March 2016 - Celebrity Reflection to Caribbean - Western
I want to tell you that I never write reviews for anything, but I am so compelled to do one for this Cruise that it will take a while to read! Our Cruise line was Celebrity, our ship was the Reflection, and our cruise was to the Western Caribbean, and it was from March 26-April 2, out of Miami Florida.
I need to begin by thanking our agent, Anne Marie Schreur, who did a fabulous job of guiding us in the right direction since it was our first Cruise. Her knowledge of Cruise lines, room choices, and small details were so accurate that we left all of the guess work to her, and she hit it out of the park with this Cruise! She is a top notch agent!
We flew into Fort Lauderdale Airport and were shuttled by SAS Transport out of Miami~~ very prompt and inexpensive. ($15 one way each: quite the bargain!) The embarkation process was so smooth~~porters took our large bags, we had our carry ons, got our sea passes, and ready to go! Got on board, went straight to the pool, ordered our drinks (thanks Anne Marie for the beverage package suggestion to upgrade to premium!), had lunch at the Ocean View Cafe, and was able to get in our rooms by 2:00. Watched leaving the Port from the 15th Deck (AMAZING!), and received our large luggage by 5:00. Dinner our first night was at the Tuscan Grille (we purchased a Specialty Restaurant Package for 4 Restaurants), and the filet mignon and wine was superb! (And we are not big drinkers!) Our waiter Soner took such pride in his work, very hard working gentleman. Went to the 3rd Deck and listened to the band Blind Vinyl perform~~excellent band and female lead singer! They rocked that ship the whole week!
Our cabin steward Rosario was a hard working, kind and gentle man who treated us like royalty the entire trip. Always a smile and handshake, and worked harder than my husbands concrete laborers do. We will cruise again on Reflection, but only if we can be on Deck 6 with Rosario to take care of us!
The next day was chill out day!All pools were warm and clean (and there were lots of children on Spring Break!), jacuzzis were terrific, and if you are ever on the Reflection, try to catch a sunset in a hammock on Deck 14 by the pool~~Breath taking! The Main Dining Room for the Captains Dinner that night had an awesome menu choice~shrimp cocktail and shrimp linguine were very yummy! Celebrity surprised us with an Anniversary Cake served after dinner~ nice touch Celebrity!
We splurged and bought the Persian Gardens package once on the ship at the Canyon Spa. It entitled you to use the Sauna, Aromatherapy Room, Hammam (Steam Room), Cold Therapy Room, and heated tile chaise loungers for the trip.
We used them every day, and our bodies felt Oh So Good at the end of out trip! We also used part of our Onboard Credit to get a massage~~ my therapist Jane had hands sent by God! My husbands therapist (I'm so sorry, I don't know her name, but it ended in etta) literally brought that grown man to his knees with sheer relaxation!
Our 1st Port of Call was Cozumel, Mexico. We had an ATV excursion in the jungle, which we enjoyed due to our guides.Afterwards, they took us to a beach at the San Francisco Resort (beautiful warm water!) and provided a shuttle back to Cozumel. There we had time to shop at Carilohas (bamboo cotton clothes and goods),the liquor store to purchase almond tequila for 2 friends, Los Cincos for vanilla (no Coumarin in it)and a Larimar and Sterling Silver bracelet and earrings for my 30th Wedding Anniversary. Dinner that night was at the Lawn Club Grill. My husband had the Filet (Again!!), and I had grilled shrimp and scallop kabobs with grilled vegetable kabobs: DELICIOUS!! Our server Manuel was so friendly and truly ready to please every table: very special server indeed!
Tuesday had the Port of call being Grand Cayman. Our excursion was to Jet Ski to the Stingray City Sandbar, and we had a blast! After that, we rode the jet skis to a place to snorkel for an hour, and we saw many fish and sting rays there! The shuttle took us back to Harbour Drive where we were able to shop. We bought some Tortuga Rum for family, Tortuga Rum cakes, and tortuga Rum salt water taffy as souvenirs. The one place we went into was the Guy Harvey Boutique. Amazing store, amazing pics and clothing! We bought SPF30 shirts for our girls as souvenirs, and they are truly one of a kind shirts from Grand Cayman! So glad we found them! Ate at a local restaurant (be careful: prices on some menus are in Grand Cayman dollars: American money 1/3 higher in price!) food was good.
Returned to the ship and ate at Ocean View Cafe, which is a large buffet style restaurant with many entrees, side dishes, salads, and dessert choices. Too much food! Very delicious food, and this was the place we ate breakfast for half of the trip. Excellent breakfast choices~~ you should never, ever leave this restaurant hungry!
If you ever have the opportunity to rent a cabin on a cruise with a balcony, PLEASE DO IT!!! We were out there every morning, had room service deliver breakfast half of the trip, and sat in the moonlight every night. So peaceful, and so worth the extra money!
Our 3rd Port of Call on Wednesday was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Our excursion took us to Zipline 1st (what a rush!! Never did that before!), and then Dunn River Falls. Our guide at Dunn River Falls (Michael) took really good care of us, and he even took at least 15 pics of my husband and I with my phone. Super nice and protective! The only souvenirs that our family wanted from here was Sangsters Rum Creme, and the cheapest place to get it was at the Duty free place called Cruise Booze. We got ripped off by our tour driver from Yardie Tours (Naki) when he took us to a store and said we would pay the lowest price on the island. He is a liar and a thief, and we paid 25% more per bottle than we should have. Beware of Yardie Tour drivers!!! Once on the ship, we ate at QSine Restaurant, and it was our least favorite. Our server Nathan was a total hoot, very personable and good at his work. The portion sizes were small, even though you get 5 choices from the menu. You didn't leave hungry, but you didn't leave satisfied either.
Thursday was Cruise day, and it was heavenly to lay by the pool and do nothing!
Every morning we woke early and walked on the 15th deck with the other walkers and joggers. The pool chairs go quickly right next to the pool, but there are plenty of chairs between the 14th and 15th deck to relax in. The Pool Butlers are very busy with keeping the area clean, and the bars can get very busy around the pool, but there are always bars a short walk away if you would like a yummy pina colada to enjoy in the hot sun! Our dinner was in the Main Dining Room, The 2nd Captains Dinner of the cruise, and Lobster was served! So delicious! I am so sorry to say I do not remember our servers name, but he was fantastic! So eager to please, and concerned that we were comfortable and drinks filled and food satisfying.
Our last Port was Cococay Island, and it was truly a slice of paradise! The weather was perfect! We rented mats at the island ($15 per mat) and floated aimlessly around the island. The pictures that we took were the tropical scenes you see on post cards! We saw sea cucumbers, sting rays, and sharks within 4 feet of us! There were resident iguanas that the kids were shrieking over! The island cook out was phenomenal~~ BBQ chicken, spare ribs, grilled chicken, fish, hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, fruits, desserts~~ quite the feast! If you left hungry, then shame on you! The last night we had Dinner at Murano, and we had what was my favorite meal of the Cruise. Our server, a tall Indian gentleman (I cannot remember his name!) cooked my lobster right at the table, and explained every step so I could cook it that way at home! My husband had venison steaks, and said they were almost as good as mine! (He is an outdoor hunter) The meal and atmosphere at Murano, along with our server, made it a very memorable evening , which I will never forget!
We saw the show The Tenors of Rock, and they were amazing! They are also appearing at Harrahs in Las Vegas. The comedian shows were funny, but the entertainment could be a little bit more to be desired.
De-embarking was a really smooth process. Saying good bye to our cabin steward Rosario sad: we feel we have made a true friend with him due to the many long conversations we had with him. So professional, yet so caring and compassionate!
I know this was long, but I would be remiss to not mention all that we did, and all those who made our trip so memorable. Thanks to Anne Marie, the best tour agent ever, who made all of this possible for us! CruiseOnly is our one and only booking place for Cruises for now on!