Overall Rating: Excellent
|Departed From:||Ft. Lauderdale, Fl|
|# of Nights:||11-14 Nights|
After a night at the Quality Inn in Hollywood Florida (which provided free parking for 14 days) we boarded a shuttle for the pier. We were traveling with 2 friends who we met on the Galaxy 11 years ago and 2 of their friends. Since the earliest free shuttle for Celebrity was not until 11:45 the Concierge arranged for a private shuttle for us at a cost of $10 PP. The shuttle was right on time and we were off to the ship.
After entering the terminal, we moved very fast and were through the scanners, check in and on the ship in a matter of minutes.
Your picture for your seapass is taken right at the registration desk, eliminating another stop before boarding. We immediately went to the OceanView café for the first of many fun filled meals. The food was standard buffet food but we managed to find something every day to eat. The staff was constantly clearing tables and offering assistance where necessary.
We were told rooms would not be ready til 1:30 but a few minutes before 1 they announced they were open. We went to our cabin 9268 We were the first cabin at the beginning of the hump and close to the elevators. Very quiet cabin and very well maintained. If the S class ships have one fault it is the lack of storage space in the room. This was particularly difficult for a 14 day cruise. There is more storage in the bathroom than there is in the cabin. Having sailed on this class of ship before we anticipated this and brought along collapsible storage boxes to store our things in. We met our room Steward Florance and her assistant who were very pleasant and extremely efficient.
We then proceeded to walk around the ship and get to know our home for the next 14 days. The Eclipse is a beautiful ship
with lots of places to sit and relax and watch the world float by.
Since there were so many Elite member or above, the normal cocktail hour was replaced with 3 vouchers per day to be used in any lounge. This worked out wonderfully for us since our friends were Elite like us but their 2 friends were not. Using the vouchers allowed us to be together every night before dinner.
We had a table for 6, right at the window on deck 3 - a great location and many nights we were the last ones to leave the
dining room. Our waiter Carlos and his assistant Yuneda were the best. After the first night our drinks were waiting for us each night and they were always right on with their recommendations each night. They were also equally good at
saying "You really don't want that." Food was great - the only problem being the same old bread sticks and French bread in the basket each night. They had such a great variety of breads and rolls in the Oceanview during breakfast & lunch that
the dinner rolls were a disappointment.
We did go to the Tuscan Grill ($35) one night and it was well worth the money. If our dining room waiter and assistant
weren't so great we would have gone more often. We also ate at the Bistro on 5 (crepes, soups, salads) twice during lunch
The Tuscan Grill was also the location of the Elite and above breakfast each day and the Captain's Club Host Graeme Kelleher
was always there.
Shows were your routine production numbers and nothing to get over-excited about. The guest entertainers were great though as was Sue Denning the Cruise Director. Most evening were spent in the casino followed by a stop at the Martini Bar.
One very nice touch was the Apple iPhone and iPad classes offered most days. I had just gotten a new iPad and learned a
lot. The instructor was very helpful and the classes were well attended. I don't think there was a person under 55 in the place.
The weather was terrific - sunshine and in the 80's every day and only a short downpour in Grenada. We never had a problem finding a deck chair either at the pool or the solarium. The pool staff was diligent about removing items from chairs left empty for extended periods.
Aruba was a beach day for us - we just hopped at cab at the pier.
Curacao we took an Island tour followed by a walk around the town
Grenada we took a trolley tour and would probably skip this Island on another cruise.
Barbados we didn't do much of anything - just walked around the town
St. Lucia - took a wonderful tour with Cosol (we did this tour before on the Connie Goes Crazie cruise) Again, it was great
Antigua - a Catamaran tour with a lobster lunch on board was a very special day
St. Martin - We enjoyed the sights and went back to the ship to enjoy the quiet.
St. Thomas - We shopped til we dropped - bringing home our allotment of liquor and a few pieces of bling for me.
Disembarking was a little trying. They called the walk offs by 7:30 and the first 2 or 3 tag numbers before 8 and then we sat til nearly 9 before they began to call numbers again. I have no idea what the tie up was - rumor had it that Customs walked off but once we got in the terminal (a very long walk from the ship) getting our luggage and clearing customs was no problem at all. We waited less than 5 minutes for our shuttle back to the hotel.
All in all this was an almost perfect cruise. A billing problem after we returned home was handled immediately by Celebrity.
We will definitely sail on Celebrity again. At first Jim was afraid that 14 days would be too much but the time really flew by