Celebrity Cruises, ship Eclipse, 14 days, Southampton return. The Eclipse is a new ship having been launched in April 2010 and it is amazing. It's huge, holds 2,800 passengers and was sold out on our trip. New ship, it gets a 10 out of 10. We had a balcony cabin and it was identical to every other cabin we have had while cruising. The only difference was the layout. Every second cabin the beds are reversed - near the window or near the washroom. As usual, great cabin staff.
Dining was available in the Main dining room, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Main dining room food gets a 10 out of 10 for presentation but 7 out of 10 for quality. In other words, it looked better than it tasted. Our dinner on the final night was really bad - both my spouse and I spent a great deal of the late evening hours on the throne. Also had the "Lido" deck buffet style for three meals each day. The Lido gets a 6 out of 10 for food. The layout of this areas is confounding. People are going in every direction and a great number of them pay no attention. There were also three specialty dining rooms open for dinner - Qsine, Murano, and Tuscany. We tried Tuscany (Italian) and it gets a 7 out of 10 for both categories. The Murano (French) gets a solid 10 out of 10 for each. It was a wonderful experience. The service in all areas was at par but for the price I would have expected something a little better, especially since they had said to staff the new ship they took the best from the rest of the fleet.
Ports of call - Zeebrugges Belgium, Warnemunde Germany, Stockholm Sweden, Helsinki Finland, St. Petersburg Russia, Tallin Estonia, and Rotterdam Netherlands. It was a part of the world we had never been to, so we really did not know what to expect. In a lot of ways it is not a lot different from parts of North America. Sailing into Stockholm reminded us all of the 1,000 islands in the St. Lawrence. The best stop for us was St. Petersburg. It's easy to understand why there was a revolution. The concentrated wealth that must have been in that city is incredible!
All in all a nice cruise. It gets a 7 out of 10. Of our four cruises it rates behind the Eastern Med. and Alaska but above the Caribbean.
Complaints? Too many kids on the ship left on their own, i,e. running up and own the halls at 2 in the morning. (that's a chance you take with a summer cruise which is about the only time you can get to this part of the world with any chance of good weather - which was sunny and high 70's every day. Only rained twice and that was overnight). This cruise had 5 of the 14 days at sea. With the great weather there was not enough outdoor space. It was also not necessary to have 5 sea days. The last day was a sea day and I could have rowed faster! They were just killing time as the second officer told me during our tour of the bridge. Only other complaint was just the size of the ship. While the ship itself was new and spectacular, I think size has an impact on the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen in the main dining room. By the way, they also ran out of stuff like skim milk, some types of soft drinks, and some brands of beer.
Would I sail with Celebrity again? Maybe yes, maybe no. Given a choice between Holland America and Celebrity, I would likely select Holland America.