Eclipse Review March 2015
plus my wheelchair guide, hopefully helpful, but you might want to seek further advice from your cruise consultant.
Apologies this review delayed due to illness and other computer problems
All the links should have been restored, plu a new web editor programme but
but I am slowly getting used to the new style build.
Eclipse berthed in Grenada you won't see this view come 2016
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. In 2010 he was promoted to Staff Captain and is now responsible for all the ships operational services.He lives in Greece with his wife and one daughter.
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, Denton Earl Laing
Born in Jamica after leaving college he did a masters degree in Agriculture Science.He started out at the Frenchman's Cove Hotel in Jamica where he worked with his father who was the Executive chef at the time and the Ocean-view Hotel in Hollywood Beach, Florida. His career took him to many exciting places in Asia, South America & Europe. As Executive Chef he is in charge of your culinary experience.
Cruise Director, Sue Denning
Born and raised in Birmingham, England. She cut her first single in the Abbey Road Studios the same made famous by the Beatles. Her acting credits include working alongside Brenda Blethyn [Vera in a UK detective series] and Sir Michael Caine. Sue will introduce you to aa variety of innovative, exclusive entetainment 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, Bradley Lacey
Originally from Canada he brings a wealth of international hospitality. He had posts in Australia, Dubia and the UK. He started his hospitality career at the Fairmont Hotels and resorts in 1996. He quickly rose through the ranks making his move into management in 2004. Bradley is resposible for all aspectsof food and beverage on board, leading the largest team with 600 highly skilled crew members.
Elaine Richelle Gan, Captains’ Club Host based on Deck 7, Team Earth.
We flew down to Heathrow airport and then on to Miami where we were transferred to the Courtyard Marriott sister hotel. Although we were dropped off their in the morning it became clear the we had to make our way over luggage and wheelchair to the Courtyard Marriott. Issues on the assist did develop then but, more about that later.
The arrival at the ship was fairly straight forward, the only slight delay was the lift to takus us up and onto the ship. Eclipse Deck Plan
Around 30 mins later the staterooms were ready and we sat on the balcony sipping glass of champagne.
Our luggage arrived very quickly thanks to Risman, Gaston's assistant and both took great care of us, but especially of Christine.
In the main diningroom our table number was 326 and looking us were Tasha and
Devon with Hurcan our superb sommelier. We felt sorry for Tasha on many a
night she took our order but the stater was often not served until around
9.15 p.m., now not every night as many were served by 8.50 p.m. but when
I looked about we were not alone with other waiters in the same position. There
was the Maitre'd, but he seemed totally unaware of the problem.
I ordered duck on the second last night and it was barely luke warm, so I
called over to Tasha to let her know but the Maitre'd moved in swiftly to say
he would deal with the problem. He returned 10 mins later with a replacement
dish but it was as bad. I initially asked him if he to try it but he flatly refused point blank to do so, so he was not confident of the food beng served. Things did
get a little heated but to cut a long story short he returned with another dish the plate was so hot I couldn't touch it, but it was a bit warmer so mistakenly
I started to eat it and on arrival back home I got really ill, but it was not a
Novo virus but something I had got from the duck. It lasted 5 weeks after which I did feel a lot better but perhaps not really clear. The food on the way home
was very hot an delicious excluding this having caused the problem and the Doc's agreed.
Now back to our favourite, the room service was excellent ordered every morning
for 8.30 a.m. The breakfast menu served in your room:
The television has well over 20 channels but on each cruise what is on what channel can vary. You can check your spending by bring the i around to the
6 o'clock position. Languages covered English; Spanish and French there
was also a kiddies channel plus another where you could see videos of the
excursions on your cruise.
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.
I did regret not taking my camera as they were celebrating Indenpence Day
and a very long parade was heading along the street with Scouts; Schools;
and many other organistions on the island. The end of the parade had the old US cars all in exceptional conditions with their families on board. Finally
horses and riders all dressed up in traditional costumes.
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 still
remains one of our favourite Caribbean 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.
Regrettably Grenada is not on the port of call for 2016 and 2017.
Barbados [Temp 34 C] The ship was berthed over at the far left and buses were laid on to take you to the shopoping unit. On the way a taxi was laid on for Chrisitne although she was raised up and into the transport going. A wide range of goods from watches; cigarettes; alcohol and souvenirs etc. Access for all types of wheelchairs was better than last year, except the shop down on the left where cigarettes are sold cheaper than the one opposite.
Overall access to the shopping hall was good for all types of wheelchairs and despite being a Sunday the post office was open, so the few cards we send were back in the UK a few days before we got home.
St Lucia [Temp 30 C ] We were dumped over at the other pier with the necessity of a long walk or a taxi needed to get to the secure area for shopping. The area were were in we ddn't feel safe and the pavement heights meant getting about very difficult. So this area could only score 1/10.
Antigua [Temp 29 C] I never took Christine ashore after the problems with using the wheelchair in previous years. My score is still low at 2/10. I have always wanted to see another port replace Antigua and on our 2017 cruise we visit Bonaire and Antigua is not listed, but there is to be an overnight stop at Aruba, but things can still change.
St Kitts [Temp 34 C] Another great place to wander around the shops and not far to walk. This is where you can go on the old sugar cane railway.This port of call replaced St Thomas which currently has been dropped.
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 and 3
years on the fare is still only $7 for the use ALL DAY.
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.
On the middle pages it lists the activities of the day [past sample]. Such as quizes; games by the pool; a raft building competition; ice carving; groups playing live on the stage by the pool and many other competitions. When the ship is in dock the activities are more limited, but all the bars are open.
From around 6 p.m. there will be music in the Atrium and this can take various forms. There will be live shows to go to. Music in the Ensemble Lounge on
Deck 5 as well as the Cellar Masters also on Deck 5 opposite the starboard lifts.
The Sky lounge on Deck 15 hosts a variety of shows including discos an one
I think still popular is dancing with stripes where a guest volunteers to dance with an officer or another member of staff. The link lets you see what all the
Depending on weather conditions there is often a party by the pool on Deck
12, these tend to finish around 1.15 a.m.
At the start of the cruise the cruise director will be looking for volunteers to build there own little ship and the one that performs wins the prize.
All of the acts who are guesting will in most cases been seen in the various
venues where music is played.
Those who smoke there is a small area on Deck 14 port side, another two on
the starboard side on the right as you come out of the Celebrity and another up on the port side just around from the lifts. Then finaly there is an area beside the Sunset bar at the rear of the ship.
On deck 6 there is the IT facilities as a result of the Captains' club I had 250 mins off of internet usage but found out for another $238 you could have the ineternet
all day every day.
Photo 1 a quiet time in the Ocean Cafe, not often seen.
Photo 2 the 4 p.m. buffet with sandwiches and savories.
Photo 3 a quiet place to go but can be busy this on located on Deck 12
just before you enter the Aqua Spa area.
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 it was one fitted with a lift
to bring the wheelchairs into the bus.
Now what we didn't know since our last visit to Miami airport there has been extensive work carried out but what we didn't know was the coach could no longer drop you off at the correct area, for us American Airines.
Now when I got Chrsitine sorted out and our luggage on a trolley we went
into the buidling only to find American Airines was Desk A a far as you could
go, but I saw an asisst point 300/400 yards away so I left Christine with the
other couple on assist and went to see if they would help, but no they only
do this afterbyou have check-in, but despite all my efforts they would not help
so luggsge trolley and wheelchair I set off. In response to the complaints we
had on this cruise Celebrity's response was they expected the same level of
service we provide onboard to assist our guests. The missing part was why this was happening so I decided to contact the airport direct and received an
extremely quick response from Barbara Carlo, Division Director for Landside
Operatons. In it she makes it quite clear there is a problem for the coaches to be able to drop of guests as close as possible to their airline check-in. She advised that discussions were ongoing with the cruise operators which Celebrity should have known about. She advised that it maybe more convenient to take an accessible taxicab/or an accessible SuperShuttle van.
Clearly for the time being if you are on an assist from your cruise ship to Miami airport you will need to ask your cruise line what they are doing until the situation at Miami is resoved, but clearly a coach fitted with the lift is next to useless.
Well this might be described as our worst Celebrity experience ever, but we have had 20+ great ones, so we wait and see how our next 3 cruises go.
So as I normally conclude as the sunset on this cruise it will rise again on our Mediterranean 14 day cruise.