Dundas-based travel agent Tracy Duffin recently returned from a Caribbean cruise with Celebrity Cruises. This was her second time sailing the Celebrity Reflection and fifth time sailing with Celebrity. In April 2014, she sailed the Easter Caribbean, and this past March, she sailed the Western Caribbean. We chatted with her about the ship and itinerary to learn more.
What did you like about this ship compared to some of the others you have sailed?
The service, the entertainment, the variety of dining, the ship itself. As Celebrity puts it, “It’s modern luxury.” I find Celebrity remains consistent across their fleet and they go above and beyond for their guests. I’ve been on nearly 30 cruises and 6 different cruise lines and have discovered that certain cruise lines do not stay consistent, so what you are used to and get to know may not be what you are coming back to. You do get what you pay for when cruising, and Celebrity offers a great product for great value.
How were the dining and entertainment options onboard?
Celebrity has so much to offer both in dining and entertainment. We dined at Qsine with a cover charge of $49 each, but what an amazing dining experience! They serve food from around the world and you choose your course and order via iPad. In addition to the main dining room and buffet, there are approximately 10 alternate dining options, ranging from the Bistro on 5 ($5 cover) to Lawn Club Grill – a beautiful open air dining experience on the top deck, with amazing views ($40 cover). In terms of entertainment, there are art auctions, The Canyon Ranch Spa and a wide variety of entertainment in the main show lounge every night, including, comedians, a cirque show, and Broadway-style shows. There are also DJs, live bands, concerts on the lawn, and so many other options…or you can simply sit and enjoy a cocktail in the evening under the stars at the sunset bar.
What types of activities were your teenagers able to enjoy?
Celebrity offers kids programs for 3-17 year olds, broken up into different age groups. My teens had a great time at the X Club (12-17 years). They did teens-only late night dances, basketball, gaming, and met some great friends. My kids have been lucky to sail on many different cruise lines and they both prefer Celebrity. The ship is not overrun with kids like other Cruise lines. Celebrity also offers family friendly shore excursions!
In Labadee, you got to zip line over the water! How was that experience?
It was scary, but for me a great way to overcome my fear of heights. It is the longest over-the-water zip in the world at 2,600 feet long. The starting point was 500 feet off the ground! It was USD $95 and worth every penny. We began with an instructional video and safety lesson before heading to the ‘baby’ zip for a trial run. Once you were okay with that, we headed in trucks up the mountain to the Dragon’s Breath Flight line. The whole experience was about 90 minutes and amazing! Labadee is home to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean as their ‘private island.’ The ship docks for a full day (10am-5pm). While in Labadee, a barbeque beach lunch is provided. Many beach options with chairs and plenty of trees for shade can be found.
I’ve always wanted to visit Grand Cayman to snorkel in Stingray City. What were some of your favourite things about the island?
Seven Mile beach is amazing with its crystal clear, beautiful blue waters and white sand. Stingray city is a great excursion. Not to be missed in Grand Cayman is a trip to ‘Hell’, a unique formation of black limestone about the size of a soccer field. Diving is the number one thing to do in Grand Cayman, though! Grand Cayman is still an island where ships need to tender due to the reef wall, which takes about 20 minutes. We were in Grand Cayman for a full day as well, from 10am-6pm.
Next you ported in Cozumel. What are some things people should check out there?
Shopping! Silver! Cozumel is also a great island for snorkeling, visiting the Cozumel ruins, renting an ATV, swimming with the dolphins, or stopping in at the popular Senor Frogs for a margarita. You can also head to mainland Mexico as well to visit the Tulum or Coba Ruins. We were in port from 7am-4pm.
What types of excursions were offered in Ocho Rios? You opted to visit Dunn’s River Falls; how did you enjoy that?
The kids and I loved Dunn’s River Falls. It took about 2 hours to climb and it was only a 10 minute drive from the Ocho Rios pier. The excursion was about USD $45 each. The ship docks in Ocho Rios and there are lots of new shops and cafes an easy and safe 10-minute walk from the ship. There is lots to do and see in Jamaica like Brimmer Hall Plantation, ATVing, the Jamaican Bobsled, and more. We were in port from 8am-5pm.
Who would you recommend this cruise for?
If you are looking for a premium cruise line with alternate dining options, a great variety of on-board entertainment, and outstanding service, Celebrity is the way to go. Celebrity really does offer something for everyone. I would send families, seniors, and honeymooners. They sail to many destinations including Alaska, Europe, Caribbean (including Bermuda), Asia, Australia, South America, and The Galapagos…just to name a few.
Contact Tracy at 1-800-665-4981 ext. 7236 or email@example.com