Review: Celebrity Eclipse
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Celebrity Eclipse - not bad but not the Celebrity that we used to experience
156 people found this review helpful
Having stayed in Southampton the evening before embarkation, we were in the car park at 10.30 and on board by 11.10. Check in was excellent with just a short wait until they started boarding.
We were familiar with Eclipse so we found a nice spot to get a few rays of sun before lunch.
Our balcony cabin on deck 7 was fairly standard but having recently sailed with Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Oceania I am not sure that these interlocking cabins are to our liking. They are long and narrow and the large sofa bed is in the wrong place and makes passing each other difficult. The storage is also poor with very few draws and a small wardrobe. By contrast, the balcony and the balcony furniture was very good and the bathroom is one of the best in any standard cabins with a really good shower with screen and not curtains.
Overall the food was still very good, in fact we were pleasantly surprised as it was better than our experience on Equinox last year. The Ocean view buffet is probably one of the best at sea with a great choice at every meal although getting seats can be a challenge on cold sea days.
The food in the main dining room and the speciality restaurants was also very good.
The area where we noticed the biggest difference is in service which was significantly below the standards we have been used to on Celebrity. Cunard now easily surpasses Celebrity service and we had better service on Independence of the Seas earlier in the year.
The dining room waiters were clearly rushed and there were not enough wine stewards for a British cruise where many tables were buying wine. There has also been a noticeable dumbing down of dress code. On formal night those in DJs were few and far between and there were guests with polo shirts and jeans in the public areas in the evening. We enjoy formal evenings but we are getting fed up with taking formal attire only to find that no dress codes are enforced. Celebrity need to decide what they stand for and be clear about it.
The service in Qzine was only just OK but they order the wrong combinations of dishes so you get a very unbalanced meal. The service in Murano was a real disappointment and that restaurant is now not worth the hefty supplement. By contract Tuscan grill was very good with friendly efficient service and Bistro on Five was excellent on every occasion in both quality of food and service.
Café al Baccio is excellent with great coffees and friendly service but the seating area can be too small on cold weather cruises.
There has been a lot of discussion about the Captains Club and possible changes to it. We have noticed a number of significant changes over the last few years with each voyage offering a lesser benefit. The Elite member social time in the evening is now geared to first sitting diner only as it is from 17.00 to 19.00. This used to be a great way to meet others for a pre-dinner drink before the 20.30 second sitting. We were told it has been reduced because people were getting drunk, something we have never experienced. With the few waiters in the lounge you had to wait so long for a drink that you could not have got drunk if you tried!
With a reported 280 Elite members on this cruise, there was nothing very Elite about the Captains Club experience. The other benefits are also reducing and are more and more difficult to take advantage of.
We tried to sign up for the internet package but after waiting in line for 30 minutes in the I-lounge we were then told we had to go back and get our tablets and then queue again to get them to put some programme on it. Why not just allocate a credit to your account like RCI and most civilised hotels do? We gave up on this one in the end. We do not use the casino so another batch of so called benefits were of no value at all.
For us, the Captains Club is no longer having the effect that it was designed for, to reward loyal customers and encourage them to come back.
There were some good day time activities, especially those provided by the Chefs and the Wine Stewards.
As for the destinations, the rain and very long queues for the compulsory port shuttle (you are not allowed to walk out of the port) which resulted in delays in disembarking meant that we stayed on board in Bergen. We had been there before in lovely sunny weather.
We were fearing the worst for the weather after this experience but as we approached Flam the sky cleared and we had a great day. We took the Flam railway excursion through Celebrity and whilst the journey was spectacular, the organisation and the pushing and shoving to get seats was not what we expected at all as the price was clearly premium.
Geiranger was probably the most spectacular port of call and we were lucky to be able to use the Sea Walk to avoid tendering and we had another beautiful sunny day. We took a local boat trip along the fjord, it was excellent value for money (190Kr for 90 minutes) and they took us up close to all the water falls, a great trip for photography.
The weather started to turn again at Alesund although with only a short walk into town we were able to take in the local sights. Whilst in a picturesque setting, the buildings were not as interesting as we had expected.
Stavanger was marked by thunder storms but as we were again docked right in the heart of the town we were able to get ashore for a while between the storms. The old town is right by the cruise terminal and it is only a 5 minute walk to the heart of the town.
Whilst this was not a bad cruise, it was not what we expected from Celebrity. We have cruised with Celebrity for 15 years, starting with Horizon and going through most of the rest of the fleet. This was out second cruise on Eclipse but it has been 18 months since our last Celebrity cruise and we noticed a number of changes which were not all for the better. I think we will still be tempted to sail on the Millennium class ships when they are going to the right destination but we will also be using Cunard and Oceania more in future as Celebrity does not provide the special experience that we used to enjoy.
We are now hard pushed to differentiate between Celebrity and RCI, whilst the food is better on Celebrity and some aspects of the Solstice ships are spectacular, the service is better on RCI and we prefer the traditional style of cabin.
156 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Celebrity Cruises