You know “that feeling” – the one you get when you’re sitting on deck watching a big orange sun ooze down over a mountain range on the horizon? And the air temperature and breeze make your skin tingle after you take a dip in a deserted pool and then decide to hop in the hot tub? And as you watch your part of the world get dusky, it feels like an entire ship is yours?
I’m guessing most cruisers know what I mean. If I had to give the feeling a name, I’d probably call it happiness, or contentment or just, “Ahhhhh …”
On my first day onboard Celebrity Equinox I got “that feeling.”
OK, the ship may not be brand new anymore (Equinox is the second of Celebrity‘s ground-breaking Solstice Class ships, launched in 2009), and there are one or two slightly outdated aspects such as the in-cabin electronics, but apart from that Equinox is an outstanding ship.
Here are my 5 reasons to get onboard:
I was hooked within my first five minutes of exploring the ship when I noticed the walls of the Ensemble Lounge were lined with art by Damien Hirst (above). I’m not going to pretend to be an art critic, but the décor onboard Equinox is classy. And not in a stuffy way.
There are well-written placards near all the art onboard – whether it’s a featured piece in a swanky area of the ship, or a once trendy bit of pointillism on a stairwell. Many of these placards make mention of the “Yin and Yang” theme that apparently governs Equinox’s art collection. (A theme that is, simultaneously, a useless attempt to try to categorize a bunch of disparate works – and a cleverly reassuring catch-all phrase.)
Although it’s slightly daunting to be running on a treadmill and heading toward an infinite horizon, the AquaSpa Fitness Center onboard Equinox has one of the best views on the ship (above). Situated at the extreme forward end of Deck 12, directly below the Sky Observation Lounge, the gym section of the fitness center has wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows and a roomy layout. The equipment is modern, there’s a spacious and tucked away area for classes that also enjoys a great view, and there are trainers on hand. The only complaints I heard were that there was no bench (for bench press lifting) and the leg press machine was awaiting a replacement cable.
3. Adults-only Solarium pool
Floating languidly through the adults-only pool in the Equinox Solarium area on Deck 12, one is treated to a view of a living wall on one end and lifelike fountains of water dancing through colored lights at the other. The enclosed space is quiet, even when full, and well designed. Wooden decking is comfortable for bare feet and keeps the slip factor low. Entry to the pool is terraced, with a wading area surrounding the main pool. There are ladders but also gentle stairs for easier access.
Taking an evening swim and watching the sun set from either of the hot tubs that flank the pool is recommended.
4. Molecular Bar
If “healthy cocktails” exist, the Molecular Bar on Equinox’s Deck 5 has them. The small, mid-ships bar creates a list of around 10 specialty cocktails using herbal infusions, fruits and vegetables and other fresh, natural ingredients (think ginger, dark chocolate or even grilled pineapple). It goes almost without saying that the liquors are all top shelf. Everything on the menu is $12 except a Celebrity Signature Cocktail that runs $20. My bartender, Christian, graciously gave me a sneak peek at a cocktail that’s not yet on the menu, but will make an appearance soon. Keep an eye out for the “Brilliante,” a sweet little concoction of Brut Champagne, Agave Nectar, Angostura Bitters and Grand Marnier.
It must be said that, without exception, every crewmember I’ve met onboard thus far has been exceptionally nice – with virtually every interaction I’ve witnessed. My experience on Equinox contrasts sharply with a recent cruise on a different line, where staff members were generally disinterested and unhelpful.
So, those are my initial impressions. What do you think? Agree, disagree or have something to add? Tell us in the comments below.
Love your art? Find out about art auctions onboard.