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Anne Parry-Couto

Age: 51

Occupation:non-profit agency worker

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Celebrity Eclipse

Sailing Date: 2012-07-12

Itinerary: eastern caribbean

I felt the need to reply to some of the reviews as I have now been on 2 cruises with Celebrity - both on the Eclipse; one out of Southampton, and the other out of Miami. We are booked on another cruise (same ship but different location - in September). I have truly enjoyed all my cruise experiences with Celebrity - of course, I don't have another cruise line to compare - however, so far they have pleased me (& my Mum) enough to want to re-book twice!

The emergency drill discussed by one reviewer is not as she stated. You attend the mandatory drill at different locations on the ship according to where you would meet if evacuation was necessary. Obviously, if everyone went to the theatre it just wouldn't work...for example, our "muster point" has been within the area of the ship by the executive lounge. Yes, it's crowded but adequate - and there is a certain amount of personal responsibility too - to ensure that you know where the lifejackets are, and the emergency route from your cabin.

On our first cruise out of Southampton - a tragic incident highlighted the importance of safety at sea, and the steps Celebrity is willing to take in order to take care of guests & staff. A guest onboard became sick, and it was necessary to evacuate him/her by helicopter. This was successfully done, but during the process a member of staff fell/jumped overboard. A ship the size of the Eclipse does not stop easily or quickly, but in this case, the ship was turned around, lifeboat launched, and rescue organizations off Cherbourg notified. The staff kept passengers informed but not overly involved. Although the outcome was not positive, I felt that the captain had done all possible in order to attempt to save the individual. During our 2nd cruise in January, when the Costa Concordia was on the news - I did not feel unsafe while travelling on the Eclipse.

My Mum is elderly & has some special needs as well as an allergy to seafood. We travel Aqua class as I have found the dining arrangements especially accommodating (Blu restaurant). No need to book a time & portions much more manageable for both of us. The restaurant staff are incredibly helpful & friendly - attentive but not overwhelming. Most important - willing to accommodate a couple of unusual requests from us (one re. seating & other re. meals).

We usually order breakfast in our room which has for the most part, been excellent. Lunch is at the buffet - and thank goodness I didn't spot any unruly guests contaminating the food (as per one review!). I found the selection excellent - and touch wood, have not got sick...hot food was hot in my experience and cold food appropriately cold. I enjoy the curries, whereas my Mum chose traditional "English" fare.

Our stateroom has been great. Very clean indeed - concierge very attentive - & yes, I did have lots of little requests - extra coat hangers, an English tea kettle for the caribbean cruise (my Mum needed it!!) We both found the accommodation comfortable & relaxing. Wi fi good ('tho I seriously miss skype which is not available) - and tv. good also. I enjoy watching Sky news which I can't get at home. Bathroom also very good, clean, amenities (soaps, lotions, etc.) provided.

Onboard activities were also very good. Hot glass show fabulous. Cooking demos very much enjoyed by us both, as well as music and people watching. Celebrity is not a "cheap" cruise line & I found that it can get expensive with add ons, if you are not aware & don't keep track! My Mum and I treated ourselves a little each day, & also enjoyed all the amazing things which are "inclusive" to keep costs reasonable. We didn't see the show (maybe this time?) as Mum was tired by evening & we prefered to relax and do our own thing.

So far, we have been on an excursion at every port! My Mum uses a wheelchair for distances, but can walk as well. We did not take any "wheelchair only" excursions as this would have prevented non-ambulatory guests from enjoying a trip. The trips we went on were excellent without exception. I did choose as sensibly as I could knowing some of Mum's limitations re. walking, the unpleasantness of being pushed over bumpy cobblestones in a wheelchair, and the fact that she does get tired. All tour operators went out of their way to help us out, and we enjoyed ourselves! I did get lost in Rome - but caught another Celebrity tour bus back...oops. However, that was my mistake not theirs, and fortunately we easily got back to the ship in time. I am aware that it is cheaper to "do it yourself" and take taxi or public transport. However, when travelling with someone who is elderly - I found the tour bus to be by far the easiest and most relaxing way to see the sights.

We have enjoyed both cruises on the Eclipse - and are anticipating another excellent cruise in a couple of months. I would not hesitate to recommend Aqua class on the Celebrity Eclipse to someone who is looking for a relaxing holiday, with responsive staff, and a touch of luxury. I have had no problem with swimming pools, hot tubs, or sunbathing areas - towel service is excellent, and entire area clean and inviting. All washrooms on the ship are clean and well appointed. Bar areas and lounges also very pleasant and nice to spend time in.

When leaving the ship - be prepared for long line-ups - difficult to have so many people coming & going at the same time of course. Southampton was a bit of a zoo and one suitcase had wheel broken off. Experience in Miami much better due to extremely assertive staff pushing wheelchair & extremely assertive me getting a cab right away...Celebrity does offer slightly later disembarkation for special needs guests which is helpful.

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