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193 Celebrity Holiday Cruise Reviews

Celebrity Solstice - Australia/New Zealand 12-23-2012 to 1/4/2013 12 night pacific cruise With over 20 cruises under my belt, I looked at this cruise as one of the ultimate cruises to go on. Coming from "The States", it is ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice - Australia/New Zealand 12-23-2012 to 1/4/2013 12 night pacific cruise With over 20 cruises under my belt, I looked at this cruise as one of the ultimate cruises to go on. Coming from "The States", it is not often that we get to travel so far. This was our first trip to Australia. This was also our first cruise on Celebrity. I had to say our expectations were pretty high for this trip. The cruise ship especially. In short, some areas surpassed while other areas fell short. Keep in mind that this was a holiday cruise with over 450 kids on the ship. Not the typical celebrity experience. Pre-cruise 12/19 We booked our cruise through a TA with insurance. We also booked our air through choice air. Choice air was very limiting for us. I would not use them again. Difficult to deal with when Qantas pulled out of Auckland for the LAX direct flight. You can get better deal going through the airlines directly. They also had changes without communication to us. Definitely no more Choice air for us. Since we were flying from Atlanta, we would most likely book Delta next time. Now, I have to say, the Qantas Airbus 380 was an amazing plane. We flew from ATL to LAX on delta. We stayed a night at the Marriott LAX. Wonderful hotel with free transfers. We did walk about 10 minutes to go to the In-and-out. Yum! We stayed a night in LA before our overnight flight to Sydney. 12/20 We got to rest up and enjoy some time in LA. We took the 10:00 flight out. Definitely pay for the upgrade to premium economy. It is worth it. Economy is a little bigger than our economy in the US, but still looked painful for a 15 hour flight. The service on the plane was fantastic. Could not asked for a better flight. It was a little bumpy during the night due to the airstreams, but still not bad. We skipped a day due to the international date line. 12/22 we landed in Sydney. We stayed at the Marriott Quay. (Pronounced "key") Very nice rooms. Easy access to everything in downtown Sydney. We booked the bridge climb a few months prior. The express climb, same climb, but less time to prep due to groups. An amazing experience that you should not pass up. We ate at Sydney Cafe. Wonderful view! Pricey. We rode the hop-on-hop off bus for a tour. We took the ferry over to the zoo and spent some time in the zoo. US credit cards were no issue. You also have Internet access in the hotel and at several of the coffee shops around. The hotel does have a US conversion power plug. The cruise ship is set up for the different types too. You will not need to buy one. 12/23 the hotel held our bags. We took a tour of the Opera House. You definitely need to see this. Amazing. If possible, book a show. There are 5 theaters in the opera house. Concert hall is the biggest, followed by the opera hall. There are three other smaller venues too. We got back to the hotel and took a cab over to the ship. It is a relatively short walk to the ship if everyone can carry their bags. Once we checked in at the ship... We went back out to finish our time in Sydney. 12/24 the ship was still in port. We took a full day excursion to the blue mountains. It is a long drive out to the mountains. It is very pretty. I reminded me of the blue ridge mountains. The steep train ride was fun. The view of the cliff, three sisters, etc was nice. Not sure if it was worth the price. I probably would of done more in the city. If you have not seen mountains, I would recommend it. If you have seen the Grand Canyon, then skip it. We got back late to the ship while the safety drill was going. This was not a problem since we booked through the cruise line directly. Since we missed the drill, we had to go down for a 20 minute presentation the next day. We left out and had a beautiful journey from the dock. The cruise.... The ship: Celebrity knows how to build unique and beautiful modern ships. The Solstice is in excellent maintenance. The carpets are in nice shape. Very little signs of wear and tear. The feel is very modern and crisp. Stateroom Our room was on the 11th floor - room 1596. Our other family members had the room next door 1594. This floor is the Aqua class. We actually received the upgrade as a very nice gift from our family. There are no kids on this deck. You get free access to Blue dining room. You get daily water and teas in your room daily. Special soaps etc. You also get access to the front spa relaxation room at the front of the ship on the same floor. The rooms were not any bigger than the standard balconies. Is it worth it, maybe for some. You do not get any discounts for the spa. You get a nice coupon book with some goodies in it though. We used the discounted laundry service twice. The storage in the room is pretty good. There are other ships with more storage from a room this size. The interactive system on the TV is the best. Lots of recently released movies that are free and available. The balconies are larger on this ship. Nice balcony with table, 2 adjustable chairs with footrests. The view is a little limited for this floor due to the overhang that goes across. Good coverage for rain though. When you are taking photos, it can get in your way. Noise in the rooms are less due to no kids. The only problem is the pool deck is above you. There will be foot traffic and sliding chairs during the early evening and mornings. Not real bad, but if this bothers you, you may want to move down a floor or two. Deck 11 is the top floor for rooms. The bump outs in the aqua class may be a better choice if you do not want the obstruction. Our room attendant was amazing, one of the best. No issues there. This met my standards for the aqua class on Celebrity. Dining rooms Ocean View cafe - this is their version of the Lido/Windjammer. This is one area that Celebrity let me down. There was no difference from this versus the many other cruise lines out there. Service was lacking here. I wish cruise lines would improve this area. They need to learn from Disney on this. Allure of the Seas is the only other ship that seemed to master this. Wait times for special foods could be reduced with more staffing. Clean-up and table service cold be improved also with more employees. They do have a bar in here so you can get quick access. We purchased a soda card. We got cans of soda with ease directly from the bars. Line cutting here seems to be a little bit of problem. You can stand there and be the next in line, yet someone walks up and they take care of them first. Come on Celebrity, you are better than that! Improve your table service. More people making drinks and more people serving drinks would help. Also, the employees here do not seem to be very happy. I saw several times where employees were arguing with other employees. That is not good. Work as a team folks. Food quality was pretty good. Best pizza out of all the major lines. Wow! Pasta bar is great, but the service is very slow. Great salads! More variety with desserts. Great ice cream and gelatos! The oriental chicken need to be improved. The fajitas are good, but you need better taco meat etc. Please improve your Mexican food station. Much better with Allure. Blue dining room - not impressed. Service was severely lacking. You had to wait to be seated during the busier times. It is all first come first serve with different servers that are killed with several tables. One time, we asked three times for a drink. This is the worse part of the ship in my view. It should be a highlight. A star for those who book Aqua Class or Suites. I got an excuse that it was due to the different cultures eating at different times than the western cultures. Adapt, compromise, adjust... Staff up and fix this. The food was better in the main dining room. Main dining room - wonderful. Charles was our matre'd. He was fantastic. He worked us in with some amazing servers. You would ask for something flexible, and they would not blink. They would serve it. Wow. Wonderful service that met my expectations of Celebrity. The food quality was very good. The drink service was fantastic. No issues here. Specialty Restaurants - wonderful choices. Our favorite that we ate at twice was The Tuscan. It is an Italian inspired steak house. These Omaha steaks were absolutely amazing. Cooked to order with perfection every time. When the place got busy, the service did from down some. Samuel, the manager, took care of anything we needed. Alexander was a terrific server. Need more dessert options. Bar service - overall, the bar service is pretty good. Easy access to drinks. The Ocean View cafe was the only area that needed improvement with this. Shopping - the shopping choices are pretty good. It is catered to the bigger spender. There are not many t-shirts, candy etc options. The art shows is a big part of the cruise. Your typical park west art auctions. Here is the deal, if you want to buy art... Just talk to them directly. They will bring out what they have and make you a deal. The best art we got were not purchased during the auctions. If they know you are serious, they will go out of their way to help you. Pools - easy access to pools and towels. You do not need to sign out for towels. They have plenty of them. The solarium is very nice. There are plenty of spas. The pools are well kept and open almost all of the time. Spa - pretty standard like all of the other cruise lines. The views in the massage rooms are not like Disney Dream or Allure/Oasis. Embarkation Easy process at the Sydney port. You check your bags. Tipped a few dollars. Walked in. The lines were not bad. Since we had two days in port, guests getting on the ship were spread out over the few days. Gratuities for the cruise were taken out each day as a daily rate. Not one big payment. Aussies do not tip typically. You need to stick with the auto deposit, pay the folks directly the same or more, or take Carnival that has a no tipping policy for their Australian cruises. These people live on tips. Seas were calm all cruise long. Even when we had larger waves, the stabilizers worked extremely well. No issues at all going over the Tasman Sea. Sea Day after embarkation - Formal night #1 Melbourne - pronounced Melbin. A very modern city. We took a tour of the city and the Animal Preserve. Great stop. Up close to the signature animals. Puffing Billy was a great train ride. Lots of flies at the winery lunch and visit. 2 Sea Days - Enjoyed the ship! Relaxed. Spa visit. Fjords and Sounds Day - Have your camera ready. Reminded me of Scotland and Alaska combined. Beautiful pictures - postcard views. Weather will vary, but still beautiful. Dunedin - pronounced "dun eat'n". A Scottish based city that we really enjoyed. We took a tour of the city, including the walk of the steepest street in the world - Baldwin St. A visit to the Botanical Gardens was nice. We booked a private tour through the Cadbury Factory in town. Wonderful. Lots of free Chocolate. The price was $16.00 each - somewhere around there. Book online ahead of time. It gets busy. Arkoa - (however you spell it) the replacement tender spot for Christchurch. The only tender spot. One of the prettiest port stops on the cruise. We took the very long bus ride up through the mountains. Lots of beautiful views. Then we travelled into the Alps. Saw a sheep show and ate lunch at a old ranch. We rode the train back down the mountain. Hobbits, Lord of the Rings, and Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe were filmed in these areas. Outstanding, but long day. Nice little town at the port to visit. Wellington - This is a very modern city. They are very proud of The Hobbit movie here. I believe the studios are nearby this town. We toured the city. The cable car up the side of the mountain was nice. This was followed up with a visit to Zealandia. A sort of Jurassic park that is trying to recapture what life was like before humans arrived. Great photo opportunities for nature and rare animals. Another nice day at sea. (Formal night #2 - only two for this cruise.) Tauranga - Our last day was a trip to the countryside to ride a jet boat! What a blast we had! You must do the river jet boat ride if you want a fun thrill. Everyone had so much fun. Kiwi capital of the world here. Lots of Kiwi all over. This is a retirement and vacation community with lots of beaches nearby. Lots of things to do here. I wish we had more time here. Auckland and debarkation - Our end to the cruise. Debarkation was very smooth. No issues. All sorts of options for times etc. Easy customs process. Luggage service was fine. the best part is that we stayed in the Hilton Hotel. The Hilton Hotel shares the same building as the terminal. You walk out. Take a right. Walk about 50 steps. You are at your hotel! Very pricey, but nice. Ask for the conversion if you need it. The wall outlet conversion in 220. the can give you a 110 transformer if you need one. Safer for smaller appliances. Auckland was a beautiful town. We went to the Japanese steak house across the street from the Ferry Building. The hotel service was top notch. Easy access to cabs for a ride the airport. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the airport. Early morning may only take 25-30 minutes. The airport process went smooth. Amazing international terminal with lots of shops in Sydney. We flew back to LAX via Sydney. Gained back a day. First time in my life where I left at 6:00 am on a Saturday, flew 22 hours (flights and holds), and arrive the same day at 6:20 am on the same Saturday. We stayed at the Marriott LAX again. We took a $25.00 cab ride to Manhattan Beach. We ate at an amazing restaurant called Rock'n Fish. Say hello to Matt for me. Tell him the Clemson folks from GA referred you. Matt is the GM for the location. Best seafood on the entire trip. Wonderful atmosphere. Please e-mail me if you have any questions. This is a once in a life time trip for most. Enjoy it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We were in cabin 1067 port side in a concierge class room. The room is a good size with the bed near king size and plenty of storage. We had 3 large bags (23kg each - packed way too many clothes) but by utilising the cupboard over the ... Read More
We were in cabin 1067 port side in a concierge class room. The room is a good size with the bed near king size and plenty of storage. We had 3 large bags (23kg each - packed way too many clothes) but by utilising the cupboard over the bed we managed to stow everything. Our cabin stewards were excellent and the room always looked like we had just arrived - which was a totally new experience compared to some cruises we have been on. On a side note if you are intending to do the NZ cruise then I would suggest getting a cabin starboard side as in Sydney and Auckland the boat docked port side meaning you didn't get the best view. One other thing is the entertainment system in the cabin, there are over 20 free movies on demand along with your standard fare of TV programs, you can also order breakfast on it but don't get carried away. FOOD The quality and selection in the main dinning room were great and I didn't have a bad meal. Were on Select Dining and never had to wait for a table. I was surprised that on Lobster night you get a whole tail which is removed form its shell table side by your waiter. This was far better than those little nuggets that you get served on other cruise lines. The cafe had a huge selection and whilst it can get busy at peak times we were never not able to find a table. POOL Reasonable size and depth and if it was cold there was an indoor one you could use. On the two peak/busy sunny days it was still possible to find a lounge at mid-day and there didn't appear to be any lounge hogging that I could see. STAFF The staff would generally go out of their way to make your trip memorable. At first I did notice some seemed disconnected but after a smile and greeting them by their name they became animated and friendly and go out of their way to service you when you next met them. On a couple of occasions I encountered some of passengers displaying a sense of entitlement and being generally rude to staff which could explain why some of the staff appear down. Generally the passengers being rude were the older traveller who should have known better. ENTERTAINMENT The nightly shows were of a high standard and during the day there were numerous activities so if you get bored on this ship then you are not getting out enough. COMMUNICATIONS Wifi is available in the room at rates starting at 75c/m. The connection wasn't good enough to hold a skype call and should you need to make a call using your mobile on the Cellular at Sea network (Celebrity Network) then expect to pay $8/minute or for mobile data $18/Mb. BARS Whether you like your poison in a dark lounge or up on deck there is a bar for you. We had the premium drink package which more than paid for itself and it was great to just hand over the card and not have to worry. We tried a number of things we would not normally have done like the various teas and coffees at the cafe and little things like sparkling water with dinner and a vitamin water to take back to the cabin to help start the day. Overall a great ship and we will be back on her sometime soon Here is a little slide show of our experience: http://youtu.be/SDwNNR_D3GQ Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Equinox Cruise December 21, 2012 10 days Caribbean St. Thomas, St Maarten, St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica Embarkation: Couldn't have been easier. There was only one person in front of us and with having all the paperwork done ... Read More
Equinox Cruise December 21, 2012 10 days Caribbean St. Thomas, St Maarten, St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica Embarkation: Couldn't have been easier. There was only one person in front of us and with having all the paperwork done on line in advance, things went very quickly. Got on the ship and the party was already started with the Oceanview Buffet open and great entertainment by the pool. Room: Having an inside room, of course it was small. However, everything was well set up and you felt that you had plenty of room. It was also pretty and with many different areas for storage, we had no problems. One thing I did on this cruise I had never done before was to bring my own hangers. The cruise lines usually never supply enough, but although I am sure you can ask for more, they are usually the fat wooden ones and they take up a lot of room. I brought the thin hangers that you may have seen on one of the shopping networks and I could fit in twice as much clothes in the closet! Just a little tip! Only took me 25 cruises to figure that out! No towel animals this trip, but there was turn down service with chocolates. Cabin steward did a nice job and we had no complaints. He asked if there were any special requests as soon as we got on and he made sure the items we requested (ie: extra towels, etc.) were always there. Dining Room: On our past Holiday Cruises, even though we requested a big table, we never get our wish as the big tables seem to be reserved for families. Also, I think years ago, the cruise lines tried to match up people at tables based on age or whatever criteria they used. In recent times, not so much. However, we were pleasantly surprised that we did get a large table for 8 and the other couples at the table were all around our age. Some were even members of our Cruise Critic Group. We had a great time with everyone and one couple lived only 20 minutes from us so hopefully we will see them in South Florida. The food was good for the most part but I found that sometimes there was usually nothing I wanted from the day's special menu or I wanted everything!!! Luckily, if you do not want the special selections for the day, you have a choice of Salmon, Steak, etc. that you can get daily. The food was good, but my husband did have some issues with the pastry. They even brought the pastry chef over to talk to us and he apologized as he said he had a new chef preparing the lava cake that evening! Nice touch to care enough to bring over the pastry chef. Most desserts were good and there was a nice variety . Most of the food was also excellent especially the meats which were very well prepared. Oceanview Buffet: The buffet had a lot of choices, but they were basically the same every day. Knowing I am going to have a big dinner, I don't like to have a big meal lunchtime so I opted for a sandwich, a slice of pizza or a little pasta. The sandwich area has deli meats, cheeses and salads (chicken, tuna, egg, potato, pasta, etc). They will make panini's for you with these items. At another area, they slice fresh pork or turkey or roast beef. So, I got these meats from this area and brought it over to the sandwich area, selected some cheese and had the panni made this way! Others who saw me do it thought it was a good idea so I thought I would pass along that hint. This is the first cruise I have been on where dipped ice cream was available for free on the ship (other than in the dining room) They usually only offer soft serve. This subject was brought up on other cruise critic reviews I read before boarding this ship as a not to be missed treat. They had lots of choices of flavors, however, many thought that the ice cream was a bit gritty (low milk fat content). I usually opted for the sorbet which was super refreshing especially when getting back from a tour of a warm Caribbean island. The buffet was basically OK, but most recently we had been on the Carnival Dream and their buffet was better. Specialty Restaurants: We only tried one Specialty Restaurant which was Il Bacio. For $5 a person, you could have your choice of a Panini, savory crepe and dessert crepes or you can have all three!!! It happened to be very good and very good value for $5!!! Activities: Cruise Critic: People on our cruise from the Cruise Critic Blog arranged their own sailing away party at the Sunset Bar at 4:00 on the day we left. From what I understand, it was so freezing not many people went. Since we signed up for the cruise critic party, we did receive an invitation in our room for a cruise critic function the following day which was held in one of the bars on the ship. The ship provided pastries and coffee. It was nice meeting the people we had been blogging with for months. Also, the captain and other crew members took the time to come to the party to meet us. There seemed to be a lot of activities on this ship that my husband and I wished to attend. We took part in a lot of the trivia activities and met a lot of other people who enjoyed this activity so we always had a group to have fun with. Met a lot of nice people this way. There were also cooking seminars and Melinda Bates who had worked in the Clinton White house did a few seminars about entertaining at the Whitehouse throughout the all the years and how things changed through the years with each administration. It was most interesting. We also took a tour of the galley and went back stage to see how the theater productions work. Although we did not take advantage of them, there were a lot of competition type activities involving passengers and the crew which I thought was a great idea and made you feel that the cruise line wanted to be very involved in your cruise experience. The shows were typical cruise type shows with a cast of dancers and singers. The Broadway Show and the Cirque Du Soleil type show were very good. The Acapella Group Lemon Squeezy was one of the best things on the cruise. I think everyone soon became Lemon Squeezy groupies. 4 young guys from Sweden who were so fantastic I think we almost made it to everyone of their appearances around the ship! They usually performed for 15 minutes at different venues around the ship. A lot of performances of bands and special events were held in the Grand Foyer area. This is basically a very small area and only a few people are lucky enough to get seats to actually see the performers in this area. There is other limited seating which would allow you to hear, but not see what is going on. Not a great set up. We usually got there early if there was something we especially wanted to see, especially the Squeezy's as we started calling them! Everything was very lively, especially when they had the 60's show and everyone was dancing and the dancers were using the elevators as go-go cages!!! Since it was a Christmas Cruise, Santa appeared and following a Christmas parade, Santa had gifts for all the kids. Additionally, all passengers received gifts in their rooms The Hot Glass Show was very interesting and an unusual feature for a ship. Naturally, on a ship you cannot have open flames as they do in most glass studios so a special oven had to be created especially for this ship. The Lawn on the top floor was also a nice touch and although we didn't take advantage of the functions there, several people had fun laying on the grass with Margaritas and chips! The Sunset Bar also on the same floor was the only place that guests were allowed to smoke cigars. My husband took advantage of that area and the waiters were very attentive and he met some fellow smokers to hang with in the afternoon. Captains Club Special Events: Our level with the Captains Club is select (not the top level), but there were a few special cocktail parties we were invited to which were very nice. Also, being in the Captains Club, we received coupons and I was able to take advantage of 25% off an internet package which came in handy. Since many people traveled with their I-Phones or I-Pads, there was no problem getting on one of the computers in the computer room. Excursions: We did 2 excursions from the cruise line. Having been in these islands several times, we opted to go shopping and not do any special tours. We toured the Harrison Caves in Barbados and took a tour around both sides of St Maarten (French and Dutch). The tour in St. Maarten would have taken us back to the boat, but we opted to stay in town on the Dutch side and go shopping. There is also a beach there, so we took the opportunity to have lunch at one of the restaurants by the water. Disembarkation: You can leave the ship early if you wish to carry off your own bags. We did not choose this option. Since we live only 20 minutes from the boat, we got off the boat later than those who had planes to catch. We had breakfast and then there were plenty of places to sit while waiting to get off the ship. The lines once we got off were a little long going through customs, but really not bad. We had parked in the Park & Fly/Cruise in Ft. Lauderdale near the port. It is less expensive than parking at the actual port. Within 5 minutes of leaving the terminal, the park and fly/cruise bus was there. We have used this facility many times and they are always consistently good. All in all, it was a fantastic 10 days with a lot of wonderful memories and we made some great friends which, in my opinion, is always the best part!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I've noted previous reviews on here that list a range of complaints and frankly I just don't understand what anyone has to complain about. This is my third Celebrity Cruise and I was a little worried after reading some reviews ... Read More
I've noted previous reviews on here that list a range of complaints and frankly I just don't understand what anyone has to complain about. This is my third Celebrity Cruise and I was a little worried after reading some reviews that suggested things were slipping in relation to food on Celebrity. I had nothing to worry about. The food on my 14 night Holiday cruise was outstanding! The best of any of my previous cruises which had already impressed me. The Main Dining room was so good. I chose Celebrity select and enjoyed the flexibility this provided. No wait for a table ever. Always seated at table for two as requested. Service was consistently outstanding, friendly and attentive even with different waiters. Food quality was outstanding every night, plenty of variety and I was always impressed what was achieved considering they are trying to mass produce for several thousand people a night. The baked french onion soup is the most delicious version of this soup I have ever tasted. Food quality in the buffet Oceanview Cafe was also consistently high with plenty of cooked to order stations keeping everything fresh and hot. The curry station was excellent. I think i had curry at nearly every lunch and was delicious. I noted several people commenting on the quality and authenticity. Everything was kept well stocked and turned over. I ate at Tuscan Grille and Qsine. Both of which were terrific. Tuscan more for the service and atmosphere as I did not see all that much difference in food quality over the Main Dining. Qsine is super fun and has so much variety but you really need an appetite. The christmas atmosphere was terrific complete with a transformation of the foyer staircase into a winter wonderland ginger bread house display and a truly impressive Christmas day brunch in the Main Dining which was stunning. The ship was kept so spotless and clean it was always impressive as to how much care was taken to keep the ship looking brilliant. So many great activities on board to suit every persons tastes and interests. Entertainment was fantastic all over the ship with the exception of the Male barbershop quartet who I thought were abysmal, thankfully they did not really feature and were easily avoided. The ports were all interesting and quite different. My favourite being St Maarten and Barbados. I could have passed on Grenada which I thought was not as good as the other ports by far. The crew, waiters, bar staff and activity staff were all helpful and genuine. Beautiful food, beautiful ship, amazing vacation. So hard to come home! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
About us: We are in our 50's and both retired. This was our 10th Cruise and our first Celebrity Cruise. Arriving: We flew in from Atlanta, GA and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express that was about ½ mile away from the port. We ... Read More
About us: We are in our 50's and both retired. This was our 10th Cruise and our first Celebrity Cruise. Arriving: We flew in from Atlanta, GA and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express that was about ½ mile away from the port. We considered walking over to our ship, but were told that our ship could be up to 2 miles away from the port entrance so we went with Holiday Inns bus service. I think it was $10 each, but I do know within 5 minutes of purchasing the tickets someone convinced me that we should have took a cab telling us "It would cost about ½ of what your paid". So it goes. We arrived at the port about 11:15 am and the boarding process took 45 minutes. Was the slowest check we encountered in our cruise history, no problem since we had 14 days onboard? The ship: From the moment we first stepped on the ship we were simply amazed, The Eclipse is such beautiful ship. It was decorated for the holiday's which added a nice touch. It has a very nice layout and easy to navigate. The person per public space is low compared to the other lines we sailed on, so even thought there were around 2800+ passengers sailing we never felt crowded. It didn't take long for us to realized this was the nicest ship we ever been on. We stayed in cabin 7290 which is a on the starboard side. It is a hump cabin and our room stewardess told us the balcony was about 50% bigger than the standard balcony. We were able to fit our huge suitcases under the bed and we had plenty of room for our clothes. It is real close to the elevators and was very quiet. Spent time on the balcony each night of the cruise. The gym was really quite large for the number of people that actually used it, so that was a nice change. On a number of ships we have been on there simply isn't enough equipment for the number of people. Food: We went to the MDR just about every night. We were seated with four other people who we developed a close bond with over the 14 days we were there. The food was excellent, the best we have had a sea, and the service was great. On RC we tend to be disappointed with the MDR for one reason or another and usually end of at the buffet so this was a nice change. Celebrity was really pushing the Specialty Restaurants. They had a guy greeting people after our dinner in the MDR. He had a signup sheet and if you seemed the least interested he would try to close the deal. We didn't do Any of the Specialty Restaurants but 3 of the people at our table went to the Tucson Grill and said it was excellent. We did the Ocean View for breakfast and lunch. Food was good there too. They had an Italian, Mexican and Indian section that I enjoyed. The coffee was excellent. Very strong, the way I like it. Entertainment: The entertainment in the Theatre was very good. We didn't go to a lot of the shows on this cruise but we caught most of the Celebrity Shows, the last one was a Cirque du Soleil type production which was excellent for a cruise ship. If you decide to see just one show I would recommend that. They also had different performers through out the ship that were pretty good. I really enjoyed the 3 violin players. I also went the Casio on most nights and yes they do have a few 1 cent machines so I was able to keep my losses to a minimum. Was nice to have a smokeless Casino. The prices for alcohol were reasonable $8.05 for a glass of wine with included tip. Disembarkation -- We walked right off the ship at 8:15 with no delays. We carried our luggage as we thought we could get an earlier flight home. They did run out of coffee in the Ocean View Cafe. I shared a table with 6 other people that last day and one person came back to the table and said "they are out of coffee" Since it was so early it didn't register and 5 minutes later I went to get some and they still didn't have any. That was a first. Other: Pool- nice added touch with the cushions on the lounge chairs. The wait staff will walk by once in awhile but not the constant "Can I get you a drink" that we see on Carnival and RC. This was also true with the photographers. Conclusion: We loved the Eclipse and first thing I did when we got home was book Celebrity Solstice for 8/2013 and Celebrity Equinox for 1/20/2014. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Since we live in the northeast we decided to fly to FLL. We made all the arrangements through Celebrity for the flying and ground transportation to the ship. The flights were fine, right on time both ways. When we arrived in FLL we found ... Read More
Since we live in the northeast we decided to fly to FLL. We made all the arrangements through Celebrity for the flying and ground transportation to the ship. The flights were fine, right on time both ways. When we arrived in FLL we found the Celebrity transfer agents in baggage claim. There was about 40 of us total to use the transfer bus to the pier. We were herded out to a far end of the baggage claim and then another bit of a walk to the bus area, all this dragging our bags. The agents seemed to be in a dither, running around and talking on their radios. Thirty minutes go by and there is no bus. I asked one of the agents about the hold-up and was told they were waiting for a bus. Another 30 minutes go by and still no bus. This time I found an agent that seemed to be in charge and asked what was going on. He told me they needed a special bus for a passenger in a wheelchair. I suggested he use a taxi for the one passenger that needed special care and not hold up the other 39 of us. After some more running around and talking on their radios, that is what they finally did. One hour and thirty minutes later we boarded a bus and headed to the pier. The ship was already decorated for Christmas - very pretty. Our room was a port side balcony and since we carried our own bags we were able to settle in right away. Others, it seems, did not receive their luggage until the next day. They had to go down to the baggage area in the ship and point out their luggage. It seems many of the tags were missing. Since we were Aqua Class, we dined almost every night in Blu restaurant. The service was good, the menu interesting, and with the exception of two nights, very good. We tried Qsine one night and had a fun time - too much food! I enjoyed the gelato on the 5th deck even though it was an extra charge. The entertainment shows were very good and there were always seats available whether we went early or late. Good magic show and super Cirque type show. My wife and I met many wonderful folks during the voyage and enjoyed playing the various trivia type games. Michael and Mickey were always able to make us laugh. I really enjoyed the Hot Glass show. The artists who made the various beautiful glass pieces were very good and made this one of my favorite places to visit. The two enrichment presenters were very good, but the area where the talks are presented was noisy and the projector was dim and washed out - too bad. We did not use any of the ship tours, but found our own way around. Getting off the ship was a nasty experience. Other ships we have sailed on had the food area in the bow. That left the mid-ship elevators less busy and made getting off the ship a non-event. This ship has the food area and the mid elevators in the same location. The passengers going for food conflicted with others trying to get off with luggage. After waiting for over twenty minutes most of us had to resort to the stairs - in our case 9 floors. Then all passengers had to walk a long way aft on the dock past the end of the ship and then the walkway turned to the left and we walked back again in the opposite direction to enter customs. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Let me start with a little background to put this review into some perspective. This was our ninth cruise, our sixth with Celebrity but our first on an S-Class ship. Every cruise is special but we wanted something extra special to ... Read More
Let me start with a little background to put this review into some perspective. This was our ninth cruise, our sixth with Celebrity but our first on an S-Class ship. Every cruise is special but we wanted something extra special to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Before booking and even setting our budget, we researched every cruise line and every itinerary finally deciding that we would spend two weeks relaxing in the Caribbean on Constellation in one of her Penthouse Suites with the huge aft balcony over Christmas and the New Year. Of course, when details of the 2012/13 cruises were released for sale, Eclipse had replaced Constellation on this route and the holiday cruises were split. The best laid plans ... Pre-cruise The scheduling of this cruise immediately gave us logistical problems. We really wanted 3-days in port pre-cruise but that meant flying on Boxing Day [26th December] and travelling down to Heathrow on Christmas Day. Not something we thought it fair to ask our taxi company to do. We eventually decided on travelling down on Christmas Eve and spending Christmas Day in a Heathrow hotel. More research resulted in us selecting the Ambassador's Suite at the Marriott. The suite was definitely the right choice with a huge sitting/dining room and ample-sized bedroom with king-sized bed. It had 1½ baths, two wardrobes, a large desk area, two really comfy sofas and a dining table that could seat six people more than comfortably. Compared to what we would have paid for a standard room, the suite was excellent value. The service was quiet and efficient. Complimentary Internet access was provided for printing boarding passes. There were two issues which marred our stay a little but both were probably one-offs. Because it was Christmas, there was only one restaurant open serving a reduced menu plus a set three-course Christmas dinner. The food was mediocre at best. A bigger issue but not really anything the hotel could do much about was some of the other guests who were not only very obvious for the size of their group but whose behaviour was loud and unpleasant. There was no breakfast provided in the Executive Lounge but the other complimentary refreshments, including wine and beer, were and we especially enjoyed the cheese board after dinner. Our breakfast in the restaurant was complimentary. It was one of the most laid-back Christmases we have spent but enjoyable none the less. Our usual preference would be to book our flights [and pre-cruise hotels] through Celebrity but, by the time the flights came on sale, prices had risen so much that we would not be able to afford business class through Celebrity. In the end, we arranged our BA own flights. Apart from a delay of over an hour whilst we sat on board due to a problem with the hydraulics, the flight was very pleasant, the food surprisingly tasty and the cabin crew friendly. We made up much of the lost time at the start. However the biggest surprise was Miami airport. Our previous experiences there since 2009 have been more than unpleasant and, for different reasons, it has taken us between 2½ and 3½ hours to get through the system. Recent reports on Cruise Critic did not encourage us to believe there had been any improvement. However, the airport has not only clearly undergone a huge upgrade but we were actually made to feel welcome. Immigration and Customs were friendly without being unprofessional -- not quite up to the high standards of Philadelphia or even Las Vegas but no longer an airport we feel we want to avoid. One thing to note about Miami airport is that there is now a US$5 charge for a luggage trolley and you will need $1 or $5 to feed into the machine. The result of this is that available porters are now much more difficult to find. Our three days pre-cruise, booked through Celebrity, were at the Embassy Suites hotel in Fort Lauderdale. This is not the most luxurious of hotels but we like the space in the suites [especially useful for storing cruise luggage] and its location [close to a number of restaurants and shopping for everyday items and wine] but, most important, we are used to it and enjoy our stays there. This was our fifth time here. What we had forgotten is how friendly and efficient the hotel is. With the complimentary full breakfast and daily evening Manager's Happy Hour and suites equipped with microwave, fridge, coffee maker, iron & ironing board and hairdryer, and a lovely outdoor pool area we consider the hotel extremely good value. Embarkation For the first time, we decided to skip the Celebrity transfers and take a taxi to the ship in an attempt to avoid arriving with a crowd. In the event, we were persuaded at the hotel to take their shuttle but this still allowed us better control of our luggage. We arrived at the terminal about 11 o'clock and no queues but, once we had checked it, realised that we had not avoided the crowds. The ground floor waiting area was already full. We were directed upstairs to the suite waiting area but had hardly sat down when we were called for boarding, suite guests first. There had been some reports about problems with those who required assistance boarding but there was no sign of problems this time. The area for those requiring assistance was next to that for suites and they followed us boarding. However, there were only two people using mobility scoters and no wheelchair users. After some confusion, we discovered that we could use Michael's Club where we met the Captain's Club Hostess and there were light refreshments. We able to book a cabana on Labadee through the Concierge but little else because our butler arrived to take us to our suite long before the announcement that the staterooms were available. Having been told that our butler would be Luis, we were really surprised [and pleased] to meet Jose, our butler from our previous cruise on Infinity. To avoid confusion with another Jose, he was now known as Luis. Penthouse Suite The one word we both use to sum our suite now we have had time to reflect will probably be a surprise. It is not "large" nor "luxurious" but "comfortable". The suite is very large and really luxurious but, above everything, it was comfortable. We loved it! We had spent many hours studying photographs and videos on the Internet and these give a very good impression of what it is like. There were few surprises except for the lighting and the bed. It is very good lighting but there are 32 light switches [excluding any of the doors which turn on internal cupboard lights when opened] many of which are sophisticated combined on/off/dimmer switches. We never did completely master them! The huge king-sized bed was so comfortable! It was the most comfortable bed we have ever slept in by a very long way. Ship Even some of the critical reviews I have read about Eclipse describe her as stunningly beautiful but that description did nothing to prepare me for just how stunning and beautiful she is. There is something about her that is beyond her contemporary beauty and I was struggling to put what it was into words until Captain Manetas summed it up by saying that it was the German engineering. And he was right, it is all the small details such as the soft close drawers that make all the difference. One of the issues attracting a great deal of criticism before our cruise was the music throughout Eclipse -- not just the volume but also the type of music played. This certainly was not a problem on our cruise. There was loud, very modern music in the Martini Bar but, most of the time, it was difficult to hear the music there over the buzz of conversation or the music from the foyer. There was just one evening when the bar was unusually empty that the music was too loud. Elsewhere on the ship, there was different music in different areas and the musak piped into the hallways was at very low volume and varied from Christmas Carols to the Beatles. The only music we found objectionable was the guitar player. In the Sunset Bar for sail-away from Fort Lauderdale, not only was he far too loud but he was also very bad! Unfortunately, like a bad penny, he just kept turning up everywhere. Conversely, Twist of 8, the party band, on the Pool Deck on New Year's Eve played for something like 4 hours without a break and created the perfect party atmosphere. Dining Since 2009, we have chosen to eat only in the speciality restaurants but we did enjoy our one visit to Blu on our last cruise and hoped to be able to repeat that experience as well as having dinner served in our suite for the first time. Pre-cruise, we booked five nights in each of Murano [including our two complimentary meals] and the Tuscan Grille. [Our four visits to Qsine on our last cruise were probably enough for us.] Despite the rumours on Cruise Critic, we were able to book Murano for New Year's Eve in advance. As it was, we were invited to the Captain's Table for New Year's Eve, took part in the Chef's Table for another of our planned visits and organised a dinner in our suite for four Cruise Critic friends for a third. To make up for there were two lunches held in Murano -- an extra one because of New Year. We were disappointed on our first visit to find that they are no longer able to serve fois gras on board. The fois gras on Celebrity ships has always been the best we have found anywhere, including some of the top restaurants in Paris, and something we always look forward to. They have also discontinued my favourite desert, the Pear & Pineapple Napoleon -- this, apparently because it was not very popular! Having overcome these disappointments, we found the quality of the food in Murano outstanding even by comparison with its equivalents on the M-Class ships. The lobster was excellent every time we choose it. Conversely, although we still enjoyed our dinners in the Tuscan Grille, it did not come up to the high standards of Constellation in 2010. Personally, I found the Tuscan Onion Soup disappointingly thin and the Calamari nothing special. Both were firm favourites on Constellation. I had breakfast each morning in Blu but, despite hoping to go more often, we only managed to fit in one visit for dinner but we exceptionally lucky. The Chicken Consumee we had loved so much on Infinity last year was on the menu again this evening. We had a thoroughly enjoyable meal and my husband thought the New York Strip better in Blu than in the Tuscan Grille and the Main Dining Room on New Years Eve. We ate lunch most days in the Oceanview Cafe and much preferred the island layout over that on the M-Class ships. We were surprised to find that we did not miss the trays. The selection of food each day was excellent and varied. In particular, I found the choice of curries exceptionally good and my husband was impressed with the pies of which there was usually a choice of two types. The Caribbean Buffet provided on the second Sunday [a sea day] was really good and most enjoyable. Lee Goble, the new Executive Chef, even ensured that there were whole coconuts which were broken open after the coconut water had been drunk for the coconut jelly to be eaten. However, the dining highlights for us would have been the Chef's Table and the lunches in Murano had it not been for the meal provided when we entertained some Cruise Critic friends for dinner. Between them Chef Lee and Antal Puskas [Maitre d' of Murano] wanted to create something special for us and they excelled themselves with a four course buffet. Drinks Package For our last cruise, we purchased a Premium Alcohol Package each but we had a couple of problems for the package to be more convenient: we found the choice of wines by the glass not too our tastes even paying the supplement for those over $12/glass and had far too many problems being charged for drinks at Cafe al Bacio. We certainly did not get good value from the packages. Because of this, we initially decided not buy a package this time. In the end, we did buy the Premium Non-Alcohol Package still not expecting to save money. This worked for us this time and the only problem we had was trying to convince the bar staff in the Oceanview Cafe that Strongbow Cider is not a Soda and we should be paying for it! Captain's Club We have cruised with Elite status for some years now but have never attended the evening cocktail event. Although we really enjoyed the Elite breakfast in Michael's Club on our first cruise after it was introduced, since then all Captain's Club events have been far to crowded for us to enjoy them. When the Captain's Club Hostess informed us that there were 500 Elites on board we said that we would not be attending any of the Captain's Club events. We did receive three vouchers each for drinks on New Year's Eve when there was no Elite Cocktail Party but they were not accepted in the bar where we were meeting friends so we did not even use these. Entertainment We have never been to a show on a cruise and consider relaxing over a good meal our entertainment. We did make an exception to watch the Hot Glass Show and really enjoyed it, staying for the full two hours despite a very heavy rain shower. We were so pleased on the last day of the cruise to be lucky enough to buy, at auction, one of the piece we had seen made. Ports The rain plagued us in most of the ports. This was our first Caribbean cruise and, other than Labadee, we had not been to any of the ports before. We had few plans in advance because we are not beach people and, as I mentioned, it was our intention to simply relax. However, we did book two excursions pre-cruise. Some years ago, in Grand Cayman, we had taken a submarine tour but a recent hurricane had made the water cloudy. We decided to try again in Bridgetown. Although [perhaps surprisingly] Celebrity offered this excursion for less money than booking direct, we did book direct because they offered a special "VIP" package not available through Celebrity. This cost just US$40/head more than the standard tour and was well worth it because we got the best seats in the submarine, just behind the pilot. We had a great view through the front window as well as the sides. The VIP package also gave us exclusive use of the top deck of the tender boat to and from the submarine, priority boarding and disembarkation, canapes, fruit juices & wine, and a souvenir photograph. It was a far better experience than in Grand Cayman: the water was crystal clear, there were lots of fish to see and we went to a depth of 149 feet [as opposed to 100 feet]. We can highly recommend this tour in Bridgetown, with or without the VIP package. Despite having no experience, I have always wanted to ride a horse along a beach and booked the Celebrity tour to do this on Aruba. This turned out to be one of the many highlights of this cruise for me. Despite being a complete novice, I gained the satisfaction of learning how to control a [admittedly, beginner's] horse, Lulu. We had a fantastic ride over the rough terrain of the Arikok National Park to a small cove where, unfortunately, the heavens opened and we were soaked to the skin destroying the photo opportunity. However, that was the only negative aspect of the whole fantastic morning. Disembarkation and Journey Home Prior to the cruise, there were a number of reviews on Cruise Critic complaining about the distance people were required to walk on disembarkation. As my husband has difficulties walking long distances [and because of our experience of how his need to stop for rests caused obstructions to others disembarking in Hong Kong in similar circumstances], we arranged for him to have wheelchair assistance. Everything went very smoothly and the only negative was the extremely long queue for taxis. Celebrity had actively discouraged guests from relying on this method of transport and cannot, therefore, be blamed for something outside their control. The taxi queue was well controlled and we probably did not wait longer than the other option we had considered. We had pre-booked a day-room at the Miami airport Sofitel hotel where we had a lovely lunch outside enjoying the last of the Florida sun. I am not sure if we really got value for money as we spent very little time in our room before catching the hotel shuttle to the terminal but it was nice to have somewhere to sort out the luggage and relaxing for the short time we had. We had another delay after boarding -- this time because a passenger had been taken ill and her luggage needed to be removed from the plane. Again we were about an hour late in taking off and made up no time on the journey. Arriving at Heathrow, we waited about 45 minutes for a gate to be made available for us but at least the snow had not started, yet. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We started our month long vacation from Virginia on December 19, 2012. We drove to Florida and spend a week at a time share resort with family in Orlando, FL. We drove to Fort Lauderdale the day before sailing and stayed at a Holiday Inn ... Read More
We started our month long vacation from Virginia on December 19, 2012. We drove to Florida and spend a week at a time share resort with family in Orlando, FL. We drove to Fort Lauderdale the day before sailing and stayed at a Holiday Inn hotel that provided 14 nights of parking free. We took the shuttle to the ship and boarded the fastest we have ever been able to board. Since we had already sailed on Solstice and Silhouette we were able to recognize most of the ships venues immediately. This was a bump out veranda and was located mid ship which we prefer. The two weeks flew by and was over all too soon. Thank goodness we had booked a 7 day cruise on the new sister ship Reflection that was leaving Miami just hours after the Eclipse cruise was over in Fort Lauderdale. I must say that the reviews that been posted by Eclipse guests are NOT indicative of the cruise experience we had. Compared to the other 29 cruises we have taken Eclipse food, crew, entertainment was as good as and in some ways better than any other ship. It was so good that we decided to book the same ship for the same islands for the 2013 New Years 14 day sailing. We would NOT do this unless we were happy with the overall 2 weeks we sailed this time. Was the cruise perfect?? NO! Did the crew listen to any concerns with food or excursions and do whatever they could to address our concerns in a timely manner and with genuine effort? YES! A small example would be the fact that trying to book the horseback ride at the excursion desk they indicated that the Aruba company offering this excursion had an age limit of 65. They could have just told us they could NOT help us. Instead, the excursion manager was called in and seeing that we are very fit at 66 and 69 and have ridden horses all our lives he took it upon himself to contact the company by email to discuss getting a waiver. A day later we were informed the waiver had been approved. After the ride we went back to the excursion desk and the young women who helped us had also gone horseback riding on a previous cruise and had ridden the same horse my wife rode. Our wait staff in the MDR also made sure to ask if we had any special requests. We like to use olive oil instead of butter on our bread and the olive oil was at our table every night after that. We I made a point about how good the goat cheese cigar tasted I found 3 goat cheese cigars on my plate the following night even though it was NOT on the menu. Why do I point out all the things that the crew did for us?? Because it was obvious they DID care and DID want to make our cruise experience as good as possible. When the cruise critic organizer had to cancel this cruise I wound up becoming the MC because I had co organized the gift exchange. The names tags my co organizer prepared had the country flag of each person at the cruise critic Connections party. Even the senior staff officer Patti who was the cruise director commented on never seeing better name tags at a cruise critic meeting. I implored all cruise critic guests at the party to seek out ALL crew during the cruise and if they saw them without a smile they were to give them one of theirs. I will be active on next years boards with hints on things to do to have a wonderful two week vacation. Some of the highlights for us included the wonderful holiday decorations the crew had worked hard to put up. The 2 hour glass show at night was wonderful and did not seem near that long. Yes the seats are NOT cushioned so you want to drag a beach towel from your room to make a cushion! Yes the ships today are trying to squeeze every dime by offering things that used to be included at an additional charge. We spent the extra money for Tuscan and Murano and felt it was worth every dollar. Murano was requested to make a dish NOT on the menu (Steak Diane flambe at the table). This was for our 41st anniversary. It was over the top good. As good or better than any Washington DC restaurant that charges double the price. By being the fill in MC for cruise critic we wound up getting invited to the Penthouse Suite for the 40th anniversary party of one or British cruise critic couples. This was another over the top experience during this two weeks. The cabin storage space seems to be an issue that we get around by requesting 2 dozen wire coat hangers so we can hang up as much as possible. I also turned one of our suitcases into an extra wardrobe drawer under the bed. We learned to utilize the overhead bins for things we did NOT use every day and to use the easy access drawers for our everyday items. I hope this review balances out some of the reviews where everything seemed to be going wrong. Terry Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We cannot say enough about our beautiful room, large comfortable bed and granite counter built-ins and desk/vanity area, pillow menu and the very spiffy spa bath (loved that shower!) We enjoyed the daily amenities from the bottle of ... Read More
We cannot say enough about our beautiful room, large comfortable bed and granite counter built-ins and desk/vanity area, pillow menu and the very spiffy spa bath (loved that shower!) We enjoyed the daily amenities from the bottle of champagne and fruit plate waiting on our arrival, to daily herbal iced teas/bottled waters, afternoon canapes; the over-sized towels and upgraded toiletries were appreciated, as was the balcony with table/chairs and reclining chairs with foot rests. We took advantage of the complimentary access to the relaxation room and Persian Room in the spa area, and enjoyed the heated tile beds, aromatherapy and sauna rooms, tropical storm and rain forest showers. Our room steward, Mauricio, had our room ready and every request was met cheerfully. He made our trip feel special and elegant. We also enjoyed dining in Blu and never waited for a table(service and staff were incredibly attentive, engaging, and food was excellent.) The ship was decorated for Christmas in an elegant, understated way, that complimented the lovely rooms and open areas. It's a gorgeous place to wander around, we loved the art: paintings, sculptures and more, very well done. We did dine in Qsine, a specialty restaurant that is truly unique and worth the $40 each -- it's a dining experience of creativity and sharing, and a must-do experience if you only choose one specialty restaurant. We were wait-listed but made it in, as the restaurant books quickly, so do book before you cruise, if possible. On this cruise, the ship itself was the lure, as we need to unwind and relax over the holiday week. We also loved the adults-only pool area, though we usually opted to go back to our own balcony for snacks or a beverage and to watch the glorious sunsets. We did eat breakfast occasionally in Blu (and it was yummy, with extras not available in other restaurants like blueberry walnut pancakes and fresh fruit smoothies), but we also enjoyed the buffet style options for breakfast and lunch in the Oceanview Cafe, with round the world offerings like Asian, Indian, Italian, subs and gyros, classic hot meals with sides, salads, desserts and more. We waited a fairly long time one afternoon for burgers and dogs at the outside grill, but the one guy working was zipping along with a cheerful attitude, and the food was great! The shows were better than most cruise ship fare, particularly loved the Silhouette cast when they did a circus style show with lots of acrobats, visuals, lighting effects -- very cool. We also loved a special guest vocalist, Christina Bianco, who did a fantastic diva impersonation show that earned a well-deserved standing ovation. We did have a very lengthy disembarkation, due to customs lines being extremely slow, but our arrival required no wait at all -- once we checked in we were invited to the Aqua Class and Suites waiting room, and immediately went on board for lunch and to wait for our room. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our second cruise, both on Celebrity, the first being an Alaska Inside Passage cruise. Although we've been intending to take a special vacation to celebrate my recovery from cancer, we booked spur of the moment after some ... Read More
This was our second cruise, both on Celebrity, the first being an Alaska Inside Passage cruise. Although we've been intending to take a special vacation to celebrate my recovery from cancer, we booked spur of the moment after some extra funds showed up unexpectedly, and we were limited to Christmas week because of the school schedule. We were afraid it wouldn't "feel like Christmas." We were wrong. :-) Our only basis for comparison was the Galaxy in 1999. We loved that cruise, and we loved this one just as much, if not more. We like fine dining, even our 10-year-old, and the food on the Galaxy was a high point. Happy to say that the main dining room here was just about comparable to our other experience. Other aspects of the experience were better, so our overall impression was just as good. First, the ship is lovely. As with the Galaxy, there was wonderful art everywhere and the public rooms were elegant and modern. Our stateroom was nicer, as we were in Verandah class. Although we were on the 6th deck and partially obstructed, with a prime view of lifeboats, our room was relatively large and bright. We enjoyed our verandah -- husband spent hours out there reading on sea days. As in 1999, we had an efficient "cabin genie" who kept our room neat and clean. We ate most meals in the main dining room. Almost everything was very good. We ate a couple of meals upstairs in Oceanview and they were pretty good, too. We had tea there a few days as well and hubby and daughter had sushi and ice cream (not together!) snacks. I would say the one dish we really didn't like (both adults had it) was more because it was geared towards a European palate. What we thought was even better than 1999 was the entertainment, especially the little troupe of singers, dancers and acrobats who did the nightly shows in Silhouette Theatre and the interactive events. They were multi-talented -- we saw several different shows during the cruise, including a special Christmas Eve show. There was also good guest talent, especially a young singer named Michelle Bianco. Another big improvement, we thought, was the accessability of the senior staff. They were everywhere and very much a part of our experience. We met several at the Captain's Club reception and they sort of kept up with us during the cruise. The captain is highly gregarious, BTW, with excellent spoken English. The cruise director is also very visible. Our daughter did not participate in the kids' programs -- she considers it "warehousing." Fortunately, virtually all the evening entertainment was child-appropriate and she had a blast with us. Not all parents supervised their kids well; unfortunately, the staff had to post repeated reminders in the daily newsletter, and we witnessed "kids gone wild" one day ourselves. I availed myself of a few spa services that were a decent value and bought some jewelry in Exquisites for a good price. Good experiences both. We did not dine in the special restaurants -- the cover charge is pretty steep, and you could do worse than the main DR. If you're on Select dining as we were, reservations are in order. You'll get seated much faster. The hostess is a sweetheart and can multitask with the best of them. We did not consider the beverage packages a good deal. We got a softdrink package for our daughter, but there is no way she can drink enough soda to justify doing it in the future.. We did get a bottle of wine each night with dinner, but because hubby knows his wines, we came out a little ahead of what we would have done with a wine package. We don't drink enough to get the other packages, and coming from an expensive area, the prices weren't really that bad in our view. We did a couple of shore excursions. The water park at Cococay was a rip-off -- when you go to Cococay, just get there early, grab a chair and rent an umbrella and you'll be fine. The St. Maarten/Martin tour arranged thru Shore Excursions was actually cheaper than a tour we arranged ourselves on St. Thomas, so it was a good deal. We're not into jet skis, etc. so we just did the fuddy-duddy tour bus thing and went to the beach. We did feel that there were a lot of added-fee extras, but you can still have a good time without spending a lot of extra money. Boarding and disembarkation went smoothly for us. We did an airport transfer on arrival, and had preferential check-in and lunch on the ship. We made our own hotel arrangements for an overnight stay on departure. As for it "feeling like Christmas," we were pleasantly surprised. The ship was decorated to the nines. There were extra activities, including a delightful show in the theatre on Christmas Eve, caroling, Santa's arrival and time with the kids on Christmas morning, and religious services for Catholics and Protestants (there were gatherings for Jewish passengers as well). There were special menus that day, too, including turkey and dressing. Felt almost like home. The one really negative thing I can say is not Celebrity's fault, and in fact, they tried to combat it, but some of the other passengers were real pigs. You aren't supposed to save seats at the pool (which gets really crowded on sea days) or the theatre, but it happened A LOT. Additionally, they had a lovely display of dozens of gingerbread houses in the Grand Foyer, and people were stealing them. There were the out-of-control children, and I witnessed some appalling and blatantly racist behavior towards staff persons "of color" in one of the gift shops -- I felt so bad for the shop manager that I personally apologized to the staff after that particular customer stomped out in a huff. All in all, though, it was a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Even though Reflection is a new ship, it is already well-reviewed here on Cruise Critic. It is gorgeous and extremely well laid out. I realized after being on board a day that this was one of the first ships I've been on when it ... Read More
Even though Reflection is a new ship, it is already well-reviewed here on Cruise Critic. It is gorgeous and extremely well laid out. I realized after being on board a day that this was one of the first ships I've been on when it didn't take days to learn where things were. The layout is very intuitive. The interior of the ship is modern, bright and colorful without being gaudy or making one feel they are in a mall. It's just beautiful in every way. Our Sky Suite cabin, 1214, was immense in size compared to other Sky Suites we've had on Celebrity. What seemed to make the difference was that we were located at the furthest rear, furthest to the starboard side of the ship. I believe there are 2 such cabins on each deck. One advantage of this cabin is that the veranda wraps around the corner of the ship so we had the equivalent of a veranda and a third. We could see where we've been and where we were going! We had concerns that being over the props and engines would make the cabin be rumbly and noisy. Instead the cabin was utterly quiet. In fact, I often had to look outside to make sure we were moving it was so quiet and calm. Of course, the ocean had barely a ripple the entire week. The entire crew was great and purchasing the highest level beverage package was the way to go. We bought the higher priced package which was nice in the specialty bars because the standard beverage package did not cover the more expensive specialty drinks and wine. The food was very good, especially the Oceanview buffet. What Celebrity does which is so smart and new to us is that they have at least 4-6 duplicate stations serving the most popular items for each meal. Thus, there is almost no line regardless of the number of people present. I don't think we ever waited in a line to pick up food items. We ate all our dinners in Opus with one exception, one dinner in Murano. The Opus food and service was excellent, especially because we were a group of 12 traveling together. Nobody sent any of the dishes back to the kitchen, the waiters never brought a wrong dish - it was all so professional and well done. Lunches and breakfasts were split between the buffet and dining room. Murano was a disappointment the night we went. Because it seemed short staffed, dinner dragged on for three hours. I don't expect to rush through a fancy dinner, some of which is prepared table-side, but everyone felt three hours was way too long for a 3 course meal. The food was all right, certainly not better than the Opus dining room though. Since we had a suite, the Murano dinner was complimentary which was just fine in light of the experience. There were a couple blips but were taken care of on board. Months before the trip, our travel agent contacted Celebrity to request that our group be given a large table for dinners together. We were a family traveling together and that would be the only time all day we would all meet up. As our travel agent suggested, I visited the dining room right after we sailed to check on the group seating. There, a "select dining" staff young lady stated with no concern at all that yes, she did have the dining request from us. But, no, we could not be together. Turns out the Select Dining section of the dining room was in disarray due to the large number of big groups sailing at Christmas. Rather than try to work it out, she was disinterested and basically said she could maybe put 3-4 of us at a table together, maybe. It didn't seem to matter to her that Celebrity accepted our request. She clearly was not about to do any more to help work it out so I left. Coincidentally, I returned to our cabin and my wife was chatting with our Butler. He was great and I told him what just happened. He smiled and left and said he'd call back later. Within 30 minutes he called and had worked it all out with his "contacts". From then on we were all at a table together each night. A different Select Dining woman, Natalie, was on duty each evening and she was delightful in working out every one's issues. Not a job I'd like though. Before the cruise when I was speaking to one of the Celebrity people regarding specialty dining, he told me that if we had ANY problems at all, don't waste time with the front desk people, just talk to the butler - and it worked! The other issue involved the shore excursion office and two members of our group. On two different stops, San Juan and St. Marteen, the shore excursion people got them to the venue by bus, but in both cases, after sitting there an hour or two, the excursion was mysteriously canceled and the bus load of people were taken back to the ship. No explanation, no apology, just weird. Needless to say, our two people got their money back and decided against any more excursions. The rest of us had no problems with our shore excursions. The embarkation and disembarkation was simple and efficient. There's so much more to say but I better sign out for now. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to reply. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We flew directly from Anchorage on Thanksgiving Day, arriving San Diego shortly after 10AM. Celebrity staff at the airport were awesome and we were on our way to the boarding terminal around 11, after the last bus load of disembarking ... Read More
We flew directly from Anchorage on Thanksgiving Day, arriving San Diego shortly after 10AM. Celebrity staff at the airport were awesome and we were on our way to the boarding terminal around 11, after the last bus load of disembarking passengers was delivered. Embarkation went very smoothly and we were on board by noon, and in our room by 1:30. Cabin: This was a tiny flaw in our experience. The guys just never seemed to click as a team and even though we had 6PM dining, we came back to the room after 9PM a couple of times and they hadn't even begun. However when my wife was quarantined, the guys took good care of her. Meals: The Trellis dining room was adequate. Typical cruise food, generally tasty and well presented - nothing to get excited about. The Oceanview Cafe was perfect for breakfasts and the Grill at the back was a great spot for lunch paninis. Also, check out the eggs benedict station and waffle spot for breakfast. Don't try Oceanview for dinner - paltry offerings. The "sushi" was a joke and seemed to be less than freshly made. We had dinner at SS United States twice and Qsine once. We would do US again (a quiet and refined respite from the hurly-burley) but likely not Qsine - the food was outstanding at each place, but Qsine seemed a bit too cutesy and pleased with itself. They tout the iPad ordering, but it's really an electronic menu - the waitstaff take your order in the usual way with paper and pencil. We were invited to the Chef's Table and there are no words to adequately convey that experience. The only thing I would say is if you are offered the opportunity, by all means accept. Aqua Spa Cafe - this deserves special mention and kudos. Breakfast here on sea days was a delight and worth checking out. Many cereals, including oatmeal, along with all manner of fresh fruits. Very personal and available to all regardless of cabin class. Ports of call: Cabo San Lucas, Puerta Vallarta, Puerta Quetzal, Punt Arenas, Colon and Cartegena. Two excursions that stand out are the future canal tour out of Colon, Panama, and the chef's experience in Cartegena, Columbia. Puerta Quetzal is a made up port, sort of like Costa Maya, but probably the best organized as far as souvenirs at the end of the pier is concerned. Enrichment: There were two guest lecturers on board and both were outstanding. Victoria Baker is a retired anthropologist and shared a number of her experiences. Alex Filipenko is astronomer and gave several exciting lectures about the heavens and hosted a well-attended star-gazing evening at sea. Uncle Marty narrated the Canal transit and presented a number of lectures about the Panama Canal history and operation. Entertainment was excellent, especially Kuba. As the title states, a "gastro-intestinal" illness occurred on the ship - I don't think the term Noro-virus was actually uttered by ships personnel. About day 10 we noticed an increase in announcements about washing hands and entry to most dining venues required passage through a gauntlet of personnel squirting Purell or handing out Purell wipes, and even engine room guys were wiping down railings and elevator control panels. By day 13, the ship had gone to Red Alert and no one was allowed to handle anything (foodwise) unless it was handed to you by staff - even coffee was thus protected. My wife had her bout, beginning at 5 AM on day 13, and was released the evening before we docked. Crew: I have seen previous reviews of Infinity where folks have commented on the friendly staff. We concur. Without fail, every crew member we encountered looked us in the eye with appropriate greeting and all seemed genuinely pleased to see us - this applied from the lowest to the folks with the most gold braid. Disembarkation: As Diamond on RCI, we were Elite on Celebrity and were nicely ensconced in our departure lounge while disembarkation proceeded in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, at 9 AM, we were told the lounge was closing and discovered the rest of the passengers on board were all being shuffled off the ship. This put a huge load on the entry to the luggage area and Customs. We stood in line for nearly an hour as we inched our way to freedom. I suspect they wanted to do a deep clean of the ship and the only way to accomplish that was to get everyone off the ship quickly as possible. In summary, we had a great vacation and the Panama Canal is a magnificent marvel of engineering. Everyone should do it at least once in a lifetime. We want to go back on a Solstice class ship after the new locks become operational, just to see the difference. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I have sailed on the Eclipse so I was a little apprehensive about the Constellaion .however I was pleasantly surprised. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The ship clean and well laid out. Our outside cabin met our needs and we had no ... Read More
I have sailed on the Eclipse so I was a little apprehensive about the Constellaion .however I was pleasantly surprised. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The ship clean and well laid out. Our outside cabin met our needs and we had no complaints. The ship had previously experienced noro virus outbreaks so no self service and no ice on the martini bar. The crew were well prepared with gel etc so we experienced no problems. We has a premium non-alcoholic package and this was an excellent choice. I thoroughly recommend this package. I have previously used the premium alcoholic package but I think the non-alcoholic package met our needs better. We did have some Martinis and had fun with the flight of martinis once or twice. We also tried Ocean Liners and this was a highlight of our cruise. We also went for the champagne afternoon tea and this was the first one on a cruise I have enjoyed. Even Cunard had been a disappointment. We spent a lot of time relaxing in the Cafe Baccio, enjoying the coffee. Staff again were excellent. We paid for access to the perfumed garden but I am not sure if I would do that again. The entertainment was hit or miss. I enjoyed the acts placed around the ship but did not enjoy Perry. However, Michaels club was packed out when he played, so we were not missed. Some acts in the theatre were good, others ok. All a matter of taste. Celebrity delivered the break we needed and we will definitely cruise with hem again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Each year my wife (age 32) and I (age 37)take a cruise or two. We have been on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, Princess and I was on Windjammer when I was single. Overall, no cruise was quite like our July 2012 cruise on the Celebrity ... Read More
Each year my wife (age 32) and I (age 37)take a cruise or two. We have been on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, Princess and I was on Windjammer when I was single. Overall, no cruise was quite like our July 2012 cruise on the Celebrity Equinox. The service, food quality,staterooms and most staff exceeded our expectations. And the bottom line is we would certainly cruise on Celebrity again. As far as details Arrival- we flew to Rome via Detroit on Air Canada. We arrived about 45 minutes late. Once there we had pre-arranged transportation to the Ship including a 2 hour Rome Tour with Rome Airport Transfers. They were great. They met us with signs in the Customs Area, and had a car waiting for us. We quickly saw the outside of major sites in Rome including in the Vatican City. The driver also provided some time for us to walk around and grab a quick sandwich and soda. We then went to the Celebrity Equinox in Civitavecchia. Check-in was quick and we were on the ship inside 30 minutes from the time we arrived. The ship sailed at 5pm, so we spent the evening exploring the ship. This trip we also had Select dining. This was one of the only issues I do not think this ship was ready for. Even though we had Select dining they still encouraged reservations... This seemed a bit strange. Once in the dining room however, each and every evening there were several great entree choices and the food was served as it should be... Hot items were hot. Cold items were cold. The deck Buffet also had nice items and choices as well, not just Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. In the Buffet as well as all around the Ship staff constantly asked "What can I do for You?". We thought this was a nice "extra" touch. Entertainment- was also a highlight. The cruise director Patti was certainly "out and about". She would encourage guests to talk with her, whenever they had questions. The Ship had three production shows including the Equinox the Show. This is not to be missed by any guest. There were also interactive nights including a Party in the Sky which included entertainment from the professionals, swing dance instruction and lots of dancing throughout the evening. This is something we had never seen on other ships. Our stateroom- was an inside cabin and was fairly large compared to Royal or NCL. Our cabin steward as also very attentive. We had laundry done one day, and it was done, delivered to our cabin and folded very well. Ports: Santorini- We did not have a tour and this was a tender day. It took over 2.5 hours to get off the ship due to local tender operations. We would recommend future guests look into tours. Not much to see late in the day if it takes this long to get off the ship, but it is a very pretty island. We did take the Donkeys to the top of the mountain from the tender dock, which was quite exciting. Istanbul- Did the Full Day Istanbul Tour from Ship... It was great. Very organized and a great way to see the city, historical sites and learn about this diverse city... Someday we would like to return to Istanbul for a longer visit. Kusadasi (Ephesus)- Did the Tour with Lunch from Ship... It was also great. Very organized and a great way to see Ephesus and the Kusadasi area. Athens- Did the Tour with Lunch from ship... Of course went to the Acropolis, and the Old City. We felt however that Athens was a quite under maintained city. Tourist areas seemed safe but other areas we explored on our own seemed a bit run down Mykonos- Went with another couple to the beach via the local bus system. This was quite an opportunity to see the island and tour as a local. The beach was not like in the Caribbean, but still very nice and the water very blue. Naples- Went to the Archive Museum and had Pizza with Ship Tour.. The museum was good as it provided a good final summary of the other places we visited. We would highly recommend this for guests doing this route. Disembarkation- was very simple at the port in Civitavecchia. We simply placed our bags outside our cabin the night before with a numbered tag and our bags were inside a tent at the port when we got off. Celebrity did not rush us off the ship like other lines do. Nor did they announce things all morning. We got off around 8am, our driver that met us at the beginning met us at the pier, and took us back to the Rome Airport. We left Rome about 1.5 hours late so our journey home took a bit longer than expected. Overall, a great trip and Celebrity for sure exceeded our expectations and we certainly plan to sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My husband and I (mid 40s) wanted to try a Celebrity cruise. We booked a quick trip that had us at sea on Christmas day (this was a first for us). We thought it would be a nice treat to "get away from the hustle and bustle of the ... Read More
My husband and I (mid 40s) wanted to try a Celebrity cruise. We booked a quick trip that had us at sea on Christmas day (this was a first for us). We thought it would be a nice treat to "get away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays here. We have cruised many times, but this was our first on Celebrity. We read up ALOT on this ship and really appreciated all of the great reviews and "live from" reports that everyone had posted on cruise critic. Because of all of these, we were aware that this was an older ship. We found her to be LOVELY ! The decor was very nicely done - not super glitzy, very tasteful . embarkation: pulled right up to unload, very nice porter was right there to help. My husband went to park across the street in the garage and was back in five minutes. Once inside, they had check in lines divided into categories. We were directed into the concierge line as that was our room type. Our line was not particularly long, but seemed to take forever. I did notice that the line next to us had no one in it. It was for select and elite members. Because of our cruises on RCCL we were also select on Celebrity. however, I did not know to mention that to the person who was directing traffic-live and learn. Once we got our key card, things were zippy fast and we were on the ship in just minutes. We were very impressed with the service and staff on board. They seemed to go out of their way to make sure you had everything needed. Everyone was always so pleasant and smiling. There were lots of little "touches" that made this cruise seem so special- like the welcome aboard champaign, the ice cold wash clothes when returning to the ship after your day in port, etc. Room: we had a balcony room as this is always my preference. The balcony was probably one of the smallest we have had, but definitely suited our needs. The room was clean and comfortable . Our suitcases did not fit under the bed this time ( just a hair too big) and that surprised me until I remembered this was a new set that we had not used on a cruise before. We were able to store them in the closet no problem, but that meant I lost precious shoe space!!! :) I will remember to use the other luggage on my next cruise. The bathroom was small, but just what we expected. Our room attendant was Oscar and he was excellent! Activities: we had pre booked a couples massage for Christmas day and it was really nice. They were however about 25 minutes late taking us back which seemed a little unusual. There was some obvious tension between some staff members that we noticed while we sat next to the reception desk. This was the only time we used the spa area. We did participate in some of the computer classes that were offered. We took photoshop I II & III while on board. The staff member that did the class ( I believe his name was Sandy) was very patient and thorough. We also attended the cooking demo, the Christmas eve event, and a few other things. They had a nice variety of things offered (we just didn't have enough time to do them all) Pools: we never really used them, just walked thru those areas often. The adults only are seemed really nice and relaxing, however the music at the other pool was always very loud. It seemed like everyone was always having fun. Food: we ate at the Olympic for the first two nights. I CANNOT say enough about how amazing this was. The food was out of this world and the service was even better than that! The third night we returned to the ship too late for our late seating dinner time, so we ate in the buffet. It was ok. On our last night we finally made it to our table in the MDR. We had late seating which always seems to work better for us. We ended up with a terrific family of four as table mates....really sorry it was the last night before we got to meet them, they were so much fun. The food in the MDR was very good as was the service that night. We did go to the brunch that is done on the sea day....kind of a mad house, people everywhere, no order to any lines, kind of crazy, but there was a nice selection of food and it was very good. We did use the room service every morning to have coffee and croissants delivered. Always delivered on time and always by the smiling Frances. She quickly became our "coffee angel" and we loved her! Entertainment: the few shows we saw were just alright....typical cruise show quality. But the acapella group (Metro park I believe the name was) were fantastic. We saw them multiple times around the ship. The comedian was very funny too. Excursions: in Key West we chose to just walk around on our own- no planned excursion. You are only in port until one, so it was a very short day. In Cozumel we booked the Tulum Ruins tour. It was a very nice tour. However it consumes every bit of your time in port. All of the shops at the pier were closed by the time we returned. Also that particular day, the ferry ride over to Playa Del Carmen was EXTREMELY rough. This made for lots of sea sick passengers :( Disembarkation: on the last morning, we went to the MDR for a quick breakfast at seven. We were supposed to meet in the platinum lounge (martini bar) at 7:45. We arrived in the lounge a few minutes early. Within five minutes we were told by a staff member who was in charge of that area that it was our time to disembark. Within five minutes we were off the ship and gathering our luggage (with the porters help). I would say we were at the curb in another four minutes. This was the fastest I have ever gotten off a ship and cleared customs. Celebrity sure has this down to a science. Overall we really loved our first Celebrity cruise and look forward to trying some of the other ships they have to offer Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We drove down to the cruise. We stopped in Fort Pierce, FL the evening before. Left about 11 am and got to the port around 1 pm. Parked the car in an area parking facility that was much less than the $20 a day for parking at the port. ... Read More
We drove down to the cruise. We stopped in Fort Pierce, FL the evening before. Left about 11 am and got to the port around 1 pm. Parked the car in an area parking facility that was much less than the $20 a day for parking at the port. We entered the building and showed our passports and the cruise document. Upstairs to a long, long line. The line had at least 25 agents working but it still took about 35 minutes to reach the counter. Counter process was quick, just fill out health questionaire, show the credit card and soon we had gold seapass cards. We skipped the photographers near the gangway and proceeded down the gangway to the ship where we were greeted by several people offering drinks--both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. They also had an area for children to be signed up for their safety bands. We took the glass elevators up to deck 9 and found our cabin. The cabin was nice. I am a big person so the room (or lack thereof) wasn't too big a problem. There was no way for more than one person to get past however. Our room steward stopped by to talk with us but he didn't get to as the cruise director was on the loud speakers reminding everyone about the safety drill. We were able to meet him after the safety drill. Celebrity means business about the safety drills. Our name was checked off the master list of passengers. Another passenger was told he could not bring his drink into the Celebrity Theatre. We arrived before the drill started; those alarm bells should wake up the soundest of sleepers. The drill didn't require passengers to bring life jackets. The crew on stage demonstrated how to put them on. All and all probably the shortest drill I have attended. We dined every night but formal night in the Anytime dining room (the upper level of the Metropolitan restaurant). Had no wait for a table for two each night. The service was the best the first night from a waitress from Serbia and went down from there. Food quality was generally excellent. The last night, Christmas night, was the worst as service went. They were serving a 7 course dinner which I wondered if it didn't throw things off a bit. We did not get bread or water for several minutes after we arrived. There was also great delay in taking our order; far more than the past evenings. I saw several staff arguing with each other. Again, something I had not seen on the other nights. Lunch we ate at the Caribe restaurant. There were lots of choices for food from Asian to Caribbean to hotdogs to a salad bar. No need to go hungry on this ship. Dinner here had no variety from one night to the next and closed up early. There wasn't much offered late night either. My brother prefers to travel on Princess with its lido restaurant open just about 24 hours. One thing both of us agree on is the lack of insulation from the jogging track above. Your eating and all of a sudden a bang bang bang from above. We finally figured out it was someone jogging. Getting off and back on the ship in Key West and Cozumel was easy. Upon your return, staff had cups of drinks available as well as a ice cold towel. It was very much needed. On board, you had to empty your pockets like at the airport. I had my cell phone on me and set off the alarm when I walked through. Put the cell phone in line to be x-rayed and went back through and all was well. The entertainment was very good. The two shows in the theatre were excellent and there was a variety of music in various lounges. I wish the jazz band had played more; the only time I heard them was when I went to the show. Disembarkation was easy too. Put your designated number on the luggage and put it out before 11 pm the night before. We were to meet at 7:30 in one of the lounges and then proceed to the gangway. We were off the ship in a matter of seconds after hearing the ding of your seapass card. The longest wait was at the luggage carousel waiting to get our luggage. On to the customs folks who wished us happy holidays, took the form, and said we could proceed. By 7:55 we were back at the car for the ride home. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
There were a number of issues which could have put a damper on our recent southern Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Summit, but we still had a really good time. The ship is due in for refurbishing and did show its wear and tear and ... Read More
There were a number of issues which could have put a damper on our recent southern Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Summit, but we still had a really good time. The ship is due in for refurbishing and did show its wear and tear and datedness. We had sailed on the Solstice in January, so there was a contrast. However, we did enjoy the size of this ship. We had a concierge balcony on the 8th floor which was identical to our cabin on the Solstice in size. The buffet area suffered the most in comparison as the Summit does not have the different, separate and easily accessible stations at which you can serve yourself and not be served from an attendant behind the counter. That said, the dinners were very good in the main dining room and exceptional in The Normandie specialty restaurant. We enjoyed the entertainment very much, especially the Sirens show. The itinerary was what attracted us to this cruise, and we did enjoy going to the five ports included. We had rain every day except the one day at sea, but it really didn't hamper anything as the temperatures were warm and we did get at least some sunshine each day. We snorkeled, swam, climbed and toured all over in light to heavy rain. The staff, with the exception of our cabin steward and head waiter who were really nice and attentive, was very different than in past cruises. I heard remarks regarding this throughout the trip. I understand that waiting on a constant parade of weekly tourists cannot be enjoyable, but this was the first time in nine cruises I saw evidence of boredom and almost disdain from the staff. It didn't really bother me but it was evident. I wondered if working on an older, less modern ship was less interesting or exciting than a beautiful new and state of the art vehicle. Everyone got their job done, but it was with much less enthusiasm than I had experienced in the past. However, my husband and I really had a great time with good tablemates, good excursions, good food, and good entertainment And I would definitely sail Celebrity again as we have the past three times. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Our family of 8 had a fabulous time on the Summit over Christmas. For 7 of us it was our first time cruising. We ate in the dining room every night. Our waiter Jesus was amazing as was the wine guru Alex. Food was excellent and ... Read More
Our family of 8 had a fabulous time on the Summit over Christmas. For 7 of us it was our first time cruising. We ate in the dining room every night. Our waiter Jesus was amazing as was the wine guru Alex. Food was excellent and abundant. If you wanted to you could have ordered one of everything on the menu. The night we had lobster Jesus brought out my husband a second one without being asked. Jesus was wonderful with the kids (15,13,12 & 11) he showed them card tricks, cutlery tricks and napkin tricks. We looked forward to dinner with him every night. We had breakfast in the dining room once but preferred the selection of the buffet and the chance to eat outside off the back of the ship. Lunch was eaten at the buffet after a day at port as well. Lots of selection from salads to hot dishes. The ship was looking tired in a few areas - the cabins and bathrooms are not great but we were on on the 2nd deck so maybe the higher decks are nicer. The public areas of the ship were in fine shape. The public bathrooms are immaculate. The shows were good for the most part. The comedian was very good. The magician was good but found that it could have been 20 minutes shorter. The musical numbers some were better than others. The staff on the ship were all amazing. Friendly, helpful and very professional. We did have a sad start to our cruise with a bartender jumping overboard just a few hours out of San Juan. The ship had to stop for 9 hours and wait for the Coast Guard to clear us to continue but we arrived in Barbados on schedule. I can imagine it was difficult for the staff to put on a happy face Christmas Day but they did. The ports we visited were all lovely, lush and tropical. Some were more interesting than others. When in Barbados it was a holiday so many things were closed but we took a cab on a tour that was very informative and saw lots of the island. In Dominica we prearranged a tour with Sheppee's tours. A little disappointed that it wasn't Sheppee who I had arranged the tour with. His friend Asher took us around. It was nice we saw the falls, the hot pools, sulpher springs, rain forest but I was expecting more. St. Kitts we walked around the town for a few hours and then returned to the ship. St. Croix we went snorkeling - didn't see much but the kids did enjoy it. St. Maarten we shopped while the kids and Dad went on the America's Cup excursion. We had a great time on our first cruise. While 7 of us had nothing to compare it to my mother in law, who has been on many cruises, thought it was wonderful as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
after a long flight we arrived in Miami airport. after 30 mins we were through customs control and on our way to our Fort Lauderdale overnight hotel. we had the most amazing meal at a steakhouse with friends. the next day we were in the ... Read More
after a long flight we arrived in Miami airport. after 30 mins we were through customs control and on our way to our Fort Lauderdale overnight hotel. we had the most amazing meal at a steakhouse with friends. the next day we were in the hotel foyer at the allotted time but we did not board our bus for another 90mins due to a football team staying in the hotel. we had to wait until their buses left the hotel before our buses were allowed into the hotel forecoat. our bus driver was very funny and informative re Fort Lauderdale. check in went smoothly. it took approx 30min from arriving to boarding the ship. our cabin was not ready so we had a wee wander around the ship after we had lunch in the buffet. our suitcases arrived at our cabin about 2 hours after embarking, the quickest yet. our cabin was an inside on deck 8. the cabin was kept clean by our cabin steward and assistants. they carried out their duties quietly and efficiently. nothing was too much bother. all areas on the Constellation were kept spotless by the hard working staff who were always cheery no matter what time of day or night. the food in the MDR was as usual very good. we were on anytime dining which we enjoyed. we shared our table with our friends, and sometimes with more people. everyone we shared our table with were so very nice. we ate in Ocean liners twice. the feed and service was excellent as usual. our friends ate in Ocean liners and Tuscan grill. they enjoyed both meals enormously the entertainment was Celebrity's usual.........so so. the singers and dancers shows were very good. the comedians were just OK. Sue Dennings, the entertainment director, one woman show was excellent, as was the staff and passengers talent show. some of the staff in the show were far better than the entertainers that Celebrity had booked and paid for. we had heard mixed reviews about Perry Grant who is based in Michaels club in Constellation. we did not go to see him in Michaels club but did go to his show in the theatre. we are glad that we did, yes he is not a great singer but he is a great showman and entertainer. he kept us entertained from the start to the end of his show. entertainment in the bars were not that great. I enjoyed all of our port of calls but eventually all the islands blended into one. we took either a taxi or bus to take us on a tour of the islands who we shared with our friends. however if in Granada and wanting a taxi you can get one at the port but remember to ask for Ambrose. he was very informative and courteous taxi driver. Ambrose did not want payment for our island tour until the tour ended. we asked to be dropped off in the town instead of the dock but wish we hadn't as the town not very nice. we only spent 30mins in town. by the time we arrived in our last port, St Thomas, I was fed up looking at jewellery shops. ok, ok I know I am not a shopper. Barbados was our least favourite island. we did not take a taxi but just went into town which did not impress us too much. we took the ships tour of the rainforest in St. Lucia. what a great tour. it felt cool and very quiet in the rainforest. I also managed to have a bushwhacker cocktail in St. Marteen........loved it. we did see some light rain in our first few days and very heavy in Barbados, but the average temp was still approx 85-90 degrees with high humidity. a wee bit too hot and humid for me. the first leg of our BA flight home was delayed for about an hour. at the end of our flight we were asked to fill in a form informing us that we had been incontact with a dangerous infectious disease!! there were two people with the D&V bug ?noro virus. at least one of them had been on the Constellation. I feel that the infected people should not have been allowed on the flight as their illness put every pax at risk. poor show on both BA and the people with the illness. it showed little regard for everyone else on the flight. all in all I loved my cruise but don't think I will be rushing back to the Caribbean in the near future. the only bad bit was the flight home fiasco. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We sailed on the Constellation December 17, 2011 Southern Caribbean. Appearance: Ship was well maintained and looked great. Staff: The crew was friendly and helpful. Wait staff were professional. Everyone you passed in the hallway ... Read More
We sailed on the Constellation December 17, 2011 Southern Caribbean. Appearance: Ship was well maintained and looked great. Staff: The crew was friendly and helpful. Wait staff were professional. Everyone you passed in the hallway said hello. Officers circulated freely and engaged passengers. Overall, outstanding. Entertainment: Theater entertainment was a mixture of production numbers and guest performers. The production cast of 15 singers and dancers were wonderful and the staging excellent. The guest performers were varied in entertainment value, but for the most part were enjoyable. The bands that played in the various venues around the ship did a fine job. Notable were the a'capella group and the string trio. The cruise director, Sue Denning, did an outstanding one woman show and she was a delight throughout the trip. Food: The food was acceptable. It definitely was not up to the standard of sister line Azamara and our recollection is that it was not as good as that on the Solstice and Eclipse. Health: We heard of a few cases of gastrointestinal infections. Nothing was said about it and I didn't notice any extra cleaning of handrails etc. Overall: It was a good trip and we booked another Constellation trip for June. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first cruise with Celebrity and our first Christmas cruise. We were excited to see how it would go and we were not disappointed. We took a shuttle from our hotel and arrived to our ship by 11:15. The embarkation process was ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity and our first Christmas cruise. We were excited to see how it would go and we were not disappointed. We took a shuttle from our hotel and arrived to our ship by 11:15. The embarkation process was a cinch and, as we were early, we were assigned a waiting area for concierge passengers. By noon, we were on board ship. We were greeted with smiling faces and glasses of champagne, a very nice start to our trip. We headed off to find some lunch and then toured the ship a bit, looking at the pools, the theater, the lounges etc. By 2pm, the rooms were ready. The room was a nice size, compact and efficiently set up. My bag arrived shortly there after but my husband's did not. As the afternoon progressed and the bag did not arrive, we started to be a bit concerned. We spoke to our steward who told us the bag was in "security" and we had to go retrieve it. Off we go to the first floor to find the missing bag. It turns out the bag was pulled aside because hubby had left his pocket knife in the flap of the bag, a knife which has travelled all over the world and never been an issue before.It was deemed a dangerous weapon and confiscated. This left us with a funny feeling as there are knives all over the ship and anyone could use them to stab someone else. They are way more dangerous than a small pocket knife. Off we then went to unpack his bag and go to diner. The ship was beautifully decorated for the holidays, the food was amazing and the service exceptional. Of particular note, were the maitre d's, two lovely young ladies, who were smiling efficient and very pleasant to deal with. Princess could learn from this cruise line as their maitre d's are surly and take themselves way too seriously. We had booked select dining and never waited once. The waiters were all happy, smiling and very eager to help us. We were sat in different areas and hence had different sommeliers. Suzanna was very good, knowledgeable and extremely efficient. Not so with a male sommelier, who made numerous errors with us and others around us. We did not try the other restaurants as we felt the food in San Marco was fine. We had lunch each day at the Seaside Cafe and found lots of options to please all tastes. The sorbet, made daily is amazing. The Christmas day brunch was fabulous at there were numrous stations to suit everyone. Really aprreciated the full roomservice breakfast in the concierge class which we used several times and ate on our balcony. The T pool is great as it is adult only. Lots of chairs to be found, rarely waited. To us on this cruise, the ports were less important as we have done them many times before. We were on this trip to rest and get away. We did go for a tour on Grenada, the spice island,looking at cocoa production, nutmeg and other fruits ans spices on the island. Very informative. In other ports, we simply went to the beach. I forgot that we were caught in a downpour in Curacao,on the floating bridge. We got soaked to the bone but, it was a warm rain so who cares...Orient Beach in Saint Martin was very disappointing. Very crowded, busy with motor sports stuff, para-sailing etc. Not one we would recommend if you want to be quiet and enjoy the sun and the sea. Of course, Magens Bay beach was wonderful. Activities on the ship. The Christmas eve caroling and the show in the theater were lots of fun because they were informal and all could participate. Otherwise, the musicals were great, the dancers full of energy.The acapella group were wonderful, the Arabesque Trio not quite so,as they were often off key. Beyond the Podium talks were also a nice change. Learnt lots of info about the Caribbean. We skipped many of the other entertainers as the comedy did not appeal to us. In summary, this was our 10th cruise, Princess, NCL, Carnival and now Celebrity.We would certainly sail again with Celebrity as we would with Princess who compare quite well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Our 3rd Celebrity Cruise and 2nd time on the Solstice. Flew in the night before. Boarding was on time, rapid and painless. Excellent cabin on the hump with a very large balcony. Great, efficient service by our room steward throughout the ... Read More
Our 3rd Celebrity Cruise and 2nd time on the Solstice. Flew in the night before. Boarding was on time, rapid and painless. Excellent cabin on the hump with a very large balcony. Great, efficient service by our room steward throughout the cruise. Ate in the MDR on all nights in the late seating. Again, great service by our waiter and assistant waiter with professional and efficient service. Food quality varied with some great dishes and some just average. Many more young children on board, almost certainly because it was a holiday cruise. The cruise line never enforced the adults only rule for one of the outdoor pools so we generally stayed in the covered pool area which was quiet. Got to meet the new ship's master, Captain Gerry, during a sail away bridge tour offered during this cruise for $75.00. Captain Gerry had joined the ship this cruise, but has been Master of several other S class ships. For the bridge tour about 20 of us came on the bridge before sail away from St. Maarten, got to watch the Master brief the officers and then got to watch the Staff Captain maneuver the ship out of port. The ship's master spent 45 minutes with us answering questions about the ship and Celebrity. A great experience. The on board musical groups, including the ship's orchestra, were generally excellent. The specialty acts ranged from a great juggler, to a really terrible singer/mimic. The only comedian on board was there for one night at 12 MN. During the "liar's club" ship activity the Staff Captain revealed himself as an excellent "straight man" comedian. The ship's Master played his guitar and sang during the last night show and had a great voice. We were late getting into San Juan and arrived a dusk due to high winds. We toured on our own in San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Martin and had a great time. We took the ship sponsored Zip Line tour in St. Kitts and I highly recommend it. The Solstice has had problems with gastroenteritis/noro virus outbreaks this year. During the cruise immediately preceding ours, the ship was on "lock down" and guests could not touch utensils in the Buffet. We had no such restrictions on our cruise. Unfortunately during the last night of the cruise (Christmas Day), one of my family members developed severe GI distress. I was informed by the responding nurse practitioner that there had been an outbreak of many cases of GI distress that night, and that 3 separate medical teams were responding throughout the ship. Needless to say this made disembarkation particularly difficult. I wonder if the latest GI outbreak was due to noro virus or food poisoning. In any case this seems to be a recurring problem on the ship and needs to be dealt with. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We loved the Eclipse. The ship is beautifully designed with lots of bars (of all kind), very good food-even in the beautiful and spacious buffet and especially in Blu where the staff was terrific. Boarding-We arrived at the terminal at ... Read More
We loved the Eclipse. The ship is beautifully designed with lots of bars (of all kind), very good food-even in the beautiful and spacious buffet and especially in Blu where the staff was terrific. Boarding-We arrived at the terminal at about 12:30pm and boarded right away with very little wait. We had carry-on luggage and went right to the buffet for lunch. Our room was ready shortly thereafter. Cabin-we were in Aqua Class, cabin 1631. It was very nice but a bit smaller than we're used to and less drawer room than we've found on other ships. Nonetheless it was fine. The veranda was large enough for a small table, 2 chairs and two ottomans--all very modern furniture. The bathroom was also nice with enough storage room, but again small with no tub. (The best bathroom we've ever had was in a veranda room on the Niew Amsterdam earlier this year-it was huge with separate shower and tub). Thankfully, the cabin was very quiet and we were glad we booked a cabin below other cabins as v. a public area. We're convinced, after several noisy experiences, that a cabin between other cabins is the best choice. Restaurants-The dining room reserved for Aqua Class is Blu. It was wonderful-great, healthy food--but not bland, just well cooked and not enormous helpings. If a food was not on the menu, staff did its best to get it for you-like a certain vegetable. On the subject of staff, they were great and eager to please. Blu was open for breakfast and dinner only so we either had lunch at the buffet or on deck 12 at the healthy spa food area. The problem with the buffet was that there were so many choices, arranged in multi-stations, that we tended to overeat there. We also experienced the usual rude passengers who acted like they hadn't eaten for days!! We also ate at Qsine-one of the specialty restaurants. It's menu could best be described as ecletic tapas--very interesting and worth at least one try. The other restaurant that we paid extra to eat at was Murano. We were looking forward to it based upon positive reviews on this site. However, it turned out to be our worst meal. The service was okay, but the lobster was horrible--very small, dry tails almost like a langostino, but not billed as such. After one meal was sent back and another one just like it arrived, Tony, the maitre d' came over to ask me what the problem was. I told him the food was "horrible" and he started arguing with me in front of everyone about how I could use the word "horrible" to describe my meal. I was mortified and I told him I'd take up his attitude with the hotel manager-which I did. The manager apologized and I hope that no one else experienced what ruined the evening for us. We had room service several times-for early morning coffee. It was great-on time and hot coffee. Entertainment-We went to two shows-both were good-not spectacular, but fine. We also attended two lectures-on the history of pirates (which was very boring) and on baseball (which was okay). We also went to one afternoon movie. Bars-The Martini Bar was the most entertaining with very talented bartenders who used a very generous pour. We also had wine at the Wine Cellar. The Cellar had a unique way of purchasing a glass--you buy a card there, insert it at a wine "station" and then select the amount of wine you wish. There was a tremendous variety of wines and delightful staff to help. Gym-The ship has a large gym with newish equipment (since the ship is a little over a year old). Very nice facility with the usual very young staff not too interested in helping you unless you're buying their services. Disembarkation-It was a breeze. We left the ship at 8am and were at the Miami Airport by 8:30am. Since we had carryon we just walked off the ship when we were done with breakfast at Blu. P.S. Ports-The 3 ports were essentially the same. They were Puerto Rico (good to get off ship to cross street to go to CVS), St. Thomas-the usual tourist spot with tons of jewelry shops, and St. Maarten/St. Martin. On this last island we took a van tour with 3 other couples-got it outside the port for $25/pp. It took us around the island-both sides-and was very good with an entertaining guide and a very good price as v. the ship's tour. The most interesting thing in St. Martin (the French side) was the Sarafina Pastry Shop-pastries and coffee tasted like Paris! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE East Caribbean Cruise December 10 -- 17, 2011 By Mary & Vincent Finelli 'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house there was hustle and bustle, so this review did not get done! 'Twas ... Read More
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE East Caribbean Cruise December 10 -- 17, 2011 By Mary & Vincent Finelli 'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house there was hustle and bustle, so this review did not get done! 'Twas the week after Christmas and all through the house there was hustle and bustle, so this review did not get done. 'Twas Jan. 1, 2012 and a New Year, so with resolution we now attack the job; it will get done. The Celebrity Eclipse is a wonderful art experience. Since she is a sister ship to the Solstice, she is exact in every way except in her decorations. The art collection has been described like her name: Eclipse -- "rare and unexpected" as the book on Eclipse art says. The pieces of art have been selected to make the passengers look "stop and ponder." Featured is the art community of Miami; showcasing two artists per deck, one on port side and one on starboard. With each display there are unique points being made, for example, Miller's photos of what seems to be an eclipse are actually camera less shapes made directly onto photographic paper. Using this as a stepping off point will set passengers up for a unique and surprising art experience. Be careful what you think you are seeing may not be what you are seeing at all! EMBARKATION The Eclipse sails out of the Port of Miami, although it's about a one hour ride from Boca Raton, FL, security is much less time consuming than Ft. Lauderdale. Thus a similar amount of time is required. We arrived at 12:45pm, baggage drop off was rapid. Vincent used his walker and not his scooter. Even though 1:00pm was listed as boarding time, we were boarded immediately. We have Elite status; therefore, there was no waiting. Our stateroom 1524 Deck 11 was ready; we left our carry on luggage in the room and were off to the buffet of Roast Beef and Pop overs in the Oceanview Cafe` (deck 14 aft). THE SHIP As we remember, all the captains of the Celebrity ships we have met have been Greeks, so is this one on the Eclipse, Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis, who was born in Athens, Greece. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The Grand Foyer on Deck 3 had a wonderful gingerbread Church and winter scene. The church had three separate sections and two bell towers. The scent of gingerbread brought Mother's kitchen to mind. It was artfully adorned with lots of frosting and "snow"; the foreground had a miniature train and it was surrounded by miniature Christmas trees with many twinkling white lights. There were several mini house scenes and even a red mail box with Snoopy sleeping on top of it. The Atrium balconies on Decks 4 & 5 were festooned with green balsam garlands and clusters of gold and maroon balls. Everywhere were real red poinsettia plants and some areas were all white poinsettia plants --- just lovely. To travel on these fantastic cruise ships anytime is great, but at holiday time it's spectacular. Hotel Director Bernhard Stacher (Austria) and his staff set the tone on the Eclipse with very high standards. The sea is good to Bernhard and he gets younger looking every cruise. Even though we wrote a thorough description of her sister ship, the Solstice, here we will concisely review the Decks: Deck 2 houses the medical facility. Deck 3 has the lower level of the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room with its fantastic ceiling of crystal balls and ship evoking shapes. Here are also Guest Relations, Shore excursions and the Passport Bar. Deck 4 has Celebrity Central, Entertainment Court and the Eclipse Theater. Here are also Cellar Masters Wine Room and three Bars: the Quasar, Martini Bar, and Crush. It also houses the Fortunes Casino, the shops on the Boulevard and the upper level of the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room. Deck 5 has the upper level of the Eclipse Theater, the Art Gallery, Galleria Boutiques and the Photo Gallery. There are four lounges: Cafe al Bacio (coffee), Ensemble, Galleria Tastings, and Michael's Club. There are five restaurants: Bistro on Five (Creperie), Blu (Aqua Class reserved restaurant), Murano (specialty restaurant, French cuisine), Qsine (specialty restaurant, around the world cuisine), and the Tuscan Grille (specialty restaurant, Italian steakhouse). Deck 6 has the iLounge (Internet) and staterooms. Decks 7, 8, & 9 have all staterooms. Deck 10 has the Library with open stacks (24 hrs.) and staterooms. Deck 11 has a Relaxation Lounge and staterooms: mostly Suites, Concierge and Aqua Class staterooms. Deck 12 has passenger areas: Aqua Spa, Beauty Salon, the Persian Garden Pools, Solarium swimming Pools and Whirl Pools. Aft there are the Sky Suites and the Concierge Staterooms Deck 14 has two Bars, the Mast and the Oceanview, the Sky Conference Center and the Sky Observation Lounge. Midship is the Jogging Track and aft is the Oceanview Cafe`. Deck 15 has the Corning Hot Glass Show, the Lawn Club and Bocce field, the Fun Factory and the Video Arcade. Deck 16 is the Sun Deck. The ship is registered in Valletta, Malta. She had her Inaugural Season 2010; she weighs 122,000 tons; her length is 1,033 ft., beam is 121 ft. with a draft of 27 ft. and a cruising speed of 24 knots. Her occupancy is 2, 850 guests. CABIN Wheelchair accessible cabin #1524 (Aqua Class) is located forward on the starboard side. It has an automatic door opener with an extra wide door and a foyer with a place to park the wheelchair. When entering on the left is a huge bathroom with a large 4X4 ft. shower with fold up seat. And safety rails all around. Next is the queen size bed with flanking night stands: One drawer and a shelf and reading lamps. Then, there is a small beige love seat and a medium coffee table. When entering on the right there is a double wardrobe with ample room. Next, is a long desk/cabinet with six drawers, a personal safe, a refrigerator, a lighted mirror, a desk chair and a coffee table. The carpeting was Burberry, heavy on the maroon and our Steward was Fevon Gracias, who was always ready to help. The far wall is half window and sliding doors to the balcony which has two recliners, two stools and a table. Vincent uses the balcony frequently, he loves to relax, to contemplate and sometimes naps lulled by the ship's motion and the sound of the waves. He also enjoys star gazing and this time he was lucky to see some of the most bright shooting stars on late Tuesday evening. Later we learned that it was the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower. FOOD AND SERVICE Service under Hotel Director Bernard is excellent. We travelled Aqua Class with our own special Dining Room "Blu." This restaurant is dedicated to healthy, inventive offerings (reminiscent of chef Todd English). The portions are medium to small; just the way we like them, since we are more tasters than eaters. The Blu manager is Alex , whom we met on the Solstice. Maitre D' is Marcel (Slovakia) and Asst. Maitre is Viorel (Romania). The Sommelier is Krish (Mauritius). Our waiters were Gede (Indonesia) nad Renata (Macedonia). This friendly International group made our week at table #855. Blu is decorated exactly like the one on Solstice except the dominant color there was cobalt blue and here it is ruby red. Not as stunning as the blue, but still lovely. The breads are excellent and hot: crispy bread sticks, French bread, olive rolls, dark ryes and some sweet ones too. Practically, there are just four courses: appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts. Eating in Blu was pleasant and quiet. On the second Formal Night Bernard invited us to the Captain's table in the Moonlight Sonata and we were struck by the fact that the main Dining Room was so active and high spirited. It was fine for one night, but the next night we truly appreciated the calm and relaxing atmosphere of Blu! I guess we are starting to show our age. We dined in the Tuscan Grill ($30 cover charge) and enjoyed it. The menu is new, the Maitre d' Jorge is from Portugal and his Asst is Erkan from Turkey. There is an offering of eight or so appetizers. Mary tried the crab cake and a carpaccio of mango and octopus, and Vincent the prosciutto and an arugula salad with fried mozzarella. For entrees Vincent took the perfectly cooked filet Mignon and Mary the Veal cutlet done Milanese style with mushrooms and truffle sauce, buonissimo. Our waiters were Peter (Hungary) and Mehomet (Turkey) and the Sommelier was Maria (Serbia). Service was terrific and the entrance of walking under giant wine casks sets an expectation for a special night, and it was. ENTERTAINMENT On board activities are under the supervision of Cruise Director Mike Gibbons whose interesting background in music and performance makes him a hit! On this ship , in addition to the usual cruising activities, such a dance parties, pool games, trivia, bingo, casino gambling, etc., there is an interaction between officers and passengers which includes challenges of officers versus guests in Bocce games (Lawn Club, deck 15), Pool Volleyball (deck 12), etc.... Also there was a Star Gazing party on the Lawn Club conducted by officer Andrew. The List of Activities published in Celebrity Life is so extensive that you can be very busy throughout the cruise, so we are very fussy in selecting some interesting ones and dedicate the most of our time to relaxing and enjoying "il dolce far niente" (the sweet do nothing). We also enjoyed chatting with a few officers at the Captain's Circle Party, the Environmental Officer Andrew Mott (Worcester, Mass.), Financial Controller Fani Kechagia (Greece) and Resources Officer Mario Valentino (Canada). All of them are courteous, helpful and interesting people, easily interacting with passengers. "Celebrity Showtime" in the Eclipse Theater has been on par with our expectations, but the one show we enjoyed best was that of the singer impressionist Paul Tanner: a great voice and terrific impersonations of Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. We heard that comedian Al Ducharme was really hilarious in several performances throughout the cruise, unfortunately his shows were so late at night that we missed them all. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Miami, FL USA Depart 4:30 pm Day 2. At Sea Day 3. San Juan, Puerto Rico Arrive 3:00 pm Depart 11:00 pm Day 4. St. Thomas, USVI Arrive 8:00 am Depart 5:00 pm Day 5. St. Maarten, Antilles Arrive 8:00 am Depart 5:00 pm Day 6. At Sea Day 7. At Sea Day 8. Miami, FL USA Arrive 7:00 am DEBARKATION We had an early breakfast at Blu Restaurant and at eight o' clock we went to the Bistro to get wheelchair assistance for debarkation. It was all so very simple and expeditious that we were on our way home by nine o'clock. CONCLUSIONS This was another great cruise. There has been insinuations by some readers that our reviews are not critical enough, since they contain only a few negative points and bias for the special treatments we receive from officers and crew. And this is somewhat true: How could we write a negative criticism when we have had a great cruise, where everybody made us feel very special, where everything we desired we received? Naturally, our demands are reasonable and we know what to expect when we book a cruise on a given ship. This was our 93rd cruise and by now we know well many cruise lines and their ships. Thus, we know what to expect from most of them and we can choose our cruises accordingly to our desires and preferences. Furthermore, since in the last few years we both have had to deal with limited mobility and need a wheelchair accessible cabin, we cruise only with those lines which do best to accommodate disabled passengers. In the past we have raised issues about availability, location, comfort of accessible cabins with several cruise lines, but only some of them have heard our plea by making their new ships more wheelchair-friendly (i.e., Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian), while some others have ignore the problem (i.e., Costa, Carnival and Holland American). Actually, there is something that can be improved even in this ship: The gangway at the entry point to the ship on deck 5 is a bit too steep for Mary's wheelchair pedals thus she had to be helped to access the ship. Our next cruise is on one of our very favorite ships, the Oasis of the Seas, Jan. 21st, 2012. We sailed on the Oasis in Dec. 2010 for the inaugural cruise, thus we look forward to spend our wedding anniversary on this fabulous giga ship. We have also booked a cruise on the MSC Poesia for Feb. 18th, and this is a new cruise line we want to experience. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We're fairly experienced cruisers and enjoy luxury cruises. This was our first Celebrity cruise and our expectations were high. Celebrity did not disappoint. The Eclipse is a gorgeous ship. The interior design work on the ship, ... Read More
We're fairly experienced cruisers and enjoy luxury cruises. This was our first Celebrity cruise and our expectations were high. Celebrity did not disappoint. The Eclipse is a gorgeous ship. The interior design work on the ship, the fabrics, furnishings, linens and attention to detail on this ship was second to none that I've sailed with prior to this. The ship is well laid-out and it's easy to find everything. We had a CC stateroom and enjoyed this level of service. The upgraded linens were very beautiful and comfortable. The bed was very comfortable. The shower was very roomy and had rounded glass doors. There was ample storage space for clothes and suitcases. We ate at the MDR only once for dinner (New Year's Eve dinner only). We prefer the other dining options and thoroughly enjoyed Murano three times and the Tuscan Grille three times. I would recommend either of these choices for a great dining experience and exceptional service. The cruise director was great! There were so many great options of activities for all age levels and interests each and every day that if you couldn't find something to do, then it was your fault. We enjoyed a bocce tournament and golf putting tournament at the Lawn Club. It was great to have a real grass area at sea. We also enjoyed the fitness facilities and I took two Pilate classes that were well done. The shows were excellent. There was a Cirque du Soleil type show that was truly exceptional. The Eclipse singers and dancers were by far the best that I've seen at sea. We enjoyed every show. I didn't stay up to see the comedians but I heard that they were good. Our ports of call included San Juan, St. Martin and St. Kitts. St. Martin was truly gorgeous. We took an excursion to Orient Beach and had a great day. San Juan was okay. We took a city tour and saw a historic fort St. Kitts was fun and the people of St. Kitts were very nice. We took a catarmaran ride and a train ride to see quite a bit of this pretty island. The staff on the Eclipse were all wonderful. Our stateroom attendant, Racquel, was a true sweetheart and she brought us fresh fruit and flowers each day. Our room was always spotless. The Murano and Tuscan Grille staff were exceptional. We will book with Celebrity again. We were impressed and had a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
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