CruiseMiss guest blogger, Scott, recently embarked on his first cruise with Celebrity Cruises. This was his experience of Celebrity Eclipse.
It’s no secret that I am a staunch Royal Caribbean, and in particular, Independence of the Seas fanatic. So I admit that it was with a little trepidation that I stepped out of my comfort zone and boarded Celebrity Eclipse for my most recent cruise.
I’m sure we all have favourite ships and different things about them satisfy different needs. Being the first ship I cruised on, Independence holds a very special place in my heart. I love the atmosphere and wealth of fun that can be had on her. Even if I’m not adventurous enough myself to tackle the climbing wall, ice rink or surf simulator, they provide a great source of entertainment watching others try. Such signature features, along with her sheer size, fantastic outside spaces, Royal Promenade parties and more, help to ensure that time spent on her can be as energetic and fun as you want it to be.
However, this time I needed something different; something calm and restful. I wanted to switch off, kick back, relax and just completely zone out for fourteen days to rejuvenate and revitalize myself.
There was a slight period of adjustment getting used to this concept, but after a few days Eclipse’s mystical aura started to wash over me, sucking away all my stress. From the rich but tasteful decor, to the ever present soothing background music and intoxicating smells wafting around the solarium and spa areas, she had a way of transporting me to a tranquil headspace where the cacophony of normal life was as distant as the shores of Southampton.
The onboard experience definitely differed to that of Independence. The ship was indeed much quieter with a slower overall pace. Just what the doctor had ordered on this occasion.
She still had plenty to offer in the way of entertainment and fun, but it was the relaxing ways of filling the days and nights that made up the highlights of my cruise. This included the mesmerizing and spellbinding theatre performance of “Eclipse The Show”. It was totally in keeping with the relaxing spirit of the ship and quite different to other shows I’ve seen. Contortionists, trapeze artists, balancing acts, jugglers and more graced the stage to a relaxing soundtrack with a vibrant light show that made up an intriguing visual treat.
An evening spent in the weirdly wonderful Qsine specialty restaurant ignited the taste buds with its quirky sharing menu presented on iPads and Rubik’s Cubes. DIY cocktails and cupcakes to decorate yourself added to the unusual but thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Time spent in the panoramic Sky Observation Lounge high above the front of the ship seemed endless, with the sea sprawling out infinitely before me through the floor to ceiling windows of my very own giant ocean going living room. It was a very popular place to unwind by day or night and the place where I seemed to spend much of my time relaxing, doing quizzes or taking in a live performance of an evening.
Throughout the ship there were many places to simply sit back and relax. Whether that be in a bar with a cocktail, snoozing in the solarium enclosed inside a cozy cabana or taking it easy in the Sky Lounge on a sofa bed with a book. There was an abundant choice and I tried most!
The freshly mown and watered lawn to be found on the aft upper deck was another unusual but simple pleasure. A leisurely game of bowls, or even just sitting in the sun on a blanket thrown over the lush green turf watching the world go by, was soothing and restful.
The hot glass show was something of an enigma. It hadn’t initially appealed to me, yet I still found it quite captivating and watched it more than once. The night show was extra special as the colours, light and heat seemed even more spectacular set to music against a dark sky.
Eclipse definitely cast a spell on me during those two serene weeks. She has now become my joint favourite ship. Independence hasn’t been completely overshadowed though. I think it’s fair to say it was only a partial Eclipse (excuse the terrible pun, I couldn’t resist) Both ships and sister cruise lines provide polar opposites of each other and although both can offer relaxation and fun aplenty; my experience is that Eclipse excels at the former and Independence the latter.
I’m now looking forward to an all too short mini cruise back on Independence later in the year, when the focus will once again be on the Wow fun factor of Royal Caribbean, instead of the relaxing Modern Luxury of Celebrity.