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DocJohnB

Reflection Review - 18 Feb - 1 March

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HAS CELEBRITY’S WELL EARNED REPUTATION SUFFERED AS OF LATE - I THINK SO!

 

While this post is a review of my recent 11 night Southern Caribbean (ABC Islands) cruise onboard Celebrity’s Reflection, it will also contain my thoughts on why I feel that its reputation for quality service, food and other areas have suffered/declined over the years since I first started cruising with this line in 1993.

 

A little personal cruising background about me.  Since 1993 when my late wife and I first started cruising, I have cruised a total of 46 times on most major mainstream lines (Celebrity, RCI, Carnival, Princess, HAL and Costa).  Celebrity has been, by far, my favorite line to cruise on and over the 25+ years, I have sailed on 9 of their ships on 18 cruises for a total of 180 days.  So while I am not the most experienced Celebrity cruiser on these boards, I do feel I have some insight to offer.

On to the cruise.

EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION - (A+++)  Quite simply put, both of these evolutions were, without a doubt, the best ever of my 46 cruises.  I winter in Ft. Myers Beach, Fl so I drive over to the east coast and use Park&Go.  On embarkation day, I pulled into Park&Go at 10:35, was dropped off pier side about 10:45, checked in, boarded the ship and was up in the Ocean View Cafe by 11:05.  The longest wait was for an elevator to get the the 14th deck.  Disembarkation was even quicker.  I did the carry off routine, so as I headed to the gathering spot at the Reflection Theatre I noticed a line of people dragging their bags and got in line.  Off the ship at 7:30, through Customs before 7:40, immediately found the Park&Go van immediately, in my car and on the road about 7:55.  Total time for both was 55 minutes including transport to the ship.  I have spent more time than that just getting through customs in the past.

 

SHIP’S MAINTENANCE/APPEARANCE:  (A)  I normally am not one to look for defects (rust, soiled chairs, etc.).  What I did notice over the course of the cruise was the almost constant cleansing and maintenance being conducted throughout the ship, both at sea and while in ports.  This, in my opinion, shows in the Excellent appearance noticed throughout.

 

STAFF:  (A-)  While there were a few glitches in the area, overall I felt that most of the crew did their jobs in a helpful, friendly manner willing to interact with passengers as time permitted.  This applies to wait staff, bar service and room steward.  Of particular note in this area was our cabin steward.  Val was simply outstanding in his service.  He introduced himself quickly on the first day, was always quick to refurbish the room.  His housekeeping chores were impeccable.

 

(I will talk about staffing levels later in this review)

DINING ROOM: (D+)  And I am being generous here.  I was assigned Anytime Dining and the word Anytime is quite an oxymoron.  Time depends on numbers in group, when you want to choose and various other factors.  If you are willing to eat early or late, usually not a problem, but good luck with times that are convenient to the consumer.  Evening dining was atrocious.  Folks in our group (in groups of 4 to 😎 would wait for as much as 90 minutes getting anytime service.  I personally ate with a group of 8 in the Dining Room on 2 occasions.  Both times the waits were interminable.  The service, while friendly was extremely slow.  The food (and I understand how subjective this subject is) was just OK.  If I were to grade the dining room strictly on the evening meal I would have no problem grading it a (F- or lower is possible). However,

The Dining Room at lunch was exactly the opposite.  Our group would number from 8 - 16 and the staff would always have tables ready for us near each other.  The service was quick, friendly and helpful.  The food was good (nothing exceptional), but plenty of choices.  (I would grade this area as a solid B+)

Why the difference - I believe staffing and management and again will discuss this later.

 

SPECIALITY DINING:  (A-)  With a small group (6) I purchased a 3 dinner package that would include Murano, The Lawn Grill and The Tuscan Grill.  Service and Food in Murano and the Lawn Grill were excellent.  In fact, we liked the Lawn Grill so much we canceled the dinner at the Tuscan Grill for a 2nd night at the Lawn Grill.

(A problem I have with Anytime dining is the difference not only in service staffing, but in the quality/quantity of the food served.)

FUTURE CRUISE CONSULTANTS:  (A)  I decided early on in the cruise to book a future group cruise with a group I have been sailing with for 20+ years.  Not on Celebrity, but on RCI.  My friend and I walked in and immediately talked with a pleasant young lady.  Had the cruise booked quite quickly.  Extremely pleasant experience.  I will note that as I walked by the office late in the cruise, large number of folks were milling about and I can only assume the wait was long.

GUEST RELATIONS:  (B)  The crew at Guest Relations were friendly, helpful and quick to respond.  However, a problem arose that took 4 or 5 encounters to solve.  Now, while this problem involved not only Guest Relations, but also Speciality Restaurants and Finance, the majority of the problem was, in my opinion on the backs of Guest Relations.  On the first day of the cruise I bought the dinner package.  I later found out when I first got to my room and found the paperwork that I had a 15% discount coming.  Waiting until the next morning I checked my account and found that it had not been applied.  Went to Guest Relations - they said yes, yes and would take care of it.  I checked the next morning and discovered that the charge had been reversed but now TWO $70 charges were applied.  Waited another day and a third charge  of $78 had appeared.  WTH.  Down to Guest Relations.  “Yes sir, we took care of it”.  I replied that they hadn’t.  They said they would take care of it by the time we dined in Murano that evening.  Got to Murano, had a super meal, however at the end of the meal, the Maitre d’ asked me politely to accompany him to the “check-in” desk.  Mr. John, there’s a problem. We see here that you and your wife have been charged for the meal on your card but she is not here.  I don’t have a wife, says I.  Well you and your room mate Ms S then.  I suddenly realized what had happened, explained to the Maitre d’ who said he would get it fixed.  Apparently, he did as it was corrected on my account in 2 days.  Not a terribly bad experience and it certainly did not
ruin my whole cruise, but it was a nuisance that took more time than necessary to correct.

 

PORTS:  (A)  Grand Cayman, Cartegena, Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.  I have been to most of these ports many times.  However, Bonaire was a first and overnighting in Aruba was another first for me.  I mainly try to get off the ship and get in a good walk before looking around in the shops etc.  I was successful in my goal of 13,000 steps per port/day although I did stay aboard in Grand Cayman.  My goal while at sea was 10,000 steps and only missed this on 2 days.  Others in my group said they had great tours, both ship sponsored and finding their own.  The weather throughout the cruise was great - although, as expected, winds around the ABC islands were tough at times.

 

BAR SERVICE:  (F)  This ranged from Very Good to Horrible, depending on the bar and time of day, but for one reason and only one reason I gave it an F.  Service at evening cocktail hour.  Anywheres between 12 and 18 people in our group would congregate (at a time) between 5 and 7 p.m. for cocktails and camaraderie.  Over the space of cocktail hour 20 - 30 of our group would wander to join in for a bit.  Because of this number, the only reasonable (inside) bar was the Martini Bar.  Of course, this also appeared to be the meeting place and time for a lot of ship’s passengers.  While the bartenders and bar servers were efficient and friendly they were woefully understaffed.  There were never more than 2 servers, nor more than 2 bartenders on station throughout the cocktail hour.  This while 100+ patrons waited patiently for drinks.  It could take as long as 20 minutes to order a drink from a server and walking up to the bar itself and ordering wasn’t any better.   It was not only ridiculous, IMO, it was and is unacceptable.  I blame it not only on under staffing but also on mismanagement.  While never specifically looking for the bar manager, I saw him only once during cocktail hour on this 11 night cruise.  If he was there more AND was efficient in his job, he could have moved his personnel assets around to accomodate the large crowds.

 

OVERALL:  (B-)  While it had some really good areas, it had some pitiful areas.  Of my 18 Celebrity cruises this was far and away the most unpleasant one I have experienced AND rates real close to the bottom of my 46 total cruises.  While there were more unpleasant things on this cruise individually or collectively “RUINED MY WHOLE CRUISE”.

 

HAS CELEBRITY’S WELL EARNED REPUTATION SUFFERED AS OF LATE?  In my opinion it absolutely has AND for a variety of reasons.

 

Staffing levels.

Food Quality

Pay Restaurant venues

Anytime Dining

 

 

Staffing levels have decreased (significantly?) over the years at least in the most important areas to cruisers (stateroom, dining room and bar service).  Staterooms used to have a steward and assistant - now just a steward.  Dining room staff had fewer tables to service and more staff to do so.  I’ve already mentioned bar staffing.

 

Food quality has suffered over the years.  In the first dozen years or so of my cruising, Michel Roux was the “Head Fred” of Celebrity’s cuisine department.  He often visited ships of the fleet to guide and train the top Chefs in his way of food preparation. (He was on at least 2 of my cruises).  The food was outstanding, the preparation and presentation were excellent.  Believe me, I am not a food snob, but I do know the difference between quality and run of the mill food.  It is pretty much run of the mill in the dining room at present.  Why:  (again, my opinion)

 

Pay Restaurants while a pretty good idea (from the bean counting standpoint) have become the bane of traditional dining.  Where are the better cuts of meat, the better seafood, etc., presented - in the pay restaurant venues such as Murano, Tuscan Grill, etc.  And, the staffing “appears” to be better.  I firmly believe that the reason for the better food/service in these pay venues is to “direct/force” people to pay for the quality that used to be a part of the routine of cruising.

Anytime Dining - just doesn’t seem to work (at least on Celebrity).  They actually advertise if you want quick service dine early or dine late.  (Used to be those were the choices).  Now one must call to make reservations - and seriously good luck with that.  If you are really lucky you may get a table at 7:15, but the normal response is, “the only tables I have available are early or late”.  In a word - RIDICULOUS!

 

Unfortunately I am not too sure that this last cruise on Reflection will not be my last Celebrity cruise.  As a single traveler, I really do not receive a break on a room pricing.  I now pay 200% whereas in the past 140 - 175%.  Additionally, just recently the bean counters have determined that I should pay for 2 people (I understand the reasoning for this, but . .), but now I should also have to pay for what they determine a person spends.  Ends up at about 210% of the p/p fee.  Now, add that to the fact that I believe the service has declined significantly and the fact that I do continue to get some fee reduction and a lot better service on other lines and it may just be time to at least think of changing my loyalties.

 

As a bit of an interesting sidelight, my brother and his wife returned two days after my cruise on Reflection from a similar “ABC” cruise (only 2 days shorter) on the Silhouette.  His comments almost completely echoed mine as regards dining room and bar service.  Additionally, they weren’t completely satisfied with their Room Steward.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your insightful review.

I was suppose to be on this cruise but after arriving in FLL on the 17th, had to immediately fly back home due to  serious family emergency. Luckily I never cruise without travel insurance.

Yes, I also am traveling solo and have to take a serious look at what Celebrity does NOT offer the solo traveler.

I have rebooked this exact cruise, exactly same cabin in March 2021. In the mean time, I have three other cruises booked with HAL and RCCL even though I do like X.

Thanks again for your review.

Edited by PROCRUISE

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John, thanks for writing your review.  It was interesting to read.  We were on Reflection back in early January.  It was our first time on that ship and we enjoyed it.  

 

We have been on Celebrity only 13 times dating back to 1996 and we can certainly see the reduction in staff and MDR food quality over the years.

 

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Thanks for the honest review from an experienced person.

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We were on Reflection for 6 back to backs beginning in December and ending in February.  At the end of our first 14 day cruise we wish we had only booked one.  It will be a very cold day in Hell before we go back to Reflection.

If one has had the experience of cruising on Celebrity 25 years ago the present is disappointing.

Those who are new to Celebrity may be perfectly happy with what Celebrity is today but like me, it used to be better.

 

We did book another cruise for next January but on Royal.  We made several other bookings on different Celebrity ships, just in case. The planning experience has been a nightmare with Celebrity giving our cabins away as the bookings were transferred to an agent.

 

It is snowing today, the wind is cold, the temperatures much below freezing but we are happy not to be on Reflection.

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Thank you for an interesting review. 

 

We have not sailed on Reflection but on Eclipse & Equinox. Our next is on Silhouette.

 

Having only cruised for the last 3/4 years (and always on X) we don't have the same sense of perspective about decline in some areas. You don't know what you're missing if you've never had it!  We have however noticed the increase in costs.

 

When booking for this year, I did look at other lines but the reviews weren't overwhelmingly more positive so we have stuck with X. 

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We were on this same cruise and had no problem at all with bar service at any time. We thought the service all over the ship and our cabin steward were outstanding. We generally do not eat in dining rooms anymore and felt the food in OVC was very good with lots of variety. We spoke with a woman who also was very unhappy with Select dining. She decided to finish her cruise with dinner in the OVC. This cruise was our first Aqua class and we mostly enjoyed the food in Blu with a few misses. But the service there was absolutely stunning!  As the OP said, the ship is so clean and quite beautiful. Of course this was only our fourth X cruise, so we don''t remember the "good old days" as so many of you do. We are Pinnacle on RCI and wish we had done all those past cruises on X and made Zenith instead! We are totally X converts!

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Thank you for your thoughtful and balanced review. We were hoping that X had maintained its standards since we last cruised on Solstice some years back. Based on your review, that has not happened! We are booked on an X ship for Christmas and just about to book Reflection for 2020 but now will rethink that plan.

Other than eating nightly in specialty restaurants, it seems there is no line where MDR dining meets or exceeds expectations. We sail RCCL, Princess, NCL and Azamara. Only Azamara remains solid in the dining category!

I am so tired of low quality food on RCCL and the others! Prices have continued to increase; cruiseline profits are doing well and we the customer face ever declining services. Thanks again for sharing your experience!

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Reflection is our least fav S class ship... too crowded, not enough staff, and we do not like the layout of the aft bar and that spa and Solarium are on diff levels..

 

Recent EDGE cruise...in BLU the food was excellent, service  very good,  but kitchen slow!  Guess there needs to be more consistency, aiming for high marks..,

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5 hours ago, 39august said:

We generally do not eat in dining rooms anymore and felt the food in OVC was very good with lots of variety. We spoke with a woman who also was very unhappy with Select dining. She decided to finish her cruise with dinner in the OVC.

39august,

 

I failed to mention that the 6 nights that were not speciality restaurants or the main dining room, were spent in the OVC.  As you said good food with lots of variety. 

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3 hours ago, Loucat said:

Other than eating nightly in specialty restaurants, it seems there is no line where MDR dining meets or exceeds expectations.

I am in total agreement.

 

3 hours ago, Loucat said:
3 hours ago, Loucat said:

Based on your review, that has not happened! We are booked on an X ship for Christmas and just about to book Reflection for 2020 but now will rethink that plan.

 

Please keep in mind, others (including in this thread) disagree with me.

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Thank you, this is a well thought out and very balanced review.  Food quality is hard to judge as we all judge food differently and have different taste buds.  Slow service, 90 minute waits to be seated and terrible martini bar service is a "Red Flag" to me.   This is unacceptable.  Did you ask to speak with someone senior from F&B about this when onboard?   Reflection is Celebrities biggest money making ship (probably behind Edge now) as it has many more cabins/suites then other Solstice class ships...... 

 

The Fact that Arno, who has 20,000 posts and is "Super-Zenith" ( Captains club Zenith X 2 or 3) took his annual long cruise and wished he could get off after 14 days??????  This coupled with your review is Alarming and I hope Celebrity takes note.   

 

With Standard attrition of staff and salaries rising worldwide coupled with cruise passengers not wanting to pay more.....Cruiselines are facing difficult choices.   Add that Celebrity is doubling it's fleet and quality staffing is a real issue(the work is backbreaking).  This feedback provided by some of Celebrities most loyal guests should be listened to....if not, Celebrity will dilute their brand and their passengers will go elsewhere.  Even now MSC is offering Matching perks for all Celebrity guests matching Celebrity Captains club levels......Celebrity does not have much margin for error here.  

 

I note Celebrity is Advertising more then ever....Really spending big $$ on reaching new customers.   This money comes from somewhere....be it cuts to food, staffing or entertainment?  who knows.  Bottom line here is if their product becomes an "empty shell" with nothing to back it up......Consumers will vote with their $'s and go elsewhere, irregardless of the loyalty perks Celebrity provides.

 

Safe sails to all! 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your detailed and enlightening review.

3 months from now we'll be on Reflection, and I'm lowering my already low expectations... I've chosen it based on the interesting itinerary, we'll eat in OV...

Edited by dani negreanu

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Posted (edited)

The Fact that Arno, who has 20,000 posts and is "Super-Zenith" ( Captains club Zenith X 2 or 3) took his annual long cruise and wished he could get off after 14 days??????  This coupled with your review is Alarming and I hope Celebrity takes note.

It won't be a good thing if Celebrity made a comment like this.

It really means Celebrity no more care of your business.

Loyalties no more important than making money for the company.

Suite guests are more important than Zenith members.They going to  replace Michael's Club to Suite Retreat and some area even OFF LIMITED to Zeniths.

On my last cruise on Reflection in December they only honored the top Cruiser to the stage and ignored the rest of the Zenith members.

Edited by CAicruiser

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We were on the same cruise and yours sounds much different than ours.

We found anytime dining to be great.  Maybe with a large group fixed seating would work better.  Our waiters were absolutely wonderful and efficient.  

We also went to the martini bar every evening for pre dinner cocktails   Yes it was busy but we had no issue getting served.

We loved our cruise ( this is our 20th cruise) and booked for another one on the reflection

 

Remember, these experiences are very subjective and many facts need to be considered when writing a review

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I agree with the OP and most of the others.  We were on the Reflection early January and for us, the Select Dining was a fiasco.  We had made reservations for each night precruise but it didn't seem to matter.  After a few nights we assumed it would be sorted but it continued for the full 14 nights.  It seemed to us that the system they use for seating people on the Reflection was the problem, and it was done differently than we've experienced on any of the other S or even M class ships.  One night we were being led to a window 2 top as requested and waited for, when another couple who had just walked in promptly sat down at our designated table and refused to move.  Apparently they'd done this a few times previously and had been spoken to but that was the extent of the action taken.  We were then left standing in the dining room while the hostess was asked to find us another available table...very embarrassing and totally preventable.  

 

Otherwise, we found the musical acts and entertainment were very good, food was ok to very good and general bar service was good as well.  We will definitely sail X again but will stay away from the Reflection.

 

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2 hours ago, cruising princess 1964 said:

Remember, these experiences are very subjective and many facts need to be considered when writing a review

I'm sorry, Cruising Princess1964, I would disagree.  Certainly food and maybe perceptions and of course my opinions are subjective.  However, what I experienced and wrote about are facts (unless you believe I am lying) and therefore are quite objective.  Even though at times they may overlap, I tried to separate my experiences (facts) from my opinions.

 

2 hours ago, cruising princess 1964 said:

Maybe with a large group fixed seating would work better.

As I wrote, "Folks in our group (in groups of 4 to 😎 would wait for as much as 90 minutes getting anytime service."  I actually should have written 2.  One night 2 ladies in our group waited well over an hour for a table.  I agree that fixed seating would work better than anytime dining if it isn't available when you book, one has to work with what is offered.

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I really enjoyed this review.  Very detailed and extremely insightful.  My family and I were on the 12-night Silhouette sailing a couple of months ago and, while we greatly enjoyed our cruise, the OP raised a few good points that also applied to us.  I had forgotten about having TWO cabin stewards on our last Celebrity cruise 11 years ago!  And, yes, the food in the MDR this time around definitely was more "eh" than "wow".  We did not do any specialty dining and the menus did get a bit tired after a week or so; I can see how this may be an attempt by management to "force" folks to pay for specialty dining.  Our servers were also quite slow some nights (traditional dining) but I don't want to fault them entirely as it could have been the kitchen's fault as well.  But, as the OP pointed out, could be a staffing concern all around.  And when we stopped at the Martini Bar one night before dinner, there were no bartenders there, but there was a huge puddle of water on the floor behind the bar!  No one was being served and no one offered any explanation as to what happened.  We actually found it funny instead of annoying, but I can see how something like that may be unacceptable to others.

 

It seems to be an overall reflection (no pun intended) on society as a whole.  They used to serve "real" food on airplanes, and you were served meals even if it was a two-hour flight.  Now, I'm lucky if they throw a stale peanut at me (and they'll expect me to pay for that, too).  Ladies used to wear hats and gloves when going out.  Everyone dressed up when leaving the house - dresses on women and suits on men.  I never lived during those times (I was born in the 1970s) but, man, I was obviously born too late because I can always use me some good Benny Goodman music and going out in public where people paid attention to how they dressed, and would never shuffle out of the house wearing slippers and pajamas pants.  And don't even get me started on how I've had to lower my standards and expectations for all the Millennials on my team at work ... really, kids, the world does NOT revolve around you.  But, I digress ...

 

For my family, Celebrity is probably still the best option.  We don't like the huge, mega-ships (not even our kids), but if we go to a smaller, more premium line, we may get weird looks for having children onboard.  And, while my kids think I'm old, I also don't go to bed at 8 pm so not sure those smaller lines would work for us.  I'd love to find a ship where the service is friendly (you don't have to kiss my you-know-what, but just be nice to me), where other passengers are respectful and considerate of others (and have taught their children the same thing), and where the food doesn't have to be fancy but should be delicious.  I don't think I'm being picky - honestly, when someone else makes my bed and cleans my room and cooks my food and washes the dishes, I am as happy as a clam - but it is sad to see how much we've declined in terms of expectations and propriety - in all of society, not just on cruise ships.  But, oh well ... I can't compare everything to the past, so I might as well enjoy the present!  

        

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It is indeed alarming that Arno was so upset with his Reflection cruise.  I have sailed on Reflection only once, in 2013. Thought it was crowded.  Select dining was “meh.”  Was forgotten about a couple of times by the waiter, but that’s happened to me more than once in Murano too (not on Reflection). 

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DocJohnB, thank you for taking the time to post your review. I sail Reflection later this year, and I certainly hope to have a much better dining experience than you did. Though we haven’t your years of experience (or Arno’s) our first cruise was on lovely Millennium in 2006, so we have seen many changes these past 13 years. We celebrated our 15th anniversary in the Olympic Restaurant, and still mourn the loss of those beautiful restaurants. On that cruise, we enjoyed the string quartet, and practiced our ballroom dancing to music played by a lovely combo. Our second cruise was on Silhouette in 2013, and though some things had changed for the worse IMO, others remained the same or better. That was our first experience with Select dining, and it wasn’t at all good (poor organization, mediocre service, and very odd food combinations). Fast forward to 2017, on Reflection, on which we had a superb cabin attendant, and a wonderful Select Dining experience (with very good to excellent food). Your review is a reminder that things can change aboard each ship with every corporate, Captain, and crew change. Even fellow passengers can make a significant difference to the vibe of a ship. Thanks again for your review. I hope Celebrity pays attention to it.

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Posted (edited)

We were on the Reflection last September in the Med. First time on Celebrity; we LOVED it! Food was way

better than our Oceania cruise the year before (though the food on Oceania was great two years before that)

We had absolutely no problem with anytime dining, and always got a great window seat or the next one in.

Never had to wait even though we were dining in peak times. We loved this ship so much we wanted to do it again in the Southern Caribbean but the dates didn't work for us so we're taking Celebrity Silhouette in September.

We've cruised Carnival, RCI NCL, Oceania, Silversea, Costa, Azamara, and Celebrity and honestly this was one of our BEST cruise experiences. 

Edited by sasue
omission

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Posted (edited)

I was in a suite when onboard Reflection and had a wonderful transatlantic cruise last spring, my second cruise on her.  This fall, I am on her once again, but in Blu and not in a suite, so it will be interesting to compare the differences.  Maybe upgrading to a suite might improve my overall opinion.  Only time will tell.

 

Thank you for your review, and sorry for the negatives that you experienced.  After I read what Arno wrote, it made me wonder what on earth was happening to Reflection...I have yet to really experience any negatives, but I am sure that my time is coming.  Life certainly is never perfect, but there have been a lot of changes going on with Celebrity.  I just have to believe that they are listening, and if we do not bring things to their attention, Celebrity cannot respond...

Edited by Lastdance

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Well I have to agree that the Celebrity of today is no where near the Celebrity of just five years ago. After 62 cruises and  achieving the hallowed Zenith level Celebrity have more or less convinced me they no longer want me or  my kind of client. Two weeks on the Edge convinced me Celebrity is no longer a place for senior citizens 

 

I have just cancelled our next two cruises and may also be cruising with another line next time.  Well we did have it good for twenty years.

 

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14 hours ago, DocJohnB said:

39august,

 

I failed to mention that the 6 nights that were not speciality restaurants or the main dining room, were spent in the OVC.  As you said good food with lots of variety. 

On the final voyage we also gave up on the dining room and ate in the Oceanview.

Our table (for 2) was located near the entrance to the main dining room, about as far away from the kitchen as one could be.  We normally pick one appetizer and an entree, no coffee, no dessert.  The waiter would normally wait for all passengers in his station to order before serving anyone.  We all know that not everyone shows up at the same time in fixed dining but a 45 minute wait between appetizer and entree is not what we plan for.  On several days the assistant maitre'd would get our entree for us.  Ocean view gives more choice, is less noisy and so much more convenient.

 

Our bartender in Michael's was the best ever!!

Our trivia hosts were wonderful, different questions for 9 weeks.

Cafe al Baccio, where I hang out every morning (playing a computer game as I do at home), was good but inconsistently great.

 

Things I notice... the ship is my condo for two months..

Our cabin, one of the large angular balconies is directly above cafe al baccio.  In the morning, (I wake up way too early) I hear this squeaky noise but I don't know where it's coming from.  I shower, go down one deck (Convenient) and I hear this baby crying but I don't see a baby.. I finally realize that the squeak happens every time a server goes through the door and I realize someone needs to get an oil can.  I mention it to the server, several days later to the HD who drops by to say hello, and several days later to the suite manager in Michael's.  Someone finally stops the squeak a week after I bring it to their attention.

A minor detail?  No it's a number of employees who just don't take care of the little things.

 

On one of the voyages we are in a concierge cabin.  I ask the "Concierge" can I change this bottle for a wine instead?  The answer "No".  Has anyone ever heard the captain or cruise director say at a meeting: "If there is anything we can do for you"?

 

I go the guest services.  We do not have tips included on one voyage so I ask if they could make a single entry on our account to include the tips for the week.  The  answer "No".  I go to Michael's and Alex takes care of it.  Why "No"?

 

The ship is sailing through the NFL playoffs.  I ask if the playoff games can be shown in Michael's even if there is no sound.  The answer "No" only after 9 pm..

 

The Superbowl was shown, snacks were provided but I still wonder why something is not provided if someone asks and no one objects.

 

My big issue however is health related.  I brought it to the attention of the chefs , and the restaurant manager at lunch time that guests, even if they washed their hands and used the sanitizer, were causing the spread of germs by simply picking up one food and eating, licking their fingers and picking up the next spoon and so on.  My wife finally caught the cold/cough circulating throughout the vessel and management did nothing.  Self confined to the cabin for a week, cracked a rib while coughing.  Is this Reflections fault/  Of course not.  It's passengers who don't think, don't care and management who don't realize that sanitization is a joke.

 

I slipped twice on surfaces that should have been cleaned, hyperextended my knee the first time, wrenched my back the second time while grabbing the "jail bars" before falling on my back..  OVC is a dangerous place unless someone is following passengers dropping food off of overloaded plates.

 

And then it's Park West.. setting up the chairs early (in the Sky Lounge) in the am for an afternoon auction for 10 people.  But 50 to 75 people are then asked at 10:30 to put the chairs back after trivia to satisfy Park West..

 

As top cruise we have our picture taken at the Captain's Club Celebration.  It took repeated requests for three weeks to get our pictures for the previous three cruises... and were notified  that the Captain's Club hostess left suddenly for family reasons.. ie.  Celebrity speak for she was fired.

 

The top cruiser on any voyage gets a picture, a bouquet of flowers and occasionally a good bottle of wine but most significantly a free invitation to a specialty restaurant of your choice.  That benefit ended on our third voyage when we were suddenly presented with the bill even though the reservation was made by the Captain's Club hostess..

 

On other Celebrity ships, Zenith and top cruisers were usually invited to a Senior Officers table for dinner in a specialty restaurant sometime during the voyage.  It never happened in 9 weeks we were on board.

 

These are all small things in the overall scheme of things but they are Celebrity "Changes" that some of us notice as cutbacks.

 

And then there was the noise.

 

Bring your earplugs to the theatre.

If you have a cabin close to the atrium "well" you will hear and feel the band playing from deck three to 12.  No avoiding it and repeated comments to attention to detail will have no effect.

 

That's what I recall for now.. I'm dealing with bookings made onboard that have become an absolute nightmare.

Incompetence and lies, new booking numbers, changed cabins and prices $100's more than on the initial booking.  That will be a new thread soon.

 

 

 

 

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