Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by Mark Waters: To Russia with Love
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To Russia with Love
Check in at Southampton
Parking was included and the whole process of parking up, luggage drop off and getting aboard was stress free and quick.
The Eclipse - first impressions
The ship was simply superb - the modern design was slick and fresh and we really appreciated the modern art aboard. The ship never seemed crowded and whenever you wanted access to all the bars and restaurants was easy.
We were in an Aqua class cabin and the shower and other little touches were well worth the extra. A special mention for the Blu restaurant which Aqua class has access to, the whole serving team were brilliant and the food was excellent both in terms of presentation and taste. Although the menu was limited anything off menu seemed to be no problem for this efficient and friendly team.
I had the full drinks package and more than had my money's worth with the frozen topped Martini Bar being my favourite watering hole The entertainment was first class More especially the hypnotist, the Musicals show, Sam Kane and the Circ du Soleil style show Equinox.
We tried the speciality restaurant Qsine and enjoyed it so much we went back for our last night. One piece of advice - don't over order with the I-pads as the portions are huge. The inventiveness and theatricality of the food experience here was unique. Again the service from the team was friendly and faultless.
The Ocean Grill Buffet was very good and less cramped than the ship last year with international food stations giving great variety and freshly cooked options.
One thing that was missing was the relentless selling pressure that we'd experienced on Princess last year. One thing I wish was missing was the relentless Musak all over the ship. Even the Spa suffered from Enya style wailing.
This is a very minor gripe on what was a thoroughly enjoyable and fun 2 week cruise Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Eclipse 1599
The Aqua Class cabin was compact but was able to swallow all our luggage with space under the beds for the bags. Noise reduction was excellent and the cabin was peaceful. The balcony was under the overhang from deck 12 but this was not a problem for us as non-sun-worshippers.
Port and Shore Excursions
The Russian orthodox cathedral is well worth a climb up to it's dazzling interior. The main shopping street has some great glass shops and if you're into Moomins this is your town.
Good shuttle service back to the ship
Once on your tour (the only way to go without a visa) the guides appeared to be keener to get you to the souvenir emporium of their choice than showing you the truly breathtaking city.
Highlights, The Church of the Spilled Blood, the interior of St Isaac's Cathedral, the view across the Neva River to the golden spire of St Peter and Paul and of course the Hermitage and the Winter Palace.
Lowlights - Street vendors - very pushy, don't try going off on your own in the Hermitage even if the guide says that's fine, a rather vicious babushka will have very different ideas. Also don't try asking for a second bottle of water with your lunch, you may well offer to pay but it is not authorised under any circumstances!!
Do visit the fantastic Singer Sewing machine building (now a bookshop) on the Nevsky Prospekt near the Church of the Spilled Blood. A Beautiful Art Nouveau building. Do go to a Folklaw evening - the costumes, singing and dancing is superb.
If we went again we'd do an independent tour out to Catherine's palace and Peterhof as the reports from fellow cruisers said this was great.
The Vasa museum despite it's daunting queue is well worth it. The place is large enough not to feel crowded and the ship that sank in 1628 is in superb condition,with more than enough to occupy you for several hours.
The hop on hop off boat around the harbour allows you to see all the main sights and stop where-ever you like - good value.
As I was with an ABBA freak a visit to a Stockholm record shop produced 4 previously unknown CDs.
Great souvenir shopping and Photo opportunities at every turn.
Excellent tour here and the guide was great
Do have a drink at Old Hansa just off the Market Square - if you like garlic there's a restaurant where even the ice cream contains the vampire repelling bulb.
Locally produced linen is good value and the market at the dock is well worth a visit.
Top of my list of place to go back to.
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