Each year my wife (age 32) and I (age 37)take a cruise or two. We have been on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, Princess and I was on Windjammer when I was single. Overall, no cruise was quite like our July 2012 cruise on the Celebrity Equinox. The service, food quality,staterooms and most staff exceeded our expectations. And the bottom line is we would certainly cruise on Celebrity again.
As far as details
Arrival- we flew to Rome via Detroit on Air Canada. We arrived about 45 minutes late. Once there we had pre-arranged transportation to the Ship including a 2 hour Rome Tour with Rome Airport Transfers. They were great. They met us with signs in the Customs Area, and had a car waiting for us. We quickly saw the outside of major sites in Rome including in the Vatican City. The driver also provided some time for us to walk around and grab a quick sandwich and soda. We then went to the Celebrity Equinox in Civitavecchia. Check-in was quick and we were on the ship inside 30 minutes from the time we arrived. The ship sailed at 5pm, so we spent the evening exploring the ship. This trip we also had Select dining. This was one of the only issues I do not think this ship was ready for. Even though we had Select dining they still encouraged reservations... This seemed a bit strange. Once in the dining room however, each and every evening there were several great entree choices and the food was served as it should be... Hot items were hot. Cold items were cold. The deck Buffet also had nice items and choices as well, not just Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. In the Buffet as well as all around the Ship staff constantly asked "What can I do for You?". We thought this was a nice "extra" touch.
Entertainment- was also a highlight. The cruise director Patti was certainly "out and about". She would encourage guests to talk with her, whenever they had questions. The Ship had three production shows including the Equinox the Show. This is not to be missed by any guest. There were also interactive nights including a Party in the Sky which included entertainment from the professionals, swing dance instruction and lots of dancing throughout the evening. This is something we had never seen on other ships.
Our stateroom- was an inside cabin and was fairly large compared to Royal or NCL. Our cabin steward as also very attentive. We had laundry done one day, and it was done, delivered to our cabin and folded very well.
Santorini- We did not have a tour and this was a tender day. It took over 2.5 hours to get off the ship due to local tender operations. We would recommend future guests look into tours. Not much to see late in the day if it takes this long to get off the ship, but it is a very pretty island. We did take the Donkeys to the top of the mountain from the tender dock, which was quite exciting.
Istanbul- Did the Full Day Istanbul Tour from Ship... It was great. Very organized and a great way to see the city, historical sites and learn about this diverse city... Someday we would like to return to Istanbul for a longer visit.
Kusadasi (Ephesus)- Did the Tour with Lunch from Ship... It was also great. Very organized and a great way to see Ephesus and the Kusadasi area.
Athens- Did the Tour with Lunch from ship... Of course went to the Acropolis, and the Old City. We felt however that Athens was a quite under maintained city. Tourist areas seemed safe but other areas we explored on our own seemed a bit run down
Mykonos- Went with another couple to the beach via the local bus system. This was quite an opportunity to see the island and tour as a local. The beach was not like in the Caribbean, but still very nice and the water very blue.
Naples- Went to the Archive Museum and had Pizza with Ship Tour.. The museum was good as it provided a good final summary of the other places we visited. We would highly recommend this for guests doing this route.
Disembarkation- was very simple at the port in Civitavecchia. We simply placed our bags outside our cabin the night before with a numbered tag and our bags were inside a tent at the port when we got off. Celebrity did not rush us off the ship like other lines do. Nor did they announce things all morning. We got off around 8am, our driver that met us at the beginning met us at the pier, and took us back to the Rome Airport. We left Rome about 1.5 hours late so our journey home took a bit longer than expected.
Overall, a great trip and Celebrity for sure exceeded our expectations and we certainly plan to sail with them again.