Celebrity Reflection is a gorgeous ship, and our week aboard was fantastic. You may have already read about dining in Luminae, and I will focus on the specialty restaurants in the next post, so today’s focus is all about the ship: the bars, lounges, lawn club and other public places.
I will tell you that we did not make it to one show during the entire week. We seemed a bit preoccupied with dinner and hanging out with friends, which coincided with show time for us.
CAFE AL BACIO
This is the neighborhood coffee joint of the ship. Wonderful cappuccinos, espressos and coffee drinks, as well as a display case full of pastries are all on offer here from early in the morning into the evening. There is table service, or counter service for to-go orders. I did treat myself to a highly caloric, amazingly tasty IGLU frozen coffee drink one morning, instead of the usual skim milk cappuccino. Fantastic. Although at peak times the lines may be a bit long, and Celebrity should certainly consider adding additional staff during those periods, service was always friendly. Drinks are all made to order, so they take a bit more effort, and time. Pet peeve: I was offered “whipped cream” on my IGLU. What I got was “whipped topping“, which is vile, and was immediately scraped off of my otherwise tasty beverage.
There are a couple of Solstice-class ships that have replaced Cellar Masters with a gastropub, which carries a surcharge. I certainly hope they don’t do that here. Cellar Masters is a cozy wine bar, with excellent service and a clubby vibe. The wine list is different from other locations, the furniture comfortable enough to hunker down for hours, and there is wine. Lots of it.
I ordered wine by the glass, off the list each time we visited, as we had upgraded our included Classic Beverage Package to the Premium version, so there were plenty of choices without incurring an extra cost. The other choice in Cellar Masters are the Enomatic wine dispensers. These are self-serve wine machines that charge by the pour, either 1 ounce, 3 ounces or 5 ounces, and are priced accordingly. None are included in the beverage packages. In fact, with so many passengers having a beverage package included, I did not see even one person over the course of the week using the Enomatics.
THE SUNSET BAR
The Sunset Bar on the Reflection is a vast improvement over the one on the Solstice. There are plenty of places to sit, comfortable furnishings, and a centrally located bar. In addition there are roving servers, so there is no need to belly up to the bar, even on a cute, light up barstool.
One of the things I love most about Celebrity is the lack of smoking. You simply cannot smoke indoors. Period. Not even in the casino. Smoking outdoors is limited, but one side of the Sunset Bar is a smoking section. I am very sensitive to smoke and will always avoid it, but was never bothered outdoors. We ended up spending a lot of time here, as the service was very good, and afternoon trivia (and subsequent sushi/pizza snacks) was just one floor down.
The ice topped Martini Bar is often the busiest venue on the ship, and as such, service is sometimes a bit slow. The drinks are creative, and the sometimes overworked crew does put on a good show, shaking and pouring up to a dozen different drinks at once. It’s an enjoyable place to grab a drink and listen to whatever is going on in Grand Foyer below. Additionally, before dinner most nights there was a DJ with a themed musical choice. More on the DJs below.
The Passport Bar is deck three’s answer to the Martini Bar. It is spacious, seating is plentiful and the bartenders are very efficient. An enjoyable place to grab a beverage at any point during the cruise. This is less of a hang out than the Martini Bar, or the Sunset Bar, unless there was an event in the Grand Foyer.
THE LAWN CLUB
The expanse of grass atop a giant cruise ship is impressive. Evoking the feeling of being at a park, the Lawn Club is home to games throughout the week, wine and cheese events and musical events. Although, one night there was a “concert” on the lawn, and when we had meandered up after dinner we found a bunch of people sitting on blankets, listening to… DJs. It would have been far more engaging, and certainly would have encouraged us to park ourselves on a blanket for a while, had there been actual live music. I know there are at least a couple of musical duos and trios playing at various locations throughout the ship. This would have been a good place for them.
I didn’t spend any time at the main pool, although I did hang out a the adults-only solarium pool quite a bit. From what I heard from others, there were very few servers in the bar area, so if you wanted a beverage, you had to go to the bar, versus someone bringing it by for you. This did not have any affect at all on my cruise, but it seems to be an area that can be improved upon.
Again, someplace I did not frequent. I went to the gym on the first day and decided that was plenty for the whole trip. I would much rather sleep in. FKGuy, however, made it to the gym nearly every day, sometimes for an hour of cardio. (See? I didn’t need to go. He did enough for both of us.)
The gym itself is large, and although on day 1 was quite crowded, the wait time for treadmills and elliptical trainers was not too bad. Yoga, spinning and other fitness classes are available throughout the week, for an additional charge.
Persian gardens, the room with the heated tile loungers as well as saunas, is a perk of Aqua Class staterooms. Additional passes are sold to others, either by the day or by the week. It is a beautiful room, and the heated loungers are relaxing, but on this trip there seemed to be some issues keeping the room clean, and keeping it stocked with towels, water, etc. I don’t know if people were utilizing it more frequently, but lack of cleanliness is not acceptable. Ever.
There seems to be a not-to-appealing trend towards replacing live musicians with DJs. Though there were a few actual musicians onboard, the two DJs seemed to be everywhere. They both lacked personality, and the ability to engage a crowd. Neither DJ seemed to be able to change play lists at all, but instead stuck to a pre-planned list with no room for variation. One DJ hosted music trivia a couple of times. He was standoffish and obviously uncomfortable with the task at hand. They were the weak link in the entertainment lineup, and sadly, they were everywhere.
Overall, the public spaces are fantastic, and in general, not overcrowded. There is always someplace to go, grab a beverage and chill out quietly. On the other hand, if you are looking for high energy crowds, generally those are available too. It is very easy to find what you want aboard the Celebrity Reflection.