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Eclipse Review, 12-10 Sailing (LONG)


librarylady19

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Celebrity Eclipse

Eastern Caribbean - 12/10 to 12/17/2011[/b][/size]

 

Just back from an absolutely fabulous week on the Eclipse, our 4th Celebrity cruise. I hope you all enjoy this review interspersed with photos along with way. Bear with me, it might take a while to write up the entire week's review.....feel free to ask any questions you might have along the way.

Friday, 12/9/11 - Chicago to Miami

Our vacation was finally here! We woke up to our first snow of the season! Luckily it was only a half inch and did not delay our flight. Heard on the radio that there were lots of accidents on the roads. This is Chicago people, we have seen snow before! We arrived at Midway Airport, checked in and ready to go, with an hour to spare. Flight left on time...we were on our way to warmer weather at last.

We landed in Ft. Lauderdale (after a quick flight change in Tampa) and called SAS Shuttle for our ride to Miami. The van arrived within 10 minutes and we were off to Miami. We were the only ones on the van, so we drove straight to the Hotel Intercontinental. (Cost $30 + tip).

We booked on the Intercontinental through LastMinuteTravel for $112.This is a stunning hotel right on the bay. Check in was very efficient. Within 5 minutes we had an upgrade to a bayview room, looking out at the cruise ship terminal. Score! Thanks to a well placed tip!!

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The room was obviously renovated, with new furnishings, a gorgeous bathroom with a tub and separate glassed-in shower and that amazing view!!

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We spotted a Carnival and an Oceania ship in port but knew that Eclipse wouldn't be arriving until the next morning.

 

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We took a cab over to Trulucks for happy hour (1/2 price drinks and apps) and were fortunate that someone left within 5 minutes of our arrival as the bar was full. We enjoyed drinks (red martini with raspberries was delicious and DH had a very minty mojito) and ordered a couple of apps. We always try to eat as much seafood as we can when in Florida. We had a delicious ceviche which arrived with a garnish of guacamole and served with homemade tortilla chips and the salt and pepper calamari which was served with a spicy asian sauce and remoulade.

 

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These were both tasty apps and a bargain too.

 

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We decided to walk to our dinner destination (not that we really needed to eat more) Little Lotus, which we read about on Yelp. If you didn't know about this place, you would never find it for sure. It's inside a downtown strip mall in an area that's not exactly bustling in the evening! The food made it worth the trip. It's billed as Japanese tapas. We had the pork and eggplant dish, a roll called 8 Crazy Nights that was wonderful (and I'm not even a sushi fan):

 

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We also tried the paratha cake (which everyone raved about on Yelp but I wasn't that keen on, sort of a cold Asian pizza). DH ordered a cold sake but it was very strong (15% alcohol) and not to my liking.

 

We walked back to the Hotel (about a 10 minute walk) and went to bed pretty early; it had been a long day!

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Saturday, December 10

Finally, the day of our cruise! Woke up to a view of the beautiful Eclipse from our window - how perfect is that!

 

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That just added to the excitement of boarding soon!

We walked over to Bayside Marketplace for a look around the shops to kill some time and to pick up a cheap pair of sunglasses. Didn't bother with breakfast as I knew we'd be heading to Bistro on Five as soon as we boarded and would have a good lunch there.

 

We took a taxi to the Port around 10:45 am and were there within 10 minutes (cab cost $10).Getting onboard was a very smooth, speedy process. There were no lines at all and we were onboard in less than 15 minutes after the taxi dropped us off. I was practically running onboard, I was so excited!!

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Lunch at Bistro on Five was excellent. What a wonderful welcome back to Celebrity!

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Service couldn't have been more gracious.. The maitre d (from India) came over and we chatted "ships" for a while.

 

We broke in our drink package here. What a luxurious feeling to order sparking water and wine and not worry about the cost. Here's the drinks menu:

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I had a lovely crisp pouilly and DH had Strongbow cider.

 

While we were enjoying lunch, we enjoyed the vocal talents of Owen Stevenson who was playing in the Deck 3 Grand Foyer.

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We ordered soup to start - they have a choice of 3 and we both opted for the seafood gumbo (good choice)

 

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Course #2 was our savory crepes. I had the sweet and spicy (beef)

 

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DH had the Indian summer (grilled vegetables). Both were delicious.

 

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Although we were getting full, we knew we couldn't resist the dessert crepes. Italian with nutella and banana for DH:

 

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dulce de leche for me (hey,I didn't diet for 2 months to show restraint now!!).

 

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While we were finishing lunch, the announcement that cabins were ready was made. We toured the ship first; there were still very few people around, so it was a great opportunity to take photos of this breathtaking ship, decorated in beautiful holiday finery.

 

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The ship did not fail to impress. We had sailed on Equinox. on her maiden US voyage in 2009, and were blown away by the ship's design and attention to detail. Eclipse has continued the tradition of casual, upscale but modern elegance and manages to project a warm, inviting and uncrowded ambience.

 

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Owen Stevenson - a very talented young man (and IU grad!)

 

One of areas that I felt was noticeably improved upon on Eclipse were the Ensemble Lounge:

 

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This area was so dark on Equinox that the waiters carried flashlights.

 

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What a treat to log on for my CC fix, and find your review! I loved your photo Summit review last year, and am enjoying every detail and picture of the Eclipse. In less than 2 months we are back on the "Solsticized" Summit, and one of the additions I'm especially looking forward to now is Bistro on Five!

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I loved the unique artwork throughout the ship.

 

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This little dog (by Jeff Koons) outside Michael's Club was one of my favorites.

 

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Every deck had different artwork (photographs, art glass, paintings and more featured in the stairway alcove. Such wonderful details really elevate the Solstice Class ships (no disrespect to M Class fans; I love the Summit equally!).

 

We visited all the specialty restaurants

 

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and I inquired about any lunches being offered (thanks to Lois R for alerting me!). I signed us up for lunch at Murano on the last Sea Day (Friday). As I'll recount later, this turned out to be one of the best CC tips ever, as we were able to get in to the special lunch at Murano cooking with Guest Chef Dena Marino!

 

Murano:

 

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Here's the Murano menu:

 

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We also stopped in to see Qsine, which we had booked for Tuesday night and were eagerly anticipating our dining adventure there. (Sneak preview: we LOVED it!!)

 

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This is where we sat for our wonderful dinner in Qsine. More on that and lots of food photos later....

 

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Sandi, thanks for taking the time to post your review. Can't wait to read the rest, as it has been excellent so far!

 

Dave

 

Thanks for the encouragement! I know how much I enjoy poring over the photos that people post and reading about their experiences.

 

Before heading to our cabin, we stopped for a post-lunch martini at the Martini Bar (it's not usually open until 4 p.m.)

 

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I had the Peartini and DH tried the ? Both were very tasty. I had plans to make it through the entire martini menu by cruise end, but just ran out of time!!

 

We enjoyed the iced bar!!

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One of the down sides to the Martini Bar is the fact that there is no entertainment there, so it was less of a draw than some of the other venues (i.e. Ensemble Lounge, Oceanview Bar) that had live music.

We must have not been there at the right times as we never did see one of the martini flair demos, oh well....there's always the next cruise.

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Sandi

A quick ? How did you know that you were bidding on the Intercontinental? We are doing a T/A in April, and would love to stay at the Intercontinental for that type of money.

Thanks

 

It was weird. Many people had posted that you don't see the hotel identity on LMT until you book (like Hotwire) but when I used the site, the hotel was clearly identified. Make sure you pick the Hotel Intercontintental at Chopin Plaza as there is another hotel called the Intercontinental that isn't nearly as nice.

We booked 3 months in advance.

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Hmm...I seem to be having some difficulties with the photos I am posting (using Webshots). No reason why some are showing up and others aren't (seems to be the same in whatever browser I use). Any techies out there with advice before I post more photos?

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