We are not going to book a cruise onboard Celebrity Cruises again. We have done two Celebrity Cruises. Solstice and now the Eclipse. We did not enjoy the Solstice but decided to give Celebrity another chance as the date, itinerary and the fact it was leaving from Southampton suited us well. We should not have bothered. We paid for a carefree cruise holiday with our hard earned cash and that’s not what we received at all. We did make the most of it but is should have been so much better. It is advertised as a 5 star experience. We certainly did not get that in any way.
Firstly onboard the ship was the Noro Virus which took hold within the first few days and lasted for the whole of the cruise. We therefore had to queue with barriers, were inundated with gel and general wiping down everywhere . I understand the reasons why, but it was a worry that we should not have had. As we left the ship the big clean was happening and apparently the new passengers would have to wait to embark until this was done. This big clean had previously occurred in May 2013 as the NV was onboard then( as per other reviews.) Once again considering the passengers change, there is still a Noro Virus problem onboard this boat. Myself and my husband really do not appreciate being put at risk of being infected by this Virus. We were always aware of not using hand rails and constantly washing hands after using buttons in the lift, door handles etc Poor people infected by this Noro Virus had their holidays ruined and no matter what happens they cannot regain that time again.
Our overall experience was below average in many ways. The food onboard in the dining room was average. Once again we agree with other reviews vegetables were few and far between. Extra veg when ordered with the main order, would come up half way through the main course, which is not satisfactory. Due to the Noro Virus there was no salt and pepper, bread or butter on the tables. 8.30pm dining in the Moonlight Sonata and the very slow service made us late for the show nearly every night. The show started at 10.30 and as we were only on a table of 6, this really should not have happened.
The food in the Ocean View was ok. It was just having to queue at every station to be served took a long time and the food was not as hot as it should have been when you actually sat down to eat. Always a long queue for Tea or Coffee. The tables not always cleared as quickly as they usually were, giving the benefit of doubt perhaps because so many staff were portioning out the food.
The ships compass did not work for us. It just did not flow and we missed out because of this. Some of the quest entertainers were very poor so even if we made the show we did walk out on quite a few occasions along with a lot of other people. The onboard cruise entertainers Kylle Thomson and group, Top Notch and the guys in the Ensemble lounge very good.. The Hot glass show should not be missed, excellent. The Comedians were ok, but we had seen one before on a previous cruise. The Chinese acrobat/magician was very good. There is such a full itinerary with long days ashore but people still deserve a full evening of good quality, after all that’s what we have paid for, and that does seem to be the case on the previous cruises onboard this ship. We have never experienced so many people walking out of so many shows before. As a side point when we have done cruises that are based Stateside to the Caribbean etc the entertainment has been of a much better quality than the ones we have been on leaving from Southampton( three in total).
Itinerary was very good. We used SPB TOURS for all of our tours, which we highly recommend. Very informative guides and very good value for money. We docked outside of Stockholm due to high winds, which made us loose 2 hrs of a 5 hr tour. We then had to take our turn to be tendered that is after all the Celebrity Tours were allowed off first until people complained. St Petersburg and Berlin were our favourites. Would love to return but hopefully if we go back to Berlin we will try not to be a three hour coach journey away, but it was still worth it. Tallin was lovely as well.
Final thoughts are you pay your money and you take your choice. Our minds are made up not to go with Celebrity again. The reason we decided to try Celebrity is because after doing a few cruises we thought we would listen to the hype and have this extra special cruising experience. We really wish we had not wasted our time and money and the only company that we really enjoy time and time again is onboard Royal Caribbean.