After a wonderful 3 days in Barcelona, Spain, my mother and I were ready to embark on the brand new Celebrity Reflection for its maiden transatlantic voyage. I usually get to the port on embarkation days around 10:30 am but my mom and I had a late night in Barcelona so we slept in, knowing we would have a full day ahead of us getting to know our home for 13 nights.
We arrived to the port around 1:00 PM via Taxi, dropped off our bags and proceeded to the terminal to check in. I have sailed before out of Barcelona and there were always short lines so I was surprised to see such long lines as we walked in. I knew the Elite line would be long since more than half of the passengers on Transatlantics are usually frequent Celebrity Cruisers but I didn’t think the AquaClass Cabin line would also be as long. It took about an hour to get through the line, get our keys and board the ship. We were given a piece of paper that indicated they are still having problems with the engines that started during the previous sailing. In the letter the captain stated that they were able to fix part of the problem but not everything and that safety is not an issue but we have to sail at reduced speeds, therefore they are canceling our stop in Tenerife. Because of this we have been given $150 on board credit per cabin which I am wondering if it is really just a refund of our port fees for that port. I know there are always kinks to be worked out with new ships but it is a little worrisome that the kinks involve the engines… that’s pretty big in my opinion and makes me wonder if the ship will already have to go into dry dock to fix it since they were not able to fix it while in Greece or Turkey.
Once on Board the ship, we were greeted with champagne and told what dining options were available at that time. We decided to go to our state room to check it out and put a few things down before going to get some lunch. Even though the Reflection is part of the Solstice class of ships, there have been many changes done on this ship including the floor our cabin is on. We chose our stateroom 2146 because it is midship and on what is referred to as the “hump” of the ship’s design. This hump gives you a bigger balcony than regular AquaClass balconies which is especially nice for a transatlantic crossing. Upon entering our cabin, I was pleased to see the configuration of the room how I like it with the beds near the bathroom and the couch near the balcony. There was water, tea, a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fruit provided for us. The room offers plenty of storage and closet space, a safe, fridge, blow dryer, keyboard if you want to use with the TV/internet, a lighted magnifying mirror and your modern flat screen TV that pulls out and can be angled towards the beds if needed. There are two US plugs at the desk and 1 European plug that fits the provided blow dryer. Because we are staying in an AquaClass cabin, we were provided with slippers to keep, robes (that you can purchase if you want), bottled water, a different specialty tea each day, a spa fragranced diffuser and the use of the Spa’s Persian Garden which I will write more about later. In the bathroom, the spa cabins have a vertical wall of shower jets that you can choose to turn on or off with the main shower head. There is shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel, lotion, cotton swabs and Qtips provided. The balcony has two lounge chairs that are adjustable to sit up or all the way back and ottomans. There is also a small table. Inside the cabin next the sliding doors to the balcony is a couch and table.
After lunch we proceeded to our Muster station for the mandatory life boat drill. Here we watched and listened to a safety video indicating what should be done in case of an emergency. Afterwards the captain came on over the intercom welcoming us aboard and telling us again about the problem with the ship’s speed and having to skip Tenerife. I will say this is the first time I have sailed that the captain didn’t seem very warm. I imagine the engine problem has put a damper on his mood but he shouldn’t let that stop him from sounding positive and happy to the passengers. Hopefully it will improve.
Before dinner we met up with some people at the Sunset Bar to say goodbye to Barcelona and set sail. It was raining so this put a damper on the gathering as everyone had to huddle under the small covered area of this bar. Next to the Sunset Bar is the Art Studio where they provide make and take art/craft classes for a fee (most were $20) and some complimentary ones as well. We like crafts so we stopped in to sign up only to find the majority of the classes were already full which is easy considering there is only room for about 10 people which isn’t much considering the number on board. I asked to look at a sample of what the classes were making for $20 and all I can say is that it was no loss for us because the projects are like those I would give kids to do. I was hoping you would actually learn something more than just stringing some beads for a bracelet or gluing on some stones for a necklace. I was pretty disappointed but it’s not like they had space anyway so it was no loss.
Blu Dining Room
When you have an AquaClass Cabin, you dine in a special dining room called Blu. The atmosphere of Blu is a little more intimate and relaxing than the larger main dining room in my opinion. Some people fear that it is going to be only healthy food but I have yet to feel I am only eating healthy dishes when dining in Blu. The main difference I see is that the chef doesn’t use a lot of cream in soups but instead makes them thick by pureeing the vegetable for example. I also find the dishes in Blu have a lot more flavor because of the various reduction sauces the chef can make since there are not as many passengers to feed in Blu.
Upon entering Blu we were checked in by the Maitre D’. I don’t even know his name as he was all business. However, the Asst. Maitre D’ “Johnny” was very friendly and running around helping the waiters where needed. Our waiter Jose is great and was very efficient along with his assistant. For starters we had a Seafood Napoleon which was thinly sliced cucumbers with a sauce and on top there was a cold selection of seafood including a scallop, mussel and shrimp. It was very light and tasty. After that we had a Pureed Corn soup that had pieces of corn, spicy chorizo and chopped cilantro. It was excellent and after a rainy afternoon, one of those soups that you want to make a meal out of ☺. For the main course we had a petite filet mignon that was served with a reduction sauce over a little bit of mashed potato and topped with a grilled onion. It was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth. For dessert we were really full but decided to try something the Asst Maitre D recommend. It was basically cream puffs hollowed out with ice cream inside and chocolate sauce pored over. I don’t care for cream puff unless they are really soft and these were not since they were probably put in the freezer after having the ice cream put inside.
I did see another dessert that looked really good. It was a warm blueberry and banana crepe and they got a side of vanilla ice cream with it. But I know we will have plenty of desserts to try over the next 13 days. After dinner, we decided to skip the welcome aboard show and unpack our suitcases before calling it a night since our first port and tour starts at 8 am in the morning. Next stop: Palma de Mallorca, Spain.