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SWORRUB1

Celebrity Eclipse Baltic 19th July 2014 Review

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Pre Cruise

Uneventful journey down from the Midlands , took 3 H 15mins, found the hotel quite easily

Stayed at Jurys Southampton, big room, clean enough, poor Bar and Restaurant service.

 

 

Embarkation Day

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Effortless, can only compare it with P&O a couple of years ago (which consisted of 2 hours sitting in the car!), but we had valet parking, dropped off the Luggage, 1130H, drove 250 yards to the short stay Car Park, dropped the car off and walked 75 yards back to my luggage. Moved it on a trolley and it was collected, last I saw of it until 1430H or so. Was on board sipping my first beer at the Mast Bar/Grill at 1215H, all that pre-cruise 'check in' was worth it! Enjoyed a Burger at the Mast Grill, excellent! Ship slowly filled up but we sat in the Southampton sunshine, until 1345H when we got the all clear to go to our cabins. Was impressed with the layout and large verandah (Cabin 1075).

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Spent the rest of the afternoon having a wander around the ship, very very impressive, clean and tidy. Back to the cabin for sailaway and some fizzy wine, and fruit and canapes, watched us glide out of Southampton and past Portsmouth, before getting showered and ready for the evening festivities. It really is strange the 'S' rout you have to take out of Southampton.

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Emptied the mini bar, so temptation wouldn't call!, and stowed it under the bed. Collected a few unopened Heineken's from some bars around the ship and stowed them in the mini bar. Decided to have an Heineken about 1830H and discovered 'S' class ships don’t have bottle openers in the room, called Guest relations to ask for one, and they sent someone to open the bottle, but couldn’t get me a bottle opener. A little strange as the mini bar has bottles of beer in it!

 

Pre Dinner drink in the Passport Bar, followed by Select dining, sat down immediately upon arrival, and was impressed with the MDR, menu and wine that was available on the Classic Package.

Lights out Shiraz was particularly nice, more of that later! The number of people that interact with you at Dinner is impressive, we had Waiter and assisstant, Sommalier, and Bar Service attendent, we had something from all of them. Restaurant Manager introduced himself later on in the Cruise. Got to say everyone was really friendly and chatty if you wanted them to be. Excellent!

 

First Meal was a Steak, FANTASTIC, USA quality beef in England (or close to England actually) why we cant do it I have no clue but this steak was up there with the best Ive eaten anywhere in the world.

Knocked over a glass of water, cleaned up with a minimum of fuss, thanks waiting staff!

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Moved onto the Theatre and our first meeting with Cruise Director Sinan (I see none but you see some! and 'Ladies and Gentlemen', every 10th word! ) Very impressive theatre, sight lines slightly obstructed in some places, but just get there 10 minutes early, and you are OK, you can also then easily get some drinks from the roving waiters.

 

 

After Theatre moved onto the Sky Observation Lounge, again excellent, watched the passage through the channel through the massive windows and glass frontage, this was probably our favourite place on the ship.

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Enjoyed a couple of Canadian Whiskeys before retireing for the evening on a very comfortable and wide bed. My Daughters bed was better positioned than on Azura as it ran alongside the wall and did not cross the room, therefore it didn’t prevent easy access to our verandah, had a final couple of beers on there before retiring and looking forward to Belgium tomorrow.

 

 

 

Day 2 Brugge 0730H

Arrived in Zeebrugge as scheduled, and took the Celebrity excursion 'Scenic Flanders'. What is scenic about such a flat country I don’t know, our original choice was Ghent by canal boat, but that

wasnt available on this cruise I also wanted to do WW1 Battlefields but similarly that wasn’t available, ended up in a village that was shut, a Chocolate store/ workshop on the outskirts of Brugge bought some chocs, and then found a 'frit' shop. Treated my daughter to her first experience if Belgian Frits with mayo dip, and they were great. Couldn’t finish all of them, as everyone else was back on the coach (sorry if you were one of them!) Has an excrutiating visit to some sort of Castle, with possibly the worlds most boring guide she waffled on and on and on. Oblivious to the fact most guests had long lost the will to live. Eventually some fellow passengers cracked and said we should have left 15 minutes ago, so she then only waffled on for another 15 mins before we left. Inevitably at 1455H her phone rang from the ship asking where we were. (Scheduled depature 1500H)She said that we were nearly there then instructed the driver to take us past a school, last coach to turn up back at the ship, they literally rolled up the gangplank behind us and off we went. I never have and never will never know what is interesting about Belgium apart from the Frits and of course the great sacrifices made by people in past times there. Weather was better than preducted as it didn’t rain. I guess it says something that the highlight of the trip was a €2.20 portion of Frits!

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A great shame the Belgian WW1 battlefield sites trip wasn't available. Great shame not enough people didn't wish to join one as they are an experience as I have visited quite a few. One of my over-riding impressions was how well the many cemeteries are kept - with reverence; also how there can be 2 or even 3 within the same field.... maybe only a couple of hundred yards apart. then there is Ypres.....always a place well worth visiting.

So..... don't be too hard on poor old Belgium.....

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Makes me want to grab a Hiney. :D

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you crack me up! i want to hear more!

 

 

Glad you are enjoying it. More to come----- Obviously!

 

Nearly finished Day 4!

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One of my over-riding impressions was how well the many cemeteries are kept - with reverence; also how there can be 2 or even 3 within the same field.... maybe only a couple of hundred yards apart. then there is Ypres.....always a place well worth visiting.

So..... don't be too hard on poor old Belgium.....

 

Yes I do appriciate the role that they play in remberence, and am in awe at the sacrifies so many young made!

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Day 2 Continued

Went to the Theatre to see 'Edge' the show, really enjoyed this, and the dancers can move, livened me up a little, before retiring!

 

Day 3 Sea Day

 

Don’t really remember what I did this day other than wander around the ship and bars. Girls got some retail therapy, and I got progressively merrier courtsey of the Classic drinks package.

Discovered the joys of Café Al Bacio, excellent coffees, cant understand why people hog that area, much better places to sit on the ship. Caffined up the day went on!.

Spent some time in the sunset bar looking at the wake, until I discovered that it was one of the few areas that you could smoke in, however, the exhaust from the engines was a lot more problematical to me than the smoking, however didn’t really go to that area again.

 

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Weather definately warming up. Took the opportunity of the free afternoon to get in a little Table Tennis, managed to retain my family title, however would have decapated someone walking past at one point when I accidentally let go of the bat, whilst attempting a forceful forehand, bat ended up in Quasar!, not a bad effort with my back at Celebrity Central!

Formal night

Sat next to the upper deck balcony in the MDR tonight and it was a great place overlooking the below floor of the MDR. Actaully preffered this to sitting by a window. Met Silva and Deepuksing

for the first time, more about them later. Had a group photograph taken, not too impressed with it, hope for a better result at a later formal night. Not parting with my $30. Great effort by the Scottish contingent, with the kilts, very smart, was glad that they didn’t bring the pipes with them! MDR ran out of the excellent 'Lights Out' Shiraz, just goes to show how nice it was, only had 5-7 more reds to try on the classic package, plenty for me, as whilst I like wine, I am by no means a wine buff, so switching to the Cabernet Sauvignon, and a different Shiraz.

 

 

 

Day 4 Warenmunde 0800H

Waved into port by lots of enthusiastic Germans, cant be much to do in this area. Took an age to turn around and actually dock which I guess was achieved by 0900H.

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Celebrity Constellation was already in and so was the Norwegian Star.

Got off the ship slowly following a room service breakfast, and had a wander down to Warenmunde.

 

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What an easy thing to do, most relaxed port I've ever been to, don’t even remember being checked anywhere apart from off the ship. Weather tremendous, 28 degs and sunny. What a nice town Warenmunde is, lots of shops, bars , and things going on. Great beach as well.

 

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Got back to the ship for a pizza and salad lunch after addressing the bottle opener issue by purchasing one for €3.

 

 

 

 

Sat down to lunch at 1230H, in the open part of the Oceanview Café, by the railings. Got Pizza and salad and my daughter got roughly the same. Cant remember were the wife was, but what happened next was unexpected to say the least. Decided to get a drink from the outside bar and left my daughter eating away, became aware of a commontion whilst at the bar. A seagull had landed and decided that lunch that day was to be Italian, so he/she decided to eat both slices of my Pizza in one go. I returned just to see the second slice disappearring in one swallow. This was one big Seagull, probably because of Pizza overeating, however it caused much hilarity on deck. A seagull shocked Daughter and my returning wife restored calm to the deck, whilst I fetched some more Pizza. The rest of the meal was uneventful apart from us keeping a watchful eye on the flying scavengers!.

 

 

 

Went to the Um Pah band around the pool for the last half an hour, enjoyed some local German beers all covered on the classic package, including Becks that strangely isn't covered when the Um pah band wasnt around, but was were they were!

 

 

Then headed to the theatre to see Adrian Walsh, I loved him especially his line about what a useless night for my video to be recorded, as the front two rows were empty, probably because of the Berlin day trippers more than him!, and of course that the 2230H show is less well attended than the 2030H show. Headed for a coffee! Good way to end the day and a beer on the balcony, sorry Verandah with my new bottle opening toy!

 

 

 

Upon departure the Norwegian Star left 60 mins before us to a firework display, very impressive from the Sky Observation Lounge, would guess that we had a better view than anyone on the NCL ship. Waved out of Port at 00:15H by yet more bored locals.

Edited by SWORRUB1
Spelling again Dminus Sworrub1

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Can't wait for the next instalment!!

Very interesting as we have been on Solsice and are sailing on Eclipse next year.

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Quick summary

Apologies but can only compare tp P&O Azura a couple of years ago (Fjords)

Embarkation was great and far superior Celebrity have this nailed.

No sailaway party of note but I didnt attend them on P&O anyway.

Ship very impressive and clean throughout.

Ships layout could be improved a little, need a larger bar area close to MDR on level 4, the Passport and Martini bars were getting overwhelmed prior to peak dinner times.

Select dining a treat, and havent had to wait at all. They have just had a 'bleeping' system delivered but would not implement this until it was available on the starboard side as well, only the port side one had turned up! This should be much better than having to send someone to get you, and gives you license to roam a little more than the immediate (crowded) area when waiting.

Not such an impressive stairway as Azura for the formal photos and the area by the Passport bar did seem a little cramped at times. Rather a wierd place to cram in a Band.

Bar prices Ok and on a par with what you would expect in a 5 Star establishment. Departure for Trips organised very well. Room service Breakfast with hot items was particularly good.

Ship didnt seem at all crowded, however we havent had a poor weather sea day yet!

So far a great experience.

Normal service with photos will resume on Monday evening (UK) when we get on to Sweden.

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Edited by SWORRUB1

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Really enjoying your review so far. We are on the Eclipse this Saturday - hope to read more before then:)

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Really enjoying your review so far. We are on the Eclipse this Saturday - hope to read more before then:)

 

You will see some more soon.

 

Also I am sure that you will have a great trip to the Baltics!

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Early breakfast on the verandah, excellent Mushroom Omlette, delivered by the ever smiling cabin attendant from the West Indies St Elmore, and great weather.

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Had arisen early to see the cruise in through the Stockholm Archepelego and wasn’t disappointed. If you are visiting this port it is worth getting up early to see this.

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Apparently the Eclipse is the largest ship ever to have made that navigation and I can understand why. What a great cruise in. Docked close to the centre. Was about a 2.5km walk to the actual centre of Stockholm, but plenty of transport options from this point for the independant traveller. Was docked opposite the Theme park felt sick looking at that ride that just drops you. Didn’t dwell on this but got straight onto the excursion bus and off we went for a scenic tour of Stockholm (where I have been many times before) and the 'Vasa' Museum . Guide was impressed with my Swedish which consists of three words being Tak- Thanks, Fem Ol- Five beers, don’t ask why the only number I know is five, but it does make friends in a bar, especially if you can afford to pay for the five beers.

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Guide said we will go straight to Vasa as it gets busy later. We must have been about the second coach to arrive. No queue, wandered straight in, attended the film in German with English subtitles,

other language screenings were available including Chinese!, but we were able to read the subtitles Ok, and very interesting it was, you do need to see the film to get the story. We then explored around the ship and the mocked up interiors, now I'm no shipbuilder but no way was that ever going to stay afloat, above the water line seemed about 20 times the size of below the waterline, once you add in the cannon on at least 2 decks then the phrase top heavy comes to mind, inevitabley it actually managed less than 1000M into its maiden voyage, before it toppled over, very close to where The Eclipse was docked. Now this ship is incredibly well preserved and I really enjoyed my visit, which was surprising for a single exbit museum.

 

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Upon departure the wisdom of the tour guide became obvious as the longest queue I witnessed all trip existed to get into the 'Vasa', and we avoided it by being early. A couple of hours riding around central Stockholm and back to the ship. Weather had been fantastic all day. Set sail about 1500H and was just still in the Archepelego when we sat down to Dinner. Had a lurch through the white wines this evening, all looked good and again 5-8 choices which is fine for me.

Enjoyed a Chardonnay, or 2. Clocks forward 1 hour.

Edited by SWORRUB1

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Tallinn

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The only port that we didn’t have an excursion booked for. Leisurely departure from the ship, again following a verandah breakfast, and a stroll into the Old town. Walked to the top

and then back to the bottom as the guidebooks recommend.

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Stopped for a beer at a Greek Taverna, SAKU!, €4.50 for half a litre, it was good.

 

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Air temperature must now be about 30 degs, stocked up on souvenirs at the market in the main square, found a cash machine, got some Euros out with no problem, was tapped up for a Euro for a smoke, by a local, and then got slightly lost. Ended up by a coach shuttle bus pick up, and a guy and his wife in front of us turns around and says 'Where are you from?', I said inbetween Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and he said' Your not a Dingle are you? (Dingle being a derogatory term for supporters of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC) I replied no I don’t like them, at which point he spotted my West Bromwich Albion necklace and gave me a hug right there in Tallinn! Didn’t ever meet him again so I guess that he was on one of the other 4 Cruise ships in Tallinn that day. Walked back to the ship via a very very busy intersection, keep your wits about you, and past the Balloon ride, which goes up to 400 meters.

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I think that the prices in old Town Tallinn are at a level that tourists will pay, cant believe that items are that price over the rest of Estonia, as they were just average Euro prices, a little cheaper than the other Scandinavian countries but not massively so. The Old town must be deserted when Cruise ships not in, there were at least 5 on the day we were in but it never felt paticularly uncomfortable walking around, just a little busy. Followed the 'Mein Schiff 2' out of Port and all the away to Russia! Sea seemed to have strange stripes when we were up in the Sky lounge later.

Clocks forward 1 hour aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, getting seriously early in the mornings now for my body clock! Struggling to get to sleep early enough to wake up at an appropriate hour.

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Eclipse in Tallinn

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Up at 0600H for the St Petersberg call, and my first step into Russia.

This was seriously getting early now, what with always 'lets have one last drink' in an evening and getting up to get breakfast we were now arising at 0300H UK time, the clocks moving forward 2 days in row was not well received by me at least! Must be getting old.

It took about 45 mins to get through immigration, not too bad at all.

An uneventful sightseeing trip around St Petersberg, with the Peter and Paul territory was followed by a visit to The Church of the Spilled Blood. Very impressive.

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The afternoon trip was incredible. Did the ships 'Local Life Experience' tour including a trip on the underground and

afternoon tea.

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This was what it was all about, mixing with locals and having horror tales about losing your passport and how it is held to ransom. The head count at virtuaully every stop just added to the tension, you knew we where somewhere that required some care. The excellent guide was still at University and was the best guide we had all tour, if you read the Evgenia, congratulations! Loved the head counts by having to hold your hand up. It all added to a sense of wow! Temperature 30 degrees all day, felt hotter in the sun.

 

Underground and Evgenia

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Got back and attended the show by some Russian singers and dancers, fell asleep during the show, just tired very tired!

 

Fortunately we had a late start tomorrow!

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The clocks going forward 3 times on succesive days is a killer! I have tried to warn friends doing a Baltic to go to bed early, but no one listens. Don't know if immigration has changed since we were there 4 years ago...only took us 45 seconds! (Way better than the US!:D)

 

Simon

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Decided to split things up a little.

You will already have seen a few things from me about the Entertainment.

Here is the complete rundown of my thoughts

 

Shows, with staff dancers and singers

Edge/Eclipse/Ovations

 

Edge

Classic rock and pop, these dancers can move, the singers well good enough for a Cruise ship I suppose. Not that I wish to be unduly harsh and they were pleasant enough on the ear, but of you are looking for a virtuoso performance you are in the wrong place.

Enjoyed the aerial stuff.

Would be number 2 in my rating of the 'shows' by the entertainment staff

 

Eclipse

If you like a tumbling Circus this was for you again lots of energy, and some of the aerial work was stunning, however it would rank 3 with me.

Loved Peng Fi Su!

 

Ovations

All the songs from the Musicals, loved this show, would have to rank number 1 with me for the in house performers. Very good. Something to be said I guess for singing en masse.

 

Other show

Peng Fi Su, and the magic show. Cant understand why this was only a matinee, deserved to be every night, OK, ok so I am a sucker for magic, but this guy incredible, a must must see if he is on your ship.

 

 

Visiting Entertainers

Adrian Walsh I enjoyed this comedian, see more detail in a previous post.

Mike Doyle Comedian/Vocalist, Fantastic loved him had the place in tears, from his impression of the Captain over the ships communications when the Captain appeared to be lost, to the 60 minute show that seemed to last for 5 minutes, you must go to see him if he is on your ship! Excellent.

 

Beatles Celebration

Must admit that wasnt really looking forward to this as whilst acknowledging their massive impact on the pop business I have never really been a fan. These guys looked a bit like them sang the songs, from a fantastic back catologue and generally had the place rocking and indeed dancing in the aisles. Very good entertainment if you didnt take it too seriously.

 

Tenors Of Rock

Now you are moving onto my type of music. This rocked the Eclipse, by far the loudest show, a few complaints no doubt, but filled with energy and a different take on my favourites. Very good

Appeared again on the final show doing all Queen numbers, again very good. Bumped into 2 of them in a lift on formal night when we were all smart and they still in their jeans and T shirts, oh how we laughed as they felt underdressed, nice guys!

 

Stars Of St Petersberg (2230H a bit late!)

I went to sleep not because of them but the clocks moving forward and the all day sightseeing took its toll, my wife said they were good could sing and were full of energy, from the 15 minutes I was awake I would agree.

 

Peter Grant

Only caught a little of him at a show, was OK if you like that laid back swing stuff. Had a good voice.

 

Luca Volpe

Well he's a mentalist so hes got a problem with me, some might enjoy this but I didnt really Audience reaction was muted, so I guess I was not alone in my thought.

 

Nicola Loud

Didnt see her solo show, saw about 15 minutes on the last evening

was a good bit of fiddling, again though not really my sort of stuff!

 

 

So in summary

Must see

Mike Doyle

Tenors of Rock

Peng Fi Su

 

OK

Nicola Loud

Adrian Walsh

Stars of St Petersberg

 

Stay in the bar

Luca Volpe

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Off to the Peterhof Palace today.

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It was once again a fine morning and after heading back into SPb centre off we went on the journey to Peterhof Palace.

Dire warnings about the stealing of passports once again abounded. Traffic was a bit chaotic in SPb today but we got through that and arrived at Peterhof about an hour after leaving the ship. What an impressive place this is. The walk around at times resembled a route march and the bottles of water that we picked up were invaluable. Temperature must have been in the mid 30's. Now we were some of the younger cruisers and it was tough, I don't know how some of the older ones felt but it was taxing. This is a massive park and it is spread over a large area, to see lots it is a rush on a half a day tour, if you dont want to rush really you need a day around here as the distance to walk in a short time may well be an issue.

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Viewed 'real Russia on the way and it wasn't pretty, glad we saw it though!

You can get a false impression just going around the touristy spots, but this looked an bit industrial to say the least.

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The scale of Peterhof is what hits you, massive absolutely massive, no wonder the locals decided to try Communism if there leaders lived like this whilst they were in poverty!

 

The inevitable happened of course and we were late. We had to stop for a toilet break as someone didn't dehydrate enough in the afternoon sun, we nearly left him behind, he just about saw us disappearing over the horizon, and caught us up. (Nb toilets are few far between and full in Peterhof, guess the masses dont need them!)

 

Off we rushed to our Hydrafoil, and inspired selection of ways to return, it was a great way to return to the ship, would reccomend this way of getting to Peterhof!

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After about 15 minutes the Eclipse returned to our view

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and then a further 15 minutes saw us docking at the Hydrafoil port after cruising up the Neva River. Back onto the coach and back onto the Eclipse.

All we could think about was a few Drinks and a bit of high jinx on our verandah!

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The Eclipse slid silently out if Russia, and that was it we were on the way home (boo!)

 

The evening was great! This was Mike Doyle night, see above!

It was almost light until midnight as well, ho hum, homeward bound!

Edited by SWORRUB1

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