Celebrity Equinox Entertainment
For some of the best -- and simplest -- entertainment on the ship, head to the Lawn Club for a demonstration of glass-blowing by the crew of young artisans from the Corning Museum of Glass. It's particularly nice to sit out on a mild evening, as the kilns' interior temperatures average around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pavilion can get hot on a sunny day.
You can cool down with a cold drink just a few steps away, though, at the Sunset Bar, with its perfect-for-sailaway vibe -- at the aft of the ship, of course.
If you're craving something a little bit more bawdy (and not in any way family-friendly), try the Sin City late-night comedy and burlesque show on Deck 4. During this adults-only show, veteran comedians are joined by scantily clad women as they perform the standup and vaudevillian variety bits that have won the troupe awards in their hometown of Las Vegas. It should be noted that the comedy acts are from the U.S. circuit, and the humor is of a definitively American variety.
For more typical cruise entertainment fare, there are the twice-nightly acts in the Equinox Theatre, performed shortly after each dinner seating has finished. In addition to the shows produced onboard, well-respected guest headlining acts include singers and musicians from stage and studio backgrounds, magicians and theatrical productions; evening shows are generally well attended.
The casino, located on Deck 4, doesn't break the mold with its flashing slot machines and standard set of games, including craps, blackjack, roulette and three-card poker. Nearby is the futuristic nightclub, Quasar, which is a favorite with the younger crowd. On the other side of the casino, you'll find the 24-hour Cellar Masters wine lounge. The wine on offer is dispensed via self-service Enomatic machines, which means there's little need to staff the place with a bartender.
The ice-topped Martini Bar on Deck 4 remains one of the most popular before-dinner drinking spots, but if you're in the mood for something lighter, look no further than the Molecular Bar on Equinox's Deck 5. If "healthy cocktails" exist, the Molecular Bar has them. The small, midship bar creates a list of around 10 specialty cocktails using herbal infusions, fruits and vegetables, and other fresh, natural ingredients (think ginger, dark chocolate or even grilled pineapple). It goes almost without saying that the liquors are all top-shelf. Everything on the menu is $12, except a Celebrity Signature Cocktail that runs $20. Keep an eye out for the "Brilliante," a sweet little concoction of Brut Champagne, Agave Nectar, Angostura Bitters and Grand Marnier.
For beer-lovers, there's Michael's Club, just behind the Ensemble Lounge's bar on the way to the eateries on Deck 5. Outfitted like a 19th-century explorer's library, Michael's has an impressive list of beers in bottles and hosts small musical acts, trivia nights and more.
All the way up on the 14th deck is the spectacular Sky Observation Bar & Lounge. With killer views and the feel of an elegant ballroom, it quickly became one of our favorite bars at sea, without question. Have a martini at the bar on formal night to get that James Bond feeling.
During the day, Celebrity offers a number of choices for enrichment and entertainment. Those who feel compelled to try their hand at winning door prizes can compete in multiple games of trivia, game shows and the ever-popular cruise ship cliche, Battle of the Sexes.
Passengers who prefer something requiring a bit more brain power can attend educational programming that ranges from computer lessons in the Internet cafe to lectures on a range of subjects and foreign language classes with Rosetta Stone.
Equinox, of course, has the standbys we all expect: art auctions, bingo, dance lessons, wine appreciation and the like, as well as the casino and smaller groups of musicians playing sets on the pool deck during the day and around the lounges at night.
Equinox splits time between the Caribbean and Mediterranean, so shore excursions reflect those different deployments. In the Caribbean, options focus on snorkeling, beach days and island tours. Mediterranean cruises may concentrate on more cultural endeavors, with food, wine and city tours frequently playing a large part in what's offered.
Celebrity Equinox Public Rooms
The Grand Foyer, which spans decks 3, 4 and 5, is one of the loveliest atriums at sea. At the bottom, on Deck 3, you'll find the guest relations and shore excursions desks. The boarding area and medical facilities are one deck below on Deck 2. Deck 4 is for entertainment and shopping, with the Shops on the Boulevard offering a typical array of jewelry and watches, perfume and cologne, clothing and an array of other odds and ends, from the tacky to the luxurious, all tax- and duty-free.
An easy rule of thumb for passengers who tend to get lost in big-ship public areas is that, on Equinox, food is at the aft end, entertainment is up front, and the center of commerce (think casino, shops, shore tours desk) is in the middle. And with its multimillion-dollar art collection on display in the quieter areas of the ship, it's comforting to know, if you tire of the ka-ching of the casino and the midship hard sell, there are specific, well-designed areas onboard set aside for you to relax and recalibrate.
Given the size of the atrium, there's not much in the way of public spaces between Decks 6 and 11. Deck 10 has a pleasant, relaxing and open library with a fairly typical cruise-ship book selection. Travel guides and harlequin romance novels dominate. The card room on Deck 9 sees quite a bit of action, although it's not much more than a vestibule between elevator bays. Deck 7's Team Earth is essentially an advertisement for Celebrity's nonprofit partner, Conservation International. The interactive displays are slick, and there's quite a bit of information on offer for those interested. Sharing the space is the Captain's Club Concierge Desk. And, finally, the Internet cafe, Online@Celebrity is the single public room on Deck 6. Internet rates are charged at $0.75 cents per minute, but there are a number of different Internet packages available, with prices ranging from $24.95 for 38 minutes up to $400 for 1,600 minutes. Wi-Fi is available in staterooms and throughout much of the ship via wireless "hotspots."
Celebrity Equinox Spa & Fitness
Two plunge pools and an interactive water feature made up of numerous dancing fountains make up the Deck 12 pool deck's well-designed (although crowded on sea days) outside space. The two-pool layout, with raised hot tubs and showers on deck in tucked-away spots make for a cozy but adequate setup for swimmers and sun-worshippers. The walkways of the deck above provide shaded spots underneath to relax.
Forward from the main pool area is an adults-only solarium that houses within its blissfully quiet enclosure two hot tubs and a lovely pool bookended by a living wall of ferns and flowers, as well as a soothing water and light display. If you have a late seating in the main dining room, the early evening hours are a fantastic time for a swim. You'll likely have the place to yourself.
On Deck 15, the Lawn Club and its surrounds make up the signature space aboard Equinox. From picnicking and lawn games (bocce, croquet, giant Jenga, etc.) to simply sitting and people-watching, the public park at sea is an ideal venue for relaxing at any time of day. The Lawn Club is located between the Corning Museum of Glass' outdoor glass-blowing show and the Sunset Bar.
Curving walkways connect the forward and aft spaces of decks 14 and 15 and double as a jogging track, but the midship area doesn't do much more than overlook the pool area on Deck 12 from the Mast Bar and Mast Grill (smoker friendly and oddly positioned directly on the jogging track).
At the forward end of the ship, one level up and accessible from both the exterior and interior (via Deck 14), is the Solstice Deck (16). An open-air space, the Solstice Deck is favored by smokers and sun-seekers who want to be away from the busy pool, two decks below.
Back inside, situated at the extreme forward end of Deck 12, are the spa and fitness facilities. It's slightly daunting to be running on a treadmill and heading toward an infinite horizon, but the AquaSpa Fitness Center onboard Equinox has one of the best views on the ship. The gym section of the fitness center (which also includes the spa and a hair and nail salon) has wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows and a roomy layout. The equipment throughout the gym is modern, there's a spacious and tucked away area for classes that also enjoys a great view, and there are trainers on hand. Although there are plenty of free weights in addition to the host of ellipticals, treadmills, bikes and machines, there's no bench (for bench-press lifting).
Classes, including yoga, Zumba and boot camp, are offered, most for a fee (since 2014, the famed destination spa Canyon Ranch has overseen these offerings). The jogging track (eight laps to the mile) is located one deck up from the gym, and, annoyingly, it runs near two smoking areas onboard. There's also a basketball court located at the forward end of the ship on Deck 15.
The Canyon Ranch SpaClub includes the typical, slightly overwhelming array of spa treatments, from massage offerings to a gold facial. A standard 50-minute massage runs about $110 (cheaper on port days), excluding bells, whistles and hot stones. It also offers medi-spa procedures like teeth-whitening and acupuncture.
The Persian Garden, a Millennium-class idea expanded to the Solstice-class siblings, is central to Celebrity's AquaSpa concept. The area includes a coed sauna and steam room, tropical rain shower and heated oceanview relaxation chairs. The facility is available for free to AquaClass passengers and for $99 to all other passengers (based on a one-week cruise).