We sailed on the Celebrity Reflection for an eleven night Eastern Mediterranean cruise in May, 2014. We also tried out Aqua Class. All in all, the cruise was excellent.
Our cabin was on the 12th floor, right below the pool deck. This did not lead to any extra noise. We were on the bump, so the balcony was a bit larger. The cabin was nice, and not really all that different from a normal balcony cabin. One notable exception was the shower, which sprayed water out at you from the side if you wanted it to.
The main attraction of Aqua class is that you eat in Blu. This is a nice restaurant, with good food and good service. They did struggle a bit with vegetarian options for my wife, but I was in steak heaven! You also get access to the Persian Garden, which was nice but not overly special. Was Aqua Class worth the extra money? Yes, it was. However, I am sure I would have enjoyed the cruise just as much without it. I would say—go for it if you want to treat yourself, but you will be fine if you decide not to.
On the issue of upgrades, it has become more overt that Celebrity (as with other cruise lines) is trying to monetize every inch of the ship. There are lots of places to pay extra for food, cabanas for rent, etc… Still, everything that has always been included is still included, so you can just ignore all of this and have a great time.
The entertainment was some of the best I can remember on a cruise. Normally, I have trouble staying awake when there is just a bunch of singing and dancing. Not on this cruise! The shows were great, with great music (although I wonder if I am just “aging” into the primary passenger demographic!). The comedian, Steve Caouette, was funny. The solo singer, Jayne Curry, was excellent! The singers, dancers and associated acts were terrific.
The ports were interesting on this cruise. Our first stop was Santorini and we took the ship’s tour that went to Oia before dropping us in the main town. This excursion was mainly transportation—tender early off the boat, bus to Oia, stop at a winery, and then drop us in the main town with a cable car ticket to get down to the tender back. Fine with me. I just want to see Oia with its cliff-side white and blue buildings. We took some great pictures. Back in the main town (Thira), we poked around, and had dinner watching the sunset over the caldera.
Next was a day and a half in Istanbul. We hired a private guide as we wanted to see all the main sites as well as some of the Jewish ones. We found Yusuf BarDavid (email@example.com), who took us all around and was very nice to spend the day with. We ended the first day with a cruise up the Bosporus, which was delightful. One tip for Istanbul—when you get in a taxi, point at the meter and have them turn it on. On two occasions the driver refused and quoted us a high price. We just got out and found another cab.
In Ephesus we took a ship’s tour of the ruins, including the apartments, which was all interesting. It was pretty cool to see the Library of Celsius. In Mykonos we were on our own and just walked around, shopped and ate. Another very pretty Greek island. In Athens we took a ship’s tour of the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum, and well as some free time on the Plaka. Again—very cool to be at the Parthenon.
Our last port was Naples, where we took the ship’s tour to Capri. For first timers, I would recommend Pompeii, but we had already been there a few years ago. Capri was very pretty, with shopping and eating.
Celebrity did its usual excellent job, and this was a fantastic trip.