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What sets Eclipse apart from her sisters? Words: Susan Parker

Celebrity Eclipse is the third of five sister ships in Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class fleet, but a brace of brand-new features sets her apart from her siblings.

Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class ships are large but their design and décor are elegant; intimate rather than overtly sumptuous. Colours are never garish but there’s lots of ‘wow factor’, especially in areas such as the Tuscan Grille, The Lawn Club and AquaSpa by Elemis. Also impressive is the Hot Glass Show, and several theatrical shows staged with Poet Theatricals.

It is to Eclipse’s speciality restaurant Qsine that I guide you, however. You can book online pre-cruise and I urge you to do so: this restaurant is sure to book out fast as passengers learn via word of mouth what a treat they’re in for!

It took Celebrity’s vice president of culinary operations, Jacques Van Staden, 18 months to perfect his culinary offering, which he calls “uniquely unordinary”. The idea is to take traditional and familiar dishes from around the world and give each a playful twist. As Jacques explains, “The food [will] have a total makeover.”

After a stint as executive chef at Washington’s Watergate Hotel overseeing a $10 million food and beverage budget, he was excited to design a completely new restaurant for Eclipse and a worldwide one-off.

The idea at Qsine is to share dishes and, at $30 a head, you could almost order everything on the menu. Your tastebuds will be tempted by disco shrimps, a cupcake affair, sushi lollipops and popcorn fish’n’chips.

Qsine is also the first cruiseline restaurant to have iPad menus, which leads me to Eclipse’s second new feature: an onboard iLounge with MacBook Pros loaded with iLife software. Celebrity is the only Apple reseller at sea, which means that you can buy Apple products on board duty-free. It’s yet another reason to sail on Eclipse.

Fact File:

CRUISE LINE: Celebrity Cruises

VESSEL: Celebrity Eclipse

STAR RATING: N/A

MAX. PASSENGER CAPACITY: 2,850

TOTAL CREW: 1,246

PASSENGER DECKS: 13

GRT: 122,000 tons

ENTERED SERVICE: April 2010

FACILITIES INCLUDE: Fitness centre, spa, 10 restaurants, 3 swimming pools, casino, children’s facilities, 1,426 cabins (85% with balconies)