Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by SnazzyD
- Sail Date: August 2017
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Sky Suite
We chose to start in Rome again because we loved it last time and wanted a full day to explore or use for travel delays. We stayed in the Hotel Anglo Americano, very close to the Trevi Fountain which meant all the sights apart from the Vatican were within easy walking distance. Although it is supposed to be 4* it has basic amenities, especially its breakfast only offerings which were not great quality this time round. Our transport (about 1 hour from 11am on a Monday) was with Holiday Taxis arranged by our agent Trailfinders and they were prompt and courteous like last time.
Embarkation would have been seamless, had I not thought I'd lost my passport. The Celebrity staff were as worried as we were and helpful as far as they could be, but essentially knew we couldn't board without it. Once found, we were quickly helped through. I had put in a request for assistance in advance due to being unable to stand for long periods (took an hour last time, even with the Suites channel) in heat due to medication, but was not able to find anyone who knew about it. In the event it wasn't needed but that's not the point.
Once up to our Sky suite on deck 11 aft corner we were quickly greeted by our great butler Teghu and attendant Joewel (? spelling) who were helpful throughout. It seems that attendants now work on their own instead of pairs (cutbacks?). In fact there seemed to be fewer staff overall especially in the public loos which sometimes ran out of towels or were not the normal spotless. However, key loos near dining areas were always kept tip top. All ship areas were immaculate as usual. All staff went out of their way to be helpful, cheerful and make one feel special.
Dining - We largely stuck to Luminae and Oceanview with one trip to Tuscan Grill and The Porch. Luminae we love for its decor, window views, service and relative peace. Our waiter Mustaffa and his colleagues went out of their way to get to know us and make a great experience. Last time dining times were truly flexible, but this time it seemed to be more restrictive, either 6:30 or 8:30 due to “large groups” which we never saw there. The menu was more varied than last time. The Oceanview was good and we loved the vast choice and ease of it. The quality seems to have dipped a bit, particularly with deserts and far too much salt is used, something I read on these reviews time and time again. They did however, have labelled gluten free deserts which was great. The staff do a good job keeping tables clear and keeping drinks flowing which cuts down traffic to the bar. The Tuscan Grill was good but our waiter could not cope with us not wanting to stuff ourselves senseless and kept pressing us to eat. The Porch is an ideal setting for sailaways and is light and airy. It is billed as the place to go for seafood; it was ok and the paella was not great.
What I would ask Celebrity is to stop these questionnaires because staff put pressure on guests to give them 10 like their job depends on it and it kills the mood they have tried to build up all evening. If you have to hand it back, it isn't very confidential and one is annoyed anyway, so how useful is the information?
Drinks packages- we are very light drinkers and like a couple of glasses of good wine and that's it, no cocktails, shots or soft drinks etc, so we are cheap to run. A Premium is pointless but Classic has become so restricted it is equally worthless as a perk or to buy. In Luminae there was a choice of one white and one ropey red wine and no sparkling at all; a big reduction since 2015. Michael's Club is a great perk for this reason because we had a greater choice of drinks alcoholic and soft for free. The jolly ladies who looked after us there were great and got to know us and our preferences, so it was our go to bolt hole. But why oh why are the curtains drawn and lights so low we had to read books using our phone lights? It can't be a healthy environment for the staff to work in; like permanent night shift. We thought it might be to stop guests getting too comfortable and drinking too much for a comfortable $ bottom line.
Entertainment- We didn't do much because things were too late and we are early risers. Wanted to try the silent disco but we are in bed at 10:30. Seemed to be too many money spinning events dressed up as advice sessions. Not into shopping events or bling and the art not to our taste. Did two shows, one was good (set in an Irish bar) and the other (set in a computer) was puzzling and looked too much like the 80’s for our techy daughters to relate to it. Loved comedian Kev Orkian. Missed the quizzes due to timings with our day. Would love more educational events without a price tag. What about a season in the life of a staff member or the world of shipping for nerds like us? The speaker system in the main foyer haven't improved so they are both loud and muffled at the same time, making the performers sound a bit average.
Gym- The usual thing. If you really want to use it, you judge the busy times for your sailing and work round it; one reason we missed out on other activities.
Teenager stuff wasn't appealing to the girls (16 & 18) who were happy to play cards, read and play hunt the sun lounger and jacuzzi place. It was said there were 450 kids on board and it seemed to be that most of the 8-16’s amassed in the Hideaway which made it a no go area. The younger ones dominate the pool so thank heavens for the adults only solarium pool. The usual issue of badly behaved unsupervised kids in any holiday resort because the parents think it is everyone else's job to deal with them because they are on holiday. A medal for the dad who seemed to spend the whole cruise at the table tennis table with about 20 other kids.
The sun lounger situation is no better in spite of statements about enforcing the 30 minute rule. It seems that as long as you put a paperback on your towel you can leave it all day and not use it. Some staff were prepared to clear loungers if asked but others seem to think it was up to guests to police it themselves.
Ports - Enjoyed the ports but we didn't know about charges to get the shuttle out of the port in most places which cost €25-32 per day for four of us. The last cruise had free transport but there were more smaller ports. Add to that an extra 10% on charges on top of the 18%, in Spanish waters and some people would have had extra expenditure not budgeted for.
It sounds like lots of complaints but we had a great time. However, it is a build up of small things that may lose Celebrity customers as they seek to cut back too much and lose the cut above image.
We had the window washing gear to one side which we got so used to we didn't notice it. Could not see it through the door view from inside. Good sized balcony.
Being aft on deck 11 we could hear furniture being moved in the Oceanview but it really wasn't intrusive. Could not hear engines lying in bed like we could in same cabin on deck 8.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BarcelonaBarcelona has always been on my bucket list. The ship moored away from the best view of the city and a long way from the port entrance. It cost €20 to take the bus out of the port. Was a bit disappointed. La Rambla was not the quiet and quaint line of shops and cafes i had imagined. Instead it was hot, noisy with heavy traffic down both sides and largely shops and stalls selling tatt. Incompetence on our part meant that the prebooked timed tickets we got online for Sagrada Familia and the inner part of Park Guell were wasted. Why? We turned up at the wrong one on day 1 and the early ticket for the day 2 was useless because the shuttle bus and taxis didn't come to the boat early enough. So we walked round the free bit of Park Guell and got fabulous photos of the city and ship from the hill top. Taxis varied in price from €25 to €40 to Park Guell.View All 1,882 Barcelona Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Barcelona Cruise Port Review
La Spezia (Cinque Terre)My husband and girls took the Celebrity tour to Florence with the boat trip while I stayed on board. They said they could have done with three hours instead of two and a bit doing own thing. Boat trip was enjoyable and seeing the place from a different perspective. The obligatory tour of a leather factory/shop was endured. Prices of goods were insane. They came back with smiles and photos, specs they ask for more.View All 190 La Spezia (Cinque Terre) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's La Spezia (Cinque Terre) Cruise Port Review
Rome (Civitavecchia)We booked two nights in Rome to do this amazing place justice. So glad we didn't have to see it via a shore excursion.View All 1,887 Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Review
VillefrancheWe decided to not beat a trail to Nice and tootle round Villefranche instead. Tender boat gets you right next to town which is on a very steep incline. A picturesque town with narrow streets. Went to the Citadel, a stone's throw from the harbour, which has gardens and works of art.View All 288 Villefranche Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Villefranche Cruise Port Review