By Linda Coffman
With the introduction of Celebrity Reflection at her winter home port of Miami last weekend, Celebrity Cruises has completed the launch of their Solstice class of ships, begun in 2008 with a ship launched each year since.
As you might expect, each of the five ships is similar in layout, with a few innovations added as the series evolved. Cruisers who have sailed on previous Solstice class ships will find unique additions on Celebrity Reflection as well as favorite signature features. The aft-facing Sunset Bar and the adjacent Lawn Club have been expanded, and an additional deck offers more lounging space. The spa has been redesigned with new treatments added to the menu, and the Persian Garden relaxation suite has been expanded to include a cold room and a Turkish-style Hammam. A conference facility/banquet space ideal for wedding receptions and meetings replaces the dance club found on previous ships.
With the addition of three suite categories, Celebrity Reflection also features more—and larger—suites than other ships in her class. The highlight is the Reflection Suite, Celebrity's first two bedroom suite that accommodates up to six guests in 1,636 square feet with a 194-square-foot veranda. The main bedroom's shower is a show stopper, and hundreds lined up on the introductory sailing from Miami to see it and step inside. Cantilevered outward from of the vessel with a transparent glass floor and sides, the glass is coated with reflective material that keeps the ocean view one-way from inside. A switch triggers a fogging mechanism for complete privacy.
The Reflection Suite is located on a private area of Deck 1 only accessible to occupants who have a key card for either the Reflection Suite or one of the Signature Suites also housed there. The five new 441-square-foot one-bedroom Signature Suites feature 118-square-foot verandas and accommodate up to four guests. Ideal for a large family group, the six suites can be booked together for a private home at sea.
Located near the spa are 32 new 301-square foot AquaClass Suites with 79-square foot verandas, which include spa amenities such as complimentary access to the Persian Garden and assignment to the specialty restaurant Blu, regarded for its healthy "clean" cuisine. AquaClass Suites, like the AquaClass Staterooms, accommodate only two in order to maintain the adult spa-like atmosphere.
First introduced on sister ship Celebrity Silhouette and also found on Celebrity Reflection are Alcoves on the Lawn Club, private cabanas for relaxation that can be reserved at a charge of $149 on sea days and $99 when in port, that feature iPod music systems and even WiFi. The Lawn Club Grill, a specialty dining venue, lets passengers prepare custom made pizza and grill steaks for a $40 per person cover charge. Also a carry-over from Celebrity Silhouette are The Porch, a complimentary casual eatery for breakfast and lunch, as well as the Art Studio for aspiring artists interested in hands-on classes.
The new 3,030-passenger Celebrity Reflection is currently offering seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries from Miami, with fares from $649 to $1,849 per person, depending on date and itinerary. In 2013 it will sail its first full European season, featuring 10- and 11-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises round-trip from Rome.
Fodors.com Cruise Diva Linda Coffman has been dishing out cruise-travel advice for nearly two decades and is the author of Fodor's Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises, as well as a contributor of cruising content to other Fodor's guidebooks. You can find her on the Web at CruiseDiva.com and the Cruise Diva blog.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises