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5 Celebrity Equinox Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

We booked a wonderful Alaska cruise with Celebrity two years ago. So, given the quality of the food and entertainment we experienced there, we booked an 11 day Central America cruise on the beautiful Equinox. We were disappointed. The ... Read More
We booked a wonderful Alaska cruise with Celebrity two years ago. So, given the quality of the food and entertainment we experienced there, we booked an 11 day Central America cruise on the beautiful Equinox. We were disappointed. The Silhouette dining room doesn't serve the same quality of food their reputation says they do. The food in the main dining room, although varied, is bland and unappetizing to say the least. Knowing that their cruising clients prefer the occasional lobster tail or filet mignon steak, the company has moved these items to the speciality restaurants and forces you to pay $35 - $40 to get them at the Murano or Tuscan. The food there is exceptional but I personally resent being taken advantage of and paying for the "good" food that was always enjoyed in the past in the main dining room. Of course, it was our choice to eat the better food. Last year, I ate lobster and filet mignon in the main dining room with Princess cruises. The average age of the clientele on this cruise must have been near 75 and a good number of them were disabled or had mobility issues. I'm glad to see people of this age enjoy life as they do (we will all be there soon) but it does have an effect on the overall feeling of the cruise. In this case, it almost appears that the company scrimped on the quality of the musical entertainment knowing only 10-15% of the passengers would be late night dancers. The house band was not up to the same standard as my previous Celebrity cruise and left me disappointed. On a positive note, the crew was extremely well trained and courteous, the service was beyond reproach, the ship was immaculate and our stateroom was splendid. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We had been on this same ship May 2014 with a completely different experience. I think the ports of call may be one reason this trip was disappointing. Last year we did the Mediterrean We have cruised 9 times on different cruise lines. We ... Read More
We had been on this same ship May 2014 with a completely different experience. I think the ports of call may be one reason this trip was disappointing. Last year we did the Mediterrean We have cruised 9 times on different cruise lines. We choose ports of calls rather than ships. The Equinox came in with a virus and no one could get to their cabin until 7 pm that night. They had to clean the entire ship. We were allowed in the public areas but it was very crowded with people handling this carry-on etc. Many had wheel chairs and walkers. Not a good way to begin.I will say very helpful in trying tot keep us healthy. In the cafe, we could handle nothing until it was handed to us That really slowed down the eating experience! After 72 hours things were back to normal. It appears there is not enough help . Many people mentioned they thought the experience was different from previous ones. Not in a good way. These folks had cruised many times with Equinox. They seem to charge for everything unless you are in one of their package plans. We book inside stateroom because we are there for ports. We had to ask for water and ice for our stateroom . We never received a Do Not Disturb sign and the cabin attendant walked in several times Oops. The bedding and towels seemed very worn. That could be a result of virus. We were told they had to destroy all linens.Since they have gone to prepaid gratuities, the service has dropped.The first night we had an oreo on our pillow! No more chocolates. Everywhere you went, someone was selling something... On a good note,the shows were outstanding The food was fresh and presented in an attractive way. In closing, we were offered a glass of champagne at dinner for all the inconveniences. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Let me preface this by saying that normally when I read negative reviews I often sit there and think "Oh this person must be such a snob, or impossible to make happy." My husband and I are neither of these things, but we do have ... Read More
Let me preface this by saying that normally when I read negative reviews I often sit there and think "Oh this person must be such a snob, or impossible to make happy." My husband and I are neither of these things, but we do have certain expectations when we go on vacation. I never expect perfection, that's silly...but I do expect fantastic customer service, good food, and solid entertainment. On this cruise, unfortunately out of those three, we really only got the good food... We were on the sailing leaving from Fort Lauderdale on February 10. We arrived at the port at around 11:30, and embarkation was fairly quick. They had some minor issues checking us in (we both appeared under my husband's name for some reason) and they fixed the issue and got us on our way (we found out the next day they hadn't in fact fixed it, but bypassed the issue, so my drink package didn't work properly until I went to guest services to get it fixed). Now on to the review... In general, although we were prepared to be in the "younger crowd" on the ship (we're 36 and 30), the demographic was a bit different than I expected, and not due to age...more mentality. The average age was likely around 65 or 70, but it was a more "stuffy" older crowd than I expected. People who wore "slacks" (I hate even using that word) at 10 AM just to go to the buffet, and who are happy to go to art auctions and lectures on nice sunny days at sea. Don't get me wrong, it was a great cruise due to the itinerary, but the ship experience itself left me nothing to be "wowed" by. It seemed like any generic all-inclusive experience (except it was far from all inclusive by the time I paid for the 5 night specialty dining package and the premium non-alcoholic drink package for two of us). The ship is very pretty, but with nothing that really sets it apart in an industry so filled with variety. The entertainment, for me, was pretty awful, with the exception being the comedian and the juggler. The three "broadway type productions" were pretty terrible. The dancers and singers were OK, but the production and choreography gave them nothing to work with! In particular the Remix show made me shudder at parts. It was just a random assortment of singing and dancing, with pretty terrible choreography. One of my favorite styles of dance is Bollywood, and I was cringing during the entire portion of the show. It was clear that the choreographer knows nothing about the style of dance, and likely just watched a few youtube videos to get the hang of it. I'm a huge believer in sticking to what you do well - it seemed that the cast didn't really get to shine in one particular area because they tried to cram every style of dancing and singing into these shows. It ended up seeming very disjointed and bizarre to us. The exception were the specialty acrobatic dancers who appeared during every show and totally stole it each time, even though by the third show they were simply re-using tricks they'd done in the first two. They were both absolutely amazing, especially to do what they did on a moving boat! We also had a few minor issues with guest services, and they were just not handled in the best manner...they seem to think that giving complimentary wine fixes problems...but for a 4 months pregnant person who doesn't even drink when not pregnant, wine fixes nothing. A sincere apology and desire to do better does everything, and those were lacking. My favorite was when I went to the guest services desk for the second time regarding the same issue (drinks charged to our room that were not ours, after the first time I went to report them they still did not get removed) on the last day, the reply was "Well, today IS the last day of the cruise, things get hectic around here..." I have worked in customer service my entire life. This is NEVER an OK answer. It's not the paying customer's fault that you're too busy to do a job properly. I paid for an 11 night cruise....not a 10 night with a "we're too busy to help you" last day! There were three staff members at the desk, and not one of them apologized that I had to come down for a second time to get it taken care of. All they did was make excuses as to why it hadn't gotten fixed. Anyways, before you start to think I'm just a crazy person ranting, there were some great parts too... The Pros: -As stated, easy and fast embarkation -Buffet food was good for the most part. Hot plates, good variety, and easy to get to each station with little to no wait. -Drink package (premium non-alcoholic) forced me to really drink lots of water and perrier as I wanted to get my money's worth! -DELICIOUS fresh mint lemonades -The Equinox is a beautiful ship, and very clean throughout -The pools are amazing, and there were surprisingly few people in them much of the time, even on sea days! -Specialty restaurants were amazing, and MDR food was very good too - A few staff members went above and beyond...Aries in Bistro on 5/Tuscan Grill and Carla in Silk Harvest were both amazing -Ping pong tables set up every day - plus a daily tournament too! My husband had a great time and we met some very cool people -Stereo Girls were great for live music out an around the ship! -THE ITINERARY! It was amazing - we saw some truly stunning places. The panama Canal was one of the highlights of my life - it was so amazing to see! The Cons: -I ate eggs benedict every morning and not once did they get a good medium egg. They were either raw (which I can't eat) or solidly hard -Perrier and red bull not available at many bars, and very slow service at some of the bars. We heard lots of people say that since the introduction of the drink package this has been seen more and more frequently. -Juice bar in the morning at the buffet was staffed by a lady who appeared to just not like her job very much. When it's morning, and she's one of the first people you encounter, it kind of sets a bad tone. Twice she served me fresh orange juice in a filthy glass...not just a few water spots, like dirty... -We noticed with many staff members, they just seemed to be "phoning it in" - either they don't love the cruise industry or they were all having bad days! They just seemed like staff members that you would encounter at an average hotel, not on a more upscale cruise line! -Very limited movie selection on TV, and no ability to hook our laptop up to the TV to watch our own -Entertainment was severely lacking, shows were just OK... -"Live music" around the ship was often played over a track. My husband is a huge fan of live music, and there is nothing worse than watching the band stop playing and the music continuing. The calypso band by the pool could be GREAT if they were simply playing their own music! -Issues with specialty dining reservations - they mixed up the nights I asked for, then when I went to get it fixed they said it was fine....then we showed up for our reservation on the last night and they didn't have record of it. Luckily it was early so they got us in. Wouldn't be a big deal, but when you pay an extra few hundred dollars to eat in specialty dining, the expectation for experience goes up So in a nutshell, we don't regret the trip, it was saved by the fantastic experience of wandering around Old Town Cartegena, seeing live monkeys and sloths in Costa Rica, and watching ships pass through the Panama Canal. But our next cruise will not be on Celebrity. We're just not their type of cruiser I guess... Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My family who lives all over the world gets together once or twice a year to spend time together on a Cruise.My mother & my sister usually pick out the cruise line & destination & handle allot of the paper work for which ... Read More
My family who lives all over the world gets together once or twice a year to spend time together on a Cruise.My mother & my sister usually pick out the cruise line & destination & handle allot of the paper work for which I'm very grateful.. Boarding in Ft Lauderdale was relatively easy and the process went smoothly. My stateroom with a balcony was clean & comfortable & the cabin attendants courteous & pleasant. There is however NO COLD FRESH WATER on this Celebrity Equinox because of their plumbing design I was told by a staff member. I could only find cold fresh water in the large exercise room and of course at meal time. In your room the water is lukewarm at best. This problem exists on most of the Celebrity cruisers. I had a pitcher of fresh ice water delivered to my room twice a day. Most of the other passengers were considerably older, certainly not baby boomers like myself. Their was live music in the evenings which was nice & lots of dancing.I don't gamble but their were lots who did. I spend one or two days at the adult pool & the weather was so nice and warm with a gentle breeze coming in off the ocean. I also spent lots of time on my balcony nude & reading some great books which I thoroughly enjoyed.Unfortunately, The Food was the Worst I've ever had on any of the 12 other cruise lines. The chef was Australian(Executive Chef: Gavin Baxter) which was quite evident by his cooking.If you enjoy bland, dry salmon or the lack of any desirable seasoning on most of the food served this food is for you. Any attempt at French pastry or cuisine was a disaster.If you live on meat & potatoes & don't mind the absence of creativity you won't have a problem. In the past I've had good food from all over the world but I couldn't find any on this ship. I was very disappointed & meals were on occasion I never looked forward to. I found some very rude, uncouth people on board this ship as well. On one occasion while I was in the cafeteria for lunch a man about my age stuck his nose in my plate, smiled & walked away. Needless to say this didn't help my feelings about the food. ...The staff in the kitchen & on board the ship were great.. very friendly and helpful & went out of their way to help in any way they could. Even the Chef came out to our table to see if their was anything more that he could do. The prices for the use of the internet were extremely high & there were no real discounts which were disappointing to me. And last but not least was debarkation which took hours & was another disaster.Instead of a civil approach to debarkation in which the disabled in wheelchairs & those unable to stand hours in line GO FIRST, US SECURITY & CUSTOMS made those people wait in line for hours standing or sitting in their wheelchairs like everyone else. And I thought my country was any different than the 3rd world,lol. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I will try to keep this concise. The ship is beautiful and spotlessly clean, Hand sanitizer everywhere !. The ports of call on the ultimate Caribbean were great !! here comes the bad stuff !! The food overall was a let down with the ... Read More
I will try to keep this concise. The ship is beautiful and spotlessly clean, Hand sanitizer everywhere !. The ports of call on the ultimate Caribbean were great !! here comes the bad stuff !! The food overall was a let down with the main dining room being the worst offender. It was very hit and miss. Either steaks not cooked well enough or tough. Cold vegetables and warm Entrees. Soup was either great or bland.Salad courses were minuscule and desserts nothing special. The 'Famous' baked Alaska was like a frozen dessert from a supermarket !! Our waiter was dull and mumbled a lot but the assistant waiter was very nice and friendly.Service and food was just not what we have had on previous ships. The ocean view buffet was very dull not great presentation and was just cafeteria quality.Nothing special offered. we had to point out mixed leaf salad with black/brown ends and stale cucumber.Pizza was good if you were lucky to get it fresh out of the oven. The oatmeal was like water. Could not get them to cook eggs fully.just small things but really impacted the trip.They don't do a midnight buffet as People were all tucked up by eleven usually but did a brunch which we missed and was supposed to be good,but only doing it once an eleven night trip is bad !! Cafe Baccia did great pastries but the cookies were like bricks you could break your teeth on them.The coffee was so so and again only warm not hot which was also an extra cost. Room serviceagain a bit up and down.One day cold then the next it was hot. The best place to eat was the 'bistro on five' as you got hot food and a decent portion for only $5 extra well worth it. Also the staff were great .. We did not try other speciality restaurants as we did not want to pay extra to just receive more average food for $40 or so extra. The service on the ship was again hit and miss, I felt a lot of staff were just going thought the motions. There were a few exceptions. The casino staff ,'Andrea' in particular the hostess who was great fun to talk to and made us very welcome. also the cabin stewards overall were very nice and had a warm hello. The ship entertainment especially poolside was virtually non existent.The various quizes we came across were roughly 20 question over and done !! However the shows were mostly good with one exception the 'Beatles' type show was dire but the others were good.A good comic and a great female singer who was funny too. On the next to last night they finally pulled a 'red and black salsa night' which was on deck at 10.30. This was great but everyone we spoke to said it was too little too late as we were nearly at the end of the cruise. It was the only time we saw anyone on deck after eleven P.M except an odd few !! The pool side band while not bad could not keep any tempo going and went from happy, to sad songs making the atmosphere go up and down !!The steel band were a bit of a joke too . !! Two guys with a background tape. A little cheap again !! The D.J in the club did not know thow to play to the crowd(had there been a crowd) as most nights the 'Quasar' was empty !! The Martini bar was very popular and seemed the busiest place before and after dinner as it was lively and the staff seemed more upbeat.But we are not big drinkres so that wasn'r for us really but when we did have a drink there it was nice . Overall not our best cruise experience. We are in our 40's and we on the young side on this cruise so I think they were catering for an older clientele.But even older people we spoke to said they were finding this trip dull, and they had been with celebrity many times so had more to compare to than we did. we did complain to the hotel manager and to be fair they gave us a very good compensation deal. I have not listed other things as I don't want to go on too much .Overall a beautiful ship but a lacklustre performance on many counts. I am sure others had a wonderful time but it was not for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
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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