We had cabin 6192, obstructed view balcony (or as they call it, veranda). Please note that the hubs and I have only ever booked interior or oceanview, so this was our first balcony. The obstructed view didn't bother us. The room was spacious, and the bathroom was big (relatively speaking) as well. At first I was worried about lack of drawer space, but the closet and other nooks and crannies were plenty for us. Since the room was fairly mid-ship, it was easy to get to the aft or forward. I also appreciated the small but adequate selection of free on-demand movies. The provided shampoo, conditioner, and lotion were also good.
Food (and Bars)
We ate either in the buffet or the main dining room so I cannot speak to the specialty restaurants.
The buffet for breakfast was quite good - quality selections all-around. Lunch was just so-so - Disney has them beat in this area. We never ate dinner here.
The main dining room for breakfast and lunch had very nice selections - much more expansive and fancy than Carnival. For dinner, we had a terrific dining staff that we requested each night - we had chosen Select Dining rather than a set dinner time as I like flexible (and apparently being the first one lined up at 5:30 for dinner. I like to eat, and I'm not afraid of the early special!). Honestly, we arrived so early each night that not only did we get a fabulous serving team we also got a table by the window - 6 nights in a row. Pretty darn good if you ask me!
Let's keep talking about the main dining room. Like I said, our serving team was flipping awesome! The sommelier was great, and the wine list for the dining room had some really solid selections that fit right into the premium drink package. The food selections each night were great. Some standouts for me was the nightly creme brulee dessert option, the mushroom risotto (my word!), lamb chops, and lobster tail (which our server cut for me) served on Chic Night #2. The only thing I didn't like was one of Greg's fish dishes and the beef wellington. I didn't feel as if I missed out on any of the specialty restaurants because the dining room was SO good.
Now, onto the Cafe al Bacio - the coffee bar. All of the specialty coffees (both virgin and not) were included, which made this girl VERY happy! Very quick service that you can take to-go or stay there to drink. Also included are free sweet bites.
I really enjoyed the martini bar's drink selections as well as decor. The bar itself was ice. Nice!
We spent a good deal of time in Cellar Masters with the wonderful sommelier, Stefania. Really great wine selections included port. Very comfortable environment. We had a fair amount of OBC so we signed up for the Riedel glass education class.
Although the entertainment in the evenings was more subdued than Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the live band was quite good. The shows in the theater were absolutely phenomenal, and I'm not sure if it's specific just to this cast, hopefully it's the same across the fleet. The singers were outstanding and blew away any other cast I had ever seen on a ship, including Disney. I would liken them more to the talent that you will see in Broadway shows. Elysium, was particularly amazing.
The gym, because we had to work off calories, was part of a few of our days. It was spacious, and I definitely found it bigger and better than any other ship we have been on.
I found this cruise to be the most relaxing one that we have ever taken. I never felt rushed or that we were running around non-stop. If I wanted a latte, I got a latte. If I wanted a mimosa, I got a mimosa. If I wanted to sit on the balcony and enjoy the salt air, I did.
I cannot say enough about the wonderful service we received on board from all of the different staff members from food and beverage, to shore excursions, to guest services, to our room steward. I felt that it compared to a Disney cruise, but ranked a bit higher. I can tell you that it was a hell of a lot cheaper than Disney would have been and actually cheaper than Carnival for the type of room we got and all of the amenities.
Cozumel - We booked a private SCUBA trip with Alison. It was a wonderful experience, and I would definitely use her again. We caught a taxi right outside of the port for $10 and were dropped off at the marina Alison uses. We a little guidance, we found her boat. We did a two-tank dive with a surface interval of about 45 minutes. She provided water and bananas as a snack. She was good about personalizing the trip for us and making sure that we were all safe. The taxi back to port was $8. I prepaid the $180 (for both of us) via paypal ahead of time.
Grand Cayman - We were supposed dive in Grand Cayman through the ship, but the excursion was cancelled due to water conditions. We took the OBC we were refunded and booked the Dolphin Push, Pull, Swim through Celebrity. Bad move. We couldn't take any cameras in, and the cheapest photo was WAY to expensive. The hubs thinks it was $25 for one photo, but I remember it being more like $50. Regardless of the actual cost, we said "screw it" and didn't buy one. It sucks because we have no photo evidence we were even there. So back to the excursion, each person spent maybe 3 minutes with actually dolphin interaction. Outside of the prescribed interaction, there was no additional opportunities just to pet the dolphin. At a $110pp, I was expecting a bit more and was disappointed. At least the money didn't come out of our pocket, but a facial on board might have been nice...
Labadee, Haiti (private island) - If you have the drink package, you can utilize it on the island, which was fantastic. There's nothing like a pina colada while enjoying a beach. The buffet lunch served was OK. There was plenty of space for everyone from the ship to spread out so it didn't feel overcrowded at all. I still like Coco Cay (RCL) the best with Carnival's island coming in second.
Confession, we also ported at Falmouth, Jamaica, but we did not leave the ship...
Skip if you want!
Let's breakdown the financial stuff so we can see how 7 days on Celebrity compared to Couples last year. As I said at the beginning, I had always perceived Celebrity as too expensive, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how it stacked up to our other vacations.
I use www.CruCon.com as my travel agent for cruises (though not usually for Carnival). They give additional benefits if something is either booked or transferred while they are having a sale. I booked the Reflection during the Memorial Day sale, and I had booked with them before. I received $100 in OBC from the sale for our room type and additional $50 OBC since I have a loyalty number with CruCon. And, I didn't know this while booking, but CruCon paid a portion of the upgraded perks package, which dropped our charges by $120. So, if you are following, I saved $120 by using CruCon and also received $150 OBC.
Let's continue and talk about Celebrity's promo packages, which I LOVE. Celebrity gives you the option on certain room types and above (we had an obstructed-view veranda). They will allow to choose 1 or 2 perks. If you want to upgrade the promo package to include all 4 perks, this is the Go Best package. Here's what this included for our veranda room:
- unlimited internet
- pre-paid gratuities
- premium drink package (all drinks up to $13 are included - coffee, non-alcoholic, and alcoholic)
- $300 OBC ($450 if you take into account CruCon's incentives).