Just returned from a 2 week cruise of the Baltic on the Celebrity Eclipse.
I've been on 2 cruises before. Once with Royal Caribbean International on 2 week Caribbean Cruise from Miami (pretty good) and once with Page&Moy Cruise to the Norweigan Fjords from Harwich (best not talked about too much-really awful).
The Celebrity Eclipse is my best cruise experience so far. The Eclipse is a great ship, with fantastic facilities both indoor and out on deck.
Check-in at Southampton was fairly painless and a glass of champagne when boarding the ship was a nice touch.
I had an outside single occupancy stateroom with balcony. The room was extremely comfortable, lovely bed, couch and flat screened TV. The bathroom had everything you needed, including a power shower.
There is the main dining room, Moonlight Sonata and 5 speciality restaurants. On most nights I found the food to be very good. Particularly excellent were the steaks, starters and desserts. Their fish dishes really need sharpening up and, apart from a nice Flounder one night, they were mediocre at best. I was really looking forward to the lobster on the last formal dinner but it was grim, tough and unpleasant tasting. Many other passangers raved about the speciality restaurants, particularly Murano, with french inspired cuisine. But why do Celebrity and other cruise companies insist on a $40 extra charge per person for eating in them? It suggests that you have to pay extra to eat well on a big cruise ship and this is just not right. Luckily, the food in the main dining room was good. The cost of wine and spirits is extortionate- but no use complaining, this is the status quo for cruise companies.
The service throughout the ship, in the restaurants, cafes and rooms could not have been better. The staff were all charming and nothing was too much trouble.
The ship's lounges and entertaiment rooms were nice and luxurious. But one grumble, I'm a keen card player, and the card room on Deck 9 was far from adequate. It was not sectioned off in a quiet area of the ship and was used as a noisy thoroughfare for passengers going to their rooms. Intolerable and Celebrity need to look into redesigning this part of the ship. Others complained that the library on Deck 10 was likewise not properly cordonned off.
Entertainment was quite good from The Eclipse's team of singers and dancers in the excellent theatre, but needed more variation. It is quite obvious that they do not perform whole songs from musicals because of royalty issues and extra expense. But why?- the paying passengers deserve not just snippets but whole numbers. Some of the guest acts were very good, including talented UK vocalist Katy Setterfield and, whilst in St.Petersburg, an outstanding troup of Russian dancers and musicians.
Since so many great cities are visited on this Baltic Cruise- Bruges, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm and Copenhagen, the quality of the shore excursions has to be good and the ones which Celebrity offered generally were. Many complain about the standard of tour guides in St Petersburg, but not from me. They spoke good english and were well informed.
Definitely a very good cruise if you want to visit the great northern cities like St. Petersburg and Stockholm in an atmosphere of comfort and fine service. I would recommend the Celebrity Eclipse to anyone.