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86 Miami Celebrity Reflection Cruise Reviews

The ports on this cruise were attractive even though we had already been to Tenerife and Malaga. We have friends in Malaga so this was a good opportunity to catch up with them. We boarded after 2 pm so there was no wait at all to ... Read More
The ports on this cruise were attractive even though we had already been to Tenerife and Malaga. We have friends in Malaga so this was a good opportunity to catch up with them. We boarded after 2 pm so there was no wait at all to board; very efficient procedure and our bags were in the cabin within a couple of hours. Service by the cabin attendant was at the usual high level. He was very friendly and always eager to please. But is it really necessary to be reminded that " a 10 is my favorite number" when completing the survey? Food in the main restaurant (Opus) was disappointing. We had sailed on Celebrity fifteen years or so ago and the quality was definitely better then. Of course we can pay $50 extra to dine at the Murano restaurant; but wait, there's more: if you decide to have the lobster it will be $29 more. We accepted an invitation to dine at Qsine when they offered a 50% discount fee on the $45 fee. We enjoyed it but thought that the normal fee was high. We only saw a couple of the shows and were not impressed so we stopped going to them. The daily activities were not attractive. My wife missed the cooking lessons that were offered on recent Holland America cruises. This is specially important with so many days at sea. We did find out about an anadvertised sushi presentation but that was an exception. Only one port required tendering (Villefranche) and that was fortunate as there was a very long wait to disembark. Disembarkation in Civitavecchia was very well executed with no long waits. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Our transatlantic cruise from Miami to Rome on the Celebrity Reflection April-May 2017. Globally the cruise was okay, but to take advantage of the first 7 days at sea you had to speak English. The first seven days are important because ... Read More
Our transatlantic cruise from Miami to Rome on the Celebrity Reflection April-May 2017. Globally the cruise was okay, but to take advantage of the first 7 days at sea you had to speak English. The first seven days are important because all activates and ship life is on the ship. Since all activities except a few gym activities required English many where deprived of the advantages offered to guest that spook English. When you pay for a cruise the same price as everyone else you expect the same advantages. For this cruise this wasn't the case, When you take an international flight you have the choice of many movies in many languages, it is sad to say that the television on this cruise was horrible. At least if you couldn't participate in the activities on the cruise you could take in a movie in your language (they can do it on planes). Second remark, the library was a joke more books where on shelves that weren't accessible and again only in English (I know books are hard to get but I am sure I could find books in many languages and free.) The only documents that where available in different languages was the "TODAY" often badly translated and missing key information and the "Actuality pages". Like I explained in the beginning this was for the first part of the cruise, once you start having ports calls the problem disappears. Also some important alerts where announces by the Captain during bad weather and again only in English. For the crew members they were all very professional, but what saved the day during that difficult period for my wife is the evening meal (late seating OPUS restaurant table 126) because of the service and language support she got from our waitress Silvana. This was our 15th cruise and the second one with Celebrity Cruise, but it was the first time with as many days at sea without a port call. During that period of isolation more consideration should be show to none English speaking customers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Miami to early off in Villefranche), the price, and one past experience with Celebrity which was mostly positive. The embarkation was smooth and efficient. Welcome buffet was good, and our ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (Miami to early off in Villefranche), the price, and one past experience with Celebrity which was mostly positive. The embarkation was smooth and efficient. Welcome buffet was good, and our stateroom was available earliest than usual. Our steward met us in the room, answered questions and began two weeks of excellent service. The room (deck 3, middle of ship) was smaller than some, but well laid out with plenty of storage. The bathroom was very good, with room in the shower to turn around. The location was a real plus on the one very rough afternoon and evening. Quite stable even as the waves crashed against the window. There was no clothesline in the shower which became important as the ship has no launderettes, a problem on a two week cruise. The ship laundry was very expensive and the full bag special at $50 was way overpriced. The food in Opus, the main dining room was very good to excellent. The service was good as well. We did open seating and only had to wait twice for a two-top. The food upstairs was also good, but the layout was confusing. Open air seating on the aft deck was lovely. We did not try any of the very expensive specialty restaurants nor did we buy the very expensive drinks package. One of us got the coffee/soda package which is worth the price for someone who likes good coffee. The public spaces were the noisiest of any ship we have ever been on. Hard to get away from the constant loud music even in places promoted as quiet. Only outdoors on deck five was it quiet. Near the pool was constant loud music or very loud group activities. The bars which often provide respite were full of art auctions and other such activities. The enrichment lectures were terrible. The lecturer on the Roman Empire (appropriate as the destination was Rome) did not know his subject, made lots of factual errors and tried to be funny. The Hollywood speaker was all about himself. The destination talks were pure sales pitches. No helpful information for those going ashore independently. On a seven sea day cruise enrichment is even more important. Celebrity failed this one. With the exception of the singer who did a Judy Garland evening and one of the acrobats who was terrific, the guest entertainers were from mediocre to embarrassing. The production nights were loud, the choreography awful, the stories ridiculous. If one closed one's eyes it would have been difficult to,tell the shows apart save for the gender of the lead singer. The entertainment in the foyer was better, particularly when dance music was played. Many people thoroughly enjoyed dancing. Given that we did not like the entertainment it would have been helpful to have a wider selection of in-room movies and TV shows. It was difficult to get information about our early departure, but in the event the staff were very helpful. It turned out to be the only tender port which made things more difficult, but the thirty or so of us who left did so first. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because we had such a good experience last year in a suite on a Mediterranean trip. A few things have changed since last year that we do not feel were for the better. The butler service for suites is greatly reduced, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had such a good experience last year in a suite on a Mediterranean trip. A few things have changed since last year that we do not feel were for the better. The butler service for suites is greatly reduced, the special restaurant Luminae was crowded and often too full to get a reservation during the usual eating hours for most Americans(6 to 8 pm). The cruise line suggests booking all your dinner reservations when you first board the ship but who wants that kind of fixed schedule when cruising to relax? The Luminae waiters are young and engaging, but they need more training in fine dining. The Michael's Club bar was very noisy. The excursions were predictable and in this age of internet searches and bookings many found more interesting and personalized trips online for less than Celebrity wanted for the ordinary. The shuttles to town from the port docks are now 5 or so euros and don't put you close to convenient spots in the town; several times considerable walking was required after leaving the bus to reach tourist areas or public transportation. Our cabin steward was terrific and the conceirges were most helpful. For us, what had been an exceptional experience last year was mediocre this year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We went on this one week Caribbean cruise as part of an included charter flight package from Canada at a very attractive price. Picked an upgraded cabin at the rear of the ship.We were part of a group of 8. The design of the ship is ... Read More
We went on this one week Caribbean cruise as part of an included charter flight package from Canada at a very attractive price. Picked an upgraded cabin at the rear of the ship.We were part of a group of 8. The design of the ship is like a high end hotel with lots of dark wood etc. In the evening the centre atrium seems like a night club- rather dark. The dining room is very large with 2 story height and seating on 2 levels. Impressive look. We have travelled a great deal on the Princess larger ships so we inevitably made some comparisons. The things we liked were: - Meals and service in the main dining room were excellent. Cabin design was excellent with a deep balcony and a love seat in each cabin. Storage space and closet space however was much less than we get on Princess. The things that we didn't like were: 1. We are non smokers. The Sunset bar at the top rear of the ship is beautiful, but we gave up on sitting there. There is an artificial line down the centre of the ship that one side is smoking and one side non smoking. So when sitting in the bar, you may be as little as 10 ft way from a large group of smokers. Even when we tried to sit further away from the centre line, we often found that there was so much smoke smell drifting our way, we eventually gave up on using this bar ( too bad). on the pool deck, the area beside the bar is also designated smoking so all the tables there are taken up with smokers and even when waiting for a drink, it is pretty strong. 2. On Princess, the deck loungers are typically arranged in sets of 2 with a small table in between for drinks, etc. On the Reflection, to increase capacity around the pool areas, there are no tables and the loungers are squeezed against each other with no room between. When you want to get on your pool lounger, you have to crawl on from the end. You cannot put your drink on the ground beside you since the loungers were generally touching. On the upper seating area around the pool, the running track goes right by the ends of your loungers so joggers have to run right by the end of the loungers and you have to be careful when getting off them. 3. We felt that on port days , if you didn't go ashore or were back early and didn't want to be outside at the pool, there were virtually no activities available. When we returned early from port ( at about 2:30), on the lower areas of the ship, virtually all the bars were closed and it took us about 45 minutes to locate one where we could get a beer. This is totally different on Princess where both for food and bar service and activities, it seems there is always something going on in the Atrium ( or Piazza as they call it). 4. Up on the pool deck, we were not impressed with the bar staff. With some exceptions, we did not find them to be particularly friendly or attentive. 5. The buffet was not well designed for flow and there were many lineups at certain stations and a lot of cutting in and some conflict. Also when the formal lunch time ended, there was a very minimal section open with very limited selection. On Princess, it always seems there is plentiful selection at all times of day. Service on the back open deck was terrible and we complained about it. 6 As a design note, I don't get the big lawn. It seems very wasted space. Most of the time, there were notes not to walk on it. In general, we decided we would not return to a cruise on Celebrity . Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Wife and I are in our early-mid 50's, but pretty hip so not into an "old people" cruise at all. We had sailed on Celeb Summit last year (first cruise) and had a REALLY great experience so decided to give it another whirl ... Read More
Wife and I are in our early-mid 50's, but pretty hip so not into an "old people" cruise at all. We had sailed on Celeb Summit last year (first cruise) and had a REALLY great experience so decided to give it another whirl this year for the kids Spring Break. Overall good, but nowhere near the positive level of experience as last year. Reflection is a nice, big boat, but felt far more impersonal, no real quiet outdoor areas, mediocre entertainment, etc. Room was good with a decent balcony, but LOUD for many reasons. Food was very good, but not as varied as Summit. Ports were ok, but we're not big port fans - one exception was Labadee - AWESOME! Opus Dining Room was ok, but not as good as Summit overall. Food was ok in the dining room, but nothing special. Felt like the cafe food level plated for you. Wines were average level and we had the premium drink level. Saw a few wines I buy at Costco for around $10-12 per bottle. Service overall was good, but bar service tended to be problematic in the popular areas. Loved our room attendant. Overall somewhere between a 3 and 4. As my cabin review states, I had trouble with noise in the room. I also tried to get some down time around the pool - that wasn't happening. WHAT IS IT WITH CRUISES THINKING THEY CONSTANTLY HAVE TO BLAST MUSIC??? Yes, I had to yell that. I would start to nod off around the pool in a shady area and then there would be some band or DJ starting up. The DJ was EXTRAORDINARILY annoying running silly pool games, etc. Annoying voice and shouting all the time. Interestingly had an overnight in Miami before we sailed and the hotel had very cool hipster lounge music playing at the pool at reasonable volumes. Really enjoyed that. This was more akin to a college Spring Break Lauderdale pool without all the hot bodies around. Seriously Celeb - please get a clue on this. Most of your clientele aren't into this. We're not huge port fans. Always feel like it's the tourist hustle. Did the Jamaica zip line / tubing excursion which was OK. Chukka is the company that runs it. Not bad. Staff was great and a very good jerk chicken lunch! The real treat was Labadee, Haiti. This a private resort owned by RC / Celeb. It is AWESOME. Beautiful, clean, not commercialized. Fantastic beaches, zip lines, tours, etc. Just gorgeous. Entertainment was mediocre. Couple of good comedians. Everything else was a total bore. Why not show movies? That would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I am a mom of two girls (ages 9 and 10) who cruised with some friends and their daughter on the 3.18 Eastern Carribbean itinerary on the Celebrity Reflection. We have previously cruised over 5 times on RCCL, twice on DCL, and once on ... Read More
I am a mom of two girls (ages 9 and 10) who cruised with some friends and their daughter on the 3.18 Eastern Carribbean itinerary on the Celebrity Reflection. We have previously cruised over 5 times on RCCL, twice on DCL, and once on Carnival. This was our first (and probably last) experience on Celebrity. While there was not much "wrong" with this cruise... I mean heck... its a cruise... any cruise is a good cruise..... there was also not much that was "Amazing" on this cruise. For someone who has never cruised before, I am sure this would be an awesome experience. However we found ourselves bored. There was NOT much in the form of daytime activities/entertainment (unless you consider talks on "arthritis solutions" or officer vs guests bocce your idea of fun). Embarkation was a breeze. They have this running smoothly. From the time we were dropped off at the port it was maybe 15-20 minutes until we were on board with a glass of champagne in our hand. Kudos to Celebrity for expediting this process. As I mentioned, I traveled with my two kids. The kids club was fine. I was appreciative My girls enjoyed some of their activities and some they did not care for. They much more preferred the kids club on RCCL. They did enjoy exploring the ship and finding cool spots like "Game on" on Deck 9 and the "Hideaway" on Deck 7. One area where I was disappointed was the food. Both RCCl and DCL are FAR SUPERIOR in both of these categories. The food on Celebrity is just "eh" in my opinion. The main dining room served the same breakfast (only ordered off a menu) as was available in the buffet. The selections were the same every single day with no variation. We ate in the Lawn Club Grill which was good.... however our waiter was horrible. He could not understand English very well and he messed up one of the girls' orders and he basically insisted that he was right, when he wasn't. We did really Love our waitstaff in the main dining room too.... they were awesome. One thing I did like was that when you ordered a drink they didn't print a receipt and ask for extra gratuity like they do on RCCL. That was a welcome change. Speaking of drinks, the martini bar has some great martinis and the sunset bar is a beautiful place to hang out, be outside, and enjoy the atmosphere. The ports of call were awesome. San Juan - we got off and walked to the fort, explored there and walked around a bit. It was cloudy and almost raining so we did not get off the boat for too long. In St. Maarten we had pre-arranged a sea turtle snorkeling trip with Captain Alan.... it was AWESOME. Highlight of our cruise. The prettiest island we visited too! In St. Kitts we took a taxi to the Marriott and paid for the resort day pass ($59/adults, kids under 12 free). This was great. Kids LOVED the BIG pool and we enjoyed relaxing, swimming, and exploring this beautiful property. As for entertainment on board, our girls liked the production shows. We watched one of the comedians and he was funny, although Celebrity has a different comedian on each cruise. The "cabaret" night was lame. Overall... it was fine. Nothing amazing. Nothing terrible. Just fine. Based on this cruise though I would not book celebrity again for a cruise that had 3 sea days. I need more activities/entertainment. I also prefer the larger rooms of the other cruise lines and the better food of DCL or RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Embarkation and Diembarkation was very good. We arrived at 11:00am and were on the boat by 11:35. Getting off was even faster. We chose the express checkout at 7:00am and we were off the boat and in a cab within 10minutes. Service was ... Read More
Embarkation and Diembarkation was very good. We arrived at 11:00am and were on the boat by 11:35. Getting off was even faster. We chose the express checkout at 7:00am and we were off the boat and in a cab within 10minutes. Service was good. Our room was always clean and our steward was always nearby and helpful. Our safe was not working when we first arrived, but we called right away and they came to fix it within 15 mins. Service in the dining areas was great. Except for those taking drinks. More often than not, we either had to go to the bar ourselves or hail someone down to order drinks. I appreciated the fact they were always handing out hand sanitizer. This was a very clean ship. Dining was just ok. Similar to reviews from others, the main dining room menu was bland and boring. Essentially you order a protein each night with mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots. I am not kidding, each meal had the same sides , every night. The Buffett had much better variety for breakfast, so after the first two days we stopped going to the main dining room. The speciality restaurants were better. We enjoyed the Tuscan grill the best, but the food was similar to dining room quality on other cruises. I believe they deliberately push people to the speciality restaurants by making the main dining room bland. Cabin was a good size and was a good use of space. The bathroom was well set up with lots of storage space. The closet should have had some shelving installed on one side. The drawers near the fridge and cabinets above the bed were not convenient for clothing. Room was quiet, which surprised me, since we were close to the elevators. Entertainment. We did not attend any of the main shows. We always find them poor. The bands playing in the centre of the ship were very talented. However, the design of this ship was poor. The majority of the lounges, bars and public areas are located in the middle of the ship. Most are open concept, which means the boat is crowded as everyone is moving through the same spaces. Since the music was in the open area, whatever was playing is what you were forced to listen to on the majority of decks. During the day if you wanted to hang out on the library or hideaway to read or enjoy some quiet time, it was difficult to do so. They too, are open to the center of the ship so you either here the activity noise or the constant ding of the elevators. Your room was truly the only place you could go for some peace and quiet. Also the bars were annoying. Bars that were supposed to be open were closed. There are very few multi-purpose bars, which meant we had to go to multiple bars on different decks to get what we both wanted. Bars also carried different types of beers and wines, so you couldn't always count on getting what you wanted. The most annoying was the fact that you could not enjoy the products in your room fridge even though they were the same products on our premium drink package. That's right, I could walk to a bar and order a Heineken, but if I drank the one in my fridge they would charge me. This made no sense and essentially made the in-room fridge a waste. The ports were fine. San Juan and St. Kitts were great. Lots to do and see. St. Maarten was not our thing. It is primarily a shopping port (diamonds), which is not why we cruise. It also had several beaches, but with several boats in port, they were crowded. We returned to ship after a couple hours. This was our first trip with Celebrity, we will not cruise on this boat again for sure. We may try another celebrity boat or return to Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Altogether the cruise was amazing except for the excessive vibrations in our cabin! I was sailing with my wife, and my 2 kids (10 and 12). They loved the cruise because of free wifi, they were gaming non-stop. We were in a Royal Suite on ... Read More
Altogether the cruise was amazing except for the excessive vibrations in our cabin! I was sailing with my wife, and my 2 kids (10 and 12). They loved the cruise because of free wifi, they were gaming non-stop. We were in a Royal Suite on deck 11 #1622. The dining was amazing, Illuminae had to have been the best. The entertainment and activities were outstanding! Our butler Edwin was especially nice and always brought my kids cookies. We did 2 shore excursions. The first one was in Puerto Rico, we went zip lining. It was pretty good. Then in St. Kitts and Nevis we did a catermeran snorkel/beach on Nevis that left from Kitts. It was really fun! We would not go again on Celebrity beacuase of the viberations, but the service was awesome. Honestly I would not recommend this ship for first cruisers because it will ruin the experience. Thanks Celebrity Reflection crew for a awesome service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this Caribbean cruise whilst on the Eastern Mediterranean cruise on the same ship (Reflection) Whilst the staff were as always very good, the overall atmosphere was very different. It was quite obviously targeted at the US ... Read More
We chose this Caribbean cruise whilst on the Eastern Mediterranean cruise on the same ship (Reflection) Whilst the staff were as always very good, the overall atmosphere was very different. It was quite obviously targeted at the US culture rather than British or European with numerous almost constant Art Auctions and other "offers" The music by the pool was much much louder than the previous med cruise and was rock based therefore not allowing any real relaxation other than to head somewhere else away from the pool Great food as usual especially the select dining, cabins comfortable although this time we went Concierge rather than Aqua and whilst the cabins were meant to be the same the showers weren't as good as the all round shower we had with Aqua Class Whilst also not a major issue having 4 sea days out of a 7 day holiday meant that you were a little constrained in what you could do and the stops were short and brief compared to the Med cruise So whilst it was a great holiday, it made us think before booking with Celebrity again Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was my 5th cruise with Celebrity....2nd time on this ship.... My first cruise on the Celebrity Millenium was by far the best.....Each one since seems to be a little bit more of a let down. The food was OK... nothing fabulous. The ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise with Celebrity....2nd time on this ship.... My first cruise on the Celebrity Millenium was by far the best.....Each one since seems to be a little bit more of a let down. The food was OK... nothing fabulous. The service in the dining room was not relaxing... but I feel that was the fault of our waiter.... by the 4th night I finally had to tell him "don't rush me"! We even paid extra for one of the specialty restaurants...$45 per person.... only to see the same thing I had on the menu in the regular (Opus) dining room a day later..... Also, we were told we were getting the Premium Beverage package by our Celebrity Cruise Planner only to find out on board we only had the Classic package. But of course they would allow us to "upgrade" if we paid $10 extra per person per day.... an additional $140 !! We heard this same story from several other passengers over the course of the week..... a total scam on the part of our cruise planner and Celebrity Cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This is our thirds celebrity cruise and the least impressive. We went on the Summit twice before this and thought it was a better ship with a much better entertainment director and crew. Cabins: See my cabin complaint under Cabin ... Read More
This is our thirds celebrity cruise and the least impressive. We went on the Summit twice before this and thought it was a better ship with a much better entertainment director and crew. Cabins: See my cabin complaint under Cabin Review. I would like to note though that they are impeccably clean and the housekeeping staff is unbelievably great. Dining: We really prefer not going to upgraded restaurants. Firstly Celebrity lost our set dining reservation which is obnoxious so they moved us to select dining. Luckily the Host was great and just made us a reservation each night for the next night when we came to dinner. We thought service was not great in the dining room. Slow to take orders, basically no drink service, menu has become extremely boring and now they try to sell you dishes from specialty restaurants in the dining room. I actually think they are trying to push you out of the dining rooms into the specialty restaurants by reducing quality. We actually thought the buffet was better than the dining room which is something we would never normally say. Entertainment: The entertainment director who is an older woman (can't remember her name she made that little of an impression) is the most dull out of any cruise director i've ever seen on a ship. It's almost like that's not really her job and they just stuck her in there. The production shows are awful and I mean awful. The performers actually seem to be very talented singers and dancers but whoever is choosing and writing these shows is on drugs. They are like awful high school productions. The comedians they had were good. The beetles just weren't my thing and the tenors of rock are extremely boring (and i'm a rock guy). As far as activities through the day we did some of the putting challenges and dance classes but overall though that entertainment was lacking. Pool Area: Too small and cramped on sea days. Shore Excursions Through Celebrity: First the staff on the shore excursions desk have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the excursions. I questioned what type of transportation was provided and after I booked they were completely wrong. Also you are not getting the best tour operaters by booking through celebrity. While I thought the Playa Mia cooking class was fantastic, the grand cayman barrier reef snorkel and stingray city tour was among the wrost tours ive ever been on. It was poorly organized. You waited 2 hours standing around before even getting on a boat. The boat was dirty and old. They take you snorkeling at a place with no fish amd cram you into horrible vans for transport. I could have easily found a better tour operator myself. Overall I didn't dislike the cruise but I thought it was among the bottom of my cruise experiences. I guess I would try Celebrity again but before this cruise I would have said I would definetly try Celebrity again so take from that what you will. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We were part of a group that chose this ship for their annual trip. Cabin with Balcony - Short on storage space. Over bed storage only for the tall among us. Restaurant - Crowded and noisy. Then we were "strongly ... Read More
We were part of a group that chose this ship for their annual trip. Cabin with Balcony - Short on storage space. Over bed storage only for the tall among us. Restaurant - Crowded and noisy. Then we were "strongly encouraged" to try the specialty dining. (If you go at 6, we will give you 30% off. No? Then we can also give you a bottle of champagne. No? How about a 9 PM seating? We can give you 50% off. Felt like we were playing "Let's Make a Deal" The problem with this type of selling is that no matter what you pay, you feel you were taken.) Dined at the Tuscan Restaurant. Did not feel the meal was worth the price although the dining room was much more comfortable than the main dining room. Two nights at the theater, sections of seats were reserved for "Suite and Above". You had to give the name of your butler to gain admittance. This practice was not announced in the daily paper, so you did not know until arriving at the theater that prime seating was limited. Perhaps in the future they should just have classes of ships labeled, middle class, wealthy and super wealthy.(Forget the poor altogether. They can't afford to cruise) Information in room said breakfast room service available until 11 AM. I called at 10:45 and was told that breakfast service was over. Wine Service - This is our second Celebrity cruise and for the second time, they have run out of the lower price bottled wine selections at mid cruise forcing us to buy "up". Once is a mistake. Second time it appears to be modus operandi. Pool area - not enough seating for sea days. Only lounges available at all times. Prefer the type seating available on other lines with hard back dining type chairs and small tables for snacks or playing games like Scrabble or checkers. Valet disembarkment - love leaving my luggage outside my door and having it taken to the airport not to be seen again until I arrive at my home airport. Airport boarding passes were delivered to our room. Great service available for a modest price. Disembarkment in Miami - Line for those of us with "Global Access" was closed. Process went quickly but would have been quicker if line had been in use. Not sure if this is a port issue or a cruise line issue. Employees on ship, from cabin boys, stewards, wait staff, etc. were very obliging We usually chose our trips by itinerary first. All things being equal, Celebrity would be our last choice of cruise line. We have traveled on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America and Carnival.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
When we book a cruise we rely heavily on two things, our travel agents whom I trust very much, and Cruise Critic which I have also come to trust a lot. But I'd have to say we were a bit disappointed this time. Maybe because we were ... Read More
When we book a cruise we rely heavily on two things, our travel agents whom I trust very much, and Cruise Critic which I have also come to trust a lot. But I'd have to say we were a bit disappointed this time. Maybe because we were expecting more. All the reviews were great. The editors Choice was a full 5 stars, the recent ranking has Reflection as the top large ship in the world right now. It sounded awesome! And we were expecting a lot. But from pre-registration on the website that was a bit less than intuitive, to the embarkation that took an hour and a half and could have been much faster with a couple of easy fixes, the trip didn't start well. And it didn't help that the weather was rough for the first few days of the trip and with lots of wind, high seas, (one staff member was overheard saying that they didn't know if they should have worn their life vest the night before! I was glad not many guests heard that! It wasn't that bad honestly) and little sun, things could have been better. That said, the staff was generally fantastic and guest moral was stayed good in spite of the challenges we began with. The Cruise director, Sue, was the best cruise director we've had. Very funny. Very personable and approachable. And always had great things to do on board. The ship itself is very nice. A bit new age in design, but nice and clean. The theater is beautiful and the rooms are well designed for a cruise ship. We had a Veranda room and our only complaint was that the mattress was good at best. But the bathroom was very roomy and the shower was excellent. There was also plenty of room for storage. One challenge I've seen mentioned is that the higher class stateroom you book, the better the rewards. That is true. And sometimes staying in a lessor room makes you feel less important. Probably a marketing tactic to make you upgrade next time. But if they tick off the lessor stateroom guests, there may not be a next time. The food in the Opus or main dining room was good and our table mates were superb. We couldn't have done better if we'd chosen them ourselves. But I do have to say we've had better main dining room food on other ships. Choices were limited too. However, Opus is opened for lunch and breakfast as well, free of charge and the food then was a step above, which was excellent given that the buffet food was standard buffet food. Again, other ships have been better. I high recommend you eat in the Opus rather than the buffet! The entertainment was better than we expected. Not an area highly rated for the Reflection, we were very happily surprised. The Reflection dancers performed three times and all were well worth watching. We also had a couple of comedians. We had seen Miguel Washington on a previous cruise and he was good, but Robbie Printz joined the cruise half way through and he was excellent! And the small theater shows by the Cruise staff was worth staying up for. The Liars Club and the ships version of the newlywed game were both extremely funny. I almost forgot to mention Blind Vinyl, the house band that played off and on through the cruise. They were great with a blend of 70's and 80's music that always attracted a large crowd. Their atrium shows were audible from most of the public areas of the ship in the area including up the beautiful glass elevator shaft. Our room was just off those elevators though and we couldn't hear any outside noises from in the room. The public rooms were nice and shopping was good on board. They could use a little more lower end shopping for those of us that can't afford Michael Kors etc, but the last day sales were great for souvenirs and gifts to take home. Our package included the standard drink package. It would be difficult to make it easier, but it was a challenge not knowing what level of drink your favorite spirit fit in. The staff was always more than helpful though if you just ask. Overall, there were things about this ship that we liked a lot better than other ships, and things we didn't like as well. It just depends on what you go on a cruise for. And from past reviews, maybe it depends on when you go. Other reviewers have had much better experiences before. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was out third Cruise with Celebrity. The ship was The Reflection. We booked specifically based on past experiences and have recommended to numerous people over the years. For this particular trip, our group consisted of 9 total. ... Read More
This was out third Cruise with Celebrity. The ship was The Reflection. We booked specifically based on past experiences and have recommended to numerous people over the years. For this particular trip, our group consisted of 9 total. Two families, 4 adults and 5 children aging from 8-13. For the purposes of this review, I would like to highlight that we are very low maintenance travelers. However, when spending a large amount of money on such a trip as this you do expect a level of service. Positives: Our cabin steward was wonderful. He was very attentive, always smiling and helpful to every request. Our room was always clean (despite the clutter of a family of 4 in a single cabin). Our main dining room staff was helpful and friendly (Waiter, sommelier, assistant server). By the second night, they knew all our names, came quickly with our preferred drinks and recommended excellent dinner options. They went above and beyond to entertain the kids and make everyone happy. Overall cleanliness of the ship is good. Room for improvement: While there were a handful of extremely nice crew members as previously mentioned, the overall friendliness can be improved. Not sure if they are just overworked, or tired of dealing with people, but some of the bartenders and members of the Ocean Café are less than friendly. I felt like I was bothering them when politely asking for eggs or a drink. The pool area is small. During sea days it’s a nightmare. Trying to find a chair is impossible. People set out towels at the crack of dawn to claim a spot. The towels can sit there all day without use but won’t be removed. The ship included a large lawn area which we believe was a total waste of space. No one was ever utilizing this area and it consumed at least 1/3 of the deck. This space could be used for additional lounging area, another pool or more recreational activities. Big Negatives: Kids entertainment: The kids club was constantly closing. Celebrity claimed this was due to lack of participation. Trust me I get that there happen to only be 52 kids of 3008 passengers on this trip, but we still paid for our kids to be entertained. Our group of 5 kids repeatedly went to the kids club to participate in the scheduled activities to only be turned away by a closed sign. We were also given a very hard time about the kids being together despite signing off multiple permission forms. If you plan on brining the kids, I would confirm with Celebrity prior to the trip how many are expected on board. Website: Celebrity’s website for booking excursions and dinners pre-trip is terrible. I was on the phone with Celebrity multiple times regarding this issue. Although we pre-booked a standing 8PM dinner reservation each night (assured by Celebrity personnel), we showed up the first night to no reservation. Damaged luggage: Upon receiving our luggage in the cruise terminal after the trip, we found the back of two of our suitcases torn through. As we were being pushed through customs, we immediately took images of the damaged luggage. We sent this issue to Celebrity upon our return. After much argument with Celebrity, they finally offered what they called “a meet in the middle”. This was a $175 on-board ship credit on a future booking. This is extremely disappointing considering we have spent over $15K with this line. Make sure you report any damage to luggage before leaving their terminal and hope you have some type of insurance otherwise you will be out of luck for their caused damage. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was the largest ship and most expensive cruise we've taken. Last year we cruised on the Rhapsody of the Seas which seemed like a smaller clone (2000 passengers versus 3000). The dining, cabin and service was exceptional. To ... Read More
This was the largest ship and most expensive cruise we've taken. Last year we cruised on the Rhapsody of the Seas which seemed like a smaller clone (2000 passengers versus 3000). The dining, cabin and service was exceptional. To accommodate 1000 more passengers, obviously the dining and theater areas were larger, but I felt that some of the public areas were actually smaller. The solarium and the pool area were much too small to accommodate so many more passengers and the entertainment area amid ship was definitely smaller with no grand staircase and a much smaller dance floor which translates to fewer chairs and tables. Entertainment was also poorer IMO. The two comedians were very funny, but everything else was decidedly poorer. The crew's entertainment troupe were pretty bad and after their first "performance" we avoided any others. The entertainment director was a cross between a forty year old Phyllis Diller and Cyndi Lauper and her assistants had to try much too hard to be enthusiastic. The director, Sue I believe, thought she was talented enough to put on her own half hour show, she wasn't. We anticipated this and sat at the back of the theater so as not to disturb others when we left early. As I mentioned earlier the pool area seemed smaller than the area on the much smaller Rhapsody where we had little trouble finding chairs at different times of the day. Maybe the areas were about the same size, but then you had 1000 more people searching for chairs. To prevent the jerks from grabbing more than their share of chairs maybe cruise lines can establish a policy where only towels provided to passengers with their cabin numbers emblazoned on them can be used for that purpose. I'm sure this won't solve the problem 100%, but it could be a start. The ports of call were little to speak of but it gave us a chance to enjoy the pool area and to grab good seats at the buffet by returning early. Actually we had a pretty good time, but I attribute that to the company and the premium drink package. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
As longtime Disney and later Royal Caribbean cruisers my wife and I were looking for a more upscale cruise for just the two of us. We heard good things about Celebrity and jumped when our travel agent found a good deal on this cruise. ... Read More
As longtime Disney and later Royal Caribbean cruisers my wife and I were looking for a more upscale cruise for just the two of us. We heard good things about Celebrity and jumped when our travel agent found a good deal on this cruise. Embarkation at Miami went smoothly, with bags delivered to our room by 4 pm. Cabin small but efficient with sufficient storage space. Lack of any clock annoying and the TV channel selection poor. We bought the 3 restaurant package online and were able to quickly reserve all nights before we left the port. Reserved 4 dinners at the Opus and was able to get the same quiet, out of the way table by the window every night. Very good food and service. Murano, Tuscan Grill and Qsine were all fabulous, with outstanding food and wine, and superior service. Breakfast at the Oceanview Cafe proved too noisy, hectic and we ended up going to the AquaSpa cafe by the end of the cruise. Best meals we have ever had on a cruise! We avoided the nightly entertainment as none seemed interesting and given poor reviews here we were not interested in taking a chance. The bars were a disappointment as all are located in the open, in high traffic areas; none had the quiet, secluded ambience we wanted. The ship had very high end stores and only one "general" store with a very small inventory of Celebrity souvenirs, clothing, etc. We have never seen such a small selection of merchandise on a ship. The ship itself was alright, but nothing extraordinary, and maintenance left something to be desired as one of 8 elevators was always out of service and our toilet did not work the first night due to an issue with the ship pipes (according to our room steward). Our room steward was friendly and worked hard to recover from being late the first night when he was delayed by U.S. customs. We booked all excursions online - Cozumel - loved the Amazing Secret River and Playa Del Carmen tour. A once in a lifetime experience wading almost one kilometer in an underground river. Cayman Islands - Catamaran sail and snorkel - 2 dive sites with only the second one - a submerged US navy ship - being of interest. No free drinks on board, which is a first for me. You would think at least one would be included. Poor coordination between shuttle driver and boat crew left us alone for a few minutes waiting for someone to pick us up. Jamaica - enjoyed the Falmouth and Montego Bay tour, with Jennifer, our outgoing, fun guide who gave an insightful and funny introduction to Jamaican life. Labadee - got 35% discount on same day purchase of the snorkeling trip. Knowledgeable local guides showed us octopus, crabs, and all the various coral life during a 45-60 minute swim.. Disembarkation went smoothly, and we were off the ship by 8:15 am. Overall, we enjoyed the excursions and the onboard dining, but found the ship to be a disappointment. We will use another cruise line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We have done this cruise before, it was not the same. Standards seamed to be lower. The first night, this is 12hrs after the ship docked and started their resupply of goods to the dinning and bar areas. Went to 4 bars to get a Pina Colada ... Read More
We have done this cruise before, it was not the same. Standards seamed to be lower. The first night, this is 12hrs after the ship docked and started their resupply of goods to the dinning and bar areas. Went to 4 bars to get a Pina Colada one of the most popular cocktails. Could not get one, their reason was we are out ??? Wanted a salad with ranch dressing, yep you guessed it, No Ranch. Ranch showed up 3 days later. Others were looking for the same. Breakfast, Eggs way over cooked, No Grape Jelly, No Biscuits. Food bowls on the buffet line were not kept full, had to wait or come back later. Main Dinning room food was OK to Good, but the Steaks were not cooked to order, very thin sliced. The crew were not over the top friendly. The Casino Bar was the worst with very rude bartender, never smiled. Shows were Great, Cabin boy was Great, the Ships condition was Great. We completed the Ships survey so we'll see if there is an improvement on our next cruise on Reflection. Even a Bad Cruise is better than a good day at work. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We were told by our cruise planner to arrive for boarding by noon at the latest "to avoid long lines". We arrived at the ship at 11:40 and did not embark until 1:20. There were several sections with 4 employees at each, ... Read More
We were told by our cruise planner to arrive for boarding by noon at the latest "to avoid long lines". We arrived at the ship at 11:40 and did not embark until 1:20. There were several sections with 4 employees at each, registering passengers. The line we were directed to only had 2 employees in that section. To add insult to injury, cruise staff were directing people from the Captains Club to those 2 employees besides the section that was designated to check in Captains Club members. There was one point where our line did not move AT ALL for 30 minutes. Friends of ours arrived almost an hour after us and were on board only 10 minutes later. This was not a good beginning. We found in most instances the bar staff were not attentive. They would see you standing there and completely ignore you, chat amongst themselves or just wander off. One evening we sat on the third deck near the live music. We sat there for 20 minutes while the bar tender chatted with other patrons and never once looked around to see if she had other customers. We finally went up to the bar to get drinks and finally another patron drew to her attention that we were standing there. The food was usually good although I had 2 steaks that left a lot to be desired. One was full of gristle and couldn't even be cut. Another was very well done and tasteless. I suppose the most disturbing thing we noticed was the blatant waste of food...not the ship's fault but rather the passengers...large plates heaped with food from the buffet just simply were left and went in the garbage. I realize the cruise ship is in the business to make money. However there was one shore excursion we wished to take part in but it was fully booked. The cost was $119 per person. When we disembarked we went to a local excursions desk and asked about this particular trip. They checked the details and confirmed they could take us on that exact excursion, same length of time - for $38 per person. Makes you feel a bit ripped off booking it on board 3x the price Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Murano's was excellent. MDR service was good. Food offering was good to poor. Entertaiment was average, cruise director was boring. Ship's officers were no where to be seen. Had several issues with guest relations in obtaining ... Read More
Murano's was excellent. MDR service was good. Food offering was good to poor. Entertaiment was average, cruise director was boring. Ship's officers were no where to be seen. Had several issues with guest relations in obtaining shipboard credits, finally resolved after three meetings. As Elite status, Celebrity is not providing prior offerings that they use to give to Captain Club members, personal invitations are no longer delivered to your cabin, now they give you a one page printed event form for the entire cruise for your status. Ship board credits used for Casino play are special chips which can be used, but cannot be returned for credit to your account. In other words lose them in the casino or lose them for your account as they will not give you credit for returning unused chips. A complimentary bottle of water was placed in your cabin upon arrival, now no complimentary water. I have taken many Celebrity cruises and it was quite obvious that Celebrity is in a cost saving mode. Have been on both sister ships and found them to be much nicer. Cruise was just OK, probably go back to Princess or Azumara as they have never dissapointed me.P Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We used to LOVE the Reflection but this last cruise that we got off today might be our last Celebrity cruise...Embarkation was flawless.. Cabin (9292) was great..Our Cabin Steward, Andrew , was wonderful after we got over the initial ... Read More
We used to LOVE the Reflection but this last cruise that we got off today might be our last Celebrity cruise...Embarkation was flawless.. Cabin (9292) was great..Our Cabin Steward, Andrew , was wonderful after we got over the initial please bring extra towels and heavy bathrobes that would wrap around us...The skimpy cotton pique robes in our closets didn't go around me ( I am a size 8!)..I missed the towel animals that almost all cruise lines do ( was on Carnival 2 weeks earlier and they did the animals...). But we did LOVE our Cabin Steward. Our verandah had chairs that were like chaise lounges ( ie the backs folded down) but had NO ottoman to put your feet on....We were told these ottomans were for concierge class only ( we normally sailed concierge but this time did not)...My point being..why put a chair on the verandah that was NOT usable to relax on and watch the sea go by. We did have room service every morning so we could watch the ocean go by...relaxing and beautiful... Had dinner the first nite (30% first nite discount)at Murano..Had Alan as head waiter..he was outstanding as was the food.we had the Salmon Parfait ( amazing). We had the Lobster Flambe and the Filet Mignon. Desserts were Grand Marnier Souffle ( tasteless), Chocolate Souffle ( just ok) and the long log roll covered in white chocolate which was to die for...plus the cheese plate with the Epois french cheese that we LOVE. Booked it again for Jan.11 ( anniversary). 2 nite was elegant chic ( formal nite) and we ate in the Select dining. Asked for window table for 2 and was put at table OVERLOOKING the LOUD LOUD regular dining room -Never again at this table. Food was great for first "formal nite"...Has escargot, Beef tournados( cooked perfectly - rare). Desserts were good. 3rd nite we went back to the Select Dining-It was while we were in port in San Juan. Obviously the cruise felt most people would eat dinner in San Juan but a lot of us came back to the ship to dinner. Our section of the dining room was closed but they opened it up..they seemed to have sent the waiters UP TO THE Oceanview BUFFET..took forever to get orders placed and food arrived Lukewarm to COLD..We ordered the Orzo with mixed seafood ( mussels, shrimp,scallops,and squid)..COLD dinner..and sauce on pasta dish tasted like reheated tomato sauce. .Service was the pits. Requested to the maitre d to never give us that waiter again. 4th nite we went back to Murano for our anniversary. Nothing was done special. We were seated in a side dining room that I now call SIBERIA as service was almost NON EXISTENT. We placed our orders. Had the salmon parfait as starter and it was amazing. and the young man came out to flambe the lobster main dish. He finished cooking the lobster and looked around for the plates with the vegetables. NOT THERE..he had to go an request someone bring out the vegetables..ie. LOBSTER was warm and veggies were ICE COLD. At this point I asked for the maitre d. the assistant maitre d said the maitre d was tied up trying to fix a reservation that obviously went south. After requesting the maitre d for the 4th time, I was ready to blow a gasket. NO ONE CAME OVER TO OUR table to ask about how the food was etc. By now the maitre d FINALLY came over and asked what he could do to make it correct. I was so annoyed at that point, that I said remove the charge from our account, please bring dessert and cappucino and that we would like to then leave..this was 3 HOURS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not FINE dining...Nothing like the first nite where the food and service was impeccable. 5th nite back to the Select dining and HAD A great new waiter with a table by the window. His name was Ilias and he was a gem.Dinner was Ok..food was nothing to write home about..Starters were escargot and they were again delicious. Main dish- forgot what it was as it was just ok...FOOD has definitely gone DOWNHILL from our past 4 Reflection cruises. Desserts were good...Tiramisu was great- sorbets were great and cheese plate was good with blue cheese on it. 6th nite 2nd formal nite..Had escargot again and a delicious bleu cheese souffle that was wonderful. Main dish was supposed to be Steak Diane and Veal Cordon Bleu. The Steak Diane was TOUGH and full of grizzle ..the Veal Cordon Bleu was very dry. We reordered entrees and had the NY STRIP steak with the Steak Diane sauce on that. it was much better. Dessert was Baked Alaska and didn't remotely look nor taste like normal Baked alaska..it was a teeny pastry size 3 bite of dessert and the meringue was so hard and tough that it looked like a piece of pastry and not meringue. I had the citrus roll with raspberry sauce and it is so HARD that it was inedible. We continually ordered the cappucino with our desserts and the only restaurant that made a decent cappuccino was The Murano. The Select dining room could not do a decent cappuccino but our waiter, Ilias , made the cappuccino himself and it was PERFECT. The last nite dinner was totally forgetful..that is how mediocore it was. Dessert was Sacher torte that was fabulous...and mango sorbet. And again, had cappuccino..but did NOT get the same waiter that we requested. Although this waiter was very good, we had gotten used to the great service of Ilias. OK--that's the scoop on the FOOD..NOWHERE near a great as last Dec 2015. I heard the new female CEO had downgraded things but this was too much to put up with. In Murano, they now charge your $18 for Caviar and $18 for foi gras. Outrageous considering you are paying $100 per couple already for this dinner. PLUS they never did anything special for our anniversary. In Tuscan Grille, they took off the amazing VEAL CHOP that was to die for and put on Veal Parmesan...really now...at $45 pp , Veal Parmesan. We heard NOTHING but bad reviews from fellow passengers on both the rip off extra prices in Tuscan Grille and the bad service there. There was so much bad service in the dining rooms that it was mind blowing. We heard that the crew loved the New CEO..I guess so..they don't have to work so hard at good service yet make their same salary....PRETTY POOR in my book. Some of the best food was the spa buffet..the best creamy gazpacho with slices of avocado...I can still taste it..They also made great pesto pasta and couscous and the MOST fabulous breadsticks in the world. We tried to have lunch there everyday. The Oceanview Buffet was BORING ..NOTHING changed...Pizza was good..Ice cream and sorbets were good.The breads and cheeses were good, esp the pretzel bread and also the olive bread. Indian food was bland and not a lot to pick from ( Even CARNIVAL had an awesome Indian buffet to the point that the Indian Officers came down daily for lunch)...Come on Celebrity..You are supposed to be a higher caliber cruise line than Carnival and you dropped the ball for profit margins... We had heard that the martini bar had lousy service etc with lazy bartenders...we did NOT find that the case. The Martini Bar was booming and busy and the bartenders kept up with the orders. Had a Very Dirty Martini one nite , then tried a Lychee Nut martini another nite ( sweet but delicous) and also had the chocolate espresso martini.. I have to say I totally enjoyed this bar..it was fun and jumping as the people at this bar overlooked the main forum where the band was playing and the band was GREAT..Wonderful lady singer who sang everything..she got the crowd jumping. The other bar we loved was the ensemble bar as it was quiet and elegant..near all the "pay for " restaurants, But the service was great and they had a few different combo bands playing during the cruise. The main theater entertainment was good...but there were obvious cut backs in acts. Last year there was a troupe similar to Cirque de Soleil..we saw them on the last cruise that they were to be on..They told us Celebrity would be doing it's own version from now on....CELEBRITY...get with it..THIS acrobatic act, while amazing, talented and good, still needed the acrobats that went up and down the white ribbon sheets like last year..that's what made it so special. I was so looking forward to this and so disappointed that they cut that out also. The Comedian, Steve Coucette (I know I am spelling this wrong) was hysterical...and Savannah Smith from Vegas could really belt out a song..she was awesome. Only MAJOR COMPLAINT was the TIMES of the SHOWS..they were either 7 pm or 9 pm. What happened to 8 pm and 10:30 pm as standard show times on both Celebrity and all other ships...It made you rush thru dinner in order to see a show.... Seems they are cutting back more than they are adding as far as amenities,food,service etc. And there is now a class distinction of regular, Aqua, and Suite class- all with their own restaurants. If I wanted to do Cunard with classes of cabins and restaurants, I would do Cunard...But I like the option of meeting different people and don't like segregated dining rooms...I know there are many who prefer this type of cruising but for the prices that Celebrity is charging for this distinction, I would rather be on the Oceania...a much smaller, more personal and more elegant cruise line ( and yes, I have done Oceania)...I always liked Celebrity for the upper middle class clientele Our 4 days at sea was a total wash out...literally..It drizzled, then poured, then drizzled and then poured and then we gave up each day and went underneath to sit in the rattan lounges to read .( someone posted that they removed these amazing lounge chairs and ottomans , but thankfully , they did not...They also have a netted hammock to lay in if you can get to it early enough. Needless to say, NO tan, very little sun til around 3 pm. This was NOT the cruise's fault but was a disappointment on our end, I finished a 700 page book on this cruise...lol...that's how much rain there was. Old San Juan was nice and fun..we window shopped and stopped at this amazing little restaurant called Aqua Viva that specialized in the BEST ceviche..we had the octopus ceviche and Coconut mojitos that were FABULOUS...The Italian Glass lighting inside was blue jelly fish with tentacles...Very unusual and took tons of pix of them along with the aqua glass tiled wall. Very sophisticated for being in the heart of Old San Juan. Loved it and will be back on our next trip down there. St Martin was a walking thru the shops...we have been on this itinerary so many times that it is old hat...but we did manage to go to the Blue Bitch Bar and get more of their hysterical tee shirts that always get funny comments. St Kitts was just walking around the shops and looking...prices were sky high and no one was bargining...Seems the best place for major bargains is St Thomas ( and this ship did not have St Thomas on the itinerary this year). we ran into a problem with someone using our credit card in the states..MC texted me and we shut down the acct. With the help of a lady named Avis, behind the scenes in Guest Relations, she helped make the phone calls to get us to talk to the states..and the call was gratis due to the circumstances...Hmmmm , hard to use my MC at Bloomingdales in Miami when I am on a cruise ship in St Kitts.....Blew my mind as this never happened while we were on vacation..it normally just happens in the states. All in all , a RESTFUL relaxing cruise that could use a lot more spice in it's nite life..and I am NOT a young 40 something..but I do feel I could stay up past 11 pm if there was something going on besides gambling and disco. One of the best nites was the last "formal"nite in the Forum with the band playing and tons of balloons in a net that was released and came tumbling down...Lots of fun... Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
did a Celebrity crusie last year over the holiday's and it was a fantastic cruise with the exception of the internet, it was basically non existent due to the ship (Eclipse) system and the number of holiday ships around the area so ... Read More
did a Celebrity crusie last year over the holiday's and it was a fantastic cruise with the exception of the internet, it was basically non existent due to the ship (Eclipse) system and the number of holiday ships around the area so I'm told. was also told the system on Reflection was superior and I would not have same issue as last year and to their credit so far that is the case internet working fine so I booked it!! My issue is the $40 per person up charge at Morano and getting a 4 oz lobster. Last year it was a warm water tail about 10-12 oz and was great, this year cold water tail and small. Went to the cust relations desk and was told I could have ordered another, just give me what I want in the first place, I was part of a party of 6 didn't want the others sitting around while they cooked me another just not my style. They also told me last year must have been a different port and the tails come from local waters, not buying this BS it was a small cold water tail to the best of my knowledge Miami isn't cold water. Bye bye Celebrity, my money is going elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Summary – as a single – only 3 star and would not repeat As a couple – I’m assuming I’d add .5 to 1 star to this review. Context – Male, 40, Montreal – Canada. Accompanied by parents and sister + husband Cruise ... Read More
Summary – as a single – only 3 star and would not repeat As a couple – I’m assuming I’d add .5 to 1 star to this review. Context – Male, 40, Montreal – Canada. Accompanied by parents and sister + husband Cruise was Miami – Sea – Cozumel – Grand Cayman – Falmouth – Labadee – Sea –Miami Review will be separated by Solo travelling / Ship state, amenities, rooms / Service / Food & restaurants / Persian something (spa) /Destinations / excursions / Daily activities, Aqua class vs Regular Class. ******Solo travelling – 1/5******** The offering of Reflection for solos / singles was severely lacking all through the cruise. Most cruise companies will advertise a single nights event / greet / activity. This would generally show in the daily schedule provided to all every night for the next day. Usually, these events take place on the first or second night of the cruise, and give a chance for people travelling solo to meet and possibly find someone to hang out with at some point in the cruise, either to for meals, for activities, or for drinks. Reflection did a terrible job at this. First – there were technically ‘’meets’’ scheduled every night, one at 8pm and one at 10 pm, but none were advertise in the daily schedule. A daily schedule so detailed, it took a whole page in very little writing. Picture provided below. Basically, if you wanted to know about a singles meet, you needed to go to guests relations desk, and on a ‘’community board’’ well removed from view were 3 little cardboards signs indicating a LGQT meet, an informal bridge game and the singles meet. The time was a poor choice too, considering that the main dinner room had dinner services at 6 and 8 pm, meaning that half the cruise could not attend the 8pm one. Most cruises do cocktail hours, somewhere around 5pm, an hour well recognized everywhere in the world as happy hour, regardless of your scheduled time of meals. The second terrible thing was that it was held at what they call the ‘’World Class Bar’’. The WCB is a place where every drink is 15$ and none of them are included in any package whatsoever – I had already the premium package. And you cannot order anything else, or bring any other drinks. So basically, I would have had to to pay to sit down at a bar for a singles meet that no one knew was happening. Also, since the WCB is open to anyone at any point, there was absolutely no way to know who was there to have a drink, and who was there for the singles meet & greet. Also, there were no signs that indicated a singles meet on the table, or anyone from the cruise to introduce / facilitate the singles meet. Finally, the WCB is a poor place to meet at all, it’s wedged on the 4th deck, in between the main foyer stairs and the stores. Furthermore, what baffled me is that on a random day in the cruise, the LGQT meet actually made it in the daily schedule, but the singles meet stayed forever out of sight of the whole cruise, which really goes by the daily schedule. In fact – I felt that Reflection did little to encourage socialization during the cruise. This cruise and the 2 following ones are mostly booked by families and it my feeling is that cruise management felt less of a responsibility to promote meets because of this. I would argue on the contrary that is the exact time where you should be promoting more of meets, because on a 3000 person boat with many families, it becomes highly complicated to meet other singles / solo travelers. Just to be clear, I went with my parents and my sister + husband. I love them dearly, but some days / times, I would have like to simply hang out with others. So I basically chatted up with people in the hot tub, and sometimes getting drinks. But socialization is a repeat process, not a one off – meaning you won’t invite someone to share your meal until you’ve met him / her a few times. On a small cruise, it’s going to happen naturally. On a 3000 people boat, you might never meet the same people again. In fact, I never met the same people twice. The Sky Lounge, which is the main bar at night would allow kids until 11h00 pm, which means the crowd was changing only around midnight – which becomes a little late if you are getting up at 6am for an excursion. Also – silent disco partys are fun, but again, not great to meet people if everyone has noise cancellation earphones on. When a ship is filled with multiple siblings between 20-40 travelling with their parents, I would argue that these could all be considered as singles as some point, meaning that they may wish at some point to eat / hang out / perform activities with other people. Reflection has a very narrow view of singles, meaning you have to have booked a cabin on your own. I felt they used the low amount of single booked cabins / high number of family with kids on this cruise to justify this lack of support for singles meet. Either way – promoting social activities is a very simple thing. It did not have to be a ‘’Singles’’ event, it could have been a social event, it could have been any corny or non corny name, which would have provided an opportunity for the people who wanted to meet others to do so. Doesn’t matter if only 20 or 30 people show up, these are the people interested in meeting other people. My conclusion is that if you are planning a trip as a solo on the Reflection, and might assume that like other cruises you will be supported in meeting your fellow solo travellers, you are mostly on your own! Singles travelling is expensive, as we fork out the same price as everyone for a cabin, and having such a poor offering was almost insulting. It doesn’t take much to help solo people meet, and boy did Reflection fail on that account. ******Ship and amenities 4.5/5******** There is little to say about the ship itself and the amenities provided. The ship interior is beautiful, very well maintained and in excellent shape. The rooms were modern, again in excellent shape. The beds were comfortable, not too firm nor too soft, a balance that would probably be to everyone’s liking. I really have little to say because the boat in general is clean, beautiful, with quality materials. A quick word about our Stateroom attendant – Tracia. Should you be so lucky as to have her, she went above and beyond to ensure that our stay was comfortable and the service she provided was exceptional. Wifi worked consistently all through the cruise. It’s not a quick connection, but I found it to be one of the most reliables one I’ve ever had. A few interruptions here and there, but generaly speaking, very reliable. Very pleased with that service. AC – I found the AC to be at exactly the right temperature inside the ship. Sometimes, the difference between outside and inside is too pronounced, but I thought the ship managed the temperature differential real well. Inside the ship was always comfortable, but never too cold. Gym – the Gym is a little small for a cruise ship this size. This meant that from 7 to almost 8h30 am, it was completely packed. Rest of the day was empty. Pools and poolsides – There are 3 pools, 2 open to everyone and 1 for 16+. On sea days, the people go crazy real early and by 8-8h30 am, the seats near the pools are often mostly taken. On non-sea days, it is relatively easy to find a spot. Also – and huge props to them, the pool staff is fairly fast to make available chairs that have been unused for a while, even when they still have towels on them. ********Service 4.5 / 5********** In general, service varied from very great to exceptional, with the exception of one area and two incidents which I will cover later. Bar Staff – courteous and quick service Stateroom attendant – extraordinary service Restaurant staff – we review in details Blu restaurant below, but in general, excellent work at all restaurants in terms of services Guest relations – I really liked the service provided by guest relations. I had a small problem at the beginning of the cruise, where the room next to me was putting on loud music. I think these were first time cruisers, and were probably not aware of how thinner the rooms of a cabin are compared to let’s say, a hotel room. I didn’t mind so much during the day, even if their choice of music was not my own, but it bothered me that it still played at 11pm. They did send some people repeatedly and finally managed to speak to them on the next day. The first night, they had left the room with the music on ) The problem was solved quickly after that, and I’ve never heard anything afterwards. Guest relations contacted me regularly during the cruise to ensure that the situation had been completely resolved, and I highly appreciated it. Shore excursions – Excellent service provided by Elena and a lady from Ile Maurice at Shore Excursions. First – we booked a little late for a dive in Cozumel, and when we arrived at the desk, it was already full. They contacted the tour operator, and made sure we had spot on the dive for us. Second - because we didn’t get the dive on our first night in Cozumel, we booked the dive in the Caymans, but only wanted to do one during our trip. We managed to make it on the Cozumel dive, and I had understood I had all day to cancel the Cayman one (which was next day). The actual policy is 24h before the excursion. I was a few hours late on the cancellation, but shore excursions were very nice and accepted to cancel the second dive regardless. Third – we did a tour in Jamaica that featured the Dunn’s Falls and River Garden. The tour operator decided to add a shopping stop which was not included in the description of the tour. This cost us about an hour and we got back to the boat one hour late. While we though the excursion was fair, the unexpected shopping stop at a tourist trap was a big thing for us. I later went to shore excursion to discuss this – Elena quickly recognized that there were no shopping stops on our excursion and flagged this for her manager. The next day, we got 25% of our excursion refunded, which we thought was quite fair. So in general, all good with the service from shore excursions. The excursions taken will be covered in excursions. An area of the ship and two specific situations prevent me from giving service a full 5 star. The area of the ship in question is the 14th ocean view café, specifically the outside deck. The ocean view café is the main cafeteria, and like most of these, there is an area outside for seating. There are probably about 50 tables outside, and the deck is rarely very occupied, as people seem to prefer eating inside in the AC. My family and I prefer eating outside – and I rarely seen such poor service – or at least service that is not consistent with a 5 star rating (and the amount we’ve paid) Whereas 95% of the boat staff always seems to be bustling with energy and work, the staff on the deck on the 14th floor mostly seem to be putzing around. Plates of food stayed on tables long after guests were gone, tables went unwashed, waiters never came asking if you need anything and never to pick up your empty plate between, let’s say main and dessert. The only time they interacted with me is on the first day, trying to sell me a premium package for drinks. It may truly be that the 14th outside deck is like the overall cafeteria, where service to table is not provided. But with so few people sitting on the dock outside, you would assume that plates could be cleared in a decent amount of time, and tables still be washed. With all this staff just waiting around and nothing happening, it felt like the service should have been better. As I know sometimes management reads these reviews, there was an exception, a young Russian lady waiter did provide an appropriate level of service, asking if we wanted anything and promptly came to pick up plates, but I’ve only seen her once, and I cant remember her name. The first incident was with the tender tickets for Grand Cayman, the only stop requiring tenders. The whole tender operation for Grand Cayman was a bit of a mess – but I don’t fault the Cruise overly. The tender boats seemed to be operated by the port, and not by the cruise company, and there were 4 cruise ships all trying to disembark at roughly the same time, with our ship arriving the latest to port, with somewhat of a small swell. So the shore excursions were leaving at 10 with the first tender, and then you had to get tender tickets on deck #4 for all further tender to shore. I cannot say exactly (guest relations? Shore excursions?) who was responsible to provide the tender tickets, but my mom went down after breakfeast to get some tickets for the family. The tender tickets lady refused to give her tickets, even if we were within 15 minutes of being ready, because it would seem we needed to be all in front of her and ready, which was never mentioned anywhere in any communication. That was at about 9h00. They were giving out tender tickets for boats 28-30 at that point. By the time my mom went up to rouse us all and we came back down about 15-20 minutes later, they had none left. We had to wait for the open tender boat. Turned out that the 28-30 tender left around noonish, and the open tender around 1h30. Why did the woman wanted us to be all ready and down a full 3 hours before the tender we would have left the cruise ship is still a total mystery to me. We lost a full 1h30 on Grand Cayman because of her. And as we had to be back on ship by 5 pm, and only touched shore around 2 pm, we barely had the time to hit the beach and so Grand Cayman was a bit of a bust for us. As for the other incident, it happened on the first day – at the emergency drill. You have to show up, you have to listen to the presentation as to what to do and where to be in case of a emergency on the ship. It’s a mandatory requirement for cruise travel. I arrived with my family, tried to give my name 3 times to the lady calling our part of the boat, every time she waived me off saying she had it, and I knew she didn’t. She also seemed particularly bored to be there and I have to say, things were a little chaotic. The reserved spot for C1 was way too small for the amount of people. Third time, I just got tired, and decided that was enough. Of course, the same night, I had a note saying I wasn’t present at the emergency meeting. There were no further consequences, but for some other cruise lines, the emergency meeting needs to be retaken if you do not make it. And as this was the first day on the cruise, in the first few hours, it did cast a bit of a shadow on the experience. *********Food and restaurants********** 4.5/5 (but 75% of meals eaten at Blu) My family was all upgraded to Aqua Class, meaning our dining room was the Blu Restaurant, on deck #5. But as I know that most of you will be eating out of the main dining room (opus café), I will be posting a picture of the menu on Blu and the menu for the dining room on the same night. This will be discussed further in the Is Aqua Class update worth it section. So I’ll be discussing Blu, the Lawn Grill, the Ocean View Cafeteria, the Spa Café and the Boccia café. I did not eat elsewhere on the ship, and therefore would be inadequate of me to provide a review. Blu Restaurant. The Blu restaurant and his staff + chef gets a 5 star all around from me. From all of the trips I’ve taken, the food served at that restaurant varied from very good to excellent. Most nights, we would eat a minimum of 2 appetizers and one main + 1 dessert, and each time, the whole family came out fully satisfied. The ingredients were fresh, the choice interesting and the cooking of the various meats and fishes perfect. Generally speaking, you had one pasta, one fish, one vegetarian meal, one poultry and usually one or two choices of meat. You always had the possibility of salmon, steak and… I forgot. My dad was the only one who ever took the salmon one night out of the regular menu, and found his salmon excellent. All the others in our party were always convinced by at least one of the daily dishes. Of everywhere on the ship, the service was by far the best. I know the names of every staff member, because of the repeated interactions we had with them. Violetta, our sommelier, knew her wines very well and provided exceptional service, though my dad wanted me to point out that he thought the wine selection that came with our premium package slightly limited. Wayne. Roger, Emmanuel and Daria particularly, but Oleg, Wulan, PhongPhan and the maitre D, Dario who ran a tight ship, remembered our preferences and were quick to provide menu alternatives to maximize our happiness. I do not recall having such a staff attentive to our different needs / food allergies / food preferences. I need to point out that the Blu restaurant is also the breakfeast restaurant for the Aqua Class, so maybe the repeated interactions of eating there twice a day and being served by the same staff did indeed help the service experience. Breakfeast was also delicious and efficient. But breakfast is breakfast, and while there’s a bazillion ways to makes eggs, in the end, they’re still eggs. And breakfeast has everything you need there – from smoothies to oatmeal made behind you with your choice of toppings, to seriously every thing you need. Xcept Hash Browns – because they serve fingerling potatoes. And they offered often to go get some from the cafeteria upstairs, but the choice was so large, I never took them up on their offer. In conclusion, blu restaurant is an absolute sure bet all round. Small warning – plates sizes are more on the European side of things – meaning that they go for quality instead of quantity. But as you can take as many plates as you wish if – the whole quantity becomes a moot point. The Lawn and Grill We ate our first dinner at the Lawn and Grill. Typically, the restaurants will offer a 50% on the first night, the offer should be at your door in an envelope. (Or maybe that was just Aqua Class, no way for me to know) Book fast if you choose to do so, seats go by pretty quickly because of that. The Lawn and Grill is outside, on the 14th deck – or 15th? I forget. Doesn’t matter. It’s outside. You would except a lawn grill to provide excellent grill, and that they did. Generally speaking, you choose as many meats as you wish, and the chef grills them for you. The appetizer is a very thin crusted pizza, with toppings of your choice, and a fresh, well supplied salad bar. There many side dishes like rice, potatoes, mac& cheese, etc, which we did not take, because well – why waste some spaces on sides when you are there for the meat. I have less to say about the Lawn and Grill, but what I will say is they deliver in terms of service, quality of meats, quality of cooking and general freshness of service. I’m sure we would have gone again, had Blu not been so good. I would totally recommend. Small notice – the wind often picks up at night in the Carribean. While there are glass walls to try to stop it and the waiters graciously lowered some side plastic barriers, it was still quite windy. If you are easily chilled, do bring a little vest. The Ocean View Cafeteria. I mostly ate lunch at the OVC and often at random hours. I feel like I rarely got the full experience or the full menu on display. The food was… ok. I mean, it’s a cafeteria. For those of you with food allergies, I can tell you they take it seriously, but you need to speak to the staff to get something specific. There was a gluten free dessert bar – I tried one, not great, but hey – it’s gluten free! I would like to say the salad bar was always well stocked with fresh ingredients, but often lacked in terms of proteins. Often, you’d only have either chiken cubes or ham cubes never both. On the cold cuts table, only two types of cheeses and only two types of cold cuts (salami and something that looked like bologna). There was a pasta bar, a Mexican bar, a stir fry bar, etc – I never took any of them, can’t say either way. Usually, you could find some type of starch (potatoes, rice) some type of chicken or meat and some type of hot vegetables. They did change almost every day. There was a carving station I managed to catch once, and the turkey pieces were fine. In fact, all of the food was ok. Just not great. I know I’ve spoke about the service in the deck outside of the OCV, but it also felt when passing through that it lacked inside too. There were often dishes on tables already unattended, there were often things lacking – like paper cups to make yourself a coffee to go. Often both coffee stations were lacking these paper cups. But I would like to point out that I didn’t eat very often there, that I wasn’t there for the rushes, and maybe my experience of an overall meh service was circumstantial. Or maybe the fact that the boat was full was stretching the OCV staff – it’s just that the other parts of the boat didn’t show it. Spa Café A few words about the Spa café – it’s situation on the 14th deck, but inside near the pool area reserved for 16+. Ate a few lunches there. Smaller salad bar, but always fresh – same protein problem, and a few appetizers dishes that were hit of misses, but always minimally ok. They have a very nice smoothie bar, but the wait can be a little daunting. Boccia café Located on the 5th floor, the café has a huge selection of cakes and desserts, but is mostly popular for the higher end coffees. My sister – big coffee fan, said the coffees were fine, well roasted and honest. There is another coffe shop on the other side which serves italien gelato. The ice cream on the ship is generally a bit meh, the gelato was good, but had to be paid over and was not included in the package. Probably the only thing we felt should have been included. (all of the desserts at Baccio are included) ******The Persian something (spa) 3.5 / 5********* Aqua Class has an unlimited access to the spa and I went there twice. The spa is beautiful, with a hammam, a dry sauna, an cold room, cold showers, and a scented spa (??). There are about 6 chairs per rooms (2) and they are made out of ceramic and are heated, which is quite an added bonus. My small problem with the spa was the noise, and the hammam. I’ve been doing the Scandinavian baths quite often in my life, and in order for them to work, the hot must be hot, and the cold, cold. I find it’s something I often have a problem with in spas, where often either one is not up to par. In this particular case, the hammam was not hot enough. I could have stayed there indefinitely, which you are not supposed to be able to do. To be fair, the dry sauna reached the appropriate temperature. The other problem was the noise. A spa is usually a place of relaxation, where, if a conversation was to take place, is usually done in hushed tones. My first visit was particularly unpleasant, with some guests chatting quite loudly, oblivious to the atmosphere. My main problem is that the staff was also regularly coming in to tour the spa with prospective guests, which was fine, and not only did they never asked the ladies to quiet down, but they themselves were speaking at full volume. To be fair, I went there a second time, and the guests were quiet, and there were no visits, and the hammam wasn’t any hotter, but I still enjoyed my time, so it might have been circumstantial. *******Destinations******** Cozumel - Cozumel doesn’t have any close beach, so it’s a bit of a funny destination. You’ll notice that a lot of the excursions proposed are really high in travel time, often making up to 75% of the actual excursion. Do ask at the shore excursions desk how long you are stopping, you might be surprised. The shopping mall near the pier is a bit of a bust, and we didn’t go to town, which I understand to be about 5-10 minutes by cab. If I wasn’t diving that day – that would probably have been a ship day for me. Grand Cayman – other than the tender problems, Grand Cayman is an interesting destination. The 7 mile beach which is not really 7 miles is a nice, while not very large. With 4 boats in port, all beaches were pretty packed. We did not take an excursion that day, and I do not think one is necessary. Outside the pier, cabs will take you the most popular beaches for 5$ per person. Be careful on the way back, as the cabs are 10-20 people mini-buses and will wait to be full before driving back. I had to wait 20 mins before my cab left off. Tikki beach is a great sandy beach, but with a rock formation that makes for poor swimming. You can rent chais for about 10 per person on most beaches. The equivalent excursion, with a drink, goes around 70 per person, which we found to make small sense, as a round trip with a chair is 20$. Jamaica – There’s nothing much at Falmouth, but at least the pier shopping center looks good. The only disadvantage of Jamaica is that the ship lands slightly far from any activity and there is some travelling time either way. About 1 hour to go to Ocho Rios, or 1 hour the other way to go to Montego Bay. But I’m told there are nice beaches, we just didn’t choose to go. Haiti – Labadee. Completely man made vacation spot. There is absolutely nothing that is nature made on that site, and if you look around on the horizon, you wont find a beach in sight, because this was not originally a beach. I’m fairly sure all the sand was trucked from elsewhere. What are the downsides of this – well because they closed off the dragon something beach from the waves with man made formations, there is a lot of alguae in the water. The other downside and I WILL PUT THIS IN CAPS HOPING THAT SOME FROM MANAGEMENT READS THIS BUT A BEACHVOLLEY BALL TERRAIN WITH ROCKS IN THE SAND IS JUST A LIABILITY SUIT WAITING TO HAPPEN. Seriously, I don’t know who is the genius who tought it would be a good idea, but I played about 2 hours, and had scratches all over my knees and legs and opened my toe because I stepped on a rock. One of the player got a screw out. So ya – Labadee management please send some people with rakes to take the rocks out? I wont even mentioned that they cordoned off the terrain with huge ropes, so every time you run out to catch an errant ball, you run the risk of face planting. In rocks. But otherwise, Labadee is a fine destination for a beach day. There is sand, there is sun, there is food and drinks, and for kids – and some adults, the place is just a huge playing ground. The other side of the lagoon barefoot beach I think it was called, is much nice to swim in, without the algua problem. Obvisouly, it becomes quite crowded because of that. *****Excursions***** Cozumel Diving – My dad and I dove in Cozumel, and we were both very impressed by the price vs offering. This was by far the best price / quality ratio. The dive shop is just off the pier, the staff of Sandbar was absolutely professional, and worried about our security at every step of our run. The dive spot is just 20 mins of boat away. 1 divemaster per 6 divers, a fair ratio. I dove many coral reefs, and often find them boring. There’s often little marine life to see. But the Cozumel reef was real lively, with a teeming aquatic fauna and flora. And back to the boat at 11h30 to enjoy the rest of the day! Overall, and excellent experience if you are a diver. 135 USD. Jamaica Treasure of Ocho Rios & Dunns Falls. Look – Dunn’s Falls is a beautiful place. Seriously, it’s an awesome little spot of small falls and nice warm water. The problem is the bazillion of people going up in human chains that are going up in groups of 20-30 people. They kinda ruin the experience… About the difficulty – I’ve done a lot of hiking in my life, and stood out because I was wearing my hiking boots. You will be up to your waist in water, but I didn’t mind, I had 3 days to get them dry. With my boots, I could have got up in 5-10 minutes? The problem is – again – people. The only reason is takes so long is that they will accept anyone who wishes to climb. And then put it on the group to bring them up. Do bring yourself a pair of water shoes – FLIP FLOPS ARE NOT WATER SHOES, or buy them for 10$ at the entrance. After Dunn’s Falls, we went to River Garden, which used to be the Gardens of a hotel in the 1920’s. Honestly, it was very nice. It’s a quick tour, but the flora / trees and the old leftovers of the old hotel are interesting and quite unique. This is where they stopped us at a tourist trap, as explained earlier. And this is why we got a 25% rebate on our excursions. Count about 1 hour to go and another to come back. Buses were comfy – not complaints there. Look, it was a fun day with the family. Could we have spent 80$ in a better way? Absolutely. Do I recommend it? Meh. Take that as you wish. *****Daily Activities & entertainment***** I found Daily activities to be a bit meh – with a lot of false conferences, where they wanted to sell you stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that side of the business, but other cruises do a great job at balancing those and providing some real information. I’ve provided a picture of a daily schedule. The interesting ones were often the paying ones. (I found for example that charging for a mixology class when most of us already have the premium package was a bit cheap). Also, not enough of them promoted a certain socialization, but I’ve covered that extensively, so wont get back to it. In general, bands ranged from excellent to meh. Strolling quartet provided excellent jazz and other music on request – we ended up following them around the schedule. We also danced swing and tango to them. The guy with a guitar and the two ladies playing current hits to violon were both quite talented and very enjoyable to listen to (not dansable though) Vinyl Band – An excellent range of songs – from about the 1970s to today, the Vinyl Band was really good. I thought some of the songs chosen were less to the advantage of the lady singer, but when you have such a wide selection of songs, it feels like I’m just nitpicking. It was the more mainstream band and they did an real good job. Not danceable as per partner dancing, but totally danceable in the more modern sense. Big Band to Ballroom band was by far the worst – they only played on one night twice, and the bandleader is the director of the music experience on the boat. He seemed miffed that no one danced and repeatedly asked people to join in. I do not think he is a dancer himself and so possibly does not understand what a partnered dancer looks for in a song. First of all, his choice selection was either way too quick, or more often, way too slow. And secondly, the band seemed oblivious that they were playing the long versions of the standards – no partner dancer wants to dance for 6 mins… A good lindy / swing song lasts 3-4 mins, not 6. So all in all, a poor experience in song selection and beat selection. Our group danced blues, salsa, waltz, tango, lindy on this ship, and yet didn’t dance once to that band. Casino – Casino was fine. Cash games for poker every night – 200 buy in. Very popular. Otherwise, a cruise ship casino like all others. Professional and all. Shows and comedians I went to the show on the first sea day and it was inegal, but generally good. But the Broadway review was a bit of a catastrophy. Otherwise, I avoided the shows. Comedians: first comedian was very meh – vaguely got a chuckle out of me. The second comedian arrived mid week and was much better. Cant remember any names – sorry. Aqua Class vs regular class And now you wonder, should I upgrade to Aqua class or not. Some of the perks of Aqua class were excellent. And this is where it becomes tricky. For us, Aqua Class was worth it because of the upgrade to the Blu restaurant. We ate breakfeast and dinner there, and short of our try of the Lawn Grill, we were happy to always go back. In fact, as stated service, food and menu was so good that were were never tempted to try one of the a la carte restaurant. When the family sat down to review the cruise, we were all in agreeement that Aqua Class was worth it, just because of that. Otherwise, we rarely used the spa, and we coudnt really figure out what other perks was there for us from Aqua Class. (I think there were priority boarding / priority exits for us, but to be honest, the ship was really efficient, and I'm not sure we would have needed those) I have two caveats here: 1) WE might have saved a few bucks by actually paying every time at the Blu instead of having it all included. My sister and her husband often missed breakfeast, so all an all, maybe it would have been cheaper to pay a la carte. By how much? No idea. 2) Because we were so satisfied with the food at Blu, we never tried the main dining room. Maybe the dinners were also great, and maybe Blu was simply just a little better? That's yours to discover. That's about all! Do write if you have some questions, I'll be happy to answer them. Marc Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We are veteran cruisers and this was our second time aboard Celebrity. We actually sailed one of Reflection’s sister ships, the Silhouette back in March so we were well familiar with this ship and the amenities. We have just turned 50 ... Read More
We are veteran cruisers and this was our second time aboard Celebrity. We actually sailed one of Reflection’s sister ships, the Silhouette back in March so we were well familiar with this ship and the amenities. We have just turned 50 and we cruise just for the pleasure of unwinding and the freedom from having to ever get in a car to go anywhere on vacation. We’re very spontaneous and just go with the flow once on board. Our primary concern with any cruise or vacation in general, is enjoying good food and some good laughs. BOOKING THE CRUSE We actually booked this cruise while on-board the Silhouette and managed to book the exact same cabin, 8345, which is one of the last cabins on the port side and features a “kick out” balcony. More about this and the cabin in general in that section of the review. At the time we booked we could choose two of their “included amenities” so we went with the Classic Drink Package and the On-Board Credit which for us was $450. We also book all of our cruises through Costco, so the future cruise planner on Silhouette transferred the reservation over to Costco. That earned us an additional $190 in ship-board credit so we came on-board the Reflection with $640 in ship-board credit. Which we put to great use! EMBARKATION - MIAMI The Port of Miami is a busy port and we had 5 or 6 large ships all headed out the day we arrived. Now our paperwork from Celebrity advised us to arrive around 1:30 - 2:00pm for boarding, but fortunately, Celebrity is not a stickler for boarding times. With an 11am checkout time at our hotel, we really had no choice but to head to the port at that time. We arrived via taxi at 11:30am and were dropped off at Terminal 6 where the Reflection was docked. She was actually the last ship in line at the pier. A porter was available immediate at the curb to take our bags and then we proceeded to the security line. This took about 10 minutes to move through and then we were on our way upstairs to the main terminal to check in. At Check-in it took about 15 minutes to move through the line and get up to counter. All in all a very fast and easy process and then we were boarding the ship. If you come on after 12 noon, you are offered a glass of champagne as you enter the ship. It’s a nice touch, though we boarded so early, we missed this. The cabins are generally not ready to enter until 1:00 - 1:30pm so we prepared for that by only bringing on board a few small bags of necessities including swimwear in case we wanted to hang out by the pool. DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF GOING TO YOUR CABIN FLOOR EARLY. It’s generally just a mass of bodies loitering waiting for the doors to open. When the cabins are ready, there WILL be a general ship board announcement so my advice is go to the buffet, find a bar to relax at, listen to the music or hang out by the pools. No reason to stand around a stagnant mass of bodies waiting to get to your cabin. Relax until the announcement and then give it another 10 - 15 minutes before you head to your cabin. CABIN - 8345 As I mentioned previously, we were in cabin 8345 which is the last balcony cabin on the port side and it features a “kick-out” balcony. We love the extra real estate from the extended balcony which allows you to look down the entire length of the ship instead of having to lean out of the railing to look forward. It also gives some extra room for seating. The bathroom layout is among the most efficient of any we’ve seen on all the ships we’ve sailed. The space is better utilized that other ships allowing plenty of room to stand with the placement of the shower and toilet. There are plenty of cabinets and shelf space and even the trash can is tucked away. The shower controls are really nice with the water pressure and hot/cold controls separated so if you need to turn off the water during your shower, it comes right back on at the same temperature as when you turned it off. The shower is small, but functional and includes sliding glass doors so you don’t have to worry about shower curtains sticking to you during a shower. Inside the cabin there is a good sized closet, but the dresser / drawer space is somewhat limited, just three of them. So we learned a trick from a fellow Celebrity traveler by purchasing 12” x 12” collapsible cubes that we place in the cabinet above the bed. This cabinet can easily hold 8 of these cubes and we’ll put our underwear, socks, t-shirts and other stuff in there. Another great tip is to get a wall hanging, canvas shoe rack and hang that on the bathroom door. We’ve used that for most every cruise we’ve been on. We usually try to book an aft cabin because we enjoy the vibrations from the engines which helps us sleep, Also, being at the rear of the ship is generally quieter with little hallway foot traffic outside the cabin. Being on Deck 8, the vibrations are quite gentle up here and I do love to sit out and look forward as the ship moves through the waves. INTERNET and CELEBRITY APP Our absolute LEAST favorite part of the Celebrity Experience. They’re still charging by the hour / day which just feels like blatant price gouging. At the time of our sailing, $22 for one hour, $44 for one day and $224 for the entire cruise (7 nights). Single device. Now after you are at sea for a day or two, you’ll see another option show up which is something like $54 for 90 minutes, not continuous minutes. You can log in and out to use it. But you won’t see that option the first day. Disney has set the internet standard that I wish everyone in the cruise industry would follow. They charge by the data usage, NOT the time spent online. So when I sailed the Disney Fantasy I paid less than $100 for 60MB of usage because I only planned to check emails. That was more than enough for what I had to do. That’s what I really wish Celebrity would do, switch to a data plan rather than a time limit plan, then I would actually use their internet package. The Celebrity App is completely and utterly useless when you’re onboard. Literally USELESS. It’s just a sales tool for future cruises, it does absolutely nothing to help you while you are on-board. Again, Disney sets the standard with an app that is free to use onboard, with or without an internet package. The biggest thing the Disney app includes is in-app messaging to anyone else on-board so you can stay in contact with people in your party or anyone else you meet, without the need for internet service. That’s an awesome way to easily stay in touch with everyone. The app also includes the entire daily schedule, the ability to select ‘favorite’ activities and receive notifications that they’re about to start and the restaurant menus. On the Reflection, it’s still that old fashioned paper schedule, and the use of shipboard telephones or home brought walkie talkies to stay in touch with everyone if you don’t have an internet package. Actually I suggest you take a photo of the daily schedule with your smartphone so you don’t have to worry about the paper. Celebrity has a real push to share “across the world networks” while on board, but they make the process cost prohibitive to do so. And they don’t offer any sort of a useful app for those of us who WOULD like to utilize our modern electronics more efficiently. As I said, internet is our least favorite part of the Celebrity experience. I hope they at least come up with a decent app that we can use to eliminate that paper schedule and allow us to stay in touch with each other on-board. DINING. (including Vegetarian options and Coffee) We typically don’t use assigned dining times on our cruises opting for “anytime” dining because we like the flexibility that brings. We did go with the anytime dining but we also opted for the Four Night Dining Package which essentially gives you 4 speciality restaurant experiences for the price of 3. The package includes QSine, Murano, Tuscan Grille and Lawn Club Grille. However, we did not really like Lawn Club Grille when we sailed on Silhouette, so we requested to change that dinner to a second QSine meal, which they accommodated. We LOVE QSine which I’ll talk about more later. Vegetarian options could be greatly improved. Celebrity is average in terms of their main dining and speciality dining vegetarian options, with the exception of Q-Sine. In fact, Tuscan Grille REMOVED some vegetarian options from their menu before we sailed leaving only one main course. I’m honestly not sure why Celebrity can’t offer a minimum of 2 - 3 main vegetarian courses on every menu in every restaurant. For vegetarians, Q-Sine and the Oceanview Cafe (buffet) are your best two choices. I’ll start with coffee because I LOVE COFFEE and that’s always one the things I test right away on a ship, the free coffee. The free coffee that is available at most of the drink stations is Lavazza and it’s the best ‘free’ coffee I’ve had on any cruise line. On other cruise lines I purchase a lot more cappuccinos and lattes but on Celebrity, I’m able to enjoy the regular coffee and cut down on the speciality stuff. There are a few places to get a good specialty coffee, for a fee including Cafe Bacio and Il Secondo Bacio in the Oceanview Cafe. Since we’re on coffee I’ll mention that coffee and drink machines are available 24/7 in many areas across the ship. You’ll see the Lavazza coffee machines and drink machines in the pool areas, the Hideaway and of course the buffet area. Breakfast we varied between the Opus Dining Room and the Oceanview Cafe (buffet). On sea days we generally hit the buffet, but on port days, we would hit the Opus. The Opus has a great selection of both egg and non-egg options including an amazing greek yogurt frittata. The buffet is full of both healthy and regular breakfast options you’d come to expect along with some more unique offerings from around the world. Another breakfast option is the Aqua Spa Café in the Solarium (adult pool). They offer healthy breakfast options like fruits, smoothies (for a fee) and cereals. OPUS DINING ROOM As mentioned above we had breakfast a few times in Opus and Lunch once. We never had dinner in this dining room. Why? Well because that one lunch took almost 2 1/2 hours because the service was incredibly slow and poor. We heard from our friends that as a couple of 2, they received similar service at dinner and long waits not only to order and receive their food, but even to just pay up for their drinks at the end of the meal. Lunch was very unimpressive so we just skipped Opus for the buffet and the Speciality restaurants instead. Q-SINE Man we love this restaurant experience, unlike anything else that we’ve experienced at sea. This time we were fortunate to introduce a few friends to it too. Be prepared to eat a LOT of food, both the carnivores and the vegetarians. I cannot stress that enough, you will eat until you tell the waiters to stop. So this is essentially a tapas / small plates restaurant that features cuisine from all over the globe. American, Indian, Mexican, Greek and everything else in between. When you first sit down, each person is presented with an iPad with dozens of types of cuisine represented by icons. When you click the icons, you’ll see the plates available for that cuisine such as meatballs, sliders, Mexican chicken, popcorn shrimp, steak, seafood, soups, mediterranean ensemble… and so on. You create ‘Favorites’ from the dishes that interest you. When everyone at your table has made their selections, the server will collect all the iPads and then make selections for the table based on everyone’s interests. So what actually comes out to your table is a bit of a surprise. After the first round of plates come out, the server will then bring out a second round of plates, again based on the Favorites from everyone. This process will repeat itself until you say “no more.” The food is just so incredibly good, it’s hard to stop and because the portions are small plates, you really don’t realize just how much you’ve eaten until it all sneaks up on you. You WILL be very full when you leave this restaurant and you will be very happy. We have eaten just the two of us and we’ve eaten as a party of 4 and I will say the more folks you have, the more fun it is. We had dinner twice during this cruise and we’re already looking forward to visiting again on our next Celebrity cruise. I will say they missed an opportunity to provide a unique experience for Thanksgiving by simply offering either a special Samosa or Empanada filled with turkey, stuffing and mashed potato served with a gravy dip. That would have still fit the small plates / tapas theme and yet allowed them to recognize the Thanksgiving dinner. TUSCAN GRILLE Tuscan Grille is tucked into the rear of the ship and is made to invoke the feeling of an Italian wine cellar. Now first off I’ll say the evening lighting for dinner was far too dark. I know you’re trying to set a mood but it was literally difficult to see what I was eating. Now that being said, the dinner experience was great although the vegetarian options are now limited. Tuscan Grille apparently recently changed their menu and in the old menu, which you can see online, there were two or three vegetarian pasta options, with the new menu, there’s only one, so know that as a vegetarian, your options are fewer than what you might expect. I suggest you check their menu before booking. We were a party of four and the meal started off with some amazing fresh bread, proseco and wine. For starters and appetizers, we had Beef Carpacio, Kalamata Bruschetta, Caesar Salad Minestrone soup and the Burata. All very flavorful and great ways to start the meal. Our friends each got one of the steak main meals while my vegetarian wife went with the Gnocchi main dish. Myself I couldn’t decide between the short ribs pasts and the seafood pasta, so I opted for a half portion of each. I highly recommend going with the half portions if you can’t decide between two or more pastas. Just order the half portions of whatever you want and they’ll bring it all to you. Prior to dessert, our server presented four glasses of house limoncello which was excellent and great way to end the main course and prepare for dessert. For dessert we were not that fond of the pistachio creme brûlée, there wan’t much of a pistachio flavor to it and it was sort of bland. However the Limoncello cheese cake and the Spumoni donuts were amazing. Highly recommend those desserts along with the cappuccino. All in all an excellent meal with highly attentive service. MURANO First off, if you are a vegetarian, you have one choice of entree which is the risotto appetizer which they will make a larger portion for an entree. You can make a meal out of the four vegetarian starters as well. It would be nice if Murano would offer at least two proper vegetarian entrees, but this is our second time sailing with Celebrity and it was the same both times. Our first experience in Murano on the Silhouette was impeccable. The experience on Reflection was not up to the same standards, in particular, the service was both slow and forgetful. We literally sat for 15 minutes at our table before anyone addressed us, which was unusual since this is a speciality restaurant with a larger staff to guest ratio than the main dining room. Once we got started, my wife ordered the pear and roquefort starter and I ordered both the Mushroom Cappuccino and the Risotto starter. When the server delivered two pear appetizers, there was confusion. Then our main server came over and tried to tell us that I never ordered a starter and that my wife had ordered the pear for both of us. He then asked what I would like to have in place of the pear appetizer. So I ordered my original starters again. The pear appetizer was very good as was the mushroom cappuccino. The risotto, however was very bland with little to no mushroom flavor at all. Completely a different culinary experience than what we had on the Silhouette and my wife could not wait to have the risotto again on Reflection. So for me it was one starter good, one bland. For her it was starter good, entree bland. For my entree I was originally going to go with the Murano lobster which was fully prepared at the table when we sailed Silhouette in March. Our server informed me that’s no longer the case, the lobster is fully cooked in the kitchen and then the server simply reheats it with a cream sauce now. So on his suggestion, I went with the filet mignon and I will say it was one of the best filet mignon I’ve ever had. Cooked to perfection and melt in your mouth flavor with the red wine sauce. The cheese course was awesome as usual, although the selection of cheese choices has been trimmed. For dessert we were both so full that we decided to share a made at the table crepe. With dessert I had a cappuccino and for whatever reason, it was the worst cappuccino on the ship. Very bitter with a lot of coffee grounds. So overall the meal was good, but not nearly the same level of culinary quality and service that we experienced on Silhouette just 8 months ago. Murano will be a question mark for our future Celebrity sailings as the inconsistency is not something you like to see. SUSHI ON 5 Prior to our sailing we were excited to hear of the change of Bistro on 5 to the new Sushi on 5 as we are big fans of the cuisine. It was a 50/50 experience for us. My wife is a vegetarian and while Sushi and Vegetarian may sound mutually exclusive, we do eat out at sushi restaurants quite a bit and there are always good vegetarians options. Usually just a few, but they are often good. With Sushi on 5 she was limited to just the edamame starter and a vegetable roll. The edamame was ok but she was disappointed by the vegetable roll. The roll was a bit small, she didn’t overly like the rice and the roll itself was just ok. Often there are spices and sauces inside and run over the vegetable rolls, but in this case, it wasn’t. She said if the roll had been $4 instead of $8 it would have been worth it, but it was a bit disappointing for her. For me I went with the albacore tuna starter that was amazing and then a Tataki Trio that was pretty good. Again, the roll was pretty small with 8 small pieces vs. what you get on land in a good sushi restaurant. I thought the flavors were pretty good and it was an average roll you would get on land. The restaurant could expand its menu a bit to perhaps offer vegetable tempura both as an appetizer and as part of a vegetarian roll for example. A fried rice or teriyaki option for both vegetables and beef/chicken would be good as well. Many sushi restaurants on land have expanded beyond just sushi and sashimi. With a little tweaking, Sushi on 5 could be awesome, but as it stands right now, it’s ok. OCEANVIEW CAFE (Buffet) This is a surprisingly good buffet for such a large ship and on par with what we experienced on Silhouette. In particular I’ll single out the Indian dishes as being very very good and occasionally quite spicy. If you’re a fan of that cuisine you’ll find some great offerings. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, this buffet really hits the spot with outstanding dishes (with a few misses of course, like the pizza) but overall you should be able to find items you really enjoy in the buffet for all the meals of the day. When it’s not too windy, there’s a great outdoor seating area at the very back of the buffet. You’ll also find a full service bar on the port side of the buffet that also serves as array of coffee drinks. CAFE AL BACIO / GELATERIA The Cafe Al Bacio is always very busy due to the great coffee and tea drinks they provide. Don’t be put off by a long line as they have quite an efficient operation and you’re usually through there in 10 minutes or less no matter how long the line is. The Gelateria was one of my favorite spots on Silhouette but I’m not sure if they changed gelato providers because the gelato was not nearly as good on Reflection as her sister ship. It tasted much more like ice cream with too much air and bland flavors. Gelato has a lot less air than regular ice cream and the flavors are generally much more pronounced. As the Gelato has an additional fee applied, I suggest just getting the ice cream in the buffet which, ironically, was much better than the ice cream on Silhouette. WORLD CLASS BAR (and other bars) I’m going to mention this bar because most people will talk about the Martini Bar which does put on a great show some evenings with the bartenders making dozens of martinis at once. But the World Class Bar on Deck 5 makes some of THE best drinks on the entire ship. They use top shelf ingredients and their bartenders actually know what they are doing, they’re not just slinging ingredients around. The drinks cost a little more, and they can take 5 - 7 minutes to make, but if you really want to experience a hand crafted drink, often with hand shaved ice, make some time to hit the World Bar. Now the World Class Bar drinks are not included in the Classic Drink Package so if you have that package, you’ll have to pay full price for each drink. If you’re in the Premium Drink Package, more of these drinks will be included, or you’ll have to pay the difference between the package and the drink itself. Since we’re talking about bars, the bars were VERY inconsistent on Reflection, especially compared to Silhouette. They couldn’t even make the standard, Caribbean drink, a Mojito. I tried three different bars, the Pool Bar, Sunset Bar and Il Secondo Baccio and they were terrible. First off, they can’t muddle the ingredients right so the lime and mint don’t get broken up to release their flavors. There’s not near enough lime in the drink and then the alcohol to soda ratio is completely off. If you want a good Mojito, get it at the World Class Bar. If you want a beer, or a frozen drink, the rest of the bars can take care of you. Although Celebrity has this deal of pouring the alcohol on TOP of the frozen drinks instead of blending the alcohol into the drink. That was the same on both ships and I honestly don’t understand that practice. POOLS and OUTDOOR SPACES We love the Solarium Adult Pool which features a multi story indoor glass solarium. The space is air conditioned which can be nice with the heat and humidity of the outdoor spaces in the Caribbean. The Solarium is only for passengers 16 and over, though during the Thanksgiving cruise they did seem to let that rule go lax at times. But if you’re looking for a great space to relax that’s out of the heat and predominately child free, this is your space. The regular Outdoor Pools feature the usual suspects of bars and activities. Such as golf chipping game, pool volleyball along with a stage where they host dancing and the DJ. The most fun event for me is the Officers vs. Guests volleyball game. It’s a fun, spirited game and the officers generally play in their full uniform shirts. It’s usually one of the last days at sea. The Lawn Club is a great space with real Bermuda grass that has outdoor sports like bocce and croquet along with just being a really neat space to relax when the grass is open. There are private cabanas you can book up on the Lawn we didn’t book any but they are there and they seem kind of nice. But you are looking back out each other rather than out at sea. DAYTIME ACTIVITIES I’ll be honest here and say the daytime activities skewed heavily to Trivia and Casino types of games. The activity mix was not nearly as good as what we experienced on Silhouette back in March. The Activities department seemed much more involved with the passengers on Silhouette than Reflection. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but we saw and interacted a lot more with the activities folks on Silhouette and they always seemed to out and about on deck during sea days. The pool deck was largely ignored other than the occasional game and the DJ playing music. The Art Studio was completely closed all week for some inexplicable reason. We enjoyed the studio on the Silhouette and it was in all the paperwork and online information that the studio would be open during our cruise. It remained dark all week. I’ll also point out that the actual activities on the ship and those shown on the daily activities schedule don’t always match. Some events that are announced via the Cruise Director’s channel don’t happen, or they do happen but they’re not printed on the schedule, or they happen at a different time and location than what is printed. First time we’ve experienced that on any cruise and, again, a digital app would help address that since that could updated on the fly. PORTS OF CALL, EXCURSIONS AND A BEACH BUNGALOW AT LABADEE First off, just gotta mention that after cruising 8 times now on a variety of cruise lines (5) we are definitely done with the “official cruise line shopping.” It’s the same stores over and over and over and over….. because these companies pay the cruise lines to hawk the stores. In reality, we’re always looking for the true local experience and I really wish the cruise lines would start offering real suggestions for the local stores and restaurants to see. The only way to find this information now is to talk to the crew before you get to a port. They’ve been to these ports dozens of times and they know the “real” places you want to go. I’m looking forward to the day when cruise lines actually promote the local port, culture and food in their excursion maps instead of the same usual suspects. If I never ever EVER see ‘Diamonds International’ again, that’s perfectly fine by me. COZUMEL was our first stop and we opted for the Chocolate and Wine pairing excursion. This is only offered through the ship. We were introduced to the history of chocolate, the basic process of turning the cocoa bean into chocolate, and then working in teams of 2, made our own chocolate. It was actually a lot of fun and requiring some teamwork to work the hand crank and keep the chocolate going down into the hopper. After making the chocolate, it was time for the wine and chocolate pairings. We sampled two chocolates with white wine and then 6 chocolates with red wine. My favorite chocolates were the 60% cocoa and the Aztec chili version, though the coffee/chocolate was awesome too. The event finished with a shot of incredible hot chocolate. At the cruise port there’s an eclectic set of local shops with everything from clothing to art to tequila. I recommend the vanilla from the Del Sol store, it’s their own brand. All the other stores sell a different brand but this is a better version. This is one of the few port stops where the local shops dominate over the crappy “official cruise line” stores. Not saying they’re amazing shops, but they do primarily appear to be locals. GRAND CAYMAN was stop number two and we had booked an independent stingray and snorkeling tour through Captain Marvin tours. We’ve gone out with them in the past and they’re awesome folks. Now on the way into port the seas were pretty rough and I honestly didn’t even think we would weigh anchor, but the ship did manage to make the stop, even with the tenders. The tender operation was incredibly efficient, the best of any tender experience we’ve had. Within the first hour most everyone who wanted to go ashore was. However, with the seas and current running so rough and fast, the folks at Captain Marvin were only recommending experienced, strong swimmers go out that day. So they gave us a full refund for cancelling, which is another reason we love these guys. Very fair local tour operator and not forcing us to go out on a trip that we would not enjoy. We heard later that the stingray tours booked through the ship were also cancelled too due to the rough weather. But it was still an enjoyable couple of hours walking along the shopping district and seeking out some of the local food and shopping. In FALMOUTH, JAMAICA the seas were even worse. The swells looked like they were exceeding 8 feet with very very strong 35 knot+ cross winds. The Captain made the decision to bypass Falmouth as it was too dangerous to attempt to dock the ship. This is an extremely rare occurrence when the ship cannot come into a dock, typically it’s tender ports that are missed. However, it was plainly obvious even as we were starting to come into the harbor, the winds and swells were exceedingly rough. No worries, just an extra free Sea Day, although we did hear from our friends that there was the usual “my vacation is ruined” drama from some families at the Sunset Bar. Look, if your vacation has a make or break stop or activity and if you can't do that one thing or your vacation will be ruined, then fly there instead. We’ve now been on 8 cruises and missed 3 stops due to weather. It happens and the cruise lines clearly state on your ticketing paperwork that itineraries can be changed and ports can be skipped without prior notice. So when cruising, just roll with it. LABADEE, HAITI greeted us with more high winds and very cloudy skies. When we woke up we did not expect the ship to dock, but the Reflection did come in, high winds and all. I think the high winds kept many people onboard and away from the beach. The Adrenaline Beach was basically unusable with 25 - 35 knot winds and high surf. Some brave souls were sitting out there, but it was mostly empty. Most of the passengers went to Barefoot Beach Club, Nellie’s Beach and Columbus Cove which were somewhat protected from the winds, though there were still major gusts that blew through. Most of the Adventure Tours including the Wave Jet tour I signed up for were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. The Zip Line and the Roller Coaster were running, but not much else. We also booked a Beach Bungalow at Columbus Cove which was a bit disappointing. The Cabana costs over $200 for the day and one of the great things about it besides the cushioned seats and cover from the sun, is the proximity to bathrooms, bar and food. When we arrived our Cabana steward informed us lunch would be served between 11:30am and 1:30pm. However, at 11:30am we noticed that absolutely no food service was being set up. At 12:30 our Cabana steward told us nothing was going to be served at Columbus Cove and we would have to go across the resort to Café Labadee for lunch. There’s two ways to get to Cafe Labadee, walk the gauntlet of the Artisan Market where you will be aggressively pursued to buy local goods, or ride the tram which is a bit inconsistent in moving you around the beach space. Either way, you give up about an hour or so of your day getting to the cafe, having lunch and getting back to your cabana, which kind of defeats the purpose of paying for the beach cabana. Even though the Cruise Director in his morning show and all the maps of Labadee advertised 3 lunch stations on the island, only 2 were actually opened while we were there. We only spent 3 hours at the Bungalow and then came back to the ship for lunch, kind of a waste of $200+ It honestly would have been better if the ship had just skipped Labadee this time since there was very little we could do on the shore and they shortchanged us on lunch. I know, “first world problems” but when you pay extra for something and the cruise line doesn’t deliver as promised, it gives you pause to both sail with the line again or pay for the premium up-charges. All in all Labadee was just an ok experience due to the high winds. Again, it would have been much better for the Reflection to have just skipped this stop and stayed out at sea. SHOWS, MOVIES, NIGHTTIME ENTERTAINMENT AND CLUBS The main production shows in the Reflection Theater are, to put it gently, disappointing. The casts are quite good, the orchestra is good, the lighting design is good, however the shows themselves are a mess with the fault lying at the hands of those who create and choreograph them. ELYSIUM has the honor of being THE worst show we have ever witnessed at sea with this being our 8th cruise. It seemed like someone who has zero experience in theater watched Cirque du Soleil on TV and said “hey I can make a show like that.” No, no you can’t. I have no idea who the target audience is, but it’s not the audience on the ship. The story involved a girl who had to take over for a queen of seasons or something like that, but it was what we lovingly call a “hot mess.” The storyline made no sense. The choreography and staging made no sense. There was a period of about 6 minutes with absolutely no dialogue and a never ending dance number that got more confusing as it went on. At one point I made a joke to my wife that the oompa loompas were being controlled by the queen with the TV antennae on her head. Immediately after I said that, she started singing “A World of Imagination” from Willy Wonka. I kid you not. After 22 minutes of nonsense, we left the theater literally trying to figure out what the hell we just saw. Here’s the thing, we are on a cruise ship enjoying our evening, we just want to be entertained and have a little fun. I understand that it’s cheaper for the cruise lines to create original shows so they don’t have to pay royalties for popular songs, but there is no need for some existential ‘deep intelligent’ theater show. How about some fun songs and little comedy. If you feel the need to see Elysium be sure to either sit in the very back or along the aisle so you can easily escape the theater. MAXX…. Maxx…… Maxx….. what can I say about Maxx. I would barely put it a notch above Elysium. I’m sure this came from the same amazing creative team that created Elysium because again, I have no idea who the target audience was, but it wasn’t this cruise ship audience. I’m not sure there were 200 people in the audience, the theater was far emptier than it was for Elysium. Ok, the premise is a kid is completely stuck in his virtual reality world of i-devices. He gets sucked into a computer and re-built and then….. well I have no clue because we left 20 minutes in. I only lasted that long so I’d have something to write. So how bad was this show? Our lead character, Maxx, was a very talented young black performer who was wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap. When get got “sucked into the computer” he was a white guy wearing sunglasses and a hoodie. I kid you not. The “sucking into the computer” bit was done by Maxx stepping behind a video wall and when he did, he turned white and his baseball cap turned into hoodie. I should also point out that the video walls were not working properly and stayed blank for most of the first 10 minutes of the show. It looked like the Apple computer the show was running from was having issues. I know it was an Apple because the Menu bar appeared across the top of the screens for most of the first 10 minutes. Not that properly working screens would have mattered, the show was another hot mess of bad original songs, costumes from Mortal Kombat and Zoolander and completely missing the point of a cruise show. We all just want to have some fun and a few laughs. If you want to do “artistic and make a point” go try college theater or off-Broadway. Speaking of off-Broadway, another show was simply BROADWAY AT SEA. This was closer to what cruise shows should be. It was just the vocalists performing classic songs from the great white way. The only problem with a show like this is that all of the singers want to sing power ballads which showcase their voices. So what you end up with are 15 power ballads which puts you right to sleep. As a New Yorker who loves Broadway, I can tell you there are many great and fun songs that invite the audience to sing along and get involved. Sprinkle some of those songs throughout the show and lighten up the the mood. Then you’ll have a great and fun show the audience will stay through. Oh and add the dancers back to this show. Each song could be accompanied by a couple which would make this show a little better. I did notice this show had a much larger audience than the other production shows. We don’t need experimental “art” at sea, just something fun. The live music provided throughout the ship was outstanding. Anything from a string duo to a solo guitarist to a couple of 4 piece and larger bands. You could find them all over the ship in the evenings and our favorite was a 5 piece group that sounded predominately from Ireland who were really entertaining. The Grand Foyer on Deck 3 was the primary “big party” area which is kind of fun, but the dance floor space is really limited, especially with a huge piece of art that takes up a large chunk of dance floor. The A/V guys could also back up the band about another 10 feet into the elevator corridor to allow more dance floor as well. The “Love And Marriage” game that is so popular on cruises was done as The Wedding Games on Reflection. It was ok, but honestly the weakest variation of this game we have seen. It seemed that Cruise Director, Maarten was having some difficulty understanding some of the American slang so some jokes were lost and his questions to the couples just were not as comedy inducing as on other ships. Activities Manager, Liam, as co-host was actually hilarious and I think the game would have been more fun with him as the primary host. The "Disco Never Dies" party was probably the most fun big event we saw on the ship featuring the “largest balloon drop at sea.” Who knows if the balloon part was true, but Maarten and Liam did a great job leading the crowd through the classics of Disco and tossing prizes throughout the 3 decks of the Grand Foyer. Yes, they did drop a whole net of balloons, looked like a couple hundred of them. Honestly it would have been more fun without the balloon drop and put this party up on the Pool Deck where there is much more room to dance. But Reflection didn’t utilize the pool deck nearly as much as Silhouette. That’s a shame because it is such a great party space, even if the winds might kick up. In fact as far as we could tell the Pool Deck was completely ignored in the evenings except for one or two nights where they did Liquid in the Solarium which looked a bit weird. The "Frisky Feud" hosted by Liam was quite fun. A very adult version of the classic Family Feud game where couples competed trying to get the top 6 answers to some very funny and very adult questions. That’s the first time I’ve seen that particular show at sea. The one event we really missed was the "Liar Liar" Show. The Cruise Director announced it on his show one morning but it never appeared in the Activities Guide so I’m not sure if it ever happened. It’s a fun game whereby three of the ship’s officers tell the audience a story. It’s up to us to decide if they are telling the truth or lying. Movies are primarily shown in the Celebrity Central theater on Deck 4 and it’s a pretty small screen so it’s not the best viewing experience. But it’s not horrible. When they show movies in the Reflection Theater it’s a better viewing experience. DISEMBARKATION, LEAVING THE PORT While the official paperwork says to have your bags outside your room by 10pm the night before you arrive back in port, the room steward asked if we could have them out between 6 and 8pm so they could expedite the movement of the bags. I understand the request so they can grab the bags as part of their normal evening service and we were happy to oblige. First off let me say that there are VERY FEW general disembarkation announcements. You can’t just sit anywhere in the ship and listen for a general group disembarkation announcement because you won’t hear them. You’ll ONLY hear a general call for the Express Walk Off folks. You MUST go to your assigned waiting area where the crew in that area will announce when your group is called. In our case it was the Reflection Theater so it was necessary to go there and wait for the person in the theater to call out Group 26, which was our group. Exiting the ship was simple and there are three baggage carousels at the end of your escalator journey down to baggage claim. A porter was waiting for us to take our bags to the taxi stand. If you drove your own car, the porters will take your bags all the way out to your car in the garage. All in all, an excellent disembarkation experience. FINAL THOUGHTS ON REFLECTION AND CELEBRITY CRUISES As mentioned at the beginning of this review this was our second cruise with Celebrity. I have to be very honest here and say that if this was our first cruise with the company, we might not have been as excited to get right back on their line. The experience on-board Silhouette was superior to that on the Reflection. They are basically the same ship as they’re both Solstice class ships. But there was something about Silhouette, the food, the crew and the activities crew that were much more involved with the passengers than this time. The lack of multiple vegetarian options in most of the speciality dining was a little disappointing, especially after coming off the Disney Fantasy where vegetarian options are more plentiful and very good. The missing daytime activities, less than optimal specialty dining, confusing schedule and “ok” experience at Labadee and I have to say if this was our very first Celebrity experience I’m not sure we would book with them again. It was a still a fun trip, don’t get me wrong, but it was definitely not the same “wow” experience we got on board Silhouette. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Embarkation was slow and had to wait in the Elite lounge for quite a while. 10 other members of our group had to stand during this time. Not acceptable, Not a happy way to begin our cruise. But once on board things progressed well. We ... Read More
Embarkation was slow and had to wait in the Elite lounge for quite a while. 10 other members of our group had to stand during this time. Not acceptable, Not a happy way to begin our cruise. But once on board things progressed well. We booked 7 balcony cabins and 2 concerige rooms with outstanding cabin stewards, especially Jose. After 35 cruises he was the best of any ship I've sailed on. Rooms were a generous size and the ship is beautiful. Dining room service was remarkable. We booked 2 tables of 6 and were able to sit wherever we wanted during dinner. Our waiters, asst waiters and wine steward were fantastic. The food and the selection was also very good. While a lot of other lines are serving poor quality Celebrity still ranks at the top. I suffer from a dairy allergy and I have to say I was disappointed in the desserts I was given each evening. With the exception of Jello (which I don't consider a dessert) I cannot eat any of the desserts offered in the Cafe so dinner is very important to me. Unfortunately, I was given the same dessert 5 out of the 7 nights. Very little effort was made to accommodate this allergy. We did dine at Qsine one evening and had a blast thanks to Herbie, our waiter. But $45 for dinner is really uncalled for. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the entertainment each evening. We had 4 production shows that were miserable. Loud music does not mean great music. Didn't even understand the concept of most of them and neither did my other cruisers. The individual acts were fantastic though. I guess the cruise lines are trying to save money. My chief complaint was the EXTREMELY LOUD music that filled the atrium/centrum each evening. It is beyond comprehension why music has to be so disturbingly loud. That's why they have a sky lounge so you can blare the music until all hours without making the entire ship deaf!! On 2 occasions i had to speak with someone at guest relations and had to scream to be heard. There is no reason for this and yet I find it is a new trend. Experienced it last year on RCL. Unfortunately, there are very few lounges to go to after dinner to listen to nice relaxing music. Those lounges are now specialty restaurants or specialty gift stores -- revenue producing real estate. Michael's Club that used to be a nice piano bar is now reserved for suite passengers. I will reach Elite Plus on my next cruise and it's too bad there is not a private lounge for those who have reached a high level of loyalty to this brand. Ports were fine. Nothing remarkable about them but it was nice to have 3 sea days (which are becoming a thing of the past) to enjoy our group but they offered very little that didn't have to do with shopping or spa services. All in all, Celebrity is becoming like RCL, NCL and Carnival. They are constantly trying to produce revenue at every turn and it's so unattractive. I remember when the cruise itself was expensive but once you were onboard everything was included or they were priced at a very reasonable rate. Finally, I say bring lots of cash and a good pair of ear plugs! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Celebrity Reflection Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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