East embarkation at Southampton and we were very excited. Eclipse if a lovely ship and we have sailed on her previously, the last one being Sept. 2012. We had a aft sky suite that was large, airy and had a wonderful balcony. Unfortunately, the weather in the Med was unseasonal with lots of clouds, showers, high winds and few long sunny days, so it was not possible to to make full use of the lovely balcony. Still, the stateroom was fantastic and we had a fantastic trip.
Ports of call were not new to us, but in the main were interesting. For those who have done Florence, Pisa, Rome, Nice etc before, my tip is to wander around the port town as some of them are lovely.
Food is always good on Celebrity. Don't expect Michelin star, but for mass catering it does a good job. The Ocean view cafe (buffet) was MANIC. Trying to get a seat in there was a mission at times. Indeed trying to get a seat anywhere inside this ship was often a lottery. Some of this was down to the weather as few were outside, some down to the age group as people just plonked themselves down for the day rather than move around. I actually saw many arguments between passengers around the Cafe Baccio where people were refusing to move. The average age group must have been 70+. I'm 50 and felt like a youngster. I saw a few teenagers and they were positively bored stiff. My experience is that Celebrity Eclipse from the UK certainly attracts an older age group and that means the ship does not have much in the way of liveliness late evening as the older passengers were heading to bed by 10pm.
Did I have any complaints about Celebrity? No. In my view I think they do a good job. I do think they have cut-back on staff and that can be seem by the sometimes slow service (and not cleaning tables etc). Still, the staff do work hard and they cannot do the impossible. Many of them did seem unhappy, but I imagine they were just tired - I couldn't work on average 10 hours a day for x months solid without a day off. I think Sue Denning, the Cruise Director, is superb and one of the best I have ever experienced. I also have to say our cabin steward and assistant were great and our Butler an absolute gem.
I love Celebrity, but the passenger age on this cruise has made us re-think sailing with her again from the UK. If this age group is Celebrity's target audience then that's fine, but that means meantime we will look elsewhere for a bit more 'life'. I also think we like a more 'international' crowd rather than a British centric passenger list, so prefer sailing from non UK ports. That's just a personal preference.
The one negative aspect of this cruise was passenger related. The number of times I observed people leaving the restroom without washing their hands was shocking. Many passengers also refused to use the purell entering the buffet and I saw many arguing with the staff. Result = Norovirus spread. I suspected something early the second week, but the ship was "code red" for the last few days. I think Celebrity handled it well and many additional staff were present in the dining room to serve food and drinks. In fact, the buffet experience was enhanced in my view as it removed the pushing and shoving from a lot of very rude passengers who had few manners (and were talking about elderly people here, not youngsters)
So, all in all a great trip and I have no complaints at all. It's just time for us to look for something a bit more less 'old people's home' as we're too young.