We had a balcony state room on deck 8. This was our third cruise on the Eclipse and we were not disappointed. Most things were up to our expectations, although we did think the quality of the food had fallen slightly, mostly the steak and beef which was at times not good. We tried Qsine and Tuscan Grill and were disappointed with both. The food in the MDR was very good, apart from some of the steak, and we felt that the Tuscan Grill was just not worth the extra money. As for Qsine, we found it rather disappointing as we expected more theatre and more unusual things, maybe we ordered the wrong items.
There is a new cruise director called Sinon who we thought was good, especially in the second week when he seemed more comfortable as this was his first Celebrity Cruise. There were people who did not like him, but we thought he did a good job. He was very sociable and ready to chat, and was to be seen getting involved all over the ship.
The entertainment was quite good too. Unfortunately, we had seen the big shows twice before, and although we did go and watch them again, it does seem a shame that the shows are repeated for at least three years without any changes. I think this is the same with all cruise companies. We did think that this years performers did a far tighter show, and the singing seemed to be much better.
There is a new group this year. The Spitfires, who have taken over from the other house group/party band that were there the past two years. Anyway the Spitfires were in our opinion far superior. There was also a violinist and an accordion player called Tango for 2 who were OK, but a bit dreary at times. There were also two guys who sang, they were good. I think there was a jazz band too.
The guest acts in the Eclipse Theatre were mostly OK with the exception of Mel Mellors who is a very old fashioned comedian/magician. Sorry to say we walked out of that show. Never done that before, just could not take another moment of his act. The comedian called Mike Doyle from Wales was fantastic, really made everyone laugh with his great timing and amazing impressions of everything from the toilets flushing to the Captain and Sinan.
The drinks package worked well. We had the 'free' classic package and they do seem to have sorted it all out now. We did not have any trouble ordering although we are not great drinkers and did not try and order the expensive cocktails. There were several cocktails and four Martinis that were available on the package.
The ship on the whole seemed to be a very happy ship. The staff seemed to be happy and ready to chat and help all the time. The officers and Captain Manitas were also often seen to be walking around and we loved the Captain's report at 10 each morning.
Now the ports. We docked at Oceankay in Copenhagen. This looks like how you would imagine a dock to look like in a third world country. It is no-where near finished and there are no facilities whatsoever for people docking there. No café, no shops, no wifi, just a dusty site with excessive building work going on. They have opened it before it is ready, quite shameful. It is also a long way from the centre of Copenhagen so you have no option but to use the shuttle bus or take your chance with the once an hour bus service. I really think the port should provide a free shuttle service until the port is actually finished. There are plenty of horror stories about people taking half an hour to get out of the port and another half an hour to get to Copenhagen. We got to Copenhagen in 30 minutes but the port was not busy that day and it was also a public holiday so the building work was on hold.
I will not dwell on some of the other ports, as much has already been said about St Petersburg (we had fantastic two day private tour for 6 with SPB tours), Tallinn and Stockholm. Now Stockholm was another disappointment as there was no shuttle bus available. It was either a mile and a half walk or the HoHo bus at a cost of $39 each. Klaipeda was very welcoming, and an excellent choice for buying Amber. The main market square was a very easy and quick walk from the ship, even for someone as lazy as me. Be very careful though as the cobbles are very dangerous, so good trainers are a must. From what I could see it was far cheaper than Gdansk, Russia and Tallinn. I doubt it will stay that way once the tourists pour in. For Gdansk we had an hours tedious ride from Gdynia and no shuttle bus. We took a walking tour which also gave some free time in Gdansk. It was very hard going, lots of standing around listening to the guide drone on and on and on. In the end we asked to leave the tour and meet up to get the coach. Tallinn was lovely as usual, but they do seem to have put up their prices. We did have a wonderful meal at the Hell Hunt and the beer was marvellous, very cheap too.
We really enjoyed our holiday on the Eclipse and were also very lucky meeting lovely people who made our cruise even more special.