My husband and I have only cruised 7 times before and one of those was on the Celebrity Equinox. We booked this cruise to see a bit of Europe and because of the amazing deals that Celebrity was offering. I also like large ships and preferably newer ones.
The cruise package included two nights in Rome at one of two hotels. We were at the River Palace and although it was clean anc the bed was comfortable it was TINY! Really, really tiny. But the breakfast was good and we spent two days touring the city. The transportation from the hotel to the ship was also included and we arrived at the port around 1:30. The embarkation was smooth and it only took about 10 minutes to get on the ship. The ship's dock is at a container pier and the "building" is actually a very large permanent tent structure.
Once on board we were hoping to be able to drop our carry on luggage in our room even if it wasn't completely ready but the corridor to the cabins was actually closed off.
So we headed up to the buffet for something to eat. As usual it was very busy but we managed to get something to eat and were finally able to get into our room around 2:30.
We were in an aqua class cabin #1518 on Deck 11 about 7 cabins from the front of the ship. We were almost directly across from the Aqua Spa which was very handy if we wanted to use the relaxation rooms which are included with Aqua.
We spent the next few hours exploring the ship and going to the muster drill which was in the Reflection theater. When we got back our luggage had been delivered so we spent more time unpacking.
This is one of the negatives for me. There is not enough storage space and the only shelves are above the bed which are awkward to access to say the least. Most of our clothing is shorts and t-shirts and the three drawers are hardly big enough for 1/4 of our stuff. There is a large closet but I usually don't hang up my t-shirts and with 15- 18 of them it is time consuming. Other ships have 3 - 4 large shelves so we can just lay everything out.
The first night we went to the grill restaurant on deck 15 which had a 50% special on. Unfortunately it was very windy that night and this place is outdoors with only glass partitions to break the wind. Our salads blew off our plates and our steaks were cold before we were half way through the meal.
I would not suggest this place unless there is no wind and you are in port. The food was great but the weather ruined most of it.
The ship is beautiful and spotlessly clean as usual. I can't say enough about the staff and the service which was superb overall. The only complaint was with the waiter we had in the MDR who didn't seem to know any English. He was not even able to ask us our names and I never understood what he was saying.
Our room attendants were just amazing and any request was taken care of within minutes.
The stateroom was very nice and we had fresh flowers and an assortment of fruit everyday. We received a carafe of ice tea (??) at first but asked not to get it since neither of us liked it. Instead we asked for a ice bucket for our water. The bed was very comfortable and we really liked the fancy shower with the six jets of water. The balcony was a good size and having reclining chairs with footstools and a large table is very nice.
Entertainment - This was not very interesting but it may have not been our taste. One night there was a concert pianist who was excellent but played TV love song themes and classical music. Very nice but it was putting me to sleep. Another night there were four musicians who play electric violins and such. Very nice music but not very entertaining. They were very talented but not "showmen".
Another night there was a magician who was supposed to have come from Las Vegas. This was really poor. Although the tricks were good they were all very simplistic: cards, ropes and changing $1 bills into $20's. We had seen the same type of show several times before.
They had a comedienne but the show was "adult content" and was only shown at midnight so I doubt that a lot of people actually went to it. We are not late night types so we never did get to see it.
Dining - We like basic food and normally eat in the buffet which was very good for breakfast, OK for lunch and OK for supper. I found that the hot carved meat is now almost always something like chicken or ham but there was lots of selection for salads and pasta, etc. The hard ice-cream was great.
MDR - We ate in the Opus DR twice and the first meal of sirlion steak was tough but the prime rib on the second visit was excellent.
Activities - This is where we had the biggest problem. There is very little to do on this ship. There is no mini-golf, no water slides, no bowling, no shuffleboard. The only things are bocce, golf putting practice, ping pong and croquet. It was hot and sunny most days and not comfortable playing bocce in 85F sun. We played cards a lot and went to the casino every night for about an hour. They show movies in their theater but they are the same ones that are free on the TV in your room.
The swimming pool in the Solarium was lovely since it was heated but it is only 4'9" deep. There are two more pools and we only tried one which was very cool. Mostly we stayed in the Solarium as there is peaceful music playing and it is very relaxing.
One of our biggest pet peeves about the ship was the music! I am sure the average age of the passengers was at least 60 but they insist on playing loud music geared to 20 - 30 year olds. It is very, very annoying and it is everywhere; even at breakfast.
The ship is set up so that the card room, library, hideaway and Internet cafe are all open to the atrium so when they are having live music you have no quiet place to go except for your cabin. We ended up playing cards in the buffet to get away from the noise.
Ports and Excursions - No problem here. We only took bus tours and/or transfers to the beach so it all went very smoothly. Celebrity has this all very well organized so you go to the Reflection theater, get a numbered sticker and then wait to be called to get off the ship.
Disembarkation- This was very well run and we were off the ship early and had no problem getting our luggage. We had booked a private taxi for our drive to the airport. I wasn't aware that the ship would arrange transportation to the airport by bus because I was told they would not do that. I was annoyed when I found out that it was possible for only $93.00 because we paid 100 euros for our taxi.
So although it is a lovely ship it is not for us. We will go back to NCL who have a lot more activities and you don't have to dress up for supper (or anything else).