I have always been of the opinion that nothing is 100% perfect but the Equinox and its staff just about proved me wrong on this occasion. Like all the Solstice class ships the Equinox is a cut above the rest and I love the elegant design accompanied by excellence in service and quality throughout.
We boarded from terminal 18 in Port Everglades and I arrived at 130pm instead arriving much earlier as on previous cruises and the terminal was empty. From kerbside to boarding took less than 20 minutes. I had lunch at the Oceanview Café which is the buffet and the choice and quality is very good. The cabins were made available during lunch and the bag arrived later in the afternoon. Following a tedious emergency drill in the ships theatre we left port a little later than scheduled. With only 2 ships in port that day this was the best departure procedure I have ever experienced in South Florida.
I enjoy eating in a full service restaurant rather than a buffet so most of my evening meals were in the main dining room. I found the food quality to be consistently high and sometimes excellent with a good variety of options. On that first evening the prime rib was a great start to 10 days of eating well. I also found the full service breakfast in the main dining room to be a pleasant experience with a good selection of options.
I had one lunch in Bistro on 5 which is a 5 dollar service charge for a nice meal served to the table. They specialize in crepes and the deserts are really good. On my last evening on-board I treated myself to dinner at Murano with its 40 dollar cover charge but even at this price is a culinary experience to remember. I am very partial to the chateaubriand cut table side and the Grand Marnier soufflé for desert. As this was my 5th cruise on Celebrity I didn't try the Tuscan Grill on this occasion but heard lots of people say it was superb on Equinox.
I find the stateroom quite comfortable and as a solo traveller have plenty of storage space and a king size bed for my own personal use. The balcony is a decent size with 2 chairs and a table and I find the shower in the bathroom has a decent strength of spray. I was opposite the corridor entrance to inside staterooms and had no issue with noise. Maybe another reason I like Celebrity is the makeup of your fellow passengers. This is a civilized group of slightly older folks but not a floating residential care home.
The entertainment on Equinox was among the best I have seen with the ships performers doing 3 big shows during the 10 night trip. There were several invited entertainers and I particularly enjoyed the US comedian.
Mike Doyle, a Welsh entertainer also did 2 separate shows as a comedian and a singer with an exceptional voice and each evening I came away from the show quite happy with what I had seen.
The ports of call I had been to before, St Thomas, St Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St Maarten and there are things I like to do in each but Maho Beach in St Maarten is one of my favourite's. This is where airplanes approach the runway at Philipsburg and come over the beach 20 feet above your head. It is a lot of fun.
Back on Equinox and I enjoy a special coffee and choice of cakes/muffins/cookies at Café el Bacio and an occasional ice cream at the gelateria.
As a recently qualified Select member which is mid tier on Celebrities program I enjoyed an invitation to an officers event in the Sky Lounge at the top front of vessel on one evening. This was nicely done with canapés being handed out by wait staff and some nice recognition as a repeat guest.
I think the one thing I would like to convey to people considering a cruise on Equinox is the service excellence and friendliness of the staff. Everywhere you go on this ship you are greeted with a nice welcome and a smile and it feels genuine all the time. From the stateroom attendants to the bar and restaurant staff and all the other employees you are made welcome here and they want to look after you. Combine that with one of the most beautiful ships on the sea, some good weather and calm seas along with some great island destinations and this is an unbeatable combination.
I keep coming back to Celebrity despite promising to try something different next time but have come to the conclusion that I am hooked.
OK, so what could they do better, charge less for a bag of laundry and a little less for a glass of wine but I understand the concept of making a profit so am guessing this isn't going to happen any time soon.
Disembarkation wasn't an issue and took around 30 minutes. I shall be back for more.