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7 Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Reviews for Gay & Lesbian Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

My Partner and I have have been on more than ten cruises in the past, but after our last couple cruises, the "luster" of cruising seemed to have worn off..at least for me anyway..We've been going to Hawaii or Las Vegas or ... Read More
My Partner and I have have been on more than ten cruises in the past, but after our last couple cruises, the "luster" of cruising seemed to have worn off..at least for me anyway..We've been going to Hawaii or Las Vegas or all-inclusives in Mexico, spending the same amount of money and NOT being treated like "cattle"..or captives on a boat.... I wasn't sure what to expect with Celebrity cruises...They Kind of renewed my faith in cruising, and exceeded my expectations mostly...This is my first review Here. I'm not the best writer, but I did want to pass on my experience with Celebrity and the Eclipse....I'm not claiming to be a cruise expert..In-fact, I'm just some Schmoe from the Internet...So take my opinions with a grain of salt. Happy cruising! if you're still reading.... We always get at least a balcony cabin, but usually a suite for ourselves. But this time we brought along some friends who we were footing the bill for, so we limited our selves to a standard Balcony cabin for ourselves...and we opted for an inside cabin for our friends on deck Nine of The Eclipse Celebrity Gets most of the major stuff right in my Opinion. The Staff on the Eclipse...from the Officers to the Deckhands, were the Friendliest I have ever encountered on a ship anywhere. They literally made me feel like I owned the ship. Not that that is important to me...but it DOES feel nice.. I found the Ocean View Cafe (buffet) food to be Outstanding. But then again..I don't really go to buffett's that nice in my everyday life but once a year if that. Yeah..some of the food did repeat throughout the week...but I thought Yay! I get to eat it again..Sure there were a few dishes I didn't care for..There always will be I suppose.. I found the Bed in our Stateroom to be the MOST comfortable bed I have EVER encountered on a ship. I used to dread the beds on ships. I just figured they all sucked. Every one I have ever slept in till this one has..and like I said we've been on more than ten cruises. A+ on this celebrity! The Pool Butlers really did work on the ship. Passing out cold towels, Sorbet cups, cleaning..fetching drinks, Stocking Towels.. The Shows Were Nicely done and entertaining....Vegas quality? NO..But for a ship? they were just fine. My favorite was ECLIPSE...... THE DRINK PACKAGE! I cant imagine they will keep this forever. We really got our moneys worth out of this..Not just alcoholic drinks..But coffee drinks, bottled water, soft drinks, etc..it was really nice, and did I mention I thought it was well worth the money? The Gala Buffet served in the dining room is not to be missed. The clam chowder I ate there was probably the best clam chowder I have ever eaten in my entire life. Beautiful is a subjective and overused word..but the Eclipse is a very beautiful ship in my Opinion... Now...For some things I thought that could've been done better... The dining experience in the Main dining room was just OK. Ive been reading about Celebritys food forever, and never really thought Id ever sail with celebrity..So I was really expecting to be blown away..and it was just OK..Not bad..Like I said..I dont frequent these types of restaurants anyway...so what the hell do I know? Joseph, The Head guy, since I cant spell Maitre d (sp?) was really great..Visiting our table nightly asking if everything was OK. When I mentioned I thought it was hot...He stepped away for a moment, whipped out a cell phone looking device, and within SECONDS...I felt cool air blowing on our table..We were seated on the second level of the Dining room, which can be kind of dim....and lacking in ambiance, compared to the bottom level In my opinion..so beware. Our waitstaff was great I thought...and our server assistant Olga was just super. I really liked her. The bread was awesome. The other thing I thought that could have been better, and its kind of nit-picky, I guess...Is that sometimes they served us out of damp glasses. I hate that at home with my own glasses and it was a mental challenge for me on the ship. with hand sanitizers everywhere reminding me of a potential Noro-scare..I just had to trust that the glasses were in fact clean and sanitized, and just wet for some reason. I didn't get sick..but I would have prefered to have been served out of dry glasses..It was like there weren't enough glasses on board and they were being washed always just in time... I would have like to have seen a staggered change over on the buffet...maybe keep one side open while changing from breakfast to lunch and lunch to dinner...I know it sounds silly to say..but many times when we went up to eat, there was nothing but finger food, and we had to wait while they changed over..we didn't really like that..as it interrupted our eat every two hour schedule we were on.... We would have like to have seen at least one bar on the ship stay open past 2am...one member of our party likes to drink, and our bars in our town stay open to 4am...so it was kind of disappointing to not be able to get a drink on the ship after 2am..especially since they confiscated his private stash at embarkation, and he was on the drink pkg... We got on the ship before the cabins were ready so we were lugging carry-ons around..they said they would make an announcement when the cabins were ready and the passage way doors were closed leading to the cabins..after being on board for about an hour, I checked on our deck and the passageway doors were opened so I made my way to our cabin and dropped off my carry-ons. Im not so sure my cabin was really ready for us..while it was clean..it wasn't totally clean and our cabin steward told me he thought it was going to be unoccupied. That may explain the cut-off fingernail I found in the carpet..I don't think he had fully serviced our cabin before I moved in...so that one was really my fault...Our cabin steward Johnny, Was outstanding though. I DID hear some banging around from OUTSIDE my cabin on the ship/water side...it was sometimes kinda spooky..especially at night with the Balcony door open...first time ever heard noises like that before on a ship..It kept making me think of the Costa incident... Other than that..the rest of my dislikes are kind of nit-picky. We are so glad we chose celebrity. We were going to choose NCL, except the last time we cruised with them things didn't really go so well and we havent been back with them since...shame really since we started off with them and we are "dance with who brung you" kind of people..Cruised withthem 4 times in suites and NCL called us they day we were leaving home to Board the Eclipse to get us to book the Epic. Now after one time with celebrity in a regular balcony room..I think I may have a New favorite cruise line, and I was sooooo worried that they may be to snobby for us... Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My partner and I cruised on the Celebrity Eclipse on the January 14th sailing out of Miami. This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. Celebrity gets it right - from their service standards to the quality of the food, rooms, ... Read More
My partner and I cruised on the Celebrity Eclipse on the January 14th sailing out of Miami. This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. Celebrity gets it right - from their service standards to the quality of the food, rooms, and shipboard amenities. We booked an Aqua Class room and were very happy that we did. The room (1531 on the Penthouse Deck) was beautiful and immaculately clean and very quiet. One of the highlights for us was dining in Blu, the dining room reserved exclusively for Aqua Class passengers. Can't say enough about how great this restaurant was. I am a vegan and they catered each day to my special dietary needs. The service was top notch (thanks, Agung!!!). Certain days we would order from the Main Dining Room menu and they would happily bring that for us to Blu. We booked the premium drink package and were happy that we did. They definitely know how to pour a good (and strong) drink. I think we probably got our money's worth with the package but even if we didn't it was worth it just to not have to worry about "how much we were spending". Having the package gives you the freedom to try what you want whenever you want it. What we enjoyed most about the cruise was the fact that we were really taken care of all week. The staff on this ship went above and beyond to make sure we were happy and had everything we needed. The only "opportunities for improvement" we could suggest would be to make the hot tubs hotter (they were warm at best) and that some of the stage shows did not seem as professional as they could have been. Small things, considering how fantastic everything else was. We would highly recommend Celebrity and the Eclipse to anyone looking for a restful vacation with top notch service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We were quite apprehensive booking a cruise: our usual mode of travel is to pack light, head to Europe, rent a car and see where the wind takes us. For several years we've listened to (dedicated cruiser) friends talk about how much ... Read More
We were quite apprehensive booking a cruise: our usual mode of travel is to pack light, head to Europe, rent a car and see where the wind takes us. For several years we've listened to (dedicated cruiser) friends talk about how much they love it, but we always felt it probably wouldn't be for us. How wrong we were! When holiday plans in the Yucatan with other friends fell through last July, we went back to the drawing board. We considered everything under the sun - a cold-weather city break in Europe, eco-lodging in Costa Rica or Panama, a quick zip across the Pacific to Hong Kong or Singapore, or South Africa. And the cruise. Putting all the pieces together, the cruise just made the most sense at the time, and more than once we said to one another and to our friends, "well, if we don't like it, we can survive anything for a week, and the weather's practically guaranteed to be good." Amex in hand, we booked it. Went for Aqua Class on the advice of the travel agent at American Express (who, when she learned this was our first cruise, said, "You're setting the bar awfully high") and we were glad we did. Flew down to Miami a full day in advance, cashed some points and bunked into the Conrad. Rental car from the downtown Hertz location, and we took off exploring Miami for a day and a half. Two quick plugs -- had lunch at the Segafredo cafe at Bal Harbor Shops (we always seek out Segafredo cafes in Europe, and this one didn't disappoint), and dinner at Jaguar in Coconut Grove. Both were great. Breakfast at the Conrad in the morning, then an hour walk on the beach, return car, and off we go on the grand adventure. Relatively quick check in (about 1:30 pm - could have gone earlier, we now know), and met the couple in line in front of us. They made the vacation! We ended up having dinner together twice on board, in San Juan on that shore day, and hanging by the pool as well. Attended the Connections event and met another great couple and a family of four - we became a little group throughout the cruise. And it was a great time. The dining in Blu made a big difference we think. The food was good, but the atmosphere really made it. Only figured out that they served breakfast on day 4, so missed that the first half of the cruise. Did specialty dining in Tuscan Grille and Murano. Both were good - not spectacular, but definitely passble. the night we ate in Murano, there was a loud band playing in the bar outside, and the music clashed notably with the background music being played in the restaurant. It detracted from the experience, but wasn't a total killer to the experience. Great wine list at Murano, BTW. Also enjoyed the Aqua Spa cafe. Nice healthy alternatives. I actually lost weight on the cruise! Did our own thing on the port days. Nothing pre-planned. We think we missed something in Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. it was fine, but not the destination we expected. Really glad we went to St. John on the St. Thomas stop. it was beautiful. There was a real rush for the chairs at the pool -- descending into what I dubbed "Chairgate" when one woman sought the intervention of three personnel. A very loud argument ensued - which made many people uncomfortable. One morning I arose before 6 am -- and was able to get the last of the beds for two by the pool, and a few chairs for the rest of our crew. Also, the poolside crew didn't enforce the adult pool occupancy rules - and when pressed on the topic, said that it was because of the number of children on the vessel. While we love children, it would have been nice to have had the rules enforced. We wanted to use the spa, but essentially couldn't because it was occupied by groups of young people who occupied it from 10 am and didn't get out til the end of the day. The entertainment was decent -- a bit on the cheesy side, and as we seemed to be at the end of a contract period, some of the singers were exhibiting audible vocal fatigue. Also, found it quite odd that the string trio would be playing selections from the movie Titanic -- or is that some inside joke that I'm not in on? FInal analysis: I've never been more relaxed in my life. We've booked a short 5-day'er at the beginning of April - not S class ship, so we'll be in C1, (or is it C3 -- highest Concierge Class) and we'll be looking forward to trying cruising without the benefits of AQ. Will be interesting to see how the impact of Blu, etc, will be on our experience. But we're hooked. See you on the seas! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I apologize if this review goes a little long. This review will describe the good, the great, and the amazing things that happened onboard our week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean from 11/26 - 12/3 2011. We booked this cruise ... Read More
I apologize if this review goes a little long. This review will describe the good, the great, and the amazing things that happened onboard our week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean from 11/26 - 12/3 2011. We booked this cruise over a year and a half ago as a post-thanksgiving break. We were part of the Pied Piper group aboard this sailing. Since the prices were relatively close, we decided to book a Concierge Class cabin, but more on that later! Pre-Cruise: We arrived on Black Friday and stayed at the LaQuinta Airport-East. This hotel was quite nice. The rooms were very quiet, despite being right at the end of one of the runways. The staff were all very friendly and amazing! They offer shuttle service from the airport and to the port the next morning, but we chose to not use the port service, as I am an early riser, and like to get moving. Just don't pay attention to the many fliers shoved under your door for local eateries. We ate dinner at the Bennigan's next door. I was pleasantly surprised to find the food delicious and the portions generous and not overpriced. The reviews are not to always be believed! Embarkation: As stated, we chose to forgo the shuttle to the airport offered by the hotel, and opted to use a taxi for this. With tip and not being a flat-rate trip it was around $32 for the two of us. It was definitely a great way to start the day! What a quick ride to the port in comfort! We arrived at approximately 10:15. We were one of the first in line to enter the port to get seapass cards and to be checked in. This was a painless process and then were seated in an area for a short wait since the previous cruise was not yet cleared. We waited in this area approximately 20 minutes and were then led onto the ship by groups. We were onboard with mimosas in hand by 11. Stateroom: C3 - 1073 - After a delightful first lunch in a not crowded Oceanview Cafe, we were off to explore the ship until our cabins were ready at 1pm. We were just off the forward elevators on the port side of the ship. Very convenient and quiet, considering location to elevators. Bathroom is rather large, with a great layout. Our room stewards were always available and kept our large ice bucket filled all week. Enough storage for the two of us with room to spare for a week-long cruise. Did notice that on port days that when the window washers on deck 12 and 14 did spray downward onto balcony, also in the AM when the bridge washes its windows on sea days, you get a rainstorm on your balcony but it is brief. Ship: Immaculate! Always being cleaned. Never found it difficult to find a table in the Oceanview Cafe or chairs at the pool. All the public areas are well thought out. Spent a lot of evenings enjoying the Martinis in the Martini Bar, and Karaoke in the Sky Lounge. The lawn and Sunset bar were wonderful in the afternoons to just sit, relax, and enjoy lawn games. Traffic flow was never found to be a problem except at the beginning of dinner, and when the theater left out, but that is to be expected. Dining: Room Service was used most morning and was always delivered during our requested time slot. We usually had toast and croissants with cereal or oatmeal and coffee. This was a way to get us going for the day ahead. Lunch menus varied in the Oceanview Cafe with always something for everyone. The oceanview cafe is well laid out with the many stations. It can seem daunting at times, but it was always worth a look around before committing to an entree for the meal, as there may be something on one of the stations that you may like as well. The only island we noticed there were problems with was the Salad Bar as it was laid out backwards, with lettuce in the middle and dressings near where the plates were. We had second seating in the Moonlight Sonata with our group. We only ate here twice for dinner and once for lunch. As we do not participate in formal nights and at times found the menus lacking in items that sounded appealing to us. All times we ate here it was delicious and quite inventive with great service! If you wish for a great dining experience we highly recommend Tuscan Grille. This experience on the first formal night was an amazing culinary and gastronomical delight leaving us wanting more. Bistro on Five is highly underrated and worth the $5 cover - Portions are huge, and definitely a treat. We ate here one evening and noted only three passenger tables and two crew tables. We had the Premium Alcohol Package. This was well used and we are not huge drinkers. It was well used in the mornings for coffees at Cafe al Bachio, bottled waters for shore excursions, meals, etc. We also found it nice to not have a slip to sign and be able to order any drink whenever we wanted. It was definitely worth it for us! We highly recommend a drink package as they are a great value! Entertainment: We only attended two shows all week. We were pretty busy and spent most of our time relaxing and enjoying the ship. We saw a female singing impressionist who was great and attended the Voyage in Review show which was phenomenal! The entertainers throughout the ship were great - love the Riptides!!! AquaSpa: I am always one for a massage or two while on vacation, mostly to relieve some backpain and stress. I decided to try something different this trip after meeting Dr. Liu the onboard acupuncturist. Wow! What a week of being pain free after three sessions during the week. This was my first time using acupuncture and was a little skeptical but am a true believer in the alternative medicine catagory. It was as relaxing as a massage with longer term benefits. I will also include the Solarium pool and cafe here as well. This was an amazing area on the ship. The pool is quiet with 2 spas and plenty of loungers around to spend an afternoon reading or quietly relaxing. The cafe also serves amazing salads and salmon dishes. Ports: San Juan, PR; St. Thomas, USVI; St. Martin - I will say this itinerary is great for relaxing as there are three sea days. All the ports were great with our favorite being St. Martin, definitely want to visit again. Please read the Port reviews for further information. No tendering in any of the ports. This made it easy to get on and off the ship. Disembarkation: The time I hate the most! Our final morning we were up at 4:30 and watched the ship come into Miami and dock which was awesome to see at that hour. We slept until 6:30 and were out of our cabin by 7:15. We got coffee at Cafe al Bachio and went up to a moderately crowded Oceanview Cafe and had a light breakfast before heading to our debarkation meeting point of the Eclipse theater to disembark at 8am. There were still people on there balconies as we were leaving. Longest line all week was standing at the curb after walking thru customs, and getting a cab after 20 mins. This was our first, and definitely not our last cruise with Celebrity. It was an amazing experience! This is how cruising should be. The lack of announcements was a welcome treat. The Celebrity Today always had a lot of activities to attend. All the crew were extremely friendly with a pleasant smile and "Hello, How are you?" for you whenever you passed them onboard. As smokers, it was a pleasure to not have smoking in the casino, staterooms, or verandas. We were fine with the amount of smoking areas on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We took a spring break Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse a week ago. Before the cruise, I had looked over every review on this site in anticipation of our trip. This was our first cruise, so the excitement, and the anxiety, were ... Read More
We took a spring break Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse a week ago. Before the cruise, I had looked over every review on this site in anticipation of our trip. This was our first cruise, so the excitement, and the anxiety, were pretty high. I felt it was my responsibility to help out others like the other great reviews helped us...so here goes. We are a couple in our low 30s. We were turned on to Celebrity by our travel agent. He suggested we would enjoy it because of it's high class, modern approach to the experience. In addition, knowing our love of food and wine, he said it was the way to go. He was right. Embarkation was a breeze. PoM handled that very well. You are greeted onboard with champagne and a string quartet playing...perfect. While we waited for our staterooms to be available, we went to Bistro on Five and had lunch. By the time we were done, our staterooms were available. We had a small stateroom with a balcony, as the majority of rooms on this class of ship do. Clean, modern, spacious. It was a little short on drawer storage, but at the end of the day who cares. The only thing we did not realize was that irons are not allowed on ships. There is not one in the room. In other words, have your formal wear pressed before hand, or plan on getting your laundry service slip filled out as soon as you get unpacked. Food: We chose select dining option. This allows you "open" seating on the upper aft side of the main dining. We showed at various times throughout the week and never waited more than 5 minutes for a table. The food was good to excellent. There are plenty of options for almost any taste. I think as long as you keep in mind that there are 1000 other people eating at the same time, many exactly what you are, many not...you will be pleased with what you eat. We did one specialty dining night. We went to QSine. I have heard a lot fo flack about this place. We thought it was excellent. It was fun and silly. If you are going to do QSine, do so with an open mind and just have fun. Drinks: We did the Classic Alcohol package. Thank God! What can I say...we had a good time and just had basically what we wanted up to a certain price without having to think about it. Decent glasses of wine with dinner, AMstel lights and Pina Coladas all week. This also includes our trips to Cafe Bacio for espresso or americanos, which was sometimes twice a day. It adds up. Fun: We socialized alot, met new people, tried all the venues. Some nights we hung out by ourselves. We went to the show one night. Even though that wasn't our thing, it was there. There are so many options, you don't get bored unless you want to be. Most of the time, we either sat at the Sunset Bar, laid out on the lawn, or took naps on our balcony. The gym is excellent. Go early or late to beat the crowd. Even at busy times, though, I don't think I ever waited more than a couple minutes for a machine or treadmill. Shores: San Juan: Go to the Forts St Maarten: Either go to Orient Beach or stay on the ship. We took an excursion. BAD MOVE. Seriously... St. Kitts: Incredible. Find a beach. Order a Carib. Relax. Celebrity: They did it ALL right. The ship was incredible, the staff is mostly all friendly. We had an incredible sommelier. There were kids but not too many. There were seniors, but not too many. There were people our age, but not too many. Our rooms were always clean. Honestly, it was so nice I almost preferred At Sea days. We are already planning our next! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
BACKGROUND: My partner and I have sailed on most of the major cruise lines, including Carnival, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean. We have probably been on 18 cruises and are Diamond RCI members which gave us Elite status on Celebrity ... Read More
BACKGROUND: My partner and I have sailed on most of the major cruise lines, including Carnival, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean. We have probably been on 18 cruises and are Diamond RCI members which gave us Elite status on Celebrity which offered nice benefits like free laundry. This was our first Celebrity cruise and it will not be the last. We previously avoided Celebrity because I wrongfully believed that they were too formal and stuffy. My job requires that I wear a suit and tie most days; therefore, on vacation I don't want to be required to wear formal attire. The experience was not as rigid as I had believed. A sport coat and tie are acceptable on formal nights and you can dine in the alternative restaurants in casual attire on formal nights if you prefer. I had read great things about Celebrity's new Solstice class of ships and decided to give them a try. I'm glad that we did. EMBARCATION: Here I thought Celebrity could have done a better job. There were numerous lines and the whole process took almost an hour. They need to improve this in Miami. Once on board we were very impressed. A glass of champagne and a warm welcome greets everyone. The ship is beautiful, very elegant and comfortable at the same time. The lounges, bars and theatres are all stunning. CABINS: We had an Aqua class cabin on deck 11. There was no noise from the pool deck above or the cabins to either side. The cabin was tastefully decorated and the bed very comfortable. The bathroom had the best layout I have ever seen in non-suite accommodations. The shower was amazing with, I think, 7 water jets, and it was large by cruise standards. There was lots of storage and something I have not seen mentioned before, the mirror is heated so that it doesn't fog up above the sink when you shower. Nice touch. The balcony was a nice size and the furnishings very comfortable with 2 reclining chairs, 2 foot stools and a fairly large table. Aqua class comes with nicer robes and towels. You also get fresh fruit, a bottle of champagne on embarkation day and canapEs each day (which you will want to skip). DINING: I have to admit I was very skeptical about Celebrity's acclaimed cuisine. I'm glad to say that I was wrong. I expected the usual cruise fare. We dined in Blu, and the food was amazing. Frankly, we are both very particular about food. My partner works in a very upscale steakhouse and we dine out regularly. The steaks, seafood, and pasta dishes were all excellent. Don't miss the halibut in lobster sauce. Breakfast in Blu was as good as the dinners. The blueberry walnut pancakes were great. Best of all was the service. The maitre d' in Blu, Joval, was the best I have every encountered as were our server, O'Neil and his assistant, Anna. They are all transferring to Silhouette in July. We tried both Tuscan Grille and Murano. We did not particularly enjoy Tuscan Grille, but did not complain, as the food was alright. The next night when we returned to Blu and our maitre d', Joval, asked about our experience the previous night. We told him it was disappointing. The food in Blu was actually better and no $30 surcharge. Joval telephoned us later that evening and invited us to join him for coffee the next morning where he invited the executive chef and restaurant manger of Tuscan Grille so that they could understand the problem we experienced and fix the inadequacies. I was frankly shocked at this level of service. In addition, they comped our dinner that night in Murano as a goodwill gesture. We did not try Quisine, but everyone we spoke with who dined there was thoroughly impressed. We only tried the main dining room once and that was for lunch, which was fine. The buffet was adequate, nothing spectacular; but it was laid out very well. No lines and no problem finding a table. The Mast Grill had excellent burgers, hotdogs and sides, but the lines were quite long at times. PORTS: Honestly, they could choose more interesting ports. San Juan? St. Marteen and St. Kitts at least have interesting excursions. We have been to all of them before, but at least they were all warm and sunny. DISEMBARCATION: Again, this did not go smoothly. Maybe it's the facility in Miami, but it literally took almost an hour for our luggage to appear on the carousel after our number was called. Not good! PROS: Just about everything. I especially liked the think cushions on all the lounge chairs on the pool decks and the lack of a "towel Nazi" policy like on RCI. You can have all the pool towels you like any time you like and they don't make you keep count. Does anyone really want to steal a cheap pool towel? The drink packages were also a nice option and you can vary your choices. I thought they were a good value. I thought the service was uniformly excellent from guest relations to the cabin attendant and everyone in between. CONS: Embarkation and disembarkation. Celebrity needs to work on this at least in Miami. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Embarkation We stayed in South Beach before the cruise. We took a $20 cab to Port of Miami and arrived at 11am. Embarkation was slower than I anticipated- we boarded at 11:45, rooms were ready at 1:30 (bags arrived at 2). Went to the ... Read More
Embarkation We stayed in South Beach before the cruise. We took a $20 cab to Port of Miami and arrived at 11am. Embarkation was slower than I anticipated- we boarded at 11:45, rooms were ready at 1:30 (bags arrived at 2). Went to the buffet at 3 to eat lunch and it was crowded, but we got a table outside near the Oceanview bar. Service After the first few days we did not feel the pampering and top rate service that we expected from X based on cc reviews. However, we reported our problems and they were very well handled (see below part about the MDR). Even so, service was inconsistent (great cabin steward & activities staff, but other crew were cold). Dining Oceanview cafe (buffet): Very good. It's a buffet, so no gourmet experiences were expected or delivered, but we were impressed with the variety offered, the easy traffic flow even during busy times, and cleanliness. X does very good breads, cookies, and ice creams we discovered. Aqua Spa Cafe: This is a very small venue (few tables) located near the solarium pool. It's not open for dinner. At breakfast there are tons of different types of delicious rolls and real yogurt parfaits, at lunch I enjoyed the salmon burgers and the herb-poached fruit bar. Q'sine: This was the only specialty restaurant we tried. It was worth every penny and certainly lived up to the hype. Truly excellent service! We had a reservation at 6pm and left at 9:30! Try the kobe tacos with make-your-own guacamole. This was a real highlight of the cruise. Room service: surprisingly good! We used the TV to order. The "quantity" doesn't mean one serving it means one item so we pushed one French toast...but what came was one slice, one pat of butter ... Everything was delivered fast and hot. Moonlight Sonata (MDR): Worst part of the cruise. On night 1 my partner opened the wine menu and a big, dead bug was squished in there! Our server was not very friendly and rarely came by. The escargot and the steaks from the everyday menu were bad. On night two things were worse. Our orders came out wrong multiple times; the lamb was quite good, but frustrated we bailed without dessert. We boycotted for two more nights dining elsewhere then went to guest relations to report the issue. They responded very, very fast with phone calls from the Maitre D, a nice letter and bottle of white wine in our room. The Maitre D met us at the MDR entrance the next night and he took us himself to a new table in another section. Our new server was excellent, the sommelier brought us complimentary champagne and the assistant waiter was really good. The MDR manager came by to check on us. That night we enjoyed the short ribs, meatballs, passion fruit cheesecake and pastry cigar. We had good MDR experiences from then on, but we never liked the menus as much. On a side note, we enjoyed the 1st sea day brunch there very much (chocolate fountain). *** We only ate in the MDR on the first formal night, the food, decor and service were no different than other nights. Most guys wore suits and ties followed closely by those who, like me, wore sport coats and ties with slacks. We only saw one or two tuxes. Cafe Al Baccio: This is a nice cafe and you don't need to spend a dime. The coffee drinks all cost extra (not much more than Starbucks though), but the pastry case is free and full of delicious finger sandwiches and treats. Design/Public spaces This ship is beautiful (even the bathrooms) and it does not feel very big or crowded. The public areas are lush, mod and classy. The outdoor spaces are nice too, spa-like, but the casino and art gallery are the only tacky parts. Everything is gleaming and new. We were very impressed by the boutique hotel vibe. Pool deck - I fell in love with the 4-poster hammocks on the pool deck! Yes, there were a lot of people on the pool decks on sea days, but we still got chairs on the inner deck of the main pool. Surprisingly, the adult-only indoor solarium pool was always more crowded, though we could get seats in there too. These areas are very nice. Gym- We found the gym to be quite nice. We didn't have to wait for equipment. The locker rooms (well, the men's) were really good. We enjoyed the sauna and the fact that they had shaving cream and razors. iLounge- This place is cool looking, but it's too small. The staff is overwhelmed too. The net was often down because too many people were using it. There was a lot of frustration over the Internet packages. Don't buy one if you can help it. Cabin We were in a cat 1A, # 7290. This is on the aft angle of "the hump." We loved our cabin! The dEcor is upscale and understated, there was plenty of storage for two people on a 7-nighter (big luggage fit under bed), and the bathroom was very nice. The balcony on this cabin is one of the extra large ones, it is about 50% of the total room size. The table is eating height and chairs are comfy. We found the bed super comfy too. This was also a great location, right near the middle elevators/stairs still it was really quiet. We liked the TV and how it works for many functions (facial recognition with the photographers is cool and it shows your pics while the radio feature plays) and were pleasantly surprised with the channels, which had current sporting events and lots of free, pretty recent on-demand movies. We did have a couple odd moments in there - the divider between ours and our forward neighbor's balconies once came unhinged. And beware the main door - pull them hard, the door was hard to close all the way and lock. Entertainment/activities: In some ways what people say about X is true, entertainment isn't their strength, but in other ways we were pleasantly surprised. Activities- I did go to some scrapbooking sessions, they give you a free, nice kit with materials to make one project. We also went to "Name That Tune," which was fun (we won easily and got lots of loot-tee shirts, pillows, playing cards, pens, medals). We also did the galley tour on Thursday (2nd sea day). This was ok, but be prepared to wait around in the upper MDR waiting for your group to be called. Unfortunately I could not understand a single word our chef/guide said because of his accent. Celebrity theater shows- It's a mixed bag. The first night is a preview show of sorts. You get to see some of the dancers and the instrumental groups you'll see onboard all week. EDGE (Tuesday night/St Martin at 7 and 9pm) we are split on. He found it too cheesy, but I thought it was fun. It was a musical revue with four main singers and many dancers set to digital light show. They covered Sting, Journey, The Beatles... cool, but not exactly current. If you like the show Glee, you'll like this one. Eclipse the Show (Thursday, 2nd day at sea, 8:30 and 10:45): It was a good show. There was a real set and a cirque du soleil-like show with tight rope walking, aerialists, and contortionists. This was far better than any of the other shows we went to. Celebrity Chefs Cooking Show (Friday, last sea day, 10:30am): This is a cute, iron chef-like contest between two ship chefs, each paired with an audience member. Hot Glass Show up on the top deck is good and you learn a lot about glass blowing; we went twice for afternoon shows on sea days. It was standing room only, but they make a new piece every 20 minutes or so, so if you arrive and can't get a seat, wait around ad then swoop in and like us you'll be able to get seats when the next piece starts. Masque and Motown- Both were good and surprising. Masque (Monday/San Juan night at 10:30) was a goofy, fun little show with dancers in Marie Antoinette garb set to songs from Rocky Horror and pop music in the grand foyer. We could see well from the aft stairwells and it was neat to move around deck 5 seeing it from different angles. The Motown party was also good, but I didn't like it quite as much as Masque. One thing we loved was that some dancers set up shop in the elevators dancing as they ride up and down and occasionally catching unsuspecting cruisers in there. *** we HATED the ubiquitous pool and grand foyer band, D'revelation. Every time I heard their female vocalist start I'd think of Simon Cowell on American Idol and how his biggest cut down is to tell someone they sound like a cruise ship singer. This was bad wedding music level: the Macarena? Love Shack? I'd take a Caribbean band or a jazz band by the pool over this any day. The one musical act we did like, though it's not our normal cup of tea, was an all-female string quartet from the Ukraine. They played "Back in the USSR!" - I think they were called Del Canto Strings. Overall, X isn't the greatest for entertainment if you're looking for something honestly current, let alone cutting edge or unique, but especially when it didn't involve singing, it was better than we expected. Ports- Disembarking in ports was painless - there were never any lines or waiting. San Juan (Monday)- The sail in was gorgeous. In this port we opted out of any tour and stayed in Old San Juan. The bad thing about this stop is that being there on a Monday means a lot (all museums) is closed. All the street vendors on the Paseo only work Tues-Sun. We walked left off the pier up to El Morro fort, which is very nice and it was only $3pp. There are great views and photo ops everywhere. We took a break to try piraguas - PR's snow cones, wandered the streets going into tacky little shops and such, and visited the famous, divey diner, La Bombonera, where two people ate for only $20. St Martin (Tuesday)- We booked privately with Bernard's tours (group tour, $35pp in an air-conditioned van with all the bottled water, sodas, rum punch and beer). Our guide/driver was Thomas. We stopped for 20 minutes at the very tacky, but funny Rima's souvenir shop. Then, despite being told we'd do 3 of these, we stopped at our only scenic look-out for a photo op. At Maho/Sunset beach, the famous beach near the airport, I started to dislike the tour. In order to "avoid traffic" Thomas changed the order of the itinerary we'd been given. As a result we were there when no planes were set to land or take off - I felt gipped. We went to the open market on the French side in Marigot and the famous Serafina's French pastry shop, Yum! Our last stop was Orient beach. We paid $8 each for an umbrella chair and a drink (any), but we had very little beach time (less than 90 min). We got dropped at Front St. in downtown Philipsburg where we wandered around in the many jewelry shops and walked the boardwalk before we walked back to the ship (15 min). Overall, the tour was ok and the price was definitely right, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. St Kitts(Thursday)- Like I did for St Martin, I used to ports of call board to select a private tour operator, Thenford Grey's Island Excursions, but I booked a private, custom tour. Our driver for the day was Don. So we had four people, each paid $37.50. This tour was GREAT. We got a full driving tour of the island, Don was amazing and very informative, we got out once for pics, drove to the southeastern peninsula past the Frigate bay area where we saw incredible homes and resorts. We went to the Caribbean side to Shipwreck beach bar at South Friar's bay beach. WOW! This is almost untouched beach, in a valley, with just the one bar. We felt totally safe leaving things on our chair and paid $18 for two chairs with a palm shade. Unlike St Martin, we weren't harassed by people selling stuff. We rented snorkel stuff for $10pp. The reef is extremely close to the shore line. We saw a variety of fish and a sea turtle swam under us. Don then drove us to Ottley's Plantation Inn. What a view! We had an easy lunch. This was by far our best port and excursion. Disembarkation: On the last morning we ignored our assigned lounge and time and had our last breakfast in the Oceanview buffet until at 8:45 they called our group. Just as we arrived they made an announcement that there was a customs delay so no one could get off yet, so we nabbed seats in the photo gallery to wait until at 9:15 things started to move and we were quickly off the ship. We found our luggage in the (ugly) terminal pretty fast and customs was a breeze. OVERALL/what we learned: As first-timers we learned a lot from this experience. We were glad we took a travel power strip, but never used our refillable coffee mugs. Surprisingly we liked sea days and never felt bored. We were too shy at first. If you have any issue tell guest relations ASAP, we would have been happier if we resolved our MDR issues earlier and also if we were more social - once we started talking to people we had more fun. As 30-somethings we were on the younger side of the passengers (most couples in their 50s and 60s, but we saw all ages including young kids), but if you're looking for relaxation vs. athletics, noise, or a nightclub vibe, it won't bother you. We would grade this cruise a B. Would we sail X again? Certainly, but we had really high expectations, some were met while others weren't. If we go again we'll go Aqua Class and hope that Blu is more akin to eating specialty every night. I would recommend X (S-class specifically) to others, but advise they try AQ if dining is very important to them. full review with pictures: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1325230 Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Celebrity Eclipse Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.2
Family 4.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates N/A 4.2

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