Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by Ray Jack
- Sail Date: June 2015
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Verandah
About 0300 the Easyjet plus bag drop opened up and our 3 cases were accepted once the boarding pass had been scanned and a receipt issued, (cant find receipt at present), we proceeded to the security check in desks.
On arrival at the security check in we were unable to proceed into the departure lounge as our boarding passes, which had been printed at home weren’t being accepted, after advice from the security staff there, we went back to the Easyjet desk to get it sorted out.
The Easyjet personnel (male) listened to what we had to say looked at our boarding passes and printed out new ones, once again we returned to the security check in with our newly printed out Easyjet boarding passes, only to be refused entry to the departure lounge again.
Once again we went back to the Easyjet personnel (male) who now informed us that the flight had been cancelled, we were told various things including we should have been notified by our travel agents, or we should have been advised by Celebrity, or we had all been sent emails and it had been cancelled 4 days previously, needless to say neither us or any of the other passengers going on the cruise had been given any such notification.
The flight EZY5253 had been shown on their website as still departing on the 29/06/15 at 0650, the night before, and after checking the internet at the airport, it was still shown as departing at the same day & time, there was nothing there about it being cancelled.
The 27 others that were flying out to join the cruise hadn't been notified either, there were also a lot of other people possibly independent travellers who likewise hadn’t been informed, I would estimate there were about 100 of them all in a queue trying to get seen by an extremely inadequate number of Easyjet staff at the check in desks.
When asked what we were supposed to do, the Easyjet personnel (male) just said join the enquiries queue, which by this time was very long and growing by the minute. This was totally unacceptable, we had a cruise ship to meet up with in Italy, if we weren’t there it would depart without us, Easyjet staff did not seem concerned about this at all.
Two of the passengers, who were slightly in front of us in the queue, were told they would fly them to Naples and they could catch a train to Rome airport but that would arrive to late anyway, and the train journey cost would be at their own expense. As there appeared to be only 2 available seats on that flight, it was not an option for anyone else.
Amongst my paperwork for this very expensive holiday I found a phone number for Celebrity, which I rang at 0402 and spoke with a helpful lady who also wasn't aware that our flight had been cancelled, she said that if I didn't hear from her within 15mins I was to call her back, I called her back at 0432, 30mins later, and she informed me that the flight EZY5253 was going to be reinstated and she was still on the phone with Easyjet. There was no time given for this flight to take off however.
We then had to get our boarding passes reissued so that we could proceed to the departure lounge to travel, we sat around the airport for around 4 hours, waiting for the flight gate to be shown, there were no apologies from Easyjet at the airport, no offers of refreshment while we were waiting around.
Not only did this totally ruin the start of our holiday which we had been planning for months, it left us stressed out, still unsure whether we would actually make the connection to the ship as there was a coach journey to be made the other end.
This is solely down to the incompetence of Easyjet to operate a service, they say on the boarding pass “if you're late we won't wait” but nothing about how they will treat passengers if Easyjet are late or in this case cancelled/postponed.
We landed in Rome and caught the transfer coach from Rome to Civitavecchia, where we were rushed through the check in, onto Celebrity Reflection only to be ordered to the muster positions for the safety talk, no thought about letting us put our bags down or into our cabins or get something to drink, it wasn't our fault we were late, it was Easyjet which had been booked by Celebrity, perhaps they should think about flying with a decent company rather than Easyjet. We received no ‘welcome on board’ or drink, we actually felt like an inconvenience to the staff for being late. One of our fellow travellers refused to attend the safety talk until he had accessed his cabin, such were his and ours stress levels.
Our Cabin was fine, as expected, cabin staff Hariaji & John very nice and obliging, kept the cabin spic and span while we were there, staff in the main were very helpful, food was great and the table waiters Mihai & Milena were excellent, ports of call were also very good, and they were places we hadn't been to before.
We only got to see one show, and this is solely down to Celebrity, as on previous cruises we opted for the late sitting, mainly so that when we went ashore we didn't have to rush back to get ourselves ready for dinner, the shows on this cruise were at 7pm and 9pm, at 7pm we were getting ourselves ready and at 9pm we were having dinner, the same applied to our other table guests.
On other cruises we have been on, there was a show starting around 8pm-8.30pm and also 10pm-1030pm, but I think Celebrity have stopped thinking about what the fare paying cruisers want and more about what Celebrity Reflection want.
Celebrity Reflection concentrated on having disco music around bars or in foyers, (probably to boost the bar sales), which is fine if you are into that scene, there were no late night shows, comedy or otherwise, we were very disappointed at only getting to see one show for the whole of the holiday. Having been on a celebrity ship before, we had thoroughly enjoyed the after dinner shows and late night comedy shows.
Another issue that arose, on most nights of the cruise were the children/teenagers running around the corridors during the evening and late at night / early morning and with doors banging also, into the early hours. No one seemed to be controlling these children. We know complaints were made around this, so we didn’t register ours as well as we hoped it was being dealt with.
In general, we enjoyed the cruise, the places we visited and the other table guests company in the evening, it was very pleasant and excellent company.
That was until late Wednesday afternoon, when we were informed, by call to our cabin, that Easyjet had cancelled our return flight EZY5254 on the 10/07/15 back to Gatwick, no reasons for the cancellation were given to us.
The options we were given were that we could fly from Rome to Frankfurt or Amsterdam for a transfer flight from there to Heathrow or Birmingham from where a coach would take us back to Gatwick, or catch a flight from Naples to Gatwick on Thursday 09/07/15 cutting our holiday short by a day.
Where as we should have flown from Rome to Gatwick arriving at around 12:35pm, we were now told that the flights would get us back around 11pm-midnight, Celebrity staff were unable to confirm flight times until sometime Thursday morning while in Naples, this meant hanging around onboard until things had been confirmed, so we only got to spend about an hour in Naples.
This also meant that we were unable to make our planned trip to Pompeii (arranged by ourselves). We were forced into opting for going back on the Thursday because we had a long standing appointment at 2pm on 10/07/15 in Surrey which couldn't be changed.
When guest relations staff were asked about our transfer to Naples airport they said they would sort it all out, they wanted to know what time we would leave and were informed that we would be ready to go around 4pm, Julia did call us back to ask if we were prepared to share a cab, I pointed out that while we have no objections to that, we had 3 cases of our own and I doubt there would be enough room for 2 couples and all the cases, I wasn't going to sit in a cab with a case on my lap, and after meeting up with the other couple at the airport they had told staff the same thing.
Needless to say they didn't arrange a cab, we waited for 30mins and spoke to someone from the excursions staff who tried calling on the radio to Guest Relations, but there was no answer, they had got us off the ship they weren't interested in us anymore, so much for guest relations.
I spoke to someone who was arranging the transportation of crew members, who for some reason thought ours was arranged for 4.30pm but none had arrived, so he arranged a cab for us with one of those drivers waiting, to take us, to the airport which we had to pay for and which cost us 55 euros, it wasn't paid for by Celebrity, which Guest Relations had said that it would be.
We flew back to Gatwick with British Airways which was a much better service, although I still had to pay them for the extra case which I had already paid Easyjet for, along with extra leg room, which I have no doubt Celebrity will tell me that I have to get that back from Easyjet.
We certainly would not contemplate travelling with Celebrity Cruises again, if they try to put us on an Easyjet flight, they know from previous experience with Easyjet that they do this a lot, according to what staff at Guest relations told us.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise experience with Celebrity and having tried other cruise lines since, had decided to return to yourselves however this experience has left us somewhat scarred and not very willing to recommend you to our friends, family and colleagues.
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