We have just returned from a wonderful Baltic cruise. The ship was fantastic, although a little noisy.
The food in the Ocean View buffet is very good indeed, so much to choose from and very well prepared and cooked. We also appreciated the free Tea, Coffee, Iced Water, Orange and Apple juice, lemonade, fruit punch and iced tea that were always available there. The main dining room food was good too, although they did tend to have veal on the menu most days which upset me a bit. Our waiter Ersin and his assistant Ana Maria were wonderful to us. We had a meal at Muranos which was probably the best meal we have ever eaten.
The entertainment was mostly excellent. The team worked very hard to give us plenty of activities to keep us busy. The shows were fantastic, far better than any others I have seen on cruise ships. There was also a fantastic orchestra, a string trio, a barber shop quartet, a couple of pianists and a classical guitar player together with a group whose name escapes me who were ok. Also in the theatre there was a mediocre comedian, a juggler, a violinist who we missed and also a wonderful pianist and singer who was superb. Mike Gibbons the cruise director was very good, very visible and friendly. He turned up for our cruise critic connection party which we appreciated. On our previous Princess cruises, no-one representing the company ever turned up at our roll call parties. The staff certainly seem to go out of their way to make your stay on the Eclipse a happy one.
Our balcony stateroom was spectacular. Huge round bed near the balcony doors, wonderful to wake up and see the sea so near. Our room was 7193. The bathroom was great too. It was wonderful to have proper doors to the shower rather than a flimsy curtain. Plenty of room to move about in it too. The sink was strange to say the least, the tap comes out right over the sink so it is very difficult to wash in it. Strangely enough the storage areas in the bathroom were very good. Storage was not the best in the rest of the state room. The wardrobe is too shallow and is difficult to get to. There are four very small drawers and a large cupboard over the top of the bed which is useful although a little difficult to get reach. The bedside tables are a joke. So tiny that anything you put there will just fall off. I had read about these and purchased a couple of plastic basket type containers measuring 19cm30cm and 15cm deep (7 X 11 inches x 6 inches deep). I packed these one inside the other in the case, they do not weigh much and filled them with rolled up t-shirts etc. Once on the bedside tables they were marvellous, could put everything we needed in them and all stayed safe. I also used some lightweight canvas zip up packing cubes which I kept my tops in all the time. Just kept them on the settee and then when it was time to pack up again I just shoved them already full straight in the case. Our room steward St Elmore was delightful and kept our room lovely and clean.
The Martini bar, and the Molecular bar were really noisy at times. Celebrity have decided to play the most ghastly spacey club type music at full volume in these areas. It is difficult to hold a conversation and therefore we avoided them. There is constant noise in the majority of areas of the ship which is a shame. It seemed to get louder and louder as the cruise progressed, or maybe our tolerance level dropped. Even the slot machines seemed louder than on other ships. There is a problem with noise in the Foyer too as the sound travels right up the height of the ship, even in the library which overlooks the foyer. We found on sea days we did tend to spend rather a lot of time either in our state room or on the balcony to get some peace and quiet which was a shame. In fairness there are some quiet areas, but you have to search them out.
A warning too for the I lounge. You buy an Internet package but what they do not tell you is that you are not informed with a pop up box if you go over the time allowed on the package. You are just automatically charged the 55c per minute rate without being asked first. Bit naughty I thought. You can see the amount of credit left when you log on, but not the amount of time so it is hard to judge it. There are also no printing facilities so jolly bad luck if you want to print out your boarding pass or tickets.
The ports of call were fantastic, Zeebrugge, Warnemunde, Helsinki, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen. We took the ships shuttle bus in Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn and Copenhagen. We could have walked in Copenhagen and Tallinn but decided that we would need to use up our energy more walking around in the centres. Other people took the Hop on Hop off buses or public transport or walked. For St Petersburg we booked a private tour for 8 people with SPB tours. That was the best thing we could have done as it was fantastic, so easy with just 8 people and also the lovely guide Alya knew how to get her small group to the front of the queues and the times when there were less people around in the attractions. The price was much better than the price charged for the Celebrity tour with around 36 people. There are many private tour companies in St Petersburg so just choose the one you feel most comfortable with. More about the ports of call on the ports of call forum.
We really did enjoy our cruise on the Eclipse and would probably do another cruise with Celebrity. The only thing that makes us think twice is the crazy music situation.