I had such high hopes for this ship, been so hyped up by the company itself and the amount of press it has been given. Sadly it did not live up to our full expectations. I will say that perhaps the weather may not of helped entirely which may be a reason for a lot of the indoor overcrowding during the days.
I know this was only 'Eclipse's' 4th sailing, but it certainly needs a lot of 'tweaking'
Regards the public rooms, these were all very modern and looked like 'sets' from a glossy interiors magazine, smart in appearance. However, they were all situated in an open area of the ship from the 3rd deck through to the 11th deck which sadly allowed sound to carry. Therefore do not expect peace and quiet in the library during the times of day that any live acts are scheduled to perform on the lower levels (frequently), as the sound carries all the way up and is very loud and distracting. This didn't seem to affect too many people as every time we had a view of the library we could the designer chairs occupied with napping passengers (I thought staterooms were for this purpose!) It seems like Celebrity's policy is to push drink sales on you. Anytime your rear end touches a seat in a bar/lounge/casino, they are instantly asking if you want a drink, so you instantly feel guilty when you say no.
The main dining was extremely disorganised. Even with an 8.45 set dining every night, everyone still had to queue. Especially on the first night, we were not seated until 9.15pm The waiter/waitress we had, Ozan and Ester were very friendly and helpful and couldn't do enough for you. However the standard of the food was no where near the expected 5 stars promised by Celebrity. Several dishes were un-edible and we left them to the side. A couple of times our drinks orders were forgotten and then duplicated (and were additionally charged to the room without signing anything! - So check your on-board account, Guest relations eventually corrected this for us) Also took 25minutes once for a soft drink to arrive and then 20 minutes for the wine waiter to take an order, whom forgot our order. Surprising as everywhere else is trying to get a drink purchase out of you within seconds!
The buffet was a disaster...and being a full ship, was too overcrowded at breakfast, it could take up to ten minutes to find a table. The service was appalling and the food bland in taste. Trying to discover what you wanted to eat was also a challenge as much of it was not labelled. Trying to get cream cheese with your bagel in the morning was like getting blood from a stone, I gave up in the end after been directed to 3 different places by staff members. And the individual behind the ice cream counter...well god forbid you ask him for a scoop of ice cream!!. His face was miserable and he was very blunt with a lot of passengers. We even heard him mutter under his breath when looking at the amount of people in queue,( well what does he expect at 3pm in the afternoon)
We eat in Qsine one night - the 'new speciality restaurant' and WOW what a concept. This was probably the best thing about the Eclipse. It is a really unique dining experience and was truly memorable. From Main Course and Wine choices to select from on the new iPAD, to finding your dessert choice on a rubic's cube puzzle style menu. The staff were brilliant and the food was presented so beautifully. You really need to make sure you have a big appetite for this dining extravaganza. And you must make sure to save room for dessert!!
The grass lawn on the 15th deck was truly amazing and is well worth a stroll on. Felt very bizarre when you look around and see the sea moving past! Also on the 15th deck was the Hot Glass Blowing show, which was a very educational experience and worth the visit to watch everyday. It's very relaxing and educational to watch. We were able to enjoy the expertise of George, Leanne and Carl.
Sadly Celebrity see fit to still offer a smoking area on the ship, which I find strange considering there are so many outside areas on this ship to smoke. And they picked the room with the best view to allow the smoking 'The Sky Observation Lounge' It had the most unpleasant smell to it as soon as you walked in. So we were unable to enjoy the comfortable seats with the front view from the ship. The only other front view of the ship was located directly above this lounge, but is reserved for...children!! The games room for kids and the Kids club were up here, so sadly there is no where for a non smoking adult to really enjoy a decent view, and surely this is the category most Celebrity guest would come under - especially on its USA winter sailings.
As for the stateroom it was beautiful. Comfortable beds and spacious rooms with good storage. The bathrooms were also spacious and the balcony we had was of an excellent size. Once negative was we only saw the stateroom attendant once at the beginning. During the turn-down service we would often find dirty cups still left in the room. The 32inch TV screens were very good. The beds and pillows were very comfortable, I wish I knew where they buy them, would love one at home!!
There was no on board mobile signal, which I found strange for such a modern ship and I did hear several guests mention this.
Lastly the disembarkation procedure made us feel they wanted to get rid of us. On day 3 of our 5 day cruise but our luggage labels appeared on our bed in the afternoon! Everyone had the usual group number and times allocated, but on the actual morning staff were just walking around with walkie talkies and telling crowds to head off from the door by the Eclipse theatre on the 5th deck, regardless of time slot, they really did want to get us off! Mind you at this point we were only too happy to oblige and disembarked earlier than our time.
Overall I felt the whole experience did not offer 5 star service as promised, but more like a 2 star hotel and restaurant. This is an over-hyped ship and having sailed on Holland America before, I felt Celebrity did not match them in Service standard, food standards or public room layouts.