Thousands of individuals lined the banks of Germany's River Ems to see Celebrity Eclipse make her first departure from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg to embark its conveyance. The third of five in Celebrity Cruises' $3.7-billion Solstice Class fleet is 1,040 feet long and 121 feet wide.
"Cruise ship captains generally do not expect to encounter the challenges the conveyance presents," said Celebrity Eclipse Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis. "Celebrity Eclipse is only a few feet slimmer than the narrowest lock we have to navigate, which isn't much room, particularly when the president of the company is onboard, keeping a close watch! But we've done this twice before, and I am entirely confident of another smooth and successful passage."
Celebrity's President and CEO Dan Hanrahan and the Captain are far from alone on the ship. This year, among those experiencing the once-in-a-lifetime conveyance are a host of winners of the line's global "Eclipse of a Lifetime" sweepstakes.
Before setting sail, the lucky winners— as well as a select group of travel agents and elite members of the press— had the exclusive opportunity to press the button activating the very first cuts of steel that will become a permanent part of the next ship in Celebrity's Solstice Class fleet, Celebrity Silhouette, during a customized, private tour at Meyer Werft shipyard.
After arriving in Emshaven, Netherlands, where those first few individuals to experience Celebrity Eclipse will depart, the ship will embark on sea trials, followed by a series of promotional events in Hamburg, Germany, and Southampton, England, where the vessel will be the first in the Celebrity fleet to be dedicated to the UK market. During her inaugural season, Celebrity Eclipse will offer cruises in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Scandinavia and Russia, as well as short cruise options to Le Havre (for Paris), and Cork, Ireland, all roundtrip from Southampton. The ship will present Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Miami, after crossing the Atlantic in November.
Celebrity Eclipse will be the industry's first to offer the Celebrity iLounge, complete with a retail area offering the latest products through Celebrity's authorized Apple reseller status, and the first to present Qsine, an interactive dining venue complete with wine menus on a personal touchscreen.
Like her sister ships - Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox - Celebrity Eclipse will present The Lawn Club, with real, growing grass; The Hot Glass Show, a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass; 10 dining venues, including Qsine; and widely varied entertainment, including shows with breathtaking aerial acts.