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Celebrity Eclipse Christmas Cruise – Live


ken4556
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In case you get a chance to read this before you get off the ship in Bonaire I can recommend from experience two REALLY good private snorkeling excursions in Bonaire.

The first is Compass Bonaire http://www.compassbonaire.com/

 

And the other is Woodwind http://www.woodwindbonaire.com/

 

I don't know if you have time to get in touch with them but maybe you can find them at the bottom of the gangway .

I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending either one!!! :D

 

ENJOY!

Edited by chamima
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Bonaire – Christmas Eve

 

My wait-listed tour did not come through, so I just walked through the shops and along the shoreline. Thanks for the snorkeling suggestion, but unfortunately, I read the post too late. I enjoyed my walk along the shoreline, the water was crystal clear and was so beautiful with the boats and water. Most of the shops were the normal tourist shops, but I did by a Bonaire T-shirt.

 

The rest of the family went on the Trolley Train tour. They said the tour was nice and tour guide was very knowledgeable. We had a nice sail-out at 3 pm.

 

We meet for family pictures before dinner (as tonight was a formal night). Dinner was excellent with a couple special Christmas items, included s’mores pie. It was excellent with ice cream. We then celebrated our family Christmas before heading to the show Rock City. The show was excellent with great singer and good harmonies. After the show, we headed to the atrium for the Officers Christmas Caroling. Books were handed out with the words of the songs for all of us to join in. It was very nicely done.

 

We are sea tomorrow and we were told that Santa will be arriving around 9:30 am. To all that may be following along, I wish you and your families a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.

 

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Hi Ken,

 

Thank you for your live from reports. I'm enjoying the read, especially as we love Eclipse.

 

I'd also like to know who will be the Cruise Director when Richard Spacey goes on Vacation. Isn't Maartin hilarious ?

 

If you visit the Casino, can you see what the table minimums are, and, what's the minimum on 3 card poker. I've seen some comments about tables not being lower than $10, but I'm curious if it's the same for 3 card poker as well.

 

Thanks again, and enjoy your cruise !

Edited by Host Andy
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OP, if the desserts in the MDR don't appeal to you, you can always go get a dessert from Cafe al Bacio. Often what they had in the display case (treats there are "free") looked better than what was on the menu at the MDR. And as you have the beverage package you could have a specialty coffee with your dessert. Also check out the Oceanview Cafe for dessert options. Sometimes they have themed evenings in the Buffet with some really great desserts. Or there is always the ice cream in the Oceanview!

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Thanks so much for your review to enjoy vicariously...

 

 

Unfortunately, the carpeting in the Ocean View Cafe has not been refurbished and looks very used in many places. Hopefully, Celebrity will change it out soon.

Edited by Lastdance
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We board today for our family Christmas cruise with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. Since 2008, we have cruised mostly on HAL over Christmas. We decided to try Celebrity this year for a nine day cruise to the Labadee and the ABC islands. Our rooms are Concierge Class verandas on deck 10.

 

We arrived around 12:30 pm today. Check-in took less than 15 minutes and was very efficient and painless. Our room was ready, so after dropping off our bags in the room, we headed to the Oceanview Café for lunch. I was very impressed with the quality and variety. After lunch, we walked around the ship before returning to our rooms to unpack.

 

We are regular dinner at 6 pm and have a nice table by the window. Service and food were excellent. I could not believe the size of the prime rib they served (guess I have cruised HAL too much). We booked some excursions after dinner, walked through the shops, and then went to the show. The opening show was a ventriloquist, Ron Lucas, and a comedian, Ed Regine. Both were excellent and we laughed the whole show.

 

The ship is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Looking forward to a nice relaxing day at sea tomorrow (Saturday).

 

Thanks for taking the time and enjoy.

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Christmas Day – At Sea

 

Santa did indeed arrive at 9:30 am with Christmas presents for all the kids. Most kids were happy, some not too sure of the Claus named Santa. Jim Kennedy did talk no. 3 on the future of NASA before lunch, excellent speaker and great slide show. Lunch in Oceanview Café was excellent, they had turkey with all the fixings in additional to all the other foods. They had special desserts including the chocolate yule log. They had beautiful ice carvings of Santa, his sled, and reindeer.

 

The singers and dancers put on a special Christmas show at 2:30 pm. The show was very nice. We then went to the photo gallery. We were originally going to buy just 4 pictures, costing us $110.00 (most single pictures are $25.00 with the formal pictures at $30.00 as they also include three wallet size pictures). Instead, we used our Captain’s Club 20% discount coupon on the ten picture package. Regular cost was $175.00, but it was only $140 with our coupon. Such a deal… I then went and watched part of the glass show, very interesting. They gave away via free raffle tickets some of the Christmas ornaments they had made.

 

Dinner was excellent as they had Turkey, Lamb Chop Provencal, Beef Wellington, and Lobster as well as some additional entrees. Baked Alaska was on the dessert menu and was very good. (I will post pics of the menus when I get home.) We went up to deck 14 and 15 after dinner to see the full Christmas moon. We had the Carnival Breeze next to us. It was then show time with Tony Tillman and he was excellent. Our evening finished with the 70’s disco party in the atrium. Richard and Maartin were awesome leading the party. Tomorrow is our last day at sea.

 

Some answers to some questions you have asked. The cruise staff does not know who the cruise director will be when Richard and Maartin leave in January. And yes, they are nuts together! I did check in the casino and the minimum bet for the 3-card poker is $10.00. The minimum bet at the Texas Hold’em is $5.00. We have not gone to any of the specialty restaurants. We have enjoyed the food and our waiter in the dinner room and besides, our dinner room beverage waiter has our standing beverage order for us every night (grin).

 

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Hi Ken,

 

Thank you for the reply. Very sorry to hear about the $10 minimum at three card poker. We enjoy the game, but wont play it for that minimum, as there's 3 bets involved, and it becomes $30 per hand under typical circumstances. At $5 min, It's very easy to lose hundreds of dollars in a short time, and I have zero interest in doubling down on the bet. I can understand why raising the minimum to $10 may make sense at a single bet table - but, definitely not for 3 card poker, where it's a triple bet in many cases.

 

Celebrity tried this nonsense about a year ago, and the 3 card poker table was virtually empty for entire cruise. I hope it happens to them again, so the incompetent folks making this decision, will roll the minimum back again. I guess they didn't learn from last time.

 

Oh well... 3 card poker is $5 minimum on most other Cruise lines, so I guess we have no choice but to keep our options open.

 

Thanks again, and have a wonderful cruise !

Edited by Host Andy
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Saturday – At Sea

 

We enjoyed our last day of the cruise. Jim Kennedy did his last talk of the cruise, subject this morning was leadership principles based on his NASA stories. Mr. Kennedy was a definite highlight of the cruise. Lunch in the Oceanview Café was excellent as usual. They had a sushi bar today along with an extra dessert station.

 

A nice nap was on the agenda before we started packing. My brother did go to the 2:30 pm show by Nicola Ward, one of the production singers that put on a one woman show. He said the show was very good.

 

Our last dinner was excellent, had a nice prime rib for dinner. The show tonight was with comedian Rich Aronvitch and an encore performance by Tony Tillman. All. Both were excellent and a very enjoyable show.

 

I will do a final review of the cruise in the next couple of days. Thanks for all who read my posts, it was fun to share our Christmas vacation with you.

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Final thoughts and review

 

Here are some final thoughts on our Christmas Cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse.

 

The Ship Itself

 

The ship is absolutely beautiful and I now know why so many people love this class of ships. From the layout to the variety of bars and plenty of deck space and chairs makes this ship a dream to cruise on. The ship as spotless and the crew did a great job of consistently cleaning behind kids who were leaving foods and drinks everywhere. All the public areas looked great, I do not agree with the comments that the Oceanview carpets looked worn. The ship really looked like it was a only a week old.

 

One small point on the ship design was the nice size of the public bathrooms. It was nice to be tripping over fellow passengers compared to some ships where you feel like you are sharing and using a closet.

 

Our cabin, Concierge Class, Room 1067

 

Our cabin was very nice with nice storage space. The storage above the beds was very useful and handy and we functioned fine with 3 adults in the cabin. The 3rd bed is the couch with a mattress placed on it. It was adequate, but not as nice or big as the 3rd bed/couch on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom and Oasis class ships. It is much better though than the pullout bed that HAL provides. The bathroom had lots of storage space and the shower felt bigger than other ships.

 

The TV programming was very nice with CNN, FoxNews, ESPN, ESPN 2, and a movie channel among additional channels. They also had a cruise director channel where one could watch the morning cruise director show, a channel that they replayed Jim Kennedy’s NASA presentation. We enjoyed the technology through the TV to check our account balance, pictures, and order shore excursions.

 

Internet

 

The internet was not consistent, sometimes one could get on easily and other times it would not work at all. My brother bought the unlimited internet package for one device and he struggled to get on during the day. I used the Elite 90 minute coupons (three in total) and learned to post after 10:30 pm before going to bed. The Internet was pretty good at this time of night. Not fast, but usable.

 

Bar Service and Drink Package

 

I had the Classic Non-Alcoholic drink package while the rest of family had the classic alcohol drink package. This is the first drink package we have had on a cruise as it came free with the promotion we received. We found the bar service was excellent, the waiters seemed to like the drink packages as it was easier on them. After the second night, our bar waiter had our drinks shortly after we arrived at our table. Kendrick in the main show lounge took great care of us every night before the show.

 

While having the drink package was nice and we ordered more soft and non-alcoholic drinks that we normally do, I cannot make the numbers work to justify the cost of the beverage package. This is especially true with the Elite drink coupons that we have. Of note, my brother was able to order cappuccino with dessert with the drink package.

 

Cruise Director and Staff

 

Richard Spacey, Maartin, and the rest of the cruise staff were excellent. They did a great job at keeping the activates on-time and well organized. Richard and his team were also super personal when you interacted with them one-on-one. The craziness of Richard and Maartin’s morning show was a great way to start day laughing and being informed.

 

Entertainment

 

I though the entertainment was excellent, except for the one singer Colleen Williamson. She was the only disappointment of all the shows I went to. The featured speaker, Jim Kennedy of NASA, was excellent and something that I was not expecting (since I had not cruised on Celebrity before). The after show events were fun and their always seemed something to do in the evening, especially at the Martini Bar.

 

Food

 

I know food is very subjective, so please understand this is just my thought. I thought lunches in the Oceanview Café was excellent. I was always trying to figure out what to eat as there is so much to choose. The fish and chips were excellent as was the ice cream. My brother and sister-in-law said the burgers by the pool grill were good to.

 

We ate all our dinners in the main dining room. Our waiter provided excellent service and made sure to ask all of us personally how the dinner entre was every night. Overall the food was very good, some nights better than others and the dessert menu seemed skinny a couple of nights. I really enjoyed the Top Chief night where they featured dishes from the Top Chiefs. The BBQ and mac and cheese was fantastic. Portions were, for the most part, generous. I did order a set plate of braised ribs as the first plate did not fill the tummy and the portions was small. As mentioned in previous post, our head waiter was excellent and had a "make you happy" attitude and went the extra mile for us. We did not go to any of the specially restaurants.

 

Ports of Call

 

The ports were very nice, really enjoyed Labadee especially with being the only ship there. The itinerary with the sea days, the ABC islands, and Labadee was really a nice swing and one that I would do again in a heartbeat.

 

Thoughts on Celebrity vs. HAL

 

I mentioned in my post that since 2008, we have cruised mostly on HAL over Christmas. We looked at Celebrity this year as we were less than impressed with our last two HAL cruise. We could have taken the Oosterdam for an almost identical itinerary with an extra day for a little less money. But we thought the value we got with 1-2-3 promotion was better. The perks we received with our Diamond status from Royal Caribbean were also very nice. As a 3-star on HAL, you do not get free internet minutes, special check-in line, and free laundry coupons as compared to the perks we revived with our status

 

For the biggest thing I liked about Celebrity over HAL was the ship was alive and had a great vide. From the music to the activities to the vibe on the ship, they did not treat everyone as if they are over 80. I do not mean that as an offense if you are over 80’s, but the HAL ships just have an older feel that the Celebrity ships do. For example, a tech geek like me has no interest in taking classes on how to post pictures on the internet. I am not sure how HAL is going to attract the generations of cruisers when the ships are not set-up for a younger crowd,

 

One last question for HAL. Why would I want to go on the new Koningsdam when it holds the same number of people as the Celebrity Solstice class ships, yet it is going to be 20% smaller? After just one Celebrity cruise, I believe Celebrity offers better a value cruise experience than HAL.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Since December 2013, I have been on two HAL cruises, two Royal Caribbean, one NCL, and this Celebrity Cruise. NCL does not even compare and they will not be receiving any more of my business. HAL is third compared to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. I will pick between the two brands based on ship and itinerary. My valuable vacation time is too valuable to settle for a second rate cruise experience. Being able to keep my staus between the Royal Caribbean brands is a great benefit.

 

Thanks for letting me share our Christmas cruise with you. Happy New Year!

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Thanks for sharing your cruise with us all, lovely reading particularly on wet and windy days in the UK. In May it will be our first time with Celebrity so you have given us a good insight as to what we can expect.

 

Again thanks for your reviews.

 

Margtee

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