12/11/2010...3:25 pm

Cruise Ship status report: Celebrity Eclipse

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The European summer is over and the hype of the launch has long faded as the new Celebrity Eclipse has sailed from British waters for a maiden season in the Caribbean.

Eclipse spent the summer sailing from Southampton

So how did Cruise Critic’s mainly British reviewers rate the third Solstice-class ship, which was launched in Southampton, based in Southampton and tweaked for a UK audience, with kettles and teabags in the cabins and bacon and curry on the buffet?

Generally speaking, most of our members’ 81 reviews are very positive, praising the service, the cleanliness of the cabins and the beauty of the ship. Reviewer Lesley Wheeler’s comment is typical: “The staff on the Customer Relations desk were first class. Nothing was too much trouble and their patience in dealing with fractious (not us) passengers was endless. There was always a smile for each passenger who approached the desk, enough pleasantries to make you feel valued, and a swift resolution of your enquiry.”

But as ever, there were glitches.

  • First, those ‘British’ touches. A bit of refinement needed here, maybe! “I ordered ‘English Bacon’, but that was only available in the café upstairs,” says member Cublet of the main dining room. “I was offered mint jelly to accompany my lamb. What was put on my plate looked like something that had come from Sellafield. Or a prop from Doctor Who. One of my friends passed it as fit for a supermarket mouthwash.” You can’t please everybody with the tea tray, either. “The tray took up the whole dressing/make up area and had to be moved, it also blocked the power points. I would rather call room service for my coffee and juice,” says Jan from Norfolk.
  • Some dodgy planning: member Boltonboys splashed out on an AquaSpa cabin but complains: “What we didn’t realise was that the Spa reception had been moved to the middle of the ship and the Gym treadmills were now directly over our cabin.”  Noise is a recurring theme, not just in the cabins but in the atrium. “The main reception area was also used as a music venue and whilst this allowed the music to waft up through the centre of the ship to the upper decks, whoever thought of placing the open plan library in the same area was obviously not a book lover or had any need of a quiet space,” says Lesley Wheeler.
  • The entertainment gets mixed reviews. “Hit and miss,” claims SailorUK. PeterRich thinks that’s too kind: “By far the worst we have ever seen, with no named acts at all. Here are some examples. A guy blowing through a shower hose and through a zimmer frame.”
  • Qsine, the innovative new restaurant, gets the thumbs-up from those who tried it, although a surprising number of reviewers stuck to the main dining room. “WOW, what a concept,” raves Jascat. “This was probably the best thing about the Eclipse. It is a really unique dining experience and was truly memorable. From main course and wine choices to select from on the new iPAD, to finding your dessert choice on a rubic’s cube puzzle style menu. The staff were brilliant and the food was presented so beautifully.” Beardedladies agrees: “Good fun, amazing service and wonderful food, plus got to play with new iPads.”
  • Some of our reviewers have sailed with Celebrity’s sister line, Royal Caribbean, and there are inevitably comparisons. “What we both really missed was the promenade on RCL ships, (the central focal point) I love grabbing a coffee and people watching, having a good natter with fellow cruisers and hearing their experiences,” continues Beardedladies.
  • But there are compensations. How’s this for top use of the ship’s half-acre lawn? “I decided in advance that it must be enjoyed properly. I brought a proper blanket and picnic basket and we had an afternoon picnic with champagne, sandwiches, tea and cakes,” says member Cublet. “Quite a few people passed and said they wished they had thought of it.”
  • But overall, is Eclipse more style than substance? Make no mistake, a great deal of our members have given the ship five stars plus, but some die-hard Celebrity fans claim to see through the hype. “I think that those who had sailed with Celebrity before, and there were loads, were disappointed. It seemed to us that the “beautiful Celebrity Eclipse” was built for the masses and the connoisseurs turned up!” says Jayne Green, who gave the ship four stars. Jascat, who could only scrape up two stars for the ship, concludes: “This is an over-hyped ship and having sailed on Holland America before, I felt Celebrity did not match them in service standard, food standards or public room layouts.”

Have you sailed on Eclipse? What did you like – or not like?

SJB

9 Comments

  • We sailed on Eclipse to the Baltic on 10th June. We were very lucky and had an aft corner sky suite (1666), ot was fantastic. The whole cruise was very good, we loved Qsine and Tuscan Grille, but were let down on our booking in Muranos, as the manager rang and changed our booking to a later time, (which was too late for us). We also enjoyed Bistro on Five, and ate in there 4 times. I thought the entertainment was a bit hit and miss, but liked the live music around the ship.

    This was my 1st cruise on eclipse, and would love to go on her again, maybe to eastern Med, assuming the prices were as good as we had this year.

  • Ship Review – Celebrity Eclipse.
    June 2010, I did a 12 night cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse to The Canaries, Lisbon, Madeira & Vigo, travelling from Southampton. A brand new ship 5* ship, Excellent service throughout, Professional & Excellent Entertainment, Superb Food including an exceptional ‘Brunch’ and an ‘Elegant Tea’..very much in keeping with 1st class, high standard cruises of the 50′s & 60′s!

    Ships Facilities, Cabins & Layout were of avery High Standard. All Staff were Excellent, Friendly, Knowledgable & Extremely Helpful.. I can’t praise them enough!

    Twice daily, the Captain kept passengers informed of the ships whereabouts, routes, weather, areas being visited, etc.

    Pleasurable & Faultless ‘Welcome Aboard’ evening & a ‘Last Night Party’ evening, other Gala evenings & Entertainment. Captain & Crew mingled with passegers daily & attended & hosted many evening occassions.

    Shore Excursions were sometimes Hit & Miss.. a particular trip from Vigo port, for those with disabilities & walking problems, was definitely missold & many participants were upset by what they experienced & endured. However, Customer Service were informed of the problems incurred & costs of the trip were refunded in full !.. On a previous day in Lisbon, an organised shore excursion for the disabled was excellent & all participants were more than fully catered for. (Apparantely shore activities are contracted out).

    The only ‘hiccup’ on the cruise was that the ‘drinks’ were rather expensive..yet they were inkeeping with a 5* uk city hotel.

    I have absolutely no complaints at all about the ship, its facilities, food, entertainment, crew & staff! From my experiences on the ‘Eclipse’, I fully recommend and suggest a cruise be taken with ‘Celebrity’.

    Celebrity Eclipse, definitely a 5* ship throughout.. I can’t wait to cruise with them again!
    linb

  • So disappointed with celebrity eclipse. Entertainment non existent no named performers have never walked out of so many shows. Would not recommend it to anyone. 1 out of 10 sorry celebrity not one of your best.

  • Not been on Eclipse, but have been on sister-ship Solstice. My interpretations of the design of the Solstice class is that they’re intended to separate you from the feeling that you’re at sea. Evidence: a) no real promenade deck – just a corridor between the superstructure and the ships’ boats which are down at deck level; b) nowhere to hang over the stern and look at the wake. Unless you’re in an aft cabin, the first (outside) place from which you can see the wake is the Oceanview bar, and that’s 9 decks up and about 25 yards forward; c) the best things in the ship are internal spaces: that 12-deck-high atrium and the big dining room. They’re great spaces but they do pull your attention inwards i.e. away from the sea; d) the Lawn! a park on a ship!!

    There aren’t complaints, they’re just observations; I think the Solstice class are excellent ships. It’s just that they’re not in the British tradition of ships, which basically says “you’re at sea so make the best of it!”.

  • Whilst our cruise was enjoyable (Mediterranean – October) it was nothing special. Entertainment was fine on our cruise although some of the entertainment outside the main theatre was situated in extremely poor areas – not enough seating etc etc. The lawn areas were a nice touch – although the putting green could have done with a mow! The Corning Hot Glass Show was an interesting feature. Not enough lounge areas at all. Main Dining Room rather cramped although food was fine. We personally thought far too much space was allocated to fee earning restaurants which on our cruise were very undersubscribed.
    The cabins were very nice but rather narrow.
    Although elegant did not achieve five star rating in our book!

  • I just got off a two-night preview cruise on Eclipse, and I have to agree with the entertainment comments. The one production show I saw was horrific. To sum it up, during this Broadway tribute, the singers did a mashup of West Side Story’s Maria and Dirty Dancing’s She’s Like the Wind. Ugh. There were also some loud, very belted, somewhat off notes. I don’t think this kind of entertainment is Celebrity’s focus.

    Beardedladies commented on the lack of a promenade, which I think is kind of silly, given that only certain Royal Caribbean ships have them. If you want that experience, book Royal! However, I must say that I thought you did get a similar people-watching, center-of-the-action feeling at the public spaces around Eclipse’s atrium (like the happening Martini Bar and Cafe al Bacio). You could easily perch on a comfy chair and watch the world go by on the various levels across the open atrium.

    Overall, I came away with a good impression of the ship. But it always depends on what’s important to you and what you like to do on a cruise ship. That’s why there are so many lines — to accommodate everyone’s varying preferences!

  • I sailed on Eclipse to Ireland from Southhampton. I completely disagree with all the comments on the entertainment. There was an all night disco and a line of good entertainment each night. The last night was slightly cheesy though as it was a gladiator theme. I loved Sam and Alex the ballerina’s. The food was amaizing and cooked to perfection. All the crew was very polite and helpful and made the experience even more enjoyable!

  • T Nicholson

    Have been on many cruises & find this ship very very good the food & entertainment very good
    The staff at the Martini bar kept you happy with there different cocktail’s & juggling a special mention to the barman who was alway’s on hand to serve you (he went home for a short break at Miami I believe)
    ONCE AGAIN NO COMPLAINT’S AT ALL
    Mr&Mrs Nicholson

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