Eclipse Review April 2013

Eclipse berthed in Bridgetown, Barbados

Godmother of the ship Emma Pontin

 

Em's first book is a candid account of her recent battle against breast cancer from diagnosis and mastectomy through the harrowing nightmare of soul destroying chemo and radiotherapy to the final reconstruction.

 

This is a highly motivational and uplifting true story of a young woman’s battle against breast cancer.

 

Breast cancer is an insidious disease that attacks 44,000 women and in excess of 300 men every year in Britain alone

 

Quite simply we would like to do something about it !

 

The challenge involved a small group of experienced sailors combined with a crew of forty two selected members of the public, all of whom have had a very personal relationship with breast cancer. The team departed from London on their round the world sailing challenge in order to raise funds for, and global awareness of, breast cancer.

 

A carefully programmed selection of stopovers at which they acted as ambassadors to raise funds and awareness, not only of breast cancer but also of the fact that it can be beaten.

A very fitting person to be Eclipse's Godmother and seen here cutting the ribbon at the launch ceremony in 2010

and now for the main staff members' on Eclipse:

 

Captain, Panagiotis Skylogiannis, Born Athens, Greece

Joined Celebrity July 1988 as a 2nd officer. Past Port Captain in the Miami Office before being appointed Master on Zenith. He has served on Horizon; Century; Infinity; Summit and was the inaugural Master of the Solstice/Eclipse. He lives in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

 

Staff Captain, Theocharis Charalampos

Joined Celebrity in 1999 and has served on Century; Summit; Constellation; Millennium; and Equinox after which he joined Eclipse.

 

Chief Engineer, Andreas Kavouras

He was born and lives in Piraeus. He joined Celebrity in 1998 as 3rd Engineer and promoted to Second Engineer in 2005. In 2011 he was promoted to Chief Engineer where his responsibility covers propulsion; air-conditioning; heating; plumbing and much more.

 

Executive Chef, Lee Goblee

Worked in the famous Ritz Hotel in London, prior to moving to the Caribbean. He is well known for high food and for his diversity and he hopes all will enjoy the culinary journey.

 

Cruise Director, Sue Denning

Born and raised in Birmingham, England. She has toured the world in musical theatre and caberet venues. She has worked with many well known stars including Sir Michael Caine; Brenda Blethyn to name just 2. Her hopes are to introduce more innovative and exclusive entertainment at sea.

 

Hotel Director, Tom Brady

Born and raised in New York City, the bulk of his career being with the Hyatt Hotels where his aim was to produce the highest levels of services to the guests. His aim with Eclipse is to ensure every guest has a memorable cruise.

 

Food & Beverage Manager, Evan Willemse

Born in South America he completed his apprenticeship with Karos hotels and he spent some time with Manchester United, until fate brought him to the Celebrity family.

 

One piece of good news is the Celebrity teddy bears are back. Last spring whilst on Silhouette we found out they had been discontinued but clearly they have had a re-think as when we went into the shop a Granny; Grand Daughter were leaving and guess what someone was cuddling an Eclipse teddy bear !!!!

We stayed at the Marriott North, Fort Lauderdale and accommodation and food were fine with an option for a buffet breakfast costing $15 and on offer there was bacon; scrambled eggs; sausages; fruit drinks; tea/coffee and toast but it was self-service but it all went fine with Rudy from the hotel overseeing. Our room had a very small balcony, just enough to stand outside and no more, but other than that the hotel was fine for our overnight stay before joining the ship in the morning.

There was problems with the custom people due to staff cutbacks !! so instead of a 11.30 departure it was nearer to 12.45 nothing Celebrity could do about it. The lorry is loading up in the left foreground. There were 3 Celebrity staff 2 retired staff but it all went well with the  to departures bysuitcases being collected from your room door and taken in a van by Mike to the shgip and clearly he was well organized compared with the Princess guests whose luggage had to be loaded by the driver on to their bus, the old way of doing things. As Christine was in a wheelchair George one of the 3 handling the departures from the hotel had arranged a bus with a wheelchair lift, which made life a lot easier for Christine. We arrived at departures and there were no obvious queues when we arrived, but there was a sign in the background suggesting a new facility was on its way.

There appeared a very heightened state of alert even on arrival at the port all the coaches were stopped and there lugguge doors opened before we could proceed. Perhaps there was a fear something was going to happen but as it was it sadly took place in Boston. 

Prior to departure the normal safety drill took place and these details are posted on the back of your bedroom door.

Something we have never seen before the gun is manned ready to fire !!!

Following our departure from Fort  Lauderdale and our ports of call were St. Thomas [Temp 24] 7/10; St Maarten [Temp 27] 9/10; Antigua [Temp 29] 2/10 [revised]; St Lucia [Temp 30] 8/10; Barbados [Temp 30]  8/10; Grenada [Temp 32] 4/10; Aruba [Temp 32] 6/10 and finally Curacao [Temp 32] 5/10 The figures in blue are my scores for the immediate area off the ship and how user friendly they were to wheelchairs. In the case of Aruba and Antigua we did venture much further and Aruba main street area 5/10 and Antigua it was terrible, I wondered if anyone with a mobile chair tried the area around the shops. We did take an excursion on Grenada and the bus driver and escort were great but at all three stops particularly the Nutmeg factory only suitable for those able to climb a lot of stairs and the Concorde Water falls a bit of a view, but not great 6/10. In Curacao again driver and escort excellent but the Aloa vera area not good, my wife stayed in the shop whilst I went around the tour and at the Liquer plant very limited access but worth 5/10, we had to go back the way we came in.

The rating for the ship was 9.7/10, really the only problem areas were the shops on Decks 4 & 5 and the stateroom doors were heavy to push open and move a wheelchair but Andy provided a wedge that made doing this very much easier.

There were 3 formal nights 2nd at sea; 8th visiting Barbados and 12th at sea

We were in a Sky Suite 2115, the accommodation was excellent but I have to say it was on the odd occasion a bit noisier, but then we were under the Cafe on Deck 14 and you could hear from time to time the trolleys on wheels moving across the floor, although it never really bothered us. We are normally in Conceirge with a 194 sq ft of space and we now had 300 sq ft, but with the balcony smaller than I had hoped it couldn't not even take a lounger, but just the tables and chairs I have to say it was very comfortable and spacious but was it really good value for money.

We were looked after by Andy our butler, he was excellent both with help and information. Andy was responsible for food/wine/drinks etc. It was Jose and Daemon who looked after the room and we got on well with all three and the help they gave Christine was exceptional.

A drencher ?; Shower [middle] which is mobile and a bath [2nd bottom] and temp adjustment [bottom]  The black cord is part of our washing line !!!

Our Sky suite was 300/76 sq ft compared with our usual Concierge which is 96/54 sq ft, I would rather have had a bigger balcony which would have taken loungers than the much bigger room.

We do have the odd visitor

You can also dial your stateroom using your mobile dial *  then your stateroom number, unlikely to work unless unless very close to the ship, but OK on the ship, this was a free service.

The interactive TV:

Apart from the many TV channels you could check up on what you are spending; book an excursion etc

What TV channels you have:

Ch 2

Cruise Director

Ch 3

Shore Excursions

Ch 4

Port Shopping

Ch 5

Navignation

Ch 6

Bridge View/Weather Forecast

Ch 7

CNBC

Ch 8

MSNBC

Ch 9

BBC World

Ch 10

Sky News

Ch 11

Fox News

Ch 12

Engage News

Ch 13

Movies

Ch 14

Sea TV

Ch 15

CBS Eye

Ch 16

Celebrity International

Ch 17

CNN

Ch 18

ESPN

Ch 19

TNT Espanol

Ch 20

Cartoon Espanol

Ch 21

TNT

Ch 22

Cartoon Network

Ch 23

HLN

Ch 24

Celebrity Life

Ch 25

HLM

Again on other cruises these channels could be different and this was case when we were on Eclipse in September, 2012

The IT section is on Deck 6 midship and it is still the normal broadband speed you will likely have at home unless you have access to fibre services. The speed is 54 Mbps, the are no service charges and Captains' Club member's get 90 FREE minutes each. The Silhouette speed was I think around 135 Mbps with the new system.  Other Elite members' benefits.

Packages

Price

Rate/min

Minutes

 

$24.95

$0.65

35

 

$49.95

$0.55

90

 

$99.95

$0.48

208

 

$119.95

$0.36

555

 

$399.95

$0.24

1666

Priced at April 2013 cruise prices, but prices might be different on future cruises

image from Eclipse 2010

We sat at Table 337 which is a table by the window on the port side of the ship. Our Waiter was Nural assisted by Vadym and both ensured we were well looked after with a very special effort by both to help Christine. Our sommelier was Nyoman who was a great enthusiast for all the wines he could offer us but we do book out 6/7 bottles on line for comsumption in the main diningroom. Our maitre'd was David and he ran a very smooth and efficient service.

Also here some other eating options times/prices:

Moonlight Sonato Deck 3 Breakfast 7.30/9.00 a.m.; Fixed Seating 6.30/8.30 p.m.

Select Dining Deck 4 5.45/9.00 p.m. Often on one day during the cruise a brunch is served normal on a day at sea on the way back to home port and around 11 a.m.

Oceanview Café Deck 14 operates 24/7 with different options at varying times:

Breakfast Buffet; Lunch Buffer; Ice Cream; Pizza/Pasti; Afternoon tea; Sushi Selection; Casual Dining and finally Chef’s Late selection.

Each serving station had this type of display and this one took my eye, with the cups and saucers; coffee beans then the display of teaspoons.

Bistro on Five Deck 5 8 a.m./2.00 a.m. Creperie then the Blu open breakfast 7 a.m. / 8.30 a.m. and Open Seating Dinner seating for dinner5.45 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. other specialty restaurants open. Munro Contemporary French Cuisine; Qsine Uniquely Unordinary; Tuscany Italian Steak House all open 6/10 p.m. on Deck 5 access through the Ensemble Room but there is a cover charge of $40 per person. Call 7000 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to book a table,

some sample menu's.

We like to be in and out of the restuarant as fast as possible as Christine is not a great one for eating out, meaning a visit to the specialised restuarant would be a waste of time, but the feedback on all was good.

The popular eating/meeting place namely Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 whether for breakfast; lunch; juices; ice or afternoon teas served from 4 p.m.with the scones/cream/strawberry jam plus many other tasty treats. Many preferred to eat here in the evening rather than in the main diningroom.

Our photo taken on the 3rd formal night in the main diningroom.

The entertainment around the ship:

Celebrity Theatre Decks 3/4

Opening night Celebrity Showtime

Ray Brown jnr in Concert

Steve Brogan Ventriloquist

Edge

Eclipse orchestra

Jordan Bennett, Star of Les Miserables

Sam Cane, vocalist featured in several stage musicals including Carousel and Seven

Brides for Seven Brothers

Don Gavin, Godfather of Boston Comedy

Sky Lounge Deck 14

Perry Grant, Music Entertainer

Play Pictionary

Trivia : Numerous games

Are you smarter than a ship’s officer : Stripes vs Guests in a game of wit

Strictly Ballroom

Play Charades

Casino Deck 4 and Christine's favourite bandit

Some of what was happening in the casino

Tournament Package Deal cost $49.95 [2013]

Mystery Slots $100 free play loaded onto 60 machines

$620K Paradise Lotto Draw plus lots more.............

 

Ensemble Lounge Deck 5

Ray Brown Jnr  Jazz Quartet

Bel Canto String Trio

Top Shelf, a Cappella Quartet

Michael’s Club Deck 5 off from Ensemble Lounge

Named after Michael Chandris who sold his cruise line to RCCL in the mid nineties, but his daughter is still on the Board of RCCL

and for a first time 7.30 to 8.30 p.m. the Bel Canto String Trio bul also

Tag Heuer Seminar Sale

Malt Whisky Tastings

Watches vs Time pieces

Small Batch Bourbon Tasting

Jameson Whisky Tasting

Master of Malts Tasting

Grand Foyer

Formal Night Dance Party

Top Notch Party Band

Global Flavours Cooking Demonstration

Ray Brown Jr`

Regular Hot Glass Shows on Deck 15

This was a day in port and preparation work was in progress for the evening show hence just a few onlookers including me.

Cellar Masters

Viva Italia Wine Tasting

California Dreaming Wine Tasting

A Jameson whisky

Sunset Bar Deck 15

Kylie Thomasson Guitar & Vocals

Club 21 : 40

This popular spot on Deck 15 anchors one end of the Lawn Club on the highest deck on the ship. Spectacular views and a casual country club atmosphere and watch the sunset on the water.

Quaser Deck 4

Ultimate 80’s Dance Party

Club Q until late

Club Q 21 – 40

Seventies Disco Fever

Adult Arcade Wii and Xbox

Strictly Ballroom

Poolside

Zumba daily classess with Andrea

DJ Alessio’s Calypso by the pool

Nearly all the musical acts do move around the various lounges as you will see from my listings.

Also on all Celebrity ships there is a cinema and these are some of the films showing during our cruise, one had

My Week with Marilyn Biography [Rated R] 99 minutes

Stolen Action [Rated R] 96 mins

Ice Age :Continental Drift [PG] 88 mins animation

Hope Springs [PG-13] 100 mins

Safe Action Thriller [Rated R] 94mins

Some of the talks that were available to attend by David & Gid Hughes : Caribbean Constellations; An Astronomers Life

The History of Stand Up Comedy in America: How to get your own show

Other visits

Heart Beat of the Operation a visit to the Galley usually a day when the ship is at sea

Numerous issues of health and fitness is covered in the AquaSpa including Facial

Rejuvenation; Upgrade your hair style;

Celebrity do set their style with their Life Activities

So there are plenty of acivities to help you enjoy your cruise.

Now some views around the ship:

The plague displayed on Deck 12             The winner, but so good no one else

                                                                 showed up

Flowers carved out of fruit                        Available every day down at

                                                                      Guest services, but delivered to

                                                                      you if you are in a suite

    On tap in all the bars                          Painting on Deck 14 port side on 

                                                             entry/exit to the Oceancafe

    The Mast bar Deck 14 were you may    Access to the Mast Grill Deck 14

smoke for your hot dogs and burgers etc

    Pool staff line up to take guests           Contents of your room fridge

    applause for all their hard work                             

So hot they sat in the spray area to           Match Officers vs Entertaiment staff

help cool off !!!

Oasis of the seas berthed alongside Eclipse and using the glass panels the reflection of the funnel on our ship up front.

The grass looking quite good, if you see one of the guests standing by the railing immediately above his head is the restuarant perched on top of a hill and there used to be a cable car to take you to the top where apart from the restuarant there was a big wheel, unfortunately has gone bust and that was the old docking point. 

Some of the art work scattered throughout the ship

and throughtout the ship many hundreds more. As part of the kids activities they have to go around the ship and count how many they can find then see who gets the highest.

The total distance travelled on this cruise 3386 miles. So as the Oasis of the Seas heads for its next port and the sun starts to set it is the end of another great cruise, but the sun will rise again when we join Equinox in the autumn in the Mediterranean.