Background Information: We just love the Mediterranean. We don't look to find fault with any of the cruises, however X has spoiled us for life. We have upwards of 30 cruises---the Equinox is the absolute best we have been on, and my husband, who is plain and simple, really loved the ship and the amenities.
Hotel Info: We arrived 2 and a half days prior to cruise, using X's Choice Air, b/c, believe it or not, it was the cheapest we could fine (and I look!) We always stay at the Hotel Quirinale, and the Concierge remembered us from previous stays. It's located near the Republica stop and Termini, the 170 bus and a few others pass right in front of the hotel. A few doors down is a small church (St. Paul within the Walls) which we bought tix to an opera that night, and a good restaurant located around the block. There's a small gourmet food store located a few hundred yards from the Hotel. Love the Old World decor (no, don't read it as "run down"), but it's a European style hotel with a great elevator (wrought iron) that I absolutely adore--think "Thoroughly Modern Millie"--I usually do every time I get into that elevator. Cute and quaint. Their customer service is excellent, as I had a problem with the plumbing and they changed the room. Unfortunately, I had to give up a footed tub....
Ship Info: It's the Equinox. Need I say more? Beautiful decor, loved the ship, layout, everything. First time I booked the same cruise for the next year.
Activities: Lots of 'em. Too many. Did go to Bingo one time, though...Missed the Captain's thing, too busy doing nothing. They also had Turkish entertainment one day by the pool. They do keep you entertained! Good poolside music.
Service: Excellent in the Dining Room. Cabin was always clean, Butler tidied up everything....He never threw anything out, which was great.
Port & Shore Excursions: Took 1 shore excursion, as we are DIY'rs. Great excursion to the Dolmabahce Palace (Istanbul)--got us there, bypassed the long line 1st thing in the morning, good tour guide, air-cond. bus--and a tour of the part of the city we were in, info about the city, as we had finished b4 the scheduled time. Sometimes, ya just gotta let them take care of you. Well worth the price...
Travel To Port of Embarkation: Used Romeshuttlelimosine.com as we have used them b4. On time, clean van, air conditioned, and also shared the ride to port with 3 other CC'rs. This Board is GREAT.
Stateroom: Sky Suite. Cabin 2148. While the extra room was nice, I was really happy with the Concierge Class Cabin we had last year. The cabin was not decorated in anything luxurious, we just had extra room and a large balcony. Could have done the same on a regular balcony....The Butler was nice, but he was kind of hit and miss. Room Service will do the same for you, and the Butler didn't even ask to assist with the packing/unpacking. He just wheeled in the luggage, and I had to put it on the bed.
Dining: We had Select dining for the 1st time, Natalie was great. I did have reservations for each night...My husband does not do "Adventures In Dining", so he nixed Blu for dinner. We breakfasted in Blu--very good, and quiet. Boy, do they treat you well on that ship! Frankly, dinner in the MDR was excellent. I had escargot (yes, it's back!)--I thought the food was excellent, and I'm a foodie. Anything I ordered medium rare came out that way, as did rare. The first night, though, for dinner, we had trouble being in the mood for something, so we ordered the poached salmon. Excellent. I didn't think the desserts were anything special (good--saves calories), the ice-cream was just ok I thought, but the Spa Cuisine at the inside pool (why did I 4get the name??) was just enough. The fruits marinated in those spice/herb baths were excellent beyond anything else.
Children's Clubs: n/a
Entertainment: Went to most of the shows---.....Hate to say this, but Carnival has the absolute best Broadway/Las Vegas style productions. The performers were extremely talented (I think they took dancing lessons while still in the womb)--but the productions were kind of sedate....
Disembarkation: Smooth. They have this thing down pat! Took their transpo to the airport...Why couldn't the airport be as smooth? Shuttle to this, bus to that, shuttle to this, bus to that, up stairs, down stairs, plane not attached to gate ramp....
Summary: Great cruise, great ports, great ship--LOVE the Equinox--X has earned our loyalty....Just gotta figure out where we're going next!
Thanks for reading!