This review is based upon our 3rd cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse , our previous cruises being in 2010 and 2011. As the title of my review suggests, standards have definitely slipped since our last cruise with Celebrity in key areas, giving the impression that the company bottom line is more important than keeping its passengers happy, which will result in many more negative reviews rather than the glowing ones we are used to seeing on this and many other cruise forums. I have deliberately kept this review ship based, as there many reviews on this forum on the Mediterranean ports of call.
Arrived at Southampton at 10.30am, checked in by 11.00am and sipping a Pimm’s in the Ocean View bar at Midday, probably the fastest check in ever!
We were allowed into our cabin (1676) by 2.00pm and were pleased with our selection as these Aft cabins have a great view . Not really any issues with soot from the ships funnels, other than More
a few minor specks during the 14 days
Our cabin stewards were fine (Paul and Mark) but we are not the types to call upon their services that often. However I have experienced better service from our stewards on previous cruises, for a lower grade cabin! Concierge is really not worth the extra outlay unless you want a specific cabin location (which we did)
One thing my son missed were the towel animals (we only had 1) This is not important to the adults but is all part of the cruise experience for a child!
On the whole excellent but with a few minor niggles, particularly within the public toilets, where there used to be a member of staff at all times keeping it spotless but now sadly missing. Also, there were not enough waiting staff within the Ocean View café, meaning tables not cleared fast enough
This is where standards have fortunately remained high, where food in all main venues was of an excellent standard (especially the cakes in Café Bacio, Murano and the indian offerings in the Ocean View cafe)
However, we were dismayed that the Brunch Buffet would no longer be held, which was one on the highlights of any Celebrity cruise. A feeble excuse was provided around the unsuitability of the Moonlight Sonata for this event, but we all know it’s another Celebrity cost cutting exercise.
Another negative was that Select dining no longer works, as if you have to book at least 2 days in advance for a table at the time YOU want, what’s the point? . Select dining had been offered to far too many passengers for the system to cope with
Some guests do not have a clue when it comes to formal evenings and Celebrity should really enforce the rules within the Moonlight Sonata dining room (We observed some passengers wearing shorts / t shirts and flip flops during all 3 formal evenings)
Dress rules were also not enforced within the for fee restaurants, particularly Murano, where we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. I do expect to see a man dressed like a UK coach driver, sitting in my vicinity when I have made the effort to dress appropriately
Wives please take note, if you make the effort to wear a nice dress, have your hair and nails done, ensure your partner does not look like he is dressed for a visit to a garden centre
This is an area where Celebrity really let their customers down!
As I could gather , many of the passengers on this particular sailing had obtained the 123 offer with a classic drinks package as part of their fare. The classic drinks package allows passengers to obtain any drink up to the value of $8, with a full charge being made for any drink over the $8 limit (for example if a cocktail costs $9.50, then the whole amount is charged, not the difference of $1.50). Celebrity reduced the costs to their business due to the considerable number of these drinks packages sold by
• drastically reducing the number of bar staff – in ALL bars , which was especially noticeable on sea days ( 1 member of bar staff / 1 waiter in the Pool bar .on a sea day! ) Simple, If you cannot get served, you cannot drink, therefore less alcohol consumed from Celebrity’s stock
• Significantly increasing the cost of all alcoholic drinks onboard since earlier sailings during 2014 (I had looked at a number of bar menus from the Eclipse for sailings in June / July, which had been posted online)
Fortunately I had upgraded to the premium package before sailing but would have been pretty upset if I had found out that I could not get a glass of white wine within the Ocean View café for under $8.50 (this came from a fellow passenger I spoke to and when I checked with a barman was indeed correct)
I have noticed that Celebrity are once again pushing this 123 deal for 2015 / 16 as well as RCI offering an all inclusive package with an $8 dollar limit. If you like a drink while on holiday, I would advise you to review what actually will be available AT THE TIME OF SAILING within your $8 limit and have it confirmed in writing.
Canyon Ranch Spa:
My wife and I used the spa 4 times during our cruise and received both excellent and courteous service (although expensive, which is only to be expected) Special mention to my wife’s hairdresser Stephanie, for some excellent syling for the 3 formal nights.
First the good
Sue Denning – a great cruise director and a lovely lady, really worked her socks off as we saw her morning, noon and night mingling with the guests. She always remembered my 1st name, always a good measure of a great CD. Would love to meet up with her again
Les De Merle Trio
A fantastic set of musicians and a real asset to Celebrity. Wasted in such small venue as the Ensemble Lounge. Les also gave a great lecture in Celebrity Central (standing room only!)
Lenny the DJ and the Dynamic DJ Duo
Lenny played ALL our requests during the 2 weeks. The DJ duo were a refreshing change and even played REAL house music in the Martini Bar (albeit only for an hour)
Tenors of Rock / Jeff Stevenson / Mike Doyle
All pretty good and were well worth seeing Managed to have a drink with Jeff on a number of occasions after his shows, a lovely fella! My wife really enjoyed Tenors of Rock. Very good singers unlike the ones employed by Celebrity within the ships company / house band.
Now the (REALLY) bad
The shows produced by Celebrity for this cruise were the same ones we saw in 2010 and 2011 and have got progressively worse, in terms of singing, choreography and staging.
The pool of ships theatre company entertainers must be getting smaller as they were truly awful.
The company’s male lead had been promoted since 2010 and could not hold a note even if his life depended on it. The dancers were amateurish at best and could often be seen not dancing in synch with the music track. I was informed by the ships purser that the shows would only get changed after 5 years so that Celebrity could get a return on them. Not great for repeat customers! Take note Celebrity, there are lots of great dancers and singers out there, you just have to review your relationship with the company that provides your entertainment.
Now for the worst part of my cruise entertainment experience (and many other passengers I suspect!) the ship’s house band The Spitfires (they also went by another name which I am unable to mention on this forum)
This so called “band” were undoubtedly the WORST set of musicians I have ever heard on any cruise ship I have sailed on. We had the misfortune to heart them on many areas of the ship and they got progressively worse over the 14 days. An example of how bad they were was when a family we met had to leave poolside at 3.00pm, get off the ship and walk around Lisbon to avoid hearing them!
As well as being terrible musicians, and having a female lead singer with the voice of cat being castrated and ruining every song they attempted to perform, their general demeanor and appearance was appalling. As representatives of Celebrity cruises, I would expect a certain standard of dress while performing in front of paying guests. A standard uniform of tailored shorts, matching shirts etc. would not cost a great deal of £ to implement, rather than the shambolic appearance on display. For example, the lead singer insisted on wearing a less than flattering toweling dress while singing poolside, which looked as if she just nicked a few of the many towels available poolside and wrapped herself in them.
Celebrity, please take note – they are representing YOUR Business and I would advise you to get rid before your next cruise season.
Ships Activities / Sun beds
Basically the standard of a UK holiday camp, but costing x10 as much
Actual enrichment programs (art classes etc.) too few and far between
Celebrity did not enforce their own 30 min sunbed rule, which caused many an argument on sea days!
Kids Club / Games Room
The kids club was fine but hardly used by my son. However, we learnt that 9 year olds were able sign themselves out, so parents who left them on board all day while at port could potentially leave them to run riot on board without supervision (which some did!)
The games room had the same machines since 2010! , these machines should really be updated every year.
A special mention must go to the disgraceful standard of service to passengers attempting to purchase photographs on the last day of the sailing. Things got so bad the manager left her underlings to deal with many angry passengers and went to bed!
Off the ship at 7.30 and left Southampton at approximately 8.00am , well done Celebrity!
Although overall we had a good cruise , it was not exceptional as were previous Celebrity sailings. Celebrity would need to address the issues mentioned before they get any more of my hard earned cash.
The tag Celebrity use of "Modern Luxury" is sadly no longer the case! Less
Celebrity Eclipse Cruises to the Western Mediterranean