We are a married couple, 58 and 66. I am a teacher aide and my husband is a computer operator. We have previously cruised on Carnival and Princess. This was our first Celebrity cruise and our first 14 nighter. As I voraciously read all I could on Cruise Critic before we left, I feel the need to write. We disembarked from the Eclipse 3 days ago-- my body is still rocking and rolling and I am walking like a drunk woman.
Pre-Cruise: We drove 3 hours from our home to Los Angeles and left our car at the LAX Doubletree in El Segundo. We parked in a covered structure and took a shuttle to the airport. We would spend the night in this hotel at the end of our trip. Cost for 14 nights parking and a one night hotel stay: $120, booked through Trinity reservations.
We flew Southwest from LAX to FLL with a brief stop in New Orleans. Long cruise on a ship with no self serve laundry + two bags go free on Southwest= Good situation!
Our precruise hotel was the Sleep Inn Dania. The airport to hotel shuttle took so long to arrive. We watched all the other buses come and go multiple times. In the heat and humidity of this busy airport, we were not happy that it took over and hour to get there for check in. Our room was on the first floor right by the breakfast area- not a good location. The stay was okay. Shuttle from hotel to port was prompt and went well. We were not charged the $5 pp fee because we booked so long ago. We chose to be shuttled at 12 noon and arrived on board and were handed our champagne just as it was announced that the rooms were ready at 1:00ish.
NOTE: Publix market has great fresh cut flowers. I got 3 bunches for $12 and they were perfect all during the two weeks of the cruise in my folding plastic vases. Loved those flowers all over the cabin and bathroom!
Our 1A stateroom had the large balcony which we really enjoyed. Perfect location to the elevators. We did hear music from the atrium but it was not annoying. You will NOT get a footrest if you are in a 1A no matter how nicely you ask. You will NOT get shower gel. I did however ask for a few things that I was given: a water carafe (refilled daily with cold tap water by our steward), extra pillows and towels. The ship and cabin are gorgeous. The reviews are all accurate. I will not go into details about the Eclipse that have already been mentioned. Here are some general comments-
Things I brought and used and loved:
Super-strong magnets (got them on Amazon). They held our daily newspaper, shore excursion tickets, sunglasses, even my sail card. Stuck them right to the wall. Only the special strong ones are worth getting.
Frog Large Suction Cups. We used these to hang up a laundry bag, and also a line to dry bathing suits on the balcony (parallel to the wall, not across) Those suckers really stuck.
Boca Clips I balked at paying for these big ol' clothespins but they were invaluable for clipping towel to chairs and random wet clothes to chair.
Coleman Event Stool- cheap, folded up in carry on. I used this as my footrest and it worked perfectly on the balcony. Very useful for holding tray and dishes when eating on balcony
Rash guard shirt and fitness capris from Walmart--I wore these over my bathing suit for snorkeling and did not get sunburned like so many others
Folding plastic vases for flowers
Large plastic ziploc bags for storing clothes in over the bed cupboard
Lots of sunscreen in different sized bottles
Things I brought and did not use:
Over the door organizer- no need, plenty of storage in bathroom
My water shoes
DINING: We made reservations online for Select Dining, 7pm, table for two. No problem at all and were seated quickly. There was only one line at the door when we were there. Food was good, not fabulous. Some nights we found the choices a bit weird-- hey chef, quail is California's state bird. Eating that is like eating a bald eagle!
Room service was excellent, the buffet was the best. We did not eat in specialty restaurants. Our only dining room quibbles:
It was hard to get refills of coffee with our dessert. The noise level was pretty loud (I would have been okay taking a toddler in there). There was a woman with a tiny service dog which she brought to a table next to ours each night in a stroller. She fed it bits of food from its own plate. Whenever the waiters would sing to someone, it went nuts barking. Sigh.
St. Thomas- Ship excursion to St. John. Ditched the tour and hiked to Soloman Beach on Lind Point trail. Beautiful but so hot. Ferry kind of dingy.
St. Martin- Captain Bob Cass speedboat tour-- fabulous in spite of driving rain
St. Lucia- Cosol Tour-- super!
Barbados- Calabaza sail and snorkel- the absolute best, loved it so much
Antigua- tour with Lawrence. Did not like this one even though he got good reviews online. He seemed grumpy..
Curacao- could not dock, port closed to high winds (boo hoo)
Bonaire- Woodwind snorkel- such good snorkeling- like an aquarium
Aruba- Public bus, then Octopus snorkel/catamaran. We were the only English speaking adults with a group of college spring breakers from Venezuela. Not too comfortable, but a nice owner/captain who was apologetic. I now know how to sing "Gangnam Style" in Spanish!
Used Luggage Valet- so worth it! We went on the Land and Sea excursion which was interesting. Debarked at 8:45 and the bus was rolling after about 30 minutes.Four customs agents, did not take too long. Taxi line looked terribly long and the folks waiting looked hot and frustrated.
GENERAL VIBE OF SHIP:
International travelers, well dressed, friendly, polite
Did not see many complainers. So many people showed interest in the waiters and other staff, called them by name, asked about their countries and lives. Not a snobby crowd. Lots of tuxes on formal night-- more formal than Princess or Carnival. Many folks had drink packages but saw no bad behavior. I would say most passengers were in the 50-60 year range, few children, few twentysomethings. LOTS of dancing going on in the atrium.
We loved our cruise, the ports, the relaxation and adventure. Just wished for a self serve laundry room on board.