Today we board Celebrity Eclipse for what I call our 4 B’s Transatlantic Cruise. Boston, Broadway, Bermuda and Bahamas. It will be our 3rd TA but our first on Celebrity and first departing from the UK. We shower and dress and head down for breakfast. We are trying to be mindful of what we eat. It’s inevitable we will gain a few pounds over the next couple of weeks but we will try to minimise the damage where we can. We both have full english but I only had one sausage so in my mind that’s being good.
Once done we decide to head down to Mayflower Park to take some pics of Eclipse in dock. We don’t plan on boarding the ship until after 11am and so we have some time. From there we head into Southampton for some last minute shopping. I get a couple of t-shirts in the sales and then we both grab some aftershave that was on offer in Boots. It’s a pleasant but cold morning as we stroll about. Southampton is not the prettiest of town but it is fairly compact with everything we need in easy reach.
Back at the hotel we grab our cases and checkout. It’s a 15 minute walk to the City Cruise Terminal. A little tricky with two cases each especially as the ground in parts is very uneven but we make it. Security and check in is a breeze and we are soon sipping Mimosas as we step onboard. It’s only 11.30am. We have a quick stroll around to orientate ourselves. Eclipse is almost identical to Reflection so it doesn’t take us long. We lunch in the Oceanview Cafe. We are both saintly and eat salads. Don’t think that will last.
At 1pm our cabin is ready. We are in 7235 port side. Again it is very similar to the cabin we had on Reflection. Our cases arrive in dribs and drabs and we begin the onerous task of unpacking and hanging stuff. It’s then we both realise we probably went a little overboard as we have to double (sometime triple) hang our shirts. Muster drill is a necessary bore and I find myself nodding off during the video presentation. At least we don’t have to stand in rows on the deck wearing the life jackets like some ships still do.
At 4.30pm Eclipse pushes away from the pier and we slowly start making out way down the Solent to the English Channel. Mayflower Park is full of people waving us off. We have to wear our jackets as we sip champagne on the balcony, it’s a little nippy. Eclipse manoeuvres expertly around the u bend all large ships have to make whilst exiting the Solent. As we enter the English Channel we feel some motion but not much. By this time the light is fading so we head back inside.
We shower and head out to the Martini Bar. Mhairi and Graham join us. We first met Mhairi a few years ago on another TA. She booked this one shortly after Peter announced we had booked. We eat in the Tuscan Grill. We have a 6 x speciality dining package so will split up the cruise between eating in the main dining room and Tuscan Grill, Murano and Qsine.
The sommelier brings us our favourite Chardonnay, Mer Soliel and he ensures our glasses are kept topped up throughout the evening. We have antipasti to start. There is a lot of it. They bring two plates but one would have sufficed. We both order the Filet Mignon for main with some sides of Garlic Mash, Brocollini, Polenta Fries and Creamed Spinach. Dessert was Tiramisu and Cheesecake.
We bump into Mhairi and Graham again in the Ensemble Lounge where we get some large brandies and chat for a while about each other days. We feel relaxed and contented. So much so that when asked if we want another brandy Peter says yes. I decline. It’s potent stuff and they don’t skimp on measures. Whether it’s the slight motion of the ship or the fact we can finally relax but we both feel tired and so head back to our cabin. No chance of sitting out on the balcony this evening, its a very chilly breeze out there.