Equinox sets a high bar for all of our future cruises: Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by CrucianGal

Celebrity Equinox 5
Member Since 2006
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Equinox sets a high bar for all of our future cruises

Sail Date: October 2010
Destination: Middle East
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
We decided to go to Venice and Florence for a pre-cruise vacation prior to embarkation. Venice was as magical as we remembered and our stay at the Locanda Orseolo was perfect. This was our second stay, and the owners and staff are the consummate hosts. The hotel is in a great location being in a quiet area right off of St. Marks Square. Florence was a nice stay at the Hotel David. The hotel is a very good value, extremely clean with lots of hospitality touches. The location is a little off the beaten path. It was fine for us because we are avid walkers, but it might not be for those with mobility issues.

The train ride from Florence to Civitavecchia was easy. Upon arrival in Civitavecchia we caught a cab to the port. Embarkation was smooth. There was a separate line for guests in Aqua Class, but it seemed that all lines moved efficiently. We were a bit concerned about having to check our passports with the ship, probably more out of fear that we would lose our claim checks More than of the ship losing our passports. We always travel with multiple copies of our passports, so in the event we would have to get replacements it might help. Since our itinerary included stops in Egypt and Israel, we understood the reasons for the passport collections.

Our first impression of Equinox was WOW! The ship is stunning;every attention to detail was made. The ship is sleek, modern, sophisticated and has an understated elegance. The centerpiece of the atrium is a huge tree suspended in a gorgeous colorful crystal planter. It combines art and nature and it made me smile every time I rode the glass elevators and read the signage "Here Comes the Sun".

We were so happy we booked in Aqua Class. We enjoyed the private access to the spa and the Persian Gardens were wonderful. The little perks (daily bottled water, fruit, flavored teas) were nice, but the best part to us was dining in Blu. We absolutely loved it. The cuisine was a bit lighter than what is typically served in main dining rooms. The fish entrees were divine and the intimate setting had us hooked. It was evident that the staff worked as a team, but kudos to Gusti and Artur who were generally our head waiter and assistant. They were exceptional and made our dining experience outstanding. We had one little hiccup with the sommelier, but it was quickly and courteously corrected. The ambiance in Blu is beautiful and we looked forward every evening to eating there.

Our cabin was extremely comfortable. The bathroom was spacious and felt full size. The vessel sink, glass tiles, fantastic shower all gave it a "spa" feel. We also liked the fact that the automatic fan kept the mirror and glass shower from fogging which added to the spacious feel. The bed was great and the linens are of high quality. Our cabin stewardess Elvie worked very hard to make sure everything was perfect in our cabin. She was delightful to talk to and made us feel like we were coming home every time we saw her in the hall or near our cabin.

Some of our favorite spots on Equinox were Bistro on 5, we ate lunch there multiple times and loved the Parisian crepe for dessert. My husband, who has a sweet tooth also enjoyed the desserts at the Cafe Al Bacio along with a specialty coffee.

The cruise director, Drew Pavlov was the best one we have had on all of our cruises. He was funny, articulate, and informative. We enjoyed his MC'ing, his silly nightly jokes and the late night game "Liar's Club". We also enjoyed the battle of the chefs. I got to be a "Celebrity" judge which was a lot of fun.

The entertainment on the ship was mostly hits with a few misses. The West End show singer was very good, as was the violinist. The stage shows were average, and the comedienne was not very funny. The Cirque de Soleil show looked to be spectacular, however the theater was packed and even though we arrived a few minutes before the late show started we ended up having to stand and really could not see much. My suggestion would be to have reservations, or some type of ticketing like RCL does for their ice shows.

We attended the hot glass show and it was very interesting. I wish the glass items could be sold but understand that it is a non-profit.

We can not say enough great things about Equinox. The staff was unbelievable, friendly, polite, hard working and attentive. The ship is beautiful, and pristine. We will definitely be back for future vacations. Less

Published 11/28/10

Cabin review: AQ1606

Cabin 1606. Great location, mid ship hump. Near elevators but on outer hall so no noise problem from elevators. Some daytime noise from pool furniture, only noticed it when trying to take an afternoon nap.

Port and Shore Excursions

One of the reason we booked this cruise was to see the Great Pyramids. We went with two other couples on a private overnight tour. Egypt is very polluted and the traffic is beyond chaotic. Seeing the pyramids and the Sphinx were surreal and a highlight of our trip. We road camels, which added to the adventure. We enjoyed a felucca ride on the Nile. We visited the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which houses treasures such as King Tut. Unfortunately the museum is not well maintained and very over crowded. It was a shame to see such incredible pieces of ancient history crammed into such a place. Maybe I am applying western standards to this museum, but I felt that such treasures could be displayed in a less haphazard way so that people could view them more easily. We visited the Step Pyramid and Mohammad Ali Mosque which were interesting. We also went to Memphis. We are very glad we went to Egypt. Would we return? Very doubtful. Are we glad we went? Yes!

We had also been to Corfu previously and seen the Achillean Palace on that visit. This time we walked into the Old Town for a visit of the synagogue and shopping area. We had a leisurely lunch at Restaurant Rex which was very enjoyable.

Read 486 Corfu Reviews

The cruise stopped in Ashdod and Haifa. We rented a car in Ashdod and drove to Jerusalem where we stayed overnight. Jerusalem is one of our favorite cities in the world to visit. You have the mix of the religions, the mix of the Old City and the New City, the unbelievable history and the over-whelming sense that you are visiting a very special place on earth. If this is your first visit have a guide who can give you the history of what you are seeing. We did this on our first visit (a land tour for 10 days) This visit we went to the Wailing Wall and met dear friends.

Our second day we went to Mt. Scopus for the "view". We then drove to Cesarea, the ancient port of King Herod. We toured the area which has some well maintained Roman ruins. We spent the afternoon exploring Zichron Yaakov, an area known for wines.

Not to be missed for first time visitors are Jerusalem, Massada/Dead Sea.

Read 141 Haifa Reviews

Having visited Amalfi last year we opted for a DIY and visit Capri. Unfortunately Mother Nature was less than cooperative that day and we had chilly rain. It is very easy to get ferry tickets and travel to Capri without a tour. We braved the rough seas and rain and walked from the ferry port to Anacapri with our umbrellas. There is also a funicular, but the lines were very long. The views and flowers are lovely, and we would like to return when the weather is more cooperative.

Read 1117 Naples Reviews

We spent 2 night in Rome after the cruise. Rome is the kind of city that grows on you. This was our 3rd visit in 3 years and it was our best. We didn't feel the need to see "everything" like on our first visit. Instead we took leisurely walks stopping at fountains and piazzas. We visited the Borghese Gardens and ate terrific food. We felt like we were living La Dolce Vida!

Not to be missed The Roman Forum The Pantheon The Vatican/St. Peters The Great Synagogue of Rome Trevi Fountain

This was our second visit to Messina and to Taormina. We used the ship's "on your own" bus transfer to Taormina because it is a bit of a distance from Messina. Taormina is a easy place to visit and explore on your own. The views of Mt. Etna are stunning and the main pedestrian street is a nice place to stroll have a coffee and shop if you desire. There is also a nice park area that has beautiful water views.

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