The Eclipse Theater hosts cooking demonstrations and talks from guest lecturers during the day and then each night (at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.) sees a different production, from a Cirque du Soleil-inspired circus show to performances by aerialists, dancers, guest singers, comics and magicians.
* May require additional fees
From early morning, Celebrity Eclipse has nonstop activities, such as gym and dance classes, trivia, bingo, game shows, lectures and workshops including tips for using iPhones and iPads, arts and crafts, and learning foreign languages through the line's Rosetta Stone partnership.
Team Earth (Deck 7) is an environmental awareness experience and photography exhibition. Celebrity Tastings, an annex to the art auction's main gallery, hosts samplings of wine and other libations, such as Irish whiskies. There is also a dedicated wine-tasting venue on Deck 4 called Cellar Masters. A fee is charged for both of these tasting activities.
At the Hot Glass Show on the top deck, passengers can watch a master practicing his or her art, with a second artist providing commentary. The adjacent Lawn Club itself is used for various games, such as croquet and golf putting (weather permitting).
Celebrity Eclipse features lots of live music in the evening -- on deck, in lounges and in the main foyer -- including a classical string quartet, a jazz orchestra, solo pianists and singer/guitarists. You'll also find evening entertainment up at The Lawn Club when weather permits. A jazz concert one night under a starry sky with wine and cheese (you pay for the wine, though not the cheese) was an absolute delight.
Other entertainment at night includes blackjack at the casino, karaoke in Quasar nightclub and a DJ in Sky Lounge, with a silent disco proving the most popular event for all ages.
Eclipse offers a diverse mix of drinking destinations, from relaxed bars with spectacular views to excellent cocktail options to energetic places to dance.
Passport Bar (Deck 3): The Passport Bar is meant to be a gastrobar, but it is really just two fridges full of international craft beers from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe. Located off the atrium, near the main dining room and on the way to the theater, it's in a great spot for passing traffic and watching dance classes.
Martini Bar & Crush (Deck 4): The most popular spot on any Celebrity ship, the Martini Bar attracts fun-loving people from late afternoon until late at night. The ice-topped bar features more than 100 different varieties of vodka and a long list of flavored martinis. Order a martini flight; it comes with a free show of the fabulous bartenders' creative talents.
Cellar Masters (Deck 4): During the day, there are extra-fee wine tasting sessions, but at night the crowds seem to dry up -- perhaps because the lack of bartenders gives it a soulless feel. Instead of interacting with friendly crew, passengers access and pay for drinks via automatic wine dispensers.
Quasar (Deck 4): The ship's late-night disco is a small space with a bar, dance floor, DJ booth and limited seating. It's either dead or buzzing, with no in-between.
World Class Bar (Deck 5): Manned by bow-tied mixologists, World Class Bar is named after a bartender competition sponsored by one of the world's biggest drinks company, Diageo. Craft cocktails include Bulleit Infusion, a blend of tropical fruits infused with Bulleit Bourbon, and Ketel One Strawberry Fields, composed of vodka, Cocchi Americano (dessert wine) and grapefruit juice. Look out for the extra-fee cocktail-making masterclasses.
Ensemble Lounge (Deck 5): This busy space, on the way to the eateries, has plenty of seating around the bar so it's good for socializing before or after dinner. Live music is played here throughout the evening.
Michael's Club (Deck 5): This civilized haven away from the bustling ship is only open to suite passengers and high-ranking (Elite and above) members of Celebrity's loyalty club, the Captain's Club. The personal greeting as you arrive, the hushed tones, the dark red and brown decor -- it's all redolent of a gentlemen's club. A buffet-style breakfast is served in Michael's Club in the morning, and there is a cocktail hour most evenings.
Slush (Deck 12): Nestled in a small stand on the Pool Deck, it's more of a serving station, which only sells frozen cocktails.
Sky Observation Lounge (Deck 14): This is one of the most stunning public bars at sea, with huge windows all around, ample seating and a dance floor. It's a gorgeous space during the day for just gazing out to sea or at night for watching the stars, while a DJ plays different themes of music.
Sunset Bar (Deck 15): Just above the Oceanview Bar and exposed to the elements, the Sunset Bar is a great spot to watch the sun set. There are chairs and tables just beside it, as well as rows of chairs and small tables on both sides of the grass lawn, so you can grab a drink and park yourself there for the jazz concerts.
The main pool area on Deck 14 includes a family pool (shallow for youngsters), separated narrowly from the Sports Pool (for pool volleyball) on one side and the Wet Zone on the other. The Wet Zone is a flat area with vertical fountain jets that fire at random; it's great fun for kids to play in or for anyone wishing for a quick cool down. The main pool area also features four hot tubs.
Keep walking forward, and you'll pass into the stunning adults-only (16+) Solarium, a gorgeous spot that is flooded in light. Facilities include a small pool (complete with waterfall) and two whirlpools on each side.
The nicest recreational area is the Lawn Club, and though Celebrity is careful to avoid excess wear and tear on the living grass, the ship's own backyard does feature a bocce court and a three-hole putting course. It's also perfect for picnics or just napping on the grass.
At the forward end of the ship, on Deck 15, is a basketball court and Ping-Pong tables.
The main pool deck is surrounded by cushioned loungers, as well as the two-person poolside beds that are a signature of all Solstice-class ships. For additional sunbathing space, the sun deck at the front of Deck 16 rarely gets crowded. You can also grab a towel and relax on the Lawn Club's lawn at the other end of the ship.
The Canyon Ranch-branded spa offers a dizzying array of body treatments, facials, medi-spa and hair services, including full-body wraps, scrubs, various types of massages and facials, couples treatments, teeth whitening services, acupuncture, reflexology and cosmetic injections. A 50-minute massage starts at $109 (on a port day; $145 on a sea day). Facials start at $140 for 50 minutes.
At the hair salon and barber shop, a shampoo starts at $53, while a beard trim is $35. Note all prices are higher when the ship is at sea and do not include an obligatory 18 percent service charge.
The Persian Garden thermal suite is coed, with a sauna, steam room, tropical rain shower and heated relaxation chairs with ocean views, but oddly no spa pool. The facility is available for free to AquaClass passengers; for everyone else, passes cost $25 for one day, $50 for three days and $75 for six days.
A staffed gym sports lots of modern fitness machines. Yoga, Pilates and light aerobics classes cost $11; morning stretch classes are complimentary. A serpentine jogging track (eight laps equals a mile) is on Deck 14.
Celebrity is a family-minded line with an excellent program of kid-focused activities, as well as family-friendly dining, shore excursions and onboard sports. Programming is provided all year long but is more robust on shorter sailings during the summer and holidays.
The forward area, including the basketball court, on Deck 15 is ground zero for children aboard Eclipse. The court is sandwiched between the two dedicated kids areas: X-Club (for kids ages 12 to 17) on the port side and Fun Factory (for 3- to 11-year-olds) on the starboard side. The two kids areas are of roughly equal sizes and stocked to the rafters with age-appropriate gear, including a huge collection of Xbox consoles. The video arcade is also clustered with the kids clubs.
Eclipse also offers movies, toys and activities that are suitable for kids with autism.
The Fun Factory is open from 9 a.m. each morning -- or a half-hour before arriving in port for children with parents going on shore excursions. All parents must register their children at the start of the cruise and sign kids ages 3 to 8 out each day.
The well-staffed youth program includes organized activities for four age groups:
Babies and Toddlers (6 months to 3 years old): "Toddler Time" sessions are organized for parents who want to play with their kids; you cannot drop off your toddler and leave. Children do not need to be potty-trained to participate.
Shipmates (3- to 5-year-olds): Activities include arts and crafts, dinosaur hunts and face painting. Children must be toilet-trained and diaper-free.
Cadets (6- to 8-year-olds): The Cadet schedule features dress-up time, games and limited time on age-appropriate video games.
Ensigns (9- to 11-year-olds): This age group is engaged in scavenger hunts, pool games, bingo, basketball, game shows, Wii consoles, foosball and air hockey tables. Ensigns can sign themselves into and out of programs until 10 p.m., unless otherwise indicated on their Parental Consent Form. After 10 p.m., Ensigns need an adult to sign them out of activities.
Youth staff will also take your kids to lunch and dinner, but this service is charged at $6 per hour. (Dinner is free when at sea, or if sailing at or before 5 p.m.) Pre-registration is required. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., a "Slumber Party" is on offer for children from ages 3 to 11, which costs $6 per hour, per child.
Babysitting is available, either in the Fun Factory or in your cabin, but children must be at least 12 months of age. In-cabin babysitting is available for up to three children in the same family and includes two babysitters. Bookings must be made 24 hours in advance, and one parent or guardian must stay onboard during babysitting time. Note: This is a first-come, first-served program. The fee is $19 per hour.
If you are going to use group babysitting services on multiple days, consider getting your kids a VIP Pass. It gives your child unlimited access to all extra-fee program activities. The one-time fee varies by cruise length, and it covers all meals and slumber parties, as well as behind-the-scenes tours. Kids also receive a gift bag.
The X-Club features the newest gaming consoles and titles and a soft drink "bar" with a popcorn machine.
Teens are split into two groups. Those in the 12–14 age bracket participate in "tweens" activities, like pool Olympics, game shows and karaoke; those in the 15–17 group, which has less structured schedules, have a prom party and a "Dancing with the Stars" event. All activities are hosted and supervised by youth counselors.
Celebrity also has an interactive and immersive video project called iTake (which keeps your teen gainfully occupied for four hours). The program involves brainstorming a storyboard and then heading out to get the shots with GoPro Hero 3 high-definition, wide-angle video cameras (used to film extreme sports and other cool events). After the filming is through, they learn how to edit their videos in the iLounge.