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Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by Artteacher: Epic Equinox


Artteacher
2 Reviews
Member Since 2012
0 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 4.0
Dining 4.0
Embarkation 5.0
Enrichment Activities 2.0
Entertainment 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Rates 3.0
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions 5.0
Value for Money 4.0

Compare Prices on Celebrity Equinox Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

Epic Equinox

Sail Date: June 2012
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Other

My wife and I are cruise "samplers", picking destinations and ships with care, and price is always a concern. For our twentieth anniversary we decided to spend some cash on a cruise through the Mediterranean departing from Rome, and heading as far east as Istanbul. A year previous, we had encountered some passengers freshly returning from a Celebrity cruise in the Ft. Lauderdale airport when we were returning home after a dismal experience on Holland America's Statendam (first time we ever couldn't wait to disembark). The Celebrity passengers were raving about their cruise, the food, the service and most importantly the atmosphere of the ship in general. We had sailed past the Silhouette at anchor on our way in to port, and at that time I thought the ship was stunning. So after chatting with the passengers, my wife and I agreed that Celebrity would be our next cruise.

As it happened, the Equinox was operating in the Mediterranean this season, and we booked it for June. More Best cruse dollars I have ever spent! Cabin was a little smaller than those we had been in on other ships, comfortable and well maintained; but snug. Storage above the bed was nice but the closet was tight. The Aqua Class therapy shower was a nice touch, as was the daily replenishment of fruit, bottled water and iced tea. Food was superb throughout the vessel, especially in the boutique restaurants. We frequented Blu for breakfast and occasionally for dinner. We ate once in the upscale steakhouse and were treated like royalty - particularly when we mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary.

For the duration of our cruise, I can not recall a singe person on board that did not greet us with a smile or ask us if they could be of service. This prevailing attitude seemed to infect the passengers as well, giving rise to pleasant chats at dinner or on shore when you encounter other folks from the cruise. Defiantly a boost in the overall experience and kudos to Celebrity management for cultivating this attitude among the staff.

I was impressed with the level of detail and organization given to daily operations. Shore excursions were managed with military precision and often were able to depart earlier than posted to allow extra time at various venues. When you returned to the ship, after walking among marble ruins in 100+ degree temperatures, you were greeted dockside with a cold face towel, cold water or juice, a covered place to sit if you chose to do so (where you could watch the passengers of other ships stand in a hot crowded line waiting to get back on board).

The cruise was not without typical constant marketing of drinks, spa treatments, merchandise etc. But these things were not aggressive or invasive and we expected this to take place. At times food was slow to arrive at our table in the main dining room, but the quality, temperature and flavor accommodated for the wait. The "experts" who were on board were lacking in expertise - especially when it came to art history, so we only attended one offering from each, and used that time to relax in the adult-only solarium pool area complete with poolside health food.

Public areas were spotless, lots of places to be private and a variety of activities to get involved with if so chose. Evening entertainment was top notch, and we elected to sample all of it.

All in all, this was a great time and has built lasting memories for us. We will book again with Celebrity. Less


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Cabin review: Celebrity Equinox AquaClass Penthouse Deck (11) 1522

Port and Shore Excursions


City Tour

(2)
This tour was basically a bus ride in traffic through a densely urbanized sprawl. Occasionally we would pass a ruin (forget about getting a picture from the moving bus). We stopped at the base of the hill upon which the Acropolis was built - yes, you could see it - yes, you could get a photo - basically like trying to shoot the top floor of a thirty story building from the sidewalk. We stopped at the Archeological Museum and the "guide" took it upon himself to lead us by the nose around the place for about an hour before "letting" us have some free time. Unless you can't read or have never been to a museum before, this was kind of annoying. Probably will not take a tour of this type again.

Beautiful port city, lots to see, do and eat. I will return.

Blue Mosque

(3)
Very pretty, the tile work (of course) is the reason to explore this site. Interesting perspective on the conversion from Christianity to Islam.

Bosphorus Cruise

(3)
Something to do on the bucket list, it allows for a better look at big private residences that face the water. There was refreshment on the boat, and a hole in the floor of the "restroom" to use for a toilet.

City Tour

By chance, or perhaps by design; we were paired with a superb guide for a two-day excursion. She had been a tour guide in Turkey for over twenty five years and spoke English with ease. She gave us a thumbnail of the tour agenda at the beginning of each day and remained with us throughout the times spent at each venue. All the locations typically attended by visitors were included on this tour for one price.

Grand Bazaar

(3)
Do not venture off the main thoroughfare unless you have GPS navigation - and remember, even if you say 'no' you are actually opening a negotiaion - just walk away, they totally expect it and it's not rude.

Hagia Sofia

(4)
Photo op. Interesting lighting inside, very typical of the historic Mosques in the area.

Hagia Sofia

(5.5)
By chance, or perhaps by design; we were paired with a superb guide for a two-day excursion. She had been a tour guide in Turkey for over twenty five years and spoke English with ease. She gave us a thumbnail of the tour agenda at the beginning of each day and remained with us throughout the times spent at each venue. All the locations typically attended by visitors were included on this tour for one price. St. Sophia is a great example of Mosque architecture and Islamic culture - very photogenic.

Spice Market

(3)
Saffron seems to be the big seller here, but there is also lots of other things to choose from. Try the apple tea.

Topkapi Walking Tour

(4)
A great look into the age of the Sultans. Check out the armory and the below-the-floor exhibit. Lots to see, get there early to avoid the crowds.

Underground Cistern

(5.5)
Take your camera, dark and wondrous with live fish swimming in the water!

Herculaneum

We hired a car to take us to Pompeii and then to Herculaneum because we did not see a tour offered through the cruise that went to both places. It cost about $400 for the whole day - split four ways, so not too bad. The driver navigated traffic and was attentive to our questions. He did take us to a hugely expensive restaurant (at our request), and joined us for lunch with out an invitation. The bill for five of us was $300! We were never advised of the cost in advance, but assumed it would be somewhat less. In hindsight, I think we should have been more clear as to what we were willing to pay - however the view was spectacular and the restaurant was opened exclusively for us (something that we were unaware of until we arrived) and enjoyed wine and local fish. Be careful if money is an issue, try to get costs up front.

Pompeii Walking Tour

(4)
We hired a car to take us to Pompeii and then to Herculaneum because we did not see a tour offered through the cruise that went to both places. It cost about $400 for the whole day - split four ways, so not too bad. The driver navigated traffic and was attentive to our questions. He did take us to a hugely expensive restaurant (at our request), and joined us for lunch with out an invitation. The bill for five of us was $300! We were never advised of the cost in advance, but assumed it would be somewhat less. In hindsight, I think we should have been more clear as to what we were willing to pay - however the view was spectacular and the restaurant was opened exclusively for us (something that we were unaware of until we arrived) and enjoyed wine and local fish. Be careful if money is an issue, try to get costs up front.

Lots of ships hit the port city, be ready to wait for the tram up the mountain. We stood for almost an hour in the hot sun to board the sketchy tram (they have notched out a cinder-block retaining wall to allow for sag in the cable of the tram cars will clear it). Once at the top there are crowded little streets not unlike villages in Mexico, and lots of kitch from China with the Greek flag on it. Museum visitors should note the relatively early closing times for the small boutique venues on the island, we were not able to reach the top of the mountain until nearly closing time. We thought after-the-fact that a short boat ride to the opposite side first might have been a better call. Jaw dropping views from the small eateries at the top looking back at the bay.

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