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7 Celebrity Equinox Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

Traveled with a group of 8. We arrived in Athens late in the afternoon and the embarkation was very easy. The shuttle provided by the cruise line (not free) was very convenient and much easier than trying to find a cab. The driver was ... Read More
Traveled with a group of 8. We arrived in Athens late in the afternoon and the embarkation was very easy. The shuttle provided by the cruise line (not free) was very convenient and much easier than trying to find a cab. The driver was waiting when we arrived and left immediately to take us to the ship. The service in the dining room was great and the room stewards did a superb job. The food had high points and average points but there was always something that appealed. Always love Celebrity but sometimes feel the prices are getting a little out of hand. This particular cruise was well priced and included air. The ports were particularly appealing and we were given plenty of time in port. Two ports were over night which is nice - gives a different perspective. The disembarkation was painless but the time spent at the airport was very long. Overall the cruise spent with friends was great and we will look forward to doing it again.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This is my first review so I hope that you enjoy it. First of all, 3 stars does not mean "awful" it just means "pretty average". So don't think I'm hating on Celebrity, as they are actually currently my ... Read More
This is my first review so I hope that you enjoy it. First of all, 3 stars does not mean "awful" it just means "pretty average". So don't think I'm hating on Celebrity, as they are actually currently my favorite line. I just want to be fair and accurate for you. My first experience with Celebrity was years ago, and I keep trying to re-create that experience. Sadly, I have not been able to do so. For the old commercial, just Google "2005 Celebrity Cruise Commercial" and you'll see what I mean. Anyway, here goes: I loved the ship. It's pretty new, and was lovely. Room: My cabin was 2112. The nice thing about this cabin was that it was pretty quiet. I did hear some anchoring nose once I think, but it really wasn't a problem. There is some peeling paint on the "roof" of the veranda that I noticed, not a big deal, but it was there and was noticeable. I traveled Concierge Class. From my experience traveling regular Veranda style, I don't think it's worth the extra money. We never used the robes, the canapés weren't that great (I don't eat pork though, if I did maybe I'd think it was better), and the binoculars in the room were more like opera glasses, so I'll have to think hard about spending the extra money in the future. My next cruise is aqua class, so I'll let you know if I think it's worth the upgrade. One more thing about this room, it was absolutely fabulous if you like to go to the pool. All you have to do is step outside your room and you were practically there. Awesome location! Dining: I like to eat in the dining room, because it's less busy and crazy, but we ate many times at the buffet for lunch and breakfast. The food was good, and there were some healthy choices too. I ate an eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash combination almost every day for lunch. The dining room was nice too, but actually, the desserts were better in the buffet (weird huh?), so my husband and I skipped dessert in the restaurant several times and headed over to the buffet to get a dessert. We ate at one specialty restaurant: Murado. It is the French restaurant on board, and has a $50 per person entry fee. Most items on the menu are included (except caviar and foi groi >>did I spell that right?) and there is a price fix menu that is an additional $85 per person. We decided to order the lobster and the Chateau Briand for two. Anyway, yes, they will let you order whatever you want, in whatever quantity. I thought they were going to bring ONE order of lobster for my husband and I to split, and then bring the beef, but instead they brought TWO orders of lobster. The cook it at your table, which is pretty fun, so I recommend that for sure. We could not let it go to waste, so of course we ate it, and then we were pretty full. The Chateau Briand came, but it was cooked medium instead of medium rare (I really like a rare steak but got talked out of it. I can't eat a medium steak, it has to be bloody, so we sent it back. I'm not sure why we did that, because we really were too full to eat it, but we did. We did our best to eat the beef, and it was excellent by the way, I do recommend it. After our meal we had the dessert for two, and thought we were finished. No, they bring you chocolates after your dessert. All in all, I do recommend that restaurant. Just make sure that you go on an empty stomach. Entertainment: We only saw Tenors of Rock because the schedule for this ship is 7pm and 9pm. Since we ate at 6pm, the 7pm show was too early and we didn't really want to hang around until 9. Yes, I know it makes me sound old, but that's how it is. I like an 8pm show, which I wasn't able to get on this particular cruise. I was VERY disappointed because of that. Tenors of Rock was AWESOME!!!! If you get a chance to see this group (they were on American Idol, and are opening a Las Vegas show next week) I highly recommend it. I'm so glad that we were able to see them, in the 8th row. We'll probably never be able to afford those seats in Las Vegas for sure. The service was good, not excellent. (Again, I'm comparing this to my first cruise with Celebrity where the waiters wore white gloves...not kidding!) We would be at our table in the middle of a great conversation, and the assistant waiter would interrupt us with something dumb to say, like "enjoy your meal". Was that really necessary? How about waiting until we are done talking, or say, "excuse me" first? The first time I cruised with Celebrity the wait staff was invisible, but they were there if you needed them. They were more like the wait staff at Murado. I guess you have to pay extra now to get "wowed". One good thing about the assistant waiter was that he entertained us at the end of each meal with a magic trick. That was definitely a thumbs up in my view. The ports of call were what you'd expect except of course, Istanbul was canceled. My favorite ports were Rhodes and Kusadasi. Even though I was a little (OK a lot) nervous going to Turkey after the airport bombing, this was hands down where the nicest people were. I will definitely go back to Turkey. Oh, one thing you need to know: If you go on one of these cruises and see the "Game of Thrones" Tours offered on the street (not by Celebrity), be prepared to try to keep up with the guide. Our guide lost half of our 10 person group and we couldn't take any photos for fear of losing her. Again, this was not a Celebrity sanctioned tour, it was one we got on the street. We had a great time! We found out about Cruise Critic on this cruise and I'm sure we will never cruise the same way again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This cruise was a charter cruise, chartered by Atlantis Events and was an all gay cruise. Cabin service I did 13 "normal" cruises and 12 gay cruises, but this was the first time that I was very disappointed of the service ... Read More
This cruise was a charter cruise, chartered by Atlantis Events and was an all gay cruise. Cabin service I did 13 "normal" cruises and 12 gay cruises, but this was the first time that I was very disappointed of the service of the cabin steward (female)! We had cabin nr, 8102 and this cruise was supposed to be our honeymoon cruise. During our acquaintance I told the steward that I only need ice in the evening. The first evening I had ice, but not at the second evening. After asking for use at het assistant, I got my ice. Next day, again no ice and I decided from that moment to take ice from the ice machine upstairs. The 8th day when I entered my cabin at approx. 6pm, I notice that the cabin was not cleaned. During the call the cabin steward said that when she wants to clean the room there was still someone in the cabin and then she had her break. The 9th day I entered the room at 3 pm and again the room was not cleaned!! In both cases there was no one in the cabin for hours, so I think she was very lazy or had problems with gays or had problem with my dark colour! Food: The breakfast and lunch buffet were fantastic! The menu of the restaurant was the first week excellent, but the last 3 days very poor! The first week it was difficult to choose because all looked delicious. The last 3 days the choice was difficult again, but this time to find something we liked!! We don't know if this was the result of the charter?! Pool service Was sometimes below the service you can expect from a Celebrity ship! The reason was simple: we had a non alcoholic package and the waiter "earned" nothing extra! So for other guests they were very friendly, but for us NO! Coffee bar Il Bacio The service was perfect!! LAST REMARK: DON'T BOOK A CABIN IN FRONT OF THE SHIP, YOU WILL BE CRAZY OF THE NOISE OF THE ANCHOR AND PARKING AT THE QUAI!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Having booked Aqua Class on a more modern Luxury Cruise ship with an exciting itinerary, we very much looked forward to this cruise. The journey started with unexpected rain in Rome and an accident on the motorway, which led to our ... Read More
Having booked Aqua Class on a more modern Luxury Cruise ship with an exciting itinerary, we very much looked forward to this cruise. The journey started with unexpected rain in Rome and an accident on the motorway, which led to our luggage being delayed to late that night. Unable to unpack prior to dinner or being able to change for dinner, this was not the best of starts. The cabin design was not the best we have experienced. There was extremely little storage space for clothes in fact extremely little space for storing anything. Aqua Class we felt was a waste of money. The cabin space was cramped and the few extras did not justify the additional fare. We were unable to use the Spa facilities plus gym etc. due to the extremely busy itinerary. The Blue Restaurant's menu was far less healthy and interesting than expected. In particular breakfast was of rather poor quality. In the end we only went a couple of times. Overall the ship was very noisy. At any given time there was some singer in some corner loudly yawping their heart out - especially around the pool area. Reading a book or quietly relaxing was out of the question. The outside deck areas, where the deckchairs were, was extremely crowded with no personal space between sunbeds. There seemed to be no escape and no privacy. The same applied to the bars at night. There was nowhere to have a quiet, sophisticated drink, where one could also hold a conversation. It was all very loud. And some of the primarily American and Canadian passengers certainly made their presence felt. The shops were manned by very young staff, who did not have any knowledge of the products they were selling. My partner bought a Longines watch. The sales assistant, dressed in a creased and crumpled suit had to do some research on the web first to find out its features, how to set it etc. For a luxury item I did not think this was satisfactory and sent out a message of incompetence. The shore excursions however, were excellent. We both enjoyed having seen Capri, Rome, Sicily, Rhodes and in particular Ephesus and Pompeii. We had some fantastic experiences and saw some wonderful sights. Overall, it was not a relaxing cruise. The programme was very packed and tiring but we realise it had to be that way, in order to make the most of the ports of call. The ship did not come across as luxurious, as described and was rather disappointing. The crew however, were excellent. Extremely friendly and helpful. I must say I would not consider travelling with Celebrity again. I felt the boat did not accommodate passengers who did not require constant entertainment and felt unrefined. In fact I am thinking of a land based holiday again, having not enjoyed this cruise as much as previous cruises with Cunard or indeed land-based holidays. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
A near perfect cruise. We have been on 6 cruises previously and this was the best! SHIP: The Equinox is magnificently designed with spacious public areas. The color scheme and decor is so tasteful, eye-catching while avoiding the ... Read More
A near perfect cruise. We have been on 6 cruises previously and this was the best! SHIP: The Equinox is magnificently designed with spacious public areas. The color scheme and decor is so tasteful, eye-catching while avoiding the usual glitz and neon. Especially being on the ship for 11 nights, you don't want sensory overload. While the ship was virtually full (350 extra attendees of a Wayne Dyer "lifeskills" conference), it was never crowded. Never waited in a buffet line and could find excellent seats in the theaters. The only crowd was in a small theater for a lecture on Ephesus by Dr. John Nichols; he was terrible giving outright incorrect answers and mis-information galor. I asked him about Cleopatra's younger sister, Arsinoe, who she had Marc Anthony's allies murder while she was in the sanctuary of the Temple of Artemis. A marvelous Smithsonian and BBC show described how a well-known Ephesus tomb of a young female is now thought to possibly be that of Arsinoe. Dr. Nichols, a supposed Ephesus scholar, said he knew nothing of this and started answering my Arsinoe inquiry with something about burial practices well before the time of Cleopatra. Not much of an "expert". FOOD: The food was just as expected, excellent! It was very well prepared. I was especially impressed with the meats and fish. They were NOT overcooked, as is usually the case with mass-prepared food. Although the beef and lobster were expectedly excellent, the braised lamb shank and the lamb chops were my favorites. The burgers in the Mast Grill were superb "Bubba burgers" with fluted edges and all. I won the free Blackjack tournament and got a dinner for two in the Tuscan Grille specialty restaurant. The food was good, but no better than in the Silhouette Dining room; and the service was not as good. EMBARKATION: Very smooth and no lines at 12:30pm. PORTS: The Eastern Med ports were outstanding, combing exotic locale, breathtaking archaeological sites and superb weather. Fall is the perfect time to go with pleasantly warm days and cool evenings. The Greek isles were as expected; enjoyable with wonderful views. Turkey was tops; Istanbul is beautiful and exotic. Kusadasi (Ephesus) is spectacular and massive. It is hard to believe that only 10-20% has so far been excavated. The Terrace Houses are not to be missed with a wonderful sense of how the upper class lived. In Naples, we arranged for a private van & driver for 8 of us to go to Pompeii, Amalfi coast, and Herculaneum. I contacted many "limo" agencies and travel agents and they all said, "You don't have enough time to go to all 3 of those; only two." Only Eurolimo said, "Sure, you can do all 3 if it is OK to have about 2 hours in each place." That worked out fine with one diversion; there was a general strike that blocked the road to Sorrento and Positano (I confirmed this), so the driver took us to Ravello instead of Positano (avoiding the blocked part of the road). Ravello is gorgeous; even Justin Timberlake and Jessia Biel thought it was nice enough to get married there two weeks after we visited. DISEMBARKATION: No problem with time slots pre-assigned. After disembarking, we spent one day in Rome and went to the Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini. This was truly a highlight because of the way they have a small group tour the basement excavations. The lighting fills in the missing parts of mosaics and frescoes and the narrative gives a superb sense of what life was like in 1st century AD Rome. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
The ship is consists of blocks of neighborhood if it's compared to buildings on land. On deck 15, they have the Lawn Club which has freshly changed grass where you can have picnic, play mini golf, or bocci ball. At the end of the ship ... Read More
The ship is consists of blocks of neighborhood if it's compared to buildings on land. On deck 15, they have the Lawn Club which has freshly changed grass where you can have picnic, play mini golf, or bocci ball. At the end of the ship on deck 15 is our favorite place to hang out, which is the Sunset Bar, where we enjoyed happy hour drinks. Below Sunset Bar is the Oceanview cafe where we grabbed some snacks during tea time. I like to sit on Sunset Bar everyday, even during port stops. How can I miss it? Our room is somewhat slimmer, longer, has a big bathroom, but does not have too much storage space for 3 people. But, the bed is comfortable, and our housekeepers always fully stock our amenities (twice a day). Bathroom is always cleaned, and our towels are always changed. Sometimes, I felt awful for using too many towels considering that water is very precious on board. Entertainment wise, not too good or not as good as Celebrity Millenium to Alaska. They need to improve on their sound systems. Not a lot of activities in the beginning of the cruise, and then they suddenly crammed everything up on the last sea day of our journey which made me ran here and there within 4 hours. However, those activities were very educational. Food, oh need I say more? Their steaks, ice creams, desserts, and salads are the best!!!! Not to mention they have black sausage puddings for breakfast and Mexican food during lunch time; I was in heaven! Meat lovers, you will love cruising with Celebrity. Their chefs know how to make carnivores happy!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Your taste in dining style may differ from ours, but Equinox accommodates all delightfully. Background: two married professionals, newly retired & exploring. This was our first cruise on Celebrity since a "Capitals of Northern ... Read More
Your taste in dining style may differ from ours, but Equinox accommodates all delightfully. Background: two married professionals, newly retired & exploring. This was our first cruise on Celebrity since a "Capitals of Northern Europe" expedition in 2004 on Constellation. We circumnavigated British Isles then a Norway cruise on NCL in May/June 2009 on the Norwegian Jade. The shipboard experience then was so bad that we viewed this cruise with considerable trepidation -- unnecessarily. We flew from Dulles to Rome on British Airways via Heathrow (the flight was magnificent, but try to miss Heathrow). We flew BA because BA has a World Travellor Plus cabin. It has just a bit more space to recline and to spread sideways that makes the long distance travel less onerous. Our stay in Rome was very rainy. We tried the wrong hop on/off bus; the view out the windows on the lower level were obscured with exterior advertising. We suggest that you try some other vendor other than the Rome Green Hop on/Hop off Bus. Our airport to hotel, hotel to ship, and ship to airport transfers were arranged with assistance of our TA (GalaxSea Cruises of San Diego, CA). They are terrific! We recommend them with no qualifying comments. Every little problem was handled superbly. Registration to board: fast and easy. SHIP: Equinox is in its Inaugural season with lots of small problems all related to its newness and "form over function" design. Nevertheless, it's elegantly beautiful. We almost never felt crowded on-board or during any of the ship to port disembarkations. We generally were very crowded moving vertically on this immense ship, however. Meals, except in the main dining room (MDR), were calm. STAFF: Exceptional in every way. Helpful and courteous from top to bottom, in every department. They tried (and were almost always success) in solving cruise related problems. More explicitly about this question of "form over function": Aqua Class is supposed to be a premium, occupying the Eleventh Deck of the ship. We had a balcony cabin on the starboard side (which meant that we saw very little but the sea when cruising). Directly above us was the jogging track. While we rarely heard joggers, we did hear high heels excessively on formal nights. Aqua Class is supposed to have prior access to the Aqua Spa Cafe; unfortunately, this gem of an eating venue is on the port side of the ship, adjacent to a smoking area. While it didn't ruin our experience too much, we did minimize our use of the cafe because of the smoke odor. We really didn't find much use for most of the amenities in Aqua class, but that is just us. The relaxation room and Persian Garden are lovely as is the free fruit and bottled water. The ship has elevators forward and aft. The location of the aft elevators is an issue, since they are split by a lobby (4 on each side of the ship). Since the eating facilities are all located aft, the vertical movement during eating hours or other prime times can be a hassle. STATEROOM: another example of problems. Lots of room to store clothes on hangers, very little room to store clothes in drawers. While imaginative use can be made of a large cabinet space above the bed, this means walking on the bed to get clothes. Not the best idea when the ship is rocking during stormy seas. We experienced several equipment problems in the stateroom, all of which were handled expeditiously by Equinox shipboard staff. In the process, we discovered that several of these issues were rather common. Toilet valve stuck after flushing, flooding the bathroom; refrigerator failed; flatscreen TV needed to be rebooted; bottom of curtain unraveled; "new ship odor" was a bit noxious. Safety drill, a mandatory exercise, was a farce. It wasn't until after the drill did we find the auxiliary staircase that we should have used. We never were told which was our lifeboat. While we heard the PA system announcing detailed crew fire drills on days when there were large numbers of passengers away on shore excursions, the passenger safety awareness was minimal. ACTIVITIES: Since we were part of the "Music at Sea" group, we thought the activities were superb. Other activities involving classical or "soft" rock were also fine. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We generally booked our own in Turkey and Israel, In Greece (Athens & Rhodes) were done on our own as well. In Naples, our "Music at Sea" group had a private tour of Pompeii. In Alexandria, Egypt, our tour was a bust because the guide (probably the same one mentioned in an earlier review) was too busy selling t-shirts and cartouches. The Cairo trip was magnificent, with a guide that was perfect. DINING & ENTERTAINMENT: It really is a matter of taste. We like fine dining, but hate menus written primarily in French, as were the menus in the MDR and Blu. We find it exceptionally pretentious, adding little and wasting inordinate amounts of time. Blu is "clean" cuisine, not "healthy" cuisine. We gave up after second try. My sister has numerous acute food allergies; she found the maitre d' in Blu magnificent in helping her, and she loved the food there. We ate all three formal nights in the Silk Harvest (Asian fusion). With 40+ years' experience with a variety of Asian cuisines, we have very high standards: Silk Harvest exceeded everything we've previously experienced on land (and, of course, at sea). The food was phenomenal, and the service matched. The value was exceptionally high. I urge you to try it. We ate five nights in the MDR (Silhouette). Staff were very busy, but tried hard to help us with the French menu. Given the busyness of the venue, we just tried to stick to the healthy choice menu. They got our orders correct perfectly 3 of 5 times, but the errors were just of the side dishes. The other four nights, near the end of the cruise, were in the Oceanview Cafe. WOW!! Okay, it was not a "fine dining experience" with waiter service and table cloths. It was only great, hot food. Even with rough seas, we didn't miss the trays in the evening. We should have gone there earlier. Based on prior experience, we tried having breakfast in either Blu or MDR. We changed after a couple of trips to both venues, and never found the Cafe overcrowded or the quality of the food lacking. We never ate at either the Tuscan Grille or Murano. Murano's menu turned us off, and the quality of the food in Tuscan Grille may exceed the steak dishes offered elsewhere, but we didn't find it necessary. We also never ate at Bistro on Five. See comments above for the Aqua Cafe. SMOKING POLICY: There is very limited smoking indoors on the ship. That means that the travel through the casino or lounges could be done without gas masks. (For you smokers, I'm sorry; for non-smokers, a truly great innovation.) Smoking is allowed FORMAL NIGHTS: My wife and I dressed in business atire every working day for more than forty years. We do not find it necessary to do so on a cruise. Policies on the ship allowed us to eat at any specialty restaurant without offending anyone, or being offended ourselves by the need to fit in. What a joy! Similarly, the Oceanview Cafe is very informal, making it just another great reason to enjoy ourselves up there. ENTERTAINMENT: If you enjoy "Las Vegas style" entertainment, you'll enjoy the presentations. If you enjoy "easy listening," soft and mellow music, light jazz, or classical, you will also enjoy yourselves immensely. SHIP SECURITY: Normally an invisible function. There was an "incident" involving some people who tried to board the ship while in Turkey. Handled by the ship's security staff in an amazing way. (I'm a security professional, so I noticed the incident when we were boarding the ship after our excursion.) CHILDREN'S CLUB: Essentially invisible to us, but the few times we did see the kids, they seemed to be having a good time. We suggest you talk to someone else with personal experience, though. DISEMBARKATION: Fast, easy, smooth, unstressful. This was amazing, since we were a party of six when leaving the ship, all with different disembarkation assigned times and baggage numbers. ITINERARY: Magnificent, but Alexandria was a complete waste. We found that a starboard stateroom disadvantageous only because all sights were visible on the port side. SUMMARY: For non-smokers, it was an amazing experience. We only wish that the menus were in English (after all, it was an English speaking cruise!) Staff were always superb, and food was just fine. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
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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