Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Kevnzworld

A Luminae sceptic's observations and review , Live

Recommended Posts

First, who I am. I began sailing a decade ago on Regent. I was introduced to Celebrity by a friend in 2011. I first sailed on the Infinity post solsticization in January 2012 and loved it. The price for an AQ cabin was $3000 for a two week South American cruise. This was 1/4 of what a cabin on Regent sold for. The ship was modern and Blu was good...for the price.

I've since sailed on Celebrity at least a dozen times. I've watched as the prices have risen,while in many areas there have been cutbacks and declines. Having migrated to sailing in suites I've begun to sail on other comparably priced cruiselines like Seabourn and Oceania.

I was interested in the rollout of the new Suite class on Celebrity and of course it's signature restaurant Luminae. I've watched with skepticism as the evolution of concept became reality, as lunch turned into brunch and locally sourced offerings turned into a fleet wide set menu. So here we are, on the Silhouette, trying out Luminae. Here are my observations of Luminae and the ship/ cruise as I see it, in real time.

My first impressions were mixed. The boarding process was a long one, given that we boarded in Amsterdam but were sailing in the British isles. Two immigration lines added to the delays. Once onboard our first question was where is Luminae and is it open for lunch. We were told it wasn't, so we disappointedly ate in Oceanview. We later toured Luminae and found out that indeed it was open for lunch on embarkation day....well. The room is really beautiful and tastefully appointed. The pictures I've seen online don't do it justice. The tables aren't pushed together like Blu. It's much more roomy, more like a real restaurant. Our first dinner was pretty good. We had the duck, and the turbot. Both were prepared properly. I should note that the pecan crusted duck breast in Blu is one of the worst dishes I've ever had at sea, and the duck in Murano is often chewy and the fat isn't rendered properly. I ordered the duck medium rare, and sliced. Almost perfect.

The next morning we couldn't make the 8:30 am breakfast cutoff time ( port day schedule ), so we had to eat in Oceanview. It was packed, no berries and my salmon eggs Benedict was inedible. I was upset that the hours for both Blu and Luminae ended at what I considered to be an absurdly early hour (8:30 ). Not everyone is up at 7:30am or take the ship excursions in every port. It's a vacation, sometimes we like to just get off the ship and walk into town at a leisurely pace, we shouldn't have to get up and out to breakfast by 8:30 IMO . The competing cruiselines in the Suite class category offer a civilized breakfast until 10 am, every day.

I guess I wasn't alone in that sentiment.

I decided to speak to the F&W director later that evening to register my complaint and feelings hoping that if others felt the same way the opinions would make their way to Miami.

The director, Zephyr was both pleasant and courteous. He listened intently while I spun my tale of breakfast hour woe. Surprisingly, he responded OK, " I'll change the hours to end at 9:00. As long as the galley is open there is no reason that diners should be turned away from breakfast. ". I thanked him, and I have to admit, I was surprised that he could or would act so decisively. Kudos to Celebrity. On that subject, today was the next port day breakfast. The place was full, 12 tables.....at 9:15 . The other Suite passengers obviously appreciated the opportunity to dine at a somewhat later hour.

Lunch yesterday was pretty good, We had the truffle and mushroom risotto, the tuna nicoise sandwich and the trout. The burrata and tomato salad was also good. Lunch by the way is now open until 1:30, but is still occupied well after 2:00.

Last nights dinner was exceptionally good. I had the Zatar crusted chicken breast. It was juicy and flavorful, unlike that like I've ever experienced on a Celebrity. The dessert, hazelnut cake with peppermint gelato was one of the best desserts I've eaten. ANYWHERE.

The dessert pastry cart is beautiful as well.

I should also add that the service is near perfect. The entire staff from the Maître d / manager ( Frezi ) to the entire wait staff executes the dining experience near flawlessly. What a huge difference from the disorganized semi pandemonium that we've experienced so many times in Blu, let alone the MDR where it seems that sometimes they literally throw the food , bread and water at you...in nor particular order.

Other observations. The wine by the glass selections are deteriorating in quality. More and more the Celebrity private label selections are taking over. Our favorite red wine, Kendall Jackson reserve Pinot noir is now available only in restaurants by the glass. Fortunately, and again to the credit of the bar staff, it is being made available to us by the glass in the Passport bar. The staff on the Silhouette overall is excellent so far. We ate at the Lawn Grill two nights ago, it was great as always, the wait and other staff both accommodating and efficient.

So we are in the third day of a twelve day cruise, unfortunately poor weather won't allow us to tender into Edinburgh today, so today is now a sea day. I would be happy to answer any questions, though my free 240 minute internet package may limit my ability to do so until I'm land based again. The service is slow, and pages take forever to load....more later!

Edited by Kevnzworld

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your detailed report. Sorry you could not tender into Edinburgh. We are in our first suite in September and looking forward to dining in Luminae. Enjoy the rest of your cruise...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the almost live review....just backing up our impressions of Luminae.....we were VERY happy with it on Eclipse....great food...great service.... we can't wait to experience it on Reflection next year!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update!

 

We too will try luminae in September.

 

When you order a cocktail or mixed drink, is the service faster than in in MDR? The last few cruises we had they were way understaffed and it took forever to get a drink. since is smaller venue I am assuming is much faster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your feedback. I have read your scepticism until now and appreciate your comments.

 

May I suggest that you speak to the Luminae sommelier again about wines by the glass. We were told, on Millennium, that provided a wine was available by the glass anywhere on the ship, we could have it in Luminae. Once we were happy with a wine [actually the first he brought us - from Cellar Masters], he ensure that there was sufficient kept aside to last us the rest of the cruise. [We were on a transpacific cruise with little, if any, opportunity to restock during our 17-night cruise.]

 

I was interested in your comments on the risotto. Have you eaten risotto on a Celebrity ship previously? I have always found it extremely disappointing and avoided trying it in Luminae. As risotto is a personal favourite, I would be interested to hear if it is correctly cooked in Luminae.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information, looking forward to your updates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for your feedback. I have read your scepticism until now and appreciate your comments.

 

May I suggest that you speak to the Luminae sommelier again about wines by the glass. We were told, on Millennium, that provided a wine was available by the glass anywhere on the ship, we could have it in Luminae. Once we were happy with a wine [actually the first he brought us - from Cellar Masters], he ensure that there was sufficient kept aside to last us the rest of the cruise. [We were on a transpacific cruise with little, if any, opportunity to restock during our 17-night cruise.]

 

I was interested in your comments on the risotto. Have you eaten risotto on a Celebrity ship previously? I have always found it extremely disappointing and avoided trying it in Luminae. As risotto is a personal favourite, I would be interested to hear if it is correctly cooked in Luminae.

 

The wine by the glass list in Luminae is quite extensive actually. I was referring to what is available at the Passport bar on third, and other bars. We have not ordered any cocktails at dinner, the wine service is much more timely than Blu or the MDR. Everything is done in the correct order, water, wine/ cocktail, bread then the food order...( unlike Blu )

Today we had the butternut squash risotto at lunch, also pretty good. Risotto is quite tricky and difficult to prepare in advance without it getting mushy or gluey.

The two we had so far were quite good, the rice being slightly al dente.

Today I had the fried chicken and waffles, ok...not great. Two in our group got the duck confit club sandwich ...amazingly good. This is definitely not typical Celebrity fare.

Lunch was served until 1:30 but there were still eight tables eating at 2:15.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was upset that the hours for both Blu and Luminae ended at what I considered to be an absurdly early hour (8:30 ). Not everyone is up at 7:30am or take the ship excursions in every port. It's a vacation, sometimes we like to just get off the ship and walk into town at a leisurely pace, we shouldn't have to get up and out to breakfast by 8:30 IMO . The competing cruiselines in the Suite class category offer a civilized breakfast until 10 am, every day.

I guess I wasn't alone in that sentiment.

I decided to speak to the F&W director later that evening to register my complaint and feelings hoping that if others felt the same way the opinions would make their way to Miami.

The director, Zephyr was both pleasant and courteous. He listened intently while I spun my tale of breakfast hour woe. Surprisingly, he responded OK, " I'll change the hours to end at 9:00. As long as the galley is open there is no reason that diners should be turned away from breakfast. ". I thanked him, and I have to admit, I was surprised that he could or would act so decisively. Kudos to Celebrity. On that subject, today was the next port day breakfast. The place was full, 12 tables.....at 9:15 . The other Suite passengers obviously appreciated the opportunity to dine at a somewhat later hour.

 

Wow! That is amazing that they listened and immediately remedied the (valid) complaint!

 

Being somewhat of a squeaky wheel myself, it gives me hope for the world!

 

Thank you for your interesting reviews.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your well thought out review. We look forward to our first experience in Luminae on Eclipse in November. I still hold out hope that local ingredients will be incorporated into the menu. I know, I know, probably not going to happen. Sounded good though, right?

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise. I feel for those who wanted to get off in Edinburgh. It's crazy weather there, apparently, even for them. They've called off the Open at St. Andrews today due to high winds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My family and I are currently on day 7 of a 14 night cruise. I would agree that where items/issues have been found wanting, the staff in Luminae have tried their best to remedy and take it as a personal issue if something is not to your liking.

 

Bybway of example, I had steak and eggs for breakfast on 2 occasions and despite ordering it rare it was served well done which I am unable to digest. When the problem was brought to the attention of both the Executive Chef (met him when we did a gallery tour) and the Luminae maitre d', the issue disappeared as they identified a specific chef that could cook a rare steak and he now personally prepares my steaks.

 

There are some minor issues with Suite Class but so far and would comment that NCL still have a better Butler service. That said I have found Celebrity both gracious and accommodating so far to my family in a way we may not have expected. We are trying Blu tomorrow to see what all the fuss is about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The wine by the glass list in Luminae is quite extensive actually. I was referring to what is available at the Passport bar on third, and other bars. We have not ordered any cocktails at dinner, the wine service is much more timely than Blu or the MDR. Everything is done in the correct order, water, wine/ cocktail, bread then the food order...( unlike Blu )

Today we had the butternut squash risotto at lunch, also pretty good. Risotto is quite tricky and difficult to prepare in advance without it getting mushy or gluey.

The two we had so far were quite good, the rice being slightly al dente.

Today I had the fried chicken and waffles, ok...not great. Two in our group got the duck confit club sandwich ...amazingly good. This is definitely not typical Celebrity fare.

Lunch was served until 1:30 but there were still eight tables eating at 2:15.

 

We are finding that although we order by the glass they open and leave us with the bottle. This evening, we ordered some dessert wine and although slightly over the premium allowance were not charged the extra. Wine service is prompt, attentive but not over bearing. Very accommodating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the detailed review. We are looking forward to Luminae in September and hope the chef takes the opportunity to prepare some dishes using New England & Canadian sea food.

Edited by CHEZMARYLOU

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So glad to hear Luminae is maintaining it's prescribed standard. Generally when something is new it's a great experience, but tends to wain over time. Enjoy your remaining cruise . Am looking forward to further posts.

Thank you,

Victoria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report and so sorry to hear you didn't make it into Edinburgh today. The wind did die down, the sun came out (intermittently!) and we had a good afternoon and evening at the Jazz festival. Hope you enjoy the rest of your cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So glad to hear Luminae is maintaining it's prescribed standard. Generally when something is new it's a great experience, but tends to wain over time. Enjoy your remaining cruise . Am looking forward to further posts.

Thank you,

Victoria

 

That certainly can happen. Can only hope it doesn't here.

 

Given they are trying to differentiate their suite product as premium, unless the competition were substantially lower standard, I expect they'll need to maintain it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The food continues to be great. The breakfast hours are now permanently open until 9 am on port days, which is good considering that today at 9 there were still six tables eating even though they tried unsuccessfully to close it down at 8:30. The hours in Luminae will be a topic of a new/ different thread.

We finally were able to go ashore via tender because weather permitted. There was an hour tender wait at 10 am , so we engaged our butler to get us on the tender without a wait. Motto, use your butler...That's what you're paying for !

Ok, back to Luminae.

Tonight we had the seared tuna and the duck Bolognese. Both great. As was the grilled octopus appetizer . The service continues to be outstanding..

The only real food disappointment so far is the french fries at lunch. Soggy, and terrible. Someone needs to school them on the value of crisp hot flavorful french fry preparation.

Luminae is a Celebrity game changer for me, my skepticism is changing. I'm becoming a believer. Bad news Seabourn ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you are enjoying Luminae. We loved it on our 11-night Eastern Med cruise in April/May 2015 - such a beautiful, peaceful room with excellent service. We are vegetarians (not vegan) and found most of the veg options to be both interesting and outstanding - something that is pretty unusual (how much pasta primavera can one stand to eat). I remember biting into one pasta dinner item and telling my husband, This is one of the best things I have ever tasted!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my update on day six:

The food continues to be good....for the most part. Last night was our least favorite dinner. I had " grilled barramundi ". It didn't have grill flavor or grill marks, which by the way some of the proteins have had, surprisingly. The problem for me was it was bland. Needed a flavor. Lemon buerre blanc, or whatever it was wasn't good. The fava bean pesto was the highlight. My GF's sirloin with gelee and peppercorn sauce had flavor, and was cooked correctly, it was just a poor cut of beef.

We had lunch again today, one of the three limited lunch menus. They get old quickly. We went upstairs to Oceanview afterwards to eat a little something different, maybe a salad. We were confronted with the usual noxious Buffet pandemonium. No where to sit, holding a place while the other person gets food then switching. Your food's cold by the time you sit. Loud people everywhere, dirty dishes etcetera .

Luminae is definitely a welcome place to eat a civilized lunch, I really hope they expand the lunch menus. I noticed that two of the items are from Bistro on five ( Tuna nicoise sandwich ). I've ordered it twice, once it came on toasted bread ( nice ). The other time they served it on a roll ? Hmm

Lastly we met the chef Ezekial last night. A black scarved chef that definitely executes the menu perfectly. Whatever small problems we've had were recipe/ingredient issues, not execution.

The service continues to be absolutely impeccable. There is a level of service, discipline and training in Luminae that doesn't exist anywhere on the ship other than possibly Murano. Unlike Murano, Luminae's food is more complex, really good and modern

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So glad to hear we are in agreement. I wrote about Luminae (as a vegetarian) when I got off the Eclipse at the end of June and was incredibly enthusiastic. It is a game changer. We are thinking of trying Seabourn. It sounds like you think Celebrity's suite experience holds its own?

 

Love to know your thoughts.

 

fern

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We sailed Solstice in June in Sky Suite with Luminae. Every meal for the week was in Luminae except for one quick lunch in MDR by necessity to get off for an excursion. Luminae and Sky Suite are game changers. Incredible service and awesome food. You get what is paid for without question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the review Kevin. Do you think Luminae is worth the extra money? We are getting bored with Blu and would like to try something new. Price for suite class are high so we are trying Oceania soon but I think we prefer Celebrity because of more modern (and younger?) atmosphere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re : Questions regarding Luminae/Seabourn etc.

Luminae is definitely a game changer and well worth the money compared to Blu. No or little comparison.

Seabourn is really outstanding and has a much better lunch. It's ships are smaller so they can go to ports that Celebrity can't. I would now prefer Celebrity for transatlantics.

I dislike Oceania anywhere, anytime. Celebrity has more action at night and we are looking forward to the new World Class bar with craft cocktails.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the advice to try it before you decide it's no good wasn't so bad after all.;) Glad to hear things are going well. As many of us said, they are flexible and willing to please.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have not had an opportunity to try Luminae. When I cruise solo, I stay in Aqua; when I cruise with a friend, we get a suite. I found Aqua, on my last cruise (on Silhouette), to be quite good. There were a couple of dishes that didn't appeal to me, but it was more personal preference the ingredients/preparation. I also had a very good wine steward (I hesitate to use the term sommelier) who took very good care of me every night and was rewarded for that at the end of the cruise. The breakfasts, which never changed, got to be a bit old after 3-4 days.

 

With the ever increasing price of suites on Celebrity, I have been debating whether or not it is truly worth the cost. You honest and incitefull review of Luminae have gone a long way to make me think that it may well be worth the price.

 

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...