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Found 3,093 results

  1. I searched but I could not find .. On one of the news sites there is a snippet on Australia’s own Scenic Eclipse about to go to sea trials. Will make its way south and float around for a while. Includes Antarctica, $$$$$. https://www.escape.com.au/holiday-ideas/cruises/aussie-ship-the-worlds-been-waiting-for/image-gallery/a301d1e94b7b2af1fb7897fc752aea88 More details on the ship from the Scenic website https://www.scenic.com.au/eclipse
  2. Generally I think we all are much more Celebrity Critics than we are Celebrity Compliments, so thought I would share this. To me it's one of the reasons why Celebrity keeps my loyalty. It shows me again and again that sometimes it's the things you DON'T see/affect you that matter the most Celebrity Eclipse March 24th Sailing Day 3 of a 15 night cruise (next port Lima Peru ~.1.5 days out)) about 10-12 of us had gotten together in a smallish conference room for a small celebration. During the get together one in our group started convulsing and stopped breathing & he turned blue. Luckily no one panicked and we took the right steps We called the emergency number on the phone We flagged down a nearby ships officer who used his mobile to alert everyone that needed to be notified We cleared the room of chairs and got the man on the floor and started cpr, and after about a minute he started breathing again Within about 2-2.5 minutes, about a half dozen senior officers , a doctor, and a nurse arrived on the scene with a gurney to move the man to medical. We would find out that the plan was to move him off in Lima, Peru. Until then he would be kept stable and monitored in the ships hospital. We were just glad he was breathing and even making jokes the next day, even though he realized how serious it was. Celebrity has a policy of "No one is left behind" so a member of the specially trained "care team" was left with the afflicted gentleman and wife in Peru. She arranged for a hotel for the wife (The care team member stayed in an adjoining room at the hotel), and stayed with her for the next three days, providing comfort and translating everything since not a lot of the people in the hospital spoke English, and neither of the couple spoke Spanish. She would tell us later on that Erica (the Guest Relations Care Team Member) was their "true angel", and they really don't know what they would have done without her. The human resources manager on Eclipse (Kathleen I think her name was) also checked in with all of us individually to see how we all were doing after it all happened, and to see if we needed anything. The couple was medevaced home and Erica returned to Guest Relations after 4 days in Peru. He still has some medical battles ahead at home, but the whole team both onboard and shoreside showed genuine compassion, and really treated them both like they were family members, not just cruisers. When I returned home I was recounting the story to a friend, and she said "when I hear of a company go above and beyond obligations, and treat people like that it restores my faith"
  3. Cheers Cruise Critic! It is thankfully that time again for another Live cruise blog! Edward and I are leaving Chicago for Vancouver to join the Celebrity Eclipse on Sunday the 19th for our first Alaskan Cruise! Not only have we never been to Alaska before but we have not been to Vancouver either, so this will be a cruise with many firsts for us and we are very much looking forward to it. If you don’t feel like reading this first post (I know it might be a bit boring with lots of details) feel free to skip to the bottom of this post to see my youtube video with a quick introduction to our trip. For those of you who have not followed us before I will give you a quick rundown of ourselves. I am Paul and my partner is Edward. We live in Chicago (yes in the actual city, right downtown) and are 32 and 36. We try to cruise at least a few times a year and typically on longer itineraries when our schedule allows. This will mark our 18th cruise on Celebrity. As always I will take you along with us on our journey and let you know what is going on every step of the way. You can follow me on social media, specifically on Instagram - PaulKBlackburn You can also follow the hashtag #CruisingOnCelebrity I’ll be posting photos on Instagram but also a lot of short videos on my instagram stories since that seems to upload very easily even if the internet is not 100%. As always I will post at least 10 photos per day on here including the “Dailys” for you to review. I also will let you know any and all costs incurred, whether we are talking about flights, taxis, meals out, ubers, etc. I know many times the talk of money can be “taboo” but at the end of the day none of these wonderful things are free so I think it is important to mention the costs to help everyone plan better. I also encourage you all to ask questions about any topics cruise or travel related. Whether you want to know my thoughts on the food or who is working on the ship or how busy the ports are…just ask and I’ll do my best to answer them. The more interactive I am with all of you the more I enjoy writing so do not feel bad about asking questions. I also want to take a moment to thank all of you who commented on a posting of mine over a month ago asking for suggestions for this trip. We read through all of your comments, tips and tricks and it helped greatly in determining what we are doing and what to pack! Our highlight excursion this trip will be the helicopter tour which stops on two glaciers and the glacier walk. Hoping for good weather! Below are all the pricing details of our cruise, including everything from travel insurance to the cruise itself. It may be a bit boring so don’t feel like you need to read it! Let’s take a look at the cruise itinerary Celebrity Eclipse May 19th - 7 Nights Day 1 - Vancouver Day 2 - Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage Day 3 - Icy Strait Point Day 4 - Cruising Hubbard Glacier Day 5 - Juneau Day 6 - Ketchikan Day 7 - Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage Day 8 - Vancouver We are arriving in Vancouver on the evening of Friday May 17th. After the cruise we are also spending one day and night in Vancouver and flying back to Chicago on memorial day morning. Cruise Pricing OK, let’s talk about money! We booked this cruise a couple months ago. It was a last minute thought. When we were on the Edge in February we booked an August Equinox cruise as a place holder to have an on board booking that we could transfer to another cruise. We used that onboard booking for this cruise so we were able to get a little extra OBC. Celebrity Suite: Originally we booked a Celebrity Suite for this cruise, including the Go BEST package, which came to $2,689.33 per person or $5,378.66 in total. Move Up Bid: Not too long after booking we received the opportunity for a move up bid. The options were to bid on the Royal Suite and the Penthouse Suite. We originally bid only on the Penthouse. The minimum bid was $800 per person so we bid $850pp. We ended up canceling out that bid and only bidding on the Royal. The minimum bid for the Royal was $400pp, we ended up bidding $405pp. Total Cruise Pricing We won our move up bid and therefore incurred the extra cost of $810 bringing our new total to $6,188.66 for the Royal Suite. In addition we have $975 onboard credit (combination of credit from booking on board, go best, and our TA). Airfare We are flying non-stop from Chicago (ORD) to Vancouver (YVR) on Air Canada. We booked through Choice Air. The pricing through Choice Air was a little cheaper than going direct through Air Canada or other online travel websites and we get the additional comfort of their protection. The timing on these flights was perfect for us. 5:05pm leaving ORD and we’re leaving YVR at 10:15am on Memorial Day. We are on a CRJ900 which is a regional jet. I’m surprised it has the range to make that long of a flight. Here is hoping for light headwinds! Total Airfare Cost: $867.74 Round Trip for 2. I’ll update this later after we incur baggage costs. Hotels On Friday and Saturday (May 17th and 18th) before the cruise we are staying at the Shangri-La which looks to be in a great location. We used around 45,000 chase points for this. At the time it was a decent redemption on points but since then it looks like pricing has dropped a bit so the redemption wasn’t the greatest for us at the end of the day. On the Sunday night after the cruise we are staying at the Grand Hyatt and only used 12,000 Hyatt points, transferred from Chase. This was a phenomenal redemption. Since we’re using hotel points (as opposed to booking through the Chase portal) we’re not incurring any taxes either. We would have loved to have booked this hotel at this rate for our first two nights but it wasn’t available for booking. In addition we have Explorist status with Hyatt due to our MLife (MGM Hotel & Casino rewards program) Platinum status we have which is only because of our Elite Plus status with Celebrity since Captain’s Club has a reciprocity status with MLife. Credit Card used for booking I’m not going to turn this into a points blog but I cannot stress enough how important it is to use a quality card for booking travel. Not only can you earn points but the basic travel protection on some cards is phenomenal. We booked everything (that we had to pay for in cash) with our Chase Sapphire Reserve. This does a couple things. Travel Insurance - Automatic travel protection built in which would cover us in the event we had a major issue and had to cancel the cruise last minute (keep in mind this does not necessarily apply to pre-existing conditions) or if we have any major delays, lost luggage, etc. Points! 3x points on travel. In total we spent $7,056, so this equated to 21,169 chase ultimate rewards points. Tavel Insurance We do not purchase regular travel insurance since we have the protection through the card (protection is up to $10,000 in value and you must use the card to pay for your trip!) but we still purchase a separate medical plan. While we would get medical coverage through the Chase Reserve card, it is not that great of coverage. We purchased the GeoBlue Voyager Choice plan through InsureMyTrip. The total cost for two was $35.86. This covers $100,000 in medical per person, $50,000 in accidental death, and $500,000 in medical evacuation. Please note this is only for medical, no trip cancellation, etc. It also requires that you have primary insurance as well. OK, look at that, we made it through all those details! As I go through each day, whether it is our hotel before the cruise, embarkation, nightly dinners, etc. I will do my best to be as critical as possible I am very much a glass half full type of person, especially when I’m traveling. With this being said, sometimes I think I should be a little more critical when reviewing certain aspects. At the same time I find myself so lucky to be able to live the life that I do, that it is sometimes difficult to be negative when the situation calls for it. So at the end of the day I will do my best to be impartial, objective, informative, but most importantly entertaining. Thank you again for following along and coming with us on another amazing trip!
  4. I have read quite a few places that there is an issue with vibration in some of the cabins. I have searched this forum for any information on cabin 8281, but can't find any. The reason I chose this cabin is to get a larger balcony, but I don't want to have issues with vibrations the entire cruise. Has anyone on this forum stayed in cabin 8281, and were there any problems with it? Thank you
  5. Returned to Celebrity(Eclipse) after a ten year absence....what happened to the food! The dining room food could only be described as poor. Poor selection, overcooked vegetables, watery soup and on and on. We noticed that as the cruise went on, fewer people were in the dining room and more in the buffet. I wonder if Celebrity is doing what Norwegian started long ago....poor dining room food to encourage you to shell out for the specialty venues. I was also surprised at some of the on board charges... 6$ for a specialty coffee or tea, a charge for orange juice (really?) did enjoy the excellent entertainment and beauty of the ship but the poor food and constant pushing to specialty resteraunts is off putting and I doubt we will return.
  6. I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread as I have a similar question. My friend and I are from the UK and will be doing a b2b from Vancouver to Hawaii on the Eclipse next April. When arriving at our first Hawaiian port of call, Lahaina, will we face a long border patrol/immigration/customs or whatever delay before we can head off for whatever excursion we have planned? Or as cruise passengers will we be sort of pre-cleared, as was done when we did a cruise that stopped in Israel? On that NCL cruise the officials embarked with us in Rome and had access to everyone's passport and actually met each passenger face-to-face on a sea day - I doubt that it would be exactly like that on this cruise due to the number of sea days before we get to Hawaii but have no idea what to expect! Then on the return voyage we have stops in Astoria, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Will the clearance we (hopefully!) receive in Hawaii still be valid there? From the answer to the OP above I think that it will be... I hope that I'm concerned over nothing. It's just that when my husband I disembarked from our Equinox cruise in Ft Lauderdale in 2012 it was pure hell. The immigration people were taking 10 -15 minutes with each couple/individual/family group, just as when we initially arrived in the country at Miami Airport. Retina scans or whatever that is they do, the whole works. We were queued up for nearly three hours and it was hot and miserable and we couldn't sit down. There was no water available and several elderly people were in distress and received no assistance. They eventually called all of the Canadian citizens to join the American citizens queue to get the international queue down a bit. The whole experience was a poor ending to what had been a lovely holiday. We haven't done a holiday to America since. Anyway, this was not meant to turn into a rant, sorry! I'm just concerned that trying to enter Hawaii means that we'll have a similar experience and that it will take hours to be processed. I'm hoping that some of you non-American citizens are going to tell me that I've nothing to worry about!
  7. Hi, I'm looking for the current MDR menus for Eclipse and Solstice (we have upcoming cruises on both) and also the drinks and room service menu, both regular and CC. I'm sure they must be available on here somewhere but I've been scrolling through the threads and can't find any links. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks!
  8. On the Eclipse April 17 Concierge and had the expanded menu, exact one shown for Aqua and above. Believe it is for Concierge and above. Also requested eggs Benedict several time and got it. 😊👍
  9. Does Celebrity still offer champagne tasting? We cruised on the Eclipse several years ago and that was something that was just terrific and we’re wondering if it is still available. thanks!
  10. Can’t find many reviews on this cabin! Can anyone help? Eclipse 2148. We are concerned that there may be too much noise from the bar above. Thanks for any advise
  11. So the ship isn't being launched until 2018, but have put down a deposit on an Antarctica cruise for Jan 2019. Any one else booked on this ship yet?
  12. Nieuw Statendam--Sel de Mar: Escargot, Dover Sole, Crepes Suzette Royal Princess--Crown Grill: Bone-in Rib Eye Royal Princess--Sabatini's: a bone-in Veal Chop. (So large, I could not finish it. But, so well prepared and delicious!) Statendam (now retired from HAL and is P&O Australia's Pacific Eden)--Pinnacle Grill: Cioppino Celebrity Eclipse--Tuscan Grille: (for both a lunch and a dinner)--don't recall the specific food items, but every course was excellent, the service was attentive/friendly/excellent, and the ambiance was most conducive for an excellent lunch/dinner.
  13. Maybe it depends on the Ship. Just of the Eclipse. WhatsApp incl voice messages and images worked. Also up/downloading my iCloud pictures worked.
  14. I am enjoying your trip report! I also live in downtown Chicago and am doing the same cruise on the Eclipse out of Vancouver in Aug so it’s great to hear your perspective. I’m even staying at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver before our cruise as an Explorist so I’m interested to hear that portion too
  15. In March on the Eclipse the word SODA was not on my card. You simply go to guest services and they will print it on the card for you. I will differ from the rest of you and say I like the machines on RC. I love the choices and the ability to get your own drinks. I prefer fountain over the cans and often times they did not have what I wanted at the bar (diet coke) and had to go find another bar. I brought my own stainless steel cup with reusable straw which helped.
  16. Thanks so much for doing this! We're on a slightly different itinerary in July on the Eclipse so will be especially interested in your impressions. We're traveling with our son, daughter in law and two grandsons so it will be a family affair. We've been to Alaska several times and, yet, jump at the opportunity to cruise there again. Bon voyage!
  17. So given we have now concluded our second night in Vancouver I'd like to give you my recap thus far on the city and our stay here, plus our thoughts on the hotel. Shangri-La Hotel We've been very happy with the location, though we don't know Vancouver since this is our first time, but we found it to be very easy to walk around from here and it's definitely in a nice area. The room itself is very comfortable. There is not much view, but that is fine. The bedding quality is excellent. The bathroom toiletries are what you'd expect, L'Occitane is the soap that is carried. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. are provided which is a nice touch. There are even collar stays for collared shirts in the desk drawer. There is a Nespresso machine, free water daily, free very well functioning internet, and a properly stocked minibar. The Shangri-La is a smaller hotel at only 120 rooms. Today we told them we'd like a cab ready for us at 10:30 to head to the port. They marked it down and made sure it would be arranged. We will see how that turns out, but I have no doubt it will be well done. The hallways and corridors of the hotel feel like a higher end condo building and not a typical hotel. The same goes for the lobby and entrance into the building. I feel like I'm walking into my building at home and not a hotel. It's a nice feeling. The pricing at the time of booking (if we didn't use points) was around $310USD per night. I think this is a very solid value for this type of hotel. Other hotels in the area such as the Fairmont Pacific Rim and Hotel Georgia were going for the same price which I think is awesome. I put all these hotels in the same category, it just depends what type of place you're looking for. Vancouver I really like Vancouver. From what everyone told me, I figured it would be a city I'd enjoy, but I'm surprised at how comfortable I feel here. Everything is impeccably clean. The people here are extremely friendly. It is not a cheap city and from I see wealth definitely exists everywhere but it is not in your face (despite the countless higher end boutiques). I think the fact that it is so clean and higher end is one reason why I like it. It feels safe. It feels as if I can walk into most bars or restaurants and get quality service and quality food. Even the "dive" bar we went to last night felt far from a dive bar. People here seem to carry themselves well, they're respectful, and seem genuinely happy. The scenery is beautiful, at least what we saw on the water and at Stanley Park. I'm sure there is plenty more to do outside of where we are. I'm not sure if there are lots of museums or things along those lines but personally I think the mark of a city should not be determined based on "tourist things" to do, but instead based on things that anyone can do, whether you're a tourist or a resident. This seems like a great resident city. A place that appears comfortable to live in, as long as you have the money for it. It doesn't have that crazy hustle and bustle that I normally love and crave (I consider Chicago to be the least crowded city I could live in as my primary residence) but there is something here that I really seem to enjoy. Its just a combination of everything mentioned above. We will be back here fora night after the cruise and then here again in September before our transpacific cruise and we're definitely looking forward to it! OK, so we're going to get some sleep. I look forward to posting some morning photos for you all of the Eclipse as it is in port and then updating you on how the embarkation process goes! As always thank you so much for following along. If you have any questions or need me to check out anything for you on the Eclipse please do let me know!
  18. Good morning, embarkation day. Celebrity Eclipse arriving to Canada Place
  19. I've read about the 2018 downgrades, but didn't notice them on our 4 night Halloween cruise. We're novice foodies, mostly ate in Blu, and the fresh cooked pasta station. There may have been downgrades in the MDR or general buffet, that we simply weren't exposed to. April 2019 on Eclipse: 1. Stale Bread in Blu 2. Hummus spread an option only on the first night, pureed corn, beets, and peas the rest. 3. Burnt Toast from Room Service, hard as a rock. 4. Watery Soups (clam chowder missing clam stock = watery potato soup) 5. Missing ingredients (Apple Salad only containing 2 micro slivers of apple) 6. Little to no vegetables with the entree, even if listed on the menu. Often undercooked or overcooked. 7. Inconsistent meat quality and preparation, often fattier, smaller lobster 8. Lower quality wine selections and/or ran out of stock 9. Overworked and understaffed crew, longer wait times, less personalized service 10. No more Mongolian Wok 11. Fresh cooked pasta station using inferior sauces, and fewer ingredients 12. Usually the Oceanview Cafe food was lukewarm to cold. 13. Low rent buffet food. I could only eat the salad, fruits, and cheese. 14. Desserts looked like cheap cafeteria squares, gone are the decorative cakes on display. 15. Frozen Mixed Veggies, added the last night!
  20. Looking ahead to 2021, I was surprised to see that Silhouette will cruise to South America, other S Class elsewhere. Not that much S Class choice from Fl ports except maybe Reflection or Equinox which is not getting the full renovation at this time. We were looking forward to finding something on Silhouette but not a 14 day cruise to SA. We are repeating Edge and also booked on Apex and Summit but wanted Silhouette. We would love to try Eclipse or a return to Solstice but they are also " away". Wish they would rotate them more!
  21. I thought I would start a new thread for the Scenic Eclipse. The other thread is filled with so much negativity and naysayers. Scenic just named a captain for the ship. We are booked July, 2021 for the Arctic. Based on everything I have read, I am hopeful that the Eclipse will launch this August as planned. https://www.scenicusa.com/ocean-cruises/introducing-captain-james-griffiths?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Eclipse_Captain Announcement 043019_Consumer (1)&utm_content=&spMailingID=21419598&spUserID=NTA5ODUzMzg2MzI5S0&spJobID=1481949235&spReportId=MTQ4MTk0OTIzNQS2
  22. Well here it goes again I am going to give it another try. This is my 3rd review. First one was in November on the Eclipse. I did a Med Cruise out of Barcelona and then a Trans Atlantic ending in Buenos Aires. that was some cruise 29 days of fun. Met some great people for sure. Second was a 7 night on the Equinox with my family for winter break out of Miami. A little about myself, my name is Norma and I am traveling with a friend of mine Sharon. I met Sharon in Portland some 30 years ago, as we worked for the same company. She moved to Washington DC and then to Florida with her husband when they retired. Somewhere along the line we lost touch but reconnected about 3 years ago thanks to Facebook. She now lives in Houston near her children. I can not wait to travel with her, we did our first cruise together in 1984, hope I am not dating myself. Back to me!!!! I live in Novato Ca which is about 20 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I travel solo quite often and enjoy it tremendously. I have cruised on many lines, with Celebrity being my favorite. I love cruising and once I retired that's what I planned on doing. I love other peoples live blogs like Chicago Paul and Jim and Iian just name a few. My grandkids are sad I am leaving without them as they love to cruise as well. This time I have taken the surf package as I don't really do a lit of streaming. It was $84.20 after my Elite Plus discount, if it doesn't work out I will change to the regular internet package on the ship. Sharon and I are both flying Eva Air Premium Economy. Both flights leave April 24 around 1am we will connect in Taipei and fly onto to Narita, Tokyo's Airport. I have never flown Eva air, but have read a lot of good things about them. From SFO to Taipei is 13 hours. We then plan on spending 2 days in Tokyo and do a little sightseeing. Our ship leaves out of the industrial pier called OI. There has been much confusion because it was originally to leave out of Yokohama. It resolved but was a mess for many weeks. Roll call members can attest to that. We have settled one the Limo Bus to get from the airport to our hotel. A taxi or private car service was out of the question at $200.00 or more. We will take a cab from our hotel the Shinagawa Prince to the pier. Celebrity has provided instructions in Japanese for the taxi driver. There is a free city shuttle that many will take but standing on the side of the road waiting is not my idea of fun. The roll call has been very active with lots of good information I can't wait to meet these people. As a side note many people wonder if Celebrity reads Cruise Critic. Surprise they do. On the first night of my Eclipse trip the Hotel Director Jamie came up to me and asked me if I was doing the "Live Blog" believe me I was surprised. I did this same cruise 2 years ago and live all the sea days, crossing the International Date Line, where the date stays the same for 2 days in this case its May 4th. Almost feels like getting a free day!! The Millie just recently had her Revolution make-over. I will try to post as many pictures as I can. I know there has been lots of talk about the furnishings. We are in a C1 cabin on the aft of the ship, 7212. These C1 cabins have very large verandas, my last TP I was in 9164, I would not recommend this cabin as there was too much noise from the Ocean View cafe. Now we are right above the 2 Penthouse suites, sure wish I could afford one of them.... Well enough for now, please, please, please if you have any questions just ask. I am so excited I was awake at 4AM, please I will be exhausted by the time I take my shuttle to the airport at 8PM tonight. Here is our itinerary for the TP portion of our cruise.
  23. Hi Huskydo, we’re doing similar this August but flying out to Calgary (and back from Vancouver). We’re picking up the car at the airport and taking 7 days to drive to Vancouver via stays in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Kamloops. 2 nights in Vancouver then joining Eclipse. We booked flights and hotels through BA holidays and car hire through Canadian Affair.
  24. My DH and I are in our 50s and have taken 22 cruises on Princess and a few on Carnival. We had an opening in our vacation schedule and decided it was time to try something new. I wanted to recapture the feeling I had on my very first cruise. I still remember the awe I felt when I first stepped onto the then-new Diamond Princess. With that in mind, I did some research on the Celebrity boards and found a 10-day Hawaii to Vancouver cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse that worked well for us. Although I don’t usually write reviews, I thought my observations might be helpful to other Princess cruisers who might be considering Celebrity. The Eclipse is a Solstice-class ship, which seems to be similar to Princess’ Royal class ships. I’ve been on the Royal Princess twice and feel the Eclipse was quite comparable. Decor is completely different, especially Celebrity's atrium which is open all the way to the top of the ship (beautiful). Celebrity is more modern whereas Princess is more traditional. Both ships are beautiful in my opinion. The Eclipse had two sets of elevators. The main elevators were aft of midship and had eight glass elevators (four each side) that overlooked the atrium. Embarkation – We arrived at the port around 12:30 p.m., so the priority groups had already embarked. They took our pictures when we checked in, so we just walked onto the ship after getting our SeaPass and passing through security. As on Princess, staterooms weren’t ready right away, so they encourage you to go to the buffet. Ironically, this was the least crowded the buffet ever was at lunch and it wasn’t too bad. Rooms were ready around 1:30 and they made an announcement when we could go to our stateroom. Muster – Neither line requires you to bring the life vest anymore. Both check you off a list when you show up and both have a humorous-type video to communicate the information. Princess does a better job of actually showing you how to put on the vest. Both are done inside in various venues, so the seating was comfortable. Celebrity had a silly song about washing your hands, it’s the thing to do. I had to laugh because I overheard one passenger say he was going to lose it if they kept playing that awful song. Dress – Before the cruise, I was concerned about what to pack, but people dressed pretty much the same as they do on Princess. People dressed casually during the day and wore smart casual to the dining room at night. Celebrity doesn't have Formal Night and instead has Evening Chic (but it looked about the same to me). We didn’t go to the dining room those nights; however, the people who did seemed to dress about the same as they do on Formal Nights on Princess. Main Dining Room – Princess has more seafood options for those who like seafood, but food quality was very comparable. Celebrity has dipping sauces along with butter for the bread and baked onion soup is on the always available menu. Both were nice options. Buffet – Comparable if comparing with Princess’ Royal class buffet. If comparing with Princess’ older ships, the Celebrity buffet was better. Buffet Hours – The Celebrity buffet had more limited hours and lunch and dinner had later start times than Princess (noon for lunch and 6 p.m. for dinner). As a result, the buffet was a mob scene at lunch. Dinner crowds were fine, probably because most people eat in the dining rooms. We solved the lunch crowd issue a few days into the cruise by eating lunch in the dining room and dinner in the buffet. Pizza and pasta were always available in the buffet even after main dining hours. The pizza was pretty good compared to the pizza by the pool on Princess (my opinion), but I’d say Alfredo’s in Princess is still the best of the pizza options. Grill – Celebrity’s grill had a limited menu of hamburgers and hotdogs. When weather is bad, they move the grill items to the buffet. I didn’t eat at the grill (except fries). DH had a burger one day and said it was good. You can add cheese, grilled onions, and bacon to the burger if you wish. Aqua Spa Cafe vs. International Cafe – The IC has more variety. On the other hand, the Aqua Spa had free coffee, tea, and juices, so you could get them there without having to go to the buffet. We ate breakfast there every day to avoid the buffet crowds. The Aqua Spa Cafe had limited breakfast and lunch hours versus 24 hours for the IC. Specialty Restaurants – More expensive on Celebrity. Didn’t try them, so I can’t compare. Specialty Coffees – DH tried the vanilla lattes and said they were fine. I was content with the free coffee, so can’t judge Cafe Al Bacio. Free coffee is strong on both lines. Drinks – We prefer the alcohol drink choices on Princess and the prices are lower. Beer selection is better on Celebrity (at least on the Eclipse) if you like craft beers (we do). We did eventually figure out that you can ask for drinks that aren't listed on the menus. For example, we only saw specialty drinks listed, but you could ask for a margarita or mojito, and they had them at prices cheaper than the drinks listed on the menus. Drink Packages – Both lines have drink packages. Celebrity appears to have more options (3 different packages for alcohol alone) and sometimes they are put on sale prior to the cruise. Unfortunately, neither of us can drink enough to make it worthwhile to purchase the alcohol packages even at sale prices, but it’s great to get them during a promotion. Celebrity has drink package promotions more frequently. Princess seems to have the Sip and Sail just once a year. Entertainment – Celebrity’s entertainment wins by a mile. The production shows were excellent! On Princess, we seldom go to shows because we’ve seen most of them and the seating situation in the theater is awful. On the Eclipse, the theater almost always had plenty of seating even if you showed up just before showtime. The production shows featured singers, dancers, and acrobats (think Cirque de Soleil like). The performers were very talented and did five different production shows. On other afternoons and nights, the Eclipse featured two different comedians who each did two different shows. They also had guest singers three nights. We went to one of those shows but skipped the other two -- we needed some down time! In addition, they had two naturalists on board who gave talks on sea days along with a variety of other activities. We normally don’t attend many of the activities on ships, but we were surprisingly busy on this cruise wanting to see how Celebrity compared. I did read a comment on our roll call by someone who commented that Celebrity had really upped its game on the entertainment, so maybe this isn’t typical of all Celebrity ships. I normally don’t pay attention to the captain or the cruise director, but these two were very visible and had a great rapport. It surprises me to say this but having Captain Leo and Alejandro on board definitely added to the enjoyment of the cruise. Who knew? In Room Movies – I think Princess has a few more viewing options including TV shows, but Celebrity did offer quite a few free movies. We were so busy that we could only fit in three movies. DH commented that Princess has more sports channels and was annoyed that they weren’t showing the NBA and hockey playoffs. Bar Service – Service is great on both, but I think Princess has more bar staff. Stateroom Service – Our stateroom steward was excellent and I’d say service is comparable on both lines. Both come morning and evening and leave chocolates on the pillows. That’s a plus for DH since he gets mine. Our room was kept very clean. Veranda Cabins – We had a Sunset Veranda room on the back of the ship. I was worried about being in a balcony cabin after having mini suites on Princess, but the room was fine. The room had a full-size couch that was actually comfortable and the bed was great. The balcony was large with a view of the wake that couldn’t be beat. Bathroom was nicer than Princess with a glass door for the shower instead of a curtain. Interestingly, the mirror never seemed to fog up when we showered so they must have good ventilation in the bathroom. Princess does a better job with storage space, but I think it may be at the sacrifice of living space. Celebrity puts storage above the bed, so I kept clothes folded in the storage cabinet and moved items to the closet for the wrinkles to hang out prior to wearing. Once I figured out the new routine, it worked fine. (On Princess, I hang almost everything up right away because there’s more hangars and closet space.). On Princess, I find the balcony cabins to be too small with no comfortable seating, so I need a mini suite, but I’m happy with a veranda cabin on Celebrity. I love the location at the back of the ship and didn’t find the distance to the elevator to be an issue at all. For someone with mobility issues, the Sunset Veranda probably wouldn’t be a good choice. Hallways – This may sound like a small thing, but it actually made a big difference walking to and from our stateroom. The doorways are recessed on the Eclipse and the stewards don’t have the big carts like they have on Princess. Instead, they have what look like large rolling suitcases. Since the doorways are recessed, the carts don't block the hallways. For those who use mobility devices, this must make a huge difference. I suspect it’s nice for the stewards, too, since they don’t have to worry about passengers trying to get by them while they’re working. Walking Deck – The Eclipse did not appear to have a wraparound deck like the Promenade deck on some of the older Princess ships. I didn’t see a track, but also didn’t look for one. I got plenty of walking around the ship, so this wasn’t an issue for me. Gym – DH said the gym was larger and had nicer equipment than on Princess. I didn’t see it, so I can’t comment. Casino – We didn’t use the casino, but this one looked nice and appeared to be smoke free, so I didn’t mind walking through it on the way to the theater. On Princess, I avoid entering the casino if at all possible. Laundry – We didn’t use the ship’s laundry service, which like Princess, isn’t cheap. Also, Celebrity doesn’t have self-serve laundromats. I knew this ahead of time, so planned for a bit of hand washing in the room. I thought this would be an issue, but since I knew about it beforehand, it was fine. I’m Elite on Princess, so I do use the ship’s laundry service there since I have free laundry. I also use the self-serve laundry for items I don’t want to entrust to the ship’s laundry. That’s an awesome perk that I really appreciate on Princess. Future Cruises – I always purchase Future Cruise Deposits on Princess. Celebrity still has the old FCD system, but it is nonrefundable, so they encourage you instead to book a future cruise, which is changeable without penalty. Depending on the length of the cruise, you get different amounts of onboard credit and the deposit is refundable or transferrable to a different cruise. Unlike Princess, they have all-day hours for the Future Cruise office (9 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily) and they had 2 to 4 staff available to help customers. Early in the cruise, they weren’t very busy, but of course got much busier toward the end of the cruise. Although we hadn’t planned to do so, we put money down on a future cruise ($100 each) since we felt we had nothing to lose. We plan to take the cruise we booked, but it’s nice knowing we can switch to another voyage or get a refund if needed. Internet - We purchased the unlimited internet for one device and it was excellent. I’m guessing Princess’ MedallionNet may be comparable, but I haven’t experienced that yet. Shore Excursions – Since this was Hawaii, the excursions were rather expensive, so I didn’t book any at first. Much to my surprise, Celebrity put a few of them on sale a couple of different times prior to the cruise. They also added more 4-hour excursions closer to sail date that were priced around $55, so we ended up adding them. As on other cruise lines, you do have to prepay at time of purchase. The tickets were waiting for us in our stateroom when we boarded. Final Verdict Both Princess and Celebrity are great cruise lines. It was fun recapturing that feeling of stepping onto a new ship for the first time. We didn’t miss our Elite benefits as much as I thought we would. That said, I love my Elite benefits, so I’ll appreciate them all the more when I’m back on Princess. Currently, we have future cruises booked on both lines. When researching new cruises, I plan to compare itineraries and prices on both lines before deciding. It’s nice to have two such great options!
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