Sometime ago I gleefully announced that on March 20th, I would be setting sail on the most fantabulous cruise aboard Celebrity Cruises’ gorgeous Celebrity Eclipse.
A 14 night (modern!) luxury experience that was to be shared with 2,849 other lucky passengers.
And oh, what fantabulous cruise it turned out to be too!
Over the following days and weeks I shall be sharing quips and tips about the ship, my fellow shipmates, and the tours that I was very fortunate to take during this aptly named 14 night Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise
St. Kitts – ‘Island History and Rum Tasting’
St. John’s, Antigua – ‘Legend’s & Lores of Antigua’
St. Lucia – ‘Snuba off the beach Pigeon Island Fortress Park’
Barbados (overnight) – ‘Andromeda Gardens & Scenic Countryside‘ & ‘Swim with the turtles, shipwreck, snorkel and beach’
Aruba – ‘Kukoo Kunuku Palm Beach Tour’
The Eclipse is an extremely well preserved ship with an outstanding Captain and crew. It is this, alongside the seriously nice 14 night itinerary, that makes this cruise so very popular with Celebrity fans the world over – repeaters and newbies alike. Yes, I can quite understand its popularity and I, for one, would take this cruise again in a heartbeat. I found the 14 night mix of sea days and port calls to be quite, quite perfect – especially for those of us travelling long haul. But more on that in another post.
There was a glorious mix of passengers onboard. Young and old. Some quiet and reserved, others full-on, ‘larger than life’ characters that entertained and enlightened in the most delightful fashion over the course of those 14 unforgettable, balmy Caribbean nights. *Sigh*
But fear not fellow cruisers. For I would not dream of divulging the more murky, or should I say more colourful, of our mutual secrets – all of which went towards making this particular cruising experience so much more enjoyable in my opinion!
As agreed, what went on during that cruise, stays on that cruise and no more will be said about it.
There was a large music event taking place on embarkation day in Miami and I (like many others, I noted) appreciated the notification from Celebrity alerting of this potential disruption and suggesting an alternative transfer route. The magic words in getting to the port of Miami in the most efficient and drama free way it seems are, ‘please drive via the tunnel’.
We were travelling Concierge Class and as usual, check in was a breeze.
A nice new touch is the Concierge Class luncheon that was offered in the Moonlight Sonata main dining room immediately after check in (until 13:00 I believe). Good move Celebrity! This new addition to the program was very well received by all of those on our table and proved to be a great ice breaker. Or was the relaxed flow of laughter and conversation perhaps down to the glass of complimentary bubbly that is proffered the minute one steps onboard? The one handed to you as you emerge through the blur of security and enter cruise vacation Nirvana – aka ‘The Zone’.
Its almost like a feeling of weightless-ness. A feeling, no doubt amplified by the glass of bubbly you just quaffed and the fact that the free wifi connection is about to break, and for the next 2 weeks you will have only one thing to worry about. Not losing your ship’s pass.
I love this place and I know I am not alone. ‘The Zone’ is a place of breakfast in bed (or on the veranda), canapés on the dot at 4pm and a turn down chocolate at night when I go to bed. All of this (and more!) following an evening of choice entertainment and fun chats with fellow passengers. The only place I tend to avoid whilst in ‘The Zone’ is the casino. I have to run past the doors so as to avoid a complete sensory overload – zing, bling, rrrrring, flash, whooosh! I once had a summer job handing out change in an arcade at Coney Beach, a funfair near my birth place of Porthcawl, and these sights and sounds transport me back in a flash. All that’s missing is the smell of candy floss and hot dogs.
Run Liz, run! Past the Casino, up a flight of stairs and straight into the comforting arms of the outstanding team at Café al Bacio – the trained baristas greet me with my usual skinny macchiato with hazelnut syrup. *Phew*
On the subject of adult beverages, a welcome wine change was noted by yours truly and I am delighted to share that a very nice Sauvignon Blanc (a NZ -Marlborough no less) is now included in the Classic Drinks package. Happy Days!
But enough for now as I am beginning to silently weep. As many of us onboard that March 20th sailing vowed on the night of April 2nd, ahead of our early morning arrival into Miami, where the flashing LED lights of the Intercontinental bid us a friendly good morning – this, fellow cruisers, is a story that is to be continued!
More coming soon