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We cruise on Celebrity Reflection

clock 16th November 2016 | comment0 Comments

Sharon from the Iglu Cruise Concierge Team recently enjoyed an 11 night cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection.

Thinking of cruising with Celebrity Cruises? Read all about her experience below before you go.

celebrity reflection ship

 

Pre-Embarkation

We travelled one day earlier and stayed in Civitavecchia the main cruise port for Rome where many cruises begin or end. We stayed in a local 4* B&B with a great location, just three minutes’ walk from the train station and 5-10 minutes’ walk to port. We got the train from Rome airport and changed at Trastevere which was all very straight forward. It took us about 90 mins and cost just 11 euros pp. I wouldn’t recommend the train back to the airport however if your flight is before 14:00 hours or you are pushed for time.

rome italy

Civitavecchia

Civitavecchia is a quaint little town where a wander down the back streets finds a few little hidden gems. We went to 80 FAME, a highly ranked restaurant online, and enjoyed an amazing meal with wine for around 25 euros pp. I definitely recommend eating here.   When it was time to head to the ship we were quoted 20 euros for a taxi but found we could easily walk along the seafront and enjoy the view.

Celebrity Reflection

Check-in was seamless with lots of staff to welcome us we were on the ship within ten minutes of arriving.

Once onboard my first impression was WOW this ship is beautiful! Our balcony cabin was nice and spacious - balcony 2B on Deck 6, forward (very forward). I also got to look at 2C with a partially obstructed view on Deck 6, which in my opinion was fine with a good mid-ship position. They are just above life boats but the view to sea looked fine.

celebrity cruises lawn club

celebrity reflection balcony cabin

celebrity reflection indoor pool

Drinks Prices and Packages

When we arrived we were offered an upgrade on our free drinks package for just $10 pppd which was actually cheaper than the £9 I was quoted prior to sailing. The Basic Drinks Package is fine and gives you limited choice of beers and wines and cocktails but if like me you like to sample every cocktail on every bar, then you need the upgrade as a lot of cocktails are $13 and free drinks is just cocktails up to $6. The World Bar (formerly known as Molecular Bar) and Martini Bar cocktails are $13-15 so the Classic Drinks Package means you can’t drink there, you’d need to pay the full price of each drink as a supplement, or the difference above $13 if on Premium. If you upgrade to Premium you can have drinks including premium sake and port etc in the restaurants which we did and loved. Definitely worth upgrading especially if you have free spend or onboard credit.

Cruise Passengers

There were lots of friendly Americans and Canadians onboard who were very sociable. I found everyone onboard to be friendly and the crew were great. We were relatively young at 44 but I’d say the average age for this cruise was about 50. I didn’t see any kids other than a couple of teenagers. There didn’t seem like there would be a lot for them to do, but, if they are like my kids who are real foodies and like to chill, then it’s not a problem to bring them along.

Cuisine and Dining

Our dining package was $149pp and gave us a visit to the below speciality restaurants which was worth every cent.

Murano was my favourite speciality restaurant, we paid extra so that we could enjoy it twice! We had Silver Service with table side flambéed chateaubriand, lobster, dover sole and more. The service was impeccable and the food was to die for. The cheese from the cheese trolley was the best I’ve ever tasted, the best quality on the ship. In my opinion this was the best restaurant I have ever visited and even better than some Michelin Star restaurants. The usual cost to visit here is $55 but 1 visit is included in dining packages at $149pp.

Sushi on 5has amazing sushi and a relaxed informal atmosphere. Usually you pay per item here but because we were on the dining package they brought us all sorts just because they can! The sake was amazing, we easily finished off a few mini carafes.

Qsine - We had a fantastic experience in Qsine, you can pick from the iPad as many tasting courses as you like. They do everything and it comes out all weird and wonderful with little tubes of sauces. The dessert menu is on their very own rubix cube. They also bring you chocolate covered strawberries in a grass box. Overall it was a fab bizarre experience and a close 2nd to Murano. Usually there is a supplement to eat here at $35pp.

celebrity reflection dining

celebrity reflection dining

celebrity reflection qsine

celebrity reflection dining

celebrity reflection dining

celebrity reflection dining


Lawn Club Grill - It wasn’t my favourite of the dining venues but I can see how some will enjoy the grill master experience. Here you can have starter flat breads like pizzas, a salad buffet and a wide selection of meats and fish from the BBQ. To dine here it usually costs $55 pp.

Tuscan Grille - The Tuscan Grille is a great speciality restaurant for anyone looking for traditional Italian/ Mediterranean fare. You can enjoy freshly made pizza, pasta and succulent steaks etc usually for a $45 supplement.

Buffet Restaurant - The food was fantastic especially on Gala Dinner days it was a gourmet buffet all day including lots of seafood. Afternoon tea was a great hit served every day at the buffet and the chocolate fountain was (unsurprisingly) always popular.

El Bachio Café is a lot like Costa Coffee but with the most delicious yummy cakes selection, all free with the coffees which are covered on the premium drinks package.

Entertainment

Outside of the theatre most of the entertainment happens around the atrium where there are parties, DJ’s, bands etc. The Martini Bar had a fantastic atmosphere with the bar-staff jumping on the bar and showing off etc. It made for a great night. The World Class Bar has some unique cocktails for around $13-20 but doesn’t serve any other drinks like wine or beers so my other half had to bring his own from the other bars.

The Sunset Bar at the back of the ship is a great place for a cocktail when sailing away but there are lots of other bars dotted around the ship.

celebrity reflection outdoor pool

Lasting Impressions

I had a wonderful experience onboard Celebrity Reflection. If for whatever reason you are unsatisfied with the service you receive, you can ask to remove your gratuities without question. Overall it was a fantastic cruise and a lovely first experience of Celebrity Cruises. I can’t wait to return for a second cruise and take my two teenage daughters.

Book your cruise on Celebrity Reflection



What is the Boardwalk on Oasis Class ships?

clock 13th May 2016 | comment0 Comments
Unlike the other class of ships, Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships have seven different neighbourhoods. Let's take a look at the entertainment, restaurants an fun you can have on the Boardwalk. [More]


What to expect on your Cunard cruise

clock 6th October 2015 | comment0 Comments

A cruise with Cunard can be an absolutely magnificent affair. With 175 years to perfect their White Star service and offer some of the best luxury ocean cruising at sea, you are guaranteed to savor every moment spent on your Cunard cruise. If you are considering a Cunard cruise for the first time it's only natural that you may have some questions. Cunard have taken the time to answer some of its most frequenlty asked questions in the video guides below. Check them out, and of course, if you have any more questions before booking your cruise just let us know.

 

Embarkation for a Cunard cruise

 

 

 

Stateroom and Suites on a Cunard cruise

 

 

 

Accessible Cruising and Family Cruising with Cunard

 

 

 

Dining on a Cunard Cruise

 

 

 

Connectivity and Currency on a Cunard Cruise

 

 

 

Dress Code on a Cunard Cruise

 

 

Browse and book a Cunard transatlantic cruise from our newest offers or plan ahead with Cunard 2018 sailings



Top 10 Specialty Restaurants At Sea

clock 8th May 2014 | comment0 Comments

Updated Feb 2017

 

Food glorious food, there is no getting away from it on a cruise.

I do not think a cruise is only about food but let’s be honest, it does play a significant part. Some of the most exquisite dishes are found at sea and several of the most famous Michelin chefs now call the sea their home.

Although the main dining room is still a key feature on many ships, it is the rise in specialty restaurants that attract us to open our intrigued taste buds that crave new flavours. Showcasing the best in Italian, Brazilian, Asian and French cuisine, a cruise will take you on a culinary journey like never before.

With specialty restaurants requiring an extra cover charge and most needing a reservation, they change the dynamic of cruise ship dining dramatically. Whether you simply want to dine somewhere different every night or want to visit an exclusive restaurant for a special occasion, its hard to escape from these award-winning restaurants that temp you with their mouth-watering menus, intimate settings and excellent value for money.

I am lucky enough (although my waist line says different) to have tried many of the line’s specialty restaurants and thought it was about time I wrote my top 10...

 

Giovanni’s Table – Royal Caribbean

I have met very few people that do not share a love for Italian food, so typically most cruise lines include an Italian Bistro among their dining options. However, from the al fresco style setting to the family style dining, Giovanni’s Table wins my vote. Featured on many Royal Caribbean ships including Oasis of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas, its enticing menu is only a teaser of how the food actually tastes.

With its apparent Mediterranean influence, Giovanni’s Table flaunts a true Italian atmosphere and intense aroma that one would expect from a restaurant in the heart of Venice.

Starters are brought out family style, enabling you to share everything on the menu if you wish. As expected there is lots of pasta, although it is more than just 'pasta'. From authentic sauces, fresh seasonings and unique cheeses these starters only leave you more intrigued for the main courses.

A traditional meat slicer used to slice fresh prosciutto ham combined with world-class steaks and fresh fish are just some of the meat dishes you can expect to indulge on.

Available on: Independence of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas

Atmosphere: Authentic

My favourite dish: Gnocchi (I know, not the most extravagant but tastes divine!)

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Giovanni’s Table

 

The White Room – P&O Cruises

The 'Godfather of modern cooking' Marco Pierre White was eager to get his culinary wonders to the high seas so was delighted when P&O Cruises gave him the opportunity to do just this. Owner of three elusive Michelin stars, Marco showcases his talents through The White Room with one of most desirable menus at sea.

The bold black and white decoration impresses from the moment you are invited in by the professional wait staff who line the entrance, just like you see them do in the movies. The interior boasts a sleek design giving the feeling of being inside a high-class city restaurant. Even the menus and table décor are made of thick black leather which again portray a lavish design.

Available on Ventura, it showcases two menus that alternate on various nights of the cruise. Including a selection of Marco’s famous fish dishes, unique meats and mouth-watering desserts, even the most experienced of taste buds will be blown away here.

Available on: Ventura

Atmosphere: Chic

My favourite dish: Dill pickle and chive crusted pork rack

Top speciality restaurants at sea: The White Room

 

Qsine – Celebrity Cruises

Where do I start with this restaurant? Like nothing else I have experienced on land let alone at sea, this unique dining journey starts from the moment you order your meal on an iPad. There can be no preconceptions about Qsine as it is a restaurant of the unexpected.

After you have used the interactive iPads to design your meal, sit back and wait to be tantalised by unexpected twists on familiar favourites. From the revolutionary sushi lollipops, popcorn fish and chips and lobster escargot, it has an off-beat edge to give you an experience that you can only find on a Celebrity Cruise.

Qsine’s décor is fairly simple and boasts a more casual feel. Decked out in orange and yellows, its bright design portrays a happy atmosphere and great for a fun meal time with friends and family.

Available on: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit

Atmosphere: Casual and fun

My favourite dish: Sushi lollipops (of course!)

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Qsine

 

Kai Sushi – Princess Cruises

Every city, shopping mall and airport has the latest take on an Asian sushi restaurant, and it didn’t take long for cruise lines to jump on the bandwagon either. However, Kai Sushi onboard Princess Cruises stood out for me.

From the moment you step inside you are transformed into an Asian paradise. With deep brown décor combined with bamboo accessories, its large open cooking area showcases highly regarded chefs preparing authentic sushi creations and traditional Japanese seafood dishes.

Even for those who do not have a love for sushi can opt for lobster, octopus and other seafood dishes.

Available on: Diamond Princess, Sun Princess

Atmosphere: Majestic

My favourite dish: Kaisen udon - mixture of lobster, jumbo shrimp, scallops, snapper, calamari and noodles in a rich broth

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Kai Sushi

 

Moderno Churrascaria – Norwegian Cruise Line

When Norwegian Cruise Line introduced Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Epic, the positive reviews flew in and everyone was talking about it. Debuting a new dining experience to the cruise industry, this Brazilian Steakhouse was the first dining concept of its kind at sea.

Although the decor is not the most stand-out design, the food more than makes up for it. The extensive salad bar invites you to delve into its freshly prepared salads including tuna, fresh beans, European cured meats and Artisan cheeses. However, be careful as this is a meal in itself and you will not want to fill yourself up before the main course.

Calling all meat lovers! Be prepared to feast on the largest selection of meats you have ever seen in one restaurant at the same time. From a range of different beef, chicken, pork, sausage, chorizo and lamb it is a pure haven for foodies.

With all of this delicious meat being sliced before your very eyes, it is a wonder they even thought about dessert, but if you can handle it, you are in for a surprise. The signature dessert of crispy fried Portuguese sweet bread puffs with caramel and vanilla is the icing on the cake for your Moderno Churrascaria experience.

Available on: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Pride of America

Atmosphere: Lively

My favourite dish: Spanish chorizo with red wine and parmesan cheese

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Moderno Churrascaria

 

Remy – Disney Cruise Line

Remy is way up there on my list of favourite restaurants I have dined at, not only at sea. This intimate adults-only eatery is an enchanted retreat that serves the finest French cuisine. Remy truly takes you to an authentic roof-top restaurant in the centre of Paris.

Soft lighting, gold décor and timeless art work compliment the immaculately displayed tables. Like the rest of the ship, Disney have sprinkled their magic on this restaurant to ensure everyone has a five-star dining experience.

The French-inspired menu was created by Chef Arnaud Lallement who has worked at numerous Michelin star restaurants and Chef Scott Hunnell from the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s at Walk Disney World Resort.

A complimentary chilled champagne cocktail is prepared at your table before you place your orders from the enticing menu. Some of the tasty dishes you can expect to choose from include Halibut, King Salmon, Kobe Beef and Niman Ranch Lamb.

Available on: Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy

Atmosphere: Luxurious

My favourite dish: Duck pomegranate with pistachios and hearts of palm

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Remy

 

150 Central Park – Royal Caribbean

One for those who like the finer things in life, 150 Central Park is the premium specialty restaurant onboard Oasis and Allure of the Seas. I have not come across a concept quite like this on any other ship and it left an impressive impact on me. Created by award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz, he brings his distinct flavours alive in this intimate and charming restaurant.

Located in the centre of the Central Park, its boutique style exterior is set deep within the lush greenery. Once the door has been opened by one of the immaculately dressed hosts, you are guided to a table that looks like it has been prepared for the Queen. The grand domed chairs are my favourite touch.

Featuring two rotating multi-course menus per cruise, each set course is accompanied with the perfect wine to enhance each dish into an explosion of deliciousness. Although each of the courses are fairly small, do not let this deceive, as every course compliments each other and ensures you are more than satisfied by the end.

A signature Cucumber Martini (only available here) at the beginning is then followed by a selection of breads. The waiter will then explain the salts that are available to have with your bread, a really interesting concept. From here expect to experience a world-class cheese trolley, a 0.65kg dry-aged rib eye steak and the iconic 150 central Park Candy Bar.

Available on: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas

Atmosphere: Upscale

My favourite dish: Pumpkin bread gnocchi

Top speciality restaurants at sea: 150 Central Park

 

Sindhu– P&O Cruises

The restaurant of flavours, Sindhu was created by Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar who has brought his much-loved Indian style to the cruise world. Showcasing his modern Indian cuisine with a British twist, Sindhu sets all the senses alive and gives you the ultimate dining experience.

Kochhar has explored flavours from across the Far East and infuses them in all of the dishes available at East. There are two inspiring menus available onboard that showcase his most exotic dishes.

The interior design boasts deep red and gold décor that illuminates a charming atmosphere throughout. It is not only the food that allows you to have a special evening here, but the atmosphere and regular presence of chefs make it a memorable dining experience.

With an extensive menu, it is hard to choose but rest assured whatever choice you make you will not be disappointed. From spiced meats, fish dishes and an array of vegetarian options, it is Indian cuisine as you’ve never seen it.

Available on: Ventura, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Britannia, Oriana

Atmosphere: Oriental

My favourite dish: Malaysian vegetable parcel

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Sindhu

 

Tuscan Grille – Celebrity Cruises

A steak house with an Italian bistro is a couple rarely seen together at sea, until the launch of Tuscan Grille. Celebrity Cruises wanted a restaurant that was elegant yet edgy to showcase an array of distinct dishes.

Tuscan Grille has an exciting character that creates an infectious sense of smiles and enjoyment within every visitor. With its casual style, it allows guests to enjoy elegant food in a more contemporary setting.

It's bright lighted entrance entices you to go further as you walk through a small tunnel-like walk way before leading to the bright, open restaurant that boasts floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean.

Steak is the highlight at Tuscan Grille. Celebrity’s corn-fed USDA dry aged steaks are bursting with juicy flavour and incredible tenderness. For the non steak lovers, you can choose the salmon and seabass that is sent to your table sizzling from the grill. A range of salads and pasta dishes are also popular choices.

Available on: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit

Atmosphere: Modern

My favourite dish: Shortrib pappardelle ragu - braised shortrib with fresh herbs, tomato, mushroom and truffle

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Tuscan Grille

 

Crown Grill – Princess Cruises

Everyone loves a steakhouse, so what sets one above the other? For me, Crown Grill is the ultimate in cruise line steakhouses.

Voted 'Best Cruise Ship Steakhouse' by USA Today, it’s no surprise why. From its deep brown décor, grand dining tables and a menu to die for, no other steakhouse will compare. Crown Grill is a large sized restaurant and can accommodate a fair amount of guests which is great as it appears to be one of the most popular restaurants onboard with a number of guests going back a second and third time.

A stand-out feature is the open theatre-style kitchen that displays the chefs cooking up their surprises. The large fire oven oozes tantalising aromas that leave you eager for the waiters to present you with your chosen dishes.

The chefs prepare custom made dishes including steamed lobster, prime steaks and the classic filet mignon. Other dishes featured on this extensive menu include a white wine muscle pot, Chilean sea bass and grilled tiger prawns.

Available on: Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Ruby Princess

Atmosphere: Rustic 

My favourite dish: The 4oz Maine lobster tails. I also have to mention the molten dutch chocolate fudge obsession dessert!

Top speciality restaurants at sea: Crown Grill

 

View yourself as a massive foodie? Why not book onto a Food Heroes cruise

 

Related pages:

Dining options onboard P&O Cruises

Dining options onboard Royal Caribbean

 

 


By Sally Grimes



Cruising with a food allergy or special diet

clock 13th March 2014 | comment1 Comments

Updated April 2017

 

There is nothing I love more than meeting up with old friends, so when a friend I have not seen for over a year sent me a text to say she was coming to London, I was so excited. Most social meet ups revolve around food or drink, so I started to plan where we could go. With such an extensive array of restaurants and bars in London it was not an easy task. From upmarket American diners, seafood restaurants and exotic Asian buffets, we had a varied selection.

The day before we were meeting she informed me she is a celiac. Having never suffered from a food allergy myself, it was something completely new to me and I have never had the frustration of having to look into food ingredients before. Typical me, the first thing I thought was 'How would she cruise?'

 

Cruising with a food allergy

 

I imagine going on a cruise can be daunting for someone with a food allergy or special diet, so after looking into this extensively, I have outlined how the most popular cruise lines cater for guests with food allergies...

 

P&O Cruises

Before you cruise – P&O Cruises require you to notify them of your food allergy. You will need to contact your agent and inform them of your specific dietary requirements so they can forward it onto the ship.

Onboard – There will already be a note about your food allergy in your booking so the chef will be notified of this before you arrive. However, during your first meal onboard it is advised you inform your Head Waiter or the Maitre’d of your specific restrictions.

 

Royal Caribbean

Before you cruise – You will need to call your agent before your cruise so they can update your personal information section. Alternatively, you can send an email to specialservices.uk@rccl.com with your name, booking number, ship name and sail date along with your specific dietary requirements. If you require lactose-free/soy milk, ensure you let your agent know prior to sailing. Royal Caribbean request that you advise them of your special dietary requests at least 45 days prior to sailings in US, 90 days in Europe and 100 days for Asian/Australian itineraries. 

Onboard – Royal Caribbean can cater for many food allergies, Gluten-free, kosher, low-fat and low-sodium diets. Vegetarian meals are available in the main dining room as well as the other speciality restaurants and guests do not need to request these meals. The friendly dining staff and chefs will always be on hand and doing there upmost to cater your needs.

 

Royal Caribbean cruising with a special diet

 

Celebrity Cruises

Before you cruise – Celebrity Cruises ask that you make them aware of any food allergies before your cruise. You will need to email special_needs@celebrity.com or call your agent in advance. Royal Caribbean request that you advise them of your special dietary requests at least 45 days prior to sailings in US, 90 days in Europe and 100 days for Asian/Australian itineraries. 

Onboard – Celebrity Cruises can cater for several special diets including Kosher, gulten free and low calorie. Celebrity Cruises will automatically send a report to the ship of any special dietary requests prior to sailing date, however it is still advised you remind your Head Waiter during your first meal. Celebrity Cruises offer a great range of special meals including kosher dishes, gluten-free meals and no-sugar-added desserts. 

 

Carnival Cruise Line

Before you cruise – Special dietary requests are handled onboard, so there is no need to inform them or your agent in advance.

Onboard – During your first meal in the main Dining Room make your allergies known to your Head Waiter. Special diets can be accommodated in the main dining room only.

 

Cunard Cruise Line

Before you cruise – Cunard require you to inform your agent of any special dietary requirements during the booking process.

Onboard – You will need to inform the staff at the Purser’s desk as soon as you board, as well as reminding your server during meal times.

 

Cunard Cruise Line special diet

 

Princess Cruises

Before your cruise – Princess require you to inform them of your food allergies no later than 35 days prior to departure and for some destinations, no later than 65 days prior to departure. This can be done in writing using the line’s Cruise Personaliser online.

Onboard – Confirm your request with the Maitre’d during your first night onboard.

 

Food is a significant part of cruising and some of the most exquisite menus can be found at sea and it is reassuring to see that this delicious food can still be enjoyed by those who may not feel they can.

After looking into all of the cruise lines, it is clear to see the dining staff and chefs onboard cruise ships cater exceptionally well for all special dining requests. They do not let certain dietary requirements take anything away from their iconic culinary delights.

My advice to anyone worried about going on a cruise because of their diet would be - do not let your food allergy put you off, you can rest assured you will have just as much dining pleasure as everyone else. During your cruise you will be able to experience dishes and treats like nothing else you have ever tasted.


By Sally Grimes



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