Reflection review with photos - Day 1 - Miami
Reflection review with photos - Day 2 - At Sea
Reflection review with photos - Day 3 - New Year's Eve & San Juan
Reflection review with photos - Day 4 - January 1 and St. Martin
Reflection review with photos - Day 5 - January 2 and St. Thomas
Reflection review with photos - Day 6 - January 3 and At Sea
Celebrity Reflection, New Year's Cruise, December 2012 Photos
Day 7 – Jan 4 – At sea
Today’s Random Notes
First of all, I completely forgot to mention in my Day 6 review that it had also been formal night – the second of the cruise. And perhaps because it was the second, and many had also dressed up for New Year’s Eve, there were fewer people who were dressed formally, or even dressed up. Some certainly were – we were – but many were quite casual. But on both formal nights we did not see anyone refused entry to the dining room due to their clothes, and there were diners in shirts with no ties, and even a few golf shirts. I know formal night wear is a ‘hot topic’ on CC, so please note I mention this only as an observation, not as a criticism. It really didn’t matter to me if people did or didn’t dress formally.
Two interesting points from the captain, at yesterday’s presentation, in response to questions:
• All the lifeboats one side of the ship are enough to hold all passengers and crew. The lifeboats on the other side are ‘extras’.
• The crew and staff do sometimes get seasick, including – recently – the Captain’s own cabin attendant. He said that when staff or crew feel ill, they are excused from work.
I did keep all of the Celebrity Today issues (and the sheet with the officer bios, and shopping events, etc.), so if anyone has any questions, fire away!
Check your bill, on the accounts page of the TV, daily. We found a few discrepancies – we were charged for a few drinks when we should not have been, because we had the Premium package, for example. We also had to ask twice for a 20% rebate for the first night we had booked in the Tuscan Grille. I didn’t know you were supposed to mention it to the staff when at the restaurant. I don’t really understand why this discount couldn’t have been deducted when I booked online, or automatically later, but apparently it doesn’t work that way! We also noticed a few charges that had subsequently backed out. But if you wait until the last day to check your bill, you’ll face a long line at Guest Relations if you need to get an error resolved.
Day 7 – Jan 4 – At sea
Today I skipped breakfast – I just wasn't hungry, and decided to take a break from eating and enjoy a good lunch instead. My husband and son did head off to the buffet, and we agreed to meet by the main pool, as we had spent no time there on the cruise. We were able to find three chairs near an open window with a breeze, and we read our books for about an hour, until my son and I left for the Star Chefs show. It was a noisy time to be there, as an exercise class was in progress and the music was VERY loud, but it was bearable for an hour. (I think this is actually a photo of the Zumba class on another day, but the scene looks the same!)
My husband and I had enjoyed the Star Chefs show on the Solstice, and it was just as much fun to watch on the Reflection. The young sous chef won, extending his winning streak to 6-0. The two guest contestants – each paired with a Reflection chef – were rewarded with a free lunch at Murano’s that day (for two, I think). Both Murano’s and Tuscan Grille were open on the last sea day for lunch.
We, however, had our last lunch in the buffet. For the second time, we decided (sadly, for me) to enjoy our food inside. It was just too humid outside, and not surprisingly there weren’t too many eating on the deck that afternoon. So we sat at a window side table inside, and enjoyed the beautiful view of the sparkling ocean.
After lunch we went to Deck 5, and found three lounge chairs just outside of the Reflection Theater. It felt much less humid there as there was very nice breeze – in fact it felt cool enough that we used our towels as blankets. There are also rocking chairs on the same deck, outside of Café al Bacio. We read for a while, until close to 3 pm, when my husband and I left to go to the “Oceans Ahead: How our Ships Move” presentation, with engineer Theodoropoulos Stamatis. I think he was a little bit nervous, and his Greek accent made a few words a little difficult to decipher, but overall his presentation was very interesting, although a lot of it (about azipods, currency conversion, etc). was too technical for me to really comprehend. But my husband loved it! His talk was not too long, but he then spent a lot of time answering questions, and one of those questions was about the recent and somewhat mysterious technical issue that has been discussed here on CC. So, as I didn’t really understand, here is my husband’s description of the problem:
“The Diesel generator puts out a high voltage, this is transformed into electricity which is supplied to the AZIPOD's. The step down transformer for the starboard AZIPOD is currently only capable of delivering 75 percent output”.
So there. Now you know. But I still don't understand!
After the presentation, we returned to our room to pack. I hate that part! We always choose self-disembarkation, so we didn’t need to put the luggage in the hallway, but I didn’t want to pack at the end of the night.
Before heading off to our 5:30 dinner reservation (the only time we could get) at the Lawn Club, we went for one last drink at the Molecular Bar. I had my second 20 Year Martini. My husband, who doesn’t like mixed drink except an occasional gin and tonic, asked the bartender for a straight gin. But the bartender, not surprisingly, wanted to make something for him. So my husband said he didn’t like sweet drinks at all, but did like Gin. Well, a few minutes later a 3G Martini was delivered to our table, and surprise, surprise, he really liked it! (I took one sip of it and thought it was absolutely horrible… ha ha). Apparently it’s 2 parts gin, 1 part St. Germain Elderflower liqueur (and someone just gave me a bottle of this for Christmas, so now I know what I can use it for!), and ½ part ginger liqueur. I do have a picture of the first page of the Molecular Bar menu, on Flickr. But the 3G is not listed on the menu.
After our drinks, we headed up to the 15th deck to meet our son for dinner at the Lawn Club. So, here is what may be the most controversial part of my review, because I know many of you will disagree with me, but I’m just reporting our experience, feelings and observations about our dinner there.
I had been looking forward to this dinner all week, and had said a few times that I thought it would probably be the best dinner of the week, but this was the most disappointing meal of the entire cruise.
First of all, I’ll list the positives from my perspective. I really liked the fun, festive, casual atmosphere. Most people were dressed very casually (shorts, capris, etc.), there were a lot of kids having fun, and the restaurant staff were wonderful with the children. We did see one group, after being seated and getting their menus, leave a few minutes later. They may not have appreciated the kids running around, but we thought it was fun. If you want to try a speciality restaurant with small children, this would be the one! There were all having a great time. I loved the views, as the sun set, of kids playing soccer on the lawn, and the ocean.
Now, what we didn’t like.
Our waiter was an affable guy, from Indonesia I believe. I know our son had been hoping to at least try his hand at making his own flatbread, but our waiter didn’t really offer or encourage us to do this. I know – we could have just said, “We want to make our own flatbreads!”, but it felt a bit like we were being discouraged to do so.
We started with the salad bar, which was just a scaled down version of the salad bar in the buffet, with exactly the same choices.
We did order flatbreads, but when they arrived, to me, they were just pizzas, not real flatbreads which are typically very thin, with a crunchy crust. Because these were quite thick, they were too heavy really, for me, as a first course or starter. I just ate a few bites of the different flatbreads we had ordered, because I didn’t want to get too full. They were just OK – nothing wrong with them, but not exceptional in any way.
We had ordered a variety of meats – filet mignon, rib eye, a scallop and shrimp kebob, along with sides including a baked potato, the lobster mac & cheese, dirty rice, and baked beans. When the meats arrived, they were just that – grilled meats on a plate. No garnish, no marinades or sauces – but sauces were brought in little dishes – BBQ, Chimichurri and one other that I can’t remember. ALL of our steaks were overcooked to some degree, and we all felt our steaks lacking flavour. Mine certainly didn’t compare to the steak I had had at the Tuscan Grille, in Murano, or any of the beef I had in the Opus dining room (I ate a lot of beef on this cruise!). The baked potato, however, was undercooked. The mac & cheese was quite tasty, the dirty rice was a bit bland, and the baked beans were quite watery. None of us finished our meals, and we really didn’t enjoy our dinners.
The best part of the meal was certainly the dessert. My son and I both had the warm chocolate chip cookie with ice cream, and it was delicious. It's a treat that would be very easy to make at home (cookie dough cooked in a dish, with a scoop of ice cream), but it was very tasty. As my son hadn’t finished his dinner he wasn’t full, so he ordered a second cookie!
So, overall we felt the meal was absolutely nothing special, and certainly not worth the $40 surcharge each that we paid. We were disappointed, but I do understand that taste is very subjective, and obviously many others have loved their dining experience at the Lawn Club. Perhaps we just hit the restaurant on a bad night. I'm glad we gave the Lawn Club a try, but we wouldn’t go back. Next time we’ll try QSine, about which we heard a lot of positive comments while on the cruise.
I should mention that many others did don an apron and take to the grill, and the flatbread station. They all seemed to be having a good time, especially the children.
After dinner we thought we might have one last drink at the Sunset Bar. It was still open, and looked inviting, but it was a bit cool, so we went back inside.
Instead, we went to the Game On room for one last game of Word Power.
The final show in the Reflection Theater was very good, including the comedian/magician Scott Alexander, singer Jack Walker, and a duet with Paul Baya, the Cruise Director who also doubles as a singer occasionally.
After the show we went directly the Grand Foyer to get a good seat for the Wonderland Show. (While waiting for Wonderland to start, I noticed the long line up at Guest Relations. ) We really had no idea what this show might be, or what to expect, but it turned out to be excellent – a really fun, interactive show that seemed to be very much enjoyed by all age groups, including the many babies and children there. The kids were all well behaved, and entranced - after the show they ran up to the performers to get autographs. The costumes were great, and the dancers looked like they were really enjoying themselves - dancing and singing along with the recorded tunes, with guests joining in. It was a wonderful way to end our last night of our wonderful cruise. Get there early to get a good seat.
After the show, we sadly headed to our room. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, and had such a wonderful time. The Reflection is an absolutely gorgeous ship and I would sail on her again in a heartbeat. I’ll have more final thoughts and conclusions in my next and final review, of our arrival in Miami, and our day there.
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