise. All short comings are in his purvue.
Disembarkation was smooth and fast.