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The Brilliant Reflection - A Review of 1-12-2013 Sailing with Photos (Very Long)

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It will take me a few days to finish uploading all my photos and write a thorough review. Hope you enjoy it! I will be scanning the Celebrity Today sheets and a few other helpful documents as well. I will add links to the review, documents and photo albums as they are completed.

 

OUR BRILLIANT REFLECTION CRUISE

CELEBRITY REFLECTION

Eastern Caribbean (San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas)

January 12 - January 19, 2013

Background: We are both Library Directors from SW suburbs of Chicago. We are Celebrity loyalists - this was our 6th Celebrity cruise since 2009. We have not sailed any other lines so cannot compare Celebrity to their products - we know what we like and have stayed with it.

 

Pre-Cruise: Friday, January 11

It was 50 degrees when we left Chicago this morning! Our flight from Midway to Fort Lauderdale was uneventful thankfully and we arrived in Florida 15 minutes early.

The prearranged SAS shuttle was as efficient as I remembered from two past experiences. The driver called right after we landed and we met the van outside within five minutes. The shuttle van was spacious and nicely air conditioned. After 3 couples had loaded up, we were off to Miami. It took approximately 45 minutes to reach our destination, the Hotel Beaux Arts, a boutique hotel on the top floors of the JW Marriott in the Bayside area.

WOW - what a place! Let me just say, we would never be able to afford a 5 star hotel such as this but used Marriott points to do so. The view of the Bay was spectacular, the accommodations very upscale and modern.

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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Hi Sandi! You did well with that hotel. Good thing you were going on the Reflection because I bet it would have been hard to drag you away from such a gorgeous view!

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We never could figure out all the features of the sound system and the lighting!! We were a bit intimidated as we are most used to hotels such as the Westin or that type (and never pay full price!!) but enjoyed it nonetheless. We looked at the hotel pool on the 19th floor but it was too windy and chilly by 5:00 p.m. to tempt us.

 

We spent some time imagining how the rich and famous live and then had a pre-dinner complimentary cocktail and snacks at the Lounge at the hotel before dinner. We walked over to Trulucks for our 8:00 p.m. dinner reservation, a pleasant 15 minute walk from our hotel. We had appetizers and drinks during happy hour there last year and wanted to return for dinner. (Can't go to Florida and not have fresh seafood - a treat for Midwesterners for sure.) It was an excellent meal. We opted for the date night menu for $39 pp - we started with the salt and pepper calamari (additional charge) then each had delicious crab bisque. Entrees - trout for me and shrimp and grits for Scott. We couldn't eat their famous carrot cake as we were full so took it back to room (and never ate it).

 

Saturday, January 12

Our cruise is finally here! Unfortunately, we could not see the Reflection from our hotel window as a high-rise building blocked our view of the Port. We opted not to eat breakfast as we were still full from our delicious dinner at Trulucks and took a taxi to the Port at 10.20 am. 15 minutes later, we were at the cruise terminal. There were still quite a few people leaving but it was well organized. We handed our bags over to a porter and were directed inside to check in.

 

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There was no waiting to check in.

 

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We completed our paperwork, had our photos taken at the check in counter and received our Sea Passes (new design!).

 

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Unfortunately, we were identified as Select members when we were actually Elite, bit of a let down - at least they got the Premium Beverage Package on the Sea passes! We tried to have the passes changed then and there but were told we had to go to the Captains Club Desk once onboard.

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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It is always so exciting to board the ship; anticipation and excitement had been building for months since seeing the photos and reading reviews of Reflection.

Welcome champagne in hand, we were off for our “traditional” embarkation lunch at Bistro on Five.

 

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There were already at least a dozen people seated in Bistro on Five, even though it was only 11:45 a.m. We ordered drinks and were told that the food orders would not be prepared until noon. We relaxed and enjoyed the feeling of finally being on the ship!

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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The menu at Bistro on Five had been changed a bit - different savory crepes and salads.

 

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We started with the seafood gumbo soup which was very tasty and a tad spicy.

 

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I ordered the BBQ Piggy and Scott had the Hot and Spicy crepe. The crepes arrived rather cold but were still tasty.

 

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We were rather full after soup and crepes so opted to share an Italian dessert crepe (dinner at Qsine at 6:00 p.m. was looming!). Service was a bit slow and distant at Bistro and we didn’t feel the food was quite as good as it had been at other Bistro on Five locations we still enjoyed our lunch (The Porch was also open for lunch, may have to try that on embarkation day next cruise).

Edited by librarylady19

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We then walked around the ship, admiring the beautiful decor and taking lots of photographs while the ship was still quite empty (credit for most of the photographs goes to Scott; I took a few with my new iPad mini and my iPhone but the lions share our his work). We couldn’t wait for our first trip to the Sunset Bar.

 

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I’d really taken a fancy to the new design and couldn’t wait to see it in person! It was indeed a lovely place when the weather was nice. Quite a few other people had the same idea.

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Bartender in foreground is "Toobee" - by far one of the best, most personable bartenders on the ship.

 

Scott was very pleased that they had an expanded selection of craft beers and had his first beer of the cruise here.

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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The announcement that our cabins were ready came at 1:00 p.m.

 

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Our home away from home for the next week!

 

We were very pleased with our cabin, Aquaclass 2146 on Deck 12. It is a “hump” cabin, located in a very convenient location, mid-ship on the starboard side, just around the corner from the Future Cruise Sales office.

 

The cabin was spotless. Champagne was chilling, fruit basket was there, tote bag was on the bed and our documents were waiting. The white Aquaclass tote bag only contained 2 pairs of slippers, no lip balm or foot spray this time:(

Somehow, I managed to overcome my disappointment ;) and tried not to mess up the cabin before Scott had finished taking photos.

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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Storage above bed:

 

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I purchased some fabric storage cubes that folded up in suitcase that were just brilliant for storing items in these cabinets (thanks to Becky from our Roll Call for that tip!!)

 

 

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The only change I noticed in the bathroom was the removal of the doors on the tall cabinets.

 

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Love that shower!

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Edited by librarylady19

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Thanks so much for your review - Sandi. Can't wait for the rest of it. The photos are fabulous.

 

We are leaving for Miami on this Thurs and will be on the Reflection on Saturday. whoo hooo - less than a week away!! You certainly will help to build the anticipation.

 

Thanks again.

 

Mary

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Sandi,

 

Nicely done! I look forward to the remainder of your review. we will be on the Reflection in March and our Aqua cabin is one floor below yours.

 

Am enjoying the photos, although the shots of Scott's beers are making me quite thirsty.

 

Thanks for taking the time to share your cruise with us.

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First of all, thanks so much for sharing. I will be on Reflection June 28 sailing--

 

1. That folding cube thing looks brilliant. I never would have thought of it, had you not shown this. If you don't mind my asking, where did you purchase, how much about for each, and how many do you suggest for hubbie and me?

 

2. Regarding room cooler. We just drink diet soda and water. We will be purchasing n-a- premium plan- That being said, would steward clean out the extra items and just leave diet soda and water in fridge? Is there an extra charge for that (I'm new to Celebrity, so I don't know) Or do we tell the steward to take everything out, and we will fill cooler ourselves (We did that on NCL because we brought water and soda cans on board (Florida)

 

3. Just curious- We are thinking of doing either The Porch or Bistro on Five on embarkation day. At Bistro- we don't eat pork, but I love pulled beef or Chicken with BBQ sauce. Do you think they can customize a bit. Not a deal breaker, just curious regarding their flexibility.

 

Thanks for any and all info. Sincerely, Anita:)

Edited by Jetswdo
left out a word

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First of all, thanks so much for sharing. I will be on Reflection June 28 sailing--

 

1. That folding cube thing looks brilliant. I never would have thought of it, had you not shown this. If you don't mind my asking, where did you purchase, how much about for each, and how many do you suggest for hubbie and me?

 

2. Regarding room cooler. We just drink diet soda and water. We will be purchasing n-a- premium plan- That being said, would steward clean out the extra items and just leave diet soda and water in fridge? Is there an extra charge for that (I'm new to Celebrity, so I don't know) Or do we tell the steward to take everything out, and we will fill cooler ourselves (We did that on NCL because we brought water and soda cans on board (Florida)

 

3. Just curious- We are thinking of doing either The Porch or Bistro on Five on embarkation day. At Bistro- we don't eat pork, but I love pulled beef or Chicken with BBQ sauce. Do you think they can customize a bit. Not a deal breaker, just curious regarding their flexibility.

 

Thanks for any and all info. Sincerely, Anita:)

 

Hi Anita,

I purchased the cubes (Closet Maid brand) at Target for $7.99 each. You could fit 4 in each overhead cupboard but I liked having a little spare room for other small items.

 

I have heard you can take the mini bar items out of the fridge. It isn't very big and doesn't get too cold though.

 

I would recommend trying the Porch, especially of its a nice day. We ate there later in the cruise....nice selection of paninis - beef and chicken included.

Edited by librarylady19

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Hi Anita,

I purchased the cubes (Closet Maid brand) at Target for $7.99 each. You could fit 4 in each overhead cupboard but I liked having a little spare room for other small items.

 

I have heard you can take the mini bar items out of the fridge. It isn't very big and doesn't get too cold though.

 

I would recommend trying the Porch, especially of its a nice day. We ate there later in the cruise....nice selection of paninis - beef and chicken included.

 

The cubes are on sale at Target this week. They frequently go on sale, so if you don't get them this week, wait for the next sale.

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We found the storage to be adequate for us for a 7 day cruise. I did bring a hanging shoe bag (a lifesaver!) and lots of hangers. The pull down bar in the closet was helpful for hanging shorter items.

 

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The cabin had a deep, angled balcony with a large overhang (from the pool deck above).

 

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There was a view forward but aft views were blocked by the hump.

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As I noted in my cabin report, there definitely was noise in the early mornings (6:00 a.m. or thereabouts) when chairs were being moved and occasional thudding from joggers but the balcony size and convenient location more than made up for those "issues."

 

After meeting our cabin steward Desmond from India and asking him for cheese plate in lieu of afternoon canapes, it was off to explore a little more before Muster Drill at 3:30 p.m.

Edited by librarylady19

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Scott was very pleased that they had an expanded selection of craft beers and had his first beer of the cruise here.

 

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Just for other's information, despite what Celebrity may think Fuller's London Pride is neither a craft beer nor a brown porter!

 

In the UK it is a nationally available brand of cask conditioned beer obtainable both in tied pubs and the free trade, the bottled version shown here is widely available in all supermarkets and liquor stores.

 

As to style, it is a best bitter not a porter.

 

Although a better selection of beers in general than on most cruise liners, many on "X"s list are not what most people would know by the term "craft beer".

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The menu at Bistro on Five had been changed a bit - different savory crepes and salads............

 

....................I ordered the BBQ Piggy and Scott had the Hot and Spicy crepe. The crepes arrived rather cold but were still tasty.................

 

Service was a bit slow and distant at Bistro and we didn’t feel the food was quite as good as it had been at other Bistro on Five locations we still enjoyed our lunch (The Porch was also open for lunch, may have to try that on embarkation day next cruise).

 

Sounds as though this Bistro has not improved since the November TA - I have never sent food back in any other Bistro on 5, except this one. Salads warm, with lettuce going brown and missing some of the ingredients, and cool hot food with so so service. Had hoped things would improve as the staff settled down, but seems not.

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It will take me a few days to finish uploading all my photos and write a thorough review. Hope you enjoy it! I will be scanning the Celebrity Today sheets and a few other helpful documents as well. I will add links to the review, documents and photo albums as they are completed.

 

 

Lovely review so far and thanks for the wonderful photo's:).

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On this very snowy morning in the UK I am delighted to see your review already underway. Great cabin pictures of all the things we want to see such as storage etc and now a tour of the ship.

Thank you so much librarylady19.

 

I'm very much looking forward to your pics of the Porch and Lawn Club Grill.

Really liking the new look of the Sunset Bar.

 

ps I notice you have one space left for more shoes in your shoe bag :eek: :D

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On this very snowy morning in the UK I am delighted to see your review already underway. Great cabin pictures of all the things we want to see such as storage etc and now a tour of the ship.

Thank you so much librarylady19.

 

I'm very much looking forward to your pics of the Porch and Lawn Club Grill.

Really liking the new look of the Sunset Bar.

 

ps I notice you have one space left for more shoes in your shoe bag :eek: :D

 

Thanks! Temperature dropped to 10 degrees F here yesterday; unfortunately, I have to leave the house to go back to work shortly:mad:

 

Here's a link to the album of cabin photos if you are interested.

 

Aqua Class Cabin 2146

 

 

The empty shoe bin must have been for the pair on my feet (plus, sneakers that don't fit in the compartment!!).

Edited by librarylady19

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We particularly wanted to explore some of the features new to us, so headed to the Hideaway, conveniently located just a few decks below our cabin on Decks 8/9.

This area is whimsical, fun and so comfortable. Other passengers must have thought so too, as it was generally busy throughout the day. Scott often went there late at night to read also.

 

He said people were often upset that coffee wasn't available late at night!

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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Thanks! Temperature dropped to 10 degrees F here yesterday; unfortunately, I have to leave the house to go back to work shortly:mad:

 

Here's a link to the album of cabin photos if you are interested.

 

http://photobucket.com/albums/j322/librarylady19/Celebrity Reflection 1-12-2013/Aquaclass Cabin 2146

 

 

Sent from my iPad

 

The empty shoe bin must have been for the pair on my feet (plus, sneakers that don't fit in the compartment!!).

 

 

Thanks for the cabin link. I would love to see the pics but that link just takes me to the photobucket home page. Perhaps the end of the link is missing?

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We were on the same sailing (although I'm not sure I actually said hello to you at the CC party) and your photos bring our wonderful experience back. Thanks for posting them!

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Thanks for the cabin link. I would love to see the pics but that link just takes me to the photobucket home page. Perhaps the end of the link is missing?

 

I reposted the link after you responded - try this:

 

AQ Cabin 2146

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Sandi

 

Excellent review and wonderful pictures. Looks like Reflection is a fantastic ship and glad you had a good time.

 

Tiki

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Looking forward to your posts!! We are sailing on Feb. 9th. We LOVE Celebrity and this time my sister and here husband are coming . It will be their first cruise.

Thanks!!

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Looking forward to your posts!! We are sailing on Feb. 9th. We LOVE Celebrity and this time my sister and here husband are coming . It will be their first cruise.

Thanks!!

We talked to quite a few "cruise virgins." What a place to start!!

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Love reading your updates! Thank you!! Read that you ran into cruise virgins...we are cruise virgin as well and are very excited to be starting with The Celebrity Reflection in March. Glad to see that you are on line and posting these updates. Curious as to how wifi works. We want to bring our ipad and was hoping you could tell us about the fee to use wifi.

Thanks!!

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Thank you for a great review! We are going on the Silhouette in a few weeks, but after reading your posts and seeing the fabulous pictures, I'm going to have to start researching a Reflection cruise. Never too early to start planning.

 

Sheila

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I wanted to share another picture of the Hideway, reflecting the clever integration of the tree with the nature theme of the Hideaway and the mirroring of the tree in the Hideway's structures....just beautiful.

 

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The ship has a very impressive art collection which I enjoyed discovering throughout the week. (More on that later....)

 

 

Continuing our exploration of the ship, we checked out Game On on Deck 7 mid-ship, a feature that is currently only available on the Reflection and another winning addition in our opinion.

 

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Traditional board games were also available, but the selection was fairly limited.

 

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This seemed to be another popular venue during the cruise, and I would think even more so on TA crossings and other times when the weather is inclement.

We did see people using the electronic game tables to play traditional card games quite often; Celebrity might want to consider having a separate area for those. There definitely seems to be a need, given that we saw many people in Aqua Spa Cafe and Oceanview Cafe using these areas for card games.

 

We played the electronic marbles, frog checkers and word power games at various times and found the room to be a nice addition (we are not big card players though).

Edited by librarylady19

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Love reading your updates! Thank you!! Read that you ran into cruise virgins...we are cruise virgin as well and are very excited to be starting with The Celebrity Reflection in March. Glad to see that you are on line and posting these updates. Curious as to how wifi works. We want to bring our ipad and was hoping you could tell us about the fee to use wifi.

Thanks!!

 

We had zero issues with using the WIFI throughout the ship. Only place it wouldn't work is on our balcony. We enjoyed having the free internet minutes as Elite members but there are a variety of packages available with "discounts" on internet cost.

You just need to take your device to the iLounge to get your account set up for the first time and then you can log on/off easily.

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Does Reflection have the luggage express service where they give you your boarding pass last evening, and take your luggage to the airport.

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The prices seem to be between 7 and 9 dollars- but I forgot to ask about the size! From your pictures I thought I would get six of them, three for each shelf above bed. Closet Maid and similar have different sizes, yours looks like the perfect fit, so I want to be careful and do the same. Anita

 

:rolleyes:

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Great review....looking forward to the rest of it! Thanks for taking the time to share your trip with us.

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