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This is another review of the cruise with the boarding delay due to the bomb threat. Everything depends on your perspective, and I would much prefer Celebrity take every precaution regarding security, even if it is inconvenient. I don't know enough about how these threats are handled to judge Celebrity's handling of the situation. Coming from northeast Ohio, we found the weather quite comfortable so the wait wasn't unbearable from that standpoint. The bottled water was helpful and plentiful, but trailer-"restrooms" were across the street in the parking garage, and they were abysmal, some of the worst I've ever experienced anywhere in the world. Some people say the $50 OBC given as compensation was too little, too late, but Celebrity owed us absolutely nothing, so we thought it was a nice touch. Once embarkation restarted, everything went smoothly. Departing an hour late raised another issue--we were an hour late arriving in San Juan so all shore excursions were cancelled. This was the only port we had never visited and we were looking forward to the narrated drive around the city, seeing the sights in the twilight. As it was, we walked into town but didn't feel safe after dark. The panhandlers were out, streets were not well marked or well lit, the map provided by the ship's shopping staff was not to scale, and the stores were all closing. We talked to two couples who told us storekeepers had shut the doors in their faces and laughed at them. I would love to go back and visit in daylight hours. So now that the negatives are out of the way, here's the rest of my narrative. About us: We are retirees in our late 60's from northeast Ohio. This was our 8th cruise, 4th on Celebrity. We travelled with our daughter and son-in-law, who live in the DC area. We flew to Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Place West. The hotel was great with food service available around the clock and free breakfast. Shuttle to the port was $12 per person. The Ship: I'm not one to go looking for minute issues to criticize, so maybe I missed something, but I found the Reflection to be very well-maintained. We had sailed on her sister ship, the Equinox, previously, so it was easy to learn our way around. The foyer was decorated for the holidays and provided a cheerful background. Cabin: We had a category 2C veranda with obstructed view on Deck 6. The obstruction was that you looked down on the top of the lifeboats, but you could see perfectly well looking out to sea. Our steward, Edmund, kept the room spotless and kept the ice bucket filled. One criticism--we had the same category on the Equinox and the bathroom there was bigger and had more storage. Dining: We had select dining and chose to eat around 6:30 every night. We tried to get reservations in Dimitar's section every night. Even when we had to take our chances, he looked out for us and made sure we got seated in his area. This was important for us because our daughter has food allergies and he quickly learned to look out for what was on the menu that she couldn't eat and what could be modified for her. His assistant, Suartana, kept the water glasses and bread basket full and learned our after-dinner coffee preferences. Food in the MDR was good but not outstanding, pretty much comparable to a mid-level chain restaurant like Applebee's or Red Lobster. The buffet was well laid out and had good variety. My husband uses a cane because he is recovering from hip replacement surgery, and the crew was always ready to help him carry his food or find a table. Beverage service was spotty, sometimes you had to find someone to take your order for a can of cola. Coffee in the buffet was dreadful, but since we had the classis beverage package, we learned we could get Café Americanos at the bar near the door. That helped perk us up in the morning. We ate at the Mast Grill for lunch twice. Burgers were cooked on the spot, rather than sitting around drying out. The ambiance was pleasant with music drifting up from the pool. We booked using the Go Better promo, where you could pick 2 perks. We chose the $300 OBC and Classic Beverage package. We certainly got our money's worth on both. By the time you get a can of cola for lunch, an iced coffee at Café Al Baccio in the afternoon, and a glass of wine with dinner, that covers your daily cost. By the time you add the extra $50 per stateroom and an OBC gift from our TA, we had trouble spending all our credit. I bought a few pictures I probably wouldn't have just to use it up. But with these two items, paid up front, we didn't spend anything extra on board. In the ports, we bought mostly souvenir items and postcards, although I did get a very nice pearl bracelet in St. Maarten. Entertainment: We enjoyed the 3 ship productions shows and Divas 3, one of the specialty acts. There were also 2 comedians and a Beatles' tribute, which we did not attend. We didn't spend much time listening to the music in the foyer, since seating was limited, but we did like to sit in the Ensemble Lounge and listen to Jonny Mantra, the singer/guitarist. Port and shore excursions: As mentioned above, San Juan was a total bust. St. Thomas: We took the Best of St. Thomas and Shopping excursion through the ship. We had been to St. Thomas before, but it rained that day so we didn't get to see much. This excursion took us all around the island, mostly to higher elevations for a scenic view. There were a few souvenir shops at the various stops, but if you wanted to do some serious shopping in Charlotte Amalie, they would drop you off downtown after the tour and you had to find your way back to the ship. The bus was an open-air, 20 passenger jeep-type vehicle, very uncomfortable and difficult to get into and out of. St. Maarten: We had also been there previously and wanted to revisit downtown Phillipsburg. So we had a leisurely breakfast, got off the ship, walked around, did a little shopping, took some pictures, and got back on the ship and relaxed the rest of the day. Disembarkation: This was painless. We booked Luggage Valet and a transfer to the Miami airport. They told us to allow 1 1/2 hours for customs, but since my husband is still mobility challenged, they sent us through the handicapped line and quickly on our way. Miami airport, on the other hand, is a confusing mess. On arrival, we had to walk from one end of the concourse to the other to get to baggage claim. On departure, there was no screen to tell us our gate so we ended up waiting in the check-in line, even though we were already checked in. Then the TSA check-point wasn't well-marked, and we found ourselves in the line going to Cuba. Fortunately, we got that straightened out and found the correct line. Worthy of note: The crew of the Reflection really went over and above expectations to make this a good cruise. And I know they had to work at it because I've never seen so many grumpy passengers before. I don't know if people were still upset about the boarding problems, but it seemed like a large minority were determined not to be pleased by anything. But the crew was always polite and smiling. And the officers were extraordinarily visible. While this might not have been our favorite cruise, due to the problems at the start, it was certainly a positive experience and I enjoyed the ship very much.

Mostly great but 2 BIG problems

Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by CruisinCadie

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2015
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Verandah (partially obstructed view)
This is another review of the cruise with the boarding delay due to the bomb threat. Everything depends on your perspective, and I would much prefer Celebrity take every precaution regarding security, even if it is inconvenient. I don't know enough about how these threats are handled to judge Celebrity's handling of the situation. Coming from northeast Ohio, we found the weather quite comfortable so the wait wasn't unbearable from that standpoint. The bottled water was helpful and plentiful, but trailer-"restrooms" were across the street in the parking garage, and they were abysmal, some of the worst I've ever experienced anywhere in the world. Some people say the $50 OBC given as compensation was too little, too late, but Celebrity owed us absolutely nothing, so we thought it was a nice touch. Once embarkation restarted, everything went smoothly.

Departing an hour late raised another issue--we were an hour late arriving in San Juan so all shore excursions were cancelled. This was the only port we had never visited and we were looking forward to the narrated drive around the city, seeing the sights in the twilight. As it was, we walked into town but didn't feel safe after dark. The panhandlers were out, streets were not well marked or well lit, the map provided by the ship's shopping staff was not to scale, and the stores were all closing. We talked to two couples who told us storekeepers had shut the doors in their faces and laughed at them. I would love to go back and visit in daylight hours.

So now that the negatives are out of the way, here's the rest of my narrative.

About us: We are retirees in our late 60's from northeast Ohio. This was our 8th cruise, 4th on Celebrity. We travelled with our daughter and son-in-law, who live in the DC area.

We flew to Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Place West. The hotel was great with food service available around the clock and free breakfast. Shuttle to the port was $12 per person.

The Ship: I'm not one to go looking for minute issues to criticize, so maybe I missed something, but I found the Reflection to be very well-maintained. We had sailed on her sister ship, the Equinox, previously, so it was easy to learn our way around. The foyer was decorated for the holidays and provided a cheerful background.

Cabin: We had a category 2C veranda with obstructed view on Deck 6. The obstruction was that you looked down on the top of the lifeboats, but you could see perfectly well looking out to sea. Our steward, Edmund, kept the room spotless and kept the ice bucket filled. One criticism--we had the same category on the Equinox and the bathroom there was bigger and had more storage.

Dining: We had select dining and chose to eat around 6:30 every night. We tried to get reservations in Dimitar's section every night. Even when we had to take our chances, he looked out for us and made sure we got seated in his area. This was important for us because our daughter has food allergies and he quickly learned to look out for what was on the menu that she couldn't eat and what could be modified for her. His assistant, Suartana, kept the water glasses and bread basket full and learned our after-dinner coffee preferences. Food in the MDR was good but not outstanding, pretty much comparable to a mid-level chain restaurant like Applebee's or Red Lobster.

The buffet was well laid out and had good variety. My husband uses a cane because he is recovering from hip replacement surgery, and the crew was always ready to help him carry his food or find a table. Beverage service was spotty, sometimes you had to find someone to take your order for a can of cola.

Coffee in the buffet was dreadful, but since we had the classis beverage package, we learned we could get Café Americanos at the bar near the door. That helped perk us up in the morning.

We ate at the Mast Grill for lunch twice. Burgers were cooked on the spot, rather than sitting around drying out. The ambiance was pleasant with music drifting up from the pool.

We booked using the Go Better promo, where you could pick 2 perks. We chose the $300 OBC and Classic Beverage package. We certainly got our money's worth on both. By the time you get a can of cola for lunch, an iced coffee at Café Al Baccio in the afternoon, and a glass of wine with dinner, that covers your daily cost. By the time you add the extra $50 per stateroom and an OBC gift from our TA, we had trouble spending all our credit. I bought a few pictures I probably wouldn't have just to use it up. But with these two items, paid up front, we didn't spend anything extra on board. In the ports, we bought mostly souvenir items and postcards, although I did get a very nice pearl bracelet in St. Maarten.

Entertainment: We enjoyed the 3 ship productions shows and Divas 3, one of the specialty acts. There were also 2 comedians and a Beatles' tribute, which we did not attend. We didn't spend much time listening to the music in the foyer, since seating was limited, but we did like to sit in the Ensemble Lounge and listen to Jonny Mantra, the singer/guitarist.

Port and shore excursions: As mentioned above, San Juan was a total bust.

St. Thomas: We took the Best of St. Thomas and Shopping excursion through the ship. We had been to St. Thomas before, but it rained that day so we didn't get to see much. This excursion took us all around the island, mostly to higher elevations for a scenic view. There were a few souvenir shops at the various stops, but if you wanted to do some serious shopping in Charlotte Amalie, they would drop you off downtown after the tour and you had to find your way back to the ship. The bus was an open-air, 20 passenger jeep-type vehicle, very uncomfortable and difficult to get into and out of.

St. Maarten: We had also been there previously and wanted to revisit downtown Phillipsburg. So we had a leisurely breakfast, got off the ship, walked around, did a little shopping, took some pictures, and got back on the ship and relaxed the rest of the day.

Disembarkation: This was painless. We booked Luggage Valet and a transfer to the Miami airport. They told us to allow 1 1/2 hours for customs, but since my husband is still mobility challenged, they sent us through the handicapped line and quickly on our way.

Miami airport, on the other hand, is a confusing mess. On arrival, we had to walk from one end of the concourse to the other to get to baggage claim. On departure, there was no screen to tell us our gate so we ended up waiting in the check-in line, even though we were already checked in. Then the TSA check-point wasn't well-marked, and we found ourselves in the line going to Cuba. Fortunately, we got that straightened out and found the correct line.

Worthy of note: The crew of the Reflection really went over and above expectations to make this a good cruise. And I know they had to work at it because I've never seen so many grumpy passengers before. I don't know if people were still upset about the boarding problems, but it seemed like a large minority were determined not to be pleased by anything. But the crew was always polite and smiling. And the officers were extraordinarily visible.

While this might not have been our favorite cruise, due to the problems at the start, it was certainly a positive experience and I enjoyed the ship very much.
CruisinCadie’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View with Verandah (partially obstructed view)
Cabin 2C 6176
Good mid-ship location, obstruction only a problem if you're looking directly down, not much storage space.
Continental Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Island Tour
    This tour was advertised at Best of St. Thomas and Shopping. The bus took us to many scenic overlooks around the island. There were some souvenir shops at these stops but if you wanted to do any serious shopping, they dropped you off in downtown Charlotte Amalie and you had to make your own way back to the ship. The bus is a big, open-air, 20-passenger jeep-type vehicle, very uncomfortable and difficult to climb in and out of.
    View All 271 Island Tour Reviews