A review to our TA of our 14-night Caribbean cruise on the Eclipse (1st December 2012)
First the positive aspects:
The Celebrity Eclipse is kept spotlessly clean and appears to be VERY well maintained by the crew. Have no doubt that the management of the vessel is tightly controlled with a customer orientated philosophy that comes through because of the excellent services given to passengers by ALL the crew.
The food in the MDR is very good if you consider that they are serving thousands of meals per sitting. Given the volume of meals the presentation and service is outstanding.
The same but to a lesser degree can be said for the Oceanview Cafe with its 24/hr buffet service.
It was very pleasant to escape from Toronto's cold and spend 15-days in warm weather.
The negative aspects:
Nothing to do with Celebrity but one thing is for sure it's unlikely that I will able to convince my wife to go on a cruise again. This was our third cruise and on each cruise she has got sick. On this cruise we had some rough weather for the first two days and she got sick, then coming back from Aruba it got rough again for a day & night and she was sick again. Though I would like to go on a Panama Canal or on a Hawaiian cruise or do another transatlantic but I doubt I could talk her into going.
A very personal view and again nothing to do with Celebrity: In the past whenever I chartered a yacht with some friends in the Caribbean (over the last 20-years have done this 15 times) I always found it a lot of fun ---- but cruising the Caribbean on a cruise ship is a different ball game altogether. If anyone asked me, I certainly would not recommend they try a Caribbean cruise especially not a 15-day cruise.
I did comment positively on the food presentation and MDR service BUT with centralized control the concept of the Chef shopping along the route' seems a non-starter. On a 14-night Caribbean voyage the logistics of provisioning out of Fort Lauderdale is problematic given that Celebrity's policy that all provisioning has to come from "sustainable sources". Believe that this centralized provisioning policy's real reason is for cost control purposes. When everything is centrally sourced the suppliers are no doubt squeezed hard when it comes to price we all know that quality is forsaken in favour of price. It appears that the logistics for a 7-day cruise is do able even maybe a 10-day cruise. But on our 15-day cruise by day 8 we started to see over ripe bananas and by day 10 they no longer bothered to put them out. Unfortunately at the same time they also ran out of grapes and the fruit (pineapple, melons and papaya) were getting greener and harder by the day and on the last day at sea most of the fruit that was leftover was unappetizing.
Again a very personal view and has nothing to do with Celebrity: Though it was very pleasant to escape from the cold weather in reality the Caribbean is just a poor 3rd world place but with great weather & beaches. Other than St Thomas and Aruba each and every Caribbean port looks just like the other, dirty, grubby with nothing much to see or do other than buy watches, perfume, T-shirts and junky souvenirs at inflated prices. You can get the same watches & cameras cheaper in Toronto. A lot of passengers fall for their much touted tax-free and 40% off sales gimmick.
Yes you can go ashore on some expensive excursions or visit some very nice beaches and do some organized snorkeling but I prefer to anchor off the beach in my own boat and do my own thing in my own time.
Here is a review by someone who was on our cruise: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=112430 I think he was a bit harsh but I would not totally disagree with his sentiments.
We did eat in all the speciality restaurants (twice in the Murano) but did not like or appreciate the Qsine restaurant, we thought it was a gimmicky restaurant with mediocre food much preferred the Silk Harvest on the Solstice.
Again thanks for your excellent service I can assure you that if I can talk my wife into another cruise we will definitely use your services. Now if we can get a good deal on a European River cruise we would be very interested in trying this wave-less style of cruising but generally find these cruises to be very pricey when you add in the airfare to Europe.