Celebrity has mastered the art of easy embarkation. The smooth and easiness of boarding the Equinox in Civitavecchia was incredible. The process was simple, extremely well organized and we were able to walk on board in less than 30 minutes.
The first view of the Equinox is incredible! The size of the ship is overwhelming. THinking that I wouldn't like being on a ship with about 3000 other people was a thought that would soon be rendered unnecessary! Other than some bussling around and avoiding other passengers at peak times in the Oceanview Cafe...the ship is sufficiently large enough to accomodate all of its guests with plenty of room.
We were greeted on board with a Mimosa or Champagne, and proceeded to our cabin on the Panorama Deck. Our room was a Verandah room, which was small compared to other cruises we've been on, but more than adequate. It was tastefully furnished and had a surprisingly large bathroom and shower. We were traveling with four other couples and were able to have our connecting veranda's open which turned out to be quite nice, especially for planning the day's activities and for a quick cocktail before dinner.
Not enough can be said about the great staff on board the Equinox. From the officers who were very present and accessible to the restaurant, bar, and room staff, everyone was pleasant, helpful, and happy to be there. Stars that stand out are Metin our table waiter and his assistant Jessica, Ari the ever friendly bartender, and Israel...a waiter who never stopped smiling.
The food was consistently good and the buffets for lunch or breakfast in the Ocean View Cafe offered something for everyone.
The many bars offer different venues for different moods. We particularly like the small and intimate Michael's Place, the Ensemble Lounge, the Martini bar and they Sky Lounge.
One thing that I found incredible was the lack of motion felt on the ship. Take that from someone who can't go around a merry go round more that a few times.
Another thing that I found extremely interesting and almost unbelievable was how they could maneuver this huge ship as if it were a toy and with such precision. Says something about German engineering!
Oh by the way...I was concerned about the reviews that mentioned the "odor" on the ship especially in the hallways. While a couple of times we may have said, "what's that smell", it was of no matter and not pervasive nor constant.
The evening entertainment was absolutely enjoyable except for the night with the Magician, that had difficulty holding any one's attention. The ships own dance troupe and performers were the best I've seen at sea. The Equinox Theatre allows for very professional performances, with Aeriel capabilities and floors on stage that can be lowered and raised. You won't be disappointed.
The ports were once in a life time experiences. Santorini, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Athens and Naples/Capri. I would suggest the tours for the most part. They are efficient, bypass crowds and are handled in a very efficient manner. Don't miss the bazaars in Istanbul, Kusadasi, and the Plaka in Athens. Take the excursion in Capri. The island is just too beautiful to describe. The views from the top of the "rock" are spectacular!
I must say, I wasn't expecting to be so impressed by Celebrity having been on Holland America and my favorite, Home Lines, in the past. But Celebrity won me over with their very professional, helpful and extremely well organized processes. They must have been to Disney's Institute for Customer Service!
Overall a wonderful experience. Perhaps our next cruise will be on the Eclipse! Bon Voyage!