By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief, and Steve Faber, Cruise Critic contributor
Celebrity Eclipse Overview
Editor's note: Celebrity Eclipse will go into drydock in April 2015 and come out in May with a number of new features: The ship's Cellar Masters wine bar will become the Gastrobar -- currently only on Celebrity Equinox -- and will serve more than 40 craft beers, with passengers ordering their food and drink on iPads. The pool area on the ship will see the addition of a frozen drink bar called Slush; the American-style casino will become more "British" with 12 new British-themed slot machines, and American-style roulette wheels will replace European-style ones. Eclipse will also have a private photo studio.
Celebrity Eclipse, the third of five vessels in the fleet's Solstice class, is one of the most beautiful big cruise ships on which we've traveled. Its interiors blend sophistication with a bit of whimsy, giving the ship a feeling that it's a cross between the trendy W Hotel chain, but with softer edges.
Always a line that has emphasized quality dining, Celebrity has upped the ante with Celebrity Eclipse, making some tweaks from the original Solstice that work beautifully. In particular, the concept of the playful Qsine, which debuted on this ship and has since been expanded to others in the fleet, is a stand-out, but so too is the Tuscan Grill Steakhouse for hearty fare.
The best part of Eclipse -- as on other Solstice-class ships -- is the Lawn Club, a grassy expanse on a top deck aft, where you can play bocce or miniature golf, enjoy jazz at night under a starry sky, or simply lounge on grass so soft it's more comfortable than a poolside deck chair. On one afternoon visit, we grabbed a seat and watched as a bartender from the adjacent aft bar tried to entice a visiting bird with a piece of bread. It was a little thing, but cruise ships typically don't incorporate nature into onboard features (on most vessels even the plants are fake), and for a brief moment we felt as if we were in a lush garden.
If at times the warmth and character of Eclipse and its excellent crew lent the experience a luxurious overtone, it's important to note as well that Celebrity is still a mass-market cruise line. The rampant upselling and fee surcharges were a bit of a turnoff, particularly given that the quality of dining in the fee-free restaurants was often significantly less than those with extra charges. Also, the spa felt more like a bustling train station than a serene retreat, and on sea days, the pool deck, beautiful as it is, could feel crowded and chaotic. But none of these downsides is enough to deter us from taking another cruise on this magnificent ship.
Celebrity Eclipse Fellow Passengers
The typical Celebrity passenger is mid-50's, traveling as part of a couple, sophisticated and appreciative of the better things in life. The majority are from the United States, but that balance, as well as the ratio of couples to families with kids, may shift between the Caribbean and European seasons.
Celebrity Eclipse Dress Code
The two levels of dress on Eclipse are smart casual and formal. Two formal nights take place per seven-night cruise. On smart casual nights, sport shirts and slacks are appropriate for men, while women will be comfortable in skirts or pants and blouses, or casual dresses. On formal nights, both men and women may prefer more dressy attire, such as evening gowns for women and tuxedos or dress suits for men. A large percentage of men do opt for the tuxedo route.
Celebrity Eclipse Gratuity
Tips aren't included in the cruise fare, but suggested gratuities are automatically added to your onboard account at a rate of $12 per person/per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.50 per person/per day, if you're in a Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $15.50 per person/per day, for passengers in suites. If you would like to adjust the gratuities, you can make do so through the Guest Relations desk. A 15 percent charge is added automatically to all beverage and minibar purchases as well as spa and salon purchases. You can't remove these gratuities but can add to them.
October 2014 southampton observer
Embarkation at 12.45 was busy. Security first was unusual and time consuming.Nice to be welcomed on board with a glass of champagne; lunch in the busy Oceanview Cafe was good and we were impressed by the layout of the service stations which gave ...continue
This was our third time sailing with Celebrity, last time we were on board Eclipse 2012. Sadly, standards definitely have slipped. Poor service at the busy bars, I think due to less staff and the drinks package offer. More people drinking and ...continue
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Have cruised many times with Celebrity and other cruise lines. Celebrity for us is by far the best. Prompt and efficient check in and and a warm and welcoming reception as we boarded. Accommodation beautifully laid out ready and waiting with all ...continue