Joined Eclipse for the 14th October sailing to the Med and Adriatic. Not for the first time in Southampton was caught up in the traffic congestion approaching the port, obviously no fault of the cruise lines, just poor traffic control systems by town planners.
Embarkation: We had opted for Concierge class (which on reflection do not feel merits the extra charge) which indicated priority boarding but there was nothing or nobody to point us to the correct line so initially joined the long winding queue but soon realized we were in the wrong one and joined the shorter queue. It was very busy as arrived at peak time but that seems to be part and parcel of embarkation so did not really bother us.
Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on deck 10 which was a nice size, especially the bathroom which had the largest shower cubicle I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The cabin was clean and smart but lacked draw space. Had to use the cupboards over the beds which for us was manageable but anyone with mobility problems may find it difficult to access.
Dining: We opted for Select Dining for the first time which we found great as it gave so much more flexibility. Too often we have found early sitting to be too early and the late too late so enjoyed being able to choose. Found the selection in the main dining room limited (compared to some other cruiselines) although the quality was good and service in most instances prompt. We also used the Oceanview on a number of occasions and enjoyed the selections they provided in the evenings. On 2 occasions we decided to dine at QSine which we found to be a great experience. Great food , staff and service.
Drinks: Neither myself or my wife drink much so the price of the drinks did not matter too much to us. I do not think they were any dearer on the Eclipse than any other cruise line but others have indicated otherwise.
Entertainment: In line with most other cruises we have been on we encountered a mixed bag, some great, some good, some poor. Entertainment is very subjective, what pleases one person will not be to the liking of somebody else. Highlights for us were Lyndsey Hamilton and the juggler whose name I can't remember , comedian Mike Doyle was very entertaining as was Sam Kane who has a good powerful voice (and a pretty wife in Linda Lusardi)! Other acts around the ship such as Ric Steel and The Rip Tides proved great entertainment whilst sitting around having a drink in the bars or by the pool.
Destinations: We chose this cruise as it took us too places we had never visited before, except for Cadiz. Without doubt the highlight was Venice, will certainly go back there. We opted to take the ships shuttle boat for $20 which included passes in to various churches etc so not bad value. Second favourite place was Dubrovnik. Cartagena and Caligiari proved to be very nice as well. Palermo was an experience not to be repeated, do as advised by the ship and take a tour away from the City as it has very little else to offer. Final destination was to be La Coruna but due to bad weather the ship was forced to slow it's progress and would not have made it to the stop to merit any time being spent there. Well done to Celebrity Cruises for making the efforts to arrange an alternative port of call instead to Vigo (despite having been there before) but worth it just to get on dry land after a rocky day and half at sea.
Disembarkation: Was faultless, prompt , swift and efficient.
Overall experience was pleasing. The ship was clean, service from staff was excellent and all knew how to smile! Would we sail on the Eclipse again? Possibly.