Duncan Writes

Adventures of a part-time traveller.

Preparing for the Fjords

28 April 2013

We’re only 5 days away from our next cruise on Celebrity Eclipse to the beautiful Norwegian Fjords.  You can follow along over the next couple of weeks on here, assuming I can get posting by e-mail to work properly!  If you want to be notified of new posts, just click the ‘follow’ button at the bottom of the page and pop in your e-mail address.

One review I read of a Celebrity Eclipse cruise from Southampton mentioned of arriving at the dock and then eating lunch on the ship just 20 minutes later.  This does not sound possible based on my experience with Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 last year where we spent an age waiting to be called, checking in, queuing for security and finally boarding.  It may be that Celebrity manage this check-in process much more effectively than Cunard, and based on the pre-cruise experience on the My Celebrity website, it seems that they start early.

My Celebrity is your portal for preparing for your cruise.  You can do all of the usual things, like pre-book dining, excursion, and drinks packages (which we managed without any issue) but you can also check in online.  This is something that Cunard didn’t offer, and I wonder if it’s the key to the boarding process being faster.  Celebrity ask you for the details of all members in your party, including passport numbers, dates of birth, and payment card for your onboard account.  This is all printed on a ‘boarding pass’ which you are to present along with your identification and credit card for verification when boarding.

I also discovered that Celebrity don’t seem to have allocated a specific time to arrive at the pier (unlike Cunard) – our boarding pass simply asks us to arrive any time after 11am, but no later than 30 minutes prior to sailing.  Based on recommendations elsewhere, we plan to arrive early and give ourselves a tour of the ship while it’s still relatively empty.

Whether all this speeds up the process or not remains to be seen – I’ll let you know how we get on!

For those who don’t know, we leave Southampton on the 3rd of May and are on board for 8 nights, visiting Molde, Ålesund, Flåm, Bergen, and Stavanger, before returning to Southampton for our trip home.  We’ll also be staying in three different Premier Inn hotels during our break to help us break up the journey.  When on board we’ll have the chance to try all of the speciality dining venues that Eclipse has to offer, one of the official tours (on the Flåm railway), and experience the ‘Modern Luxury’ that Celebrity promise.