Great Itinerary, Superior Crew, Fantastic Staterooms
Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean
Sail Date: July 08, 2013
Ship: Celebrity Reflection
Cabin Type: Suite
Cabin Number: 2165
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 4 years ago
Review SummaryOur family of four recently returned from our 11 night cruise of the Mediterranean aboard the Celebrity Reflection. It was a phenomenal experience overall.
This was only the second time we had cruised as a family. We were looking for a way to celebrate our 25th anniversary with our sons, ages 17 and 19, and this cruise fit the bill perfectly, even though we only booked the cruise less than six weeks before sailing. Wendi at made me aware of a special pricing promotion which allowed us to sail on Celebrity in a verandah stateroom for the kids and an Aqua Class Suite for my husband and I. While the rooms weren't adjacent or even on the same deck, it wasn't an issue as I trusted our sons could manage themselves (which they did). In many ways, we had bargain pricing and luxury accommodations.
The kids' stateroom was on Deck 9 (not far from the Game Room), had an ample balcony, a fridge, two twin beds and a sofa. The sofa was a bonus in my mind (although it was covered with teen boy clothing the entire trip), and had they been more neat and organized, certainly allowed them separate spaces to hang out in the stateroom. The bathroom had a stall shower and a good amount of shelf and drawer space. I'm not sure of the closet space was not adequate, if they didn't bother to request more hangers, or if they were just slobs, but a lot of their clothing didn't make it into drawers or the closet. They never complained of noise from the hallways or game area which was constantly populated by tweens and teens.
My husband and I loved our very spacious Deck 12 suite which was larger than many hotel rooms we've stayed it! Closet and drawer space was more than ample and we had storage room to spare. The bathroom had a tub/shower combo and plenty of shelves and drawers. My only complaint with the bathroom was the inadequate space to hang towels, and no where to hang a wet bathing suit or some hand washed laundry. The bed was cushy and extremely comfortable - we slept soundly the entire cruise despite being located just off of the main corridor to the elevators. We enjoyed the large sofa and coffee table (with snacks provided each afternoon by our butler the kids would actually come out and hang there with us occasionally) and large verandah. The size and storage space allowed us to stow our luggage and keep the room neat and organized which only added to the sense of relaxation during our time at sea.
The Celebrity Crew was across the board amazing with an 'aim to please' attitude and always a smile on their faces, from our butler and stateroom attendant, to the dining and wait staff, pool staff, even the crew members who were polishing the bannisters always greeted us with a smile and a "good morning" or "have a wonderful day." While we weren't exactly demanding passengers, the few things we needed they provided easily: tender tickets for our kids, toothpaste when we ran out, a ziplock bag of ice for my knee after a stumble on the uneven Istanbul pavement.
The food was incredible. Other than two dinners at specialty restaurants (Qzine and Tuscan Grille), we ate as a family in Opus every night. Because we booked at the last minute, the late seating was unavailable, so we opted for Celebrity Select dining and booked individual reservations in advance for each night of the cruise, allowing us to eat between 8:30 and 9:00 as we had wanted. At most, our wait for a table was 15 minutes, and we enjoyed being seated in different areas of the upper level of Opus, surrounded by different diners and (mostly) different servers every night. The food was beautifully presented with plenty of choices for vegetarian and non-red meat eaters. Again, the staff was accommodating and always encouraged us to order both if we were debating on which dish we wanted!!! This was also true at Qzine and Tuscan Grille, particularly at Qzine where the unique nature of their menu had us completely over ordering and we ultimately cancelled some of our orders because we all were just too full!!! Opus did enforce the 'no shorts' rule for men for all nights other than the first night of the cruise (as some passengers had late delivery of their luggage). There were two formal nights, and in retrospect, we sould have passed on dining in Opus those nights (it meant for extra weight in our suitcases for mens's suits and dress shoes) and just scheduled our dinners in the specialty restaurants instead. No tacky standing in line to meet the captain on formal night - from what I could tell, "Formal Night" was just a higher standard for the dress code and a slightly fancier (lobster) menu on those nights, and a 'stand up and cheer thank you' to the dining staff on the second formal night. Not worth the extra weight and bulk in our suitcases!!!
Breakfast and lunch at Oceanview Cafe gave us plenty of fresh, healthy choices in a wide variety of cuisines. The cooked to order omelets were great, although it did seem like they could use an additional chef as it took a bit longer than it should have for them to prepare our omelets and scrambles to order. We also really enjoyed the on-board made ice cream - at least 6 flavors every day available throughout most of the day. While it was very popular, the only 'less than great' food was the sushi which was served every early evening. The food was much more interesting and international than I remember from our last cruise five years ago on Royal Caribbean.
We spent a good amount of our at-sea time near the pool and appreciated that we always could find a lounge chair. The pool staff seems to do a pretty good job of clearing away used towels and freeing up chairs, although we did spend some time in lounge chairs on Deck 14 overlooking the pool. I remember from my previous cruises that finding a chair could be a challenge, so this was appreciated.
The shows in the main theater were OK - we only went to a couple of them with the standout being the acrobatic show on one of the final nights of the cruise. Our favorite entertainment was the jazz combo (we felt bad that they didn't have more of an audience on any of the nights we were there to listen), and the comedy show. The main comedian (whose name I now forget) was hysterical and while it was essentially the same show for three nights, he managed to mix it up and make each performance very funny in its own way.
The port cities were great: Istanbul, Kusadasi, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens and Naples. We wisely chose to book our three shore excursions with an outside company instead of Celebrity's excursions and had private tours for two of the three excursions for a fraction of the cost. One of our guides was outstanding and the other two were adequate. Celebrity did a good job of distributing maps and general information about each port city.
Our kids used the gym a lot and liked the variety of equipment. When I used the gym, there was not a wait for treadmills. The gym seemed clean and well maintained.
We liked the international mix of passengers: lots of Americans, British, Australians, and a large contingent of South Americans (I'd guess Spanish was the second most spoken language behind English among the passengers).
The vibe aboard ship was casual but not sloppy. This did not seem like a cruise where people came just to party. Lots of families, newlyweds, people of all ages.
There were plenty of activities and you could be as busy or relaxed as you chose. We chose for relaxed and spent a lot of time on our balcony reading and enjoying staring out at sea and at the beautiful coastline views.
Over all a great experience, fantastic itinerary and great service aboard the Celebrity Reflection. I'd love to sail on this ship again!
A note: If you cruise in or out of Civitaveccia, Celebrity charges $93/person to shuttle you one way to or from Rome. We took a train from Rome Termini Station for 5 Euro/person (about $7.50 USD - purchase tickets at the train station, not in advance), then it is a 10-15 minute walk to a free port shuttle which takes you directly to the ship.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Breakfast outdoors at the rear of the ship was a great way to start the day. Enomatic Wine was a good way to have a 'wine package' for wines by the glass. They discounted the cost on the first day aboard ship $250 wine credit for $200, but keep in mind they add 15% service to the $200 cost.