One of the elements that impressed us most during our wonderful family cruise on Celebrity Eclipse was the quality of the dining. From the great fast food options to the main dining to the speciality restaurants, we really couldn’t fault any of the dining on board Celebrity Eclipse. Most evenings are smart casual, but there are a couple of evenings that are listed in the ‘Celebrity Today’ leaflet left in your stateroom as ‘cruise chic’. There’s never any pressure to dress in any particular way but it’s always tremendous fun to dress up a bit and step out in style. I really enjoyed a bit of people watching – there was everything from ladies in ballgowns and men in white dinner jackets to a few people in full military costume!
Snacks and fast food options
We tended to rise a bit later for breakfast, and often at lunchtime we’d just grab a snack (or sometimes even just an ice cream) and save ourselves for dinner later. The boys, however, could often be found at any of the faster dining options during the day: they were especially taken with the burgers at the Mast Grill, and persuaded me to join them one lunchtime. I wasn’t disappointed! The burgers were juicy, fresh and delicious and the chips hot, crispy and fluffy in the middle.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that we struck up a firm friendship with the ice cream lady in the Oceanview Café who was delighted that I was Instagramming her creations and took it as a personal challenge to create the most stylish icy treats for us every day of the cruise. She was such a good sport. I miss my daily ice cream!
I’ll be honest, I do sometimes feel that the buffet restaurant on board a cruise ship is best avoided. Okay, occasionally, like the first day of a cruise, even the best buffet restaurants are going to seem a bit crowded, but once the rush had died down, I have to say that generally, the Oceanview Café on board Celebrity Eclipse was very good. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between, the staff never seemed to stop. Breakfasts were particularly wonderful with great coffee for the boys, proper tea for me, an awesome ‘egg man’ cooking eggs to order (he called me Betty every day – I actually came to quite like it), lots of indulgent pastries and sticky buns, plus a plethora of healthy options like fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, and a completely delicious cinnamony granola that I got a bit addicted to. At lunchtime there was a full buffet including freshly made pizzas, lovely salads and a make your own pasta area. Later on in the afternoon, we popped up for delicious sushi and lovely paninis too.
I’ve been on quite a few cruises and often the main dining can be a bit meh, but the main dining on board Celebrity Eclipse, in the Moonlight Sonata restaurant, was fabulous. We were SO impressed with the food, service and decor in there that we would happily have eaten in there every night.
Our serving staff were lovely and we got to know them really well, plus the wine list was awesome (Mr E struck up a firm friendship with our sommelier, Sedat, who happily took us on a wonderful wine journey over the two weeks of the trip). The double-floored dining room is elegant and beautiful, the food is exceptional: delicate, beautifully presented and consistently excellent. Favourites included great steaks (often with great touches like extra shrimp), fish and seafood, fresh salads and delicious desserts. I loved that the staff took the time to get to know us (Charlie was addicted to the escargot, and was often brought extra portions, and I loved the cauliflower cheese, which was often added to my meal even if I didn’t ask for it).
While we were away, we celebrated our anniversary and decided to book in to the Tuscan Grille on board (a cover charge of $35 applies). The menu is Italian-inspired, with home made pastas, delicious seafood and incredible prime dry aged steaks. As usual, the staff were fabulous, and the sommelier was helpful and knowledgeable – we splashed out on a La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2014 and were not disappointed. The experience is wonderful and multi-sensory, with the waiter hand-snipping deliciously scented baby basil into your olive oil, and bringing baskets of warm, crusty bread ready to be torn and dipped. We shared a huge platter of charcuterie, cheese and olives and then dived into great steaks and sides. Barely able to eat another mouthful, we were then treated to a delicious surprise chocolate anniversary cake! It was a really special evening.
We saved our biggest blowout, a visit to Qsine, for our last evening. Mr E and I had experience Qsine before on Celebrity Infinity, and we really wanted to share it with the boys. A visit to Qsine is really special: a proper culinary journey taking you through all sorts of different cuisines, often presenting classic foods with a special Qsine twist: our favourite dishes included the escargot wrapped in lobster, the Indian banquet and the incredible desserts. The whole evening is unforgettable and made such fun by the waiting staff too.
It’s one of those evenings that you really can’t tell people about – you just kind of have to experience the whole thing – from choosing your meals from an iPad menu, to picking fresh chocolate flowers from a patch of grass for dessert, it’s experiential dining at its best.
It was really lovely for us to spend so much time together as a family and we’ll all really treasure the memories made on board Celebrity Eclipse. If you’re considering cruising with older children, I hope this little family cruise diary gives you an insight into just how fabulous it can be. Go book it! You won’t be disappointed.
As before, many thanks to the team at Siren, especially Kate, and thanks to everyone at Celebrity Cruises and on board the Celebrity Eclipse for looking after us so well. We’ll be back very soon xx
14-night Western Mediterranean cruise
Join Celebrity Cruises’ (www.celebritycruises.co.uk; 0800 441 4054) Celebrity Eclipse on a 14-night Southern Caribbean fly/cruise from £5,523, based on two adults sharing a balcony stateroom.
Price includes a 14-night cruise departing from Southampton (UK) and calling at Gibraltar (UK), Villefranche (Nice, France), Florence/Pisa (Italy), Rome (Civitavecchia, Italy), Genoa (Italy), Malaga (Spain) and Lisbon (Portugal) before returning to the UK; meals and entertainment on board the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
Price is based on 3 September 2017 UK departure. For more information on the current offer call 0800 441 4054 or visitwww.celebritycruises.co.uk
Price valid until 30 November 2016.