We are frequent cruisers and Celebrity is our favorite line. We have sailed on Holland America and Norwegian but always come back to Celebrity.
This was a great cruise on the Eclipse and will rank in the top cruises we have taken.
Embarkation was very easy and without much wait at all. We were onboard within 20 minutes of getting in the line at the check in counter. We did have an issue of the premium beverage package not being coded on our sea pass cards and it did take a couple of visits to Guest Relations to have it straightened out as well as our having to produce the document showing we had paid for the premium package instead of the classic beverage package we received as an incentive for sailing.
We chose one of the sunset veranda cabins at the very back of the ship and even though the view was great, I would not do it again. During the daytime, there was no shade due to the slope of the rear of the ship and it was too hot to sit outside. There was also a problem with soot from the smokestacks that blew on the veranda and would coat the table, deck, and chairs with black soot. The cabin steward did give us extra beach towels to cover the chairs but it was still far from what we anticipated.
Food in the Moonlight Sonata (main dining room) was very good. The steaks were cooked as we ordered, the fish was not overcooked, the veggies were steamed and perfectly done, there was a variety of desserts to keep anyone happy (including sugar-free) and very good table service.
The Murano was the only specialty restaurant we tried and it was definitely 5 star in every aspect. I wanted grilled lobster but the only lobster offered was in a spicy sauce. I asked if the chef could simply grill the lobster tails for me and it was no problem. Perfectly grilled lobster tails! My wife had the rack of lamb which I sampled (of course) and it was hard to say whose was best. The wines we ordered by the glass were excellent as well as being included in the beverage package.
We really enjoyed the premium beverage package. As I said, the classic package was included and we upgraded for $11.50 per day to the premium. This gave us unlimited drinks up to $12 in any lounge, bar, venue, or dining room. The wine steward at dinner got to know us well and was always there to pour our wine selection (or he would recommend a wine) for each course and we never had to sign a tab. Bartenders gave us the same good service as anyone. We enjoyed the Molecular Bar with the unique drinks and the addition of a few drops of liquid nitrogen to make them bubble and smoke. The Martini Bar had the "flair" bartenders juggling bottles of spirits and pouring several drinks at one time from a stack of shakers. Great drinks, too.
The coffee bar on the 5th deck was a great place to enjoy a cup of Cafe Americano or excellent cappuccino in the morning and a coffee with Bailey's anytime. This was also included in the beverage package.
A couple of things that should be improved include "repositioning" Perry Grant -- the flamboyant Judy Garland groupie -- to Michael's Club from the Sky Lounge at night. It was the absolute wrong venue for him. He would be very good in an intimate piano bar like Michael's Club but stuck in a corner of the Sky Lounge was not conducive to his style of entertainment. It also prevented other musical groups from playing in the Sky Lounge for evening dancing. The dance bands had to perform in a small space in a main thoroughfare hall and it provided an even smaller dance floor.
Ports of call were good with St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Lucia (we were on the cruise before 50 Eclipse passengers got robbed at gunpoint while on an excursion), Antigua, Barbados, Bonaire, and Aruba. Unfortunately, Curacao's harbor was too rough to allow for docking so we got an extra sea day.
Was this the perfect cruise? Downright close, I would say. Will I cruise with Celebrity again and recommend it to friends? Absolutely!