I wasn’t going to write anything about this visit but have had second thoughts and have decided to post a little account of the few hours we spent having a guided tour around the Celebrity Eclipse. I decided that being as we are going to cruise on her in 2013 that I would not to take my camera and so all the photos taken are my step daughters and she has given me kind permission to use them.
The visit came about after I asked the agent with whom we had booked the Eclipse Christmas 2013 cruise with if she ever got any ship visits. She replied saying that they did come up every now and again and that she would try and see if she could get us one. Well about 2 weeks later I got an e-mail from her saying that there was one up for grabs on the 29th September and if we were still interested……. Red rag to a bull is a phrase that springs to mind!
In between us getting the green light and the date of the ship visit, Ideal Cruising with who we had booked with changed hands and the agent who had arranged the trip was made redundant leaving us unsure if the visit was still going to happen. I waited several weeks and after hearing nothing from anyone, decided to try and speak directly with Celebrity to find out what was happening. Following several phone calls I managed to get through to the office which looks after the visits and they confirmed our tour was still going ahead.
The morning of 29th September arrived and we set off from home for the 2 hour trip to Southampton so that we could be there for the appointed 9.30 start.
• 09:30am Guests to meet at City Cruise Terminal, dock gate 10
• 10:00am *Commence tour of Ship escorted by your Celebrity Cruises hosts
• 12:30pm Lunch with your hosts
• 2:00pm Disembark ship escorted by your hosts
Upon arrival at the terminal we were checked in which included handing over our passports which were retained while we were on board. We passed quickly through security and waited in the seating area for the tour to commence. Our group consisted of 8 plus our guide for the day who goes by the name of Kenny Moore, he is part of the marketing department at Celebrity and as we later found out has a very extensive knowledge of their ships.
We entered the ship on deck 5 and were welcomed on board with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. We made our way to the theatre where we given an introductory talk about the tour and the ship. The tour started with us heading in the direction of the speciality restaurants. First stop was Blu where Kenny explained how this particular restaurant was linked to the Aqua class cabins and that the dishes in this restaurant was prepared with more healthier options than the rest of the ships food. This restaurant is also available to suite passengers but provided only that it is pre booked and that there is space available.
We next visited the Tuscan Grille which is right at the aft with fantastic views to sea, this restaurant is available to all but does come with a cover charge of $40 per person. Its in a fantastic location but I am not sure I would want to pay out for food when its already included in the price.
Murano’s was the next restaurant on the list. This has a real traditional feel to it and is Celebrity’s flag ship restaurant, we were informed that the food in this restaurant is of a very high standard and most of the dishes are actually prepared at your table right in front of you. A cover charge applies to this restaurant. The standard being high enough that they have applied for a Michelin Star, which would be the first for any cruise line.
Q-sine was next and here we were given a talk by one of the crew who demonstrated how this restaurant worked. Everybody has an I-pad and can select and order using it. The main theme of this restaurant is different tastes from around the world and the dishes are not dissimilar to tapas. There are no main courses and you can select as many dishes as you want, and again this restaurant does have a cover charge.
Next stop on our tour took us to the spa where were shown round the gym, we were then shown the pool areas before visiting the Oceanview Cafe where we paused for a quick drink. We were then taken to the aft where there is an open air area for eating, on our two previous cruises on 2 of her sister ships this is an area we have enjoyed using a lot.
Moving on we were next taken up to the Sunset Bar on deck 15 which again is a favourite place of ours especially for sailaways.
Although all this class of ship has these lawns, I am still not sure if there is any real need for it. Out of the 3 I have seen this one was in the best condition.
We were shown the area where the glass blowing demonstrations are held which is also up on deck 15, this particular area has now been changed on the newer ships and I personally think it is for the better.
With most of the public areas now covered we went back inside to the atrium where we had a good view overlooking the library. It was from this point on that our tour enabled us to view the cabins. We were shown the Penthouse Suite, a Royal Suite and a Sky Suite. The Penthouse having a piano and presumably someone to play it if you cannot?
The décor in all the cabins we visited was much the same, the main difference is the amount of room in each category.
We were also shown an Aqua class balcony cabin, and inside cabin, and ocean view cabin and a disabled access ocean view.
The tour was rounded off by a lovely lunch in the main dining room.
On offer was
Chilled Shrimp Louis
with Creamy Cocktail Sauce & chunky avocado guacamole
Cream of wild Forest Mushroom Soup
Mushroom Truffle Fricassee
Baby Spinach and Trevisio Salad
with blue cheese crumbles, smoked bacon, cranberries & raspberry vinaigrette
Herb Crusted Haddock Fillet
with roasted potatoes, red peppers and green olives in tomato olive oil sauce.
served with caramelised onion potato cake, buttered green peas, asparagus and Jameson Irish whiskey sauce
Warm chocolate lava cake served with vanilla ice cream
No photos were taken of the food as we were too busy eating it! Very nice indeed and the steak was done to perfection.
After lunch we were soon off the ship and on our way home. On thing that was noticeable was that there was no hard sell talk at the end. The tour was just aimed at showing off the ship and the Celebrity experience. We all had a great time and are now eagerly looking forward to our up and coming cruises on the Silhouette and Eclipse next year.