The day is here and we are about to embark on another adventure. This time we are going to cross the Atlantic on the Celebrity Eclipse, a 13 night cruise leaving Miami. We will be visiting Nassau in the Bahamas then Kings Wharf in Bermuda, after that we have 6 days at sea before a stop in Lisbon, Portugal and then on to debark in Southampton, England.
April 17th 2016, Day 1 – Embarkation in Miami
After a great stay at the Marriott Courtyard hotel which is an ideal place to stay close to the Miami cruise terminal, we took a shuttle to the ship for $5 per person.
It took all of 10 minutes and that included waiting for a freight train to pass by at the crossing.
Check-in at Miami cruise terminal
Once at the terminal, we offloaded our luggage to the porter and gave him the obligatory tip $2, one guy handed him $10 bucks and told him to make sure they all arrive. I wonder if anyone has not had their bags or a piece of luggage not get onto the ship… Anyway, we made our way to the terminal C entrance where we had to show passports and express cruise pass which you need to have printed out.
This was quick and from here an escalator took us up one level to where security was. All hand luggage coats etc got screened and then we continued up to the check-in area.
There was a longish line of people waiting to check-in, we followed the signs for classic members check-in area and basically walked upto the very next free counter. Funny enough, the line of people backed up were for the Elite and higher ‘captains club’ members who have express boarding!!
Funny enough we were a lot quicker than many of them, lol. Having had our passports scanned and a swipe of the credit card taken, plus the standard health questionnaire signed we received our cruise cards. Now the fun can begin…
Boarding the Eclipse
The steady flow of passengers made its way towards the gangway. Passing the ever-present backdrop of the ship for the embarkation photos, a note here, these, as all photos offered are not compulsory and you can just walk on by if you so wish.
Finally we step foot onboard the Celebrity Eclipse ready to begin our 13 night high seas adventure. This review spans the entire 13 nights with information from each day. I have also a Tour Around The Celebrity Eclipse post that shows most of the ships places that passengers can enjoy, which has even more photos. You can check that out after, if you want to get to know the ship in more detail.
First things first… Lunch
Celebrity welcomed us with a glass of bubbly when boarding which is a nice touch and from here you can walk into the ship, find a seat and relax. Moni and I headed straight to the Oceanview café for some lunch, we’d only had a banana each at the hotel before leaving.
We still had our hand luggage with us as the cabins were not ready yet, no wonder considering it wasn’t even 12pm. From leaving the hotel at just after 11am till we were sat having lunch on the ship was less than an hour. This is the fastest ever that we have managed to board any ship from leaving the accommodation.
A good tip to consider if wanting to board the ship as early as possible is to really limit your carry-on luggage. Most ships don’t have the cabins ready for access until 1.30 or even later, so whatever you carry on with you, you’ll need to keep it with you all the time.
Relaxing in the Sky Lounge with awesome views
After an enjoyable lunch we chose to relax a bit in the Sky Lounge. This is one of my favourite parts of any ship and it’s at the very front. Unfortunately many ships have started using this space for the gym and spa and done away with the front facing lounge or bar.
The port of Miami is nearly always busy and today was no exception. Four cruise ships were in port, in front of us was Disney Wonder, in front of her was two Carnival ships, Splendor & Breeze.
Moni found the day bed here in the Sky Lounge the perfect spot to wait while the ship was being prepared for the new boarding passengers. Without hesitation Moni also signed up for the Internet package.
Bubbly & Coffee at Café al Bacio
After spending sometime here we decided to get our coffee fix. On the way down we past the lady offering the bubbly at the entrance on deck 5 and she was generous enough to hand me another, not being one to refuse and offend I received it with a smile and we continued to the coffee shop.
At 1.30pm one of the officers announced that the staterooms were now ready and we could access them at our convenience. We continued to enjoy our coffee and chocolate tartlets, yummy. One of the waiters here recognised us from the previous times with Celebrity and said how nice it was to see us. It certainly makes you feel very welcome and special when the staff remember you. Needless to say, Alexi was very happy as well.
We found our cabin with ease. Deck 7 just a few cabins away from the forward lifts on the starboard side.
Cabin #7204 on Celebrity Eclipse
The first thing we noticed with this cabin was that the door opened outwards. On all previous 14 cruises the doors have opened inwards.
This makes the cabin feel bigger from the get go. Actually this cabin is pretty standard but did feel roomier. The layout was great, the bathroom immediately on the right when coming in was spacious and had plenty of space for our extra cosmetics etc. Celebrity provide hand soap bars, shampoo & conditioner and body lotion in tubes as well as ear buds and hair net.
The shower is a complete capsule with sliding doors, no shower curtains which is so good. The sliding doors are space-saving and prevent any water dripping over the floor when opening, that being good, they can be a bit of a pain to move.
The bed is two singles joined making a queen size. Either side is a small bedside table. This cabin has the bed near the wardrobe as opposed to being near the balcony. I used to prefer it the other way, but now I’m kinda warming to it.
The wardrobe had plenty of easy to use hangers, by that I mean the ones with a hook on and not the clip in clip out ones. Also we had bathrobes.
In our cabin we had a desk with comfortable chair near to the balcony joined to a commode with drawers a minibar fridge with a good size safe above, you could easily fit a standard laptop in it.
A very good size TV on a swivel bracket hangs above the commode. Opposite is a large couch which would make the third bed, and a small oval coffee table in front.
The balcony is also larger than normal and has two large outdoor chairs that recline, as well as a good size table. The door to the balcony is a sliding door which looks at any amount of opening.
‘Celebrity Today’ information paper
I studied the ship’s information paper called Celebrity Today which is delivered to the cabin each evening, and extra copies can be found at the cafe or guest relations.
While posting a few photos to Facebook, Mickey Live messaged saying I’m onboard as well, let’s meet up at the Lawn Club which is the grass area. We’ve been on two Celebrity cruises before and on both Mickey Live has been one of the Celebrity Life “Beyond the Podium” speakers and we have been to many of his talks and presentations. Since then we have been FB friends, and he spends much of his time in the cafe and so do we.
Sail away from Miami up at the Lawn Club
After settling into our cabin and off loading our carry on bags we made our way to the Lawn Club at the top deck rear of the ship. We made it to the aft lifts on deck 7 and just caught the closing doors, we stepped in… Saying hello to the couple in the lift. We said something more and I recognised that they were wearing some beads.
The cruise critic Eclipse roll call mentioned that anyone who wanted could wear beads to show themselves as being on the roll call, I hadn’t bothered but made a remark about it. Within a few seconds we were chatting like old friends. Turns out, that we had cruised together and spoken with each other on the Infinity while cruising the Panama Canal. It was surreal, as within a couple of seconds of talking, we all realised that we had once met.
Anyway, the lift stops at deck 15 and we continue chatting for a while and then meet more of the crowd of Cruise critic folk, we were crowned with some beads for those that didn’t have any and continued chatting.
Mickey Live & Jelena on Celebrity Eclipse
Later on we actually managed to meet up with Mickey and his bride Jelena whom we had only seen on FB. We spent the next few hours talking while sailing away from Miami, time flew and before we knew it, we’d missed our dinner seating. We have the 5.45pm early dinner time which is better for us than the 8.30pm.
Tonights dinner in the Oceanview Café buffet
We decided to not bother getting changed for dinner and chose the buffet for tonight’s meal. The photos below are from my late night trip to the buffet for a cuppa.
The selection of food was very nice and the cafe was not overly busy which was nice. You often find the buffet on embarkation day quite busy as people don’t want to rush to get ready for dining room dinner, and some guests may still not have their luggage.
The buffet is different from most ships in that it’s set up with food stations, some hot some cold, some desserts, you walk around and chose what you like. There is a section along the rear wall that behind you’d find the upstairs galley, here they cook for you fresh steaks, fish etc, there is even a design your own curry/spiced meal section.
Check out some of the selection of foods that were available tonight.
Even though there was plenty of space inside the cafe, we decided to sit out the very back which is outside. To our surprise, we were the only ones out here, kinda strange with nearly 3000 passengers onboard and we are alone at the rear of deck 15.
After dinner which for myself involved a few trips to the buffet, we returned to the cabin. Our suitcases were at the door and we then unpacked and hung the clothes etc. Just before 9pm we made our way to the theatre for the first night’s entertainment.
‘Not Really 3 Tenors‘ was listed this evening. These three guys, all tenors, gave a show that was very good indeed, great voices and humor to match. It took a couple of songs to get the crowd warmed up but by the end they were a hit.
I made a trip to the buffet for a cup of tea to take back to the cabin and couldn’t resist a slice or two of pizza before heading back with a few cookies for Moni.
Let us know in the comments below
We’d love to hear from you, tell us about your experiences on the Eclipse or any other Celebrity cruise ship that you’ve been on.
How would you rate the Solstice class ships? What’s your favourite place onboard the Eclipse? Would you book again with Celebrity?
Looking forward to reading your comments.