The Equinox is exquisite. This was our 16th cruise (we have sailed on Celebrity's Millenium, Mercury and Summit, as well) but the Equinox strikes the perfect balance of offering lots of possibilities without seeming too loud, too crowded, too gaudy or too big. Our cabin was on the deck 7 (7223) and was straight up to the Lido and straight down to the Silhouette dining room (we've traipsed miles to get to cabins in the aft in the past). There was a wonderful big meeting area in front of our cabin, with a table made from an enormous slab of burl oak, which people used throughout the voyage to play cards, read or talk. Very peaceful and inviting space with a live tree suspended above the decks in the elevator space- you have to see this to appreciate it.
The balcony had two chairs, which semi-reclined ( a nice touch!) and a table big enough for breakfast. Our bed was next to the sliding glass door and was made up with the fluffy duvet which is both light and warm. The flat screen TV frees up room on the desk, and the hair dryer actually fits away in the desk drawer (sometimes they don't, quite.) The lighting in the cabin was good, with a dimmer switch and a lighted phone by the bed (so bright we stuck a pillow over it at night). Cabins can get very black at night, at sea, and the bath had an ambient light that is just bright enough to get you in there in the dark, without keeping you awake all night.
We used the wake-up call feature on the phone, and liked the info available on the TV. You can view photos there instead of wandering around the photo deck, and it was handy to check our account balances and order excursions from the cabin.
We had early seating for dinner, and the food was excellent, even when the presentation was a little over the top. The steaks and chops were especially good, even when the side dishes got kind of...wacky. But hey- we are on vacation. Why not have glaceed wing of spring duck with carmelized radish tops, if you really want it? The crÃ¨me brulee was perfect every time and the raspberry lemon sorbet was delicious. Our waiter was funny and fast and never made a mistake. I don't know how they do it. Celebrity keeps the singing and dancing to a minimum, so the service is good and coffee is always served with dessert. (Some ships make you beg for a cup of tea after dinner.)Ice cream is free in the buffet and the buffet areas rarely seemed congested even though our sailing was fully booked.
The ship is spotless and the public spaces were gorgeous. We ended up behind a pillar after arriving late at one of the night productions, but that is what you get for dawdling over coffee. The shows were average, with one outstanding night of acrobats, drummers and jugglers- who knew? It was kind of an abstract African-themed light show with impressive costumes- Avatar-style?- and no particular story line. You had to be there, as they say.
The glass-blowing demonstrations are held outside on the top deck, which is cold and windy but so interesting you stay to watch, even if you freeze. The real grass on the outside deck is exactly as advertised and would be appealing in July, but was too grey and windy for use in November.
Over all, this trip was magic. The ports were diverse, the service on the boat was unobtrusive, the cabins were comfy and the price was remarkable, considering the level of service. Altogether, a 5 star voyage.
One note about Rome Cabs: We used them for our return shuttle from the ship to FCO, going home. We had arranged with two other couples from Cruise Critic to share a ride. We had early flights (leaving Rome at 11:30 am is really too early, but that is a story for another day) so we needed a pickup no later than 7 am. Our driver was there waiting with our name on a sign at 6am, handled our luggage, kept us comfortable during a delay that was not his fault and got us to the airport in plenty of time, despite problems at the port that were out of his control. These guys are pros and we will definitely use them again in Rome. (There has been some confusion over which shuttle company is which. The one we used is at http://www.romecabs.com/ and our contact person was Stefano Costantini at 339 - 352 5028)