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Celebrity Eclipse
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Celebrity Eclipse
Reviewed by Chris Dikmen and Rickee Richardson
A cruise review of Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Eclipse in Western Caribbean
 
 
 
Celebrity Cruises Review  
Living The Celebrity Life  

 
by Chris Dikmen and Rickee Richardson
January 2011
 
How I Rate This Review Rate Now!
 
 
   
ost cruise lines tend to really excel in one or perhaps two areas. There are cruise lines that are known for exceptional dining, others seem to really emphasize great shows and entertainment, and then there are those that focus simply on fun. Perhaps the strategy is to really "wow" the guests in a specific area while doing an acceptable job in all other areas. After all, is it really smart to try to be a 'jack of all trades, master of none'? Celebrity Cruises is taking a different tact. Apparently, they are trying to master all areas of the cruise experience. If our experience aboard Celebrity Eclipse is any indicator, they appear to be succeeding.

Itinerary: Miami, Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, At Sea, Miami

Eclipse is the third in a series of Solstice-class vessels to be launched. A fourth, Silhouette, is out in Summer 2011. Satisfying the needs of 2,850 guests is no easy task, even for a crew of one staff member for nearly every two guests. The smiles on the faces of the guests, however, would seem to indicate that Celebrity is succeeding at doing just that.




EMBARKATION

Having driven to Miami from Orlando the day before, we used Hertz's shuttle to take us to the Port of Miami. If you plan to go into Miami a day or two before your cruise, you may want to read about our stay at The Palms Miami Beach. Miami is a great place to spend a couple of days before a cruise and everyone should experience South Beach at least once. If you plan to rent a car, we can recommend Hertz since they provide a complimentary shuttle from their downtown location to the Port of Miami.

We arrived at the Port of Miami around 12:45 and people were already boarding. The terminal was full of people checking in. However, the lines moved pretty fast and the whole process only took about 15 minutes. Once we had our picture made for the Sea Pass card, we skipped the Welcome Aboard photo and proceeded onto the ship where we were greeted with a glass of champagne and lots of welcoming crew smiles.


Please post your comments at the bottom of this review!


THE SHIP

Celebrity Eclipse is a big ship by any standard at 122,000 tons. Her all-white hull and overall shape could best be described as modern. Even before you step on board, the ship evokes a contemporary attitude. That theme predictably continues once you enter the vessel and are greeted with contemporary artwork and furnishings. The overall feeling of the interior is cool, not as in "dude", but as in the color palette. Colors are light, even stark white, used throughout. There are warm and more inviting areas on the ship, especially in some of the lounges on decks 4 and 5. The Cellar Masters is a dark, warm and cozy spot as is the Eclipse Lounge and Café al Bacio. The Sky Lounge on Deck 14 forward, however, looks like the decorator was given an unlimited budget at IKEA. The 70s-era use of chrome and white almost feels like a hospital waiting room, and someone decided to throw in a couple of white faux fireplaces for effect. It is strange, almost to the point of unsettling. The use of white and chrome continues in the Moonlight Sonata dining room, the ship's main dining venue. However, it seems to work better there than in the Sky Lounge.

The ship is easy enough to navigate. There are two elevator/stair lobby areas instead of the three you normally find on a ship this large. The eight aft elevators and four forward elevators are large and fast and the stairways are wide and well designed. Different colors of carpeting on the stairs distinguish them from the deck carpeting to prevent accidents.


Other than the Sky Lounge, we found the rest of the ship to be contemporary, but quite pleasant. And, I am sure some will even like the ultra-contemporary feel of Sky Lounge; it was not our cup of tea.


ACCOMMODATIONS

Our stateroom #8160 is a Deluxe Oceanview Veranda stateroom and is located forward on Deck 8. We have one of the oddball shaped balconies due to the stateroom location where the exterior of the ship angles in. The result? Our balcony is larger than a typical DOV stateroom, yet the stateroom is the same size.

The size of the stateroom is 194 sq. ft. with a 54 sq. ft. balcony. Eclipse designers have decided to sacrifice some interior space for doors that open out into the hallway rather than opening into the stateroom. That design decision probably takes away about 6 to 8 sq. ft. of potential space inside the stateroom. In a departure from a typical layout, in our stateroom, because of its location,the sofa and coffee table are located next to the bathroom instead of next to the balcony door. I am not sure if I prefer this particular layout or not. I suppose the only real negative is that when someone is sitting at the desk it makes for difficult traffic to and from the bathroom. But, it is was not a big deal.


Please post your comments at the bottom of this review!


The full-length closet with sliding doors is large enough to hold plenty of clothes for a 14-night cruise (or longer). However, we both ended up mashing our fingers in the sliding doors and we have met at least one other passenger with a bruised thumb. Other storage includes a small dresser under the television with five small, curved drawers. The drawers are not well dampened and can be slammed shut causing noise in adjoining staterooms. For some reason, there is no storage underneath the large leather sofa, but there are two large shelves above the bed behind hinged doors where you can put some items if you run out of space. There is plenty of space underneath the beds to stow your large luggage.


A small marble-top desk is big enough for a laptop and there are only three electrical outlets (two 110 US-style plugs and one European-style 220 outlet). The desk is attached to the entertainment/dresser/mini-bar. There is a programmable safe located above the mini-bar/refrigerator. We were able to store some of our own items in the fridge.


Stateroom Features
  • Two lower beds convertible to queen (except as noted)
  • Complimentary 24-hour room service
  • Dual voltage 110/220 AC
  • Four pillows in every stateroom
  • Complimentary use of bathrobes
  • 100% Egyptian cotton towels
  • Bathroom accessories & hair dryer
  • Complimentary beach towel service
  • Plentiful storage space in your bathroom & wardrobe
  • Laundry service*
  • Luggage delivery
  • Interactive television system to view & select shore excursions, order room service & watch movies*
  • Individual safe
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Thermostat-controlled air-conditioning
  • Mini-bar*
* Additional charges apply
The queen-sized bed is curved at the end to make walking around the end of the bed easier; however, anyone over 6' tall may find at least one foot hanging off the end of the bed. Otherwise, the mattress is very comfortable and there is a large European-style duvet and four comfortable pillows. Two very small nightstands flank the bed and have shelves instead of drawers. There is a reading light on each side of the bed, but no rheostat to control the light levels. A switch allows for all lights in the stateroom to be controlled from the bed.

The leather sofa is large and comfortable and other than the desk chair, is the only seating in the stateroom. A small coffee table sits in front of the sofa. There is a full length mirror attached to the wall next to the bathroom. That is good. However, there is no makeup mirror. That is bad.

We liked the bathroom overall. Instead of a bathtub/shower combo, Eclipse designers opted for a semi-circular shower stall. The shower is nice-sized; however, there is no adjustable/removable shower wand like you find on most ships. Eclipse designers chose form over function when choosing the vessel sink. These look beautiful, but if you try to wash your face using the sink, plan on water getting splashed everywhere. The faucet extends so far into the sink that you only have about four inches of space to work with. There is a good amount of storage in the bathroom with a tall, thin cabinet of shelves, the top section of which is covered by a hinged glass door (a wooden door on the bottom). The glass door can slam shut abruptly making you wonder if the glass will break. There are two tiny drawers that can be used for lipsticks or small tubes or creams. There is also a large open shelf under the sink. Complimentary cotton balls and swabs are also provided. A nightlight is automatically turned on when the main bathroom light is turned off. This is great if you get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night because you don't have to get blinded by the harsh, bright main bathroom light. Nice touch!

The 32" flat screen television is very nice and articulates so that it can be easily seen from the bed or the couch. Programming includes CNN, Fox News, HLN, ESPN, SkyNews, TNT, E, BBC World News,TruTV, Cartoon Network, CBS Eye on Celebrity, SeaTV, GoTV, CNBC, MSNBC, and a selection of closed-circuit stations. The interactive television system designed by Apple is intuitive and allows you to check your onboard account balance, order room service, book shore excursions, and perform a variety of other tasks including accessing the Internet. This is the nicest interactive TV system we have seen.

Please post your comments at the bottom of this review!


Even though our balcony is larger than most in this category, even the standard balconies are 54 sq. ft. which is comfortable. Each balcony includes two chairs and a very large (for a balcony) table that is excellent for enjoying breakfast al fresco.


Overall, we found the stateroom to be quite comfortable. It seems to be well insulated from noisy neighbors; however, the hallway doors can still slam shut with enough force to shake the walls. The excellent bedding, good insulation, decent storage and nice bathroom earn the Deluxe Oceanview w/Veranda a 4-out-of-5 on our rating scale. We would certainly not hesitate to book one of these again.


As of October 1, 2008, Celebrity Cruises smoking policy does not permit smoking in staterooms, corridors or on stateroom balconies. This new policy, created after Celebrity surveyed previous guests, is supposed to result in a cleaner, fresher and healthier environment on Celebrity ships. This policy also reduces the number of indoor public areas in which guests can smoke on board. While we think this is a great policy, it did not prevent the people in the stateroom next to ours from smoking on their balcony. I'm not sure how Celebrity could enforce this policy as it pertains to balconies unless people report those who are smoking. We did not report the smoking neighbors but probably should have. Those neighbors prevented us from enjoying our balcony because of their insistence on smoking.


DINING

There is no denying the connection between food and cruising. When people travel, they like to eat. When people cruise, they LOVE to eat. For as long as I can remember, Celebrity Cruises had a reputation as a cruise line for "foodies". A lot has changed in the cruise industry since we last sailed with Celebrity way back in 2002, so we were interested to see if this reputation has remained in tact. As far as I can tell, the 166 cooks aboard Celebrity Eclipse are determined to see to it that it is!

Celebrity Eclipse offers guests a wide variety of choice when it comes to dining options. On a seven-night cruise, you can literally dine in a different venue each evening, if you choose.


Note: T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurants at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the evening hours. Additionally, guests are asked to follow the evening dress code in the Eclipse Theater for all evening performances. Guests are expected to adhere to this policy at all times.

Oceanview Café

In line with a globally influenced blend of classic and contemporary cuisines, Chef Jacques Van Staden presents the Oceanview Café, with favorite flavors from around the world. This Lido buffet is actually located one deck above the pool deck on Deck 14 aft. Eclipse designers have done an excellent job of managing traffic by splitting serving areas into free-standing stations as opposed to the single serving line most ships have. There are stations for salads, another for hot entrees, one for sandwiches, and yet another for bread, a station for pizza and pasta, you get the idea. The advantage to this layout is that someone who simply wants a bowl of pasta for lunch does not have to stand in a long line waiting for others to get soup, then salad, then an entree, etc. The disadvantage is there can be a lot of chaotic traffic during peak periods with people trying to get to their desired stations. Nevertheless, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

There are stations dedicated to Asian, Indian and Mexican specialties. The "Hot Station" features entrees that change every day as well as a carving area. There is a fresh, made-to-order Sushi station. There are two Dessert Stations with a nightly rotating selection of desserts, one of which is sugar-free. The Ice Cream station is scooping up some of the best ice cream you will find anywhere in a wide variety of flavors. In fact, the ice cream here is so good I am not sure why people would pay extra for the gelato on Deck 5.


The quality of the food served in Oceanview Café can be hit or miss. Some items are very good, others, not so much. This is pretty typical of buffet fare in general. It is very difficult to deliver top-quality food in a buffet environment where a lot of food must be prepared in advance and kept warm for long periods of time. If you like buffet dining, Oceanview Café should satisfy your tastes just fine. The pasta and pizza got a thumbs up from Rickee and I found the Asian and Indian dishes to be very good as well. The sushi was excellent! A journey to the carving station one day resulted in a slice of beef that was overcooked and dry. You just have to pick your battles. The breads, fruits and salads are always good and fresh. Complimentary passion fruit/guava juice, lemonade, iced tea and apple juice are always available from beverage dispensers as is water. A soft-serve ice cream dispenser can be found at the Mast Grill, midship on Deck 14.


Breakfast in Oceanview Café is outstanding. Rather than try to list every single item offered here, suffice it to say that anything you could ever possibly want is on display. A huge honey-glazed ham is being freshly carved and there are omelet stations making fresh-to-order egg specialties. The fresh fruit station is the nicest I have seen anywhere. The coffee, unfortunately, is pretty typical cruise ship coffee. But, I have decided that I am the only one who seems to be concerned about "cruise ship" coffee. So, take anything I might say about coffee with a grain of salt.


Daily afternoon tea is served in the Oceanview Café and features finger sandwiches, pastries and cookies, scones and clotted cream and a large selection of fruit. If you are still hungry late at night, you can go to Oceanview Café and find the Chef's Late Night Selection from 10:00pm until 1:00am!


Seating in Oceanview Café is around the perimeter of the restaurant and if you walk all the way aft, there is outdoor seating at the Oceanview Bar area.


The Mast Grill

The ship's pool grill is located one deck above the pool deck on Deck 14 port side. On Celebrity's website, they claim that the grilled specialties here are made "to order". Well, not exactly. My cheeseburger patty had been grilled ahead of time and was one of many that had been pre-cooked. That said, the burger was still good and juicy, but not hot enough to melt the slice of cheese laid on top. The bun was fresh, but would have been better if it had been slightly toasted. That said, it must have been pretty good because we made two more visits to Mast Grill for repeat performances. If you time it right, you can get a burger right off the grill. It's worth the wait.

Kudos to Celebrity for offering onion rings! They were crisp and delicious. There is a huge variety of condiments and toppings for the burgers and dogs served here. They also offer corn dogs, Rickee's favorite! As previously mention, there is also a self-serve, soft-serve ice cream machine located here that gets a lot of use.


There is very limited seating at The Mast Grill and all tables are exposed to the sun. Apparently, they expect most people to take the food back to their pool lounger for consumption.


Moonlight Sonata


Moonlight Sonata is the Eclipse's main dining room located on Decks 3 and 4 aft. The restaurant is open for breakfast (menu) and dinner every day and lunch on sea days. The dining room was closed on days when the ship was in port on our cruise. The evening menu changes here every day. Celebrity offers a choice of early seating (6:00pm), late seating (8:30pm) or Celebrity Select Dining (6pm to 9:30pm).

A typical evening menu consists of four appetizer choices, two soups, three salads and five or six mains. As you might expect, you will always find a seafood dish, a vegetarian, and a beef and/or pork dish. Special dietary requirements or those with food allergies can be handled by letting the galley know in advance.


The atmosphere in the dining room is noisier than some other venues and wait staff scurry to get everyone served in under two hours. Moonlight Sonata is the busiest place on the ship with the highest concentration of guests at any one time. Considering how many guests are being served in a short amount of time, however, the execution is impressive.


Bistro on Five ($5 per person cover)

Bistro on Five is a unique little venue located on Deck 5 midship port side. The restaurant is actually a creperie that offers a selection of savory and sweet crepes as well as soups, panninis and fresh salads. Bistro on 5 is open from 11:30am until 2:00am. We found Bistro on 5 to be an excellent choice for a casual lunch with a great atmosphere. We dined here for lunch on two days during the cruise and enjoyed both visits. This would also be a great place to visit for a late-night snack. The food is made to order and was delicious. The cover charge is a bargain.

Tuscan ($30 per person cover)

Tuscan is Eclipse's Italian-themed alternate dining restaurant located aft on Deck 5. The atmosphere at Tuscan is dark and rustically romantic. The menu selections are excellent and everything we ordered was first-rate and competitive with dishes you would find in any fine Italian restaurant on land. The antipasti plate was filled with sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke, cherry tomato, grilled red and yellow peppers, mozzarella, parmesan slices, olives and delicious shaved proscuitto ham. It was incredible. My Caesar salad was prepared tableside, and while not made in the traditional "raw egg" style of days-gone-by, it was delicious nonetheless. My grilled rib-eye steak was cooked perfectly, was tender and tasty while Rickee's Spaghetti Bolognese was putting a smile on her face. The trio of Gelato (mango, strawberry and chocolate) was the perfect ending to an excellent meal.

Blu

Blu is a venue reserved for Eclipse's AquaClass guests and suite guests. This elegant restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a very serene and upscale environment for those who occupy the ship's most spacious (and expensive) accommodations. Blu's menu features fresh, flavorful dishes with healthful, indulgent fare. A selection of International and California wines accentuate your meal, all to be enjoyed in an intimately relaxing atmosphere. Unfortunately, we were unable to dine in Blu, but the menu looks very inviting and the atmosphere romantic and inviting.


Murano ($35 per person cover)

Exuding traditional elegance in both character and cuisine, Murano's undeniable warmth is as inviting as it is impressive. Indulge in a savory multi-course meal, with a blend of freshly prepared Classic and Modern continental cuisines and a superb wine collection. Fine Riedel crystal, exquisite china, and gleaming silverware accentuate your experience, making this specialty restaurant an instant classic.

Qsine ($35 per person cover)

Breaking News! Cruise ship dining is no longer boring and predictable. At least, not for those who dine at Celebrity Eclipse's Qsine. Qsine is a specialty restaurant that can only be found on Celebrity Eclipse and the soon-to-b- launched Celebrity Silhouette. The clever concept combines a variety of international cuisines served in small "bites" in a fun, high-tech setting. Rarely does a dining concept come along that 'hits it out of the park'. Qsine is that concept.

As soon as you are seated at Qsine and handed your own iPad menu, you get the sense that you are in for something special and different. Your culinary tour guide (what might otherwise be called a waiter/ess) explains that there are no "courses" per se at Qsine. Instead, you can choose a variety of small tasting dishes from all over the world. However, beware of the term "small". As you make your way through the iPad menu, you can select as many items as you like. We decided to share the M's Favorites and Spring Rolls while I would have the Indian selection as my entree. Rickee would have the Crunchy Munchies and kobe sliders. Oh, and I also ordered the Persian Chicken Kabobs, just for good measure.


Our "tour" began with M's favorites, a selection of 12 Mediterranean delights served in small bowls. I am not even going to try and list all of the items, but I can tell you that the Zathaar Lamb Chops were devoured instantly and were amazing. The Goat Cheese Cigars were made from warm phylo pastry surrounding a sliver of goat cheese. The Tzatziki was a cool dip perfect for the crispy falafel bites. After munching down all of M's faces, we realized that we had ordered way too much food. We were already getting full.

When our "tour guide" stopped by the table to deliver the spring rolls, we told him to cancel Rickee's sliders and my Indian order. There was no way we could eat all of that. The spring rolls were hot and fresh and were delicious. There were two "baby back rib" spring rolls filled with tender barbeque pork meat and two vegetarian spring rolls. Two small condiment squirt bottles accompanied the rolls: one with barbeque sauce for the pork and another with sweet chili sauce for the veggie rolls.


By the time the Crunchy Munchies and my Persian Kabob arrived, we were already crying Uncle! The Crunchy Munchies was a tower of four different deep-fried delights while the Persian Chicken Kabob was a huge sword with tender, juicy chicken breast meat served on saffron rice. The kabob was enough for two people easily.


As if we were not in enough pain, our tour guide brings us a dessert rubik's cube. You read that correctly. The dessert menu is printed on a rubik's cube puzzle that must be "solved" to see the dessert offerings. Rickee could not resist the cupcakes which arrived in a three-tiered box containing cupcakes in one box, three different icings in another, and sprinkle toppings the third. Basically, it is a "paint your own" cupcake feast.


Dining concepts are one thing. Ideas are a dime a dozen, even good ones. The secret to success is execution, and this is where Qsine really shines. The Qsine kitchen does an amazing job of bringing a huge variety of international flavors to the table. The dishes are flavorful and well seasoned and everything we tried was cooked perfectly. In nearly ten years of cruising on more than 80 ships as a journalist, I have never been able to give a ship's dining venue a rating of 5 out of 5. That is, until now. I cannot think of a single thing that Qsine could do to improve on the concept or the execution. Even the $35 per person cover charge is reasonable for a culinary adventure like this one. My only suggestion would be that they open the restaurant for lunch!


Qsine has tapped into the way people today like to eat: fun, high-tech, variety and above all, quality. No cruise on Celebrity Eclipse is complete without at least one visit to Qsine. Hint to Celebrity: start remodeling your fleet to include Qsine on your other ships.


Café al Bacio/Gelateria

Café al Bacio is Eclipse's upscale coffee venue serving a variety of freshly-made specialty coffees. Your favorite Cappucchino, Espresso, Latte or Macchiato is as close as your waitress. They also serve a variety of pastries to complement your beverage. The pastries are complimentary, however, the coffee drinks are not. A cup of Americano set me back $4 ($4.60 with gratuity)! That's pretty steep for a cup of plain black coffee, even by Starbuck's standards. The atmosphere at Cafe al Bacio is quiet and comfortable making it the perfect setting to enjoy an early morning cup of Joe, or an after-dinner Cappuccino.

Sharing the same space and facing Café al Bacio is the ship's Gelateria serving a large selection of Italian gelato. The smell of freshly-made waffle cones is one that will have you going out of your way to visit this spot. We did not try the gelato on this trip, but it looked delicious and everyone seen with one in hand was smiling.


Please post your comments at the bottom of this review!


AquaSpa Café

The AquaSpa Café serves a light and healthy cuisine for breakfast and lunch. Tranquility infuses the atmosphere lending to a fulfilling casual dining experience. They serve wonderful fruit smoothies here along with a healthy alternative breakfast and lunch buffet. Frozen yogurt is available during meal times. AquaSpa Café is open from 7:30am until 10am for breakfast and noon until 2:30pm for lunch.

Dining Summary


Overall, Celebrity has nailed the dining on Eclipse. The quality of the food available on Eclipse is as good as we have seen on any ship, even ships less than 1/2 her size. The only area that missed the mark was room service, which offered a weak menu and disappointing execution. But, we don't judge a ship's dining on room service. Our experience in Qsine and Tuscan alone earns Eclipse a rating of 5 on a scale of 5 for overall dining.

ENTERTAINMENT

Finally, a cruise line that knows how to put on a first-rate production show! Celebrity Eclipse's troupe of singers, dancers and specialty acts deliver a knockout punch. There were three production shows on our 7-night Western Caribbean cruise and each one was unique, well produced and expertly executed. It has been years since we were impressed with a cruise ship performance to the point that we left a show looking forward to the next one.

Ovations is Celebrity Eclipse's Broadway-style show with familiar show tunes performed by the cast's four singers. The arrangement of live orchestra music and pre-recorded tracks serve as a backdrop for some of the most energetic and athletic dance numbers we have seen. The ship's dancers (four boys and four girls) hit all their marks and proved that they are in peak physical condition. A brief appearance by Sound Decisions, the ship's a capella singers was a great addition, as well.


Edge was the second show in the series and delivered a somewhat more intense vibe than Ovations. In addition to great vocals and lively dance numbers, Edge showed off some of the acrobatic skills of the performers and the technological features of the Eclipse Theater.


Eclipse is the final show of the week and all we can say is WOW! This "Cirque"-style show is nothing short of amazing. No detail has been overlooked to make this the standard by which all cruise ship shows should be compared. The makeup, costumes, stage design, pounding music and professional lighting combine to transport guests into a magical world of acrobatic feats that you never would expect to see on a cruise ship.


We are not professional entertainment critics by any stretch of the imagination. But, we know what we like, we go on a LOT of cruises and we sit through a LOT of production shows. In our opinion, the Celebrity Eclipse has raised the bar for cruise ship entertainment to new heights.


The entertainment in the lounges was equally impressive. Bel Canto Strings, a female string quartet, played beautifully. Robert Symons and his steel pan filled the room with melodious sounds. Sound Decision, an A Cappella group, was one of our favorites. The Tony Viviano Quartet played jazz and Lloyd Baskin played piano. D'Revelation was the onboard party band.  Jonny Mantra played guitar and sang. Several times throughout the cruise, a movie was featured in Celebrity Central. There was even a late-night adults-only comedy show featuring comedian Ryan Hamilton.


ACTIVITIES

Celebrity Life is an "exciting and entertaining series of activities that redefine traditional onboard programming." Celebrity provides a "vast array of choices that let your passions lead the way for you to dive into fun with an expansive onboard activities program. There's something to please everyone." Celebrity Life is a new series of palate-pleasing, intellectually-enriching and life-enhancing programs designed to deliver the most unique and sophisticated onboard experience in premium cruising. Built on long-established pillars of the Celebrity brand - dining, enrichment, and wellness - Celebrity Life encompasses three distinct program categories: "Savor," "Discover," and "Renew." Activities range from expert enrichment speakers to dance lessons to cooking demonstrations and everything in between. You can learn about wine and food pairings or learn a foreign language with the help of Rosetta Stone Language Learning Program. There are exercise classes and casino tournaments. You can be entertained by steel-drum music or a string quartet or a piano player or guitar player. There are guest-participation games such as bingo and trivia and Name That Tune. There are sporting contests such as table tennis tournaments and basketball games, golf putting and baggo toss. There are so many activities from which to choose that you wish you were on a 14-night cruise instead of a 7-night cruise so you could fit more of the wonderful activities into your time on board.

Some activities are especially designed for a unique Celebrity feature:
The Lawn Club. There's absolutely nothing like it. A freshly manicured lawn on the highest deck of Celebrity Eclipse. This is The Lawn Club. Enjoy casual outdoor activities in a decidedly Country Club atmosphere, and let the grass between your toes take you places no cruise has gone before. Here you could take part in an Officers vs. Guests Bocce tournament or golf putting or croquet or a picnic on the grass. There were Family Lawn Games and free play time on the lawn. It is truly an amazing, relaxing area unlike any other on any cruise ship on which I have sailed. Cool!

Another feature unique to the Solstice-class ships is the
Corning Glass Museum. At various times throughout the cruise, the guest glass artist, Peter Aldridge, would present lectures and do a demonstration of glassblowing during live Hot Glass Shows. Some of his work is for sale in the onboard shops.

While we didn't have a chance to visit on this cruise, the
AquaSpa® by Elemis® offers a full range of massage and beauty salon services. You could also have your teeth whitened and get "facial rejuvenation" treatments in the form of BOTOX, Dysport and Restylane/Perlane injections at the MediSpa clinic. They also offer an acupuncture clinic and several acupuncture seminars were presented throughout the voyage. Extensive fitness facilities offer a series of classes and the latest fitness and weight-training equipment-with a floor-to-ceiling ocean view. New fitness equipment from LifeFitnessTM includes recumbent and upright bikes, stair climbers, treadmills and cross-trainers. Certain specialized classes as well as private instruction from certified personal trainers are available for an additional charge.

There are lots of activities for the kids, too. Kids are separated according to age with groups available for as young as 3 years old up to 17 years old with the older group having their own "club", the
X Club, for their enjoyment. Activities are scheduled all day and into the night with some activities requiring an additional fee. The Fun Factory is located on Deck 15 as is the X Club. Private stateroom babysitting is available for a fee on a first-come-first-served basis.

Shopping opportunities abound on board Eclipse both on Deck 4 and Deck 5. Marble walkways lead you to modern boutiques and fine jewelry stores, where you'll discover stunning fashions, exquisite gems, cosmetics, fragrances and more. Galleria Botiques on Deck 5 include: Jasmine (for Chanel and perfumes); The Showcase (glass items); Moda (clothing, hats, jewelry); The Mens Shop (mens clothing); The Collection (leather goods); Pieces of Time (watches); Exquisites (jewelry); Boutique C (jewelry). On Deck 4 you have: The Eclipse Shop (logo wear); Serendipity (what's hot this week); Sundialer; Glitz (jewelry); Spirits and Such (liquor and sundries). The shops on board offer a price match guarantee. Simply bring a photo of the item in question along with the price and the name and phone number of the store where you found the item at that price.


Eclipse features a large casino with slot machines, poker tables, blackjack tables and a roulette wheel.


Celebrity Today
is a wealth of information and your source for all onboard events, activities and news regarding your cruise. A complete listing of each day's events and activities is published daily in the Celebrity Today program. A handy feature of this daily program is the tear-off list of events that can be folded up and easily carried with you for quick reference.

Celebrity iLounge

Internet cafes are nothing new to cruise ships, especially ships with 500 or more guest capacity. However, an Internet Cafe powered by Apple is unique. That is exactly what you will find in the Celebrity iLounge on Celebrity Eclipse, Solstice and Summit (and soon to appear on other Celebrity ships as well). Celebrity iLounge is located on Deck 6 midship and is a combination Internet Cafe, computer classroom and Apple store. Here you will find 22 Apple MacBook Pro computers all connected to the ship's Internet service as well as a group of Apple-trained experts to assist you with your computing needs.

iLounge is more than just an Internet cafe. It is also a fully-licensed Apple store where you can purchase iPods, MacBook computers and a variety of other Apple products. And, since you are "at sea", there is no sales tax, so you may want to consider buying your next Apple product on your next Celebrity cruise.

Internet packages
  • Pay as you go 65 cents/minute
  • $29.95 - 50 minutes
  • $49.95 - 90 minutes
  • $79.95 - 150 minutes
  • $99.95 - 237 minutes
The Internet service on Celebrity Eclipse is a departure from the typical service offered by most cruise lines through MTN (Maritime Telecommunications Network). Celebrity's signup process is a little clunky and the interface could definitely use a makeover, but the service itself is one of the most reliable we have tested. The Wi-Fi signal was strong throughout the ship, even in our stateroom. As for cost, the minute-to-minute rate is lower than a typical MTN rate, only 65 cents per minute compared to 75 cents per minute. Package rates can get your per-minute cost down to as low as 42 cents per minute (237 minutes for $99). And, iLounge offers some discounts and incentives for signing up on the first day of the cruise which can result in additional savings. Captain's Club Select members can save 25% on Internet packages and Elite members can get up to 90 minutes free. All-in-all, I would rate Celebrity's Internet service at the upper end of Internet services available on large cruise ships.

Celebrity iLounge also offers a series of classroom training sessions on various Apple software products such as iPhoto, iWeb, iDVD, etc. Additional charges may apply for these classes, which is a shame. Apple should co-op the cost of these classes to further promote Apple/Mac products. The classes themselves, however, are very good and conducted by a knowledgeable Mac expert. I attended a class on iPhoto (a program with which I am quite familiar) and iWeb. Both classes were extremely informative and delivered well.

One very favorable feature of iLounge is the fact that there is almost always someone there to assist you with questions or to help you get signed up for Internet service. I found Milos, Kip and Edwin to all be very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.


Captain's Club


Cruise lines offer a variety of benefits to their repeat guests. In an effort to keep guests coming back for more of the 'Celebrity Life', Celebrity Cruises' Captain's Club loyalty program recognizes three levels of loyalty. Guests are automatically enrolled as a "Classic" member after only one cruise and begin accumulating Captain's Club "credits". Each cruise earns one credit with additional credits earned for cruises of 12 nights or more and an additional credit for those who occupy Aqua-Class suites or other high-end accommodations. Therefore, a guest can earn up to three credits per sailing. Guests with five or more credits are advanced to the "Select" status and those with 10 or more to the "Elite" designation.

All Captain's Club members are invited to a special cocktail reception (repeater's party) in their honor and can utilize the services of the onboard Captain's Club Host. Anita de Brayn was our Captain's Club Host(ess) and she seemed to be everywhere, organizing the various special events for members and greeting guests as they arrive.


Upon check-in, Select and Elite Members will find special discount coupons in their stateroom offering a variety of special savings on everything from Bingo to laundry services and Internet access. Select members are also invited to some special events on board.


Classic Member Benefits
  • Exclusive Captain's Club Celebration event on board each Celebrity sailing
  • Complimentary use of the Loyalty Desk member service center between cruises
  • Complimentary access to the onboard Loyalty Host during your cruise
  • A premium onboard discount booklet filled with special offers during each cruise
  • Complimentary upgrade from ChoiceAir to ChoiceAir Plus when booking travel for your cruise
  • Pre-sailing specialty restaurant reservations available before your cruise
  • Annual member Reunion Cruise with additional member events
  • One category upgrade prior to sailing (when available)
  • Complimentary online Captain's Club newsletter with the latest program news and information

Select Member Benefits

  • 25% off any single Internet package
  • Complimentary pressing of 2 garment items
  • One standard bag of laundry (wash, dry, fold) at discounted price of $20 during cruises of 12 nights or longer
  • Exclusive Captain's Club Celebration event onboard each Celebrity sailing
  • Complimentary use of the Loyalty Desk member service center between cruises
  • Complimentary access to the onboard Loyalty Host during your cruise
  • A premium onboard discount booklet filled with special offers during each cruise
  • Complimentary upgrade from ChoiceAir to ChoiceAir Plus when booking travel for your cruise
  • Pre-sailing specialty restaurant reservations available before your cruise
  • Annual member Reunion Cruise with additional member events
  • One category upgrade prior to sailing (when available)
  • Complimentary online Captain's Club newsletter with the latest program news and information
  • Priority embarkation while boarding the ship (where available)
  • Invitation to a complimentary wine seminar event
  • Priority status for shore excursion waitlist
  • Invitation to the exclusive Senior Officer's Cocktail Party
  • Ability to enroll in Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society Platinum Tier

Elite Member Benefits
  • Exclusive Captain's Club Celebration event
  • Complimentary pressing of 2 garment items
  • One complimentary bag of laundry (wash, dry, fold) on every sailing‡
  • One standard bag of laundry (wash, dry, fold) at a discounted price of $20 on all Celebrity cruises of 12 nights or longer
  • Complimentary dry cleaning of 1 garment item
  • Complimentary 90-minute Internet package (can be applied towards a larger Internet package)
  • Access to the Captain's Club Lounge for coffeehouse-style breakfast and evening social hour (open daily except embarkation and the evening of the Senior Officers’ Cocktail Party)
  • Complimentary access to Persian Garden (on one (1) port day of your choice, while the ship is in port)
  • Complimentary use of the Loyalty Desk member service center between cruises
  • Complimentary access to the onboard Loyalty Host during your cruise
  • A premium onboard discount booklet filled with special offers during each cruise
  • Complimentary upgrade from ChoiceAir to ChoiceAir Plus when booking travel for your cruise
  • Pre-sailing specialty restaurant reservations available before your cruise
  • Annual member Reunion Cruise with additional member events
  • One category upgrade prior to sailing (when available)
  • Complimentary online Captain's Club newsletter with the latest program news and information
  • Priority embarkation while boarding the ship (where available)
  • Invitation to a complimentary wine seminar event
  • Priority status on the shore excursion waitlist
  • Invitation to the exclusive Senior Officer's Cocktail Party
  • Access to the private shipboard departure lounge with continental breakfast during disembarkation
  • Priority tender service status
  • Priority waitlist status for dining room seating
  • Invitation to attend the Elegant Tea Service event
  • Complimentary use of the Thalassotherapy Pool (Celebrity Mercury only - while the ship is in port)
  • Ability to enroll in Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society Diamond Tier

*Benefits are exclusive to Celebrity sailings (excluding Celebrity Xpedition®)

**Tier credits are earned by sailing with Celebrity Cruises. Additional credits can be earned by sailing for 12 nights or longer including Cruisetours and/or sailing in a Concierge Class Stateroom, AquaClass® Stateroom or Suite.

‡Includes 20 items on itineraries with water usage restrictions or up to 30 items on itineraries without water usage restrictions. Water usage restrictions apply on most Alaskan and Baltic itineraries.

On our sailing, Elite members were invited to the following special events:

  • Backstage Tour
  • Wine Tasting Seminar
  • Senior Officers' Cocktail Party
  • Captain's Club Celebration

In addition to the aforementioned Select events, Elite members are also invited to attend an Elite Elegant Tea one afternoon and have access to a special Private Departure Lounge on disembarkation day. In addition, Elite members have exclusive access to the Captain's Club Lounge which consists of the following:

  • Captain's Club Coffee Break from 8am to 10am - This quiet continental breakfast was offered each morning in Michael's Club.
  • Captain's Club Social Hour from 4pm to 6pm - A members-only cocktail party with complimentary wine, champagne, beer and cocktails.

We took every opportunity to attend the Captain's Club events to which we were invited. We found them to be well organized and valuable. Repeat business is something that Celebrity Cruises appears to be taking seriously.


Conclusion

What we like:

  • Overall excellent dining
  • Incredible production shows
  • Great service and friendly staff
  • iLounge Internet Cafe
  • Captain's Club amenities
  • Qsine restaurant concept

What we don't like:

  • Lackluster room service
  • Decor in Sky Lounge
  • Long lines for tenders in Grand Cayman

According to the Celebrity Guest Questionnaire, "Celebrity Cruises is dedicated to offering a comfortably sophisticated upscale cruise experience with personalized service, fine dining, revitalizing spa programs and exciting entertainment." Based on our recent experience aboard Eclipse, we think they have succeeded. Celebrity Eclipse is about as close as you can get to a luxury cruise experience on a large ship. Trying to be everything to everybody is no easy task, but Celebrity is doing a pretty darn good job as far as we can tell.

Video Review
Click the video below for a brief Video Review on CruiseReport.com TV.



It is common in the travel industry for journalists to be provided with complimentary cruise accommodations, and in some cases, hotel accommodations, for the purpose of a review. While it has not influenced this review, CruiseReport.com adheres to a strict policy of full disclosure to all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, please refer to our Ethics Guidelines
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30 Comments
CATHYB
Thanks for review. We have been on Century and Infinity now going on Eclipse in October. Always had brilliant service and entertainment on both ships. If like me have various food allergies/intolerances nothing is too much trouble in main restaurants or Oceanview cafe. Staff were excellent on both ships. Glad Celebrity predominantly non smoking!
Sunday, March 16, 2014 11:50 AM  
JOHN THOMPSON
As with anything some people will find fault when given FREE MONEY. "The bills were wrinkled and it would have been nice to have it in 10s & 20s... not 100s." And then there are people that expect life to be perfect and not find anything up to their standards. Celebrity Solstice ships are beautiful and offer a fine experience for the money. That is not to say any cruise is perfect, because they are not. The crew is made up of humans and they can make mistakes or have bad days just like all of us. I am not excusing them, but it is the way life works. If you go on a cruise expecting perfection you will ALWAYS be in for disappointment.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:31 AM  
PAT SISSON
Wonderful info! The coming cruise on arch 8th will be our 2nd. First was for our 50th Anniverdary and we loved it! Thanks for reviewing..it was an excellent guide and we'll keep it with us when choosing where to eat and what to do...Pat S.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:30 PM  
JEFF S
We are heading out on the 14 day Exotic Southern Caribbean cruise on April 5th … did the same cruise last year and loved it …
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 1:58 PM  
MILFIE7793
Thank you for very fact filled review. I am trying to find comments on the various wine packages and quantities. We would probably have wine every night with dinner and many cocktails during the cruise (March 2014 Carribean). therefore trying to calculate our budget requirements and the most suitable package.
Saturday, July 13, 2013 10:55 PM  
BARRY J
Another excellent Cruise Report and video. Would have liked to hear your thoughts on Aqua Class. Is it worth the extra $$$? Your reviews are the best.
Sunday, February 10, 2013 11:20 PM  
ELLEN JOY
My hubby and I are heading out for the 14 night Exotic Southern Caribbean April 6th on the Eclipse. We haven't had a vacation together for 7 years and hope we did the right thing with booking Celebrity. We booked a delux veranda stateroom for the 14 day cruise.
Saturday, March 16, 2013 6:33 PM  
HONEYMOON CRUISER
Anybody who can find anything negative to say about the Celebrity Eclipse has probably had a charisma bypass. Just honeymooned on it - service was excellent, food was exquisite, entertainment was superb, crew were outstanding. Those who thought the experience awful, I pity you. I have worked for major lines before, but Celebrity tops the lot.
Friday, February 01, 2013 5:56 PM  
JEANNE
My husband and I just returned from a 14 day Holiday cruise on Eclipse. It was wonderful! The dining room food was excellent, service was efficient and courteous and the staff were helpful. Except for the AquaSpa, every feature of the ship was a class act. We've been on 7 cruises and this was the best!
Monday, December 31, 2012 10:51 AM  
KATHY
I have been on 20+ cruises and sailed on many different cruise lines since 1980. My husband and I recently sailed on the Eclipse to the Caribbean and we can honestly say that this cruise was on the bottom of our list. Food - tasteless, hot meals served cold, greasy. Service - horrible in some areas such as the Oceanview Cafe.The crew was so indifferent to the needs of the passengers. You would think that they all were in training and had never worked on a cruise ship before. Have you ever been scolded by a food service employee on a cruise because you asked him for a drinking straw and a slice of lemon? Well, travel on the Eclipse and you will find out for yourselves. Please take my advice and save your money for a more sea-worthy cruise ship. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars to be disappointed and abused!
Thursday, December 20, 2012 5:38 PM  
CRUISEREPORT.COM EDITOR
@JIM, Sorry to hear about your experience on Eclipse. We could not have been more pleased with our experience. We were blown away by the entertainment and our stateroom was exceptional. As for the kids programs, Celebrity is tilted more toward the adult audience, which we sort of like.
Monday, June 25, 2012 8:54 AM  
JIM
Just got home from the March 10th sailing of Eclipse. I could not be more disappointed. The Entertainment was not up to par. The Edge show felt like American Idol meets Glee with singers mismatched with songs they should not have been singing. It was bad cabaret at best. The best entertainment was the late night comic and the "magician." Stateroom service was terrible. We had two nights where our sheets had holes in them. We always felt rushed to get out of our stateroom so the attendant could clean it. Activities were certainly aimed at the 50 plus crowd. Yes, there is a kid/teen club, but most of what was listed did not appeal to my 40 year old person. There are a lot of little issues that if fixed would make this cruise much more of a value.
Sunday, March 18, 2012 1:35 AM  
TERRY35
Gosh no spell check darn
Monday, February 06, 2012 1:25 PM  
TERRY35
This is a great sumary of a ship and gives a real esnse of what to expect on the Elipse. We are booked for March 2012 and now are excited to see how our experience comapres to the 3 other curise lines we have sailed with. Good Job..
Monday, February 06, 2012 1:20 PM  
RICKEE RICHARDSON
@CHERYL, please let us know how you enjoyed your cruise. We would love to hear your comments. I think you will be very pleased with Celebrity.
Thursday, December 29, 2011 6:29 PM  
CHERYL
We are sailing the Celebrity Eclipse on 1/21/12 on the Concierge level. We have cruised Holland and Carnival but I have heard Celebrity tops them. I love the reviews here that all of you have written. It really has helped us a lot. I hope the Concierge level turns out to be nice. My only concern is getting a trundle bed since I heard some cabins have them. I hope not ours. Thank you everyone and Bon Voyage.
Thursday, December 29, 2011 5:36 PM  
RICH RALEIGH
We have sailed on the Summit, Constellation and now the Eclipse. Two this year and after I resisted pretty hard on cruising, Celebrity is my choice of vacations. Qsine has to be on your list just to experence the dining, just don't miss desert. My picks are Anytime Dining with new friends, cabin with balcony, choices of excursions, don't miss swimming with the dolphins. We are planing already.
Friday, December 09, 2011 4:44 PM  
RICH RALEIGH
We have sailed on the Summit, Constellation and now the Eclipse. Two this year and after I resisted pretty hard on cruising, Celebrity is my choice of vacations. Qsine has to be on your list just to experence the dining, just don't miss desert. My picks are Anytime Dining with new friends, cabin with balcony, choices of excursions, don't miss swimming with the dolphins. We are planing already.
Friday, December 09, 2011 4:43 PM  
SHARON SPATAFORE
i would just like to say this ship is everything . i was on it in march i have been on about 25 cruse this is the best . iam takeing my familey of 11 this xmas .
Sunday, November 20, 2011 11:13 AM  
MELANIE
Thanks. I'm excited and anxious. My husband is turning a young 65 in December and married me (a child bride haha) and I'm 50. We're both in good health thus booking a 4 hour ride in the rain forest! Had he been 66 he couldn't have gone if I read the rules right. :) The perils of marrying an old guy, huh. We're both foodies and I've really looked hard for menus and have not had much luck. I get bits and pieces though and it sounds like for foodies we picked the right cruise line this time. We have our fingers crossed.
Monday, November 14, 2011 2:51 PM  
CRUISEREPORT.COM EDITOR
@Melanie, I think you are going to LOVE Celebrity!
Monday, November 14, 2011 2:27 PM  
MELANIE
Oops. Really bad spelling!
Monday, November 14, 2011 2:25 PM  
MELANIE
My husband and I are sail on 1-21-12. We're have a Concierge class stateroom and we are so excited. This review has been the best I've found so far. Thanks so much! We've only been on 2 3 night cruises. One was Carnival and the other was a small Royal Carribean ship that stop sailing that same year. I'm hoping this cruise will put the other two to shame. What do you think?
Monday, November 14, 2011 2:25 PM  
MARGARET KIEFER
We sailed on the Eclipse this February and thought it was a fabulous ship, even though we prefer medium-size ships like the Oceania Nautica or Azamara Journey. I thought this review was somewhat negative with all of its nit picking about many different things. The sparkling new Eclipse, for the money charged, is a excellent value and we recommend it to everyone.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 12:11 PM  
ARTHUR LOEV
We have sailed on the Summit, The Constellation {incl the last cruise trans-Atlantic before we ended in Germany where it was refifitted} twice each, and on the Equinox three times. All were wonderful. I personally loved the Glass Blowing exhibit. We are due to sail on the Silhouette in Nov. but sadly read they do not have the Glass Blowing exhibit. on the Silhouette. . Rather they installed another restaurant. another change is the Michaels Club-- understand they have done away with the piano Player .. We also booked a stateroom with the oversized Verandah. We are very happy with Celebrity. wish they still had the Glass Blowing and a pianist in Michaels though
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 10:35 AM  
MARK DUFFY
Sailed on Eclipse last year, and looking forward to returning in October. The Celebrity service is wonderful and the food very good. The quality and choice in Oceanview Cafe is excellent, and Qsine is a fantastic experience!
Monday, August 22, 2011 10:01 AM  
JIM FINAN
We have just come off a Transatlantic cruise (Miami to Southampton) on the Eclipse. Even after a gap of 3 weeks to reflect on the experience we cannot think of anything negative to say. The pre-boarding lines were a bit chaotic but thats about it. we had an S2 suite which was really a big(ish) room and there were no seperate areas but I expected that from the description in the brouchures. Only praise after that. Crew, food, entertainment wereall above expectations. We dined in Murano (twice) and the Tuscan Grill, both really excellent. We had select dining in the Moonlight sonata and never had to wait. We choose tables for 2,4, and bigger on different nights. No problems at all. my advice on drinks packages is "don't bother". After the rich meals one or two drinks were enough. The usual question"Would we go again?" and the answere is "Yes, in a heartbeat"
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 9:15 AM  
LISA M
Qsine was an excellent dining adventure!. We cruised Feb 26- Mar 5. We made it a point to dine there after reading this review. Well worth the $35 extra charge. They should consider opening for lunch or starting at 5 pm instead of 6pm. Delicious food.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:36 PM  
QUEEN
I've never cruised before, and I appreciate the thoroughness of your review. It really does help me get into the feel of it all. And helping me get excited about being on a large boat in the middle of the water!
Sunday, February 27, 2011 7:30 PM  
SHARON B
Just a correction or two. Blu is the designated restaurant for those in Aqua Class. These staterooms and balconies are the same size as Concierge class, or any other stateroom below suite level. Suites can dine at a charge in Blu if there is space available. Concierge class and above has an enhanced room service menu. And all cabins can order off the dining room menu for room service delivery during certain hours. Just ask the steward for a copy of the menu ahead of time. And unless you're in a suite w/ a butler, I agree, the presentation is more just "plop the tray on a table". But the suite perks include more of a meal "set up." The Solstice Class ships are wonderful, and I'm really looking forward to Qsine. Luckily there will be 6 of us dining together, so we can all get bites and tastes of the various offerings. Thanks for a very fair review. I'm always skeptical when everything seems PERFECT or AWFUL. Very balanced.
Friday, February 25, 2011 2:09 PM  
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