Time for discounted parents to fill the Martini Bar with under age drinkers on Celebrity Reflection.
We just returned home from Celebrity Reflection Eastern Med. Sadly one of the worst Celebrity trips I have ever done... A few weeks ... Read More
Time for discounted parents to fill the Martini Bar with under age drinkers on Celebrity Reflection.
We just returned home from Celebrity Reflection Eastern Med. Sadly one of the worst Celebrity trips I have ever done... A few weeks before the cruise there were many empty cabins, then all of a sudden the ship was full... It would appear that deals were done where children in parent's cabins got a much reduced rate.. The ship was overfull .. Not only were there groups of teens standing in the pool most of the day, they migrated to the Spa Pool in the late afternoons which defies the age limits in there, but of course they reserved many of the then unused sunbeds in the pool area too. The Martini Bar became the venue of choice so older siblings or parents could supply them alcohol leaving little room for adults. HideAway became a school common-room. Empty sunbeds were hard to find on sea days as parent reserved beds for their kids who roamed elsewhere and reserved their own before moving on to sit in groups elsewhere. Despite the obvious shortage of sunbeds and deck space, many guests still seemed OK with still reserving sunbeds while they went for food. On an 11 night cruise, not once did we find 2 sunbeds poolside, but it was also much too noisy to read poolside with the screaming children and teens.
Never mind, there was always the theatre for the adults to attend???
Sadly not... there were NO after dinner shows as Showtimes were 7pm and 9pm ONLY !! This was made even worse due to the new Suite restaurant (Luminae) as there is now limited space in the fixed time dining part of the MDR. Many passengers were automatically booked into Select (Free Time) Dining, however with so many cabins occupied with 4s, Select could not cope with the queues. Arriving to dine at 8.45 meant waiting til 9.45 for a table. So no shows possible and a very late meal!! The staff were excellent but frustrated at their lack of ability to help.
We booked Late Sitting, but despite having our table number confirmed on arrival, there was no room at the table and we were kept waiting so long on the first and second night we moved upstairs to "Select" hoping for an improvement. No luck there and of course we missed the Captain's Toast. At least he got something to eat!
I am not sure what was wrong with the Chef on this ship. He seemed to have just the one condiment in his palette ... SALT ! The MDR menu for the first 7 days lacked Celebrity's usual flair and inspiration. In the 2010's surely we are 40 years past heralding Veal Cordon Bleu, Herb Roasted Chicken, Broiled SeaBass or Sauteed Duck Breast as a Chef's Recommendations??
I have a Celebrity recipe book that I won on Celebrity's Facebook Competition last year... None of the meals pictured were evident on the menu. The OceanView Buffet however was excellent with lots of choice throughout the day, however sitting on the outside deck to eat became a bit of a chore. Trying to get a table cleared and wiped was an effort not experiences on Silhouette and ordering a drink with the meal was pointless as the waiters took so long you would be finished eating before your limited choice of wine arrived. The tables themselves were only worthy of a faded second rate night-club with numerous cigarette burns on most tables! Why these old tables purloined from the old smoking areas haven't been thrown overboard is beyond me! This is not the 4+Star cruising as experienced on Solstice, Equinox or Silhouette, yet is the newest of them all!
Another gripe I have is that we paid the extra to upgrade our drinks package from the 123GO offer... By day 7 of 11 they had run out of Pelligrini, Evian and many of the wines we liked that came within the upper limit of the Premium Package but exceeded the Basic package. Cheaper wines were offered by an apologetic sommelier but the Medoc was excellent and the other Cabernet mix really wasn't.
Entertainment was poor. I have no idea who the Cruise Director (Alexander) was sleeping with but he certainly was not around much after 11pm All shows seemed to be timed so he could have an early night! The show staff hated doing the early shows and with many of the port Sail-Aways at the same time as the 7pm show. It was impractical to enjoy cruising with the usual adult timed entertainment at sea. Furthermore, the teenage mobs roaming the bars after dinner made the after dining experience unpleasant. There were hundreds of complaints to bar staff and to Guest Relations.
The recent expansion of the idea that people want to dance or watch a show on an Atrium staircase lacks practicality. Atria have rails as well as adjacent tables and chairs, so really only the front row can see anything happening below. With a few thousand people on-board, whoever thought that more than 300 would be able to see the "Spectacular" sited on a staircase obviously has some sort of mental deficiency! The limitations of performing on a spiral staircase is obvious to most, and the dancers themselves obviously hate it! If I wanted to see performers on a staircase I could use the New York, London or Paris Metro systems without having to don Black Tie or pay for the privilege - let alone be forced to lean over Hispanic parents and their over tired 5 year old children taking pride of place!
Celebrity have, in their wisdom, removed Quazar NightClub on Reflection. The Sky Lounge is the rarely frequented night-club. A very very poor DJ MX is sometimes sited in the Martini Bar - (His wife sings and plays flute, and she is excellent, so no doubt they came as a package but his track changing skills were worthy of a 1970's needle lifter on a vinyl single deck! The electronic drum kit was best at volume -1 on the 0 to 11 scale) The guitarist and singer was far superior but sadly only on for a short while waiting for a late dining table. Sky lounge music was 1980's Disco mixed with "Is this the way to Amarillo" again with the needle lifted mid-track for a tempo change! (POOR!) It was a good venue for the teens after X-Club closed at midnight, so if you wanted to hear about who kissed who and what Amy said to Simon about Dale's kiss with Patricia in the twin's bedroom, then it was probably excellent. Oh, and she had her hair high-lights done just before coming away! (I can vouch for that as all the hair flicking and preening left strands in my soon to be discarded cocktail.) The Martini Bar, sadly, was little better. Hektor and one other (Ginger) Barman were excellent... the other two barmen were often rude and unhelpful. When there are 30 people waiting to be served, perhaps it is better to make the damn drinks rather than juggle cocktail shakers and ice cubes?? Save the show stuff for when people actually have a drink in their hand??? You wouldn't wait for a CheeseBurger in MacDonalds while the cook threw bits of cheese and a bun over his shoulder instead of grilling the meat!!
We were lucky choosing a cabin aft on deck 6, as many central on deck 10 and 11 complained of teens congregating in the corridors at night and too many children running around... there were many unsupervised under 10's in the OceanView Cafe, who really do not have the skills to raise a slice of chocolate cake onto a plate without leaving fingerprints in the next portion! "Hey Alisa, ooo..ooo,,,they have a chocolate fountain!!!" "NO WAY !! Awesome! Can I put my Pizza in there?" Jacuzzis, Spa area and pool and bar age limits were all discarded with the under age drinking permitted by parents. Shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops were evident in the MDR as were tables of under 16s giving the hard pushed waiters a tough time... "Is there a lot of alcohol in a Prawn Cocktail?".
This was little more than a school cruise spoilt by adults and parents. The (apparently) super trendy Cruise Director in his bright yellow suit was so up to the minute he announced a party night with music provided by Lady g'Gaaaa, so destroying his little remaining credibility (he was apparently a singer on Celebrity in past years before gaining this promotion - obviously he only ever listened to his own voice and thankfully was not acquainted with the offerings of Mad Donna or Samantha Smith). His idea to put a mermaid in the pool for SocietyX Liquid Nightclub even bored the teens as nobody thought the lack of other features worth a second glimpse on a windy night. The much publicised OPA! Eruo Dance Party had the DJ MX playing hits from around Eruope (Europe?) (I dare you to try to name a German, Belgian, Italian or French HIT) The later attempt to turn CellarMAsters into a fetish nightclub was nothing short of ridiculous. Calling a room with wine racks and comfy sofas The Cellar Nightclub, showcasing International House Music with a semi-naked male pole-dancer, is feeble and an admission that removing Quazar was a massive error. Saying it is the first such venue at sea ignores The Chamber nightclubs recently removed from sister company's Royal Caribbean Explorer and Navigator of the Seas!
There were many features events often publicised to excess.... Invitations arrived daily to exclusive Art Auctions and offered a free glass of something cheap if you really wanted to get away from the mobs of teenagers. Here you could buy original art (one of just 40,000 available on every cruise ship that sails out of Miami) for a fraction of the price of a real painting by a Dutch Master ... Go figure... How do they do that?? I guess it suits the same people who would buy a Breitling or a Tag on-board. Perhaps check out Rent-a-cruise companion. com ??
In conclusion... I apologise if I sound like a grumpy old man with no patience for other people's children and preening teenagers getting drunk and shouting in bars... but that is EXACTLY what I am!!... and that is why I, like many others, have chosen Celebrity Solstice Class ships for the past 8 years. I liked the decorum, the service and the facilities on-board. The shows, the Martinis and the night-club. The excellent dining choices and inventive menus along with the space at the pool and the quieter Spa areas. Celebrity without the above is actually somewhat unpleasant. Adults found it hard to mingle and make new friends under these conditions. We met a decent crowd while ashore and had a good time but it was DESPITE Celebrity and these problems became a unifying talking point in the few spots where adults were able to hear themselves talk. Would I go on Celebrity again?? 70/30 against currently. #sadfaced50s !!
(Note: I am not saying the teens were particularly badly behaved, they weren't.. They were polite and neat, but they do what teens do.. The 14 yr old girls dressed like 20's but that sadly made them look like under-age hookers and the 15 - 16s almost looked like adults til they said something.......The boys Hi-5'd the bar staff when they got a drink and spread all along the Martini Bar denying space to others who wanted serving. They would have been much more suited on NCL or RC, rather than on Celebrity or a cruise marketed to those seeking an adult environment.) Read Less