There are those who say that Celebrity is not what it used to be and that is somewhat true, but we still found our cruise this December on The Eclipse to be quite enjoyable. It seems that Celebrity is suffering from a small identity crisis. It used to cater to a passenger who was generally was a couple over the age of 40 who preferred a more formal cruise atmosphere and high quality cuisine served in a somewhat more elegant style. It was never a cruise line devoted to parents traveling with young children although certainly there were always younger couples with children present on board. It now appears Celebrity is working to attract both groups, and I'm not sure the result of happiness on all accounts is indeed possible.
We found the food in the dining room of very good quality, some nights better than others, but not everyone we dined with agreed. The Tuscan Grille was excellent and a small step above the main dining room, but you have to pay for the privilege of dining there. Some nights there is a chef in The Oceanview Cafe who will grill a specific steak or fish that you select in advance and if you don't mind dining without a linen tablecloth, that might be the place for you. The buffet for lunch was always a hit with stations providing international dishes. The Indian food was particularly good. We didn't bother with QSine after reviewing their information. I do not want to go to a restaurant where I order from an Ipad! I would agree with the previous reviewer who said that Murano was overpriced and overrated, plus the seating there was uncomfortable and some of the service a bit pretentious. I'm not sure why there is a cover charge for The Bistro but it keeps people from dining there which is too bad. The food there was very good. I do not understand why Cafe Baccio has better pastries than anywhere else on the ship and they are free.
Celebrity's main problem is identifying which passenger it wants to attract instead of trying to attact anyone and everyone. They offered parents a deal to bring children on board for this cruise for free and that policy initially kept me from booking. Our children are grown and our grandchildren wouldn't enjoy a cruise on Celebrity. I'd opt for a Disney cruise if I wanted to cruise with them, which I don't. Only after the price went down in the last week before the cruise did I book.
The children onboard were quite young, most of them under the age of 10, and they were consistently loud, rude, unruly and unsupervised. The pools and hot tubs on the main deck were full of children screaming and jumping (even in one case actually diving) onto adults who tried to use the pools. Security staff watched from the upper deck but apparently were afraid to speak to the parents, or maybe they didn't know who or where they were? Babies in diapers do not belong in hot tubs, but we saw that too and no one said a word to them. I saw one family with a large number of children allow several of them to disassemble the ladies restroom and no one spoke to them except me. Shameful destruction which went unnoticed by anyone other than myself and the restroom attendant who would not address the situation. As you may have guessed, I am post 55 and I probably do represent the majority of those who sailed on this cruise. Celebrity cannot try to appeal to such a wide spectrum of passengers without offending one or the other. They need to determine who they want to be and tailor their product to those passengers. If they want young families, count us out on future sailings.
The steam room was out of order during what appeared to be the entire length of our cruise. Why pay for entrance into the Aqua Spa when that is broken? My massages are cheaper at home. The saunas in the AguaSpa restroom areas can apparently be used without charge.
Service was very good overall. Our cabin attendants on Deck 3 did an amazing job. This was our second sailing on Eclipse and we were pleased to see The Martini Bar is still the place to be onboard with Putu still amazing passengers and trainee Nickola working hard to become the next Putu. Other bar areas aboard were practically empty and the Martini Bar stacked them up to standing room only everynight. This might be another situation where improvements could be made. Another martini bar???
Many folks complained about being nickel and dimed to death and definitely things could get out of hand there. Plan carefully and see if a drinks package is right for you to purchase in advance. A bottle of Evian costs about $5 and a cappucino about the same. I was not happy that I found some areas very odiferous. The bar on Deck Three had a lingering unpleasant odor of sewage somewhere nearby and we noticed that smell infiltrated into our cabin on some days. No apparent source and I wondered if location that low on the ship was in too close a proximity to the refuse tanks? Deck Five still stinks of stale cigarette smoke in areas where smokers used to be allowed cigarettes. A good cleaning and carpet replacement might be in order there.
All and all it was a good cruise and good value for money because I booked a guarantee cabin at a late date. I would do the same again. Even small disappointments can add up to a jaded view of a cruise in retrospect when the price paid is somewhat of an investment. We enjoyed our trip for the price we paid and would do it again, unless the policy of trying to attract young families seems to be the order of the day.