A couple of weeks ago, JG and I were invited by the awesome folks from Celebrity Cruises to board their brand new ship, Celebrity Reflection (which is part of the Solstice Class) from the Port of Miami for their inaugural 2-day sailing. Although we were a bit tired from being on the road (having traveled to Europe the week before), who could say no to a free cruise?! Having been on a couple of Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships, we were eager to see what Celebrity had to offer. So we willingly repacked our bags in a matter of hours and said goodbye to Lola and made our way down to the port.
As we made our way onto the ship, the stark differences between Celebrity and other cruise lines started to become more apparent. Here was a beautiful, modern ship that felt luxurious and upscale and nothing like the crazy and at times tacky, more boozy cruises we had been on before. I think its safe to say Celebrity is on a whole other level when it comes to cruising. We’re talking high-end shopping (Michael Kors and Bulgari stores on the ship), fantastic specialty restaurants (a dozen dining options) and lots of cool activities for those looking to indulge (everything from the AquaSpa, Casino, Art Studio and more).
When we got to our room, we literally felt like we hit the jackpot because it was spacious, neat and had a beautiful balcony overlooking the water and downtown Miami. Of course the thing that impressed me the most was that our bathroom was roomy and had plenty of storage space for my toiletries. After spending 10 days in Europe, it was nice to see that the ship had a better bathroom then some of the hotels we had stayed in.
After settling in, we then set out to discover the rest of the ship. As we made our way onto each deck, the thing that impressed me the most was how much thought and detail was poured into every inch of the ship. Everything from the plants that had been chosen for the outdoor areas to the multi-million dollar art collections hanging on the walls, you felt like you were on a private yacht rather than on a cruise ship.
Some of the must-see things we saw on the first day included:
*AquaSpa by Elemis: This space spans more than 883-square-foot of spa bliss that includes curved, heated tile beds for relaxation and rooms such as an infrared sauna, aromatic steam room, a cold room (first time seeing this), a DIY scrub and salt bar and sensory showers.
*Celebrity iLounge: An actual Apple retailer where you can purchase everything from accessories to Apple products and even sign up for classes where they’ll teach you how to use your Apple products.
*Suites, Suites and more Suites: There are three new types of suites on the ship, AquaClass, Signature and Reflection Suites, and each features amazing amenities such as floor-to-ceiling glass windows, butler services, oh and how about a bottomless glass shower!? Yep, that’s right.
|JG wondering how he would shower in this?|
*Fitness Center: With state-of-the-art machines and fitness classes including spinning, yoga and Zumba.
*The Hideaway: a tranquil spot in the middle of the ship where you can lounge in egg-shaped chairs and watch the world float by…
Later on that evening, after the naming ceremony concluded, we had dinner in the main dining area with some of the other media guests. It was great to sit down and chat about our day, backgrounds and cruising expectations. There were guests from all over the world and I must admit, JG and I felt very proud to be representing Miami on the ship!
On our second day, we tried to take advantage of everything the ship had to offer which included dining at several delicious restaurants, lounging by the pool and even doing a little bit of early Christmas shopping in some of the stores. Of course we ended up playing a couple of competitive games of corn toss but the ultimate treat was participating in a foodie panel that included five top culinary minds who gathered to discuss the latest in food trends and high-end cuisine.
The panel consisted of Chef Jeff McInnis of YardBird, Chef John Suley of Celebrity Cruises, Scott Hocker of Tasting Table and two other women from the James Beard Foundation and Food Arts. JG in particular was in heaven, being a self-proclaimed foodologist, this topic was right up his alley. On top of that, we were later treated to a special dining experience in the Lawn Club where both Chef McInnis and Chef Suley created a one-time-only feast for us that consisted of a Charcuterie Board, Tomahawk Rib Eye, Shrimp-n-Grits and a Big Ol’ Waffle with buttermilk ice cream for dessert. JG and I sat there like two little fat kids with huge smiles on our faces as Chef McInnis poured more waffles onto our plates. Quite a memorable experience…
All in all, we decided that two days just isn’t enough time on such a magnificent ship. I could have easily spent more time at the Sunset Bar at the back of the ship indulging in glasses of champagne while looking out to the sea, meanwhile JG could have easily spent a couple more hundred bucks at the casino trying his luck at the roulette table. Oh and let’s not forget the Molecular Bar where we paid for an amazing cocktail made with nitrogen gas, champagne and rose petals… it was out of this world!
We learned that Celebrity Cruises is the queen of all cruises and while they may cater to a more affluent, older crowd, young couples who like to go all out on their vacations and experience the good life every now and then will find that Celebrity Reflection is the perfect fit. Like they say, once you go Celebrity, there’s no looking back!
For more details on Celebrity Reflection, please visit http://www.celebritycruises.com/explore/ships/detail.do?shipCode=RF
Check out some more of our photos from the sailing:
|Hot Foods Station|
|Art Studio for classes|
|View from our room|