Having scoured the reviews from other CC members prior to sailing I thought I would add my comments on the Celebrity Eclipse Sailing of 6/23 to Alaska.
I have cruised many times to Alaska, and most recent trips being with HAC, NCL, RCI and Carnival, this was my first cruise with Celebrity. I was travelling with my elderly mother so activities were a bit 'tempered' by her abilities. I had done many excursions on past trips and was trying to keep this as economical a trip as possible. As such I cant speak too much to the shore ex or specialty dining this trip. However it in no way colored my review of the trip which was excellent.
Embarkation: Canada Place is a bit fragmented in comparison to line dedicated terminals in MIA or FLL but the process was smooth. You are asked by Celebrity not to arrive between 10am and 1pm to avoid the longest of lines, and this is advice well heeded. If getting on the ship first is of interest, arrive before 10am however your cabin wont be ready until 1pm. We arrived shortly after 1, moved quickly through the lines, was handed a lovely glass of champagne on arrival and went straight to our cabin on deck 6.
Cabin 6128 was in the forward third of the ship. The cabin was well appointed and very clean. Ample storage is a little awkward to get to, but doable. Lots of little drawers in the bathroom, however actual counter space is minimal. Our steward Avi was on hand immediately to note any requests and requirements we had for the week. Our proximity to elevators was important in our selection of cabin but there still was a good deal of walking to get to various elements of the ship. The ship is well thought out with the activities either being on decks 3-5 or 12-15 with all the other decks being cabins only for the most part. All the specialty dining is concentrated on Deck 5 so for someone not partaking were not inconvenienced by any access restrictions. We enjoyed the balcony a lot as the 2 cruise days are very close to land on the inside passage, as well Mom enjoyed the Hubbard Glacier from there while I was out on deck. Don't be dissuaded by a partially obstructed view - you can still see outward just fine (from what I could tell) and you're not missing anything by not looking straight down. As well in the summer months the sun sets well after 10pm and the sunsets are lovely.
Ports: I hadn't been to Sitka for years and was pleased to see it has maintained its small town charm. Cant say the same for Juneau and Ketchikan which are full of the typical cruise passenger stores of diamonds, watches and 'authentic' souveniers. If you search a little off the beaten path you can find more genuine crafts and souveniers - well worth it in my opinion but you need to know what you're looking for. Folks going on tours would only have limited time and would see much more of the real Alaska and what this area is all about. Shore excursions seemed to be well organized both on and off the ship and I think the bulk of passengers took advantage of the many offerings. It can be very pricey to take some of the trips - well worth it to do your homework ahead of time. Celebrity did their marketing prior to the cruise, but also had a shore-ex channel on TV and various travel ads and talks while onboard. One aside was I thought Celebrity was very good at keeping their 'pushing' to non-verbal methods. There was only one PA from the captain and cruise director a day (sometimes a second from the Capt when we were leaving port, but certainly not as many announcements as say CCL).
Weather: we were blessed with unseasonably warm weather and I think it caught a few of us by surprise. It was 80F in Juneau! Like others have mentioned, layers are key. However this was a real odd one and even the locals were commenting. I wish I had taken shorts, but had gone more with layering UP not down. We had clear skies in all ports and were able to get very close to Hubbard Glacier.
Entertainment: Cruise director Lauren Vaitkus was excellent - very gracious, professional and hospitable. She was absolutely everywhere both day and night and presided over a great team of activities and entertainers. Main shows were Rondell Sheridan (comedian) Broadway Cabaret (production show) Uptown (Motown) Rock City (production show) Brian Bradley (comedian) Not Really 3 Tenors (music and comedy) Topper (production show). There was an amazing amount of other activities throughout the day and nights. I was really quite surprised at the quality and variety of the activities and have seen a few things I have never seen before in all my cruising years. Celebrity - you won me over here!
Food: One the first sea day you have the opportunity to tour the main galley and as well are given the opportunity to experience all the extra fee restaurants with a brief walk through - a worthwhile experience if you haven't made up your mind what you'd like to try and is one last opportunity for them to try and fill any open dining spots. The Chef and Food mgr answered questions while the organized groups were taken through the area. I can see why people are taken with QSine and le Petit Chef - its VERY unique and something Id probably try once if I get another opportunity. Id say it was more for the show than the food. The other locations are more food focused - if money were no object Im sure any or all of them would provide a wonderful meal. We did just fine with Select Dining in the Moonlight Sonata dining room. There was plenty of options each night (and classics to choose from every night) and the service was very nice. We never waited more than 2-3 minutes no matter what time we showed up and strangely were seated in the same section of the dining room each night (as I noticed were a number of others)so got to know our waiter and assistant. The Ocean View restaurant on deck 14 was the location of choice for breakfast and occasional lunch or snack. There was something for everyone if you took the time to look around and also enjoyed the Spa Café . I heard from one chef that lunch in Ocean View had 87 different choices - I believe it. Busy times could be a little chaotic with people and plates going in all directions. Its not for everyone Im sure, but there was no lack of options or assistance.
On a side note one of my kudos has got to be for Celebrity having an abundance of staff. They had staff giving out hand sanitizer, staff attending each public washroom, staff maintaining the pool areas..all there to help you, not to 'sell you'. In a time of cutbacks and shortages I have got to say Celebrity really has exceptional and plentiful staff/crew. And each and every one of them, without fail, would greet you as you passed by, no matter the area of time of day. I find that amazing, commendable and exceptional - Celebrity I will be back!
Disembarkation: Vancouver with 3 ships in can be a bit of a zoo. Its a smooth as can be, but its still a fast moving swell of people, luggage and traffic. If you can manage your own luggage and know what you're doing, the 'Express Walk off' is the way to go. The first people were walking at 7:35. As we needed wheelchair assistance we were gathered in the Sushi lounge and called with our respective baggage number/colour. Being from Vancouver we were not in a hurry, but was still off the ship by 8:45 and out of the downtown core by 9:25. Lots of people seemed to figure out the Skytrain option (a bit of a walk with luggage but inexpensive and fast) Taxi lineup moved quickly but was most definitely the longest queue.
I think that covers most, but happy to answer any questions as others had helped me before I went. In summary I was most pleasantly surprised by Celebrity, would definitely recommend the Eclipse and am already starting to look at next year for the Caribbean.