We came into Fort Lauderdale airport and took a taxi to Embassy Suites on 17th Street for 2 nights pre-cruise. Cost around $15. Ate at Duffy's which is in the strip mall area behind the hotel. It's convenient and we have always liked what we get. We ran into someone who spoke about another restaurant in the area within walking distance called Quarterdeck Seafood Bar and they raved about it. Utilized the hotel transfer program for $7 a person to get to the cruise port. Left the hotel around 10:00 am. Embarkation was a breeze. Waited in the line for security to open at about 10:45. That was the longest line. There was a short line at check-in. Then we went to the Select Members holding area for about 15 minutes and we were on the ship by about 11:30-11:45.
We ate at Bistro on 5 and by the time we were done the rooms were ready.
Located on the forward portion of the hump on deck 7 mid-ship (194 sq. ft). Best location we EVER had. It's right by the elevators and most things are located by that elevator (Buffet, dining rooms, Cafe el Bacio, Cellar Masters, Martini Bar, Bistro on 5, pool, computers, library, excursions, casino, glass blowing, stores and we exited from mid-ship on all but 1 port. Elevators were not a problem. The only exception was around 5:55 for the early dinner seating. I'm not sure how they were for late seating. The other elevator problem is people who think they don't have to move to the back of the elevator to make room for others. I watched people REFUSE to move to the back in the elevator and close the door in people's faces when it was 2/3's full.
The bed was near the closet. If the beds are together having the bed next to the closet won't be a problem but if they are separated you will only get one person at a time by the closet. Ours were separated with couch, nightstand, bed, nightstand, bed, closet. If you do couch, bed, nightstand, bed, nightstand, closet you will have more room by the closet but look out trying to get around the bed by the desk. The cabin was very quiet. There are sliding glass doors going into Team Earth so you do not hear ANYTHING from the atrium and the Atrium can get loud. Bathroom storage is great but cabin storage was not. There are NO shelves in the closet, only hangers. There is storage above the bed so you have to crawl across your bed to get to things. There are three smaller drawers by the desk and 2 larger ones but keep those for smaller things. The desk drawer has the blow-dryer and keyboard in it. We put the art book and the binder about ship services on top of the safe to get them off the counter. The couch is long and appears to have a trundle bed. The 2 nightstands consists of 3 shelves. At least the top one has a lip so things won't roll off. We learned during the cruise that bathroom sink faucet moved which helped since it had been right in the middle of the sink. It's more user friendly when positioned toward the back of the sink. When you walk in the cabin the lights are on the right behind the door. The round knob is for the brighter lights in the cabin. There is a great nightlight in the bathroom. We kept the door closed as there was a light on the bathroom light switch which is all we needed to find the door handle. Leaving the door open allowed too much light into the room for us.
The balcony is angled (short side approx 7.5 ft; long side 9 ft; width about 7.5 ft) There are 2 mesh chairs. The back goes down almost flat so if you are short you can layout but your legs will hang off below the knees. Use a combination of both chairs and you are good to go. During the second half of the cruise we had sun in the afternoon on the balcony. You can also see straight down into the water. The other cabins on the angle looked down on life boats or something else.
Although I am sure it varies from cruise to cruise the views during our cruise, when we pulled into ports, was mostly metal containers or a ship docked alongside us. One time we faced the water. If you don't like wind this won't be the cabin for you. You can adjust where you are sitting and miss some of the wind but it just depends on the day. On the other hand there are only 5 sea days. I would take this cabin again in a heartbeat.
TV stations included: Fox News, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, Celebrity CBS which repeats during the second week, Movie channel, cartoon station (English and Spanish), TNT (English and Spanish), and a few more.
We had early seating. Our first table was port side in the very back, almost in a room to itself. We asked for a large table and ended up at a table for 4. The other people did not show up the first night and we decided to change to a table for 2. While we hated to lose Mataeo as our waiter we moved to the other side of the dining room in the back and had Pedro as our waiter and Cahya as our assistant waiter. We loved both of them. We always ran into Cahya in the dining room for breakfast and he always took care of us. We actually had excellent service in the dining room for breakfast. We ended up with an empty table for 2 beside us at dinner and then the second week a couple from Germany sat there which worked out very well. We were pleased with the food and could always find something to eat. Tips - The 3 people at our two tables who had the Crepes Suzette said it was VERY VERY sweet so I would not recommend that. Also, there are NO snails. Breading conditions are bad and since Celebrity cannot consistently get enough snails for all their ships they do not have them at all. They have replaced them with a Mushrooms stuffed with crab appetizer.
The Oceanview Cafe is laid out very well. There are stations for different foods which means short or no lines. There was Mexican, Asian, soups, salads, pasta, pizza, stir-fry, Indian, and on and on.
One night we went to Tuscan Grill. While it was nice and we had no complaints it was not worth the extra money for us. For some it may be. We also went to Bistro on 5 twice and we will continue to go back on a future cruise.
Gelato is 2 for the price of 1 from 4 to 7pm everyday and there are cupcakes at the Gelateria which are complimentary all day long. You can get complimentary ice cream and frozen yogurt in the Oceanview Cafe with toppings of your choice. Both times we had the scooped ice cream from the Cafe it was half melted when we got it.
Overall the food service department was one of the best we have ever had. If a problem occurred management was there in moments. The chefs came out and mingled on more than 1 occasion at dinner.
We did not see all the shows. Hot glass shows. They normally last 2 hours but they made 3 pieces during that time. You can walk in and out so don't think you need to spend the whole 2 hours there...although you may become hooked. There is an auction at the end of the cruise with 7 pieces that are created during the cruise with the money going toward scholarships for glass art students and one piece going toward breast cancer. We enjoyed the a cappella quartet Top Shelf. Sue Denning was our cruise director and she is in the top 3 of our best cruise directors. Once again we enjoyed Perry Grant in the Sky Lounge and he did the main show one evening. Tony Daro was the comedian one night and I would make sure to catch him. We also enjoyed Melinda Bates who was one of the Beyond the Podium speakers on sea days. She spoke about her 8 years working in the White House in the Clinton Administration as well as about various topics pertaining to the White House over the years.
We missed it but you shouldn't...Eclipse - The Show (European-style theatrical circus).
Pool chair hogs are alive and well. The first couple sea days was very hard to find a place to lay in the sun. TIP - Don't think about walking around by the pool on deck 12 or on deck 14 without something on your feet. The floor absorbs the eat and does not release it, well until your foot hits it, then the heat releases into your foot. I heard other people comment about it during the cruise.
It was not bad. Actually seemed typical to me. People standing in the hallways and on stairs blocking the way instead of waiting in their designated areas. We had an 8 am meeting time and were called about 8:30. Went down and were off the ship in minutes. There was a line for the terminal building to get our bags which brings me to another topic...Luggage Valet....We used it on RCI in October and LOVED IT and were looking forward to using it again. Your flight HAS TO BE AFTER 11:30 AM for FLL and 2 pm for MIA. Last time we used it our flight was 11:25 and we had no problem. Now they are ABSOLUTE about the 11:30 time frame and it is the airlines who are not accepting ANYTHING earlier than the designated times. After getting our bags and a porter it took about 20 minutes in the customs line. Taxi's were lined up waiting for customers. We were at the airport in minutes, checked our bags with the skycap (small line again) and went into the airport to find another minimal line for security. We were sitting down by approximately 10:15 am waiting for our flight.
We really enjoyed the Eclipse. The ship size was excellent. You never had to walk far to get anywhere. It was VERY easy to get your bearings. There are multiple elevators to use. Officers, management, and employees were friendly and it was obvious the majority of them wanted to do a great job. I had an issue with my air conditioner and contacted Guest Services. They had someone at my cabin in 10 minutes and he checked and fixed the problem. He also looked at the mini-bar, told me what the reading should be and then tested it. He didn't try to talk his way out of it or push it on someone else. He fixed it. I watched another person cleaning a window. No one was watching her, she could have just wiped it and moved on but she didn't. She cared about what she did. There will always be those who get away with whatever they can but the majority of the employees I saw in this ship took pride in what they did. Each time I came back on the ship in a port I really felt like I was "home".