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Roadster1

Just returned from Eclipse 6/23/19 Alaska

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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.  

 

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Thanks. We will be in Eclipse in October. Good to know she is in fine shape. This will be only our 2nd Celebrity cruise so I'm looking forward to it.

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Thank you Roadster1.

We are cruising on the Eclipse to Alaska Hubbard Glacier next May, so looking forward to it. 

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We already cruised the Norwegian fjords but now looking forward to the Alaska cruise on Cunard Line.  Maybe it will be disappointing for us as we live in Newfoundland and Labrador and having icebergs, moose and eagles in our backyard.   Are we wasting our money?  What will we see in Alaska that we didn't see in Norway or don't see in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Comments please.  Thank you

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59 minutes ago, Roadster1 said:

Embarkation:   You are asked by Celebrity not to arrive between 10am and 1pm to avoid the longest of lines, and this is advice well heeded. 

 

Thank you for your review

 

For me It's not ok since the concierge lunch closes at 1, how was the priority embarkation?

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24 minutes ago, Harley52 said:

We already cruised the fjords but now looking forward to the Alaska cruise on Cunard Line.  Maybe it will be disappointing for us as we live in Newfoundland and Labrador and having icebergs, moose and eagles in our backyard.   Are we wasting our money?  What will we see in Alaska that we didn't see in Norway or don't see in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Comments please.  Thank you

 

What I really enjoyed about Alaska was flying in  a seaplane and viewing the spectacular scenery.  Taking a day trip to the Yukon was also a major highlight.

 

You will be disappointed with the wildlife-or lack of- in Alaska as compared to your experiences.   You will be disappointed with the commercialization of many of the ports.  These 'authentic' souvenirs were mostly made in China.  

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1 minute ago, keesar said:

 

What I really enjoyed about Alaska was flying in  a seaplane and viewing the spectacular scenery.  Taking a day trip to the Yukon was also a major highlight.

 

You will be disappointed with the wildlife-or lack of- in Alaska as compared to your experiences.   You will be disappointed with the commercialization of many of the ports.  These 'authentic' souvenirs were mostly made in China.  

Thank you for taking the time to respond in a timely manner.  Your opinion is valued.

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1 hour ago, Harley52 said:

We already cruised the Norwegian fjords but now looking forward to the Alaska cruise on Cunard Line.  Maybe it will be disappointing for us as we live in Newfoundland and Labrador and having icebergs, moose and eagles in our backyard.   Are we wasting our money?  What will we see in Alaska that we didn't see in Norway or don't see in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Comments please.  Thank you

Honestly I think the scenery will be quite the same as your side of Canada. But I love cruising so would never see a cruise as a waste of money 😁😁

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Thank you, I value your comment and taking the time to respond in a timely manner.

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51 minutes ago, gerelmx said:

 

Thank you for your review

 

For me It's not ok since the concierge lunch closes at 1, how was the priority embarkation?

All the lines moved fairly quickly from what I could see.  Your luggage is gone first, then you’re inside to security/bag search...then to immigration.  THEN you are separated into the various cruise line check ins.  For the first two lines, you’re in with whatever other ships are in port with you.  Basically you have no priority until you get to the Celebrity portion of the process. But things all moved along.

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8 minutes ago, Roadster1 said:

All the lines moved fairly quickly from what I could see.  Your luggage is gone first, then you’re inside to security/bag search...then to immigration.  THEN you are separated into the various cruise line check ins.  For the first two lines, you’re in with whatever other ships are in port with you.  Basically you have no priority until you get to the Celebrity portion of the process. But things all moved along.

 

Thank you Next September will be our first time in Vancouver going to Hawaii 🙂

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Thank you for your extensive review.  We're on the Eclipse in less than 3 weeks (July 21st sailing) and encouraged by your comments.  Our boarding passes show the boarding time between 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and being in Concierge, we do want to take advantage of the lunch in the MDR on embarkation day.  We do appreciate your comments, however, and will be patient with the possible long lines. 😊  Like yourselves, we won't be in a hurry to disembark as we will have a very short ride home.  Glad that you had a lovely cruise with your Mom.  We're certainly looking forward to ours.  

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for your review, Roadster. We'll be on the Eclipse Sept 1 for a Hubbard Glacier cruise. On our past Celebrity Alaska cruises, the fabulous Brent Nixon did daily presentations on Alaska and various species of Alaskan wildlife. These lectures absolutely "made" the trip. Brent is not on the Eclipse this season ... do you recall whether there was another naturalist or lecturer on board your cruise who did similar presentations? Thanks in advance.

Edited by AZ Deb
typo

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Great review.  We're going on this cruise later this summer.  What we are wondering is are there any naturalist talks or park rangers aboard?  

 

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We were on the June 16th sailing of the Eclipse. The itinerary is slightly different, we stopped at Icy Straight Point instead of Sitka. 

 

I felt that arrival by taxi at Canada Place was simple, we were routed by someone to the correct area, easily unloaded our luggage and walked in. We were told to arrive any time after 11 am. We arrived at 11, but were in a suite, so we basically had no line to check in, and we were able to walk right on board. The other advantage of a suite is having access to Luminae as a dining room, which was very good. We only ate in the buffet once, for lunch. I was on the NCL Jade early this year, and the buffet set ups are very similar, different from the cafeteria style of years gone by, but the food on the Eclipse was definitely more varied, and was very good, lots of choices for everyone. 

 

My response is mostly for Harley, what I was most disappointed in was the scenery. Other than Hubbard Glacier, staying along the coast, it was not that special. I have spent a week driving around Nova Scotia, including doing tidal bore rafting, and whale watching. I have also been to the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone & the Grand Tetons int he US, which I felt all had better viewing of wildlife. We took the Deadliest Catch excursion, which is rather expensive, which was highly recommended, we found it good, and the 30 odd bald eagles flying around at one point where they threw bait into the water was great. We chose not to do things like the helicopter to the glacier ($629 per person), or excursions like canoeing or kayaking. There is a very good museum on Alaska in Juneau, which we visited, along with the Juneau city museum, in the morning, then had a driver ($70 per hour for as many people as can fit in his van) to take us to Mendenhall Glacier and around other places, along with his commentary and history. We did see a bear on the road towards the glacier. 

 

As far as the cruise director, I did not see her at all other than a few of the nights at the shows, she was not even there all nights. Rondell Sheridan was also the comedian for the 2nd half of our cruise, he did 2 shows, I thought they were both great. I'm from the NYC area, so I have a much higher bar as far as the productions shows go, and they were OK. We also had another comedian the first night, definitely not as good as Rondell. 

 

We did the walk off with our luggage, but had the benefit of having the suite concierge walk us to the front of the line to walk off. We had an early flight, so needed that. Not sure what would happen if I wanted to walk off and waited longer. We did not have a problem getting a cab back to the airport. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, AZ Deb said:

Thanks for your review, Roadster. We'll be on the Eclipse Sept 1 for a Hubbard Glacier cruise. On our past Celebrity Alaska cruises, the fabulous Brent Nixon did daily presentations on Alaska and various species of Alaskan wildlife. These lectures absolutely "made" the trip. Brent is not on the Eclipse this season ... do you recall whether there was another naturalist or lecturer on board your cruise who did similar presentations? Thanks in advance.

There was someone named Joseph who was listed as the “destination expert “who did presentations on the first sea day, and one on Juneau on Wednesday, and in Ketchikan prior to arrival at 2pm. Also a lady named Maxine had a number of presentations as part of the “beyond the podium’ enrichment series”. Maxine also spoke from the bridge as we cruised near Hubbard glacier.

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We were on this cruise and one of those that got there at 10 am. We were on the ship by 11 am with our champagne in hand    I agree that much warmer then expected glad I had t shirts as part of my layers.    I also agree on the staff being exceptional and helping whenever needed.  We didn't attend to many of the shows but did do the nightly quizzes and games after dinner     we had early flights so self walk off at 745 and utilized the sky train and at the airport by 9am

 

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Thanks for the review. We have cruised Eclipse three times in recent years and were also impressed by the smiles and service level, back on her next October for Japan to Singapore cruise...

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On 7/2/2019 at 12:49 PM, AZ Deb said:

.......  On our past Celebrity Alaska cruises, the fabulous Brent Nixon did daily presentations on Alaska and various species of Alaskan wildlife. These lectures absolutely "made" the trip. Brent is not on the Eclipse this season ... do you recall whether there was another naturalist or lecturer on board your cruise who did similar presentations? Thanks in advance.

 

 

This is the first summer that Eclipse has been deployed in Alaska.  I will be on the Solstice later this summer, but it is my understanding that Brent Nixon and his wife are (again) on the Solstice.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your review!

 

We are looking forward to our Eclipse sailing Aug 4th!  Being from Florida....we sure are hoping for highs below 80!!!!!🤞

Edited by megfla

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On 7/5/2019 at 12:06 AM, Northern Aurora said:

 

 

This is the first summer that Eclipse has been deployed in Alaska.  I will be on the Solstice later this summer, but it is my understanding that Brent Nixon and his wife are (again) on the Solstice.

Northern Aurora, you are in for a treat! Both Brent and his wife give several presentations; all are fascinating and educational. Do not miss! Have a wonderful time!

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33 minutes ago, AZ Deb said:

Northern Aurora, you are in for a treat! Both Brent and his wife give several presentations; all are fascinating and educational. Do not miss! Have a wonderful time!

  

 

We have actually met them at least four times.  If my memory is correct we first met him on the Infinity in 2009.

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