My Family Review of The Eclipse
As I mentioned on my last blog my family and I had big adventures last weekend when we took to the Seas on the Celebrity Eclipse for a little family break on the mini cruise.
As it was my daughter’s Birthday we also combined this with a trip to Peppa Pig world as it is literally 15 minutes down the road from the docks. Peppa Pig world was absolutely brilliant and one of the cleanest, tidiest theme parks I have been to. The little rides of Grandpa Pigs Train and riding on Georges dinosaur were some of the highlights and it was perfect for little people who love all things Peppa Pig.
After a couple of hours, I must admit that my older boys were starting to bore slightly of the joys of Peppa but were happy to find lots of roller-coaster and thrill seeker rides on the other side pf the park to keep them entertained.
We spent the night in some apartments that I booked through Booking.com and I have to stay they were absolutely perfect. Location wise they were a stone throw away from the docks and they were very clean and ultra-modern so would massively recommend them for a stay beforehand at Southampton. They were called HSH Central Southampton and very reasonably priced.
I had booked the Air lynx parking for Southampton as the AB Parking was full.
This worked really well and I was very impressed with the service. You park on the outskirts in a secure compound and then the transfer bus takes you over and picks you up again. There was no waiting around at all and the buses used were actually luxury Mercedes buses so very clean and tidy.
As there are five of us we had two cabins and Aqua Class and a Sky Suite. This meant that we skipped any ques for check-in and went straight into the priority line for embarkation. This was lovely, especially when travelling with children who are desperate to get onboard. After a speedy service we were onboard and ready for the big cruise adventure. I had checked the forecast for Southampton and Le Havre where we were travelling to but the promise of rainfall and clouds were completely wrong as it ended up being glorious weather for the duration of the cruise and we were very lucky in temperatures reaching 63 degrees in port. One big tip I would recommend that if you have the kids with you leave the swimsuits in your bag that you carry on with you. There was quite a big delay in us getting our luggage even though we were in a suite and didn’t see it again until 17:00. The organised mothers onboard had obviously planned ahead but me on the other hand was in the bad books with mine as they were reduced to paddling in their jeans ….Bad mother.
The Sky Suite was lovely and it was a very good size. The actual living space is where you see the big difference and you get a very big area to relax in that area which makes it feel spacious compared to the Aqua Suite that we had. The Sky Suite also had a bath with the shower which is always a nice little perk along with Bvlgari products in there to pamper yourself with.
The biggest down point for us was that we presumed that because we were a family we would all be able to dine in Luminae suite restaurant even though two of us were in the Aqua class so Blu dining, but when we enquired about this they said we could do that but the other two guests would incur a surcharge of $50pp.
As one of them is 3 and eats like a little squirrel this wasn’t really an option so we decided to eat in the Moonlight Sonata for anytime dining. This worked very well for us. The dining with the kids was one of my favourite parts, the kids loved getting all dressed up and they were fine in black jeans and shirts so don’t worry about kitting out boys in expensive suits if you cruise as this wasn’t necessary.
Of course, Princess Rosa wore her best Frock and fancy Ribbons in her hair so she was belle of the ball. My eldest son was very keen to try different things and he even braved the snails which he loved and found delicious but I won’t be whipping up at home anytime soon – sorry son.
I have been on the Eclipse before and two nights’ taster cruises only give you a very small insight in what its actually like to cruise with them but generally I would say that they are by far one of the best out there when it comes to main stream cruising. The only thing that lets them down on these mini sailings is when they make them all inclusive. To be honest as soon as they do this the service goes down quite a lot . They only put limited Numbers of staff on the bars , they don’t offer poor service and they really don’t go above and beyond to be extra special as all tips are included. It was frustrating having to wait for half an hour to get served at some of the main bars and I could see a lot of people getting very shirty at the bar staff. I would probably not go all-inclusive on a short cruise again because when your only cruising for a couple of nights the last thing you want to do is spend half of it trying to get a drink.
Two of my kids decided that they were desperate to go and check out the kids clubs and see what was on offer and they came back bouncing with enthusiasm and loved it. Luca is ten and he loved it as the club had all the latest game consoles , books, basketball court at the back and table football etc. They went on scavenge hunts around the cruise and even had an hours free arcading in the games room. He made some little friends and I think if we went on a family holiday for two weeks we would probably never see him again !!!
Rosa did cupcake designing and a slumber party and she loved it , but was shattered by the end of it so she needs another cruise holiday to get over all the stuff she got up to.
To sum it up the Eclipse is a beautiful, modern ship with plenty onboard for young and old. Is it for family’s?? I would say definitely yes it is. If you had the means to upgrade to a suite then 100 percent do as the size of the rooms makes it so comfortable for family’s especially with older children. The kid’s clubs are brilliant and the staff were really helpful and friendly. As Rosa is only three they gave me a little pager so they could buzz me if they needed to get hold of me for any reason. This was great for reassurance and let me relax in the knowledge that if she needed me I would be there. There was so much choice in the buffet restaurant so even if you had fussy child they would always find something in there to eat. If we had stayed on any longer Rosa would have grown gills and a tail as she had fish Goujons for dinner on both nights. The kid’s menu was good with lots of choice and the portions were perfect.
The Eclipse would be a perfect family choice without being like a kid’s camp at sea, as while they have lots to do to keep them entertained they don’t have the slides and waterparks onboard that some of the other family ships have. I would recommend it for those of you looking for a treat for the kids but still enough for the adults to be pampered. I loved chilling in the sky lounge bar at the back and watching the sunset with cocktail in hand. A perfect end to a perfect day of family cruising.