This was our 15th cruise and we sailed on January 10th to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St. Maarten. We arrived at the cruiseport around 11:30. It was a bit of a madhouse when we arrived because for some reason it took debarking passengers 1 1/2 hours to get through customs & immigration and they were still coming out looking for taxis at 11:30. It took our taxi probably 10 to 15 minutes of waiting in line to drop us off because of this. Security went really quickkly for us, check-in a little slower but not bad and we were on the ship by 12:15 or so. Mimosa's were very gratefully received by that time. The rooms were not ready so we enjoyed lunch in the buffet. We were travelling with two other couples so we had our balcony dividers opened and we really liked that option. No need to lean around the dividers to chat. Our rooms were port side on the hump right near the elevators on deck 8. The only time we found it noisy was at night when they would have some activity in the Grand Foyer on deck 3. The sound would travel all the way up to deck 14. It was always over by 11:15 or so, so it wasn't a big deal for us.
We thoroughly enjoyed the food. We only ate dinner in the MDR and only ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet. Only once did we send back something to the kitchen at dinner (french onion soup was not hot). We loved the Indian food at the buffet. I like Indian food but not enough to want to make a whole meal of it at a restaurant so this way I could have a little and my husband could have all he wanted. The six of us requested early seating when we booked but it was not available so on the first day we made a reservation for 6:00 pm for their anytime dining, really liked the location of our table and really liked our waiter so we booked that table for 6:00 pm every night and it was just like early seating. They quickly figured out our requests for lemon with water and a glass of milk for the two of us. It worked out great. So don't despair if you can't get early seating. Try what we did. Our table overlooked the Captain's Table and we often wondered who the special people were who got to sit with the officers. Do not miss the beautiful brunch which was served in the MDR Deck 3 on the second last sea day, and be sure to take your camera.
We really enjoyed the Corning Glassworks shows and attended at least three of them. They made some beautiful creations. It is up on Deck 15 aft and is covered overtop so you don't have to sit out in the blazing sun. There are three very talented artists who talk you through everything you are seeing. Near the end of the cruise they auction off several of the pieces. We weren't there for that but we heard they went for substantial dollars. Some of their pieces are in the display stands by the elevators on deck 4 at least. Everyone should really go once. The shows last two hours but you can come and go as you please.
We enjoyed all of the evening shows except the one with the mentalis/illusionist. I would skip it another time. If you have Gareth Oliver, ventriloquist, on your cruise, don't miss him. He is amazing and he has the cutest monkey puppet. It was a full hour of fun and laughter. We thought the singers/dance troupe to be full of energy, very good voices and had great costumes. Their last show was a Cirque de Soleil type show that was amazing. Paul, the cruise director, did an excellent job. He's not there to entertain you. That's not his job. He was very professional and was very visible throughout the day on the ship, as were the officers and sometimes the captain as well.
This was our fourth sailing with Celebrity, the last one being on the Silhouette in the Meditteranean last fall and both lived up to our expectations. We were very pleased with the three ship's tours we did on land in Dominica, St. Kitts and Barbados. We had very good guides. Celebrity is at the top of my list. The only thing I miss on their ships is that you can't walk all the way around the Promenade Deck and the portside on that deck is available for smokers so we avoided it. Of course there is a walking/jogging track on deck 15 but unless you go before 9:00 or after 4:00 it is rather busy up there and difficult to get a good walk. Other than that the Equinox is a lovely ship and we would sail her again.
We recently purchased a mini I-pad and were pleased that they had three classes on sea days. We missed the first one but attended the other two and they were very helpful to us. We also enjoyed four presentations given by a professional golf photographer. He was very low key but his presentations on Tiger Woods, Phil Mikkelson, the Masters and the tournment held each July in Great Britain (can't remember the name) were most interesting and were enjoyed by the three husbands in our group. I attended a couple as well and will watch those two tournaments a little more knowledgeable this year.
After the madhouse of debarking passengers the day we arrived, we were a little concerned about how things would go for us on the 20th but everything went extremely well. Our designated time for leaving was 8:55 a.m. We left the theatre at 8:50 and were in a taxi by 9:15 and at our hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach at 9:30. We couldn't have asked for anything better.