Did they Eclipse the rest?
Peter Tolan | April 12, 2014 | Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Eclipse
We have done around 20 cruises, but this was the first with Celebrity. We made our 8th August trip to the Baltic, travelling on Eclipse. It was again a great cruise to fantastic destinations and we were able to compare Celebrity with our favoured operator, Princess. Starting with the ports, we had visited all before except Warnemunde. As Brits we found this the weakest of those visited. We decided not to go on the 6-hour round trip to Berlin as it was easier and less stressful -and probably cheaper -to do a week-end break from the UK to enjoy this great City at a more leisurely pace. Warnemunde itself and nearby Roscoe, which we visited by train, could hardly be described as exciting or different. St Petersburg was of course the highlight and the ship’s trips were excellent, if a little overpriced. (But what’s new there?)
Our balcony suite was what we had expected, although a little short on drawer space. The layout of the ship was not as good as other operators. The so-called Grand Foyer wasn’t. The layout was poor with the guest services desk occupying part of the area and when some activity was on people had to crowd around the small dance floor area and hang off the balconies and stairs to try and see what was going on. All the time the nearby casino was far too big and more often than not sparsely populated. Celebrity -this area needs re-organising to be a real central focus for the ship.
There was only one main restaurant, the Moonlight Sonata – used for both set and anytime dining. We wanted the flexibility to be able to dine around 7 30 but that was rarely possible as the early fixed timers were still dining. This negated the any-time concept and we generally got a table around 8 15. The buffet style Ocean Court restaurant was a bit like a canteen, but having said that there was rarely a bun-fight for a table.
And the food? That was excellent in both areas. In fact the evening menu and the food served up was excellent. Plates were hot, food was hot and well cooked and presented, and the service was superb.
The staff were top class in every area. Our waiters in the restaurant were fantastic and couldn’t do enough to ensure you had a great dining experience, and the cabin steward did all that was asked of him and left the cabin really clean and tidy.. Other staff were always attentive.
Wines were quite expensive. more so when topped up with the service charge, but again we have come to expect that. We felt that staff also overdid the “hard sell” when trying to get you to buy drinks packages, go to speciality restaurants or buy the services of the Spa area.
We had an excellent entertainment director in Sue and the quality of the shows and acts in the main theatre was consistently “top drawer” (apart from the poor comedian on the last night). It was probably the most consistent high quality entertainment that we have experienced on any ship. The rest of the activities though, particularly on sea days, were not brilliant, the times of many clashed with each other so you couldn’t attend both and were often too biased towards selling some service or product, rather than entertaining.
Overall though, this was an excellent cruise and we will be considering Celebrity again at some time in the future. In summary the high points were the excellent food, excellent service and excellent ports,
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