Eclipse’s maiden voyage a tight fit

The latest ship in Celebrity
Cruises’ Solstice Class fleet, destined to eventually service the Western Caribbean, has left its shipyard.
Celebrity Eclipse embarked from Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany
for its voyage down the River Ems on Thursday. It will eventually come into Caribbean service in November 2010 and is due to first
visit Cayman in January 2011.

Eclipse is one of five Solstice
Class ships. Its sister ships so far in service are Solstice, Equinox and Silhouette.
Built at a cost of $750 million, it weighs 122,000 gross tonnes, is 1,040 ft in
length, 121 ft wide and has 19 decks in total. Passenger capacity is 2,852.

The journey down the River Ems
requires precision due to the depth of the river. This kind of conveyance
presents a challenge to cruise ship captains, said Eclipse’s Captain,
Panagiotis Skylogiannis.

“Although I am accustomed to
docking in tight ports, I prefer to be chasing sunshine in the open sea. 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,” said the sailor.


Celebrity Eclipse begins its first journey on water.
Photo: Submitted