Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by tommy921
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: Canary Islands
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class
We left our home the day before (Friday) and stayed at the Holiday Inn at Fareham, that night. We were so glad we did, as we subsequently heard so many stories of traffic problems in many parts of the country on the Saturday, from other passengers. It was also made worse locally, as the Southampton Boat show was taking place.
We arrived in Southampton (City Terminal) at about 11am, and parked up in AB Parking carpark, which was about 300 metres from the terminal building. Plenty of staff on hand to direct us to a parking bay and our luggage was then collected and put into vans which were moving along behind all the cars. We didn’t see our luggage again until we were in our stateroom. As a note, you need a trolley on the return journey, as there are no vans to collect your luggage, to take back to the car. Then a short walk to the terminal building. Because we were Concierge class, we were directed to the Priority Check in desk and then straight onto the ship and drink in hand, all within 30 minutes from parking!
We had free parking as part of our package when booked last December but a few weeks before we left, because I heard nothing from Celebrity about this, I contacted them, to be told they had forgotten to book it with A B Parking! In the end, after much e-mail correspondence, they told me I had to book it myself direct with AB Parking and they gave me on board credit for the cost!
We were greeted on board with a glass of champagne and the explored the ship which was still fairly empty. We were told there was a complimentary lunch for Concierge class in the main dining room. We were seated on a table with 3 other couples. The ship’s passengers for this cruise were predominantly Brits, some Americans and Canadians. We were told by public address that the staterooms opened at 1.15pm, so after lunch we went to our room.
Because we had signed up for the Cruise critics meet and greet party, this was on the next full sea day in the Cellar Masters bar. The captain, Cruise Director Sue Denning, along with other senior staff attended. It was nice to put faces to other guests who were only known by “user names” on the forum.
Compared to our trip on the Solstice last year, we found the entertainment to be excellent. Sue Denning (who had just returned to the Eclipse) and her team were excellent and we found the entertainment to be very good all the way through the cruise. Sue is a true Brit and she may not be “everyone’s cup of tea” but her enthusiasm and professionalism shone through. She performed a one lady show one evening, singing, comedian, and all without an auto prompt. She was superb.
Musical entertainment was usually taking place at various locations all over the ship and in the late evenings, we usually ended in the Sky Lounge. We thought the house band, Blind Vinyl (lead singer Sheryl Ryan) were excellent. The Abba evening was very enjoyable. Dejan at the Sky Lounge bar was also excellent and remembered our drinks and names within a few days!
As it was out of school holidays, the guest were predominantly and mainly of 60 age, plus. We were told there were about 100 wheelchairs and motorised scooters on board, so at times the lifts were full and it was quicker to walk up and down the stairs, at peak times!
We usually ate in the main Moonlight Sonata restaurant, at the early 6pm sitting. We found all the food to be, good to excellent quality. The portions in the Main restaurant for evening meal are not large but they are adequate. We found ALL the staff to be very friendly and hard working. Our Room Steward Sergio, was excellent, as was our main restaurant waiters; Marte and Rizal. We found our Sommelier, Koray very attentive and knowledgeable about the wines. He always remembered what wines we were drinking.
We ate twice in the Tuscan Grille which is located right at the stern on Deck 5. We had a window seat on both occasions and saw a lovely sunset the first time and then leaving Lisbon on the second occasion. The food was plentiful and as many course as you wanted. We manged to obtain the special offer (2 for 1, and $30 per head), so didn’t pay the full $45 charge pp.
We usually had breakfast in the main restaurant rather than going up to the Oceanview Cafe. There was usually quite a queue before being seated. We found the quality of food was better there, and it was nice to be served. The Oceanview Café at lunchtime was very busy and usually there were few tables available inside. We either went to the outside area at the back, by the bar, or up to the next deck and got a blanket and sat on the lawn.
We did think there could have been some more chairs/seating in the bars, particularly the Passport Bar on Deck 3. Between the evening meal sittings (around 7.45pm to 8.30pm) it was very crowded in those bars and also on Deck 4. Perhaps reducing the size of the chairs may help and would allow more to be fitted in?
We booked all our shore excursions via Celebrity and the trips were well organised. We usually had to meet in the theatre for priority disembarkation. Only once direct from the dock and we were quickly shown to the waiting coach.
The ship is generally well maintained (a few peeling paint patches in awkward places) and constant maintenance is being undertaken. It is also constantly being cleaned, along with all the rest rooms. We never found any dirt. A credit to all the hard working staff.
We often found it difficult to find a sun longer by the pool on Deck 12 and also on Deck14. Although it was a bit easier mid-afternoon. A lot seemed to be reserved but no one sitting in them for hours!
After much thought, we opted for the Premium drinks package. It wasn’t cheap for the 13 nights! If you are a medium drinker, I would certainly recommend either the Classic or Premium drinks package. Firstly, you don’t have the aggravation of signing for the drinks every time and then checking the tv for the bill. As we had the Premium package we usually started off with freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast, decent coffee, and then pick up water bottles for the morning. All in all I think we got our money’s worth but yes, it is expensive!
However, as we both had the Full Premium drinks package, we were charged $9 each for a beer on two separate occasions from the Oceanview bar. This meant going to Customer Relations to have the charges removed! Not sure how the system shouldn't allow us to be charged, if we had the full Premium drinks package? Celebrity really ought to make sure this doesn’t happen!
Another slight moan was the cheese and wine event and band event on the lawn (Deck 15) when leaving Lisbon. The event was nicely set out, with rugs, little table and little seats. Although the plastic ground “seats”, especially for men were ridiculous! It was quite comical watching men trying to sit in them and get your back upright! Initially, there were initially only two waiters taking drinks orders which for the number of guests there, was ridiculous. People started to queue at the drinks/cheese table which slowed it down even more. You could see senior Officers were on their phones trying to get extra waiting staff up there. But they should have foreseen this and got more staff there at the outset and not leave it until 30 minutes into the event!
On returning home and a few weeks later I checked my credit card statement and found that I had been charged an extra $11 more than I was not anticipating. Firstly an e-mail to Celebrity (was told a 28 day in responding!), so then made a phone call to Customer Services. I was told it was for an “amenity” charge. When I asked what exactly this was for, I was told that something must have been removed from the room. I said no it hadn’t and they said it must have been an error and it was probably for another suite and I would be credited to my account! As a warning, check your on board account on the tv very closely before disembarking. The paper account you get the day before disembarkation, varies to what you are actually charged. I could have been charged a $29 extra if not (2 drinks and an “amenity” charge)!
Apart from our stateroom location, and the few another slight niggles (it is for this reason that I have only marked for 4 stars); overall this cruise was excellent, A lovely ship, very friendly staff, very good entertainment and excursions. We took advantage of the on board offers and have booked with Celebrity again in 2018 to from Sydney to Auckland. And it was virtually sold out 17 months in advance! Solstice here we come!
250,000+ people have entered their email
Because we were on Deck 11, the overhang from the Oceanview Café did prevent some direct sunlight, to the balcony, depending on the time of day. However this didn’t bother us too much as we were not in the room that often. However, the big gripe with this room was at night. It is two decks below the Ocean view Kitchen. We had noise on and off during most nights from the kitchen, with utensils being banged around (metal on metal) and what appeared to be chopping and slicing of vegetables on the metal surfaces. There was also noise from the dragging of chairs on the hard surfaces, although we couldn't work out if this came from the bar area at the back of the Cafe, or from individual balconies above. The eating areas of the Cafe were carpeted, so it couldn't have been from there. The metal on metal, did echo down through the ship. We could also hear the cleaning of the hard surface floors during the night! We made comment twice to our room steward about about the noise and also near to the end of the cruise and to the Concierge. We paid extra for Concierge class, to "be located in the most desirable part of the ship" yet the noise from the kitchen did partly spoil it for us.
We understood from other guests, that some in the suites above, on Deck 12 had complained as well about the noise. Celebrity really need to address these issues with better sound insulation as it must affect a number of staterooms in this vicinity and probably on the decks below Deck 11, as well!
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Arrabida WinerySecond day - a coach tour crossing both bridges and to the mountain area to the south, in the ArrÃ¡bida Mountains overlooking the Atlantic. A good tour guide and a stop off for wine tasting and also visited a small hand made tile factory.View All 4 Arrabida Winery Reviews
Maritime MuseumFirst day - City tour and Maritime museum. A coach tour, with a good guide and useful to have receiver and headphones, and the guide had a microphone so we could hear her in the Maritime museum. Traffic a nightmare at the moment in City centre, due to all the road works! But nevertheless saw much of the city and a stop for one hour to explore on our own.View All 5 Maritime Museum Reviews
Jeep TourA tour for 4 of us, plus driver in a 4x4 Land Rover and off road part of the time (3 didn't show up so more personalised). Guide was friendly and knowledgeable. Some great views in the mountains. Some off road sections were bumpy but safe!View All 6 Jeep Tour Reviews
Fire Lake and Ribera GrandeGood tour by coach. Just managed to see Fire Lake before the cloud descended, which apparently regularly happens mid afternoon. Also visit to a pineapple plantation which was interesting.View All 17 Fire Lake and Ribera Grande Reviews
4x4 AdventureA 4x4 Moonscape Adventure. There were 7 of us plus driver in a Land Rover. We were also in a convoy of 3 other 4x4's and the lead driver was also the guide at the many stops. Stayed on the road at all times, no off road. Amazing views of the landscape.View All 4 4x4 Adventure Reviews