A 13-night TransAtlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, San Juan, St. Maarten then Southampton. A total of 9 sea days.
Great cruise. Super relaxing. Plenty of activities to keep you busy (if you wanted to be busy). Lots of really nice fellow passengers, many of whom were retired. I think I saw about 6 children.
I call this our "let's talk about retirement" cruise because for the first time, I saw what I want to do when we retire. I want to take TransAtlantic cruises both spring and fall ... and hang out in Europe on either end.
We were in cabin 1646, an Aqua Class on the starboard side of the aft section of deck 11. It was about 10 cabins back of the aft elevators.
The bed in this cabin is close to the bathroom. The balcony is "normal" size. This was an extremely quiet location.
Service was good. Our stateroom attendant wasn't as good as some we have had. I don't think I ever even learned his name - he just wasn't very "present". The assistant stateroom attendant was very friendly and would rush to help if he saw me carrying things. I can't really complain about the service, but it just wasn't "stellar". And we didn't have a single towel animal in 13 nights ...
We were assigned to Blu for dining and absolutely loved it. The food and service were excellent. We never had to wait for a table, and we typically showed up around 7:30 pm. The maitre d' of Blu, Jorge, is just fantastic. He took such good care of us.
We pre-purchased a five-dinner specialty dining package and probably won't do this again if we are eligible to eat in Blu. We were underwhelmed by Tuscan Grille, Murano and Qsine. The food was very good, the service was very good, but there wasn't a lot of difference between those extra charge venues and Blu. Perhaps Blu is that good, or perhaps Murano and Tuscan Grille (in particular) aren't quite as good as they once were?
Qsine is in a different realm. I really liked the food and it was a fun experience, but I don't know if it's worth the extra charge.
For breakfast we often ate either in the buffet, in Aqua Spa, or in Blu. All provided good options.
For lunch we frequently had a hamburger on the grill on Deck 14. We did eat in the dining room a couple of times and it was very good.
And I must say a special thank you to the ice cream in Oceanview, soft serve in Aqua Spa and the Mast Grill, and the scones late afternoon for about 3 pounds that I brought home with me.
ENTERTAINMENT and ACTIVITIES
This was a 13-night cruise with only 3 ports of call, so there was plenty of time to get involved in activities. Rather than list the options, I'll list what we participated in:
- Eclipse Choir: Great group of passengers and really a fun way to spend time. The a capella group, Top Shelf, led the choir and we performed in the passenger talent show. Not only are the four members of Top Shelf super talented vocally, they are also great guys that volunteered their own time to rehearse with us every afternoon.
- Trivia: Played a couple of trivia games. The activities staff leader was fun.
- Line Dancing: I had a great time burning off a couple of calories with line dancing on the pool deck.
- Zumba: A certified instructor joined the cruise in St Maarten and had classes twice a day. This was my intro to Zumba and it was enjoyable.
- Art Classes: Daily on sea days. I attended a couple. Super popular - can't be late for this one or you'll never get a seat!
- Perry Grant: Great fun both in the Sky Lounge and in the Theatre. Don't take him too seriously. He's a good old Cabaret performer who says everything very tongue in cheek.
- Speakers: My husband attended several of the enrichment speakers and he enjoyed some, but others not so much.
- Casino: I like the slots and probably broke about even.
We used the jogging track on Deck 14 several times and if you were out before 10 am it was pretty easy to maneuver around the walkers and sun bathers. As usual, the gym was busy the first few days, then there was plenty of space.
We visited the Persian Garden a few times, enjoying the steam room and relaxation beds on a few of the cooler days.
CRUISE CRITIC EVENTS
Met lots of really terrific people from the roll call. We missed the Connections Party but did participate in a Cabin Crawl and saw a lot of great cabins.
The Cruise Critic group was also invited to a Bridge Tour that was very enjoyable and informative.
ELITE CAPTAIN'S CLUB
Our Captain's Club Host, Bruce van der Bruen (sp?) was very good about communicating events via voice mail.
This sailing we received three drink vouchers each day to be used between 5 and 7 pm. As much as we enjoyed visiting Michael's Club on other sailings, the vouchers were GREAT. We visited different bars throughout the ship, sometimes jumping between three bars each evening. The Pool Bar was one of our favourites. We tipped a dollar per drink so always received very good service.
The Elite Cocktail Party with Ship's Officers was very popular and we only stayed for a few minutes. And the afternoon tea was JAM PACKED.
Fastest and easiest disembarkation EVER. An immigration officer processed our passports mid cruise so there was no need to go through immigration once we reached England. We were off the ship, with our luggage, and ready to go to London by 08:05.
A really enjoyable, relaxing thirteen nights on Eclipse. We will absolutely choose Aqua Class again.