Celebrity Cruise Line aims to reimagine dining and drinking at sea with its newest ship Reflection, which sailed on its inaugural voyage Dec. 1. Looking to cater to a hipper crowd, the cruise ship features two restaurants and two bars, all with food and drink created by celebrity chefs that goes well beyond the ubiquitous cruise buffet.
During the three-day cruise, which departed from Miami and sailed around the Florida Keys before returning to Miami, Top Chef alum Jeff McInnis, the owner of Yardbird in Miami, cooked alongside Celebrity Cruises’ director of culinary operations chef John Suley at the ship's two restaurants.
The duo prepared a multicourse meal on the top deck’s The Lawn Club Grille, adjacent to the Lawn Club, which is designed to look like a park, complete with a half-acre of grass for croquet games and picnics.
From the open kitchen of The Lawn Club Grille, the pair cooked bacon, Cheddar, and green tomato flatbreads; rib-eye with grilled trumpet and hen of the woods mushrooms; and creamy shrimp and grits with chunks of Virginia ham. Desserts included strawberry shortcake, Mississippi mud pie, and a waffle coated in bourbon syrup and served with a dollop of buttermilk ice cream and toasted pecan and candied bacon.
The ship’s signature restaurant is Qsine, a dimly lit restaurant reminiscent of a black-and-white Mad Hatter tea party with oversized black chairs, petite white chairs, and dozens of lamps in a range of shapes and sizes hung upside down. Diners are given iPad menus filled with globe-trotting fanciful bites like sushi lollipops, sushi crafted to look like candy and served on a stick, and M’s Favorite, a "suitcase" with compartments containing a wide array of Mediterranean fare, such as hummus, falafel, warm pita, and rack of lamb.
Reflection also has two bars, including the Martini Bar where bartenders toss, flip, and shake unique concoctions, and the Molecular Bar, whose mixologists handcraft drinks from fresh ingredients. While there is a heady list of drink specials, the bartenders will whip up a unique drink like they did for Oprah and her cast of The Color Purple called Coming up Roses. Just ask and you’ll be presented with a unique concoction shaken, stirred, and even liquid nitrogen-ed in a matter of moments.
Hospitality was provided by Celebrity Cruise Lines to the writer. Amy Ferguson is the Miami City Travel Editor for The Daily Meal.