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Celebrity Reflection Review We are a couple in our 70s, departing February 2020 for 11 nights in the western Caribbean after a 5 night stay in Ft. Lauderdale. This was our 3d ocean cruise. We chose this itinerary because of the length and the places we had not visited before. We booked in December and the room choice was limited. We chose an ocean view room on deck 3, midship, no veranda. Overall, we had a wonderful time on the Celebrity cruise, and would recommend it. Short summary of impressions: The Reflection is beautiful with enough well-planned venues for dining, relaxing, and entertainment. Conducive to meeting other cruisers. Easy to navigate about the ship. Our room was comfortable with plenty of storage (for us light travelers) with a surprisingly comfortable bed (for a hard to please couple), and a well-arranged bathroom. We found the food good to sometimes very good, certainly with enough variety. The entertainment in the beautiful theater was mixed with the imported, often one person or one band shows very good, but most production shows lacking. Small venue entertainment lacked variety – mostly loud rock for dancing and trivia game shows. Lectures were mediocre at best. Logistics such as embarkation, disembarkation, sponsored excursions mostly went without a hitch. Value – hard to know, but I will say that the basic drink package and $500 credit our cruise agent included added to the enjoyability. We did not feel nickeled and dimed. More detail: Room – standard room, very well-designed storage, though the large cabinet over the bed requires a tall person. We did not hang out in the room very much since there are so many other places and activities. Did not really miss the veranda. Some sway noticeable on several at-sea days when one could see the ocean swells and white caps. The room was quiet with a decently functioning temperature control. The service in the room was super – it seemed as if the bathroom was cleaned up every time we were out, and our room attendant was truly gracious. The ship and its various pools and lounges are very attractive, throughout. We used most of the upper deck poolside areas to relax, as well as the pool and hot tubs. Chaises “reserved” with a towel and clips were a problem, but we could generally find a pair somewhere acceptable. (Towel clips sell out early; bring from home.) One pool area is open and the other enclosed from the wind; a nice arrangement. Of the lounges, we liked the large, comfortable Sky lounge with a great view, but unfortunately for us it is reserved for Aqua class from 5-7 PM (sunset). We found this class structure theme annoying: it is apparent in the dining arrangements and various loyalty program events. The Ensemble lounge has a fancy club like atmosphere, entertainment in the evening, and a good place for a drink before dinner. The Al Bacio coffee bar and lounge is a great place to relax, have a coffee or tea and meet other passengers. It’s quieter than most of the other areas on the ship, and doesn’t focus on liquor. A note on noise: most public areas are loud, both day and night – either because of the music, or the many game shows or simply the din of many passengers attempting to hold conversations. The center of the ship is open from the deck 3 Grand Foyer, and public areas on different levels like the library open onto the space. The main Opus dining room and the Oceanview buffet were both very noisy. Theater events were deafening. We felt that entertainment on the ship was a mixed bag. The imported performers – two comedians, a Four Seasons tribute band, several outstanding acrobats, and Lance Lipinski’s blow-the-roof-off 50’s band were all great. The production shows were mildly entertaining: the vocalists, costumes and choreography barely save these plotless, unintelligible pieces. All those 45 min. events were held in the large, gorgeous theater. There is music and dancing in the central “Grand Foyer” much of the evening. Dancing there was a lot of fun. There was also live music in other lounges as well. An unfortunate arrangement was to have the permanent production “orchestra” do jazz and classical in the Ensemble lounge. Beethoven really would have rolled over. Lectures were limited to cruise destinations and shopping. As we were interested in the places the ship stopped, we went to several such lectures. All were disappointing – just rapid advertisements for the various excursions, and almost no information about the history or culture of the locations. I would describe the overall quality of the food itself as comparable to a better national chain restaurant like Seasons 52 or the Bonefish Grill. Fish was usually overcooked. There is enormous variety in the Oceanview buffet. The service and food presentation in the Opus dining room were first rate, but the food itself is not much better than the buffet. Service in the Oceanview buffet is almost nonexistent and the chaos unpleasant. We ate at the 8:30 seating in Opus most nights with two congenial couples we met the first night, so dinner was fun. One night we showed up with no reservation at the “select a time” section of the Opus and had to wait 30 min to be seated. We also ate dinner once in the specialty restaurant Murano – exceptional, and lunch once at the Porch – disappointing despite many good reviews on Cruise Critic. (Forget the mussels!) Off the ship: Grand Cayman - We took a marvelous underwater ride on the Atlantis submarine. We had never done anything like it before, and can vouch for the incredible views of the coral reef and underwater life. We also took a taxi out to the Royal Palm beach in the afternoon. Very crowded and not much of a beach, despite its reputation. Also, Celebrity’s excursion staff did a poor job of explaining that “taxi” really meant waiting for a group shuttle bus to fill up. Cartagena – Did a bit of homework and found a tour with Dora the Explorer on TripAdvisor. She is a first rate tour guide, and we got to see much of what there is in the older parts of Cartagena, including the fort and the La Popa monastery. Also, the aviary near the ship terminal is an enjoyable free excursion, with parrots, flamingos, even an anteater. Colon Panama – We were not interested in the Celebrity excursions and might have taken a taxi to the canal expansion visitor center, but were warned against doing so by the excursion staff. Friends of ours had done that in 2019, and it appeared entirely possible. Puerto Limon – Years ago, we had taken a land tour of Costa Rica that included a stay in the village of Tortuguero, about 45 mi north along the coast from Puerto Limon, where we were taken on a marvelous rain soaked pontoon excursion into the canals to see the extraordinary wildlife. We hoped for something similar from Puerto Limon, but it was not to be. We took Celebrity’s basic canal excursion that is out on one canal for a about an hour together with many other small tour boats. There was some wildlife, but generally hard to see. Nonetheless, one does get a good sense of what this rain forest is all about. Costa Maya – We had booked a Celebrity excursion to a Mayan ruin, but a taxi driver protest action blocked the passengers from perhaps 5 large cruise ships from leaving the terminal. This was the one instance in which Celebrity’s passenger support was lacking; there was no Celebrity excursion staff at the tour departure site to tell us what was going on as we waited. In other situations, Celebrity’s logistics and passenger herding was exemplary. Cozumel – We took a taxi to Paradise Beach, a club like affair that provided chairs and umbrellas for a modest fee. We had a pleasant 4 hours lounging on the beach, using the pool and having lunch brought from the bar. This is a well-organized place even if the beach itself is not so beautiful. Overall, our Caribbean beach experiences on this cruise suggest that one must get some distance away from the ship terminal to find a beautiful beach. The terminal areas have plenty of shopping and restaurants geared to passengers, but are not meant for relaxing. Generally, a taxi was needed to get into the town or to a beach. Ft. Lauderdale – We stayed at the Hyatt Place near the airport and ship terminal for 5 nights ahead of the cruise to increase our time in the sun. There was plenty to do in the Lauderdale area to keep us busy for 5 days, and I would especially recommend Hollywood beach – a beautiful, wide beach with a lively promenade. Lauderdale was a good choice for this trip, but will likely stay elsewhere, for variety, on another occasion.

Overall, a wonderful trip. Detailed review

Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by NotAccidental

Trip Details
Celebrity Reflection Review

We are a couple in our 70s, departing February 2020 for 11 nights in the western Caribbean after a 5 night stay in Ft. Lauderdale. This was our 3d ocean cruise. We chose this itinerary because of the length and the places we had not visited before. We booked in December and the room choice was limited. We chose an ocean view room on deck 3, midship, no veranda. Overall, we had a wonderful time on the Celebrity cruise, and would recommend it.

Short summary of impressions:

The Reflection is beautiful with enough well-planned venues for dining, relaxing, and entertainment. Conducive to meeting other cruisers. Easy to navigate about the ship.

Our room was comfortable with plenty of storage (for us light travelers) with a surprisingly comfortable bed (for a hard to please couple), and a well-arranged bathroom.

We found the food good to sometimes very good, certainly with enough variety.

The entertainment in the beautiful theater was mixed with the imported, often one person or one band shows very good, but most production shows lacking. Small venue entertainment lacked variety – mostly loud rock for dancing and trivia game shows. Lectures were mediocre at best.

Logistics such as embarkation, disembarkation, sponsored excursions mostly went without a hitch.

Value – hard to know, but I will say that the basic drink package and $500 credit our cruise agent included added to the enjoyability. We did not feel nickeled and dimed.

More detail:

Room – standard room, very well-designed storage, though the large cabinet over the bed requires a tall person. We did not hang out in the room very much since there are so many other places and activities. Did not really miss the veranda. Some sway noticeable on several at-sea days when one could see the ocean swells and white caps. The room was quiet with a decently functioning temperature control. The service in the room was super – it seemed as if the bathroom was cleaned up every time we were out, and our room attendant was truly gracious.

The ship and its various pools and lounges are very attractive, throughout. We used most of the upper deck poolside areas to relax, as well as the pool and hot tubs. Chaises “reserved” with a towel and clips were a problem, but we could generally find a pair somewhere acceptable. (Towel clips sell out early; bring from home.) One pool area is open and the other enclosed from the wind; a nice arrangement. Of the lounges, we liked the large, comfortable Sky lounge with a great view, but unfortunately for us it is reserved for Aqua class from 5-7 PM (sunset). We found this class structure theme annoying: it is apparent in the dining arrangements and various loyalty program events. The Ensemble lounge has a fancy club like atmosphere, entertainment in the evening, and a good place for a drink before dinner. The Al Bacio coffee bar and lounge is a great place to relax, have a coffee or tea and meet other passengers. It’s quieter than most of the other areas on the ship, and doesn’t focus on liquor.

A note on noise: most public areas are loud, both day and night – either because of the music, or the many game shows or simply the din of many passengers attempting to hold conversations.

The center of the ship is open from the deck 3 Grand Foyer, and public areas on different levels like the library open onto the space. The main Opus dining room and the Oceanview buffet were both very noisy. Theater events were deafening.

We felt that entertainment on the ship was a mixed bag. The imported performers – two comedians, a Four Seasons tribute band, several outstanding acrobats, and Lance Lipinski’s blow-the-roof-off 50’s band were all great. The production shows were mildly entertaining: the vocalists, costumes and choreography barely save these plotless, unintelligible pieces. All those 45 min. events were held in the large, gorgeous theater. There is music and dancing in the central “Grand Foyer” much of the evening. Dancing there was a lot of fun. There was also live music in other lounges as well. An unfortunate arrangement was to have the permanent production “orchestra” do jazz and classical in the Ensemble lounge. Beethoven really would have rolled over.

Lectures were limited to cruise destinations and shopping. As we were interested in the places the ship stopped, we went to several such lectures. All were disappointing – just rapid advertisements for the various excursions, and almost no information about the history or culture of the locations.

I would describe the overall quality of the food itself as comparable to a better national chain restaurant like Seasons 52 or the Bonefish Grill. Fish was usually overcooked. There is enormous variety in the Oceanview buffet. The service and food presentation in the Opus dining room were first rate, but the food itself is not much better than the buffet. Service in the Oceanview buffet is almost nonexistent and the chaos unpleasant. We ate at the 8:30 seating in Opus most nights with two congenial couples we met the first night, so dinner was fun. One night we showed up with no reservation at the “select a time” section of the Opus and had to wait 30 min to be seated. We also ate dinner once in the specialty restaurant Murano – exceptional, and lunch once at the Porch – disappointing despite many good reviews on Cruise Critic. (Forget the mussels!)

Off the ship:

Grand Cayman - We took a marvelous underwater ride on the Atlantis submarine. We had never done anything like it before, and can vouch for the incredible views of the coral reef and underwater life. We also took a taxi out to the Royal Palm beach in the afternoon. Very crowded and not much of a beach, despite its reputation. Also, Celebrity’s excursion staff did a poor job of explaining that “taxi” really meant waiting for a group shuttle bus to fill up.

Cartagena – Did a bit of homework and found a tour with Dora the Explorer on TripAdvisor. She is a first rate tour guide, and we got to see much of what there is in the older parts of Cartagena, including the fort and the La Popa monastery. Also, the aviary near the ship terminal is an enjoyable free excursion, with parrots, flamingos, even an anteater.

Colon Panama – We were not interested in the Celebrity excursions and might have taken a taxi to the canal expansion visitor center, but were warned against doing so by the excursion staff. Friends of ours had done that in 2019, and it appeared entirely possible.

Puerto Limon – Years ago, we had taken a land tour of Costa Rica that included a stay in the village of Tortuguero, about 45 mi north along the coast from Puerto Limon, where we were taken on a marvelous rain soaked pontoon excursion into the canals to see the extraordinary wildlife. We hoped for something similar from Puerto Limon, but it was not to be. We took Celebrity’s basic canal excursion that is out on one canal for a about an hour together with many other small tour boats. There was some wildlife, but generally hard to see. Nonetheless, one does get a good sense of what this rain forest is all about.

Costa Maya – We had booked a Celebrity excursion to a Mayan ruin, but a taxi driver protest action blocked the passengers from perhaps 5 large cruise ships from leaving the terminal. This was the one instance in which Celebrity’s passenger support was lacking; there was no Celebrity excursion staff at the tour departure site to tell us what was going on as we waited. In other situations, Celebrity’s logistics and passenger herding was exemplary.


Cozumel – We took a taxi to Paradise Beach, a club like affair that provided chairs and umbrellas for a modest fee. We had a pleasant 4 hours lounging on the beach, using the pool and having lunch brought from the bar. This is a well-organized place even if the beach itself is not so beautiful.

Overall, our Caribbean beach experiences on this cruise suggest that one must get some distance away from the ship terminal to find a beautiful beach. The terminal areas have plenty of shopping and restaurants geared to passengers, but are not meant for relaxing. Generally, a taxi was needed to get into the town or to a beach.

Ft. Lauderdale – We stayed at the Hyatt Place near the airport and ship terminal for 5 nights ahead of the cruise to increase our time in the sun. There was plenty to do in the Lauderdale area to keep us busy for 5 days, and I would especially recommend Hollywood beach – a beautiful, wide beach with a lively promenade. Lauderdale was a good choice for this trip, but will likely stay elsewhere, for variety, on another occasion.
NotAccidental’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 08
Room – standard room, very well-designed storage, though the large cabinet over the bed requires a tall person. We did not hang out in the room very much since there are so many other places and activities. Did not really miss the veranda. Some sway noticeable on several at-sea days when one could see the ocean swells and white caps. The room was quiet with a decently functioning temperature control. The service in the room was super – it seemed as if the bathroom was cleaned up every time we were out, and our room attendant was truly gracious.
Plaza Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    Cartagena – Did a bit of homework and found a tour with Dora the Explorer on TripAdvisor. She is a first rate tour guide, and we got to see much of what there is in the older parts of Cartagena, including the fort and the La Popa monastery. Also, the aviary near the ship terminal is an enjoyable free excursion, with parrots, flamingos, even an anteater.
    View All 337 City Tour Reviews
  • Colon (Cristobal)
    Colon Panama – We were not interested in the Celebrity excursions and might have taken a taxi to the canal expansion visitor center, but were warned against doing so by the excursion staff. Friends of ours had done that in 2019, and it appeared entirely possible.
    View All 464 Colon (Cristobal) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Colon (Cristobal) Cruise Port Review
  • Costa Maya
    Costa Maya – We had booked a Celebrity excursion to a Mayan ruin, but a taxi driver protest action blocked the passengers from perhaps 5 large cruise ships from leaving the terminal. This was the one instance in which Celebrity’s passenger support was lacking; there was no Celebrity excursion staff at the tour departure site to tell us what was going on as we waited. In other situations, Celebrity’s logistics and passenger herding was exemplary.
    View All 2,661 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
  • Cozumel
    Cozumel – We took a taxi to Paradise Beach, a club like affair that provided chairs and umbrellas for a modest fee. We had a pleasant 4 hours lounging on the beach, using the pool and having lunch brought from the bar. This is a well-organized place even if the beach itself is not so beautiful.

    Overall, our Caribbean beach experiences on this cruise suggest that one must get some distance away from the ship terminal to find a beautiful beach. The terminal areas have plenty of shopping and restaurants geared to passengers, but are not meant for relaxing. Generally, a taxi was needed to get into the town or to a beach.
    View All 6,873 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cozumel Cruise Port Review
  • Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
    Ft. Lauderdale – We stayed at the Hyatt Place near the airport and ship terminal for 5 nights ahead of the cruise to increase our time in the sun. There was plenty to do in the Lauderdale area to keep us busy for 5 days, and I would especially recommend Hollywood beach – a beautiful, wide beach with a lively promenade. Lauderdale was a good choice for this trip, but will likely stay elsewhere, for variety, on another occasion.
    View All 1,987 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Port Review
  • Submarine Tour
    Grand Cayman - We took a marvelous underwater ride on the Atlantis submarine. We had never done anything like it before, and can vouch for the incredible views of the coral reef and underwater life. We also took a taxi out to the Royal Palm beach in the afternoon. Very crowded and not much of a beach, despite its reputation. Also, Celebrity’s excursion staff did a poor job of explaining that “taxi” really meant waiting for a group shuttle bus to fill up.
    View All 46 Submarine Tour Reviews
  • The Tortuguero Canals
    Puerto Limon – Years ago, we had taken a land tour of Costa Rica that included a stay in the village of Tortuguero, about 45 mi north along the coast from Puerto Limon, where we were taken on a marvelous rain soaked pontoon excursion into the canals to see the extraordinary wildlife. We hoped for something similar from Puerto Limon, but it was not to be. We took Celebrity’s basic canal excursion that is out on one canal for a about an hour together with many other small tour boats. There was some wildlife, but generally hard to see. Nonetheless, one does get a good sense of what this rain forest is all about.
    View All 75 The Tortuguero Canals Reviews