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Ultimate Caribbean Cruise
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Our cruise was the Ultimate Caribbean that left on December 31st. There were 3 people in my party and we had 2 different rooms booked on 2 different floors. They let us check in together instead of making us split and go to different stations so I felt the embarkation process was pretty smooth. They greet you at the door of the ship with champagne which is a nice touch. The only downside was that our rooms were not ready, I believe all rooms were not ready. So we found a bar to have a drink - The Martini Bar. This became our favorite place on ship to relax. Once the rooms are ready they make an announcement over the load speaker.
-The Equinox is a beautiful ship. Modern decor. I liked that there was no smoking on the inside of the ship, however I felt I always smelled smoke around the casino, but it wasn't overwhelming. The other part of the ship that I wished were different was the pool deck area. The only seating they had was loungers. I'm not a big "lay out by the pool" More
person and would have enjoyed a table to sit at to enjoy the area and a drink.
-Food - we opted for select dining which I really enjoyed. We never made reservations and always got a table whenever we showed up. The food was good in the Silhouette dining room but I got tired of it towards the end of the cruise. I felt the only light dishes they had on the menu were fish and I'm not a big fish eater. The one place on the ship that I hated was the Oceanview cafe (buffet). There were certain times that it was the only place to get a meal. There is no flow, people will walk into you and run you down. I felt the food was always cold. I never once got hot hashbrowns from the breakfast buffet.
The entertainment was ok, no better or worse than other lines that I've been on. I felt they could have done better with daytime activities on sea days.
-Last comments - this was my fourth cruise and the first time I experienced a lot of movement and got sea sick. Laying in bed was the only thing that kept me from being sick. The disembarkation process was horrendous. Not sure if it was Celebrity's doing or Port of Everglades. We waited in line for immigration for 1hr. Having said that, we made it to the airport in plenty of time for our flight home. Less
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Cabin review: SV7364 Sunset Veranda
Our room was adequate. The bathroom is the first thing you come across when walking in the door. The shower was adequate and they provide you with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap. The next thing is the closet. There could have been more hangers but we managed. The sofa is next with a little desk/makeup station, mini bar and 5 drawers for storage across from it. The blowdryers aren't very strong. The bed was by the window, it was comfortable. They always call them queen beds but I feel they are bigger than queen beds. My husband and I have no problems with space on their beds and we usually sleep on a king. The balcony on this room is a little larger than most. The balcony isn't covered but the way they are staggered on the back of the ship lends itself to privacy. The only way I could see my neighbors to the side or above was to stand at the rail.
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Port and Shore Excursions
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
This is a nice site to visit but it is very steep walking up to the top. If you can't walk to the top there isn't anything to do at the bottom. My husband sat on the bus. Having said that, I thought the history was interesting and there are great views of the city. There is also a shop at the top where you can buy souvenirs or refreshments.
Cartagena by land and sea
The harbour tour was nice but it is choppy. Ours was on a small boat that held about 45 people, it was covered but if you are on the wrong side you will be in the sun some, make sure you wear sunscreen. I really enjoyed the sights that we saw from the boat.
Couple of bad points, our bus that was to take us shopping and to Castillo de San Felipe was late so we sat on the water for about 30 minutes waiting for it to arrive. The shopping they take you to is a joke! Our tour guide tried to force us into Mr Emerald to hear a lecture on emeralds and when people didn't want to go, he got mad. I paid for the tour and I don't have to listen/or shop for emeralds if I do not want to. The rest of the tour was nice.
We did this as part of Celebrity's "Grand Tour." The only thing we experienced was a short explanation of their culture and dress. They performed a few dances for us and then gave us a few moments to peruse their handicrafts and shop.
The ride on the lake was pretty but we spent so much time staring at the hills looking for monkeys and going really slow. I would have been happier taking a nice ride on the lake and enjoying the scenery. Maybe we were there on a slow day and people usually see a lot of monkeys?
I really enjoyed the Locks. We saw a few ships going through the locks and it was fascinating. This was the best part of our cruise in my opinion.
We prebooked a golf cart which I would not suggest unless you actually plan to use it the whole day. We did this and found that we saw everything we wanted to see in about 2hrs, Costa Maya isn't that big. The other problem with prebooking is that they require you to pick it up within 2 hours of docking otherwise they consider you a no show and sell it to someone else. I would have enjoyed it more if I would have got off the ship later in the day since there are mostly restaurants and beaches to visit. I can't drink margaritas at 10am. We returned our cart around 1130am and they rented it to someone else. Last thing, they want to take your cruise card as collateral which I didn't like. Where are you going to go with the cart??
This was our second time to Cozumel. We discovered on our first visit that taxis are always waiting outside the port. You can book a private taxi for about 3 hours and it will only cost around $75 US dollars. You can see what you want and do what you want. We had 3 people so $25 a person is pretty good in my opinion. When you do this you can get off the ship when you want and you have no one to answer to but yourself.
We opted for a private taxi tour. We went to the info desk outside the cruise ship area and he got us a taxi. We payed about $100 bucks (3 people) for a couple of hours. Might be a little steep but we got to do what we wanted to do and it was a nice break from the crowds.
Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour
The aerial tram tour is very short. It only lasts a few minutes. This is usually included with the rainforest so it's not that big of a deal. We didn't do the hike to the waterfall when we were at the bottom, instead, we took a short walk down a walkway (5minutes) to a sitting area where we sat for a few minutes and then returned to the tram. I wasn't impressed.
The first thing that I have to mention is that the roads into the park are bad - rocky, muddy, narrow, not meant for big buses. Our bus on the way back tried to pass another car and it went into the mud and it felt like our bus was going to turn over and roll down the hill. Everyone was scared and trying to get to the other side of the bus to keep it from rolling over. There was no communication from the tour guide/driver to inform people what was going on. They couldn't get the dour open because it was stuck in the mud. They left us on the bus thinking we were going to roll down the hill.
We sat on the road in the middle of nowhere for over an hour waiting for a replacement bus.
Now the tour - The rainforest is pretty but I didn't like my tour. The description indicates you can "leisurely stroll to the riverside jungle observatory or hike the virgin forest to a pristine waterfall." They force you to stay with a guide and they split you up in the beginning into waterfall or easy walk people. So if you have people who want to do different things you have to do the tour completely separate from the other people in your party. I feel we did a lot of waiting around because it was so crowded. The food that they give you (sandwich and fruit) isn't very good, especially for $139. The Princess cruise people received a hot meal, not sure if it was any better but it looked good. I think the Rainforest is a nice place to visit but not on a cruise excursion.