Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by KathyW: Great Reflection cruise
Overall Member Rating
Great Reflection cruise
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
We have just come back from an excellent 11 night cruise on the Celebrity Reflection visiting Eastern Mediterranean ports. We were travelling with 3 friends who have been on 2 Celebrity cruises before so convinced us to try them and we are pleased that we did! For the last few years we have been on Princess cruises and it was great to try another cruise line.
Embarkation was a little stressful at Civitavecchia as when we were hoping to get on board at 12.30 p.m., Italian immigration were nowhere to be seen and unfortunately I had an asthma attack, due to the strong smell of bleach in the Cruise Terminal. Jamie, the Hotel Director and Renata, Events Coordinator saw my distress and made sure that I got some fresh air as the doors had been closed!
Once we got on board, we were handed a glass of sparkling wine and went straight to the buffet which I have to say was the best buffet selection I had ever seen. We had booked 3 Concierge Class cabins (no balcony cabins left More when we booked in May) on various decks which were very comfortable and well located, especially the one assigned to our daughter and our friends' daughter which had an enormous balcony on deck 12. We all were not entirely convinced that the additional £200 each for this class of cabin was fully worth it as our friends said the cabins were the same size and set up as balcony cabins. The only extras were a bottle of sparking wine, canapies delivered to the room in the afternoon, if you wanted it, fruit bowl, tote bag and pillow menu (which we never used) and supposed priority for select dining. Priority for select dining did not work particularly well for our party of six as we had trouble getting a table on the first night but we met Jamie, the Hotel Director, at the Cruise Critic meeting on the 2nd morning who very kindly sorted out our problem so that we were able to have a regular table for 6 at 8.30 a.m. every evening if needed.
The ship was beautiful and smart with lovely modern public spaces. it was also immaculate, with lovely carpets and seating. It would have been great to have had an extra pool as the pool deck was very crowded due to the peak season and the amount of children on board. Food was excellent in the buffet and the Main Dining Room, although it did feel a little squashed in the MDR. My daughter, who is lactose intolerant, was so well catered for in the MDR with the Maitre'D, Vargo, showing the menu the day before so that she could pick the appropriate courses and he and his staff were extremely helpful. We tried the Lawn Grill for dinner which was very tasty and wellcooked. We also took part in the progressive dinner at a cost of US$92 each where we had appetisers and prosecco in one of the cabanas at the Lawn Grill, starters and wine at Muranos, main course and wine at the Tuscan Grille and desserts and sangria at Qsine. This was a great way of trying out all the speciality restaurants and meeting 15 other guests from around the world as well as chatting with Staff Officers. We all purchased some form of drinks/non alcoholic drink packages which worked out very well! The entertainment was good around the ship with pop-up events happening around the atrium and various events in the bars, including an Indulgence Evening in the Ensemble Lounge, and an event at the Indoor Swimming Pool. These events appealed to our daughters who are twenty somethings and to a lot of the younger European guests on board and the ship was very lively well after midnight especially around the Martini Bar! Celebrity seem to be turning away from the traditional evening entertainment such as shows in the theatre, quizzes etc. We only saw the Mentalist at the Theatre who was entertaining and a production show in the theatre which I did not particularly enjoy. Our daughters also enjoyed visiting the gym, taking part in the Zumba classes on the pool deck and thought the activity staff were very good.
We mostly made our own arrangements on shore. We had a great tour with Ephesus Shuttle to Ephesus at a very, very reasonable cost as compared to the ship's charge. We visited Herculaneum near Naples by cab which was very good and excellent value. Our respective daughters were very disappointed with the hike up Mt Versuvius and visit to Pompeii organised by the ship at a cost of US$109 each. Our daughter had been on a school trip to Pompeii and other ancient sites when she did her Latin GCSE a fair few years ago and knew an awful lot more than the local guide did, who also happened to have a poor command of English. Our daughter's impression was the female guide could not be bothered to give any useful information and would not let passengers visit the important parts of Pompeii or have any time at the shop at the at end of the visit. My daughter and I did complain to the Shore Excursion staff when she returned to ship but we never received any feedback from the staff. I felt embarrassed having recommended this excursion to my daughter and our friends' daughter having been on the same excursion on the Ruby Princess back in 2011!
Disembarkation at the end of cruise was straight forward but it was extremely crowded outside the terminal with hundreds of people waiting for coaches and taxis etc.
In conclusion, we had a lovely cruise with just a few niggles which were mostly addressed and would recommend the itinerary to anyone wishing to visit the Eastern Mediterranean. We are more than happy to book another Celebrity cruise and also very happy to have another cruise on Princess. Less
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