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EMBARKATION - This was very straightforward, mainly because we arrived at 2:30, after the majority of other passengers. As a result, the self service restaurant was closed. We had not eaten since breakfast and therefore headed for the Grill on deck 14. With a temperature of over 30 C and no shade, this was not an option. The only other alternative was to pay $10 each and eat at the Bistro on Five. We arrived and were told by the Maitre D’, who was less than welcoming, that we could eat there, but we would have to be quick, because it would close for the Safety Drill at 4:20. It was now 3:10. They promised to serve us as quickly as possible – there were only three other couples in the bistro. We were given menus and waited and waited until someone eventually took our order. The Maitre D’ walked up and down but it was obviously beneath him to speed things up by taking our order – more about him later. For speed we ordered beef burgers. Bad choice. Probably the worst quality of minced beef we have ever tasted. This was followed by crepes which were much better. We were told to leave at 4:10. Not a pleasant experience or introduction to Celebrity Reflection. TIP – If staying in Rome the night before your cruise and transport is being arranged on your behalf, make sure the collection time from the hotel is as early as possible. We had a pick up time of 11:45 from the centre of Rome. After delays in leaving - this was Italy! - the traffic and considerable distance to Civitavecchia, we eventually arrived at 2:30pm. Our original collection time was an hour earlier but this had been changed when we arrived in Rome. (Shame on you Imagine Cruises. With your experience, earlier collection times should be arranged.) CABIN - This was clean and well maintained, with more than adequate hanging and drawer space. Nice touches in the bathrooms on these Celebrity ships are things many of us have at home. Lots of storage, heated mirrors which do not steam up and night lights so that you do not disturb your partner by turning on a light if you need to use the bathroom at night. CABIN STEWARD – Having just travelled twice on QM2, where the cabin stewards never introduced themselves, we were pleased that the steward came to see us and discussed our requirements, promising to help in any way he could. He continued to offer assistance on a daily basis, but then got into the habit of putting his head around the door early in the evening when we were getting ready for dinner. My wife was usually in various states of undress and he seemed not to understand that we expect some privacy. We then made sure the “Do not disturb” sign was placed on the door whenever we were in the cabin. This obviously upset him, because the sign was taken away towards the end of the cruise. We noticed that the glass balcony screen remained dirty, even after being cleaned several times while we were in port. Towards the end of the cruise we realised the external surface was very clean, but the build up of dirt was on the inside. Presumably this is the cabin steward’s responsibility. As we only realised this two days from the end of the cruise, we did not ask for it to be cleaned. BLU RESTAURANT – Being in an Aqua Class Cabin, we ate here for breakfast and dinner. We had booked this cruise, based on the very good experience we had on Celebrity Solstice last December, where the food in Blu Restaurant was very good. Not so on Reflection. It lacked the care and quality we had enjoyed on Solstice. Food was invariably warm, rather than hot and chilled soups were warm, rather than chilled. There was also an inability to balance flavours, or use the right amount of seasoning. Despite the lower standards in the kitchen, the staff certainly excelled, being very friendly and attentive, making every meal a pleasant experience, in spite of shortcomings with many of the dishes. OCEANVIEW CAFE – We ate several lunches here, where the quality of the food was not consistent. It was almost always lukewarm and often had a dried out appearance. At busy times, it was just not big enough to cope with the large number of people. BISTRO ON FIVE – On one sea day when there was no seating left in the cafe and it was raining on deck, we decided to go to Bistro on Five. Just six other couples were seated in the bistro and the Maitre D’ was very offhand, telling us the kitchen could not cope and we would have to return later. We then went down to the main restaurant, but it was 1:15 and we realised it was only open from 12 until 1pm. We returned to our cabin and ordered room service, only to be told it takes 45 – 50 minutes at lunchtime. Nevertheless, with little other option we waited and it was served within 45 minutes and was both hot and very good. (At other times room service arrived within 20 minutes.) TIP – On a ship of this size we should have learnt from past experience. Make sure you plan ahead at lunch time. Do not just turn up at peak times. DRINKS – I suppose I should not have been surprised at the continued high cost of drinks on board. A bottle of wine which would sell for around $8 ashore is priced at around $30 on board, plus an 18% gratuity – up from 15%. I would not mind if the wine was of reasonable quality, but most is just very cheap plonk, unless you spend considerably more. I see from other reviews that many bring their own drink on board, but officially this is limited to two bottles of wine per cabin at the beginning of the cruise. I doubt you will get further bottles past security when returning from trips ashore. DRESS CODE – On the Celebrity website the dress code for men on formal nights is a tuxedo, suit, or jacket and trousers with a tie. On board the written requirement for wearing a tie has been removed. On our cruise, the number of men who wore a tuxedo or suit with tie, was about 50/50 with those who wore a jacket and trousers, with or without a tie. A few of the Americans decided that shorts and a tee shirt were the correct attire in the evenings, even on formal nights. We saw no one turned away from the Blu Restaurant, because they were not correctly dressed. TIP - My advice is that if you are not comfortable in a tuxedo or suit, or luggage restrictions make packing the extra clothes impractical, wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, but please, no shorts in the dining room at night. PORTS OF CALL – Like most who booked this cruise, the prime reason was the two day visit to Istanbul. This was cancelled at the last minute following an incident in the city, although Cunard and other cruise lines had not removed Istanbul from their itinerary. Let’s be honest, it is more likely there will be shooting incidents in New York or London, but this does not deter the tourists, who see it as a fact of life in the world today. Two extra islands were added, Crete and Rhodes, plus an overnight in Athens. Having not been to Crete or Rhodes it was some compensation for us, but for many others who had, the change was a great disappointment. The time taken to get ashore whether by tender or direct onto the dock side, was much improved from the arrangements on Solstice, where it could take up to three hours by tender. On Reflection they have the sense to use two tender docks and two gangways, unlike Solstice who used just one. CONCLUSIONS – Those who rate this ship with five stars obviously have lower expectations than us. We have travelled on most of the other lines and the overall experience on Reflection is certainly very good, due mainly to the crew, who are very friendly and attentive – sometimes too attentive in the case of our cabin steward! Nevertheless, the quality of the food has dropped, possibly a result of the dramatic drop in the cost of the cruises in the eastern Med, due to an over-supply of ships this year.

Good value modern ship

Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review by ukcruise100

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2015
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: AquaClass
EMBARKATION - This was very straightforward, mainly because we arrived at 2:30, after the majority of other passengers. As a result, the self service restaurant was closed. We had not eaten since breakfast and therefore headed for the Grill on deck 14. With a temperature of over 30 C and no shade, this was not an option. The only other alternative was to pay $10 each and eat at the Bistro on Five. We arrived and were told by the Maitre D’, who was less than welcoming, that we could eat there, but we would have to be quick, because it would close for the Safety Drill at 4:20. It was now 3:10. They promised to serve us as quickly as possible – there were only three other couples in the bistro. We were given menus and waited and waited until someone eventually took our order. The Maitre D’ walked up and down but it was obviously beneath him to speed things up by taking our order – more about him later. For speed we ordered beef burgers. Bad choice. Probably the worst quality of minced beef we have ever tasted. This was followed by crepes which were much better. We were told to leave at 4:10. Not a pleasant experience or introduction to Celebrity Reflection.

TIP – If staying in Rome the night before your cruise and transport is being arranged on your behalf, make sure the collection time from the hotel is as early as possible. We had a pick up time of 11:45 from the centre of Rome. After delays in leaving - this was Italy! - the traffic and considerable distance to Civitavecchia, we eventually arrived at 2:30pm. Our original collection time was an hour earlier but this had been changed when we arrived in Rome. (Shame on you Imagine Cruises. With your experience, earlier collection times should be arranged.)

CABIN - This was clean and well maintained, with more than adequate hanging and drawer space.

Nice touches in the bathrooms on these Celebrity ships are things many of us have at home. Lots of storage, heated mirrors which do not steam up and night lights so that you do not disturb your partner by turning on a light if you need to use the bathroom at night.

CABIN STEWARD – Having just travelled twice on QM2, where the cabin stewards never introduced themselves, we were pleased that the steward came to see us and discussed our requirements, promising to help in any way he could. He continued to offer assistance on a daily basis, but then got into the habit of putting his head around the door early in the evening when we were getting ready for dinner. My wife was usually in various states of undress and he seemed not to understand that we expect some privacy. We then made sure the “Do not disturb” sign was placed on the door whenever we were in the cabin. This obviously upset him, because the sign was taken away towards the end of the cruise.

We noticed that the glass balcony screen remained dirty, even after being cleaned several times while we were in port. Towards the end of the cruise we realised the external surface was very clean, but the build up of dirt was on the inside. Presumably this is the cabin steward’s responsibility. As we only realised this two days from the end of the cruise, we did not ask for it to be cleaned.

BLU RESTAURANT – Being in an Aqua Class Cabin, we ate here for breakfast and dinner. We had booked this cruise, based on the very good experience we had on Celebrity Solstice last December, where the food in Blu Restaurant was very good. Not so on Reflection. It lacked the care and quality we had enjoyed on Solstice. Food was invariably warm, rather than hot and chilled soups were warm, rather than chilled. There was also an inability to balance flavours, or use the right amount of seasoning.

Despite the lower standards in the kitchen, the staff certainly excelled, being very friendly and attentive, making every meal a pleasant experience, in spite of shortcomings with many of the dishes.

OCEANVIEW CAFE – We ate several lunches here, where the quality of the food was not consistent. It was almost always lukewarm and often had a dried out appearance. At busy times, it was just not big enough to cope with the large number of people.

BISTRO ON FIVE – On one sea day when there was no seating left in the cafe and it was raining on deck, we decided to go to Bistro on Five. Just six other couples were seated in the bistro and the Maitre D’ was very offhand, telling us the kitchen could not cope and we would have to return later. We then went down to the main restaurant, but it was 1:15 and we realised it was only open from 12 until 1pm. We returned to our cabin and ordered room service, only to be told it takes 45 – 50 minutes at lunchtime. Nevertheless, with little other option we waited and it was served within 45 minutes and was both hot and very good. (At other times room service arrived within 20 minutes.)

TIP – On a ship of this size we should have learnt from past experience. Make sure you plan ahead at lunch time. Do not just turn up at peak times.

DRINKS – I suppose I should not have been surprised at the continued high cost of drinks on board. A bottle of wine which would sell for around $8 ashore is priced at around $30 on board, plus an 18% gratuity – up from 15%. I would not mind if the wine was of reasonable quality, but most is just very cheap plonk, unless you spend considerably more. I see from other reviews that many bring their own drink on board, but officially this is limited to two bottles of wine per cabin at the beginning of the cruise. I doubt you will get further bottles past security when returning from trips ashore.

DRESS CODE – On the Celebrity website the dress code for men on formal nights is a tuxedo, suit, or jacket and trousers with a tie. On board the written requirement for wearing a tie has been removed. On our cruise, the number of men who wore a tuxedo or suit with tie, was about 50/50 with those who wore a jacket and trousers, with or without a tie. A few of the Americans decided that shorts and a tee shirt were the correct attire in the evenings, even on formal nights. We saw no one turned away from the Blu Restaurant, because they were not correctly dressed.

TIP - My advice is that if you are not comfortable in a tuxedo or suit, or luggage restrictions make packing the extra clothes impractical, wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, but please, no shorts in the dining room at night.

PORTS OF CALL – Like most who booked this cruise, the prime reason was the two day visit to Istanbul. This was cancelled at the last minute following an incident in the city, although Cunard and other cruise lines had not removed Istanbul from their itinerary. Let’s be honest, it is more likely there will be shooting incidents in New York or London, but this does not deter the tourists, who see it as a fact of life in the world today. Two extra islands were added, Crete and Rhodes, plus an overnight in Athens. Having not been to Crete or Rhodes it was some compensation for us, but for many others who had, the change was a great disappointment.

The time taken to get ashore whether by tender or direct onto the dock side, was much improved from the arrangements on Solstice, where it could take up to three hours by tender. On Reflection they have the sense to use two tender docks and two gangways, unlike Solstice who used just one.

CONCLUSIONS – Those who rate this ship with five stars obviously have lower expectations than us. We have travelled on most of the other lines and the overall experience on Reflection is certainly very good, due mainly to the crew, who are very friendly and attentive – sometimes too attentive in the case of our cabin steward! Nevertheless, the quality of the food has dropped, possibly a result of the dramatic drop in the cost of the cruises in the eastern Med, due to an over-supply of ships this year.
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