Cool sophistication is the unmistakable vibe onboard Celebrity Reflection, the biggest of the five ships in the line's mega-popular Solstice Class. Standout features include the Lawn Club (featuring real grass), a Martini Bar and brilliant variety of restaurants, including one of our favourites, the Lawn Club Grill, where you can cook up your own meal or have a chef do it for you.
While at max capacity the ship can hold up to 3,609 passengers, Reflection rarely feels crowded, as passengers tend to find their own spaces to hang out in. It's also well designed, and favourite spots like the excellent thermal spa are capacity controlled.
Reflection stands out with its exceptional variety of cabins, including its beautiful suites. The ship's 32 AquaClass Spa Suites might be the most coveted cabins on the ship, as passengers booked in AquaClass and AquaClass Spa Suites receive complimentary access to the ship's lovely Persian Garden thermal suite. They also receive complimentary access to Blu, which serves up healthier "spa cuisine."
Another hit is the ship's Lawn Club, with its half-acre of grass, upcharge restaurants (the Lawn Club Grill and The Porch) and eight alcoves, private rentable cabanas for those who want shade and a little privacy away from the pool area.
It's impossible to miss the art -- a multimillion-dollar investment -- on Reflection. It's big. It's bold. And it's everywhere. Perhaps the most stunning piece is the Grand Foyer showstopper: a live tree that grows tall, while an illuminated aluminium tree hangs from the base.
Service overall is warm and attentive; however, the widespread upselling of drink packages and speciality dining, particularly during the first 48 hours of the cruise, can be somewhat off-putting for those seeking a relaxing cruise vacation.
Daytime: Casual. Shorts and T-shirts are common, along with sundresses for women. Poolside, swimsuits and cover-ups are perfect choices.
Evening: Celebrity Reflection has a fairly casual approach to dress codes. The guidance is "smart casual and above," so for men, that's slacks and sports shirts or button-downs. It's looser for women, who will be comfortable in casual dresses, blouses and skirts, pants or capris. On evening chic nights, passengers can elect to go dressier. Even so, for men, jackets and ties aren't required.
Not permitted: T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and poolwear are not allowed in the main restaurant or speciality restaurants at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the evening hours.
While Refection holds more than 3,000 passengers, it rarely feels busy, perhaps owing to the variety of activities offered day and night. People tend to find their favourites and stick to them. During the day, expect a line-up of trivia, lectures, wine, spirit and cocktail tastings, and spa seminars. When the weather is pleasant, passengers spend time poolside or lazing on the grass at the Lawn Club.
At night, most shows take place in the Reflection Theater, a lovely two-level venue befitting the big-time song and dance productions onstage. Passengers usually have two opportunities to catch shows in the Reflection Theater each night to accommodate different dinner seatings.
Most nights you'll find live music in several spots throughout the ship. Because the ship has no official dance club, those looking to bust a move have to look to the day's schedule to find the best spot. The Grand Foyer hosts a live band each evening, which can be good or bad depending on your musical taste -- the sound travels throughout the ship's central area making it hard to escape if you're not a fan.
While venues around the atrium host music and entertainment of their own, don't be surprised if an impromptu show, with music and wild costumes, breaks out at night. Just don't expect it to appear daily.
Movie buffs can catch feature films most nights in Celebrity Central, a secondary theatre venue located on Deck 4. Celebrity Central also hosts events like game shows and bingo.
Reflection uses its Lawn Club to host Concerts on the Lawn, where passengers are provided with cheese, wine and blankets for sitting. Wine is available at standard prices; the cheese is free.
There is no shortage of places to raise a glass on Celebrity Reflection, with a choice of almost a dozen bars ranging from cozy, clubby spaces to light-filled lounges with ocean views.
Cellar Masters (Deck 4): Wine-lovers can access an impressive array of wines from around the globe via automatic dispensers using a "wine card," which can be inserted to obtain a measured portion. While there are hosted wine tastings during the day, we missed having a bartender during the evening and, like most passengers on our sailing, avoided this venue when it wasn't staffed.
Martini Bar (Deck 4): Order a couple of flights, and you might see a spectacular show involving bottle-flipping, glass-stacking and the pouring of a dozen drinks at once. There's no guarantee you'll get the performance, but if you're interested your best bet is to place your order when the bar isn't too busy, perhaps after ordering a couple of rounds and dropping a generous tip. With its ice-covered surface and charismatic bartenders, the Martini Bar is one of the most popular spots onboard.
Michael's Club (Deck 5): This lounge is only open to Zenith members of the Captain's Club -- Celebrity's loyalty club -- and those staying in suites (Sky Suite and AquaClass Suite guests don't have access). The vibe depends largely on the type of suite passengers onboard, with an atmosphere that could be anything from (almost too) quiet to loud and lively.
Sky Lounge (Deck 14): This lounge area with floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic ocean views is the place to be. During the day it is a blissfully quiet spot to curl up in a comfy seat and read; after the bar opens, it takes on a livelier vibe, especially after 10 p.m. when the dance floor attracts a decent crowd.
Sunset Bar (Deck 15): With its fun lighted stools and killer aft location, this bar is a favourite in the evening when you can settle in for some cocktails and unparalleled views of the sun setting over the sea. You'll also fight for a seat there during sail-aways.
Generally, the outdoor vibe on Reflection, especially on sea days, is laid-back. Announcements and pool games are rare. The ship offers three pools and six whirlpools on Deck 12. Two pools (one shallow and one plunge) make up the outside pool deck, along with an interactive water feature consisting of numerous dancing fountains. The two-pool layout, with four raised hot tubs and showers on deck in tucked-away spots, makes for a tight but adequate setup.
The adults-only Solarium houses within its blissfully quiet enclosure two hot tubs and a lovely pool bookended by a wall of ferns and flowers, as well as a soothing water and light display. A lift for wheelchair users is available to help people get in the pool. The early evening hours are a fantastic time for a swim. You'll likely have the place to yourself.
Deck 15 is home to the ship's sports/basketball court, Ping-Pong tables and the Lawn Club. From picnicking and lawn games (golf, bocce or croquet) to simply sitting and people-watching, the public park at sea is an ideal venue for relaxing at any time of day. The lawn chairs sometimes fill up during the day, but it never feels crowded. Several cabanas are available for rent here.
Smokers and sunseekers who want to be away from the busy pool favor the open-air space on Deck 16 called the Solstice Deck. Sunseekers will also enjoy padded lounge chairs spread around Decks 12 and 14, and even to the side of the lawn on Deck 15.
The spa, run by Canyon Ranch, offers treatments that range from teeth whitening to acupuncture and Restylane skin care treatments, in addition to facials and massages. Spa prices don't include a mandatory 18 percent service charge. Services are discounted on port days, but port pricing only lasts until 1 p.m., regardless of what time the ship sets sail.
Teens aged from 13 to 15 have their own "Bliss" menu, offering hair treatments, facials and spray tans.
AquaClass and AquaSpa Suite passengers have free access to the Persian Garden, a serene space decorated in greens and whites. It includes heated ceramic tile loungers, an aroma steam room and a scrub and salt bar. Access can be purchased per cruise or per day (it's less expensive on port days), but availability can be limited.
Reflection's fitness centre occupies the forward section of Deck 12 and features modern equipment, including treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, as well as resistance equipment and a solid selection of dumbbells. Classes include yoga, Zumba, boot camp, TRX suspension training and Flywheel cycling. Most classes require a fee as well as sign-up ahead of time. Reflection's jogging track is on Deck 15; eight laps equals a mile.
With the impressive overall quality of food onboard Celebrity Reflection, there is little need to spend extra on speciality dining unless you feel like a treat. Even Oceanview Cafe and Grill, the cheerful buffet venue on Deck 14, takes things to a new level with tasty international dishes that belie the restaurant's casual surroundings.
Celebrity didn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to dining on Reflection, sticking instead to options familiar to those who have cruised before. In Opus, the main dining room, passengers can choose from traditional dining (early or late seating), or the more flexible Celebrity Select Dining, which allows them to eat there any time between 6 and 10 p.m.
Among the speciality dining options, which mostly come with additional fees, Qsine remains a popular choice among passengers, though our pick is Murano, which offers deliciously rich -- and playful -- French cuisine.
Opus (Decks 3 and 4)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)
Opus is the ship's main dining room, meaning it's the largest venue onboard and offers seated dining. It's an elegant venue, decorated in deep browns and silvers, with bright white tablecloths and crystal as far as the eye can see. The vast space is stunningly designed, though tables are a bit too close together making private conversation difficult.
The menu mostly appeals to a North American palate, with some international and upscale options. We found it helpful to ask our waiter what he recommended; his suggestions were usually spot-on.
Lunch is served on sea days only.
Vegetarian and healthier options are identified on the menu, but if you have specific dietary needs (vegan- or gluten-free), discuss them with the maitre d' before your first meal and ask specific questions about the menu items you select.
Oceanview Cafe and Grill (Deck 14)
Meals: B, L, D
Oceanview Cafe and Grill is Reflection's buffet area, serving breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. The menu changes each day, but you'll find areas like cooked-to-order eggs and omelette station, a salad bar including a mix of lettuce and toppings and a cheese bar that includes American standards like cheddar and colby in addition to Brie, Gouda and the like.
You'll also find international options like Mexican, Indian and Asian, as well as pizza. Indian selections are particularly good, with chicken masala and tandoori chicken all having just enough kick. Live cooking stations with customized pasta options and a selection of sauces are featured as well as made-to-order stir-fries with meat, seafood, spices and sliced vegetables. Tables are generously spaced, which, combined with floor-to-ceiling windows, gives a relaxed, open feel to this popular dining venue. Drink service is speedy.
Mast Grill (Deck 14)
The outdoor Mast Grill serves up burgers, hot dogs and fries.
AquaSpa Cafe (Deck 15)
Meals: B, L
The AquaSpa Cafe, located in the Solarium, is available to those aged 16 and above and provides healthy and convenient breakfast options, such as granola and fruit, and salads, along with made-to-order dishes for lunch. Upcharge options -- yoghurt parfaits, for example -- are available. The cafe also serves tea, coffee and juices.
Luminae (Deck 3)
Meals: B, L
Only passengers staying in suite accommodations can dine at Luminae. The space is elegant yet contemporary and large picture windows let in plenty of light. Luminae never feels busy, even when it is full. Breakfast is the same each day, while lunch offers two rotating menus, which can become a bit monotonous. Dinner is a different story with a new menu each day, plus the option to order from the main dining room menu. But it's the service that lifts Luminae. With a team of highly trained and attentive wait staff attuned to passengers' likes and dislikes, it is almost precognitive at times.
Blu (Deck 5)
Meals: B, D
Passengers in AquaClass cabins or suites will eat at Blu, a private restaurant serving lighter, spa-inspired fare. Some meals are similar to those served in Opus, though the presentation at Blu tends to be more refined. If you prefer a quieter, more personal dining experience, Blu delivers, although it can lack atmosphere, particularly in the early evening. AquaClass passengers don't have to pay extra to dine here, and suite passengers may book tables on a space-available basis for free. The restaurant is otherwise off limits to regular passengers, so those travelling in groups where passengers are in other cabin categories will have to figure out alternative dining plans.
Pricing was accurate at time of review.
Murano (Deck 5); $50 for dinner; $25 for lunch
Meals: L, D
Food at Murano is rich and decadent, with traditional French dishes. Diners can order a la carte or indulge in the six-course tasting menu. There are two choices for each course on the tasting menu, and there's an option of a wine paired with each (which raises the surcharge to $89). An intimate Champagne afternoon tea is served in Murano on sea days and includes a glass of Champagne, live entertainment and some of the best scones on the high seas.
Qsine (Deck 5); $45
If you prefer formal, fine dining, Qsine might not be for you, but this fun restaurant experience is a major hit with passengers, so reservations are required. Upbeat staff guide diners through their "dining journey," and passengers place orders on iPads. Quirky serving styles and relatively simple food make Qsine perfect for multigenerational celebrations, as there is something to suit every diner regardless of age.
Meals are served family style, so if one person at your table of four selects a dish, four servings are usually brought out, regardless of whether all four people want to eat it. (Ask for half-portions to circumnavigate this.) Don't miss the chocolate tombstone cake for dessert.
Tuscan Grille (Deck 5); $45
A prime aft location ensures this stylish yet charmingly rustic restaurant is a popular choice, especially when the ship is at sea or anchored in picturesque ports. Steaks are the star at Tuscan Grill, though pasta-lovers have plenty of options, too. Caesar salad prepared tableside adds a touch of theatre. Dine early so you can enjoy the view before the sun goes down.
Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria (Deck 5); a la carte
Coffee-lovers can get their fix at Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria, which also offers extra-fee gelato and Italian ice at an adjoining stand. Cakes and other goodies change throughout the day and are free. With its comfy seats and large picture windows, it's also a delightful spot to relax in.
Sushi on Five (Deck 5); a la carte
Meals: L, D
A sushi restaurant that pairs Japanese favourites with imported beer and sakes.
Lawn Club Grill (Deck 15); $45
Meals: L, D
Part pizzeria, part open-air grill, passengers serve as their own grill masters, seasoning and cooking their meats or baking their pizzas with assistance from Celebrity chefs. If you don't want to do your own grilling, the chefs can cook everything for you.
The Porch (Deck 15); $25
Meals: L, D
The Porch is a raw bar and seafood venue where diners can order towers, salads, soups and entrees loaded with fresh fish. Pair your meal with some of the creative sangria options.
The Chef's Table; $279
Located inside Reflection's main galley (kitchen), the 16-seat Chef's Table is separated from all the action by a glass wall so diners can watch the hustle and bustle as waiters come and go. The evening kicks off with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres inside the galley, followed by a tour and then concludes with an eight-course meal, all hosted by one of the ship's master chefs. If you have your heart set on this one, book ahead of time as it sells out quickly.
Reflection's 1,532 cabins span 14 categories, which is a boon for those looking for something a little bit different. The sheer variety of cabins means there's likely something for everyone, whether it's couples, families or big groups travelling together. Our favourites on Reflection are the AquaClass cabins and Spa Suites, which come with a solid variety of perks, including access to the ship's beautiful thermal suite as well as dining at the exclusive Blu restaurant. Cabins are smartly appointed, with ample space and modern decor. The ship's interior, ocean view and balcony cabins also are on the larger side of the cruise industry standard.
Standard cabins have plenty of storage space when you add up cubbies, drawers, closets and space beneath the beds. Flat-screen TVs are interactive so you can order room service, check your onboard account or book an excursion using your remote. All cabins include complimentary tote bags, hairdryers, mini-bars, safes, wooden hangers, robes and blended bath products that include shampoo, conditioner and lotion.
Bathrooms are large and feature shower doors instead of shower curtains. We like the special touches in the bathrooms, like the footrest in the shower for easier leg shaving and ample space to store various odds and ends.
Interior: Standard inside cabins are a comfortable 183 to 200 square feet. They have two beds that can be converted to a queen bed as well as a sofa bed, desk with chair and closet.
Ocean View: Outside cabins include a large picture window. They are a little cozier than the inside cabins at 177 square feet.
Balcony: These 194-square-foot rooms come with a 54-square-foot balcony, which include a table and two chairs each. Sunset Veranda cabins at the back of the ship are slightly smaller but highly coveted for their views.
Concierge Class Cabin: Passengers booking one of Reflection's Concierge Class rooms will get a balcony cabin -- with some sweeteners including premium locations on the ship (higher up and aft-facing), fresh fruit, flowers, sparkling wine (as a welcome gift), an expanded room service menu, restaurant seating time preferences and priority check-in and disembarkation.
AquaClass Cabin: Reflection's AquaClass cabins are essentially standard balcony cabins with prime locations and spa-themed perks (aromatherapy diffuser, five-head Hansgrohe shower panel, daily tea). You'll also get a personal concierge to arrange spa treatments and complimentary access to the Persian Garden, Relaxation Room and Blu, the ship's "spa cuisine" restaurant.
AquaClass Spa Suite: Celebrity Reflection offers 34 AquaClass Spa Suites, which provide spa amenities and access to Blu. But cabins come with significantly more space (301 square feet, 79-square-foot balcony) than standard AquaClass Cabins. AquaClass Spa Suite passengers don't get the full array of suite perks, including not having access to the Luminae restaurant or Michael's Club.
Mini-suite: Reflection's 48 mini-suites, called Sky Suites, have the same layout as the AquaClass Spa Suites, but they don't have the spa amenities or perks. Sky Suite passengers may dine at Luminae but don't have access to Michael's Club.
Suites: Reflection has seven categories of suites. All suites come with Bulgari luxury bath amenities, plush Frette bathrobe, slippers, additional custom bath products and Hansgrohe showerheads. Amenities and benefits vary depending on the category of suite, something worth weighing up when choosing your cabin.
Suites include personal butlers; in-suite breakfast, lunch and dinner service; in-suite afternoon tea and daily evening hors d'oeuvres; and espresso and cappuccino. A range of other perks includes exclusive use of the restaurant, Luminae, free mini-bars and exclusive use of Michael's Club.
Celebrity Suite: Each of the 12 Celebrity Suites measures 394 square feet and features a walk-in closet and separate living and sleeping areas with flat-screen TVs in both. Balconies are 105 square feet.
Signature Suite: The five Signature Suites feature high ceilings and measure 441 square feet, while 118-square-foot verandas include whirlpool tubs. The Signature Suites are located on Deck 14 in a private area accessible only by keycard. Groups of up to 26 can book the whole area.
Royal Suite: There are eight royal Suites, all of which measure 590 square feet and provide separate living and sleeping areas, separate tubs and showers in the bathrooms, full wet bars and glass-topped dining room tables. Each Royal Suite has a whirlpool tub on its 158-square-foot balcony.
Penthouse Suite: Measuring 1,291 square feet, this spacious suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, a baby grand piano, dining room table, separate bedrooms and living areas and full wet bar. Its 389-square-foot balcony also features a whirlpool tub.
Reflection Suite: The one-of-a-kind 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite comprises two bedrooms and two bathrooms, separate living room, bar, a 194-square-foot veranda and a glass shower, which hangs over the edge of the ship. Don't worry; you can see out, but those on the other side can't see in.