We came in early and stayed several nights at the Park Central Hotel in South Beach. It is nice, well located and reasonably priced. You can become a gold member ahead on the internet, book on the internet and get better rates and perks such as free continental breakfast. We enjoyed seeing the sites and grand hotels up the beach. Had the best HB ever at the Beer and Burger Joint over on the bay side. We walked to it for exercise but took public bus back for 25 cents.
Saturday morning we checked out about noon and drove our car to the port terminal where we parked for the trip. Boarding went smoothly and after walking about the ship to get our bearing we went for the Oceanview Cafe buffet lunch which was outstanding. Our bags arrived at our room mid afternoon and we sailed about 430.
Room was nice. Better shower than on previous ships and the new mattresses were very comfortable. We were midship near the elevators but no noise concern there as they had a wall that separated the rooms from the elevators. Our room was well kept by Jorge and his assistant Dennis. We rarely saw them but they did a great job with towels, etc.
The ship was absolutely beautiful. We toured the specialty restaurants which were incredibly nice but opted to stay in the main DR. The main DR is very nice and modern looking and the meals were great except for one night when several of us chose the cajun blackened ribeye steak. I have to say the only good steaks I have had on cruises have been tenderloin and this was no exception. The tenderloins were excellent and the ribeye was aweful. And the loaded baked potatoe was a joke. However, the other meals, appetizers and desserts were excellent. We did move tables after a few nights as our waiter seemed green and did not have the same assistants 2 nights in a row and left him overwhelmed. Subsequent nights service was as good as it gets.
We never felt crowded on the deck and pool areas. Had to wait some for the recumbent bikes a few times as few people adhered to the 30 minute limit.
We docked at all ports except Caymans where we tendered. The tendering was slow getting off the ship.
The entertainment was as good as I have seen cruising. It really was amazing.
I would be surprised if they can keep up that standard. We'll see. The major shows were incredible and there was also entertainment of some kind in other venues going on all the time.
We opted to carry our luggage off and that went well. By 700 we were in our car and headed back to Atlanta. Home by 530.
At some departure ports you can leave your car for free at the hotels. Not so in Miami. Parking is at a premium and we paid $25 per night at the hotel and $20 per night at the port terminal. Add on the speeding ticket at the speed trap in Cordele(Crisp County), Georgia and maybe we should have flown. There were 4 of us and driving was okay and it allowed us to bring whatever we wanted regardless of weight or whatever as compared to the flying restrictions.
A last note on the ship. They went to a lot of trouble to have a hugh grassy area on the top deck. Much ado about nothing. We all agreed in a few years it will be gone. Must have been the idea of some overzealous MBA at the home office. Same feeling about the glass blowing demonstration. We just felt like it trying too hard and the resources could have been better spent elsewhere.
All in all it was a great cruise and would definitely sail on the Eclipse again. We do prefer the atmosphere and sailaways on RC better but it's hard to complain about such a fabulous ship and the great trip we had.