Celebrity Reflection Thanksgiving Cruise Review: Part 1, Luminae

Yeah, I had a salad… and truffle fries.

I could not wait for our Celebrity Reflection Thanksgiving week cruise. And just like that, it is over. Here’s how it went:  Friends gathered at our house and we made our way to the port of Miami. After the disaster that was embarkation in Vancouver, I was cautiously optimistic that this would be better. It was a breeze. We showed up at the terminal around 11:15 AM, and were through security and onboard by 11:30.

By 11:35 AM we had upgraded our drink packages to the Premium package and with Pellegrino in hand, FKGuy and I strolled around the ship, checking out the Lawn Club, the restaurants, and where we would ultimately spend a lot of time, the Sunset Bar.

At lunch time, ten of us made our way to Luminae, the suite-only restaurant on Deck 3, and promptly occupied what would become our most-used seating for the trip. I was confident that Luminae would be as good, if not better, than it was in May aboard the Solstice, and we were not disappointed.

Oh, and the breakfast pastries...
Oh, and the breakfast pastries…

Each meal in Luminae begins with a small, but well thought out menu, including vegetarian selections, amazing raw fish appetizers, a fantastic burger at lunch and more yumminess. But one of the first, and most important, people that we met was Randy, the sommelier. Throughout the week, he made sure glasses were always full, and on occasion brought out wines that were not on the list, but still within our beverage package, so no added cost to us.

For the record, I did bypass the amazing-sounding duck confit club sandwich with Gruyère cheese in favor of a salad, but that didn’t last long. (I had the sandwich, sans bacon, later in the cruise and it was spectacular.) We had burgers, salads, butternut squash risotto and more. It was a good start.

I also enjoyed the lunchtime trout (with a side of truffle risotto, of course.)
I also enjoyed the lunchtime trout (with a side of truffle risotto, of course.)

Dining in Luminae, overall, was exceptional, and I found myself preferring it to some of the specialty venues. Each evening was a treat, beginning with the amuse bouche. One night was a croquette, while another night was caviar. Either way, it was a delightful way to begin. From there, we went on to choose two (or sometimes three) items from the menu – both appetizers and entrees. Some highlights over the course of the week included salmon sashimi, hamachi crudo, rack of lamb, cooked to a perfect medium rare, truffle risotto (so good I had it for dinner one day, and lunch the next), and duck Bolognese pasta among others.

Each night, if there was not something appealing on the menu, we also had the option of ordering off the Opus (main dining room) menu. Staples like bubbly, cheesy onion soup made several appearances, as did the classic Caesar salad.

Every choice seemed to be a good one, as none of us went hungry throughout the week. It may be of interest to note that on Thanksgiving there was not a special turkey-focused menu. I opted for the rack of lamb, but our can’t-say-enough-great-things-about-them wait staff brought over a couple of plates of turkey, too. Just in case we were still hungry. Although I didn’t try it (there was lamb to eat), others at the table were not too impressed. But I can’t say I came on a cruise for a turkey dinner.

What made the wait staff in Luminae so great? Service was impeccable the whole week. But it was also friendly, and over-the-top indulgent. One day at lunch I ordered a dessert that came with coffee gelato, as I wanted the gelato, and my friend wanted the chocolate thing. When it came, it was vanilla gelato, so I inquired (mostly because I thought I must have read the menu wrong.) I was more than happy to save my dessert eating for dinner, when a bowl of coffee gelato showed up. Yes, our waiter had gone up two decks to the gelateria to get me coffee gelato. That is awesome.

I could go on and on about the greatness of this restaurant, but I will tell you this: We have already booked our next Thanksgiving cruise, in a suite, just so we can eat here. Jealous? I have group space and am always happy to get you a great deal!

Next week on the blog: specialty dining, trivia and the many fabulous bars.