Wining and dining is an integral part of any cruise. Such was the case aboard the Celebrity Reflection. Bending over backward to indulge the needs of all 3000 passengers is a feat in itself, but Celebrity Cruises does it in style.
Celebrity Cruises Restaurants
Onboard the Celebrity Reflection there are seven specialty restaurants, the main dining room and the Ocean Café, a cafeteria styled eatery. I tried three of the specialty restaurants, Luminea, The Lawn Club and the Tuscan Grille. Also, I attended a special Mediterranean dinner, ate lunch in the Ocean Café and dined most nights in the main dining room. There was not one meal to register a complaint because the cuisine was excellent.
Celebrity Reflection Chef Tato Garcia
Executive Chef Tato Garcia runs an incredibly efficient kitchen. The food is superb, and you will never go hungry. With fifteen galleys, 174 cooks and 80 cleaners, it is impressive to see how smoothly everything runs. The serving staff, which is administered by a different department, goes overboard to pamper each guest’s needs.
Celebrity Reflection Kitchen
It was astounding to see the length the kitchen staff goes to ensuring your needs are met, especially for someone like me with dietary restrictions. In fact, the galley features a special station for preparation of food for those with allergies and other restrictions. One orders the night before, so your meal is properly prepared, but it was fun to see what dessert the pastry chef concocted each night. Although I am not a big dessert eater, the chef seemed to enjoy being creative with my dietary needs. Dessert became the one surprise on the menu, and never failed to astonish me.
Celebrity Reflection Cellar Master
Now one cannot dine without an excellently paired wine accompaniment, and surprisingly I discovered the knowledge and education of the Cellar Master. Cellar Master, Mike Pereire is considered the top in his class. His expertise is utilized to set up all the wine programs on the various Celebrity Cruise ships, so it was fortuitous that he was onboard the Celebrity Reflection. He oversees 23 sommeliers; 8 in the upstairs dining room and 9 in the downstairs, 1 in the Cellar Masters wine bar, where an Enomatic wine by the glass dispensing system allows passengers to try some of the various wines available on the ship in small quantities. Also, five additional sommeliers split there time in the different specialty restaurants.
Mike studied catering management in college. After working at a Marriott hotel, he joined the ship in 1990 as a bartender. Mike’s introduction to wine was on this ship. As his passion for wine intensified, he began studying and taking classes on wine. Mike became a sommelier, and in 1997 he became a Cellar Master
To become a Sommelier on the Celebrity Cruise ships one must complete a specially designed program with an 85% score. This four-month training program includes practical training, history and learning about the various regions.
Celebrity Reflection Wine Program
Wines selected are based on the demographics of each particular cruise and its destinations. Several months before the ship departs, Celebrity Cruises examines those passengers booked to take the cruise, also denoting where they reside.
The most popular white wines on Celebrity Reflection are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Rosé. In the reds, favorites are Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Bordeaux.
Most passengers purchase some form of a beverage package, and the most popular and best bet is the Premium Package, allowing the passenger a wide selection of hard liquor, wine and non-alcoholic beverages.
Wine education for the passengers is important, so the Celebrity Reflection offers on days at sea, wine tasting seminars. Our cruise had several tastings including the World of Wine and a Riedel Wine Glass Tasting. The Riedel Tasting is well worth it because it explores the differences of wine served in its proper glasses versus an improper type of glass. One immediately sees the difference in the quality and taste of the wine.
You cannot take for granted what goes on behind the scenes of a cruise line like the Celebrity Reflection. Catering to the passengers is foremost and quality of the food, wine and accommodations are hallmarks of this cruise line.