Our arrival and entrance to the ship was very pleasant. They have that down nicely.
Once on board they greet you with THE most horrible sparkling wine. Took one sip and both found a place to put it down. Not sure what to suggest to them, it's a well intentioned touch but...they should save the money.
Equinox is a BEAUTIFUL ship. While our cabin wasn't ready when we arrived, that was really not an issue as you can explore and get lunch. Absolutely no complaints. Restaurant was very crowded but that's only what you should expect.
When cabin was ready we immediately went to see our new home for the next 10 days. We were concierge class and expected a decent size room. Not so. RCCL has better laid out cabins in the same class. The closet is not walk in and very close to the bed. While my husband and my clothes fit....it was barely. They have a very large bed in the room, which takes up A LOT of space. I'd rather see them put a smaller bed and give you room to walk around. They have storage over the bed (USELESS!!) you have to stand on the bed to get to anything in it. Most stupid design I've ever seen....a woman could not have done this. There's a sofa with a small coffee table in front of it....that just is taking up space in the room and you are always walking around it. We moved it to the side, I should have asked the room attendant to get rid of it so we had more space. Bottom line the room was cramped. Many will say, "oh you don't spend much time in your room....blah blah" well I do I like to use it as a sanctuary to get away from the public. It was however clean and well appointed. TV system is outstanding! The bath was the nicest I've seen on a ship. Balcony was nothing really special but nice.
Room attendant was nice but we didn't see her much. That was okay as if you didn't need anything it's awful to have them always banging on your door or in your space.
They left a bottle of sparkling wine in the room. Again, save your money Celebrity....it's awful. We dumped it in the toilet. They left fresh fruit every day which was nice.
Our biggest issue with this ship was the main dining room. We chose a table of 10 and all the tables are very close to each other making it difficult for the waiters etc. to navigate around. Our service, from waiter to wine steward was only adequate and was slow. Very slow. Food was average. Steak was tough no matter how you ordered it. I've been more impressed on less caliber ships. We did have table mates who raved about their nights at the speciality restaurants. I feel we made a mistake not getting out of Dodge so to speak and just going to the speciality restaurants...but 1. you pay more for that 2.you miss the company of your table mates 3. why shouldn't the food and the service be the same quality all over the ship??
Entertainment was okay. We didn't go every night so it wouldn't be fair for me to critique it.
Pool area was lovely with padded lounge chairs. BUT still a lot of people saving multiple lounges and either showing up or not. RUDE. Celebrity says if the lounges aren't used for a half hour their stuff will be removed. Did not see that done ONCE. Will say that Celebrity with it's older crowd has less rowdy activity and noise at the pool area. We end up finding a spot away from the pool though as you can move your chairs around and not feel like you are lying next to someone in bed. (Ewh) Too close. They often walk around with iced towels to cool you (WHAT A TREAT on a hot day)
Also when you are re-boarding from excursions they have those iced towels, cool drinks and fresh flowers at a seating area just before you board. Have to say I really felt special when they do that. Especially if another cruise line is right beside you on the pier and they are practically being strip searched! ;-)
Our stops were:
St. Thomas (dirty crowded expensive and noisy) shopping was an assault to your senses. They don't leave you alone. Next cruise I think I stay on the ship...or go to a quiet beach (if there is such a thing)
Dominica where we did a whale watch. Saw a few whales but really not many. Town area was nothing to speak of, tried to find a place to have a local lunch...didn't seem to be anything but dark dingy bars with locals who looked at you oddly. NO thanks.
St. Kitts was one of the jewels of the trip. What a beautiful island and what beautiful people. We did a catamaran trip in the morning half way down the island and then boarded a old sugar can train that toured till we got back to the ship. THIS TOUR IS A DO NOT MISS!
Barbadoes we went to the Harrison caves. The tour out there was as fun and informative as the caves. Also a do not miss.
St. Maarten we did wave runners that went out to a beach of the french side. That was really fun. My husband and I are in are mid sixties and kept right up with those "young uns"!
Yes, the excursions are expensive. But we just factor them into our cruise price thinking and try not to look at the price....so many are so much fun and a different way to see the islands.
Captain was Greek and just an adorable personality. I meet him in the elevator one morning and he and his staff were just so personable! Also when he made his noon announcements they were factual but very enjoyable. Could have taken him home! In fact most of the staff we extremely out going and very approachable. I think this was because of the personality of the Captain.
My biggest peeve was the (what was to me) new tipping system. Unless you opt out, they remove your expected tipping amount daily of your account. At the end they do not give you envelopes with coupons to give staff or ANYTHING. If you want to give someone something extra you are expected to go to customer service and get envelopes. This was a first time for us doing it this way....didn't like it. Felt very impersonal and they didn't explain it up front.
Another "peeve" was these photographers. Geez, there are just too many of them and have no idea as of lighting etc. how to take pictures. I swear they take the salad bar guy and hand him a camera. AND, they are EVERYWHERE! Come on ....get out of my face. This was the first ship where every place you turned there was some guy with a camera. STOP!!!
All and all, would I do Celebrity again?....maybe. I liked the ambiance of the ship, the crew etc. but we've really enjoyed RCCL it's sister line. I think for us it depends on the ships itinerary and would be a toss up on that factor vs. Rccl vs Celebrity. Itinerary the same? Wow! Hard choice they both have their good points.
I know I went on and on....but I hope something helps you