I have been cruising with Celebrity since '99 and have enjoyed many major milestones with the cruise line i.e. honeymoon, anniversaries, kids birthdays, hubbies, and now my big 50 birthday cruise. We did fly in a day ahead and stayed at the Embassy Suites. The hotel was clean but pricey. It was close to shopping so this was convenient to leave out items from our luggage and just purchase them when we got there. I am referring to liquids to keep weight down on our luggage from hair care products to the two bottles of wine we can bring onboard. We completely missed the managers reception they offer since we were late getting in and did not know the morning breakfast shuts down at 9:00 a.m. on Monday. This would have been nice if they mentioned anything about the breakfast when we checked in. Moving on we knew we would have more than enough to eat when we arrived at the ship. The pier check in was smooth but security was extremely rude. This is the first time I encountered such rudeness and just overall attitude. Our computers frequently cause an extra check so we are used to that but the agent was in need of personality adjustment. The Celebrity staff was very nice and promptly processed us in. Moving on our champagne was waiting and we were on our way.
The ship is beautiful and this is our 3rd "S" class ship. We have been on Solstice and Silhouette which are very similar. The Equinox is very clean and well maintained with staff constantly working on keeping it that way. The music level was not a problem. The only place I heard any techno sound was the molecular bar walking through the shop area. The music or entertainment on deck 3 near guest relations is loud and filters through the ship but is not offensive. I found on more than one occasion this led to dance contests in elevators. The ship's activity staff has a wide variety of things to do throughout the sea days or plenty of space to curl up with a good read if you choose. We never had a problem finding a chair! However, we did sit all the way up on deck 15 and warning to those going up there, even if the sun is not out the burn is real. Stayed too long and paid the price. The top deck is very windy and you do not feel the heat.
We did all our shore excursions through the ship and were not disappointed with any of them. One of the excursions in Cartagena skipped a stop that was listed and before we got back to the ship we already had a credit from guest relations along with a phone message and also a letter apologizing for the inconvenience. Wow - I didn't even bring it up but kudos to guest relations for being on top of this. Our excursions were Tour of Cartagena, Panama Canal and Gatun Lake, Costa Rica Veragua Rain Forest and Aerial Tram, Belize Cave Tubing & Cozumel Playa Mia Beach break. The first day in Grand Cayman we just took a cab to the beach on our own. If you would like more details about the tours please ask but all were very informative and enjoyable. This is one of the things about cruising that I love so much there is so much to learn and explore.
We were in Concierge class next to the Sky Suites on deck 12. Yes we took the stairs frequently to counter balance the food consumption. Often we would make an oxygen stop on deck 8 because that is a lot of stairs coming up from 2. Our room was nice and our champagne was waiting. Everything looked normal and I have learned the first day is always a little off. However, the whole trip was a little off and I did address this with Celebrity because I have done every cabin option they offer with the exception of Celebrity Suite so I am not new to Concierge. We had an ice bucket but no ice. So I asked for ice and got about one third of a bucket. We never received a full bucket. The toiletries in the bathroom kept running out and by the third time asking for them to be replaced I was now getting an attitude. I actually came back from dinner one night and had no toilet paper. Sounds funny now but not so much at the time. When I asked for extra towels because on vacation we shower between 2-3 times a day. (Workout-shower, suntan lotion-shower, dress for dinner-shower) I was told NO. Just put the towels on the floor and I will bring clean ones. I did not receive any captain clubs information until I asked for it and never received my invitation to cruise critics party. Our main cabin attendant was usually in the hallway talking to the butlers that were working down the hall and the assistant was usually doing all the work. This is not a normal concierge experience and it was just a lazy attendant not doing his job. The beds were made and the room was cleaned but the extras were not being done. If I asked it was taken care of but for someone new to concierge they would wonder what they were paying for. When we wanted to use our coupon for laundry we had no laundry bag or slip in the room so one more thing we had to track him down for.
Dining was wonderful. We enjoyed our MDR experience and had excellent staff. The food was a decent variety but somehow it seems one night there will be three entree's you would love to have and the next night nothing great. This of course is completely subjective to my preference and they will always make substitutions to try to accommodate guests.
The entertainment on the ship (shows) had quite a variety. When you cruise frequently it is hard to feel there is something new and original but the entertainment did not disappoint. My husband and I enjoyed the shows and the talent around the ship.
This was the first time we did our own disembarkation to catch an 11:20 flight and it was easy and quick. I don't like the feeling of a time countdown at the end of vacation but this time was unavoidable. I prefer the old fashioned way and find that to be usually quick and breeze through customs. All in all we were at the airport by 8:00 and at the gate by 8:30. This gave DH time to nap before the flight.
Overall this cruise was perfect weather, perfect itinerary, excellent service except were noted with cabin nonsense. Celebrity has made some changes and some cutbacks but nothing I would consider drastic. I still enjoyed my welcome aboard champagne, my ice cold towels upon returning to the ship, my chocolates on the pillow and turn down service, and the friendly staff. We had a couple of minor issues on our bill which I check on the television 2 or 3 times a day to just verify charges. Guest relations was very helpful in resolving these items without question and it was taken care of immediately.
Please let me know if anyone has any questions.