My partner and I had never thought of a cruise holiday before. We saw an advert in our travel agents window advertising the 11 day cruise on the Celebrity Reflection and chose it because it visited most of the places we had previously been on holiday too. We researched the ship through YouTube videos so had a pretty good idea of what the ship was like, including the AquaClass cabin. My partner's niece and her husband has decided to join us. We flew local, from Birmingham to Rome. We were too late to join the optional tour into the city before embarking so transferred straight away. Believe it or not, the only niggle I can mention from the whole holiday, Yep, the whole holiday was the chaos that construed when we tried to hand over our luggage to the Reflection crew at the airport. It was just a free for all and had no organisation whatsever.
The transfer into the ship was smooth and fairly quick. It was the most amazing sight to see this magnificent ship close up! We started feeling the first tingle of excitement as we walked up the gangway into the ship. We were able to go straight up to our cabin, 1506 on the starboard side. Our fellow travellers were in 1505 on the port side. After settling in we went on a wander to discover what this magnificent vessel had to offer. Phew! Just getting round the ship was a major fitness session! But plenty of lifts zipped you up and down the decks in no time.
Being in AquaClass gave us certain extra perks. Not many but a few. One of them was the dining option. There are several speciality restaurants on the ship. One of which is Blue, which is reserved exclusively for AquaClass passengers. The restaurant looked amazing and the menu looked exciting. First night dining was very good. Second night in Blu was reasonably OK but not great. It is very intimate and I mean intimate. It's small and everyone is sitting next to one another. It wasn't until we decided to try the main restaurant, Opus, that we found the perfect combination of setting, style, perfect food, service and happy staff that we switched to this restaurant for the remainder of the trip.A few nights later, the maitre'd asked us when we arrived for dinner why we were not going to Blu anymore! He was obviously pleased when we told him the reason why. We had our own table reserved every evening on the balcony of the restaurant. With the same team which looked after us who were Marvin, Vanya and Anya. Three delightful people who it was a pleasure to meet.
We occasionally used to Ocean View Café but it became a bit too manic for us at times and we just used it for the odd beverage. The ship has various bars, coffee shops etc. The place to be was the Café Al Bacio, a lovely café to have afternoon tea and listen to the live music in the foyer the Ensemble Lounge with some great jazz groups, the Sunset Bar, the AquaSpa cafe which had amazing salads and health food along with a huge range of smoothies and juices and for entertainment the Reflection Theatre which was huge and had some good shows as well as visiting entertainers.There are numerous activities on board. We didn't actually get involved in any of the activities as were too busy doing other things but there is a fair choice. Service. Suffice to say that this ship lives up to all the stories you hear about it. The service is phenomenal. From the cabin staff (and in our particular case we have to mention Sunil who organised our cabin and dealt with our need with perfection) to the cleaning staff who were always out in force and it certainly showed in the standard of cleanliness right throughout the ship to the restaurant staff in Opus to any crew member who happened to be walking about and took time to chat. to the cruise director of entertainment, Richard Starkey who worked tirelessly every day and night to make sure people had a good time.
We went on two paid excursion, one to Santorini and the other to Naples/Sorrento/Pompeii. We had been to these places before but our companions hadn't and it was nice to see how impressed they were with the organisation. There was one incident on the trip to Santorini. We had been to Oia and were on our way to a winery for a tasting and food when the bus broke down and no attempt could get it going again. It was an extremely hot day, middle of the afternoon and it looked as though we were stuck for the duration! The guide was brilliant in dealing with his passengers, some, I hasten to add personally and verbally abused him saying it was his fault. It's unbelievable human nature sometimes. One or two stormed off to get a taxi to get back to the cable car. All I can say is that this is where the British patience and good sense prevails. Which is more than can be said for some Americans. The problem was solved shortly after when another tour buss offered us a lift to the cable car.
The port visits were brilliant to watch as our cabin was right next to where the captain steered the ship. We'll never forget the sunrise docking at Mykonos at 6am and watching it coming up from our balcony. The ports of call are some of the best. The only time we had to use a tender was at Santorni. Just a tip. If you disembark at Mykonos for a visit on your own, don't bother to join the long queues for the bus. Just hop onto the water taxi next to the bus and you are in the harbour at Mykonos in no time. For just 2 euros return it was really worth it. We all had a fabulous 11 days on this ship and it dispelled all my prejudices about going on a hugh cruise ship. Believe me, sometimes you just don't know you are on one. We were glad that there were at least two formal nights which gave us the chance to wear our dinner suits. There were a predominate number of passengers who made the effort. I would say that the average age of passengers on our trip was between 50 to 70 and it was brilliant to see everybody having a good time. Disembarkation was quick and easy and in time we were at Rome airport and on the way home. Would we go again? We most certainly would!
It was extremely spacious and had adequate storage. The balcony wasn't huge but it was big enough for two The bed was extremely comfortable with huge pillows. There was fresh fruit in the cabin every day and afternoon canapes waiting for you when you came in. It was kept extremely clean. The bathroom was large with special toiletries. There was no need to take any unless you wanted to use your own. The shower was amazing. Constant hot water, power rain shower with jest of water continuing down the shower unit. Brilliant! The cabin was at the front of the ship, near to the elevators but it was extremely quiet. The only thing with the position of this cabin was that since the restaurants were at the stern of the ship you had a long walk to eat! Still, it built up an appetite!