For my wife and I this was our 21st cruise and 3rd one on Celebrity. This was our first time on the Eclipse but previous Celebrity ships include Mercury and Century. We have always enjoyed Celebrity and rate them not only as our personal favourite cruise line but in comparrison to others we have been on but certainly one of the best in it's class.
Our cruise started at a very well organised Southampton UK terminal. Luggage drop-off right by the ship and portered away by polite terminal staff. Car park immediately opposite the terminal with just a short walk to reception. Check-in was reasonably fast considering the number of passengers. From parking the car to checking into our stateroom was around 45 minutes, which we consider to be good.
Once on board we were greeted with a choice of sparkling wine or a bucks fiz together with a "Welcome on board" from the crew.
Because we booked late we did not get a choice of staterooms apart from confirmation that it was a balcony with 'restricted views'. However, upon arrival to our room we were not disappointed.
Yes it had a restricted view but not as bad as we had envisaged. There was the top of a lifeboat which was visible halfway up the glass panel but this did not either worry us or impede our view of the sea. Also, probably one of the best bathrooms on a cruise ship that we have ever experienced. What a pleasure to get a real shower door as opposed to one of those awful shower curtains that just attacks you!!! Lots of good storage too.
The cabin steward made himself known to us and confirmed he was there to ensure we had a good vacation. We chose (as we always do) the late sitting dining option on a large table because we like to meet new people and bond new friendships as we have done on many cruises before. We had a table for 6 although 8+ would have been preferred. Service and food throughout the cruise was excellent. My only gripe is that it seems that many cruise ships have now done away with 'trays' in the self service restaurant/cafe which means that it's a constant 'up and down' trip to the buffet as opposed to getting all you need on one visit. But, hey-ho, it's not the end of the world and we can live with this.
Tried the famous Celebrity 'Qsine' speciality restaurant one night and believe me this is a must. I won't spoil it for anyone but if you like good food from around the world this whole restaurant concept is not to be missed - absolutely fantastic.
Well, apart from the ports of call which I will cover later, I would sum this up as being one of our best cruise experiences ever. Well done Celebrity !!!