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cruisingator2

A loyal Royal does Celebrity Reflection

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Just home yesterday from my first cruise on Celebrity and for those wanting to skip the thread, in one word it was "GREAT".

 

We arrived in Miami a few days early to some very cool weather for south Florida but overall we had a great time relaxing for a few days prior to the cruise. We stayed at the Marriott Biscayne Bay which is a great location with outstanding bay views of the port. The hotel went through a major revitalization over the last few years and was in great shape. This hotel does not provide a shuttle service but they do have a Hertz Kiosk for those wanting to rent a car on site.

 

On Friday evening we decided to have dinner at Smith and Wollensky's which is located on South Beach and has outstanding views of the ships leaving out of Miami. We were able to get a table on the patio so views were great.

 

Majesty departing Miami on 3/01.

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Celebrity Reflection on Saturday morning. Photo taken from Marriott Biscayne Bay.

 

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We arrived at the port around 10:30 and there were still guests from the previous cruise waiting on transportation out of the port but it was not too hectic with unloading and giving our luggage to the porters. We stepped into the terminal and found a very rude security person. She did not smile and rudely asked to see our passports and cruise documents. She could not read either. She could not figure out my last name which has a JR after it. That threw her off. She pointed to a desk and sent me over to see the lady sitting there. After clearing up the fact that there was nothing wrong with my paperwork or passport, we were sent upstairs to the check-in area. We went through the suite line which was empty. We had the pleasure of having a new check-in rep. She had no clue as to what was going on and bascially told us that. After the fiasco of checking in was cleared up we were lead to a room to have a seat until boarding began. Not a great introduction to Celebrity. I know that the security is handled by the port so no blame on the cruise line there but the check-in rep was not properly trained and should have never been turned loose by herself.

 

They started boarding around 11:00 and we were lead on board by the Concierge. All was now good. Time to relax. :) We headed up The Porch for lunch. We actually ate there twice during the cruise. Very nice and relaxing place to eat and to miss the crowds on embarkation day.

 

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Muster Drill was held at 3:30. Our muster station was in the Opus Dining Room. As noted on pervious reviews. The drill was quick and painless. It was over within 15 minutes. I was surprised that Celebrity hasn't implemented scanners to scan your SeaPass card as you arrive at your Muster Station as RCI does on the newer ships. Not a big deal but it does slow things down a bit. You basically watch a quick five minute video and the Captain welcomes you on board.

 

We headed up to the Sunset Bar for Sail Away. This proved to be one of the most popular places on board. The only negative for me in this area and the entire top deck was the glass was too high. I'm sure that this is done for wind purposes but I just did not like it. A little after 4:00 we pushed off and made our way down Government Cut. The Reflection was first out that day. Mother Nature gave us some much needed sun that afternoon.

 

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Edited by cruisingator2

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We had dinner the first evening in the Tuscan Grille. We dined here twice during the cruise and overall we enjoyed it. Much better IMHO than Portofino on RCI but equal to that of Giovanni's Table on Oasis and Allure. During our cruise the prices did in fact change but since we were pre booked before the cruise, our price did not change. Service here was also very good.

 

Tuscan Grille

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On Monday it was a day to relax. The weather was still a little cool as we headed south towards San Juan but it gradually warmed up a little. We skipped breakfast as we usually do and decided to grab lunch at the Mast Grill. It was the usual burgers, dogs and fries. Nice to have this option if you want to stay outside around the pool. Something RCI does not offer. Burgers here were pretty good.

 

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Dinner tonight was the Lawn Club Grill. I was not a fan. The food and service here was spotty and I don't think it was worth the $40.00 per person. I would pay no more than $25.00 at the most. The setting is nice as is the concept but the food IMHO needs some work to match the surcharge. My filet was tastless. By the time that I received sour cream and butter for my baked potato, it was stone cold. The best thing that I had was the flatbread which is sad. I know that many on Cruise Critic like it, but I was not a fan.

 

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Tonights show was "Reflection" Show times were 8:30 and 10:45. We found this to be our least favorite show out of the three major production shows. The music was a little cheesy IMHO. I have to admit that I have been spoiled by the shows on the Allure and Oasis and brought my expectations down a bit. We did enjoy the cirque part of the show but the music was a let down.

Edited by cruisingator2

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Monday we arrived in San Juan around 3:00 to cloudy skies and on and off light showers. The Reflection was the only ship in port so it wasn't crazy as it has been in the past with multiple ships docked in Old San Juan. We decided to walk up to the Fort of San Cristobal which is not far from the ship. Since it was a cloudy cool day, it was actually pleasant other than the occasional sprinkle of rain. On the way back down we headed to the Parrot Club for a few drinks and appetizers and headed back to the ship.

 

Reflection docked in San Juan

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We had planned to dine at Palio at the Old San Juan Sheraton but they were closed on Monday evenings. We decided to keep it casual and try out the Oceanview Cafe for the first time. I had read comments that the evening buffet was limited. Much more so than RCI but we found the opposite. It was a nice surprise to see all of the options available. We found the food here to be much better than expected and much better than our experiences on RCI. Also another huge plus is the outdoor dining area of the Oceanview Cafe aft which RCI is missing on most of their ships with the exception of the Radiance class. Celebrity does a much better job of keeping the tables clean over RCI also.

 

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There was only one show tonight and it was scheduled at 8:30. We decided to skip the show as we saw a short segment of it in the Welcome Aboard show on Saturday evening and it wasn't our cup of tea. The Reflection cruised out of San Juan at 10:00 heading to St. Maarten.

Edited by cruisingator2

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We were the last of six ships to arrive in St. Maarten a little after 8:00.

 

Note the ship on the right is the former Celebrity Galaxy now cruising as the Mein Schiff 1. Also in port with the Reflection included the Independence of the Seas, Norwegian Epic, Seven Seas Navigator and Maasdam.

 

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We had decided to spend the day at Orient Beach since we had skipped OB the last four or five times to the island. It was still as nice as ever. Not as busy as I had expected with six ships in port. We rented two chairs and an umbrella at Cheryl and Andy's for $14.00 which also included a drink in the price. Lunch at Chery and Andy's did not disappoint either.

 

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After lunch we headed back to the ship. Getting a taxi was not difficult at all as there many drivers sitting around waiting for cruise ship passengers wanting transportation back to the ship. The price for two of us in a small taxi was $18.00.

 

That evening we were invited to a sunset champagne sail away on the helipad. This was something that RCI had also had in place on the Oasis and Allure. It was a nice touch and a great way to end the afternoon.

 

Dinner this evening was in the Opus Dining Room.

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We had signed up for Select Dining and this was the only time that we used it or ate in the MDR as we prefer dining in the smaller venues of specialty dining. We arrived around 8:30 and we were seated promptly. Dinner here was very good. We had no complaints about the quality of the food at all. Much better than I recall on RCI. Portion sizes were great. Not too large. Service was spotty. Our waiter was focused more on a table of four and basically left the assistant waiter to handle our table of two. Worked out nice as the assistant waiter had much more personality and seemed to be enjoying his job. Overall, no issues with the MDR. Beautiful room by the way.

 

Tonights show was "Momentum". The show times were 7:15 and 9:00. We really enjoyed this show much more than "Reflection". More up to date music. Great vocals. Nice way to end the evening.

Edited by cruisingator2

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Enjoying your review and photos. We board Saturday. After months of reading about Reflection and seeing photos, can't wait to get onboard and experience it. Thanks for sharing.

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Thank you for the great review! Your pictures are wonderful. We're looking forward to being on Reflection next month for the TA.

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Enjoying your review and photos. We board Saturday. After months of reading about Reflection and seeing photos, can't wait to get onboard and experience it. Thanks for sharing.

 

Thank you for the great review! Your pictures are wonderful. We're looking forward to being on Reflection next month for the TA.

 

Thanks. What a great ship and crew. :)

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Thank you for the great review! Your pictures are wonderful. We're looking forward to being on Reflection next month for the TA.

 

 

Thank you so much for your fantastic pics and review. We are on the Reflection for her last Caribbean Sailing of the Inaugural Season before the TA. We were so excited about the 1,2,3, Go Promo that we booked her two times, one in 33 days, and once again in November. Your review is making us so excited! Tell me, did you have the 1,2,3, Go Alcohol Package? If so, how did that fair for you?

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Wednesday morning brings us to St. Kitts.

 

This was the only time that we ate breakfast on the cruise. We decided to eat on our balcony. Overall the food was just okay. I have yet to find a cruise line that does room service breakfast well. The food arrived lukewarm. The butler forgot to bring syrup that was ordered and when he returned with the syrup, it was straight out of the fridge. Cold syrup on pancakes and french toast is not good. :)

 

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This was our first visit to St. Kitts. We decided to do a ship excursion for the St. Kitts Railway tour. We chose the early tour and had to be at the end of the pier by 9:45 to board buses. We had about thirty minutes or so on a bus heading to meet up with the train. I'm sure the bus ride can be a make or break depending on your bus drivers personality. We were lucky to have a great driver. The train ride was about an hour and a half. The train has a lower level that has A/C or the upper level that is open but covered. The upper level was comfortable and had a nice breeze throughout the ride. It is very hard to stand and walk on the train as it does rock back and forth. It was a nice way to see some of the island in a comfortable way.

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We decided to grab lunch at a local place called the Ballahoo Restaurant. Food was pretty good. I really liked the Conch fritters. The shops around the port area are your typical t-shirts, Diamonds International and other tourist shops that one expects in a port. We did not spend much time in the shops.

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We were in port with the Independence of the Seas and both ships departed at 5:00 with the Indy leaving first.

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Dinner tonight was once again the Tuscan Grille and once again it did not disappoint. We were lucky to be given a table overlooking the aft of the ship and the wake.

 

Tonights show was the magic and comedy of Scott Alexander. He was on America's Got Talent a few years back as a finalist. We thought that his show was pretty good. The show times were 7:15 and 9:00.

Edited by cruisingator2

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Thursday and Friday were sea days on the way back to Miami. We decided on both days to go grab coffee and pastry at Cafe al Baccio. Loved this place. Very peaceful. They offer table service so you can just sit down and relax as they take your order.

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We bascially spent the afternoon on both days enjoying the peace and quiet of the balcony. On both evenings we dined at Qsine. This turned out to be our favorite place on board for dinner. We actually canceled our second night at the Lawn Club Grill after trying Qsine. It was well worth the price and the service was outstanding. IMHO it is something that has to be experienced at least once but go hungry and stay away from the bread.

 

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Thursday evening was the second formal night (Sunday was the first). I did note that most on board followed the suggested dress code. I saw very few people on board without some type of jacket. It was a nice change over what has happened on RCI.

 

The show tonight was the third and final production show called "Centre Stage". It was bascially a show with songs from Broadway. I think that this show actually showed the vocal talent of the four lead singers. They were very good. Show times were 8:30 and 10:45. Shows lasted less than an hour.

 

Friday's show was "A Voyage To Remember". Show times were 7:15 and 9:00. We decided to skip the show so I have no comment.

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Prior to the cruise we took advantage of the 1-2-3 promotion as did many other guests on board. We upgraded from the Classic package to the Premium package and it worked out well. Our two favorite places on board:

 

Molecular Bar

 

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Martini Bar

 

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Both bars proved to be popular.

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Glad you enjoyed your first Celebrity experience. I agree with your assessment of the Lawn Club Grille - way overpriced....and now it's $45 - yikes!! We really enjoyed The Porch and next time will go there instead of Bistro on Five for our embarkation lunch.

 

How did you get invited to a champagne Sailaway on the helipad???

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Glad you enjoyed your first Celebrity experience. I agree with your assessment of the Lawn Club Grille - way overpriced....and now it's $45 - yikes!! We really enjoyed The Porch and next time will go there instead of Bistro on Five for our embarkation lunch.

 

How did you get invited to a champagne Sailaway on the helipad???

 

 

Yes, I want to know this too? How does one get invited to the Champagne Sailaway on the Helipad???

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Various thoughts:

 

The Ship - Beautiful and well designed. I never really felt crowded. We tried to use the stairs when possible but when using the elevators the wait was not long and for the first time in a long time, there was no pushing to get on a crowded elevator or people trying to get on before others had the chance to exit. The ship was kept spotless. She looked as though she had just been delivered from Meyer Werft. Prior to the cruise I had read some rather negative comments about this ship and her design but that was not my experience. Other than the high glass on the upper decks, I have no complaints. She is a beauty.

 

The Crew - We found the crew to be very friendly. I have always found that RCI had the best crew that I have experienced in cruising but the crew on the Reflection were just as good and in some cases even better. I have never cruised on a ship where the officers were so visible. They were everywhere and always spoke.

 

Entertainment - Very subjetive: There was entertainment all over the ship in the many lounges. On some evenings there was entertainment held in the lower level of the atrium called the "entertainment court" using the dancers and singers from the production shows. Celebrity has three main production shows on their seven night cruises. I liked this. We found those shows to be in line with RCI's Freedom class ships and below. I don't think anything can touch the Allure and Oasis shows. I was surprised at how busy the ship was in the evenings. We actually found more people out and about than we experienced on either Oasis or Allure. The ship was far from being dead in the evening.

 

Food - Again very subjective: We found the food on board in all areas to range from good to VERY good. A step up over RCI in all areas. With the exception of the Lawn Club Grill, we found the specialty dining to be very good. Maybe we just caught the Lawn Club on an off night. Qsine was by far our favorite. We will need to try Murano on the next cruise.

 

We only dined once in the MDR for dinner but I was surprised at how much we enjoyed the experience. We will use the MDR more in the future. Select Dining worked well the one night that we used it. No wait for a table. Food was well presented and tasted great.

 

The Oceanview Cafe casual dining was very good for dinner. We also walked through a couple times at lunch and the variety of food was great. Anyone that could not find something to eat was either not hungry or just picky.:)

 

We used room service several times and each time our order arrived within thirty minutes or less when ordering. The room service menu was better/more options than that of RCI. I liked that we could get fresh squeezed juice for breakfast.

 

Debarkation: We chose to do the Express Debarkation yesterday morning. We were told to be in the Ensemble lounge by 7:15. We arrived at 7:00 and there was already at least a hundred or more people in line and the line grew quickly after that. By the time that they started to debark, the line went all the back to Tuscan Grille and looped all the way back to the Ensemble lounge. The crew did pass though and try to keep some type of order. I was fully expecting to see some guests getting upset with the way that things were backing up but I saw no one getting nasty or trying to cut the lines once things started moving. Kudos to the fellow guests.

 

Smoking Issue - We had a neighbor who started smoking on the first day. I ignored it for two days as we were not on the balcony much due to the cooler temps but by the third day I had enough and called down to Guest Services to report it. (Now as I look back, I should have called on the first day). I was told that it would be handled. On Tuesday the smoke continued. I once again called down and the person seemed surprised that this person was still smoking. They once again sent security. We did not smell smoke on Wednesday but we were not on the balcony much. On Thursday morning this person was smoking again and I once again called. GS sent security and within two hours he was smoking again. I lost my cool this time and the Guest Relations Manager involved the Staff Captain. They paid this couple a visit and I was told that they can no longer book a cruise with Celebrity without a committee approving first. Not sure if that is true or if they were fined but this person did not care if he was breaking the rules or the fact that his neighbor balcony did not want to smell smoke. I did not smell smoke on the last day so that at least seemed to work but it took almost four days to get it stopped. I think that Celebrity needs to step up the consequences for those that feel they are above the rules.

 

The Celebrity Experience: Other than a rather negative start to our cruise during check-in and our smoking neighbor, Celebrity exceeded our expectations. We really loved the feel of the on board experience. It's hard to explain but it was just a different feel than that of cruising on RCI. Very few kids on board which was very nice. Our fellow guests seemed more polite, less pushy and overall seemed to be enjoying themselves. I know that things can change from cruise to cruise but I saw none of the guests being nasty towards the crew or each other as has been posted on this board.

 

We decided while on board to cancel a cruise booked for next March on the Serenade and book a 14 night cruise out of FLL on the Eclipse to the Southern Caribbean. We will be looking forward to cruising with Celebrity again. We still like RCI and our next cruise will be on the Splendour in June but now we have two options that we really like when it comes to cruising but I do think that in the future, we will lean more towards Celebrity unless we get the hankering for an Allure or Oasis cruise. :)

 

I have more photos in my link below. I will be more than happy to try and answer any questions that you may have.

Edited by cruisingator2

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Thanks for the review and pictures, Gator. We are looking forward to our first Celebrity cruise next year.

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Glad you enjoyed your first Celebrity experience. I agree with your assessment of the Lawn Club Grille - way overpriced....and now it's $45 - yikes!! We really enjoyed The Porch and next time will go there instead of Bistro on Five for our embarkation lunch.

 

How did you get invited to a champagne Sailaway on the helipad???

 

Actually we were told on board that the Lawn Club Grille was the only specialty dining that did not go up in price. Must be a reason. ;)

 

Not sure how we were invited. We are Elite due to our D+ status with RCI and we were booked in a Royal Suite. We were told that they invited around 150 people but I would guess that about 75-80 showed up.

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Wonderful pictures of the ship....so sorry you had such a ******* as a neighbor who obviously thought the smoking rules did not include his room....that would have upset me too...

 

I'm sure it's a delicate balance for X to control it, trying to keep people happy while still making sure the rules are followed....but hopefully they DID fine this person!!

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Did the price of Bistro on 5 increase as well?

 

I think that it remained at $5.00 per person. We dined there for lunch on Thursday and that was the charge.

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Wonderful pictures of the ship....so sorry you had such a ******* as a neighbor who obviously thought the smoking rules did not include his room....that would have upset me too...

 

I'm sure it's a delicate balance for X to control it, trying to keep people happy while still making sure the rules are followed....but hopefully they DID fine this person!!

 

The Guest Relations Manager explained that they have to catch the person in the act. Guess they finally caught him but we were told that it is a process and sometimes can take longer than they would like. I was not upset with the ship once the process was explained. Just the neighbor.

Edited by cruisingator2

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One other comment to make. I had read many comments about "loud" music on X ships. We found none of this. I loved the different music on board. Most of it was current up to date music and we never found it loud.

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Thanks for the great review! Your smugmug album is great. My November cruise on the Reflection can't come soon enough! :)

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The Guest Relations Manager explained that they have to catch the person in the act. Guess they finally caught him but we were told that it is a process and sometimes can take longer than they would like. I was not upset with the ship once the process was explained. Just the neighbor.

 

 

Awww, so sorry you had to deal with such an inconsiderate and selfish (and lazy) so and so. :mad: Thinks the world revolves around him/her; ignoring rules they agreed to follow when they picked the cruise; too lazy to go to where they were supposed to go to smoke....and I agree, you should start complaining the very first instance and keep it up nonstop till it quits. A shame to have to do it, but when people are that self-involved it takes a two by four....

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