Flew in from Las Vegas on 11/7, stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 (excellent as usual), and spent 11/8 on the water taxi. Met fellow Eclipse cruisers while on the intracoastal. Left the Hyatt at 1:00 via private shuttle and arrived at the port at 1:30.
It's interesting to read the previous two reviews recently posted regarding the 11/9/12 cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Those folks obviously had a very different experience than our group of 6 did. I am not going to bore everyone and repeat things other reviewers have overstated, but will touch on new topics. Lines were long at embarkation for decks 8 and 9. We got lucky and were on deck 6 and were on the gangway about 15 minutes after initially standing in line. Photos of the Eclipse do not do justice. My breath was taken away once we boarded. It is just stunning as well as spotlessly clean.
Dining was great! Qsine was amazing, especially the white sangria, which was life-alteringly good. Service was spot-on as well. We enjoyed anytime dining at Moonlight Sonata, and found most meals to be presented perfectly. Food temperature was always just right, and the servers really worked hard to keep everyone happy. Again, not sure what the previous reviewer meant by stating there were no sugar-free desserts available. Our menu had a sugar-free dessert selection every evening. Also, the buffet was better than what I was expecting. Whenever I ate there, foods were at the appropriate temperatures, and we were very happy with the selections. We do not eat beef or pork and found plenty of items at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The turkey burgers and fries at the Mast Grill were simply delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I helped myself to three serving of fries in one night! Bistro on 5 was very good and incredibly high-quality. Go and see Tomas and Scooby Doo at the Passport Bar on level 3. They make excellent bloody marys and mimosas.
Some interesting things to note: Our cabin had the largest hump balcony available, and it was fantastic! Very private, too. I am only 5'2" and had absolutely no problem accessing the over-the-bed storage cabinets in our room. There were about twice as many hangars as we needed, which surprised me. I found an electrical outlet in the ceiling of the large bathroom, and two outlets (plus a European outlet) at the desk. There was no need for a power cord, and I use a lot of implements to get ready in the morning. There was absolutely no shortage of space anywhere in the cabin. The Martini Bar and Cafe Al Bacio were worth the cruise price alone--AMAZING! We purchased the premium drink package and took full advantage. Again, very well worth it.
The music played throughout the ship was very enjoyable, and never too loud. We found it just right.
We enjoyed all of the ports, except for San Juan, which felt dangerous to us. St. Kitts was the most beautiful place we have ever been--even more so than Hawaii!
Disembarkation was indeed a long walk, but certainly not bothersome. We were group 5, and found our luggage in a highly-organized area right away. There was some confusion at Customs, but the wait was no more than 15 minutes. The walk to get a taxi was about 50 feet from the exit, so I am not certain to where the former reviewer was walking to hail a cab when everyone else was right outside customs??
I was horrified and embarrassed to see that we were the only people actively tipping deserving staff. Even though we had pre-paid our tips, we feel it only fair to hand out additional tips. Perhaps that is why the other two reviewers did not receive the service they had expected? If you can afford to cruise, you can certainly afford to tip. These are incredibly hardworking people who deserve appropriate compensation, both by the cruising industry as well as cruisers themselves. Please don't be tightwads. The smiles we received when tipping were heartwarming.
Can't wait to cruise Celebrity again, and will not consider another cruise line.