Celebrity Eclipse Entertainment & Activities
The Celebrity Eclipse Theatre (decks 4 and 5), the ship's main show lounge, is a well-designed room with excellent sightlines and semicircular rows of comfortable theater seats. 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 guest singers, comics and magicians, along with welcome aboard and farewell shows.
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."
The iLounge on Deck 6 has regular daily lectures on technology-related topics (similar to those you'll find in an Apple Store). Additional lectures are organized via partnerships with Rosetta Stone (for foreign language classes) and Smithsonian Journeys (for erudite speakers at Eclipse's "Beyond the Podium" series).
A floor above, you'll find Team Earth, a museum-like interactive environmental awareness experience, which, on our cruise, housed an exhibition of photographs from the line's Global Encounters competition with the World Photography Organisation.
The Eclipse Theater hosts cooking demos and talks from guest lecturers during the day.
Celebrity Tastings, an annex to the art auction's main gallery, hosts samplings of wine and other libations, such as single malt and Irish whiskies, Port wine and rums. There is also a dedicated wine-tasting venue on Deck 4 called Cellar Masters (see Bars and Lounges), which offers wine tasting with knowledgeable sommeliers.
Passengers are split over the Hot Glass Show on the top deck. Some would like to see the area turned into the Lawn Grill (found on Celebrity Silhouette and Reflection); others love it. Passengers 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, but after you've seen the show once, there's no incentive to come back.
The lawn itself is also turned over to various lawn games, such as croquet (weather permitting).
Other regular daytime entertainment includes art auctions, bingo, dance lessons (in the Grand Foyer on Deck 3) and quizzes.
At night, Celebrity Eclipse features a wide range of entertainment offerings -- on deck, in lounges, sometimes in the main foyer -- that cover a variety of musical styles. These include a solo steel pan player, a classical string quartet, solo pianists and a jazz combo. You'll also find 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.
The casino (Deck 4) 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.
You'll find karaoke most nights in Quasar (Deck 4), the ship's dedicated disco.
Celebrity Eclipse Bars and Lounges
Between the main atrium and the theater is a mini-atrium, anchored at Deck 4's "Entertainment Court," the nexus for nighttime entertainment. You'll find the majority of night spots around there, with the others high up on the top decks.
Gastrobar @ Passport Bar (Deck 3): The Passport Bar incorporates the "new" Gastrobar, which is really just two fridges full of different types of craft beers. It's in a great spot for passing traffic, off the main atrium, diagonally opposite Moonlight Sonata and on the way to the theater. It offers food, such as small plates of cold cuts ($8) and larger plates of items like beer-battered cod and chips ($10). There are also 45 different craft beers, which is very on trend right now. The extremely knowledgeable beer sommelier (yes, there is such a thing) takes time out from behind the bar to recommend some fine ales. The beers are from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe, and they include a Rogue Farms 7 Hop from Oregon that retails at -- deep breath -- $35.
Martini Bar (Deck 4): Probably the most popular spot on any Celebrity ship, the Martini Bar looks down into the main foyer and is the perfect place for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail ... or three. Bartenders are inventive and creative, bringing a Cirque du Soleil interpretation of cocktail mixing that's just fabulous. The bar features more than 100 different varieties of vodka.
Cellar Masters (Deck 4): During the day, there's always quite a buzz about this place, with regular wine tasting going on. At night, the crowds seem to dry up -- perhaps because the lack of bartenders gives Cellar Masters a chilly, soulless feel. Instead of interacting with friendly crew, passengers access drinks via automatic wine dispensers; you buy a "wine card," then insert it in an automatic dispenser for a particular type of wine, and it pours a measured portion of one, two or four ounces.
Quasar (Deck 4): The ship's late-night disco is a relatively small space with a bar, dance floor, DJ booth and limited seating. It's buzzing most nights and is open until late.
World Class Bar (Deck 5): The Molecular Bar is no more, to be replaced by the World Class Bar. It's named after the bartender competition of the same name and is sponsored by the world's biggest drinks company, Diageo. It's all about "craft cocktails," such as Bulleit Infusion, tropical fruits infused with Bulleit Bourbon, or Ketel One Strawberry Fields, which consists of vodka, Cocchi Americano (a dessert wine) and grapefruit juice. Look for cocktail-making masterclasses hosted by expert mixologists, including Diageo's roving World Class ambassador, Spike Marchant.
Ensemble Lounge (Deck 5): This is more of a "space" than a bar, situated outside Michael's Bar and on the way to the eateries. It consists of a large bar in the center, with plenty of seating all around, and is perpetually busy. The main downside is having to fight your way through it to get anywhere else on this deck.
Michael's Club (Deck 5): This quiet, civilized haven away from the bustling ship is only open to the top three categories of suite passengers (not even Sky Suite passengers can get in) and high-ranking (Elite and above) members of Celebrity's loyalty club, the Captain's Club. The personal greeting as you arrive, the hushed tones, the dark red and brown decor -- it's all redolent of a Gentlemen's Club (in the old-fashioned sense of the phrase). However, by making the once public bar so exclusive, Celebrity has also made it awfully quiet. A buffet-style breakfast is served in the morning, and there is a cocktail hour most evenings.
Pool Bar (Deck 12): This bar serves wine, beer and cocktails in a poolside setting.
Slush (Deck 12): Slush is another booze-themed addition to the ship, nestled in a small stand on the Pool Deck. It's not a bar (in as much as there are no tables or chairs); instead, it's more of a serving station like an ice cream station or pizza counter. It serves 11 drinks, displayed (where else?) on an iPad. Try a Mint Cookie, Sweet Tart or Golden Coconut for $13 ($8.50 for non-alcoholic versions).
Oceanview Bar (Deck 14): There are two bars at the aft of the ship -- the Oceanview Bar and the Sunset Bar -- that both afford great views. This one is at the back of the Oceanview Cafe and is partly covered.
Mast Bar (Deck 14): Attached to the Mast Grill, this bar serves wine, beer and cocktails, as well as soft drinks, and it gives great views over the Pool Deck.
Destination Bar (Deck 14): This tiny bar inside the Oceanview Cafe is open early (6 a.m. to midnight). It's a great place to get an early morning coffee fix.
Sunset Bar (Deck 15): Just above the Oceanview Bar and exposed to the elements, the Sunset Bar is a great spot to watch the sun set. There are chairs and tables just beside it, as well as rows of chairs and small tables on either side of the grass lawn, so you can grab a drink and park yourself there to watch the jazz concerts.
Sky Lounge (Deck 14): For our money, this is one of the most generous and stunning public bars at sea. Eclipse retains this vast space at the front of Deck 14. (Half of it was lost on sister ship Reflection to the addition of another suite.) The Sky Lounge has huge windows all around, and there's a large bar, ample seating and a dance floor. It's a gorgeous space during the day for just gazing out to sea or at night for watching the stars.
Celebrity Eclipse Outside Recreation
The main pool area on Deck 14 includes a family pool (shallow for youngsters), separated narrowly from the Sports Pool (for pool volleyball) 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 cool down. The main pool area also features four hot tubs.
Keep walking forward, and you'll pass into the stunning adults-only Solarium, a gorgeous spot that is flooded in light. Facilities include a small pool (complete with waterfall) and two whirlpools either side.
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 and Ping-Pong tables.
The main pool deck is surrounded by cushioned loungers, as well as the two-person poolside beds that are a signature of all Solstice-class ships. For additional sunbathing space, the sun deck at the front of Deck 16 rarely gets crowded. You can also grab a towel and relax on the Lawn Club's lawn at the other end of the ship.
Celebrity Eclipse Services
You'll find the majority of services on decks 3 and 4, midship.
Guest Relations is off the main atrium on Deck 3, as is Shore Excursions. Future Cruise Sales is on Deck 4 forward.
You'll find shopping across two floors, overlooking the main atrium. The Shops on the Boulevard complex is on Deck 4 and includes stores selling duty-free good, essentials and logo items. One deck above are the high-end watch, jewelry, handbag and clothing stores. Brand names include new-to-the-ship Michael Kors, as well as Tag Heuer, Longines, John Hardy, Nautica, eco-friendly Mad Bags, Calvin Klein, Armani, Versace and D&G by Dolce & Gabbana.
The photo gallery and art gallery are both on Deck 5, midship.
In another cluster, various landings for the main atrium's elevators have been expanded to accommodate various public rooms. On Deck 6, the Celebrity iLounge is a multipurpose room operated in partnership with Apple -- a first at sea. It acts as the internet cafe. The computers are Macs, of course, and there are numerous (fee-free) talks on computer-related topics. There's also a retail store, which is beautifully presented, where you can buy Apple laptops and iPads.
On Deck 7, you'll find a museum-like interactive environmental awareness experience called "Team Earth."
The card room is on Deck 9. On Deck 10, the library is arguably the most visually stunning at sea, spanning two decks and featuring towering bookshelves extending the full height of the room.
The Art Studio (Deck 15) replaces the Corning Glass shop on The Lawn Club and is home to two master artists from ArtCenter/South Florida. They'll host interactive classes and demonstrations on topics like jewelry making, sketching and painting.
Eclipse is outfitted with Wi-Fi through, but it's pricey at 75 cents a minute. To save money, you can buy the following packages: 49 minutes for $24.95, 90 minutes for $49.95, 208 minutes for $99.95, 555 minutes for $199.95 or 1,666 minutes for $399.95.