As regular Celebrity cruisers, this was our first time on the Reflection and loved it! After having booked a year in advance, as prices went down we upgraded from concierge mid ship to AQ forward if only to get to eat in Blu (more about that later).
A brief rundown of things that are important to us.
We chose AQ for Blu which we have dined in on other ships. Our first night dining in Blu our group of 4 were seated in the front section and found the waiter a bit too high energy and the sommelier terrible. After that first night, we asked to sit in the back which is more quiet and we lucked out with Ivis our waitress and Madelina, our sommelier who were outstanding, warm and professional! Each dinner was terrific but we chose to eat at the buffet for breakfast a couple of times as the Blu breakfast menu really needs to change as it gets very boring. It's time to switch Blu breakfast up Celebrity! And its also time to improve desserts!! On our first night we took advantage of a Murano discount and had a fabulous meal. We also had the seafood tower at the Porch for lunch on our first day at sea (good thing as there were not other days at sea that were warm enough)
We decided if AQ, on subsequent cruises is too expensive, we will choose a better cabin location and eat more in the speciality restaurants.
Thanks to all staff who were always helpful in Gluten Free dining options for my husband and sister in law. They can however do a much better job in GF bread quality considering the huge choices available now.
Entertainment and Activities
The overall energy of this particular sailing was phenomenal. Guiseppe, the cruise director was by far the best cruise director we have ever had in any of our 12 cruises on Celebrity or any other ship. Having many of the ship "parties" in the central foyer resulted in a lot of participation including a few silent discos and an amazing Abba Sing A Long on the night we sailed away from Stockholm. Imagine 3 levels of the grand foyer all signing along, it was a blast. As far as the other entertainment, the Broadway selection was great, one of the comedians was fabulous and the other entertainment was eh. The bars had boring singers and Celebrity needs to step that up a bit.
Bars and Café Bacio
Clearly they are short staffed at the Martini Bar which, as usual was packed and often hard to find staff. As days at sea were pretty windy and cool, we stayed in the solarium for two days and found staff non existent and often no one around to take orders or clean up dirty dishes.
Café Bacio had only two staff, one a hard working man and one a young woman who was downright rude when she made two mistakes (like forgetting one person's order) and rather than saying sorry, she decided to suggest it was our fault. Mmmm. But the coffee there is fantastic and we took lattes from there in the mornings for Blu as it was better.
This was a Baltic cruise which had a fantastic itinerary. I will not get into the details as these can be found on the Baltic boards but a few things. Avoid the Strommers Hop On Hop Off Bus at the Copenhagen port!!! They are the only HOHO at the port and run a terrible operation. Hope enough people complain to Celebrity. Not only were they not prepared for the masses, one bus broke down before it even left, then when our bus finally left, we were then told we needed to changes buses at the first stop. Well after at least 45 minutes, another bus showed up. This after we say 5!! other HOHO buses from another company come and go.
Plan ahead and book any private tours. We used TJ in St Petersburg who were terrific and if you choose not to go into Berlin (we went 3 days early to spend time there) the local port is lovely and no need to go to Rostock.
We found that Celebrity should have allowed full days to get the experience at each port as we felt rushed. Loved our cruise, no regrets, but next time we are in Europe, we will do it by land.
We were in AQ class forward only because there was a great reduction in prices and we since we wanted AQ, we forfeited our mid ship location. The ship was pretty stable except for one day that was very rought but that effected the entire ship. This location was way too far from the elevator and the complete opposite of the ship where Blu is (forward vs back). Our cabin steward Narciso was new and was outstanding.
Regarding AQ and perks. I don't understand why they continue to include canapes (we changed to cheese and crackers - cracker were cheap, awful and stale) and after two days asked for nothing. Canapes sitting in a cabin for hours is not smart.
The balcony did have footstools and had enough space for comfort.