Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by onyourmark
- Sail Date: November 2016
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
This was our third sailing on a Solstice class. The Eclipse still has fuller spaces in the Sky Lounge and the Lawn club, while the Reflection reduced them to construct luxury suites and private cabanas. Given a choice we will opt for the Eclipse in the future.
We stayed one night pre-cruise at the Pullman Miami Airport. They provide a free shuttle from the airport, and we shared a taxi to the port the next morning. Embarkation was at a standstill and poorly organized. Later we were told that due to Thanksgiving weekend fewer Immigration Officers were available to process passengers on the six returning cruiseships, resulting in late clearance for the new passengers.
The ship is nicely maintained, constantly cleaned and generally did not feel overcrowded. It is logically designed for easily finding your way around without getting lost. We enjoyed plenty of sun throughout the voyage. There were only a handful of kids and teenagers on board. Every day new Holiday Season decorations popped up all over in preparation for the next sailing. Captain Leo, his officers and the Captain Club hostess were visible interacting with guests regularly. The staff was always friendly, talkative and eager to ensure we are enjoying the cruise experience.
Cabin: Our mid-ship balcony on deck 7 (#7282) did not disappoint. Easy access to everywhere, very quiet and private. Bambang our reliable cabin steward brought additional hangers for the closet and wine glasses. The inconvenient storage space above the bed is a blemish on an otherwise great cabin layout. The balcony is roomy with two loungers and a small table. It was fully covered but no overhang, offering almost total privacy. Excellent large screen TV with some free movies, re-runs of ship’s activities and lectures, restaurant menus, guest account and more.
Meals: Generally met our high expectations. We had Select Dining and shared with 4 to 10 people except for one late dinner. Last few nights were returned to waiter Nur and his assistant who were very good. After many years of set seating late dinner we are very comfortable with Select Dining now having a full table every time. All dishes were nicely prepared and presented, portions for main courses were bountiful. The Oceanview Café was rarely overcrowded for lunch. There were plenty of seats available even in the outdoor area in the aft. The food stations are spread out and lines moved quickly at the pasta, stirfry and egg stations (at breakfast). At times there were long lines for free ice cream, with a good variety of flavors, soft-serve, and toppings too! We had a group of 8 dine in Qzine when a discount was offered. It was a memorable evening enjoyed by everyone.
Our breakfasts were at the Tuscan Grill, which offers light fare for Elite level members and above. While the specialty coffees and juices were welcome, more variety is needed such as cottage cheese, English muffins. Nonetheless, having breakfast in comfortable seats by the large aft windows was pleasantly relaxing (until ship maintenance crew starting drilling and hammering on the deck below).
Entertainment and activities: Generally good but nothing special. The headline soloists were average save for the talented violinist Doug Cameron, and the big production shows were disappointing to some. We enjoyed the enrichment lectures, Hot Glass show, Silent Disco, movies and some trivia. Captain Leo presentation on ship navigation was very informative and Cruise Director Eddy also gave a few “10 things you didn’t know about…” talks.
Ports: We’ve been to all the 7 ports before, but looked forward to returning to Curacao and the overnight stay there. We toured the old synagogue, walked to the floating market, Maritime museum, Netto Bar for a beer. In the evening we went to the Thursday Punda Loves You event in town, but the free walk offered at 6:30 never happened. Stores remained open late and a couple of street parades entertained the crowd. It was very hot and humid.
The next day we walked to the Kura Holanda museum for a nice tour and viewed the Sonesta Village and Spa hotel grounds next door. Then before returning to the ship we went up on the Fort wall to the beach area part of the Renaissance hotel.
In Barbados we shared a taxi to Carlise Beach, paid for 2 chairs, umbrella (Beck logo) and wifi $15. Took a stroll up the beach to the Boatyard complex, but it was crowded and noisy there.
In St. Lucia we just walked around the pier area – grounds are nice with lots of shops. We wanted to walk to Vigie Beach, but ended up sharing a taxi to Pigeon Island. Admission to the park was $7 and a booklet/map an additional $5, so we opted for the free beach, paid $10 for 2 chairs and umbrella for 3 hours. It was next to the Sandals resort. Ride back to the ship has 45 minutes, but Henry (firstname.lastname@example.org), our taxi driver became a great tour guide. He was proud of his 23 year old daughter studying medicine in Taiwan on full scholarship. Sailaway was particularly beautiful on the Sunset deck this afternoon.
In Antigua we had pre-booked the AntiguaPaddles kayak/snorkel/hike adventure, so we got off early and enjoyed a 5 hour well-organized excursion.
In St. Kitts we walked around the pier complex and found wifi at the KFC, cheap beers and locally made souvenirs.
In St. Martin there were many ships in port, including Allure Of the Seas. We watched the Woody Allen film Café Society, had lunch and then walked to the beach (25 minutes). Past the water taxi station we got 2 chairs and umbrella for $10. On the walk back we stopped at the cheese store for samples. Last time we were here it was very hot (95F) but this visit was much more pleasant at about 82F with some breeze.
It was cloudy and raining upon arrival in Miami. Disembarkation was well organized. We stayed in our room until 7:30am, then proceeded to the Tuscan Grill until our number was called. We shared a taxi to the Urbano Hotel in downtown Miami Brickell area where we stayed for 2 nights. Due our early arrival our room was not ready. We stowed our luggage and hopped on the free trolley to the Viscaya Museum and Gardens for a few hours. Over the next two days we toured other areas of downtown Miami and Coral Gables using the complimentary trolley routes and Metromover lines.
Overall it was an enjoyable vacation, and Celebrity remains our preferred choice. We can overlook a few minor shortcomings and are ready to cruise again soon. After all, there’s a thick blanket of snow on the ground here, and it’s not melting anytime soon.
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