The last day of a cruise is one that I consider is a transition day back to reality. You know you’ll need to pack your bags and settle up any outstanding charges, but you try not to wait to do that until the very last second, if at all possible. I wanted my last day on the Celebrity Eclipse to be a little different than what I typically do while cruising so I woke up early and went up to the Solstice Deck on deck 15. A private deck with typical lounge chairs, it also has great big wicker loungers with thick cushions that are super comfy. Since I was up and out of my cabin before 7 am, I felt like the only one walking about the ship but for the dedicated walkers traversing the jogging track at a furious pace. My husband helped me pull out the cushions for the lounger and you can see that mine was the only one set up. They break these down nightly and put them back together every morning along with all of the deck chairs. I got to watch the sun rise slowly over the water as it ducked in and out of the clouds while I noshed on a banana and my first cup of coffee for the day. Since I was trying to keep up with my blog, it was a perfect outdoor office space and I wished I could be so lucky back home.
After a few hours of enjoying the Solstice Deck all to myself, my husband and son found me and decided to join me on the lounge chair. A certain someone’s stomach started to growl and as such, my son then ran off to grab a few omelets in the Oceanview Café. We were hungry as well and decided to drop our things off in our cabin first. I got sidetracked as I decided to stop by Aqua Spa to ask about my nails. One of my nails was chipping and I wanted to fix it before returning home. Natacia was kind enough to take me right at that second. In less than 10 minutes she not only fixed my nail, but also applied oil to my cuticles. I just love the Aqua Spa and the employees as they are some of the nicest spa employees I have ever encountered on any ship.
|Meat station inside Oceanview Café|
We made our way over to the Oceanview Café, which was now swamped with people. A typical breakfast at the buffet usually has pecan rolls, waffles, French toast, pancakes, eggs any style including eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, potatoes (hash browns and Lyonnaise), breads, cheeses, sliced meat, fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli, cereal, and so much more. I tried the sautéed bananas that were next to the pancakes, but they were not to my liking because they had a citrus sauce. I should have gone with the apples instead, but next time, right? Instead I took some dark pumpernickel-type bread, tomatoes, and cucumbers and made my version of a breakfast sandwich. That bread is too good for words! The coffee in the Oceanview Café varies at times as some mornings it is good while other mornings it was extremely bitter. I preferred the coffee in the Tuscan Grille, especially when I can get a latte or a cappuccino, followed by the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room although the best on the ship was absolutely in Café al Bacio.
|Main pool area|
After breakfast I was super focused on spending time in the pool on the ship. So let’s compare our choices. The first is the main pool area, which has two pools, four hot tubs, and is open to anyone, be it children or adults. This is where everyone goes to spend time in the sun and as such, it can get crowded. The pool toward the back in this picture is deeper at over 5′ while the pool in the foreground is shallower at around 3′ and is definitely a kid-friendly pool. Pool activities happen here as well such as the Officers vs. cruise guests volleyball game, men vs. women Olympic games, or how about the Sizzle Celebrity Life Sail-in Party? This dance party poolside with the Production Cast Dancers, musicians, and cruise director’s staff is the best way to dance your way into San Juan.
Our other option on the opposite side of deck 12 is the Solarium near the Aqua Spa. This covered pool area is for adults (anyone over 16) and is definitely far quieter than the open pool area on the other side. It has a large pool with a water depth range of 4’3” to 4’9” and the water is warm. At first I liked that the water was warm, but if you move from the hot tub back to the pool, you almost wish it was ice cold. But then you realize you are on a fantastic cruise ship and you make yourself stop saying negative things! There is equipment adjacent to the pool that allows someone with a mobility issue to enter the pool via a chair. The two hot tubs are just outside the rows of chairs near the pool and usually were empty or had maybe one or two people in them at any given time. We jumped in and talked with a couple from Virginia, Kai and Mindy. It was her first cruise and his second and although they enjoyed it, as a couple in their mid-30’s, they found that there were fewer activities onboard than they would have liked. I’m glad they raised this point as it is super important to not only understand a cruise line’s focus, but the specific cruise ship on which you’ll be sailing. I wouldn’t recommend a cruise line primarily targeting older adults for a honeymoon couple nor would I recommend a family cruise line to a couple celebrating their first cruise post-retirement. I will definitely discuss this further in a future blog post.
|Payout from Fortunes Casino|
Feeling strangely optimistic, I went toFortunes Casino one last time for this cruise. I had taken advantage of the bonus points awarded during certain times on the cruise and I wanted to turn them in so I could get something fun. The points are listed on the wall near the cashier if you are trying to determine what you can receive for your points. The variety is great as you can earn a dinner for two in Tuscan Grille, a bottle of wine, a cruise in review DVD, or cold hard cash. Before turning in my points, I thought I would play a few dollars on the Hangover slot machine. Can you believe I won nearly $500 in one spin? I ended up leaving the cruise with $680! That certainly makes any cruise a fun one!
|Captain’s Club Social Hour|
As it was our last chance to enjoy the Captain’s Club Social Hour in the Sky Observation Lounge on Deck 14 forward, we decided to shower and get dressed and head up. By this point in the week on a cruise, we are wondering just how bad the damage would be to our onboard bill. Having an opportunity for a free drink because we are Elite members in the Captain’s Club certainly makes it a whole lot less painful. The server’s walk around with full trays full of cocktails, but you can order what you like off the Captain’s Club lounge menu. I curiously asked one of the servers why they would want to work this event when no one is paying for drinks and as a result, the servers look as though they don’t receive any tips. I learned that they get a percentage of the sales on the drinks we consume as a gratuity, which is probably why they were pushing multiple drinks on us at a time! Not sure if anyone else would have thought about this, but having worked many hours as a bartender and waitress, I’m always thinking about what they are doing and if they are being treated fairly when they wait on me. I’m glad that they certainly have the opportunity to make extra money on top of their regular hours in other areas on the ship.
|Iana, the snack attendant in the Sky Lounge|
Lucky for us, we met up once again with our favorite server, Iana Galanzhina, the snack attendant in the Sky Lounge. Iana is from St. Petersburg, Russia and we thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her and learning about her experience on the Eclipse. Please remember that the crew is away from their families for over six months at a stretch, some longer (9 months or more) and connecting with passengers isn’t just their job, but has to make their lives at sea more tolerable. Can you imagine being brand new on a ship as an employee and not knowing anyone? Cruise ship employees work incredibly long hours and try not to feel lonely or homesick. Remember that the next time you are feeling overlooked or ignored when you’re on a cruise. Iana was passing the fresh hors d’oeuvres from the kitchen to all of the Captain’s Club guests. The servers bring around are a variety of little appetizers that are always fresh and replenished for guests on a regular basis. Between the snacks, beverages, and view, you can’t have a bad time during the Captain’s Club Social Hour. We used it as alone time for the two of us to sit, relax, and chat, but there were many couples sitting together and laughing while enjoy a drink (or two!).
Taking a quick look at the time, we realized it was time to meet back up with our son and we walked down to dinner in the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room a little early instead of sitting in our cabin. I say walk because I am always surprised by how many people skip the stairs and use the elevators. Sometimes they are so packed and people are only going one or two decks down — yes, down. If you aren’t exercising and eating more than you normally do, consider taking the stairs as it may not be strenuous exercise, but at least your doing something. I try to take the stairs as often as I can unless, of course, I’m in heels in which case, I join the other sardines in the elevator. My husband hates the claustrophobic feeling of being in an elevator packed to the brim and will race me to wherever we are going with my son close behind him. The crazy husband of mine was sliding down the long bannisters and jumping off at the bottom to my delight, but to the horror of passengers waiting for elevators. They were probably thinking, “This man has lost his mind!” The hotel director even caught him and I tried to turn him in, but the hotel director just laughed it off. When we arrived for dinner, Jhona, the dining room hostess, played around with my husband who was teasing me about showing up early and despite thinking they wouldn’t be happy about our early arrival, they not only accommodated us, but they were able to put us in Kevis’ station again.
|Asian Style Shrimp Summer Roll|
Can you guess what starter my son chose for his final night on the ship? If you said the Baked French Onion soup, you guessed right. I’ll spare you yet another photo of the onion soup and instead, you can view his second starter. This dish was the Asian Style Shrimp Summer Roll and he did love both starters. Strangely enough, it wasn’t rolled up into a roll like a spring roll, but was folded up like a neat little envelope instead. He loved the sweet chili sauce served with it and I would even go as far as to say that had he had this starter earlier in the cruise, he would have ordered it as often as the French onion soup. Did you know if you like a specific starter while cruising that you can often ask your server if they can make it for you? It might not always be available, but you might luck out and get that same dish each night if you play your cards right.
For my starter, I chose the Tuscan Vegetable Minestrone, which was some of the best minestrone I have ever had. On the menu was also a Porcini Mushroom Risotto as well as a Creamed Spinach and Artichoke Gratinee, but according to the menu symbols, neither was vegan or vegetarian. I do like that the Celebrity menu indicates if an item is gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, no sugar added, or lactose free, but I wish that they offered more menu options for vegans and vegetarians. My husband decided to do the Chop Chop Composed Salad as his first starter, but was disappointed. It was a basic salad with lettuce, chopped carrots, and sliced radishes, a vegetable he truly despises. It was a little underwhelming for his taste so he was appreciative to have chosen the Caprese Salad as his second starter.
|Tikka Marsala Tofu|
As far as entrées, we both chose the vegetarian option, the Tikka Marsala Tofu, and we were both seriously disappointed. Perhaps the addition of the word “marsala” to an otherwise Indian dish should have alerted me to a potential disaster, but at the time it didn’t and I optimistically chose it hoping for a great Indian entrée. His entrée had four small pieces of tofu while mine had three. It was supposed to have spinach, green lentils, okra, and red pepper and is served with paratha. Perhaps we didn’t look hard enough, but we didn’t see any spinach and there was absolutely no taste to the food whatsoever. The Indian food we had on the ship was extremely mild in taste and underseasoned and I’m not sure if that’s what they serve on the ship as an introduction to Indian food for cruise passengers, but it’s not the bold tastes that we usually find when we eat Indian food.
|Homestyle Pork Chops|
The proud carnivore in our group, my son, ordered the Homestyle Pork Chopswhich was a double coated bone-in pork chop served with sweet marshmallow potatoes, sautéed string beans, and zesty cider-raisin sauce. I knew it was going to be a problem when I saw him performing surgery on the pork chop. There was so much extraneous fat on the pork chop that his plate resembled a war scene. Unfortunately, it was so fatty that the little bit of meat he ate didn’t make up for what could have been a better entrée. The sweet marshmallow potatoes were far from sweet and were dry and gritty in taste. This, too, was a major disappointment.
|Marzipan Amaretto Cake|
Everyone opted for dessert as we wanted to move past the lackluster entrées as we knew it was turning out to be one of less favorite meals of our cruise. Dessert was significantly better as my husband ordered the peanut butter ice cream, my son had the pina colada ice cream, and I ordered the Marzipan Amaretto Cake. This was an almond biscuit filled with mousseline cream and served with dark cherry sauce. That more than made up for the rest of dinner as it was delicious. The pina colada ice cream, however, tasted like vanilla ice cream, but the peanut butter ice cream was very peanutty in taste. If you have a peanut allergy, stay clear of this super peanutty ice cream! Coffee, as always, was fantastic.
After dinner, we wanted to enjoy as much of the ship as we could knowing that our time left on the Celebrity Eclipse was soon coming to a close. We could choose from the evening show, “A Voyage to Remember,” in the Eclipse Theatre to Jonny Mantra Live in Concert in Celebrity Central to the Farewell Dance Party with Southside in the Grand Foyer or we could choose to relax in one of the many bars or lounges or dance all night in Quasar or go up on deck and look over the ocean before returning to dry land. With so many options and so little time, how could we decide on just one?
3 thoughts on “LIVE Onboard the Celebrity Eclipse: Day 7 of Our Cruise”
Ummm peanut butter ice cream!?!
Can’t go wrong with that right? Probably some of the best ice cream on a ship we have ever seen.
Amazed at the honesty re the meals in the moonlight sonata… Thanks for that… The ship needs to pay serious attention…
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