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Eclipse, Jan 5-10 Pre Cruise: As we live in a cold climate, 1000+ miles from the Port of Miami, we schedule a couple days travel buffer to allow for potential storms which can easily cause a full day travel delay. As no serious travel delays occurred and we ended up having a couple days to begin the relaxation process - perfect! We stayed at a modest hotel (The Croydon) in "Mid-Beach" - about a mile walk from the famous South Beach. Nothing beats starting a vacation out in the sunshine with a big breakfast involving eggs, steak and very good Bloody Mary's. Much of the rest of the time was spent walking, people watching, sunning and more enjoyable dining and sipping. We were in full vacation mode by embarkation time. Embarkation: A nice ride to the port in an Uber Black - now THAT's modern luxury. Remembered the luggage tags this time - handed them to the porter with a picture of a president and we headed toward check-in. It was 11:30 and the crowds were already quite thick - I suspect that, on the the shorter cruises folks want to get on ASAP and enjoy the full time allotted to their cruise. Queues were not overly long and by about noon we had two feet on deck and were clinking our glasses of bubbly wine. As on our only previous cruise, we headed directly for Bistro on 5 (well, maybe not directly - instead of heeding my wife's advice that we were in fact right outside Bistro, I insisted on us going up and down a flight or two of stairs and round the atrium once or twice before admitting she was of course right. Yes, I'm an idiot.). Embarkation Lunch: We were seated immediately, at relatively the same window table we dined at on Reflection two years ago. We're both fans of Domaine Chandon but after ordering we were informed that none was available and were offered a glass of some rose Prosecco which we happily accepted. A different server returned with the bottle along with an explanation that the original server had in fact erred and that, as this wine was normally only sold by the bottle it would be a one time only treat. The wine turned out to be delightful but we were switched over to the originally ordered Chandon for subsequent glasses (new glasses were provided) - not sure how it magically appeared nor what happened to the "dregs" of the rose Prosecco. Having read so much about Celebrity's Onion Soup on this forum and as we would be again Dining in Blu where it is not offered, we decided we would see what all the fuss was about. The soup (if a bit salty) with its topping of cheese as hot as molten lava provided a welcome warmth on what was an unusually (for Miami) cool and windy day. I usually make a batch of this stuff at least once a winter and I was reminded I should get this done soon - it's always a satisfying dish. To follow, I had a spicy shredded beef crepe and my wife had a chicken Caesar Salad - both very enjoyable (I love that cumin dressing squiggled over the crepe). We shared an Italian crepe for dessert - I had espresso and my wife had a latte. $20 for the two of us - I added a small extra tip and the drinks were covered by the beverage package (upgraded to Premium as a perk by the online travel agency). The announcement that cabins were ready came during lunch so we now headed off to check ours out and drop off our carry-on before exploring the ship. Sailaway: As arranged through the roll call, we headed to the Sunset Bar for sailaway and met a small number of fellow Cruise Critters. Meeting new friends is a great way to start a cruise IMO and it's so much fun to meet folks who come from other parts of the continent and sometimes the rest of the world. Most of us eventually made our way inside as the departure was somewhat delayed and the day wasn't getting any warmer. At about 6 or 6:30 I think, we watched from the Sky Lounge as Eclipse made its way out of the port. Food(!): Dinner @ Murano: My wife and I LOVE and to eat - I'm a pretty serious cook and she is my best audience - so we make a point of trying as many venues and different items as we are able. As Aqua guests were offered 50% off the cost of specialty dining for embarkation day only, and as we had not yet tried Murano, we made a reservation for just after the first show. We were seated at a very nice table (are there any lousy ones?) and were left to make the very difficult choice of what to dine on. For starters, I settled on the Diver Scallop and my wife, the Smoked Salmon and Crab Parfait. Both were very pretty presentations and both properly prepared - the scallop was undoubtedly not of the "diver" variety (less than 1% of all scallops are) but I really didn't expect it to be, even with the up-charge for dining here). We don't often dine in places that specialize in tableside prep so we both opted for mains which involved a bit of that. We're Canadian and keenly aware of the difference between Atlantic and Caribbean lobster - nonetheless, my wife settled on the Murano Lobster and I went for the Dover Sole (which I suspect was actually the Pacific variety rather than the true Dover but don't eat enough fish to be certain). We really enjoyed chatting with the server as he competently prepared and flambeed the lobster and deftly boned my fish. We both thoroughly enjoyed our plates and each had a taste of the other's choice. We were a bit amused that, when presenting the menu, our server sort of apologised for the inclusion of the cheese course assuring us that it wasn't compulsory should we wish to avoid such apparent strangeness. We quickly made it clear that we were both in fact aficcionados of good cheese (I tend not to use the term turophile as it's a bit pretentious - on the other hand, I don't use cheesehead either, unless it involves football in the midwest) and that we'd be looking forward to that course. Well, the cheese course did not disappoint - a respectable selection was tastefully presented on an attractive cheese cart. The highlights for us were the Epoisses and the Tomme du Savoie but all of the cheese were in good condition. We chose 20 year old Tawny Port to accompany our cheese. We finished off by sharing a Grand Marnier Soufle and the sorbet selection along with coffee and brandies. The whole experience is a bit old fashioned but, sometimes it's nice to relive the sort of fancy dining we did 30 years or so ago and overall we had a most enjoyable evening here. Dinners @ Blu: One of the features which attracted us to Aqua class was probably also instrumental in the lifting of the personal embargo I placed on cruising until my mid fifties - the opportunity to dine in a smaller restaurant, at our own table, at no set time. We really enjoyed Blu on our first cruise on Reflection and on this second cruise, Blu did not disappoint. I know a lot of folks don't care for the Blu menus and I do appreciate that they may have become a bit long in the tooth for more frequent cruisers, but for us, the menus are attractive. Highlights of our 4 dinners included perfectly prepared duck and rack of lamb for me, delicate Dorade and flavourful pheasant for my wife and some of the best prime rib I've had in years for both of us. We also found many of the soups (cream of parsnip!) to be a success. One evening I was intrigued by what a gentleman at the next table was eating - after learning it was a vegetable curry from the vegetarian menu we shared and very much enjoyed a portion to (with some roti) with our mains that evening. Service here was excellent, just as we remembered from last time. If I had anything to quibble about it would be the lack of availability of the some of the wines by the glass offered on the menu. The choice of French wines is already limited so, to learn that a couple (a Medoc and a Pouilly Fume) were unavailable with a suitable substitute available for only one of them (a Sancerre for the PF) was a bit of a disappointment - we nonetheless beared down and made the best of it however. Breakfasts: We both really needed some rest on this cruise so we never once were up in time to breakfast at Blu - something we've yet to experience after two cruises. We ordered eggs, sausage, some cold cuts, croissants and fruit from room service which we enjoyed on our balcony on one morning and ate breakfast on the rest of the days in the Oceanview Cafe. Oceanview Cafe: OK, I have a confession to make. I LOVE BUFFETS! There, I've said it and I'm glad. It's something of a guilty pleasure. I'll never understand those who proudly proclaim "we don't do buffets" or as one poster recently suggested "Oceanview cafe is low-grade canteen food". Granted, I've seen plenty of buffets that I wouldn't bother with and even some that I wouldn't go within several feet of and I wouldn't suggest for a minute that every single item on the OV is worth the calories but, come on, there are some pretty decent quality items available here that are pretty darn tasty - it's a matter of approaching the matter strategically. First of all, I don't view the buffet as a "dining option" but rather, a place to grab a bite - kind of like having your own fridge and pantry where the items you find in it are magically made plate ready. In that context, I'll contend that the OV is a rich oasis of all manner of culinary delights! Highlights at the OV for us included: The Eggs Benedict station where several variations on EB were prepared to order - Italian (salami, pesto), Mediteranean (grilled vegetables), Mexican (chorizo, salsa), German (sausage, mustard sauce), Scottish (smoked salmon)... you get the idea. The Indian food station where several curries, pickles, rice and breads were offered. The MASSIVE Yorkshire puddings which accompany the baron of beef. Some really tasty breakfast sausages and some hot and crisp McDonalds style "hash browns" (another very guilty pleasure). Having someone bring me endless Mimosa's that I didn't have to pay for. To be honest, one of the disappointments of the cruise (nobody's fault but mine) was my inability to consume foods which I shouldn't eat often in quantities which I shouldn't eat ever. For a variety of poor excuses, I haven't been cycling since October - which is a shame because when I'm riding 20 or 30 miles a day I can eat quite a bit and when I'm riding a hundred miles in a day, I can imitate an industrial shop vac with no impact on the waist line. I've learned my lesson and will be getting the winter bike off its rack tomorrow. Mast Grill: I just LOVE those burgers. Again, wish I could have eaten way more. Bars/Beverage package: Our Classic Beverage Package provided by Celebrity as a perk was upgraded to Premium by the online travel agent so we were able to try most of what we wished without extra charges - although I did occasionally provide an extra tip. We really enjoyed the Molecular Bar on Reflection in 2014 so were keen to see if its replacement, World Class Bar, met the same standard. Generally I'll say it was a success based on the quality of ingredients and the creativity of the recipes - but it probably falls short in the variety aspect as it's a pretty short list of drinks. We each tried a couple of the cocktails from the "main part" of the list and I tried the smoked rum thing and we shared an infusion after a show one night. The smoked rum thing was worth trying for the theatre it provides but I'm not sure the smoky flavour of the rum would be to everyone's taste (I enjoyed it, my wife didn't) - I'd say if you enjoy a cigar with a brandy or whisky then something like this is likely for you. We both enjoyed the Bulleit infusion and recommend it - be aware however that it must be ordered ahead of time to allow enough time for the infusion to occur. We ordered ours before a show one evening, dined after the show and then headed to the bar and enjoyed the infusion as an after dinner libation. We also enjoyed the Martini Bar, enough of which has been written here to obviate the need for me to say more. After a couple of cruises we've yet to have a drink in either the Passport or Ensemble but found the service, availability and quality to be just fine in all other bars. One thing I did find odd was that the "Slush" bar which serves frozen drinks mixed with the higher end liquors and which are only covered by the premium package serves its products in paper, takeaway cups while the Pool Bar almost right next to it serves the cheaper versions in nice glasses. Weird. Entertainment/Activities: We don't typically seek out organized activities as such and so can't comment on bingo, trivia etc., we did however participate (i.e. dance like fools) in a couple of the theme nights. One night we enjoyed the Motown party in the Sky Lounge where a number of the production show singers and dancers performed a variety of the Motown standards. We also enjoyed the Disco themed party in the atrium where Richard Spacey dressed in satirical disco attire and led the crowd dancing to a variety of well known disco tunes. An impressive "balloon drop" added a lot of fun to the festivities. We also attended the Heart of the Operation Galley Tour - I did this last time but my wife didn't so we did it together this time. The event is hosted by the executive chef - coincidentally, the same one, Darran Bailey, who hosted the one I attended on Reflection last time. Darran has a really interesting background having served as chef at Buckingham Palace and having spent some time doping business development for Gordon Ramsay. While groups are being staged to begin their tour, he answered questions from the audience. Someone with a mildly cruel streak trolled him by asking about the "number of oranges they carry on board" to make fresh orange juice while another slightly devious passenger tried to get him to disclose "food costs per passenger". It was fun to watch him dance around those two, We attended the show in the theatre every night. I don't get hugely critical about these events and , frankly, see them as something a bit extra that's thrown in as a perk.Yes, I do understand that it's a big part of the draw to some of the more frequent cruisers and that you expect more - to us though, it's not something that we normally see much of (we do attend many "rock" concerts but not much in the way of production shows) and we're happy to have the chance to sit back and enjoy watching and listening to some young kids pursuing their dream. The first and third nights featured Karen Grainger - an "impressionist" who sings in the voices of a variety of well known artists and injects humour into the proceedings - who we found enjoyable enough. We really enjoyed both of the production shows, Topper and Rock City - but again, we weren't listening carefully for pitch accuracy or trying to determine story lines - great stuff for relaxing with a drink and letting the appetite for dinner grow a bit more. The final night featured a vocal group new to Eclipse called Shades of Buble. The guys from New York dressed in black, slim suits and skinny ties performed a variety of tunes he has been known to perform live. In addition to his own compositions they also performed a selection of Sinatra standards as well as a selection of covers of tunes by popular artists. Although I think the production could use a little work (length, pacing), we thought these guys were pretty talented - I enjoyed the show and I'm not even a Buble fan. Odds and Sods: The ship was spotless and beautiful - like new. Cabin was like new and the steward and his assistant were attentive, meticulous and unobtrusive - exactly the way we like it and I left them each a small extra tip. No loud music anywhere and much of the piped music was very enjoyable - particularly the Chill piped into Blu. Staff were friendly and for the most part, appeared happy. Still amazed that on a ship with 3000 other passengers there are PLENTY of quiet, even deserted places to park oneself without having to retreat to the cabin. How could I possibly forget to try the ice cream in OV - again. We did smell smoke near the casino this time - why IS that? Elegant Chic: Dress was ALL OVER the map. I wouldn't dare suggest that any particular costume was in the majority - and I would strongly suspect "confirmation bias" at play of any such observation. For the record, I wore a suit, no tie - my wife wore a pinstriped pant suit (at my request - one that I really like but typically only get to see her in it for a few minutes before she departs for an important business meeting). I wore a jacket to dinner all other nights except one and my wife wore mainly dresses.

5 Terrific Days on Eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by wpgcycler

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Eclipse, Jan 5-10

Pre Cruise:

As we live in a cold climate, 1000+ miles from the Port of Miami, we schedule a couple days travel buffer to allow for potential storms which can easily cause a full day travel delay. As no serious travel delays occurred and we ended up having a couple days to begin the relaxation process - perfect! We stayed at a modest hotel (The Croydon) in "Mid-Beach" - about a mile walk from the famous South Beach. Nothing beats starting a vacation out in the sunshine with a big breakfast involving eggs, steak and very good Bloody Mary's. Much of the rest of the time was spent walking, people watching, sunning and more enjoyable dining and sipping. We were in full vacation mode by embarkation time.

Embarkation:

A nice ride to the port in an Uber Black - now THAT's modern luxury. Remembered the luggage tags this time - handed them to the porter with a picture of a president and we headed toward check-in. It was 11:30 and the crowds were already quite thick - I suspect that, on the the shorter cruises folks want to get on ASAP and enjoy the full time allotted to their cruise. Queues were not overly long and by about noon we had two feet on deck and were clinking our glasses of bubbly wine. As on our only previous cruise, we headed directly for Bistro on 5 (well, maybe not directly - instead of heeding my wife's advice that we were in fact right outside Bistro, I insisted on us going up and down a flight or two of stairs and round the atrium once or twice before admitting she was of course right. Yes, I'm an idiot.).

Embarkation Lunch:

We were seated immediately, at relatively the same window table we dined at on Reflection two years ago. We're both fans of Domaine Chandon but after ordering we were informed that none was available and were offered a glass of some rose Prosecco which we happily accepted. A different server returned with the bottle along with an explanation that the original server had in fact erred and that, as this wine was normally only sold by the bottle it would be a one time only treat. The wine turned out to be delightful but we were switched over to the originally ordered Chandon for subsequent glasses (new glasses were provided) - not sure how it magically appeared nor what happened to the "dregs" of the rose Prosecco.

Having read so much about Celebrity's Onion Soup on this forum and as we would be again Dining in Blu where it is not offered, we decided we would see what all the fuss was about. The soup (if a bit salty) with its topping of cheese as hot as molten lava provided a welcome warmth on what was an unusually (for Miami) cool and windy day. I usually make a batch of this stuff at least once a winter and I was reminded I should get this done soon - it's always a satisfying dish. To follow, I had a spicy shredded beef crepe and my wife had a chicken Caesar Salad - both very enjoyable (I love that cumin dressing squiggled over the crepe). We shared an Italian crepe for dessert - I had espresso and my wife had a latte. $20 for the two of us - I added a small extra tip and the drinks were covered by the beverage package (upgraded to Premium as a perk by the online travel agency). The announcement that cabins were ready came during lunch so we now headed off to check ours out and drop off our carry-on before exploring the ship.

Sailaway:

As arranged through the roll call, we headed to the Sunset Bar for sailaway and met a small number of fellow Cruise Critters. Meeting new friends is a great way to start a cruise IMO and it's so much fun to meet folks who come from other parts of the continent and sometimes the rest of the world. Most of us eventually made our way inside as the departure was somewhat delayed and the day wasn't getting any warmer. At about 6 or 6:30 I think, we watched from the Sky Lounge as Eclipse made its way out of the port.

Food(!):

Dinner @ Murano:

My wife and I LOVE and to eat - I'm a pretty serious cook and she is my best audience - so we make a point of trying as many venues and different items as we are able. As Aqua guests were offered 50% off the cost of specialty dining for embarkation day only, and as we had not yet tried Murano, we made a reservation for just after the first show. We were seated at a very nice table (are there any lousy ones?) and were left to make the very difficult choice of what to dine on. For starters, I settled on the Diver Scallop and my wife, the Smoked Salmon and Crab Parfait. Both were very pretty presentations and both properly prepared - the scallop was undoubtedly not of the "diver" variety (less than 1% of all scallops are) but I really didn't expect it to be, even with the up-charge for dining here). We don't often dine in places that specialize in tableside prep so we both opted for mains which involved a bit of that. We're Canadian and keenly aware of the difference between Atlantic and Caribbean lobster - nonetheless, my wife settled on the Murano Lobster and I went for the Dover Sole (which I suspect was actually the Pacific variety rather than the true Dover but don't eat enough fish to be certain).

We really enjoyed chatting with the server as he competently prepared and flambeed the lobster and deftly boned my fish. We both thoroughly enjoyed our plates and each had a taste of the other's choice. We were a bit amused that, when presenting the menu, our server sort of apologised for the inclusion of the cheese course assuring us that it wasn't compulsory should we wish to avoid such apparent strangeness. We quickly made it clear that we were both in fact aficcionados of good cheese (I tend not to use the term turophile as it's a bit pretentious - on the other hand, I don't use cheesehead either, unless it involves football in the midwest) and that we'd be looking forward to that course. Well, the cheese course did not disappoint - a respectable selection was tastefully presented on an attractive cheese cart. The highlights for us were the Epoisses and the Tomme du Savoie but all of the cheese were in good condition. We chose 20 year old Tawny Port to accompany our cheese. We finished off by sharing a Grand Marnier Soufle and the sorbet selection along with coffee and brandies. The whole experience is a bit old fashioned but, sometimes it's nice to relive the sort of fancy dining we did 30 years or so ago and overall we had a most enjoyable evening here.

Dinners @ Blu:

One of the features which attracted us to Aqua class was probably also instrumental in the lifting of the personal embargo I placed on cruising until my mid fifties - the opportunity to dine in a smaller restaurant, at our own table, at no set time. We really enjoyed Blu on our first cruise on Reflection and on this second cruise, Blu did not disappoint. I know a lot of folks don't care for the Blu menus and I do appreciate that they may have become a bit long in the tooth for more frequent cruisers, but for us, the menus are attractive. Highlights of our 4 dinners included perfectly prepared duck and rack of lamb for me, delicate Dorade and flavourful pheasant for my wife and some of the best prime rib I've had in years for both of us. We also found many of the soups (cream of parsnip!) to be a success. One evening I was intrigued by what a gentleman at the next table was eating - after learning it was a vegetable curry from the vegetarian menu we shared and very much enjoyed a portion to (with some roti) with our mains that evening. Service here was excellent, just as we remembered from last time. If I had anything to quibble about it would be the lack of availability of the some of the wines by the glass offered on the menu. The choice of French wines is already limited so, to learn that a couple (a Medoc and a Pouilly Fume) were unavailable with a suitable substitute available for only one of them (a Sancerre for the PF) was a bit of a disappointment - we nonetheless beared down and made the best of it however.

Breakfasts:

We both really needed some rest on this cruise so we never once were up in time to breakfast at Blu - something we've yet to experience after two cruises. We ordered eggs, sausage, some cold cuts, croissants and fruit from room service which we enjoyed on our balcony on one morning and ate breakfast on the rest of the days in the Oceanview Cafe.

Oceanview Cafe:

OK, I have a confession to make. I LOVE BUFFETS! There, I've said it and I'm glad. It's something of a guilty pleasure. I'll never understand those who proudly proclaim "we don't do buffets" or as one poster recently suggested "Oceanview cafe is low-grade canteen food". Granted, I've seen plenty of buffets that I wouldn't bother with and even some that I wouldn't go within several feet of and I wouldn't suggest for a minute that every single item on the OV is worth the calories but, come on, there are some pretty decent quality items available here that are pretty darn tasty - it's a matter of approaching the matter strategically. First of all, I don't view the buffet as a "dining option" but rather, a place to grab a bite - kind of like having your own fridge and pantry where the items you find in it are magically made plate ready. In that context, I'll contend that the OV is a rich oasis of all manner of culinary delights!

Highlights at the OV for us included:

The Eggs Benedict station where several variations on EB were prepared to order - Italian (salami, pesto), Mediteranean (grilled vegetables), Mexican (chorizo, salsa), German (sausage, mustard sauce), Scottish (smoked salmon)... you get the idea.

The Indian food station where several curries, pickles, rice and breads were offered.

The MASSIVE Yorkshire puddings which accompany the baron of beef.

Some really tasty breakfast sausages and some hot and crisp McDonalds style "hash browns" (another very guilty pleasure).

Having someone bring me endless Mimosa's that I didn't have to pay for.

To be honest, one of the disappointments of the cruise (nobody's fault but mine) was my inability to consume foods which I shouldn't eat often in quantities which I shouldn't eat ever. For a variety of poor excuses, I haven't been cycling since October - which is a shame because when I'm riding 20 or 30 miles a day I can eat quite a bit and when I'm riding a hundred miles in a day, I can imitate an industrial shop vac with no impact on the waist line. I've learned my lesson and will be getting the winter bike off its rack tomorrow.

Mast Grill: I just LOVE those burgers. Again, wish I could have eaten way more.

Bars/Beverage package:

Our Classic Beverage Package provided by Celebrity as a perk was upgraded to Premium by the online travel agent so we were able to try most of what we wished without extra charges - although I did occasionally provide an extra tip. We really enjoyed the Molecular Bar on Reflection in 2014 so were keen to see if its replacement, World Class Bar, met the same standard. Generally I'll say it was a success based on the quality of ingredients and the creativity of the recipes - but it probably falls short in the variety aspect as it's a pretty short list of drinks. We each tried a couple of the cocktails from the "main part" of the list and I tried the smoked rum thing and we shared an infusion after a show one night. The smoked rum thing was worth trying for the theatre it provides but I'm not sure the smoky flavour of the rum would be to everyone's taste (I enjoyed it, my wife didn't) - I'd say if you enjoy a cigar with a brandy or whisky then something like this is likely for you. We both enjoyed the Bulleit infusion and recommend it - be aware however that it must be ordered ahead of time to allow enough time for the infusion to occur. We ordered ours before a show one evening, dined after the show and then headed to the bar and enjoyed the infusion as an after dinner libation.

We also enjoyed the Martini Bar, enough of which has been written here to obviate the need for me to say more. After a couple of cruises we've yet to have a drink in either the Passport or Ensemble but found the service, availability and quality to be just fine in all other bars. One thing I did find odd was that the "Slush" bar which serves frozen drinks mixed with the higher end liquors and which are only covered by the premium package serves its products in paper, takeaway cups while the Pool Bar almost right next to it serves the cheaper versions in nice glasses. Weird.

Entertainment/Activities:

We don't typically seek out organized activities as such and so can't comment on bingo, trivia etc., we did however participate (i.e. dance like fools) in a couple of the theme nights. One night we enjoyed the Motown party in the Sky Lounge where a number of the production show singers and dancers performed a variety of the Motown standards. We also enjoyed the Disco themed party in the atrium where Richard Spacey dressed in satirical disco attire and led the crowd dancing to a variety of well known disco tunes. An impressive "balloon drop" added a lot of fun to the festivities.

We also attended the Heart of the Operation Galley Tour - I did this last time but my wife didn't so we did it together this time. The event is hosted by the executive chef - coincidentally, the same one, Darran Bailey, who hosted the one I attended on Reflection last time. Darran has a really interesting background having served as chef at Buckingham Palace and having spent some time doping business development for Gordon Ramsay. While groups are being staged to begin their tour, he answered questions from the audience. Someone with a mildly cruel streak trolled him by asking about the "number of oranges they carry on board" to make fresh orange juice while another slightly devious passenger tried to get him to disclose "food costs per passenger". It was fun to watch him dance around those two,

We attended the show in the theatre every night. I don't get hugely critical about these events and , frankly, see them as something a bit extra that's thrown in as a perk.Yes, I do understand that it's a big part of the draw to some of the more frequent cruisers and that you expect more - to us though, it's not something that we normally see much of (we do attend many "rock" concerts but not much in the way of production shows) and we're happy to have the chance to sit back and enjoy watching and listening to some young kids pursuing their dream. The first and third nights featured Karen Grainger - an "impressionist" who sings in the voices of a variety of well known artists and injects humour into the proceedings - who we found enjoyable enough. We really enjoyed both of the production shows, Topper and Rock City - but again, we weren't listening carefully for pitch accuracy or trying to determine story lines - great stuff for relaxing with a drink and letting the appetite for dinner grow a bit more.

The final night featured a vocal group new to Eclipse called Shades of Buble. The guys from New York dressed in black, slim suits and skinny ties performed a variety of tunes he has been known to perform live. In addition to his own compositions they also performed a selection of Sinatra standards as well as a selection of covers of tunes by popular artists. Although I think the production could use a little work (length, pacing), we thought these guys were pretty talented - I enjoyed the show and I'm not even a Buble fan.

Odds and Sods:

The ship was spotless and beautiful - like new.

Cabin was like new and the steward and his assistant were attentive, meticulous and unobtrusive - exactly the way we like it and I left them each a small extra tip.

No loud music anywhere and much of the piped music was very enjoyable - particularly the Chill piped into Blu.

Staff were friendly and for the most part, appeared happy.

Still amazed that on a ship with 3000 other passengers there are PLENTY of quiet, even deserted places to park oneself without having to retreat to the cabin.

How could I possibly forget to try the ice cream in OV - again.

We did smell smoke near the casino this time - why IS that?

Elegant Chic: Dress was ALL OVER the map. I wouldn't dare suggest that any particular costume was in the majority - and I would strongly suspect "confirmation bias" at play of any such observation. For the record, I wore a suit, no tie - my wife wore a pinstriped pant suit (at my request - one that I really like but typically only get to see her in it for a few minutes before she departs for an important business meeting). I wore a jacket to dinner all other nights except one and my wife wore mainly dresses.
wpgcycler’s Full Rating Summary
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AquaClass
Cabin A2 1625
Spotless and well appointed cabin not too far from the elevators. Quiet. Loads of storage.
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