We have had a variety of cruise experiences over almost 40 years, starting with a Rhine Cruise on KD Line, family cruises on, Costa, RC, Carnival and Princess, couples cruises on Renaissance, Sea Dream, Windstar, Star Clipper, Orient Line ... Read More
We have had a variety of cruise experiences over almost 40 years, starting with a Rhine Cruise on KD Line, family cruises on, Costa, RC, Carnival and Princess, couples cruises on Renaissance, Sea Dream, Windstar, Star Clipper, Orient Line and Oceania, and in the last 15 months cruises on Oceania, HAL, Viking and Crystal. We chose this cruise because we invited some friends who had cruised Celebrity before and enjoyed it. The itinerary included new and old stops for us and 4 at sea days to enjoy the ship and spa. We chose a cabin in Aqua class under the (mistaken) assumption that the cabin (nice Veranda!), Spa and restaurant upgrade to Blu would make it worthwhile. Blu however, and the food on the ship overall made that a big NO.
We are not fans of large ships for a variety of reasons; the largest ships we were previously on were a pre-inaugural family cruise on the Carnival Pride and then the Noordam last February, but we enjoyed them and every other cruise we've been on to a greater or lesser extent. Noordam was a big surprise: we had no expectations about the food and it turned out to be quite good, especially at the pop up and higher class restaurant, but even in the main dining room, with very good service as well. Reflection was also a surprise but for the wrong reason.
Our cabin (1623) was nice, relatively quiet (subject to next door passengers) good AC and working fridge and veranda wide enough to lay out on the provided chairs and accompanying stools. Mario, our attendant was great. The shower is a multi-jet one, very nice. We got afternoon snacks every day; they were a mixed bag.
The Spa is very nice with a variety of hot, cold and aromatic rooms and warmed loungers. The gym is a nice well equipped space, The indoor pool is warm and inside a nice room with 2 luke warm hot tubs. The two main pools are pleasantly warm but crowded with passengers making like trees (but not leaving). Four more luke warms. No smoking at or near the pools which is sadly not true on some lines. Some led entertainments and pool aerobics around the noon hour were well attended and fun. Bring your clothes pins and camp out at 7:30 a.m. or 9:00 at the latest or you may be out of luck.
Pretty nice artwork throughout the ship (other than the Park West pseudo art), and public spaces are elegant and well designed. The cafe tends to be a madhouse, and the main restaurants are packed but most people seem to be agreeable to that with much chatter between tables. We had a pretty insular party of four as we had a lot of visiting to do amongst ourselves.
The library is hardly that; there are a few shelves of banal books within reach, multiple empty shelves, and then a series of color coded shelves that can't be reached and are there for design purposes! Disgraceful for a ship of 3,000 people.
There was a guitar player, a pair of semi-classical musicians, a band, and some others I didn't check out; entertainment at many locations, with a large multi tiered location for main performers. A section of that is roped off for the grand poobahs in Luminae class. Our friends enjoyed a comic who made fun of his weight and wiped his forehead with a giant pair of underwear; we missed that. We (and our friends) have enjoyed the entertainment more on other ships.
Service in the restaurants ranges from good in the specialty restaurants (Murano) to decent in the main dining room, to harried and overworked in Blu, with coffee service especially lacking. The cafe is a nuthouse; unlike on the Noordam there are few attendants and you need to get your own water and coffee (there is one annoying "happy people" coffee guy who comes around on one side). Getting butter, silverware, fruit, water/coffee, and various entrees was a major chore, and I often ended up turned around and searching for our breakfast camp.
Now then. The food. First, is the truly weird menu options in Blu: strange ingredients and combinations: 3 types of butter: pea flavored, beet flavored and butter flavored. Every night. Fried fish placed on top of puddly risotto or other sauces or on top of salads which caused the fried fish to get mushy. Pickles with meat. Veal scallopine (tough!) served on a cold salad. Lobster ruined by a weird tarragon flavored sauce which had dried out (waiter explained that food sat under warmers before delivery). We ended up changing out items from Opus (main restaurant) many times, but often to no avail. Their onion soup and Caesar salad became mainstays for all four of us. 5 weird entrees and 3 daily desserts in Blu; my friend had Steak and Creme Brulee every night because he had no real choice. Lunches at the Cafe were salad, pizza, 3 weird fish types that tasted the same, some thin steaks (okay) a few standards I never sampled and some faint attempts at foreign foods. Spice, as in "heat" was avoided at all costs; even the jalapenos were seeded before being used.
At the burger bar the burgers were made in advance to medium well and then piled into a warming tray; when ordered they were brought out, put on a small plain bun and a piece of cold cheese was added if ordered. Very sad excuse.
In a tour of the kitchen it was revealed that the ship did not provision at all outside of Fort Lauderdale, so no Caribbean fruit, fish or anything fresh. No berries except as a garnish on some desserts. My friend who loves her desserts felt the cakes were odd and dry.
Service getting on and off the ship and at ports was excellent. We did our own tours.
As a result of this cruise we decided to forego a 3 generation family vacation on RC. I can't imagine another cruise on Celebrity (or any ship in this 3,000 passenger class) given our food experience, but if you're not really into food I would say the Reflection had a lot of other good points. Read Less