Celebrity Reflection - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Celebrity Reflection

★★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 414 out of 500

Accommodation: 165 out of 200

Food: 301 out of 400

Service: 307 out of 400

Entertainment: 80 out of 100

Cruise: 302 out of 400

Overall Score: 1569 out of 2000

Celebrity Reflection Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 125,366

Lifestyle: Premium

Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9506459

Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: $641 million

Entered Service: Oct 2012

Registry: Malta

Length (ft/m): 1,047.2/319.2

Beam (ft/m): 120.7/36.8

Draft (ft/m): 27.2/8.3

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (70,500kW)/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 14

Total Crew: 1,271

Passengers (lower beds): 3,046

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 41.1

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.3

Cabins (total): 1,523

Size Range (sq ft/m): 182.9-668.4/17.0-155.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 1,216

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 30

Wheelchair accessibility: Best

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 12

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A premium-quality ship for stylish, family-friendly cruising

Overview. Celebrity Reflection is a sleek-looking ship, with two slim funnels. It is a close sister ship to Celebrity Eclipse (2010), Celebrity Equinox (2009), Celebrity Silhouette (2011), and Celebrity Solstice (2008). Behind the two funnels, the ship recreates the great outdoors with a Lawn Club, with real Bermudan (not fake) grass. You can go putting, play croquet or bocce ball (think passengers against officers!), or picnic on the grass, or walk barefoot.

The Ship. Celebrity Reflection has a steeply sloping stern that includes a mega-yacht-style ducktail platform above the propulsion pods. The ship is attractive, and nicely balanced (the hull is two feet wider, and has an additional deck, although the ship’s superstructure is the same width, than Celebrity Silhouette), with two slim funnels set one behind the other. On the open deck, ‘The Alcoves’ are extra-cost ‘private’ Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas, and cost $149 per day on sea days and $99 on port days.

Although Celebrity Reflection is a close sister to Celebrity Silhouette, it has an additional deck. This houses 78 more suites, and more seating is provided in the showlounge, the main dining room, and other restaurants and eateries. With more passengers (but the same number of elevators), the passenger/space ratio is therefore slightly reduced. The ship’s name is positioned directly under the navigation bridge and not forward on the bows (for space reasons), and the rounded bows accommodate a helicopter winch pad.

Several pool and water-play areas are on Resort Deck: one under a glass-roofed solarium (with Aqua Café for light healthy bites. There’s also a sports pool, a family pool, and a wet zone. The open deck and sunning space around the main pool, however, isn’t really large enough for the number of passengers carried, although there are several other outdoor areas for sunbathing, including a music-free Solstice Deck high atop the ship - a very nice space in which to relax.

The interior spaces are really well designed and passenger flow is good; most of the entertainment rooms are positioned forward, while dining venues are located in the aft of the ship.

Celebrity’s signature Martini Bar has a frosted bar and carries over 100 varieties of vodka, as well as Martinis. It’s lively (noisy) and can get congested, but it can be a lot of fun, as can the Molecular Bar, with its special mixologist concoctions, including fruits and ingredients, aided by liquid nitrogen.

Cellar Masters provides a cozy space for drinking wines. It is hosted by a proper sommelier; the wine list is extensive, and Riedel glasses are featured here. The room has several alcoves, so you really can hide away.

A two-deck library is a delightful open-ended space (operated on an ‘honor’ system - so you can check out a book 24/7), though books on the upper of 12 shelves are impossible to reach (actually, they are really only for show).

Fortunes Casino is a non-smoking gaming room with multiple tables for serious players, and 235 slot machines. It is open sided, so anyone passing is subject to noise from the slot machines.

Elevator call buttons are located in a floor-stand ‘pod’ and, when an elevator arrives, a glass panel above it turns from blue to pink - neat! Also notable is a collection of designer chairs and sunloungers in various locations, although some are a little on the impractical side of comfort.

Public rooms include an Art Studio, for the budding artist in you (classes and projects are at extra cost).

And speaking of art, when on board, do take a look along the ‘dining walkway’ where several specialty restaurants are located - two pieces of art stand out. One is a delightful total optical illusion, by Anthony James (Kiln-dried birch trees, glass and steel mirrors 2,350 x 1,680 x 279mm); another is a fascinating video art piece that tells a story about a man, his flashlight, a forest, and things that happen in the forest - I won’t tell you more - you’ll simply have to experience it for yourself.

Passenger niggles include lack of usable drawer space in standard-grade cabins; congestion when exiting the showlounge after a show; and the noise level in all areas of the lobby (which has a marble dance floor), particularly when the Martini Bar on the deck above is busy. Gratuities are automatically charged to your onboard account.

Families. Play areas include the Fun Factory (for 3-12-year-olds, featuring Leapfrog Schoolhouse’s educational programs; and video game room; and ‘X’ Club - a teens-only chill-out room with a night-time dance club. Plenty of additional counsellors are provided during peak holiday periods.

Accommodation. From suite-grade Penthouse Suites to non-suite-grade interior cabins, the accommodation is practical and comfortable, with prices that depend on size and location. A wide range of accommodation includes a Reflection Suite (not aboard other Solstice-class ships). Suite-grade occupants get small bottles of Bulgari toiletries; everyone else doesn’t.

About 90 percent of the accommodation is in outside-view cabins. Of these, 85 percent have a balcony - due to its slender width, there are very few interior cabins. There are seven suite-grade categories (compared to five aboard other Solstice-class ships): Reflection, Signature, Aqua, Penthouse, Royal, Celebrity, and Sky.

In the standard Interior and Ocean View cabins, there is little space between the bed and the wall, and the usable drawer space is poor, so, if you can afford it, book suite-grade accommodation for the extra benefits and perks it brings.

All accommodation grades include: twin beds convertible to a queen-size bed, sitting area, and vanity desk with hairdryer, but there’s almost no drawer space. Also standard in all cabins: 32-inch flat-screen infotainment TVs (larger screens in suites), Wi-Fi Internet access (for a fee), premium bedding. However, although the closets have good hanging space, there are no shelves on which to place folded items, and drawers in the vanity desk can’t accommodate such items. The bathroom has a shower enclosure, toilet, and tiny washbasin but no soap dish, and the faucet gets in the way when washing your face or brushing your teeth; there’s no retractable clothesline for washed small items; and the two hooks on the back of the bathroom door are tiny. In suite-grade accommodation there is more space, larger balconies with good-quality sunloungers, and more personal amenities.

For the ultimate accommodation aboard this ship, book the Reflection Suite. It is a stunning, high-ceilinged abode with two separate bedrooms, large balcony along the port side. The lounge is decorated in creams, beiges, and chocolate, and the furniture is large and extremely comfortable, but it’s the high ceiling, and infusion of natural light and location, that really makes one feel special. The suite - together with five Signature-class suites - is located in a private, key-card access-only location almost atop the ship (it’s next to the Sky Observation Lounge - the ship’s disco at night). However, some noise can intrude from the basketball court on the deck above - when it’s in use.

Dining. Meals in Opus, the ship’s expansive two-level, 1,454-seat principal dining room, are included in the cruise price. It has ocean views on the port and starboard sides, and two seating times, and anyone choosing ‘Celebrity Select Dining’ is usually assigned to the upper level, which helps to keep the dining room running smoothly. The design is stunning, contemporary, and, despite the size of the restaurant, is extremely comfortable. A two-deck-high wine tower - located towards the aft of the room - provides a great focal point.

Celebrity Cruises prides itself on its cuisine, and rightly so. The company has placed more focus on providing the right kind of menu offerings for today’s passengers.

Other dining options. Celebrity Cruises features cuisine choices that are creative, trendy, and slightly more health-oriented (ie less reliance on salt and food modifiers). If you like to dine in different venues instead of the main dining room, several dining packages are available, so you really can ‘dine around.’ The following venues provide options that are good for special occasions or for something different (including the self-serve casual eatery, Oceanview Café.

Murano is an extra-cost, 72-seat, reservations-required dinner venue (with tablecloths), offering high-quality traditional dining with a real French flair and fine table settings, including large Reidel wine glasses. The food, its preparation and presentation, and the service are outstanding - worth every cent.

Blu is a 156-seat specialty restaurant, with tablecloths, designated exclusively for occupants of AquaClass suites/cabins. The room has pleasing, cool ice white decor. The cuisine focuses slightly more on healthy combinations that are nicely presented.

Tuscan Grille is a 146-seat, extra-cost ($35 when I last sailed), no tablecloth informal restaurant, which presents both traditional and trendy fare with an Italian focus, but includes Kobe beef, premium quality steaks, and seafood. Its entrance is shaped like a barrel, with nicely curved archways - it’s like walking into a high-tech winery. Large aft-facing windows offer a great view over the ship’s wake.

Qsine is an extra-cost, 92-seat reservations-required, tablecloth-less ‘fun-food’ restaurant, with trendy interactive iPad food and wine menus that include cute foodie video snaps. The food consists of multi-flavored, multi-colored, quirky small-bite items that provide you with a selection to tease your taste buds. The food is presented in many unusual ways - even on sticks - sort of ‘lollipop’ or ‘circus’ cuisine. It’s a delightful experience that I can recommend.

Not a dining venue, but a wine tasting and enjoyment lounge, the 72-seat Cellar Masters features several alcoves for intimate discussions about wine. A wide choice is available, and a wine sommelier will make suggestions (about wine).

Bistro on Five (Deck 5, that is) is for coffee, cakes, crêpes, pastries, and more - it’s a sort of French-style bistro-crêperie. It gets busy at times and the serving counter is small, so it can become congested, but the seating is comfortable.

Café al Bacio & Gelateria is a coffeehouse serving (extra cost) Lavazza Italian coffees and Tea Forté teas and herbal infusions. It is on one side of the main lobby; it’s quite small, and extremely popular. The seating is mostly in large, very comfortable armchairs.

And for something different: the Lawn Club. This patio-style outdoors (glass-covered) lean-to-style venue that overlooks the lawn and reserve-able cabanas), and it’s the place to go for beautifully grilled steaks, lamb chops, and seafood dishes. You can even grill the food to your liking - with a chef at your side, of course, just in case you burn your fingers!

Close by is The Porch, another enclosed venue, on the starboard side, with 48 seats, particularly for paninis and light bites throughout the day (including breakfast, with delightful fruit muffins and pastry items).

Oceanview Café and Grill is an expansive, tray-less, casual self-serve buffet venue. A number of food ‘islands’ help to prevent lines, and the flow is good; the signage is clear and concise. A wide variety of food items is available, and plates are available at each of the ‘islands’ and cooking stations (such as ‘Eggs and More’ for breakfast). However, it is challenging to get a warm plate for hot food items.

The AquaSpa Café is for light, healthier options - low-salt solarium dishes, including a choice of salad items - even a few sprouts, together with grilled items such as salmon and chicken; all are attractively presented.

The Mast Bar Grill, an outside venue above the main pool deck, provides comfort fast food items like burgers.

Do try the Elegant Champagne High Tea in Murano. Presented only once each cruise (usually on a sea day), it comes with a choice of seven teas and tisanes, three-tier stand full of finger sandwiches and pastry items, plus scones and real clotted cream, and a glass of Perrier Jouet Champagne.

Entertainment. The 1,160-seat Reflection Theater, the ship’s main showlounge, has a main level and two balconied sections that are positioned amphitheater-style around the stage.

Colorful nights are held in the Sky Observation Lounge, whose daytime relaxing minimalist decor comes alive at night thanks to mood lighting effects.

Meanwhile, the 200-seat Celebrity Central hosts adult-only stand-up comedy, cooking demonstrations, enrichment lectures, and feature films.

Ensemble Lounge is a big-band-era-style cocktail lounge with live jazz-styled music, and is located close to specialty restaurant, Murano.

Spa/Fitness. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea is laid out over two decks. A large fitness center includes kinesis equipment, plus all the familiar muscle-pumping machinery.

An extra-cost (it’s free to occupants of AquaSpa-grade accommodation) unisex thermal suite contains several steam and shower mist rooms with fragrances such as chamomile, eucalyptus, and mint, and a glacial ice fountain, plus a calming relaxation area with heated tiled beds.

Additionally a small fitness ‘suite’ (big enough for two persons), each with a selection of cardio-vascular machines, treadmills, etc. can be rented, so you can exercise in complete privacy.