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
Eclipse looks like a gorgeous ship and one that is just up my alley. I was doing some cruise window shopping and there are some excellent deals on Eclipse and I am very tempted to take advantage of one of them.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
You did a great job, and that is some beautiful ship.
I will have to sail on her.
Carnival Liberty New Year's Eve 2007
Liberty of the Seas 5/2008+11/2009
Allure 1/16/ 2011
The 2 shows that they had on our 2 nighter, were good, but I do feel like other lines have better entertainment. I found this very traditional ship entertainment with a few exceptions. Ovations is your typical Broadway/West End homage, and honestly, who hasn't been there, done that, 10 times over by now. Songs from all the major shows are highlighted, but when, Don't Cry for Me Argentina came on, they sang about 10 bars My gf was not happy about that...Also, towards the end of the show, for me, the singers were singing so loud, I really was ready to go...
The other musical, "Edge" showcased some great dancing, the twist on this show is while most peoples attention is on the stage, they had harnessed a dancer above the stage, and, they circle the perimete, high above the stage, quite close to where we were seated! It was great! Also, during the show, they had a few dancers on bungee cords, twirling, and, bouncing to the ceiling. This was the best part of the show for me.
One unusual thing about the Eclipse we thought, were the rest rooms...On every ship, these are busy places, well get ready to wait in line, as the rest room, by the theater has 3 only stalls. one handicapped, with a button to press a light, to lock, advise occupancy, and a sink within. The outer sinks are large glass, & trough like and have a lacy pattern on them. Other restrooms we saw throughout the ship, had only 2 stalls. Walking bow to stern to get to the theater we noticed only 2 rest rooms along the way. As this was a press/ta cruise, with limited passengers, we never had any issues, but, on a full cruise, I can't imagine this going on without complaints and comments. Gee did we miss any we wondered?
The bars on this ship are numerous, 14 to be exact. We loved the aft Sunset Bar. Lunch and a beer was consumed in an area, conducive to long chatty lunches. We didn't want to move!
The Martini Bar, to my mind, is the place to be. The waiters put on a show, filling several martini glasses, with finesse, and humor. Spilling nary a drop. The top of the bar is iced and you can play tic tac toe, while sipping on what I thought were strong drinks....you can't go by me on that though...the Appletini and Margarita knocked my socks off:-) Seating here is generous, though if you sit under a speaker, the techno music piped, will drive you loop, and, you cannot carry on a conversation...move to a more quiet part of the room for optimum comfort.
Cellar Masters is a dark, spacious men's club feeling bar...I am not a fan of spaces this dark, but I can bet it will be a popular spot. The highlight I think is the pour your own wine carousel. You slide you sail and sign card in, determine how many ounces you want, it will show your cost per ounces, and, go.....you pull your card, and, start sipping! Done! The Sommelier will guide you with any questions you might have before you press the button.
All the bars have different hours, so check your "Celebrity Today" activity sheet.
Something most unusual on board a cruise ship,is the "Hot Glass Show"by the Corning Museum of Glass. This is an intimate live demo of the art of glass blowing. What we saw was quite interesting, though in the middle of a hot day, perfect for sunbathing I am not sure how many will want to sit in the hot sun for this. It is up on deck 15, situated by the Lawn Club. This is something, I thought a bit odd when I first heard of it way back when, but I have to say, what a serene space it is...Bring a towel and enjoy the sun, or bring your lunch and picnic. This perfectly manicured space is just a delight, with benches and chairs to read in the calm open air. We were told that a service dog, decided to shower the area on one cruise, the grass quickly died in that spot, as this grass,[Creeping Bent grass] can just not withstand it. Manicured to golf course perfection, don't miss enjoying it.
The Lawn Club
The Persian Room Spa is a restful oasis, to luxuriate,in, with so many options, it's mind boggling..Who knew you can now get botox at sea! Acupuncture, teeth whitening, have now become the norm on ships....a manicure has now become a fire and ice manicure, with hot stones, and cooling gels..I had a demonstration of a hot stone massage on my neck,and I thought, bo,y have I missed out all these years!! If days of pampering sounds good to you, the Persian Room, can do it all, that's for sure!
Booking an Aqua Class cabin, affords you dedicated pampering, from special pillows,100% Egyptian cotton bedding, browsing your photographs on tv, wellness themed entertainment on your free video on demand, on your 32 inch flat screen tv, to dining in the exclusive Blu Dining Room, it's a special experience, especially for couples/newlyweds.
The shops on the Eclipse, seemed more like what you would find, in a resort area, not your typical ship shops. Moda, the women's clothing store had a geat vibe,, with a cherry blossom design on the windows. They carry Joseph Ribcoff, a line of upscale clothing, Canadian based, that I happen to sell at home. Business was booming on our sailing! Before the shop was opened, I eyeballed a handbag through the window, which I ended up getting..No waiting for later, as most of the accessories were one offs, having done a sellout business on the transatlantic. You snooze, you lose..so I didn't Glitz,is a really funs shop filled with baubles and beads. Anyone want a pink boa? Fine jewelry, featuring the Solstice diamond, with 86 facets, never cut prior to exclusive availability on the Solstice Class. The Showcase, featuring glass merchandise from the Corning Museum of glass, and, the Riedel Gallery.
The Ilounge, Apple and Celebrity have a relationship now..kudo's to them, and they have set up an internet cafe with I would say about 20 stations or so, for passengers to touch base with home or work. If you are interested in learning how to use your Apple Ipod Touch, or IPhone, you can get instructions on the basic functions,and learn about available apps. Apple merchandise is also available for sale.
In closing, I have to say, there is so much to see, in a day and a half, and, what I saw was just eye candy. The Eclipse is the prettiest ship I have sailed, and, if I have my way I will sail her again. I tried to capture a taste of the Eclipse for our Cruisemate readers,and I hope, you get the feel of the beautifully elegant ship that she is. Pictures are up in the gallery..Titles will be on one page shortly....It was a wonderful opportunity to view the ship, and, Celebrity was a great host...as a parting gift, they gave me an Ipod Shuffle..all I need to do now, is figure out how to use it..thanks Celebrity..I had a ball!
Oh, before I go....sometimes you find a, "my spot" on a ship....for me this was, Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria. Set bistro style, this little bit of heaven offers coffee addicts a varied coffee fix, and, tea drinkers like me, high end teas, from Tea Forte, with the most delicious flavors. Tempting fluffs of pastry look like little works of art, in the pretty showcases...Also they have little slices of chocolate in cello envelopes, that are to die for...don't get me started on the gelato...go, savor your time here, and enjoy!
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
Last edited by Trip; November 23rd, 2010 at 10:48 AM.
We loved Eclipse in every way, we thought the shows & entertainment outstanding, great service everywhere, cabin was superb especially the bathroom, we used all the restaurants & Tuscan was our favourite. Just the best ship we have been on & if someone didn't like it (as I have seen) I really don't know what they are looking for. The only downside from us Brits was of course the high level of tips expected.