Nice, easy journey down finds us at Southampton Pier at around 12.30pm - Celebrity's Eclipse is looming over the port building ready for its journey. This is our first Trans Atlantic cruise, it seems a little odd thinking the next time we get off the ship we will have crossed "the pond"; our first stop is Boston where we have organised a private mini bus tour with some CC (Cruise Critic) folks before then sailing on to New York for 2 days, Bermuda 2 days and another CC private tour, The Bahamas and Miami.
We board and climb the stairs to our cabin which is ready for us and is spotless, well laid out and has a very decent sized balcony with more classy looking chairs and teak tables compared to NCLs rather more utilitarian offerings. I will say that NCL wins hands down when it comes to the shower though - this one lacks pressure and neither moves up or down nor is removable. Small niggle and lots more to explore yet.
The first thing that strikes us on the Eclipse (and here I'm comparing with the EPIC) is the shear amount of space, public spaces seem wider, theres a lot more variety to those spaces with lots of quiet areas, bars with individuality, huge outdoor areas and a proper panoramic crows nest lounge/bar top front. Everything feels more classically designed.
Had lunch from Oceanview cafe outside at the back of the ship, taking in a cloudy, grey Southampton. I feel like I should apologise for the lack of sunshine to the folk who have flown in, probably from better climes than this. Cottage pie for J and roast beef w/yorks pud for D with a cheeky Malbec each. The puds are always a disappointment on any ship. The title of each bearing no resemblance to its ingredients! A quick peruse of the ship and see the famous lawn. The great glass elevators are very scary for J in the internal atrium area, woah!
Muster at the main theatre. Its only done in English and German however the explanation as to what to do if you dont speak the above seems to be given in every known language on the planet - including a rather comical Spanish/Mexican that seems to have come straight from a Disney cartoon "Hey Amigos". Returning to the cabin after this we find our bags have finally arrived. A quick unpacking then off to the MDR for dinner. We have a nice little table for two in the window. Very swish affair: J has the wild mushroom soup, Salmon with sauce vierge and Dan has beef spring roll, pork chop. Both excellent. Villa Maria for J and malbec for D followed by apple pie for J and cheese for D. We pass the Isle of Wight during dinner and from our window table watch the pilot's boat matches our speed alongside, awaiting his departure. This always seems a very scary business to me. Entertainment wile we eat is provided by a rather loud but lovely American lady who describes in great detail in a strong Southern drawl the highlights of her stay in London "Oh yeah we loved the Bloody Tower, though the towers sure were small"
See the band ( The Trends, the Eclipse's house band) in the central atrium, then a quick walk outside for some fresh air then bed. Straight to sleep, as we have been up since 4am, setting our alarm for 7.30am.
Click here for day 2
Click here for day 2