Reflecting about the Reflection
Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: February 28, 2015
Ship: Celebrity Reflection
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 1553+
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
Context: My husband and I just completed 3 B2Bs on the Celebrity Reflection starting February 28 to Mar 7 and continuing Mar 7-14 & 14-21. It was our first Celebrity experience after nearly 20 years of cruising.
Accommodation basics: 2 weeks in Aqua Class stateroom (1553 & 1555), 1 week in Aqua Class suite (2154).
Primary point is that we loved our experience with Celebrity, so much so that we booked four more cruises for 2017. That says a lot about how much we enjoyed ourselves.
Reasons why we loved it: Crew were exceedingly kind and helpful. My husband and I are disabled to different degrees. Many, many crew took the extra step to help make our stay easier and more enjoyable. From cutting up a thick steak to holding a door open to bringing a drink back to the Alcove. Each little thing added up to a very big experience.
When we moved from stateroom to suite, we noticed a palpable vibration which became quite annoying rather quickly. After a call to Guest Relations, the Assistant Chief Engineer came to evaluate the situation. He agreed and an investigation was launched. We received daily updates and inquiries plus a lovely plate of chocolate-covered strawberries with a note of apology. The issue was resolved and we had a wonderful time. To top it off, on the last day of the cruise, we each received a cruise credit certificate and letter of thanks for our business.
You might be asking "If you loved it so much, why give it a four star rating?" Here is why:
1. The most common temperature for food/drink being served was "warm". What should have been served chilled arrived to the table at room-temperature. This was epidemic across venues on the ship to the point that we specified "chilled" fruit, juice, etc., and also asked for a glass of ice in case it was needed. The problem is that the drive for efficiency has a cost. Leaving OJ accessible on the counter for wait staff to pick up quickly runs the risk of it warming to room temp... which it did, day after day. When we asked for CHILLED juice, we got it. Bottomline, we really shouldn't need to ask. This can be fixed by leaving OJ in the fridge until just before it needs to be served.
2. Variable temperature of cappuccino, lattes, and specialty coffees. At times scalding hot or lukewarm, it turned into a crapshoot. The baristas needs to be more vigilant and closely monitor the temps to avoid this.
3. Understaffing. Although better than other cruise lines we have sailed with, it was clear that staff was short at critical times. This is easy to remedy when supervisory staff track and report delays or more important, customers begin to complain more vocally.
4. Food prep. Specifically the proper way to cook a nice piece of steak. The Lawn Club Grille got it right every time. Perfecto! Tuscan got it wrong 3 out of 4 times... but on the plus side, they made it right every time.
5. Specialty restaurant noise level. We tried each of the specialty restaurants and found Murano the least pleasing in terms of noise level of wait staff. Clanging plates and silverware do nothing to enhance the dining experience. This is easy to address when staff take more care in performing their work.
Competitor comparison: There is no comparison to Carnival, NCL, or Royal Caribbean, which are more budget oriented lines. The closest I can estimate is a Princess cruise we took years ago. Both focus on customer experience and satisfaction. Both consider themselves to be a luxury cruise experience.
I highly commend the Reflection for its proactive approach to infection control and acceptable onboard behavior with overhead announcements from the Captain at the start and during the cruise. That's a first for us. Unfortunately, the Capt can't follow people around to make sure they do wash their hands regularly or keep their children under control. Hand washing is everyone's business and child behavior rests with the parents/guardians. That said, Celebrity raised awareness which is more than I can say about other lines.
We had a fabulous time and highly recommend the Reflection.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
The Alcoves is a great option for a private deck experience. Each comfortably accommodates 4. Staff are attentive and can get what you want. Awnings for shade if full sun is not desired. Less expensive on port days. The Lawn Club Grill is the best restaurant for relaxed fun w/do-it-yourself options.