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Eclipse Review, 12-10 Sailing (LONG)

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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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Edited by librarylady19

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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!

Edited by librarylady19

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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

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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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Edited by librarylady19

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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.

Edited by librarylady19

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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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Edited by librarylady19

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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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Edited by librarylady19

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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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Edited by librarylady19

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Tuscan Grille:

 

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We were booked here on our last night of the cruise. While it looks pretty during the day, I thought the ambience was much more warm and welcoming after dark.

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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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.

Edited by librarylady19

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Hi Sandi:),.....how come I can't see the pictures? I am getting a little

x in the corner:(

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Thanks for posting such a great review! I am excited to be sailing on Eclipse in a little over a year, our first X cruise, so your review is of particular interest to me. Looking forward to reading more--and love your pics too!

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Hi Sandi:),.....how come I can't see the pictures? I am getting a little

x in the corner:(

 

It must be a browser issue. Working fine in Firefox but taking a long time yo loaf the photos in Safari. Sorry

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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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Seems to be an issue with Webshots....will upload those photos again later...be patient with me!

Edited by librarylady19

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We sailed on the Eclipse over Thanksgiving and had a wonderful time. I wrote a similar review with pictures! Yours is great. Thanks for taking the time to do this! It is much appreciated by upcoming and former Eclipse cruisers!

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OK, think I have a handle on the problem with Webshots and will try to post the missing photos here:

 

Bistro on Five menu

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Sweet and spicy crepe

 

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Italian crepe

 

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Xmas decorations

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specialty restaurants

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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A few more....

 

Tuscan Grille

Lunch Menu

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Tuscan

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Martini Bar

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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Thanks for the wonderful review and pictures, Sandi. We are counting the days until our Eclipse cruise. I was on her with my sister last November for a very short 3 days and just loved her.

 

Hi Lois, What was your tip about lunch??? Sounds intriguing!!

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OK - hopefully I can continue without more photo issues now.

 

CABIN

 

We finally went up to Deck 11 to check out our living quarters.

Our cabin - 1520 in Aquaclass - was starboard, quite far forward - right across from the "secret staircase" up to the Aqua Spa, Persian Gardens and the fitness center.

 

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I will of course be adding my review to the S-Class sticky but let me just say that I cannot recommend this particular cabin due to location.

 

Cabin 1520

 

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I really felt the lack of storage space in the cabin. (Our last cruise was in a very spacious Sky Suite 5145 on Summit so maybe I was spoiled by that). Even though this was only a 7 day cruise, there just aren't enough drawers for one person, let alone two.

 

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The storage space above the bed is helpful but not exactly easy to browse when looking for a clothing item (unless you are 6 feet tall!). For the life of me, I don't know why they didn't but storage under the sofa as it really only serves to take up space and as a place to pile clothes!

 

The closet had lots of hanging space but there just wasn't enough floor space for all my shoes!:)

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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The bathroom is definitely the cabin's best feature with more than ample storage and that excellent shower head.

 

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We did not use the balcony very much as we always seemed to be hanging out in various bars. It was nice to be out on the balcony as we came into port, but we didn't get any sun in the afternoon at all (wrong side of the ship!). There was no overhang on this part of Deck 11, so you could get some sun, if the ship was positioned appropriately.

 

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It was quite a hike to many of our favorite spots on the ship (i.e. bars) so we would definitely book a more central location on future cruises. Also, it did turn out that we were under the gym :( and you could definitely hear the thump, thump of the treadmills, sometimes as early as 5:00 am! There was also noise from doors banging, feet overhead and other unexplainable loud thumping noises. It didn't bother me as much as I thought it would, mainly because we spent so little time in the cabin as there was always so much to do on the ship! I would avoid this cabin if you like an afternoon nap though!

 

Our steward was not very good, many details were missed. We never received a fruit basket (even after requesting it on day 2), there was no breakfast card or carafe of tea and often drink glasses would sit on the table for a day or more! The only reason I think we saw him at all, is because his cart was parked outside our door. The room was cleaned and towels provided but I have had much better service on other ships.

 

We did get fresh flowers in the cabin, but none in the bathroom.

 

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On other cruises we have had cheese and crackers delivered and enjoyed them on our balcony. We didn't bother requesting that this time. These ridiculous "logs" of "spam" and cheese with 3 olives were not appetizing at all. If you wanted delivery, you had to fill out a card and pick a certain time period - definitely not worth it.

All that said, it didn't really impact my cruise experience significantly as we rarely had time to be in the cabin with so many bars, pools and activities to choose from!!

Edited by librarylady19

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Day 1 (still!)

We had brought our swimsuits thinking we would pop up to the pool but it was already time for the muster drill at 3:45 p.m. We gathered in our assigned spot, the Eclipse Theater, watched a brief video and were free to enjoy the ship.

 

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We then headed up to the Lawn Club on Deck 15 for the Sailaway Party planned by our Roll Call.

 

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We met a few folks there from CC and enjoyed the beautiful vista of sailing way from Miami.

 

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Here's the drinks menu from the Sunset Bar. I would definitely recommend the Summer Solstice, very refreshing!

 

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DH was very pleased that they had Old Speckled Hen and London Pride both here and at the Mast Bar! We liked the Sunset Bar (at least the non-smoking side). It was nice to sit in one of the chairs overlooking the lawn, especially at sunset. However, I enjoyed the Oceanview Bar a little more as there was live entertainment scheduled at that location.

 

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Edited by librarylady19

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So long Miami.....

 

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We popped into the Oceanview Cafe around 5:30 p.m. for a few bites of sushi (a quite popular activity) and then readied ourselves for the evening's entertainment and dinner. (There were some people who must have thought the sushi was the main course, the way they loaded their plates each night).:confused:

 

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After heading back to our cabin to ready ourselves for our first night of entertainment and dining, we stopped at the Molecular Bar to check that out.

 

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I was pretty hyped to try the creations there as they all sounded great, unfortunately, I found the drinks I had were not really to my liking (too acidic). They were definitely creative though!

 

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Unfortunately, this area suffers from lack of ambience; it needs a more defined space, entertainment perhaps, more comfortable seating, to attract people. It was not very busy and several times we thougt of getting a drink here and the bartender wasn't there (I think Michael is the only mixologist -nice guy from Montenegro).

Edited by librarylady19

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Loving your review so far, thank you for taking the time.:D

 

Had to cancel an Eclipse cruise last year at the last minute. Haven't had opportunity to rebook yet so living vicariously through reviews like yours.

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We attended the Welcome Aboard Variety Show in the Theater, a preview of the shows and entertainers on the voyage. I was immediately impressed with the Cruise Director Mike Gibbons, an exuberant guy from London. He was just a hoot and had an excellent singing voice (Note to X: this guy's singing talent should be showcased). I saw him emcee many events, including participating in the Liars' Game with the guest comedians and he was genuinely upbeat and personable throughout the cruise. I spoke to him a couple of times and he was always welcoming (I noted this on comment card).

 

I have attached a copy of the listing of officers onboard, for those who are interested. I only ever saw CD Mike and Head Chef Rijo who participated in several of the "Savor Your Destination" events. I did not make it to any of the Captains Club gatherings or other events where senior officers were probably present.

 

After the show we headed to Blu for our first dinner onboard.

 

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We always ate around 8:00 - 8:30 p.m. and never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table. We ate in Blu on Equinox and, if my memory serves me correctly, the table arrangement was definitely better on Eclipse.

 

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The dining room seemed larger, with more space between the tables. I really liked the color scheme here, which was definitely more green than blue, it seemed more restful We requested a table in the back dining area (behind the wall) and were able to eat there each night we dined in Blu. (We did not have the same waiter every night, but always the same sommelier).

 

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I particularly liked the area along the back wall as the banquette seating was very comfortable and it was quiet back there.

 

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I feel the area by the windows is a bit crowded and noisy so was pleased that Marcel the Maitre 'D always acommodated our request for the back area.

Our overall experience in Blu was wonderful. The decor and atmosphere were conducive to relaxed, intimate dining experience. Service was excellent; the Maitre 'D and his assistant always welcomed us graciously and inquired about our dining experience.The waiters were very pleasant and willing to acommodate requests. I often ordered both soup and salad; DH had the pheasant entree as an appetizer portion one evening and received escargot from the MDR another evening. I guess he looked hungry on the 2nd formal night, as the waiter brought him a second lobster tail!). My highest praise goes to Jazmin the sommelier from Turkey. We had the premium alcohol package and he was so helpful in recommending different wines to try and keeping our glasses filled. We both tried a number of wines we probably wouldn't have ordered by the bottle and we could each try different wine styles with the package - a great experience.

 

My only criticisms were that the food was not overly seasoned (I'm glad they don't use a lot of salt, but other herbs/spices would be nice) and the desserts are not "to die for". That didn't stop me enjoying each and every meal in Blu, however, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others. Here's the menu for the first night:

 

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In The Spotlight.pdf

Edited by librarylady19

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Sandi, I loved the little dog in Ensemble too. It was like meeting an old friend when I first saw him. He used to be on Galaxy.

 

Phil

 

I thought I recognized him!

 

Great review, Sandi! It's not making me any less excited for February. :D

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