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Celebrity Eclipse 2018 - Boarding

We had breakfast at the hotel and then went to Church nearby. Largely Spanish congregation, but we caught the English mass, which is good because the only Spanish I know is “Ay, ay, ay! No es bueno!”

Then it was back to the hotel to scoop up our bags and head out. Veronica, for whatever reason, fell in love with the smallest of our grey suitcases. She named it Buddy, and insisted that she alone would carry it. All well and good until we got to the ship and had to hand off all our bags to the porter. Tears were shed over her good friend Buddy, even though they’d only be separated for about two hours. Embarkation was an absolute breeze and we were on board before eleven. Having not been on a Celebrity ship for two years, I was excited to see what was new and what had changed. And I should have known better because the answer was: absolutely nothing! We were on board the Eclipse, but we’d already cruised on four other ships of the same class and by design they’re all basically the same. In the past, that familiarity was very comforting, but this was the first time I found myself hoping for something different.

There’s always a wait for the room, and Sarah was prepared for that. She’d packed swimsuits in her backpack, so after lunch we went for a quick, hella cold swim. (I think Sarah only got about calf-deep, and even that took half an hour.) The kids were happy though. After that, we got the announcement that the staterooms were ready, so we went to check ours out – and it was gigantic. On our last cruise, Sarah had made friends with a group who had booked a family verandah cabin. They’re only available to parties of at least 5, but you have to book them far in advance. Hence why we booked this cruise two years ago.

Where your average cabin is one main room plus bathroom, this room has two separate bedrooms and a huge common area. Sarah’s parents – whose extreme generosity made the whole cruise happen – had an adjoining room with no balcony. As we’re not monsters, we told them to consider our balcony theirs, and they did use it every so often.

We had dinner in the main dining room: waiter – Michael, assistant – Dave, sommelier – originally some guy I forget but he was replaced by Alwyn on day 3. All solid folks. Then the kids, who had been chomping at the bit about it all day, finally got to go to the Fun Factory. The adults had a coffee and wandered, and then we retrieved the kids and had them in bed just after nine.

Final notes about the day. Each evening, the stateroom attendant leaves a copy of Celebrity Today, which lists details about upcoming activities and ports and whatnot. The Day One version also had crew bios. Captains on Celebrity are always Greek, and this trip was no exception. Our Captain was Leonardos Palaiokrassas, or as Sarah called him, “The Greekest Greek Who Ever Did Greek.” (He turned out to be a funny, personable guy. The Cruise Director was Eddy Jenkins; also a great guy. But check out that taking-the-piss bio. Easily half the people I spoke to on board thought it was serious. “I hope that works out for him – he sounds like he's doing really well for himself!"


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