Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by Cruise for four: Mediterranean cruising was fantastic!
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Mediterranean cruising was fantastic!
We are in our 40's and traveled with our two kids (ages 14 & 12) and also my in-laws (ages 70's) so there is a wide range of ages and we all had the same experience. Our trip did not start well as Celebrity allowed ONLY one hour connection for an international flight. Our plane was delayed getting into Atlanta so we just missed our connection. We could see the plate at our gate but they would not let us on. Shame on Celebrity for such a short connection. A lovely woman at the Delta help desk spent 2hours getting us another flight. We were rerouted and made it to the ship with 15min to spare. After we got on we all finally relaxed.
The ship - after cruising 10-15 times this is the nicest ship we have ever been on and it's our third with Celebrity. The rooms are good size and the shower is the largest we have ever had on a ship. If you love to lay by the pool you might not be so happy as it is jammed packed every single day. Our favorite part of this ship is the real grass More on the top aft of the ship where they do a glass blowing show every day. This is normally where a third pool would be (hence the crowdedness of two pools). The glass blowing was our favorite part on this ship. We missed only one show the entire time. They auction off 6-7 pieces at the end of the cruise and my in-laws and I each brought home a piece of art to remind us of this great trip. The crepe place (Bistro on 5) is good and worth the $5 (especially the dessert crepes)
Dining - I saw reviews before we left saying the food was bland and terrible. We all thought the food was excellent and the setting is lovely. Going back to we have cruised over 10-15 times, I would say this is the best food (besides Disney cruise) we have ever had in the regular dining room. The specialty dining is excellent except for the Asian. It was good but not worth the extra $35/per person. It's just average Asian. My favorite was the Italian and my husband's favorite was the French so I think you should try both. You can see whales from the Italian dining room as it is on the far back and the whales like to follow the waves around sunset.
Entertainment - The Cirque-type show is fantastic. All the singer/dancer shows are good but don't miss the cirque-type show. The comedian was good as well. Still our favorite entertainment really was the glass-blowing. That was awesome.
Ports - We booked all of our excursions on our own. It's cheaper and you are not stuck in a group of 50. We had a van to ourselves (6 people) ever stop. It was fantastic. Below I will give details of who we used.
Valetta, Malta - toursbylocals.com, email address for Victoria: email@example.com. We toured the Old City, Palace Armory, St. Johns Cathedral, old fishing village and walled city of Mdina(loved this place). We also swam in the Mediterranean and tour the Barraka Gardens. Victoria was a wonderful tour guide and can customize the tour to what you want to see.
Venice - We were there during Redentore so we had 2.5 days in Venice and we loved it. If you can go during this time totally worth it. See the fireworks display from a gondola is amazing. Our tour guide was Mike Henderson, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. One day Mike took us to all the main sites (St. Mark's Square area). We spent 4hours walking around and it was hot. The next day we did a four hour "backstreet tour" and it was awesome because it was more shady and away from all the tourists. We loved seeing the backstreets of Venice. Who knew there was a large and lovely park in Venice? We purchased tickets on our own ahead of time for the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica. If you don't pre-buy you will wait for hours to get in. Do not do the long behind the scenes tour of Doge's palace unless you are seriously into very detailed history. It was too much for us and our kids and the in-laws were having hard time because we were cramped in small rooms. Touring it on our own would have been better for us. We also booked the gondola ride ahead of time for the Redentore fireworks. Totally worth doing. Give yourself lots of time to get from ship to Venice as you had to take the people mover and then a Vaperetto or water taxi(more expensive but faster).
Kotor, Montenegro - We again, used tourbylocal.com but can't remember our guide's name. We toured the walled city of Budva and the old city of Kotor. St. Stephen's Island is beautiful.
Rome - My 12yr old loved this city. It's been 15 years since I was here last and it seems much more crowded but the last time I visited Rome it was not in the summertime. We used LuccaLimo for our guide and Johnny was fantastic. We skipped all lines at the Colisseum. We toured several churches (St. Johns of Ladderan, Peter in Chains, San Clemente just to name a few). We drove by Circus Maximus, Pantheon and stopped for photos at the Vatican, Forum and Trevi Fountain. Had a fabulous lunch at Ristorante da Sabatino at S. Ignazio.
Livorna -We opted to skip Florence (even though we love the city) because it is 1.5hour drive from port. We opted instead to go to Pisa and Lucca. Lucca was one of our favorite places. We again used LuccaLimo and Valter (the owner) gave us a tour of this city and we loved it. The city is still fully walled and is so wide you can ride bikes on the wall around the entire city and we did! Then we rode bikes all through the city. It was fantastic. Pisa is Pisa (touristy and crowded) so we stopped only for photos. If you want to climb tower book online or you will be waiting 2hours. We had time left over so Valter took us in the mountains of Carrera to see where the mine the beautiful white marble. Michael Angelo used this marble for many of his sculptures. It's amazing to see big hunks of the mountains just chiseled away. We want to go back to Lucca someday and spend more time.
Nice, France - Our shortest day. We toured St. Paul De Vence and drove around the old town of Nice. Beautiful place but not enough time to see much.
Barcelona, Spain - Our favorite city. Please take an extra day on the front or end to see this lovely city. Our tour guide was Nancy at enchantingbarcelonatours.com. She is originally from the U.S. but has lived in Spain for many years now. We did a part walking/part bus tour. We visited La Sagrada Familia and many other places designed by Antoni Gaudi. You could spend hours in the church. It is amazing and still not complete after 132 years of construction! Park Guell(also designed by Gaudi) looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss Book. We strolled down Las Ramblas and around the old parts of Barcelona and also saw where they held the '92 Olympic swimming competition. This is a beautiful city and would be a shame if you just flew in and out. You would be really missing out!
That's it! Wonderful trip. Great way to see many countries in Europe and not have to lug around luggage everywhere ;) Less
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