This was our 19th cruise for our family, including our 12 year old daughter. We cruised the from Barcelona and Venice the past 2 summers, but this has to be our favorite all-time cruise. We flew to London and spent 3 nights there, and arranged a private car to take us to Southhampton. Embarcation was a snap, but the rooms were not yet ready at 12:30 so we had lunch--better than average Buffet. The ship is absolutely beautiful. We had been on the Eclipse over Thanksgiving, so everything was familiar, but we did not recognize any staff. The first day was a sea day, so we relaxed. Then on to Brugge, a beautiful, walkable city. We arranged to take a round-trip taxi with a couple from England thru Cruise Critic and it worked out very well. Then another sea day before Berlin. We had arranged a private limo to pick us up at the ship and take us to Rostock and then Berlin--I was presenting a paper at an international conference at Humboldt University (part of the reason for going on this particular cruise). Berlin was fascinating and exciting--well worth the 2 hour drive on the autobahn--would you believe 140 mph-yikes. Then on to St. Petersburg for 2 days. We booked a private 2-day tour thru Alla--very good and informative. Wonderful architecture, but no one smiles, and I mean no Russians--very grim people. Then on to Helsinki, our least favorite port. Then to Tallin, perhaps our favorite port-walkable from the ship, and very quaint. From there to Stockholm. Go to the Vassa Museum--fabulous for any age. Finally to Copenhagen--beautiful city, but very congested and difficult to get around. Be aware of the Hop-on, Hop-off buses--very slow for the most part and a lot of waiting. The Hop-on, Hop-off boats in Stockholm were much better. Disembarcation was again a snap.
Normally, we stay in a suite, but we opted for an ocean verandah room this time simply due to cost. The room was small, but very adequate and we spent very little time in the room. The lay out of the room was excellent despite the size. Our room steward was super.
We ate at the first seating at 6:15 and it was not totally full. We had a table for the 3 of us and had excellent service. The food varied from very good (try the coq a vin) to mundane. We ate at 3 specialty restaurants and loved Qsine in particular--very clever. Of course, we over ate. We also ate at the Bistro on 5 (crepes_--very good and the Italian restaurant-the name escapes me--also good, but not great.
Entertainment was typical. Frankly, it was kind of boring, with the exception of some excellent female classical musicians who played in some of the lounges.
The teen program was fantastic according to my daughter, who was the youngest kid in the teen program. But she is very responsible and sophisticated so she more than held her own and had a great time.
The health club was excellent and I used it almost every morning--plenty of equipmnent. Pools were small and crowded, but we are not pool people, so it did not pose a problem.
There was a major mixture of people from many countries. Our daughter hung out with kids from Australia, Belgium, France and Mexico. There was a large contingent from Mexico City (someone said 700) and they made their presence felt-primarily in a negative way--very pushy, demanding. Several of the Mexican kids were fairly destructive as well and the parents did not intervene even when the parents were present. As a child psychologist, this disturbed me, but I did not let it affect my good time. As Elite members, the free gin and tonics each afternoon certainly helped. Celebrity takes good care of
Elite members--not only free drinks, but a backstage tour which was very informative.
There were also a number of lectures on board and these were very informative and entertaining.
Overall, the Eclipse is a wonderful ship and the itinerary was simply the best.