We had high expectations from a cruise with a 5.5 rating. While the cabin and ship decor were quite nice and looked like the new ship it is, we were a little disappointed in the food and service. We were on the Carnival Freedom just a month before, and, to our amazement, we actually think the food and the service on the Freedom were much better. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants (we never do!), therefore our opinion is purely based on the food that is provided in the price of the cruise. We did like that the Eclipse had food stations in the buffet, which made breakfast and lunch lines much easier. We opted for the early seating at dinner, so we had the same wait crew each day, and we were surprised that on the Carnival Freedom, where we had selected 'anytime dining', and therefore had different wait staff each evening, they were always informed of our name and addressed us with it. On the Eclipse they never did.
Desserts, breads, and steaks were definitely better quality on the Carnival Freedom.
Embarkation was very easy and efficient; however, disembarkation was not. We opted to 'walk-off', carrying our luggage; and were instructed to be in a certain location quite early, only to wait for a long time in a very long line before being allowed to get off. Again, this differed from prior non-Celebrity cruises, where you actually could just walk off at the specified time.
The Eclipse cruise was not bad, but we don't think the 5.5 rating is accurate -especially since we received much better service and food on a much lower-cost cruise.