This was our first cruise with Celebrity and we have returned very impressed. Everything seemed a couple of notches above our previous cruise experience with NCL and P & O. Don't get me wrong we have always had a wonderful time but Eclipse has blown us away.
The Eclipse is a modern, contemporary and stunning ship. I love the design and she enjoys airy open public spaces. Huge expanses of glass can be found that allow a fantastic view of the sea. She has two main groups of elevators that due to the tapered bow and stern allow easy access to most parts of the ship without having to walk to far. Celebrity have really got the 'Solstice' design spot on and its no surprise that the design as been so well received. The cruise was a short 4 day break just popping over to Cork. Celebrity have boarding fine tuned and we walked straight on and were soon enjoying lunch. Lesley was very impressed.
We booked a Concierge Class Cabin last minute and you can imagine our joy when we were upgraded to Aqua Class. This meant lots of little extras in the cabin, which also enjoyed a premium location on Eclipse close to the Spa. The main benefit was being able to eat in Blu. More on that later.
Most of the balcony cabins are very similar with enhancements based on grade. We had a fantastic spa shower, iced tea every day, robes, slippers and luxury bedding etc. I did sit out on the balcony but it was a little chilly. The cabins are deep but not particularly wide. Furniture was of a very good quality and the 32" TV on a swivel mount. The interactive services were spot on and powered by a mac mini. Storage space would be tight on a two week cruise but plenty of space under bed so some gear could be stowed here. We were on Deck 11 underneath the lido deck. No noise could be heard although due to weather the pool area was not that busy. Sebastian our Cabin Steward was fantastic.
Due to the weather we did not spend to much time on open deck but i did enjoy a swim and I would imagine that the outside pools, bars and public spaces would be superb in a warmer climate. The sheer variety of chairs, loungers and sunbeams is amazing and all the soft furnishings are all of the highest quality.
We found the food to be of the highest quality in all areas. The main Ocean View Cafe has a superb buffet selection and finding a seat was never a problem. The salad bar was incredible. We had one lunch in the main dining room which is a magnificent two deck space. Again food was wonderful.
Aqua Class meant we were able to have breakfast and dinner in Blu. This is for Aqua Class guests only. The brochure does say that it offers a healthier choice but don't let this put you off. No set dining times just great food. The breakfast muesli was created at the table and was superb as were the omelettes. A full cooked breakfast can be chosen.
The evening food was always hot and beautifully presented and the steak especially was cooked to perfection. A maximum of 260 guests are eligible to eat here so it never felt rushed, busy or cramped.
We also tried Quisine and played with the magical iPad which the menu is presented on. Food with a presented with a twist that was delicious. The cover charge was about £19.50 per head. Well with the experience. Just make sure you are very hungry when you go as the food keeps flowing.
The entertainment onboard was great fun and the theatre has state of the art production facilities. We really enjoyed 'Eclipse' which is a modern circus show, The cast worked very hard and the audience thoroughly appreciated their skills and efforts.
iLounge was of course perfection as it features Apple hardware. Sensible place to buy a new Mac as prices in dollars and feature no tax.
Visit to Cork was great although we only went ashore briefly for a stroll.
I think the best part of the cruise were the staff themselves. Eclipse has upward of 65 different nationalities serving onboard and this shows in a very chilled, relaxed but upscale way. All staff seemed to work together very fluently and the service was never less than outstanding. Nothing was to much trouble. The Grand Buffet was a work of art and Lesley and I appreiciated the effort made to set this up.
I could go on but bar the odd moaning guest that we overhead everything from our point of view was perfection. Celebrity seem to have it just right and do not appear to have made cutbacks to their quality product unlike other lines. We can't wait to travel again. Eclipse is a beautiful ship, manned and crewed by magnificent staff. Look after them Celebrity as they are worth it.