Grand Eclipse’s Grand Visit
Roatan is becoming one of the most visited destinations in the Caribbean. Its strategic location, a perfect turn-around place for seven-day-cruises originating in Florida or Texas, good harbors and positive reviews by cruise ship passengers is attracting more and more ships.
The island is quickly getting into a weekly rhythm: three, sometimes four cruise ships on Tuesday and Wednesday and then time for souvenir store owners and taxi drivers to catch their breath over the weekend and Monday. The latest new ship to visit Roatan was Eclipse, a 122,000 ton, 2,852 passenger ship that is a pride of the Celebrity cruise lines and launched in February 2010.
On December 2, Eclipse visited Port of Roatan on her maiden voyage. To mark the occasion, invited local government guests, Honduras minister of Tourism and media came on board to meet the captain, enjoy lunch and receive a guided tour.
Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis, the most important man on the ship welcomed the Roatan guests on board of the 1,033 foot long passenger ship. “We have automatic water purification, solar panels and silicon paint that reduce drag and increases fuel efficiency,” told about the top-of-the-line ship Captain Skylogiannis. With an optimized hull design and 30% more energy efficient lights Solstice ships are considered to be some of the most environment-friendly ships in the world.
“Many destinations ‘would kill’ to have a ship of this caliber visit. We are lucky to have all three Solstice class cruise ships visiting us on Roatan,” said Alvaro Duron, the general manager of Port of Roatan. According to Captain Skylogiannis two more Solstice class ships are due to be built and put into service by July 2011 and November 2012.
“Maybe Roatan shouldn’t become too similar to other Caribbean destinations,” said Federico Gonzalez-Denton, director of Government & Community Relations for Caribbean and Latin America. Gonzalez-Denton praised uniqueness of Roatan as a tourist destination and experience in an increasingly homogenized region.
Eclipse is scheduled to come to Roatan every two weeks until April, when she will sail across the Atlantic and begin cruising the Mediterranean. Celebrity Eclipse was floated in February 2010 as the third Solstice-class ship. Along side Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox, all three ships have already visited Roatan.
Eclipse, a high end cruiser, has no shortage of restaurants to choose from: Moonlight Sonata, Cafe al Bacio, the Oceanview Cafe, the Mast Grill and the Continental and European-inspired Murano. Also onboard the ship is the Aquaspa, Solarium and Lawn Club; an area of real grass that is cut nearly everyday and where activities are held, such as Boules, Miniature Golf and giant Jenga. There are pools, a casino, a theatre, bars and on the top deck surrounded by manicured grass lawns, a glass workshop of the Corning Museum of Glass holds exhibitions of glass blowing. The pieces created during the voyage are auctioned off at the end of each voyage.
Eclipse has participated in a good-will effort and evacuated 2,000 British tourists from Spain during the Islandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano explosion in April. [/private]