Just returned from a fantastic cruise on the Eclipse.We parked our car opposite the ship in Southampton and although we were advised that embarkation time would be 3pm for our deck we arrived early at around 1.45 and were on board within half an hour or so. Cabins were ready immediately and our luggage was promptly delivered, so we were able to unpack in time for the muster drill. Storage was more than adequate for our needs and the shower room was well planned with good cupboard space.
Our stewards, Selwyn and Anderson kept our rooms spick and span and provided the occasional towel animal to keep us amused!Staff everywhere were cheerful and polite and worked very hard to keep the ship spotless.
We had organised select dining as we were travelling with friends and, apart from one evening, ate in the MDR.We tended to go at around the same time and got to know our waiters Gerry, and his assistant Arfin, very well. They, and the wine waiters Markko and Duanguo(!) were fine young men who were efficient at their jobs but ready to chat to us, and we enjoyed getting to know them.Food generally in the MDR was very good, the steaks( so I have been informed by my other half) particularly so. We ate breakfast and, on sea days, lunch in the Oceanview cafe where there was plenty of choice for all, and staff were ready to bring tea, coffee etc.We had the Classic drinks package which, although we were aware that significant changes had been made to it prior to departure,had sufficient choice for our needs, and we liked being able to get tea and coffee in Cafe Bacio rather than go to the main cafe , particularly when returning to the ship from a port visit.
The itinerary was particularly good and was the main reason we selected this cruise.At most ports we opted to do our own thing, which is easy to do with a bit of planning ahead, rather than rely on the ship's excursions, whichever were rather expensive.We chose a 2 day tour of St Petersburg with Alla Tours which was a particular highlight. My only slight gripe would be the port arrangements in Copenhagen, where the ship docked in a container port some distance from the city, the map given out to guests didn't have the port on it, and guests were charged for the privilege of having to use a shuttle bus to get anywhere. I asked at Shore Excursions about whether there was a local bus but was told 'Well ma'am, there may be , but it's all in Danish'. Of course it is, we were in Denmark!!
Entertainment was pretty good, and a big improvement from a previous cruise on the Silhouette.The singers and dancers provided some very good production shows, there was a particularly energetic acrobatic/high wire/trapeze show and a Beatles tribute band and rock group.We enjoyed music from a very talented violinist and found the comedian Mike Doyle very funny indeed.There was always plenty going on but the ship has enough space for people to spread out and find a quiet spot.
All in all an excellent cruise. Good weather and calm seas helped, but I'd be more than happy to travel with Celebrity again