My partner and I booked an 11-day cruise on the Celebrity Reflection on June 27, 2016. The Cruise was out of Rome. We spent 5 wonderful days in Rome. Since we were traveling with several bags, we like to make life easier and took the ... Read More
My partner and I booked an 11-day cruise on the Celebrity Reflection on June 27, 2016. The Cruise was out of Rome. We spent 5 wonderful days in Rome. Since we were traveling with several bags, we like to make life easier and took the Celebrity transfers from the Rome Crown Plaza (city pick-up) to the Port (and return to airport) which is at least an hour from the city. This is the best money we spent. We then boarded the Reflection for our 33rd cruise. Embarkation was fast and easy. The Celebrity Representatives were courteous and efficient and we were onboard within 20 minutes.
We went to our mid-ship balcony cabin on Deck 8 (Vista Deck) where we were greeted by steward, Bernard. He was wonderful throughout the entire cruise and took care of all of our requests.
Our next stop was the Opus MDR to check on our table for dinner. We chose not to make reservations for dinner in the specialty restaurants, as we usually do, because the prices have gone up to $45PP, which we felt was a bit too high. Celebrity had several discount promotions, over the course of the cruise, as others obviously felt the same way. We had late seating in the Opus Dining Room (traditional dining), and our table was centered in a lovely area of the lower level. After lunch, we went back to our cabin and our luggage had already been delivered, so we unpacked and were set for the cruise. After Muster Drill, we met some of our fellow Cruise Critic members at the Mast Bar overlooking the pool for a Sail Away Party. We had a great turnout. The next day was a sea day and Celebrity hosted a party at the Lawn Club Grill for our Cruise Critic members (we had 103 members on this cruise). Seven Officers including the Captain attended.
We were fortunate to have a nice table for 8 with Enrico as our Waiter and Milan our Assistant Waiter. They did an excellent job and were happy to bring you whatever you wanted. The food in the dining room was very good to excellent. They had Prime Rib, Medallions of Beef, Lobster Tails, Rack of Lamb, as well as fish and chicken dishes etc. Don't miss out on the Escargot and Wild Mushroom Soup. We had previously noticed that one of our favorite waiters that had been promoted to Maitre’D on another ship and was now the Food and Beverage Manager on the Reflection. His name is Srdjan Prastalo. He was so surprised to see us and we were so proud and happy to see him. He took wonderful care of us the entire trip. We saw him and all the other Officers many times during the trip. They were always visible and easily accessible to passengers. The crew appeared to be a very happy crew and it certainly showed. We also were introduced to the Hotel Director Niyazi Korkmaz. He was absolutely wonderful. We were at several Captain’s Club events with the Officers and it could not be nicer for passengers.
We were pleasantly surprised when we (and three other couples) received an invitation from Niyazi to dine with him and the Captain’s Club Hostess Marlene, who by the way did a fabulous job. We had dinner at Tuscan Grill. The food was excellent and we highly recommend it. The service was fantastic. My partner had the Goat Cheese Souffle and I had the Lobster Fettucine. My partner then had the Filet Mignon and I had the Rib Steak both were beautifully prepared. We also had several side dishes, red and white wines and desserts. It was a magical evening.
The buffet was generally good to very good. They had an abundant selection of various ethnic foods for all palates. They also had wonderful salads, pastas, stir-fry’s, etc… Pizza and burgers were very good and always available. A variety of ice cream and toppings were also available in the buffet area.
We only attended two shows in the Reflection Theater. The reason was that practically all of the shows were at 7:00PM (late seating passengers) and 9:00PM (early seating passengers). We personally prefer shows after dinner not before. We are on vacation and don’t wish to rush. We hope that Celebrity will go back to the old schedule of 7:30PM and 10:30PM for shows. Many passengers we spoke with felt the same way. This could be the reason the shows we saw had relatively small audiences. One show was with violinist Kateyna Sychova. She is amazingly talented and we really enjoyed her performance. The other was a production show, a long string of musical numbers taking place in a bar or saloon setting. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the show. We felt there was a lot of talent going to waste on a bad show.
Many activities took place in the Grand Foyer with various entertainers throughout the day, etc. The Officers were very visible and mingling with guests, which says a lot about the tone set by Captain Apostolos Bouzakis. He was extremely personable and sets the stage for a happy crew with great morale.
There were several other venues for entertainment-- the Martini Bar is a great gathering place overlooking the Grand Foyer. Our favorite bar was the Sky Lounge when from 5:00PM to 7:00PM serves as the Elite Lounge. Our favorite bartender was Dario, a personable young man from Sicily. He did a wonderful job at the bar and at night in the disco. We also ran into another bartender we have been on several cruises with -- John from Columbia who also did an excellent job. At night, Sky Lounge becomes a Disco. DJ Arias was outstanding. He is creative and actively involved his guests. He selects music to fit the crowd unlike many DJ’s on other ships.
At the Casino, Black Jack tables were busy and amount to play was $10 or more per hand. They also had Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, Dice, etc. I felt Celebrity should have $5 tables on a ship, as Three Card Poker would become $30 a hand to play. Therefore, I did not play any table games this trip. My partner plays slots, which were all plain vanilla and not interesting or loose. An upgrade in slots would be appreciated.
Santorini - We had been there a few years back, so we did not book an excursion. After the rush, we took the tender over and caught the funicular to the top. After exploring the town and shops, we stopped for a cold Mythos beer. It was just beautiful.
Athens- This cruise initially was to stop in Istanbul, but because of the unrest, it was replaced with an overnight in Athens. We were in Athens several days last summer. We love the people, the food and the rich history of the city; excellent stop. We used their subway and bus system to get around. You can buy a multi- day ticket too.
Mykonos- This was our day of rest. After a hearty breakfast on board, we took the shuttle bus to the edge of town, then the local bus to Elia Beach (clothing optional). After several relaxing hours, we returned to town and did some shopping.
Kusadasi- This was our second trip to Ephesus and a must see. This time our excursion took us to the Terrace Houses where the wealthy citizens lived. This is one of the most fascinating places on Earth and dates back to 200 or 300 B.C. We were amazed that they had running water, public toilets, underground sewers, terra cotta pipes, lead nails (unfortunately), a two story library and a theatre seating 20,000. This can also be combined with a trip to the Virgin Mary’s final home which was lovely and a very religious experience for many.
Bodrum- It is a lovely seaside resort with a beautiful castle. There is lots of shopping and restaurants. Some people from the ship booked yachts for the day. We would definitely like to return in the future as it was warm and inviting.
Chania (Crete)- We took the city shuttle bus into Chania and had a beautiful lunch down by the waterfront. We also did some of our shopping here as, the prices were generally fair and the merchants friendly.
Naples – We booked a tour to Pompeii which we had been to before, but continues to fascinate us. We absolutely recommend this as must see, but do it on a morning excursion, as it can get hot and crowded in the summer.
The service overall was very good to excellent. There were some wonderful standouts on the ship, as noted above, and they were rewarded accordingly, beyond the daily automatic tips. Additionally, as my Partner had an unexpected medical issue onboard – Dr. Alberto Berrio and his staff were outstanding. They took care of my partner and monitored him during the trip.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip and we highly recommend the Celebrity Reflection. The layout of the ship is generally good though I would recommend being mid-ship as they only have 2 elevator banks.
We chose the Celebrity Transfer to the Rome Airport (as mentioned earlier) and all went smoothly. We look forward to a Caribbean cruise on Celebrity next Spring. Read Less