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  1. Cheers Cruise Critic! It is thankfully that time again for another Live cruise blog! Edward and I are leaving Chicago for Vancouver to join the Celebrity Eclipse on Sunday the 19th for our first Alaskan Cruise! Not only have we never been to Alaska before but we have not been to Vancouver either, so this will be a cruise with many firsts for us and we are very much looking forward to it. If you don’t feel like reading this first post (I know it might be a bit boring with lots of details) feel free to skip to the bottom of this post to see my youtube video with a quick introduction to our trip. For those of you who have not followed us before I will give you a quick rundown of ourselves. I am Paul and my partner is Edward. We live in Chicago (yes in the actual city, right downtown) and are 32 and 36. We try to cruise at least a few times a year and typically on longer itineraries when our schedule allows. This will mark our 18th cruise on Celebrity. As always I will take you along with us on our journey and let you know what is going on every step of the way. You can follow me on social media, specifically on Instagram - PaulKBlackburn You can also follow the hashtag #CruisingOnCelebrity I’ll be posting photos on Instagram but also a lot of short videos on my instagram stories since that seems to upload very easily even if the internet is not 100%. As always I will post at least 10 photos per day on here including the “Dailys” for you to review. I also will let you know any and all costs incurred, whether we are talking about flights, taxis, meals out, ubers, etc. I know many times the talk of money can be “taboo” but at the end of the day none of these wonderful things are free so I think it is important to mention the costs to help everyone plan better. I also encourage you all to ask questions about any topics cruise or travel related. Whether you want to know my thoughts on the food or who is working on the ship or how busy the ports are…just ask and I’ll do my best to answer them. The more interactive I am with all of you the more I enjoy writing so do not feel bad about asking questions. I also want to take a moment to thank all of you who commented on a posting of mine over a month ago asking for suggestions for this trip. We read through all of your comments, tips and tricks and it helped greatly in determining what we are doing and what to pack! Our highlight excursion this trip will be the helicopter tour which stops on two glaciers and the glacier walk. Hoping for good weather! Below are all the pricing details of our cruise, including everything from travel insurance to the cruise itself. It may be a bit boring so don’t feel like you need to read it! Let’s take a look at the cruise itinerary Celebrity Eclipse May 19th - 7 Nights Day 1 - Vancouver Day 2 - Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage Day 3 - Icy Strait Point Day 4 - Cruising Hubbard Glacier Day 5 - Juneau Day 6 - Ketchikan Day 7 - Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage Day 8 - Vancouver We are arriving in Vancouver on the evening of Friday May 17th. After the cruise we are also spending one day and night in Vancouver and flying back to Chicago on memorial day morning. Cruise Pricing OK, let’s talk about money! We booked this cruise a couple months ago. It was a last minute thought. When we were on the Edge in February we booked an August Equinox cruise as a place holder to have an on board booking that we could transfer to another cruise. We used that onboard booking for this cruise so we were able to get a little extra OBC. Celebrity Suite: Originally we booked a Celebrity Suite for this cruise, including the Go BEST package, which came to $2,689.33 per person or $5,378.66 in total. Move Up Bid: Not too long after booking we received the opportunity for a move up bid. The options were to bid on the Royal Suite and the Penthouse Suite. We originally bid only on the Penthouse. The minimum bid was $800 per person so we bid $850pp. We ended up canceling out that bid and only bidding on the Royal. The minimum bid for the Royal was $400pp, we ended up bidding $405pp. Total Cruise Pricing We won our move up bid and therefore incurred the extra cost of $810 bringing our new total to $6,188.66 for the Royal Suite. In addition we have $975 onboard credit (combination of credit from booking on board, go best, and our TA). Airfare We are flying non-stop from Chicago (ORD) to Vancouver (YVR) on Air Canada. We booked through Choice Air. The pricing through Choice Air was a little cheaper than going direct through Air Canada or other online travel websites and we get the additional comfort of their protection. The timing on these flights was perfect for us. 5:05pm leaving ORD and we’re leaving YVR at 10:15am on Memorial Day. We are on a CRJ900 which is a regional jet. I’m surprised it has the range to make that long of a flight. Here is hoping for light headwinds! Total Airfare Cost: $867.74 Round Trip for 2. I’ll update this later after we incur baggage costs. Hotels On Friday and Saturday (May 17th and 18th) before the cruise we are staying at the Shangri-La which looks to be in a great location. We used around 45,000 chase points for this. At the time it was a decent redemption on points but since then it looks like pricing has dropped a bit so the redemption wasn’t the greatest for us at the end of the day. On the Sunday night after the cruise we are staying at the Grand Hyatt and only used 12,000 Hyatt points, transferred from Chase. This was a phenomenal redemption. Since we’re using hotel points (as opposed to booking through the Chase portal) we’re not incurring any taxes either. We would have loved to have booked this hotel at this rate for our first two nights but it wasn’t available for booking. In addition we have Explorist status with Hyatt due to our MLife (MGM Hotel & Casino rewards program) Platinum status we have which is only because of our Elite Plus status with Celebrity since Captain’s Club has a reciprocity status with MLife. Credit Card used for booking I’m not going to turn this into a points blog but I cannot stress enough how important it is to use a quality card for booking travel. Not only can you earn points but the basic travel protection on some cards is phenomenal. We booked everything (that we had to pay for in cash) with our Chase Sapphire Reserve. This does a couple things. Travel Insurance - Automatic travel protection built in which would cover us in the event we had a major issue and had to cancel the cruise last minute (keep in mind this does not necessarily apply to pre-existing conditions) or if we have any major delays, lost luggage, etc. Points! 3x points on travel. In total we spent $7,056, so this equated to 21,169 chase ultimate rewards points. Tavel Insurance We do not purchase regular travel insurance since we have the protection through the card (protection is up to $10,000 in value and you must use the card to pay for your trip!) but we still purchase a separate medical plan. While we would get medical coverage through the Chase Reserve card, it is not that great of coverage. We purchased the GeoBlue Voyager Choice plan through InsureMyTrip. The total cost for two was $35.86. This covers $100,000 in medical per person, $50,000 in accidental death, and $500,000 in medical evacuation. Please note this is only for medical, no trip cancellation, etc. It also requires that you have primary insurance as well. OK, look at that, we made it through all those details! As I go through each day, whether it is our hotel before the cruise, embarkation, nightly dinners, etc. I will do my best to be as critical as possible I am very much a glass half full type of person, especially when I’m traveling. With this being said, sometimes I think I should be a little more critical when reviewing certain aspects. At the same time I find myself so lucky to be able to live the life that I do, that it is sometimes difficult to be negative when the situation calls for it. So at the end of the day I will do my best to be impartial, objective, informative, but most importantly entertaining. Thank you again for following along and coming with us on another amazing trip!
  2. Well here it goes again I am going to give it another try. This is my 3rd review. First one was in November on the Eclipse. I did a Med Cruise out of Barcelona and then a Trans Atlantic ending in Buenos Aires. that was some cruise 29 days of fun. Met some great people for sure. Second was a 7 night on the Equinox with my family for winter break out of Miami. A little about myself, my name is Norma and I am traveling with a friend of mine Sharon. I met Sharon in Portland some 30 years ago, as we worked for the same company. She moved to Washington DC and then to Florida with her husband when they retired. Somewhere along the line we lost touch but reconnected about 3 years ago thanks to Facebook. She now lives in Houston near her children. I can not wait to travel with her, we did our first cruise together in 1984, hope I am not dating myself. Back to me!!!! I live in Novato Ca which is about 20 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I travel solo quite often and enjoy it tremendously. I have cruised on many lines, with Celebrity being my favorite. I love cruising and once I retired that's what I planned on doing. I love other peoples live blogs like Chicago Paul and Jim and Iian just name a few. My grandkids are sad I am leaving without them as they love to cruise as well. This time I have taken the surf package as I don't really do a lit of streaming. It was $84.20 after my Elite Plus discount, if it doesn't work out I will change to the regular internet package on the ship. Sharon and I are both flying Eva Air Premium Economy. Both flights leave April 24 around 1am we will connect in Taipei and fly onto to Narita, Tokyo's Airport. I have never flown Eva air, but have read a lot of good things about them. From SFO to Taipei is 13 hours. We then plan on spending 2 days in Tokyo and do a little sightseeing. Our ship leaves out of the industrial pier called OI. There has been much confusion because it was originally to leave out of Yokohama. It resolved but was a mess for many weeks. Roll call members can attest to that. We have settled one the Limo Bus to get from the airport to our hotel. A taxi or private car service was out of the question at $200.00 or more. We will take a cab from our hotel the Shinagawa Prince to the pier. Celebrity has provided instructions in Japanese for the taxi driver. There is a free city shuttle that many will take but standing on the side of the road waiting is not my idea of fun. The roll call has been very active with lots of good information I can't wait to meet these people. As a side note many people wonder if Celebrity reads Cruise Critic. Surprise they do. On the first night of my Eclipse trip the Hotel Director Jamie came up to me and asked me if I was doing the "Live Blog" believe me I was surprised. I did this same cruise 2 years ago and live all the sea days, crossing the International Date Line, where the date stays the same for 2 days in this case its May 4th. Almost feels like getting a free day!! The Millie just recently had her Revolution make-over. I will try to post as many pictures as I can. I know there has been lots of talk about the furnishings. We are in a C1 cabin on the aft of the ship, 7212. These C1 cabins have very large verandas, my last TP I was in 9164, I would not recommend this cabin as there was too much noise from the Ocean View cafe. Now we are right above the 2 Penthouse suites, sure wish I could afford one of them.... Well enough for now, please, please, please if you have any questions just ask. I am so excited I was awake at 4AM, please I will be exhausted by the time I take my shuttle to the airport at 8PM tonight. Here is our itinerary for the TP portion of our cruise.
  3. I searched but I could not find .. On one of the news sites there is a snippet on Australia’s own Scenic Eclipse about to go to sea trials. Will make its way south and float around for a while. Includes Antarctica, $$$$$. https://www.escape.com.au/holiday-ideas/cruises/aussie-ship-the-worlds-been-waiting-for/image-gallery/a301d1e94b7b2af1fb7897fc752aea88 More details on the ship from the Scenic website https://www.scenic.com.au/eclipse
  4. Kick and scream all you want, but the Maitre D isn't going to entertain your complaint on the first evening. I have to believe you realize that. We've been on cruises and have seen the MD stop those wearing shorts trying to enter the MDR on the following evenings and turn them around. Kudos to the staff. We had a lady on the second leg of our 2018 Eclipse cruise advise () my wife and I (while we were waiting to enter the MDR on casual evening) that we didn't have to be dresses formally as it was casual evening. I said, no you don't say!! And I then advised her Celebrity no longer has formal evenings. We walked away shaking our heads. We had our reasons why we elected to dress formally that evening.
  5. "It's going to rain be prepared". That is all we heard for a year leading up to our 10 night Eclipse Alaskan cruise. Sometimes mother nature shines on you and leaves you in awe. I am doing this review as a record for myself. It will be long and picture heavy so that the unbelievable experience my wife and I had will be kept on the interwebs for all eternity. A little background. My wife and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary and wanted to do something different. We are experienced Caribbean cruisers. Having cruised with Carnival, Royal, NCL and HAL in the past. So I will also try to compare the lines a little bit and rank some of things they each do well and not so well. Since we have cruised the Caribbean so many times in the past at first we tossed around the idea of doing a land based vacation in Tahiti or Fiji. While we discussed this option my wife blurted out "Alaska". I said "hmmmm. Let me think about it". Not that I was against the idea. But we are beach lovers. And spending two weeks in the cold rain was not really my idea of a vacation. As it turned out we saw not one single drop of rain in any port we went to on this trip. I know that is ridiculously rare. But it is true. The only rain we saw was on our sea day back to Victoria Canada. The weather was simply perfect. And made the entire trip stunning to say the least. Our plan evolved to include 3 nights pre cruise in Vancouver. What a gorgeous city Vancouver is. Truly a gem. And if you like Asian food like we do it is the place for you. One other point about just how perfect this trip was. 10 minutes through security at Dulles airport on the day we left. Two of the smoothest flights I have ever been on from Washington DC to Seattle and Seattle to Vancouver. No line at Canadian customs where I declared some extra tobacco I brought along and the border agent simply said "have a great vacation". No tax. No duty. NOTHING. An amazing 5 star hotel that I bid on on one of the online sites (more on that later). Three perfect days in Vancouver. From the hotel to on the ship in 45 minutes on embarkation day. An incredible 10 night Alaskan itinerary. Walked immediately off of the ship on disembarkation day....The list goes on and on. Here was our Itinerary: May 6th: Depart Washington DC arrive Vancouver at 2:45 PM for a three night stay May 9th: Embarkation day May 10th: Cruise the Inside Passage May 11th: Ketchikan May 12th: Sitka May 13th: Skagway May 14th: Icy Strait Point May 15th: Juneau May 16th: Endicott Arm May 17th: Sea Day May 18th: Victoria Canada May 19: Disembark
  6. I am hoping to do an Alaska cruise in 2020 and also the Rocky Mountaineer. As I will be traveling from the UK this will be a once in a lifetime holiday so want to get it right I have got two cruises in mind and can not decide which would be best. I have made a list of pros and cons but it's just too close to call. Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Ketchikan 7.00 to 16.00 Juneau 9.00 to 20.30 Skagway 7.00 to 2030 Tracy Arm fjord Cruising 7.00 to 12.00 Celebrity Eclipse Icy Strait point 15.00 to 22.00 Hubbard glacier cruising 10.30 to 14.30 Juneau 7.30 to 20.00 Ketchikan 14.00 to 20.30 I am edging towards the Celebrity one as it includes the Hubbard glacier, but the times in port aren't as good and it doesn't go to Skagway. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  7. Final thoughts!!! I had a great time on the Millie for a glorious 21 days. I sailed the Eclipse for 29 days Nov-Dec 2018 and 7 days on the Equinox in Feb 2019. I think I am going to bullet point hits and misses. Any questions, just let me know and I will try to answer. HITS 1. The staff were exceptional, from bartenders, rooms stewards, waiters and cleaners. Some shout outs to Ivan, Putra and Tada at the Martini bar. Norman in the Sky lounge. Dawn and Hanna in Cafe Al Bacio, and of course my room steward Jay. Everyone in Sushi on 5, I even wrote down all their names, but the paper evades me at the moment. 2. New bedding was very good, bed was higher than before which made it easier to get the luggage under. 3. Future cruise desk were friendly and helpful. 4. Surf internet package worked surprisingly well, no issues on the TP but no reception several places in Alaska. 5. Entertainment was good, however I did not attend the production shows. 6. Select dining on the TP wait time was good, most of the time no waiting o pager. 7. Only speciality dining was Sushi on 5, every meal was terrific and service great. 8. Room service for a few breakfast and lunch, was good not great usually received within 1/2 hr . 9. Glad they kept the cotton hand towels in the ladies room. 10. Liked the new seating on the Ocean view cafe. 11. Captains Club host, Gramae I hope I spelled that correct, such a charming guy. I have had him on more than one cruise, always look forward to seeing him MISSES 1. Food arrived cold in the main dining room in both select dining and assigned seating (the Alaska portion) Food was sent back countless times. Then they would say be careful the plate is very hot... plate was hot but food only warm. Now I don't expect food to be piping hot but have never experienced this before on any Celebrity ship. Even involving the asst maitre d and food continued to be cold, I really wish I knew what the issue was, but it was never resolved. I gave up and went to Sushi on 5 the last night. My waiter from the dining room even came to Sushi on 5 to speak with me. He was very nice and caring but I told him there must be an issue in the kitchen. I did feel bad for him, but I enjoyed my last meal in Sushi on 5. 2. Pastries in Cafe Al Bacio I have eaten more than my fair share of pastries from Cafe Al Bacio so I am pretty sure I know how they should taste. There was something off. All of the cakes has a cornbread consistency to the cake is the best way to describe, not light and fluffy. Some were stale, most wer uneatable. One bite and I was done. So looking forward to my first carrot muffin, again stale. Most of the frosting tasted like crisco and sugar. The choices were very limited and most days only 1 regular cake an one gluten free cate. On the positive this saved me from eating a lot of empty calories. I heard they brought on a new pastry chef in Ketchikan 3. Closet space, or should I say lack of closet space. I get it new designs contemporary furnishings. There is not enough space for 2 people to hang clothes, Even a long dress puddles because of the shelf. On the Alaska portion which I was traveling solo the closet space was sufficient. 4. Several issues I addressed with Celebrity regarding my room for the Alaska portion of the cruise. All issues were resolved however I was very disappointed that I had to bring these things to Celebrity's attention. Last thought I met some really great people and a fabulous time at the Martini bar and Sky lounge and Sushi on 5 and lost 2 pounds, who could ask for more than that. I am booked on the Sept 2020 TP from Vancouver to Toyko on the Eclipse in an Aqua cabin. I had a great vacation, spending time with my friend Sharon who I have know for 30 plus years. Overall in a year I probably won't remember the cold food in the dining room or the lack of storage. I will remember the new friends I have made and the staff. photos below Sushi a hit, pastries not so much.
  8. Drinks are included for everyone, nothing to do with loyalty or fare type, this includes bottled water in the cabin, around the ship, at dinner or other meals and bottles are available for taking off the ship. Wine, beers, spirits, cocktails, soft drinks, speciality coffees and teas are available at all meals and bars at all times and are included. The only place the alcohol is not included is in the mini bar in your cabin, soft drinks and water are free in the cabin though. https://www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk/booked-guests/onboard-packages/complimentary-beverages In case this link doesn’t work Drinks package Several different beers Two red, two white, one rose, one sparkling wine choice, changes each day Soda, several types Non alcohol cocktails, several available Bottled water Smirnoff Vodka - Russia Finlandia Vodka - Findland Gordon's Gin - UK Beefeater Gin - UK Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum - Barbados Jim Beam Bourbon - USA Seagram's 7 - Canada Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky - Scotland Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila - Mexico Appletini Bay Breeze Bloody Mary Blue Wave Cape Cod Caribbean Daiquiri Gibson Gimlet Grasshopper Greyhound Kamikaze Margarita Piña Colada Salty Dog Screwdriver Vodka Stinger Zentini
  9. Day 4. May 9th 2019.....Embarkation Day!!! I am awake very early this morning. I never sleep well the night before embarking on a cruise. I am just so excited and wound up to get started. As soon as I woke up I checked to see where the Eclipse was. She was roughly 5 miles from the Lions Gate entering Vancouver. Perfect. I sit up in bed and wait for the ship to pass by. I grab this picture as the Eclipse is co ming in to port. The sun was very low in the sky: We spent the majority of the morning relaxing in our hotel room. And enjoying the last views from the great balcony we had. Around 10:30 we double checked that we were not forgetting anything and headed downstairs to the lobby to call a cab for a ride over to port. The cab ride was $7.00 Canadian and took roughly 5 minutes. Vancouver is a little different as far as ports go. When you arrive you go down a ramp under the building and that is where you check your bags. From there it is a little bit of a walk to check in. Very small line. Checking took maybe 10 minutes. After checkin it is off to US customs. Another bit of a hike to get there. No line at all in customs. We have a short conversation with the customs officer about what we did while in Vancouver. He asked us if we made it to Grouse mountain. We did not unfortunately. He highly recommended we try to get there on our disembarkation day. We will have to catch it on our next trip to Vancouver unfortunately. Out of customs and another hike to get to the boarding area. Boarding had not started yet so they sat us down in a large waiting area. Everything was handled very well at the port. But there is a lot of walking for those that have mobility issues. After maybe another 15 minutes of waiting we were allowed to board. We immediately went to the buffet to grab some lunch. This was our first taste of Celebrity food. And it was good. From the buffet we head up top to deck 14. The weather was fantastic that day. Sunny and low 60's. We grabbed a couple of deck chairs and watched the views until our staterooms were cleared: Mount Baker was looming large in the distance with the clear skies: The staterooms were cleared right at 1:00. We head down to the stateroom to unpack and get the cabin settled for the next 10 nights. The cabin seemed smaller to me than other balcony cabins we have had with other lines. But it was perfectly fine for our needs. We had cabin 8252. It is the first cabin on the rear of the hump. And has a huge balcony. We get everything settled and head back up top to the Sunset Bar. We would end up spending the most time here and in the Observation Lounge on this cruise. We really loved both of those spots. We had a couple of drinks and before we knew it we were underway. The views this evening were stunning to say the least. Passing under the bridge and out to sea was awesome. We eventually head back down to the room to get ready for dinner. We had dinner in the MDR that night and the Prime Rib was excellent. Our waiter Jorge was fantastic. And we were lucky to have him for the duration of our cruise. We had anytime dining and this was handled very well. The only night we had to wait for a seat was the second Chic night when lobster was served. But they gave us a pager and we went down to the Martini Bar and waited. It was no big deal. We did have a 4 night dining package on this cruise. We usually do not go to specialty restaurants. But this was a special trip and I went ahead an bought it pre cruise. I will review the restaurants on the days that we attended them. After dinner we went to a show in the theater. I thought it was bad and we left early to walk around the ship. The majority of the entertainment was decent on this cruise. We really liked the comedian one night. And the magician on another. The staff shows were hit or miss. After walking around the ship for a couple of hours and having a couple of more drinks we went off to bed. I have to say I was really surprised how dead the ship was at night. The ship was usually VERY quiet by 11:00. But we kind of expected that with Celebrity. My biggest gripe of the entire cruise was the lack of late night food choices. In the buffet you could have salad, pizza or pasta after 10:00. THAT IS IT. And it got old about half way through the cruise. Tomorrow will be Sailing through the inside passage.
  10. Hi, we're hoping for some advice from you more experienced cruisers! We'll be on the Eclipse in April, 2020 and want to go to the Old Lahaina Luau, which finishes at 8:45pm. We've chosen this one based on the reviews and on the menu, which accommodates the taste/dietary requirements of our little group. According to them it's 5 minute drive back to the tender so we'd need to pre-book a taxi/Uber/Lyft. Our ship, the Eclipse, sails at 10pm. So we'd need to be back on board at what time? I always make sure to give myself at least an hour when I can but what's the official back on board time according to the ship - is it half an hour prior to sailing? Anyone know what time the last tender will go? Is this doable at all or are we courting disaster here? My sister really wants to go to a luau and this is the only night/port feasible. If we book one through the ship it's quite a bit more money.
  11. Hullo! I originally posted this question over on the Hawaii board but someone suggested that I might get a more definitive answer here from Celebrity cruisers who have done this port... We'll be on the Eclipse in April, 2020 and want to go to the Old Lahaina Luau, which finishes at 8:45pm. We've chosen this one based on the reviews and on the menu, which accommodates the taste/dietary requirements of our little group. According to them it's 5 minute drive back to the tender so we'd need to pre-book a taxi/Uber/Lyft. Our ship, the Eclipse, sails at 10pm. So we'd need to be back on board at what time? I always make sure to give myself at least an hour when I can but what's the official back on board time according to the ship - is it half an hour prior to sailing? Anyone know what time the last tender will go? This is what concerns me the most! Is this doable at all or are we courting disaster here? My sister really wants to go to a luau and this is the only night/port feasible. If we book one through the ship it's quite a bit more money.
  12. Generally I think we all are much more Celebrity Critics than we are Celebrity Compliments, so thought I would share this. To me it's one of the reasons why Celebrity keeps my loyalty. It shows me again and again that sometimes it's the things you DON'T see/affect you that matter the most Celebrity Eclipse March 24th Sailing Day 3 of a 15 night cruise (next port Lima Peru ~.1.5 days out)) about 10-12 of us had gotten together in a smallish conference room for a small celebration. During the get together one in our group started convulsing and stopped breathing & he turned blue. Luckily no one panicked and we took the right steps We called the emergency number on the phone We flagged down a nearby ships officer who used his mobile to alert everyone that needed to be notified We cleared the room of chairs and got the man on the floor and started cpr, and after about a minute he started breathing again Within about 2-2.5 minutes, about a half dozen senior officers , a doctor, and a nurse arrived on the scene with a gurney to move the man to medical. We would find out that the plan was to move him off in Lima, Peru. Until then he would be kept stable and monitored in the ships hospital. We were just glad he was breathing and even making jokes the next day, even though he realized how serious it was. Celebrity has a policy of "No one is left behind" so a member of the specially trained "care team" was left with the afflicted gentleman and wife in Peru. She arranged for a hotel for the wife (The care team member stayed in an adjoining room at the hotel), and stayed with her for the next three days, providing comfort and translating everything since not a lot of the people in the hospital spoke English, and neither of the couple spoke Spanish. She would tell us later on that Erica (the Guest Relations Care Team Member) was their "true angel", and they really don't know what they would have done without her. The human resources manager on Eclipse (Kathleen I think her name was) also checked in with all of us individually to see how we all were doing after it all happened, and to see if we needed anything. The couple was medevaced home and Erica returned to Guest Relations after 4 days in Peru. He still has some medical battles ahead at home, but the whole team both onboard and shoreside showed genuine compassion, and really treated them both like they were family members, not just cruisers. When I returned home I was recounting the story to a friend, and she said "when I hear of a company go above and beyond obligations, and treat people like that it restores my faith"
  13. So today we are in Ketchikan. We had no excursions planned for the day and just wanted to walk around town and hit a bar recommended by our friends Bob and Kathy (Mr. and Mrs. Dewars). We arrived in port around 2pm and we got off the ship around 3:15. We figured we’d let the crowd die down first and it worked well. We headed out and it was a beautiful day. Sunny and around 65 degrees. We walked the town along the water and I stopped at a store to by magnets for a friend of mine. His mother collects them and he asked me for one. After we we went to Arctic Bar recommended by Bob and Kathy. Bob and Kathy have a special talent for finding dive bars in ports. No matter what part of the world. They’re also some of the friendliest and most sincere people you’ll ever meet, so if they recommend a place you know you’ll feel right at home. Today we went to their recommendation of Arctic Bar which is located right on the water, directly where the Eclipse docked. At first sight you might think given its location it’s a tourist trap. But nothing can be farther from the truth. The exterior along the main road is unassuming and the door is propped open. From the sunny outside street you enter a moderately lit bar that is the epitome of dive bars, but I say this with admiration and not with any negativity. Inside you’ll find an L shaped bar with a dozen beer taps, a handful of four top tables and a pool table in the corner. Windows look out onto the water or in today’s case our ship parked in front. A standard door from Home Depot leads you outside to a balcony with tables and chairs overlooking the water. We grabbed two seats at the bar because at a place like this, that is where you sit. We ordered two IPAs and listened to the chatter around us. At the bar we were the only ones not regulars, but we felt like we were regulars. A middle aged woman tended bar and a woman in her later 60s was running around taking care of things and in a loud voice complaining that someone thought she was 82. She was swearing, she was yelling, she was laughing, she was smiling, she was real. Her name is Paula and she owns the Arctic Bar. At first Paula thought we were crew but we told her we weren’t. She thought we looked like regulars at the bar which to me is a compliment. As a bar person I always want to have that look. She chatted with us about the bar, when she bought it, etc. and gave us her card. She could not have been nicer. Around us at the bar were all locals. People who were just hanging out having a beer or many more. Paula would go to take care of business in the back and we’d hear her boisterous voice from the back yelling that someone better get to the front as someone wants to buy a t-shirt. At the bar sat a woman who clearly knew everyone at the bar. She was joking with everyone, laughing. She was giving the bartenders a hard time but in the same way I give my bartenders back at home a hard time. It’s meant with love. Another patron sat in the corner drinking coffee. Another sat on his phone reading ordering beer after beer. One younger guy who looked like he was in construction sat having a beer trying to decompress after work. It’s places like this which let you see into the soul of the town, of people. Simply by sitting back and observing. Today we didn’t see any animals, any bald eagles or go salmon fishing. But today I felt like I got a true glimpse into the life of a town I’ve never been to before and for that I’m grateful. I wish we had more time to spend here. If you are here go to local place for a quick drink and experience the locals. Personally I recommend Arctic Bar. See if Paula is working and make the joke that she looks really good for 82. Haha! The bar is &2 years old not her. As always thanks for coming along! Arctic Bar - Beer photographed is a double IPA Paula the owner
  14. I’m setting up my Trip Report a couple weeks in advance. I hope to provide information that will help other cruisers. My mom (early 50s) and I (30 years old) are taking a Girls Trip on the Celebrity Eclipse out of Vancouver, BC for a 10-Night Ultimate Alaska cruise. This will be the Eclipse's inaugural Alaska season. If it wasn’t for this long itinerary (I think anything below 10-nights is too short!), we were going to do the 7-Night Northern Glacier cruise aboard the recently revolutionized Celebrity Millennium, plus add the Denali Express land tour. I wanted to bring my mom on this sailing as she doesn’t travel much, and I want to celebrate Mother’s Day onboard with her. Also, we don’t see each other that often, as she lives in South Carolina and I live in Miami, so this will be a great mother-daughter trip. I booked this trip about 1.5 years ago and cannot believe that in 16 days, our trip of a lifetime will begin! Side note is that my mom wasn’t so eager to go on this cruise. She has been on two cruises, one with Princess and the other with NCL, both to the Caribbean. I told her that this trip will not even compare to the Caribbean and to give Celebrity a try. I am happy to say she is finally getting more excited with each day that we are nearing the cruise. We decided to sail AquaClass and had a wonderful A1 mid-ship location on Deck 11. Just the other day, though, I was given the amazing opportunity to upgrade to a Sky Suite S1 category. For those that are not sure where these are located, they are the corner aft units. I cannot believe we scored one of these suites. I feel like any aft facing stateroom is one of the best to have onboard an Alaskan sailing, as you will have 180-degree views of the stunning scenery. My mom has no idea we have been upgraded from an A1 to a S1, and it is so hard to keep it a secret! We will be traveling to Vancouver on May 7th, spending a full day in the city on May 8th, and embarking on May 9th. For those who have never been to Vancouver, I suggest you spend a few days here. It’s a gorgeous city! We scored an Airbnb condo near Stanley Park for 2 nights at a great price. I know some may be weary of staying in an Airbnb, but we made sure we rented the entire place and we are also used to these types of accommodations, as this will be our 5th Airbnb. The following is our itinerary and what we plan on doing in each port: Day 1: Embarkation Day in Vancouver! Day 2: Cruising the Inside Passage! Day 3: Ketchikan: We will be doing this port on our own. We will be heading out to Totem Bight State Historical Park and will also check out Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Afterwards, we will be checking out Creek Street Day 4: Sitka: This is the other port we are doing on our own. We are still deciding whether to walk or take a cab to the Raptor Center. Afterwards, we will take a bus/cab to Fortress of the Bears and then head over to Sitka National Historic Park. Depending on time, we may check out some Russian landmarks in town. Day 5: Skagway: My mom and I will be splitting up in the morning to do our own excursions. My mom will be doing the “Sled Dog and Musher’s Camp” excursion, while I will be flying with TEMSCO to do the Dogsledding and Glacier tour. I couldn’t get my mom to fly in a heli, but this is a huge personal bucket list experience to check off. Later, we will meetup and explore Skagway together. Day 6: Icy Strait Point: Another port where my mom and I will split up for a couple hours. I will be doing ZipRider (SUPER excited!) and my mom will be relaxing in town until I’m done. After the excursion, we will meetup and explore the town. Day 7: Juneau: My mom and I have elected to do the “Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures: Alaska’s Whales, Glaciers and Rainforests” excursion with Gastineau Guiding. This is a 5-hour tour that must be arranged with the cruise line. Afterward, depending on weather, we plan on going to Mount Roberts Tramway. Day 8: Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier – Cruising! Day 9: Sea Day Day 10: Victoria, BC – We have a full day here! We booked via CVS Tours to take us to Butchart Gardens. While there, we will be going to The Dining Room to have afternoon tea. Both my mom and I love the Victoria era, so we thought this experience will be unique! Day 11: Debarkation Day in Vancouver, BC 😞 Since our flights don’t leave until 10:30pm, we found a great tour with Landsea Tours and Adventures called Vancouver Delights. It is a 7-hour tour that visits all the main sightseeing spots in Vancouver and takes us to The Capilano Suspension Bridge. The awesome part of all this is that Landsea will store our luggage AND take us to the airport! *If anyone has any other recommendations on places to see in these ports, please let me know!* I am still researching the top restaurants and stores to check out in each port, and will add those to the trip report.
  15. I had Aperol Spritz on the Eclipse recently. However when I asked for Archers and lemonade they didn’t know what I meant. I then explained that it was Peach Schnapps and Sprite. The bar server had to go off and ask a colleague if they knew what I wanted.
  16. I have read quite a few places that there is an issue with vibration in some of the cabins. I have searched this forum for any information on cabin 8281, but can't find any. The reason I chose this cabin is to get a larger balcony, but I don't want to have issues with vibrations the entire cruise. Has anyone on this forum stayed in cabin 8281, and were there any problems with it? Thank you
  17. Oh no! Friends board the Eclipse on Sunday. One wife a bit snooty about dining anywhere other than Blu and her personal service is important. No one else really cares. She will not deal well with slow service in Blu and will be rather vocal. (Exhausting for others). ❤️❤️❤️❤️ to everyone at breakfast....guests and crew.
  18. Glad to see they are doing something with the lawn club. It was one of the very few things I didnt like about the Eclipse. Just seemed like wasted space to me. Of course we were in Alaska so maybe people us it more in the Caribbean?
  19. Looking at a Panama Canal cruise in 2020 on the Summit. Have sailed on Silhouette a few times, the Reflection and the Eclipse. What is the Summit like? Thanks so much... Is there a bar on deck 3 by the Grand Foyer like on Silhouette? (Passport bar I think it was)
  20. Last night was formal night. It was actually switched since tonight was suppose to be formal night. Thankfully our butler called us to remind us since I didn’t even pay attention to the Daily yesterday. So we moved our Murano reservations to tonight and ate in Luminae last night. Here is the menu for reference while I describe what I had. I started with the wedge and Edward had the risotto to start. Both were great. Finally a salad that really knocked it out of the park. For entrees I had the lamb. Edward had the Moroccan chicken and we split a lobster. The lamb amp was very good. A little bit of fat but that help add to the flavor and tenderness. It was cooked perfectly. The potatoes that came with it were amazing. The lobster was good. A solid job. Tender, not chewy. Great sauce. But Edward’s chicken. Probably the best chicken I’ve ever tasted? I could eat that every single day. I’m going to see if I can get the recipe out of them. Seriously it was that damn good. If you’re in Luminae and see it on the menu don’t think just because it’s chicken it is boring. It was so very good. For dessert we had the pistachio raspberry vacherin. Another massive win. Phenomenal I must say and I’m not a huge dessert person but I kept eating it. Great well balanced flavors and excellent texture. If you’re in Luminae on the Eclipse ask to be seated with Dev from Mauritius. We’ve cruised with him before and he is a fantastic waiter. He’s funny, laid back, but very attentive. Plus he really does enjoy food and will not hesitate to steer you towards or away from certain dishes. Us having our champagne from our suite and cheering to our good friend’s birthday back home who is also a cruise critic member. He’s 32 today. We made sure to cheers at exactly midnight back home in Chicago. If you know me, you know I have one pet peeve or general request. When coming back from the restroom I want my napkin folded or replaced. Simple request for any good quality restaurant. Luminae did not fail last night. Not only that Dev turned it into a cute little boat! Moroccan chicken
  21. We're doing the New England Canada itinerary on Sept. 8th. Does anyone have information of which night would be the best for a nice view from the Tuscan Grille. I know on the Eclipse some years ago, we got a beautiful view leaving Stockholm at an early dinner there.
  22. Can’t find many reviews on this cabin! Can anyone help? Eclipse 2148. We are concerned that there may be too much noise from the bar above. Thanks for any advise
  23. Unfortunately Edge was only in Southampton for a couple of nights in early May 2019 and is now sailing out of Barcelona for the summer season, so there won’t be anyone sailing out of Southampton this year who can confirm if there are kettles in the cabins. Usually if you ask for a kettle they are provided. I asked on Eclipse when she was sailing in the Caribbean. I was told that they were in storage in Miami as the passengers from USA don’t require them. When I returned to the cabin a kettle had been found, together with a tray of tea, coffee, milk etc.
  24. So the ship isn't being launched until 2018, but have put down a deposit on an Antarctica cruise for Jan 2019. Any one else booked on this ship yet?
  25. The closest we’ve got is being invited to eat with the Ship’s Doctor (2003) and the head of Guest Relations (2013). Both were after complaints. 2003 We had to report daily, on Infinity, to the surgery to have our temperatures taken, as there was an outbreak of SARS virus in Toronto. We had changed planes in Toronto and were in transit to Vancouver. We had to fill in a medical declaration before boarding and one question was had we been to Toronto. . 2013 I asked for a kettle for our cabin on Eclipse. This was a Caribbean sailing and the Guest Relations manager rang me and told me that this only happened on sailings from Southampton. However, he was British and the kettle was in our room when we returned. I thought the Captain’s table was a thing of the past, or perhaps it doesn’t happen in the Select dining room. We have chosen to eat there more recently as I prefer to eat about 7 pm, early dining is too early and late is too late.
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