My wife and I just returned from an unbelievable cruise on Celebrity Equinox. We have cruised about 30 times, but this was our first Mediterranean cruise and our first time on Celebrity in about 6 years. We had given up on Celebrity because we felt that the quality of the food and entertainment was not as good as it was on Royal Caribbean and Princess, and boy, did this cruise change our minds about that!
The food was absolutely wonderful from the first day to the last. We chose Celebrity Select dining and ended up at a wonderful table with great table mates who we ended up eating with almost every night. We really loved the fact that one of the appetizers on the "anytime" menu was escargot -- we love it and had it about 4 or 5 times during the cruise. The meat every meal was cooked to perfection, the vegetables were fresh, the desserts were great -- everything just absolutely top notch. We also thought the buffet (Oceanview Cafe) was by far and away the best organized (in terms of not feeling crowded and chaotic) and had the best food of any ship we've been on. Nice options for lunch like pasta made to order, nice options for breakfast like omelettes made to order.
We also thought the production shows were among the best we've seen -- more innovative and creative than usual, with a very talented cast of singers and dancers. The last production, called Equinox, is a Cirque du Soleil type show and is really fabulous.The cruise director, Patty Honacki (first female cruise director we've ever had!) was terrific, and actually sang (very well) to boot! The "guest" entertainers could have been a bit more diversified, though -- although they were all very talented. There was a violinist, a singer/guitarist (who sang a lot of songs in Italian), and a wonderful singer/pianist (Claire Maidin), but they didn't all really cater to the demographic on the ship, and there was no comedian (although maybe with a cruise made up of mostly non-Americans it is a bit more difficult to find a comedian who would appeal to everyone).
Interestingly, it seemed like the casino was always empty -- I guess maybe Europeans just don't gamble as much as Americans!
The ship itself is beautiful, although we thought the main pool area was quite small for a ship this size. While we never had a problem getting lounge chairs by the pool, the pool itself was always crowded, sometimes to the point where you couldn't even figure out a way to get into the water because people were lined up around the entire perimeter of the pool.
The staff was also uniformly wonderful -- always smiling, saying hello and very eager to be of whatever assistance they could be.
We also had two complaints about our cabin itself. First, there is very little drawer space, so I had to put all of my non-hanging clothes in two compartments above the bed. Not a horrendous situation, but certainly not terribly convenient. Also, the nightstands alongside the bed only had open shelves, rather than drawers, so there was really no place to put all of those loose miscellaneous items that would normally go in a drawer.
Second, there were no sheers on the doors to the balcony, meaning that when the shiop was in port, the drapes had to be closed completely when we were in the cabin and didn't want to "put on a show". It would be nice (and relatively easy, we think) for Celebrity to add sheers behind the drapes, which could be pulled closed for some privacy but which would still allow the sunlight to come through. All in all, though, these are very minor points on an otherwise wonderful cruise.
As far as the ports were concerned, they are among the most beautiful places we have ever seen (especially Santorini!). One note of caution to fellow cruisers -- there are apparently only 30 taxis on the entire island of Mykonos, and if you don't make arrangements in advance to have one pick you up at a designated time and place, you will most likely not be able to get one. We had a very tough time getting back to the ship from the beach (we didn't book an excursion through the ship) -- we finally prevailed upon a private driver who just happened to drop some people off at a nearby hotel to take us back to the ship.
All in all, this was one of our best cruises ever, and we booked another Celebrity cruise while we were on board for next September, when we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary and renewing our vows.