We cruised on Celebrity in the early 90 from FTL to Bermuda. It was first class and the food a gourmet’s dream. We developed a love for so many new foods on that cruise. We always wanted to try X again to see if corporate had cut quality of food and services as they had on other cruise companies we’ve tried recently. We have just in the last two years returned to cruising after a twenty year absence. In thirteen days we were not disappointed. The MDR food was diverse enough to prevent boredom and plentiful with excellent seasonings. Our experience is that other cruise companies are afraid to season their food for fear of passenger complaints. Our waiter would very often bring an appetizer or entree for table tasting. Our group of seasoned cruisers agreed that this was the first cruise where we looked forward each night to dinner in the MDR. We did enjoy the specialty restaurants, Qzine (well worth the animated show), Sushi on Five (at lunch with our drink package was excellent value for two at $39) and The Tuscan Restaurant (food was good but we all agreed that it was no better than MDR, best part was the charcuterie plate starter). Hint is that your MDR waiter can make these dining reservations for you and save you time doing it yourself. Table #431 at open seating has an expert crew that spoiled us for any other cruises. They were obviously well trained, organized, humorous, and had attention to details so dinner flowed seamlessly. Exactly the fine dining we were expecting on X. MDR open seating breakfast could be a challenge if in a hurry. It didn’t bother us. Lunch time was a little more problematic. One out of the two times at lunch there were multiple mix ups for our group of six. However, this company has well trained managers that jump in when needed so guests get needs met promptly. Ocean View Buffet lunch dining was used 6 of 13 days for the two of us. Hustle and bustle at peak times were the norm with difficulty finding a table. However the food quality and variety was exceptionally good. Our favorite was the Asian stir fry to order station. Hint is to get there right as they open cause it can take the one cook working at least seven to ten minutes per order. They could use more staff at that station. Finding a table outside to admire the beautiful ocean view was impossible in the Aft area without a wait. Our group at times would start game playing around 11:00 to hold the table for lunch and gaming. Although this ship had more than enough sun loungers there was a lack of tables to play games together in the outside areas. Mast Grill for lunch hotdogs and hamburgers was okay in a pinch. Hubs liked it. Hotdogs not anything special. Hint is the deliciousness of the Celebrity Burger with their grilled onions and mushrooms without the buns. Hint is the Aqua Spa Restaurant for breakfast alternative. Uncrowded, healthy choices, great views. Al Bacio Cafe for specialty coffees and teas with complimentary pastries and cookies was always full. Hint that the macadamia cookies are delicious and go fast. So obviously from these food experiences we would book with Celebrity again for the right destinations and price value.
Barcelona Embarkation was slowed down by the necessary local port authority security but after passing their screening we flowed right thru Celebrity check in and boarding. Disembarkation with 3200 passengers at Port Everglades was a cluster. Our group leaving to drive home to Orlando was #20. By the time customs and immigration got finished with those groups ahead of us our group #20 was called an hour and half later than Celebrity had anticipated. And then the line out took fifteen minutes more. Hint is to self carry your luggage off with the first group of the morning. Our friends did and breezed thru all in ten minutes.
You will never find a cleaner ship any where. The staff is assigned to keep you free of viruses and it showed every where thru out the ship. However, that staff needed for attention to details of cleaning makes other areas understaffed in our opinion. We noticed understaffing for the bars and lounges. This decision by corporate is logical for revenue because most of us prepay for drink packages which means they have your money already. No need to make getting drinks easier.
Cabin #8304 was perfect. Nothing broken or needing cleaning. AC had lowest setting at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Very comfortable sleeping at night. Yes I travel with a room thermometer. Women always get told that being hot is in our heads. Lucky for me that the temperatures outside was not Caribbean hot. The verandah had room for two lounge chairs with table big enough for meals for two. The frig was shallow in depth but having the steward empty it on our first day provided more room. And with X having well trained staff our cabin steward was the best of all our recent cruises. Any thing you ask and it’s done.
The furnishings are plush, comfy, modern. Beautiful in MHO. The modern art work is superior to the other lines we’ve been on recently. The ships design optimizes the use of every space for activities and events. The activities staff works harder than on other cruise lines. Our Transatlantic cruise had lots of activities to fill six sea days. Our favorites were the cooking demonstrations. Catch the Tuscan’s demonstration because they bites of their different steaks.
The only ship provided excursion that we chose was in Tenerife. TP92 Canadas del Teide Panorama journey to Tenerife National Park. Hint get on coach early to avoid getting a seat with a large emergency panel blocking your window. Our tour was excellently and humorously narrated by a local guide who shared her extensive knowledge and love for her second home. It was a four hour tour with a large group, I’m guessing fifty on our coach. This means it took 3 to 5 minutes to unload and reload at each stop. And stops were short to enable us to return to port on time. The stops were crowded with other tours so if using the facilities was required then most of the time was used up. If we go to Tenerife again we would prior arrange for a rental car so we could stop at the uncrowded hotel for lunch and we could spend more time exploring the volcano fields. Lots of rental cars were available at the port.
Laundry was expensive for $6 to wash pants. It took two days unless you pay more for express. My jeans and shirt arrived just fine. But it is at your own risk.
Two thirds of our passengers were repeat Celebrity customers. And most of them Elite status or it seemed to us. As non- elite we were disappointed that the best lounge, the Sky Lounge, where we could have a 180 view of sail aways or the passing thru the Straights of Gibraltar was closed for their private parties every day from 5 to 7pm. Three times the six of us were asked to leave at five so we didn’t go back. I even asked guest services for a day when it would be open at those times and there were none. This decision by corporate made us reevaluate whether we would return to Celebrity. Good thing that their dedicated staff and excellent food preparation is in their favor.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Reflection was a happy, fun ship. From the Captain, to the very visible senior management in every department to the facilities maintenance staff, you saw all working together as “a family” as one crew member told me. I saw head chefs of specialty restaurants clearing tables. This staff worked hard to please you and never told you no to any request or question. Entertainment is there for every genre. Production shows were small but were engaging. You may need to work finding entertainment by keeping up with hourly events. Move around the ship and find your zen for a relaxing cruise. BTW there is a marvelous zen garden. See if you can find it.