Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by dani negreanu: Wonderful cruise marred by messy disembarkation
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Wonderful cruise marred by messy disembarkation
We are a well travelled couple (63, 64), who came lately to cruising, mainly because no reputable cruise line starts cruises from Israel.
We booked the cruise (7 days - Venice-Istanbul - 1C veranda) through an internet agency with a "senior" rate. This agency also includes free gratuities and a small agency discount. Thus – we had "select" dining.
We flew to Venice 2 days before the cruise, Tel-Aviv-Istanbul-Venice, arriving Thursday afternoon.
For Venice – I found a hotel (Fontana), located right on the Alilaguna Blue line from Marco Polo, and then on the same line to the ship terminal. Excellent location, no stairs and bridges involved, 3 min walk from S. Zaccaria stop.
The ride from the airport to the hotel was uneventful (16 Euro pp.) This was our 5th visit to Venice, so for Friday we planned to take it easy, go to the Rialto Market (we always visit local market products) and then to Peggy Guggenheim museum.
Saturday morning More we took the Alilaguna Blue line at 10.07, and arrived less than half an hour later right near the beautiful Equinox.
Bearing in mind that maybe we'll have problems flying out from Israel (or maybe we'll not be able to go back), we travelled with carry on. When cruising, I'm using only one color-related garments, for airplanes I take Crocs… (I know…, but they are very useful when u have to take them off at airports), one pair of sandals, walking shoes and elegant (brown) shoes for formal nights.
We went straight in with our carry on and the whole embarkation process was a breeze. By 11.30 I was swimming "laps" in the Solarium pool… The rooms were ready at exactly 1PM, and lunch in OV was not a zoo.
I found the mandatory drill a bit long, with the same announcement made in at least 7 languages.
Our cabin was spacious, our attendant very attentive.The ship is spotless clean.
Food – we ate in MDR 5 out of 7 nights. The food was just OK. We liked more the variety and taste in Ocean View and opted to dine there 2 nights. The only problem is - very dark. I think that the whole ship is dark, and, comparing to other ships, there was not ONE place where you could read inside the ship, without it being a for-fee place…. Luckily, it was a nice weather, and I could read at the pool. I tried the crepe Nutella on Bistro 5 and liked it.
I enjoyed swimming in the Solarium pool very early in the morning, I had the pool to myself.
Entertainment – the Hot Glass Show was amazing, the team – very talented and professional. We went there twice and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Ports – all very nice and interesting, we've done them all by ourselves.
Embarkation – a breeze.
Disembarkation – a nightmare. Like a cow, kicking its own full milk bucket…. We were supposed to disembark at 9AM, we were still on the ship at 10AM. We had a "transfer to hotel" booked, no one from Celebrity was around to take responsibility, there was only one announcement that "the immigration hall is very busy"…. At around 9.30 I saw an woman officer and tried to ask her what's going on, she was so RUDE – telling me "it's not my business". I said "all the staff made the 'disappearing act' and I have no one to ask" and she just gave me the "eye" and went away… Appalling. In the end, I went down to guest relations and luckily Brian was more than willing to call the hotel and cancel the transfer, who was waiting outside for us.
I have to ask: Is this the first time that Celebrity docks at Istanbul? It doesn't know how many ships are docking and disembarking in the same day and plan accordingly? With the majority of travelers US citizens, needing the E-visa, it was taking ages to clear immigration, and the timing allocated to disembark was just not feasible.
Even when finally we left the ship, at around 10.30 !!!, NO ONE from Celebrity was around to help us. I saw staff from Oceania and RC, showing their pax where to stand and where is the exit, etc. but Celebrity again made the 'disappearing act'. It was like – we're not interested in you anymore, now that the cruise is over….
We made it to our hotel in Istanbul at 12.30, after waiting in pouring rain for a taxi, in a disorganized line, wet, exhausted and very disappointed in Celebrity. Less
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