We thought we were seasoned cruisers this being our 6th cruise but some people were on their 50th+ with four booked for next year! The majority of people seemed to be in their 70s 80s and 90s (we are in our 50s and 60s), and I suppose in October this has to be expected. There were very few children and they were really well behaved even though there didn't seem a lot for them to do. Some very nice kids in their late teens tried their best to liven things up from time to time. They failed miserably - I bet they were glad to get off in Southampton.
The Eclipse is a big ship and seemed to us that it was built to get as many people on there as possible without it tipping over. The main area between Guest Relations and Shore Excursions seems to have accidentally doubled as an entertainment area in the evening - it was clearly not designed for this, but most people seem to gravitate there each evening which resulted in very few people being able to sit down. The Sky Lounge was a bit out of the way and very smoky but this had entertainment although again, not many seats. However we loved dressing up for dinner each evening - most people made an effort, long glitzy dresses were not just for the formal nights.
We were on deck 6 (room 6277) and had problems with the room being over the galley which, we were told, was because of various laws - had to be cleaned between the hours of 12am and some ungodly hour in the morning AND IT WAS NOISY - VERY VERY NOISY. Keep you awake noisy. Like someone banging on very loud oil drums noisy. We complained and they did take it seriously, but there was little they could do about it. There were only 3 nights out of the 16 when we weren't disturbed by it. They offered us 20% of the next cruise but we eventually settled for complimentary dinner with our friends in Murano restaurant which was very nice.
The food in the Oceanview was OK - not brilliant - and the food in the Moonlight Sonata restaurant disappointing - it seemed to be the same each evening just with a different sauce. The desserts were cold and very basic, but the staff were wonderful and couldn't do enough for us - we even put in requests for hot desserts and they did their best to get us what we wanted. There was very little fresh fruit appart from melon, pineapple apples,oranges and bananas but the staff would bring vegetables if they were asked. Food in Murano Restaurant was more like we had been served on Princess and Cunard. Eclipse now has unsweetened soya milk on board - I had a couple of hissy fits about this and by the end of the cruise it was everywhere and the staff did their best to please - usually two 10 minute trips to the "store" to eventually bring a whole glass full of unsweetened soya milk (the first trip always seemed to bring sweetened). I only wanted a thimble full for my cup of tea! I lost count of the number of cold cups of tea I threw away while waiting.
Everyone was complaining about the entertainment but we thought it was good. Must be our age! The Frontliners and These Guys were really good. The guests were not pleased about the tendering to Split. I understand that some people actually gave up and stayed on the ship! Some were told it was their fault for not booking a shore excursion!! Palermo was a disappointment after all the other lovely places we went to. Sailing past St Mark's Square in Venice was magical.
There was a lot of talk about which was the best cruise line and I think the those who have sailed with Celebrity before, and there were loads, were disappointed. It seemed to us that the "beautiful Celebrity Eclipse" was built for the masses and the connoisseurs turned up! Celebrity had obviously read previous cruise questionnaires when the guests had requested bigger bathrooms and more sunbeds, but forgot that those same people also liked some storage and room to get on the sunbeds.
Anyway we had a really good time, apart from the noise in the cabin, the soya milk (or lack of it!) and the trip to Palermo and would certainly travel with Celebrity again.
But not in Room 6277 on the Eclipse!