Background: This was our first cruise with Celebrity and only our third cruise ever – all within the last 12 months…..so I guess we were bitten by the cruise bug.
Us – two DINKS (duel-income-no-kids) who can work off-shore providing there is an internet access and we are on the age 50 bump….which actually put us in the youngest 20% category on this particular sailing.
Our two previous cruises was a west bound TA on the Queen Mary 2 last June and a Caribbean Wind Star cruise in March. We chose this particular cruise since we are over in Tuscany for five weeks in May and at first it was on par with a flight over and MUCH cheaper than Cunard.
Ship / Cruise: Equinox, 13 nights from Ft Lauderdale to Malaga, Spain with stops in Azores, Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar.
Booking – Absolutely no problem directly with Celebrity. We did a little research and selected a Sky Suite 2 Aft corner deck 12. We had heard about the noise from the Ocean View Deck / Bar, but decided the benefits of an aft looking deck outweighed the possible noise.
Post – Booking: Evidently Celebrity is having some IT problems with their website, as it was difficult to further research on the cruise as “page not found” errors came up quite often. One time when I logged into the account, a pop-up window opened with a tease to upgrade to the next suite level (Celebrity Suite), I clicked on it to just see the cost, etc, and then logged out.
The following week when I looked at our account, I noticed our fare was now $1500 more --- or the price of the upgrade to a Celebrity Suite. We called as we really wanted the aft sky suite….but were informed that the stateroom was already booked, there was nothing that we could do, and we owed Celebrity $1500 more. The Celebrity agent stated that there was nothing that we could since we “clicked” and upgraded. Funny how I never received any communication from Celebrity to confirm the upgrade. I sent an email to Celebrity stating that since the website is fraught with problems it was most likely a glitch that caused the mystery upgraded…..no response back from Celebrity.
Embarkation – Well I guess one of the benefits of being in a Celebrity Suite is that you are whisked through embarkation, escorted to the Michael’s Club where you wait until the cabin is ready, while being offered a drink and snacks. Total time from cab to Michael’s Club 30 minutes. Time in Michael’s Club another 30 minutes for when the announcement was made that our rooms were ready.
Stateroom – Located on deck 10 on the “hump” starboard side right across from the library and elevators. This was our first time in any suite on a cruise ship and our expectations were met. Large room broken into a day room with L shaped couch and coffee table. The bedroom was walled off and just big enough for the queen sized bed – BTW a very comfortable bed. Bathroom with two doors with one vanity, large tub with a rain down shower head and a shower wand. Phone next to toilet that I kept on hitting. The deck was huge to have a lounge and a table with two chairs. Little if any external noise.
Alex – The suite came with a butler named Alex and he was fantastic. Any request was not problem. He even brought us cappuccinos one morning when he noticed we didn’t like the coffee from room service. He served us meals in our room, made us reservations, brought us bottled water for the fridge and even brought us two glasses of wine for our evening meal on the veranda since were on the drink plan – which is above and beyond. We didn’t take advantage of him by ordering drinks through him…but it was sure nice that one time.
In speaking with another Celebrity Suite guests on the port side of our deck, they told us that when they ordered cappuccinos one morning, their butler refused citing that they need to order the night before and that he had eight other cabins to tend to….WOW thank god for Alex!
Suite benefits – Along with the larger room, etc, as Celebrity Suite guests we were entitled to benefits and coupons that would normally be allotted to “Elite” members. Nice touch. We were also offered special tours etc. Another nice touch.
Since this was our first time with celebrity, we didn’t really know what to expect. The MDR was just OK and out of 13 nights, we only dined their twice. We felt that service was rather sub-par. This trip was during our 20th anniversary and while we booked on-line a “special occasion” to celebrate during one of the formal nights – I guess the request never made it to the MDR.
On the contrary, all of the specialty restaurants were fantastic – food, service, everything. We even dined at Muranos twice.
Michael’s Club has been changed to the “suite lounge” – I’m afraid it will go under used. In speaking with the staff, out of the 44 eligible suite guests – 50% used the lounge. We found it nice, but dark and nothing really drawing us to their.
Crew and staff – Repositioning cruises with many concurrent sea days is hard on a crew. We noticed this with the Queen Mary last June during our first TA. However, the staff and crew of the Equinox were wonderful.
Entertainment – Great speakers and guest entertainers. I was the guy from Colorado at the late show that was brought on stage during Gareth Oliver’s, the ventriloquist, to be his human dummy. Yes it was totally ad-lib and un-rehearsed, not expected, and I was not a plant. Being on stage has always been a “fantasy” of mine. If by the way somebody has video of the performance and the 15 minutes of my fame, can you send it to me?
Sea Days & Activities – One of the nice things about a Trans-Atlantic voyage are the sea days. You can choose to be as active or inactive as you desire. Some people might think “OMG 8 sea days – what am I ever going to do?” Try it – you might like it. Our only complaint – not enough sea days.
Excursions – We did one at every port. Celebrity does a fantastic job at hearding cats!!
One negative comment or “it would be nice to have” is it would have been nice to have a “sea day” after the last port-of-call before leaving the ship the next morning. To come back on board, and then change for dinner or pack, etc was rushed….it would have been nice to be at sea and “wind down”.
Disembarkation – As flawless as getting on board.
Conclusion – My wife and I had a wonderful time on the Celebrity Equinox.