This was our third transatlantic crossing, our tenth cruise in our five years of cruising together and our fifth cruise on Celebrity and it was, perhaps, the best yet. Just about everyone seemed at the top of their game. Everything cannot be perfect but almost all of this was with a couple of exceptions and they are noted below.
Some people complained about embarkation and I suspect those are the folk who are likely to complain about everything but for us it was a breeze. It took less than an hour from our taxi drop off to being in our cabin - very efficient and very easy.
Unlike the miserable disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale which seemed to take forever with long walks, long lines and lots of congestion creating some tense situations - not the way you'd like to end a wonderful trip. This was perhaps not Celebrity's fault - the ground staff in Terminal 25 seemed very unprepared, unlike the Reflection's own staff - but it was a bummer nevertheless.
I suspect you'd be hard pressed to find a prettier or cleaner ship in this category than the Reflection. I also suspect you'd find it difficult to find a nicer or more accommodating crew. Staff went out of their way to be kind and helpful. Our cabin steward on Deck 7, Merilee, was especially sweet and hardworking. She anticipated all of our needs and kept our well appointed stateroom glistening. You'll be fortunate to get her. Storage space in the staterooms is well thought out and generous.
One of the areas in which the Reflection really excels is in the dining rooms. The food in the MDR is very, very good. The menu is varied and imaginative, the food always comes out quickly and is always hot and cooked to order. How they manage escapes me. Sokie, one of the hosts who deftly sat the independent diners, was charming and superb. Unfortunately, she was ill for several days and replaced by someone lacking in patience and good humor who seemed brittle and genuinely unhappy in her job, the only surly staff member we've ever encountered on Celebrity. Among those who must be singled out for fine service in the dining room staff: Ida, our frequent sommelier, Orville and Pavel. Seek them out if you can.
Of the specialty restaurants we dined in two: Murano, which was superlative. Exquisite food beautifully prepared and served. Oswaldo, our waiter, was great. Get your reservations early as Murano tends to be full every evening. Not on the same level was Tuscan Grill; the food was very good but not exceptional and the servers were a bit over attentive, being a little too present and hovering over the table and the conversation.
Other dining venues were perfectly pleasant. We never had an excessive crowding issue at the Oceanview Cafe and often snagged a table outside. The cafe in the Solarium is delightful. And the Mast Bar is always a treat when you crave a good hot dog with all the trimmings and lots of fries. The staff in the bars were always cheerful.
While we much enjoyed many of the small acts that performed in the intimate spaces such as the Ensemble Lounge, we, once again, found the shows in the theatre underwhelming and at best mediocre. Our recommendation: stick to the smaller venues. There was a lecture series on board on, of all things, the Titanic (!) which was excellent and very well attended. Educational, spellbinding and very well worthwhile.
Other facilities such as the outdoor deck space, pool areas and the gym were all very good to excellent. Alas, the running/walking track weaves its way through congested areas and a smoking section which is not a plus.
Last, but far from least, a special shout out to the Captain who could often be seen around the ship, was always approachable and full of good cheer.
We did not participate on any of the shore excursions, preferring to head out on our own, so are unable to comment on them.
All in all, this was an excellent cruise. Celebrity has now become out cruise line of choice.