Cruise line: Celebrity Cruises,
It was lovely to be able to drive to Southampton to board the Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Eclipse, without the fuss of airports, walk up the covered ramp and be greeted with a glass of Champagne.
As we walked on to the ship it certainly had the ‘wow' factor, it just seemed so spacious and very modern with a hint of tradition. The atrium, with glass sided lifts, rose up to the 14th deck and made a lovely feature.
The Celebrity Eclipse is certainly built for the 21st century with some very modern areas such as the Martini bar, with frosted counter. This seemed to be the hub for pre-dinner cocktails with the bar tenders performing their own cabaret on several evenings. The Sky Lounge, on the top deck, seemed a bit bland for our taste and lacked atmosphere. The chairs were huge and took up a lot of space so not many people could sit there. There was a reasonable size dance floor which proved popular late at night.
The main dining room was very attractive and modern, set on two floors and there was plenty of space between the tables. The food and selection was always excellent and the wine waiters were very attentive. The wine list was very comprehensive and the prices were not excessive for a ship of this class. A drinks package was available but you really needed to consume a large amount for it to be of value. As the shows did not start until 10.45 we were always able to finish dinner in a relaxed way and find a seat - not always the case on some other ships.
The cafe had a wonderful selection of food, far superior to many cruise lines. The seating area was spacious and we were always able to find a table. Ice cream and sorbets were available throughout the day. The Creperie for $5. cover charge, made a nice relaxed alternative. The Tuscan Grille - cover charge $30. was well worth a visit. The service and food were exemplary and you were able to linger over a beautiful dinner in a lovely setting at the back of the ship.
There were two outside pools, one used for aqua aerobics in the morning, and mostly for children later in the day, as it was not very deep. The Solarium was a lovely relaxing adults only area, with an exceptionally warm pool for and 2 jacuzzis. The Aqua Spa café here served a selection of healthier foods. The loungers everywhere were the most comfortable we have ever experienced aboard ship and we never had a problem finding one. The Pool Butler did a good job and removed towels if passengers had not put them in the ‘used' towel bin. There was always a plentiful supply of towels. Discreet bar tenders were always around.
Formal afternoon tea was served in the dining room on a day at sea. The sandwiches and cakes were displayed on tables with lovely flower arrangements, in the centre of the dining room. It made a spectacular entrance for a great tea. Sadly it was very poorly attended which must have been a great disappointment to the chefs who had obviously worked extremely hard to show off their talents.
The lawn on the top of the ship was extremely well maintained and proved popular for croquet and picnics and nearby was the Glass Blowing area which again was enjoyed by many.
The theatre was comfortable and spacious although uninteresting for a modern ship when compared to the beautiful theatre on Queen Victoria. The shows were varied but not spectacular, and musicians performed here as well although it was not an ideal venue for the pianist.
Our cabin was at the back of the ship and the decks were tiered so the balcony had sun for most of the day. We noticed that cabins on the port and starboard, mid-ships, had a large overhang and never had much sun, if any, on their balconies. The cabins were slightly smaller than we had expected but adequate with flat screen t.v's and tea and coffee facilities. The bed was huge and wonderfully comfortable. The shower room was extremely well appointed with plenty of cupboard space and a fog free mirror. The large shower had sliding doors, a great improvement on curtains. The let down was the stupid modern tap on the basin which came so far out it was impossible to wash your hair in the basin! There was a lack of drawer space in the cabin, although there was a cupboard over the bed but, if short, it was difficult to reach. The chairs on the balcony were extremely comfortable and there was a foot stall. We had room service for breakfast and there was a good choice of food. A phone call was always received few minutes before it arrived. Our cabin steward really went out of his way to be helpful.
There were lots of little ‘extras' on the Eclipse which included iced towels and chilled drinks on returning to the ship from tours. Announcements were always kept to the minimum. The staff were always willing to carry your plate to the table in the café if you wanted help.
One disappointment, there was no Captain's Cocktail Party, instead a drink as we entered the theatre when he welcomed us on board and introduced the Senior Officers. This was arranged at a time to suit both dinner sittings.
Hygiene was obviously very important to Celebrity as we were always greeted by a crew member with gel before we boarded and when entering a dining area.
Disembarkation was extremely slick, the best we have ever experienced , all done with virtually no announcements.
To conclude Eclipse is certainly a beautiful ship with excellent service and food and thoroughly deserves the praises it has already received.Overall rating: 5
|Author||Mr Anthony Stephenson|
|Date||10 December 2010|
|Comment||Certainly a notch above Cunard( unless in Queens or Princess Grill class) and two notches above P&O /Princess– as the ratings confirm|