I'm very happy after just just returning from a week on the Celebrity Eclipse, March 5-12, 201. Over the past few years of sailing on Celebrity (and other major cruise lines for that matter) I was becoming disenfranchised with cruising. The constant cutting of services, downgrade in food quality, and extra charges for everything and anything -- the thrill was (almost) gone. After our cruise on the Eclipse, I'm relieved to see that the cost-cutting just might have hit bottom last year and is on the way back to what makes cruising so special. Below are some of my observations.
[*]Champagne upon Arrival
[*]Chocolate on Pillows
[*]Flowers in Room
[*]Ice in Room
[*]Paper Coffee and Soda Cups Available
[*]Champagne and Chocolates Served at Captains Entertainment Night
[*]Sorbet Pass-around at Pool on last sea day
[*]Cloth Towels in public bathrooms
[*]Housekeepers in public bathrooms, keeping them spotlessly clean and even opening doors
[*]Daily Program left in cabin at night
[*]Sommelier in Dining Room at Dinner
I felt the staff was up to "Celebrity" standard, everyone was very friendly and helpful. Our Room Steward, Waiter, and Assistant Waiter were able to fill all requests we asked of them. We received a greeting from staff wherever we went on the ship. The Cruise Director was visible and likeable, as was the Captain.
I felt the food was much improved over the past 2 cruises. We tried all 3 specialty restaurants, as well as Bistro on Five. We had dinner in the main dining room for 4 nights and 1 breakfast. We also enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the Oceanview Cafe and the Pool Grill. There were a few misses -- I thought the filet at Tuscon Grille had a strange taste and some of the dining room menu items seemed bizarre, I'd like to know how many people on each cruise order the "Potato Soup with Frog Legs". But there were plenty of hits as well - the Tuna for dinner in the main dining room, the Chocolate Fondue in the Tuscan Grille, and of course the Goat Cheese Souffle in Murano -- my all-time favorite.
I thought the entertainment was very good. This ship seemed to be livelier than most, with things going on all over the ship from morning to late night. The bands were good and played at the pool often. A solo guitar player (Jason Miraz style) was great, and it wouldn't be a true Caribbean cruise without some Steel Pan music. We also saw the Hot Glass Show one evening, the guys doing the demonstration were very personable and it was very interesting. The evening shows were also enjoyable.
The ship is beautiful and well laid out. The only crowded area was the pool deck on the first sea day - the last sea day was very windy which kept lounge chairs always available. We were in an Aft Veranda cabin. I liked that the Aft balcony allows you to get some sun. The bathroom was nice, as was the large flat screen TV. The artwork in the cabin was a little strange and my only true dislike was the lack of drawer space - ridiculous!
We are Elite and were happy with the coupons in our cabin when we arrived. We used the coupons for free laundry and pressing, discount wine, and free internet. Unfortunately, we never attended the Elite cocktail hour (5-7 pm) . Our favorite time of day is sitting on the upper pool deck and watching the sunset, so we couldn't tear ourselves away to get dressed to go to cocktail hour (BTW we saw some fabulous sunsets on this cruise).
[*]Once again I never found the Aqua Cafe for lunch. Prior to every cruise I swear I'm going to give it a try and I never end up there.
[*]We purchased the premium non-alchoholic beverage package. I felt the package was a great deal. We drank plenty of Evian and San Pelligrino, Diet Coke, and had some really good coffee drinks at The Cafe al Bacio.
[*]The internet was very sporadic on our cruise, sometimes it was fast but many times you couldn't connect. The guys working in the iLounge were very nice but seemed overwhelmed with the amount of people having problems.
[*]Minor annoyance: a few nights the evening show was shown before dinner for late diners. I think the reason that most diners chose late seating is they don't want to get dressed early in the evening.
[*]It was hard to find a bartender at the pool during the day. Had to go to the bar to get drinks most of the time (I know it's a hard life!).
[*]Had a great time on the Camel Excursion in Cozumel
[*]It must be me, because I heard many cruisers saying it was there favorite port, but I was underwhelmed with Roatan.
[*]Never once saw anyone getting a drink at the Molecular Bar, my guess is that it doesn't stick around for long.
[*]Grass - personally I would rather have a sun deck with lounge chairs, but do I see the uniqueness of it. They did have lots of activities: bocce ball tournaments, croquet, wine and cheese concert. It seemed to be much more popular than when we sailed on the Solstice two years ago.
Celebrity, thanks for a wonderful week and helping me keep my love of cruising alive!