Thursday, April 17, 2014
Cruising the Eastern Caribbean: the Celebrity Reflection
We set sail from Miami about 4:30 in the afternoon and headed into the Atlantic.
The next day was a day at sea. I took this time to get used to my new life aboard ship. Being my first time cruising, I really didn't have anything to compare it with. The Celebrity Reflection impressed me.
For the trip, we had a cabin with a balcony. The cabin was nicer than I thought. It was skinny but comfortable. The bathroom really impressed me. It might have been small but it was well appointed with a really nice shower. In the future I don't think I would splurge for the balcony. I imagined sitting out their for hour soaking up the sun in private. In reality I only spent maybe on hour the entire cruise out there. If I wanted to sit outside I did it on one of the top two decks.
At the front of the ship is the main theater. It's large with nice seating. Most nights they put on a shows. The shows were excellent and featured a really talented cast. They sang. They danced. They wowed. Sadly it was their last cruise and the cast went their separate ways afterwards.
The center of the ship in the lower levels is taken up by some shops, bars, and the casino. The shops were mostly upscale watch and jewelry shops though not everything was out of the "normal" persons price range. In fact I bought a citizen echo drive watch that without taxes and one sale was actually a few dollars cheaper than I could find it online. I can't really tell you about the bars. I didn't buy the drinks package going into the trip so, given the prices, I didn't drink much. The casino was much larger than I imagined. It had a whole load of electronic slot machines etc, but also had several tables for live gambling. They had black jack tables, roulette, craps and a Texas holdem table. When at sea they held a Holdem tournament every two hours during the night. It had a two hundred dollar buy in and I kept trying to work up the courage to play but in the end I just messed around with the slot machines a bit.
The main dining room inhabits the other end of the lower 2 decks. There are two main ways to dine. You can choose the set meal time or the floating meal time. If you go for the set meal time you eat in the lower level at the same table with the same people everyday. We chose the floating meal time. You show up during dinner hours, they ask if you want to request to eat alone or with others. We picked to sit with other people, so each night we sat with a new group. I kept running into the people throughout the cruise so it was a good way to interact with other cruisers. The meal consists of three courses: an appetizer, main course, and a desert. There is a set meal that is served every night but also specialty items for each course. The staff were amazingly helpful and attentive. Two tips: You are supposed to let the server put the napkin in your lap and let the ladies order first.
The fifth deck has a small area near the rear of the ship, that has three smaller more intimate bars. I spent a fair amount of time in the ensemble lounge. After dinner they would feature live music. Down past the bar are a set of specialty restaurants. I can't tell you anything about the specialty restaurants since I never ate at one. Most of them required some extra charge and why bother when I could get all the food I wanted already.
Working your way up the middle of the ship you find a few smaller areas. There is an iLounge. Supposedly the only certified apple seller on the seas. You can also pay an exorbitant amount if you really want internet access. There is a game room with tables for playing cards and they even have some touch enabled game surfaces. If you forget your kindle, they have a library. Sadly the library had no books on pirates. This is my suggestion to the celebrity cruise people Have a section of the library with a selection of books about the part of the world you are cruising.
Forward on the twelfth deck is the spa area. Here they have a massage area, a hair salon, and a very well equipped gym, with a wide selection of free weights and machines. I, being a slug, didn't use the gym.
On the thirteenth deck there is an indoor pool and a couple of pools in the middle of the ship with a lot of area to lay out on the deck. Near the pools is an open area for music and zumba, lots of zumba. Aft is taken up by the buffet eating area. It is open from 6 am to 2 am so you can get some sort of food almost any time. The food isn't bad and you can have as much as you want. After a few days it might start getting repetitive but I always like it. Breakfast particularly shined with a good selection of British and American food.
The top deck is a nice open space with a large grass area a couple of restaurants and plenty of space for sitting out and soaking up the sun.
Life on board ship can be as laid back or exciting as you want to make it. The cruise constantly provides events throughout the day and night or you could just eat and sleep and chill.
Overall I have to say the ship is excellent and the crew even better. The constantly work to make sure every need is met.
An odd not I have to add: I read one review of the Celebrity Reflection from when it first started to sale. The reviewer praised the art on board the ship. I found most of the art to be weird and bad.
Next Up: Pictures