HomeTravelSail Away From Florida on Celebrity Cruises “Reflection”

Sail Away From Florida on Celebrity Cruises “Reflection”

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a gateway to the Caribbean.

By Hope S. Philbrick

When time is short but your need for sea and sand cannot be ignored, Celebrity Cruises has the answer.

Celebrity’s Reflection and Summit ships are now both offering three- and four-night sailings for the first time this summer.

Climb Aboard & Sail Away

My husband and I recently enjoyed a three-night getaway aboard Celebrity Reflection, departing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From our home base in Atlanta, Georgia, we could have driven down to Florida, but flew to save even more time.

With multiple airlines offering multiple flights between Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale every day, we booked an early flight and weren’t concerned about missing our cruise departure time. But to minimize worry, you might consider booking flights via Flights by Celebrity so specialists are available 24/7 to monitor your flights and do whatever is necessary to make sure you don’t miss your ship. To be extra safe, arrive a day early and explore Fort Lauderdale (suggestions below).

Courtesy of Visit Fort Lauderdale

Compared to Atlanta’s airport (the world’s busiest), Fort Lauderdale’s airport felt relaxed and spacious. Once we grabbed our checked suitcase off the baggage carousel, we strolled outside to the taxi stand, where drivers were lined up ready to go. The port is about a 10-minute drive from the airport.

At the port our suitcases—pre-labeled with our stateroom number using a downloadable luggage tag—were grabbed by a friendly, uniformed attendant at the curb for efficient delivery to our stateroom. Inside the port terminal, our passports and IDs were checked, and we were welcomed aboard. The process was smooth and efficient.

Though impressed by our veranda stateroom—an upgrade from our usual stateroom budget—we explored the ship and headed to The Lawn Club on an upper deck to enjoy a cocktail while watching the ship start sailing from Florida toward the Caribbean.

Reflection

Celebrity Reflection, the newest Solstice Series ship, sails the Caribbean year-round. It boasts 115 suites, 268 connecting staterooms, plus veranda, ocean view and inside staterooms; it can comfortably accommodate 3,030 guests.

Part of the fun of a cruise is exploring the ship. Among the highlights of Celebrity Reflection are a library with a wide range of books (in several languages). Head to the library early in the cruise for the best selection of titles. There’s also a reading room with a wide variety of cozy little nooks to settle into, plus a self-serve coffee station. (Starlink, the world’s most advanced broadband satellite Internet, brings high-speed connectivity.)

An upper deck boasts a half-acre of real grass for playing outdoor games, while a diverse selection of luxury boutiques offers sales and discounts throughout the cruise. The spa offers more than 120 pampering treatments. Multiple stages and venues showcase live performances, including comedians, singers, magicians and other entertaining options.

An array of restaurants offer globally-inspired menus crafted by Michelin-star Chef Daniel Boulud. Bars showcase classic cocktails as well as creations by master mixologists and award-winning bartenders.

There are pools, hot tubs, sunning stations and multiple ways to savor the sun and/or ocean views.

Peek at Celebrity Reflection’s deck plan here.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

With its new short itineraries, Celebrity Cruises now docks at “Perfect Day at CocoCay,” the popular, award-winning private island destination.

CocoCay features a variety of different beaches. We checked out two: Hideaway Beach, an adults-only beach with a DJ, four bars and island-inspired eateries; and Coco Beach Club, which offers enviable views, the first overwater cabanas in the Bahamas (with overwater hammocks and a slide into the water below), a beachfront infinity pool and a top-notch dining experience (that we unfortunately missed, but word is the coconut fried lobster sandwich is amazing!).

Recognizing that “perfect day” means something different to different people, the island offers a wide range of experiences, including the chance to soar up in a helium balloon, a thrilling waterpark, a zip-line, “Chill Island” (with private cabanas), Oasis Lagoon (with the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean) and more.

Depending on the dates and itinerary you choose, short cruises also stop at Nassau, Bahamas and/or Key West, Florida, before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a gateway to the sea, plus it’s a fun destination in its own right. It’s worth adding a few days to your trip for a pre- and/or post-cruise stay. Getting around Downtown Fort Lauderdale is a breeze. If arriving by plane or cruise ship, hire a ride to the downtown area. Here are a just six suggestions among the many fun things to do:

Pompano Beach courtesy of Visit Fort Lauderdale

• Climb aboard the Jungle Queen riverboat, Fort Lauderdale’s longest-running attraction since 1935.
• Hop on a water taxi—an icon in South Florida for over 30 years—to see the city from the waterways.
• Jump onto circuit to explore by ground. The electric, open-air vehicles are a convenient and free way to reach restaurants, shopping and other fun local hotspots.
• Navigate around on a segway tour.
• Taste flavors of Fort Lauderdale on a three-hour food tour.
• Head to the Old Florida Book Shop, home to over 30,000 books.

Learn more about Fort Lauderdale here and get a glimpse of it here.

Photos by Hope Philbrick unless noted otherwise.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Hope S. Philbrick is a freelance writer because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. For 24 years and counting, she’s written about travel, food, wine & spirits (as in booze, not ghosts).

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