Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by rb42: Eclipse Cruise in West Caribean (Jan 2011)
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Eclipse Cruise in West Caribean (Jan 2011)
We took our second cruise as part of a Glass conference. Last year, we went on the Solstice. We chose these ships because they have a lot of art glass decoration, and they have the Corning hot glass studio on top.
This year we got almost the same class room, even though we purchased an interior room originally (we left a deposit a year ago on the first cruise) we were upgraded twice. Our room view was partially blocked by the life boat crane, but it was an awesome view anyhow. Our VOD (video on demand) stopped working 1/2 way through the trip, and TV excursion purchases broke one day giving us a bogus extension to call for resolutions.
We used the early seating, and while we were assigned to a specific table (33x) we were able to float between 5 tables since our group had them all in one area. There was a big difference in wait staff! Our table was OK, but two of the other tables were exceptional. The main difference was speed and personality. Our assigned table More staff didn't have much personality and we had to ask for coffee or refills a lot. At other tables the waiter and assistant waiters had our drinks in place asap and always filled, and remembered our names from the first night we visited them. Food delivery was also faster at other tables.
So, if you aren't satisfied with your waiter and you can change tables, DO it!
The cafeteria was good food, but getting a coke or a table cleaned was a pain. Unless you're ordering alcohol they make it seem like you are bothering them in general. We noticed you can turn your drink placard on its side and they won't ask you about drinks again.
They ran out of lids for the coffee on the next to last day. We also purchased the soda package for our son but since you have to go and wait at the bar in line to get sodas he didn't use it. Next time, we'll skip the drink packages, because it was the same on our first Celebrity cruise too. (not worth the hassle).
The eclipse was clean, but a lot noisier than the solstice. Lots of creaks. And our room was nice (the bunk bed in the ceiling was neat!) we must have been next to the sewage pump, because every couple minutes it sounded like someone was flushing the toilet. Some of the glass stairs were broken near quazar... and they pulled up most of the turf the day before we returned, so the lawn games were limited. Not so bad since the last day it rained and blew hard.
One note - the lady that helped us with conference room setup and A/V usage was exceptionally helpful and a pleasure to deal with! Just like last year!
Our son did the x-club as an ensign. He got bored some, there were not many kids this time, but they did keep him active, and he got a TON of gifts and prizes. We used our $100 on-board credit to pay for his package (180-discounted to 120 on first day) versus paying $6/hr for slumber parties.
Lots of friends commented on the really slow Internet. Personally, I kept my phone turned off and used my laptop for the presentations I gave (we taught some classes in our conference) only. It's a vacation people, you are not supposed to work from the ship and constantly update face book!
Overall I'd say there were some excellent people providing service, but this time, not everyone was perfect, unlike last year. The ship seemed more used, and while overall service and value was very good, it wasn't at the same level we've seen on this class of ship. But we'd do it again, because the people on Celebrity cruises are older and more sophisticated, but still a lot of fun, and it's worth the expense! Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Eclipse Ocean View Stateroom Sunrise Deck (7) 617X
6170-ish was our cabin. Cant see the water next to the boat, we knew it was partially blocked. Frequent flushing sounds come from the bathroom. Room A/C dried the room out too much at night, but we hung wet towels to compensate. Great shower, bunk bed was neat and had great views. I liked the big bed, wife said it hurt her hips. It's toward the middle so traffic was light.
Port and Shore Excursions
Shops are right off the pier, it's a nice shopping area with big pool, chairs, and bars. Shop owners are a little less aggressive than Cozumel.
But that's it more or less. The main street has a little walkway, but it's all just stores more or less unless you do an excursion. And it looks cheap and run down in a lot of areas.
We didn't do the taxi into the village, but others did and they were concerned for their safety.
All in all, I could have just stayed on board and skipped this stop. My son did, and he had a lot more fun.
Stronger current, we snorkeled in two areas.... about 20 foot deep, my son used the vest at first but then tossed it.
The guides were helpful and fun. They fed the fish and pointed out many items, and kept us together. On the boat, the guides helped one lady put a mask on flat Stanley and took him under the boat so they could photograph him.
Our snorkeling area was just south of the ship docks, about 1/2 mile. Next time we will try a different area.
The port shops were lots of little stores with hard-sell owners standing outside. I broke down and bought a pair of "Oakley's" for my son (I doubt they were real), but I did bargain them down easily. Seems like Mexican store owners will take 50% off any price pretty quickly.
The trip out was uneventful, they had punch to drink and it was a nice ride, but not a lot to see that was extraordinary. Of course, it was a tropical island, so the scenery was fun regardless!
When we arrived we hopped in, water was a bit cool but we got used to it quick. The boats anchor so they wont float away but the current is not too strong. It's a relatively small area and there may be up to 5 boats there so you will end up mixing with other groups sometimes, so keep track of things.
The Stingrays were great! Huge and small, and they held them for us to look at closely, but they are not shy, and they will come up to you looking for food. We did get a warning to let go of the squid when you feel them sucking it, or you'll get a bad bruise. My son was too scared to feed them, but I did and it was really quick and simple.
Unfortunately by the time he was brave enough to feed them the food was gone. But they were still hanging around us and we filled the underwater camera up quickly.
The trip back was nice, the water was really clear. We sat up front and took it all in... we got back about 30 minutes late.
But overall he had a great time and I did too, and we'll do it again! Worth the $50-60 price!
Once back in town we shopped in the local stores, which were pretty nice actually. Found a couple items and headed back for a late lunch.
The port shops were small but nice and clean. Some items were a bit overpriced... no prices on a lot of the liquor either so looks like you must bargain. We walked to the tour area and got a great deal on west beach. $20 a person, that was for us (3) and two others to get their own taxi to and from and a personal guide. To and From West Beach, through the mountain, and we stopped for a photo op at the top.
The guides and driver stayed with us the entire 4-hour tour and watched our stuff on the beach! When we found the water too rough at west beach to snorkel, our driver drove us to the south and we tried there (it didn't help, it was too cloudy). We got to see some really poor sections of town, I mean some pretty bad conditions. I'm glad we saw it, it helped my son put his life in perspective I think.
My wife stayed on the beach and talked with the guide. The driver was salaried but the guide was all tips. She knew a lot about the island, and my wife enjoyed talking to her.
We all walked down the west beach and lo and behold, at the far south end, a protected area with TONS of fish and some coral to snorkel (4-5 feet deep) at was a lot of fun! So we got to snorkel after-all. Fin rental was $10 per person so buying them before is cheaper at the end of the trip.
I like Roatan and Grand Cayman the best of all the stops. The place was pretty clean, we got an excellent deal on the tour, and the food was good. Zip lines looked like a ton of fun but my kid was too scared.
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