We returned on Saturday 26th June from our first cruise with Celebrity (although we had an overnight on Equinox last year) on Eclipse to the Baltic......we had a straightforward embarkation after dropping the luggage off and parking the car close to the City Terminal....we had checked in online which made things much quicker and we were onboard at 12 noon. We went straight for lunch at the Ocean view buffet restaurant which we found adequate. Our cabin was available at 1330...we did venture towards it earlier but all the doors to the corridor were closed.
The cabin was as expected...identical to that which we had on Equinox...Deck 7 with a balcony....enough room but not large. Double hanging wardrobe, single width 5 drawer chest, two cupboards over bed head, safe, fridge, kettle with Tetley tea bags (decaf and ordinary), glass mugs in holders, (not too safe - fell in sink when tipped up to rinse out). Bathrobes are provided and also an umbrella.!! Bathroom is superb except for lack of washing line and the tap over the washbasin is fixed across it so it is impossible to splash your face with water or tip water over you hair to wet/wash it.....much better if it swivelled !! However there is loads of storage in here and the shower is a great size with sliding doors ....not the blasted curtain that sticks to you!!!!!!! Good water pressure and heat in the shower.....The balcony was a good size not overlooked with two reclining chairs....a footstool would have been nice ...we noticed all the aft cabins had them...I did fill out a comment card which I handed in later in the cruise and we had a phone call to say that if we had asked at the beginning of the cruise they would have found us a footstool.....as a result of my comments on the card we were supplied with Nescafe coffee sachets and also shower gel (which is not left as standard) so it pays to ask your steward for these things at the beginning of the cruise.....we know for next time!! We had a midship cabin 7250 which was in a good position with lifeboats below and 'humps' forward and aft which gave us some shelter we felt....we would not recommend going higher than deck 8 as the balconies above that appeared to be shaded by the overhang...deck 6 seemed to be only just above the lifeboats so our favoured decks would be 7 or 8. Our cabin was only a short walk to the central lifts and atrium so was ideally placed for most things.....the only noise we heard was from our neighbours who have yet to learn how to shut a door quietly !!!!
Food was excellent...we ate in the Oceanview for breakfast and lunch and in the Moonlight Sonata for dinner where we had Arturo and his assistant who served us very well (we have asked the Maitre D for their service on our next cruise in September!!) Arturo explained each dish on the menu every night so we knew exactly what it was we were ordering.....he certainly knows his subject and appears to thoroughly enjoy his job. The menus had a page of dishes available every night and a page of different dishes each night so there was plenty for all tastes we felt...although I have read elsewhere that there was not much vegetarian choice....as neither of us are veggie we didn't notice. We were surprised that only about 50 per cent of men wore evening dress for the formal nights and assume that it's the American passengers who of course have to be careful of their luggage weight. I enjoyed the choices in the Oceanview, curries, pizza, pasta, grills, carvery, salads etc. (I did notice shepherds pie and mushy peas on a couple of occasions !!) Nice selection of ice creams as well.
Entertainment was really the only disappointing part of this cruise...the first night there was no show as the England World Cup match was on....the next night was the singers and dancers performing 'songs from the shows'. this was good but rather loud. They do have an excellent band playing for them but it is uncomfortably loud. We didn't see the singers and dancers again until the last night although we understood they did do another performance....on questioning one of the dancers she said they only do three shows in two weeks !! There was an excellent A Cappella group who performed around the ship and did a cameo performance of the Jersey Boys during one of the shows which was excellent. There was also a female string quartet who played around the ship who were also excellent, along with a band with female singer who were a middle of the road type group... The Cruise Director was Neil Weir who was not at all visible around the ship like most others we have encountered....he appeared to be trying to hog the limelight for himself all the time when in the theatre, shouting into his microphone telling everyone to clap, running around the stage when others (the string quartet) are performing ...indeed he had a show all to himself one night and we left before the end...in fact we left before the end of several of the shows ...something we have never done before !! We stayed for Mario Andrea (guitarist/singer) and Jacqui Scott (singer/pianist who was drowned out at times by the band and didn't need them as she was an excellent pianist.) but left early during Jack Walker (singer) and didn't go to the juggler (who juggles furniture)....the penultimate night was a spectacular show practically the same as the show we had on our Equinox one nighter....we still didn't understand what it was all about !!!! a lot of singing/wailing during acrobatic displays where I get palpitations thinking someone is going to fall!!! so not very enjoyable for me I'm afraid especially as we'd seen it before and felt the same the first time. There was little to do on the sea days apart from Spa presentations, art auctions, etc which we know from past experience are money making exercises....there was a talk on some sort of aviation I think and some port talks which seemed to be telling you where to go to buy your jewellery and expensive clothes !! Luckily the weather was mainly good so we spent a lot of time sitting on deck....we always managed to find a sunbed somewhere and very comfortable they were too! I'm not sure what everyone would do if the weather was poor on sea days.
We were lucky to be invited to visit the bridge on our last sea day which we found amazing, with an excellent Romanian officer explaining things to us.
The shops on board were noticeably more expensive because of the poor dollar exchange rate...it seems that Harding Brothers now have the monopoly of all the ships shops and spas (certainly all that we've been on) so the products are more or less the same.
I think it is well known that 15 per cent is added to the drinks prices which are already quite dear...what surprised us was that 15 per cent was added to the bill when John purchased a souvenir glass from the bar (no drink just the glass) so he paid a service charge for a man to hand him an empty glass and take his card details !!!
Ports of call were Zeebrugge where we got the shuttle bus to Blankenburg ($10 each return) and wandered the shops and the beautiful beach....not a beach day unfortunately although it was dry it was windy. Warnemunde was a lovely place and we had a nice day here walking into town from the ship and lovely shops to wander each side of the canal and nice coffee shops...also a lovely beach here.
Stockholm - we got the hop on hop off boat (10 euros each) here from the pier where we berthed and because we didn't check which way he was going spent a good hour backwards and forwards before getting off in the old town....we walked from here to the Royal Palace to witness the changing of the guard at noon...then we wandered the back streets having coffee and a cake, before returning to the ship by boat again.
Tallin was a lovely place...reminiscent of Dubrovnik - lovely hand made souvenirs here close to the ship. A lot of fairisle jumpers, hats, wooden things, jewellery, etc.
St Petersburg - amazing two days here - we did full day and a half day and were very tired after the full day with information overload !!
Helsinki - got a shuttle (8 euros) here into the centre of town and then walked to the market square ...the long way......so we saw several churches and some nice architecture. We found an amazing coffee place in the centre of the city and had apple cake and coffee....the market was good and varied
Copenhagen - We walked from the ship into town which was most pleasant ...past the royal palace on the way and the English church and Churchill park where we saw some Greylag geese....ending up on the canalside where we had fresh Strawberries with some sort of alcohol and icecream on...along with a coffee x 2 came to 30 euros !!!! But it was delicious and lovely surroundings where we were able to 'people watch'. Their midsummer celebrations took place in the evening where they light bonfires and burn effigies of witches.
Disembarkation was very straightforward...we assembled in the theatre at 0720 left the ship at 0730 (keeping our sea pass cards!!) and were in the car and on our way back home at 0750........
On the whole this was an excellent cruise although we felt the entertainment let it down....the sea was flat calm for the whole 14 days and we had some good warm sunshine. The ship is superb and we are looking forward to sailing on her again in September when we will be cruising from Southampton to Venice and back.