By Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor, and Teijo Niemela, Cruise Critic contributor
Celebrity Reflection Overview
Cool sophistication is the unmistakable vibe onboard Celebrity Reflection, the final -- and biggest -- of the five ships in the line's Solstice Class. Sure, the Solstice Class blueprint is still in place; you can't miss the Lawn Club, Solarium and themed dining venues found onboard all five ships. But Reflection, which debuted in October 2012, turns it up a notch. There's also the sheer size of the 126,000-ton, 3,046-passenger ship. It's bigger and about 2 feet wider -- a change necessary to accommodate the additional weight. You might not notice the change in width, but Reflection is loaded with 89 more cabins and about 150 more passengers than its siblings.
With ample room, Reflection added 42 suites, including three new classes: the Reflection Suite, the Signature Suite and the AquaClass Spa Suite. While the Reflection Suite, with its cool all-glass cantilevered shower, gets high marks for creativity, the 32 AquaClass Spa Suites might be the most coveted among suite-lovers. On Reflection's sister ships, spa cuisine restaurant Blu was open only to passengers booked in AquaClass cabins; suite passengers were denied guaranteed complimentary access. On Reflection, passengers booked to AquaClass and AquaClass Spa Suites are guaranteed complimentary access to Blu, a change Celebrity says was a long time coming. Other suite passengers still might have complimentary access, based on availability.
This time around, the line did away with nightclub Quasar, replacing it with a conference center that can serve as a meeting center, conference room or banquet hall, but mostly it's used for art auctions. Nighttime activities have shifted to the pool deck and to the Grand Foyer, where entertainment ranges from low-key in the evening to full-throttle after hours, and the D.J. usually is found in the Observation Lounge.
It's impossible to miss the art, a multimillion-dollar investment, on Reflection. It's big. It's bold. And it's everywhere. Perhaps the most stunning piece is the Grand Foyer showstopper: a live tree that grows tall, while a lighted aluminum tree hangs from the base. Celebrity calls it a tree reflecting on itself, and, of course, reflection is the theme of the art onboard. You could spend hours trying to figure out how each piece expresses the theme, ranging from the grand to the puzzling.
Celebrity's famous Lawn Club onboard Reflection hasn't changed much from Silhouette's design, with its half-acre of grass, upcharge restaurants (the Lawn Club Grill and the Porch) and eight alcoves -- private cabanas, available for rent for those who want shade and a little privacy but don't wish to be anywhere near the pool area. Whereas the Lawn Club on Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse is wide open and has a real park feel, the later iterations feel decidedly more divided, with less space for playing bocce, enjoying lazy picnics or sunning.
Other old favorites return, as well, including Michael's Club, with its coolers of craft beers, and the Molecular Bar, famous for its fog-emitting concoctions. Celebrity espouses the virtues of "modern luxury," and there are touches of that throughout -- from the comfy chaise lounges with their oversized cushions to the glass-enclosed Solarium.
Entertainment is a hit, from big production shows to more low-key options, such as an a cappella group. Service overall was a bit hit-or-miss: stellar in the main dining area but spotty at bars, including the Sky Lounge and Martini Bar, and even upscale alternative restaurant Qsine.
Reflection represents the evolution of the Solstice class, encompassing the best of each of its sisters, with tweaks here and there to make it stand out.
Celebrity Reflection Fellow Passengers
Celebrity draws a wide range of upper-middle-class couples and groups, with the average age of passengers in the mid-50's. During the Caribbean season, expect more families with children.
Celebrity Reflection Dress Code
Smart-casual and formal dress is in play on Reflection. Sailings of seven to 11 nights have two formal nights, 12- to 15-night cruises include three formal nights, and sailings of 16 nights or more have four formal nights. Reflection's passengers typically dress for the occasion, which means suits and tuxedos for men and cocktail dresses and gowns for women. On other nights, smart-casual is required in the dining room and theater for evening performances. For women, smart-casual means skirts and slacks with sweaters or blouses. For men, that means slacks or trousers with collared sports shirts or sweaters. T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and poolwear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurants at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the evening hours.
Celebrity Reflection Gratuity
Celebrity Cruises is increasing its suggested gratuity by 50 cents per passenger/per day beginning on all bookings made on or after April 29 for all cruises that begin on or after the same day. The new suggested gratuity will be $12.00 per person/per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.50 per person/per day, if you're in a Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $15.50 per person/per day, for passengers in suites.
We had never cruised before and were very nervous about what to expect. We are a family from Melbourne, Australia and chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary and the fact it was a new ship but had very little idea about the differences ...continue
This was the inaugural Mediterranean cuise for the new 3,046 passenger Celebrity Reflection and I was thrilled to be there! Being the newest and the largest of the Celebrity fleet, I never felt that this ship was larger than any of their others. ...continue
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Our cruise from Miami to Rome April 20, 2013 to May 6, 2013 As veterans of some 26 cruises, we were very pleased with the Celebrity Reflection and the 16 day cruise aboard this beautiful ship. Our experience exceeded expectations during most of the ...continue