Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale was fast and efficient. From the time we entered the cruise terminal until we were in out cabin took less than twenty minutes. Even the TSA screening went quickly. We were able to enter our rooms by 1:00 PM which was greatly appreciated.
We were in a Concierge stateroom with veranda (9279) located in the center of the ship. There was adequate storage once we discovered storage space over out bed. The room was quiet and located a short distance from the elevators. It was equipped with a flat-panel TV that offered all the cable news channels, ESPN, and many current movies. Reception throughout the cruise was excellent.
The Equinox is fairly new, a member of the Solstice class of ships. It was in magnificent condition. Everything looked and felt new. The decor and layout was better than any other cruise ship in which we sailed. The various bars and lounges were comfortable and encouraged quiet conversation. The fitness center was very adequate with well-maintained equipment. A caution: many of the weight machines are in kilos so don't be shocked if you are listing less weight than you have been used to.
Food in the Equinox was superior to most cruise ships. The Ocean Cafe was excellent, even for evening meals if one chose to avoid the main dining room. Service was friendly and efficient. Menus varied from day to day and presentation was always appealing. There were individual stations serving Italian, Asian, American and Mexican cuisine.
Celebrity falls short on their on-board activities. There was the usual bingo, art auctions, trivia, etc. Nothing special at all. The port information talks were severely lacking focusing on Celebrity tours rather than on general port information. The enrichment talks were not nearly as informative as those on other cruise lines. The glass blowing demonstration was neat an original. I was most disappointed in the lack of any religious service on both Sundays that we were at sea. I addressed this on my comment card.
The on-board entertainment was not very good. The ship's singers and dancers were below cruise ship standards. Guest entertainers were good but not great. A group called North by Northwest was very good and were part of the ship's crew. However, they only played in 15 minute segments. They had enough songs for a complete show and should have been featured as part of the nightly entertainment.
The itinerary was excellent: two days at sea, five ports in five days, and two days at sea on the return to Fort Lauderdale. The ports were shopping paradise. Good buys were found in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, and St. Maartin. Ship tours were generally well-managed and interesting.
Concierge class guests were provided a room in which to wait for debarkation. Drinks and pastries were available. At the appointed time, we were escorted by ship's personnel to the gangway. The entire process was pleasant and efficient.
We will definitely be sailing on Celebrity again! Even with some shortcomings, the positives far outweigh the negatives.