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3 Celebrity Equinox Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

This ship is super when it comes to disability access. Last summer we cruised to Alaska, the inside passage, on the Celebrity Infinity. Access on the ship was sketchy at best - doors were not automatic, the suite I booked was not ... Read More
This ship is super when it comes to disability access. Last summer we cruised to Alaska, the inside passage, on the Celebrity Infinity. Access on the ship was sketchy at best - doors were not automatic, the suite I booked was not accessible (although quite beautiful), and disembarking and re-boarding were a nightmare. On this ship, all doors are fully automatic, accessible bathrooms are in each of the restrooms, and staff are very helpful during dining, or at the buffet. But beware! The documentation officer will demand that you surrender your passports for the duration of the cruise. When my travel companion and I refused to do so, she tried to intimidate us into complying. She said that no one else even questioned that, and we were the only ones. She said if we did not surrender the passports no one could leave the ship. We said we would present them ourselves to immigration authorities, and she told us we had to be there at 6:30 every morning during the cruise. We dutifully went to the appointed place at 6:30 on the first morning of our cruise, and NO ONE was there. One person arrived at about 6:45 and told us she handled passports for the crew, and that we weren't supposed to be there until 7. The documentation officer arrived at about 7, and the port authority persons arrived shortly thereafter. We were informed that immigration would not be coming aboard until 3:30, and we would have to present our passports then. We could leave the ship, however. Needless to say, immigration did not come at 3:30 - we had cut short our visit to Athens (my birthday!!) so that we could get back on time. All passports had to be delivered to the immigration office in Athens, it seems. We finally agreed to surrender them for 2 hours. We did get them back, but by that time, we were so angry about the whole process that we cancelled our scheduled tour in Turkey, losing our deposit. We were very close to just leaving the ship and making our way back to Rome. Eventually the documentation officer apologized for the inconvenience. It seems that passports would only be required for one more 2 hour period after all. We decided to stay on board and try to enjoy our cruise.The staff in the dining room were wonderful, as was our butler and the persons who took care of our room. I came with a group of casino players, so I spent a lot of time in the casino. The staff there were outstanding. The only problem with the casino was the slot machines. They were so tight that it was unbelievable. In the entire ten days, there was one jackpot of $1000, and that was it! The high limit machines chewed up hundred dollar bills with NO HITS! Not even a couple of coins back! So I played penny slots for fun, and spent most of my time at the table games. That's it for the complaints. Th cruise itself was wonderful. I loved the ship, enjoyed the adults only pool, even though there were kids in it and in the area around it -- no real security or enforcement. We tried two of the specialty restaurant, the Tuscan Grill, and Murano, and they were superb. The food was phenomenal, and the service outstanding. Seats were comfortable, and they took care of my mobility scooter. The spa was also outstanding. I signed up for one of their discount package and thoroughly enjoyed it. On balance, I will sail with Celebrity again, but I will not surrender my passport, and I believe that the cruise line should tell you up front if that will be necessary or expected. I for one do not wish to be stranded in a different country without my passport. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was the first cruise that our family of 5 took together - my husband and I and our 3 children, ages 21, 19 and 17. Our daughter, age 21, has cerebral palsy so a cruise, we felt, was the best way to conduct extensive travel ... Read More
This was the first cruise that our family of 5 took together - my husband and I and our 3 children, ages 21, 19 and 17. Our daughter, age 21, has cerebral palsy so a cruise, we felt, was the best way to conduct extensive travel considering her physical constraints. We were determined to take the children to Europe, to expose and introduce them to as many iconic European cultural sights as possible. They had never left the mainland US. The Grand Tour of Europe of the Gilded Age was my beacon, but given that we have neither that kind of money, nor the time, and that a child who uses a walker/wheelchair to ambulate puts restrictions on the mode of travel, well, we settled on a Celebrity 11 night Mediterranean cruise and we are so glad that we did. We loved it so much that as a family, we did it again in August 2012, just different ports of call, primarily. We arrived in Rome three days before the Equinox set sail. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Rome-St. Peter's, which was very nice, but we would never stay there again due to it's essentially suburban location. You can walk literally nowhere from there. They do have a very nice shuttle bus, which we used, but still, it is better to stay in the old city of Rome, if you can. Months before, we had engaged "Romelimostours" - Maurizio and Daniele Miglio - to take the 5 of us around, for 1 and 1/2 days of touring. They were spectacular. They got us past all lines at the Vatican and at the Colosseum. They gave us a highly personalized tour, very informative, and also extremely convenient, especially due to our mobility restrictions. We saw all of the essential sites of Rome for the first time visitor, including the Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill, the Forum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's apartments, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and on and on. We would hire them again, absolutely. What can we say about the Equinox that is not ridden with superlatives? We absolutely loved it and the attention paid to our daughter was solicitous but not cloying. We brought her walker with us but Celebrity provided us with one of their wheelchairs for the duration of our sailing which we were able to use on shore as needed. We had the second seating in the Silhouette Dining Room - meals varied from excellent to very good although the lobster left us unimpressed - being from New England, only Maine lobster will ever do. Any other lobster simply does not measure up - sorry! Our table servers were top notch - capable, knowledgeable, and lots of fun. The entertainment was fantastic - the production shows, wow!!, so much talent!! - the Cirque du Soleil-style show as well as the individual shows, were top notch (I would pay big money to see these shows on the mainland) for instance the "Magical Mayhem of Neal Austin" and "Comedy and Vocal Impressions of Jonathan Clark", being real standouts! The singing guest was so good, Paul Baker, that he was going to be playing The Phantom, in Phantom of the Opera in London. We played lots of trivia games and had a few massages (however, BEWARE the HARD sell in the spa after the massages to get you to buy their lotions, etc!!); my husband was quickly on a best friend basis with all of the poker dealers in the casino, haha!; our boys frequented the gym and the pool, played in golf tournaments at the Lawn Club, as well as the late night DJ parties. Celebrity has so much for the age group of our children, as well as their parents. Our first shore excursion was SO01, Village of Oia and Santorini Island. We anchored off shore and took tenders into Santorini. The ship's staff were super helpful with our daughter, giving her assistance to make sure she got safely into the tenders. We are a bunch of fit travelers, though - my husband and my 19 and 17 year old sons are quite strong, so our daughter had plenty of robust males to help her - nevertheless, the ships crew were always insistent upon lending an arm or giving a boost or a heave - all very kind! We loved the SO01excursion, though more time in Oia would have been nice. The line to get onto the cable car at Fira back to the tenders was extremely long, over an hour, but it was a pleasant adventure, nonetheless. That night on the Lawn Club, was the first time that I personally got to experience what is my favorite thing on a Celebrity ship of the Solstice Class - the wine and cheese sunset party on the lawn. There is nothing like these events, anywhere! Imagine yourself on a blanket on the lawn, pillows under head, a small stool acting as a table as a server brings you your desired wine, along with a complementary tray of cheeses and fruits - as the sun is setting over incredible and unique beautiful cities!! So here we were, the sail out from Santorini, sun setting, the lights of Fira coming on in the island background, the classical quartet playing live - simply fantastic! Later in the cruise, the same event was held on the overnight in Istanbul!! So picture the blanket on the grass, the wine, the cheese, the music - Nestor, our Spanish guitarist, the sun setting, but this time, with the mosques in the background, alight as the night sky is darkening - amazing!! Truly magical!! On our day in Athens, we booked shore excursion PR06, Athens Exclusive Tour. This shore excursion, I have to say, of all of the Celebrity shore excursions that we have taken (I am writing this review a year and a few months after the fact so my experience is broader than at the time we took this one), was the most disappointing of all of the shore excursions ever, for one reason, and one alone, but it was a big reason. It was the excessive time spent in the Benaki Museum. A lovely museum, lots of antiquities, very well run and organized, beautiful - but from the shore excursion description, we had no idea at all that we would be in there for 2.5 hours!!! OH THAT WAS WAY TOO MUCH for this museum, considering how much else was packed into this day - our guide was brilliant, full of information, but she felt that it was her primary duty in life to make sure that we knew everything that she knew, every last fact, by the time we would leave this museum! What this meant is that we had too little time at the Acropolis and almost no time at all at the Plaka to shop, which was very disappointing. Lunch at Dionysos Zonar's at the foot of the Acropolis was truly fantastic, a view that was almost unreal, multi-coursed meal, traditional but modernized Greek dishes, exceptional quality - BUT, too long at the Bernaki, way way too long, leaving not enough time for individual exploration of the Acropolis and almost no time to explore Plaka and shop there. In Istanbul, we booked the IB95 Complete Istanbul shore excursion. The ship docked overnight in Istanbul, and this allowed us to tour the city both days, in a very all inclusive way. We loved the tour (except for the included lunch, read on) and were not too annoyed with the mandatory carpet demonstration where it is hoped that we will spend big money on rugs. It was in fact interesting, and the salespeople were not pushy. We saw all of the first-time-in-Istanbul must see sites, at a measured unhurried pace, such as the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, the Spice Market, the AMAZING and not to be missed Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, etc. Our only complaint was the lunch. The lunch on the Athens shore excursion PR06 was so extremely wonderful that perhaps we were spoiled. The lunch included in this Istanbul excursion was something out of a 'bad movie' about a bunch of tourists on a bus on a shore excursion in an exotic city, where they are herded into a below par restaurant in which locals would never be caught dead. It was at the Best Western Citadel restaurant - uh, yup, that's right, it was at a restaurant in a Best Western, holy cow........the people that worked there were super lovely to our daughter, but other than that, the food itself was below par, and the banquet room where we were crammed in as if with a shoehorn along with several other tour groups, had weird decor, just not good overall. When in Ephesus, Turkey, we booked the KD77 Ephesus and Sirince shore excursion. The Aegean Village of Sirince was a mega highlight of our entire trip. The excursion had a pre-arranged luncheon for the group at the Artemis Restaurant, where we ate fresh excellent local food outside under roofing, very open, gorgeous views - very quaint and authentically indigenous in feel. In the town on our free time, we purchased perhaps the best peaches, from a street vendor, that we have ever had. Since being back home, we often talk about the peaches we ate in Sirince, and also, this past August, in Aix-en-Provance - we have been unable to buy any US peaches, they just don't measure up in freshness, flavor, juiciness! In Mykonos, we booked the MK10 Scenic Island Drive with Ano Mera Monastery. I think that many people miss this monastery, which is a shame, as it is quite beautiful and embodies the stereotypical image one has, or at least I have, of Mykonos. After the tour, our 3 children took the tour bus back to the ship, but my husband and I stayed on to explore Mykonos on our own and to hunt for the perfect "evil eye deflector" - you can't come to Mykonos without buying one! It is currently hanging in my kitchen, though I am not sure that it is deflecting any evil eyes, but, who can say! haha! After we returned to the ship from exploring Mykonos, my husband got a massage in the Aqua Spa - which was terrific - except, he had a very unfortunate experience after the massage. His therapist pushed HARD for him to buy various lotions and potions - the sales pitch was deceptive, and he found that there was a $110 charge added to his bill for these lotions, which he did not want. The person at the desk removed the charge immediately but the whole experience was so unsettling that the stress which the therapist removed through her expert massage, nearly returned in full from her very pointed and persistent sales pitch, not to mention that she actually charged my husband for the lotions, which he did NOT want. On a positive note, my daughter got her hair cut from one of the hair stylists in the spa, and had a wonderful experience - and he did not try to sell her a single thing! In Naples, we booked shore excursion NP08, Exclusive Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento & Pompeii. Although this excursion is a hefty 9 1/2 hours long, we recommend it highly. We saw SO MUCH and we are so glad that we did, because this past summer on our cruise, Naples was a repeat port of call for us so we were able to see completely different things. That is the benefit of having some repeat ports of call as then, you can branch out and see other sights, things that you missed the first time around. The NP08 excursion was fantastic - everything that you see is a MUST (Positano, WOW!!!, and Pompeii, OF COURSE!!) and others before me have described it all, so let me focus on our lunch at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Vittoria Sorrento. This lunch was pre-booked as part of the excursion. The hotel is lovely, situated on the cliffs in Sorrento on the water with a spectacular view of Mt. Vesuvius. The dining room was formal yet relaxed, with beautiful views of the Mediterranean. The food and included wine were outstanding. My husband and I spoke about returning some day in the future, not on a cruise, and staying in this hotel, as it was that lovely, tasteful, quiet. I neglected to mention the Sunset Bar on Deck 15 of the Equinox and all Solstice Class ships - in fact, no, no forget I mentioned it at all, as I don't want it to ever be crowded! I must always have a table open for me, the back of the ship, open air, water on all 3 sides of me, the Spanish guitarist playing, the sound of the ocean, the feel of the sun, the lawn club just a bit toward the bow, servers that remember me and greet me with a friendly smile and ask about my day - ya, forget I ever mentioned the Sunset Bar, or the wine and cheese parties on the lawn at sunset, yes, forget those, too, as they are so utterly fantastic and relaxing, I don't ever want to not have a blanket on the lawn or a table at the Sunset Bar. I love the Solstice Class Celebrity ships!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
BACKGROUND INFORMATION Organising a holiday where you are travelling with people in wheelchairs is a challenge. We have an eight year old and a six year old, both of whom are in wheelchairs and this presents its own unique difficulties. ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION Organising a holiday where you are travelling with people in wheelchairs is a challenge. We have an eight year old and a six year old, both of whom are in wheelchairs and this presents its own unique difficulties. Will the hotel be fully accessible? Will the room be big enough for two adults, two children and two wheelchairs? Will we be able to get out and about or will we be stuck in the hotel? How do we get to the hotel in the first place? Camping is a no go with area and self catering, while an option, does not really give a break from cooking and there are still questions about accessibility when getting out and about. What we really want is accommodation where everything is organised by the hotel and then when we travel around, the room comes with us. Hmmm. Sounds like a cruise to me. And so it was that we set about looking at suitable cruise lines. We ended up with a shortlist of possibilities. We wanted a cruise which included Rome which narrowed down the choices, but in the end it was the manner in which Celebrity engaged with us on accessibility issues which swung our decision to them. Not least because they put us in a room which they would only normally release to parties of five or more. We wanted a veranda but there were no veranda rooms which could accommodate the two wheelchairs without going up to the top two classes of suite, so Celebrity gave us a veranda room which was over 500 sq.ft at no extra cost. They also put us in direct contact with the ship's doctor and with the manager of the Youth Program; both of which meant we could work out some of the finer details of being onboard. TRAVEL TO EMBARKATION So decision made, off we went to Heathrow to catch our flight out. We chose a flycruise arrangement because that way the Celebrity Special access department and the Flights department could sort out access issues and provide special accessible Handyvans from Rome to Civitavecchia. It was unfortunate that our first impressions were tainted. We were told a Celebrity representative would meet us at Heathrow, but nobody was there when we arrived. This didn't matter that much because the airline took over and made the transition onto the flight very easy. In contrast, when we arrived at Rome, Celebrity was there and we found ourselves under their care from the start. They help with pushing the children, getting our hold luggage and getting us all on board the Handyvan. We just had to walk, and point at our bags on the carousel! The Handyvan was well fitted out and comfortable with more than enough room for us, the chairs and our luggage (which was a lot as we have to travel with a significant amount of medication and other equipment). We were identified immediately at Civitavecchia (it is hard to be missed when you have two children in chairs whizzing around) and were onboard and in our stateroom within 30 minutes. STATEROOM We had been given room 7107. This is one of four Family Ocean View Staterooms with Veranda, two are on deck 07 and two are on deck 08. These rooms are 575sq.ft, those on deck 07 have 53 sq.ft verandas while those on deck 08 have 105 sq.ft verandas. Both the Celebrity suites and the Sky suites are smaller (at around 300 sq.ft.), only the Royal suites (590 sq.ft) and the Penthouse suites (1291sq.ft) are bigger. The rooms are at the extreme front of the boat, ours was on Deck 07 port side. The stateroom has two windows facing forwards as well as the veranda. The view out of the windows to the front looks onto the helipad, but this only obscures view to the starboard side - the view to the port side is completely unobstructed. The room is not disabled access, but as our children are young they can be lifted easily, so we did not need specialist toilet fitting and the like. The drawbacks were minor: there is an automatic door system on the accessible rooms - we had to push our door open while also pushing the wheelchairs, but that is something one gets used to in day-to-day life anyway. There was a funny dogleg to get out of the door, so my son (in his powered chair) had to develop a technique to avoid his chair getting stuck on the threshold. However, such a skill is easy for a Playstation playing eight year old! There was also a step into the restroom and onto the veranda, but again we can lift the children, so no real problems there for us. It would be a problem though for adults or older children with mobility problems. We knew beforehand that we would not be in an accessible room, however there are plenty of wheelchair accessible staterooms on the Solstice Class ships but none that can accommodate two wheelchair guests and there carers without having to pay for two interconnecting rooms. The restroom was well equipped and was somewhat larger than most staterooms. There was a living/lounge area and a dining area which was a great space for the children to play and to accommodate the wheelchairs. The sleeping arrangements included a master bedroom and the children's bedroom, both of which were separate rooms within the stateroom. We originally had had concerns about the veranda. Being on the front of the vessel, the wall slopes from the helipad up to the bridge. This means that there is steelwork which runs across the veranda and obscures half of the view when looking out of the sliding doors. In practice though, this is not a problem. Being at the front of the ship means that you are exposed to winds that verandas further back do not get, so the steelwork provides shelter from the winds, and in fact probably makes the veranda less windy than those further back. The view is not obscured at all when on the veranda and there is plenty of space to stand. In the end we were grateful for this "architectural" feature. The only problem with being at the front was that the whole room shook and juddered when coming into port. This meant that when porting at 04:00am, you would be woken up. We were particularly impressed with the television system which allowed you to do everything from booking room service to ordering any photos taken on the cruise. You can even see what the captain is seeing via a camera mounted on the bridge. SHIP INFO The ship is big! Be prepared to walk lots if you are at extreme forward or extreme aft. It holds an occupancy of 2850 souls and is 1033ft in length. Deck 02 contains the gangway and the medical facilities. Deck 03 is the reception area with the Grand Foyer, Guest Relations, Shore Excursions, the Passport Bar and the lower floor of the main restaurant "The Silhouette". Deck 04 and 05 form the entertainment areas. Both have access to the Equinox Theatre. Deck 04 has the cinema "Celebrity Central" and the nightclub "Quasar", Fortunes Casino, the Martini ice bar, the wine bar "Cellar Masters" and the upper deck of The Silhouette. There are also about five or six shops spread along the Boulevard where they also hold occasional street markets. Here you could buy necessities if you have forgotten to take things with you, including paracetamol or wash products. Most importantly, you can buy chocolates (including Cadburys products) and Pringles! Deck 05 has boutique shops, the photo studio and galleries, the art gallery and auction room, the Bistro offering crepes, the Cafe Al Bacio coffee shop, and the speciality restaurants (Murano, Silk Harvest, Blu and Tuscan Grille). Deck 06-11 are primarily staterooms, but at each level next to the central atrium there are feature rooms: Online Celebrity (the computer suite) on Deck 06, Team Earth (Celebrity's nod to all things environmental) on Deck 07, the Card Room on Deck 09, and the library is on Decks 10 and 11. Deck 12 is the first of the "Resort" decks. It included the fitness centre, the Aqua Spa including salon, the Solarium - an adults only area which includes the indoor pool and the Aqua Spa cafe, the main pool area - with the usual mass of sunbeds, some of which are in sheltered areas if you don't want to have any more sun!, the Pool Side bar, and an automated fountain which blows water out of the floor - the children loved to play in this, getting wet at apparently random intervals. Deck 14 (there is no Deck 13) has the forward facing Sky Observation Lounge and the conference centre (complete with table tennis table!!), the jogging track around the mezzanine style deck above the pool, a grill for pool side meals and a further bar. Towards the aft is the Oceanview Cafe - the main cafeteria style eating area, and right at the stern is the Oceanview bar where you can sit and watch the sea disappearing on the horizon. Deck 15 is in two parts separated by the pool area. The forward section contains the Youth Program area (X-Club for teens and the Fun Factory for school and pre-school children). The aft section is the Lawn Club, which is almost entirely laid to lawn with natural grass (they periodically get the lawn mowers out) and this area includes the Hot Glass Show. At the extreme aft is the Lawn Club Bar where you can sit on the grass drinking cocktails. All these decks are serviced by the central atrium glass lifts and also by a set of lifts in the forward section of the ship. Deck 16 is only accessible by stairs and is solely given over to sunbathing. DINING The ship boasts almost 20 separate areas to eat. The Silhouette main dining hall is on two levels. Mainly in pastel colours it is dominated by the Wine Tower, the Solstice Class' unique vertical chrome and glass wine cellar. The children loved going to this restaurant, the waiting staff were entertaining and our waiter could do amazing things with napkins, knives, forks, spoons and cocktail sticks!! The main lower deck area is reserved for the main seatings, the upper deck is for those who have signed up to the Select Dining arrangement where you can reserve a time to eat to your choosing, or even simply show up when you are ready (with the risk you may need to wait for a table, though we never had to). We ate at two of the speciality restaurants: the Murano - an Italian/French style restaurant which was for adults only. This was perfect for my wife's birthday, and we used the babysitting service though we could have put the children into the Fun Factory slumber party had we wanted to. The Silk Harvest welcomes children and specialises in oriental cuisine - be prepared to have to interpret how to use the menus, and if ordering sushi rolls, don't expect small slices; we ordered four rolls (one per person) only to find each roll was the size of a chocolate log! All the food from the Oceanview Cafe to the restaurants was amazing. The food on Celebrity is really something and the staff were always willing to help us with the food and pushing the wheelchairs. Both my wife and I had a birthday during the cruise, and we each got the most amazing chocolate cake. I can't have sugar, so our room attendant got a gift! We had a slight blip when Room Service didn't get an order right (or rather they didn't bring any cutlery), but Celebrity sorted the problem out and went a long way to make up for "any inconvenience". ACTIVITIES The Hot Glass Show is unique to Celebrity and is renowned for good reason. It is amazing to watch these works of art being created at 1200F before your eyes. The glassware is sold at an auction during the cruise. Celebrity run a three tiered program focussing on aspects such a educational lectures, lifestyles (cooking, etc) and creativity. My wife and I went dancing. No one has ever been able to teach me how to waltz before, though many have tried, but their professionals had me sorted within 15 minutes and by the end of the cruise I was converted. I think my wife will find it much easier to get me to ballroom classes now. Other activities include challenging the captain's staff to games at the Lawn Club and there were some Wii completions in the nightclub area. -Children's Clubs We did not expect the children to want to spend much time away from us on our holiday, but they only had to go to the Fun Factory once and they were hooked. If anything it made it very difficult to convince them to do anything other than go to the Fun Factory. Part of this was probably the Playstation 3 consoles which my son loves, but my daughter is very creative and they did a lot of painting and drawing activities. They teach the children a lot about environmental issues. They do treasure hunts, and they arrange a talent show towards the end of the cruise. My wife has a degree in childcare and development and she thought the team and facilities on the Equinox were superb. The team provided us with a deckphone for the duration of the cruise because of our children's special needs - that way they could contact us directly at any time. On the other hand, this means we could not leave the ship while the children were in the fun factory, but this is probably a reasonable expectation. SERVICE Celebrity certainly knows how to look after their guests. We have some particular and quite demanding needs associated with having disabled children. The Celebrity staff accommodated them brilliantly and helped us with carrying drinks, tray, pushing chairs, etc. whenever they saw we were struggling. It made everything so much easier. They certainly have staff with the skill of knowing when to be there to help without being overly intrusive - a difficult balance to achieve. ENTERTAINMENT We went to three shows in the Celebrity Theatre: a dance show, a comedy/magic show, and a circus style show. All three were incredible. The quality of the performers are clearly West End/Broadway quality and at the top of their game. There are wheelchair access facilities which allowed our children to sit at the front and this gave them unobstructed views of the stage. Having said that, there were plenty of other locations in the theatre that the wheelchairs could be parked with excellent views of the performances. PORT & SHORT EXCURSIONS We arranged shore excurions before going on the cruise and took three, two of which were easy access wheelchair friendly tours. The arrangements were made through the Special Services department who organised Handyvans for the children. Mikonos Beach Tour for Families - this was the only tour which did not have disabled access transport (because Mikonos is not a particular disabled friendly environment). Our children are light enough to be carried on and off the coach and their chairs could be stored in the luggage compartment. We had been told the drivers could not help us with the children for insurance reasons, but in practice they were more than happy to help. Easy Istanbul - We were the only family to book this tour and therefore we had a tour guide all to ourselves. We saw everything we hoped to see, and the guide was very helpful in getting the wheelchairs up kerbs and over ramps where this was difficult. Easy Ephesus - This was our only disappointment. While we saw everything on the schedule, it did feel as though we could have seen more, but that the tour company wasn't willing help us go any further than was absolutely necessary. For example, we couldn't get any access into Ephesus itself on the basis of accessibility, even though we could relatively easily have navigated some of the cobbled surfaces. We did get off the boat at other ports. Santorini was the only tendered port. The gangway attendants were more than happy to carry the children and the wheelchairs into the tender and off at the other end. We knew Santorini wouldn't be great for wheelchairs due to it's location on the top of the volcanic crater. However, the port was great for wheelchairs and the cable car is wheelchair accessible, so we were able to get up into the town to see the views with relative ease, even if we weren't able to do much more when we got up there. At Kusadasi, the port for Ephesus, the ship docks right by the centre of the town, so it is an easy walk with the wheelchairs to the restaurants and bazaars. Highly recommended. Just be aware that the wheelchair ramps in Turkey simply follow the incline of the stairs, so be prepared to go up and down 1:1 gradients. Naples port is also by the centre of the city, although access is surprisingly not as good as in Kusadasi. This didn't matter that much as we wanted to try some real Napolese pizza and there was a recommended Pizzeria right by the port. We did also walk up to the Castle which is fairly straightforward, but be prepared to cross Italian roads!! Getting back to the ship and being welcomed with ice-covered face flannels and cold water was a most welcome touch. DISEMBARKATION Celebrity organised accessible transport to take us to our privately arranged hotel in Rome, though we had to organise our own transport from the hotel back to the airport. The concierge arranged special luggage collection for us and we were allowed to disembark at 09:45 to catch our 10:00 transport (all other passengers were disembarked before 09:30). SUMMARY Altogether an excellent experience for our first cruise. Celebrity food is excellent, the ships are amazing, and they go the extra mile to make you feel pampered. Make sure you try one of their cocktails. They are very good at making arrangements for those with accessibility needs, both before and during the cruise and the onboard facilities on the Solstice Class ships are superb. Would we recommend cruising with Celebrity? Definitely. Would we do it again? Oh yes! Only on cruising does the hotel room come with you. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Celebrity Equinox Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.6
Dining 4.5 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.5 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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