John innes | April 11, 2019 | Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Eclipse
Wow what a lovely ship, our first time with Celebrity, but we are not first time cruisers, we booked this as a change from flying back from a two months villa holiday on the gulf coast of Florida to avoid the normal flight and what a good idea it was.
Celebrity was first class, we had an over night in the Hilton Marina hotel Fort Lauderdale that was ok, pool view room a bit of late night noise from the pool and a brisk walk to the hotel entrance. We were picked up by coach at 11.30am cases in a separate van all covered by porters from the hotel room to stateroom on deck 8 so no hassle. Arrived very quickly at the Terminal which was very busy but organised and within 20mins we were walking on board the Celebrity Eclipse and greeted with a choice of Drinks and directed to the lounges or buffet and advised that cabins would be ready at 1.30 pm, P&O and Cunard could learn a few lessons from Celebrity on embarkation speed and greetings!!!
The first impression of our stateroom was excellent well laid out room nice colours and pleasant balcony on deck 8 aft, the big surprise was the bathroom boy was that good, well laid out largest we have had in a non suite stateroom and a proper shower with glass sliding doors why can’t other ships and lines take note. the next nice thing was that we had two room stewards a senior and assistant who shared the work i.e. one looked after the bathroom and the other the rest of the stateroom and kept it in excellent condition every day.
Sue the cruise director was very good and proactive all the time and put on an excellent programme of shows and events all day long, we have seen some excellent shows on this crossing, the main production company were the best we have seen for some time and were used in many different ways the individual acts were all top notch and very enjoyable. It was nice too see the ships officers involved in many events each day around the ship and talking to passengers.
The food in the main dining room and service was good, the second waiter was I think a bit new and slow, but the main waiter was excellent as were the rest of the dinning room staff, on our first sea day we went on the galley tour conducted by the F&B manager and Head Chef that was both interesting and informative and included a visit and presentation on the speciality restaurants, all were very nice and looked like nice menus but the surcharges were in our opinion a bit high, we did not book there and then, we decided to wait and see after a few days , our table companions booked a deal for each one and told us one day that it was a big mistake a lot of money for food that was not a lot of difference from the main dinning room, so we did not try any of them out.
We did how ever try the Bistro on 5 and for $5 dollars surcharge that was very good for lunch or breakfast well worth trying , the masthead grill was also good for lunch on deck, the ocean view caf?? the self service was very impressive in both lay out and selection of food for breakfast and lunch, however it has one silly fault, there are no trays just plates, which can be very hot, and this became a frustration to many passengers including ourselves so we stopped using and went to the dinning room, its impossible to sort out your food, drink and cutlery without a tray, you are back and forward all the time, plus you can not get two meals i.e. food for my wife whilst she found a table with drinks etc. the answer from the F&B manger was its not a caf?? its a restaurant !!!We would recommend the Eclipse to any one, my only Observations of a negative concern are the expensive Speciality restaurants, the no trays in the self service, and the very poor muster drill on departing Fort Lauderdale, its a nice idea that you do not have to take a life jacket from your cabin to the drill, however you could not see the video that was played, and the crew did not demonstrate the claimed two different types of life jacket, and did not interact with the passengers who just sat taking to each other it was the poorest drill of the many we have attended and lets Celebrity down.
Finally we arrived in Southampton after a very smooth crossing from Fort Lauderdale, and once again the excellent organisation of Celebrity for disembarkation from the ship, its the fastest and quickest we have ever had in Southampton with minimum hassle to our awaiting taxi, others can learn from them.
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