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FlyingCruiser2

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Everything posted by FlyingCruiser2

  1. There are recorded self-guided art tours posted for Holland America ships at the address below - might be a good way to get to know the ship...... https://www.theinsidecabin.com/holland-america-audio-art-tours/
  2. We actually preferred the PH. You can read about our trip here:
  3. We were on a B2B on Reflection with the first leg in the Penthouse and second leg in the Reflection Suite in April. I had seen that same review, but that wasn’t offered to us either leg. We only saw once in 8 days that anyone occupied one for the day - it was just too hot up there!
  4. If you look often and are lucky - there's sometimes a good deal. We have 2 9-Day trips on Summit booked for next year that are lower per day than we spent on either Constellation (Mar 2023) or Reflection (Mar 2024). One of them is the Christmas holiday cruise even! I had seen a post here talking about great deals on a December Summit cruise and went to look - and the PHs were taken. Then looked at the following cruise, knowing it was a holiday sailing and expecting it to be very expensive, and it was very reasonable. On the flip side of this, I just looked at a non-holiday 7 Day PH on Constellation for March/April of 2026 and it was over $32K for the week - YIKES!!!
  5. One of the best meals we’ve ever had on a cruise ship!
  6. There's an area called the Spa Veranda on deck 12 all the way forward, that spans the front of the ship. Entrance is through the fitness center on the starboard side. This was mostly empty for most of our cruise on the Reflection last month. There's no bar service there or anything.
  7. Make sure if you call the RETREAT 800 number, that you pick Option 3. If you pick 2 (existing reservation) you are ported to the normal reservation line. Option 3 will put you with a Retreat person.
  8. Have to strongly agree here. Just got off Reflection B2B in Penthouse and Reflection Suites. Much prefer M class PH. The Penthouse on Reflection is very similar to the Pinnacle Suites on HAL. If you book far enough in advance you can get have it all with Premium Drink package, Premium Wi-Fi, and Gratuities, etc. You definitely get more attention on Celebrity, but we really don’t ask for anything much - so it hasn’t ever been an issue. Definitely miss the included Restaurants on Celebrity too.
  9. I will qualify my statement however - if we were to travel with more than just the 2 of us, I would choose the Reflection Suite for the second bedroom. Also, if you had enough people in the Reflection Suite to have to utilize the living area sofa bed, I don't think it would be conducive to sleeping as the forward-facing windows don't have blocking curtains. There's a shade that can be raised on the lower half, but it doesn't block light and is only so people on the Spa Sundeck below cannot see in at night.
  10. We had a similar embarkation experience a couple of weeks earlier on Reflection - we were escorted by a Nail Technician. Had no idea where the cabin was.
  11. Our Background.... We are in our mid 60's, still working, healthy, active, and fully mobile. We are not wealthy by any means, and we work hard to save up for our cruise vacations. We chose to reserve these kinds of suites to make each cruise a truly special experience as opposed to cruising more often in a different category of cabin. Some people might think "What's the big deal? You don't spend any time in your cabin anyway", but it really is a very different cruise experience in the upper suites - and we do spend a lot of time either in the cabin and mostly on the larger balcony. Our priorities when choosing: 1) Cabin, 2) Ship (prefer under 2K, have done max 3K passengers), 3) Deal, 4) Ports of Call. We started cruising shortly after 9/11, and have cruised on RCI, HAL, Celebrity, and Virgin (once). In the last few years, we've bounced between HAL and Celebrity - where we can get the best deal for the type of cabin we want. We are extremely low-maintenance and from what we gathered from staff comments - much easier to deal with than most upper suite guests. We normally do cruises from 9-14 days in length. We could not find anything for the timeframe we traveled, so opted for this Back-to-Back that was 5 nights/3 nights. There's a real difference in the "vibe" on longer cruises that better suits us. On this trip, the 3-night cruise was a different world than the 5 night one - seemed to be lots of obnoxious and rude behavior, both to staff and other passengers. Although there were lots of kids on the 3 day - their behavior was as a group was way better than the adults. I'm posting this here as there just doesn't seem to be a lot of trip reports where people stayed in these suites. In a post a couple of months ago it was opined that "people who stay in those rooms don't post on cruise critic", and "maybe they have their P.A's read it for them". Our only previous cruise on Celebrity was on the Constellation last year, where we stayed in a Penthouse Suite - so that's all I can compare this trip to as far as Celebrity goes. The Cabins.... Our first leg was in the Penthouse Suite. The Reflection only has one, unlike its sister ships in the same class. The room itself was wonderful - lots of space and lots of storage places. The room is laid out well, with lots of usable space (except for the piano, which made a nice large, albeit weirdly-shaped counter). There is a separate bedroom area with a King Size bed, and there is a sofa-bed in the living area. After being relegated to the sofa bed one night for snoring, I was surprised at how comfortable it was - for me more so than the main bed. It was like sleeping on a marshmallow cloud and was probably my best night's sleep on the whole trip. The balcony is where we spent most of our time when at the cabin. There were loungers, a table and chairs, as well as an outdoor jetted tub. The tub seemed like kind of a waste - but I could see using it as a cool-down tub in really hot weather. There is a "sound system" hooked up to the TV, and there was a place to plug in your own device for input. The second leg was in the Reflection Suite, which is only on the Reflection. By total square footage it is larger than the Penthouse, but with a smaller balcony. The forward view is amazing, and it has very tall ceilings for a cruise ship cabin - maybe 15 feet high. It had 2 smaller bedrooms and a large living area. The real unique thing was the cantilevered shower in the main bathroom. It is glassed-enclosed and hangs out over the side of the ship, with a translucent glass floor. There is a switch to change the glass from "clear" to "privacy". We were worried about the location of the room - sharing a wall with the Sky Observation Lounge and being under the Basketball court. However we heard no noise at all from outside the room. With the location being so far forward and up high, we did get a LOT of vibration during docking operations when the thrusters were used - we'll call it an early wake-up call on port days. Both rooms had a shortage of 110v outlets. Definitely recommend bringing European adapters in order to have enough plugs in the room. To be honest - we very much preferred the Penthouse Suite to the Reflection Suite. But we also very much preferred the Penthouse Suite on Constellation to the one on Reflection. The Connie PH is larger, and the balcony (patio deck, really) spans one half of the back of the ship - almost 1100 square feet. On Connie there's also a separate Pantry with full size fridge and icemaker. Sitting on that balcony and listening to the propeller wake below is one of my "happy places". The Suite Experience... Needless to say, we got top-notch service and personal attention all over the ship by being in the top-level suites. Multiple times at the first visit to a restaurant or bar we'd be addressed by name instead of being asked our stateroom number. The spoiling began at embarkation. Pier 25 at Port Everglades has a separate luggage drop off for the Retreat. A representative was there and when they saw we were in the Penthouse, we were personally escorted through the rest of the security and check-in process. We were then taken upstairs to the Retreat waiting area, as we arrived about 15 minutes before boarding started. As soon as we sat down, the Hotel Manager and Retreat Concierge came up to introduce themselves and ask if we needed anything. When boarding started someone came to escort us to our cabin. If we had come a little later after boarding started, the whole process from checking luggage to being in our cabin would have been about 10 minutes. Once in our cabin, the Butler and Reflection Host (previously known as Cabin Steward), came by to introduce themselves and ask what they can do. There was also a Hotel officer of some sort who wanted to double-check the room. My wife asked if they could please provide a fan (in her ideal world, she would sleep in a wind tunnel where they test airplanes). The Officer apologized and said, "we don't do that anymore". After he left our Butler said he bet he could find one, and sure enough an hour later it was there. About 2 months before the trip, we were contacted by Shoreside services to ask about dinner reservations, arrange excursions, choices for the 2 complementary liquor bottles for mini-bar, pillow choice, and how to stock the mini-bar. Even though some of the dinner reservation times we requested were showing not available on the app, our requests were accommodated. A couple of weeks before departure, we were contacted again to see if there was anything else we wanted to request, and to give us a placard to print that would allow us access to the Retreat Luggage Dropoff at Pier 25. Other suite perks: Unlimited Lunch and Dinner at Specialty Restaurants, $600 per room OBC, Premium Wi-fi for 4 devices each, Gratuities, Premium Beverage Package, Laundry/Pressing/Dry Cleaning. Note that we booked this before they removed the $600 OBC and Gratuities from their perk list. We took advantage of the Specialty Restaurants for dinner. At each one they seemed to already know us, and we weren't even asked for our cabin number. At first I thought maybe the key cards had RFID and it pops up on their computer, but then we heard them asking others for their cabin number or asking for their key card....so I don't know how. Comparison to previous Celebrity cruise.... As I said, we preferred our overall experience on Constellation - mostly due to the cabin being so much different and the deck/balcony. Also, it seems that the smaller ships just fit us better. We are booked on Summit in 2025, in a PH the same as Constellation, and know we are going to miss some things that Reflection offered - Murano, World Class Bar, Lawn Club Grill to name the major ones - but worth it to us for the smaller ship. Comparison to HAL (our most recent trip before this)..... For the last few years, we've bounced back and forth between HAL and Celebrity. Although right now we prefer Celebrity (Millenium Class), but it's often harder to find affordable availability for the PH that we prefer. There are pros and cons to both lines. HAL's equivalent to the PH (Pinnacle Suite) is similar in location on the ship, layout, and size as the PH on Reflection, but also doesn't compare to the PH on Millenium class ships. HAL has more mellow (read 'longer in the tooth') passengers so it is quieter and has a more subdued atmosphere. The level of service is equivalent, although the "Neptune Lounge Hosts" don't really compare to Celebrity's Butler. Since we are so low-maintenance, that part doesn't really make an huge difference for us, but it's nice. HAL offers less Specialty Restaurants, and only includes 2 reservations complimentary - any in addition are additional charge. Final Notes.... Our next cruise is on HAL Eurodam, but we have 2 cruises booked on Summit in 2025. I have to say I'm more looking forward to the upcoming Celebrity cruises, but I know the HAL one will be awesome also.
  12. This was the first time it was done on the Reflection. The Excursion Manager was with us and seemed surprised when we told him what the description was - and that it specifically mentioned appropriate dress and shoes as we would be in non-public crew areas.
  13. Was on same cruises as Happy Cruiser 6143. There were definitely more kiddos on the 3 night voyage - however I have to say that the ones we ran into were way better behaved than our experiences on cruises with more “family lines”. There was one kid that was so respectful and polite to the staff at OVC, that we said such to his parents.
  14. It would depend on what type of meal you are looking for.... For elegance and upscale food and over-the-top service: Murano We had the best Filet and Lamb Chops ever at Lawn Club Grill, and it's also more casual and open-air on top deck (they can close it up if weather is bad). If you're looking for good food, but also an "experience", then Le Petite Chef. On our last trip, we did Lawn Club 3 times, Le Petite twice, and Murano, Tuscan, and Sushi on 5 once each and loved all of them.
  15. We just did this on Reflection......they kept our Sea Pass from the first leg on when we disembarked on turnaround day. However, yesterday (last day) there was an envelope in our room with our Sea Passes from the first leg in case we wanted to keep them. We hadn't said anything - this just "happened".
  16. We just did it twice on the Reflection. The first time was a menu/animation we had not seen before. The second time was the same menu from a cruise on Constellation last year, but the animation was completely different. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife's favorite for the 8 days we were on board and tried all the Specialty venues.
  17. On the Reflection last week we were allowed to take still pictures, but no video.
  18. Your class is what ours was described as. I would have loved that.
  19. We ate at Lawn Club Grill last night. They no longer allow guest participation due to “some unfortunate instances”. BTW - one of top 2 best meals we’ve had in the 6 days on board, and we’ve been to all the Speciality Restaurants. There’s just something about eating outdoors with the grill smoke wafting by.
  20. On Celebrity Reflection parked next to her. I remember being on it as a Royal Viking ship - yes, I’m aging myself!!
  21. One cruise director, when asked if there was a charge for the Tender, replied “No, but only because we hadn’t thought of it before now”.
  22. Kteacher - I would continue your post for you for the 4/26 trip, but you did such a nice job my additions would pale in comparison. I will post after the 4/26 voyage is over, but mostly to compare and contrast our experience on the 4/21 and 4/26 trips in the Penthouse then the Reflection suite.
  23. Captain Kirk is now on Reflection starting with today’s voyage (4/26).
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