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Celebrity Reflection

Itinerary

The "middle city" of Florida's Gold Coast, Fort Lauderdale sits between Miami to the south and Palm Beach to the north. The city blends nicely with its metropolitan neighbors, and elements of Miami's chic vibe and the affluent nature of Palm Beach are recognizable. But Fort Lauderdale is a destination itself. Operating one of the busiest cruise ports in North America -- more than three million people pass through each year -- helps define Fort Lauderdale as a robust tourism spot.

Fort Lauderdale started out as a swampy outpost with a fort, built to protect against the Seminole Indians. The swamps were transformed in the late 1800s into a series of canals by scooping out parallel waterways and creating long peninsulas between them. This created more than 300 miles of navigable waterways (twice that of Venice) -- hence the city's nickname "Venice of America." The abundance of waterways that wind up and down the coast make Fort Lauderdale a boating hot spot, with 42,000 registered yachts.

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  • Day 2

Imagine the stereotypical cruise port -- one with white-sand beaches, a plethora of duty-free shops selling jewels and liquor, and de rigueur water activities like snorkeling and scuba -- and Grand Cayman will likely come to mind. The cliche might just be based on the destination, with its lovely Seven Mile Beach, George Town's retail center and plenty of sites for diving, snorkeling and other water sports. Grand Cayman also celebrates marine life at Stingray City and the Cayman Turtle Farm, and even offers a twist on island paradise with the town of Hell (THE place from which to send the quintessential kitschy postcard).

Yet the cliche does have a negative side -- the crowds. It's not unusual to find five mega-ships (we're told there's been up to nine) docked in the harbor at the same time, which makes the tendering process slower than usual and the downtown streets jam-packed. (Building a cruise pier at which ships could berth is oft discussed, but it's never gone beyond the "pre-planning" stage.) The constant influx of cruise passengers keeps the waterfront restaurants bustling, so lunch in port is never a cheap affair. A stroll along the beach quickly turns into an obstacle course of sunbathing tourists, sandy children and water sports vendors.

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  • Day 4

You're in for a big treat if you've booked a Caribbean or Panama Canal cruise with Cartagena on the itinerary, as this lovely old town and resort on Colombia's Caribbean coast is quite deservedly the country's most popular tourist destination.

There, you'll find everything a cruise passenger's heart could desire: a fascinating -- and often dark and bloody -- history embedded in ancient forts, churches and palaces; a walled town filled with exquisite 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial architecture; soft beaches; world-class snorkeling and scuba diving reefs; delightful restaurants; and enough shops to capture your interest without the place feeling like one gigantic mall.

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"One Happy Island." This, the official motto of Aruba, is plastered on each taxi's license plate. Surely Arubans are happy to see cruisers: Aruba's economy is fueled by tourists' dollars, and much of the island is heavily developed for them -- perhaps even more so than neighboring islands Bonaire and Curacao. (Together, the three make up what's known as the ABC chain of islands in this deepest part of the Southern Caribbean.) Most Arubans speak English and accept U.S. currency, and shops located in and around the port area are American -- Tommy Hilfiger, Diamonds International and the like.

Beyond that, Aruba has a rich, layered heritage. The first people to inhabit the island were a nation of Arawak Indians. (The name Aruba seems to have derived from the Arawak Indian word oibubai, which means guide.) In 1499, the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda laid claim to the territory for Queen Isabella. Nearly 200 years later, the Dutch captured the islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire from the Spanish, and much of that heritage can be seen in its pastel Old World architecture.

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"One Happy Island." This, the official motto of Aruba, is plastered on each taxi's license plate. Surely Arubans are happy to see cruisers: Aruba's economy is fueled by tourists' dollars, and much of the island is heavily developed for them -- perhaps even more so than neighboring islands Bonaire and Curacao. (Together, the three make up what's known as the ABC chain of islands in this deepest part of the Southern Caribbean.) Most Arubans speak English and accept U.S. currency, and shops located in and around the port area are American -- Tommy Hilfiger, Diamonds International and the like.

Beyond that, Aruba has a rich, layered heritage. The first people to inhabit the island were a nation of Arawak Indians. (The name Aruba seems to have derived from the Arawak Indian word oibubai, which means guide.) In 1499, the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda laid claim to the territory for Queen Isabella. Nearly 200 years later, the Dutch captured the islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire from the Spanish, and much of that heritage can be seen in its pastel Old World architecture.

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The brightly hued island of Curacao, 42 miles east of Aruba, is part of the ABC chain of islands, which also includes Aruba and Bonaire. Legend says that an early governor suffered from migraines and mandated the pastel-colored houses, now a trademark of the Southern Caribbean island, because white paint aggravated his condition. Whatever the reason, there's something wonderful about approaching by cruise ship and spotting buildings in shades like cotton-candy pink and deep, ocean-blue.

Curacao was discovered by Spaniards in 1499 and was taken over in 1634 by the Dutch, who settled its capital city, Willemstad, as a naval base. The city drew Dutch and Jewish merchants (old Jewish neighborhoods -- like Scharloo, north of Willemstad -- still exist), and there's still a distinctly Dutch feel in the centuries-old buildings that line the waterfront in all those fantastic colors.

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Shy pink flamingos, gentle sad-eyed donkeys and elusive sea turtles all share something quite rare in today's world. They flourish on or around Bonaire, one of the ABC isles (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) deep in the Southern Caribbean. Each lives in sanctuaries set up by island residents who boast an awareness and level of conservation that few countries can match.

Though ecotourism is one of the latest buzzwords in the travel world, Bonaire, just 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela, was a world leader in the field of ecology long before the term was even coined. The island's greatest claim to fame is proudly touted on its license plates -- "Divers Paradise." This is no tourist-bureau puffery, although many believe that the license plates should read "Nature Lovers Paradise." Beyond the diving and snorkeling, there's windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kite boarding, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding.

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  • Day 10
  • Day 11

The "middle city" of Florida's Gold Coast, Fort Lauderdale sits between Miami to the south and Palm Beach to the north. The city blends nicely with its metropolitan neighbors, and elements of Miami's chic vibe and the affluent nature of Palm Beach are recognizable. But Fort Lauderdale is a destination itself. Operating one of the busiest cruise ports in North America -- more than three million people pass through each year -- helps define Fort Lauderdale as a robust tourism spot.

Fort Lauderdale started out as a swampy outpost with a fort, built to protect against the Seminole Indians. The swamps were transformed in the late 1800s into a series of canals by scooping out parallel waterways and creating long peninsulas between them. This created more than 300 miles of navigable waterways (twice that of Venice) -- hence the city's nickname "Venice of America." The abundance of waterways that wind up and down the coast make Fort Lauderdale a boating hot spot, with 42,000 registered yachts.

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Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
5.0
1,464 reviews
Why Choose Celebrity Reflection?

Pro

Newest ship in the Celebrity fleet, impressive free and for-a-fee dining options

Con

Exclusive venues for suite guests could make other passengers feel excluded

Bottom Line

Stylish and contemporary mega-ship cruising with exceptional service

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 two 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. Passengers booked in AquaClass and AquaClass Spa Suites receive complimentary access to Blu, a private dining room with a focus on light yet flavorsome "spa cuisine". Suite passengers also receive complimentary access to Blu, based on availability, as well as their own dedicated restaurant, Luminae.  

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. Night time 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 DJ is usually found in the Sky 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 an illuminated aluminium tree hangs from the base. Celebrity calls it a tree reflecting on itself and, of course, reflection is the theme of the art onboard. Photography is also a feature with an eclectic range of images lining the stateroom corridors. 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, up-charge restaurants (the Lawn Club Grill and The Porch) and eight alcoves -- private rentable cabanas for those who want shade and a little privacy but away from 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 Sky Observation Lounge with its stunning sea views and the Martini Bar, famous for its entertaining bar staff and elegant cocktails. Celebrity espouses the virtues of "modern luxury" and there are touches of that throughout from comfy chaise lounges with oversized cushions to the glass-enclosed Solarium.

Entertainment is a hit, from big production shows to more low-key options, such as a guitar and vocal duo. Service overall is warm and attentive however the widespread upselling of drink packages and specialty dining, particularly during the first 48 hours of the cruise, can be somewhat off-putting for those seeking a relaxing cruise vacation.

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. And with the addition of new suite class benefits, this elegant ship is more attractive than ever.

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Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: January 2018
We picked this cruise for a 6-night getaway to have some quiet time together right after the holidays. We also wanted to enjoy some sunnier and warmer weather. I booked a suite since we were celebrating a special anniversary. It was our ... Read More
We picked this cruise for a 6-night getaway to have some quiet time together right after the holidays. We also wanted to enjoy some sunnier and warmer weather. I booked a suite since we were celebrating a special anniversary. It was our second cruise on Celebrity and our fourth overall. We weren't expecting great entertainment since Celebrity isn't know for it, however, we enjoyed most of the shows and bands on board. They had a great comedian and illusionist, plus an outstanding vocal duo, Valentina and Peter that we loved. The cruise cast did three shows in the auditorium. Two were very enjoyable, but their big theatrical production fell flat with us. The ship's band was very talented and high energy. In the ship's big theater, I noticed invariably that about 20-30% of those in attendance for shows never applauded or showed any appreciation for the performers. I've noticed the same thing on other ships. I think it's really rude to the hard working entertainers on stage not to provide at least polite applause even if you weren't thrilled by the show. The cruise director, Marteen, did an outstanding job keeping us informed. He had a lot of personality and enthusiasm. The silent disco nights were very popular and lots of fun. We ate all of our dinners and several lunches in the Illuminai restaurant that was reserved for those in suites. The food and service there were outstanding. Accordingly, we didn't feel the need to go to any of the specialty restaurants and pay extra for those. Michael's club, which was also reserved for suites, was a good place to go for complimentary drinks and to meet others on the cruise. The wines served there were drinkable, but I get better wine at home for as little as $10 a bottle. They had premium brands of alcohol available which would be a better option than the wine. We did the Salsa, Salsa and Margarita excursion at Cozumel and had the best time ever! You get bottomless margaritas while you learn to make two types of margaritas and six types of salsa. After that, when everyone is feeling tipsy, you get up to learn how to salsa dance - that was pretty funny. We did the special behind the scenes tour of the ship. It was expensive, but interesting. It required a lot of walking, but that was fine with us. The only negative about this tour was in each area of the ship we stopped at, we were briefed by whoever was on duty at the time. Generally, they were non-Americans who spoke with such heavy accents we couldn't understand half of was being said. Our tour guide who was a young Chinese woman who spoke excellent English. I think it would be better if Celebrity trained people like her to give the briefings in all the areas visited. Then the crew is each area could just answer detailed technical questions or embellish the briefings with some personal anecdotes. The daily buffet was adequate. I went there for breakfast some mornings and a couple of lunches. The food was tasty, but not special, and the variety was good. This is all I expect from a buffet. The fitness was large and well equipped. My wife said the exercise classes, however, weren't worth the money as they were too beginner oriented. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze since we got priority treatment as suite customers. Being in a suite really improved our overall experience throughout the cruise. We were a little disappointed with the room service. I ordered oatmeal one morning and they didn't bring anything to put in it like raisins, brown sugar, etc. My wife ordered cereal everyday and twice they didn't bring a bowl to put it in. A couple of days, they left canapés in the room mid-afternoon, which we didn't ask for and didn't want so every in the day. A personal complaint of mine was finding a Gideon Bible in our suite. I asked and was told they are in all the cabins. I believe people of all faiths and beliefs should be treated equally and respected by a company in the hospitality business. Celebrity is making a statement that they prefer Christians over non-Christians by putting Bibles in every cabin. I find that offensive. I expect a lot of Celebrity's customers would be unhappy if a Koran instead of the Bible was placed in their cabins. There is a simple way for Celebrity to deal with this issue. The ship has a library onboard where they can keep copies of purchased or donated religious texts for their customers who want to read one. They had at least one Bible in the library when I looked. Although I enjoyed my cruise overall, in the future I will give my business to a cruise line that is more inclusive and respectful of all its customers, and leaves religious proselytizing off their ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Our family just returned from a 6-Day Caribbean sailing on the Reflection. This is our 5th cruise on the Reflection, which is one of my favorite ships. I also made a video tour of the ship, if anyone is interested in more details: ... Read More
Our family just returned from a 6-Day Caribbean sailing on the Reflection. This is our 5th cruise on the Reflection, which is one of my favorite ships. I also made a video tour of the ship, if anyone is interested in more details: https://youtu.be/m-h2WBtvQsI Cabin We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7. Cabin is identical to oceanview cabins except for the balcony. Sofa and trundle bed serve as beds for 3rd/4th passenger in the cabin. Lots of storage space, balcony is good size. Even with 4 in the cabin we never felt too tight. Dining Room: Stunning design of the Opus dining room, very light and airy with lots of table options. We had assigned seating at 6pm. Our servers were amazing! We asked them to have some food ready for the kids as soon as we arrived each night and they were happy to comply. Always brought us extra appetizers or desserts to try. Food is top-notch, lots of choices each night, did not have a bad meal. Oceanview Cafe (Buffet): Very spacious, lots of seating, nice design. Food stations are well designed and separated from each other so there are virtually no lines. Food was just OK. There were lots of choices but they were pretty much the same each day. Now the buffet is open until 1am each night if you need anything late at night. Entertainment: Cruise director Maarten was super funny, one of the best we have ever had. They had a comedian, magic show, some Broadway style-shows and Elysium (Sirque de Soleil type show). I wish there were more game shows, trivia and such, as on past cruises we have had a huge variety of those each day but on this cruise they were a bit lacking. Pool Two pools and 4 hot tubs on the main deck, were never super crowded. We were always able to find seating. Celebrity does a good job with placing the chairs around the pool. Adult pool was also very nice and great option if you do not have kids, since the weather was a bit chilly. Lots of poolside games, entertainment, zumba, etc, if you want activities and music. Specialty restaurants We ate in Qsine, which is a favorite of ours - highly recommended for unique foods you cannot find anywhere. Also, the Porch on Deck 15 offers amazing seafood options, including lobster, for just $25 per person. We loved it and would definitely go back. Kids Club Our son was in the 10-12 year olds and loved all the activities - scavenger hunts, games, Xbox, movies. They had toddler time for kids under 3 each morning but only for 1 hour, which was not enough on sea days as there is not much else for the little ones to do when the weather is cold. Lots of teens on this sailing, so the Teen club was always a fun place to be. Overall, we had a great time! The service, as always on Celebrity, was top-notch. Lots of different bars and entertainment spaces to hang out in. They offer in-cabin babysitting for $19/hour, which is great if you have little ones but still want to go out at night. Embarkation was a breeze, disembarkation got a little crowded around 9am but we managed to get out in less than an hour. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We wanted to go to Key West, but weather kept us from docking and both other shore tours were cancelled. Never fear, the Celebrity Reflection and her Crew kept us fed, “watered,” and entertained. Met great folks and hard a ... Read More
We wanted to go to Key West, but weather kept us from docking and both other shore tours were cancelled. Never fear, the Celebrity Reflection and her Crew kept us fed, “watered,” and entertained. Met great folks and hard a blast!!! Embarkation and debarkation went great; first time we did self-debarkation...fast! Ship was easy to get around, logically laid out; cabin was great (balcony) and clean. Liked the bed near balcony door, gave us more “living space” with couch next across from vanity. Conceagrie service was good, met all our needs and wants. Take advantage of the morning room service for coffee - we kept forgetting. Only issue, not enough creamer provided for the entire pot of coffee. Ate at Quisine and Lawn Club — both great!! And worth the extra expense. Main Dining room was OK, difficult to get intimate service with such a large crowd. Food was good, service was OK. Overall, excellent trip, would highly recommend Celebrity, The Reflection, and the itinerary (during fall/spring, not winter). Read Less