Our second cruise was on the Eclipse, another new cruise ship, but one very different from the Queen Vic. Life is more casual on the Eclipse, and the décor is not that of the traditional liner, but very modern and glitzy. There is real grass for playing bowls and croquet on the sports deck and the most amazing speciality restaurants with wonderful food. We enjoyed the more casual atmosphere, but I must say, the Queen Vic still had the edge when it came to organization, service and the BUFFET!!!
We discovered that one of the main pastimes on a cruise is eating, so the state of the buffet is all important and the QV buffet was unsurpassed. Back to the Eclipse, though, once again, we booked at the last minute, just a couple of weeks before she sailed, and this time we were lucky enough to get a balcony suite for half price!!! The route was up into the Baltic, calling into Blankenburg, Wernermunde, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallin, St Petersburg and finally, Copenhagen. It was a wonderful trip as they were all places we would not be likely to get a chance to visit independently.
The Eclipse is truly a modern dream and is on the cutting edge of cruise-ship technology. There were several lectures given on the ship’s systems, which are designed to be sustainable and closed in as many areas as possible. Much effort is put into re-cycling where-ever appropriate. There is also an excellent film available on the closed-circuit TV which describes the design and building of the ship, demonstrating the technology developed and used to provide safe and comfortable travel for passengers. This type of ship is often referred to, rather disparagingly, as a ‘floating hotel’ and I must agree, that the silhouette of a vessel such as this is not beautiful. There is no comparison, for example, between this and the innate elegance of a proper ocean liner like the vessels of Cunard. However, from inside the ship and as a travelling passenger, I was only too pleased at the end result. At least in the seas we travelled, it was ‘steady as you go!’