Celebrity-Eclipse-Cruising-SoloQ – We hear good things from our friends in Austin about Celebrity and I’m not just talking about friends in cowboy hats. We don’t see much about them on your site and are wondering why. Also wondering just how much is included on this line. I would hate being nickel and dimed for drinks, tips etc. Appreciate your time.

A – Celebrity is not one of the world’s top ten cruise lines. The Celebrity experience includes three or four thousand fellow guests and the line is not inclusive. Guests in the Royal Suite, Penthouse, and Reflection Class Suites have a stocked cabin mini-bar and a complimentary drink package.Butler service is exclusive to suite level guests.

Celebrity is owned by Royal Caribbean and was, we believe, originally intended to be RCI’s version of Crystal cruises. Royal Caribbean has loyal fans but they had no place to go for a more sophisticated cruise experience. Originally, Celebrity was going to cost significantly more than Royal Caribbean but that has not exactly worked out and Celebrity remains the highest-rated of the mass market lines as well as one of the best overall values in the non-inclusive category. In fact, were we to extend our ratings to the top fifteen lines, Celebrity would just barely make the cut, along with the mega-ships of Disney cruise line as well as large portions of the Holland America fleet. There are a great many so-called “critic” or “review” sites out there and virtually all of them concentrate on the most popular mega-ship brands. We are totally devoted to the literal Top Ten, all of which tend to be smaller vessels carrying fewer than 1,000 guests and most of them offering variations of an inclusive and elegant cruise experience. So nothing personal against Celebrity. We think the line has been carefully nurtured and offers a superior product for those seeking the best of the mega-ship experience albeit with doses of high design and sophistication. Celebrity’s entertainment  has improved a good deal but its cuisine and personal service levels do not compare to higher-rated cruise products.