Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by Peter54: Adriatic & Aegean Adventure
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Adriatic & Aegean Adventure
We were "Cruise Virgins" and therefore our experiences dictated our decision to consider further cruises.
Having decided on our cruise and booked a fly/cruise package it was only the sharp eye of our travel agent, who spotted that Celebrity had booked our flights from London to Venice via a stopover in Munich instead of the direct flight expected. There was no communication from Celebrity about this which was a feature of the booking in general i.e. no communication. These unwanted flights were cancelled and our travel agent was able to book direct return flights, at a cheaper rate with no problem whatsoever.
Embarkation - we had some trepidation about this process given that the vessel carries close on 3000 passengers. Our fears were unfounded and as we had booked an Aqua Class state room we were in any event given priority and were on the ship with a minimum of delay with our luggage arriving shortly afterwards. The process was simple and swift.
Cabin - More The term "state room" is rather a misnomer. Our Aqua class cabin was very comfortable albeit rather narrow and somewhat cramped. The balcony was a good size with two easy chairs and a table. The bed was comfortable and the cabin was well equipped with plenty of storage space and good toiletries in the bathroom. The cabin was extremely quiet. As with the rest of the ship, the cabin was cleaned daily to a very high standard. Our cabin attendant was lovely - he was pleasant, courteous and always greeted us by name which under the circumstances, must be extremely difficult, given that most staff work on board for six to eight months without a break. Nothing was too much trouble for him or any of the other staff we came into contact with.
Food - A wide range of food was available throughout the ship. The Blu Restaurant was reserved for Aqua class guests where we had supper for most of the time on the cruise and the food was of a high standard with swift service and helpful, happy staff. The breakfast in Blu restaurant we felt was somewhat restricted as a much better choice was available in the buffet style Ocean View Café which is open to everyone. Although this café did resemble a works canteen at times, and could be extremely busy, the food again was of a very high standard. Aqua class customers could also use the Aqua Spa café for a "healthy breakfast". Our advice would be - don't - there was no choice beyond limited amounts of yoghurt and muesli. The ship has several speciality restaurants at additional cost - we tried the Murano which was excellent and relatively reasonable for the quality of food offered ($100 for two with no drinks).
The Silhouette restaurant which is open to everybody also offered good food with excellent service.
Ports of Call - a good choice of destinations with disembarkation at the ports of call being very efficient including the tender service to Santorini which was very efficiently arranged. A nice touch was the provision of cold towels and drinks on return to the vessel. We should point out that the excursions arranged at each port of call by Celebrity, although comprehensive, are very expensive compared to what an independent minded traveller could obtain locally.
Entertainment - this was of an adequate standard rather than top notch. However, the small bands which played in the various deck levels were all excellent. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that the Equinox carries an extensive modern art collection including some works by Picasso! These are all for sale and we took part in two of the art auctions which we found to be great fun as led by Ian, the auctioneer and the prices of the art works which we purchased appeared to be very reasonable.
Disembarkation - it was regrettable that the final disembarkation process at Istanbul was a complete shambles. As well as our ship, Celebrity Reflection was also berthed, plus another cruise liner and all were disembarking at the same time. Celebrity must have known of this months in advance. Somewhere, something in the region of 6000 people had to be processed through immigration in a short period of time. The fact that Celebrity did not communicate any of this to the passengers was lamentable. The process if you could call it that was chaotic, with angry scenes from some of the passengers who were still at a standstill after three quarters of an hour. It seemed that Celebrity were only concerned about getting us off the ship and were not interested in any further assistance from then on. Surely it was crazy for Celebrity to have two of their biggest ships disembarking at the same time.
Niggles - it is fortunate that we drink little alcohol because the price of any alcoholic drink on board was exorbitant. Celebrity also charged for bottles of water to take ashore although fortunately in Aqua class you are provided with two small bottles of water per day. We were amazed to discover that any branded soft drink was also charged at an exorbitant rate with inclusive soft drinks limited to drinks dispensers which only appeared to be in two sites on the entire ship i.e. Ocean View Café and the Mast Grill and these included tea/coffee/water and squash.
The charge for the internet at 79c per minute is outrageous given as Celebrity admits that the connection speed is slower than that obtained on most landlines.
Summary - The good points outweighed the bad points apart from the disembarkation which was truly appalling; it was chaotic, unmanaged and there was no representation from Celebrity to assist. We were given to understand that we would be allotted the time of 0815 for disembarkation as we had a flight to catch. At 0900hrs we simply asked to leave the ship so that we could attempt to catch our flight and it was only at the goodwill of the Turkish port officials that our transit through immigration was expedited.
We definitely would cruise again and probably would consider Celebrity despite our reservations.
Celebrity were going to email us a Questionnaire for our views on the cruise - they never did - another example of no communication. Less
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