We (My missus and I) booked this cruise via Iglu as (Im guessing due to a noro outbreak) the price of £735 each seemed a bargain for 8 nights on a Celebrity ship. We are very flexible with our holiday dates and where we actually go so booking last minute seems like a good idea wallet wise!
On the morning of our sailing we drove down from London to Southampton. We had pre-booked the ABP parking for £55 if I remember correctly. Left home at 9am and got to the dock carpark at 10.40. Parked up straight away and luggage was taken by the porters.
Walked the 2 minutes to the terminal and checked in immediately. Was given a boarding card with a number 6 on it, and within 15 minutes was called to board.
We were on the ship at 11.10 and immediately we realised that Celebrity was in a totally different league to P&O. Over the next half hour we walked around the main decks in awe. Everything looked amazing, the shops were plush, the bars were stunning, the dining venues looked classy and the pool decks looked clean and inviting.
We then decided (thanks to a tip by someone on our rollcall) to have lunch in bistro on 5. The waiters were really friendly and the food delicious.
The staterooms were ready at about 1pm and luggage arrived by 3pm. Our stateroom was on deck 6 (6290) which was randomly assigned as we booked a "balcony guarantee" with Iglo.
Compared to our P&O (Oceana) room this was appreciably bigger, much better furnished, had a lovely big flatscreen TV (Which was never turned on LOL) and a very comfortable bed.
The balcony was nice and was actually bigger than the decks above (It was actually possible for those above to look down onto the end of our balcony, but it wasnt a problem). You couldnt see directly down to the water as there was a 2-3 meter blue roof from the restaurant on the deck below, but the view straight out and to both sides was totally unobstructed. In my opinion this balcony was as good as any other on the ship (We viewed a concierge class balcony on deck 9 as we made friends with a couple who invited us for drinks, and to me our balconies were similar (except ours was about 3 feet bigger nah nah na nah nah)
The bathroom was also very nice. It had plenty of space for everything, and even at 6 ft 2 I could comfortably shower and do my thing.
Our fantastic stateroom attendant couldnt do enough for us, always asking if wanted anything and seemed to always be around even at 3am when staggering back from the casino.
Moving on to the cruise, we were fortunate to have a gloriously sunny sailaway, which was spent at the sunset bar with copious drinks. We had the premium package and it was lovely to order without giving a thought to the cost. Overall I think my missus broke even on the package and it saved me about $500.
We also bought the 5 speciality restaurant package and our first night meal was in the Tuscan Grill. Service was outstanding, with the waiter and sommelier chatting to us for 10 minutes and genuinely happy to be serving us. The food (Fillet minion) was also perfect, and on a par with the nicest steakhouse I have ever eaten at. This was replicated for our 2nd meal here also.
Our dinner a Murrano was also totally amazing, with outstanding service and food.
Qsine was simply outrageous in all aspects. Our 1st meal there we teamed up with a couple we met at the sailaway. We ordered a total of 8 items and the way they are served is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Everything was totally wacky but so cool. Quality was outstanding here as well, and by the time we had desert we had spent over 3 hours at our table.
For the 2 formal nights we ate in the main dining room. We found the service to be very good here, and the wine glasses were topped up without having to ask. I found the food to be not as good as in the speciality restaurants but more than the standard of a good £30 a head place in London. However I did feel that it lacked the absolute luxury of everything else on the Celebrity Eclipse. It just felt a bit "that will do" rather than "WOW AMAZING".
We had one evening meal in the Ocean View buffet which again was superb, and I actually preferred it to the main dining room. I actually think that the quality of the food in the buffet was above that in the main dining room by far, really plush for a buffet with plenty of carved meats, kebabs, and varieties.
We had nearly every breakfast at the Aquaspa cafe after our morning gym session which we managed on 7 mornings amazingly!! Nice healthy food, amazing smoothies and yoghurts etc
On the subject on the gym it was almost empty every morning (11ish) and totally empty on 2 days!! We also had a massage which was $79 and worth every cent!!
Bars...... As we had the premium alcohol package we frequented many of the bars. Our favourite was the martini bar which looks better in real life than any pic/video you will see online. We also had a few drinks from the Molecular bar which were unique and very tasty. I found myself ordering a drink from there and taking it to the martini bar/casino as there wasnt much of an atmosphere/buzz there unfortunately.
We spend quite a few evenings having a flutter in the casino and the drinks service there was great. On day 2 the barman realised I was a regular gambler with a drink problem!! so he wrote down my seapass number and I never had to pull it out of my pocket again all cruise. Nice touch and I made sure he was looked after. I lost about $700 over the cruise playing mainly blackjack but had a good time and many hours playing.
We booked 2 shore excursions.
The flam railway: Stunning train journey on one of the sunniest days of year apparently.
Hike to storforsen waterfall geiranger: A VERY hard uphill hike (again in glorious sunshine) up to a beautiful waterfall which you can actually walk behind. This was amazing, aided by weather the guide said they only get a few times a year. However it really is strenuous and out of our group of 42 only about 28 made it.
In the theatre we saw the 3 "production shows" which we all really good , the best being the "Cirque du Soleil-inspired circus show". Our cruise directer Sue Denning? was very animated and energetic, and really got us in the mood every night.
Well to sum up our holiday, we are both in agreement that this ranks up there with the best of them, if not THE best. Everything from stepping aboard to disembarking was effortless, wonderful, amazing and will stay with us until we sail off the planet!!
Thank you Celebrity for an unforgettable week, we will DEFINITELY see you again next year!!