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LIVE BLOG - First time Celebrity Cruiser - Reflection 1/31-2/10/2020


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Great blog, Thanks for all the info on wine! I am a  novice and every cruise I pledge to try new wines , then quickly get overwhelmed.

I will be in the Reflection for Mardi Gras later this month.

So I have been taking notes! 

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11 hours ago, Jim_Iain said:

I suspect the private dining room might be a bit too small for 10.   We had a dinner party in there for 8 and I believe that might be the capacity.   Worth a try asking and with a group of 10 they may schedule a special dinner just for your group.  

We definitely had 10, perhaps 12, diners in the Wine Cellar at Murano's on Equinox in November.

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2 hours ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

We definitely had 10, perhaps 12, diners in the Wine Cellar at Murano's on Equinox in November.

 

Hello

we have dined a few times in the “cellar” in Murano, it is a great experience 

the maximum is 12 but that is a squeeze, 8 or 10 is ok 

book as soon as you get on board

👍🏻

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4 hours ago, Scuba_Tom said:

Greetings all!  The last time I left you we were headed out to St. Maarten for a food tour.  This is a tour we were planning on booking privately but the ship had a 50% off sale at some point (for the same company, and same advertised itinerary) so we booked it through Celebrity.  

 

https://stmartinfoodtours.com/tours/

 

Sadly, this food tour was a disappointment.😕  What we received and what they advertised were completely different.  The website states that the tour is 4 hours with 4 stops (including Maho Beach), includes upwards of 10 bites of food, and starts at the Carousel Gelateria Bar.  Sadly, none of the above occurred. Our tour was actually longer at 4.5 hours, but only had 3 stops with no Maho Beach, two dishes and one plate of petit fours. The Gelateria Bar was skipped altogether.  While I do understand that things can and do change, an explanation would have been nice as this is dramatically different than what was promised. Additionally, if they provide a different tour for cruise ship guests this should have also been advertised on their website so that we could have chosen which tour we would like.  

 

The food was good, but there was also no explanation as to what the food was, how it was relevant to the island, or why we were eating it.  In fact no one at any of the restaurants spoke a single word to Elle or I, or the others in our group. Food tours are supposed to be a bridge between the food, history, and culture of a region and there was zero of that.  Elle and I have taken food tours all over the world and this was, unfortunately, the worst one we have done. This came across as a bus tour with lunch spread out of three restaurants and not a food tour. Overall, I’d give it 3 toothpicks out of 10.  Because our guide provided an excellent tour of the island and the food was good, I gave it a two point bump from 1 out of 10.  

 

After some light souvenir shopping at the port, back to the ship we came.  We immediately found ourselves at the Martini Bar and enjoyed a drink or two (or three?).  Elle found a delicious chocolate martini there and I’m afraid it will be dessert for the rest of the trip for her. 😂

 

Dinner was supposed to be in the MDR but after checking the menu on the app we were not impressed and canceled our reservation.  We enjoyed some lighter fare at the buffet and enjoyed our meal on the oceanview deck and watched the beautiful sunset over a vast expanse of ocean.

 

After a walk around the ship we retired to our stateroom for reading and relaxing.  

 

Today is the first of two sea days en route back to Ft. Lauderdale.  We have the Inside Access Ship Tour this morning and dinner at Lawn Club Grill this evening, but the intermediate hours are currently open and we’re looking forward to some relaxation!


 

 

Sorry your food tour was such a disappointment. We also enjoy doing them and for the same reasons you stated. I am looking forward to hearing your take on the Inside Access Ship Tour, I believe it is $100 pp? We have plenty of OBC for our next trip, especially since my wife got her iPad last month on the Reflection, so that is taken care of. 🙂

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SCUBA_TOM,  I'm really enjoying your blog for this cruise, and especially your wine notes.  I've made a list of some I'd like to try when I join the Millie for a Transpacific to Japan in September.  I hope they have most of them on board at that time!

 

Thanks for taking the time for all this posting!!!!

 

Donna

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Please let guest relations or shore excursions know of your unsatisfactory excursion experience, they rely on guest feedback so they know what third party vendors to employ in the future, improving the experience for future guests. Also, they may offer you some compensation. 
We too have enjoyed a break from the MDR to enjoy the buffet and dining alfresco with its beautiful aft views. Remember to check the buffet description on the back of Celebrity Today as sometimes they have special themes, like ‘A taste of Italy’ which are often a nice treat from the standard fare.

Hoping you have a very relaxing sea day tomorrow, a smooth disembarkment and return to the real world of cook it and clean it yourself. 😂
Many thanks for your fun and informative blog!

Edited by Swann5
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Loved reading your blog.  Sounds like a wonderful cruise overall.  We will be on the Reflection in August.  I am currently doing a little research regarding our ports, etc. and saw your post and had to stop and read.  Thanks so much!

 

Sorry about your Super Bowl.......I was rooting for Mahomes.

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Ahh...the life at sea.  Yesterday was a pretty relaxing day as we started to make our way back to the real world.  Pretty easy start to the day as we went up to the buffet for breakfast and ate outside on the back deck with the sun rising and the ship's wake trailing us, like a roadmap begging us to return to the Caribbean islands. 

 

I’ve become poorly poetic during my week on the ocean, apparently. 🙂

 

After breakfast we had a behind the scenes tour of the ship.  We purchased this tour at nearly 50% off during a shore excursion sale on Celebrity’s website, and Elle had done one before on Princess that she raved about.  We started off at the bridge, which was a great experience . From there it was down to the crew area to see the laundry, food storage areas, and the engine control room.  It was pretty amazing to have the curtain pulled back and see the wizard. After that it was a tour of the galley and this place was insane. I’ve dined at chef's tables and seen the inside of restaurant kitchens before, and I even worked at a dining hall in college, but nothing would have prepared me for the number of people cooking in this kitchen!  The size and structure of this place was insane. 

 

Elle tells me that the Princess ship tour was longer and had more stops (such as the infirmary, the print shop, the anchor room) and each stop went more in depth in terms of presenting information and details. Elle also said that the Princess tour was slightly more expensive (at full price...something like $99 on Celebrity vs $120 on Princess), but the Princess tour was more intimate with a smaller group and only offered once during the entire cruise as opposed to multiple times each sea day on Celebrity.  On Princess they were also given gifts to take home as a token of the tour. Overall we both enjoyed Celebrity’s tour very much, and I would highly recommend it. I gave it 8 anchors out of 10 and Elle said 7 anchors.  

 

After the tour it was time to relax a bit then head down to the Martini Bar again before dinner.  After a drink there, it was back upstairs to change for evening chic night, then a quick trip to Cellar Masters for a glass of bubbles.  Ross the Concierge had gotten us a last-minute switch of dinner venue from Lawn Club to Tuscan at our request, and my main course was much better than last time.  We shared the calamari, crab cake, and burrata, and we both enjoyed a great cut of filet mignon. For dessert it was fig gelato for Elle and tiramisu for me.  

 

After dinner it was straight to a packed theatre to catch the last performance of Euphoria (the only show we made it to other than the first night’s comedian).  Before I dive into this production let me say that my undergraduate degree is in theatre arts and I do have more than a little knowledge of how a production is supposed to go.  I never got into this production because I could not follow or find a storyline. The music didn’t have one theme that I could follow and it alternated between voice, acrobatics, and onstage inflatable puppetry.  The female lead had a nice voice, I think, but didn’t enunciate and we couldn’t understand a word of it.  

 

The acrobatics were great and the strength shown by the performers was spectacular.  On both sides of the stage were stagehands with the control boxes for the various aerial rigging devices used during the performance.  These stagehands appeared to be there for safety, but were hanging over the railing, sloppily talking to each other, and it became a real distraction.  

 

The acrobatics was just enough to keep me in my seat for the show, but I did notice quite a few people that walked out of the performance.  Overall, I’d give 5 spotlights out of 10.

 

After the show it was to the main foyer for an ABBA singalong which was a lot of fun.  By the end of that it was way past my bedtime, so off to dreamland I went.  

 

Today is our last sea day where we have a Riedel tasting and dinner at Murano.  Looking forward to our day, but not for its ending. We’ve pulled the suitcases out and are hoping to get a lot of packing out of the way so we can have the rest of the day to enjoy the ship and last hours of this wonderful trip.  To dispense with this depressing activity, we have a quest to grab a drink from every ship bar today. So far 1 down: Il Segundo Bacio with some mimosas!  

 

I must say though...I do miss my kitties. 🙂

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#Scuba_Tom - we did the behind the scenes tour on Celebrity and I think that maybe because you got it on sale, perhaps changed?  We went to crew bar, crew mess hall, engine room, recycling area where the do all the recycling, laundry, kitchen, I95, stores and freezers and ended with a very informative visit on the bridge.  We were there for almost 45 minutes - whole tour was over 2 hours.  We were given lanyards with special name tags and a couple of other token gifts.  We did pay full price, think it was $120 each.  This was on the Silhouette a couple years ago.  We thought it was well worth the money.  I’m beginning to wonder if when the put these on sale the scale back the tour.  We only had a max of 12 people on it.

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1 hour ago, Perky1 said:

#Scuba_Tom - we did the behind the scenes tour on Celebrity and I think that maybe because you got it on sale, perhaps changed?  We went to crew bar, crew mess hall, engine room, recycling area where the do all the recycling, laundry, kitchen, I95, stores and freezers and ended with a very informative visit on the bridge.  We were there for almost 45 minutes - whole tour was over 2 hours.  We were given lanyards with special name tags and a couple of other token gifts.  We did pay full price, think it was $120 each.  This was on the Silhouette a couple years ago.  We thought it was well worth the money.  I’m beginning to wonder if when the put these on sale the scale back the tour.  We only had a max of 12 people on it.


Sounds almost the same except we missed the recycling center.  Our tour was also about 2 hours, perhaps longer and we spent a lot of time on the bridge.  I really enjoyed the tour.
 

I think the sale was a 1 day thing because there were people in our group that paid full price.  I guess we got lucky 😀. We had 18 people in our group which ok, any more and it would have been too much.

 

the crew bar had some cheap drinks didn’t? 😂

 

17 hours ago, txtechmk said:

Loved reading your blog.  Sounds like a wonderful cruise overall.  We will be on the Reflection in August.  I am currently doing a little research regarding our ports, etc. and saw your post and had to stop and read.  Thanks so much!

 

Sorry about your Super Bowl.......I was rooting for Mahomes.

 


I’m a Seahawks fan so, secretly I was too.  Just don’t tell Elle 🤫 

 

21 hours ago, Banana15 said:

How has the ship been handling the buffet? Are they allowing people to serve themselves or are crew members dishing the food? 

 

combination of both.  Still have spoons and tongs for most things.  Some areas are served but that’s the minority.

 

On 2/7/2020 at 4:18 PM, gfkcruiser said:

Have you attended any of the shows or entertainment?

 

On 2/7/2020 at 5:40 PM, ClaudiaB said:

  

I also was curious about the shows - particularly the non-Celebrity shows.   We usually prefer the guest artists.  


we haven’t really been to many shows except the comedian the first night and Euphoria which I reviewed above.  We usually eat dinner during the early show and we are too tipsy...I mean tired...by the evening show 😂

Edited by Scuba_Tom
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17 minutes ago, Scuba_Tom said:

Someone asked about the porch menus.  Here are lunch and dinner!  Sorry it took so long.

 

17 minutes ago, Scuba_Tom said:

Hi Scuba_Tom, that was me. Thanks a lot for posting the "The Porch" menus. Greatly appreciated. Enjoy the rest of your cruise

 

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To keep from having to reread all the blog I wish you would post your favorite wines on the ship. We are sailing in March and purchased the Premium package. 
One more thing, can you use the Spa facilities without purchasing a package deal? 

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Scuba_Tom, thank you so much for your blog.  I've really enjoyed your fun reviews and appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences from your trip!!!  My husband and I are sailing on the Equinox in just a few weeks and we splurged on a Royal Suite since we'll be celebrating our daughter's college graduation and our son's 21st birthday!  We were very disappointed to see the mediocre and very limited wine choices available for the premium beverage package.  We're fine with paying a few extra dollars per glass to have better selection.  Is that an option, or are those choices very limited as well?  I tend to drink pinot noir and chardonnay and DH prefers Cabs.  Do you have any suggestions based on your experience?  Maybe it's better to buy a bottle - although that seems crazy since we have the beverage package, but I don't want to drink wine that I don't enjoy either.   Thank you again for posting!  Glad you had a great trip!!

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On 2/8/2020 at 4:40 AM, Scuba_Tom said:

Greetings all!  The last time I left you we were headed out to St. Maarten for a food tour.  This is a tour we were planning on booking privately but the ship had a 50% off sale at some point (for the same company, and same advertised itinerary) so we booked it through Celebrity.  

 

https://stmartinfoodtours.com/tours/

 

Sadly, this food tour was a disappointment.😕  What we received and what they advertised were completely different.  The website states that the tour is 4 hours with 4 stops (including Maho Beach), includes upwards of 10 bites of food, and starts at the Carousel Gelateria Bar.  Sadly, none of the above occurred. Our tour was actually longer at 4.5 hours, but only had 3 stops with no Maho Beach, two dishes and one plate of petit fours. The Gelateria Bar was skipped altogether.  While I do understand that things can and do change, an explanation would have been nice as this is dramatically different than what was promised. Additionally, if they provide a different tour for cruise ship guests this should have also been advertised on their website so that we could have chosen which tour we would like.  

 

The food was good, but there was also no explanation as to what the food was, how it was relevant to the island, or why we were eating it.  In fact no one at any of the restaurants spoke a single word to Elle or I, or the others in our group. Food tours are supposed to be a bridge between the food, history, and culture of a region and there was zero of that.  Elle and I have taken food tours all over the world and this was, unfortunately, the worst one we have done. This came across as a bus tour with lunch spread out of three restaurants and not a food tour. Overall, I’d give it 3 toothpicks out of 10.  Because our guide provided an excellent tour of the island and the food was good, I gave it a two point bump from 1 out of 10.  
 

 

That is a huge bummer about your tour.  I hadn't commented before but LOVE your review, and I was excited to see you'd be taking the same food tour we had done about 18 months ago.  We are "foodies" (gah, I hate the term) as my husband is a chef, and I'm a wine connoisseur similar to you, but our experience was much better.  I would certainly not say it's the best we've done (over six continents where food is our #1 goal!), but we went to more places than you did, and it seems like different places as well.  We had interaction with the local purveyors of the food at all but one stop, too.  Obviously the tour has changed, not for the better!  I'm so sorry to hear that.

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On 2/8/2020 at 7:40 AM, Scuba_Tom said:

Greetings all!  The last time I left you we were headed out to St. Maarten for a food tour.  This is a tour we were planning on booking privately but the ship had a 50% off sale at some point (for the same company, and same advertised itinerary) so we booked it through Celebrity.  

 

https://stmartinfoodtours.com/tours/

 

Sadly, this food tour was a disappointment.😕  What we received and what they advertised were completely different.  The website states that the tour is 4 hours with 4 stops (including Maho Beach), includes upwards of 10 bites of food, and starts at the Carousel Gelateria Bar.  Sadly, none of the above occurred. Our tour was actually longer at 4.5 hours, but only had 3 stops with no Maho Beach, two dishes and one plate of petit fours. The Gelateria Bar was skipped altogether.  While I do understand that things can and do change, an explanation would have been nice as this is dramatically different than what was promised. Additionally, if they provide a different tour for cruise ship guests this should have also been advertised on their website so that we could have chosen which tour we would like.  

 

The food was good, but there was also no explanation as to what the food was, how it was relevant to the island, or why we were eating it.  In fact no one at any of the restaurants spoke a single word to Elle or I, or the others in our group. Food tours are supposed to be a bridge between the food, history, and culture of a region and there was zero of that.  Elle and I have taken food tours all over the world and this was, unfortunately, the worst one we have done. This came across as a bus tour with lunch spread out of three restaurants and not a food tour. Overall, I’d give it 3 toothpicks out of 10.  Because our guide provided an excellent tour of the island and the food was good, I gave it a two point bump from 1 out of 10.  

 


 

We took this same tour in early January and also had a disappointing experience.  We provided our feedback to the shore excursion desk, who informed us that they have never received any negative comments on this excursion....I guess it must have just been us...and you....🤣

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Our last day :(

 

As I write this I am sitting in our disembarkation lounge about 60 minutes from getting off the ship.  I will write an overall thoughts post in the next day or so and wrap up any questions. I can say that I have had a great time and I’m sad to be leaving the ship. 

 

Yesterday started off with the Riedel tasting in Cellar Masters with our sommelier Tony.  We were the only two there so we got a private tasting (WOW!!). The wines were from Kendall Jackson and made specifically for Celebrity Cruises.  They provided four bottles: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. I am not going to go too much into the wine except to say that they were good.  I especially found the two reds very enjoyable.  

 

What I do want to review is the overall tasting it self.  Tony provided 5 glasses, 4 Riedel and 1 glass from the “other guys”.  This was a great tasting as you can really notice the difference in the way the glass is shaped, it’s thickness, and even it’s rim.  Ever find that the wine tastes better at the winery than at home? This is probably the reason why. With some of the wines, had I not seen him pour from the same bottle, I’d have sworn that they were different wines.  

 

Tony also did a great job of explaining the tasting process to us.  Elle and I have done countless tastings before and are pretty experienced tasters, but even us wine snobs from Northern California can learn new tips and tricks.  At the end of the tasting we were each provided with vouchers for 4 Riedel glasses valued at around $100 (the tasting was about $85). Each coupon allows for two sets of two glasses of any type, matching or not, so I’m sure by the end we will have two glasses for each grape :)

 

After the tasting it was nap time and then we continued our quest to visit every lounge on the ship.  It wasn’t till today that we realized we missed the Sky Lounge! We actually didn’t go there one single time the whole trip.  With our stateroom being towards the aft of the ship I guess it sorta escaped our memory. Oh well, gives us something to look forward to for next time (If it is still there…)

 

Dinner was at Murano where Elle had the mozzarella and tomato salad with Mountadon Champagne and the duck entree paired with merlot. The champagne was self-picked by Elle and the sommelier recommended the merlot.  The food was amazing and the pairings were great. I get scared whenever I hear merlot, but I’ll admit this wine was smooth as glass with enough bite to go well with the richness of the duck.  

 

I had the pork belly and venison.  Both dishes were paired with Malbec.  This was a mutual decision between me and the sommelier because he recommended it and I really enjoyed it during our first trip to Murano.  Dessert was soufflé and cake with Tawny 10 year old port.  

 

We walked around the ship a bit to say goodbye to new friends and upstairs to finish packing up.  Our hallway was a serpentine maze of luggage to which we soon added.

 

This morning we finalized our packing and off to the cafe for breakfast.  We have a late flight today and will be one of the last people off the ship.  Our concierge, Ross, invited us to the MDR as a waiting lounge where we had about an hour wait.  No sooner had we sat down and grabbed some coffee, Ross informed us that all luggage was through and we could leave at any time.  So we did...remember in the beginning where I said I was writing this in the lounge? I lied!! I’m on the plane now headed home!  

 

As I said, I will write up a final thoughts post shortly.  The fasten seat belt sign just turned on and I think I need to put this tray table up!  

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5 hours ago, Scuba_Tom said:

What I do want to review is the overall tasting it self.  Tony provided 5 glasses, 4 Riedel and 1 glass from the “other guys”.  This was a great tasting as you can really notice the difference in the way the glass is shaped, it’s thickness, and even it’s rim.  Ever find that the wine tastes better at the winery than at home? This is probably the reason why. With some of the wines, had I not seen him pour from the same bottle, I’d have sworn that they were different wines.

We learned years ago how much better a wine tastes with Riedel glasses and have a full collection of them in our home. Does the $100 voucher have to be used for a purchase on the ship? If so can they be shipped to you or do you have to walk off with them?  We would be very interested in doing a similar wine tasting next year on our cruise of Spain and Portugal but I wouldn't want to haul them around after we leave the ship for a land tour. Loved your whole blog, thank you for taking the time to let all of us cruise with you through your words.

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