What an amazing holiday on Celebrity Equinox, having cruised with a number of companies (RCI, P&O, Cunard, Princess and Thomson) and to a number of places but this is overall our best cruise experience to date.
Celebrity sell themselves as a luxury line and although we could find some faults you would generally have to be looking very hard.
Our children aged 6 and 8 were well looked after in the kids club along with the other kids, however what really suited us was the family areas/activities that meant that we could actually spend some time having a drink or fun time with them. When on IOS last year although the facilities were great for adults and equally as good for our children, spending time together though seemed to be a strange idea for the cruise line.
I think the family thing was enhanced by the mix of nationalities on board including Spanish, Italians and French along with those from across the Atlantic.
To perhaps give some families with similar aged children some ideas here are some thoughts on the places we stopped and what we did
Villefrance We caught the train to Monaco, although fairly easy we waited a while on board to let the rush go but still found the station and train very busy. In Monaco we caught the tourist train and then had a huge ice cream at the Cafe de Paris.
Livorno We used cruiseexcursions.com to book a Pisa 4 hour trip, although it all seemed a little disorganised including sat on a bus waiting for the guide to turn up, overall it worked well
Civitavecchia- Our best find was on a web site called cruisetours.com for a trip to a local water park called Aquafelix. We avoided Rome and took this trip which took just 15 minutes to get to and we really enjoyed a full day there along with lots of partying Italians.
Naples Another website found via this website called Capri tours, we had a tour of Capri which was organised completely for us, what an amazing place. The tour included the blue grotto, a trip in an open top taxi and on the ski lift. Something to enjoy for the whole family.
Kotor Booked the speed boat and time on the beach tour with Celebrity. The scenery from the speed boat was stunning, but the so called beach a real let down. The beach consisted of a concrete platform at the front of a hotel completely unsuitable for children to swim due to the sea being rough.
Venice Amazing place, amazing to show all the family. We booked a family walking tour with nancyaiellotours.com, and although good, was not quite as good as the private tour we had in Capri. We enjoyed a gondola ride booked through them but think it may have been cheaper booking there. Our advice would be to do your own thing.
Dubrovnik Decided to let Celebrity have another go at a beach trip, slightly better but they do need to do their homework a little better on what a good beach should have.
So in general
Real Positives of the celebrity experience embarkation, food, little touches (ice towels etc), drinks packages, coffees from the cafe on 5, quality of ship, cabin and general service level.
Not quite as good the theatre shows and shore excursions.