I want you to read this fantastc review, written by one of my clients on her return from Celebrity Eclipse yesterday…..
Wow, wow, wow – that was the theme of the weekend recently spent on the Celebrity Eclipse.”I feel like this is my first cruise – it is so amazing” was a comment by one of my friends soon after we boarded. “P&O need to watch out – get Jane to cancel next years P&O cruise and book us onto this ship” was another comment by a P&O Goldie. A piece of my heart is still sitting comfortably on my new Favourite ship.
Bit of background – I am a regular cruiser, having done P&O, Cunard, Royal Carribean, NCL and more recently Regent. Here is my review of Celebrity Eclipse – I never thought you could have a love affair with a cruise ship – but I think mine just started….. Here are my ramblings I have tried to structure them a little, but apologise in advance for any confusion – my brain is alight with what I have just experienced
We (a group of 10 ladies ranging from 30 to 70) have just returned from a 4 night weekend break to Cork on the new Celebrity Eclipse. We motored down to Southampton on Thursday morning arriving at around 1.45pm – we had completed online check in and were quickly ushered through security at the City Cruise Terminal, we were then taken to the check in desks, where our passports were checked, credit card swipped and cruise cards issued – we were then sent straight on board – 15 mins after arriving.
That is when the WOWs started…… We were greeted as soon as we got on board with a lovely glass of chilled champagne, and asked if we wanted to be escorted to our cabins or taken up to lunch – we decided to find our own way up to our balcony staterooms on deck 7, taking in the ships ambience along the way. We walked through the ship – mouths open – so much opulence, moving from one area to another – all beautifully and tastefully decorated.
Arriving at our stateroom – stunningly decorated with a contemporary feel, and set up with twin beds – there is a big comfy cream leather sofa near to the entrance to the balcony, along with a dressing table, mini bar and safe, a 40 inch LCD TV attached to the wall, which can be turned depending on where you are sitting, as well as double wardrobes and ample drawer space. A kettle and tea/coffee are also provided, but to be honest we never used this – more why later.
The bathroom was beautifully appointed with a huge shower – no curtains thatn stick to you here, but a nice sized cubicle with doors which slide across. Shampoo, Conditioner, moisturiser and shower caps are provided and replenished daily. Lots of cupboard space and shelves – apparently designed with women in mind – by women (according to the brochure), so ideal for make-up, perfumes etc. Fluffy white towels (but not big ones, which is my one and only critism of the whole cruise!!).
We then made our way up to the Ocean View Café for lunch (this is the buffet restaurant) – more WOWs, this is a massive really light space, very well laid out area, with everything you could possibly think of for lunch, including salad bar, grill offering steaks, chops etc, carvery, curry, pasta (which they cooked freshly), pizza station which again could be tailored to exact requirements or you could pick up a slice of freshly baked always available slices, fresh vegetables, deserts and ice cream – and not just one flavour of ice cream a choice of about 7 or 8 complete with sauces and sweeties to go on top – WOW!
As I mentioned earlier we were a group of 10, and a lovely waitress very quickly found us a table so we could all sit together. The Somalier came along and presented a very varied wine list, as well as other drinks – these people are very knowledgable and made some great recommendations. Juice, water, tea, coffee, chocolate is always available and its all free at any time of the day or night – all the way through the ship are drinks stations – so its very easy to get something whenever you fancy it (hence us not using the kettle at all.) Waiters will fetch and carry them back to the tables for you.
The afternoon was spent exploring the ship – more WOWs – I will start at the top – Deck 15 is the lawn club – nearly ½ an acre of real grass, which is used for grass games, you can walk on it, but they do ask that you don’t do so with stiletto heals. This is also where the glass blowing studio is located – unfortunately we did not get chance to see it. Also on deck 15 is the Sunset Bar – it has the most gorgeous chairs (by this time I am becoming a bit obsessed by the chairs – but they are amazing!!), which are very classy outdoor type chairs with big comfy cushions – I would imagine that this bar, down in the Med would be stunning to just chill out and watch the sunset, as it is located right at the back of the ship.
Other end of deck 15 is the kids area, and a bit higher up is the Solice deck with more comfy chairs, sunbeds – with real padding and very very comfy, and a real double bed with more padding – lovely area for sunbathing on those long lovely sea days.
Down to deck 14 and we are at the Sky Observation Lounge, all decked out in Creams and Purples – its located at the front of the ship and has floor to ceiling windows – a bit like a conservatory as you can actually see the sky. It has a lovely bar, a dance floor and lots of different types of seating areas, including big semi-circular seats, high backed chairs and beds to lie on to watch the sea in front of you and the sky above you….. all in cream leather…… oh how I wish I was still there……
Deck 12 is the Spa and Pool Deck – the gym and spa were lovely, although I did not use the facilities. One area I did use a lot was the Spa swimming pool – which is the indoor pool, surrounded by more comfy beds – all decked out in terracotta. There is a dancing water fall and a lovely big pool, as well as a Jacuzzi. There are also covered hammocks for 2 people to relax in and big comfy chairs (a bit like prams) that you can crawl into and fall asleep – Saturday afternoon was spent in here – and boy did I sleep – 2 hours in one go…….
The outdoor pool is beautiful, 2 pools, and an area where water shoots up – hard to describe but if you have been to Disney you will have seen something similar, and I can see the children loving it in the summer. The whole pool deck is beautiful, and the sunbeds here are very comfortable and well padded. They have a pool butler who loads them up with towels, and everything is kept neat and tidy.
Deck 4 and 5 are where the shops and bars are located, as well as the speciality dining rooms, and Quasar the Night Club. This is also where the promenade deck is (I am ashamed to say I never actually stepped on it, but apparently there are rocking chairs on there – big comfy padded ones!!!!)
We didn’t get round all of bars, but the Martini Bar is a must visit – the bar is actually ice….. ice bars on a cruise ship – it was incredible. The bar staff here were fantastic, putting on a show every night while they were mixing the martinis – this bar had a fantastic vibe, lots of good trendy music, and real entertainment from the bar staff – the martinis were stunning – an extensive list and we did try to get through most of them.
The central atrium is also in this area and is the real heart of the ship, as the bars on decks 4 and 5 are located around it – it has to be seen to be believed – there is a tree inside a ball suspended from deck 8 – amazing. There was regular entertainment each evening in the atrium, from a group of guys who sang acapella, to 4 ladies who played classical strings…… Music was in every bar every night, and all very good.
The theatre is set over 3 decks and is incredible. The stages moves up and down – there are lifts and high wires all through the theatre not just on the stage, and the effects available are stunning. Drinks waiters will get any drinks that you require and then you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show
We went 3 nights out of the 4 – the first night was a production show called Epic, which was the Celebrity Singers and Dancers, an excellent and colourful production show, with songs and an introduction to the specialist Arial acts – we really enjoyed this show. Second performance was from a West End Singer called Lindsay Hamilton – she was fantastic and performed lots of songs from Mr Lloyd Weber – she had previously played Fantine in Les Miserable, and was brilliant – standing ovation!
The final night was a European Circus Show called Eclipse –WOW WOW WOW WOW – this is absolutely the best show I have ever seen at sea – trapeze artists, strength acts, a woman who could do the most amazing things with her body – the colours, the vibrance, the energy, WOW……… We were all blown away, and everybody we bumped into afterwards was saying “did you go to the show – wow” – this is the first time I have ever heard such a positive reaction to any show like this…. WOW – I still keep thinking about what I saw…. WOW….
I am aware that this review is jumping around a bit, but I am not going to apologise –I just keep remembering things and want to communicate it to you.
Dinner each evening was another WOW event. The restaurant is again stunning, very light and bright, (but not too much) all white and chrome – there is a “wine rack” that stands the height of 2 decks and contains over 8000 bottles of wine – this dinning room is stunning. We had elected to take second sitting on a table for 10 (as there were 10 of us) – our waiter Ozzy and his lovely assistant Gouver (sp) were excellent – Ozzy thought all his Christmas’s had come together having “ten lovely ladies to serve” – and apparently he is now talk of the crew mess – which was probably because we got him to pose with the 10 of us, as Charlie in Charlies Angels. He was wonderful – the service from both of them each evening was faultless and they were the best wait team I have had on any cruise. (True!!) – entertaining, as well as professional and attentive. Ozzy even used to wait for us at the entrance every evening to escort us to the table, and had the ability to make us all feel incredibly special.
The food was OUTSTANDING, this is where Celebrity wins hands down over previous cruises (maybe on par with Regent) – the menu was split into two – an always available, and a different menu each evening. Offered were a starter, followed by soup and/or salad, main course, desert and tea/coffee. The quality and presentation was fantastic and for those of you that are partial to a good piece of beef/steak – well…….WOW is all I can say……
On the Sunday, Celebrity provide a Sunday Brunch in the restaurant – I have never seen anything like it, from standard breakfast fayre, to eggs Benedict, to fish and chips, steak, beef, lamb, pork, turkey, fish, chocolate fountains, waffles, whipped cream, crepes, CANDY FLOSS!!! Everything you could possibly think of.
Disembarkation this morning was so relaxed – my friend said to me that she felt that on previous cruises with other lines the cruise had finished when she had gone to bed the night before arrival into Southampton, not on Celebrity she felt her cruise experience didn’t finish until she walked out of the terminal building. We had been given a time to disembark at 7.50 – we had to report to the restaurant at this time, and we were then told to go ahead and get off if we were ready. There were no queues, no bags cluttering up hallways, no crowds of people sitting waiting to get off, NO ANNOUNCEMENTS and bing bongs every few minutes – it was all just very relaxed, and we just got off and were shown straight to our cases and were sent on our way.
In summary – I loved loved loved Celebrity – the Eclipse is the most beautiful, stunningly gorgeous, amazingly opulent ship I have ever had the pleasure to sail on. The service was impeccable – all staff without exception were wonderful, everybody spoke to us to wish us good morning, ask us where our friends were (if we were not all together), make sure we were having a good time. “No” is not in the vocabulary, a quick example – each evening we liked to finish off the evening with a hot chocolate and a cookie – unfortunately cookies were not standard fair at 2 in the morning, but no problem, we just asked and they were served with a smile.
The Sommeliers knew there stuff and it was refreshing to have a conversation with somebody that had time to spend discussing which wines might be suitable for dinner each evening.
Even the public toilets need a mention – there is a lady situated outside each evening, to open the door, hand you a towel (not a paper towel a proper one), and to make sure you have everything you need. The toilets without exception were spotless (which can’t be said for other lines I have sailed on – particularly after the after dinner rush!!!!).
I feel like I have finally found the perfect cruise ship and can’t wait to get back on her – there is a piece of my heart currently sitting in Southampton waiting to sail off into the distance on my lovely Eclipse – now where is that Celebrity brochure…..
For all those P&O die hards – you simply don’t know what you are missing, and just give it a try, as she will be based in Southampton for the next couple of years – you won’t be disappointed I promise…….
My thanks to Denise Burkett-Stuss for this fantastic review, its certainly made me want to experience Celebrity for myself!
Fancy trying Celebrity Eclipse? She is offering the same 4 night break departing 29th April 2011, plus she has some fantastic itineraries for Mediterranean, Baltic and Canaries, out of southampton for both 2010 abd 2011. contact me for more details