New ship, new location - best ever cruise?: Celebrity Eclipse Cruise Review by Tony UK

Celebrity Eclipse 5
Tony UK
Member Since 2002
1,528 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

New ship, new location - best ever cruise?

Sail Date: May 2010
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Southampton
It was just so wonderful to travel from Southampton. No worries about taking liquids by air, or hand luggage or of course the volcanic ash. Celebrity provided free parking right by the ship. We had been on the 4 day to Ireland and so this was the 2nd leg of a back to back. Embarkation had been easy at Southampton. On boarding the ship access to stateroom areas is restricted by the closing of access doors, but on this wonderful ship there are many comfortable areas to wait. We had arranged to meet our cruise critic buddies at Bistro on 5 for lunch. This made a really pleasant and relaxing start to our cruise - the 'cowboy' crepe was a really good choice for me. Everything here is cooked fresh and we returned a couple of times during the cruise - the Italian dessert crepe is also super! This was a great cruise critic group. Companionship and socialising is for me the most important factor in the overall success of any cruise. We had such great companions on this trip we'd do it all More again with them anytime. Special thanks to Jean who organised us in St Petersburg, to Debbie, who despite some initial traumas did a great job in Brugge, and of course Dave who gave lots of tips and advice for our whole trip - not just for his tour in Warnemunde. This trip shows the great value of cruise critic especially on a non-beach trip like this

This new ship is fabulous.The captain officers and crew are to be congratulated especially when they had made an emergency sailing to Spain to pick up stranded British tourists due to the ash cloud. In fact the officers and crew on this ship are probably the most engaging on any ship I've sailed. Lots of activities and venues throughout the ship meant that we never found it crowded. It is bizarre through why people line up for dinner in the main dining room up to 30 minutes prior to dining! Choices and quality in the main dining room were excellent - something for everyone. Our wait staff including Sommelier and Maitre'd were very attentive - all of the staff on the ship were very engaging. The captains club event and perks were very welcome. The social time for elite members each evening was really pleasant, held in the sky lounge - a great venue for it- and a nice way to catch up with friends old and new. We also attended the other social events which on this sailing were excellent and very well attended. Turning to the speciality restaurants. Murano was a wonderful experience. fine food and wine and fantastic service. Not for everyone I guess, a dinner to linger over rather than to eat and move on. Tuscan Grill is Italian-American. The best dining view on the ship, very good food and service, a little traditional. Qsine - brand new on this ship is something exceptional. From the apple I=pad menu to the style and types of food there are lots of surprises along the way. We had organized a group of 14 from our cruise critic group to go. None were disappointed. Again not for the meat and 2 veg traditional brigade, although I never came across anyone who hadn't loved it!Aqua spa cafe is a wonderful venue fr a light breakfast and lunch. It was so difficult to find a table here at lunchtime - maybe this area needs a little re-thought. Cafe Baccio was a popular area on this sailing. The coffee and Gelato served here have to be paid for but the quality is excellent, and it is a classy area to visit. The buffet - we don't use it. Brunch - we had 2 events on this sailing. The presentation and quality is fantastic, and this is a much better alternative to the old style midnight buffets. It is some of the passengers that cause a problem for me - using their hands rather than using the serving tongs provided - yuck! Varied entertainment in the evening included the theater shows, classical quartet, piano bar, a'capella group, acoustic guitar etc. etc. The cirque du soleil type shows are stunning, and the acts in the theater magicians singers comedians jugglers were all top class acts. Nice that Celebrity don't forget the more traditional fun too, trivia, scrap-booking, cookery demos etc. Lawn sports are also an active way to spend a few hours. The hot glass show is very interesting and always drew a good audience. We did come across some older British passengers who yearn for the type of traditional cruising of 25 years ago! They wanted rolling and creaking ships and wood paneling rooms. I think the modern forward thinking design of these ships was a little too much for some, although most were converted by the end of the cruise! On this cruise we didn't take any ship excursions. It was an easy trip to do your own thing - except for st Petersburg!.

One thing I noticed was that there was no form of religious service on the ship. I would have thought an interdenominational service even on TV should be available on Sundays. English Bingo is no fun - in fact despite Bingo Joe's efforts, it is boring without the old jokes! Overall a wonderful experience. Would I go on this class of ship with Celebrity again - of course I have 3 booked already! Less

Published 05/31/10

Cabin review: CC21243

Centre of the ship near elevators and Library. Very convenient location. Larger veranda. Limited view forward, great view aft. Didn't realize at first that the TV can be angled out from the wall for easier viewing. Safe much easier to access than when it was in the wardrobe.

Port and Shore Excursions

We took a van from Zeerbrugge to Brugge. Take care to ensure that any taxi or van pre-booked can be brought onto the pier - passengers cant just walk off the dock here. It was a short day we only had around 6 hours, but Brugges is a lovely medieval town, very pleasant to walk around. We took a canal boat trip.

The chocolates are exceptional here - try a number of shops to test the samples to make sure you are getting something locally hand made - 'artisan'. We also looked at the lace making and weaving which are specialties here.We would have liked more time to linger here.

Copenhagen was a vibrant and interesting place. We checked the prices carefully of the water tour - one side of the canal was twice the price of the other side, so a short walk across the bridge paid off. The tour gave an interesting insight, runs every 15 minutes and lasts around 1½ hours. Food and drinks are expensive her in some cafe's so check first and as an alternative use the 711 or the street carts - my daughter had a really good frankfurter here, and we had some fab smoothies from a cart in the main square.

We walked through the shopping area which was pedestrianized to Tivoli gardens. We weren't sure whether to go in, we had read conflicting reviews, however we had a bright warm sunny day so we went in. It is a lovely place with nice landscaping and lots of restaurants and bars. There are also lots of rides and amusements for children, and a lot of open air shows. It was a contrast to everything else we had done and this made it all the more enjoyable.

Late sailing gave plenty of time to enjoy our time here.

We didn't go to Berlin, or have a ships tour. We had a long day here - didn't sail till 23-00. We joined a tour recommended on Cruise critic call 'friends of Dave'. We had a great day on our walking and rail tour seeing the former east Germany. Dave was very knowledgeable and entertaining and looked after us royally. There were just 9 of us. We had the chance to eat locally and use local transport. That gave us a unique insight. We visited Schwerin and saw the castle and a beautiful town with lakes and gardens. We also had an extensive tour of Warnemunde.

A long and tiring day but very worthwhile.

We had read all kinds of scare stories about cruise-lines scaring people into buying their excursions, stopping people getting off the ship etc. Let me reassure you. We formed a group on cruise critic - 9 of us, and we booked with Anastasia tours. We had no problem at all. Anastasia organized the group visa and sent tickets by email in advance. On the ship we were asked to let guest relations know if we had a private tour and then we were invited to the Tuscan grill where we were escorted off the ship at the required departure time. There were no lines at immigration and the process was very smooth. Our guide Svetlana was waiting at the door for us with a modern van on the car park. We had planned an agreed an extensive 2 day itinerary in advance. We had wonderful weather, and saw Pushkin, Tsars village Catherine's palace, the hermitage, churches, the Metro etc. etc. Because we were a small group we managed to do so much more than the bigger excursions, and svetlana also helped us with shopping and small scale exchange to roubles. We had pancakes in the park, and the Russian pies for lunch on the second day. Payment was on the second day of the tour.

St Petersburg is an exceptional and overwhelming destination. We loved it - one visit is just not enough.

Dave told us that the sail into Stockholm was spectacular although very early in the morning. We were up around 4-30 and it was truly magical. Calm seas, small islands and cottages, wonderful light in the dawn, and birdwatchers were delighted. Stockholm was an easy place to tour. We used the hop-on hop-off boat which took us to the places we wanted to go. The weather was really good too. The VASA museum was top of my list -- a huge ship which sank on its maiden sailing which has been recovered and restored.

We witnessed the changing of the guard at the royal palace too. The city is a really easy place to stroll around and has a great vibe.

Our next stop was Helsinki. We were fog-bound till around 2pm. Our port time was extended, however we were ready for a break and with St Petersburg coming up we decided to stay in the Persian Garden and pamper ourselves!

Again a do it yourself day. Tallin is a beautiful place to stroll around. A photographer's dream. We shared an Estonian sandwich to try the herring which seems to be sneaked into almost everything in Scandinavia - it was delicious. We really enjoyed it here after the intensive st petersburg. For shoppers there were lots of local handicrafts available, embroideries, wall hangings, art work and clothes - particularly in linen. A lovely port to visit.

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Tony UK
Member Since 2002
1,528 Forum Posts
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