We just got back from the March 3rd sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse. We are two younger professionals (44 and 36). This was my 31st cruise. I have cruised mostly on Royal, but have gravitated lately to Celebrity mostly because I perceive the food and service to be better. Our last cruise before this one was the transatlantic in November on the Eclipse, so we knew what to expect.
We flew from Toronto on the morning of the 3rd into Fort Lauderdale on a charter flight. Despite very high winds in Toronto that morning we arrived only slightly late. As recommend on cruise critic, we used SAS for a shuttle from FLL to the port of Miami. The cost was $15 plus tip per person. We only had to wait 10 minutes after calling them. I thought this service was very good.
We arrived at the port at 11:30 and embarkation was very smooth. It only took us 15 minutes from the curve to the ship. We did go to the Oceanview for lunch which was crowed as expected. However it was still manageable. Cabins were ready at about 1:30. We had a C3 on deck 9.
I don't know if we would pay extra for concierge class again. I wish they would give you a choice of wine. The sparkling wine is nice is you like it. I would prefer red or white.
Food is completely subjective. However I found the food to be very good. I am a big beef eater and found a great selection every night in the dining room. The escargots were missing from the everyday menu, apparently due to a supply problem. This has been replaced with crab stuffed mushroom caps.
We had breakfast and lunch pretty much every day in the Oceanview and I found the food to be fresh and there was a fair amount of variety. I think I might have been disappointed if I ate there for dinner, as we did walk through several nights (for a pre dinner snack) and found the selection to be limited.
We dined in the Tuscan Grill one night and found the filet and pasta to be excellent. The location of that restaurant was at the back of the ship and we were fortunate to have a full moon that night with lots of cruise ship traffic to watch.
We thought the service was fairly good to excellent. Our cabin attendant and wait team were very friendly and attentive. I will comment however that I thought Celebrity has cut down on the number of Sommeliers in the dining room It took far too long to get a bottle of wine ordered, uncorked and then poured a couple of nights. It appeared to me that the Sommelier had far too many tables.
We also had very slow service in Bistro on 5 on the last sea day. Granted the restaurant was very packed, but it took almost an hour to get our food.
We are Elite members on Celebrity and as such got to enjoy the perks of the morning continental breakfast and the nightly cocktail event. My hat goes off to the Captains Club host, Chandru. He was always around to shake your hand and ask how everything was going. The other thing that I noticed this cruise was how visible the Captain and Senior officers were.
There were three production shows, all of which were very good. There were also two guest entertainers, Neil Austin, a magician and Karen Granger a singer / impersonator. We didn't see Neil's show but Karen, was amazing. Her renditions of Cher and Celine Dion were fantastic.
There was also a comedian, Louis Johnston, who did a set in the opening and closing show, as well as a late night comedy session. I thought he was pretty funny.
The cruise director, Mike, was little more "wackier" then I like, but he ran a great program of activities. I think Celebrity runs a very good balance of activities geared to both an older and younger crowd.
Ports of Call:
We stopped in St. Thomas, St. Martin and San Juan. We have been to these ports many times before, so we just basically got off in each to stretch our legs and then came back to the ship to enjoy the almost deserted pool area. We did find the pool areas to be slightly crowed on sea days, but then what can you expect with 2800 people on board all trying for some sun.
Overall it was a great cruise.