I took this cruise during spring break with my wife and 12 year old daughter. We have cruised several times on Celebrity in the past, but have never cruised on any Solstice Class vessel. I had read numerous reviews of the Eclipse on the Cruise Critic web site so I had relatively high expectations.
Since we live in Miami it was relatively easy getting to the port. After being dropped off at the terminal we proceeded to pass through security and directly to the check in area. As Captain's Club members our priority check in really came in handy. In a matter of minutes we had our boarding cards and were having our photos taken. Before you knew it we were on board the Eclipse with our glass of champagne.
Since we had arrived relatively late to the pier the staterooms were open for guests. We proceeded to our stateroom on deck 8. Our travel agent had worked her magic and we had been upgraded to a 2 A balcony stateroom. I was impressed with the modern design and color scheme of the cabin. The cabin had an earth tone color palette with blonde wood furnishings. The large 32" LCD television was well positioned on the wall. I immediately found the remote control and the keyboard and began "channel surfing" to see what channels were available. The Celebrity entertainment system offered channels such as: CNN, TNT, BBC, E Entertainment, MSNBC, CNBC, Cartoon Network and Celebrity's own television channel. In addition they had a broad array of free movies on demand that one could watch 24 hours per day.
I had heard great comments concerning the bathroom and was not disappointed. The bathroom was the largest I had ever seen in a standard balcony stateroom. The shower enclosure was large and functional. The bathroom had more storage space than I have seen in similar category cabins. It was obvious by looking at the attention to detail in the shower enclosure that it was designed by a team of women. The only drawback that I found in the cabin was the lack of drawer and storage space.
After checking out the cabin we proceeded to inspect the rest of the ship. The public spaces on board were modern, forward looking, comfortable and probably the most beautiful of any cruise ship I had ever seen. The spaces reminded me of a trendy South Beach Hotel such as the Delano, but with much more character. The art on board also did not disappoint. Every place you look you will find memorable sculptures, paintings and assorted art pieces. The vessel, in fact carries on board art from the Galaxy. Celebrity continues to design vessels that are comfortable and also stimulate the visual senses.
After the brief tour of the Eclipse we headed to the Oceanview Cafe for lunch. The layout of the venue allows passengers to move about the space and pick foods that interest them without creating long lines that congest the public space. The variety of food offered for the welcome aboard lunch was impressive. Everything that one could want from sandwiches to salads and hot entrees were available. This was of course in addition to the burgers and hot dogs offered at the grill on deck 14 forward. I know many people that decided to eat on Bistro on 5 for lunch on embarkation day. We were fortunate to have lunch at the restaurant later in the week. The crepes were unusual, but delicious.
The first night we had planned to eat dinner at the Moonlight Sonata restaurant. We had reserved fixed or traditional dining second sitting. That afternoon it was announced that the first two nights at any specialty restaurant would be offered at 20% off the regular price. My daughter had expressed an interest in eating at Tuscan Grille due to the fact that she loves Italian food. As a result, we booked a table at Tuscan Grille and took advantage of the discount. Before eating dinner we stopped by the Martini Bar for some cocktails.
The Ice bar at the venue impressed me as not only "trendy" but also as functional. My daughter immediately began writing her name on the ice on the bar top. This soon became her favorite place on the ship. The venue was not only "unique" for a cruise ship, but it offered a myriad of martini drinks. What made the bar such a "hot spot" on the ship were the bartenders and the "show" they put on whenever they made a drink. Every night the martini bar was packed with passengers not only drinking martinis, but also watching Putu and Peter the bartenders making incredible drinks.
After drinks we proceeded to Tuscan Grille for dinner. We were greeted by the maitre d and offered our choice of tables. After being seated we were greeted by our server and offered menus. Immediately we were brought antipasto and bread. We thoroughly enjoyed both and placed our order for dinner. I ordered the filet mignon and my wife ordered the sea bass. My daughter ordered the Linguine Alfredo.
I could see the disappointment in my wife's face when they brought her the sea bass. The server immediately offered to replace the sea bass with another entrEe, but my wife declined. The food in the MDR was excellent. Not only was the menu diverse, but the quality and presentation of the items offered was amazing. We all enjoyed the meals and could not wait to return.
The service at the MDR was excellent! We were fortunate to have the most amazing waiter and assistant waiter on the Eclipse. Our waiter was always "spot on" with his recommendation for dinner. We never had a bad meal thanks to his guidance.
Since we are discussing service let me address the cabin service provided by our cabin stewardess. She was unobtrusive, yet provided impeccable service. We were equally happy with our cabin breakfast service. Orders that were placed the evening before were always promptly delivered to our cabin within a few minutes of the promised time.
Our cruise sailed to the Eastern Caribbean and visited St. Maarten, San Juan and St. Kitts. We have been to all of the ports so we were not really interested in the itinerary. Excursions were not taken in any of the ports.
The musical entertainment on board was excellent. D'Revelation, the musical group was very talented. They played Pop music and Top 40 without missing a beat. In fact, they never took breaks between songs. It sounded as if it was one "long music mix". They played everything from the Black Eyed Peas to Shakira.
We only went to two shows, the Broadway show on formal night and the "Cirque de Soleil" type Show on the last formal evening of the cruise. Both shows were good, but not the real reason one travels on Celebrity.
I can't say enough about the quality of service on our Celebrity cruise. One night Vladimir, the Maitre' D in the main dining room came to our table along with the Sous Chef for the MDR. We commented on how great the food was in the MDR. My wife told both of them about her experience at Tuscan Grille and how much better the Sea Bass was in the MDR. Well the Sous Chef surprised us by telling us that he would prepare the Chilean Sea Bass just for us the next evening. The next evening we enjoyed a great dinner of Chilean Sea Bass.
On one of the last nights of the cruise we attended dinner at Qsine. Qsine is a specialty restaurant that is currently only available on the Eclipse. It was an amazing culinary journey that took over 2 hours. The food was inventive, "fun" and delicious. We all thoroughly enjoyed the food and wish we would have "fasted" the day before so we could have finished all of the food that was ordered. I am positive that Qsine will continue to "thrill" passengers with their food and inventive menu. It is an experience that should not be missed.
Debarkation was the smoothest I have experienced at the Port of Miami. By 8:20 am we were already off the vessel and on our way home. Celebrity made the process very easy.
In conclusion, Celebrity has hit a home run with the Eclipse. It is an amazing ship with an incredible crew that will continue to create memories for all those that travel on her.