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I know opinions vary, hence their importance, but I find some of the criticism of the actual ship quite puzzling. This was our 5th cruise in 3 years with 3 different lines and it is by far the best of the 5, as it should be at only 3-4 years old. Yes, sometimes the colours appear less than sparkling but that is more to do with a bit of class and less zazz. Embarkation was easy, onboard from drop-off was about 15 minutes. Oceanview Cafe (buffet) was probably the best one we've used. The layout helped to keep queues down and the quality and variety of food was very good. We particularly liked the themed nights at certain ports. The Main Dining Room, in which we dined on all but one night, is a nice, classy-looking room. The different waiters we had were all excellent and very friendly. The sommeliers were also good. Menus were varied and enjoyable. However, the first 2-3 nights on board was chaos at the Maitrê D's desk, especially after 8.30pm. We were on Select Dining and even people who had booked specific times were left in queues for up to 15 minutes. The MDR blurb says last entry 10pm, closing 10.30pm but there were still some guests coming in at 10.20. We never dined there for breakfast other than disembarkation morning. We didn't use any of the speciality restaurants as we felt that they were quite expensive, especially considering how much we paid for the cruise. Biggest gripe of the cruise for us was the Alcoves. We paid £96 (nearly $150) for a sea day and we ended up getting our money refunded due to lack of accurate information on the booking pages. Briefly, the only food you get free is a cheese and fruit plate and 4 bottles of water. The advertised picnic baskets are $50 each and, unbeknown to us, have to be pre-booked; the brunch/lunch basket by midnight the previous night, the evening one by 1200 on the day. We were not informed of this. Also, the selling point of privacy and tranquility is misleading as it is restricted just to your cabana. The lawn is open to all on the ship and, as this was school holidays, it was full of noisy, vibrant children. Hardly tranquil. Finally, if it gets too windy, your massive cabana sun shade is removed, leaving you exposed to the blazing sun with no other shade. We felt it was a complete rip-off and won't entertain the idea again. We purchased the Classic Drinks Package and, although it can be worth it, we felt that it was quite poor. The selection of drinks in each category is quite restrictive and nobody informed us of the different price limits e.g. $8 for a cocktail. This severely limits your choice of cocktails, especially the menu items. You basically have to be embarrassed at the bar each time by being told you can't have a particular drink. Also, on your first few nights onboard, the bar staff are quite pushy trying to get you to upgrade. Entertainment: we thought the stage shows, including the ensemble cast and also the guest stars were all excellent. In particular, the Cirque-style show at the end was brilliant. There were 5 or so guests flown on, ranging from musician, comedy juggler, comedy magician, violinist, mostly British and all very, very good. However, other than Capricorn, the jazz quartet, we found the non-theatre entertainment of pretty low quality. Two musical duos, a house band (not to be confused with the theatre orchestra who were very good) and two DJ acts (the solo one ok, the other not.) Also, we found the decision to use the Main Lobby for a lot of the entertainment was a bit hit and miss. Yes, it meant guests on 3 or 4 decks could see it but it wasn't great for interactive shows. The CD, Alexander, was very funny and one of the best on-stage CD's we've seen. We didn't do any shore excursions with Celebrity as they all seemed to be very expensive compared to other cruises and we'd done enough pre-cruise investigating to know everything we wanted to do. The 11-night E Med itinerary was great, Santorini excepted. One notable thing for us was the staff; almost without exception every member of staff we came across was excellent. Always smiling, helpful and polite. Of particular note was the visible presence of the the Master of the Vessel (Captain) around the ship. We saw him on at least 4 evenings in addition to the formal nights, just wandering around, having quick chats with guests. We also saw more senior officers regularly too. Overall, we feel that this was our best cruise of 5, so much so that we've already booked back onto the Reflection for a Caribbean cruise in March next year.

Beautiful Ship, Fabulous Itinerary

Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by midscouple

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2015
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Verandah
I know opinions vary, hence their importance, but I find some of the criticism of the actual ship quite puzzling. This was our 5th cruise in 3 years with 3 different lines and it is by far the best of the 5, as it should be at only 3-4 years old. Yes, sometimes the colours appear less than sparkling but that is more to do with a bit of class and less zazz. Embarkation was easy, onboard from drop-off was about 15 minutes.

Oceanview Cafe (buffet) was probably the best one we've used. The layout helped to keep queues down and the quality and variety of food was very good. We particularly liked the themed nights at certain ports. The Main Dining Room, in which we dined on all but one night, is a nice, classy-looking room. The different waiters we had were all excellent and very friendly. The sommeliers were also good. Menus were varied and enjoyable. However, the first 2-3 nights on board was chaos at the Maitrê D's desk, especially after 8.30pm. We were on Select Dining and even people who had booked specific times were left in queues for up to 15 minutes. The MDR blurb says last entry 10pm, closing 10.30pm but there were still some guests coming in at 10.20. We never dined there for breakfast other than disembarkation morning. We didn't use any of the speciality restaurants as we felt that they were quite expensive, especially considering how much we paid for the cruise.

Biggest gripe of the cruise for us was the Alcoves. We paid £96 (nearly $150) for a sea day and we ended up getting our money refunded due to lack of accurate information on the booking pages. Briefly, the only food you get free is a cheese and fruit plate and 4 bottles of water. The advertised picnic baskets are $50 each and, unbeknown to us, have to be pre-booked; the brunch/lunch basket by midnight the previous night, the evening one by 1200 on the day. We were not informed of this. Also, the selling point of privacy and tranquility is misleading as it is restricted just to your cabana. The lawn is open to all on the ship and, as this was school holidays, it was full of noisy, vibrant children. Hardly tranquil. Finally, if it gets too windy, your massive cabana sun shade is removed, leaving you exposed to the blazing sun with no other shade. We felt it was a complete rip-off and won't entertain the idea again.

We purchased the Classic Drinks Package and, although it can be worth it, we felt that it was quite poor. The selection of drinks in each category is quite restrictive and nobody informed us of the different price limits e.g. $8 for a cocktail. This severely limits your choice of cocktails, especially the menu items. You basically have to be embarrassed at the bar each time by being told you can't have a particular drink. Also, on your first few nights onboard, the bar staff are quite pushy trying to get you to upgrade.

Entertainment: we thought the stage shows, including the ensemble cast and also the guest stars were all excellent. In particular, the Cirque-style show at the end was brilliant. There were 5 or so guests flown on, ranging from musician, comedy juggler, comedy magician, violinist, mostly British and all very, very good. However, other than Capricorn, the jazz quartet, we found the non-theatre entertainment of pretty low quality. Two musical duos, a house band (not to be confused with the theatre orchestra who were very good) and two DJ acts (the solo one ok, the other not.) Also, we found the decision to use the Main Lobby for a lot of the entertainment was a bit hit and miss. Yes, it meant guests on 3 or 4 decks could see it but it wasn't great for interactive shows. The CD, Alexander, was very funny and one of the best on-stage CD's we've seen.

We didn't do any shore excursions with Celebrity as they all seemed to be very expensive compared to other cruises and we'd done enough pre-cruise investigating to know everything we wanted to do. The 11-night E Med itinerary was great, Santorini excepted. One notable thing for us was the staff; almost without exception every member of staff we came across was excellent. Always smiling, helpful and polite. Of particular note was the visible presence of the the Master of the Vessel (Captain) around the ship. We saw him on at least 4 evenings in addition to the formal nights, just wandering around, having quick chats with guests. We also saw more senior officers regularly too. Overall, we feel that this was our best cruise of 5, so much so that we've already booked back onto the Reflection for a Caribbean cruise in March next year.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View with Verandah
Cabin 2A 7230
Our cabin on deck 7 was a good size, the shower room particularly well-sized. Cupboards, wardrobes etc looked nice but on closer inspection the reality is that I felt that they looked of the kind of quality that resulted in British furniture store MFI closing down a few years back. I felt that we could have had more drawers but that's partially because we didn't spot the large ones above the bed until about 4 days in. Doh! Plenty of wardrobe space with plenty of hangers. The room was kept spotless by our cabin steward, Sunil, who was absolutely brilliant. Very polite and helpful, nothing was too much trouble from him.
Sunrise Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Athens (Piraeus)
    There are, I gather, two terminals in Piraeus, we went into B. Right opposite the ship is the bus stop for the regular X80 bus (also stops at A) which takes you straight to the Acropolis. It costs €4 for 24hrs unlimited travel on all Athens public transport. We got to the Acropolis about 8.40am and even though there was only a small queue, once we were in and got up the 100 or so steps (and slopes) there were already hundreds there. The information we were given, in the form of maps, was hit and miss. We didn't realise that our map was for just one slope (the East.) For others, you had to seek out someone and ask. But so much to see up there, most notably of course, the Parthenon. There is some shade at the top but again, as with Ephesus, very little shade and no vendors inside. Even at 9am the sun was baking so be prepared. The onto the Acropolis Museum which is just over the road. A nice museum with plenty to see. Lunch in the restaurant (reasonably priced) gave us a rest. We then went to the Temple of Zeus and the Gateway to Olypieion, another tremendous site and ticket price included as part of the Acropolis. We finished off worthy walk to the Panathaneic Stadium which was excellent then back on the X80 to the ship.
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  • Istanbul
    Great place. Loved everything here. We took a full day tour with True Blue Tours of Istanbul who I can't recommend highly enough. Very small groups (just my wife and I in the morning with superb guide, Elif.) We did their full-day Best of Istanbul tour which included, funicular to Pierre Lotti cafe with great city views, Ruston Pasha mosque, 90 minute Bosphorous cruise, dropping on the Asian banks so taking a train back, lunch (price included) in a beautiful boutique hotel, Hagia Sophia, Cisterns, Blue Mosque and Hippodrome. We didn't actually go in the Blue Mosque as it was a Friday (Holy Day) and its hours for visitors are erratic so queues were massive. Our choice, not the guide's. 8hr tour. Ruston Pasha, Hagia Sophia and the Cisterns were amazing. If you've got a bay-looking balcony, just sit and watch the traffic on the Bosphorous; it's phenomenal. Boats everywhere. Transport to/from the dock was easy, we took the tram. However, be aware, if another ship or two are embarking/disembarking there, you will dock about 1km from the terminal.
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  • Kusadasi
    The rating is for the trip to Ephesus. Kusadasis is a tourist resort town. We were hassled a bit by taxi drivers when we left the ship but we wanted to go for a drink, get wifi and make our own plans. We got a private trip to Ephesus and what a place. It really is a fantastic way to spend a few hours. As others have said, do take plenty of water and sun screen as once you're inside the site, there's no kiosks or shade (although the vendors outside the entrance seemed reasonably priced.) The audio guide is well worth the price.
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  • Mykonos
    Beautiful little place. Tendering far easier than Santorini and you're taken straight into the harbour town. The town was very small with tiny streets and hundreds of shops and restaurants. After the trek around in the heat of Ephesus the day before, we just wanted to chill which was easy to do. Cafe for a beer and wifi, another walk around, finishing off with just sitting on a harbour wall, dangling our feet in the beautiful Aegean waters.
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  • Naples
    Review is for Pompeii & Herculaneum, not necessarily Naples which, frankly, is a dump and has few redeeming features. We took a No1 tram from the port to Porta Nolana station for the Circumvesuviana train. First thing to note is that to travel on buses/trams in Italy, you must buy your ticket from a Tabaccheria (Tobaccanists), noticeable by the big "T" outside. The one in the terminal didn't sell them but the one just outside did, €1 per single journey. The station at Porta Nolana, the terminus for the train, is a horrid concrete building with few facilities. I wanted two return tickets to Pompeii which was €10.40. The agent refused my €20 note, telling me I had to go to the bank for change. At 7.30am? She was very rude and her till (cash register) was two margarine tubs with about €2 in them. I complained to a manager and got my tickets.

    The trains themselves are old and uncomfortable and will have lots of commuters on. On alighting at Pompeii Scavi, the entrance is about 30m away. Pompeii itself is MASSIVE. Do not underestimate its size. To see it fully, I would say you need most of the day. There's so many things to see that you need a guide of some sorts. We chose audio guides for €5 each but, along with other visitors, we found we had to stop using them shortly after. The main problem is that it simply gives too much information. That level of info might be ok for students of history or archaeology but just too much for the casual visitor. I reckon that if you followed the guide for everything, then they'd be kicking you out after closing.

    Unfortunately, this only leads onto another problem; there is little or no written information around the site so if you don't have a guide, you're really just walking in and out of old buildings randomly. Another problem was tour guide groups, some of which had up to 40 members in. This meant that the place always felt crowded even though it probably wasn't. We lasted about 2 and a half hours before knocking it on the head and heading back along the line to Herculaneum (be sure you alight at Ercolano Scavi.) The walk to the site is about 500m and there are plenty of eating places and shops along the route but most notable was the lack of pushiness seen at Pompeii. The site itself is compact and we did it in an hour, mainly because of the lack of visitors. It was so much better than Pompeii in many ways. Do note that it is run by the same organisation so the audio guides, I'm guessing, will be similar. But, as it's a smaller site, it may not be such a problem. In hindsight, I think doing one of the two historical sites would have been preferable, possibly with a Sorrento or Capri trip. If you have to choose one, I'd go for Herculaneum.
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  • Santorini
    My advice for Santorini is either take a Celebrity excursion or get up early on the day and get an early tender ticket. It is a tiny harbour and if you aren't on a Celebrity excursion, the only way up to the town from your disembarkation point is donkey (PLEASE DON'T) up the 588 steps, walk the steps yourself through the donkey waste or the 36-person seat funicular. There were 3 ships in when we were there, do the maths (the previous Wednesday, there were FIVE ships, 11000 passengers, in.) The excursion people start tendering even before the ship drops anchor and they are dropped at a different harbour for buses but do note, their return is via the steps/funicular route. The night before, the CD told us not to worry as it still only took 60-90 minutes to get everyone off; the excursion people started leaving about 1330, we didn't get off until 1600.

    We queued an hour for the 2 minute funicular journey and to be honest, Fira didn't seem to have a lot to offer. The wait for the funicular back down was horrendous. That was over an hour and we didn't actually get down until after the last tender was officially supposed to have departed. The excursion people were told by their guides to allow 20 minutes. Nonsense. The problem was exacerbated by people trying to walk straight to the front of the queue because "We're on the Refection, we have to get down." You and me both, baby. Celebrity could have had agents at the top to allay our fears of the ship departing without us.
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