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Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Reflection Cruise Review

Newest of Celebrity's fab five, Reflection seduces in many ways, but a few evolutionary changes were disappointing

September 19, 2013
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AquaSpa and Gym

Celebrity Reflection has a large and elegant spa, lined with walls covered in tile, much of it in delicate mosaic patterns. The overall effect is lush and tranquil. The spa is huge, covering much of Deck 12 forward, with additional treatment rooms downstairs on Deck 11 (accessed by a circular stairwell). A large and well-equipped fitness center is accessed through the spa.

The facility is managed by cruise spa giant Steiner Leisure. Treatment prices were consistent with those of other cruise lines—higher than what we usually find at beach resorts—but discounts emerged pretty much daily, especially on port days. Fifty-minute massages—Swedish, bamboo, stone—ranged $119 to $159; 75-minute sessions were $175 to $195; the 50-minute couples massage was $269. Several facials were available—all 50-minute sessions—and priced $125 to $169 (the 75-minute 24 Karat Gold Facial was “only $325”). The salon offered nail treatments, hair styling and color, waxing, acupuncture, and Botox, Restylane and Perlane cosmetic treatments, Ionithermie, and men’s grooming.

There is also the Persian Garden, a spa within the spa with heated tile loungers, a hammam, aromatic steam rooms, infrared sauna, and a cold room (52 degrees, with walls coated in ice). The facility is expanded somewhat from the other Solstice Class ships, but the price—$35 for a day pass or $125 for the week—seemed extravagant, but it’s complimentary to guests booked in AquaClass cabins.

Access to the gym bypasses most of the spa treatment rooms. In addition to the usual cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical trainers, bikes (upright and recumbent)—all up-to-date LifeFitness models—plus weight machines, free weights and a rowing machine. Oddly although at least one LifeFitness machine has weights listed in pounds, most were provided in kilograms—annoying when we transferred from one machine to the next. They have a rowing machine. Something new we found here was a VIP Studio, a private fitness room that could be rented by the hour ($30) during regular gym hours; the room was equipped with TechnoGym cross trainer, bike and treadmill, all them hooked up to the Internet to record your workout.

There was a selection of fitness classes—most of which carried a surcharge. Morning workouts (stretching, arms blast) and Zumba (conducted poolside) were free. Chi-Ball Fire Yoga and Pilates were $12 each; TRX Suspension Training was $20; FlyWheel classes were $25; and Body Sculpt Boot Camp was $120 for a four-session package. We signed up for the suspension training—our first—and got a solid, muscle-burning workout.

Pools

There are two outdoor pools on Deck 14, side-by-side. They’re not large and, given the passenger capacity of Reflection, we found this area was cramped and crowded on sea days. We didn’t measure it, but the space appeared slightly smaller than the pool deck on Celebrity Eclipse, which carries 200 fewer guests. Four whirlpools ring the swimming pools, and loungers fill either side of the pool.

A couple things we did like is the architectural feature that creates nooks with partial shade, double-wide loungers that are great for sun-fearing folks. Underneath Deck 15 are day beds wide enough for two, along with square hammocks—all nice features. At one end of the space is the Pool Bar; the other end has a small stage used for performances through the day. On sea days there were things going on at all times: Zumba, pool aerobics, and pool volleyball—officers playing against guests.

When the outdoor pools were packed, there was a relief valve: the lovely Solarium, a decent-sized indoor pool adds a graceful touch of class to Celebrity Eclipse. The Solarium is glass-roofed, so lots of natural light gets in, and it is well ventilated, so as to minimize the humidity. The pool is better suited for lap swimming and there’s an ADA compliant handicap chair lift on one side. There is a good number of loungers and, unlike those located outdoors, there were usually quite a few available. A pair of small heated whirlpools flanks the pool, and the AquaSpa Café provides good bites close by. After dark, one wall of the Solarium with a fountain was illuminated with a light show. All in all, one of our favorite indoor pool spaces as sea.

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Other Recreation

Located on Deck 15, the ship’s Basketball Court is just in front of the kids facilities. Basketballs were available for impromptu play throughout the day, and a few shootout games were announced in the ship newsletter, but this spot didn’t see a lot of action on our cruise.

Taking the place of the Card Room on previous Solstice Class ships, Game On is still a game room, but it’s designed so that guests may socialize with one another over a game of cards, or use one of the interactive touch screens to play a series of man-on-machine games. The digital games range from Checkers to word games and brain teasers—they distracted us for an hour one morning.

A more traditional Video Arcade is available on Deck 15, opposite the kids facilities. More than a dozen video games plus an air hockey table were available at the small arcade. Quarters aren’t in use here—you’ll use your room key or dollar bills to obtain arcade credits used to play.

Decks Overview

We love the concept of the Lawn Club, a spread of real turf that blankets much of the top deck. But, as noted earlier, we prefer how this area was handled on the first three vessels in Celebrity’s Solstice Class (Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse). On Celebrity Reflection (and its predecessor Silhouette), the size of the lawn has been downsized in favor of fee-added areas.

One of these surcharge areas is the Alcoves, a collection of eight low-slung private cabanas available to rent for a day—$99 on port days, $149 on sea days. What does an Alcove include? You’ll find a wicker couch (which doubles as a day bed) and chair, a table for dining, chilled towels, a lawn blanket, a loaner iPad and docking station, and a phone for calling an attendant. The price includes four bottles of water, a fruit plate in the morning and a cheese plate in the afternoon, but all other food and drink items were extra; even WiFi service was at usual ship rates. While we don’t, on principle, object to Celebrity adding revenue-generating options to its ships, on Silhouette and Reflection the Alcoves were added at the expense of some of the Lawn Club’s turf, and the remaining grass feels off-limits. While we found many people enjoying the Lawn Club aboard Celebrity Eclipse (which doesn’t have the Alcoves), on Reflection most guests stayed away, perhaps intimidated by the ropes that appear to block off access for those of us not signing up for another surcharge. It’s almost as though, after the first few Solstice ships, Celebrity execs realized the Lawn Club was so good they should figure out a way to profit from it. Booo. (You can see what the Lawn Club looks like on Celebrity Eclipse here.)

The Solstice Deck is Reflection’s highest level, located 16 floors above sea level. There are no facilities on this deck, but quite a few loungers and day beds, most of which were full on sea days. Note that the forward section of this deck overlooks the Basketball Court—it’s get noisy when a game is underway. Deck 15 is the level above the pools, and lined with lots of loungers. This is the place for exercise and fresh air, and a short jogging track circuits the ship’s mid-section—eight loops equals a mile. When Deck 15 is busy (as it often was on sea days), there were a few bodies and chairs in the track to navigate, as well as smokers in one stretch.

Deck 5 is not quite a promenade deck (the outdoor decks don’t encircle the ship—forward and aft are closed off), but the long walkway was nice for stretching the legs or sunning; sea views were mostly blocked by lifeboats. Smoking is allowed on the Port side.

Shows and Entertainment

The big showroom on Celebrity Reflection was named—drumroll, please—Reflection Theatre. Although the venue itself was lovely, with great sightlines and comfy seats, we found the selection of entertainment on our cruise a bit lacking. This included a magician, comedian, a violinist, and a big production show called—wait for it… Reflection the Show! The latter was a Cirque du Soleil-style show that opened with a Madonna/Lady Gaga mash-up.

There was small alternate venue called Celebrity Central, located on Deck 4 and with seating in a broad, shallow arc. This was kind of a catch-all spot, accommodating shore excursion and shopping presentations, Bingo, televised sports and game shows. It was also the ship’s movie theatre (a different movie daily) but the presentation was poor, and quite a few seats on each side were not suitable for viewing the movie due to the sharp angle. One thing we did like here was a two-part Hitchcock presentation with a guest lecturer.

Casino

The non-smoking Fortunes Casino on Deck 4 had slot machines covering the gamut of traditional games (Double and Triple Diamond, etc.) to modern games like Wheel of Fortune. Multi-denomination machines allow the guest to program the denomination being played. Video poker was also available, including slant-top multi-poker games. Table games include roulette, craps, blackjack and various types of poker. Gambling was allowed for guests 18 and older.

Other Venues

A soaring, 11-story atrium serves as the hub of the ship. The guest services and shore excursion desks are found on Deck 3at the base of the atrium, called the Grand Foyer, along with the lonely Passport Bar. The area was very quiet by day, but late afternoon and evening we found various events perked things up. These included tango, waltz and salsa lessons, ballroom dance sessions, and various musical acts, including an a cappella quartet, an acoustic duo, and a crack party band. The central staircase was the backdrop for many photos. The tree that sprouts from a sphere midway up the atrium is a real ficus, and it’s situated within one of Reflection’s art installations, this one fittingly called “Reflections” by artist Bert Rodriguez. From below the root ball, another tree—made of cast aluminum and lights—grows downward, creating a chandelier of sorts.

On Deck 10 was the ship’s impressive, two-story library. It’s a nice spot—especially when sunlight floods the space—but it was subject to any noise in the atrium, so it was not always quiet. Celebrity Reflection had decent lending library, with no borrowing formalities observed. On Deck 7, also overlooking the atrium, was the Hideaway, which was an aptly named lounge, available to all. There was informal coffee and tea service here, and we rarely spotted more than a couple people using it, making it a good place to duck the crowd.

On Deck 15, around the corner from the Porch and the Lawn Club Grill, was the Art Studio. Two crewmembers oversaw classes in various media—three or four one-hour classes on sea days, one on the port days. Although the first couple classes were complimentary (memory wire bracelets, watercolor postcards), subsequent classes were $20 and included such topics as resin rings, semi-precious stone bracelets, abstract acrylic painting, etc. We didn’t sign up for any of these, so we can’t give you much of an assessment, though we didn’t see many others signed up, either.

The Conference Center on Celebrity Reflection is tucked away on Deck 4. The space can be divided into separate rooms, but meeting planners might note that this is a relatively high-traffic area in the evenings.

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Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Cabins
  3. Dining
  4. Drinks
  5. Activities
  6. Kids, Service, and Other Details
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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