REFLE”X”IONs On The Open Sea, Part Two

Peter Knego wraps up his first look at Celebrity Cruises’ latest Solstice Class ship, the spectacular CELEBRITY REFLECTION, with a day at sea.

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All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Port Deck 15, facing forward.

It would be lovely day at sea to relax, or, better yet, traverse thirteen or so quarter-mile-long decks in search of spaces and details to document.

Ornament versus chandelier.
Xmas in Sky Lounge.
Christmas Library.
Atrium, facing forward/up from Deck 3.
Menorah modern.

Due to meetings and crowds in general, some spaces were just not available and would have to be sought out the following morning. Others were festively festooned in layers of Holiday Season regalia, from properly positioned poinsettias to glorious garlands, towering Christmas trees and even a thoroughly-modern Menorah.

REFLECTION inspection.
Not so suite: the Signature and Reflection queue.

Between Noon and 3:00 PM, a selection of suites, including the already-covered (see last report) Signature and Reflection Suites, would be open for viewing. The line to get into the latter was so long, visiting times were extended an hour (but even then, there was no chance to stop for photos).

AquaClass Suite 2155, facing port.

We did manage to navigate some less-dense crowds in the other accommodation, timing our visits between ebbs and flows of humanity. Of particular interest were the 301-square-foot AquaClass Suites, 34 of of which have been added to the REFLECTION on Deck 12. These are the same layout and dimensions as the Sky Suites but come with AquaClass amenities, such as bottled water, tea, priority seating in Blu, canapes, complimentary cappuccino or espresso, a bed pillow menu, aroma scent selections, etc.

Atrium sculpture, facing forward.

And now, a look at some artwork and a few of the more intimate lounges that are situated in balconied nooks overlooking the forward part of the thirteen deck tall Atrium. Suspended in the midst of the towering space is a live ficus tree atop Cuban artist Burt Rodriguez’ aluminum and fiberglass sculpture of an inverted tree called “Reflection”.

“Untitled 2011” by Chilean artist Ernesto Burgos, consisting of a “found cushion” and paint.
Reflection collection: contemplating Jane Hammond’s “The Wonderfulness of Downtown,, 1996-1997”.

The adjacent stairtower and elevator vestibules are a virtual vertical museum of modern art, featuring works that sport a “reflection” theme. One does not have to love every work of art on Celebrity’s ships, but there is no denying this is edgy and provocative stuff versus the often mind-numbing, pastoral blandness found on many ships. Celebrity leads a short list of lines with cutting-edge art that also includes U.K.-based Fred. Olsen’s fleet and Oceania’s MARNIA twins.

Feather duster landing.

Not every eye-catching object we encountered was art. Not yet, anyway.

Library, facing forward. Who’s That Girl?

On Deck 12, there is a Future Cruise Office, followed on Decks 11 and 10 by the dual-level Library with its towering shelves and a fascinating acrylic, Swarovsky crystal, LED and glass centerpiece by Norbert Brunner called, “The World Is A Looking Glass”.

Game On, facing port.

Game On is an enhanced version of the Card Room, located on the Deck 9 level of the Atrium.

The Hideaway, facing port.

The dual-level Hideaway on Decks 8 and 7 is a tree-house-inspired space with suspended pods and plenty of quiet corners to sit back with a book or just glaze into catatonia. Coffee and tea is available in the starboard corner.

Celebrity i-Lounge, facing port.

And, in lieu of the traditional internet center, Celebrity leads the floating world with the Celebrity i-Lounge, a Mac-infused space with computer stations and various bits of Apple wizardry, some of which is available for purchase.

Reflections of REFLECTION.
Atrium, facing up from Deck 3.

From its base on Deck 3, the Atrium’s soaring height and almost sci-fi sense of style can be fully appreciated.

Molecular Bar, facing forward.

The lion’s share of public spaces on the Solstice Class ships are located on Decks 5 and 4, with the Lobby, Shore Excursions Office, Passport Bar and lower level of the Opus Dining Room on Deck 3. There just isn’t enough time or space to cover every lounge and bar here but a few highlights, beginning on Deck 5, include the Molecular Bar (the latest evolution of Galleria Tastings found on the other Solstice Class ships). Adjacent to the new Breitling and Omega Boutique (which replaces an art gallery) and overlooking the shopping arcade, it now features designer cocktails made with an assortment of herbs and ingredients that are often displayed on the bar, itself.

Molecular Merino.

Junior Merino, aka “The Liquid Chef”, was on hand that eve to demonstrate his array of Molecular Bar creations, which included ginger, cilantro, fresh basil, cinnamon and even dry ice for that “Vampira” essence.

Cafe Al Bacio, facing forward.

On the starboard side of Deck 5, sandwiched between the finite and view-challenged open promenade (the only significant architectural disappointment I can attribute to this class of ship) and the Atrium, there is Cafe Al Bacio. On revenue cruises, this space is well-attended but on our inaugural, it was a perpetual mob scene.


In addition to free cookies and a menu of a la carte coffee drinks, Cafe Al Bacio has a selection of lovely teas displayed in rows of origami-like pyramids. Across the way, on the port side of the Atrium, Bistro On Five is an a la carte creperie and bistro with a $5 cover charge.

Ensemble passage, facing aft.

Deck 5 continues aft of the Atrium with a passage on the starboard side that leads to the Ensemble Lounge and a number of adjacent spaces, including most of the ship’s extra-tariff restaurants. On all the Solstice Class ships, the passage, itself, is an art installation. On the CELEBRITY REFLECTION, Carlos Betancourt’s “The Celestial Garden” is a walk-through painting that incorporates flora and elements of Greek and Roman architecture.

Reflections in Murano.

The Ensemble Lounge is an elliptical bar/lounge that doubles as an entry lobby for Michael’s Club (a sports bar hideaway on the port side) and Murano, the extra-tariff ($40), Modern Gothic style French Restaurant, which is fitted out with Murano chandeliers, plush furnishings and ornate mirrors.


Another passage aft of the Ensemble Lounge connects three specialty restaurants. On all the Solstice Class ships, this space boasts eye-popping installations, including “Birch” by U.K.-based Anthony James, featuring dried birch trees, bronze, mirrors and coated steel.

Totally random linoleum.

Even the decking between the specialty restaurants is worth poring over.

Blu, facing forward.

On the starboard side, there is Qsine, an extra tariff ($40 per person) specialty restaurant with the new-fangled twist of creating artful edibles that do not look like what they are composed of, such as shrimp popcorn and sushi lollipops. On the port side, another favorite space with rose-textured walls, a glorious screen featuring circles of color and the occasional “peek hole”, ornate chandeliers and a soothing blue and white color scheme, Blu is the domain of AquaClass guests (and open to “regular” suite guests, space permitting), featuring health and spa-oriented cuisine.

Tuscan Grille, facing starboard.

At the far aft end of Deck 5, and reached via a wine barrel-shaped vestibule, the Tuscan Grille spans the width of the ship. This acclaimed Italian steakhouse commands a $30 tariff and provides some of the best views at sea.

Conference Room A, facing port.

On Deck 4, aft of the Reflection Theater, there is a double deck lobby that adjoins a cabaret style theater on the starboard side called Celebrity Central and the Conference Center, a REFLECTION exclusive, on the port side. On the prior Solstice Class ships, this space was occupied by Quasar, a futuristic nightclub, while the conference rooms were way up on Deck 14, aft of the Sky Lounge. The REFLECTION’s Conference Center consists of three rooms that can be joined together and, in an industry first, can be catered with full meal service.

Martini Bar, facing forward.

Past the Casino and Shops on Deck 4 on the port side of the Atrium, there is the elegant, elliptical Martini Bar, designed by the renowned, award-winning Hans Galutera. Cool in style and to the touch, it features a counter top that is chilled to 32 degrees, so no drink need lose its icy edge.

Cruise Radio was here.

I was clearly not the only cruise blogger passing through the ship that day!

Cellar Masters, facing aft.

On the starboard side of Deck 4 overlooking the Atrium, there is Cellar Masters, the CELEBRITY REFLECTION’s dedicated wine bar.

Cellar Masters dispenser.

Either new to the REFLECTION or hitherto unnoticed on my prior Solsltice Class sailings, Cellar Masters offers individually priced wines by the glass via a convenient credit card-swiping dispenser.

Lawn Club Grill fixings.

The feedback for the Lawn Club Grills aboard both the SILHOUETTE and REFLECTION is overwhelmingly positive. Even though it commands a rather steep $40 per person tariff, this quality eatery is congenial and fun. On cool, rainy or windy nights, staff can offer up a warm deck blanket but salads are known to take flight. After washing up and donning aprons, the more adventurous guests select their entrées, then spice them to taste. All the while, guests have the option of preparing their entrées (with a little help from the chef) or sitting back and letting the chef do all the work.

On the grill in the Grille.

Then, the grilling begins.

Flatbread finessed.

Meanwhile, guests can assist with the creation of their flatbread pizzas by selecting toppings from the salad bar.

Veggies and margherita.

Here is how our half-Margherita and half-grilled-veggie pizza turned out. It disappeared along with my chicken kebab skewer and Lis’ Filet Mignon (“like butter” she cooed) rather quickly.

Lawn Club chairs.

After dessert, I finally had a chance to capture those oversized chairs without occupants.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It all ended, just like it began, with a cluster of cameras and a long gangway.

Now that all of the Solstice Class ships have been introduced, one can only wonder what will come next from the masterminds at Celebrity.

End of REFLECTIONS On A Sea Day, Part Two

Special Thanks: Martin Cox, Hans Galutera, Liz Jakeway, Lis Kemp, Ross Nacht, Tavia Robb,

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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