Getting on and off was very fast and efficient except they could not find our key cards for 15 minutes. Other than that the ship and terminal personnel were great.
one reason for trying Celebrity was the high rating for the food. It turned out to be true for the extra cost restaurants that were great but the regular restaurants were institutional food at best except for one lunch. We booked a night at Murano and 1 at Tuscan. After sampling the lunch at Oceanview and dinner at Moonlight, I upgraded to a 5 restaurant package that included 3 bottles of "premium" wine. They credited our earlier payments and they had a discounted price for the package if you bought the first night. It was a great deal. Oceanview was ok for breakfast and not crowded when I ate at 7am after a gym workout. I found the lunches at Oceanview to be of low quality and essentially the same everyday. We switched to the Moonlight for lunch and found the quality to be better but still below par. The meals More
at the Tuscan(order the steak) and Murano were great with the only complaint was that the Tuscan staff were constantly asking you "if you were pleased". After being asked 5 times in an hour I was tempted to say NO. Qsine was slightly lower in quality but had the same high level of service. I agree with other reviews that the chefs are trying to be too cute and have some strange combinations. The afternoon sushi in the Oceanview was great but they should include it at lunch. The stir-fry was terrible, the Indian food kept the same sauce but had it on chicken, beef, pork and fish on various days. As noted by another review I also was faced with wine list that had a number of sold out items.
As noted in other reviews, the cabin lacked adequate drawer storage for clothes. Even using the space above the beds we needed to have clothing stored in one suitcase under the bed. The above the bed access was ok since I am 6 feet tall. The cabin was well maintained during the cruise but was not completely cleaned when we arrived. Our cabin was at the concierge class but it was not worth the extra cost. Although you get a better breakfast in the room at this level, my spouse tends to have a continental breakfast that is available at the non-concierge level. The robes were fine but the afternoon canapes were terrible. Three small items per person with no indication what they were. The binoculars were a $10 version that were poor quality. I would recommend that you save $$$ and not use the concierge level. Based on the size of the cabin, I would encourage all to always get a veranda.
The fitness center was equipped with plenty of machines. At 7am it was not crowded and was also fairly empty in the afternoon. The only major issue was that a number of machines were not operating properly. For example increasing the resistance on the bicycle did not function on 3 of the 4 recumbent bicycles. It was impossible to program a workout on several of the treadmills. Also at 7 am they had only a few towels available and used up the entire supply of hand wipes on one day. No one on duty at that time.
The Celebrity lounge had great equipment but was no well staffed at the start of the voyage when everyone is trying to find out how to use the system and set up and account. I waited 30 minutes on line to get a simple answer to a question that could have been answered by better directions at the computer. If you only want to check e-mail once a day then choose the per minute charge versus the package plan.
It is hard not to find a bar on the ship since they seem to be everywhere. The quality of the drinks varies greatly. The best are in the high level restaurants and the worse(based on a limited sample)was the casino bar. Making a Manhattan was a challenge for the bartender and he only filled the glass half way. You also get the usual hounding while sitting by the pool to buy additional drinks. Since we sat at the same location most days, they stopped bothering us by day 3.
The entertainment was standard for the cruise ships of this type. Las Vegas type reviews and acts that could not make it in the worse casinos. Speaking of casinos, this ship really pushes the casino. I wonder why they do not post the payback percentage on slots while they put the daily slot payout in the daily list of activities. Finally the Eclipse uses the same criteria in selecting the cruise director as other cruise lines. The person who can yell the loudest on the PA system set at the highest volume. On this ship it was a Brit who should be better understanding of ethnic groups when making comments.
Since we had been to San Juan before we stayed on the ship. In St. Thomas, we did a self directed walking tour and in St Martin we took the island tour bus ride and then some time in town. The tour was fine and we got to know the island. The shore excursions department was very efficient. Aside from laying in the sun,this cruise is based on duty free shopping. Here are the hints I learned on the trip and also from others who have been to these ports. First, DO NOT BUY duty free on the ship! Too high a price. The cheapest prices are in St Martin. Although the Dutch side is where most of the stores are located, if you want perfume(especially high price ones) then go to the French side and wander the side streets where the locals shop. Liquor is cheaper in St Martin but the selection is poorer than in St Thomas. If you want high end items stick to St Thomas to avoid questionable products.
I have left the real problem to last. Guest Relations on the ship was terrible. They seemed to believe you were bothering them by asking questions. Depending on who is working, you get different answers to the same question. We had booked an early flight(3.5 hours after docking instead of the recommended 4 hours), Guest Relations told my spouse that the only way to insure that you had your luggage was to carry it off. I said no but booked the 7 am departure from the ship, we were at Miami airport at 750 with our luggage. The only problem was that the baggage handling equipment ripped off the handle of the bag including the tag. I am still wondering how they go that piece of luggage to the right place.
Another guest relations issue arose on the first day when we had breakfast in the room. We received food that we did not order and mentioned that to the steward. Ten minutes later we got a call from the staff asking about our breakfast and then they insisted that we had actually ordered the item and that they were not at fault. We did not care since we got actually what we order and left the extra items.
In summary, the cruise was ok but I expected a lot more based on the ratings of the cruise line and ship. Probably we will stick with Holland America with their lower ratings but better service and food. Less
Celebrity Eclipse Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
We found the tour to be interesting and I was glad to see both the Dutch and French side of the islands. The beaches were clean and well maintained but the streets were not. We were disappointed in the entire island on the overall appearance. On the Dutch side it is a collection of hole-in-the-wall casinos and multiple shops selling liquor, tobacco, jewelry and other tourist junk.