Celebrity Eclipse Review
The Celebrity Eclipse is a beautifully designed vessel. However, the dining was a mixed bag.
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With a dozen bars available at various points in the day, there was no shortage of imbibing options on Celebrity Eclipse. A couple options we particularly liked were the Sunset Bar (especially at the titular hour), and the Molecular Bar, where creative, one-of-a-kind cocktails were the order of the day. A 15 percent service charge is added to all drink orders. The minimum age for drinking is 21.
Beer & Wine
Available at most of the bars on Celebrity Eclipse was a short selection of domestic (U.S.) beers at $4.50 with imports and premiums ranging $5-$6. Heineken and Amstel Light was on tap at some bars, for $5.
Wine by the glass generally ranged $5.50 to $8.50. The wine list varied by restaurant, but Moonlight Sonata and Blu appeared to have the full ship selection.
Note that although prices from one restaurant to the next seemed constant, by-the-glass prices were not always consistent with those at Cellar Masters, the ship’s wine bar. For instance, at Cellar Masters a 5-oz pour of Conundrum’s Proprietary White was priced $15.64, while the same wine by the glass was $12 at Qsine and Blu.
There was a standard drink menu on Celebrity Eclipse of cocktails available at most of the bars. All are priced $6.50-$8.50.
Drink packages are worth exploring, even for teetotallers. These include bottled water ($12/day), unlimited soda ($7/day), and a non-alcoholic package ($14-$18/day). Wine packages start at $99 for three bottles. The Premium drink package ($54/day) offered unlimited drinks priced up to $12. Look for pre-cruise discounts that bring prices down. But still allow for a 15% service charge tacked on to the package price.
Celebrity’s line of non-alcoholic drinks are called Zero-Proof Cocktails, all priced $4. Non-alcoholic beer was available at most bars for $5. Soft drinks were $2.
Spa and Gym
Sparkling with delicate mosaic walls, the handsome, 21,000-square-foot AquaSpa sprawls across Deck 12 forward, with a chunk of real estate on Deck 11 also dedicated for the facility, accessed by a circular stairwell. There is also a full-service salon, the Persian Garden—a spa within the spa—and a large gym. Among the spa treatment rooms were ones designated for couples that had sea views.
The tranquil facility's treatments are handled by cruise spa giant Steiner Leisure. Prices were higher than similar treatments at five-star beach resorts, though the facial we had was first-rate. Fifty-minute massages ranged $119-$159; 75-minute sessions were $175-$199; the 50-minute couples massage was $269. A variety of facials were available—all 50-minute sessions—and priced $119-$169. All of these were discounted 10 percent on port days, and packages and other specials popped up during the cruise.
The adjoining salon oversaw nail treatments, hair styling and color, waxing, acupuncture, and Botox, Restylane and Perlane cosmetic treatments.
Access to the gym onboard Celebrity Eclipse is through the main entrance to the spa. The entry is clearly defined (unlike on some ships), so when we were headed to our workout we didn’t have to navigate treatments rooms or the spa check-in desk.
The gym itself, positioned at the front of Deck 12, is a large facility, with a variety of equipment. Good thing, as on our cruise there was plenty of demand for cardio-vascular machines during peak hours. Two of the six Life Fitness bikes were out of commission during our cruise, which meant there was sometimes a wait for these.
One area of the gym was designated for classes, most of which carried a surcharge; yoga, spinning and pilates classes were $12 each, gravity was $20, body sculpting was $30. A few classes were free of charge.
A small shop in the AquaSpa sells beauty products, including Elemis, Bliss and Phyto.
The Persian Garden is a “spa within the spa” that carries a $20 fee for day use ($99 for the week); it is complimentary to AquaClass guests. Though we didn’t try it during our cruise, it featured heated tile beds facing the ocean, aromatherapy rain and mist showers and wet and dry saunas, all against a backdrop of soothing new age music.
Actually, quarters aren’t in use here—you’ll use your room key or dollar bills to obtain arcade credits used to play. More than a dozen video games plus an air hockey table were available.
X Club was the place for teens to hang and activities were scheduled throughout the day and till late at night, including teens-only dance parties, scavenger hunts and dodge ball in the adjoining basketball court. In addition to ample games and activities on offer, there was a coffee machine and ice cream maker.
Also on Deck 15 and designed for kids age 3 to 11, the Fun Factory was open from 9:00 a.m to 1:00 a.m. each day of the cruise. Activities included karaoke, crafts, treasure hunts and talent shows. A few activities carried an additional charge of $6 per hour, such as the dinner party and slumber party. The venue has a private entrance to the Basketball Court, where kids can burn off energy during supervised games.
There are three basic types of cabins, plus various suites on Celebrity Eclipse. Least expensive are the Interior cabins, which represent about 10 percent of the total berths, followed by Ocean View (which are actually a tad smaller than Interior). There are lots of cabins with verandas, a 54-square-foot deck with two chairs and a table; premium veranda units face aft.
One can also invest in Concierge Class or Aqua Class, with added services and amenities designated for veranda cabins in the best locations. Concierge guests receive early embarkation and debarkation, wine, fruit and flowers at check-in, an expanded breakfast menu, nightly hors d’oeuvres, and a massaging showerhead. AquaClass guests receive those extras plus a pillow menu, complimentary bathroom amenities, unlimited access to the Persian Garden and can dine in the restaurant Blu.
The third of Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships to arrive on the scene, the Eclipse had a number of features we found quite appealing. A top-deck, half-acre lawn—yes, real grass—and a working glass-blowing studio were two neat aspects. Solid musical entertainment, a Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic show, and an expansive spa and fitness center were other assets. The Celebrity Eclipse is a beautifully designed vessel, and we discovered classy art and handsome hand-blown glass pieces throughout the ship’s common areas. One experience we looked forward to was the dining, and with relatively high surcharges at the specialty restaurants, we wanted to be wowed.
Overall, we enjoyed our experience on Celebrity Eclipse. The ship is beautifully designed, with a relatively sophisticated ambiance. But it’s not ostentatious or cold, as some modern design can become, allowing the environment to cater to a wide spectrum of cruise aficionados. That said, the ship is not for the tracksuit and T-shirt crowd, and couples who want to dress up a little will enjoy themselves.
For an inside stateroom, our cabin was a pretty fair hideaway save one main complaint: storage space was not great and the small closet was awkward to utilize. Beddings were of good quality, though we got annoyed receiving a couple of thin, frayed bathroom towels. The 32-inch TV was generous; if the pay-per-view had been a little cheaper (or if there had been a DVD library) we would have watched a couple movies.
Dining was a mixed bag. When the dishes were good, they were very good—but too often they were followed by something middling. Other than a solid experience at Murano, no venue was consistently great, and with surcharges running $30-$40 for specialty venues we can’t recommend the dining packages Celebrity pitched us at the start of the cruise.
Entertainment offerings were a highlight, both in terms of quality and variety. Every evening there were two or three live musical acts going, sometimes even four at once in various locations around the ship, and during sea days there was music in the afternoon by the main pool. The Hot Glass Show is a great offering, and while shows in Eclipse Theater were not all top-quality, the acrobatic show called Eclipse was pretty awesome.
Despite its size, the Celebrity Eclipse was easy to navigate, with location maps at all major intersections. The ship’s daily newsletter, Celebrity Today, was nicely detailed about the many activities on offer. We appreciated that smoking areas were kept to a minimum, though on a couple days decks 4 and 5 at mid-ship were plagued by a lingering stale cigarette smell (the adjacent casino is the only indoor area where smoking is allowed). And we liked that hand sanitizers were encouraged, especially when entering the two main restaurants, Moonlight Sonata and Oceanview Café.
And finally there was the Lawn Club, a somewhat heady name for a seemingly simple concept: a real half-acre of turf blanketing much of the top deck. We doubt this element is simple to maintain with all the spilled drinks and sea air, but we think it’s a terrific asset. We look forward to enjoying the grass again onboard the Eclipse or another of the ships in Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class.
With 10 different options for dining on small bites and full-scale meals, the variety on offer was impressive.
Although we had several decent meals, there were only a few in which every course hit all the right notes. This was a surprise, as Celebrity heralds its cuisine as “world-class” in its marketing. But although the variety was solid, we wished the food had been a little more consistent, especially considering the $30-$40 surcharge imposed at the three main specialty venues.
There were two dining packages available for the specialty restaurants. One was $99 for dinner at each of the three main options (a $110 value), the other was $139 for five dinners (a $180 value). But on our cruise we were offered (and took advantage of) a 20 percent discount when booking and dining at one of the specialty restaurants on the night of embarkation, almost negating the value of the first dining package. The quality of our meals at the specialty restaurants wasn’t consistent enough for us to recommend locking in the five-dinner package.
Cellar Masters is a 24-hour wine bar—unattended in the morning hours—where about 64 wines are available by the glass, using Enomatic Wine Preservation machines that dispense wines directly from the sealed bottle. This allows relatively high-end wines to be dispensed days after opening without substantial alteration.
The Enomatic machines dispense glasses in 1 oz, 2.5 oz or 5-oz portions; a 5-oz pour starts around $8. Much of the ship’s wine selection is available, ranging up to Far Niente’s acclaimed 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($8.05 for a 1-oz taste, $40.25 for 5-oz).
When Cellar Masters is staffed—usually afternoon till 1:00 a.m.—a few dozen additional wines are available, including flights of four pre-selected 2-oz tastings ($15), themed around France, South America, Down Under, etc. There is a small selection of champagnes and ports also available.
In order to use the machines, one must purchase a prepay card (in any amount, which is billed to your room), available when the bar is staffed, generally some time in the afternoon until midnight. Watch for promotions when the prepaid cards come with additional credit and/or free WiFi.
Most of the ship’s wine activities are conducted here, priced $10-$20 for various tasting seminars.
About 10 interconnected shops are found on the starboard side of Deck 5. We can only say “about” because the shops blend from one to the next—only the signs out front distinguish one from another.
Starting from the end closest to the Eclipse Theater, Adagio and Jasmine sell fragrances for women, with a small section in Adagio devoted to men’s colognes. The Showcase features women’s handbags, mainly leather. This flows into Moda, where colorful purses and dresses are displayed, along with showy necklaces and some swimwear.
The Men’s Shop sells resort wear, which segues into The Collection, and Pieces of Time, where watches are sold. At the Artisan Studio and Exquisites we found larimar pieces and other jewelry, and Boutique C had a collection of Indian inlay jewelry.
Photographers roam the ship, particularly during designated events (like gangway and embarkation), taking photos of cruisers. Portrait studio photographers are also available for formal sit-down shots. The photos are displayed on racks and available for purchase—$19.95 each for any size up to 8×10. A DVD of the voyage is also available at the end of the cruise, for $34.95.
Photo albums, frames and a small selection of cameras are also sold here, along with binoculars, tripods, batteries and memory cards.
On each cruise a different artist is aboard with his or her work. The artist is available to discuss their art and arrange for sales. On our cruise the art was good, and we much preferred this to the art auctions that are common on some ships.
Shops on the Boulevard
Also known as the Fortunes Casino Shops, this series of interconnected venues was flanked on one side by the casino (perhaps to capture some of your winnings?). Less upscale than the Galleria Boutiques upstairs, this was the place for informal cruise mementoes and sundries.
Starting from the forward end, Spirits and Such sells liquor, cigarettes and Dominican cigars; note that merchandize purchased here is held until the conclusion of the cruise. Next door, Glitz sells cultured pearl jewelry, lead crystals, Murrina glass jewelry, and other baubles. Serendipity had odds and ends ranging from drug store sundries (sun block, toothpaste, razors, tampons, etc.), snacks, stuffed animals and sunglasses. Last in the line is the Eclipse Shop, where Celebrity Eclipse logo merchandize—caps, T-shirts, etc.—can be purchased, along with travel gear.
Located next to the main pools, this spot was handy for outdoor goods left behind. We found sun hats, flip flops, T-shirts and sun block, but a much better selection was available at shops on Deck 4.
For those who are sold on the Celebrity style of cruising, this small office handles bookings for future cruises. Reserving a berth here avails shipboard credits on a future cruise.
The Solarium is a covered space at mid-ship, and the mostly-glass roof allows a lot of natural light; it is also air-conditioned. The pool is slightly elongated, which makes it better than the main outdoor pools for lap-swimming (it’s still a pretty short lap). There is a good number of loungers and, unlike the ones located outdoors, we never observed them all in use. A pair of small heated whirlpools flanks the pool, and the AquaSpa Café provides good bites close by.
Two side-by-side pools sit at mid-ship on Deck 12, ringed by four whirlpools. Although the space is all-outdoors, there is a good amount of shaded area on either side of the pools. But when the weather was good while at sea, every lounger was taken by mid-morning, and most never seemed to free up.
A stage is used for performances through the day—the ship’s party band put in an appearance here daily, and other acts were featured. There were also activities here: pool volleyball on several afternoons, dance lessons on another.
Moonlight Sonata Dining Room
Cast in silver and white, this two-story venue is impressive, dominated by a gleaming, two-story wine tower. This huge operation is open for breakfast and dinner daily, lunch on sea days, and one morning was devoted to an elaborate brunch buffet.
One side of menu at Moonlight Sonata stays the same throughout. The other half changes nightly and was our focus. All told, the nightly specials were hit-or-miss.
At breakfast the fruit plate was neither filling nor flavorful, but hot items delivered the goods. On the last sea day an elaborate brunch was served, including sushi, pastries, and chocolate fountains—white or dark.
The happy surprise was lunch. Mesclun salad was fresh, crispy. Pork with sauerkraut was hearty but not heavy, and perfectly cooked. Pineapple fritters were delicious for dessert. Though not fancy, this was one of our most satisfying meals on the cruise.
Moonlight Sonata has the longest wine list on Celebrity Eclipse, as well as the ship’s usual selection of cocktails and non-alcoholic offerings. The huge silver and glass wine tower at one end of the room was a conversation piece, but curiously we never saw waiters obtaining bottles from it.
For dinner there were two seatings nightly—6:00 and 8:30 p.m. Part of the upper level was to the Celebrity Select dining plan; they could arrive any time between 6:00 and 9:30 p.m. There were two formal nights.
Breakfast was served from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. daily (earlier on disembarkation day). Lunch was available on sea days from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., with one sea day late in the cruise devoted to brunch buffet from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Our Cabin: Inside Cabin
Inside cabins represent about 10 percent of the room inventory on Celebrity Eclipse and, being the least expensive cabin available, we didn’t expect anything grand. But the size—about 183 square feet—was reasonable for two people. The one key downside was an awkward closet that proved more trouble than it was worth. The cabin was serviced twice daily and our ice bucket refilled without prompting (ice machines are otherwise not available to guests).
Our bed was two single mattresses linked to create a queen-size bed; the seam between the two mattresses was noticeable but not too annoying. The mattress was relatively firm with a pillow-top and four pillows; it provided a good night’s sleep. At the foot of the mattress each corner was rounded, making it easier to navigate the confined space.
A backsplash of copper-y mosaic tile provides an accent behind the sink, otherwise the bathroom was short on décor. It was also small, as we expected, but there was good storage space for two people—seven stacked shelves each large enough for typical travel kit, plus larger shelf under the sink and a pair of small drawers suitable for jewelry and incidentals.
Towels varied in quality—some were plush and full, others were thin and frayed. A sign indicated we could hang towels on the rack if we wanted to use them again, or leave on the floor to replace, however ours were replaced some days even if they were hung on the rack.
The bathroom could have used a makeup mirror, and a line for hanging wet swimsuits would have been nice. One unexpected inclusion was a handy footrest in the shower for shaving legs.
There were reading lights on either side of the bed—both illuminated the whole sleeping area. Five switches controlled the individual lights in the room, one of which was on a dimmer; a master switch that turned all lights off next to the entry door. There was one additional light fixture for the bathroom only.
Above the bed were two extended compartments where a pair of pool towels were stashed. This was nice “bonus” storage, though we didn’t use the compartments (we were afraid of leaving something there when it was time to check out!).
Our major complaint: The maximum opening of closet was no more than 18 inches, making it difficult to store luggage or reach behind the side closed off by the doors (also, the sofa was positioned less than 12 inches from right side of closet doors). Otherwise there was decent storage space for two, primarily in the drawers next to the minibar; luggage could also be stored under the bed.
The large flat-screen TV—a 32-inch Samsung—was mounted to the wall in the middle of the room. It could be pulled out and angled toward the bed though the hinge was very tight and required some muscle to maneuver.
Channel selection was limited on our cruise—major networks were not available, but CNBC, Fox and BBC were. There was no DVD player in our room but there was a pay-per-view library of about 50 movies, mostly recent releases—$9.98 each. The TV had some interactive features, the most useful of which accessed room service, including add-ons like flowers, chocolates, cruise mementoes, etc.
Decks & Sun Areas
On either side of Deck 5 is a long walkway below the lifeboats that is nice for stretching the legs or sunning, but it doesn’t circle the ship. Smoking is allowed on the Port side.
The Lawn Club
Nearly a half-acre of real turf blankets much of Deck 15 aft, and a journey on Celebrity Eclipse will ensure that you’ll never take your lawn at home for granted again. We were told the lawn had been replaced a couple weeks prior to our cruise, and the conditions were tip-top—perfect for arranging a memorable picnic on good sea days. It’s also a place for light sports, starting with a three-hole putting course.
The Lawn Club is used as a venue for scheduled golf competitions (putting only, of course), bocce and croquet (what, no tennis?). Equipment is available for loan all hours of the day.
The Lawn Club has its own merchandize shop, with logo T-shirts, caps and flip flops made of plastic turf.
On one cloudless evening the top-deck and funnel lighting was switched off and the Lawn Club was a venue for stargazing, hosted by the ship’s resident astronomy buff, with blankets spread about the grass.
Patio on the Lawn
This unusual concept is another exclusive to the Celebrity line, a live glass blowing show conducted daily on the top deck of Eclipse. Just three ships have a home for this unique feature (Equinox and Solstice as well) and it was definitely an appealing element of our journey on the Celebrity Eclipse.
The two-hour shows are hosted by three staff-members from the Corning Museum of Glass, and beautiful glass pieces are produced at each show, with one of the Corning staff explaining the techniques being used as the pieces are fired in a pair of glowing ovens. The venue seats about 103 guests in an open-air environment (only partly covered from the elements). Shows at the beginning of the cruise were overflowing, with overhead monitors available to watch the action from the surrounding lawn.
As a non-profit entity, Corning does not allow glass pieces produced on the ship to be sold. However at the conclusion of each show one or two pieces are raffled off to lucky attendees.
A small museum that explains the glass-blowing process is around the corner from the stage area. A few pieces are displayed here, but better ones are found throughout many of the ship’s common areas.
There are no facilities on this desk, but that doesn’t keep a large contingent of cruisers from using this breezy deck for sunning and napping on the loungers. There are planters with grass sprouting from them, but we found the grass dead and brown during our cruise.
A jogging/walking track circuits mid-ship—five loops equals a kilometer, eight loops is a mile. The track was well trod during our cruise. There are lots of loungers here, supplementing the limited supply located around the pool, so this is the ship’s main area for sunning.
We did not stay in the rest of these cabins, but we have summaries here provided by Celebrity Cruises. Note that any photos on this page may be provided directly by the cruise line and not our reviewer.
By far the largest Stateroom with a veranda – plenty of room for you and the family.
Window staterooms with a sitting area where you can kick back and relax after a day that has been as busy or relaxing as you want it.
Deluxe Ocean View
Spacious stateroom located throughout the ship with a layout the same as AquaClass®.
When you stay in a Sky Suite, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary espresso and cappuccino.
These are some of our best located rooms – found at the aft of the ship with a similar layout to AquaClass® Staterooms.
The AquaClass® staterooms offer a tranquil retreat and provide unlimited access to many of the AquaSpa® amenities.
When you stay in a Royal Suite, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary espresso and cappuccino.
When you stay in a Celebrity Suite, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary espresso and cappuccino.
When you stay in one of our Penthouse Suites, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary espresso and cappuccino.
The AquaClass® staterooms offer a tranquil retreat and provide unlimited access to many of the AquaSpa® amenities.
Martini Bar and Crush
Cast in cool white, gray and green, this popular bar specializes in martinis. A sheet of frozen metal circles the bar, and soon after opening, guests start to scrawl their names in the frost. A small array of caviars is available, ranging from $18 to $120, each served with blinis. Combos including a glass or champagne or shot of vodka are available.
There’s a long list of nouveau martinis, plus the classics. Those who can’t decide can get a flight of six. The martinis are individually mixed and then shaken in a stack before being simultaneously poured into their respective glasses—a mean fete. The portions are 3 oz each, making this a solid value for $15 (and a great conversation starter, too).
A few feet away, the bar Crush keeps more than 30 bottles of vodka and gin shrouded in shaved ice. The vodkas are organized by new world and old, with more exotic specimens hailing from spots like Iceland and Kazakhstan. Themed flights of vodka are also available. The narrow bar at Crush seats 10 and is serviced by crew from the Martini Bar.
The ship’s standard bar menu is also available at the Martini Bar.
Main Dining Room
The Celebrity iLounge was Apple's first outlet at sea, and 27 MacBook Pros are available for guest internet. Classes are also offered (at an additional charge). The lighting is fairly bright here, cast by wall-size screens marketing Apple products—it's not a very relaxing place for web surfing, though we were told that some guests felt the signal was best in this part of the vessel, mid-ship Deck 6.
A small selection of Apple products is available for purchase, at standard prices—tax-free. As incentive to purchase the more expensive items, a complimentary Internet package is thrown in: Buy an 11-inch MacBook Air ($999) and earn 200 minutes of Internet (valued up to $150), etc.
WiFi on board was .75 per minute, though there were packages that brought the rate down (38 minutes for $24.95, 90 minutes for $49.95, etc.) along with specials that popped up on several days of the cruise to add bonus minutes to the packages.
Perfect for a romantic date night, Murano is a French restaurant inhabiting a 70-seat dining room. The room is made even more intimate by breaking the space up into several sections, and one of the rooms is occupied by a single larger table seating eight or more, flanked by wine cabinets. A minor quibble: Our table was located near the entrance and every time the door opened the restaurant’s (recorded) music soundtrack clashed with the jazz trio playing just outside through much of the meal.
We booked Murano for the first night of our cruise; doing so availed a 20 percent discount on the $40 surcharge. We put the savings to use by ponying up for the restaurant’s Gastronomic and Vineyard Tour, a five-course food and wine pairing option that added $49 to the surcharge, and which turned out to be the best meal of our cruise.
Overall, the wine pairing dinner was satisfying and, considering the quality of the accompanying 3-oz. pours (slightly more than a half-bottle in all), it was a fair deal. But with all of these food pairings available on the regular menu as well, we might have enjoyed our meal just as much sharing a well-chosen bottle of wine.
Murano has a strong list of both old and new world wines, with an emphasis on French wineries. Bottles start at about $35, and a selection of half-bottles is also available. Wines by the glass ranged $8-$27.
Murano is open nightly from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Lunch is sometimes offered at a surcharge, and on our last sea day a champagne high tea was available from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., for $25.
This popular bar on Deck 5 is located close to four of the ship’s restaurants, and it’s a good spot for subdued live music—usually either a string trio playing classical or a jazz trio later in the evening. Opening at 5:00 p.m., the lights are turned down very low and the seating is cushy.
The bar menu melds the ship’s usual selection, plus the signature cocktails of the four nearby restaurants ($8-$9). Wine and champagne are also available by the bottle or glass.
Shows and Entertainment
The ship’s disco gets going at various hours, with the musical focus highlighted in the daily ship newsletter. On some evenings, musical trivia games start the party, another night the DJ had a Rat Pack-focused lineup of tunes, while on another ballroom dancing was scheduled. But by 9:30 or 10:30 p.m. the energy shifted to one dominated by solid beats, albeit focused more on hits of the past couple decades more than today’s sound. An adjoining bar serves drinks.
During the day, a pair of ping-pong tables slides in for table tennis competitions and open play. XBox was also available here on a couple mornings.
This attractive theater seats more than 1100 and is built for spectacles.
The ship-sized spectacular Eclipse: The Show is a Cirque du Soleil-style revue, performed on one evening of our cruise. Ten acrobats and a team of singers perform the 45-minute show, and the fact that these acts are performed on a stage that’s gently undulating (when at sea) makes the derring-do all the more impressive. Other shows here were more traditional music and dance reviews that showed off the venue’s trap doors. On one evening a medley of Beatles songs was chased by various pop songs of the 70s and later; on another, a comedy and juggling act took center stage.
This wide, 185-seat theater is used for lectures, bingo, viewing major sporting events and the nightly movie. Seats at the side had limited or no visibility of the screen, and the quality of movie presentations was pretty marginal.
Two plugs at the desk handled 110 and 220 volt, and a plug at the top of the bathroom mirror could be used for shavers. A hair dryer was provided and the closet had a couple bathrobes. There was a 32-inch flat-screen TV that could be angled towards the couch or bed. The WiFi signal was adequate if not exactly swift. A safe was tucked away above the stocked minibar, and there was a small desk that was adequate for a laptop but not much more. A liter of bottled water was $4.50.
Located at Deck 3 mid-ship, this 12-story atrium is the focus of many activities, including the guest services desk and shore excursion desk. It can be very quiet during the day here, with an empty bar (Passport Bar) waiting for the odd customer, but during the evening hours this area springs to life, especially just prior to the two dinner seatings at Moonlight Sonata next door. Midway up the atrium, a large ficus tree sprouts from a giant metal sphere suspended next to the elevator shaft, a pretty nifty conceit—we’re just glad we don’t have to do the watering.
Nightly musical entertainment here is often quite good (it can be seen and heard from decks 4 and 5 mid-ship as well).
Adjoining the two kids facilities, this court is available for all. Basketballs and soccer balls are available for impromptu play throughout the day, and a few games were organized, like free throw and 3 on 3.
Presumably, this small space located at the front of Deck 11 is designated for those using the ship’s spa services. Though attended, we found it open to those of us not using the spa, and it was a quiet area for reading and relaxing. Coffee, tea and cold water were available.
This impressive, two-story lounge on Deck 11 is a great spot for sitting and reading, especially when the sun beams through the atrium. Celebrity Eclipse had an above-average lending library, with no borrowing formalities observed.
This open area on Deck 9 has tables and chairs set up for card games, and chess and backgammon sets are also available. Games were scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. daily, but the space can be used by anyone at any time.
Team Earth is a two-story lounge at mid-ship on Deck 7, themed around environmental awareness with handmade posters featuring generic platitudes pasted to the walls. A bank of video monitors displayed a loop of images. A giant globe is useful for plotting out future explorations, otherwise this space is little used, but it was a decent spot for reading or playing games.
As the bar designed to service the Lawn Club, faux wicker furniture invites lounging by the grass or facing the aft view, and if the weather’s decent at the titular hour, it is indeed a beautiful place for enjoying the sea. Note that the port side of this bar was one of the ship’s four designated smoking areas, and the only place cigar smoking was allowed.
The bar's signature cocktail is the Eureka—gin, triple sec, white cranberry juice, basil and cucumber ($7). Pitchers of margaritas were available for $28 and could be prepared with your choice of fruit-flavored agave syrup.
The standard bar list was available here but added several additional beers, two hard ciders, and several additional sparkling wines.
Sunset Bar was open 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. daily (moonlight cocktail, anyone?), but the venue closes during inclement weather.
The most unusual restaurant on Eclipse (or perhaps at sea anywhere), Qsine is a cozy 84-seat venue open for dinner only, at a surcharge. The most famous novelty is that the menu is presented on an iPad. Some guests didn’t care for this, and in truth, it didn’t actually make it easier to order. On the other hand, we didn’t have to reach for reading glasses in the dim light!
We found the $40 surcharge pretty steep, and the venue is not for all tastes, but it was entertaining. The décor was largely black and white, with upside-down lamps forming a chandelier of sorts. Our only complaint: the food did not justify the hype.
The menu at Qsine is definitely quirky (or should we call it qrky?), hewing to no single ethnicity or style—the only continent unrepresented was Antarctica. Oddly, the menu didn't specify appetizers and entrées—our server advised ordering four or five dishes each. With a pail of forks and spoons on the table, sharing was definitely encouraged.
We loved the cocktail list at Qsine, and the iPad provides the recipes for these amped-up versions of various classics. Upon ordering the "Q-jito", and our waitress brought a tray brimming with ingredients to the table, and assembled, muddled and poured them over ice—fun.
Though the divergent menu invites mixed drinks, there is a wine list and—given the wide range of tastes—an admirably robust selection of almost 30 half-bottles ranging $17 to $49. Full bottles started at about $25 for whites, and from about $27 for reds.
Qsine is open nightly from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Staff & Ship Policies
Service was uniformly excellent on Celebrity Eclipse. This included our cabin attendant, who made himself available for special requests at odd hours, and from wait staff in the restaurants. On the third day of the cruise, the concierge desk called the room to inquire if all our expectations were being met, a nice personalized touch.
Ship announcements were not piped into our cabin, but could be heard from the hallway. There were usually two announcements daily: one from the ship captain and a second from the cruise director. Announcements were made in English and most were translated (usually abbreviated) into Spanish.
Before re-boarding the ship at ports of call, cold towels and ice water and tea are offered next to a couple couches—it’s a good way of handling the line when a large number of passengers decide to board at once.
Celebrity recommends a tip of $11.50 per day, per guest for crewmember services, other than bartenders. The charge is automatically added to the bill during the cruise (and, according to Celebrity, 48 hours prior to disembarkation the amounts are locked in).
For bar service a 15 percent service charge is automatically added onto all beverage tabs, including minibar purchases.
Dress Codes and Alcohol Policy
Dress on Celebrity Eclipse was fairly casual by day, but suits and cocktail dresses came out on formal nights, usually two nights of a seven-night cruise.
For Celebrity, formal is a cocktail dress, gown or pant suite for ladies and a tux, suit or dinner jacket with slacks for gentlemen (full or partial tuxes can be rented from guest relations). On other nights, after 6:00 p.m. “smart casual” is the minimum: Skirt or pants for ladies with sweater or blouse, pants with sports shirt or sweater for the gents.
T-shorts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, sports caps and pool wear are not allowed into the dining room or specialty restaurants at any time.
Celebrity’s frequent-cruise program is the Captain’s Club. Guests may enroll in the program following their first cruise with Celebrity.
Health & Safety
General Health and Safety
A muster drill was held just prior to embarkation the first day. Names were checked off a list as we arrived for the safety briefing. We were not required to bring life jackets from our cabin to the drill.
A medical center is located on Deck 2 and was staffed daily from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A doctor and nurse are on-call for emergencies at all hours.
Smoking is not permitted in any cabins or their balconies and is prohibited indoors except at the casino and its bar on Deck 4.
Most of the ship’s outdoor areas are also designated as smoke-free, with the following exceptions: Smoking is permitted on Deck 5 on the open deck, port side; on Deck 12 at mid-ship and aft, port side; on Deck 14, at the Mast Bar; and on Deck 15 aft, on the port side at the Sunset Bar. Cigars are permitted only on Deck 15 aft, and there was usually a collection of stogie aficionados gathered here.
Slot machines covered the gamut of traditional games (Double and Triple Diamond, etc.) to modern games like Wheel of Fortune. Next generation slot machines offer new features such as multi-denomination machines that allow the guest to program the denomination being played. Video poker is also available, including slant-top multi-poker games. Table games include roulette, craps, blackjack and various types of poker.
Gambling is allowed for guests 18 and older. The casino has its own bar, offering the ship's standard drink list.
Modeled after a cozy, old school gentlemen’s club, Michael’s is tucked behind the Ensemble Lounge and seemed overlooked by many guests. Despite live piano, guitar or vocal music most evenings, Michael’s was rarely busy. Not staffed until around 6:00 p.m., this overstuffed setting was our favorite place to hang out with a book during the day.
Scotch and Irish whiskies are served here (most priced $7-$20), and there’s a stash of fine brandies and cognacs ranging up to Hardy Perfection at $450 a swill. The ship’s standard bar menu is also available.
The largest of Eclipse’s specialty venues, seating about 124. It's a romantic, beautifully decorated room, and every table has a sea view. We ate here once after a day at port. Though most slots were open, the maitre’d encouraged booking at 6:00, just as they opened. It also happened to be sail-away, and with a few other lucky couples, we snagged a prime window seat, and were treated to a glorious spectacle as the sun set and our port retreated in the distance. This scene alone was worth the evening at Tuscan Grill; alas, the food didn’t quite live up to the setting and excellent service.
Our meal started with a waiter bringing antipasto, allowing us to choose, accompanied by breads. Our waiter recommended the Tuscan onion soup, claiming it was very different from French onion soup; despite using some leeks in the broth and provolone cheese for the seared topping, we found it pretty similar to the onion soup served in the main dining room (and similarly salty).
A perky arugula salad benefitted from fresh greens and balsamic vinegar. The New York Strip, another waiter recommendation, was fine; but the tower of steak fries, bizarrely served fish ‘n’ chips-style in a newspaper wrapper, seemed excessive. At dessert we again took our waiter’s choice, crème brûlée, but the caramelized sugar crust on top was soft—perhaps made earlier in the day and left in the fridge?
Wine selection emphasizes Italians, starting around $32. By-the-glass options started around $7-$11. A nice selection of after-dinner drinks included limoncello and Vin Santo.
Tuscan Grill is open nightly from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Lunch was offered at a $20 surcharge on our last sea day.
This Mediterranean themed restaurant is open only to guests staying in AquaClass accommodations. As we were booked in a standard cabin, we didn’t dine here during our cruise.
Although we didn’t get to try it, the menu at Blu looked appealing. Celebrity describes the food as “clean cuisine, lighter updates to your favorite dishes.”
The long wine list at Blu placed an emphasis on organic, biodynamic or sustainably produced wines. Selections spanned the globe.
This bar is in a heavily trafficked location next to the Deck 5 shops and art gallery, yet it is rarely busy except between main dinner seatings (the bar opens at 5:00 p.m. nightly). The drink menu, designed by mixologist Junior Merino, incorporates fresh fruits, produce and high-end spirits—along with a dash of molecular gastronomy—to create heady concoctions. With a confident bartender from Eastern Europe at the helm, we loved hanging out here and watching the show.
Drinks like Lucky Cat and Berry Patch overflow with cold steam, while others incorporate ingredients like elderflower liqueur, rose petals, fig-infused bourbon, and guava-chipotle foam. At $12 each, they’re a bit of a splurge, but we thought this was a nifty experience.
Opening each morning at 10:00 a.m., this all-purpose bar is located opposite the guest relations desk in the Grand Foyer. It’s not used much except in the evening when live entertainment springs to life next to the elevators. Without live music to bring it to life, this spot felt a bit colorless to us.
The ship's standard bar list was available here.
Oceanview Café and Bar
The main buffet on Eclipse, this venue seats more than 850, with several tables outside next to the Oceanview Bar. Quality ranged considerably, the best items being those with little preparation or finesse. But with so much variety it was easy to figure out hits and avoid misses. And the ice cream bar—open till 9:00 p.m.—was a happy find.
All the breakfast standards are available, as well as more exotic fare like black pudding and congee. The extensive lunch spread includes various pizzas and pastas, a carving station, a sandwich station, Chinese, Mexican, Indian and English offerings, a long salad bar, various breads, cheeses, fruits and a dessert section. At dinner, the selection was reduced, though the choices were similar to the lunch offerings. Desserts were most varied at lunch, with baked goods, pastries and more.
Complimentary beverages included coffee, tea, and juice from concentrate. At breakfast a waiter circled with a cart offering refills of coffee, tea and orange juice.
The Oceanview has two bars, one inside and one outside on the small terrace facing aft. In addition to the ship’s standard bar list, a few cocktails are available for breakfast. Beers were $4.50-$6 and wine ranged $5.50-$8.50, or a mini-decanter for $9.95.
Breakfast was served from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. (the full spread wasn’t available for the first 30 and last 60 minutes). Lunch was available from 12 to 2:30 p.m., followed by afternoon tea from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Dinner was from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m., though the sushi station opened at 5:30 p.m. and the pizza/pasta station was available all afternoon. The drink station was open 24 hours.
Mast Grill and Mast Bar
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. till 6:00 p.m., the open-air Mast Grill on Deck 14 is the main dining option for those enjoying the pool.
The menu is short: hamburgers, turkey burgers, vegetarian burgers and hot dogs. Though not cooked to order, the cheeseburger we tried was juicy, the French fries on the side were cold and chewy.
There was beer and soda available at the Grill, along with a full selection of drinks at the dedicated bar on the starboard side. This was also one of the ship’s four designated smoking areas.
This busy spot serves the pool area. Most of the ship’s cocktails can be assembled here, but the focus is beer and margaritas. Live music erupts on the stage each afternoon, with multiple acts performing on sea days.
Bistro on Five
The fourth of the specialty restaurants on Celebrity Eclipse, Bistro on Five is, as the name implies, a casual eatery on Deck 5. There is a $5 surcharge for a meal of crepes—sweet or savory—with other choices paninis, a chef’s salad and daily soup. With simple dishes made to order, we found this bright, attractive room and small surcharge to be a worthwhile investment for a change of pace.
Our chef’s salad was decent, with crisp greens, dice egg whites, kalamata olives, chunks of ham and other goodies—our only complaint was that we would have preferred a more interesting lettuce than iceberg. While some of the crepes had a breakfast-y bent, we opted for the hot and spicy shredded steak crepe, which was tangy with cheese and jalapeno. Coupled with a dulce de leche crepe for dessert this added up to a good light lunch.
A small selection from the ship’s wine list was on hand.
Open from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily, we never observed Bistro on Five close to full, making this 62-seat venue a pleasant option to escape the occasional crowds.
Sky Observation Lounge
This large, multi-purpose venue sits at the front of Celebrity Eclipse on Deck 12. By day it is often empty, especially on port days, but it makes for a great spot for lounging on sea days. There is a DJ booth, a bandstand and dance floor, and leatherette chairs, loungers and couches fill the broad, airy space.
By day, trivia contests, children’s talent shows, dance classes and more are conducted as per the ship’s daily newsletter, and during the evening this is the spot for karaoke. The house band goes live most nights.
The standard ship cocktail list is available here.
This lounge connects directly to the ship’s conference rooms next door.
Café Al Bacio and Gelateria
This two-sided, 54-seat venue has the ship’s coffee stand on one side and a gelato bar on the other, with a common seating area of high-backed and barrel-shaped leather chairs.
A chilled case offered bite-size pastries and sandwiches at no charge, with the selection evolving through the day. The small bites are a treat—if one worked at it you could create a small meal from them.
We sampled a few of the gelati and liked the hazelnut and the mint best (some others lacked oomph). Dishes or cones are $3-$5, accompanied by toppings if desired.
At the café, espresso drinks are constructed at prices ranging $3-$4.50, with fancier concoctions—such as the Espresso Melba (peaches, hot chocolate, whipped cream)—running $5-$6. A selection of teas is also available for $4, and iced tea for $5. Any drink can be plussed-up with a shot of flavored syrup for 50 cents.
We found our caramel macchiato to be cloying and sugary—much sweeter than the same-named drink from Starbucks.
Café al Bacio served from 7:00 a.m. till 1:00 a.m.
Located next to the Solarium Pool, this is a good spot for quick meals, served buffet style. With just nine tables (seating four each), we found all tables were filled within minutes of opening for lunch, leaving us to eat our meal perched on a wall. But tables turn quickly, and for breakfast another morning we had no problem securing a seat.
Breakfast included plates of individual fruits, yogurt and granola with berries served parfait-style, and a nice selection of breads (loved the orange brioche).
At lunch there was a small salad bar with lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, large chunks of white onion, bean sprouts, shredded cheddar cheese and cold meats—turkey, ham and tuna. Prepared plates included small portions of gilled veggies and cold cuts, fresh water shrimp and avocado, sliced turkey and mushroom with Roquefort dressing, and a grilled chicken salad. For soup, cold melon ginger was offered.
A couple a la carte offerings could be ordered: broiled, steamed or poached salmon or tuna and grilled or seared pork loin or chicken breast. There was an organic poached fruits bar; we liked the peach poached in honey, cinnamon, thyme and rosemary, and the pear with vanilla, orange zest and star anise. Desserts included peach compote and passion fruit reduction and a raspberry tart, and there was a frozen yogurt machine.
Assorted flavored vitamin waters and bottled water were available (for a charge), plus fruit punch, orange juice and coffee.
AquaSpa Café was open from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. for breakfast, and from 12 noon till 2:30 p.m. for lunch.
Room service was on call 24 hours a day—almost. Breakfast can be delivered between 6:30 and 10:00 a.m. by hanging a ticket outside the cabin the night before. The regular menu, inside the room directory, is offered between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. All meals can be ordered by phone or by using an interactive system on the TV monitor.
Compared to the selection on some ships, the room service menu was not extensive on Celebrity Eclipse, thought the breakfast menu covered the conventional turf well.
Meals are brought on a wide plastic tray, covered with metal lids or plastic wrap. The plates are oversized (up to 12½-inch), which means a full meal (soup or salad plus entrée plus dessert, all on separate plates) doesn’t fit on the tray or the coffee table. Salt and pepper came in paper packets.
For breakfast, there were seven choices of juice, five types of tea, plus hot chocolate. Also available were cold and hot cereals, omelets, French toast and pancakes, and sides of meat and hash browns.
We ordered breakfast once using the TV monitor—18 minutes from order to delivery. The eggs were fine, with nice runny yolks; there was a surfeit of bacon. The English muffin was warm but untoasted, as requested, accompanied by butter and marmalade. But the coffee, served in a small metal pitcher, was weak and undrinkable.
We ordered lunch by phone. After taking the order, the attendant said our order would be delivered within 35 minutes—it actually arrived just 16 minutes later. The food was fine with one exception: The chicken noodle soup arrived lukewarm (despite a plastic wrap cover) and the noodles turned out to be full-length spaghetti noodles—farcical when tackled with a soup spoon. Otherwise, the grilled salmon was tasty, and came with a side of caper vinaigrette, a large portion of white rice plus a side of grilled vegetables drenched in basil olive oil. Dessert of warm apple pie was satisfying.
A small fridge came stocked with various drinks, including 50 ml “nips” of liquor ($6-$8.50), splits of white and red wine ($15), beer, cans of soda ($2), and water ($4.50).
A small selection of beer and wine was available by the glass through room service.
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