Eclipse Review April 2014

plus my wheelchair guide, hopefully helpful, but you might want to seek further advice from your cruise consultant.

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Eclipse berthed in Grenada, I wrongly had this down as Curacao, so apologies.

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.

The plaque on the ship states "Celebrated cruises is extremely honoured to

have as Godmother of the stunning Celebrity Eclipse Emma Pontin, a

courageous woman who has leveraged the challenges of sailing to foster a

compelling career and to overcome adversity.

Emma embarked as a crew member on her first transatlantic yacht race in

2002, after only a weeks sailing experience. Winning sparked the

beginning of a new career. She continued her devotion to the sport and, in

2006, was selected to skipper the ARC Transatlantic race. But, at the start,

Emma was diagnosed with breast cancer, and returned immediately to the

UK, for a double mastectomy and treatment.

Throughout he chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Emma continued to sail,

instruct and race, and skippered such major competitions as the Fastnet

and Sydney-Hobart race. She also chronicled her battle against breast

cancer in a book, Beating the Blowfish.

Emma has logged more then 100,000 nautical miles and completed 15

transatlantic races. She is married to Richard, and stepmother to

three energetic and sea-loving children. Emma continues to race and

instruct, and plans to circumnavigate the globe (30,000 miles) in 2011

to raise funds for, and awareness of, breast cancer."

and now to the staff: 

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, with his family.

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, Georgios Spyrellis

Born on the Greek island of Lesvos. He began his career on cargo and tanker

ships. Joined Celebrity in 1998 moving up to Chief Engineer in 2006. He is responsible for the ship’s propulsion; electrical systems as well all the technical aspects of the ship. He lives in Athens with his family and during vacation he

enjoys Tae Kwon Do and playing football,

Executive Chef, Paul Carroll

Began his career in Ireland in the world famous Clarence Hotel in Dublin.

Catered for the Royal family when working with Marcus Wareing at Petrus in Mayfair, also served the needs of leaders of Government and stars from stage

and screen. Paul joined Celebrity Eclipse and since has changed the culinary landscape at sea. Chef Paul brings his culinary experience to Eclipse in his role

as Executive Chef.

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, Darren Tiller

Born in Liverpool, before moving to Oxfordshire where his parents became

hoteliers. Darren started his career with Forte Hotels and in the Caribbean for Westin; Raffels and Sandel Resorts. He returned to the UK in 2005 to

complete his Masters degree in Tourism and Hospitality and afterwards serve

as Operations Manager in the Mayfair in London. Darren now overseas the entire hotel operation on Celebrity Eclipse.

Food & Beverage Manager, Cemal Ozcelik

Cemal was born in Turkey and he graduated with a degree in Tourism/Hotel management. He has been for the past 21 years working in premium hotels.

He started with Celebrity in 1999 holding various positions until finally

promoted to F&B Manager which employs the largest group of staff, some

620, more then 50% of the total complement. On vacation he loves to spend

time with his lovely family.

Graeme Kelleher, Captains’ Club Host

Graeme is based on Deck 7, Team Earth. As on previous cruises lately, the

cruise sales team have taken over the space, part used in the past by CPH

and the Sales team members when it was much smaller. He is an Australian !!!

* Where on Eclipse last April, 2013

We flew down to Heathrow on the 8 a.m. flight after staying the night at

the Hilton hotel at Edinburgh. We then flew on to Miami on the 11.10 from Heathrow arriving around 3.15 p.m. local time.

We then transferred to the Hilton Marina hotel at Fort Lauderdale, with

the coach for Christine having a lift. This is a great hotel with balconies

something we have never had in previous visits. Our only minor fault is there

is a steep part to push a wheelchair up, but the remainder of the hotel was

fine. Drinks were served in Antea bar, just over from reception, they were

free pour, costing $25 compared with the Eclipse who charged $16, this was

for a double gin and rum and mixer and as the free pour had ended. It was

a room only basis, there was a choice at the bar area just inside the hotel

for a good variety food or the main diningroom. The breakfast cost was $22

plus local tax, or in our case $46 max so we went for the buffet breakfast

and it was good value for money. We went down at 8.45 when it wasn't to 

busy but we quickly got a table and around 30 mins later the queues starting to form.

After breakfast we took it easy and we came down and past by the 

restaurant to where the reps were checking guests in and advising us to

bring our cases down, or use a porter for around 10.30 a,m.,we popped

our head out the back of the hotel where the cases were being collected

to find our bus with the lift had arrived and another 20 mins we were on

our way to the ship.

Just as on previous transfers there were a number of others leaving for other ships/other destinations so there was the usual buses moving about, but like

always it was sorted, but a few guests could be heard maoning.

So were arrived about 12 mins later at the ship and clearly there was a good

number of guests from the previous cruise still waiting to depart, no reason

known why. I pushed Christine to the lounge were several staff were very

helpful directing us in a way to minimise excess movements of the wheelchair.

We went up to Deck 14 for a drink and natter to other guests and around

1.15 p.m. the rooms were ready.

Changes noticed so far the ice cream machine back in place on Deck 14 beside

the Hamburger serving area.

Access to Michaels club now only Elite Zenith and Suite guests, not happy

about this as we did enjoy a drink in a unique atmosphere, but alas no more.

The drinks/wine packages in full swing but you can only buy a drink for your

own consumption, if your wife/partner wanted to have a drink at the same

time their card was needed as well. One US guest said he just laid into them

and eventually he got a card just for himself, but included was an allocation

for his wife !! If I bought someone a drink on our card, those with the blue cards could not reciprocate.  Far more contentious is the introduction of

measures, the one currently used gives you a double, but the other end it

could be a single, all bars are using them.

We so far were spending around $58 between us per day. Our drinks last

year on both cruises were $14.24 whilst this year it is $16.10 per round,

not a huge difference but another knock on effect I suspect of the

introduction of the new blue cards.

There were no Zumba classes being held, past its phase !

Normally on the last day you complete your questionnaire, but now it will be

emailed to you, seemed a great idea but once you are home finding the time

is not so easy.

We were in our 2101 favourite room and being looked after by James and Pinto.

They were both fantastic, room serviced when we were out and about and kept spotless. We always are lucky in having 2 fantastic guys. Above James's name

is highlighted for a very good reason, have a look. On this cruise there

was a single rose from Graeme the Captains’ club host

as well as the normal flowers, all very nice, but it does help to add a bit

of colour to your room.

The breakfast menu served in your room:

Celebrity ships are well renowned for their hundreds of art works and

whilst we didn't go a bundle on one in our room,this one is quiet quaint

You have an interactive TV for watching programmes, we saw US Masters

and Tennis from Monaco on the ESPN channel. You can  move around to

i to view your account; order wines for your meal etc.

Every night you receive Celebrity today, on the back page it gives

opening times for all the ships facilities and when your next day is a port

of call it includes the info on shopping and a map. There are presentations

in the Celebrity theatre, normally called Port Shopping Shows and these

are normally held on days at sea. I have found a Google link giving maps

of the Caribbean islands and in more detail.

Well 2 days at sea had past and now we start visiting the islands.

Aruba first port of call as usual a very friendly island, some overcast clouds

in the morning but they soon gave way to warm sunshine with a max 28 C.

We did our usual wander up the south side of the main street about 15 mins

from the ship. Wheelchair friendly 8/10 on south and lower with a 7/10 on

the north side as there were a few more difficult access points to go up

and then down at the crossings, but all drivers were very courteous and

waved us across. We have been here many times in the past and it

remains one of our favourite islands

Curacao [Temp 30 C] another very colourful port with all the buildings/houses

all painted in different pastel colours. As with Aruba we have no planned

excursion and hope to go walkabout and explore the area round to the right

just off the ship. We decided to follow the route around to the right keeping

a reasonable distance from the sea wall as the spray can lead to a thorough

soaking. Just as you leave the gate where the security sit there is a road up

to the left and this is better for the wheelchairs rather than staying on the

track you were on. It leads to Rif Fort a lovely set of shops; places to eat

and drink plus some good shopping to be had. If you go through the west

gate more shops and the famous pontoon bridge which opens up to allow

the ferries past then closes to allow the pedestrians across. The temp was

32 C and wheelchair access wasn’t perfect but overall a score of 8/10.

Grenada [Temp 28 C] all the way up to the access for shops and picking up

your excursion or for shopping good it is a good 800yds maybe a little 

libit more, scores 9/10 but internally many of the shops were all

reasonably placed to be able to get around inside

Barbados [Temp 32 C] Leaving the ship and walk of about 1200yds going

parallel to the storage units then at the top turn right then left into the

shopping unit with a post office although, it was closed when we were there

as it was Saturday probable open in the morning, we left it too late. Inside

a wide range of goods from watches; cigarettes; alcohol and souvenirs etc

Access to the shopping hall from the ship was good for wheelchairs 9/10

and inside plenty of room as well but some areas there would be some

problems with the larger electric wheelchairs 8/10.

We had some very heavy showers but they didn’t last long. Only other ship

in port was NCL Norwegian Sun and a five mast sailing and guests were

getting checked in to sail in her.

St Lucia [Temp 35 C very hot] Leaving the ship short trip to the shops with

a variety of products for sale. There is a shop that sells postcards and

+stamps separately and for 6 cards to the UK it was $3. The surface

around the pier as far down to where Fred Olsen’s ship was berthed

scored 8/10 and inside the shopping area which is fenced off, whilst

you didn’t need to show your seapass to leave.Other cruise ship was NCL

Norwegian Sea.

Antigua [Temp 28 C partly cloudy] I never took Christine ashore after the

problems with using the wheelchair last year, but I did go off to take some photographs which shows a few of the problems you have to face, for those

walking well with care. I have increased my score perhaps the real problems

last year did force me to a much lower score, but still low at 3/10.

Other cruise was ship the TUI Inspiration or Celebrity Mercury as it was,

confirmed by an officer.

St Maarten [Temp 35 C] As usual a wide selection of shops just a short walk

from where the ship is berthed and on the mound a great shop with a variety

of items including drink; cigarettes and some basic medical lotions etc. The

ferry links you with the north and east part of the big shopping areas.

Other cruise ships included Independence of the Seas; Fred Olsen Boudicca;

NCL Getaway; Mein Schiff 2 which we think might be the old Celebrity Galaxy

sold to TUI some years ago now.

St Thomas [28 C some showers in aft] last time for Eclipse to call here next 

season St Kitts will take its place following the St Lucia visit. The shopping

has much improved greatly since our last year, but the shops with the ramp

up not down at the other end is still there. Access to pier not bad 7/10

beyond not bad but pity about that ramp leading to a group of shops, up

but no down at the other end, so will give it 7/10 here as well.

Other cruise ships in were Allure of the Seas & Carnival ?.

The daily pour is a cocktail special of the day; Daiqri [Bacardi; lime juice;

simple syrup and Aromatic bitters], details of others will follow.

Some images from around the ship:

Both taken when the Ocean Cafe was on a change over

An area to sit down and chat all about the Speciality restuarants

A small launch takes guests away

Some of the sweets available and at 4 p.m. tea/coffee and sandwiches

Some views all taken when guests were ashore !!

Activities in no real order:

Poolside Deck 14

Several Interactive theme parties finisishing around 1 a.m. / 1.15 a.m.

Dancing with Stripes where a guest dances with a member of the ships staff,

was great fun for all who attended.

Last year there was a boat building competition whilst a few showed interest

there was only one entry, but is was well constructed and floated so it one

the prize. This year 7 groups came forward but only 2 completed the

the task, both well constructed but the Canadian entry was quite something,

follow the aftermath

Casino, Slot tournament officers vs guests

Note: Most of the musical groups will take their turn in the various venues

around the ship to entertain the guests.

Grand Foyer Deck 3

Fusion house band

Egg dropping contest 7 teams taking part. There rotten eggs must be protected

as when dropped from Deck 7 to 3 they must not be smashed, the team the

fewest eggs smashed wins.

Eclipse theatre

Peng Fei Su, Contemporary Chinese Magic;

Lindsay Hamilton, singer featured in Evita; Fantine and in Les Miserables;

Doug Cameron, The Music & Humour;

Antonoi Salci in concert;

Jordan Bennett in “songs of the Baby Boomers” and more;

Perry Grant in concert;

Celebriy Showtime Edge – The Show

Sky Lounge Deck 15

Ballroom Class with Darya Alexi several events;

Motown Magic; Trivia Quizzes;

Hot Glass shows during day/evening when at sea and evening on port days

Central 4

Bingo with Mega jackpots

Cinema same area

Austenland, Comedy/Romance PG13 97 mins;

Monster University Animation/Comedy Rated G 104 min;

Red 2 Action/Commedy PG13 116 mins

Central various + also being held in the Sky Lounge Deck 15

Trivia brain strain quizzes

Ensemble lounge Deck 5

Ray Brown Jr Quartet

Cellar Masters Deck 4

Various tastings; Perry Grant, Piano entertainer

Reidel wine glass workshop fee applies

Quaser Deck 4

Megamix;

Meetings 18.30; Single and solo travellers meet [Both these events normally

on first day ?] Rock’n Roll nights

Shops on the Boulevard Decks 4/5

Various sales organised during the cruise; watches; handbags; jewellery; lengths of gold etc

Canyon Spa Club, Deck 4 a revamped one opened on Day 2

My wife normally has 2 hair appointments during the cruise and this hairdressers failed miserably on those two occasions. All she requires is the hair washed; put up in rollers; then under the dryers and finally back combed out, well neither attempts last more than 24 hours and the cost was the highest we have ever aid at $70. I complained when we went for the 2nd appointment and they assured me it would be OK but as bad as the first attempt. I arrived to take Christine back and just shortly after I arrived the hairdresser who Christine had and another were arguing over the dryer temperature and its position !! 

Smoking on the ship in designated areas

Deck 5 port side open deck; Deck 12 port side midship; Deck 14 Starboard

Mast Bar and Deck 15 aft open deck and Sunset bar

Community Board for guests on Deck 3 close by Guest Relationswhere various

events are posted such as bridge games; religious services; LGBT gatherings

and many more.

Beyond the Podium

Sany Cares “Aruba and Curacao : Dutch treats of the Caribbean"

Gid Pool “History of stand up comedy in America” & “How to use humour in your presentations and speeches”

Misc : Visit the ships galley and here how all the planning and work is done

to serve all the restuarants, with this team representing 60% of the ships complement of staff.

This is just a small sample of the activities taking place in various parts of

the ship.

Finally on arrival we were transferred to the Courtyard Marriott. We had a large room on the ground floor and once we had settled we went to the bar and out to the small area where we had a drink and I ordered a hamburger on a roll with chips. The drinks arrived promptly but not the food and I had to chase after the server who did eventually deliver the food and advised there had been a reduction in price. So come 5.15 p.m. a coach appeared and we all piled on and set off to the airport.

Well as the sunsets on this cruise it will rise again in the autumn when we join Silhouette.