We recently completed our first cruise on Celebrity Eclipse in a Royal Suite on the South America Holiday cruise. This will be a long and detailed review for those who might be curious about how RCCL suite experience compare to Celebrity. We are a couple with an elementary school aged child and have cruised on Disney, Princess and Royal Caribbean suites in the past. We had high expectations from the Celebrity suite experience based on online reviews. Our most recent cruise prior to Eclipse was in a Star class suite on RCCL Ovation of the Seas where we had fabulous service and loved our Genie.
Our cruise journey started on the wrong foot with a very poor embarkation experience. We arrived at the Buenos Aires port around 4 pm and was greeted by port employee who checked in our luggage. Then she told us to go upstairs in the port building to the priority check in line for suite guests. However, when we went upstairs, we couldn’t see any line marked as the priority line and the employee in charge there told us we needed to go through the main line which was very long. Finally after waiting in the main line for what seemed like forever with, we bit the bullet and made an expensive international call to the Celebrity Shoreside concierge in Miami and was able to expedite our embarkation. After all this embarkation hassle, we were relieved to be finally on board but our relief was short lived. When we got to our room, we found that one of our hard shell suitcases was badly cracked during delivery. Our butler and the onboard concierge said the suitcase could be fixed on board but our suitcase came back with what appeared to be a superficial hot glue application which didn’t look sturdy. When we expressed concern that the suitcase fix was unlikely to hold together on the way back, our concierge offered to either give us $50 credit or send a new suitcase. We didn’t want to waste our port days shopping for a new suitcase so we asked for their replacement which turned out to be a fairly cheap, soft sided suitcase. On RCCL, we did not experience any of these embarkation issues.
On the service front, the Luminae and other restaurant employees were wonderful but we were deeply disappointed with our butler. Though he did a decent job keeping the cabin tidy and clean, he was very poor at other aspects of his job. He didn’t bring us evening appetizers unless we asked for them and one time when we asked for tea sandwiches to be delivered he told us “ you can also get them at Michael’s yourself”. Another time when he was late delivering our room service breakfast on a port day where we had an early tour, he said he had too many room service orders and didn’t seem apologetic. In addition, we have requested a cake to be delivered to our room via shoreside concierge on New Year’s Eve which never showed up. Overall the butler service fell very short of the Genie service we received on Royal Caribbean.
Another very disappointing aspect of our cruise was the poor communication from the captain about the Cape Horn itinerary. The main reason why we were on this cruise was to sail Straits of Magellan and Cape Horn. Though the Cape Horn navigation was nicely narrated, the Straits of Magellan cruising took place on January 1st, a day earlier than announced in the Celebrity dailies and cruise itinerary. We understand that itinerary changes can occur during a cruise but in this case there was no announcement by captain or his officers so we passed the Strait of Magellan without knowing where we were and without any narration of the historic sites we were sailing by. The navigation channel on the TV was also no help and didn’t have any updates. To add insult to injury, a similar itinerary changed happened without any communication for the Chilean Fjords portion of the cruise and we didn’t see the glaciers or the fjords as they were described in the Celebrity Dailies. On RCCL, there were digital screens everywhere that provided updates from the captain and showed the ship’s position in great detail so we always knew where we were.
Celebrity Eclipse did live up to our expectations in a few areas. We really enjoyed the quality of food across all outlets and especially the quality of baked goods were exceptional. This is one area Celebrity definitely surpassed RCCL. Our kudos to to all the chefs on board! Theatre entertainment was great and appropriate for all ages. We also thought the photographers on board did an outstanding job.
Will we sail Celebrity again ? Possibly, but it certainly won’t be at the top of our list.
The cabin was spacious and in pretty decent shape despite its age. It didn’t have as much storage for 3 of us for a 2 week cruise as we would have liked. There was a supporting beam next to the sliding door that opened up to the balcony which partially blocked our windows and limited our view. We also noticed that Celebrity Cruises don’t do towel animals like other cruiselines. It is a small detail but makes our little one happy so we missed it. Not sure if this was how it was supposed to be or if our butler simply failed to do it.
Well organized tour but it was not as scenic as we had hoped