We arrived in Europe the day before we sailed from Civitavecchia, flying into Rome and then securing private transportation from the airport to our hotel in the port city (Hotel San Giorgio). From there, we took the hotel's shuttle to the ship, the Celebrity Reflection. The cruise we took was a 10-day Mediterranean cruise, traveling from Rome --> Messina (Sicily) --> Athens --> Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey --> Rhodes, Greece --> Santorini, Greece --> Mykonos, Greece --> Naples, Italy --> Rome. There were 2 at-sea days during our cruise (after Messina and Mykonos).
EMBARKATION/FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The check-in process was very smooth, and we arrived on the ship less than 1 hour after leaving our hotel. There were 6 people in our traveling party, and we were ALL extremely impressed with the ship as a whole. The public spaces were spotless, the staterooms were very roomy, and the amenities unmatched by the other cruise lines we have traveled on (Princess and NCL).
FOOD: This was the one big disappointment for our cruise. Overall, the food in the dining room was OK but not spectacular. Some dishes were big hits, others were big misses. We felt that many of the entrees were overcooked or poorly seasoned. But desserts were a standout. Also, there was a big difference in quality between the main dining room and specialty restaurants (which we expected, but we did not expect such a disparity). QSine and Tuscan Grille were fantastic, but the Lawn Club Grill was so-so.
DRINKS: Cocktails were consistently amazing, with service in the Martini Bar a standout. Two servers in particular, Florin and Bakhir (sp?) provided superior service and really went above and beyond in taking care of us.
CABIN: Our stateroom, a Sky Suite, was located at the aft of the ship. The room was spacious, with a generous balcony and separate sitting area. The bathroom was contemporary and spotless, with great shower fixtures and Bulgari amenities. Our butler, Hilario, was incredible. He was attentive without being intrusive, and he always had a great attitude.
ENTERTAINMENT: Overall entertainment was good, if a bit spotty. The comedian was hilarious, the musicians were decent if unspectacular, and the production shows very well-done (especially the last Cirque du Soleil-style show). The one big miss was the comic/magician, who meant well but whose jokes fell flat.
SERVICE: Celebrity shines in this area. The service was across the board excellent. We could not have been more pleased.
DISEMBARKATION: The disembarkation process was the smoothest we have ever experienced. We off-boarded 15 minutes prior to our scheduled time, and our bags were waiting for us. It was seamless!
PORTS: Overall, the ports were lots of fun and well-chosen. The one exception was Messina (Sicily), which was a bit drab and uninteresting. Santorini was great, but late in the day we were hit by an unexpected storm with 70 mph winds, and Celebrity did not do a great job with the tenders and informing guests of the situation.
EXCURSIONS: Celebrity shines in terms of scheduling and organizing their excursions, but we often felt rushed in seeing the sights. Case in point: the Ephesus and Pompeii tours, which allowed only about 1.5-2 hours in each archaeological area. Ephesus also included a ridiculous carpet demonstration during which we were heavily pressured to buy a Turkish carpet for outrageous $$$. Our Pompeii visit felt VERY rushed, leaving us with the sense that we had only scratched the surface of this historic site.
SUMMARY: Despite some bumps with food and excursions, we were very pleased with this cruise. We were blown away by the quality of the ship's public spaces and the staterooms, and amazing service. We will definitely cruise on Celebrity again.