In almost all areas, we felt a trip on Celebrity Eclipse topped the experience we had on Sapphire Princess.
|Princess Cruises Sapphire Princess||Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Eclipse|
|Double Occupancy: 2670||Double Occupancy: 2850|
|Gross Tonnage: 115875||Gross Tonnage: 122000||14 decks||14 decks|
|CDC Score: 98||CDC Score: 97|
|Launched: May 27, 2004||Launched: 2010|
Although Sapphire Princess and Celebrity Eclipse are very close in size and passenger space ratios, the similarities end there. How are they different? Let’s start with interior design: While Sapphire Princess is slightly older (having taken to the seas in 2004), just six years later the design of newer Celebrity Eclipse appears sophisticated and classy, in the style of a modern hotel like those of the W chain; by comparison, many of the public areas aboard Sapphire Princess felt like small-town Marriott. The innovative Lawn Club on Eclipse offered real grass that we could hang out on for hours, while a round of miniature golf at Sapphire’s artificial Lawn Court felt like an afterthought we’d aim for only if there was nothing better to do.
Dining was not standout on either ship, though at least the rooms on Celebrity Eclipse were more eye-catching. Although meals on Eclipse were inconsistent and the specialty restaurants carried excessive surcharges, the buffet was huge, offering something for virtually every taste bud. The buffet venue on Sapphire Princess was expanded in 2012, and the food was good and varied, but it still didn’t compare to that of Eclipse. Bars were good on both ships, but again, we’d give the edge to Eclipse, especially the snazzy (and somewhat undiscovered) Molecular Bar and its creative, one-of-a-kind cocktails. Service was roughly comparable on both ships, and for a multi-generational family voyage, Sapphire does a decent job of appealing to all ages.
But when it came to entertainment, again, Eclipse wins hands-down, with excellent live music available at almost all hours of the day and well into the evening, and stage shows that were undeniably impressive.
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