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Celebrity Reflection


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We are about to pull the trigger on booking a Christmas cruise (this year) on Celebrity Reflection. We've never done Celebrity, but this cruise satisfies our wants and needs. Has anyone had experiences with this ship? How about Celebrity? I know Celebrity is a subsidiary of RCL and I know it is a little pricier ($50 a day for balcony) than a comparable RCL cruise. Any info would be appreciated!

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I would rate the Reflection as just OK.  I cruised on it this past March, my view is that as a 10 year old ship it is in much need of modernization.  I also cruised on the Apex last October and found it to be excellent with many more amenities and features.  Given the choice I would recommend the Apex or Edge.  In general, Celebrity is much more adult oriented.  If kids are involved, I think RCL is much better.

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Reflection is the newest of the Solstice class ships.  Not yet "revolutionized" to mimic the Edge class ships  dining model, decor  or suite lounge format.  We found the service and food excellent when we sailed her pre-covid. (Currently booked for a 10-day cruise from Rome to Greek islands and Croatia, Montenegro  next month.)   Celebrity offers base rates that are higher but more inclusive the mother RCL company.  So you can elect to get a beverage package, gratuities, internet, and OBC at a known upfront rate.  You can also elect out of the inclusive nature of the package also.  S-class ships aren't as large as RCL O, Q, or F class ships.  No toys, just pools, entertainment and restaurants/bars.   More adult and elder demographic.  Focus is on food and service.    

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello from aboard (again) Celebrity Equinox. This is a 9n ABC cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This is day 3 and we're in the Caymans. Some interesting developments. First, there are around 2100 passengers - up from under 1000 on our previous cruise since June, 5 of them on Equinox. You can feel the difference. At certain times the Ocean View Cafe is unusually crowded and table space in short supply. Seats at the Martini Bar? Forget it. It is my understanding that a large crew change-over occurred just before the preceding cruise. You can feel this too ..... things just don't seem to run as smoothly. The combination of new supervisors, new dinning and bar staff, many of the new crew still in quarantine, shows up in the level of service. That feeling seems limited to food and beverage operations. Hotel operations seem unaffected and maybe this department  didn't have any crews changeover.  

We ate in Murano on day 1 - It's a good idea. First, it's discounted. Second, on the first night, select dining is chaotic. You can avoid this by dining in a specialty restaurant on evening 1. I had a short talk with the matre'de about how supply chains disruptions might be affecting food services. He said the impact it's massive. He orders, say coffee, and the truck doesn't show up. He actually went to every grocery store he could find and bought as much coffee as he could. Wine availability of popular wineries is also a problem. You can ask but they don't have it. Suppliers can't get it let alone get it delivered in quantity. Beef prices are off the page as are fresh vegetables.  

I think it's well known among posters in this forum that COVID protocols for crew have an impact on staffing. IF - frequently a big IF - Celebrity can manage to re-hire previously laid off crew members and get them aboard (varying vaccination and COVID country requirements) they still have to follow Celebrity's ship board policies for new crew. They are now down to 7d, from 14, for testing and quarantine. Anyway it's a big deal. Depending on when you board in this crew cycling schedule, you may notice long waits to find a bar server and long waits to get served. Patience is the by-word. A complete generalization from one experience, not the best situation to draw a conclusion from, but I'd offer that the cruise lines are - at least in Celebrity's case - bringing passenger load factors up faster than staffing can provide the level of service that I probably became used to up to around March 2020.  

Now the big news: All our pre-cruise testing worked smoothly. One exception - one of the Abbot BinaxNow test kits we planned on using was defective and could not be used. It's a good thing we have extras. Two lessons learned (1) buy back-up test kits. (2) have a back-up clinic based test plan. Because we had extra tests to replace the defective one, we didn't need the back-up Walgreen's Clinic test I'd scheduled and cancelled but it was there if I needed it. I got an email from Abbot saying a replacement kit for the defective one was on the way, That was nice.

Also, on the morning of Day 2, I awoke with mild URI symptoms.  I've preached here that if you develop URI symptoms during a cruise, go get tested. Another option - and I thought of it but forgot to pack them, bring self test kits. So, I donned a mask and went to medical. I announced that I had URI symptoms and was placed in a back room. There was only one other person in the clinic at the time I presented. Overhearing the nurses and MD, I deduced he had intractable diarrhea and had become dehydrated.

If you seek COVID testing for URI symptoms, your evaluation and care, if needed, are at Celebrity's expense. The clinic does Rapid PCR tests. They are more accurate (less false negatives) and there is some basis in using these instead of bringing your own AG tests that have higher false negative results and you are potentially walking around aboard ship spreading the more transmissible Omicron variants.

After checking in and having my vitals taken (about 20 minutes), I got the brain swab of the PCR tests, then waited in the clinic for exactly one hour to get a negative result. Medical also called my wife, advised her to isolate, then went to our cabin and tested her with a PCR brain swab. She was also negative. So, great, we're free, right? Not so fast. Ship's protocol requires isolation and retest in 24h. So, as I write this, I'm in my cabin , with my wife, isolated until, I am told, medical will come to our cabin around 2:30 (24h after the PCR test was started) today to retest both of us. BTW, room service for last evening's dinner and this morning's breakfast was great.

We're traveling with friends and we had plans today in Grand Cayman. So, we'll miss that. We also missed a production show last night - one of our favorite events on a cruise. Being honest about recognizing my URI symptoms could be COVID and getting tested was disruptive but, you don't want to be "that person" who was person #1 starting an outbreak on a cruise ship. SARS2 in it's more infectious variants is still out there, if not producing much less illness - which is one of the reasons if you get even mild URI symptoms on a cruise, assume that you have COVID until proven otherwise.

 

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21 hours ago, JeffB said:

I had a short talk with the matre'de about how supply chains disruptions might be affecting food services. He said the impact it's massive.

Thanks for the update.   I also noticed (in general) less of a selection on certain buffet stations as well as missing types of beverages and spirits.   Not the overflowing cornucopia of food and desserts it was pre-shutdown.     I thought supply chain issues must be impacting offerings.

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Reflection is currently sailing from Rome.   As we're sailing her next month, we've been monitoring the changing protocols traveling from the US to Italy and back.  Currently if vac'd and boosted, two tests  are required, one to board and another to return to the US via air.   Celebrity provides the test to passengers after disembarkation (free to those who booked before Nov 2021 and those who booked later pay $24).  As the tests are provided after leaving the ship, they must be administered somewhere where the passenger can have access to good internet service.   Awkward for  some passenger because they must either find off-port local internet at an intermediate location to the airport or test in the airport terminal  itself.   There is also the option to forgo the proctored self test and use an airport test station.   Some passengers found it difficult to connect with sufficient internet service to use the tests, and had to work through the airport service missing flights.   Some thought ahead and packed their own tests and administered while still on the ship.  This option seems to be the most practical.  Bring extra tests to cover the return home.

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