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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LIVE Onboard the Celebrity Reflection: Day 6 of My Cruise

Leaning Tower of Pisa at Brunch
After a great night of fun, we woke up tired, but ready to take on a sea day onboard the Celebrity Reflection. Anna has been diligent about working out every single day and well, I hate her.  No, I wish I could as well, but the pain in my foot and ankle is bad enough that I know if I push it I could end up doing more damage than good.  After her workout, we decided to hit the fabulous Brunch that was being served in the Opus restaurant.
Having just attended a similar brunch on the Celebrity Summit only two weeks prior, I was excited to see what the offerings would be and equally excited for Anna to see her first Brunch at sea.  What's better than a bread windmill?


The food available and how it is presented is far more than what you would expect from a buffet on a cruise ship.  Everything is beautifully displayed, from the omelet or pasta stations to the sushi or cheese tables to the chocolate fountains, both milk and white chocolate with an abundance of fruit to make anyone enter diabetic shock quickly and effortlessly.

Shrimp anyone?
The ice carvings throughout the restaurant were both functional and beautiful from the classic Celebrity "X" to the ice sculpture that holds the various bottles of champagne or vodka to the massive sculpture holding oodles of shrimp.  This is truly the event that you go to and realize that you cannot possibly go on a cruise ship and not eat.  The food choices were just too good and too plentiful.

Little chairs on deck 15
After brunch we wandered off in search of sun and the Solstice Deck on deck 16.  Apparently, so did everyone else as every seat was taken and I can't stand being squeezed in next to someone like a sardine.  By walking down only one deck to deck 15 next to the basketball court, we found several rows of chairs and no one in them.
  • Pros: We had this area all to ourselves undisturbed by anyone else on top of us; we could talk without people shooting us dirty looks to keep quiet.  
  • Cons: Chairs are built for little people like Anna under 5' tall.  She loved the chair, but I felt like my knees were up in my throat.  If you're looking for a quiet area, keep in mind that the constant pounding of a basketball won't provide you any quiet time. 
My favorite bartender in action: Agus! 
We were invited to a special martini tasting at the Martini Bar at 3:30 pm and as you might have already guessed, we weren't going to miss that. Not one to shy away from a free drink, especially a martini, we were more than ready to meet up with the rest of the people also eagerly awaiting the arrival of Agus to start the presentation.  Quite the entertainer, Agus puts on a show with every drink and that is why the Martini Bar is one of the most fun spots on any Celebrity ship.  

Martini Tasting at the Martini Bar
Similar to the martini flight you can get for $15, this tasting included four drinks served on the six drink "coaster." The drinks served included: 
  • Blue Wave Martini: Bombay Sapphire Gin, peach schnapps, blue curaçao, splash of fresh lime juice
  • Margaritatini: Cazadores Tequila, sour mix, triple sec, fresh lime juice
  • Raspberry Lemonade Martini: Bacardi Limon Flavored Rum, Chambord, sweet and sour, fresh raspberry puree
  • Apple Martini: Grey Goose Vodka, apple liqueur, Cointreau, green apple slice garnish
Raspberry Lemonade Martini
Which was my favorite? They were all really good and all looked yummy.  True diehard martini lovers will absolutely say that these aren't martinis and are just mixed drinks in martini glasses and they would be correct.  To those people I would say order an original martini and hold onto your seat at the bar because that drink will rock your world. 

Since we had opted for the martini tasting at 3:30 pm, I wasn't about to consume vast quantities of alcohol so early in the day and as such, while I had a little, others enjoyed the remainder of my drinks as I poured them ever so carefully into their drinks.  Some, like Kira, liked the pink drinks, while others liked the blue.  Once I figured out the correct color combinations, I could guarantee that everyone had a great time.  

The Challenge: Kira won! (Kira, Anna, and Rob with the host in the background)
We were going to eat in the main dining room at late seating, which was 8:30 pm and had time to kill so everyone changed for dinner and off we went to Celebrity Central for game show mania and "The Challenge" at 7:30 pm.  Let's say that there were few seats filled and three out of our small group of five ended up on stage to play the game.  I encouraged everyone to use assumed names, but the martinis seemed to have gone to everyone's head and only Rob donned his "Jermaine Bond" identity while Anna and Kira used their own names.  I was laughing hysterically as everyone was so goofy on stage and answering questions with strange answers. For example, the category was "Broadway Bits" and the question was which show takes place in Egypt.  Rob answered incorrectly "Jesus Christ Superstar" and the other contestants were allowed to buzz in. Without any hesitation, Anna buzzed in with her answer of "Jesus Christ Superstar."  Kira quickly learned that you don't even have to answer to eventually win because the others were getting all of the answers wrong. 

Chilled Shrimp Cocktail
Dinner came and we wandered off to deck three and our table.  We were so hungry! Anna started with a classic Chilled Shrimp Cocktail with horseradish cocktail sauce, which she said was fresh and tasty. 

Double Baked Blue Cheese Souffle
Wanting to try something new, I decided to try the Double Baked Blue Cheese Souffle with parmesan coulis and red onion marmalade.  Now I can honestly say that I do not like blue cheese whatsoever and in my ongoing effort to remove dairy from my diet, this is usually an easy choice to skip.  But I was so hungry and willing to just give it a try.  I couldn't taste the blue cheese in it, which is a good thing, and the red onion marmalade was the hit of the dish.  Truly yummy!  We both ordered the Creamy Smoked Tomato Bisque, which Anna liked, but I didn't.  It was a little too sweet for my taste for a tomato soup, but that was ok.  I always want to try items off the menu I might not try when home so now I can say that I at least tried it.

Classic Caesar Salad
Next course was the Classic Caesar Salad made of crispy hearts of romaine lettuce with garlic croutons and parmesan cheese.  So far from anything vegan, but with limited choices and a voracious appetite, a girl has to do what a girl has to do, especially when at sea.

Champagne Sorbet
Before our entrees, we were served champagne sorbet, which was light and a great way to cleanse the palate. Although it had melted somewhat, I have never seen this before on a cruise ship and remember, this girl likes to cruise. 

Beef Wellington
For our entrees, Anna ordered the Beef Wellington, which is described as a "beef tenderloin coated with mushroom duxelles and wrapped in puff pastry; served with veal black truffle reduction, petit sautéed vegetables and duchess potatoes." Anna said that the pastry was mushy and so she removed it and ate the meat.  Did she think it was good as the meat served in the specialty restaurants? No, but it was ok, but could have been better.  Perhaps this is one of those dishes that is difficult to prepare for a large dining room?

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom
My entree was the Stuffed Portobello Mushroom with spinach-goat cheese, roasted red pepper coulis, basil pesto and fried onions.  This was a miss, unfortunately, as there was a texture issue for me.  I prefer food that isn't soft and the entire dish was on the soft side the cheese and I couldn't get past the neon coulis.  I am pretty certain my husband would have liked it, but for me personally, it wasn't something I would order again.

Lobster served at the table
This was also lobster night in the main dining room and people were excited for their lobster tail.  If you haven't cruised before, please keep in mind that this is a Caribbean lobster tail and not a Maine lobster so it is smaller and does taste different.  Some people really enjoy it while others are adamant about it not being in the same category as the Maine lobster.  I did see that many people were ordering two entrees so that they could enjoy the lobster and a second entree.  If you are seated at a large table, let your server know that you all want to receive your courses at the same time or some of you might be on your starter while others are finishing up their entree.

Food is so personal and everyone's palates are so different that one person's experience is certainly not another's.  Some people love the main dining room food and would never consider eating in a specialty restaurant.  Personally, I love the more intimate feel of the specialty restaurants and highly recommend that people try at least one of the specialty restaurants when on a cruise, no matter what cruise line they are sailing.  That's why I was so glad that Celebrity had the specialty dining packages:

4 Dinners Specialty Package
This culinary experience includes one dinner in Murano, one dinner in Qsine, one dinner in Tuscan Grille, and one dinner in the Lawn Club Grill. Save 17% at $125 per person.

5 Dinners Specialty Package
This fine dining indulgence includes one dinner in Murano, one dinner in Qsine, two dinners in Tuscan Grille, and one dinner at the Lawn Club Grill. Save 23% at $139 per person.

There is also an unlimited dining plan, but I can't recall the price of that one.  I highly recommend that you book your dining in advance and if you can't, make sure you book your reservations as soon as you step foot on the ship.  We ended up with really late dining times because tables for two were extremely hard to come by in the restaurants.  If the restaurants aren't busy, they may even run specials once you are onboard, such as 20% off or even 2-for-1 dinners.

One more sea day left on the Celebrity Reflection before we head home so we have a lot of things to do before then!

Marian Krueger

4 comments:

  1. This was a day I could be jealous of...brunch, martinis and lobster dinner! Wow! Love it!

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  2. Glad you liked it! I certainly did. Sounds like a girls cruise is in the works in the style of BFF's, shopping, martinis, shopping, drinks, shopping, brunch? :)

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  3. Seriously I would be 10 pounds heavier after that cruise!!!

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  4. Wait til you see the rest of the pics from the cruise when I post them on FB. Tons of food porn, I mean pics!

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