So we've been home for over a week now and are only just starting to acclimatise to real life! I am going to post a summary or two of some of our Reflection experiences. I will start with the rest of the entertainment we saw in addition to that I have already spoken about.
Savannah Smith: Savannah is an amazing singer and a fabulous entertainer! She performed one late night show and one matinee in the theatre. During the late night show she sang mostly modern pop songs and was highly enjoyable. But that matinee!!! Holy Moley!!! According to the Daily, she would be performing top 40 hits from the radio and throwing them back to the 1920s, 30s and 40s in a Big Band Prohibition Era style. Did she ever – the girl has as much energy as a Duracell battery FACTORY!!! The theatre was probably only half full but there was an amazing energy from the audience during the show. Everybody seemed to love her. As you may already have guessed, Savannah gets a “Hell Yeah to the max” from me .
Rob Lewis: Rob is a Phil Collins tribute act. This was a fantastic show all round. The singing and staging were brilliant. And Rob definitely has that Duracell energy going on too! I was buzzing after this show and couldn’t stop singing Phil Collins songs for days afterwards. Rating: Hell Yeah³
Intimate Broadway Cabaret: I honestly don’t know what was “intimate” about this show which was performed in the theatre by members of the production cast. Some were good singers, some not so much. I love show tunes but was disappointed in this because it included a number of obscure and non-show songs. Rating: Meh
The Wedding Games (aka Love and Marriage/Mr and Mrs): This was funny in parts but really feels old and tired now. I’ve seen these shows before but went along because I figured it’s always different depending on the couples taking part. But it turns out it really isn’t very different when the questions are pretty much always the same. Also, IMO, these kind of audience participation games are very much dependent on the personality and wit of the Cruise Director. Eddy Jenkins is a shining example of a CD that I would go to see taking part in any kind of show, but for me, Simon just doesn’t have what it takes. Just my personal opinion. Rating: Meh
Christopher Caress: Hypnotist. I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this one at all. I found The guys voice and the music used very loud and unsettling. I didn’t see anything new in this show that I haven’t seen in hypnotist shows on other ships. Also, I really didn’t believe that any of the volunteers were genuinely hypnotised. In summary, it was pretty lame. Rating: Meh
Karaoke: Karaoke was held in the Sky Lounge instead of Quasar where we are used to seeing it. We went to watch it a couple of nights and the same few people sang repeatedly. The second night I filled out a card to sing and as time went on and I wasn’t being called up while the same names kept being called out, I asked the guy if he had lost my card. He produced the bunch of cards and mine was there alright, turned upside down. I wondered afterwards if this was his signal to himself that I wasn’t one of the regulars and not to bother calling me up! Anyway, I sang but didn’t particularly enjoy it as the backing track wasn’t very good quality and that activities staff member hosting the event was totally charmless and unenthusiastic. The choice of songs to sing along to was a tiny fraction of the number they used to have and the quality of the tracks themselves seemed poor. Suffice it to say, I didn’t go back after that, not even to Bandaoke which I usually enjoy. Rating: Meh
Unusually for us, we didn't see any of the production shows on this cruise. We were having so much fun we just couldn't find the time! We have seen the majority of the shows previously and enjoyed them so didn't feel we were missing out.
We did enjoy the individual performers and duos that we heard around the ship, particularly the Emotions Duo who played strings. These two ladies were excellent. We continued to enjoy Ray Brown Jnr. and his band on numerous occasions. I'm afraid we thought the House Band were rather poor, they sounded quite flat both in tone and energy. They in no way compared to the band we had on our transatlantic last year whose name I cannot now recall, unfortunately. DJ Lenny played excellent music around the ship, say in the Martini Bar before dinner. It's the first time I remember really enjoying the recorded music played onboard. Rating: Yeah
I have to mention the Celebrity Orchestra again, these guys are astonishingly good! I was constantly amazed at just how good they were at supporting guest performers after very short rehearsal opportunities. They were incredible supporting Savannah Smith and Rob Lewis.
We didn't attend any of the party night events such as Abba Mania, Motown Dance Party, Full Moon Party as they were held in the Grand Foyer. These would normally be held in the Sky Lounge on other Solstice class ships. We never go to events in the Grand Foyer as we don't enjoy it as an entertainment space. We really missed having those shows in the Sky Lounge. So that's a Meh too!
Looking at my previous ratings for Entertainment along with what I have just written, it seems to be either Hell Yeahs or Mehs. When I enjoyed something I really enjoyed it but others I just didn't like. That hasn't really happened to me before, I usually enjoy most of the entertainment. So on balance I think it would be fair to say that my rating for Entertainment is a Yeah overall.
Of course the person responsible for arranging the entertainment onboard is the Cruise Director. In this case, that was Simon Akinwolere. Having experienced the dream team of Eddy Jenkins as CD and Giuseppe Moschella as his assistant (now a CD himself) twice last year, I knew whoever we had this time would be up against it to impress me. Unfortunately, Simon did not do it for me. He is a perfectly nice man, if a little cheesy, but he did not entertain me in the slightest. I used to be one of those people who felt that the personality of the CD did not affect my enjoyment of a cruise in any way. But that was before I came across Alejandro Tortorelli on Celebrity and realised otherwise. He was the first CD whose announcements I stayed to listen to after performances in the theatre. He cracked me up. The we had Eddy and Giuseppe and that feeling of my cruise being enhanced was greatly magnified by their presence and their particular brand of humour. So there is absolutely nothing wrong with Simon, I just didn't find him entertaining. Just my opinion and very much a first world problem. Overall we were well entertained and happy.
Edit: I felt a bit guilty for saying Simon didn't entertain me and was thinking about what quality it is that Alejandro, Eddy and Giuseppe all have that I enjoy so much. After a quick look at some of their social media postings I was reminded of what it is. It's the ability to poke fun at themselves and enjoy a joke at their own expense. Not taking themselves too seriously. A great sense of humour. That's what I love about them.