My husband, daughter, her friend and I cruised on the Reflection over our March Break. I booked and paid for two concierge rooms. This is the first cruise we've been on in 3 years. It's not our first Celebrity cruise but it ... Read More
My husband, daughter, her friend and I cruised on the Reflection over our March Break. I booked and paid for two concierge rooms. This is the first cruise we've been on in 3 years. It's not our first Celebrity cruise but it was our first cruise on Reflection.
This was our first time sailing out of Miami. I'm not sure if it is the result of being in a more sleekly run port or if Celebrity has further honed embarkation but I was stunned to be only 20 minutes between port arrival and walking onto the ship! I've never had a smoother embarkation on any cruise ship -- ever! I'm afraid this may have spoiled me for life!
Exactly what we expected from a concierge class with respect to size and storage of the room. The room is perfect for TWO people or two people and one small child. Any more than that and you will be struggling for storage and personal space. For this reason, and because we were travelling with two teenage girls (who really need a bathroom unto themselves!) we booked two concierge class rooms and it worked out beautifully!
We were pleased to have been extended an invite to sail away from the helipad on one of the port days. That was a fun experience and one we've never been offered as Concierge before! We also understand that a welcome lunch is offered to Concierge in the main dining room but we opted to forego it in favour of exploring the ship instead.
A couple of things that we really missed: No fruit basket nor welcome champagne arrived in our room. This is something we always enjoyed previously on our concierge voyages. The other major disappointment was what they now offer as "afternoon canapes" to the Concierge clientele. Seriously - just don't bother. It was cute the first day or two but four stale tortilla chips, a variety of dips and assorted olives was old by about day two.
Reflection is a solstice class ship. The ship itself is beautiful and very much what I've come to expect from having sailed on two other solstice class ships. The public areas (outside the pool area) are spacious and comfortable.
One recurring question was: WHO PICKED THE ART ON THE 12th Deck? I kept having to do a double take at the out of focus pictures outside the elevator and along the stateroom corridor. One of the things I've always appreciated on the solstice class was the art scattered throughout. I give a serious fail to the fuzzy photos. Maybe that's just me though...
The "games room" is interesting with the (new to us) electronic tables. We visited several times when our table was not quite ready in the main dining room. It was a fun place to pass the wait time with the girls.
We attended two comedy routines on board and they were both outstanding! We wanted to go to see the cirque-du-soleil type acrobatic show but it didn't work out for us the night we planned to attend. I do regret not having seen this as I understand it's excellent. I think the entertainment is a notch above what we have experienced previously on Celebrity!
The pool area, usually our favourite place to be, was the opposite this time around. I have never seen a more crowded area on sea days. There was virtually NOWHERE to sit. The pool was constantly crowded and not very enjoyable due to the sheer volume of people. This differs greatly from any other solstice class cruise I have taken before. I realized only this week that the Reflection packs an additional 800 or so guests onto the ship vs. the Equinox and Eclipse. It is not usually that noticeable until the time comes to be poolside on a sea day. For this reason alone, I will be returning to a ship with lesser capacity.
I seriously missed the Corning Museum of Glass on the 15th deck.
1) It seems that the main dining room is MUCH more crowded than I have experienced (again due to the fact that Reflection carries more passengers than some of her sister solstice class ships). This is the second reason I will return to a less busy ship... Though we had anytime dining, it became abundantly clear that anytime meant you'd best have a reservation if you don't want to start your meal at 8:30. This was made more pallatable by Jayson - the fabulous maitre-d aboard the Reflection. Seriously, give this man a handshake if you are fortunate enough to encounter him onboard (tell him Cheryl sent you).
2) For the first time ever, I had to return a meal. First, it was very late coming out (which the server had apologized for profusely without having to be asked about it). Then, the lamb we (and the table beside us) had ordered was tough as mutton. The servers did apologize and Jayson handled the situation beautifully -- but it was very surprising this should have happened at all!
3) I really missed the buffet brunch that we have experienced on other ships in prior years. I'm sure this went the way of a budget cut and is not exclusively absent on Reflection but I feel sad that it is no more.
4) The specialty restaurants is where we spent the majority of our evening meals. We purchased the four package and enjoyed QSine, the Tuscan Grille, Murano and the Lawn Club Grill (situated where the Corning Museum of Glass' Hot Glass Show SHOULD be).
QSine is always so much fun. The service staff was absolutely delightful and the meal was delicious. We had lots of fun exploring the various dishes that are offered.
Murano - this was our first time dining in Murano and the food was very good. We all enjoyed our dinners very much. I had the seared milk fed veal tenderloin and it was wonderful! I also got to taste the chateaubriand (for two) and it was also very delicious and highly recommended!
Tuscan Grille - the Tuscan has been one of my favourite specialty restaurants in the past. That changed this time around as the menu has changed (and some of my favourites disappeared!). I was willing to keep an open mind until the Veal Marsala arrived. It was the second worst cruise ship meal I've ever had (the first was only two nights earlier so things were beginning to worry me). If I return to the Tuscan grille in future, it will be for the tuna (which was exquisite).
The Lawn Club Grill - (Did I mention this is where CMOG's Hot Glass Show should be? So, this was the last of our four specialty restaurants and I was not impressed. First, our order was completely messed up. It was so windy the night we attended that there were heaters on and blankets being passed around but really? They should have likely shut it down because it was not a comfortable dining experience. We were not certain that they were allowing guests to cook their own food (nothing was mentioned about it and we saw no guests doing so and presumed it was due to the windy weather). We only realized as we were finishing up that we could have, in fact, grilled our own meal. The communication was lacking in every case here. If it hadn't been for the pleasant couple at a neighbouring table we would not have known what was going on... and the food? Mediochre. At best.
The Porch - THIS restaurant makes up for any short fall of its neighbour on the 15th deck. It does cost extra and they do prefer a reservation but it is not part of the specialty dining package - you can simply pay them directly. Everything we had here was absolutely wonderful! I cannot recommend the tuna tartare nor the curried shrimp highly enough! They were delectable! The seafood tower (well, not so much a tower really - they should call it something else) was a fun order. Everything was fresh and delicious! This is the one thing I will miss from the Reflection when I return to her sister ships...
Customer Service: EXCELLENT. Since my room key failed and needed to be reset no fewer than three times, I can honestly say that the speed and efficiency with which the customer service desk dealt with issues was impressive. They definitely have a smooth running department in that arena!
We went to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Falmouth Jamaica and Labadee Haiti (not necessarily in that order). The latter two ports were new to us.
Grand Cayman: There were 22,000 people in port the day we were there and it was a tender stop. We chose to stay onboard. This was the one and only time we were able to even remotely enjoy the pool area!
Cozumel: What I remember of Cozumel was lots of fun. We enjoyed wandering around town scouting souvenirs and finding some special Mexican artifacts to carry home with us. Then, we stopped for lunch. I have only this to say: BEWARE the margueritas in Cozumel. They are very mighty. You don't need as many as you think you do. Enough said! I do look forward to our return to Cozumel next cruise :)
Jamaica: We did not leave the port area. We did wander through the shops and found some unique things to bring home. The shop keepers were super nice and helpful and we enjoyed some fine banter nearly everywhere we went. It was a most enjoyable hour or so off the ship. The rest of the time was spent onboard, enjoying the less crowded spaces.
Haiti: This is a private island operated by Royal Caribbean. Although it gives absolutely zero feel for the actual culture of the island, they have done an impressive job turning the island into a beach resort. We very much enjoyed our time lounging seaside and swimming in the beautiful blue waters.
Celebrity staff really go all out for this island port. They drag an entire kitchen from the ship to an outdoor grill and setup the lunch buffet ashore for all to enjoy. Waiters come by and will bring you anything you desire from the bar. There are all sorts of water sports and fun to be had (for a fee, I'm sure). For the kids, there's a whole blow-up water park by one of the beaches. You can snorkel, rent seadoos and sea kayaks, go on historical tours, join a catamaran and other activities too numerous to mention. In other words, you can do as much or as little as you like on this day and enjoy every bit of it!
One major disappointment while visiting the port was the treatment we received by one of the vendors. In my opinion, there are far too many vendors and competition is clearly stiff between them. When I was asked to visit one artist's booth, I wasn't aware at first quite how the scenario would play out. As me and my two teen girls entered the alley of paintings, the artist stood at the opening. I thought nothing of it at first but soon the heat began to build inside the alley and I felt the need to get out but the artist was blocking our exit. I asked to be permitted to pass but he did not budge at first, continuing to ask what I would pay for a painting... I asked again and still he did not respond, repeating that he could ask only a certain amount and suggesting I make an offer. I began to get very hot and more worried that we were not being allowed to leave. I heard people outside beginning to tell him to let us out as well. Finally, he did... and honestly, before that happened I was considering buying from him but afterwards -- not so much. This is not the kind of environment that should be permitted on an island being run by Royal Caribbean. I do see how desperate people are to earn some wages, however, and perhaps that is the true culture of Haiti. I prefer to think that there are more positive aspects that could be presented and recommend that Royal Caribbean take a serious look at the vendor situation.
To summarize: We enjoyed cruising on the Reflection. We were intentionally lazy and did not plan port day events. The balcony in our stateroom turned out to be amongst our favourite places to relax. I will definitely continue to cruse Celebrity and look forward to next year's tour where I will once again be in the company of the glass artists. I also look forward to the less crowded experience on the Equinox and Eclipse. So, Reflection, happy to have met you but we are parting ways, I fear. You're more crowded than I like for a cruise ship... but you were fun while it lasted!
Miami is such a great port to embark and disembark from. It's been a few years since we sailed out of Port Everglades and I can only hope they followed Miami's example and installed luggage carousels! Read Less