Cruise vacations are one of my favorite ways to travel. Other than a few incidentals here and there, you typically pay one price up front and put your wallet away for the rest of the trip. After cruising with Carnival and Disney Cruise Lines in the last few years, I was excited for the opportunity to try Celebrity Cruises. While Celebrity paid for my travel expenses on this trip, all honest opinions are my own. Thank you to Celebrity for covering mine, and my husband’s, expenses!
Celebrity Reflection Ship Review
Personally, I find it very difficult to give an overall review of a cruise line based on my experiences on one ship. That being said, I truly believe it will only take one Celebrity Cruises vacation to cement your feelings about the cruise line. From the moment of embarkation, we knew this was no ordinary cruise vacation. We were privileged to sail on Celebrity’s newest ship, Reflection, and our experience was incredible. Find out more below as you read my Celebrity Reflection ship review in its entirety.
One Company, Several Cruise Lines
Celebrity Cruises is a premium cruise line brand that began its life in the late 1980s. In 1997, it merged with Royal Caribbean International to become Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. operates Celebrity, Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises and CDF Croisières de France. If you’re familiar with any of those other brands, you will know exactly what to expect on a Celebrity cruise.
Celebrity’s newest ship, Reflection, launched in 2012. It is the largest Celebrity Cruise ship currently in operation. Personally, Celebrity feels like the top tier of the Royal Caribbean company (with Royal Caribbean International as a close second). I have not sailed with the other cruise lines represented, so I will reserve my judgement for them for another time. If high class accommodations and experiences are a must, Celebrity Cruises will fit that bill just right.
Luxury on the High Seas
Our first interaction upon embarkation was being greeted with a glass of champagne. Such a greeting really set the tone for the rest of our vacation.
Celebrity Reflection is one of five “Solstice Class” ships. What makes the Reflection different is it’s the largest ship in the Solstice Class. It contains one more deck than other Solstice class ships, and it can accommodate 3,069 passengers.
Our veranda stateroom was spacious! The view alone makes the veranda upgrade worth it. Staterooms are significantly larger than the previous classes, with 80% of the staterooms having a veranda. Sarah’s Tip: Once you go veranda, you won’t go back. Upgrade your stateroom. Trust me. It’s worth it.
Shopping, dining, and relaxation were high on my list of “must do” activities. Thankfully, there were plenty of options to choose from. I usually avoid shopping on a cruise ship because the merchandise selection always seems “ho hum” to me, but the Celebrity Reflection was different. Kate Spade, Tag Heur, Michael Kors, and more were just some of the designer shops available.
Sarah’s Tip: On your final cruise night, several of the stores, including the high end brands, will have a sale. Score that Kate Spade bag you’ve been eyeing at close to 60% off!
Celebrity Reflection does have nightly show offerings and a full casino on board with slot machines and table games. “Broadway Cabaret” was our favorite show. I’m sure it’s because I am biased and love all things Broadway musicals, but I wouldn’t miss this show. The songs, performances, and live music are very well done.
Where to Eat
Next on the must do list was dining. Included in the cruise fare price are Opus, the main dining room, and Oceanview Cafe, the self-serve buffet. However, Celebrity Reflection really shines in the specialty restaurant category. Tuscan Grille (Italian fare) was our favorite dinner spot, and Sushi on Five was our favorite lunch spot. Our short, four-day cruise wasn’t nearly enough time to try them all! Specialty restaurants charge a cover fee, but once paid, order anything and everything from the menu (save alcohol, which is an additional fee without a beverage package)!
Adults Only Areas
Another unique feature of Solstice Class ships is The Lawn Club. I thought it was just a fancy name for another area of the ship, but lo and behold, there is actually a real, live lawn on deck 15!
The Lawn Club has plenty of free areas to stretch out and relax, but private alcoves are also available to be reserved. My favorite area of the ship was the Solarium. Designed as a quiet space for ages 16+, it was very easy to be lulled into a nap while resting on a cushioned deck chair! Of course, there is also a cool pool and two warm, jetted Jacuzzi on either side of the Solarium if sleeping isn’t on the itinerary! Other adults only areas also include the Canyon Ranch Spa Club, Persian Garden, Sky Lounge (in the evenings), Fitness Center, and Fortunes Casino.
Sarah’s Tip: Purchase a pass to the Persian Garden at the beginning of your sailing for access to the spa and sauna areas for the length of your vacation!
If there are children in your traveling party, there are places for them to go if mom and dad need a break. The X Club, for youth 13 to 17, is the perfect mix of hip and cool. Teens will love the areas for XBox gaming, karaoke, ping pong tournaments and more. Fun Factory, for children ages 3 to 12, is divided into three smaller areas to fit each grouping (ages 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12). These areas for kids 17 and under provide great activities and fun experiences while parents enjoy some time away.
Overall, Celebrity Cruises give the traveler a distinct impression of luxury at sea. From the expansive staterooms to the classy bars and restaurants to the peaceful overall atmosphere, Celebrity knows exactly who is its clientele. This cruise line is a perfect getaway for young couples, honeymooners, or empty nesters. The vibe throughout the ship is one of mature elegance that really caters to an adult crowd. Our first Celebrity Cruise left a lasting impression. We can’t wait to sail with them again!