Having tried out the new Celebrity Eclipse in it's inaugural year, 2010, for a 4 day break to Cork, Ireland, we were impressed enough to book a 14 day cruise to the Baltics & St.Petersburg, in May/June 2011.
What we liked about the Celebrity Eclipse is that it has a different layout to some of the previous ships we have sailed on, Royal Princess, MS Amsterdam (HAL), Black Prince (Fred Olsen). The numerous bars available creates the opportunity to try out different areas each evening for pre-dinner drinks with friends, however albeit a circa 100,000 tonne ship, it never seemed a trek to get from the main dining area to the theatre and the bars in between
Circa. 100,000 tonnes
Full programme on-board, good lectures from visiting speakers which all were excellent. Some lectures held in the Celebrity Central venue which was not big enough for the number of guests wanting to attend, hopefully the Cruise Director will switch to the main Theatre based on demand (Which did happen whilst we were on board).
Weather was good throughout so we didn't need to much to occupy us, however if it had been poor weather I am sure we would never have been short of something to do. Deck areas became crowded when Sun was out however plenty of Sun Beds on two levels with a quiet area up forward on Deck 15 with relaxer chairs (No wind protection in this area)and the Bars on deck 14 and 15 also great spots to sit and read. Of course you also have the lawn to sit and relax or watch the deck games.
Excellent service, however in some bars getting soft drinks or mock-tails was a struggle, the dining rooms were all good including the speciality restaurants.
Portions vary dependant on the dish however if you have three courses you will shouldn't be hungry. Dishes changed without question if they are not to your liking, in fact waiters often offer extras e.g. prawns, lobster, steak. We were on the first seating 18:15, which worked well for shows and returning from excursions. 20:30 seating may be too late for many, however flexible dining option was chosen by many. Ocean view cafe is a good eating venue in the evening too with a varied dish selection, it is however self-serve.
Port & Shore Excursions
Good variety available, however we found that the on-board team did not do enough to bring us up to speed on what we could do on our own. Not to be unexpected however many of the ports are suitable for self-touring especially when on a restricted budget e.g. Warnemunde, Rostock.
$15 shuttle tickets seemed excessive when drive from port to town was 10/15 minutes, however in Helsinki it was 8 Euro return as run by port agent. In many ports of call in the Baltic you can make your own way safely. St.Petersburg however would need a separate Visa and some pre-planning.
Celebrity are an excellent cruise line, we compare with Holland America and each has its areas of excellence however would recommend both. Baltics and St.Petersburg are a must see if you have the chance. we noted various cruise lines in ports so the buyer has plenty of choice, in terms of company, size of ship and length of cruise.
Good size Veranda Suite on deck 7, the ship is silent and only vibration was when Bow Thrusters were used when docking.
Excellent, lots of choice for all tastes.
Good choice of external and on-board team, however no change to main shows from 2010 to 2011, however so good it was worth watching a second time.
Smooth and without any hassle, for a ship this size even the unexpected tender service in a port near Stockholm went smoothly. (Stockholm was a interesting story, it appeared due to weather port was closed however later discovered it was closed to the Celebrity Eclipse, expect it was to do with size and also Captain not wanting to use local tugs, however switch to nearby port went to plan and expect may be on the next trips agenda.)