This was our third Transatlantic, the eclipse last year, the equinox this year and then this cruise on the Eclipse. Our first two were wonderful cruises, this year's Eclipse cruise just missed in several areas.
Embarkation was wonderful, disembarking was terrible, but not due to Celebrity...there were just not enough Immigration folks so the line was terribly long.
Cabin: we were in an A1 cabin due to an irresistible price. Unlike our A2 cabin on the equinox, this A1 was under the pool deck (as all A1's are on the solstice ships and at 7:30 each morning we could hear them scraping pool chairs over the deck to set them up for the day. It was annoying enough that we never were able to sleep late. We didn't mind the large overhang...just the noise. Cabin was clean, we had some towel animals, a minor problem with the shower was fixed quickly but we would not book another A1 cabin due to location...the A2's are in better locations, for us.
Blu: I am not sure if it was a disappointment because Blu on the eclipse ran so well, but the eclipse Blu seemed very disorganized. You could sit for breakfast and wait for 10 minutes before anyone offered you orange juice; or you could wait for 10-15 minutes for decaf coffee. Waiters seem to only take orders and random assistant waiters would bring the food or take requests...unlike the equinox where you had a waiter and assistant waiter for your table. The food was generally very good with some notable exceptions (don't try the pheasant, it was just dreadful), and the onion soup had no onions. It wasn't just one batch, I tried it on two different nights and it was the same with no onions and lacked the flavor of celebrity's normal onion soup which is generally excellent. We found that if we arrived at 7:15, we might have a short (10 minute) wait for a table, but coming earlier was a longer wait. They insisted that they were not admitting suite passengers, they were just swamped by Aqua passengers (I'm not sure I believe this, but I did hear them turn away some suite passengers so perhaps it's true). We are tired of the same three little plates of crudites being put in front of us each night....no variation at all. I have no idea why they do that, but after multiple cruises in Aqua, we are just tired of seeing the same stuff every single night.
The coupons...yes, we're captain's club elite. They worked out, although it was a terrible start. The first night they gave everyone two coupons and then if you went to the sky bar to sit and enjoy looking at the sea from the only indoor bar with a view, they had scheduled trivial pursuit in the room so it wasn't exactly a nice quiet place for a drink before dinner. Then they learned and issued three coupons and moved trivial pursuit somewhere else. The details don't really matter, but once things settled down and we learned how to avoid the busy times, the coupons worked fine. (note: if you don't know what I'm talking about, then this doesn't apply to you so just ignore).
Speakers: The "old car speaker" was scheduled into the small theater and had overflow crowds every day....for some reason they never moved him to a larger venue...Perhaps that's the cruise director's fault, but someone should have noticed. The "space" speaker was on our previous equinox cruise and he repeated his talks with much to much focus on buying his book or DVD's. He's just not a great speaker, although he has wonderful credentials. I never went to the third speaker so can't comment.
The acapella group was outstanding and the string quartet was far better than on the equinox where they couldn't seem to play in tune. Those things vary by cruise and are expected.
We almost missed the "grand lunch" which was hidden in the dailies (only shown if you looked at the dining rooms to see the hours). It wasn't in the events of the day, the cruise director never mentioned it during his 10AM PA announcement, and no one in Blu mentioned it to us the night before. We did go, however, in truth it is nothing more than the same food you get in the buffet with some ice sculptures, shrimp cocktail, chocolate fountains and a few more desserts. It was a nice change, but if you missed it, you really didn't miss all that much.
Unlike our past four cruises on Celebrity, the casino had $5 tables including craps. I guess they know their TA passengers because normally it seems to be $10. Casino staff was about the same as other ships...some confusion on payouts, some difficulty dealing...normal stuff on a cruise ship but you'd never see in Vegas
The art auctions are back. It was so nice to cruise without them. I hate to watch people being misinformed and overcharged (my view and we do collect art).
As always the Corning Museum glass shows are breathtaking....best entertainment on the ship by incredibly talented artists.
Aqua Spa remains our favorite lunch spot...we avoid the buffet unless we have a mad urge for eggs Benedict or mexican/indian food. The hamburgers at the spa grill are good, their french fries are outstanding, almost belgium fries.
As the title says, not our best cruise, not our worst cruise. We hope that the apparent disorganization in Blu gets fixed or at least doesn't spread to other ships....and that they rediscover the recipe for their onion soup :)