Cool sophistication is the unmistakable vibe onboard Celebrity Reflection, the final -- and biggest -- of the five ships in the line's Solstice Class. Sure, the Solstice Class blueprint is still in place; you can't miss the Lawn Club, Solarium and themed dining venues found onboard all five ships. But Reflection, which debuted in October 2012, turns it up a notch. There's also the sheer size of the 126,000-ton, 3,046-passenger ship. It's bigger and about 2 feet wider -- a change necessary to accommodate the additional weight. You might not notice the change in width, but Reflection is loaded with 89 more cabins and about 150 more passengers than its siblings.
With ample room, Reflection added 42 suites, including three new classes: the Reflection Suite, the Signature Suite and the AquaClass Spa Suite. While the Reflection Suite, with its cool all-glass cantilevered shower, gets high marks for creativity, the 32 AquaClass Spa Suites might be the most coveted among suite-lovers. On Reflection's sister ships, spa cuisine restaurant Blu was open only to passengers booked in AquaClass cabins; suite passengers were denied guaranteed complimentary access. On Reflection, passengers booked to AquaClass and AquaClass Spa Suites are guaranteed complimentary access to Blu, a change Celebrity says was a long time coming. Other suite passengers still might have complimentary access, based on availability.
This time around, the line did away with nightclub Quasar, replacing it with a conference center that can serve as a meeting center, conference room or banquet hall, but mostly it's used for art auctions. Nighttime activities have shifted to the pool deck and to the Grand Foyer, where entertainment ranges from low-key in the evening to full-throttle after hours, and the D.J. usually is found in the Observation Lounge.
It's impossible to miss the art, a multimillion-dollar investment, on Reflection. It's big. It's bold. And it's everywhere. Perhaps the most stunning piece is the Grand Foyer showstopper: a live tree that grows tall, while a lighted aluminum tree hangs from the base. Celebrity calls it a tree reflecting on itself, and, of course, reflection is the theme of the art onboard. You could spend hours trying to figure out how each piece expresses the theme, ranging from the grand to the puzzling.
Celebrity's famous Lawn Club onboard Reflection hasn't changed much from Silhouette's design, with its half-acre of grass, upcharge restaurants (the Lawn Club Grill and the Porch) and eight alcoves -- private cabanas, available for rent for those who want shade and a little privacy but don't wish to be anywhere near the pool area. Whereas the Lawn Club on Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse is wide open and has a real park feel, the later iterations feel decidedly more divided, with less space for playing bocce, enjoying lazy picnics or sunning.
Other old favorites return, as well, including Michael's Club, with its coolers of craft beers, and the Molecular Bar, famous for its fog-emitting concoctions. Celebrity espouses the virtues of "modern luxury," and there are touches of that throughout -- from the comfy chaise lounges with their oversized cushions to the glass-enclosed Solarium.
Entertainment is a hit, from big production shows to more low-key options, such as an a cappella group. Service overall was a bit hit-or-miss: stellar in the main dining area but spotty at bars, including the Sky Lounge and Martini Bar, and even upscale alternative restaurant Qsine.
Reflection represents the evolution of the Solstice class, encompassing the best of each of its sisters, with tweaks here and there to make it stand out.
Celebrity didn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to dining options on Reflection, sticking instead with some familiar options. The main dining area, Opus, occupies space on Reflection's third and fourth decks. It's an elegant venue, decorated in deep browns and silvers, with bright white tablecloths and crystal as far as the eye can see. The vast space -- which accommodates 40 more seats than its counterpart on Celebrity Silhouette -- is stunningly designed, though tables are a bit too close together, which makes private conversation difficult.
Reflection sticks with a traditional dining option -- 6 p.m. for the early seating, 8:30 for the late. Diners also can choose the more flexible Celebrity Select Dining, which allows them to eat in the main dining room any time between 6 and 9:30 p.m. Passengers on this plan can book daily dinner reservations online up to four days before they sail or once they get aboard Reflection.
Menus in Opus offer appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts, and they're flexible enough to accommodate specific dietary needs. You'll choose from a variety of options, including favorites like shrimp cocktail, escargot, prime rib, rack of lamb and creme brulee. Food is generally good, with appropriate portion sizes and some surprises on the menu, like the beef Carpaccio or frog legs.
Vegetarian and healthier options are identified on the menu, but if you have specific dietary needs (vegan or gluten-free), discuss them with the maitre d' before your first meal, and ask specific questions about the menu items you select.
Passengers who have booked AquaClass cabins or suites will eat at Blu, which serves lighter "spa-inspired" fare. They also have the option to eat in Opus if they prefer the main dining room experience.
Reflection has a number of for-fee restaurants, including unpredictable Qsine ($45 per person), French-continental Murano ($45), Italian steakhouse Tuscan Grill ($35), D.I.Y. steak experience Lawn Club Grill ($40), panini restaurant The Porch ($5, open for breakfast and lunch) and creperie Bistro on 5 ($5).
Qsine diners order on iPads from a menu that has no order, then waiters bring out the food in the order of their choosing. Fun? Sure. But we found the timing to be off, with long gaps between dishes and a dinner that stretched to three hours, causing us to miss the night's entertainment offerings. The food was excellent (especially the Dorito-encrusted sushi lollipops), though you're bound to eat what your tablemates order, as it's served family style (albeit in funky serving dishes). If one person at your table of four selects a dish, four servings are brought out, regardless of whether all four people want to eat it. This is tricky (and wasteful) if one person is a seafood-lover, another is a meat-eater and a third is a vegetarian. Service was particularly slow, with waitstaff disappearing for long stretches and drinks and water glasses remaining empty.
Food at Murano is rich and decadent, with traditional French dishes like delicious foie gras, creamy bisques and a cheese course. For $89 per person, passengers can purchase the Five Senses package, a five-course meal that pairs each course with wine.
Steaks are the star at Tuscan Grill, though pasta-lovers have plenty of options, too, including ravioli, lasagna, spaghetti Bolognese and lobster linguine Alfredo. The Lawn Club Grill is part pizzeria, part open-air grill, and passengers serve as the grillmasters, seasoning and grilling up their meats or baking their pizzas with assistance from Celebrity chefs. Bistro on 5 serves up Celebrity's famous crepes, both savory and sweet, while The Porch provides pressed sandwiches and soups.
Those who enjoy coffee can get their caffeine fixes at Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria, which also offers gelato and Italian ices, all for a la carte pricing. An afternoon tea is also available.
In January 2013, Celebrity introduced a package option for its upcharge restaurants. Passengers can purchase packages that combine three, four or five restaurants for a savings of up to 31 percent over booking them individually. Packages have to be booked at least four days before the sailing. A four-dinners package costs $125, a five-dinners package is $139, and the Ultimate Specialty Package is $29 per day.
Oceanview Cafe is Reflection's buffet area, serving breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. The menu changes each day, but every-day options include made-to-order eggs and omelets, a salad bar that includes a mix of lettuce and toppings, and a cheese bar that includes American standards like cheddar and Colby in addition to brie, gouda and a good selection of the stinky cheeses. Pasta, pizza, Mexican, Indian and Asian choices vary, so one day you might find sushi and, the next, you could see soba noodles. Indian selections are particularly good, with chicken masala and tandoori chicken. Spice levels are decent, but we heard people asking for hot sauce.
The AquaSpa Cafe, located in the Solarium, provides healthy and convenient options -- such as premade salads and fruit and to made-to-order dishes like broiled salmon -- for breakfast and lunch. The Mast Grille & Bar, located on Deck 15 overlooking the pool, serves up burgers and fries with a toppings bar (including guacamole).
Room service is available 24 hours a day, though offerings vary depending on your cabin category.
The Grand Foyer sets the tone of the ship, with its gorgeous beige and black marble staircase and rich, dark wood touches. Located on Deck 3, it's an impressive entryway to the ship. Passport Bar and the guest relations and shore excursions desks are also located on Deck 3.
Most of the action on Reflection takes place on Decks 4 and 5, where you'll find the main dining room, a number of bars and alternative restaurants, the theater, conference room, casino, shops, art gallery, photo gallery, coffee shop, gelateria and Captain's Club. Some of the most interesting design choices are on display on Deck 5, where you'll walk through the intriguing Celestial Garden, a floor-to-ceiling experience from Miami artist Carlos Betancourt. It's visually stunning, though we're still perplexed by the bell that dings as you walk through. You'll also see a captivating birch tree display that might make you forget for a bit that you're actually at sea.
Reflection's iLounge, where passengers can access the Internet, take classes and purchase shiny new Apple products for fair prices, is located on Deck 6. Internet access is steep at 75 cents a minute, but packages are available, from $24.95 for 38 minutes to $399.95 for 1,666 minutes. While some computer classes are complimentary, others have fees, so ask before you attend.
The Hideaway, which spans Decks 7 and 8, is a whimsical and busy space that has comfy chairs and pods that offer a quiet retreat. The two-deck design is reminiscent of trees, with nests "hanging" from the higher deck. You can grab a cup of self-serve coffee there. Game On, the ship's card and game room, is on Deck 9, where traditional games like Scrabble can be played electronically. The library is on Decks 10 and 11. Reflection doesn't offer a self-service laundry facility.
Reflection has 1,532 cabins in 14 main categories. Standard cabins are similar in size and color palette (light browns, creams, oranges and reds, with honey-colored wood) to the other ships in the Solstice Class. All cabins include complimentary tote bags, robes and blended bath products that include shampoo, conditioner and lotion.
Standard inside cabins are a comfortable 183 to 200 square feet, while balcony cabins (194 square feet) feature 54-square-foot balconies. Oceanview cabins are a little cozier at 177 square feet.
Passengers booking one of Reflection's 277 Concierge Class rooms will get balcony cabins -- with some sweeteners, including more premium locations on the ship (higher up and aft-facing), fresh fruit, flowers, sparkling wine (as a welcome gift), an expanded room service menu, restaurant seating time preferences and priority check-in and disembarkation.
Similarly, Reflection's 152 AquaClass cabins are essentially standard balcony cabins with prime locations and additional spa-themed perks, including access to Blu, the ship's "spa cuisine" restaurant. In the cabin, you'll have an aromatherapy diffuser, which subtly adds scent throughout the room, and a super five-head Hansgrohe shower panel in the bathroom, which makes showering on a cruise ship a surprising joy. You'll also get daily teas and bottled water, a personal concierge to arrange spa treatments and free access to the Persian Garden and Relaxation Room. Curious about the AquaClass cabin? If you book one, chances are good that it will look like this. Passengers also get expanded personal care products like spa kits, which have foot spray, lip balm and a relaxation mist.
Cabins have plenty of storage space when you add up cubbies, drawers, closets and space beneath the beds. Flat-screen TV's are interactive -- order up room service or book an excursion using your remote. Each cabin has a hair dryer, minibar, safe and wooden hangers. Standard balconies each come with a table and two chairs.
Families or those traveling together can book any of Reflection's 268 connected cabins or four Family Veranda cabins. Family Veranda cabins are a spacious 575 square feet and have balconies ranging from 53 to 105 square feet. These cabins have convertible sofa beds, upper berths and separate main sleeping areas.
Reflection has seven categories of suites. All suites come with Bulgari luxury bath amenities, plush Frette bathrobe, slippers, additional custom bath products and Hansgrohe showerheads. At the high end is the ship-exclusive 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite, which has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a separate living room, a bar, a 194-square-foot verandah and that famous glass shower, which hangs over the edge of the ship from the 14th deck. Don't worry; you can see out, but looky-loos can't see in.
Also new to the class are five Signature Suites. Signature Suites have high ceilings and measure 441 square feet. Verandahs measure 118 square feet and offer whirlpools. The Reflection Suite and Signature Suites are located on Deck 14 in a private area accessible only by keycard. Groups of up to 26 can book the whole area.
In response to high demand from suite passengers on other Solstice-class ships, Celebrity added 34 AquaClass Spa Suites to Reflection, saying those booked in suites wanted the benefits associated with standard AquaClass cabins. The AquaClass Spa Suite fills that void, with the same spa amenities and access to Blu, but significantly more space (301 square feet, 79-square-foot balcony). They also come with custom-blended bath products, including shampoo, conditioner, lotion, lip balm, shower gel and facial spray. Reflection's 48 Sky Suites have the same layout as the AquaClass Spa Suites, but they don't have the spa amenities or perks.
Other suite offerings are 12 Celebrity Suites (394 square feet, 105-square-foot balcony), eight Royal Suites (590 square feet, 158-square-foot balcony) and one Penthouse Suite (1,291 square feet, 389-square-foot balcony). Each Celebrity Suite has a walk-in closet and separate living and sleeping areas, with flat-screen TV's in both the bedroom and living areas. Royal Suites also provide separate living and sleeping areas, and they have separate tubs and showers in the bathrooms, full wet bars and glass-topped dining room tables. Each Royal Suite has a whirlpool on its balcony, as well. The Penthouse Suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, a baby grand piano, a dining room table, separate bedrooms and living areas, full wet bars, marble accents and whirlpools on the balconies.
All suites include personal butlers, in-suite breakfast, lunch and dinner service, and in-suite espresso and cappuccino.
Thirty cabins are wheelchair accessible.
See photos of Reflection cabins here.
Celebrity Cruises is increasing its suggested gratuity by 50 cents per passenger/per day beginning on all bookings made on or after April 29 for all cruises that begin on or after the same day. The new suggested gratuity will be $12.00 per person/per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.50 per person/per day, if you're in a Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $15.50 per person/per day, for passengers in suites.
|Fitness and Recreation|
Reflection's fitness center and spa occupy the forward section of Deck 12. The fitness center features modern equipment, including the standard treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, as well as resistance equipment and a solid selection of dumbbells. If you go during peak hours (particularly mornings before 9 a.m. on sea days), you might have to wait for a piece of cardio equipment.
Classes include yoga, Zumba, boot camp, and two new-to-fleet options: TRX suspension training and Flywheel cycling (two ultra-hot options on land). Fees for the classes are reasonable; we paid less for a TRX class onboard than we paid at our home gym. Though classes require a fee, they fill up quickly, so if you have your heart set on a particular workout, sign up as soon as you get onboard.
Reflection's jogging (and walking) track is on Deck 15, and, bewilderingly, winds its way through a smoking area around the Mast Bar, which seems the antithesis of a morning fitness routine. It gets crowded around the same time the fitness center does, so if you're a jogger looking to avoid working your way around walkers or if you just want a little privacy, hit the track early or late. A sports court, located on Deck 15, routinely hosts basketball tournaments.
Elemis Spa, operated by Steiner Ltd., offers treatments that range from teeth-whitening to acupuncture and Restylane skincare treatments, in addition to massages. AquaClass and AquaSpa Suite passengers have free access to the Persian Garden, a serene space decorated in greens and whites. It includes heated ceramic tile loungers, an aroma steam room, and a scrub and salt bar. The Persian Garden on Reflection is 82 square meters larger than the same space on all other ships in the class. It includes six more heated beds, too. Access is $35 a day for those who haven't booked AquaClass cabins.
The adults-only Solarium on Deck 14 houses two hot tubs and a pool beneath an expansive glass cover, which allows in the sun without the sunburn. The area offers a tranquil escape with a fun fountain feature, soothing music and grand-scale art. Clamshell seating for two and cushy loungers make the spot perfect for Kindle time or an afternoon nap.
The main pool area, located midship, has two pools and four hot tubs, with cushioned loungers, including the class's signature two-person poolside beds. The Pool Bar is nearby for libations, and passengers craving burgers can head up the stairs to Deck 15's Mast Grill.
The Lawn Club is also located on Deck 15. While still a public space, it also has eight for-fee alcoves available ($99 for a port day, $149 for a sea day), which cut into the lawn space available for everyone else. They also break up the space, making the area feel less park-like and, frankly, less special than the original wide-open design on the early ships in the Solstice class.
Celebrity doesn't have the huge waterslides, climbing walls or ropes courses other lines have, but that doesn't mean families won't enjoy Reflection.
Reflection dedicates three spaces on Deck 15 to children. ShipMates is designed for the youngest, ages 3 to 5. Kids can participate in theme parties, treasure hunts, T-shirt-decorating, talent shows, arts and crafts, dancing, musical games, imagination play and interactive challenges, cartoon trivia, and ice cream and pizza parties.
The Fun Factory is for those ages 6 to 11. Staffmembers divide the kids by age and encourage participation in age-appropriate activities. For children ages 6 to 8, activities include theme parties, relay races, arts and crafts, gaming, movies, ice cream and pizza parties, and interactive team-building games. Those ages 9 to 11 can participate in scavenger hunts, karaoke, talent shows, theme parties, T-shirt-decorating, sports activities, team challenges, movies, gaming and late-night pizza parties.
Teens have the XClub, which includes a dance club and coffee lounge for those ages 12 to 17. Teen activities include theme parties, scavenger hunts, pool Olympics, sports tournaments, team trivia, karaoke, gaming and fitness activities.
In-room baby-sitting for children 12 months and older is available for $19 per hour, for up to three children in the same family.
Late-night group baby-sitting, for kids, ages 3 to 11, is available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $6 per hour, per child. This slumber party is free on the last night of the sailing.
Celebrity draws a wide range of upper-middle-class couples and groups, with the average age of passengers in the mid-50's. During the Caribbean season, expect more families with children.
Smart-casual and formal dress is in play on Reflection. Sailings of seven to 11 nights have two formal nights, 12- to 15-night cruises include three formal nights, and sailings of 16 nights or more have four formal nights. Reflection's passengers typically dress for the occasion, which means suits and tuxedos for men and cocktail dresses and gowns for women. On other nights, smart-casual is required in the dining room and theater for evening performances. For women, smart-casual means skirts and slacks with sweaters or blouses. For men, that means slacks or trousers with collared sports shirts or sweaters. T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and poolwear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurants at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the evening hours.
At night, there's no shortage of entertainment options onboard Reflection. The production shows take place in the Reflection Theater, a lovely two-level venue befitting the big-time entertainment on stage. The seats are well spaced and comfortable, and they have great sight lines -- we didn't find a bad seat in the house.
The entertainment varies and includes big production shows, comedians, magicians, music and dance. "Reflection: The Show" is the highlight of the production shows. It features a combination of rock music and acrobatics and is entertaining -- and occasionally cringe-inducing with its feats of contortion -- from start to finish. It will be familiar to those who have seen "Silhouette: The Show." Passengers usually have two opportunities to catch shows in the Reflection Theater each night, depending on which dining options they select.
Most nights, you'll find live music in several spots throughout the ship -- guitars and vocals or jazz in the Ensemble Lounge midship, as well as a D.J. spinning dance music poolside or at the Sky Lounge, for example. The ubiquitous a cappella group, These Guys, makes so many appearances at so many venues all day long that we wondered whether they slept.
Because the ship has no official dance club (a la Quasar on its sister ships), those looking to do the Cupid Shuffle have to look to the day's schedule to find the best spot to bust a move. While venues around the atrium host music and entertainment of their own, don't be surprised at night if an impromptu show, with music and wild costumes, breaks out. Just don't expect it to appear on your Celebrity Today daily. Reflection also uses its Lawn Club to host Concerts on the Lawn, where passengers are provided with cheese, wine and blankets for sitting.
Movie buffs can catch feature films most nights in Celebrity Central, a secondary theater venue located on Deck 4. Films tend to be of the new-to-DVD variety. Celebrity Central also hosts events like game shows and bingo.
During the day, entertainment includes games, enrichment and music. Trivia abounds, and Celebrity has teamed with Billboard, so, rather than the typical keychain, prizes might include gift cards to purchase music. A video arcade appeals as much to adults as it does children, and the sports courts regularly host basketball shootouts. Enrichment options include wine and spirits tastings, cake-decorating, sushi-making and other culinary demonstrations, as well as digital camera and computer seminars. The music mix includes the aforementioned a cappella group, D.J. and steel drum band, among other options.
If you order a couple of "flights" in the Martini Bar, you might see a different kind of entertainment -- a spectacular show involving bottle-flipping, glass-stacking and the pouring of a dozen drinks at once. It's seriously the stuff of YouTube legend. There's no guarantee you'll get the performance, but if you're interested, your best bet is to place your order when the bar isn't too busy, perhaps after ordering a couple of rounds for which you've left a big tip. Late night, the Martini Bar, with its ice-covered surface, gets crowded and loud. The Molecular Bar is another crowd favorite for those who don't mind forking over a little more cash in exchange for some of the most creative drinks at sea (think avocado margaritas and dry ice cocktails).
Beer-drinkers dream of spots like Michael's Club, which offers a rotating selection of more than 50 craft beer options from the United States and abroad. Some are more typical of land-based U.S. bars (Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn, for example), but it's refreshing to find a great beer selection at sea, where light domestics typically dominate the options. This also serves as the ship's sports bar.
Cellar Masters, a wine-lover's happy place, features Enomatic dispensers, where you can pour yourself your favorite by touching a button.
Sunset Bar, with its fun lighted stools and killer aft location, is a favorite at night, when you can settle in for some cocktails and an unparalleled view of the sun setting over the sea. You'll also fight for a seat there during sailaways.
Of course there's always Fortune's Casino, which occupies the middle of Deck 4. Games include the typical cruise offerings: slots, blackjack and video poker. Players looking for Texas Hold'em action will find 2/5 no-limit options at scheduled times most days.
Reflection alternates between Caribbean and Mediterranean itineraries. Excursion options in the Caribbean are appropriately water-based, while those sailing in the Med might find more tour-based offerings.
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