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Celebrity Eclipse To Norway & Iceland
A World-Class Cruise Experience

By Larry Larsen

W Celebrity Eclipsee may not be the typical cruisers, but we select cruise itineraries based on which ship we can take. Yes, the itinerary is important, but if one of your favorite cruise lines doesn't go there, then you probably end up picking an itinerary where they do.

We began our mid-summer journey from Southampton, England (where the Titanic also departed from). We had arrived a day prior to the cruise departure which gave us the chance to visit the SeaCity Museum (www.seacitymuseum .co.uk). Most impressive were the extensive Titanic exhibits which broadcast actual recordings from the disaster investigation while you're sitting in a replica of the courtroom where the original hearings took place. Listening to the actual voices of the survivors explaining what had happened on their fatal sailing expedition was a bit eerie, but extremely interesting.

EclipseOur 14-night Celebrity Eclipse cruise through the western part of northern Europe offered five full days at sea, which some guest may not enjoy much. Two days after leaving Southampton, we arrived around noon in Reykjavik, Iceland. We over-nighted there and left the following early afternoon. The itinerary also included port stops in Akureyri, Iceland, Denmark's Faroe Islands, and the Norwegian Fjords at Geiranger and Flam, as well as other Norway ports of Stavanger and Christiansand (see related articles).

The Eclipse is one of the three Solstice-class ships by Celebrity, considered to be some of the most environment-friendly in the world. It is identical to the Solstice (we traveled on it to the Mediterranean two years ago, see related story) and the Sky SuiteEquinox.  Since they are identical, it didn't take us long to refresh our memory on the layout of the ship.

This time, we upgraded from the Concierge Class to a Sky Suite, located on a corner in the back of the ship. We simply wanted to experience a suite and see if it was worth the extra money on future cruises. We definitely loved the space! In addition to the sliding glass doors and an extra-large balcony at the stern, our suite also had a large porthole on the starboard side of the ship which offered an additional perspective of the outside views from the suite.

Food carvingThe Sky Suite also features a larger bathroom with a bathtub, and it seemed that it had more closet space. It had a comfortable couch and a couple of extra chairs, plus the additional floor space which allowed us to easily move around without bumping into each other. Strangely, a support column was located in the middle of the room next to the King-size bed, but we got used to it.  A separate bar area with mini bar, and a large flat screen TV rounded off the amenities.

But wait! I forgot about the butler! We never had a butler before, and Ketut Sucipta, of Portuguese/Indian descent, was there to help as a private concierge. If we needed dining room reservations, or tour tickets, or anything that normally we would have to arrange ourselves, he would do it for us. Also, from our suite, we could order room service through Ketut off the daily Brunchrestaurant menus, as well as from the room service menu. In the Concierge Class, passengers can order only from the room service menu. 

And every afternoon, our butler would show up with hors d'oeuvres such as shrimp or cold cuts, as well as the standard English afternoon tea service (about 80% of the passengers were from Great Britain). When he found out that I liked macadamia nut cookies, a half-dozen appeared in our room. Ketut duly noted my similar fondness of pecan sweet rolls served for breakfast one morning and that afternoon, a half dozen appeared at our afternoon tea. The plastic wrap covering them on the plate allowed me to "ration them" over the next four days!

Eclipse8The Eclipse' suite accommodations also included the opportunity to eat at two of the specialty dining restaurants at no additional charge, so we selected Tuscan Grille and Murano. Both were excellent.  Food was also very good at the Moonlight Sonata (main dining room) as well as at the buffet in the Oceanview Cafe. Although we had requested to be seated at a table of six or eight, we found ourselves at a table of two the first night and a table of four the following nights with no fellow dining passengers. We made friends with a Scottish family of four seated next to us, however, which provided enough interesting conversation as long as we paid close attention to their heavily-accented English!

Despite the unexpectedly uncooperative weather, which was mostly light rain, fog, wind and cold temperatures for the first 10 days of our July cruise, the ship and the staff were great. Can't wait for our next journey on the high seas!

Editor's Note: For more information on this and other itineraries, visit http://www.celebritycruises.com/home.do


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