1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Celebrity Eclipse
Just returned from the Celebrity Eclipse 14-night sailing (12/21-1/4/15) which we had previously done 2 years ago over Xmas. We had a great time on this cruise with excellent weather and a fun and diverse crowd. But overall, the standards on Celebrity have declined significantly with noticeable cutbacks. Most notably, I had previously found the food on Celebrity to be one of their strengths but I would rate the food in the MDR as a 6/10. This was a dramatic shift from what I had previously experienced on the Eclipse in 2012 when I would have rated the MDR food the best of all the Solstice class ships I had been on. In addition, the ship was PACKED with large families and groups traveling together. I was expecting this, but what struck me the most were the chair hogs. I had never been on a cruise where ALL loungers on deck 14 were taken by 7:30 A.M. On this cruise, I was traveling with my partner, our 7.5 year old son, my father, sister, and her three kids (all in their late teens/early 20’s). 2/3 cabins were 1A category (Cabins 7211 and 7214, Midship on the hump), while the third cabin was 1B (Cabin 8267). Our Steward for 7211 always seemed rushed, was not particularly warm or friendly, and made no extra effort to wow me or my son (e.g., towel animals). My nieces in 8267 said they were never even introduced to their Steward. Nevertheless, I would say that I have never had a bad Steward on Celebrity so I’m hoping that our experience in this area does not represent an overall decline. (By the way, Celebrity has stopped providing chocolates at turndown!). I will refrain from reviewing every detail about this ship that has already been covered, but wanted to highlight some of the things that struck me in good and bad ways on this journey. By the way, hats off to Chicagopaul who has done a very comprehensive review of this sailing which you should also refer to. However, contrary to Chicagopaul, I was not in Aqua class and had a completely different daily routine. I tend to wake up relatively early (7-8 A.M.), eat a small breakfast at the AquaSpa Café or Oceanview buffet, go to the gym for 90 minutes, relax in the sun until 4ish on sea days, go back to the gym for 30 mins, take a Jacuzzi, and then eat dinner around 7:30 in the MDR (Select Dining). On 6 evenings I had massages at the spa. Despite having a drink package as part of the 123 go promotion, I don't drink alcohol, coffee or soda. I don't generally go to any of the shows and I like to get back to the cabin by 10ish at night to read and go to bed while the rest of my family likes to stay out late. To some, this might sound a bit dull but it’s really what I need to do on vacation to recharge. As mentioned previously, my impression is that cost-cutting has contributed to a general decline in the Celebrity cruise experience. I noticed this in many venues. The Aqua Spa buffet offerings, for example, continue to decline The lunch options were pretty much the same on each day (chicken or salmon salad with a yogurt dressing, grain salad) and for dessert there was either bread or rice pudding and some kind of fruit. They seemed to offer a different soup each day which I never tried. The “smoothies” they make are undrinkable-absolutely vile! The morning muffins were good, but nothing lo-cal or healthy about them. Almond milk they stock has a bad taste and good luck trying to get Lactose Free milk. It was always a fiasco trying to locate a carton. The main dining room was the worst ever. In the Select Dining section, service was slow and they seemed to be understaffed. The food was often served luke-warm and had no flavor. Even the pastas, which had generally been reliably tasty on previous cruises, were HORRIBLE. The best items on the menu were the shrimp cocktail and onion soup. I also enjoyed many of the salads they offered each evening and would combine two of them in one bowl. The Caesar salad, however, lacks flavor and has watery dressing. The turkey and pork tenderloin, when served, were dry and/or too salty. Fish was consistently dry and tasteless. Deserts had no flavor and/or were poorly prepared but the apple pie and chocolate cake on the daily MDR menu never disappointed. The best overall menu offered was the Top Chef Menu which they served on the second-to-last evening. By the way, the Classic and Premium drink packages are supposed to include “freshly squeezed juices”. This is no longer available unless you are dining in Blu. This was a big disappointment for my father who had a drink package but who does not drink alcohol or coffee. It’s really a scam on Celebrity’s part to sell these drink packages with false claims. The Oceanview buffet was actually better than the MDR and some of the best pizza at sea is served at the Oceanview Buffet-thin crusted and freshly prepared. Note that the pizza served in the MDR and via room service is thick crusted and nothing special. Desserts at the buffet, while they looked pretty on display, all lacked flavor and tasted the same. While we enjoyed specialty dining on 4 different evenings (Qsine 2x, Murano and Tuscan Grille), I was struck again at how inconsistent the food was. We enjoyed Qsine the most but only one of the desserts, the chocolate brick (can’t recall the exact name) is worth ordering. The “make-your-own cupcakes” are just plain awful. The risotto at Tuscan Grill was like porridge and inedible. Some other items at Tuscan were better but I recall that the pasta was not as good as it used to be. Murano was the biggest disappointment. On past cruises, I could always count on a consistently outstanding meal but the food was just not the same. There was a noticeable decline in the goat cheese soufflé (seemed as if they had just heated it up). The salad with fried egg and pork rillettes had no taste, and the Grand Marnier and chocolate souffles were seriously undercooked. The woman who served us took forever and seemed overwhelmed and flustered. This was my first opportunity to try out Canyon Ranch Spa and I was not that impressed. If you’ve ever been to Canyon Ranch, you should rid yourself of the notion that the standards of treatment will be comparable to their locations in Mass. or Arizona. I actually had 6 different massages over the 2 week cruise and used a different therapist for each treatment. I would rate most of the massages as average (with the hot stone massages being above average), while one massage was shockingly bad (I mentioned something to one of the Spa Concierge people to ensure I never got that therapist again). The therapists seem poorly trained and love reciting stock suggestions about treatments and remedies you should try to alleviate your aches and pains. Their recitations always sounded canned and rehearsed and one therapist had the nerve to prepare me a receipt to sign for all these potions that she talked about during the massage that I showed no interest in. On a positive note, the pricing was actually very fair if you purchase a package-I paid $675 for a package of six massages (2 of which were 80 minute hot stone massages). They then add 18% gratuity to each service. Unlike on other cruises, the gym staff did hold many of those silly health lectures where their main goal is to sell you something in the end. But they seemed to be pushing orthotics a lot and “gait evaluations”. Who goes on a cruise to get orthotics?! Ridiculous. I cant believe I’m saying this but the Steiner group that Celebrity used to use for the spa and gym were better organized and provided a higher quality service. The activities director, Martin, and his assistant were excellent. But, again, Celebrity has eliminated many members of their activity staff as part of their cutbacks. The Fun Factory has a great program and once my son found some kids he liked, he was always happy to go. Despite all the negatives cited above, you might wonder what keeps bringing me back to Celebrity and why I have already booked for 2016? The reason is that out of all the cruise lines, the Celebrity brand and aesthetic is what appeals to me most. The ship design, specifically the Solstice Class ships, are far superior to the other mass market lines out there. The passengers are always a diverse bunch with a variety of ages represented unlike some lines which tend to draw an older (e.g., Holland America) or rowdier (e.g., Carnival) crowd. The rooms are spacious, well thought out, and comfortable. These are all priorities for me with food and entertainment options being less so. The Fun Factory meets our needs when traveling with kids. I have to admit that I’m tempted to try higher end lines like Crystal or Oceania but when traveling with families, they’re just not practical. Lastly, I should mention that this holiday cruise gets booked very quickly and prices rise the longer you wait. So if you’re even considering doing the longer holiday cruises in 2015 or 2016, a wait-and-see strategy is not advisable-BOOK NOW! As far as ports go, we did the following at each location: Aruba: Took a short taxi ride to Palm Beach and asked to be dropped off at the Hyatt. We rented chairs on the beach and were able to utilize the hotel facilities and Wi-Fi for no extra charge. The beach was packed but pretty. Curacao: Prior to departure, I had researched which beach I wanted to visit but left the info on the ship. I didn't feel like going back onboard so went to the info counter for suggestions. I specifically said, “I want to go to an uncrowded, quiet, beach with good snorkeling and beautiful, clear water”. She sent me to Jan Thiel beach which was a very narrow piece of sand PACKED with Dutch tourists, many restaurants and no chairs. Immediately after being dropped off by the taxi, we returned to the ship. Later on in the day, we took a walk around the main town near the port which was beautiful. All stores were closed due to it being Xmas day. St. Lucia: Definitely the highlight. We booked a private speedboat excursion with Joy Cruises for the day. We drove over to the Pitons and were then picked up and driven by car to the Sulphur Hot Springs/Mud baths followed by the waterfall. We then got back on the boat, and were taken to another part of the island for a BBQ on the beach. Afterwards, we got back on the boat and went to Sugar Beach (where the gorgeous Viceroy Hotel is located), snorkeled and relaxed. On the boat back to the ship, we ventured into different bays. The tour started at 9 A.M. and we returned to the ship at 3:30. Grenada: Also one of our favorite stops. We hired a taxi for 90 minutes that drove us through the beautiful mountainous areas to the waterfall, with stops along the way to buy some spices. We were then dropped off at the QUIET end of Grand Anse beach. Very beautiful. We took a taxi back to the ship. St. Kitts: Beautiful to look at but I knew from previous visits that I did not like the beaches so stayed on ship. Barbados: Tried Mullins Bay and Holetown beaches which are small and congested areas with rough surf. We usually go to Paynes Bay but wanted to try something different. I think I’ll stick with Paynes in future or may not even get off ship. Antigua: Took taxi to Dickensons Bay and rented a Jetski. Nice beach but crowded. St. Martin: I have a secret, uncrowded, gorgeous spot that I always go to where you will not see any cruisers. Sorry-not going to let you in on my secret or my stretch of paradise will be no more. Got dropped off on Front Street for a little shopping before walking back to ship. Hope this was helpful!

A decline in the Eclipse experience

Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by wedding96

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Just returned from the Celebrity Eclipse 14-night sailing (12/21-1/4/15) which we had previously done 2 years ago over Xmas. We had a great time on this cruise with excellent weather and a fun and diverse crowd. But overall, the standards on Celebrity have declined significantly with noticeable cutbacks. Most notably, I had previously found the food on Celebrity to be one of their strengths but I would rate the food in the MDR as a 6/10. This was a dramatic shift from what I had previously experienced on the Eclipse in 2012 when I would have rated the MDR food the best of all the Solstice class ships I had been on. In addition, the ship was PACKED with large families and groups traveling together. I was expecting this, but what struck me the most were the chair hogs. I had never been on a cruise where ALL loungers on deck 14 were taken by 7:30 A.M.
On this cruise, I was traveling with my partner, our 7.5 year old son, my father, sister, and her three kids (all in their late teens/early 20’s). 2/3 cabins were 1A category (Cabins 7211 and 7214, Midship on the hump), while the third cabin was 1B (Cabin 8267). Our Steward for 7211 always seemed rushed, was not particularly warm or friendly, and made no extra effort to wow me or my son (e.g., towel animals). My nieces in 8267 said they were never even introduced to their Steward. Nevertheless, I would say that I have never had a bad Steward on Celebrity so I’m hoping that our experience in this area does not represent an overall decline. (By the way, Celebrity has stopped providing chocolates at turndown!).
I will refrain from reviewing every detail about this ship that has already been covered, but wanted to highlight some of the things that struck me in good and bad ways on this journey. By the way, hats off to Chicagopaul who has done a very comprehensive review of this sailing which you should also refer to. However, contrary to Chicagopaul, I was not in Aqua class and had a completely different daily routine. I tend to wake up relatively early (7-8 A.M.), eat a small breakfast at the AquaSpa Café or Oceanview buffet, go to the gym for 90 minutes, relax in the sun until 4ish on sea days, go back to the gym for 30 mins, take a Jacuzzi, and then eat dinner around 7:30 in the MDR (Select Dining). On 6 evenings I had massages at the spa. Despite having a drink package as part of the 123 go promotion, I don't drink alcohol, coffee or soda. I don't generally go to any of the shows and I like to get back to the cabin by 10ish at night to read and go to bed while the rest of my family likes to stay out late. To some, this might sound a bit dull but it’s really what I need to do on vacation to recharge.
As mentioned previously, my impression is that cost-cutting has contributed to a general decline in the Celebrity cruise experience. I noticed this in many venues. The Aqua Spa buffet offerings, for example, continue to decline The lunch options were pretty much the same on each day (chicken or salmon salad with a yogurt dressing, grain salad) and for dessert there was either bread or rice pudding and some kind of fruit. They seemed to offer a different soup each day which I never tried. The “smoothies” they make are undrinkable-absolutely vile! The morning muffins were good, but nothing lo-cal or healthy about them. Almond milk they stock has a bad taste and good luck trying to get Lactose Free milk. It was always a fiasco trying to locate a carton.
The main dining room was the worst ever. In the Select Dining section, service was slow and they seemed to be understaffed. The food was often served luke-warm and had no flavor. Even the pastas, which had generally been reliably tasty on previous cruises, were HORRIBLE. The best items on the menu were the shrimp cocktail and onion soup. I also enjoyed many of the salads they offered each evening and would combine two of them in one bowl. The Caesar salad, however, lacks flavor and has watery dressing. The turkey and pork tenderloin, when served, were dry and/or too salty. Fish was consistently dry and tasteless. Deserts had no flavor and/or were poorly prepared but the apple pie and chocolate cake on the daily MDR menu never disappointed. The best overall menu offered was the Top Chef Menu which they served on the second-to-last evening.
By the way, the Classic and Premium drink packages are supposed to include “freshly squeezed juices”. This is no longer available unless you are dining in Blu. This was a big disappointment for my father who had a drink package but who does not drink alcohol or coffee. It’s really a scam on Celebrity’s part to sell these drink packages with false claims.
The Oceanview buffet was actually better than the MDR and some of the best pizza at sea is served at the Oceanview Buffet-thin crusted and freshly prepared. Note that the pizza served in the MDR and via room service is thick crusted and nothing special. Desserts at the buffet, while they looked pretty on display, all lacked flavor and tasted the same.
While we enjoyed specialty dining on 4 different evenings (Qsine 2x, Murano and Tuscan Grille), I was struck again at how inconsistent the food was. We enjoyed Qsine the most but only one of the desserts, the chocolate brick (can’t recall the exact name) is worth ordering. The “make-your-own cupcakes” are just plain awful. The risotto at Tuscan Grill was like porridge and inedible. Some other items at Tuscan were better but I recall that the pasta was not as good as it used to be. Murano was the biggest disappointment. On past cruises, I could always count on a consistently outstanding meal but the food was just not the same. There was a noticeable decline in the goat cheese soufflé (seemed as if they had just heated it up). The salad with fried egg and pork rillettes had no taste, and the Grand Marnier and chocolate souffles were seriously undercooked. The woman who served us took forever and seemed overwhelmed and flustered.
This was my first opportunity to try out Canyon Ranch Spa and I was not that impressed. If you’ve ever been to Canyon Ranch, you should rid yourself of the notion that the standards of treatment will be comparable to their locations in Mass. or Arizona. I actually had 6 different massages over the 2 week cruise and used a different therapist for each treatment. I would rate most of the massages as average (with the hot stone massages being above average), while one massage was shockingly bad (I mentioned something to one of the Spa Concierge people to ensure I never got that therapist again). The therapists seem poorly trained and love reciting stock suggestions about treatments and remedies you should try to alleviate your aches and pains. Their recitations always sounded canned and rehearsed and one therapist had the nerve to prepare me a receipt to sign for all these potions that she talked about during the massage that I showed no interest in. On a positive note, the pricing was actually very fair if you purchase a package-I paid $675 for a package of six massages (2 of which were 80 minute hot stone massages). They then add 18% gratuity to each service.
Unlike on other cruises, the gym staff did hold many of those silly health lectures where their main goal is to sell you something in the end. But they seemed to be pushing orthotics a lot and “gait evaluations”. Who goes on a cruise to get orthotics?! Ridiculous. I cant believe I’m saying this but the Steiner group that Celebrity used to use for the spa and gym were better organized and provided a higher quality service.
The activities director, Martin, and his assistant were excellent. But, again, Celebrity has eliminated many members of their activity staff as part of their cutbacks. The Fun Factory has a great program and once my son found some kids he liked, he was always happy to go.
Despite all the negatives cited above, you might wonder what keeps bringing me back to Celebrity and why I have already booked for 2016? The reason is that out of all the cruise lines, the Celebrity brand and aesthetic is what appeals to me most. The ship design, specifically the Solstice Class ships, are far superior to the other mass market lines out there. The passengers are always a diverse bunch with a variety of ages represented unlike some lines which tend to draw an older (e.g., Holland America) or rowdier (e.g., Carnival) crowd. The rooms are spacious, well thought out, and comfortable. These are all priorities for me with food and entertainment options being less so. The Fun Factory meets our needs when traveling with kids. I have to admit that I’m tempted to try higher end lines like Crystal or Oceania but when traveling with families, they’re just not practical.
Lastly, I should mention that this holiday cruise gets booked very quickly and prices rise the longer you wait. So if you’re even considering doing the longer holiday cruises in 2015 or 2016, a wait-and-see strategy is not advisable-BOOK NOW!
As far as ports go, we did the following at each location:
Aruba: Took a short taxi ride to Palm Beach and asked to be dropped off at the Hyatt. We rented chairs on the beach and were able to utilize the hotel facilities and Wi-Fi for no extra charge. The beach was packed but pretty.
Curacao: Prior to departure, I had researched which beach I wanted to visit but left the info on the ship. I didn't feel like going back onboard so went to the info counter for suggestions. I specifically said, “I want to go to an uncrowded, quiet, beach with good snorkeling and beautiful, clear water”. She sent me to Jan Thiel beach which was a very narrow piece of sand PACKED with Dutch tourists, many restaurants and no chairs. Immediately after being dropped off by the taxi, we returned to the ship. Later on in the day, we took a walk around the main town near the port which was beautiful. All stores were closed due to it being Xmas day.
St. Lucia: Definitely the highlight. We booked a private speedboat excursion with Joy Cruises for the day. We drove over to the Pitons and were then picked up and driven by car to the Sulphur Hot Springs/Mud baths followed by the waterfall. We then got back on the boat, and were taken to another part of the island for a BBQ on the beach. Afterwards, we got back on the boat and went to Sugar Beach (where the gorgeous Viceroy Hotel is located), snorkeled and relaxed. On the boat back to the ship, we ventured into different bays. The tour started at 9 A.M. and we returned to the ship at 3:30.
Grenada: Also one of our favorite stops. We hired a taxi for 90 minutes that drove us through the beautiful mountainous areas to the waterfall, with stops along the way to buy some spices. We were then dropped off at the QUIET end of Grand Anse beach. Very beautiful. We took a taxi back to the ship.
St. Kitts: Beautiful to look at but I knew from previous visits that I did not like the beaches so stayed on ship.
Barbados: Tried Mullins Bay and Holetown beaches which are small and congested areas with rough surf. We usually go to Paynes Bay but wanted to try something different. I think I’ll stick with Paynes in future or may not even get off ship.
Antigua: Took taxi to Dickensons Bay and rented a Jetski. Nice beach but crowded.
St. Martin: I have a secret, uncrowded, gorgeous spot that I always go to where you will not see any cruisers. Sorry-not going to let you in on my secret or my stretch of paradise will be no more. Got dropped off on Front Street for a little shopping before walking back to ship.
Hope this was helpful!
wedding96’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Celebrity Eclipse price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Deluxe Veranda
Cabin 1A 7211
A great cabin. No complaints.
Panorama Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins