Sunday 30 April 2017

April Days

Returning to the UK from our Caribbean Honeymoon didn't feel as awful as expected, probably because when we landed in Newcastle we realised that whilst we'd been away Spring had well and truly arrived. Our month has been filled with days of sunshine, loads of food and long walks.

Here's what didn't make the blog in April.

Daffodil Days

You may remember from last year's disastrous daffodil walk that I'm a little obsessed with Spring's sunniest flowers. In the 3 weeks we were away it seems the daffodils arrived, bloomed and then left. Luckily there are still a few hanging about and I managed to power walk my way to Exhibition Park one lunchtime to see these beauties. My trip also reminded me that I still need to get myself to Wylam Brewery for some food - the Sunday lunches are supposed to be fantastic.

April Days - Wylam Brewery Daffodils

Hungry for Hippo

Our Honeymoon saw us returning home with a hefty bit of excess weight. With a long period of healthy eating and exercise ahead of us we decided to have one last blow out the day after we landed so headed to Fat Hippo in Jesmond. If you're going to have a last supper it's best to have it at Fippo. I went for my current favourite, the Danger Mouse, which is an exclusive on the Secret Menu if you are a member of the Herd.

April Days - Fat Hippo

Le Mini Macaron

Yep, the diet isn't going so well, turns out that Fat Hippo wasn't our last hurrah and we're still struggling to get on the straight and narrow. Something about nice weather makes me want to skip about in the sunshine eating naughty food, please tell me you're with me! During a recent outing we stumbled across local foodies Le Mini Macaron.  Despite appearing at markets across the region this was our first ever visit to their stall. Oh wow! The flavours they had were out of this world - Rhubarb and Custard, Cherry Bakewell, White Chocolate - we had six to share and each bite was more delicious than the last.

April Days - Le Petite Macaron

Lamb Tales

We've made the most out of our National Trust membership this month with visits to Gibside and Wallington where we got beautiful Easter treats courtesy of some adorable lambs. The Broomhouse Farm walk at Wallington had us strolling through a field full of happy woolly bundles and two of the more adventurous little chaps came right over to us. It wasn't long before Simon was shouting "Chloe, No!" at me, I think he was worried I'd try and take them home! Then on a walk at Gibside we happened to stroll past a field when a farmer appeared in his trailer to help a sheep in labour. Two seconds later we saw a lamb being born. Talk about great luck!

April Days - National Trust Lambs

Long Distance Memories

We had a good house clear out over the Easter weekend and finally got round to hanging up our beautiful wedding present from Simon's brother and his family. The heart in the middle is made up of three maps showing Norwich where I grew up, Simon's home town of Manchester and Newcastle where we got married and made our home.  I love it so much. Thoughtful, personal wedding gifts are the best!

Di Meo's

As soon as we got a sunny weekend this month we raced to the coast for a little walk along the seafront. We had fully intended to walk from St Mary's Lighthouse to Tynemouth but got so distracted people watching that we ended up turning round far earlier than expected in the search of ice-cream. We have many fantastic ice-cream parlours in the North East and there are still so many to try. I've heard great things about Di Meo's in Whitely Bay so it was lovely to finally tick them off our ice-cream list.  Wow they were good!  I had a scoop of Bounty with a scoop of Cookies and Cream stuffed into a chocolate sugar cone. As you can see the post Honeymoon diet isn't going so well!

April Days - Di Meo Whitley Bay

For more adventures from New Girl in Toon make sure you follow me on Instagram. I post a new photo every day.

Friday 28 April 2017

intu Metrocentre - Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Live

Fashion lovers rejoice, the Spring/Summer 2017 season has arrived and intu Metrocentre are celebrating with the return of their free fashion shows taking place in Town Square until Sunday 30 April.  Hosted by BBC Newcastle's Anna Foster, some of my favourite retailers including House of Fraser, Primark, Coast and New Look are showcasing their new season fashion to give you some inspiration to update your wardrobe ready for the warmer months.

intu Metrocentre - Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Live

If you're struggling on knowing how to style this year's trends (is it just me who worries that my statement sleeve will end up in my soup?) then intu Metrocentre are on hand to help, just in time for your much needed wardrobe spring clean.

I popped along to the Fashion Live preview event to see what we can expect this weekend.

intu Metrocentre - Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Live

Despite a pretty chilly week in Newcastle Gateshead (snow in April?!) I was feeling ready for Summer as soon as I arrived at the intu Metrocentre to find the catwalk surrounded by palm trees, flamingos and deckchairs. There's nothing like an inflatable flamingo to make you feel like Summer is here!

intu Metrocentre - Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Live

I was happy to see that some of my favourite Metrocentre eateries were there with TGI Friday providing some much needed liquid refreshment and Barburrito on standby to give us lots of energy (it's hard work sitting on the "frow" don't you know!)  I love that there are so many places to eat and drink at the Metrocentre, we tend to visit somewhere different each time we shop.

intu Metrocentre - Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Live

Highlights of my evening included some gorgeous wedding outfits from the beautiful new Coast store in the Platinum Mall and some really cute dresses from Cath Kidston in the Red Mall, perfect for Summer days picnicking.

The one item I'm really lusting over however is this stunning maxi dress from Accessorize, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be thinking non stop about it until it's in my wardrobe. Actually, I wouldn't say no to those aviator sunglasses either. Accessorize in the Green Mall is somewhere that I always have to visit before I go on holiday, they have such a great choice of beachwear, flip flops and sun dresses.

intu Metrocentre - Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Live - Accessorize

If, like me, you find yourself lusting after most of the items shown on the catwalk make sure you grab yourself a Fashion Live leaflet from Guest Services in the Metrocentre where you can find details of which stores will be offering discounts throughout the weekend.

intu Metrocentre - Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Live

You can catch Fashion Live at Intu Metrocentre Town Square (outside House of Fraser):

Friday 28 April - 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm
Saturday 29 April - 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm
Sunday 30 April - 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm

Make sure you follow #intuFashion for all the gossip from the Fashion Live Weekend.

Thursday 27 April 2017

The Honeymoon Diaries: Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe

Creating a Capsule Wardrobe is very much the thing to do at the moment. Condensing your closet down to a few key pieces and living a minimalist lifestyle sounds idyllic but isn't something that I believe I could ever achieve. When it came to packing for my Caribbean Cruise however it was key in ensuring that I travelled light.

When I was packing my case for our dream Honeymoon on Celebrity Eclipse I was keen to keep my luggage weight down. With a three day stop in Miami before we boarded the ship I knew that I'd want to do some shopping and Bath & Body Works candles aren't exactly the lightest things to bring home.

It seemed like a daunting task to start with, packing for a 14 night cruise to include day outfits and evening outfits, and keeping well below my luggage allowance at the airport. But I managed to do it, and here are a few tips if you're going on a Caribbean Cruise and want to create a holiday capsule wardrobe.

Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe

It's all about the shoes

I planned all of my outfits around my shoes! Shoes are one of the heaviest items you'll pack into your suitcase so it makes sense to keep them to a minimum.  As tempting as it was to pack all of my heels for the evening my sensible head knew that this wasn't practical. There's a surprising amount of walking involved in the evening on the ship and navigating the stairs and corridors of Eclipse in mammoth heels would have been a challenge. I chose one pair of comfortable heeled sandals in black and then built my evening wardrobe around them.

The only other shoes I really needed on the cruise were comfortable trainers for days that involved a lot of walking, sandals for pottering around ports and the all important flipflops for comfy days on the ship.  All of my daytime shoes were nice neutral colours that I knew would match any outfit.

Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe

Cheap basics

I headed to Primark before we left to find some basic white tops that would match all of the shorts I was taking. I was careful in store to only pick up the lightest items that I knew would take up a small amount of room in my suitcase.  Once I'd found my perfect top I bought a few of them to take with me. Having a few key basics in your suitcase makes pulling together an outfit so easy.

Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe

Cover up

Sorry to go all Pauline Fowler on you but I'm a big fan of cardigans on holiday!  Little cropped cardigans in a variety of beautiful colours are easy to find in shops like Primark and they can completely transform outfits to give your shorts and dresses multiple wears. They're also a great idea for protecting you from the sun in the middle of the day.

Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe

The rule of halves

I did a bit of reading and research into cruising before we went away and most people suggested that when packing for a cruise think about what you'd like to pack then half it! This worked so well for me, this was probably the first trip where I didn't pack multiple bags, endless amounts of swimwear and different shorts for every day.  Wearing items like shorts a couple of times is the best way to keep your luggage minimal.

Evening wear

I built my entire evening wardrobe around the colour black to match my sandals and this worked really well. I took a couple of dresses that I knew I could wear a few times and found some very clever fake lace sleeves in Primark that I could wear under outfits to give sleeveless dresses arms. Suddenly I could wear some of my outfits in several different ways! Taking bottoms like long skirts and fitted black trousers meant that I could take a few lightweight evening tops to pull together different outfits made up of the same bottoms.

This was definitely the first holiday where I didn't take a completely different coloured evening outfit for every night of our trip and it worked really well.

Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe

Plan before you pack

Before I put all of my clothes into my suitcase I made sure to lay them all out on my bed to make sure that I knew exactly what outfits I had. It took forever but was definitely worth the effort. Knowing in advance which items worked well together made sure that I kept my luggage to a minimum and that I had a good idea of exactly how my Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe was going to work before I went away.

Caribbean Cruise Capsule Wardrobe

I'm very pleased to say that when I checked in my luggage at Newcastle Airport it was well under my allowance and, despite Simon's concern, I managed to transport three huge Bath and Body Works candles home with me!

Does anyone else have any good tips for creating a holiday capsule wardrobe?

Monday 24 April 2017

The Honeymoon Diaries: Caribbean Cruise - Bernard Tours, St Maarten

Of all the islands we visited on our Caribbean Cruise there was one that we completely fell in love with and that was St Maarten, I could honestly sit here for hours telling you what an amazing place it is and just typing this now makes me desperate to return.

We booked a 4.5 hour tour with Bernard Tours which cost $40 per person and had a great itinerary showing off the very best of the island.

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - St Maarten
St Maarten is pretty unique as the island is half French and half Dutch with a distinct difference between the two sides that somehow works.  Crossing over the border the language, licence plates and currency changes yet both sides of the island live in harmony.

Our first stop of the trip was to visit the iguanas who live close by the road side and, when not terrorised by passing children, love to come out and show off to the tourists. I'd never seen an iguana in the wild before and they were quite a special sight, the closest I'll ever get to seeing a real life dragon! I will admit I didn't want to get too close, these guys moved fast and their little teeth looked pretty sharp.

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - St Maarten Iguanas

We ventured onto the French side of the island with a visit to Marigot Bay, an open market surrounded by a beautiful harbour, plenty of bars and some delicious French bakeries.

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - St Maarten Marigot Bay
With over an hour to play with we paid a visit to Sarafina French Bakery where we each chose a cake as well as some macarons. With a counter full of pastries, cream cakes, crepes and giant baguettes to choose from we did pretty well to be so reserved. Of course, consuming all of that delicious French food made us thirsty so we swiftly followed with a quick trip to a bar for a nice refreshing drink - Simon became quite the expert in Caribbean beers by the end of our trip!

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - St Maarten Marigot Bay

The highlight of our visit to St Maarten was a visit to Maho Beach at Princess Juliana International Airport. The best place in the world to view aeroplanes, there's nothing like a trip to Maho Beach to make you realise you're a wannabe plane spotter.

Positioned at the end of a runway in a direct flight path, Maho Beach is one of the best places in the world to watch planes and hoards of tourists flock to the sands each year to watch planes takeoff and land at one of the most dangerous airports in the world.

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - Maho Beach

As we approached the beach and saw the amount of people gathered with their phones out and faces looking up to the sky we couldn't help but think they were perhaps a little bonkers.  The warning signs scattered about telling you of the dangers of standing in the way of jet blasts should be enough to keep people away yet watching planes land at Maho Beach is a little addictive.

In no time we were joining in the craze and when we experienced our first plane coming into land right above our heads we had got the bug and spent a fantastic 40 minutes or so watching planes arrive and take off - each one more thrilling than the last.

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - Maho Beach

We honestly could have spent an entire day there!

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - Maho Beach

Our tour returned us to the port on the Dutch side of the island with a couple of hours left before we had to be back onboard Celebrity Eclipse so we decided to go for a little wander into Phillipsburg. Most the towns we'd visited in the Caribbean had been pretty small but Phillipsburg was a complete gem with so much to see.

The beautiful Front Street housed most of the shops in beautiful coloured buildings.  With no time to pop into any we had to make do with a quick walk of the street for a look, feeling rather sad that there wasn't enough minutes left in our day to appreciate it fully.

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - St Maarten

We headed back to the ship via the beach where I had a quick paddle in the water whilst sulking that we'd discovered the perfect island and there was no time to fully explore it. We had to be back onboard by 5:00 pm that night and our visit to St Maarten was one of the shortest of all our island visits.

Honeymoon Caribbean Cruise - St Maarten

As Celebrity Eclipse left the island I honestly could have burst into tears, it was the last island of our Honeymoon and we really had saved the best until last.  Both Simon and I are desperate to return to explore the island fully.

One day we hope to visit again!


Friday 21 April 2017

The Honeymoon Diaries: Caribbean Cruise - Cosol Tours, St Lucia

Out of the ports we visited during our Caribbean Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse there were two that we could see ourselves returning to for a longer visit. The lush island of St Lucia was one of them.  One of the most well known islands in the Caribbean it's a dream destination for many people and it was easy to see why.

We booked a trip with Cosol Tours who had a packed out 6 hour itinerary for $75 per person which included plenty of authentic Caribbean food and a mobile bar that followed us round to each location with ice cold beers and soda cans.

Our tour began with a trip to Morne Fortune, a stunning view point looking out over Castries harbour where we could spot Celebrity Eclipse in the waters below us.

The Honeymoon Diaries: Caribbean Cruise - St Lucia
One of the highlights of our trip to St Lucia was driving through the banana plantations in the Roseau Valley.  We stopped for a closer look and each got given a fresh banana to try. So much sweeter than the ones we buy ever week in the supermarket, they were so delicious. The fruits are also made into banana ketchup that was beautiful, we were tempted to buy a bottle to take home but were a bit worried they wouldn't be too happy with us at Heathrow.

Roseau Valley Banana Plantation St Lucia

Shortly after filling our tummies up with delicious bananas it was time for a breakfast stop. Despite having already eaten breakfast on the ship (we wont tell if you don't) with the promise of plenty of authentic Caribbean food to enjoy we knew we'd find the room. We stopped at a local house where we were treated to an amazing buffet of food.  Multiple tables were laid out with island coconut cookies, Johnny cakes, meat dishes and pastries. Every thing was homemade and delicious and it felt like such a treat getting to try so much food.

Feeling very full it was a good job that a short beach stop was next on the agenda. We had no idea what was in store for us as we were lead to the water edge and greeted by a speed boat! I have to admit as a non swimmer I was a little nervous but as we took off at high speed crashing over the waves towards the beach I was loving it. Holding onto our hats and each other for dear life we both agreed that it was quite the experience and something we would love to do again one day.

Pitons St Lucia
We landed (with slightly crazy hair) at Jalouise Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand between the iconic Pitons. Many people enjoyed snorkelling in the shallow waters but we split our time between paddling and chatting to the locals who were selling their wares to tourists.

Jalouise Beach St Lucia
Having already seen such a huge amount of beauty in St Lucia it was hard to believe there could possibly be more but next on the agenda was a trip to the Toraille waterfall in the Botanical Gardens.

There are several waterfalls in St Lucia and I have to say that although beautiful this one was covered in tourists. Trying to take a shot without half naked tourists in the background did prove a little challenging.  If you're lucky enough to be visiting St Lucia for a longer period of time I'd highly recommend doing your best to avoid bumping into tour groups when the Cruise ships are in port as everywhere is so busy!

Toraille Waterfall St Lucia
Our trip ended with a visit to the Sulphur Springs, the Caribbean's only drive in volcano.  Stepping outside the comfort of our van we were immediately greeted to the smell of rotten eggs - bleurgh! Our guide explained that being able to smell the sulpher was good as this meant it wasn't poisonous, after that we decided the egg smell was bearable.

We didn't have the time to properly explore but from our view point we saw an impressive amount of smoke and bubbling pools of black water. Neither of us had ever been to a volcano before so it was really interesting to learn more.

Sulphur Springs St Lucia

The only disappointing part of our trip to St Lucia was having to travel around with so many other cruise ship tour groups.  The huge throng of tourists attracted a lot of locals all desperately trying to sell their jewellery and bamboo animals.  Very hard to escape and a little bit of a hassle there were some locations where we couldn't fully enjoy the experience as we weren't being left alone, this meant that we returned to our ship with a bamboo fish, bird and cricket!

The Honeymoon Diaries: Caribbean Cruise - St Lucia

As we were driving back to the ship our tour bus returned the same route that we had travelled earlier and we noticed that each tourists spot we had visited earlier was deserted.  This has made us want to return to St Lucia one day to enjoy the beautiful scenery and experiences without the hassle of travelling in a large group. There were also many locations where we could easily have spent more time.

We most definitely left a piece of our heart in St Lucia and I'm very hopeful that one day we will return.

Thursday 20 April 2017

The Honeymoon Diaries: Caribbean Cruise - Vista Tours, Bonaire

We were at port for 7 days in total over our 14 night Caribbean Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse and some ports were definitely better than others. If you're thinking of cruising the Caribbean I would recommend booking excursions for all of your stops as we found that there wasn't much to look at close to the ship at the vast majority of the ports.

The Honeymoon Diaries: Caribbean Cruise - Bonaire
Our first island on our trip was Bonaire where we booked a tour with Bonaire Vista Tours. We decided against booking Celebrity Cruise official excursions during our time away as we found they were far more expensive yet followed the same itinerary as the independent tours.  Having spent hours researching on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic all of the tours that we booked came highly recommended by others.

Bonaire Vista Tours ran a 3.5 hour tour round the island for $35 per person which included an ice cold can of soda and a lovely intimate tour for 15 people in an air conditioned van.

Our tour began to the south of the island where the Bonairean Alps glisten behind the most beautiful pink coloured waters. The "Alps" are actually huge piles of salt, gathered from the salt flats below, Bonaire has been exporting its salt to America and Europe for over 350 years.

Bonaire Salt Flats

A short trip down the road we discovered the Slave Huts set alongside beautiful turquoise water - we saw some impressively coloured seas during our trip to the Caribbean but I have to say Bonaire had the most breathtaking sea views, I never truly believed sea could look like that before I arrived on the island.

The Slave Huts were used during the 1800s as small shelters for the slaves and although the little stone buildings you see now aren't the original huts, they serve as a reminder of one of the darkest periods of history.

One thing I was desperate to see during our time on Bonaire was the flamingos.  I didn't want to get my hopes up as they are a protected bird of the island and live within a sanctuary which tourists are (for obvious reasons!) not allowed access to.  With eagle eyes you can spot them from the road and if you're very lucky you can see flocks pretty close.

Bonaire Flamingos

We managed to see quite a few although we were kicking ourselves for not having a better camera lens.  No amount of leaning over my fellow passengers was going to give us the lovely clear photographs that we wanted and it's definitely made us realise that we need a far better lens for wildlife photography.

Just as the weather turned even hotter we stopped at the Cadushy Distillery in Rincon for some cactus liqueur. Sounds strange I know but it was so delicious and there were plenty of varieties to try as well as a lovely courtyard surrounded by colourful birds to relax in. These Brits certainly appreciated the shade of the trees in the steaming hot temperatures.

Bonaire Cadushy Distillery in Rincon

Our tour returned to the capital of Bonaire, Kralendijk hours before our ship was due to leave so we got to spend some time exploring the beautiful little town. The streets were lined with colourful houses and we treated ourselves to a large ice-cream cone to cool ourselves down on the short walk back to the ship.


We loved our time on the little island of Bonaire and would definitely recommend Vista Tours if you ever find yourselves there.

Let me know if you've ever visited Bonaire, I'd love to hear about your travels.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

The Honeymoon Diaries - All Aboard Celebrity Eclipse

Tell people that you're booking a cruise and most will try and tell you that cruising is for the older generation. We never let this put us off when we were booking our dream trip, Simon and I aren't the kind of people who are bothered about spending all our time with people our own age and we knew we'd have a great Honeymoon regardless. In the end we met people of all ages and nationalities on our Honeymoon Cruise so it goes to show you should never let other people ruin your travel dreams.

Celebrity Eclipse

With so many cruise companies to choose from it was a personal recommendation that eventually helped us come to a decision. Our friends Rachel and Rich did a cruise with Celebrity for their Honeymoon and their enthusiasm easily convinced us. It's thanks to them that we now have so many brilliant stories and memories of our own.

Once we'd decided which company to go with there were so many itineraries to choose from and for a good while we thought we'd head to the Med. It was the promise of exploring somewhere new, guaranteed hot weather and ticking off some dream destinations that made us book an Exotic Southern Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Eclipse, the fact it left Miami on my birthday was the extra cherry on top.

The Honeymoon Diaries - Celebrity Eclipse

All Aboard Celebrity Eclipse

As someone who can't help but stress a little when I'm travelling I'm pretty used to worrying about my documents, itineraries and luggage and will never relax until I reach my destination. Celebrity took away all of that, the check in process was so well organised and I've never experienced such a high level of organisation.

The Honeymoon Diaries - All Aboard Celebrity Eclipse

We were on the ship within moments of check in with a glass of fizz in our hands and headed straight to one of the upper decks to take in the views of Miami.

Celebrity Eclipse leaving Miami
We had been allowed to board several hours before we were due to depart and we were glad we'd got ourselves on the boat early, it gave us plenty of opportunity to explore our surroundings.  We left Miami at 4:00 pm with the first "Sail Away" of our trip, we soon learnt that every port we left involved a Sail Away and we always tried to go on an upper deck to enjoy the views as we left port, usually with a cocktail in our hands.

Our Cabin

Cruising is a pretty expensive way to see the world, however costs can be dramatically reduced depending on the type of stateroom that you choose.  Choosing an inside cabin with no window can knock a hefty chunk of money off your balance however as we were on Honeymoon we didn't want to worry about being thrifty.

Celebrity Eclipse Ocean View Stateroom with VerandaWe decided to book an Ocean View Stateroom with Veranda, a decision that we were so happy with as we had our own outside balcony complete with furniture. It was so fun waking up in the morning and pulling back the curtains to see where we were.

Our Stateroom was surprisingly roomy and the space was so well planned out that there was plenty of storage space for our luggage. So surprising when we both had four suitcases between us.

Celebrity Eclipse Ocean View Stateroom with Veranda

The bed was huge, the bathroom had ample space, we had loads of places to hang our clothes and even had a little lounge area to chill out in. Our Cabin was cleaned twice a day by our Stateroom attendant who kept our place spotless.

It really was a home away from home.

The Ship

Being on board Celebrity Eclipse was like being in a luxury hotel on water. The ship was just the right size - huge with plenty of places to go without being too ridiculous.

Celebrity Eclipse
As well as plenty of restaurants and bars there was also a gym (that we did use a couple of times in the earlier days of the cruise), a spa, library, swimming pools, hot tubs, a casino and even a Michael Kors shop. During our trip I heard plenty of stories about some of the larger ships belonging to other cruise liners that featured dodgem cars and water slides but for us Celebrity Eclipse was perfect - luxurious with plenty to do without any gimmicks. It was the perfect ship to relax.

Celebrity Eclipse

Food on Celebrity Eclipse

It's no surprise that I put on a stone whilst we were away on Celebrity Eclipse, everyone had warned me that you eat a lot when you're cruising but I had no idea that it was possible to eat all day every day.  If you wanted to indulge in 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, dinner and a midnight snack you could!

We enjoyed most of our breakfasts and lunches at the Ocean View Bar Cafe, a buffet open all day with a constant supply of food. Lunch was a never ending choice of breads, meats, cheeses, salads, pizzas and pastas as well as daily changing specials that covered everything from Indian food to fish and chips.

It took us a few days to discover but we soon realised that with our package we could enjoy mugs of creamy coffees at Cafe al Bacio, a cosy coffee and cake shop on the Fifth deck.  We ordered Caramel Macchiatos most days and when I could find the room in my tummy we enjoyed it with huge slabs of cake.

Celebrity Eclipse Cafe al Bacio

We ate most of our evening meals at the main restaurant Moonlight Sonata which was included in our package. We sat at the same table every night, in between two other small tables where we were always joined by other couples that we could chat to. We often got to eat with the same couples and met some fantastic people during our meals and loved exchanging life stories and travel tales. The menu changed each night and there was always a great variety of dishes.

There were three speciality restaurants on Celebrity Eclipse that you could pay extra to dine in. Our favourite was Qsine where we celebrated our six month wedding anniversary. The concept was like nothing else I'd ever experienced - food from around the world, ordered on an ipad and presented in a variety of creative ways. We were encouraged to order four to five dishes to share and enjoyed Sushi lollipops, popcorn fish and chips as well as sliders we built ourselves and tacos that saw Simon mixing up our own guacamole.

Celebrity Eclipse Qsine

If all that wasn't enough there was also a speciality gelato shop, a poolside grill that served hot dogs and burgers and a sushi restaurant.  It's no wonder we were struggling to fit into our clothes a few days in.

Celebrity Cocktails 

Neither Simon or I are big drinkers but we still managed to indulge in a mammoth amount of cocktails while we were away.  There were a variety of drinks packages available on the cruise ship, we opted for the Classic Package which meant we could enjoy Prosecco, our favourite wines and most things off the cocktail menu.

Celebrity Eclipse Cocktails

It took us a few days to work out which drinks we loved the most and we soon realised that each bar made them a little differently. After a while we had fallen into a routine of ordering certain cocktails in certain bars to get the best drinks.

During the day we favoured Mudslides, Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris at the Ocean View Cafe bar. They were ice cold and so refreshing to enjoy out in the hot sunshine whilst we enjoyed staring out at the miles of blue sea behind us.

Celebrity Eclipse Cocktails

In the evening time Simon loved to indulge in an Old Fashioned. He tried them all over the ship before finding his favourite at the Grand Foyer where the barman took the time to teach him the perfect way to create an Old Fashioned.

Celebrity Eclipse Cocktails

My favourite evening tipple was a Pink Lady, I'd never tried one before but I think I'll be indulging in more back at home.

Celebrity Eclipse Cocktails
Official Photographs

Our first few days on board we stumbled across the Photography Studio and signed up for a full package of photographs. As it was our Honeymoon we thought that we'd appreciate having plenty of photographs of the two of us to look back on.  The full package cost us $250 and gave us a print out of every photograph we had taken as well as a disc containing all of the images.

Celebrity Eclipse Cocktails
The official photographers had four little studios set up round the ship each evening as well as doing the rounds during Sail Away, the bar areas and restaurants and being out to greet us at every port.
Finding the photographers each day became a bit of a fun challenge and we got to know the whole team during our trip which was lovely.

Days on Board

We had four days at sea during our Caribbean cruise and quickly fell into a ship routine. Never setting an alarm we'd roll out of bed and head to the Ocean View Bar Cafe after breakfast for a peaceful few hours reading in the comfy chairs. We realised pretty early that being away from the swimming pools this was the quiet end of the ship and the perfect place to get lost in a book - I rediscovered my love of reading during our trip and worked my way through five books!

One day we were extremely lucky and managed to spot some whales swimming pretty close to the ship, those of us who were on deck got to enjoy some brilliant whale watching and seeing them jump about in the water is something we'll remember forever.

Celebrity Eclipse
After eating too much lunch we often returned to our cabin for a few hours in the afternoon for a siesta. Sitting in the sun, drinking cocktails and eating tends to make you sleepy and a few hours nap in the afternoon was the only way to keep ourselves feeling fresh for the evening. Cruising life is hard work you know!

We booked all of our evening meals in advance and usually ate between 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm, we always made sure that we got changed for the evening and if we had enough time we'd try and make it up to one of the outside decks at the top of the ship to watch the sunset with a quick pre dinner cocktail.

Celebrity Eclipse Sunset
After our evening meal we'd usually head to the Eclipse Theatre to see the show. Each day was completely different and we'd only discover from our newsletter the night before what was on the following night. Most of the shows were fantastic, and there were only a couple of overly produced cheesy shows that made us cringe. We saw magicians, comedians and singers during our time onboard and always left with a smile on our faces.

The rest of our evening was usually spent watching the ship's house band who we grew to love during our time onboard. The Sound Stars were a young British band who did fantastic soul sets in the Grand Foyer as well as party tunes later in the evening - dancing to a fantastic live version of "Uptown Funk" underneath the stars on the pool deck is a memory I will cherish forever.

Celebrity Eclipse

I hope this gives you a little taster of what life was like on board Celebrity Eclipse. If anyone is thinking of booking a cruise I'd highly recommend it. Your first experience of Cruising is exciting and rather overwhelming. There are so many things you learn as you go along and I'd highly recommend checking out Cruise Critic to get a good understanding of how things work.

Let me know if you've been cruising and what your experience was like!
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