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Alan V

Celebrity Reflection Greek Islands cruise

7 posts in this topic

This cruise was our 20th. 

It would be our first time with Celebrity, and also our first time on our own, all other cruises we have done were in groups of either friends, family, or both. 

We are big fans of the Greek Islands, so we chose Celebrity Reflections “Italy and Greek Islands” cruise departing 8th of July from Rome. The itinerary was;- Messina, Mykanos, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, Naples then back to Rome for the flight home. We have had some lovely holidays in Rhodes. My wife has always said, “would love to do a cruise that cruises into Rhodes one day” and so this was our opportunity. 

The only time we have done fly cruises before was with P&O, who charter the whole plane so everyone on the plane is going to the same ship. With Celebrity we got to choose our own flight on scheduled airlines, and there are numerous options to choose from. We chose BA as they have a good luggage allowance. You can each take 23kgs hold luggage, plus a very generous 23kgs of hand luggage each! 

On arrival into the airport in Rome, there were several Celebrity representatives making themselves known to us. We had to collect our own luggage, Celebrity then arranged for our luggage to be taken by lorry to the ship. We were escorted onwards to waiting coaches. It all worked like clockwork. After a one hour coach trip we arrived at the terminal in Civitavecchia. The check in process was carried out quite smoothly, through security and then onboard. 

We had decided that we wouldn’t make any instant decisions on the ship, we were tired after missing almost a whole nights sleep and so we thought we wouldn’t make comparisons until we had been onboard for a couple of days. 

When we have been on Britannia, Ventura and Azura we always have cabins facing aft, we like sitting on the balcony watching the wake as we sail along. On Celebrity these cabins are called “Sunset Balconys”, we were put off booking one of these because they all have interconnecting doors! We don’t like rooms with these doors as we once experienced a noisy neighbour. We opted instead for cabin 8345. On the plan it looked like it had a lager balcony. It is a lovely cabin with I think the best bathroom I have had in any of the ships I’ve been on. That includes all of the P&O fleet, all of the Cunard fleet, 2 NCL’s and one Princess. Not that we did, but we both could have got in the shower! A very large double bed and a sofa that I assume could convert into another bed. Decent wardrobe and a few drawers. The cabin has a television that in addition to the usual things like checking your bill you could even view the photos that they have taken of you. They use fascial recognition so the first time they take a photo of you they make a note of your cabin number and then every time they take a photo of you it appears in your folder without you putting it in, very advanced! Like Cunard, there are no coffee making facilities in the cabin, that’s a minus for us, we drink a lot of coffee! Would I book this cabin again, no! Reason being, cabin is fine (they are all the same I think) but I made a mistake booking cabin right at the after end. On all other ships I’ve been on you tend to have an aft stairwell in addition to the forward one. On this ship, what I would call the aft stairwell is in fact midships, which meant I had an awful long walk from the lift to the cabin! As I mentioned before, we like a lot of coffee so I made the trip from the buffet to the cabin several times whilst on a “coffee run”. 

Entertainment onboard was typical of a cruise ship, Steve Larkin doing a Freddie Mercury tribute is always a good show, (3rd ship I’ve seen him on) I’m not sure the campness of his performance is appreciated by our American passengers. There was also Nik Page who has an excellent voice, he once played Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables. 

 

Our real entertainment onboard was found at the Martini Bar. A great place for pre dinner drinks, oh….and after also! We met some lovely people whilst at the Martini Bar. There are lots more really good bars onboard, World Class bar and Cellar Masters are very popular, as is the Sunset Bar on the top deck. We also had a “classic drinks package” as part of our deal but for $10 more each per day, we upgraded to the premium package, which has a lot more choice for wines and martinis are not included on the classic package. 

 

We also purchased a package that allowed us to go to 4 speciality restaurants, we booked first of all for the Tuscan grill which is a lovely restaurant right at the back of the ship with great views. It was ok, good but not spectacular. I would advise anyone going onboard to book your restaurants sooner rather than later. We tried on about day 3 to book our other 3 restaurants, we wanted to try the Lawn Club, Morano and our last choice Quisine. Unfortunately the only options left for Morano were early evening at 6.30ish so we chose to miss out Morano. We got suitable bookings for the Lawn Club and Quisine and decided to return to Tuscan Grill for the 4th choice. Lawn Cub is a meat eaters paradise, you help yourself from a salad bar (just like harvester) and when we passed tables we were gobsmacked how much meat some people had, they could not possibly have ate it all! Quisine would have been our last choice, but having been there, next time it will be our 1st choice. You get an Ipad where you scroll through all of the dishes and put items into a favourites basket, (bit of a gimmicky menu really) The menu goes around the world, you can have as much as you want. It was lovely! 

The main buffet I would say is the best I’ve ever encountered on any cruise ship, we never struggled for a table. The choice and quality of food was top quality. 

We were freedom dining and found the system worked for us on this cruise. We were able to book a table for a time that suited us provided you booked the day before. My wife felt there was not enough choice in this restaurant but service was superb. 

 

We only had 2 sea days on this cruise and felt that sunbeds were not easy to come by. They have a towel system on here which differs to what I’ve experienced before. No pool towels in the cabins here, you just pick up as many towels as you like from the towel station situated by the pools. What I think happens is some people get towels and reserve more than one set of sunbeds! Whilst we were on a sunbed on seaday 1, a man reserved the two beds alongside us with towels and then disappeared, about 45 minutes later another man asked me, “how long have these beds been left”? I told him 45 minutes and he said “ok, I’m having them, if the guy returns he can talk to the hand”. The first guy never returned so I can only assume he had reserved other beds somewhere else also. The problem of sunbeds is made worse I think because of the towel system, what you are supposed to do is when you vacate the bed you should return the towel to the used towel bin. I think lots of people leave the beds not intending to return but leave the towels on the beds, therefore other people don’t know which beds are free and which aren’t! 

 

The ship was spotlessly clean. I have never seen such clean toilet facilities on any ship before, every toilet around the ship has an attendant at al times. 

Passenger mix onboard was nice, a lot of Americans, Canadians, Australians and mostly English speaking guests. 

 

Would I cruise with Celebrity again? You bet I would! 

 

Our journey home was horrendous, but that is a BA issue, not cruise related so I wont go into it in great detail here, other than to say Rome airport was utter chaos! All flights were delayed, there were rumours flying around that our flight had been cancelled. it took 5 hours from arrival at the airport to reach the check in desk! BA were invisible, no where to be seen! What I will say about the experience is that we felt completely isolated, the representative from the cruise company had left, and there was nobody to help at all, we felt completely abandoned! In desperation, whilst still in the queue for check in I turned to Bolsover, the travel agent I had booked the cruise with. I sent them an email asking if there was anyone that could find out any information on our behalf about what was going on? Within 5 minutes I had an email reply from Wendy Flegg at Bolsover, she informed me that she had already spoken to BA who had confirmed to her that our flight had indeed been cancelled. She also informed me that she was on hold to Celebrity to find out if they were aware, and to see if they could offer any assistance. Once she had spoken to them she came back to me and advised me that as I was in the queue, I should remain there. She informed me that the girl on the check in desk would be obligated to get us on another flight or if not, find us accommodation until we could get a flight home. It was a comfort to have this support from Wendy at Bolsover, prior to her contact we felt very isolated. Cant speak highly enough of her, she gave us the comfort that there was someone to turn to! To sum up, if not done so already, give Celebrity a go and definitely book it with Bolsover!

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katie_cruise and Davybe like this

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