Eclipse Media Cruise
Back in April, I was fortunate to be headed to England, to view the christening of the newest Celebrity cruise ship, the Eclipse, and have a coupe of days at sea, cruising the English coast. I was so excited, as this would have been my first trip, across the Atlantic. Another reason, was, I would have loved to have met Emma Pontin, a UK based yachtswoman, who was an inspiration, in her battle with breast cancer. I did see her for a moment onboard.
Who would ever think that a volcano of all things, would change the plans of literally 1000's of people. The powers that be at Celebrity, put their heads together, with the Captain, to decide where the ship could best serve the most people. So, at this point, most of the press trips were pulled, in order to have Celebrity aid in the repatriation of stranded Brits. It was determined that, they head for Bilbao Spain, to pick up the weary travelers, who had been sitting on 45 buses, for about 28 hours, waiting to go somewhere!
You can just imagine, how thrilled people were, to not only get transportation home, but to get there in Celebrity style, on a brand spanking new ship! After a shower, and food, stranded travelers, became relaxed cruisers. Although a bit disappointed, honestly, I felt real good about all that was done to repatriate the stranded.
So, Monday, I left for Florida, for a 2 day press cruise, to view the now acclaimed saviour ship in the UK.....Celebrity brought all the media, who had their plans changed, to spend a few days aboard this pretty ship, before she begins her winter in the Caribbean...this is my story
My first impression of the Eclipse, is understated elegance. Everything designed, is in sync to not overstate, but to quietly say, elegance There is no atrium per se, but. a Grand Foyer.. the soaring open space is amazing, and a tree suspended in mid air, in a metallic sphere is really gorgeous. The glass elevators give you glimpses as you climb the decks. Going up, you can see an interesting 2 story library....With high back chairs to get comfy in, and, while away some time with a good book. As libraries go, this one was a wow!
We had an Aqua Spa cabin. While speaking with others in the same cat, we discovered, every other cabin is configured differently. It seems like the one we had, with the bed closer to the balcony, was better designed. Here is cabin.
Aqua Spa Cabin
All done in light woods, with a large balcony, the cabin is quite bright. The bed has the new curved end, which is a pain for tall cruisers, but, visually, it is pleasing I think. The storage has issues to my mind. If you are 2 people cruising for a week or longer, pack wisely. The closet has sliding doors, which are a bit heavy, and, the couch, being close, makes getting to the farther side a bit difficult. There is one rod, set up quite high, so if you have mobility issues, this could prove difficult to get to. 2 small fold down racks, seem crazily placed, and good for hardly anything.
There is a bureau desk combo, with 2 outlets and lights at the desk area. The 6 drawer bureau has a curve to it, the drawers are shallow and not that wide. They have a safe and mini fridge here which takes up precious storage. Over the bed there are 2 shelves with lift up doors...we thought the life jackets would be there, but found them under the bed...not easy to get to for every day needs at sea.
The balcony has 2 nice chairs with footstools, and a large table, and is spacious for 2.
The bathroom, has a rounded plexi shower with a large shower head, with additional spray spigots.. a spa feature. The sink is vessel style, just like I had on the Epic. Huge white luxurious towels, slippers and bathrobes, along with mini spa products get you in a spa frame of mind. Spa cabins, are 192 sq. ft, you also get other amenities in this cabin plus your entre into the Blu dining room, a real beauty of contemporary design...
I dined in the elegant Murano dining room the 1st night, with Cynthia Martinez,the spokesman for Celebrity Cruise lines. Be prepared for a longer dining experience if you select this romantically lit, well appointed space. One side of the menu has the set option, pared with your wine, called Five Senses, a gastronomic and vineyard tour. The other side gives you options. I had the tomato and mozarella salad, and, Mediterranean sea bass...so delish. Cynthia ordered the Murano lobster, which, was prepared table side. A nice touch.. deserts were killer!
My 2nd dinner was in the Tuscan Grille,..Large circular booths and over scaled furniture, with an aft view to die for, make this a nice place to wine and dine. I selectd the fried calamari, onion soup,and Kobe meatballs, and wish someone was making it all for me tonight The rib eye and sea bass, were selected by my table mates, and, we all agreed, everything,along with th service was an A+.
For me, the highlight, was experiencing Qsine. This venue is an Eclipse exclusive, and
a lot of fun,and, kids will get a real kick out of it all! All diners, have their own Ipad menus. This was the first time I had my hands on one, and now I want one.
The star of this tasty dining experience is Chef Jaques Van Staden, and, his idea was to give the diners an unexpected modern approach to familiar dishes from around the globe. The thing I really liked was that, they designed and produced, the most unique plating, and, the dishes were all custom made to hold all the unique foods they came up with. Very creative,and I would buy a few if allowed To add to the sense of whimsy, the lamp chandeliers are all hung upside down, and the waiters are dressed in beige and orange funky jackets with the buttons all askew...loved it!
For instance, spring rolls, nestled in vertical springs...Chinese selections served in martini glasses, popcorn shrimp, in red and white striped popcorn containers, and, Asian bento boxes, with each level filled with frostings, and toppings to create your own cupcakes. All the sauces and sauces are in squeeze bottles ! The desert menu is in the form of a desert cube, just like a Rubiks Cube. I tell you, you are going to be smiling when you leave here
The Oceanview Cafe and Bar, is another area, I enjoyed. The aft dining and bar area. has some comfy couches and coffee tables, sprinkled thoughout.. another way to dine uber casually, while enjoying the view. I found these kind of casual chat areas, all around the ship, so conducive to chilling and chatting.
The Cafe itself, is amazingly spacious. Tons of space for the milling crowds sure to enjoy the Asian, Mexican Indian, and pasta stations.. The salad bar is humongus, the biggest I have ever seen...tons of choices. I was unable to enjoy breakfast there, but my 2 lunches, had the same options both days...I am sure the sailings after the press, will have many daily changes during the cruise. Another thing I liked here, was the large circular booths..big enough for a crowd to eat together.
Oceanview Cafe and Bar:
More to come....
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator