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Loved the Ship & Itinerary!
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Unfortunately we didn't purchase our flights through Celebrity so we were responsible for getting ourselves to the first port; Aruba to catch the ship. We incurred $4000 in hotel, flight, and miscellaneous fees to do so and are waiting for reimbursement through TravelGuard. Celebrity was great to deal with through this process; our questions were answered promptly, the ship was held at port an extra 5 hours to accommodate more guests, and we were given red carpet treatment during embarkation in Aruba and disembarkation in Port Everglades.
The Eclipse is a beautiful newer ship with modern decor and plenty of space for everyone. Our first cruise was 2 years ago on the Equinox which we loved. We were concerned that we would be bored being on the same ship but it would be a hard one to beat. We noticed only minor differences such as Q-sine instead of the Japanese specialty restaurant and decor changes. Both ships seem to have poor stabilizers; there was a lot of motion felt on More
Our stateroom; 6182 was a 2D obstructed view balcony. It was on the 6th floor, midship, quiet, and close to elevators. The obstructed view didn't bother us especially since we got a deal. The stateroom was large with plenty of storage space and a modern bathroom. We preferred it to our Aquaclass stateroom on the Equinox which was on the 11th floor below the fitness centre; very noisy due to the treadmills above and lots of motion felt. We didn't miss Blu except for their exceptional breakfast; we prefer the service and menu at the main dining room. We enjoyed lighter fare at the Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast and the buffet/Mast Grill for lunch.
We like cruising with Celebrity because they cater to an older, sophisticated crowd. The food quality and variety throughout the ship is excellent. The service received from all staff was great. The ship is newer and meticulously kept. Plenty of space around the three pools, six hot tubs, and various sun decks. We never had trouble finding a lounge chair. The only negative is the entertainment which is geared towards seniors. We didn't bother going to any shows except for the Cirque style show which was excellent and the comedic impersonator who was great. However, after being bored with 90% of the shows during our last cruise, we learned that it is a great time to enjoy the hot tubs with complete privacy! The activities for younger people are limited during sea days so we were glad not to have many. We loved all of the ports and booked private excursions at each. St, Marten was a zoo with 6 ships in port.
We purchased an Open Passages certificate while onboard and plan to sail with Celebrity again next year. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Nice market with handicrafts a short walk from the port. Lots of stores and restaurants within walking distance downtown.
We booked a speed boat tour called the Xtreme Circumnav through Adventure Antigua. Highly recommended for those seeking adventure and love speed! We flew in a 700 HP speedboat around the island stopping to swim with stingrays, snorkel a reef, eat a delicious meal on a private beach, and enjoyed rum punch on another private beach all while learning about the island. There are only 20 guests and 3 staff on board. Highly recommended!
The ship was docked within walking distance to downtown Aruba. We took the public bus for $5 each to Malmok Beach & Boca Catalina. There are no facilities but you can rent a chair and umbrella. We relaxed on the beach and did some snorkelling.
We booked a catamaran trip with Calabaza Sailing. Only 12 guests and 3 crew on board a beautiful catamaran. We snorkelled with sea turtles, swam at leisure, enjoyed a wonderful homemade meal and the best rum punch ever! We felt bad for the 80 cruisers packed onto the ship excursion catamaran! Highly Recommended!
We also enjoyed th free WIFI at port.
We took the Good Returns water taxi to Klein Bonaire for $20 per person to Klein Bonaire which is a gorgeous uninhabited island. There are no facilities so bring drinks, food, and sun protection. We snorkelled the best reef we have ever seen here. Great place to spend the day!
We also went to the craft market downtown which was a pleasant surprise. Lots of hand-made jewellery and art instead of the usual junk from China. The vendors don't bother you here either. Be sure to buy stroopwafels from the lady making them onsite; yummy!
There is a junky mall attached to the port. There is a lively market downtown within walking distance; good spot to buy vanilla, nutmeg, and other spices. We took the public bus to La Sagesse Nature Center for $7 per person return. Taking the public bus is a great experience if you are adventurous; 20 people packed into a minivan without AC and blaring reggae music! We felt bad for other cruisers who paid $70 return for a taxi and missed out on such a uniquely fun experience.
La Sagesse is a beautiful unspoiled beach with a single boutique hotel on it approximately 40 min from port. We rented lounge chairs for $4 each. There is a small restaurant on site with good (expensive) food and slow, unfriendly service. Bring your own beverages. There were only about 12 people here; felt like we were on a deserted island!
We loved this port! Very quaint downtown within walking distance of the port with an artisan market.
We booked an ATV & jet ski tour called the 2-fer from Gecko's Island Adventures. The ATVing was alot of fun and the terrain was beautiful as we traversed up steep inclines to enjoy expansive island views and through rain forest.
Afterwards we were dropped off at Rainbow Beach for a 1 hour jet ski rental; so much fun! Our rental included use of loungers and umbrella for as long as we liked. There is a restaurant on the beach called Rhythms which offered tasty finger food and awesome frozen drinks; be sure to try the bushwacker and the lime in da coconut; yummy! There was even a live reggae singer who was amazing. This uncrowed beach had lovely sand, beautiful water great for swimming, and was only a $6 taxi ride or one mile walk from port. Highly recommended!
We booked a private island tour through Real St. Lucia for $75 per person and were able to customize our itinerary. We drove to Soufrere; (1.5 hours) with many scenic stops for photo ops. We hiked the Tet Paul Nature trail for $5 per person (1 hour) where we learned about the culture, vegetation and enjoyed breathtaking views of th pitons. We stopped at the New Jerusalem Baths for $7 per person for the use of three natural sulfur baths; one cold, one warm, and one hot in an idyllic jungle setting deficient of tourists! Enjoyed a drink on the Anse Chastenet beach.
We drove back to Castries but would recommend the water taxi to return; it is quicker and you are less likely to get motion sick from the winding roads!
There were 6 ships in port so it was a zoo! Typical market with handicrafts made in China within walking distance of the port. Be sure to buy delicious Belgium chocolates from The Belgium Chocolate Box by Beatrix!
We took a $14; 40 min. taxi ride to Maho beach to see the planes land. It was packed and loud so we didn't stay long but were glad to see it. We walked about 15 min to Mullet Beach which is more picturesque with less people. Here you can rent a chair and umbrella and buy lunch. The sea was really rough and not good for swimming.
This was a least favorite port; too busy and commercial.