Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by teamflames
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: South America
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
We had a week in Buenos Aires before the cruise but mostly hung out in Palermo which continues to be one of the nicer areas of the city.
Embarkation was very busy. The cruise line tried to provide set times for passengers but most just arrived at the same time and we were given numbers. No priority. Once our number was called, security and check-in was relatively easy but then immigration was ridiculous with the queuing system one of the worst I have encountered and then a bus ride necessary to get to the ship, we honestly thought they would not finish embarkation in time.
Once onboard 2 things were immediately apparent, firstly Celebrity ships still look amazing, secondly cost cutting is in place when we saw that the sparkling wine being used was the same horrible brand that NCL uses - yuck.
The ship is lovely with the huge sky high atrium, wide walk ways and stairs, the floor to ceiling glassed sky lounge, lawn, indoor and outdoor pools. We did miss the promenade walking decks of other cruise lines but it was a minor issue. The gym is huge but was still very busy.
We had a verandah cabin and I had forgotten how spacious and comfortable they are. The cabin was better than what we had on the luxury Crystal line. The storage is adequate. There is plenty of space to manuevre. The bathroom design is excellent. The balcony was very comfortable with uninterrupted views. The tv had many free movies but we did experience a lot of technical difficulties (4 out of 10 days). Our cabin attendant was nice but refills of bathroom supplies often had to be requested. Cost cutting - towel supplies were limited and often threadbare.
Dining-in the past we have always been impressed by Celebrity but we were in shock after our first 2 nights in the mdr. Food quality had slipped a lot but strangely about half way thru the cruise it improved markedly. The dining room was very busy but service was good. The state of the menus was a shambles and disintegrating and clearly had not been replaced in years. We dined at Murano and Le Petit Chef once we were offered 30% discounts, the full cost is ludicrous. Murano was very good quality however we were constantly under the requests to buy lunches or other upselling experiences and asked to give good feedback, this detracted from the evening. Le Petit Chef is a gimmick and not worth the price, I thought it would be more interactive then it is. It felt like you were part of a convention meal. The lobster and steak were decent quality. The room design is cheap. Would not bother a second time. We didn't use the bufffet a lot but it seemed to have plenty of options and is well spaced out. We loved the coffee shop and the health cafe which were great alternatives.
Bars and Drinks. This was the greatest disappointment. We had the classic package which has undergone a price increase while simultaneously being severly downgraded in options especially when it comes to after dinner drinks. On top of that bar staff lied about what was included, they also often omitted ingredients from cocktails. I tried to upgrade to the premium package but constantly found that most bars did not stock premium beers and waters. Even worse they regularly substitued using downgraded products, I watched while they regularly poured "classic" wines and spirits when premium requested, when queried they would either tell straight lies or feign error. After talking to the bar management we downgraded back to classic. Even here problems with no mineral water being available.
Entertainment- we had 4 production shows, the quality was good without being great. Guest entertainers were average with the exception on the Brazilian piano player. The special samba show poolside in Rio was a real let down with canned music and average performers, I have seen many other shows and this was average.
Activities-the activities team were very fun and put on loads of dance classes, trivias and games. The CD was a young italian guy who had loads of energy and great language skills and given the ship passengers were almost half Latinos did a good job. Between the pools, the grass lawn, table tennis, sports court etc we were never bored.
We did feel that the vibe on the ship felt different to usual, we met many South American locals who were lovely and really interesting and despite being loads of families everyone was really well behaved. Having said that with a variety of languages it does "feel" a little different.
Service-there was plenty of staff and they were definitely working hard but they lacked the friendliness we have associated with previous X cruises.
Ports- we had great weather and we enjoyed IhlaBella and Buzios a lot. Santos is average. We have done Rio many times. Overall a nice itinerary for those wanting to relax and sun themselves.
If the price were right we would do X again as we love the ship and cabins, there is a great variety of dining venues and bars, love the grass lawn. The drinks service needs to improve and we don't like that X seems to be trying to create a class system on their ships. We are more likely to pay a little more for the luxury when we can find the right deals as much prefer their onboard experience.
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