My wife and I sailed on Celebrity's Eclipse on a two-week cruise to the southern Caribbean on January 12, 2013. We have sailed with Celebrity several times before, but this was our first cruise on the Eclipse.
About us. I am a trial lawyer and my wife is a Personal Shopper. We exercise daily as an integral part of our lifestyle, and except when we vacation, we watch what we eat. Trim and fit are two words which I think best describe us physically.
Here are some compelling reasons for you to seriously consider a Celebrity cruise:
1. Celebrity has the most progressive non-smoking policy in the mass cruise market. It is the only cruise line to ban smoking on balconies as well as in the cabins and the casinos. On the Eclipse, smoking was limited to a section of the port side of the pool deck, to the port side of an outdoor bar at the back of the ship, and to an outdoor bar on the starboard side on the deck above the pools. I heard no complaints from anyone.
2. The Eclipse itself. The Eclipse is one of five new, nearly identical S-class ships in the Celebrity fleet. I find myself speaking in superlatives about this ship. It is a big boat, over three football fields long, yet remarkably easy to find your way about. It has a passenger capacity of 2,850 and yet never seemed crowded. Pictures of the ship do not do it justice. A spectacular atrium towering 11 decks holding glass-enclosed elevators with a tree suspended in the middle is simply breathtaking. Eye-catching artwork is everywhere. There are many, many features of the Eclipse unique to Celebrity I invite you to look at on-line, but in a word, the entire ship is positively stunning.
3. The pool deck and the buffet restaurant. I single out these two areas because through its innovative design of the S-class, Celebrity managed to solve two huge problems prevalent on cruise ships: a shortage of deck chairs and long lines in the buffet restaurants. On the Eclipse you could arrive on the pool deck at almost any time on a sea day and still find plenty of prime seating. The buffet restaurant, called the Oceanview Cafe on the Eclipse, was cleverly designed with separate stations in the center so there were never lines. That's right, no lines. Celebrity also substituted various-sized plates for trays to eliminate the look and feel of a cafeteria you find on other ships.
4. AquaClass. We treated ourselves to AquaClass on this cruise and it is no surprise that AquaClass was the first category to sell out. The AquaClass cabins are ideally located high up and are configured and decorated differently than the other cabins. The balconies are large enough for two lounge chairs. The bathrooms have fog-free mirrors, enormous bath towels, and a shower with a tower of five jets to massage and rinse you at multiple body points. There is also a private entrance to the AquaSpa and fitness center, unlimited access to the therapeutic Persian Garden, and exclusive access to the Relaxation Room at the front of the ship. But best of all was the specialty restaurant called Blu.
5. Blu. This small and intimate specialty restaurant was exclusive for AquaClass passengers. It was our private dining room. The quality of food on a Celebrity cruise is generally superb, but Blu's special menu took the dining experience to a whole new level. Blu was open for breakfast and dinner with no assigned times or seating. The menu differed dramatically from the main dining room, as did the preparation and the presentation. The menus changed daily but the chef would prepare even dishes off the menu. And while the quality of service on a Celebrity cruise is generally exceptional, the service in Blu was the best we've encountered on any ship anywhere.
6. Cleanliness. The Eclipse wasn't just clean; it was immaculate, including, and maybe even especially, the public restrooms, which were fresh and spotless whenever we used them. Purell hand-sanitizers were everywhere, including smiling crew members to personally dispense a shot at the doors to the dining venues and to passengers returning to the ship from port. This is clearly a cruise line which cares about our health.
7. The specialty restaurants. Like most ships, the Eclipse has her share of for-fee specialty restaurants. In addition to Blu, we dined in two of the three. The Tuscan Grille, an Italian steakhouse, served me a filet mignon you could cut with a sharp look. It was as good as you will find in any Capital Grille on land. The popular and innovative Qsine, with its iPad menu, is so unique it defies description.
8. Captain's Club. Like many cruise lines, Celebrity rewards its repeat passengers with special programs, parties and perks. As Elite members of the Captain's Club, we were invited to drink from a large menu of alcoholic and soft drinks at Celebrity's expense each evening. Other benefits included either complimentary or discounted laundry, dry cleaning, and Internet access.
9. Perry Grant. He is a flamboyant cabaret singer something like Liberace on steroids, who held court nightly on Celebrity's older and smaller Constellation for many years. I heard that Perry was about to join the Eclipse starting the cruise after mine so we missed him by a day. Perry is so immensely popular that some passengers book their cruises just because of him. You can watch videos of his performances on YouTube.
10. The crew. You will not find friendlier people at sea. During the entire cruise I never heard the word no. Moreover, I personally observed extraordinary acts of kindness and consideration from the staff towards passengers I found so touching I went searching for a supervisor to report them. If the stunning Eclipse is the exquisite body of Celebrity, then the remarkable people who inhabit it are its heart and soul.
There are many features of the Eclipse and details of my cruise I've missed, but I'm happy to elaborate or answer any questions for anyone who's interested. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.