This was our third cruise on Celebrity. The first two were on Celebrity Summit. Celebrity Eclipse is a bigger and newer ship. We loved the Summit, but we also loved the Eclipse.
We sailed out of Miami and embarkation was very swift and well organized. Once we arrived on the ship between 11:30 and noon, I left my husband and son near guest services to listen to a wonderful singer while I ran around the ship making sure all my disabled son's special needs were being taken care of. I will admit that we always fill out a special needs form prior to the cruise as well as make follow-up telephone calls to Celebrity, yet when we arrive on board it is as if none of that was done. I still have to make all the arrangements once on board. This has happened on all three of the Celebrity cruises we have taken and I do find that disturbing.
We had lunch in the buffet and found the buffet to be very good. On the Summit the buffet was all over the room and on the Eclipse the food was all in one center area. It took a little getting used to, but I found this to be a much better and easier set-up.
We were able to go to our staterooms at about 1:30. We had a veranda room on deck 9 mid-ship. It was a little confusing to find the room, but I finally stopped getting lost near the end of the cruise. The stateroom was very nice. It was a decent size for a stateroom with an average size balcony that was able to comfortably fit three chairs for us and a table. Although all average staterooms are tight for three people, we managed well. The bathroom was very nice with plenty of storage. The storage in the stateroom may be adequate for two people, but difficult for three. We help ourselves by bringing our own thin hangers and zippered collapsible storage boxes that hold quite a bit of clothing and takes up very little space in suitcases and in the cabin. There are two nice storage bins over the bed, but if you are not very tall it is difficult to reach without climbing on the bed. The room stewards were excellent and kept the room very clean and well supplied.
The ship was beautiful and kept very clean. The public restrooms were wonderful and beautifully done. Many times I would see staff cleaning and resupplying the restrooms. The showroom was nice, but there were some seats that had obstructed views. I preferred the showroom set-up on the Summit. The casino was a nice size and the shops were on two levels. There were many bars with very comfortable sitting areas throughout the ship. There was never a problem finding a comfortable place to sit unless you were at the pool areas or the deck above the pool areas. Typically the lounge chairs were usually taken, and many by people who would leave their towels and disappear. The deck above the pool areas was also where the walking track was. This was a big disappointment. The track was very narrow(surrounded by lounge chairs) and very short around. Some people would actually place their lounge chairs right on the track which made it very difficult for the people trying to walk the track. I saw one or two people attempting to run the track, but this was nearly impossible to do. This is an area where the Summit was much better. However as they are redoing the Summit and adding staterooms I have to wonder if they will change this. I hope not. The main dining room was also a disappointment. Although a nice looking room, the tables were extremely close together. Some way to close for comfort. I much preferred the set-up of the dining room on the Summit.
As far as the food, this is always an area that is up to individual taste. I never cared very much for the menu or food in the dining room. The menu has been basically the same for several years. I found the portions on the Eclipse to be smaller than the Summit, but it made little difference since I did not really care for the dining room food, with the exception of lunch one day. We only ate in the dining room three nights. We chose to eat in the buffet two nights and in specialty restaurants two nights. We ate in the Tuscan Grille and Morano. We did have a reservation for Qsine but decided to cancel it. The Tuscan Grille was a very poor experience for us. We did not care for the food or the service. I mentioned that I did not like food with too much seasoning and spice and was told that it would not be a problem with what I ordered. I could not eat most of my meal due to heavy seasoning. The waiter also was so slow with our service that the meal took almost three hours. The same amount of courses in Morano took less than 90 minutes including a special birthday cake for my son. The food in Morano was the best meal on the ship. The service was excellent. I would definitely go back to Morano, but not the Tuscan Grille. On the Summit we ate in their specialty restaurant Normandy both times we were on the ship and found the meal and service to be superb. I found the Normandy to be a tiny bit better than Morano, but still enjoyed Morano.
The entertainment on the Eclipse was very good. The production shows were our favorites. The singers and dancers also do two small shows in the atrium area later in the evening that should not be missed. The bands and singers on the ship were very good.
The staff on the Eclipse with a few exceptions were wonderful. This is one of the reasons we continue to return to Celebrity. There were many times in the buffet when I was juggling plates of food (I had to always bring my son his food) and was approached by staff offering to help me carry the food to our table. The staff in general is friendly, helpful and very pleasant. Always a smile and friendly word. The only problems we had with staff was the dining room Maitre'd, and a staff member at Cafe Bacio. The Maitre'd never gave us the table we requested repeatedly due to special needs (even though it remained empty). At Cafe Bacio, there was a very rude and inappropriate staff member that made a disrespectful and derogatory remark about my disabled son. (I complained to guest services about the latter.)
On another note, Cafe Bacio does not work that well. On the Summit they had a special area for pastries, tapas, and cookies that was separate from the specialty coffee cafe. On the Eclipse (and soon to be changed on the Summit) they have the specialty coffee, pastries, cookies and tapas all in the same area. This means that if all you want is a cookie or pastry (which is free) you have to wait on the sometimes long line of people who are ordering specialty coffees. Specialty coffees take time to prepare and sometimes there is only one person preparing these. The separate areas for these worked much better the way they had it originally on the Summit.
The ports were fine. We liked Puerto Rico, and St. Martaan. St. Kitts is a wasted port unless you take an island tour. Otherwise it is a small area by the ship with souvenir shops. I am sure we would have enjoyed St. Kitts much more if we were able to take an island tour.
Disembarkation was very quick and organized. Although there was a line for customs, we were off the ship and in our car within 30 minutes or so.
With a few exceptions, we enjoyed our cruise on Celebrity Eclipse very much. We met wonderful fellow cruisers and fellow Cruise Critic members. We would not hesitate to sail on the Eclipse or Celebrity again.