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Cruise Ship Information

Celebrity Eclipse is a Solstice-class cruise ship, operated by Celebrity Cruises. She is the sister ship of Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox, which entered service in November 2008 and July 2009, respectively. A fourth ship in the class, Celebrity Silhouette, entered service in Fall 2011. Celebrity Eclipse is the third Solstice-class cruise ship. She measures 122,000 GT and carries 2,852 passengers (double occupancy) plus crew.

The ship's godmother is Emma Pontin.


Atmosphere on board  

Since Celebrity Eclipse joined our fleet in 2010, she has dazzled and amazed even the most well-traveled cruisers. Like her Solstice Class sisters before her, she showcases spectacular vistas with 85% of all staterooms having sweeping veranda views. Celebrity Eclipse hosts Qsine, a dining venue with a unique and playful approach to familiar dishes from around the world, and Celebrity iLounge, a hip, modern Internet café offering guests what they have asked for—easy access to the Internet, inspiring classes and latest tech gadgets. Add the fresh green grass on the top deck's Lawn Club and the incredibly pampering services in Canyon Ranch SpaClub, and you may never want to set foot on land again.

Family with Kids/Teens

The forward area, including the basketball court on Deck 15, is ground-zero for kids aboard Eclipse. The court is sandwiched between the two dedicated kids' areas: X-Club (for kids ages 12 to 17) on the port side and Fun Factory (for 3- to 11-year-olds) on the starboard side. The rooms are of about equal dimensions and are stocked to the rafters with age-appropriate gear. The teen area also features a soft drink "bar" with a popcorn machine. Also clustered with the kids' clubs is the video arcade. In addition to that room's complement of the latest bleep, beep and zap machines, kids also have access to Wii consoles and foosball and air-hockey tables.

The well-staffed youth program includes organized activities for five age groups, as follows:

Shipmates, ages 3 to 5, and Cadets, ages 6 to 8, offer dinosaur hunts, SpongeBob trivia, face-painting and water games. Ensigns (9 to 11) are engaged in scavenger hunts, pool games, bingo, basketball and game shows. Teens are split up into two groups. Those in the 12 to 14 sector participate in "tweens" activities like pool Olympics, game shows and karaoke, and those in the 15 to 17 group, which has less structured schedules, have a prom party and a "Dancing with the Stars" event.

Designated "Toddler Time" sessions are organized for the younger-than-3 set. Toddlers are permitted in Fun Factory only with parental supervision.

In lieu of group baby-sitting, Eclipse provides lunch, dinner and slumber parties for kids, ages 3 to 11, so parents can lunch, sup and party at night sans kids. These "parties" go for $6 per child, per hour. In-cabin babysitting for children 12 months or older is subject to availability. Fee is $19 per hour for up to three children in the same family.

Family accommodations include four family cabins and 121 connecting cabins, as mentioned above.

 
Past Passenger Programs

The Program: Captain's Club, a three-tiered system
 
Perks: "Classic" members (those who have earned one to four credits for cruising with Celebrity) get perks including access to the loyalty desk and loyalty host, a premium onboard discount booklet, a one-category upgrade (when available), pre-sailing dining reservations at alternative eateries on applicable vessels, and little freebies like wine tasting and golf clinics. "Select" cruisers (five to nine credits) receive all of the above as well as a complimentary wine seminar, priority status to shore excursion waitlist, an invitation to the senior officers' cocktail party, 25 percent off any Internet package, complimentary pressing of two clothing items, and discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or more.
 
Added perks for "Elite" members (10 or more credits) include a private shipboard departure lounge with continental breakfast, priority tender service, priority waitlist for dining room seating, elegant tea service, complimentary use of Thalassotherapy pool use on Celebrity Mercury, complimentary access to the Persian Garden (port days only), access to the new Captain's Club Lounge at Michael's Club (certain hours of the day), 90 free Internet minutes, one free item of dry cleaning, a complimentary bag of laundry (wash, dry and fold), discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or more, and the ability to join Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society at the Diamond level.
 
All members get the traditional invite to the captain's cocktail party, newsletter and chance to cruise on reunion voyages.
 
Incentive to Belong: As Celebrity's ships get larger, preferential boarding and disembarkation is a nice benefit. Also, because the tier system is based on credits -- not just the number of cruises taken -- there are ways to move up the ranks faster. For example, you'll earn an extra credit for booking a Concierge-level stateroom or higher, or for sailing for 12 nights or more, for a possible total of three credits for one voyage.
 
Members-Only Deals: Captain's Club members are offered several special discounted sailings per year, some of which can be a good deal compared to retail rates, especially if it also includes an onboard credit or discount certificate. Compare prices to verify the savings.
 
For More Info: Visit the Captain's Club section on Celebrity's Web site or call
 
Fitness And Spa 
 
Canyon Ranch took over Celebrity's spa offerings in May 2014 and the AquaSpa was rebranded the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea. Spa services include a dizzying array of spa treatments like a variety of massage offerings from sports to New Age and everything in between. A standard 50-minute massage is $110, excluding bells, whistles and hot stones. Quality and experience of therapists is a bit hit-and-miss; our Swedish massage was bone-crunchingly hard, and we had to tell the practitioner to lighten up a number of times. (She ultimately apologized, saying "I don't know my own strength," which seemed odd coming from a massage professional.)

It also offers teeth-whitening and acupuncture. Beware of the product sales pitch. (Feel free to just say no.)

The Persian Garden, a Millennium-class idea expanded to Eclipse and its siblings, is central to Celebrity's AquaSpa concept. The area includes a coed sauna and steam room, tropical rain shower and heated oceanview relaxation chairs. The facility is available for free to AquaClass passengers and for $99 to all other passengers (based on a one-week cruise). AquaSpa pools include a circular spa pool, a swim pool and two whirlpools in the absolutely gorgeous Solarium.

Though the AquaSpa pools are closed to children, the main pool area does include a family pool (shallow for youngsters), separated narrowly from the "Sports Pool" on one side and the "Wet Zone" on the other. The Wet Zone is a flat area with vertical fountain jets that fire at random; it's great fun for kids to play in or for anyone wishing for a quick cooldown. Together these three form Eclipse's main pool area, accompanied by four hot tubs.

A fully stocked and staffed gym sports all the newest fitness machines, as well as a serpentine jogging track (eight laps to the mile). Classes in yoga, aerobics and the like cost $11 per class. The nicest recreational area is the Lawn Club, and though Celebrity is careful to avoid excess wear and tear on the living grass, the ship's own backyard does feature a bocce court and a three-hole putting course. At the forward end of the ship, on Deck 15, is a basketball court.

 
Food & Dining

Dining choices abound aboard Celebrity Eclipse. Besides the main dining room, passengers can eat in three specialty dinner restaurants, a restaurant reserved exclusively for passengers in AquaClass staterooms, a crepe and panini bistro, a lido buffet with specialty stations, a poolside grill, a spa cuisine buffet and grill, and a coffee bar and gelateria. Of the 10 restaurants, six are open for breakfast, five for lunch and seven for dinner.

The towering, airy Moonlight Sonata is the ship's main dining room, spanning two decks at the aft end of the ship. The room is bright and light in tone and makes ample use of the ship's signature design element, glass. In fact, instead of a wine cellar, one end of the dining room is accented with a two-story glass wine tower, replete with tall ladders to reach bottles at the highest levels.

Surprisingly for a ship with 2,800-plus passengers, this single restaurant feels spacious and uncrowded. There is ample room to navigate between tables, and the room's openness, combined with extensive carpeting on the floors, results in a tolerable noise level.

Passengers can choose from the more traditional set-seating, set-tablemate scenario (with dining times typically at 6 or 8:30 p.m.) or Celebrity Select, which gives passengers the opportunity to dine at any time between 6:30 and 9 p.m. Options include advance reservations or simply showing up.

Moonlight Sonata is also open for breakfast and lunch and is all open seating.

Service is prompt, attentive and friendly. The dinner menu is not overloaded with choices, offering a total of seven entrees, including a salad entree. Although no separate spa, vegetarian or heart-healthy menus are added on, at least one choice per course qualifies for each category. In addition, the chef suggests his favorite from the available options, and several "classic favorite" options are available nightly, including Caesar salad, salmon, New York strip steak and creme brulee.

We found the cuisine to be a mix of French, Italian and "New American" styles, with contemporary popular ingredients -- phyllo, Yukon Gold potatoes, feta cheese, fresh fennel, etc. -- conspicuously present.

We'd also like to give kudos to the entree salads. We're generally not fans of main-course salads at dinner, but these are really hearty concoctions, such as an arugula salad with sliced grilled "Gaucho" steak, fresh marjoram and bacon ranch dressing. Lunch salads in Moonlight Sonata also shined and were one of the only midday menu items that could lure us away from Oceanview Cafe or the Bistro on Five creperie. The other temptation was a hamburger served in the dining room because the Lido Deck grill was absolutely insistent on serving all burgers very well done. The chefs were more flexible in Moonlight Sonata, even if medium rare to rare was a Quixotic quest.

Nine decks directly above Moonlight Sonata is the Oceanview Cafe, an expansive multi-station buffet for breakfast and lunch and an open-seating casual alternative venue for dinner. Outside of regular mealtimes, ice cream, pizza and pasta, sushi, afternoon tea and late night snacks (from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.) are on offer, all without additional charge. A juice bar there serves up particularly delicious fresh-squeezed OJ, but it will set you back a few bucks.

The buffet layout is excellent, with many serving and prep stations situated as islands in the middle of the room, rather than stretched along the walls. The result is a dependably uncrowded, spacious operation offering an extensive number of choices.

Besides the conventional dinner choices, which tend to mirror what's served each evening in Moonlight Sonata, British (bangers, English bacon, baked beans) and Asian (miso soup with mix-ins, tofu, rice) stations, as well as vegetarian and carved meat stations round out the mix. The standard breakfast selections don't change (omelet station, Canadian and American bacon, turkey and pork sausage, potatoes, fruit, pastries and breads). We found the breads superb, especially the house-made English muffins.

Lunch features one changing "Chef's Choice" station (primarily a carving station for ham, leg of lamb, beef, etc.) in addition to tacos, pastas, stir-fry, sandwiches, soups, salads and other specialty stops. Sandwich choices include hot (corned beef) or cold (turkey, chicken salad). Diners can customize their pasta choices with sauce selection (marinara, alfredo, garlic/butter) or select meats, spices and veggie mix-ins for their stir fries. There is plenty of elbow room between tables, and attentive waiters are available for assistance for those who require it.

Other casual options include the Mast Grill, on the same level as the Oceanview Cafe, but forward of the main swimming pool. It serves burgers, hot dogs, fries and the like. One deck down, the AquaSpa Cafe serves healthy, spa cuisine breakfast and lunch by the spa pool. We found it a great choice for lunch, especially for the salads and simple grilled or poached seafood choices.

Deck 5 is the epicenter for specialty dining. We were particularly fond of "Bistro on Five," a cheery little casual eatery hugging one side of the atrium. Bistro's main fare is crepes, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert crepes. Don't miss the dulce de leche or banana, nutella and pistachio crepes, and ask for either of these with a scoop of vanilla gelato from the gelateria next door. Bistro on Five also features panini sandwiches (steak, chicken or vegetable), soups and salads. Since Bistro on Five opens at 8 a.m., we found it a delightful choice for a quiet, almost private, breakfast, especially in the early days of the cruise, before many passengers had discovered it. We also liked the "Build Your Own" crepe option, which consisted of a palate-pleasing palette of scrambled eggs and omelet-type ingredients. Our favorite sandwich was the marinated flank steak with lettuce, mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onions and cheddar. Bistro on Five is open 'til a half hour past midnight and requires no reservations, though there is a $7 per-person service charge.

One of my favorite spots for a light nosh or snack was Cafe al Bacio, a coffee bar with fee-extra beverages, located across from Bistro on Five. The food, from pastries to small sandwiches, is complimentary. A gelato bar dishes out cold concoctions.

Aft from the atrium on Deck 5 is the entryway into the Ensemble Lounge, an energetic, convivial watering hole that's ideal for pre-dinner drinks. In one of the best pieces of interior architecture we've seen on any ship, Ensemble forms a nexus from which Celebrity's signature Michael's Club and four specialty restaurants -- Blu, Murano, Qsine and Tuscan Grille -- fan out like spokes of a wheel. Because of this architecture, not only does this section of the ship have the feeling of a sophisticated city's "Restaurant Row," but it also places the four specialty restaurants such that they all have beautiful picture window views of the sea.

Blu, technically not a specialty restaurant as much as it is a private dining room reserved for passengers booked in Celebrity's new AquaClass category, has a menu similar in course structure to that of Moonlight Sonata (appetizers, soups and salads, salad entrees, main entrees, Everyday Classics and Sommelier Recommendations). It differs in both the number of offerings (one or two fewer per most categories) and the style of cuisine, relying less on rich sauces and sauteing and more on natural reductions, ragouts and herbs. AquaClass passengers do not have to pay extra to dine there, but suite passengers may book tables on a space-available basis, for which they are charged a $5 per person gratuity. The restaurant is otherwise off-limits to regular passengers.

The ambience of Tuscan Grille, Eclipse's Italian steakhouse restaurant is described by Celebrity as "Napa-meets-Old-World-Italy," an impression that we concurred with as we entered through a "wine cave"-like archway into a genteel room with ornate furniture and place settings. Tuscan Grille also has the best view of any restaurant aboard the ship, being situated all the way aft. A meal in Tuscan Grille, in our estimation, is best enjoyed on the early side, while there are still seats right up against the wall of glass facing the trailing wake of the ship, and before the sun has gone down. The grilled meats and seafood can't be beat, although we were mildly disappointed in the pasta choices -- only four, and the sauces are conventional: Alfredo, Bolognese, Toscana (meatballs and tomato sauce) and Parmiggiana. Other signature touches are an antipasti bar and Caesar salad prepared tableside. We enjoyed a perfectly grilled veal chop, preceded by the excellent preparation and presentation of a Caesar salad for two. The per-person charge is $35.

Celebrity is renowned for its high-quality French alternative restaurants. On Eclipse, the restaurant's called Murano, and the theme is Continental with a tilt toward new French. The centerpiece is a six-course tasting menu, featuring appetizer, soup and salad, fish course, palate cleanser (sorbet), meat course and dessert; all of the dishes except the sorbet come from the a la carte menu. There are two choices for each course on the tasting menu, and there's an option of a wine paired with each. It may be heresy, but we chose to order a mere two-course meal, feeling we'd be spending a month on the treadmill just to make up for six courses of caloric intake.

The a la carte menu choices are bold -- caviar, escargot, sweetbreads, foie gras, venison and the like -- but familiar faves abound: filet mignon, duck breast, lobster tail, surf and turf. I chose seared sweetbreads, which came out delicate, light and crispy, followed by Dover Sole Veronique, a favorite of mine, sauteed with white wine and grapes. The cover charge for Murano is $45 per person, or $89 per person to pair wines with all the tasting menu courses, and a "Market Price" surcharge for a caviar option.

One practice in Murano left a bad taste and that's the upselling. We were offered Champagne to start our meal as if it were a hospitality gesture (and only later were we presented with a bill for $20 per glass). We also noticed that a crewmember came around handing out roses to the ladies -- and then asked for payment.

Saving the best for last, Qsine (pronounced "cuisine") is a new restaurant concept for Celebrity, replacing the Asian restaurant on the first two Solstice-class ships. It is a massive hit, so much so that it appears on Celebrity's even newer Silhouette, as well. It's an interesting blend of tapas-style tastes with gourmet interpretations of ethnic comfort food. The menu, presented on an iPad, includes standouts like Kobe beef sliders, sushi lollipops, lobster fritters, "chintinis" (Chinese melange served in martini glasses), "disco" shrimp (poached tiger shrimp) and, for dessert, beignets, cupcakes and cheesecake bites. Cost is $45.

Room service is available 24 hours a day from a limited menu of sandwiches, pizzas, salads and desserts.

 
Entertainment

During the day, Celebrity offers a number of choices for enrichment and entertainment. Those who can't bear the thought of disembarking without winning just one more luggage tag can compete in multiple games of trivia, game shows and the ever-popular Celebrity chestnut, "Battle of the Sexes."

Passengers who would like to disembark with a bit more brain power than they came aboard with can attend educational programming that ranges from computer lessons in the Internet cafe to lectures on a range of subjects. These are organized via partnerships with Rosetta Stone (for foreign language classes), Smithsonian Journeys (for erudite speakers at Eclipse's "Beyond the Podium" series) and Apple. On our sailing, the two lecturers were a self-improvement specialist and a real-life crime scene investigator discussing forensic science.

Celebrity Tastings, an annex to the art auction's main gallery, hosted samplings of wine and other libations, such as single malt and Irish whiskies, Port wine and rums. A dedicated wine-tasting venue on Deck 4 called Cellar Masters offers wine-tasting with knowledgeable sommeliers. Also, passengers can conduct do-it-yourself wine tastings 24 hours a day in Cellar Masters by purchasing a "wine card," inserting it in an automatic dispenser for a particular type of wine, and dispensing a measured one, two or four ounces into their glasses. It may be that the lack of bartenders gives Cellar Masters a chilly, soulless feel. (We're not big fans of the automatic dispenser for wine.) But, it was never crowded; in fact, it was often empty.

If you like a convivial bar, the Martini Bar was so much fun that it was a regular stop on our travels, evenings and even afternoons on sea days. Bartenders are inventive and creative and bring a Cirque du Soleil interpretation of cocktail-mixing that's just fabulous.

Arguably, one of the most interesting enrichment experiences is the "Hot Glass Show," where passengers can sit surrounded by the grass of the Lawn Club and watch a master from the Corning Museum of Glass practicing his or her art, with a second artist providing commentary. This goes light-years beyond the demonstrations we're all used to seeing at the Murano glass factories.

Then there are the standbys we all expect: art auctions, bingo, dance lessons, wine appreciation and the like.

One disappointment -- and this comes from someone who doesn't spend a lot of time in casinos -- is that the casino on Eclipse is entirely too small for a 2,850-passenger ship and could use more gaming tables. At most, four blackjack tables would be open at any given time, and only one of those had a $5minimum.

At night, Celebrity Eclipse features a nice range of entertainment offerings -- on deck, in lounges or in the main showroom -- that cover a variety of musical styles. These include a solo steel pan player, a classical string quartet, solo pianists, a jazz combo and big-band stylings from the main show band. There's disco and dance music in Quasar, the ship's nightclub.

The Celebrity Eclipse Theatre, the ship's main show lounge, is a well-designed room with excellent sightlines and semicircular rows of comfortable theater seats, all with good views of the stage. There are no tables, but drink holders have been added to the armrests. Normally three production shows take place on a seven-night cruise; one of the shows is a Cirque du Soleil-inspired circus show, while the other two are standard revues with the star aerialists used like featured dancers. Other main show lounge performances include a singer, a comic and a magic show, along with welcome aboard and farewell shows.

One very pleasant surprise is that Celebrity's beginning to offer evening entertainment up at The Lawn Club; a jazz concert one night under a starry sky with wine and cheese (you pay for the wine, though not the cheese) was an absolute delight.

Shore excursions were handled efficiently and smoothly. We didn't find anything new or unique on our sailing, but we were, after all, on a Caribbean cruise.

 
Staterooms

Celebrity Eclipse features a variety of cabin categories to suit any passenger's needs, from tiny insides to lavish 1,500-square-foot suites, and 60 percent of all accommodations feature verandahs.
 
Eclipse standard cabins -- insides, outsides and balconies (called "Deluxe Oceanview") -- average a paltry 170 square feet (38-square-foot balconies), about 15 to 20 feet below the industry average.
 
Decor features hotel-style white bedding with light brown accents, rust carpeting and striking red love seats thrown in for a shock of color, all of which replaced the flamboyant turquoise-and-yellow Caribbean decor of the old abodes. (For a before and after, check out part three of our refurb slideshow.)
 
Insides, outsides and balconies feature two twin beds that convert to queens, safes, small desks, stocked mini-fridges, flat-screen TV's and bathrobes. The mini-fridges are locked; have your room steward open yours and clear out the for-fee booze if you want to store your wine or water. Shower-only bathrooms have hair dryers, shampoo, moisturizer and bar soap. There is no shower gel.
 
Drawers might be some issue for because they were a little stressed for space -- especially with having to pack for a 12-night cruise. There are drawers hidden in a secondary closet in each room, which also houses the safe. There's another drawer above the flat-screen TV, which is also where extra bedding is stored.
 
For those looking for a little more space and a few more amenities, the ConciergeClass cabins are 191 square feet with 42-square-foot-balconies. Added touches for concierge passengers include welcome bubbly, a pillow menu, nightly canapes, a 32-inch TV and nicer balcony furniture. In 2012, Celebrity expanded the ConciergeClass services to include an exclusive pre-departure lounge with free coffee and juices. Sky Suites come in at 251 square feet with 57-square-foot balconies.
 
Continuing up in size, Family Oceanview cabins are 271 square feet with enormous 242-square-foot verandahs that feature pairs of loungers and tables with two chairs each. Inside, there's a partition separating the "master bedroom" from the lounge/extra bed area.
 
Eight 467-square-foot Celebrity Suites feature lovely floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows (but no balconies), a jetted tub and a pair of entertainment centers. The eight 538-square-foot Royal Suites (195-square-foot balconies) add more space and feature whirlpool tubs on the verandahs. On the top of the list are a pair of 1,432-square-foot Penthouse Suites with massive, 1,098-square-foot balconies. These suites also feature a baby grand piano, should you wish for a private concert or to tinkle the ivories on your own.
 
All suite passengers enjoy the service of a butler, who can help pack and unpack, set up in-cabin meals and help make onboard arrangements. Other suite extras include complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant (one dinner for cruises of seven nights or less, two for cruises of eight nights or more); priority check-in; in-suite breakfast, lunch and dinner; complimentary espresso and evening hors d'oeuvres.
 
There are 26 wheelchair-accessible cabins, including insides, oceanviews, balconies, concierge class cabins and Sky Suites.

Tipping
 

Celebrity suggests a per-person per-day gratuity of $3.50 for the waiter, butler (Suites only) and stateroom attendant; $4.00 for Concierge Class stateroom attendant; $2.00 for the Assistant Waiter; and $.75 for the Assistant Maitre d' and the Assistant Chief Housekeeper.

All guests are given a form to sign if they wish to have these gratuities charged to their shipboard account. Children under 12 who are the third or fourth person in the stateroom pay only half these amounts. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion. Note: Passengers who choose "Celebrity Select Dining" before their cruises are required to prepay gratuities (prior to boarding).

Alternatives: If you wish to adjust the amount you pay, this can be done onboard at guest relations.
Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills.
 
Fellow Passengers

Celebrity attracts an upper middle-class passenger base, the majority of whom are experienced travelers. It was mostly couples or groups on my particular cruise, typically in the 45 to 70 age range. During the summer and over school holidays, the number of kids onboard may balloon to 250 or more.
 
When Constellation is in Europe, the passenger mix is international, with a roughly even blend of North American and European cruisers, most of whom hail from the United Kingdom (the largest Continental contingent), France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. Passengers from Japan, Israel and South America were also onboard our sailing. In the Caribbean, expect the breakdown to skew much more North American.
 
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer a vibrant, high-energy environment; lots of singles and children; open, single-seating or anytime dining; a small-ship cruise experience

Our recommendation

The stylish ships of Celebrity Cruises feature high-end decor, modern technology, excellent enrichment programs, superior dining options and outstanding spas.
Celebrity Cruises is best for: Adult couples, cruise line also attract families with teen-agers, family reunions, multi-generational; Young adults looking for soft adventure and sports activities; Boomers looking for a cruise with lots of enrichment at sea; Spa lovers and Travelers who want a taste of luxury at a premium cruise price.