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We cruise on Celebrity Reflection

16th November 2016

Updated July 2019

 

Sharon from our Concierge Team enjoyed an 11 night cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection. If you're thinking of cruising with Celebrity Cruises, be sure to read all about her experience below before you go!

 

 

Pre-Embarkation

We travelled one day earlier than the cruise departure date and stayed in Civitavecchia - the main cruise port for Rome where many cruises begin or end. We stayed in a local 4* B&B which had 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 pp. Having said this, I wouldn’t recommend the train back to the airport if your flight is before 14:00, or you are pushed for time.

 

 

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 rated restaurant, and enjoyed an amazing meal with wine for around €25 each. I definitely recommend eating here. When it was time to head to the ship we were quoted €20 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 great.

Drinks Prices and Packages

When we arrived we were offered an upgrade on our free drinks package for just $10 per person, per day, which was actually cheaper than what I was quoted prior to sailing. The Basic Drinks Package is fine, giving you a range of choice of beers, wines, and cocktails, but if like me you like to sample every cocktail at every bar, then you need the upgraded package - as a lot of cocktails are $13 and free drinks include 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, as 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. In fact I found everyone onboard to be friendly, and the crew were great. We were relatively young at mid-40s, 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 enabled us to visit the below speciality restaurants, which were 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 dine here is $55 but 1 visit is included in dining packages at $149pp.

Sushi on 5 has 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 presented on a Rubix Cube, and they also bring you chocolate covered strawberries in a grass box! Overall it was a bizarre yet fabulous experience and a close 2nd to Murano. Usually there is a supplement to eat here at $35pp.

 


Lawn Club Grill -  This wasn’t my favourite of the dining venues but I can see how some 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, with 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 a highstreet coffee shop, but with the most delicious cakes selection. These are all free with the coffees which are covered in the premium drinks package.

Entertainment

Outside of the theatre most of the entertainment happens around the atrium where there are parties, DJ’s, and bands etc. The Martini Bar had a fantastic atmosphere with the bar-staff jumping on the bar and dancing to entertain everyone. 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.

 

 

Lasting Impressions

I had a wonderful experience onboard Celebrity Reflection. 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


Viking Sea Cocktails Onboard

6th May 2016

Updated July 2019

 

It's no secret that many cruisers embark on their exciting itineraries not only excited to see new destinations, but also to explore the ship and - more specifically - the food and drink onboard! Some cruise lines are known to appeal to foodies more than others, and Viking Cruises is certainly one of them. We set a member of our team, Linda, the task of tasting and reviewing a good variety of cocktails available onboard one of Viking Cruises' gorgeous ships, Viking Sea. Read on for her fantastic account of the ship and of course, the drinks onboard.

 

cocktails onboard

 

Viking Sea is a beauty! She is small and intimate with toned down Nordic style furnishings in neutral colours, and I was lucky enough to be invited to spend three days onboard during her maiden voyage. 

My role is in customer services and one of the main questions we always get asked is about drinks. It can be difficult to find out much about the drinks on a cruise prior to travel, so when I have opportunities to get onboard a ship I like to try a nice variety and take notes, in order to share more information with our customers in advance. It is all strictly educational and the research is solely for work purposes, of course.

In general the prices onboard Viking Sea are reasonable for drinks; cocktails are between $8 and $12 (USD). I would recommend getting the Silver drinks package if you want to have a little more than the standard house wine and a couple of cocktails each day; as it works out better value for money. Water is complimenary though, and you get wine, beer and juices during lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee are also available all day.

So, with that in mind, I put my taste buds to the test.

Let’s start with the drink that lent its name to the terrace bar at the back of the ship. Aquavit. Never heard of it? Me neither. It is a caraway or dill spiced Scandinavian spirit. On its own… how shall I put it… it requires an acquired taste. I wouldn’t recommend sipping it. If you want to be polite and drink it, just throw it back in one go. In a cocktail however it can add an interesting edge to the taste. I tried it in a cocktail specifically created by Viking Cruises. I would recommend this drink, it has a slightly herby taste, but the bubbles in the sparkling wine round it off nicely.

 

cocktail

 

At the Pool Bar I had a Strawberry Daiquiri. An old favourite on a hot summer’s day, which suited perfectly while we were docked in a very warm and sunny in Lisbon. I must say it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but certainly enjoyable.

Then I suddenly felt a bit homesick and opted for a Pimm’s. To be honest I just wanted to see how a Philippine bartender in Lisbon on a Norwegian ship would make it. It tasted lovely, but it didn’t come with all the fruits you’d expect and the cucumber was missing.

The next day after our trip into Porto and a couple of spa treatments, we all had Afternoon Tea around the pool. The tea and cakes were very nice and so was the Champagne! After tea we got ready for dinner and went to explore the ship further. Eventually we got to the Explorer’s Lounge where we befriended one of the barmen who offered us advice on what to have.

My colleague opted for Caipirinha, which I thought was a solid choice. It wasn’t to her taste, so the barman made her a rum-based cocktail off the menu. That was delicious. I had a Planter’s Punch. It’s one of my favourite cocktails because it reminds me of all-inclusive summer holidays on a sandy beach. I thought it was made very well, one of the best I’ve ever had.

 

viking cruises cocktail



We had a bit of time to kill until dinner and a talented guitarist came on, so we just chatted and enjoyed the sea view with fellow guests. The Explorers Lounge is the place to be for that. It is at the aft of the ship where the whole back wall is made of glass, so you have a spectacular view of the sea and your surroundings. Live music, good company, a refreshing cocktail, and watching the water: bliss.

Before dinner we had time for a few more cocktails, of which there were two I was keen to try. The Viking Cocktail is made with brandy and sparkling wine in a tall Champagne glass. I love drinking out of a Champagne glass; it gives me the feeling of an occasion. I quite enjoyed this drink; it was refreshing and cold, a good choice.

The next was a Grasshopper which was fantastic, but perhaps I should have had it after dinner. It tastes like After 8, so I could have had that instead of pudding. (Instead… Who am I kidding?)

Some colleagues tried my old favourite the Bloody Mary, but with a twist. This time the tomato juice got replaced by crab juice. Yes, you read that right. Apparently it’s lighter and obviously has a distinct seafood taste. No thank you.

Overall I really enjoyed this cruise, not just the cocktails, but the whole experience and I would love to return to the Viking Sea for another trip. 

See which Viking Sea cruises we have available, and book your own cocktail-filled adventure with this warm and welcoming cruise line.


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