We have sailed with Celebrity 7 times now (this was the third time on the Eclipse). I am in my late thirties, and was sailing with my (nearly) 80 year old mother. Cruising is ideal as there is such a variety of activities on board, that we both can do our own things, and have a great holiday.
Our last cruise with Celebrity was on the Silhouette last October, and although good, we had felt a little disappointed. We were not sure if the standard levels had gone down or if it just was not a great cruise. Since then we have done a couple of taster cruises with P&O. P&O can't be faulted at all, but we still hankered after Celebrity before making a final decision.
This two weeks cruise to the Canary Islands on the Eclipse was fantastic. Great ports. Super weather (apart from it raining and being misty all the time we were in the Azores). The ship is just as we remember her (after two and a half years). Clean, beautifully decorated and very spacious. The cabin was clean and well serviced by our steward, Stanley.
We enjoyed meals in the three speciality restaurants, and our waiters, Adil and Mario in the Moonlight were very efficient, although I will say the variety of food in the main dining room seemed slightly less than on previous cruises. The "fall back" menu has lost a few options which is a shame, and - especially for the English - a few more vegetables each night with the main course wouldn't go a miss.
However, the Ocean View buffet is great. That can't be faulted. The variety and amount of food on offer virtually all day is remarkable, and very tasty. The brunch that they produce on one of the sea days is out of this world. You must attend it !
Entertainment on board was good. Top Noche, the party band were very, very good, and all the entertainers, and theatre cast work incredibly hard and should be applauded. Guest entertainers presented a variety of acts. On the whole, they were very good.
One negative for us (but perhaps not for everyone) was that as we were on late dinner (8:30pm), the earlier show at 7pm was a good idea. There was then a show at 8:30pm for the early diners. Now with 8:30 and 10:30 shows, it means we have to rush out of dinner to get a seat in time for 10:30. If there is an early start the next morning for a shore excursion, such a late night beforehand wasn't always appreciated. It also meant, that you were sitting around a lot before dinner with not a lot to do. You could see quite a few guests walking around aimlessly just trying to waste some time before dinner, and whilst they had to vacate their state rooms whilst they were being cleaned by the attendants.
This cruise, for the first time, we noted there would be a guest choir (something that apparently has been in effect for a few years but we'd never come across it on our particular cruises before). It was great to be involved and Jess did a sterling job conducting the nearly 60 strong guests. Participation in the daily modern line dancing was also a first, this year. Well done, Matt (activities staff). You did a great job !
The girls at the spa/fitness reception desk were also very helpful and friendly each day.
In fact, all the crew work tirelessly, and (with one exception- who I won't name and shame), were always so friendly and helpful. Its feels as if they really try their hardest to please the guests. Just a "good morning" and smile as you pass a member of staff in the corridor as they go about their business means a great deal. It was the second time that we had Sue Denning as our Cruise Director. When Sue says she doesn't like to be office bound, she is not kidding. She can be seen around the ship meeting and greeting people all the time. Considering how many guests she must see over the years on the various ships she works on within the fleet, she remembered myself and my Mother from a trip on the Celebrity back in 2010. Each morning, as guests leave the ship on the various excursions, she stands by the gang plank to wish people a good morning and hope they have a good day. Her level of service and dedication is - from what we have experienced with other CDs - unique, and worthy of praise. She really is an asset to Celebrity, and I hope they realise that.
The perks of being (for the first time) Elite members of the Captains Club were very much appreciated, and Graham, the Captain's Club Host was very friendly, and helpful.
And one final thing we loved about this cruise - and a complete surprise - was meeting previous guests who we had sat with for dinner on the Baltics cruise on the Eclipse back in 2011. It just goes to show, that we are not the only ones coming back to Celebrity again and again.
All in all, this was a super cruise. Celebrity still seem to have "it". We find the level of service of all staff still to be one of the best at sea. Long may it continue. We're already thinking about the next cruise we can go on......and it will be with Celebrity again !