The new $750 million Solstice class cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse came into service at the port of Southampton with a colourful naming ceremony accompanied by a full Scottish pipe band on Saturday 24th April 2010. It wasn’t all play and celebration though as the ship had to make a mercy dash on the 22nd April to Bilbao, to rescue 2,000 stranded holidaymakers with flights grounded due to the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. The new 122,000 ton Celebrity Eclipse is the sister ship of Celebrity Solstice (launched in summer 2008), Celebrity Equinox (July 2009), and Celebrity Silhouette, due to enter service in late 2011. She is the third Solstice-class cruise ship to enter the Celebrity fleet and is able to carry 2,852 passengers in double occupancy with a crew of 1,271. She will operate from the Southampton terminal during the summer of 2010 offering cruises to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. HotelDesigns was at the naming ceremony and was able to look around the public areas and a range of the state rooms.
The Eclipse and its sister the Equinox are almost identical in their basic layout, with marked similarities to each other structurally. There are a number of differences in the styling of the facilities and public areas – the new ship is a little less beige and has a bit more colour. The entrance to the ship was via the Entertainment Deck (deck five) and into the centre of the ship dominated by the atrium with its floating tree and golden ball centrepiece.