Background: DW and I are in our early 50's, this was our 6th cruise with Celebrity, second S-class cruise, first on Reflection. This was our second consecutive January getaway cruise...probably not our last one! Normally stay in ... Read More
Background: DW and I are in our early 50's, this was our 6th cruise with Celebrity, second S-class cruise, first on Reflection. This was our second consecutive January getaway cruise...probably not our last one! Normally stay in inside cabins when travelling with cruise buddies, but this time splurged for aft suite as we were cruise buddyless...
Traveled to Miami day before from Indianapolis, no problems. Stayed at Springhill Suites Miami Airport East....nice place, nice room, near some places to eat, good breakfast buffet in am...has shuttle to port, took taxi instead ( see below).
Embarkation: Smooth. Arrived at port before 11am even though checkin not until 11:30 as women march anticipated to slow traffic to port ( Miami). No slowdown evident. Checked bags with porter, entered cruise building, processed within 10 minutes and shown way to suite waitstation before boarding at 11:30..nothing special, just chairs and available water and snacks.
Ship: Reflection looked in great shape, no obvious wear and tear ( even saw crewmembers painting one day while in port). Even with 3200 people on board, it did not seem very crowded. Lots of places to relax if you don't want the pool scene...even has a "Hideaway" area on Deck 7 or 8 midship to escape to....Lots of bars available if you want that scene ( Pool bar and Martini bar hopping most of the time)...Casino active the times we went by, shops always hawking wears but not too obtrusive...
Cabin: We stayed in Room 1669, an aft Sky Suite ( not a corner one) on Deck 11 - 2 decks below Oceanview Cafe. We had stayed in a Sky suite on the Solstice in 2013 ( anniversary cruise) so the extra room was very comforting. The aft view was very relaxing. The motion of the ship is more noticeable back there, especially when using thrusters getting into port, but not enough to bother us ( my wife loves the motion and we do not get seasick). Balcony was big enough for 2 chairs and small ottomans with table AND 1 lounger; it was not covered but was shaded from sun parts of days depending on sun's location. Soot evident on balcony at times but not excessively so. Bathroom large compared to inside cabin - full tub with rather high sides, mobility challenged people might have trouble getting in/out. Stateroom attendant Julio very friendly and efficient in cleaning room and balcony ( of soot). Butler, Dominic, was very helpful and wanted to please. The only special request I made of him was having pot of iced tea made every day ( dispenser ice tea on ANY ship is NOT ice tea - I don't know what is it, but it isn't that) -he did and it was very good. He also was able to get us our Internet passwords when they were not given to us at embarkation...but it was the next day when this was resolved. Would DEFINITELY take this room again - in fact, we will probably be looking for aft rooms when travelling alone from now on.
Dining: As suite guests, we got to eat in the suite-only restaurant Luminae, located on Deck 3 starboard ( basically cut out of main dining room on that floor) ( did notice that no elevator or deck signage pointing out where Luminae is existed - would think that this would have happened by now ). Food in the restaurant on the whole was excellent - beef, chicken , fish, pasta. The ability to order off the MDR menu also very helpful as, at times, we wanted soups or entrees off the MDR list that were not offered on the Luminae list for that night. Service mainly very good, but occasional long times getting our orders taken and some long wait times between courses ( 20-30 minutes) ( this did improve as waitstaff got to know guest tendencies). Sommelier, Gabriel, very helpful in suggesting red wines by the glass. He also went above and beyond by obtaining other red wines to have not included on the wines-by-glass list ( nothing excessive in cost) - probably allowable in some part in this suites-only environment.
We also ate in Qsine one night - a specialty restaurant we had not tried before. Food was interestingly presented and was mostly good ( the fillet palette was excellent). Service was attentive and friendly. Specialty drink I had there, a Sidecar, was good but sweeter that I imagined. Most people have the tendency to order way too much food - we ordered 4 courses plus dessert and had plenty.
Entertainment: We like going to the main theater shows. The production cast performed 3 shows we had not seen before : Broken Strings and Elysium ( 2 cast productions developed by Celebrity) as well as a Broadway night where the singers performed. In addition, they held a matinee show, Maxx, involving specialty acrobats as well as an original storyline. Overall they were good...the singing was better than recent shows we have seen on Celebrity and RCI and the dancing was mostly in sync. The storylines were hard to follow at times. The specialty acts included 2 comedians, both with funny moments, and the Tenors of Rock, an enjoyable high-energy show with classic rock song performances, as well as a R&B/Motown group ( the name escapes me) who were very good as well. Overall, we enjoyed the shows and would see most of them again. We missed the cruise director's ( Sue Denning) performance as well as one of the comedian's late night shows - heard the cruise director was fabulous. We are not enamored of the late night game shows anymore; we did not go to these.
Music on the ship was ably handled by various acts, including Blind Vinyl, the house band playing popular songs spanning 4 decades, a classic strings duo, a solo guitarist, another jazz duo, the 7 or 8 piece Celebrity orchestra, and a DJ ( Gio).
Other Activities: Plenty to do on ship.....trivia ( we won multiple times with different team members, accumulated enough points to get 2 Celebrity t-shirts and a deck of cards with points left over), art auctions ( if that's your thing), shopping, casino, bingo, bocce games on the lawn, cruise port shopping lectures. The enrichment lecturer had multiple talks on astronomy, probably very interesting, but all of his talks " interfered" with trivia times ( and did not catch him on the TV replays) . Multiple exercise options on ship.....walking, spin classes, yoga classes, Zumba once or twice....fitness center well equipped and treadmills all worked when I went up there twice to walk, although the length of the treadmills were borderline long enough to run on - a tall runner over 6 ft may have some trouble.
Service: Very good in general. Staff willing to engage in pleasantries, especially Housekeeping staff. In crowded areas, staff still helpful if not overtly friendly. I saw no major issues.
Shore Excursions: This cruise stopped in San Juan, Saint Maarten, and St. Kitts. We had been to San Juan 3 times before, so we just got off the ship there to get our freebie jewelry charms at the various stores ( also, we got into port at 3:30, so we were afraid to do any excursions lest they finished in the dark). In St. Maarten, we did the Tall Ship Adventure on the Mercedes, a 3 1/2 hr trip that was most enjoyable. We got to help hoist the sails ( very strenuous) and viewed airplanes landing and taking off at the airport ( located 100 yds from the shore). Also got to see the Eclipse, a MEGAyacht - the second largest one in existence. The dang thing had 4 20 passenger boats on it as well as 20 waverunners among other toys. BIG BOAT. We also saw a smaller megayacht that had a helicopter stored below deck . On St. Kitts, I went on an open-air bus tour around the island that was very enjoyable ( wife was sick with headcold). Christian from Tangerine Tours ( watch for his multicolored beard) did a fantastic job explaining the history and sites of St. Kitts and Nevis as well as pointing out flora/fauna - makes a mean rum punch too ! Well worth it !
Disembarkation: Again smooth. We had an afternoon flight out, so we exited our room shortly after 8 am, dawdled in the Oceanview Café to eat breakfast, and got off at 9:45 am. Took literally 7 minutes from the time we got our bags to the time we got through customs. Got to the airport via a shuttle service for $10 a person.
Summary: A very enjoyable cruise. Would definitely travel on Reflection again.....and DEFINITELY WANT THAT AFT CABIN !!! Read Less