The process was swift, particularly because we were in a suite and walked right up to the head of the line designated for "Suites." The customer service representative greeted us with a smile and the entire process took ten minutes from entry into the building to stepping on the ship.
STATEROOM #1615 Celebrity Suite
After the embarkation process, we proceeded directly to our cabin on Deck 11 with only a short delay for an elevator. The cabin is located just around the corner from the main elevators. When we walked into our suite, we were pleasantly surprised. It was much bigger than we had expected. It was configured more like a small one bedroom apartment that one might live in full-time. There was plenty of room under each bed for all of our luggage to be stowed. The pillow top mattresses, high quality bedding, extra pillows, duvet covers were all lovely. There were two three-drawer nightstands in the room, plus a nicely sized walk-in closet with a five-drawer chest in it, atop of which was the room safe. Additionally, a five-shelf narrow closet with a door completed the generous storage options in the bedroom. A medium sized flat-screen TV was affixed to the wall, under which some shelving for reading material was built in.
The cabin bathroom was adequate in size. It had a large combination tub-shower, plus big storage cabinet. The showerhead gave three options for the device one wanted to utilize while bathing: a faucet, a flexible hose, or a divine overhead showerhead--best showerhead I have ever had. About 10 inches in diameter, flat on ceiling, it delivered a firm spray at full force. There was a grab bar to grasp if needed. Toilet flushing noise, that legendary "swoooooosh-pop", seemed to be quieter than on other ships. Lighting was good.
The main living area of this Celebrity Suite was L-shaped. As we entered the stateroom, there was a bathroom door immediately on the right, so the bathroom can be accessed from the living area or from the bedroom. Nice feature, especially since I opted to sleep on the hideabed couch. There was a full length mirror on a large closet in the living area, near the entry. The closet contained room for many hanging items and a shelf above. A desk with vanity mirror and comfortable chair was right past the closet. The bedroom door was past the desk. The L-shaped couch was nestled in the "L" of the cabin, with ceiling to floor windows facing the view, and was comfortable for lounging. A large square table provided places for snacks, beverages, flowers to be placed. A huge flat panel TV on the wall included a wide range of in-room entertainment options like Music, On Demand movies, many for free, and some with a nominal fee, live TV, SEA-TV, passenger account reviews, Room Service menus and ordering. We liked to keep the TV playing soft music from our favorite genres as we maintained a certain ambiance of relaxation or entertainment by what we selected. Under the TV was a long cabinet with a mini-fridge and two cupboards with specialty drinking glasses, and room for more items. The hideabed couch was the most comfortable one I have ever had to sleep on. I slept every night there and noticed no lumps or bumps.
There was a thermostat in the entryway, and it worked! We adjusted the heat to our preference. We noticed no noise from above or below us as I was careful to select a cabin and checked what was on the floor above us. Just another cabin, not a public room.
The DECK! Oh, my goodness! As Crocodile Dundee might say if he walked out of our sliding glass door onto the veranda--"Now THAT'S a DECK!" It is oversized because of it being cut on an angle at one of the ships two "humps", aft side of the hump closer to the fantail. A comfortable chaise with five inch cushion plus a big pillow, and little table at the end, plus a full round table and two chairs were lost on the huge deck. The entire deck was protected by the deck above us. Our view was panoramic, but also included the option to look aft toward the other cabin decks.
The Butler. If you have not experienced Butler service in a stateroom, you ought to try it sometime. It was awesome! Our butler, Cesar, provided the best-ever, attentive, professional, friendly, prompt service. He was at our service from 7:00A to 9:00P daily. He brought snacks and beverages daily at 4:00P, he delivered our three floral arrangements (my cabin mate was celebrating a special birthday,) he took the flowers down to the floral shop midweek and had the water replaced and they lasted in a beautiful condition for the entire seven days. Two of the arrangements were all roses, and one was a mixed floral arrangement. Beautiful--took photos when delivered, and the morning we left, and they were still beautiful. Cesar arranged for our Dom Perignon to be chilled for toasts with fellow travelers on the first formal night. He also arranged for a second bottle of champagne to be chilled and delivered to our dining room sommelier who served it on the second formal night. Cesar brought our breakfast every morning so we could lounge around without getting dressed, drink coffee, take a leisurely shower, prepare for the day. He came in with a smile, started our day on an upbeat note. He also helped us get assistance when we needed it. He was our "point person" for the entire trip.
THE SHIP AND PUBLIC ROOMS
Celebrity Eclipse is a beautifully appointed and well maintained ship, just eighteen months after its maiden voyage. For a ship its size, we did not feel like a "number" nor did we have to wait in line for anything except an occasional visit to a buffet.
The pools and adults-only Solarium were on Deck 12. We enjoyed the Solarium a couple of times. One complaint--the hot tub temperature was not always high enough. One day they were both the same temperature as the Solarium pool. The main pools and the Solarium pool water appeared to be clean and clear. Pool butlers were helpful.
Shops were on two floors and included several jewelry shops, tobacco, liquor, clothing, souvenirs, and more.
Internet Cafe (Deck 6) was equipped with Macs, open 24 hours, classes available, free printing but costly internet--75 cents per minute or less if you purchase a package.
Library (Deck 10-11)--best library setup of any of my prior cruises. Beautiful two level space overlooking the centrum and grand foyer. A card room was below the library.
Lawn Club (Deck 15)--a large area with real sod on which people played things like croquet, bocce ball, etc.
The Spa was on Deck 12. I had a massage that was very well done--neck and shoulders, scalp, and feet and calves. Sixty minutes of bliss. My cousin had her hair styled twice with the same stylist and it was done fairly well. My only suggestion is for the staff to not always try to sell us their miraculous age-defying, wrinkle and spot-removing, youth producing snake oil. It has happened on every cruise in which I have ever done a spa service.
Lounges--we did not frequent too many of the lounges, but we did visit Michael's, Ensemble Lounge, and the Sky Lounge. They were all very well furnished and decorated, and comfortable chairs, some with a number of different styles of seating to offer.
Casino--we did not visit the Casino except once when we had thought we might try a little Black Jack and the table minimums exceeded our budgets.
The production shows were all well done. The lively, talented young company of dancers and singers performed very well--synchronized and choreographed beautifully. A "10" for each production show. There were high flying silk performers, a loose rope act, a short magic act as part of the staff show, a very limber gal with hula hoops and special moves without the hoops. The Celebrity Orchestra, a typical seven-piece group, did a fine job throughout the cruise. The male comedian headliner was a "Britain's Got Talent" finalist, and was a total hoot! Though he spoke with a strong British accent and delivered lines in rapid fire which sometimes left us wrinkling our brows saying, "What did he say?," overall we got more laughs per minute than I have had for a long time. The female musician impressionist was very good, though she was delivering her selections to an audience with a vast range of age and musical interests, and some of the singers she "did" were not recognized by some of the audience. My jaw dropped at her impression of a Michael McDonald and Patti LaBelle "On My Own" duet. Masterfully done--you have to see it to believe it. The all male, a capella quartet "Rip Tide" captivated the audience with each set they performed. Four young men who went to college together have worked up some well choreographed and creatively arranged numbers, some utilizing the Barbershop style, and others more contemporary arrangements with very tight harmony and unique tempos and rhythms. I liked them so much that I bought their CD and listened to it on the way home from the airport upon reaching my destination. Other musical groups were very good, too, as they performed around decks and in lounges. A lovely string trio provided soothing classical music selections, a jazz quartet, and more. Loved watching groups perform in the Grand Foyer.
Hot Glass Show--a must see! Three Corning Glass employees had a small but complete glass-blowing setup on Deck 15 and did two shows daily the entire cruise. There was a small four-level bleacher setup in front of the venue, and we watched the artisans create exquisite pieces of art or function. They auctioned off their creations to collect money for student scholarships for glass-blowing school. I don't know how high the prices got because I didn't attend an auction, but someone said they saw one bowl or vase go for over $500. I would love to have purchased something I saw them create. The team of glass blowers traded off who did what job--narrator, glassblower or blower assistant. They were very friendly and humorous, and it made for a great show. Our other traveling companions attended multiple sessions.
Celebrity Life, Lecture series: Melinda Bates, former White House Director of Visitor Services during President Clinton's eight years in office. She told very interesting tales about visitors, plus she gave a history of the White House, stories of some of its former occupants, etc. I attended a couple and liked them a lot, but missed some of the others when I had to choose a time for a private tour of the Bridge or enjoy a massage, so three of the "White House" lectures were missed. My cousin bought me the book Ms Bates wrote about her experiences.
Moonlight Sonata Dining Room:
Service--Our party of four family members in two cabins elected the 6:00P dining time. We were the recipients of exceptional service by our waiter Denville and his assistant Orlando. They were friendly, attentive, prompt to fulfill our requests, and we all laughed together when we did something goofy with our cups, wine glasses, utensils just to tease them.
Food--The menus were diverse, each night having a "fixed" menu which would be available any evening, plus the daily specials menu. There were tough choices to be made because there were many options that were appealing, and we all had meals that we enjoyed. There were always "Healthful" choices, and each category of dinner entrees was represented in some form on each meal: beef, pork, fish, poultry, vegetarian. Atlantic salmon was ordered multiple times--excellent. I think the only disappointment I had was the lobster entree offered the second formal night. It was a tiny little lobster tail, and then the body of the lobster shell had a stuffing made with lobster and crab meat, and mixed it with what tasted like typical seasonings we Americans use in our turkey dressing at Thanksgiving. I would have preferred just a good old rock lobster with drawn butter. So, one meal out of seven that was "good" but not excellent is a pretty good record. We really were very pleased with the food selection, preparation, presentation, seasoning, temperature, and overall would still give it a 5 out of 5.
Ocean View Cafe--Deck 14--was laid out with probably 12-15 distinct sections to visit for the type of food you were seeking. Staff watched carefully and cleaned up the buffet messes created as people filled their plates. We were escorted to an available table as soon as we entered the Ocean View Cafe shortly after checking out our stateroom. The staff was very friendly. The stations offered ethnic food types, salads, bakery items, pizza, sandwiches, desserts, and more.
SPECIALTY RESTAURANT--Tuscan Grille ($30 charge per person)
We visited the Tuscan Grille which is located on the fantail, Deck 5. The setting is lovely. It looks Italian--dark browns, leather on many chairs, etc. The meal was well done. I had the filet mignon and it was about the most tender, cut-with-a-fork steak I have ever had. It was tastefully seasoned and delicious! My cousin had a cutlet breaded and fried, and she liked it. The appetizers were very good, nothing any more outstanding than in the main dining room, but very good. Loved the baked creamy onion soup--better than the main dining room version. The acoustics in the restaurant were a bit louder than we had expected in a fine dining experience, but the service was excellent. We had been so pleased with our regular dining room meals and service that after dinner in the Tuscan Grille, we thought we probably would have been just as happy to spend another evening there. That being said, it was smaller and more intimate, and the service was impeccable, thereby giving it an edge over a big dining room setting. And that huge filet mignon would not have been offered on the regular menu.
Qsine and Murano are the two other Specialty restaurants with an up-charge of $30 per person. We did not visit them.
Having addressed service in the dining rooms and our butler, I will give an overview of the stateroom attendant, assistant attendant, photographers, shopping staff, cruise director staff, officers, Guest Relations, cleaning crew, One thing we noticed was how friendly the staff was. Meeting stateroom attendants in any hall, they were always friendly and courteous. Our own attendants were rarely seen, but their handiwork was to high standards in our cabin. The cruise director was positive, high energy, told silly stories about his "Nan" and "Granddad," and at the conclusion of the cruise, he did a jaw-dropping performance of a song (wish I could remember the title) that prompted a standing ovation. What a voice! Officers were pleasant, and I especially enjoyed the young First Officer named Nate who was a presenter at a lecture about the Bridge and navigation methods. He also conducted the private tour of the Bridge, and has a very pleasant way of speaking. With very few exceptions, the entire staff was exceptional in service.
PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS
Having cruised many times in the Caribbean, my cousin and I had already visited our three ports of calls a number of times. We were content to get off and wander the portside shops in St Thomas, but neither of us got off in San Juan, Puerto Rico or Phillipsburg, St Maarten except to mail postcards. We opted to pamper ourselves aboard.
No info. Don't even know if there is one. Saw very few children on the entire ship but we didn't frequent the poolside activities and that probably was where they hung out.
We waited for our number to be called and the process through customs/immigration went perfectly. Our bags were on the belt, we loaded the car and left. No complaints.
In conclusion, this being my third Celebrity but 24th cruise overall, I have a lot to which to compare this cruise. This ranks right up near the top of all the cruises I have taken. There are probably some things I overlooked in my review, but this ship, its service, entertainment, cuisine and staterooms are superior. Yes, there were a couple of little blips or disappointments, but no cruise line can please ALL the passengers ALL the time. Celebrity is my top ranked cruise line, and I also liked the fact that my Diamond status on RCCL entitled me to Elite privileges on Celebrity, its sister line. It won't be long till I book my next Celebrity Cruise.