Premium cruise lines are taking their offerings to a whole new level. And what sets lines like Celebrity Cruises apart from the crowd is that they offer the best amenities, but without the sky-high price tag.
What’s important to me on a vacation is that it’s important for me to feel a sense of connection to the places I visit and the people I meet.
And that’s how I felt while sailing the Celebrity Eclipse around New Zealand. What the cruise line does is combine the best of food and drink, wellness and entertainment, all on their beautifully appointed ships.
It might be a premium brand, but it sure is luxurious. It was the attentive service, the decor in the cabins and public areas as well as the offerings in the restaurants.
I was Eclipse for exactly two days as she sailed from Sydney across the Tasman to New Zealand. There were nearly 3,000 other guests on board. And I’m addicted to coffee. While most passengers familiarized themselves with the pool bar and savored the margheritas, I comfortably familiarized myself with the frothy goodness of the soy cappuccinos from the El Bacio cafe on deck five.
As I walked to Cafe al Bacio on the sea day, I was greeted by the waitress Jessica who invited me to sit down and she would place my order for me. I dropped into the oversized mustard chair that lazily watched the frothy waves of cappuccino there, preparing to give Jessica my name, cabin number, and coffee preference. But no! Jessica had beaten me to it. Without further ado, she simply said “ok Miss Rose, I’ll bring you your soy cappuccino shortly”.
And so it was. For the next few days on board, I approached Café al Bacio with some curiosity – would Jessica still remember me? What would I say if she brought me a flat white with almonds by mistake? What if Jessica isn’t on call at that particular time of day?
But there it was. And she was there. And there was my soy cappuccino. I asked Jessica as she placed the oversized mug (just the way I like it) in front of me in my favorite oversized chair “Jessica, how do you manage to remember my name and my coffee order?”. Expecting the camera to fall out of her pocket, Jessica just looked me in the eye and smiled, saying, “I can see it in people’s eyes. You look like a Rose.
For the rest of my trip aboard the Celebrity Eclipse I was made to feel special and unique.
Not just by Jessica at El Bacio either. That was my experience across the whole ship. Julia my Brazilian sausage hand masseuse in the spa made me feel like I was back in my stomach.
It was also Michael who cleaned my cabin every morning and night and made towel puppets and helped carry my bags and found an Aussie power adapter for me.
Gede my Indonesian waiter in Murano who cooked my lobster by hand in front of me. In fact, every waiter in every restaurant who laughed at my lame jokes and helped me push myself into my chair, and made sure my sparkling water always had fresh lime in it.
It was Naomi, the yoga and meditation instructor, who helped me find my “Vedic chanting” at 5:30 in the gym – which I never imagined I’d been looking for all my life!
Maurizio the handsome Italian working in duty free who organized my groceries to be delivered at 11pm the day before I disembarked.
And it was Christian, the crew member, who silently handed me hot chocolate with a smile at 6 a.m. as I stood on the helipad in minus-degree wind chill temperatures and I couldn’t feel my fingers as we navigated the heads in Milford Sound at sunrise.
The list is literally endless. The team of people aboard the Eclipse gave me the feeling of ultimate luxury, which for me was to feel important. I felt like I was in heaven where everyone is genuine and happy and I went that extra mile to connect. And the real beauty of this experience was that when I took a moment to stop and sit down and look around I realized that every other passenger on board was treated the same. Each of us is important. This is the Celebrity experience.
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