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49 Celebrity Equinox Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have sailed 7 times in the last 6 years and our favorite ship is the Equinox. The athmosphere, service, and friendliness of the staff outshines any other ship that we have sailed on. The ship is beautiful and well maintained ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed 7 times in the last 6 years and our favorite ship is the Equinox. The athmosphere, service, and friendliness of the staff outshines any other ship that we have sailed on. The ship is beautiful and well maintained and was as spotless as it was when we disembarked from her a exactly a year ago to the day in 2012. The weather wasn't the best during our 11 days - cool for the most part, with lots of rain, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Embarkation was flawless - 16 minutes from the time the airport shuttle dropped us off until we ordered our first drink at the poolside bar. Staterooms - my wife's aunt and uncle were travelling with us and, being their first time on Solstice class, were very impressed with the size, storage capacity and layout of the room and of course, the excellent spacious bathroom. Dining - Oceanview Cafe (main buffet) is well layed out - multiple stations so long lineups are avoided, although can be chaotic at times (think of Dancing With Plates). Food is average buffet - however, Indian lunch is excellent, and the pizza is some of the best I have ever had. Masthead Bar/Grill - excellent hamburgers Tuscan Grille - good dining, however not as good as previous sailings MDR - Excellent, ate there 7 nights and every meal was superb. We were seated with a lovely scottish family that were a pleasure to be with. Our wait staff was amazing (table 254). Entertainment - We don't usually do the shows in the theatre as show times conflict with set dining. However, there is always something going on during the day thanks to the excellent Activities Manager David. There were 2 dance parties at night on the upper decks that were a lot of fun. For the ladies there was a jewelry fashion show, and later that night, a Glam Rock dance extravaganza in the main atrium that was a blast. Every night there was a happy hour at the Passport Bar with music and dancing provided by Southside. Adam Westcott provided excellent music - Spanish Guitar - thanks, Adam. Excursions - Grand Cayman: we booked a catamaran tour (private excursion) to Stingray City with snorkelling at 2 other stops. Most excursions in Cayman do not have alcoholic refreshments included, but the trick here is to pick up a six pack at the liquour store where the tenders stop. Cartagena: We had been here before, so instead of booking an excursion we picked up a cab at the cruise terminal (very new, very nice) and went to the walled city (Ciudad Amurallado). Taxi fares are standard - $20 for 4 people each way. We went to the stores at Los Bovados, walked around the city and churches, and ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe. (note: if you don't like fast, suicidal taxi drivers - take an excursion). Panama: We took the Shaping Of Panama tour (off the ship). Very disappointing. We have been in Panama City many times and wanted to show it off to my wifes aunt and uncle - we knew more about the city than the guide, who's idea of a tour was to drive around and point, or walk to a park and point at buildings, and then give you 5 minutes free time to explore. Colon: We booked a tour off the ship with YourLuckyTour - amazing zipline and tortuguero canal tour (7 hours) that was half the price of the ship's excursions. Well done, Eduardo!! Belize: It was raining so hard we just stayed on the ship. The tender takes 35 minutes to get into town. Cozumel: Took a taxi around the island - very flat and not much to see. Ships staff: Excellent - friendly and accomodating. Thanks to: Noreen - our room steward, Wait staff at table 254 - Outstanding!! Germann, Rodolfo, and Murat. Suni - Sommelier at Cellar Masters. Good conversation and very funny. Shiv - Waiter at Sunset Bar - never had to go to the bar, he was always there with a refresher. David - Activity Manager. Thank you so much for everything that you did! All in all it was a wonderful time - only exception was disembarkation back in Ft Lauderdale - 3.5 hours - but not Celebrity's fault. P.S - I hope Captain Panos has taken lessons on weather forecasts!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We made our own travel arrangements to join the ship flying with American Airlines from Manchester to Philadelphia. Then on from there to Fort Lauderdale. I would advise you to allow about 2.5 to 3 hours to transit through Philadelphia ... Read More
We made our own travel arrangements to join the ship flying with American Airlines from Manchester to Philadelphia. Then on from there to Fort Lauderdale. I would advise you to allow about 2.5 to 3 hours to transit through Philadelphia airport due to the security checks and having to collect luggage for the transfer. The Airport is great, large and bright with plenty of signs to help your transition. Arrival at Fort Lauderdale is easy as you have already had the checks done. On the way home all security is done from leaving the ship it did take 4 hours to get off and through the checks due to cutbacks on customs side of things so again allow time for flights. On the way home we did miss our flight to Philadelphia but the airport staff were fabulous and rearranged our flight efficiently with no fuss and no extra charges. On the plus side you don't have to collect your cases at Philadelphia on the way home they go straight through to your final destination. On arrival to the ship we were allowed to board straight away at 11am. Rooms were ready by 1pm. We used the time to orient ourselves to this large and rather beautiful vessel. Captain Panos greeted us all very graciously and we sailed at 16.00 hours. We had an inside stateroom on deck 8 we were delighted to find the stateroom was twice as large as any we had occupied on other ships. Our steward was Ashelle and she looked after our every need with dedication and a wonderful smile. We chose 2nd sitting at 8.30 for dinner and enjoyed the show prior to dinner at 7pm. Our waiters Aston and Poonam were very attentive. The MaitreD visited the table every evening to ensure we were happy with the service provided. The food was good with an excellent choice each night. The entertainment on the ship was excellent, the shows were broadway standard the other shows and entertainment around the ship were great. The hot glass show on deck 15 was truely amazing, who would have thought you would see that on a ship!! We also enjoyed the lawn club, playing french bowls and golf putting on there daily. Grass lawns on a ship who would have thought it! We particularly enjoyed our visit to Panama using a local Taxi with Henry our driver who took us to Gaton locks where we saw two ships passing through through the locks. We took a self directed walking tour in Grand Cayman and visited the museum which was very informative. We had a fabulous cruise and would not hesitate to use Celebrity again I am sure we will sail on the Equinox again and can not thank Captain Panos and his crew enough for a suberb experience Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was my second cruise aboard Celebrity and looked forward to it based on the first (Summit) and the fact this was our 20th anniversary and were traveling with 6 additional friends. The first time on Celebrity was outstanding. Our cabin ... Read More
This was my second cruise aboard Celebrity and looked forward to it based on the first (Summit) and the fact this was our 20th anniversary and were traveling with 6 additional friends. The first time on Celebrity was outstanding. Our cabin steward seemed to pop out of nowhere and greet up by name and opened our door. We honestly thought he had a two-way mirror or camera.(Really, we did) This time the cabin steward was not nearly as attentive, but it was still a pleasure having the room expertly made. The first night in the dining room our service was sub par--slow service, cold food. However, after speaking to our waitstaff, things dramatically improved for the duration of the cruise--they were outstanding--and can only assume they had an off night the first night. I love that the many ports are broken up by days at sea, which provided plenty of time to relax and enjoy the on board portion of the cruise. Since this was an 11 night cruise, it was a mature crowd as you might imagine and everyone was extremely friendly. I enjoyed the movies, the games, the shopping and everything on board. However, I found the tours to be expensive so we got together as a group and booked our own once on shore. I would highly recommend this cruise and would recommend Celebrity. One thing, I thought the food was simply so-so which really surprised me. We did not dine in the speciality restaurants as the early reservations were taken. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We are 2 married couples, ages 54-58, and this was our 8-10th cruise, my 10th. Our general line of choice is Princess and this was our first cruise on Celebrity. We spent one night pre-cruise at Embassy Suites on 17th Street near the port. ... Read More
We are 2 married couples, ages 54-58, and this was our 8-10th cruise, my 10th. Our general line of choice is Princess and this was our first cruise on Celebrity. We spent one night pre-cruise at Embassy Suites on 17th Street near the port. It was a $15 cab fare from the airport to the hotel and we took a shuttle to the port in the morning for $7 each. Embassy Suites includes a great breakfast in the morning. Embarkation was the best ever! Simple, fast, efficient and we were on the ship in record time. Lunch in the buffet was congested and difficult to find a table, which is not unusual on embarkation day. We got into our cabin around 1:30pm. The cabin was very nice. We especially liked the bigger bathroom, including storage AND a shower door! Much nicer than the Princess bathroom. We also enjoyed having the sofa so all 4 of us could visit comfortably in one cabin. The furniture on the balcony was nicer than Princess, too. We had 2 teak chairs (reclining) and a small table. Our cabin Steward (Renato) was great and took very good care of us. He worked in tandem but I don't remember the other gentleman's name. They were awesome. The ship is beautiful and exceeded our expectations. The furniture around the pool areas is so comfy with pads and small living room-style seating areas, creating a cozy ambiance. Bar service around the pool area was fine. We chose select dining, and for the most part, had no wait at all to dine, even in the busier dining hours. We found the dining room to be a bit crowded in areas, where tables are almost touching. A bit uncomfortable at times, not really sure if we were dining with our neighbors or not. The service was superb. Our waiter (Kerim) could not have been better and they work very very hard. However, although the waiters are practically running back an forth, working hard for everyone, the average dinner was between 1 1/2 to 2 hrs, which is too long for us. The food was absolutely wonderful. We enjoyed every meal, even though they were lengthy. The buffet is large and there is plenty of variety, including hand-dipped and soft serve ice cream/yogurt/sorbet all day long. Breakfast and lunch at the buffet was great, although often a bit difficult to find a table. Dinner time at the buffet was sadly lacking and didn't meet our expectation. The choices were the same as lunchtime every night and varied very little the entire cruise. We would have enjoyed the dinner buffet much more had it mimicked the dining room menu more, which Princess does. Also, the lights were very dim in the seating area, almost as if it was closed. If the dim lighting was to create ambiance, they missed the mark. In fact, overall they missed the mark at the buffet for the dinner hour. The entertainment was superb. We enjoyed every show. My one criticism is that there was a lot of entertainment activity in the Grand Foyer, which extends several decks and is quite beautiful. However, there is very little seating in this area and it is very difficult to see anything. We missed a lot of good entertainment in there because it was so crowded and lacked seating. They need to move some of that activity to another venue where more people can sit comfortably and actually see what's happening. We tendered in Belize and Grand Cayman. Celebrity's tendering organization is a good concept. One day went much more smoothly than the other. Our shore excursions were booked through Celebrity and, for the most part were what we expected and were pricey but good. However, we had one mishap that was notable. Our other excursions were: Limon, Costa Rica: We took a boat ride down a river, sightseeing for wildlife. It was very nice. We then ate local fruit which was delicious. Our last stop was a banana plantation. We learned the process of cleaning, staging and shipping the bananas. Our tour guide was very good, informative and very nice. We were also lucky enough to see a deadly poisonous snake called a fleur de lance that had just been killed by a local man working in a field. It was at least 6 feet long very dangerous to the fieldworkers. It was something we will probably never have the opportunity to see again. We all enjoyed this tour. In Panama we took another boat ride on Gutun Lake. The boat was small and had a lot of people on it, but we saw a lot of animals. Many people were soaking wet when we returned from the wind blowing water up into the boat. The tour also included a trip to the locks. It was fine. In Colombia we took a private tour, which was a mistake. There were approximately 30 of us, from 4 or 5 different ships. The tour operator told different people different things, including how long the tour would be. Several people were in danger of missing their ship because they were told our tour was going to be 2 hours, and it turned into 3 1/2 hours. The tour man took them off and got them a cab back to their ship. I hope they didn't miss their ship. They were very upset. We spent a short amount of time at a beautiful old monastery, a fort, old town, and a shopping area. Sea days were nice, with plenty to do for those who desired. Lots of games, etc. I was impressed with the interaction the officers had with the passengers, often participating in games and other competitions on the beautiful lawn deck and around the ship. We missed the "do it yourself" laundry that Princess ships offer. Celebrity overcharges to send laundry out and I've read they're not very careful returning it in the same condition, including shrinking clothing. Overall, this cruise was great and we loved Equinox. I wouldn't hesitate to sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Spring Break 2012 brought us back to the Caribbean, and our 1st cruise with Celebrity after cruising previously with HAL. We flew from the Pacific NW into Miami a few days early to visit with friends we had met on 2010 cruise. What a great ... Read More
Spring Break 2012 brought us back to the Caribbean, and our 1st cruise with Celebrity after cruising previously with HAL. We flew from the Pacific NW into Miami a few days early to visit with friends we had met on 2010 cruise. What a great way to start a vacation! They drove us up to Port Everglades Monday morning, and the very 1st thing that impressed us was how fast and easy it was checking in. We were in Concierge, and having an expedited check in was very nice. Our Port Side stateroom did not seam that much larger than previous Veranda staterooms on HAL, although when our Stateroom attendant, Maria, took the barrier between our veranda and my brothers room down, having the larger deck was very nice. We took advantage of Room Service for breakfast every sea day, and service was prompt and orders correct. We also sat out on deck for evening hors d'oeuvres, a very nice touch. The Equinox holds more passengers than the Noordam and yet, we felt we had more open spaces and very little crowding. A very well designed ship. When we chose to eat in the MDR, our Wait Staff was friendly and helpful. We were seated with a very nice couple from Florida, although one evening, we were seated elsewhere, even though we ate at the same time. We chose to eat in Specialty Dining twice: The Tuscan Grille and Silk Harvest. The Tuscan's service was outstanding, the food excellent, and very reasonably priced. Silk Harvest was also a great value for the money. When we ate casual in the Oceanview Cafe, the food was okay. What was different from HAL was the totally International Flavor of the crew of the Equinox. Wait Staff, Bartenders, Activities personal were from Europe, North America, South America, as well as the Phillipines whereas on HAL, the crew was pimarily Filipino. We only went to three shows: A Comedian (waste of time), a Magician (faily entertaining), and Celebrities "Equinox-The Show" which is their "Cirque" type show. This was the highlite of any on board activity. The performers were fantastic. The Solstace Class ships of Celebrity feature the Lawn Club on top deck. Having live grass and lawn games available was an interesting feature. The Corning Glass Show was interesting to watch. We chose 4 Ship Excursions and 3 Private excursions. We chose the ship's for our Panama Canal tour and were excited that we went through all 3 locks and ended up in the Pacific Ocean. We went private on Roatan, and Grand Cayman for snorkeling and Sting Rays, as well as Zip Lining and Jaguar Recovery Center in Costa Rica. Debarkation went very smoothly, and unfortunatly, due to tornadoes earlier in week, our travel plans going home were disrupted, and we made it home 10 hours later than expected, so it wasn't too bad. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My husband and I recently returned from taking our 18-month-old daughter on her second Celebrity cruise. There are many reviews on this board attesting to the beauty and five-star class of the Equinox, which I would certainly second. The ... Read More
My husband and I recently returned from taking our 18-month-old daughter on her second Celebrity cruise. There are many reviews on this board attesting to the beauty and five-star class of the Equinox, which I would certainly second. The ship is top-class in its decoration and shows. I found some of the staff to be less friendly than on our first Celebrity cruise aboard the Summit, but that is personally relative. The dining room, though elegant, felt more squishy and our waiter had more tables, but I assume that that also varies from table assignment to table assignment. From a mother's perspective, though, the Equinox was fantastic for those traveling with a young child. Since our daughter was under three and not potty-trained, she couldn't swim in the pool or join the Fun Factory activities. We knew that in advance and were just looking for a chance to hang out as a family without the distractions of everyday life. We were happily surprised to find the lovely, relaxed top-deck lawn that was perfect for little feet to release some energy. Also, between the stage and pool, there was a water feature (numerous small fountains at ground-level) that kept our daughter safely entertained. She never once looked jealously at the pool and she wasn't bothering anyone. Finally the Fun Factory had pretty loose "toddler time" hours so we were able to play with her using their well-kept toys and didn't need to devote much coveted luggage space to her toys. Beyond those nice surprises, I'm happy to report the same joys that we had on the Summit such as watching her face light up with all of the great live music and being able to catch so much live entertainment (we always sat in the back so we could make a quick exit if needed). Due to the fact that our server on the Equinox had five tables (15 people), it took a while to get the orders in (each course was served at the same time) and after the first four nights our daughter had had it with 1.5 hour meals. Instead we ordered from the Silhouettte dining room for room service a few nights and ate in the crepe restaurant or Oceanview Cafe the other nights. It was mildly disappointing not to eat in the main dining room but we also found the menu to be similar to our cruise on the Summit (on which we were able to eat every night with our then-9-month-old and a waiter that only had two tables). At last, I wanted to say something about our fellow passengers and their response to our daughter. Conscious that most people aboard who were our age were probably parents trying to get a break from kids and no one, including us, can relax with a runaway or screaming child around, we always aimed to take our daughter out of the theater/dining area/public space if she started to behave badly. As I mentioned, we loved listening to the live music but we tried to keep to the side of the performers or to find an inconspicuous place for our tiny dancer. Comparing the Summit (departing from San Juan on a Southern Caribbean cruise) and the Equinox, there were many more children on the Summit, which I attribute to the itinerary rather than the ship. The crowd on the Equinox was much more diverse- lots of French, German, South Americans and a ton of Russians and the crowd we overheard in the Fun Factory reflected that mix (mostly English as a Second Language learners). There were a total of six kids under three on the ship from what we saw on our 11 days on the Equinox. All and all, I think cruising is a wonderful way to travel with a young child. This Ultimate Caribbean, with its historic/cultural interests as well as beaches, was a bit of a stretch for us but ended up being fantastic. If you're on the fence about cruising with a kid, I say go for it! PS We had two cruise-sponsored tour excursions booked but ended up just doing one (Colonial Panama and Miraflores Locks- you can read my review in the Panama section). We pre-arranged Oscars tour in Puerto Limon and just caught taxis from the docks in Cozumel, Roatan, Cartagena and Cayman Islands. This gave us the flexibility to be where we needed to be at naptime and we could go at our pace. We travel a lot (60+ countries) and live abroad. We particularly had our guard up in Cartagena and it turned out to be our favorite port. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Our cabin was as we expected having sailed sister ship Eclipse. The only difference was that we were one deck higher and toward the stern vs. forward. We decided we prefer to be closer to the bow, as our Equinox cabin looked down on the ... Read More
Our cabin was as we expected having sailed sister ship Eclipse. The only difference was that we were one deck higher and toward the stern vs. forward. We decided we prefer to be closer to the bow, as our Equinox cabin looked down on the lighted lifeboat deck. Our cabin steward was not as efficient as on the Eclipse in that our room wasn't made up while we were at breakfast, but that's a very minor point. We had early seating in the MDR and can't rave enough about Halan and her assistant Volkan!! Every meal was delicious and Halan often brought out extras for us to enjoy. Once I tasted the escargot I had to order them nightly. We enjoyed the entertainment, especially the female impressionist who gave us Cher, Streisand, Celine + many more. The kitchen tour was a nice treat, although this is where the "appalling pax" part of my review comes in. During the Q&A with Chef Uhle, one woman used the forum to whine about the quality of the meat & fish (based on our meals, she was waay off base) and doing this in a public forum was so rude. At the end of our kitchen tour, a man complained that it was a total waste of his time because he was in the back of the group and couldn't hear a thing. He then found the chef, issued the same complaints and from there found Que, our cruise director, to lambast. We did two Celeb excursions which were well-planned. The Tulum ruins and BeachBreak out of Cozumel and Xunantunich out of Belize. We had private tours in Costa Rica and Panama and did Cartagena and Grand Cayman on our own. Loved the Solarium on port days. The mini-sandwiches and desserts at Cafe Al Bacio (no charge) were a great find and quite yummy! Never had a problem finding seating in the theatre, Oceanview Cafe and around the pools. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Embarkation was fairly simple and help was right at hand to direct us to Captain's Club window, which I was unaware existed. Vessel seemed to stretch forever, but entrance to our cabin was a really pleasant surprise. Much larger ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly simple and help was right at hand to direct us to Captain's Club window, which I was unaware existed. Vessel seemed to stretch forever, but entrance to our cabin was a really pleasant surprise. Much larger than I had anticipated, and well laid out, with the sofa area closest to the veranda rather than stumbling over the bed to reach the doors. The big surprise was the bathroom, which I still would like to pack up and smuggle out to bring home! So much roomier than our memories, and so compactly and aesthetically designed! Wish it had a line for hanging wet things somewhere, but basically almost perfect! I was happy to be located close to the elevators ((which were beautiful) as the Equinox is a very long ship on the stateroom floors. My walking has been limited since a hip replacement, but I found if I used the central bank of elevators on activity decks....3, 10, 12, 14 etc,the walk was not as far fore or aft, and easier for me. The Silhouette Dining Room was lovely and more than adequate, and the staff was very willing to fulfill any reasonable request. Oceanview Cafe on deck 14 had so much choice I actually found it confusing! Most was excellent, and it was difficult making the choice of where to have breakfast, since we like meeting new people on 14 and being served on 3! Suggest eating at Bistro on 5 at least once. We ate at Silk Harvest, a visual delight, though beef chow mein on the menu of an upscale Asian Restaurant surprised us! We also thought the choice of 3 entrees for 4 people was a trifle inadequate and puzzling. But the atmosphere was heavenly! By the way, the hamburger/frankfurter stand near the pools had the most delicious burgers. For those watching sodium, the french fries were loaded with salt, but yummy! The evening shows were most enjoyable and the "Cirque in the manner of Europe" was striking; such talent and daring, with marvelous staging and effects! If you are a reader, bring books, and plan to leave them behind, as the library was somewhat sparse. The main pools were not as large as I recalled, but many people used and enjoyed them, and the outdoor entertainment was charming. There was not a moment on the events calendar without something planned, for those who wish to attend lectures or games and such. Sorry, but I can't comment on that aspect, since I was so thrilled to have time to read without telephones ringing or the Internet screaming for my attention! I recall the daily count of money won on the slots, reaching at least a million dollars at the end; again, no comment as it's not something I dare try! And shopping...well despite the fact I'm all shopped out, and need very little more at the age of 84, my dear husband managed to find a lovely simple pair of earrings for me as a memento of a beautiful cruise. I hope this is encouraging to those who worry about being "past their prime" for travel. I can no longer look forward to walking through cities I've enjoyed, but cruising is more inviting than I dreamed! I figure if I stick with this beautiful Celebrity line, eventually we'll work our way up on the Captain's Club status to enjoy the various bonuses others have achieved, so that's our plan from here on! Disembarking went without problems, but I will be sure ALL my carry ons are on wheels, as the walks are very long until one is finally at the lowest floor, collecting luggage. Carrying my heavy tote wore me out! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I was going to put off writing this review until I had sufficient time to compose a properly detailed account of our cruise but if I do that it will never get done. So here goes.   My wife and I cruised on the April 11, 2011 sailing of ... Read More
I was going to put off writing this review until I had sufficient time to compose a properly detailed account of our cruise but if I do that it will never get done. So here goes.   My wife and I cruised on the April 11, 2011 sailing of the Celebrity Equinox. As the date to departure came closer and closer we became more and more excited such that just before the cruise we actually became worried that it would not, could not, live up to our grand expectations. Just the opposite happened, the cruise exceeded our expectations.   We drove to Montreal from Ottawa, Canada and flew from there to Fort Lauderdale, Florida the morning before the cruise and stayed at the Harbour Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. It was a beautiful hotel with lots to offer. While spending some time on the beach in the afternoon we were able to see the Solstice leave Port Everglades. What a sight! The next morning when we awoke I could see the Equinox already in port from our hotel room window. It is a beautiful ship. After a leisurely breakfast and hanging around the hotel a bit longer than we really wanted to (we wanted to get on board the Equinox), we finally headed out to Port Everglades by taxi at around 11:15. Embarkation was fast and smooth. We were in concierge class and we did not have to wait in line although the other lines were not too long as they were already boarding the ship.   Once aboard we wondered around a bit and our first impressions were that the Equinox was a beautiful and spotless ship. Even though there were nearly 3000 passengers, we never felt over crowded. The one concern we had was that when eating in the Oceanview Cafe while waiting for our stateroom to be ready, we couldn't help but feel that the average age of passenger on board was very old (we ourselves are in our late 50s but I am talking about 80s). This impression changed as we began to meet our fellow passengers and realized that the average was more in our age group or younger There were a few children as well. An announcement told passengers that cabins were ready by 1:00PM. Our stateroom, Deck 10, mid-ship, was nice but a bit small and we had some difficulty putting away all of our clothes. We suffer from over-packing-itis. Our stateroom attendant was OK, no problems but nothing spectacular either. Meals were fantastic. The main dining room was great with superb service from everyone, including our waiter, assistant waiter and sommelier (Amiel, Risdi and Leo). In fact, even though Celebrity charged us $12 per person per day for gratuities, we tipped them extra. Meals were varied, high quality and delicious. Often, I had Caesar salad and my wife had escargots as meal starters. She had one complaint about all of the food she ate and that was in regard to the way they made the Caprese salad, they did not use anywhere near enough balsamic vinegar. I had absolutely no complaints. We ate in all three speciality restaurants and they were all spectacular. I can't say it enough. The Silk Harvest was especially great with fantastic sushi and won ton soup. The service was excellent in all venues. Most mornings I would go down to Cafe al Bacio to get lattes and pastries and our breakfasts were enjoyed mainly on our balcony. One morning while drinking our coffees, the boat slowed, turned and then docked in Roatan, Honduras sideways and we were able to the native dancers welcoming us. This was something that I will remember for the rest of my life. I can't say fantastic often enough or strongly enough to convey how I felt or still feel today. (More about the individual ports later.) Preferring to interact with our fellow passengers, what entertainment we did see, was excellent. The Cirque show, Corning hot glass show and the ventriloquist were fantastic.   We purchase the premium beverage packages. Although not big drinkers in our regular day-to-day lives, while on vacation we like to have a few drinks. The packages allowed us to do this and then some without having to worry about how much we were spending. I wondered before the cruise if the packages would be worth it but after the cruise with all the alcoholic beverages including wine during meals as well as all the speciality coffees, soft drinks and water that we could ever want, I realise that the packages were more than worth while. We particularly enjoyed the Martini Bar. The bartenders, Hector and Edy were great jugglers and makers of different martinis. It was a lot of fun to watch them pour up to 12 martinis at a time. They made the time that we spent there quite entertaining.   The pool venue was great and the pool butlers took care of any issues with "chair hogs".   Our favourite spot on board, especially after a long day at one of our stops was the Cafe al Bacio. We were able to have iced lattes with Baileys and a few pastries and sandwiches. Along with the entertainment we were able to relax and wind down from a hard day of being tourists.   Another highlight of the cruise was the fact that we were invited to take bridge and galley tour. These were enjoyable and very informative. What a view from the bridge!   The only real problem that we had with Celebrity was with the departure from the ship on Friday morning. Since we were staying an extra night in Fort Lauderdale with no flight to catch we were scheduled to leave the boat at 9:30. When we arrived at the MDR at 9:20 we were told that our time slot had already been called and we could leave right away. We left the boat and soon found ourselves along with nearly 1000 other passengers searching for our luggage, for which there were few porters, and lining up to get through US Customs. We asked someone from RCCL why they were letting everyone off the ship all at the same time and they had no answer. We believe that the answer was partly the fact that there was no communication between the Celebrity and RCCL and that Celebrity wanted all passengers off the Equinox ASAP in order to clean the ship and make room for the next group of passengers.   Our ports of call were great. Cozumel was very pretty if a bit touristy. We did not book a tour so we walked around stopping in the shops, buying souvenirs. We had a great meal in a little restaurant. We returned to the ship not too late in the afternoon. In Roatan, we again did not take a tour but as per advice we did not get too far off the beaten path. We did a little shopping and stopped for beer and nachos. We agree that the stop in Costa Rica was probably the best. We planned for the all day tour to the coffee bean plantation. After starting out first thing in the morning we dove in a bus into the mountains. The Costa Rica interior is lush and beautiful. The mountains are fantastic. We also passed a number of banana plantations on the way up. The tour of the coffee plantation was very interesting and informative. A lunch was provided at a nearby hotel which was absolutely beautiful set in very lush surroundings. The hotel itself was beautiful and the meal was great. We returned to the dock with enough time to shop a bit. When arriving in Panama, I noticed that there were more than one hundred ships of all sizes at anchor outside the port. It was later explained to me that they were there waiting their turn to go through the canal because if they are late and miss their turn they forfeit the fees that they pay for passage and that's why they are there some times several days early. In Panama we took a half day tour to the Canal. Saw ships going both ways which was fascinating. Since we had been advised that going outside of the dock area was unsafe, we did not venture far beyond the tourist shops and returned to the ship soon after the tour. Cartagena, Colombia was a very busy city and incredibly hot. We took a tour that was supposed to be strictly bus and shopping but there was an hour shopping involved. I am discussing the matter with Celebrity. There were so many vendors of tourist souvenirs and beggars, enough said. Our last stop was the Cayman Islands. I did not like it as it was too commercialized and too westernized.   Despite the few problems we encountered on our cruise, I can easily generalise that it was a great cruise, wonderful ship, almost perfect staff and we will miss all the cruise mates and new friends that we made. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
A little late in posting this review - we cruised on Celebrity Equinox from 21 March- 1 April from Fort Lauderdale to Cozumel, Costa Maya, Puerto Limon, Colon, Cartegena and Grand Cayman.This was our first Celebrity cruise, but our 5th ... Read More
A little late in posting this review - we cruised on Celebrity Equinox from 21 March- 1 April from Fort Lauderdale to Cozumel, Costa Maya, Puerto Limon, Colon, Cartegena and Grand Cayman.This was our first Celebrity cruise, but our 5th cruise in total; previously we have cruised with RCI and P&O. It will definitely not be the last one; we thoroughly enjoyed just about everything and if we could only cruise with one company from now on we would choose Celebrity every time.We stayed in the Hilton near the cruise terminal the night before the cruise started. We went for a walk to find somewhere to eat in the evening; found a great spot for a drink and good inexpensive food at 'Bimini Boatyard' (Happy Hour 4.00-7.00pm every day). To get there you turn right after exiting the car park in front of the hotel, walk about 500 yards and turn right when you see the Renaissance Hotel. Keep walking and you will see 'Bimini Boatyard' in front of you.There were lots of guests at the Hotel who were also on the cruise. Celebrity staff set up a table in the lobby and you get a numbered ticket which will determine how quickly you will get on a bus to take you to the ship. This process was a bit chaotic as the staff didn't co-ordinate very well together so there must have been a lot of people confused about how the system was supposed to work and waited longer than they needed toWe enjoyed the welcome on Equinox with a glass of 'bubbly' as we went aboard. We headed for the 'Solstice' deck (Deck 16) straightaway as we had read about this deck from Cruise Critic. It was a great place for sunbathing and was very quiet for the first few days because, as predicted by others, most people didn't know it was there. However, it appeared that most people were happier being down by the main pool in any case.We were in 'Concierge' class which meant we had a bottle of champagne in the room and canapEs. The canapEs were free every day but you had to be in the room to receive them at a specific time so we didn't bother again as we spent every afternoon at the Sunset Bar at the Lawn Club, our absolute favourite place on Equinox, more of which later. Our cabin was on Deck 10 and unfortunately suffered partially from the aircraft carrier effect and didn't get as much sunlight as we would have liked. We don't think we will bother with Concierge again, probably not worth the extra expense.What we would thoroughly recommend, if you are not teetotal, is the 'Classic' drinks package which included about 80% of all the alcoholic drinks available on the ship, including most cocktails. You also get 'sodas' in cans, not from those horrible machines, and really good coffees. We paid around £330 each for the package, £30 a day over the 11 nights of the cruise. With wine priced at the equivalent of £6 per glass including the obligatory 15% tip, you don't need to drink that much to make it worthwhile. We certainly hope that Celebrity will continue with this and that other cruise lines will follow suit.The main restaurant was excellent; we were 'freedom dining' but rarely had to wait for a table for two, although we did eat with others a couple of times. You are served wine by the glass (unless you bought a bottle from a more expensive wine list not included in the 'Classic' package). We thought the wine service was slow during meals which may have been deliberate; maybe we drink too much! We made some new friends and also realised how interested American people are in the British royal family, they seemed almost obsessed with it as it was in the build-up to William & Kate's wedding. We tried the Thai restaurant but were not really impressed with it. The buffet had a huge choice at every meal time with lots of space as well so there were hardly any queues, apart from the ice cream section.The entertainment in the main theatre was aimed at the American guests but was OK. Good music shows and a very good singer; Laura Hamilton. We also enjoyed 'Juke Box' an acapella group that sang most evenings all around the ship. The cruise director, Dru Pavlov was excellent; very approachable and friendly.There is an indoor pool which was not very busy but was a very quiet and relaxing area for those guests who, unlike us, don't want to be in the sun all day. No children allowed either. Our favourite spot on the ship was the Lawn Club, especially right at the back at the Sunset Bar. There were very comfortable seats there and very friendly and helpful staff who catered for us with drinks from the classic package on a regular basis. A special mention for Inyoman; our favourite barman. All cruise ships have an outside bar at the rear but this one was very special.We found Celebrity a far more relaxing experience than other companies; even down to the lack of announcements over the tannoy which was a refreshing change to most others. We made a comment about how Celebrity could improve its service and were very impressed that our suggestion was acknowledged and acted upon straightaway.We did a few Celebrity excursions and they were generally well organised. One that was a disappointment was the transport arranged for the trip to the boat for Stingray City in Brand Cayman - no air conditioning and very uncomfortable USA-style school buses.Having since been on another cruise (NCL) in May we are even more convinced that Celebrity is the cruise line of choice for us in future. We are already booked with them for August 2012! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This is a review of the Celebrity Equinox Ultimate Caribbean Cruise on February 28, 2011. My wife and I traveled with our friends (Shelly531)who already wrote a review. This was our first cruise on the Equinox, but we had sailed on the ... Read More
This is a review of the Celebrity Equinox Ultimate Caribbean Cruise on February 28, 2011. My wife and I traveled with our friends (Shelly531)who already wrote a review. This was our first cruise on the Equinox, but we had sailed on the Solstice twice before. We really enjoyed this cruise, and it was the best of the three new Solstice class cruises. We found that senior officers were very visible, interested in making sure we all had a wonderful experience, and very responsive to our comments. One could feel a very good vibe among the staff on the ship. Embarkation: We live in the Fort Lauderdale area so getting to the port was an easy 20 minute drive and we arrived around noon. The ship was docked at Terminal 18. Our bags were promptly taken by stevedores, and we proceeded through security to the concierge check-in counter, without any problem. This terminal was expanded two years ago to accommodate the RCL Oasis and Allure so it is commodious, with many check-in counters that make getting registered very easy. Our cruise cards were waiting and the whole process from curb to getting on the ship took no more than 15 minutes. Once onboard we were offered a glass of champagne and headed to the Oceanview Cafe (more on that below). Our bags arrived at our cabin around 3pm.Stateroom: Our concierge stateroom, 2108, is on the backside of the rear hump, so we looked out to the starboard side and could look back to the rear of the ship from our balcony which, because it is angled on the hump, was larger than the normal balcony. We had two chairs that reclined and a table. The cabin seemed small to us since we were in S1 and S2 sky suites on our previous trips on the Solstice. However, I think it was actually larger than other veranda cabins we have had in the past on other ships. Nevertheless, the storage space was barely adequate. The over-bed storage was large but difficult to use and there were only a few drawers. Our cabin had the desk and sofa near the balcony which we liked. Our friends had a similar room but the desk was near the door. Otherwise the rooms were the same. The bathroom had a nice countertop and several drawers and medicine cabinet for storage. The shower door was a curved slider that worked very well and made the bathroom seem larger than it was. Our cabin was on deck 12 (resort deck) with the pools, spa and fitness room on the same deck. We like staying on this deck so that all activities are close by. There is no noise or other distractions from being on this deck. Also our cabin was not under the Oceanview Cafe so we heard no chairs moving though our balcony may have been under a public bathroom since we occasionally heard a toilet flush when sitting outside. No noise inside. In general, a very good cabin, however, we did have some minor problems (the room wasn't properly prepared) with the cabin when we first boarded. I found a cabin attendant from the deck below who solved our problems when the scheduled cabin attendant did not get on board ship in Fort Lauderdale. The Assistant Chief Housekeeper permanently assigned the "found" attendant and he proved to be excellent for the remainder of the cruise. He also arranged for a bottle of wine for our inconvenience. So we were happy campers. Finally, was concierge class worth it? Since we like breakfast in the room, the menu is more extensive than a regular cabin. Also, canapEs and fruit are delivered daily. But the cabin itself is a standard veranda cabin. I am not sure if the linens and towels are different... they seemed comparable to what we got in a suite. So for us, if we are not traveling in a sky suite, concierge is worth it if is not significantly more money than a regular cabin. On this cruise, through CruCon travel ,we got the upgrade for free... so it was a no brainer.Ship Common Areas: The Equinox is a big, beautiful vessel. While I don't think there was quite as much artwork as there is on the Solstice, everything was tastefully done and otherwise the ships are virtually identical. Moving around the ship was quite easy even though there were about 2,800 passengers on board. The glass elevator banks were close to our cabin and they were rarely crowded. The open elevators certainly help claustrophobic people (like myself at times) cope and the views of the ship from the elevators are fun to look at... from the huge globe , the big, hanging tree, the library and of course, the atrium on the promenade deck. The Equinox theatre was quite large and comfortable with the same type of Cirque d'Soleil equipment as on the Solstice. Dining: As mentioned above our first culinary experience was in the Oceanview Cafe. Since the cabins were not yet ready when we boarded and apparently no one had eaten for the last few days, the buffet lunch was mobbed and getting a seat was difficult. However, with help from staff, we did find a table. That was the only time we had trouble getting a table. The buffet is set up so that there are many stations with varied types of food at each. I think this makes it easier to get food and one doesn't have to wait in a line for items you don't want as on a conventional cafeteria line. The food was good and varied but not exceptional. Interestingly, at breakfast there was fruit, but no strawberries. Also, for one or two mornings they had actually run out of fresh eggs, so there were no fried eggs available, though they were available in the main dining room or from room service. While they blamed a vendor who failed to deliver an entire order, that really was unacceptable. On balance, we did not go to the buffet that often, but when we did, it was adequate.I should mention that my wife drinks a lot of water and on this cruise they offered a water card for $11 per day plus 15% tip which provided bottled sparkling or still water throughout the ship, including at shows, in all the restaurants, on the gangway when leaving ship at ports and in cabins. She was able to get large and small bottles so she occasionally shared with me. Looking over our final invoice, it may not have been quite financially smart to get the card, but it was close enough to have the convenience. Also, since the card was a relatively new concept, I think some wait staff was not happy they were losing out on commissions for selling drinks. We discussed this with some officers and they were going to look into our comment.Our friends and we had late seating at dinner and were assigned a table for 10 (346) with another group of four people from Connecticut. Two of the seats at the table were never assigned. We were on the lower level of the Silhouette Restaurant. Our waiter and busboy were experienced cruise staff, knew how to describe and recommend good dishes and bring extra entrees for tasting. Celebrity now limits the amount of wine allowed to be brought on board to 2 bottles per cabin, which we brought. They now charge a $20 corkage fee (plus tip) but they will keep the bottle once opened for the next meal. The wine stewards did not object at all that we had our own bottles, indeed since I had some interesting estate wines, they were happy when I offered that they try a tasting. I will not review specific dinners, since frankly I don't remember what we had each night, but I'd say that, in general, the food was very good, but not gourmet. The only disappointing dish that stood out was the roasted turkey. While the turkey was good the dressing was only fair. Somehow, ships can never get American style roasted turkey correct. The brunch served on the sea day before Grand Cayman was both spectacular and tasty. The presentation reminded us of the "midnight" buffets of old. The full dining staff was there and their dedication, teamwork and enthusiasm to put together this feast was apparent.Specialty dining on board was excellent. We went to Murano twice and once to Tuscan. The food was always well prepared, beautifully presented and served with panache. We really enjoyed dining in both venues. We also tried 3 other venues. The Mast Grill on 14 had ok hamburgers and hot dogs...just fine for a quick snack. Bistro on 5 had excellent crepes and was a nice change of pace for lunch. And the Gelateria on deck 5 had excellent gelato that was worth the price. Activities: My wife and I used the fitness center often. The facility is large with excellent, high quality equipment and we were able to time our visits so we didn't encounter any significant waits for the treadmill or bicycle. The only problem I had was that there were only two upright bicycles, and one didn't work for almost the first half of the cruise. With both working, I don't think any more are needed. Both my wife and I got massages in the spa. I have had very mixed experiences with on-board massages. However on this cruise my masseuse was better than I had expected. My wife, though, was getting a massage as the ship went through a sudden, very windy, short storm and she said the entire spa staff started freaking out until things calmed down and it ruined her relaxing experience. The casino is quite large with many slot machines and about a dozen gaming tables. Initially, the minimum bet at most of the blackjack tables was $10, as the cruise went on with not much action, it came down to $5. Staff at the tables was friendly and helpful. We used the internet Wi-Fi in our cabin as we purchased a $99 package for 240 minutes. The internet connection was faster than on the Solstice and the package was almost enough for the 10 days. Finally we enjoyed the behind the scene tours. The galley tour which broke down the old conga lines into manageable groups with someone to explain what we were seeing was very good. We also liked the opportunity as a Captain's Club Select member to get to see the bridge, the engine control room and backstage. It is amazing to get a new perspective on how the ship works. Service: As noted, the officers and crew were extremely friendly and competent. They truly worked hard to keep us, as guests, satisfied. If there was any kind of blip in the service, someone was always there to make it right. As far as I am concerned, you can't ask for anything more. Entertainment: Led by cruise director Dru Pavlov, the entertainment on board was top-notch, probably the best of any previous cruise we have been on. The Showtime entertainers and band, the Celebrity requisite A Capella quartet "Jukebox", the Cirque de Soleil type acrobats and Sean O'Shea were great in the Equinox Theater. We also particularly enjoyed the Manny Kellough Jazz Quartet and the Top Notch dance band who performed around the ship. The late night comics Dave Burleigh and Cory Kahaney provided some laughs. Finally, Dru knows how elicit the best of people playing the "Newlywed, Not so Newly Wed Game." Dru proved to be a very engaging, not overbearing, cruise director, who we found out later married the future cruise manager on our previous Solstice journey.Port & Shore Excursions: First, let me start by saying since we live in Fort Lauderdale we do not have cabin fever and are not beached starved. We go on Caribbean cruises to simply get away easily. Our expectations of these Caribbean ports are low. On this trip we were not interested in real shopping, so we have no comments on the jewelry stores we passed near the piers where we docked. In addition, we typically don't take the ship excursions, but this trip we did. That being said we were pleasantly surprised with several ports. In Roatan, we took a tour RT04, Tabayana Beach snorkel and lunch. Tabayana Beach was nice but very crowded. The excursion was fine, but next time we go to Roatan, I will take a taxi or rent a car and explore. In Costa Rica we took tour PL39A, the Veragua Rainforest and Research Center. While we had a good tour guide and bus driver, we were taken to a "forest" developed for tourist excursions. The open gondola we took through the woods was nice but we did not see anything overly exciting other than a sloth. The research center had frogs and snakes...something we didn't need to drive over an hour to see. Next time we'll take the zip line or try to find something off the beaten path. In Panama, we took Panama Canal Tour CO26A which is a bus ride to a tour boat that goes through Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks to the Pacific Ocean. We were then bussed back to the ship. As mentioned by Shelly531 in another review (who we traveled with), try to get on the first bus out so you can get to sit in the rear of the boat under cover with a crosswind. If it is hot, this is the best spot to sit. We found the boat ride to be very interesting and going through the locks with a large ship right behind us an experience. I don't think this tour is offered by private vendors and would recommend it. Grand Cayman was the final port and was the only one where we tendered into port. We took the ship excursion to Stingray City (tour GC27) and swam with the stingrays. We were given snorkels but the sandbar is so shallow, they really weren't useful. Our tour guide made those of us who were nervous about touching and being near the rays comfortable by first explaining what was going to happen before we got off the boat and then holding up a ray in the water to show it is safe to be near one. The island itself was clean, modern and the people were friendly. We'd go back. Finally, a general comment about the ship's excursions. We were impressed by the way they had tour groups meet on board ship as opposed to assembling on the pier. (On Grand Cayman, we also had to meet on the pier and the tour operator was not very organized getting buses in place.) This seemed to make breaking all of the groups into smaller ones a lot easier and was more comfortable than standing in the heat. Disembarkation: We followed our usual routine of going to the main dining room for breakfast. We take our time eating and then wait for our time to disembark and go straight to the gangway. We actually got off a few minutes late so when we got to the baggage hall, our bags were sitting all alone and easily identifiable. We found a porter who took our bags (and friend's bags) and then stayed with us through the immigration/customs line. It took about 10-15 minutes and was painless. We were picked up and home by about 9am. There is nothing like living close to port. Summary: This cruise was excellent. The ship and crew were great. The ports were better than expected and we got to eat well and relax for 11 days. I should add that if you have the time to go for 10 or 11 days, it is well worth it. We weren't ready to get off the ship after seven days. The ship offers the brunch buffet and some better menus on these longer cruises. And even after 11 days, there were people we saw only once and never saw again on the ship. Finally, don't be intimidated by the size of the ship. It has fabulous amenities that you can't get on a smaller ship, yet they know how to control the passengers so it doesn't feel overwhelming. We heartily recommend this ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our third Celebrity cruise - eighth cruise overall. Since this was our second time on the Equinox, we knew the ship would be exceptional and opted to book an Aqua Class cabin (1519) so we could experience something different other ... Read More
This was our third Celebrity cruise - eighth cruise overall. Since this was our second time on the Equinox, we knew the ship would be exceptional and opted to book an Aqua Class cabin (1519) so we could experience something different other than the itinerary. We got a really good price in AQ since we had booked this cruise early. The ship didn't leave Fort Lauderdale until Monday, so we decided to spend the weekend in Florida. We stayed at the Cambria Suites which worked out well. The staff was very friendly. They offered complementary shuttle service from the airport and to the cruise port. There was a good breakfast buffet each morning for $8 per person. They also offered a dinner menu and bar service. Lunch was only pre-made sandwiches and salads for sale. The rooms had a sofa and nice comfortable bed. The pool area was good with ample lounge chairs. There are, however, limited places to eat within walking distance of the Cambria Suites. Aqua Class: We knew we wanted to take advantage of the spa and exercise equipment so being close to everything was a real plus. We were able to walk from our cabin wearing our robes right into the spa. Included with AQ we got slippers, extra bath products, a nice zipper tote bag, and free use of the Persian Gardens. Every day we got a carafe of tea, two bottles of water, and fresh fruit. We didn't want the canapEs every day because we had to be in our cabin at an agreed upon time to accept delivery. Blu: We had seen copies and pictures of the menu on cruise critic and it definitely had a more gourmet flavor. We had no idea what some of the selections were until we asked. Some choices we made were fabulous and some not so good. Overall, we were glad for the experience to eat in Blu. The staff could not have been more accommodating. The maitre de remembered our names and seated us in the same section each night so we had the same wait staff. We really liked the rack of lamb, beef short ribs, curried pork chop, and celery salad. On nights when the theater shows were at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., we would go to the early show and then to Blu for dinner. Blu is almost like select dining except you don't need to make a reservation. There was no assigned time to eat except the first night. Unfortunately, unless we made plans to eat with other people in AQ we ended up at a table for 2. If the people next to us didn't want to talk - it was private dining! Food venues: We usually ate breakfast and lunch in the Aqua Spa Cafe. The choices were always delicious and healthy. Because it was located next to the Solarium the atmosphere was relaxing. On port days we ordered room service which always came at the right time and had everything we ordered. We got follow-up calls to make sure the breakfast had arrived and was satisfactory. People: This was one of the friendliest CC groups we have encountered. It would have been a great experience if everyone had "select dining" and we could have eaten together once in awhile. I was amazed at the number of people who used wheelchairs on this cruise. The crew was extremely accommodating and friendly when anyone needed help. I have to give all of them credit for not giving up on traveling no matter what their disability might have been! Staff: Everyone we came in contact with on this cruise was friendly and always smiling. No request was too big - especially when we accidently broke a glass on the middle of our cabin floor and needed a vacuum. Our cabin attendant was there within minutes to help. Tux: Ordering a tux for formal night worked out great for my husband. On this cruise the cuff on one of the shirts was ripped and our cabin attendant quickly got it returned for a new one. On our last cruise some of the buttons were missing. The company that provides this service should do a better job of checking the clothes before delivery. Solarium: Our favorite place to relax and read. We never had trouble finding a lounge chair. Entertainment: Some performers were a bit past their prime, but the Equinox show and the ship singers and dancers were about the best we've ever had on a cruise. Excursions: Cozumel - booked the Bar Hop with other cruise critic people- really fun excursion. I'll refrain from making any other comments to protect those who think they were innocent! Roatan - booked a day at the beach with Bananarama online. We had seen the couple who bought this property on House Hunters International and some friends we met on a previous cruise went there and had good things to say. The price was reasonable and we enjoyed our stay except for the constantly annoying parade of vendors walking the beach selling everything imaginable. Costa Rica - booked white water rafting through the cruise ship. We had a great time and for an extra $30 they take photos of you while rafting! Panama - booked a partial transit excursion through the cruise ship. This excursion was probably the main reason we took the cruise. It could not have been any better! Interesting narrator on board the ferry, a photographer to take an "official" picture, souvenirs, lunch and all the water and pop you could drink. It was very hot, but we did not complain since we knew the weather back home was below zero! Cartagena - booked the Deluxe Cartagena & Fortress excursion through the cruise line. We had an excellent tour guide - Jose Villea, Jr. Everyone was given a transmitter with earphones so as we were walking we could hear him talking the whole time. Grand Cayman - we had been to this port before and didn't plan an excursion. We did go to shore, met some of our cruise critic friends and had a beer! I thought the disembarking process for excursions was sometimes confusing and always congested. Everyone walked to the front of the theater to sign in and pick up their tour stickers. There was always a lot of talking, people not quite sure just what to do, and not paying attention to the staff member on the stage giving directions. I don't know what a better process would be, but we always got to shore on time. Next cruise: Transatlantic on the Eclipse - October 30, 2011! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
The embarkation was simple and quick. We were very impressed with the way we were welcomed aboard by the staff. The Equinox is a beautiful ship. The service was impecable and the staff was always friendly and helpful. We enjoyed all our ... Read More
The embarkation was simple and quick. We were very impressed with the way we were welcomed aboard by the staff. The Equinox is a beautiful ship. The service was impecable and the staff was always friendly and helpful. We enjoyed all our dinners in the MDR and have nothing but wonderful things to say about all the staff members. Even though we had select dining, we never waited. We were able to request the same table every night or at least stay within the area where Conrad was the waiter. He was very attentive to our needs and was always very professional. Carlos, his assistant, was a joy to talk to every night. He always had a smile and a good attitude. Henry, the wine service attendant, was awesome. He always knews my husband's name and the room number to retrieve the bottle of wine. We could not have enjoyed ourselves more. Being that I have some food allergies, Branko, the asst maitre'd made sure that even in the oceanview cafe I was taken care of and watched out for my well being. I am very impressed with all the attention and assistance we received. Overall we enjoyed our trip. We did not know what to expect since this was our first time on Celebrity, but we are not disappointed. The only thing we hope they improve are the night shows. We have experienced better, but they seem to cater to an older crowd, but it needs some improvement. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Our first cruise on Eclipse class was very good. The ship is beautifully maintained and generally did not feel overcrowded. There weren't many kids or teenagers around (week before Christmas break). Pre-cruise: We flew from ... Read More
Our first cruise on Eclipse class was very good. The ship is beautifully maintained and generally did not feel overcrowded. There weren't many kids or teenagers around (week before Christmas break). Pre-cruise: We flew from Toronto and stayed at the Comfort Inn Cruiseport (Sterling Rd.), which was adequate for one night with breakfast at $66 plus tax. They provided free shuttle from the airport and to the cruiseport the next morning. Embarkation was well organized. Cabin: It was our first Concierge Class cruise (Deck 10) which was $100 more than Deck 6 balcony. We enjoyed the location, amenities and the layout with the bed near the entrance. We opted for the cheese tray each afternoon, which we enjoyed with the 2 bottles of wine brought on board at embarkation (purchased at K-Mart near the hotel). Meals: Generally met our expectations. We had a 2nd seating table for 8 in front of the Captain's table, with friendly companions from Ft. Lauderdale and Las Vegas. Our waiter and assistant were very good. A couple of disappointing main courses were quickly replaced by our waiter. Certainly the Oceanview Cafe was crowded at peak breakfast and lunch time, but it's really no different on other similar size ships. We had one lunch at the Bistro ($5) which was an enjoyable experience. One unexpected highlight was an invitation to a special lunch featuring typical dishes from the Dominican Republic on the last sea day. One of our table mates asked the head chef (who comes from the DR) how come there was no "sancocho" on the menu. That triggered the unexpected response "sure there is and I'll cook it myself for you and the rest of the people at your table!" Not only did we get the sancocho, but a feast of meats, chicken, rice and yucca. Now that's what I call being a Celebrity guest. Entertainment and activities: Generally good to very good. The Celebrity Central venue was too small and poorly air conditioned for some of the events there. The headline soloists were first rate. We enjoyed the lecture on the Panama Canal, cooking demonstrations and Hot Glass show. Tours of the galley, engine control room and bridge required prior registration, but were also interesting. Pools: The Solarium pool was best at 5:45pm (just before first dinner seating) with nobody there. At the outdoor pool waiters did not excessively push drinks, and finding loungers was not too difficult. Cozumel: We docked at the International Pier, and didn't feel like taking a taxi to town so we just walked along the waterfront towards town for about an hour. On the way back we entered the luxury resort Park Royal and were offered a tour (if you leave your ID at registration). This looked like a time-share, so you can also get a day-pass if you attend the sales pitch. Roatan: I booked a tour with Daniellie of Roatan cultural Tours for $25 per person (3 or more). Two more CC couples were interested in joining us, so we were 6. It rained pretty hard until 10am, then we got off to meet Elvin our driver at Gate #7 outside Coxen Hole port exit. He took us around the island including the poor areas, the lookout on the East side and the Botanical gardens, ($6 admission). We hiked some of the muddy trails for about an hour. Then he dropped us off at Bananarama beach. It was too windy to stay for the afternoon, so we just walked on the sand for 30 minutes to Tabyana beach, took some pictures of the surf and then back to the ship. Elvin gave us a good idea what life on the island was like. He was friendly, attentive, punctual and polite. Costa Rica: We joined with 8 others taking a tour (US$35pp) with Virgin - a driver with a tour company waiting at the gangway, who drove us wherever we wanted to go. The main destination was the Jaguar Rescue Centre in Puerto Viejo ($12pp admission and tour), Cahuita National Park (PWYC donation), city of Limon hilltop views, and a supermarket for coffee purchase. Panama: We booked the Panama City tour with Almiza Tours (myfriendmario.com). Our guide was Mario Sr. It was a medium size bus with about 20 passengers, at $65pp, 9am- 3:30pm. Heavy rains in the previous week suspended passage in the Panama Canal for one day, and caused landslides in some areas. We had some rain on the Atlantic side when we went to the Gatun Locks. Luckily the sun came out on the Pacific side while sightseeing many areas of Panama City. Very enjoyable and informative. Water, beer, soft drinks and snacks provided on the bus. Cartagena: I set up a tour with JJ Taborda, but he sent his partner Javier who met us at the gangway with a van and a driver. We had 5 couples from Cruise Critic, at $35 pp. We told him we didn't want shopping and no long break for lunch. We covered La Poppa hill monastery with the impressive views despite the road construction. When we got to the San Felipe fort it started pouring, so we skipped that and by the time we got to the old city the rain stopped. We did a little shopping stroll through the 23 Dungeons, then walked the restored perimeter wall and interior streets and plazas taking in the sights and sounds of the locals enjoying life on a Saturday afternoon. We agreed to meet back at Bolivar plaza in an hour, to allow independent time to explore on our own. By chance Javier saw his daughter and her girlfriend shopping, so we struck up a short conversation with her about life in Cartagena from her perspective. (She just graduated from med school). We proceeded to do sightseeing in the new city, opted to skip the Pierino Gallo emerald video presentation and shopping mall and returned to the ship. Javier provided interesting narration throughout while the driver dealt with the traffic congestion. George Town, Grand Cayman: This was the only tender port, and windy conditions had us diverted to Topps bay. Celebrity provided free shuttles to the city, so we also got a free sightseeing tour. We used the internet cafe on Cardinall avenue ($6/hr), then joined the crowds of shoppers walking along the bay. Disembarkation was also well organized. We stayed in our room until 9:30, then proceeded to our waiting area in the restaurant with a small group until our number was called, about 20 minutes later. Post cruise we stayed at the Cambria Suites in Dania Beach for 3 nights, based on a recommendation from one of the ladies on board, and made good use of the car rented from Hertz. We met more than one couple doing back-to-back, but for us 14 days away was about right, and we look forward to sail Celebrity Silhouette in 2012 if we find a good deal. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
The December 27 sailing of Celebrity Equinox was our sixth cruise overall and second New Year's cruise. We're an energetic gay couple in our early thirties who tend to be relaxation-oriented while cruising. That is to say ... Read More
The December 27 sailing of Celebrity Equinox was our sixth cruise overall and second New Year's cruise. We're an energetic gay couple in our early thirties who tend to be relaxation-oriented while cruising. That is to say we're happiest on the beach or by the pool, cocktail-in-hand, and don't always take advantage of the myriad organized activity and entertainment options usually on offer (so you won't read much about them here). We also have little use for anything formal, but do notice and appreciate fine food and quality service. Pre-cruise After a harrowingly narrow escape from the northeast's Great Snowpocalypse of 2010 on the morning of December 26th, we stayed one night at Ft. Lauderdale's Hyatt Pier 66. We had a lanai room that opened out to the pool area. We enjoyed the Hyatt for its sleek aesthetic (lovely sliding louvered doors rather than curtains in the room, minimalist lobby, etc.), but found the hotel's location a bit bothersome. Yes, it's closer to the beach than hotels on the port side of the bridge, but we were only there for a few hours and just needed to get some shopping done and go out to dinner. This led us to the conclusion that we might be better off at the Embassy Suites, which seems to be situated in a more walkable area with more restaurants and stores nearby... We'll try that next time. Embarkation We headed to the ship at about 11:30 a.m. The new terminal is very well laid out and convenient. Clear signage and helpful staff abound. We easily located the line for Concierge Class and didn't wait a moment to check in. There didn't seem to be lines for any category, in fact. We walked right onto the ship without slowing down. Bravo. On Board For us, cruising has so much to do with the ship. For this reason, embarkation day is always one of the highlights of our trip... Exploring the public rooms and touring the facilities for the first time (with that signature glass of X welcome champagne, of course!) is always so exciting. And Equinox did not disappoint. Celebrity Equinox is truly spectacular. Easily the most beautiful ship we've had the good fortune to board. With stunning, modern, grand spaces (like the atrium bordered by eight glass elevators that travel 15 decks toward the sky) as well as intimate spaces (like Cafe al Bacio with its windows that look out onto the promenade, evoking that marvelous ocean liner feel) Equinox has it all. And somehow the ship feels even less crowded than other ships we've sailed on despite accommodating 1,000 more guests. After seeing photos, we'd imagined that the pool area might feel a bit closed in by the towering sun shades, but it doesn't at all. It's a truly awesome, open space. And nestled at the foot of each of those sun shade structures is a sort of mini-cabana - a wonderful place to spend a sea day. We were impressed with the Sky Observation Lounge and noted several times what a great space it was, but how underutilized it seemed to be. One of our favorite places on board was the Sunset Bar, aft on Deck 15. We spent many evenings up there with new friends. A truly fabulous venue for a sailaway cocktail... I hesitate to even mention it because I don't want anyone else to discover it! We also really enjoyed the Martini Bar on Deck 4. Barman Edy (pronounced "Eddie") is a genius. I won't say anything else because I don't want to spoil it for you. Just go spend some time with Edy and his colleagues. You'll be impressed! Overall - and in seemingly every design detail - Equinox is magnificent. One example is the feeling one gets when walking on Deck 4 between the Entertainment Court and the Grand Foyer... What could have been a simple corridor, or part of the casino, is a soaring airy space overlooked by the art gallery and Tastings/Molecular Bar area one deck above. This shopping arcade has a very upscale feel, as does nearly every inch of the ship. Design-wise, Equinox is so very chic. Not at all resort-y or kitschy. Just gorgeous. Stateroom We enjoyed our stateroom, Concierge Class (C3) 1277 on Deck 10 (bed near the verandah). The location aft of the atrium was ideal as we always wanted to ride on those amazing glass elevators rather than the less impressive forward set. Choosing a stateroom aft of the atrium also means the overhang from the public decks above is one deck higher (further removed) than it is from midship staterooms. This was our fourth cruise with a verandah stateroom and we were thrilled. The layout is truly awesome. I simply can't explain how they've made 200 square feet feel so spacious. A very comfortable space with tons of storage throughout. And the bathroom is almost shockingly large. We loved the furniture on the verandah and the fact that the sliding door can be fixed in any position on its track by rotating the handle to lock it in place. There's nothing like listening to the sea as you fall asleep. Absolutely the best stateroom we've had. Dining We ate everywhere on the ship we could! Tuscan Grille was our favorite. We enjoyed two evenings there and thought both the food and the service were unmatched. The filet couldn't have been more perfect. We thought the food at Murano was truly outstanding (the duck was extraordinary!), but the atmosphere was a bit too formal for our taste. Silk Harvest we thought was a lot of fun, with delicious food, but we are surrounded by excellent Asian food at home, so while Silk Harvest was a fun diversion, it was no culinary adventure for us. Still, I would recommend it without reservation. As I've mentioned, we like to keep things pretty casual on vacation, so the Bistro on Five proved to be a great fit for us. We never wanted to go to the Oceanview Cafe (buffet) for dinner, but there were two nights when we didn't feel like dressing up and having the whole Silhouette (MDR) experience either. On both of those nights we went to the Bistro on Five and enjoyed great food and excellent service in a much more casual, delightful atmosphere, for just a nominal fee. Surely the cover must be for crowd control. It's a wonderful place! The only restaurant we didn't get to try was BLU. Interestingly, one of the reasons we'd chosen Concierge Class rather than trying Aqua Class is that we thought we'd prefer Silhouette over BLU's "clean cuisine". If I were booking again today though, I'd choose Aqua Class. I found myself disappointed when friends who were in Aqua Class asked if we could be their guests at BLU one night and the maitre d' apologetically informed them that it was impossible. We would have really liked to try BLU. And of course, Aqua Class guest aren't obliged to eat in BLU, it's simply their option. And the setting is so much more intimate than the MDR that I think we would have enjoyed it, given our preferences. That said, however, the Silhouette Dining Room was very cool - glitzy and glamourous. And Celebrity Select Dining works very well. We made and changed reservations a few times without any trouble and never once waited to get in. The only downside is that you may not always get your preferred table... Another reason to try Aqua and BLU. If you value intimacy over glitz and glamour, that is. To each his own. Service The service aboard Celebrity Equinox was outstanding. Our cabin attendants Ozy and Alex were really wonderful. Never intrusive, but always eager to offer a cheerful greeting, run ahead of us to open the cabin door, or help with anything else. All the bar and restaurant staff were wonderful too. We had the premium beverage package and didn't notice even a hint of negativity about the arrangement from anyone. It's amazing that on a ship this large (the largest we've been on by a great deal), the service still feels so remarkably personal. The one negative issue that arose during what would otherwise have been a near-perfect vacation was Cruise Director Que's unwillingness to put an LGBT gathering in the Celebrity Today daily program. On previous cruises, this has never been a problem. Que explained to us that this is corporate policy and that "special interest" group meetings are only posted on a board near guest relations, never put in the cruise daily. Since we hadn't realized this was the case, we'd already missed two of these meetings and imagined there must have been others who were unaware as well. Putting an LGBT gathering (just a time and place) in Celebrity Today just once at the beginning of each cruise would make such a difference to LGBT guests and would require so little effort on the staff's part that I can't understand why Celebrity won't allow it. Still, we eventually did make a bunch of wonderful new friends and despite this issue, felt that overall the service aboard Equinox was first rate. Disembarkation Disembarkation was a breeze. We were assigned the 8:10 a.m. departure group (based on our flight out) and were told to meet in the Equinox Theatre at that time, and that there was no need to come early. We arrived at the theatre door at exactly 8:10, just as the activities staff was announcing that our group was welcome to proceed to the gangway on Deck 5. Just like on embarkation day, we didn't even stop moving. Just turned around and walked to Cafe al Bacio and off the ship. We found our luggage, made it through customs and were in a taxi before 8:25. Couldn't have been easier. Bravo once again. In Short Despite the one small issue with the LGBT gathering (will X change the policy?), Celebrity Equinox was precisely what we were looking for. The ship's fabulous public spaces, excellent facilities, multiple delicious dining venues, extremely comfortable quarters and friendly, professional service all made for a near-perfect combination. We look forward to being back onboard Celebrity's Solstice-class ships. Spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Exellent Equinox Reviewed By: Brown, Runcorn on 20th Apr 2010 Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises Times cruised before: 6-10 Cruise Ship: Celebrity Equinox Sailed: April, 2010 Destination: Caribbean Age: 56-65 We started our holiday flying from ... Read More
Exellent Equinox Reviewed By: Brown, Runcorn on 20th Apr 2010 Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises Times cruised before: 6-10 Cruise Ship: Celebrity Equinox Sailed: April, 2010 Destination: Caribbean Age: 56-65 We started our holiday flying from Manchester to Fort lauderdale and stayed in the Grand Hotel in FL Marina, this hotel was really 1st class,the transfers from the airport to hotel were good, next morning we were in the middle of a thunder storm, our luggage was loaded in to a large van and the next time we saw them was outside our cabin, we left the hotel 1130 and was having lunch on the Equinox at 1300 our cabin was available at 1330. Life boat drill was done in the lounges and a short video showed the procedure. We set sail at 1715, with one day at sea, our first port was Grand Cayman, we booked a trip to Stingray City this is small sandy reef about 1 mile from Cayman and we swam with stingrays for 45 mins also snorkling at the near by reef then sailed back to Cayman for some retail therapy, then back on board for 2 days at sea. The next port was Cartagena Columbia, it was very hot (96 degrees),the taxis were all touting for trips this one driver quoted $20pp round trip into town, there was 6 of us in a people carrier with AC in 96 deg this was very welcome, when you get to town you get a short walking tour and history of the town, then on to the market place and yep you guessed it more shopping, then back to the ship, we were out about 4 hours so in my mind it was a bargain for what we got. Sailed over night to Panama, berthed at Colon, my friend and I booked a trip to the Locks while the ladies went shopping(again),there's a small shopping inside the port. the Gatun Locks were a highlight for me because all my working life Ive worked on water and have always wanted to see this,then back to the ship. Sailed over night to Costa Rica. berthed Port Limon, a short walk thru the docks to a small craft market, then thru the gates and into town, what a disapointment this was, the town was run down and as it was Easter Sunday 90% of shops were shut, short walk thru a park brought you to the sea front which was falling apart, so it was back to the Equinox to enjoy the delights of the ship and the AC, there are other trips you can book on the ship such as go to the Rainforest or visiting a Banana Plantation so if the town is not for you then book a trip. Our next port was Isla Roatan Honduras, what a delight it was to sail into this port with its gaily coloured buildings it was 100% better than our last port, we booked a Roatan Highlights Island tour with Island Marketing, Our lady driver met us outside of the gate and six of us boarded her bus to take us to see the Coarl reef, the Iguna farm and the delights of the Island and we ended up at Westbay Beach, this was lovely, white sand,crystal clear water,everything you need there to eat and drink, after 3 hours of sea n sand it was back to the ship reluctantly, Roatan is such a lovely place, when we arrived here at 0730 there was a group of local musicians and singers to welcome ship into port, when we finally sailed they waved goodbye to us and were still in fine voice. Onwards we sailed, this time to Cozumel, we have been here before, nothing had changed maybe more shops selling the same things, there was 6 ships port so as you can imagine the place was packed, so it was back to the ship and spent our time in the pool or suning. And so we sailed off into the sunset back to Fort Lauderdale having enjoyed our cruise, but I dont think we will be coming to Central America again, with the exception of Isla Roatan. The Equinox The ship was a joy to sail on, the crew were nothing but the best,no matter what the request was our cabin steward(cabin 9236)dealt with it in an efficent manner the whole ship was kept spotlessy clean. Our next cruise is being booked, and I cannot wait to feel the warm trade winds of the Caribean and the magic of cruising. Staff I cannot name all the staff who looked after us, and when i say looked after I really mean it, our cabin was 9236 and the stewards name is Antonio, he is really efficient in his job, the table waiter and his helper became our friends,as did all waiters who waited on for breakfast and lunch. we met the Captain who gave us a tour of the bridge, the Engineer who gave us a tour of the Engine room, going to the engine room we even met some of the crew you dont see. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We arrived at the Airport in Fort Lauderdale and where met by a Celebrity Representative who helped with out luggage and arranged transport to our hotel Embassy Suites. Celebrity always give you a good hotel and we where not disappointed ... Read More
We arrived at the Airport in Fort Lauderdale and where met by a Celebrity Representative who helped with out luggage and arranged transport to our hotel Embassy Suites. Celebrity always give you a good hotel and we where not disappointed with this one at all. We actually had a suite which was really very spacious and very nice. The hotel is only around 10 minutes from Port Everglades and we could actually see the Equinox from our balcony window. We had an extra day in Fort Lauderdale pre cruise as we like the place so much. On the sailing day we where collected from our Hotel at 11am so where at the cruise port quite early. We boarded straight away so had the opportunity to look around the ship. I have seen pictures on the Internet but nothing prepares you for the ship itself it is absolutely magnificent the decor and furnishing are beautiful as is the attention to detail, Fresh Orchids in the Ladies Restroom and the sinks are quite amazing. We where very impressed with our stateroom, which was Aqua Class, the shower was quite something as was the huge and very comfortable bed! All the little extras like umbrella's, binoculars, champagne and fruit and fresh flowers plus many many others. We ate in Blu which was lovely as the restaurant is smaller in size than the main dining room ( which is beautiful) there was always a very pleasant atmosphere. Donovan one of the waiters was a real character and added lots of humor to our mealtimes. Breakfast was great, the homemade muesli trolley had to been seen to be believed!It was our Wedding Anniversary so our special evening was spent in the Tuscany Grill where to our delight our waiter was the same one that we had on the Constellation it was lovely to see him again, the meal and service where excellent as was the cake we where presented with. The entertainment was brilliant as where the Captain and crew, special treat was when we where allowed to go through to the heliport when leaving Roatan, the view was amazing right at the bow of the ship, we met many of the officers and drinks where served it was really quite memorable. We are sailing next on the Eclipse, transatlantic from Southampton to Miami and I must say we are really looking forward to sailing on the newest Solstice Class ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Our 11th cruise in general and our first with Celebrity. The general experience was great. The ship simply is fantastic. It has style and just the perfect size: Lots of options and benefits of big ships (entertainment) but only few ... Read More
Our 11th cruise in general and our first with Celebrity. The general experience was great. The ship simply is fantastic. It has style and just the perfect size: Lots of options and benefits of big ships (entertainment) but only few "crowded moments" as often seen on other big ships. The crew left me with a very ambivalent impression: Part of the staff was fantastic and fulfilled every single of our wishes and needs. Others were more or less uninterested or incapabel. I could go on now with mentioning the pros. But more interesting for you are probably the negative sides: And there is more or less just one point. Unfortunately a really big one: FOOD in the main dining room (silhouette). I don't know if the cooks on the ship missed the point of celebritys chef van Staden or if the creations simply were nonsense. But the food did honor to the name of the main dining room: Because you only get a silhouette of good food in the silhouette restaurant. Lets start with the appetizers: They often seemed very simple (what at the first glance is a good thing and reflects actual trends in western culinary dimensions) but at the same time very cheap. I do not to have to go on a cruise ship to eat two pieces of ananas and melon as starter. The italian starters just were bullshit (our family is in Italy VERY often and we know how that stuff should taste). Soups and salads: The soups were a single tristesse. Someone should tell the silhouette cooks that there are dozens of ways to get taste into soups. The soups were very 80ies but without taste. Just one positive surprise: the minestrone - a lucky punch? Main dishes: State of the art ingredients and very creative names and descriptions... BUT ...all the food lacked creativity, complexity and just simply taste. What went wrong here? I have no idea but if the food in the oceanview buffet has more taste than in the main dining room, something went completely wrong. I am not talking about lobsters that are to small (they always are to small on all ships...), I am talking about basics really. Some examples: Saffrane rice should not only be yellow, at the same time it should transport some saffrane note at all. Sesame tuna cooked to death. Tiger shrimps that NEVER should get on a plate and be sent to a paying guest (simply because they were not fresh anymore and obviously not edible anymore). The good thing at the end was, that almost all standard dishes on the left side of the menu were good to very good (onion soup, atlantic salmon, escargots). Just almost ALL food on the right side of the menu (the daily menu) was average to inedible. Problems in the main dining room did not stops here. All in all it seemed that there was missing the big hand in the back that coordinated the whole thing. Would I go back despite the poor food in the main dining room? At any time! When not sitting in the main dining room this cruise was the best we ever had since our days on the Paul Gaugin. Because of the ship, the route and some really great folks (stateroom attendant, pool butlers, Spa team, guest relations, internet services ...) Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We have traveled on many cruise ships with many cruise lines and have been on several Celebrity ships but we have both agreed that our recent trip from March 29,2010 to April 9, 2010 on the Equinox was fabulous. We feel in love with the ... Read More
We have traveled on many cruise ships with many cruise lines and have been on several Celebrity ships but we have both agreed that our recent trip from March 29,2010 to April 9, 2010 on the Equinox was fabulous. We feel in love with the ship and all that it had to offer. Our cabin was lovely and we enjoyed our mornings sitting on the veranda and having our coffee while we sailed on the very blue Caribbean. Our cabin steward(Miguel) was wonderful and did not miss a thing including making sure we had everything we needed especially my ice water. Our dinner companions at our table came from England, Canada and Florida. We had a lot of interesting conversations spending longer than each night having our dinner at the 6:00 seating. Our table was 344 and our waiter Gary never rushed us. The food was very good most nights and though we did eat at the Tuscan grill and thoroughly enjoyed every morsel. Our ship stopped at Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Panama,Costa Rica, Roatan, & Mexico. The few trips we took from the ship were okay but the one we took in Roatan was not described correctly. They did not say that the trip to the ship wreck was going to entail jumping off the boat and swimming back to shore this was a problem for some. Most of the shows on board were very good, we especial like the performance by the ships cast, the dancers were fantastic. The only really bad night was when they had a singer named Travis, who thought he could impersonated other singer. Totally wrong, really bad and so was the ventriloquist the last time he preformed. Though we traveled on a full ship that had 355 children and over 45 countries represented you would only know that when we had to disembark the ship. That is something that Celebrity needs to improve upon. It is the time it takes getting to your luggage that was unorganized. We loved the ship so much we book another cruise for June, 2010 on the Eclipse to the Baltic. Great work Celebrity we look forward many more cruises with you Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
It's a long journey from Australia to Fort Lauderdale - over 30 hours travel time each way. We were hoping that the effort would be worth it and we were not disappointed. The Equinox was everything we had hoped it would be from the ... Read More
It's a long journey from Australia to Fort Lauderdale - over 30 hours travel time each way. We were hoping that the effort would be worth it and we were not disappointed. The Equinox was everything we had hoped it would be from the first meet and greet provided for Cruise Critic readers to the last hilarious dinner with our new friends met in the silhouette main dining room. We opted for a large table, late sitting and our disparate group hit it off immediately. The waiters contributed to this by getting into the spirit of our 10 nights of dinner parties with no cooking or washing. The food was pretty good - sometimes excellent - and the one night we did eat at Murano, whilst better, did not put Silhouette to shame. The only sub standard dish I had was oysters; but I just left them and got something else. We have done 5 previous cruises : Princess, Carnival and Royal Caribbean as well as a Nile cruise. We enjoyed them all; but Equinox was definitely a cut above the rest. This was due mostly to two factors - food and ship design. The low key, highly efficient running of the embarkation, cruise and debarkation was also a factor in this. Some people may have found the service too low key - but we appreciated it. We are, after all, from a country started as a penal colony and over the top service can be annoying to us. Having said that, we have never had bad service on a cruise ship. We loved the no tray system in the Ocean View cafe. There was no sign of the gluttony sometimes seen on cruise ships and the tables were much cleaner and tidier without the trays. It did not compromise the ability to select a variety of food in any way. Because it was spring break and Easter the ship had lots of young families. This did make the pool area crowded and a bit noisy; but it also made it fun and lively. Other reviews of Equinox have complained about the staid passengers but this was definitely not a problem on this cruise. The water fights whilst white water rafting in Costa Rica were typical of the fun younger people can create. The stateroom for the most part was excellent. Other reviewers have complained of lack of storage. We were limited to 20 kg luggage each by the airlines so this wasn't a problem. However, we used almost all the storage including the cupboard above the bed, so if you had extra people or larger suitcases it could be a problem. The bathroom was also better than usual. The couch looked good in white leather but was rock hard and too short. The flat screen TV with its facilities was state of the art but not as good as a similar TV at home. The ports of call were a bit of a highlight apart from Grand Cayman. Part of the reason we chose this cruise was to see the Panama Canal and the Gatun locks. We were not disappointed at this eighth wonder of the world constructed over 40 years and at the cost of more than 20,000 lives (mostly victims of yellow fever). However, Catagena (Columbia) and Costa Rica were unexpected bonuses and Roatan (Honduras) is a bit of a tropical paradise. At Cozumel we elected to take the ferry to the mainland to see the Mayan ruins. It was a long hard day and probably not worth the effort. Next time I will dive at Cozumel. The entertainment was excellent. The highlight was probably the mini cirque du soleil but the reggae/rock band and the string quartet were also great. Dru, the cruise director was everywhere and very efficient The only other negative was that the fitness centre was often crowded and the exercise bikes were set aside for classes rather than general use. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Background Information: This was my 4th cruise, my 3rd with my family (Mom, Dad, myself, 1-brother). All 3 previous cruises were on Carnival (Legend 7-night, Freedom 8-night, Imagination 3-night). After our cruise last year, we decided to ... Read More
Background Information: This was my 4th cruise, my 3rd with my family (Mom, Dad, myself, 1-brother). All 3 previous cruises were on Carnival (Legend 7-night, Freedom 8-night, Imagination 3-night). After our cruise last year, we decided to look into another cruise line so we could experience something different. We have completely enjoyed our Carnival experiences and will cruise with them again in the future. Since we are all relative new cruisers we wanted to find something bigger, better. Our travel agent originally suggested Princess, and we were ready to book after A LOT of research, but at the last minute she found us what we thought was a wonderful cruise on Celebrity Equinox. We felt we received a great price, and were able to pick the rooms that we wanted. Hotel Info: N/A Travel To Port of Embarkation: We live in SW Florida, so it was a 3-hour drive for us. Embarkation: We arrived around 1:15pm at the cruise terminal. We missed the entire line of traffic and did not have to wait for anything. Luggage was checked in, security line was short, walked right up to the counter for our 5 minute check in, and were on the ship within 20 mins of arrival. It could not have been any easier. After reading many reviews we made our decision to not get to the port early, as to skip all of the waiting time that others have had in the past. Ship Info: Hopefully you have read a few other reviews under the Celebrity Equinox heading. You can also find some pictures of the ship online, and they make the ship look amazing...and when you walk on-board, you realize how amazing it really is. Of course it is brand new, so everything is clean and crisp. My first reaction after stepping on-board was how quiet and calm the whole atmosphere was. Elegant, sophisticated, modern, clean and crisp. There were about 12 crew members who greeted us on-board with our glass of champagne (or orange juice) where we immediately toasted our vacation start. The ship is very large, but after exploring everything, I did not feel like I was walking FOREVER to get to places like I have on previous large ships. The layout works very well. Our cruise was over the Easter holiday, so there were probably more kids on than previous Equinox cruises. This did not bother me/us, and when we did see the kids they were very well behaved. Yes, there were several "scooters" throughout the cruise, but you just deal with it. Going into this cruise, we knew that the majority of passengers would be older (50yrs of age and UP), so that was not a surprise. My surprise was the LARGE number of Canadians and Europeans. Stateroom: Our 2 staterooms were next to each other on the 9th deck. We had the glass partition that separated the balconies removed so that we could relax together as a family. We love spending time on the balcony! The stateroom was what I feel is the "normal" size, our couch was next to the sliding balcony doors (I like this set-up!), rather than the bed being there. Although storage/closet space is small and limited (nothing less than other past ships we have been on), for 11-nights we had plenty of space to store all of our clothes. The colors of the room and the decor is great: modern, simple, and elegant. The highlight is the bathroom. No more sitting on the toilet and having your nose touching the wall and/or towels. The design is great, plenty of room to move around, the shower is awesome. After getting an upgrade and onboard credit, Celebrity PAID us $50 per person to be in Concierge Class. There are a few perks that we enjoyed: flowers in the room and bathroom, extra pillow choices, fresh fruit everyday, and a bottle of chilled champagne waiting for us when we arrived to the room the first day. These little extras were very nice to have, and made things that much better. Stateroom Attendant: Bacca! He is from Honduras, and when we were in Roatan his wife and two children came aboard the ship to visit. It was great to see how Celebrity allows the crew to have time off to visit family when they are in their country. These people work so so so hard everyday. What was different from my experience with Carnival was that no matter what we wanted, needed, or ordered, Bacca was the one to bring it to us. When we ordered room service (day/night) he was the one to bring it to us. It made our time on-board special and personalized. He told us upfront to let him know any preferences or needs we had and he would take care of them. Down to the daily fruit we received...if we liked or disliked a certain fruit, we told him and he would always remember. Things were done timely, our rooms were always clean and organized, and he was never intrusive. It was a definite A+++ experience. Lawn Club: So there have been some mixed reviews about this, but I would like to comment that I feel that this is a great feature. It is DIFFERENT! Living grass on the top deck...people were playing Bocce Ball, there were 5 putting holes, and many people took their beach towels and layed out in the sun. I do not find this to be "wasted space", but rather a different alternative that just putting MORE beach chairs out. If laying on a beach chair for hours each day to soak up the glorious sun rays is your cup of tea, there are tons of beaches in the Caribbean that are waiting for you! You should be a little more open-minded to new things. Activities: Carnival has 1000 different activities planned each day, some good, some OK. Celebrity has a few less activities planned each day, but there were enough. It was never crazy things (no hairiest chest or cannon ball contests here), but more elegant type events. Wine tastings, Riedel Glass & wine education, Glass Blowing Shows (everyday), food demonstrations, and many other great things. The Glass Blowing shows I thought were great. Very informative, and interesting. My favorite was the Mixology class in the Molecular Bar...it's a must see! Molecular Bar: This is the 2nd best kept secret on-board. This is a bar that almost everyone misses. It is located on deck 5 adjacent to the Art Gallery. At 5pm is "Mixology" where talented bartenders show how to make amazing drinks that cannot be found anywhere else on the Equinox. Ingredients like Dragonfly fruit, fresh rose petals, ginger infused "foam", and using liquid nitrogen as a garnish are common. Mixology costs nothing, and you get to sample a few of the drinks for free. The drinks are regularly $12 each, but if you go during happy hour, buy one for $12 and get the second for 1/2 price. Oceanview Cafe: This is the traditional buffet on all ships. Difference? NO trays, and very few lines. The setup of "stations" is great, it reduces the lines that can form at buffets on other ships. The fact that there are no trays limits the amount of food that one person can get at a time, reducing the lines. The food I found was always good, and there were different offerings that I have had on previous cruises. Blood sausage and English Bangers in the AM were interesting. A pasta station for lunch allow you to pick your own ingredients, pasta, and sauce to create your own unique dish. Fresh egg omelets at breakfast are always good. Don't miss the fresh sushi every night from 5-9pm too. There is a sushi chef right there making 7-8 different items, and it was fresh every time. Silhouette Dining (MDR): We ate in the MDR 9 our of 11 evenings. The other two were in Silk Harvest, and Tuscan Grille. There were some amazing and exquisite meals served here. There were a few OK items, but overall amazing. I do not understand complaints about portion sizes. Yes they are small compared to our super-sized American ways of living, but they are actually appropriate sizes. And, you can always get more or just order 2 of something. I ordered an appetizer, soup, salad, entree, dessert...sometimes I would order 2 soups if I liked the offering that night. Let me say, I never left hungry. Toney, our head server from India, and Oscar our asst. server from Honduras were super stars! Fun, polite, talkative, informative, and always were on top of everything. They made our experience over the top! Silk Harvest: The decor was great, it definitely sets the mood when you walk in. Our service was excellent, the appetizers and sushi were awesome. The main dishes were honestly not my favorite, but the Pad Thai was very good. Dessert was good, but we were full by the end. Tuscan Grille: This definitely lived up to the "hype" from other reviewers. The service was great. Our Sommelier recommended a great red wine with our dinners. The food looked perfect, and tasted even better. The Tuscan Onion Soup was 100 times better than the French Onion soup served in the MDR. I had the Fillet which was the best, most perfectly cooked steak I have every had anywhere. For dessert the Marble Pistachio Creme Brulee is a must! This a definite dining experience worth the extra money. Bistro on 5: THE best kept secret on-board. There is a $5 per person cover charge, and is open from 6am-11pm. Their main focus is Crepes, but they also have Panini sandwiches and some salads as well. It is a-la-carte, but you can get whatever you like, and as much of it...there is no limit. The crepes were great and huge. By the time our sandwiches arrived, we were stuffed. The food was very good. I never saw this place busy/crowded, no matter what time of day it was. Go try it out! Master Cellars: This I think is the 3rd best kept secret on-board. Most of the wine tastings and wine pairing demonstrations are held here, but that seems to be about it. It is a very dark lounge area, but comfy as well. Inside are Ergonomic Wine dispensers, 3 to be exact. Each holds 6-8 wines that pour 1oz, 4oz, and 6oz wine samples. You purchase each pour using your SeaPass card. It's great because you can sample some very expensive wines that you may never be able to otherwise. Why buy a $100 bottle of wine when you don't have a clue what it tastes like? I sampled an amazing Amarone wine for $2.75! Make sure you stop by and check it out. Service: We wanted to try Celebrity because we heard that their service levels were the best for large ship cruises. I would like to say the servie everywhere we went was top notch. Every crew member always said hello, good afternoon, or good evening and always with a smile. Friendly, helpful, and always available. My biggest observation was that the crew was always there. Bartenders were always in the bars and always greeted you immediately. In the MDR they were lined up at the door (sometimes 10 servers) to greet you into the dining room. Our stateroom steward??? Amazing! Port & Shore Excursions: We also chose this particular cruise for the ports of call: Grand Cayman, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico. We had been to Grand Cayman and Cozumel on previous cruises, but the others were all new. Grand Cayman we just strolled around the town with no plans, had a few beers, and that was about it. Colombia we negotiated our own personal taxi after we got off the ship ($70 including tip for 4 of us, for 3hours, with our own personal driver and guide). The Old City is where it's at. History, architecture, beautiful landscape and flowers. My only complaint is that no matter where you went, the street vendors were everywhere, and always in your face...literally. Every 5 steps another person put their sellings up to your face. I was happy to leave because of that. Panama was great. I love this country. We took the train along the canal to the other side (Panama City) and got a great view of the rain forest, crossed the Continental Divide, great history, and spent time at the Mira Flores locks on the canal. We were fortunate to arrive about 20mins prior to a ship going through the locks. We got a prime spot on the top level and watched the entire process of a ship entering and leaving the locks. It was like you could reach out and touch the ship it was so close! Costa Rica was another great country, we saw a banana plantation, rode a train and saw sloths and howler monkeys, and rode a small boat on a canal where we saw Cayman (similar to crocodiles), iguanas, bats, and many birds. Quite breathtaking wildlife. Roatan was not my place at all. I did not have high hopes for this stop from the beginning and did not have anything planned. We walked into the town and did a little shopping along the way. Be warned: you will be approached by younger gentleman that appear to want to help you find a ride or to show you the area, but they never leave your side. They will walk with you and hold a very polite conversation with you, but if you go along with their plan, they will expect a "tip" for being your "tour guide". Just say NO. Finally Cozumel. We did the Tulum Mayan Ruins tour w/ beach break. The ruins I thought were amazing, with great history. I believe I enjoyed the Mayan Ruins in Belize better, as our guide was much more informative there and you could actually walk up on top of the ruins, where here in Tulum you could not. It was very beautiful being right on the Caribbean Sea and beach, but our guide I did not think was that great. Plus we were rushed for time, only spent maybe an hour at the ruins itself. The beach break was OK, had a buffet Mexican lunch which was good, but then only 45mins laying on the beach. We needed more time. Entertainment: There were some good things going on here. The Circus Show was good, the comedian Jim McDonald was good, and the ventriloquist/comedian was good as well. My brother and I did not see many other shows but my parents did and they enjoyed them very much. Disembarkation: We were the last group to leave. We had a relaxing breakfast, took our time leaving our room (around 9am), and spent about 45 mins in the theatre waiting to be called. It was pretty painless. Summary: What I would like to say is this: Celebrity Equinox was amazing! We had about as perfect of a cruise as could have been. Being "critical" about everything is somewhat of a waste of time. I have read so many negative things about some very small stuff that it amazes me. If you want a bigger room, get a suite. If you want personal service, get a suite (it comes with a butler). If you dine in 5-star restaurants everyday or have your own French trained chef in your home kitchen for all three meals everyday, then stay at home. If you want to have a vacation that is relaxing, with great service, great food, with people who treat you with respect and do everything they can to make your time enjoyable, then you should definitely try this cruise. Please be open minded and flexible. No matter how good any person or company is, everyone makes mistakes. It's how they react and change the situation that is important. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
EMBARKATION: Booked Comfort Suites Airport and Cruiseport hotel in Ft. Lauderdale the prior night. Good deal: $166 covers one night stay plus parking for up to 14 days. Fast shuttle for 10 minutes to cruise terminal. Delay at terminal due ... Read More
EMBARKATION: Booked Comfort Suites Airport and Cruiseport hotel in Ft. Lauderdale the prior night. Good deal: $166 covers one night stay plus parking for up to 14 days. Fast shuttle for 10 minutes to cruise terminal. Delay at terminal due to extra sanitizing. Advice: don't arrive too early for any cruise as you're guaranteed to wait. We arrived at terminal 2 PM, borded ship at 3:30 PM. Some early arrivals had to sit from 10 AM. Celebrity handled things very well. SHIP: An understated beauty. Colors are muted. Size and weight rides the waves well during one rough night. With room for 2,850 guests it seems not crowded at all. Good outdoor decks for walkers. difficult getting deck chairs unless you come early. Grass lawn on top deck saw little use and should be converted for additional deck chairs...a unique idea but not at all practical. Sufficient elevators with glass walls, great atrium views. Captain Mike has personality, interacting with passengers face to face often! STATEROOM: Outside Cabin 8258 is on the "bump" at midships, a super choice recommended by our agent. Extended private veranda perhaps the largest in the class. Midship locale eases the rocking. Well appointed, well insulated quiet, roomy shower, comfy beds. Miss a closeline in bath area, especially with no self laundry facilities on the ship. DINING: Chose Select (flexible times) dining plan in advance. First two nights we had made prior times at 7 PM, a time when everybody on Select apparently wants to eat. Things didn't go well. Celebrity Guest Relations and a few Officers were candid in that the line is struggling to make flexi dining work. Later nights however worked better when guests and management sorted things out. Our experience was to pre book every remaining day after the first two at 6:45 PM, a few minutes before the "rush". Worked well. Food very very good...service excellent even with different serving teams handling us. Downside is the area devoted to Select dining means extremely tight seating in Silhouette (main room). They need more distance between tables. Be prepared to get to know your other table dining neighbors during dinner. And, don't be afraid to refuse a table and ask for another. As for the buffet at Oceanview we were very happy with the "islands" and flow. ENTERTAINMENT: Middling, disappointing. Celebrity needs to do better considering the terrific theatre venue. Production shows featured an extremely talented cast let down by somewhat boring, often unfamiliar song selections that didn't always connect with the largely senior audience. A high point however was a take off on Cirque type shows...extremely well done. Individual performers varied: Kimika singing/comedy couple great...comedy Jimmy Walker awful with edgy racist material (who booked this guy?)...singer Dana Paul saw a continuing stream of people leaving the theatre during his act...comedy Steve Caouette had no material of his own, simply working the audience ad hoc. Singer "Mario" a first class entertainer, rocked the audience with favorites. Cruise Director Dru is the best we've seen on any of our 17 cruises, a masterful job. ACTIVITIES: Our choices included bingo (good prices compared to other lines), art auction (don't think the guy sold more than a few works of art the entire cruise but go for the free drinks, singing in the "Celebrity Choir" led by an outstanding Carl, performing in the ship's atrium following 5 rehersals of the song from movie "sister Act/Whoopi Goldberg", our trip highlight. A Karaoke contest featured the best performing on stage near end of cruise...real talent among the passengers. The Casino treated us slot players well, better returns than most ships we've been on...lots of penny type machines. The gym is excellent with lots of space and equipment. Wine taste very educational and worth $10. CruiseCritic. com passenters met in a lounge, did a "cabin crawl", visiting different type accomodations for a look...great to be a member. Activity downsides we saw included the numerous "trivia" contests in lounges, not well organized and without vigor. A Scotch Whiskey tasting (Savor at Sea) went badly due to an incompetent and insolent barkeep. Request a refund ($18.00) and got it, along with an apology from Bar Officer Christian plus a redo handled by Ahmed, his first Officer...impressive how my complaint was handled, quickly and with style! Celebrity listens and responds. Be sure to tell them the GOOD as well as the bad...feedback works. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We've been on RCCL, NCL, Princess and Carnival cruises. Every trip has been fun. We were on the Jan 25th-Feb 5th, 2010, 11 night cruise that left from Ft. Lauderdale.We flew Southwest and arrived the day before and stayed at the ... Read More
We've been on RCCL, NCL, Princess and Carnival cruises. Every trip has been fun. We were on the Jan 25th-Feb 5th, 2010, 11 night cruise that left from Ft. Lauderdale.We flew Southwest and arrived the day before and stayed at the Comfort Suites. Free transport was provided from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ship by the hotel. We called from the hotel phone near ground transportation/baggage and they told us where to stand outside for our pick-up. The hotel is an older one, but for one night, was reasonable and OK. They had a Tiki Bar near the pool with 2 Flat screen TV's showing the play-off games. Drinks were reasonably priced. Everyone congregated there for a good time. Met lots of nice folks. There are several restaurants within walking distance. We chose the Cuban restaurant on a recommendation from someone at the hotel and really enjoyed it. We had a leisurely morning before getting our ride to the Ship. We also pre-purchased a ride to the airport from the ship for our return trip by the company that was stationed in the hotel lobby. It was $8.00 per person to go from the Ship to the Airport and we figured a taxi might be more. It worked out great. We got to the Ship and waited a short time in line to check-in, but then we were led to a holding area. They were not ready for us due to performing some extra 'viral cleaning' on the Ship from the previous cruise. They had some cases of gastrointestinal issues on the cruise before us, so were taking extra precautions. It was comfortable where we had to sit, sort of like an airport setting, with TV's and they also provided bottled water. Once they were ready, they started boarding us in groups and it went very smoothly and quickly. Cabins were ready right away so we went to drop off our carry-ons and freshen up before exploring. We met our Room Steward, Gabriel, who would be just a dream for this 11 night trip. He was wonderful, anticipated our needs, learned our routines and provided the most excellent service. Cabins are the usual size. We were very forward in the Ship which we will not do again. We don't mind the long walk to the elevators or stairs, but the noise was a tad annoying. We always choose more mid-ship but did the 'guaranteed balcony cabin' to save $$$. We probably won't do that again. We heard every noise required to dock early in the AM's of our port stops, the anchor dropping, etc. We had 2 nights of very heavy seas and the waves hitting the hull sounded like loud thunder claps. We rocked a lot on this ship...we don't get seas sick so that wasn't a problem for us. Storage in the room is adequate. There are 2 large cabinets over the bed we discovered by accident since they contain no hardware on the fronts of them...at first they looked like a decoration. We were happy to discover them. The closet isn't as big as what we've had on other ships, but all our stuff fit. All our luggage fit under the bed. There were 5 drawers in the built-ins by the TV counter area and I filled them all. The reclining chairs on the balcony are a nice touch also. The bathroom was a bit larger than normal and had great storage with a side cabinet and shelves and also drawers. The shower had a rounded glass sliding door so space was a bit larger and I loved not battling with a curtain. The safe was easy to program and we used it all the time. The fridge had some room for extra stuff. We ordered a liquor package and could store juices to mix with vodka, etc. Gabriel was at our door every day between 430 and 5 with our ice bucket. The Ship itself was immaculate, new and shiny, easy to navigate. The colors are serene and calming. The lounges and bars are wonderful to look at and you could breathe well in the casino. Oversized chairs and furniture in all the bars and lounges were really comfortable. Loved the hanging see-through chairs in 'Quasar' too...really cool. The outside areas were beautiful as well, and well kept...seems like we saw someone cleaning ALL the time! Oversized wicker, cushioned furniture outside on some of the upper deck areas was comfy and felt really like you were on a porch. The very top deck is all grass. You can play croquet or bocce ball game and there is an area reserved for the glass blower show. We pretty much found this to be a waste of space, especially when on sea days we had trouble finding a deck chair (amid all those people who 'save' chairs but aren't supposed too...a problem on every ship we've been on). We saw workers tending to the grass every day, filling blank spots with grass plugs, mowing, watering ,etc. Seems like so much energy and work for a space that could be better utilized...put Movies Under the Stars up there instead...more deck space is needed. Our favorite place was the Martini Bar. The bar top itself was ice, and it was fun to scratch your 'message' in it every night. The 2 main bartenders, Togi (Turkey) and Peter (Philippines) were Flair Bartenders and were just exceptional. We were treated like Kings and Queens at this bar and we enjoyed cocktails there every night prior to dinner. The pool bartenders needed to take lessons from them...service was a tad under par in that area. The only complaint we had about the ship were the foul odors in the passageways leading to the cabins. We had seen this mentioned on other cruise critic reviews prior to our trip, and once on board we knew exactly what they were talking about. We were on Deck 6, very forward, and it wasn't bad there, but on the other decks, especially Deck 10 (when we went to the Library), the odors of sewage and a strong urine smell were prevalent. They have received complaints about this, so I expect they will solve this problem. The staff were washing walls, vacuuming carpets and we noted air freshener smells at some times also, so they were trying to combat the problem during the trip. Seems like the problem is in the pipes or ventilation to be so wide-spread. DINING: We ate in the Silhouette Dining Room every night. The service was excellent as was the food. We had absolutely no complaints. We were at table 277, which is a table for 4 and we enjoyed the other couple at our table as well as the location, which was in a small corner near the glass-enclosed wine cellar. It was a little out of the way, and we enjoyed our spot very much. The Oceanview Cafe has the usual large buffet for all meals, and we thought the food in general was a step-up from other cruises we've taken both with quality and variety. Really enjoyed the Asian Station, and the other hot stations had different varieties of foods to enjoy. Salads and fruit were fresh and crisp...we hated coming home to have to clean and cut our own fruit again! We also ate at the Mast Grill...the usual burger/hotdog fare, but it was yummy and made the pool deck smell great at lunch time! We didn't go to the Specialty Restaurants, mostly because we thought we'd spend the $50-70.00 extra fee on other things. The Specialty Restaurants were between $25.00 and $35.00 per person extra to dine. They are gorgeous and we have no doubt that the food was superb. We've done it on other trips, but passed this time. The other place we really enjoyed for food was the AquaSpa on Deck 12. You could get grilled tuna steaks for lunch, salad offerings as well as other well put-together luncheon plates, cold and hot. They were also open for breakfast with fruit parfaits, omelettes made to order, etc. Smaller area to sit and dine, and though the oceanview cafe had many more choices, we ate here several times and enjoyed it so much. It's well worth giving it a try. It's considered a 'healthy alternative' but we found it to be tasty and good too. Sushi was also available in the evenings from 530 to 930 in the Oceanview Cafe. Late night snacks were in the Oceanview Cafe. They consisted of fresh pizza selections, several pasta selections, cold cuts/cheeses with different breads and rolls to make your own sandwiches, a few salad selections and desserts. We only went twice since mostly we were always full from dinner, but the few times we did venture in, we enjoyed it. The first few days on board, the serve-yourself areas such as the buffets were manned with staff who served you. This was due to the previous viral issues on the cruise before us and they were just taking extra precaution to keep everyone healthy. It took a little longer to get through the food lines, etc., but it really was not a problem. After about 4 days we were allowed to go back to serving yourself. Every venue had someone waiting at the entrance with Purell for your hands, even the bars, lounges and theatre....we did tons of hand washing and hand cleansing, and we welcomed that they were so diligent since with this many people on board a vessel, you cannot always depend on your fellow cruisers to be fastidious with cleanliness. The common areas on the Ship are just beautiful, shopping in the stores was fun and that part of the ship is also beautiful, the photography area is set up nice and now you can view some of your photos in on the TV in your cabin which is also a bonus. We didn't feel as hounded by the photographers on this trip, though we did think they were a bit less experienced than on other ships. Seemed like either the hair was messy or a collar was not quite right or the necklace was crooked...those kinds of details I expect the photographer to notice before he clicks the camera. And as always, if they lowered the prices they'd sell more anyway...couldn't believe how many they threw out! PORTS OF CALL Grand Cayman--We booked a trip with a company outside the cruise line called shoretrips.com. We went to Stingray City and 2 other snorkel stops. The sandbar at Snorkel City wasn't as crowded as usual as some of the other cruise ships cancelled their excursions due to the choppy water. Ours was a private company so we got to go and it was wonderful. Snorkeling was great and we really enjoyed the whole excursion. Captain Marvins Watersports handled our boat and they did a great job. A photographer was on board and took professional photographs with you and the stingrays. Wish we had known prior to going as we'd have taken more cash with us that day. We got the web site and are ordering on-line now that we are home. Cartagena, Columbia--Booked a deluxe tour of the City with the cruise line which included a trip to the Fortress, the cathedral (San Pedro Claver),and the Palace of Inquisition, had cool drinks while watching a Native Indian Dancing and Music show, and of course 2 shopping stops. We are not big shoppers, but this was a nice tour of the City and the history was very interesting. "Bert" was our tour guide and at 72, is proud of his country and knew the history well. Colon, Panama--We did the Kayak Eco tour with the cruise line. Drove about a mile in a nice air conditioned, comfy bus to an area near Gatun Lake. Then we took a fast boat ride to get to the kayak area. We kayaked around Lake Gatun, saw monkeys, a sloth, and some beautiful birds, a few gators on the shore line too. Kayaking on the lake was fun and good exercise. After the kayak trip we boarded the bus and went to the Panama Canal where we watched a ship get ready to go through the locks. Very interesting to see it really work, lots of history and old photographs to see there, and a guide also gives you a lesson on the history of the locks and how they work. Costa Rica--we did white water rafting--a cruise ship excursion. It was great fun. It was on a Class II river. We drove to Rios Tropicales and the facility was wonderful. That was our starting point. There were great showers, dressing areas and bathroom facilities for both men and women, a store to buy any needed supplies and gifts, and a whole dining area, under thatched roofs, where we enjoyed a great buffet after the rafting trip. Helmets and life jackets were required for the trip and provided to everyone. We had to walk a good distance across the rocks to get to the edge of the river...that changes with the level of the water...but its not for someone who can't manage that terrain. Our guide on the river, Tim, was in charge of our boat, gave us good lessons and practice before we started out, and certainly made up for our inexperience if we messed up paddling or weren't doing it quite effectively. He had much experience and credentials to be a rafting guide and we were glad we were in his boat. Honduras--We were there 7 years ago, and what a difference 7 years can make!! Totally different pier, shopping, sidewalks, better cars and taxis and vans, more jobs for the native Hondurans..everything was vastly improved. We went to Fosters West Bay Beach Resort with Shoretrips.com. It was a beach and resort not as popular as some of the others, so there were less people. You could swim, sun, get on a boat to snorkel or go fishing, ride the big inflatable banana boat, get a massage or your hair braided, buy T-shirts, etc. There was a place to buy food (the Calamari was excellent) and a bar where you could purchase cocktails and other drinks. The chaise lounges and one cocktail were part of our purchase price. It is always fun to ask a local what's the best local brew. If you hadn't pre-purchased you had to pay for a chaise lounge once you arrived. Hondurans walked around all the time selling their wares/crafts. They moved on if you said "No thank-you" and were very happy if they ended up with a few dollars in their pocket. Many of the young children were also put to work to sell things. It was a great day in a serene and peaceful place. Our taxi driver was there at the pre-determined time we had set up with him to get us back to the ship on time, and it all went really well. Cozumel: We went on a 3-reef snorkel trip with shoretrips.com with Eagle divers on the boat named "Miguelito". The guides were very good. We snorkeled in some deep water in different locations, saw turtles, rays, and multiple types of fish and coral. There were only 6 of us on this excursion and it included lunch at one of the resort restaurants right on the water. After great snorkeling we ate outside at a place called The Money Bar. The food was delicious and plentiful. We swam a lot on this day so got quite a bit of exercise in! Entertainment: The theatre is lovely though there are large columns that make some seats totally blocked...not sure who designed it but that seemed like a large flaw. The theatre was full every night. The 3 Broadway type shows with the cruise line singers and dancers were good...the usual you would expect on any cruise ship and enjoyable. What added some intrigue was the cirque-type folks who were up in the air, doing juggling and other specialty acts mixed in with the regulars. The entertainers were on cables up in the air spinning, hanging from the ribbons, etc. Very interesting and entertaining. Jimmie Walker, from the old sit-com "Good Times" was there with a stand-up comedian type performance and that was just OK. To his credit he never once said "Dyno Mite!" The other comic, Steve Caouette, was awesome...so funny, and used the audience for most of his monologue and the whole place was laughing a lot. Really enjoyed that show. We'd go see him again. Another act that was good was Las Vegas entertainer Mario D'Andrea who played guitar and sang and was also very humorous. He sang a lot of the older songs, and since this was an older crowd, he was a big hit. David Lucas was good too....he's a comic,a juggler, and a musician who started his career as a child with Liberace. We had never heard of him before, but thought his routine was really entertaining. 'Kimika' was really good...Nick and Tina. Very funny, excellent guitar playing by Nick and singing by Tina who was a real 'hoot'....the humor added to their routine was really good and it was a great show. We really enjoyed their performance. One of the other things we did onboard was the modern line dance class and that was surprisingly fun....it wasn't the usual country stuff...up beat and contemporary music, easy to learn and there was a large crowd every day of folks who wanted to learn the next best thing for the next big party. Really fun. De-embarkation--We had a nightmare our last cruise in August with Carnival and almost missed our plane, so we opted for the express check-out plan, carry your own luggage and be the first to get off the ship. We loved it. Customs was a breeze, no long lines, and our van was waiting for us when we came out the door for our ride to the Airport. Can't speak of what regular de-embarkation was like, but if it was like when we boarded, I'd guess it went smoothly. We had to wait a few hours for our flight, but we would have had to wait on the ship too, so it didn't really matter. Much less stress already being at the airport with a good book than worrying if we'd be the group that got off in time. All in all, it was a wonderful cruise, great food and service, great ports of call. We pre-booked another Celebrity cruise while on board. The deposit was only $100.00 per person with no expiration date...we can use it any time and earned on-board credit for doing it before the cruise ended. We'll be looking forward to our next Celebrity cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was our 15th cruise on Celebrity. We range in age from 49 to 59 and have cruised several cruise lines over the years. We drove from Texas to the cruise as I don't like to fly. The ship was docked at pier 18, which is the new ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise on Celebrity. We range in age from 49 to 59 and have cruised several cruise lines over the years. We drove from Texas to the cruise as I don't like to fly. The ship was docked at pier 18, which is the new one for RCL. Parking was simple as was loading and unloaded. No one seems to do this as easy as Lauderdale. Getting through the check in was quick and painless and we were off to the ship quickly as we carried our own luggage off. The ship is very simple yet elegant. Not much glitz but I really liked the overall layout and look of the ship. Our room was 1019 and seems like the rooms are getting smaller and smaller with each passing year. Oh well, it was a place to sleep and hide from time to time. DW and friend both loved the Hot Glass show. The ladies sat through almost every show and never got tired of it. Also, I was a bit curious about the "lawn". Wow, what a cool idea for a ship. Very nice touch. Our first port was Grand Cayman. Never my favorite port, so we got off wandered around for a short time, got a couple of rum cakes and back to the ship. No need to waste time here on overpriced and cheaply made souvenirs. The next port was Cartegena. This was our first time to be in this port. We took a tour of the city using a private tour. It was a good idea. We were off to an early start and stayed one jump ahead of the ship tours. That meant we had time to wander around and see things without stepping on people at every turn. The monastery at the top of the hill is a stunning view. We had hoped to go to the gold museum but it was closed that day. Of interest was that this is a starting port for RCL. A ship loads and unloads at this port. It was odd to see a "terminal" in a place like this. Our guide laughed and said this is where the wild ones board. It also loads in Panama with mostly American passengers. I would go back to Cartegean again, but would like to see some different tours that take you out to look at nature and the country. Sadly, that appears to still be a dangerous thing to do. All the locals were very happy to have cruise ships back after years of them avoiding the port due to civil unrest. The vendors in the street are very aggressive, more so than Jamaica to some extent. However it was mostly easy to just say no or be serious about dickering for what they offered. We docked in Panama and took a tour to the rain forest. This was one of the oddest tours I have ever been on. Our tour was guide by "Ricky Ricardo". His English was somewhat limited. However the people on the bus were embarrassing. I have never seen such a rude and unruly group. We could have really been in trouble as we are serious birders and could not believe our luck to get such a noisy group. However the driver noted our watching birds and dragged out a well worn book. We left the group to make out down the trail and we lagged behind and drug the driver with us. His English was very limited and our Spanish a match. However we all spoke birds and nature and this became the highlight of the cruise. Some of the birds we saw and the driver's knowledge of the local birds was amazing.(You know you have a serious birder when he pulled out his cell phone and began to play bird calls to call in the birds.) We went to a second stop on the tour and almost had a riot on our hands. The rowdy group wanted to skip the second half as it was hot, and they were missing their lunch and bridge games. "Ricky Ricardo" said we WOULD make the second part though which was great as we saw several Coatimundi which were the first I have seen. The wild bunch went on one trail and the driver and us took off the opposite direction. More birds and a troop of Howler Monkeys were added to the list. Next was Costa Rica and we took a nature tour to an animal recovery site. This was well done and things were going well until it pounded rain as only it can in the tropics. Drowned rats we looked like but all had a great time anyway. (See how much fun a group can be when they are not being rude and ugly?) The next port was Belize and we did the Laminai and New River tour. This was our second time to take this tour. More pounding rain and a wild and wet ride down the river to the Mayan ruins. However once again nothing stopped our group. We were running late so we did not get to malinger down the river as in the past. Still a wonderful tour though. Last port was Cozumel and DW and friend went Tequila tasting. The girls liked the new museum set up there as they had a very nice set up of Mayan culture. Then we went off to town to do some shopping off the plaza. (Best deals and most fun had away from the cruise shops) The wind was howling as a front had come through and it was only 74 there. Nice day. The last sea day was cold and getting colder as we moved north. This is always a possibility during the winter in the Gulf of Mexico. SO.... A few things of note. We went to the Silk Harvest restaurant and it was every bit as good as others have said. The service and food were perfect. The main dining started off a disaster. We went down to main seating and had ordered when a group came in late and said we were at their table. When we checked our dining card more carefully, we found that we had been summarily exiled from first to second seating. The maitre'd was huffed that we were there and finally found us a new place to be. He did get us a new table the next day after we had the loyalty lady follow up with an email to him. Second seating was NOT going to happen. We got the best end of the deal as our new table mates, waiter and asst. waiter were all great. The food was normal for Celebrity and we like what was offered each night. JMHO..... deserts were always a miss. I ate ice cream every night as most of the deserts were not to my liking. Oh well.... I would say that the Ocean View buffet was a bit off. The food was good and always lots of choices. However we noticed that all week the selections barely changed. It was good but nothing new every day. The worst thing on the cruise was the smell in the hall on deck 10 forward. It was just awful and was there throughout the cruise. Sometimes, it even crept into our room. Our Steward said they were aware of it and trying to find a fix. They need to do that or this will become a major issue for anyone on that deck. No idea if it was on any other deck. Shows were on par with most ships, and we did not bother to take in most of them. The new show the first night had some good parts but could have been better. The smoking on the ship has been greatly reduced. No more smoking in the casino, in rooms or on the balconies. This is something that I really did notice and like. However there were still a few who did try to sneak a smoke on the balconies but it was WAY less than in the past. It will get better as time goes along. In general, this was the first time in years of cruising that I was able to enjoy the balcony without smoking someone else's tobacco habit. It was also nice to sit in the casino as long as I wanted and not leave gagging or having to change clothes reeking of smoke. We were very disappointed with the loyalty functions. The morning thing was nothing special and the evening meet in the sky lounge was very disappointing. No emails before we boarded the ship either. We have never been treated like this as elite members and we did notice it. DW said that it felt like we were just passengers and not valued repeat customers. Would we sail this ship again. Very definitely would. Was this a great cruise with a great list of ports? Perfect! We were very disappointed when we checked on booking this cruise for next Christmas as they had brain deaded the schedule. It was set too late to make the cruise and get back to school or have you children with you without missing a week of work or school. I have no clue what they are thinking on those dates. Guess we will look elsewhere which is a shame. Read Less
Sail Date December 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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