Specialty restaurants, Cirque du Soleil-style shows, Bulgari and Michael Kors retail shops, a sea-view shower suspended over the ocean—no, this isn’t a luxe hotel in Asia or Europe, it’s Celebrity Cruises’ newest Solstice class vessel, the Celebrity Reflection.
The cruise line’s fifth and final vessel in the Solstice class, the Reflection is a 126,000-ton ship with top-to-bottom character dressed in modern style with impressive staterooms and unique nooks and crannies that will prompt the avid cruisers—those with a keen sense of what is trending in today’s cruise industry—to stop and take notice.
an evolving brand
From the abundant collection of art sprinkled throughout the ship (photography, paintings, and contemporary pieces) to The Hideaway, a cozy space on Deck 7 with swiveling egg-shaped pod chairs, plush couches, and soft lighting falling on muted, but rich, colors of brown, green and beige—a space ideal for days at sea when the pool deck isn’t as enticing as it was on day one—the Reflection’s design and upgrades have deemed it a ship worthy of Solstice class qualities.
Travel agents, media and company principals stepped on board the Reflection this past December for an inaugural cruise from the Port of Miami (destination: the open sea). For two full days guests had a chance to discover, explore, and be wowed by Celebrity’s take on what modern cruising should be aboard an ocean liner carrying over 3,000 passengers and where 85 percent of the staterooms include oceanview verandahs with lounge chair seating.
But for travel agents unfamiliar with Celebrity’s “Modern Luxury” product and insecure on how to sell a Caribbean or Eastern Mediterranean cruise on a ship with higher price points, Dondra Ritzenthaler, Celebrity Cruises’ senior v.p. of sales, clarified the concept before an audience of travel agents and tour operators.
Ritzenthaler said Celebrity’s target market is travelers 35 years and older in three separate categories: the globetrotters, which consist of married, well-educated professionals; the “metropolitan trend setters,” those in the know and on the go, living in metropolitan areas; and last, but not least, the “golden nuggets,” those who simply love everything about the cruising experience.
“What you’re going to see us do in partnering with you in 2013 is really getting better at going in and targeting these three groups of individuals that really are the perfect fit for our amazing product,” said Ritzenthaler.
Before the same attentive audience, Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said, “We’re obviously delighted on how this brand has evolved, and this ship in the Solstice class is a true expression of all of the focus, engineering, design, and passion that’s gone into creating a significant premium cruise brand. The Reflection is the epitome of modern luxury. Everything about this product, the service, cuisine, entertainment, and design, is really quite extraordinary.”
Your clients can sink their toes into real lawn grass while playing a few games of ring toss or croquet on the Lawn Club, an area on Deck 15 that also features the Lawn Club Grill; cabana-style enclaves known as The Alcoves; and the Art Studio for drawing, cooking, painting and mixology lessons.
The adults-only Solarium, an enclosed pool and relaxation spot located in the center of the ship, definitely emitted a calmer vibe than the main pool deck area. But for literature lovers, the ship’s Library with its towering selection of fiction and non-fiction books had us searching the shelves and settling into snug wingback chairs with a cup of tea.
“The decor is unpretentious, yet sophisticated with a keen focus on fine food and exceptional service without having to brag about it like some luxury brands do,” says Vicky Garcia, executive v.p. of sales and marketing for Cruise Planners—American Express Travel.
The Solstice ships are ideal for foodies (wine and martini lovers included), too, and the Reflection boasts a handful of specialty restaurants that tailor to any palate. From Qsine, a blend of classic and contemporary tastes where patrons order their plates using an iPad, to the Italian cuisine and steakhouse, Tuscan Grille, or Bistro on Five, a cafe-style dining area serving crepes. The Oceanview Cafe is the sole buffet-style eatery serving an abundant breakfast and a wide selection of lunch and dinner options, from an imposing salad bar to sushi, pizza and pasta. We recommend waiting in line for the freshly squeezed orange juice.
A guest can spend a full day at Reflection’s AquaSpa where the senses are teased with hot, cold, wet and dry treatments. The expanded Persian Garden, with panoramic ocean views, features six additional heated tile beds (15 in total) while the Sensory Showers allow guests to select either warm or cold water mingled with different fragrances. The experience also adds sound, scents and special lighting. In The Cold Room the temperature is dropped to a chilly 52 degrees and that includes the seats, walls and floor. It’s made that way to help tighten pores that were opened and cleansed from the infrared sauna and aromatic steam rooms. Along with dry scrubs, facials, massages, acupuncture, men’s and youth spa services, any tension, stress or burdens carried on board are definitely wiped away.
On Deck 14 there is a corridor where the ship’s most exclusive suites are situated and only accessible with special cardkeys. One such room is the 1,636-sq.-ft., 2-bedroom Reflection Suite, able to accommodate up to six guests. The suite features 24-hour butler service; a large dining room area; panoramic windows and indulgent master bath with its hovering sea-view shower; expansive verandah with lounge chairs and whirlpool; and guests have access to an iPad with the Reverie Remote app, which acts as a remote control to operate the lights, TV, and massage and elevation features on the bed. The price tag for the Reflection Suite, on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean journey, is $10,799 pp (for the first two guests); additional guests are $949 pp.
Meanwhile, we stayed in the 194-sq.-ft. AquaClass Stateroom (the same size as the Reflection Suite’s verandah, by the way) on Deck 11, which was just right for two people, and the balcony with lounge chairs did make the room seem larger. Other accommodations include the ship’s new 34 AquaClass Suites, a step up from our stateroom class with aroma scent selections; a bath with shower/tub combination; priority dining at Blu, the ship’s “clean cuisine” restaurant; and 24-hour butler service.
The Royal, Celebrity and Sky suites are quite spacious with walk-in closets, and living rooms with a queen sleeper or dining area. The Penthouse Suite, also on Deck 11, has a master bedroom with a king-size bed, a full guest bath and marble master bath with double wash basins and dual shower heads; in the center of the suite sits a baby grand piano begging to be played.
modern activities & voyages
The onboard activities are beyond plentiful and during our two days on board we gained insight into what guests can do on a 7-day cruise during days at sea. From fitness classes to live classical string and jazz performances, ballroom dance lessons (samba and tango are a must!) and tastings at the Molecular Bar where different cocktail concoctions made with liquid nitrogen captivated spectators and passerby.
The Celebrity Reflection is docked at the Port of Miami this winter for 7-night Caribbean itineraries to destinations like Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and St. Thomas before departing across the Atlantic for 10- to 16-day routes in the Mediterranean to ports in Italy, Greece and Turkey.
“Everything from the cantilever shower in the suite to the Lawn Club that offers cooking lessons and the very cool Molecular and Martini Bars…the ship has so much to offer guests with different tastes while still maintaining its branding and style,” says Garcia. “I think it’s the feel of the ship that makes it special. To have a fantastic itinerary is nice, but all of the great amenities and onboard activities, plus the incredible dining options, are what separate the Reflection from other ships.” Rates for the Eastern Caribbean Getaway cruise start at $749 for an inside stateroom, and $1,649 for the 10-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise.
Guest decks: 13
Cruising speed: 24 knots
Length: 1,047 ft.
Archived related articles (available on recommend.com)
Celebrity Silhouette (February 2012)