7 family members, in 2 cabins, travelled on this wonderful vessel to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Sure, we were blessed with excellent weather, which is not unexpected at this time of year, but the holiday exceeded our expectations in virtually every area.
Eclipse is a magnificent vessel, perhaps to be expected after it's rumoured cost of $800 million. Yes, you do hear some people grumbling and I wonder if these are never happy with anything. I do not travel with "rose tinted glasses", but there is so little to complain about. Great trouble has been expended to plan out Eclipse to the highest standards. I for one, even knowing what to expect, having travelled on the sister ship "Equinox", am still amazed at the size, the lack of crowds despite the near 3,000 passengers, the quiet spaces that can be found easily, the Lawn Club on the top deck, etc. etc.
Catering, generally the range of food, the standards, are to a 5 class level. Not everything is always to my taste, but there is always something to enjoy. And I imagine that with 14,000 meals to prepare each day, there must be the mistake, the poorly prepared plate, but to me, these are few and far between.
Staff, I feel that this is still the area in which Celebrity excel. Nothing seems too much trouble and so often the myriad staff simply seem pleased to be of service.
Entertainment, plenty to do, pretty well no announcements to annoy, you can amuse yourself, or be amused. The theatre shows are normally of a high quality, even though the volume needs reducing, - people covering their ears! I was fortunate to do a backstage tour and talk to the performers. They work hard, are proud of their work and provide a high quality output, not always to every one's taste, but on a 14 night cruise, there is always something to enjoy. I value those performances, which I would not consider for a moment locally, such as a wonderful flautist.
Kid's clubs, on this cruise we had a 10 year and a 12 year with us. Both really enjoyed their activities, but it does depend somewhat upon the friends they make. For example, on sea days our 10 year old granddaughter would announce at breakfast, "see you at 5 p.m." and proceeded to spend the rest of the day at the planned activities with her friends. A great time was had by Mum & Dad!
Celebrity Excursions, yes, they are expensive, yes, you could find cheaper locally. But the ship's excursions are well planned, and guaranteed to return pre sailing! Guides were generally good to excellent, but I imagine a poor guide will somewhat spoil things.
Embarkation/disembarkation, both were very simple, just a few minutes and the easiest so far, (this was cruise number 15). As others have noted, arrive early to avoid any congestion, we arrived in Southampton at 11:45, many people already on board. We arranged to carry our own luggage off the ship and simply left when we were ready at 08:00. No queue, zero delay, in our car at 08:15 and at our children's home by 09:00 (Portsmouth).
Ports, an interesting mix. We really enjoyed Lisbon and Palma, plus our excursion from Toulon to Cassis, a really lovely small French seaside village.
Next cruise, we so enjoyed Eclipse that my wife and I are sailing on her again in October. If you are wondering whether to book a cruise with Celebrity, or Eclipse, my view is that you should "go for it", based upon our experiences, you really should not regret the choice for a single moment. Bon voyage!