Disappointing Experience and Everything Costs Extra

Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Eclipse

By David Martin on 22 August 2017
Overall
Service
Condition
Cleaniness
Comfort

We have cruised with P&O a number of times previously and were reluctant to try another cruise line, but Bolsover Cruise Club described the experience we would have onboard with Celebrity Cruises as 5-star-plus. We booked a decent stateroom with a balcony and paid to travel Concierge Class with the Classic Drinks package and all onboard gratuities included.
After embarkation, which went smoothly, we were unable to access our stateroom until 13:00 and so went to the Martini Bar to enjoy a cheeky cocktail. All prices are in USD ($) and I was told at ordering that since each drink was $14 and we ‘only’ had the Classic package there would be a $3 charge to each of our SeaPass/Cruise Card accounts; they also need to see each SeaPass for every passenger in the order, which is annoying. We had paid a lot of money to be there, but were made to feel like second-class passengers as we were ‘not Premium’. The P&O system where you simply pay for the drinks you have and charge them to your account, all drinks on one card if required, seems a lot more civilised. It was possible to upgrade to the Premium package for $18 per day per person, but we decided to simply pay the surcharge when ordering a ‘premium’ drink.
Once in our stateroom, which was a good size, we discovered that five 1L bottles of Evian water had been provided and that Celebrity would charge us $6 for each “for our convenience”. I asked our cabin steward if we could not have non-premium water put in our stateroom, but this was not possible with the Classic package, we were told we should ask for non-premium bottles of water in any of the bars and carry them back to our stateroom, or buy the Premium Bottled Water Package at $16 per person per day – An additional cost of around £540 on our holiday for the three of us!! The cost of Evian from Celebrity Cruises is four times the price of unleaded petrol in the UK!!!
The first port of call was advertised as Bruges, but we docked in Zeebrugge and, on leaving the port, found that there was no Celebrity transfer provided to Bruges and that we would have to pay EUR100-150 for the return trip: As the ship was due to sail at 14:30 that day this seemed yet another expense for a short duration. I had visited Bruges previously, but my wife and son had not and so missed out on this charming place. Other cruise lines provide courtesy transfers to the port of call advertised, but it seemed that Celebrity opt to moor at the cheapest container port near the advertised port of call and then abandon their passengers to their own devices.
The two excursions we booked through Celebrity, however, were very good and had inclusive lunches that were much better than expected.
All of the food served and that available at the Ocean View buffet was excellent and could not be faulted at all. The table service was good, but not as good as P&O; for example the soup spoon was not cleared after the order was placed and soup had not been ordered. Service was also a little slow, but no real issues.
Service in the stateroom was adequate, but there did not appear to have been any dusting take place over the two weeks.
There were a number of activities taking place throughout the day, but many of these seemed to be a sales pitch for an expensive spa/health treatment. Ten minute massages were always being promoted outside the buffet, with a push to visit the spa for a full-price treatment.
The gym/fitness studio was well-equipped and a pleasure to use.
The evening entertainment was variable. In the theatre there were a few reasonable acts, but we walked out of the show that ‘starred’ the ship’s crew. There were several live musical acts around the ship during the day and in the bars in the evenings and these were of a very good quality.
There is no passenger laundry facility, but Celebrity offer to launder a small paper bag of your clothes for only $49: We didn’t use this service, but an American couple we met had to and were furious, saying that there used to be passenger launderettes.
Onboard wifi is VERY costly at $300 for the duration.
Disembarkation went smoothly too and we were happy to find ourselves back on the quayside in Southampton, vowing never to sail with Celebrity again!
We paid several thousand pounds for our holiday, but were made to feel like everything was an extra, that Celebrity’s ethos is to extract as much money from their passengers as possible whilst providing an average cruise experience. This was not what was expected following the sales pitch from Bolsover Cruise Club and, whilst we visited some interesting places, the cruise experience was very disappointing.

By David Martin on 22 August 2017

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