Celebrity Equinox, launched in 2009 as the second of five Solstice-class sisters, has all the signature Solstice touches: multiple dining venues (like the spa-restaurant Blu and continental Murano), a gelateria and enhanced coffee shop, and tons of balcony cabins. Yet it retains the original innocence of life before the commercialization of the ships' signature top-deck green space, the Lawn Club.
While a few more added-fee features (like the cabanas and Lawn Club Grill on Reflection and Silhouette) might not seem like much of a change, Equinox is a better place for their absence.
When you sit outside on the real-grass lawn for a sailaway or take in the free hot-glass show at the Corning Museum of Glass pavilion, you become aware of a communal feel on the top deck that's reminiscent of summertime in a small town. Ultimately, the friendliness of that stretch of grass and the revelatory stripped-down design of the Lawn Club on Equinox is replicated again and again onboard the ship. Crewmembers are as friendly as they come. Thoughtfully designed delights await in nearly every public space, from the art-adorned walls of the Ensemble Lounge on Deck 5 to the adults-only Solarium pool on Deck 12, with its "living wall" of plants and dancing fountain.
Walk through Equinox's other main public spaces, and it becomes clear why Celebrity chose the metaphor of light and sun for the Solstice-class ships. From the ship's heart on Deck 3, glass elevators sweep you up through a soaring central atrium that reaches, through 10 decks, for the sun and sky. On the way to the top, a tree, floating in mid-air and soaked in sunlight, and the words "Here Comes The Sun," written on consecutive balcony walls, prepare you for a bright, windowed reception on the ship's uppermost decks. The curved, winding walkways suspended above the pool deck, the solarium-enclosed pool and the Sky Observation Lounge add to the airy and bright ambience of the ship's top-deck spaces.
Bottom to top, Equinox evokes a luxury high-rise hotel. The ship's light, bright design and friendly feel create a continuity and harmony of elements that is unequaled on other big ships.
Celebrity passengers are generally upper-middle-class couples and groups, with an average age in the mid-50s. Especially during its Mediterranean season (the ship is a Caribbean-European dual homeporter), expect large numbers of British and European travelers and a more international feel. During the Caribbean season, the ratio of families with children to couples will sometimes increase, for a younger average age.
During the day, dress is resort casual, but Celebrity passengers tend to dress up for dinner -- typically button-down or dressy Tommy Bahama-type sport shirts and slacks for men and dresses or smart-casual pants for women. Formal night on Celebrity has been replaced by "evening chic" in the main dining room. This means that men can ditch the full suit and tie in favor of a sport coat and collared shirt, with designer jeans. Women can wear cocktail dresses, sundresses or designer jeans or nice pants. In the buffet, almost any form of dress is allowed except swimwear, flip-flops, spa robes and bare feet.
Tips are not included in the cruise fare. They are automatically added to your onboard account daily. If you want to pay anything other than the "suggested gratuity," you'll need to make those arrangements at the Guest Relations desk while onboard.
The suggested gratuity is $13.50 per person, per day, if you're in a standard cabin or $14 per person, per day, if you're in a Concierge Class or AquaClass cabin. It's $17 per person, per day, for passengers in suites. An 18 percent charge is also automatically added to all beverages, mini-bar purchases, the added-fee dining at Bistro on Five and the parfait bar at the AquaSpa Cafe, as well as spa and salon services; those charges cannot be removed, but you can add an additional gratuity if you wish.