This was our 12th cruise and 2nd on Celebrity and was thoroughly enjoyable. Since we have sailed on Celebrity Infinity, I thought I would like the Equinox and she was better than I imagined. It's with mixed emotions that I write this glowing review of our trip knowing that Christina Cassin lost her life scuba diving with the ship's excursion in Cozumel. My heart and prayers go out to her family and friends.
We had an aft S1 and in interior which worked well for our family. We have had aft staterooms on Princess two other times and we enjoy the location and the wrap around balcony very much. Unlike reported in earlier reviews, there was no discernible soot or vibration. This sailing had very smooth seas with only one day of moderate seas and the aft location was great. We slept with the sliding door open most nights to enjoy the sound of the wake and it was very, very nice. Our stateroom attendant Leslie was very good and the butler Rodney was absolutely fantastic. We enjoyed our conversations very much and as busy as all the staff were; I always felt they would make the time to visit.
We know what we like to do on the ship and we usually like spending time as a family, so we don't get too involved in the shows so I can't comment there. My son enjoyed playing trivia and met many friendly guests. We had select dining and that was fine for us, but we had to wait a couple nights when we happened to show up at the same time a performance let out. We thought the main dining food was very good; particularly the plank salmon for the first formal night.
We ate twice in each of Murano, Tuscan and Silk Harvest and in Bistro once. All but Bistro were great and Bistro I thought was just OK. I was surprised about that given all the reviews we heard prior to sailing. The desert crepes were great, but the dinner crepes were not what I was expecting. I thought our previous SS United States dining was better, but that was more for the changes to the menu, than the caliber of the food and certainly not from the service.
We enjoyed the lawn very much; far more than I imagined. I liked playing bocce with our family in the evenings and despite the heat and the humidity; you can find some shaded areas on the lawn to play.
My wife had the premium non-alcohol plan and I had the premium plan with alcohol. The non-alcohol plan was a fantastic plan for us with multiple coffees from Cafe al Bacio during the day (who has the absolute best staff anywhere!), waters throughout the ship, and Pellegrino with dinner. My wife might have a glass of wine with dinner and 1 drink in a week, so her plan worked best. For me; I'd enjoy a drink from the Molecular bar before dinner and enjoy the Welsh bartender's great conversation. I would then request that they pair the wine with my dinner and have a coffee drink afterward. While I'm sure I may have reached the breakeven point on paper most nights; it was too much for me for 11 nights. I think only because you can have higher priced drinks that I may have reached the breakeven point, but 11 nights is just too many for me. I might opt to upgrade from non to with alcohol later in a long cruise or just stick to the non-program.
My wife and I both used the gym often and she did the boot camp, multiple spinning classes and stretching classes. The gym staff was excellent and it was a treat to have access to excellent equipment and trainers. Out of all our cruises; the Equinox was hands down the best for the fitness program and facilities. It was utilized, but not overwhelmingly so.
We went scuba diving in Cozumel, Roatan and Grand Cayman and enjoyed the diving Roatan the best. We used Bananarama who was one of the best dive operators I've encountered in the 25 plus years of my recreational diving. We used Dive with Martin in Cozumel who was located right at the pier. I'm so thankful for Jean and Julie who encouraged us to join them here as otherwise we would have been diving with the ship at the fateful location that took Christina Cassin's life who was diving with the ship's scuba excursion. The currents were very strange this day, but I had arranged for a private dive master for our family of 4 since my 2 children were recent divers and I knew when my wife and I went scuba diving in Cozumel before how challenging the drift dives can be. The diving in Cayman with the ship was the weakest and I felt the dive operators wanted to rush us through the dives to get back so they could take another group for an afternoon dive. It was just OK and not at all memorable.
I organized an excursion with Okey Dokey tours in Costa Rica. We ended up with 35 people and two vans to zip line, have lunch, and visit the jaguar rescue center. I had used Okey Dokey tours previously and our guide George was excellent. This tour was rushed however and we did not go to the beach, or the national park. The zip line was great fun, but there were many groups there so it took a while to complete the runs and the drive to the jaguar rescue center was quite long. This pushed our lunch too late in the afternoon and we just ran out of time. I wouldn't hesitate to use Okey Dokey, but I'd select a different group of activities.
In Colon, Panama; we used Mario and our guide (also named Mario) was outstanding. We saw the canal, wildlife and the San Fernando fort. The trip was great, but did not stop for any food and you'd think we wouldn't be hungry after days on the ship, but in the heat and humidity coupled with walking around; the tour would have been better if we had the opportunity for a food stop.
In Columbia where we had been previously, we took a cab (from outside the fenced port area) for $2 per person to the walled old city (dropped off by the convention center). We love Cartagena very much for its beauty and history. We had a typical Colombian meal at Sorchero which was excellent!
We met some great people, enjoyed time as a family, ate some great meals and thoroughly enjoyed our trip. As with life, attitude is everything and while there may have been some areas for improvement, I'll remember this trip for all the enjoyable times we shared.