Background: My wife and I are both in our late thirties, having sailed on two previous family cruises with Disney and Royal Caribbean. We loved the itinerary of this cruise, the time of the year that it sailed, and we like to try new things, so we booked. We looked forward to trying Celebrity.
Embarkation: Embarkation took a longer time because of the Eclipse coming back from a transatlantic, added with a thorough investigation from the different authorities. One of our bags (with most of the clothes) got to our cabin very late, which dampened our ability to get to sail away activities. We were in damage control mode. Oh well. It did come, but not without some stress.
Service: Overall pretty good. The crew and officers were very friendly. We did not have any complaints with this. We received a above and beyond moment, which came from Clare at Guest Services, who was the only member of that team (that we dealt with) who made sure that the job got done, and she followed up. Simply super!
We also felt that at times service could be a little improved upon.
The room steward was so-so. He did a good job, but if we ever had a simple request it seemed like a big deal, or that we were bothering him.
Food: For the most part food was pretty good. However at times it was also hit and miss. We felt comfortable with Celebrity, because we enjoy eating, and we read that Celebrity places a great deal of emphasis on their food. The food was good, but not out of this world. We felt that it was about the same as Royal Caribbean in the dining room area.
The Ocean View was great for breakfast. Good quality. At lunch and dinner there was a lack of variety. As some posters have pointed out, the food seemed to be the same each afternoon and night. Celebrity should consider offering some of their dining room dinners in the Ocean View in the evening. On port days, sometimes a more relaxing option to get the same quality of food would be nice.
Room service was good. Contrary to prior comments, on cruise critic we actually enjoyed the coffee and juices available for free at the Ocean View. In fact I did not purchase a soda package because the good quality of the juices and coffee.
Our only specialty restaurant was at Qsine, which we ate at the first evening , and we highly recommend it. The experience was fun, inventive and the food was outstanding. Service was also good. Our only complaint was that they ran out of the Lobster Escargot. How do you run out of something on your first evening? I understand maybe some of this stuff is pre-made, but come on? We are paying extra for this.
The quick snack places at the salad bar, pasta bar, ice cream and sushi bar were all very enjoyable. We only ate once at the little place in the Solarium. The hamburgers and hot dogs on the pool deck were very good, and of high quality.
Room: Our room was a standard verandah, in the Aft. The decor was beautiful, and modern yet comfortable. We enjoyed the use of the interactive TV, and used it to order room service, check our balance, or even watch a free pay per view movie (which was nice, so you weren't beholden to what was on).
Entertainment (or lack of it): Here is by far our biggest complaint! We enjoy eating, and drinking. That in our opinion seemed to be the cornerstone to Celebrity entertainment. The emphasis seems to be relaxing someplace, possibly having a drink. We like to relax, but we also like an active environment.
The activity level on the ship was almost nonexistent. Celebrity puts an unreal amount of emphasis on activities centered around the ships Officer's. It was comically cheesy (they should keep to running the boat). Watching the officers do things like dance, play volleyball, and other activities was over kill.
Very little of the emphasis is on drawing the activity out of the people on the boat, but instead people sitting back and watching what is going on. We didn't have a deck party, and the interior design of the ship really doesn't support group activities in the interior. There were not any activities that would draw people on the boat together. Every night there should be something to draw in people together in some form, besides sitting back and watching shows.
The entertainers, bands, singers, and musicians were good, but not as talented in our opinion as those on Royal Caribbean. The shows were also good, but not as good as Royal Caribbean. Talent seemed a notch below Royal Caribbean, but noticeable none the less.
It's a great ship for friends, looking for places to drink and socialize together. Celebrity puts a great deal of emphasis on their drinking venues. They are around every corner. If we went with a group of our friends we would probably have a different opinion.
The glass blowing show was interesting and a good time (good for one time).
Overall, entertainment and activity was probably where Celebrity lost us, maybe for good. We enjoyed ourselves, but after a while what Celebrity offers for entertainment gets old, seems unimaginative and was not very memorable. Again, this is our opinion, and many people like Celebrity's brand of entertainment. We would never take our kids on a Celebrity cruise. It was plain to see that there just wouldn't be enough to keep them having fun.
1. San Juan, Puerto Rico: This was our first time visiting San Juan, and we wish
there was more time to explore. We went to the El Morro, and walked back down to the ship. We noticed many little lounges and fun little alcoves that we wish there was more time to visit. Maybe make San Juan a destination in the future for a weekend visit. As the ship got in late, and left late, we ate at a little restaurant which unfortunately we do not have the name. Good food.
2. St. Thomas: We went on the Sea Blaster Snorkel excursion. We highly
recommend this excursion, as it was very fun and well organized. Sea Blaster takes you to two places to snorkel. Each has a wide variety of fish, turtles, and other sea life. A truly wonderful experience. Everybody should try snorkeling at least once in the Caribbean. It's a blast. On the way back the Sea Blaster crew gives you snacks, and complimentary rum punch. Let's just say that we felt pretty good upon our arrival.
3. St. Martin: We have been to St. Martin before, but never visited Marigot on the
French side of the island. Though it probably had its day, it was a little dirtier and not as well kept up with. Marigot was probably worth a visit, but the French side needs to clean it up. We then went to the Dutch side, and had a great time walking around and shopping. We love the Dutch side.
4. St. Kitts: We have never been to St. Kitts before and were looking forward to it.
As we like to snorkel, and noticing that there was a lack of such excursion offerings from Celebrity. I researched snorkeling offerings on the island. I came across, Blue Water Safari. I can't recommend Blue Water enough. The trip was extremely affordable, and it was truly a blast. You take a catamaran to a bay near Nevis, that has a sunken ship. Great sea life there. The crew was fun, professional and kept everybody well fed and of course alcohol is included. All the rum punch and Carib Beer you can drink. There were other people from Celebrity on this excursion and they agreed that the Blue Water excursion was one of the highlights of their cruise. Celebrity should consider offering this excursion to their cruisers.
We also walked around the port shopping area is very nice. The people of St. Kitts are very friendly. They are a little aggressive, but friendly.
The Ship: The Eclipse is beautiful, well maintained and clean ship. We enjoyed looking at the art, and taking in the good design and intricate details of the ship. Absolutely a gorgeous ship!
Overall Thoughts: Our cruise on Celebrity Eclipse for the most part gave us what we wanted, a getaway to the Eastern Caribbean, where we could visit some of our favorite ports, and explore new ones. The time of year this cruise was offered was also perfect, in that it was after the heart of the hurricane season, but before the busy holiday cruise season.
The ship is clean and beautiful. The food was good but comparable to Royal Caribbean who is not known for the quality of their food.
There is a relaxed and laid back activity level on the Eclipse which was nice, but it became old in short order. The level of talent in the entertainment could be improved upon. There just was not enough going on in the evening, and there wasn't enough to bring people together as a whole. We aren't party animals by any stretch, but we like a little more activity. On our past cruises we did not want our trip to end, on this cruise we were ready to get back to reality.
We wanted to try Celebrity, and we are glad that we did. We don't have any regrets. We enjoyed our adventure, but feel as though Celebrity may not be the cruise line for us. We have now traveled on three different cruise lines, and have a clearer view of what we like. Royal Caribbean offers the best of all worlds in our opinion, because there is relaxation if you want it, and more activity and entertainment if you want that. Celebrity Eclipse offered a great cruise, but overall the experience just missed for us. Plus, we just don't see a Solstice class ship or any Celebrity ship being a good option for a family.