Celebrity Eclipse Postcard #5 – A Sea Day

Our little session in the Sky Lounge was a little different last night because we were joined by a local Oom-Pah Brass Band, they played for around 45 minutes and made a nice change. It certainly made the lounge a lot busier than usual. We found them playing a second set a bit later on in the Grand Foyer on deck 3 while on our way to eat and they were again drawing the crowds in as people were coming and going to dinner.

Talking of dinner, last night we dined in Qsine which was every bit as good as our first experience. I learnt a lot from our first trip in January and the main one was to pace yourself but despite that knowledge we all came away totally stuffed and were still paying the price this morning.
The whole experience was made all the more special by the fact all six from table 345 were able still dine together. We were there for over 3 hours and consequently missed our trip to see Freddie Larkins in the theatre.
There is practically nothing on the menu which I don’t like but I have to say I am very partial to the lamb chops with the mustard mayonnaise and also the Disco Shrimp.

As a result of last night’s feast, breakfast was skipped this morning because we were all still feeling so full.
In contrast to yesterdays rain, today’s weather has once again been fantastic so we spent the morning just sat out on the balcony. The only break was to attend the Captain’s Club Celebration in the Sky Lounge at 12:00 pm. As it’s Judy’s first cruise and she wanted to go we accompanied her to the function where we were all thanked by Captain Leonardos Palaiokrassas for choosing a Celebrity cruise. A couple of free glasses of wine certainly didn’t go amiss.

Just to further break the day up and to help with our food intake we took lunch in the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room, I have found that having someone else fill my plate often stops me making a complete pig of myself.
Then with the sun still out we retired to the cabin to sit out on the balcony in the glorious sunshine that we never expected to have, its been an absolute bonus for us. There is very little else to add today so I will keep it brief.
Normal dining will be resumed tonight and maybe the show which is Rock City, we’ve seen it before and thought it was OK but I may potentially give it a miss myself and have an early night so I am nice and fresh to visit our next port which is Tallin, Estonia tomorrow.

Celebrity Eclipse Postcard #4 – WarnemĂĽnde, Germany

Yesterday evening was the first of three Evening Chic nights and I was surprised to see how many of the gents were still wearing dinner suits. There were certainly a lot more on the this cruise than the one earlier in the year. I wonder if the location and embarkation port has anything to do with it? Regardless of who wore what, just about everyone still made an extra effort to look smart for the evening.
I had every intention to photograph the menu in the dining room last night but the use of the vouchers in the Sky Lounge must have done something to my memory. It won’t be tonight as we are off to Qsine having bagged a deal for the whole table at $25 person.

Last night’s show was good fun and it was a new face for us, Mel Mellers who is a comedy magician. No high end magic but more of a children’s entertainer type of show but with the witty banter and audience interaction made him very watchable. He certainly made us laugh and that can’t be a bad thing.

We arrived at WarnemĂĽnde just after 7:00 this morning with the weather looking a bit overcast. When we first booked this cruise we had the intention to go to Berlin but spending two hours driving to get there then doing pretty much the whole tour driving round when you got there with another two on the way back eventually persuaded us not to go. Berlin will have to wait.
Our back up plan involved a walk in and around WarnemĂĽnde but the weather decided not to play ball. Around 8:45 the weather did as forecasted and we had rain so delayed our walking.
We waited until around 11:00 when it eased off a bit before making our move. We got no further than the front end of the Serenade of the Seas before it started to rain again. Not heavy rain but enough for everyone to put hoods and brolly’s up.

We carried on regardless and eventually found ourselves at the beach by the lighthouse. The weather being really miserable but we weren’t going to let it beat us. There were periods of heavier rain and we took shelter under canopies and trees. Because of the weather much of today’s photos were taken on my phone so they won’t be as sharp as usual.

WarnemĂĽnde is a pretty little place and I bet it’s a whole lot more fun when the sun shines.
Eventually we stopped for a beer and coffee and waited to see if it would ease of which it did so we made our way back to the ship for a late lunch.

It didn’t rain again after and we got our timing all wrong but never mind, some you win……A completely contrasting set of weather from yesterday.

After an afternoon nap I finished writing this with the aim of going to exchange some of my vouchers in the Sky Lounge.
We are dining at Qsine tonight and I will try and get a few photos to post here tomorrow. Ah and the act on in the theatre is a Freddie Mercury tribute by the name of Steve Larkins who we will give a go later on.

Celebrity Eclipse Postcard #3 – A Sea Day

OK, some more about yesterday first picking up where I left off. Having now received out drinks vouchers we set off to exchange them up in the Sky Observation Lounge for pre dinner drinks. We spent about 2½ hours there just chatting and enjoying the sea view. It wasn’t as busy as it was in January but still enough there to justify using that venue. Below are a couple of photos of the menu for the drinks that are available using the vouchers.

Dinner was at 8:15 and the two adjacent tables were both half empty last night, I suspect there may have been some not happy with the table arrangements. We have a great set up and Oscar is doing us proud. One thing I have noticed, the menu is now laid out in such a way it suggests two courses and not three. Another cost cutting exercise in effect! Needless to say it hasn’t prevented me from carrying on as before.

After dinner I followed the others to the theatre to endure the ships production of The Chandelier for a second time and despite several cast changes from January it wasn’t any better and in fact in our opinion slightly worse. I came very close to nodding off in there a couple of times but managed to stay the distance by sitting more upright then usual.

I am also having all sorts of issues with the WordPress App, ships WiFi and also my ageing tablet and apologise if posts are getting duplicated then deleted. I was hoping to add some photos to the Flickr album but the internet is nowhere near good enough and actually worse than it was in January.

This morning we awoke to beautiful clear blue skies and calm seas. What a wonderful way to start the morning. After breakfast (again in the Oceanview Cafe) we went back to spend the morning sat out on the balcony where we were sheltered from the wind while still able to enjoy the sunshine. We had the best of the sunshine on our side of the ship which was a real bonus.

We were so distracted by sitting out in the sun we missed the dinner session the dining room and when we did a circuit of the buffet and failed to find a seat we decided to go to the Mast Grille and have burger and fries instead.

At 3:00 we accompanied Judy up to the Lawn Club so she could watch the Hot Glass Show while we laid out on blankets in the sun. I just can’t believe the weather are having so far..
Because of this Nicole & I decided to go up to the Solstice Deck to finish the afternoon off in the sun.

Token swapping session impending and its Evening Chic Night tonight so it’s smarter dress than normal.

Celebrity Eclipse Postcard #2 – Zeebrugge, Belgium

I will pick up from where I left off which was pre show and pre dinner, the entertainment in the Eclipse Theatre was called Andante, four British guys who I have to say could sing really well but I can’t put my finger on it but just seem to lack something. Still it wasn’t a bad way to spend 40 minutes before dinner.
We also got our first glimpse of cruise director Daniel who is from Newcastle, I’m not quite sure what to make of him at the moment. Not that I take too much notice of cruise directors as most of them end up irritating me any way.

During his introductory chat he revealed we have 3114 passengers onboard this cruise which considering we are now in school holiday time was more or less the amount I was expecting the figure to be.
We are on second sitting in the dining room and it was great to meet up with our old fellow diners from January. We have a corner table in between two tables of 10, ours is a table of 6 and not 8 as I was expecting. Nice and cosy but perhaps a little too far from the middle of the room. Our two adjacent tables seemed very quiet last night and didn’t appear to be that happy.
We are being served by Oscar, his assistant Susana and Sommelier Vemba.
Good start and hopefully more of the same to follow, when we return for round 2 in the Moonlight Sonata dining room.

So to today, well this is a bit of a strange one for us as we decided not to go ashore, there are a couple of contributing factors, the main one being the time we are here in Zeebrugge. 7:00am to 3:00pm which for Celebrity is a real surprise. And it was 8:00 before we had clearance to go ashore combined with all aboard at 2:30pm it doesn’t really give you time to do a great deal unless you take a ship tour which is not really our style. We also factored in the time change too which meant getting up an hour earlier than our bodies were used to.
There does seem to be a bit of a push to get you to take the ship tours as I have noticed a couple of items in the daily programme where they have made a point of the fact if you take a ship tour it won’t sail without you if you are delayed. They also keen to stress you are first off the ship and have a hassle free cancellation policy. The last point they make is “Discover the heart of the destinations with our knowledgeable and experienced guides”. It would appear they are at war with the locals when it comes to excursions.
I had toyed with taking the tram to Blankenberge but I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm from any of the others. We have been there before and I think it’s a lovely little seaside town and given the right weather would have been a nice little trip. I think we will do Bruges when we have more time than we have been allocated today and also when it’s just the two of us.

Docked behind us today was Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

So what did we do with our day instead? Well after a leisurely breakfast in a virtually deserted Oceanview Café we started to show Judy round the ship. But in doing so we noticed the weather had improved giving some very warm sunny intervals so we found a couple of sunbeds up on the Solstice Deck and just spent the rest of the morning relaxing.
At 1:00 we made our way to the Oceanview Café for lunch, timing it perfectly so as to get there before all the excursions returned.
From then until sailaway it was back up there to carry on where we left off.

Our departure was delayed by 25 minutes due to some tours not getting back to the ship on time, we could see the traffic all queued up in front of the port gates but not sure what was causing it.
I am doing this early again tonight as we now have our drinks vouchers which need to be used between 5:00 & 7:00. So it will be off to the Sky Lounge for a spot of imbibing before dinner.

 

Celebrity Eclipse Postcard #1 – Southampton & Embarking

Having never sailed from the UK in our first ten years of cruising we now find ourselves having done it twice on the trot and today saw us return to Southampton for our second experience of sailing out of the UK.
We arrived at Southampton from an easterly direction coming in along the M27 and this was because we had to collect our two senior companions who both live in Eastbourne. After dropping the car off at the Yellow car park we made the short walk to the cruise terminal to check in and embark. Three of us hold Celebrity Captain’s Club Elite status so we were able to pass through a little quicker than some of the others, but only just as all the queues seemed to me to be the same length and am moving equally as quick. It’s nice when a perk works in your favour and this is one such example where it has in the past but today it wasn’t really any benefit.
Cabins weren’t ready at the time we boarded so it was up to the Oceanview Cafe for a bite to eat. By the time we had finished our lunch we noticed the buffet was not busy at all so it indicated to us the cabins were now ready so it was off to find our accommodation for the next 14 nights.

 

We are very familiar with the cabin layout having sailed on this class of ship 5 times previously a first for us on this cruise is a kettle in the cabin. I’m not sure if we will actually make use of it at this stage so we’ll have to wait and find out if it’s something we might need to get taken out to give us a bit more space on the worktop.

Our cases arrived at 2:30 and we were completely unpacked by 3:00, for some strange reason it felt like we had a surplus of time today, in the past the first afternoon has always seemed a bit of a rush.
Our steward Hamilton and his assistant Jayesh made brief introductions and welcomed us aboard.
I have also been a little extravagant and purchased the unlimited internet package for the whole cruise, Elite membership providing 30% discount on the advertised price. My excuse…….the $900 OBC was burning a big whole in my pocket.
As we have adjoining cabins we have been able to open the balconies into one one big one which makes the space seem that much bigger.

Muster was at 3:45 with departure swiftly after at 4:30. We had some really lovely weather for our sail out and not at all what I was expecting.

This evening the act in the Eclipse Theatre is called Andante and they are are four guys described as having four great solo voices which come together to produce spine tingling harmonies. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

We have been allocated table 345 on deck 3 and will be joined by an American couple from our table on our list Eclipse cruise. After discovering they were on the same Baltic cruise we got their TA to arrange for us to be on the same table again. I’ve already bumped into him in the buffet……of all places!

Right, I’m posting early tonight so will report on the evenings activities in tomorrow’s post.
Bye for now.

Celebrity Eclipse Baltic Cruise Preamble

For some time we have considered heading north on a cruise but there has always been somewhere southerly that has been more appealing to us and therefore taken precedence. We much prefer the warmer climates and because of this its always swayed our decision making, so when Nicole’s mum (Maria) suggested doing a Baltic cruise with her we thought well maybe its now time to go for it. As none of us had ever cruised in that area it sounded like a great idea that we should do it together and when one of Maria’s friends (Judy) expressed an interest in joining us and making our group up to four it was all systems go.
We sent out the enquiries to the various agents we have used previously and we quickly decided the best offer was the one from Cruise Club UK. Lots of OBC and hump cabin on deck 8 for the same price as one on deck 7, well done Natalie for spotting that one. We also were able to use up a future cruise credit which provided us with $900 OBC for each of the  cabins. Very nice indeed!

So with the cruise booked and the cabin sorted we started to investigate what we should do at the ports. We needed to bear in mind the 2 senior members of our party aren’t quite as sprightly as Nicole & me and because of that I think this cruise will be very different to those we have taken in the past.

The big attraction for us on this cruise is St. Petersburg where we will overnight and therefore have 2 full days. For this port we have booked a 2 day tour with Alla Tours which they call their comfort tour. They advise it is an ideal tour for those who want to see the highlights of St Petersburg in leisurely style which sounds just the ticket for our senior cruisers.

For the other ports we will try and make use of the local transport such as the HoHo buses.

Other Ships in Port

DATE LOCATION ARRIVAL DEPARTURE
 Sunday, July 31, 2016 Southampton, England 04:30 PM
 Monday, August 1, 2016 Zeebrugge, Belgium 07:00 AM 03:00 PM
 Tuesday, August 2, 2016 At Sea
 Wednesday, August 3, 2016 Warnemunde, Germany 09:30 AM 11:59 PM
 Thursday, August 4, 2016 At Sea
 Friday, August 5, 2016 Muuga, Tallinn, Estonia 10:00 AM  05:00 PM
 Saturday, August 6, 2016 St Petersburg, Russia 07:00 AM
 Sunday, August 7, 2016 St Petersburg, Russia 06:00 PM
 Monday, August 8, 2016 Helsinki, Finland 08:00 AM 05:00 PM
 Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Stockholm, Sweden 09:00 AM  05:00 PM
 Wednesday, August 10, 2016 At Sea
 Thursday, August 11, 2016 Copenhagen, Denmark 11:00 AM  11:59 PM
 Friday, August 12, 2016 At Sea
 Saturday, August 13, 2016 At Sea
 Sunday, August 14, 2016 Southampton, England 05:30 AM

And taking a look at the other ships we may catch a glimpse of during the cruise.

DATE LOCATION SHIPS IN PORT
Sunday, July 31, 2016 Southampton, England Caribbean Princess 5:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Arcadia 6:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Celebrity Eclipse Depart: 04:30 PM
Monday, August 1, 2016 Brussels (Zeebrugge), Belgium Viking Eir
Queen Elizabeth 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Celebrity Eclipse 07:00 AM – 03:00 PM
Tuesday, August 2, 2016 At Sea
Wednesday, August 3, 2016 Warnemunde, Germany Viking Jarl
Serenade Of The Seas 7:00 AM – 9:30 PM (Dock)
Celebrity Eclipse 09:30 AM – 11:59 PM
Thursday, August 4, 2016 At Sea
Friday, August 5, 2016 Tallinn, Estonia Celebrity Eclipse 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Saturday, August 6, 2016 St Petersburg, Russia Seven Seas Voyager Depart: 6:00 PM
Celebrity Eclipse Arrive: 07:00 AM
Sunday, August 7, 2016 St Petersburg, Russia Viking Kirov
Viking Truvor
Monarch Arrive: 11:00 AM (Dock)
Silver Whisper Arrive: 8:00 AM
Celebrity Eclipse Depart: 06:00 PM
Monday, August 8, 2016 Helsinki, Finland Costa Luminosa 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wind Surf 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Celebrity Eclipse 08:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Stockholm, Sweden Celebrity Eclipse 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Wednesday, August 10, 2016 At Sea
Thursday, August 11, 2016 Copenhagen, Denmark Celebrity Eclipse 11:00 AM – 11:59 PM
Friday, August 12, 2016 At Sea
Saturday, August 13, 2016 At Sea
Sunday, August 14, 2016 Southampton, England Seven Seas Voyager 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Celebrity Eclipse Arrive: 05:30 AM