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16 Celebrity Equinox Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

Celebrity Equinox, a beautiful ship! EMBARKATION was swift! Line wait was less then 10 minutes and we were on our way. While a beautiful ship, there are areas in which could use some improvement: verandah furniture is in need of ... Read More
Celebrity Equinox, a beautiful ship! EMBARKATION was swift! Line wait was less then 10 minutes and we were on our way. While a beautiful ship, there are areas in which could use some improvement: verandah furniture is in need of repainting as there were large paint chips falling off each day and cushions in need of replacement. ENTERTAINMENT: Having traveled extensively, we have seen much better entertainers. For example, the first night we had a comedian. This gentleman had no material! If the Canadian man in the first row had not been there, there would have been NO SHOW. Everything was targeted towards this Canadian man. Really? The singers and dancers could have benefit from additional practice: several songs off key. The aerial shows were great! Such talent! Men of Rock: Great show! EXCURSIONS: Panama Canal Excursion: booked through Celebrity. Very long, long day, as we first entered at the lake and traveled towards the canal. A once in a life time experience, but long. thankfully we had an overcast day as with sun the trip on the ferry would have been extremely uncomfortable. We had seats under the overhang; lunch was good, beverages welcomed and excursion staff great! CHIVAS PARTY BUS, CARTEGENA: Advertised as "open bar", First, the open air bus looked fun. Now, let's talk about reality. Again, we booked this excursion through Celebrity: To get on the bus, we were provided a 3 step stool apparatus. The top step was bent downward. Should have been an indication of what was to come. Then after placing your feet on the step stool you had to insert your feet UNDER the bus into 2 additional steps and PULL yourself up into the bus. That access was through a very narrow row. Once on the bus, you were faced with VERY DIRTY beverage cup holders! The bus leader passed out 6 oz plastic cups (he had to pry them apart); each row was then given an 18 oz bottle of clear liquid which he referred to as 3-corner Rum and a 16oz bottle of coke. Ice was provided in a small stained sand pail. The context of open bar was that we were told by the bus leader that when we finished these he would provide the row with another small bottle of Rum. Did I mention that all this was occurring while a 3 piece band (a washboard/grater type of equipment, horn and banjo) were playing VERY LOUDLY right behind us on the bus. When we asked the bus leader to lower the music, his response was "we party". We got off the bus the first chance we could at the first stop. Our friends stayed on and shared that the bus broke down! ON-BOARD MEDICAL: Yes, we had a need for medical care while on this ship. As a registered nurse, I can honestly say, the medical care was wonderful. Privacy, infection prevention, medical care and education/instructions as well as follow-up, great! DINING: We had select seating but reserved a table of 10 for 6:30pm daily. Food choice n the main dining room was a wide variety; always served hot or cold as appropriate. Beverages were readily available and the Sommelier, Alin, was great. Dining in the Ocean View Cafe: had a European flair. While there was always the hamburger and hotdog station, the other variety of foods seemed slim. FREE SHUTTLE IN CARTEGENA: Careful, while these have signs that make them appear to be a Celebrity sponsored shuttle, they are not! DISEMBARKATION in Fort Lauderdale: Very limited porters! The line for immigration for US citizens was long, however moved along fast. We were in line approximately 25-30minutes and then on our way. The Non-US Citizen lines were very long. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first visit to the Caribbean and our second trip with Celebrity. It will probably prove to be our last trip to this part of the world and the second of a number with this cruise line. Why no plans to return? Manchester/New ... Read More
This was our first visit to the Caribbean and our second trip with Celebrity. It will probably prove to be our last trip to this part of the world and the second of a number with this cruise line. Why no plans to return? Manchester/New York/Miami/Fort Lauderdale was a real pain before we even saw the ship, although overnight at the Novotel in FL was fine, while the return trip via a single stop in Zurich was better, but still tiring. The itinerary, which I concede we chose, was disappointing. None of the ports was really aesthetically pleasing, with Fort Lauderdale's huge commercial operation setting the palm/beach free standard and with four days at sea the concept of seascapes to die for was hardly fulfilled. I now know much more about cranes than palms. Perhaps we should have chosen the Eastern Caribbean Islands cruise which followed our and might well have coloured our thinking more favourably. Ironically, the high winds on our trip to Grand Cayman, blew us into a part of the island we were not scheduled to visit and we were doubly indebted to Celebrity's office staff and Captain Leo for securing an attractive, alternative mooring. With only a handful of fellow Brits, the ship was dominated by third-age clients from the USA and Canada. 'Dominated' is the only word and while I am in that category age-wise, I would warn new and younger cruisers to consider the implications of being at sea with 2,000 pensioners. It is a hazard of all cruises, but this was a real test. The 'I'll wear what I want' attitude from some was probably an inevitable outcome of the more relaxed dress code and I can live with that now I know just how scruffy people are prepared to be when they go for dinner. That said, a man in a hoodie in the Silhouette Restaurant must have been doing it for a bet! So what might tempt me back? A wonderful ship with a magnificent crew. Exceptional in every respect, with the captain and his social lieutenent Alejandro setting a terrific lead and the crew - especially the entertainers - delivering an exemplory cruising experience. Good food on a daily basis, with a treat at the Murano Restaurant the highlight. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our second year in a row on the Equinox. The year before we sailed on the Silhouette, which is nearly identical. Boarding and disembarking was very quick and painless. The ship is immaculate and well-tended, and the cruise ... Read More
This was our second year in a row on the Equinox. The year before we sailed on the Silhouette, which is nearly identical. Boarding and disembarking was very quick and painless. The ship is immaculate and well-tended, and the cruise line's contemporary art collection is wonderful (but it won't appeal to all, who may be left scratching their heads). We were in Concierge Class Statement 1659, near the stern, and it was very quiet. (We booked Concierge Class because it wasn't much more expensive at the time than regular class and we got more Captain's Club points. However, the benefits of Concierge Class while on the ship are minimal, and the staterooms and amenities are the same.) Our stateroom attendant, Ana, was very friendly and kept the room spotless, and she seemed to have our schedule down pat because our room was always made up when we returned from the ship. She did forget twice to leave the next day's listing of activities and port information, but we managed. On the other hand, she was quick to provide two additional bed pillows, for a total of six, upon request, and the bed was comfortable. We were happy with Ana! The stateroom's televisions are pretty dated and should be replaced ASAP. Also, the small LED screen on the telephone by the bed is so bright that you'll need to cover it with a washcloth or something else unless you enjoy sleeping with a light on. Another inconvenience were voicemail messages sent by the concierge which produced a large yellow flashing light on the telephone in the middle of the night. Had to put a pillow over the phone to eliminate that annoyance (or get up and listen to the message and delete it, which I didn't feel inclined to do in the middle of the night). The food didn't seem as good to us as the previous two years. It was style over substance, flash over flavor. You can always find something decent to eat in the buffet (Oceanview Cafe), but the main dining room was hit or miss (and mostly miss). Of the specialty dining venues, Murano was a big disappointment this year. The lobster, sauteed tableside with brandy, mustard, bacon, and cream, tasted like a loaded baked potato (the sauce completely overwhelmed the lobster, and the waiter overcooked the lobster to boot). But the Dover sole was very good. The Asian restaurant, Silk Harvest, was terrible. Everything tasted the same, which is to say, bland. We all wished we had just eaten at the buffet that night and saved our money. On the other hand, we had a very good meal at Tuscan Grille this year (which was our least favorite last year, FWIW). That said, the food isn't much better or worse than we've had on other cruise lines, including Carnival, Princess, and Holland-America. That said, the Oceanview Cafe is so well-designed for traffic flow that it never feels too crowded and it's a pleasure to eat there. And the scones served in the afternoon are excellent, as are the cookies served all the time. The standout for coffee and pastries is Cafe al Bacio on Deck 5. They have really good cappuccinos and pastries. The management, including the caption ("Captian Leo," the youngest captain in the fleet), the cruise director, Alejandro, and the activities manager, Jane, were omnipresent and fantastic. There was also a very good and sweet salesperson in the Exquisites shop, named Melissa, who knows her jewelry and watches cold. We went to shows sporadically but two guest performers, Jayne Curry, a formidable singer and very funny as well, and a magician whose name I don't remember, were first rate. On the other hand, the production cast and their silly shows were mediocre at best and cringe-inducing at worst. The ports of call were great, especially Cartagena, Colombia, where we had an overnight stay and two full days in port. The Panama Canal was also nice as were Costa Rica and Grand Cayman. (We were rained out in Cozumel.) Overall, we had an excellent time and would sail on Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We are huge fans of Celebrity... and especially of the Solstice class ships. We've sailed on Celebrity Solstice (2009) and Celebrity Silhouette (2012) and so sailing on Celebrity Equinox was a no-brainer. For the most part, we ... Read More
We are huge fans of Celebrity... and especially of the Solstice class ships. We've sailed on Celebrity Solstice (2009) and Celebrity Silhouette (2012) and so sailing on Celebrity Equinox was a no-brainer. For the most part, we weren't disappointed. But there were some glaring flaws. First to the Pros: 1- Food aboard Celebrity Equinox was, without exception, a 10 out of 10! This included food in the Silhouette Dining Room (the Main Dining Room or MDR for this review), in the Oceanview Café (the buffet), the Tuscan Grille (surcharge) and the Silk Harvest (surcharge). None were a disappointment where food quality, variety and preparation was concerned. The food at the café was so delicious, one was tempted to forgo the MDR and head there for dinner. We did not eat at Muranos on this trip. 2- Cabin 1100, an inside cabin just forward of the library on deck 10, was superb! Excellent space! We didn't miss the balcony at all! Our cabin steward, Tomas, and his assistant Lesley, were always available. We thoroughly loved this inside cabin. Plenty of space around the bed and a vast space at the door. Ample storage. 3- The itinerary which was billed as "Ultimate Caribbean" was the most exotic one we've done in a long time. We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale R/T to Grand Cayman, Cartagena-Columbia, Colon-Panama, Puerto Limon-Costa Rica, Belize City-Belize, and Cozumel-Mexico. Although we'd been to Grand Cayman and Cozumel on numerous Western Caribbean sailings in the past, all of the rest of the ports were new! Loved the itinerary even though we missed out on Costa Rica (more on that below) 4- Persian Gardens... definitely, definitely worth the cost for the full use during cruise. There's no gardens to speak of... this location is just a large room with nine heated tile loungers in an array facing floor to ceiling windows looking out on the ocean or port (depending where the ship is). This is the ultimate in relaxation and quiet and stunning vistas. Treat yourself to at least a day pass if you can't afford it for the full cruise. (Note: if you are in an Aquaclass cabin, this place is yours for free!) There's also great Rainforest showers and Steamroom and Sauna (all coed, so bathing suits are a must) in this same location. 5- Captain's Club... their CC events for us Elite members were superb! It's so nice to have a loyalty program like that found at Royal Caribbean/Celebrity. Now to the Cons: 1- Select Dining: what a dismal failure. We had open seating before on cruises... most notably on Celebrity Silhouette in Blu (Aqua Class) and last year on Explorer of the Seas, and both times seating was flawless and service was outstanding! But on Celebrity Equinox, in the MDR, it just didn't work. Hostesses at the entrance would smile and nod when you made requests for a table or area, then send you off to a totally unacceptable spot... often shoehorned into tight spaces while you passed by plenty of empty tables that were "on hold"! When you asked how to hold a table, you were told that you couldn't. On 7 of the 11 nights (1 night we ate at the buffet and another we ate at the Tuscan Grille) we were placed at tables that only had haggard assistant waiters who seemed disinterested or lost... no explanation of the night's menus, no follow-ups, nothing. Several just walked up to the table and said "what do you want?" or "I didn't know I was supposed to wait on this table... are you ready?". This is abysmal... I've had far better service in diners back home. On one night, the night of my wife's birthday, I asked the smiling hostess to have them sing "Happy Birthday" to my wife. I saw her put the notation into the computer. Then we got one of those assistant waiters again, and I thought it prudent to mention it to him since he looked like he was having trouble figuring out how to pour water into a glass. As you can probably guess, my wife's "surprise" birthday song never came. She eventually got up and left. Terrible. Just terrible. Had it not been for the superb food (At least something was done right in the MDR), this cruise would have been awful from a dinner dining perspective. 2- Shore Excursion, Panama Canal Tour. Before I say anything else, this tour was awesome! You cruised in a ferry from Lake Gatun to the Pacific through the canal locks and then rode back to Colon in a bus! I'd highly recommend this tour. But, no matter what you do, DO NOT eat the food on the ferry. The food all tasted fine, but many people, including my wife, became seriously ill with diarrhea! Although this was food poisoning, according to the ship's doctor, she still had to be quarantined for 24 hours per CDC rules. Now, while we don't have a problem with that, what I do have a problem with is the fact that since this is a Celebrity sponsored tour, you would think they would vet the company in Panama to make sure the food being served was not contaminated. At the very least, we should have gotten our money back for that tour. Her illness and confinement meant that we missed out on Costa Rica, a port we were very excited to see. (Shore Excursions DID refund this tour per the Medical department) Diane was released without problem from her quarantine the next day. 3- Canyon Ranch Spa... so my wife said I ought to see how awesome a pedicure was... personally, for a man, my feet are always in pretty good shape... so I've never been interested in this. But she knows I'm more adventurous on cruises. So I went to the Canyon Ranch Spa, and explained to the gentleman behind the counter that I'd never had a pedicure before, and I wanted the cheapest one they offered to men. He immediately said I should book the one with foot massage for $108 (or was it $104?). I said, "what about the one for $69 called 'Gentlemen's Pedicure'?" on the menu. He grimaced and said, "You don't want that". I then told him that a friend of mine on this cruise got a pedicure, and his only cost $69... and again, he grimaced. So I walked out. Later in the week, I saw a nice young woman named Gabby behind the desk, and she booked the exact pedicure treatment I wanted. It was a great pedicure, but my "Nail Technician" added a $25 surcharge to my bill for a paraffin treatment that I thought was part of the procedure! I know Canyon Ranch instructs its employees to upsell... but there's a right way and a wrong way to do this... being in retail myself, I know what I'm talking about. Canyon Ranch is a place I will avoid on all future Celebrity Cruises except for access to the gym and Persian Gardens. 4- Soda package... On Royal Caribbean (Celebrity's sister company), you are given a large covered plastic glass that you can refill at certain locations aboard. No more hassle of going to a bar (although the bars happily refill this for you). These aren't given out on Celebrity. Further, on Royal, you just have to flash your card and it's soda sticker to any waiter or bartender and they get your soda for you... in fact, they generally get to know you and smile and ask if you want your soda. Not so on Celebrity... every time you want a soda, you still have to hand over your card (which can often go for an extended walk with the waiter) to wait for your soda to come while your food gets cold. It always has to be swiped. This really eats up your time. 5- Steamer confiscation... what? We always take a mini steamer with us and it's never been questioned. But they took ours right away saying that it's not allowed aboard. Now, in their literature, they do forbid (and I agree with them) candles and irons from coming aboard... but a steamer? No mention of this in the literature. Come on... I've even had cabin stewards on various lines get me supplies (ours needs table salt to work) for it. They also tried to confiscate my wife's heating pad, but they relented as it's for her chronic back pain. (Of course, this was useless as there are NO plugs near the bed)   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
2015 Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review I am going to take a different approach in writing this review. This will be a collective summary of my wife and I experience on the 11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise aboard the Celebrity Equinox ... Read More
2015 Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review I am going to take a different approach in writing this review. This will be a collective summary of my wife and I experience on the 11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise aboard the Celebrity Equinox sailing from Feb 23 – Mar 6 – 2015. It all began last year during our 14 Night Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse. We decided to pay a visit to the Future Cruise Sales Dept. on board and select a cruise for 2015. We opted for the 11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise as it presented us with cruise stops that we have not visited before, albeit shorter than our normal 14 day cruise vacation that we are accustomed to, never the less it appeared interesting enough to book. So the 5 couples that we always travel with agreed and this brings us to this review. I must mention that booking a future cruise on board your present cruise is very rewarding and should be highly considered for anyone thinking of planning a cruise. Please pay them a visit while your cruising, it will be worth it. We always ensure a day prior to cruise departure and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Convention Center/Cruise Center on 17th Street in Ft Lauderdale. We enjoyed our stay in clean and well-kept hotel premises. They do provide free Airport to Hotel shuttle, but you have to call them and may have to wait, perhaps well over 30 minutes, so taking a taxi right away after you secured your luggage might be more satisfying. Included in the price of your room is a tasty most appreciative full breakfast. This feature is a huge plus in our books. Location, location, location, this hotel is within walking distance of ALL YOUR NEEDS. We stopped in at Walgreens for last minute essentials and had a beautiful meal right across the street at BRAVO RESTAURANT. Next morning after our breakfast we decided to burn some calories and walked to the bridge to view the Equinox moored at Terminal 18 and were fortunate enough to witness the drawbridge in action. We did all our pre cruise visits on foot, no cabs needed. The boarding time was moved ahead to 2 PM. No boarding before 2 PM as the ship and terminal was being sanitized and prepped for our cruise. There was an outbreak of Noro virus the sailing before and Celebrity did their due diligence and we were thankful for that even though it resulted in delay. This was not a normal embarkation process due to the outbreak but it resulted in NO NORO on our cruise. Can’t complain for that. Congestion on the ship, delayed getting in our room and a late departure was the result. We always are prepared, our motto “Expect the Unexpected”. Upon entry, we upgraded our Beverage Package from Classic to Premium, a smart move on our behalf as this provided us all the beverages we elected to drink (Martini’s, special cocktails, craft beers, specialty coffee, upgraded wines) all with a swipe of the card with no charges. Our B2 Balcony room was 6152 on Deck 6 Forward Starboard. Being a little apprehensive on its location but we settled in quite nicely. Not our favorite location, but acceptable none-the-less. It really did serve us quite well. Room was always well kept and presentable by our stateroom attendants. We think all staterooms are comfortable and provide ample space for your voyage. Our days on the ship consisted of pretty much of the same pattern. Up early, shower, some java and a croissant in our room, out on the balcony checking out the vista, may be some photo ops, then preceded to have breakfast provided in the Ocean view café and the Main Dining Room (MDR). Breakfast items were always the same except for 1 or 2 items that resulted with OK satisfaction. Then we went along our merry way to enjoy our excursions or on sea days exploring and enjoying the ship. Our itinerary had Georgetown Grand Cayman, Cartagena Colombia, Colon Panama, Puerto Limon Costa Rica, Belize City Belize and Cozumel Mexico along with 4 at sea days. Elected to take a ship-sponsored excursion at all stops except in Cozumel, which we have been several times. Grand Cayman was a high light for us. Taking part in the Sting Ray City excursion provided us with fantastic memories recorded on video and photos beyond imagination. What an experience to hold a Sting Ray in your arms all by yourself and stand in the sea with these docile creatures having them swim beside, through your legs and up against your body. Must recommend this excursion. Cartagena was a surprise, lovely and a pretty city having very warm temperatures (30 C ) and enjoyed the walled old city as well as the Castillo. Nice blend of the old and modern experience. Entry to pier was very picturesque. Thoroughly enjoyed this visit. Our next stop was Colon. A must for all who visit for the first time is participating going through the Panama Canal in a boat (other than a cruise ship). This man made wonder is of epic proportions will leave you with life long memories. Along the 50 mile-long waterway, there are 3 sets of locks, Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun. Our excursion took us through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks; the rest of the way was in an air-conditioned travel bus. Went from Colon (Atlantic side to Panama City (Pacific side). A long and hot day was spent but no charge cold non-alcoholic refreshments and a small meal were provided on the boat. The next stop on the agenda was a bus, boat (canals) and train tour of Limon Costa Rica. Here we seen some of the native fauna and flora, the Del Monte banana plantation with of course some samples. We had rain showers and misty conditions for the better part of the tour but cleared up towards the end bringing all creatures out and about, the howler monkeys did let us know they were there, seen the native birds and smaller green creatures camouflaged amongst the dense rain forest. Costa Rica is mainly rain forest and is indicative what you will see. Belize City was also a bright spot for us as we hovered the lagoons and shallow waters in an airboat. Quite an experience riding with ear protection (a must) and wind blowing in your face, zig to the right then zag to the left slowing right down as we approach the abundance of wildlife (Birds and Turtles) giving all aboard a fantastic opportunity to see and photograph. The areas we seen are only allowed to be used by the excursion airboat because of the shallow water and not to damage the biological environment. Canoeists are not allowed. Our only stop in Cozumel was at Senor Frogs located right at the International Pier where we moored for their giant margaritas and double shot. We browsed around the shops at the pier for a short while and returned to the ship. There were 6 ships docked at Cozumel that day, so go figure. I will mention to book excursions at all these ports, unless you elect to remain on and enjoy the ship. Typical days at sea on the Equinox were easygoing and very relaxing for us. We simply used the Solarium for quiet time and rest and ventured out to the main pool area to spend time cooling off in the pool, catching some rays and satisfied our hunger pangs at the Mast Grill-the best tasting burgers at sea. You gotta eat there. We did not bother with the limited mediocre activities and what Celebrity calls enrichment programs, these simply don’t interest us. A factor that really impresses us with the Solstice Class ships is the space provided. When you consider the gross tonnage of the ship and the passenger capacity; the space provided is phenomenal resulting in absolutely no congestion and plenty of ship space for us cruisers to maneuver around with pleasure. This is a great feature we certainly appreciate. Also adding to this is the fact there were very few children present on this cruise, which makes an almost adults only cruise. We found the shops on board the Equinox to be a non-factor having very little impact drawing us to them. Not much content of interest. A very nice area we spent some time during the day is at the Lawn Club. Green natural grass to enjoy a game of bocce lawn polo or lay a blanket and enjoy a picnic with beautiful Sunset Bar providing refreshments. We behaved like many other cruisers and spent time photographing the ship from bow to stern, top to bottom all nooks and crannies being careful not to omit any photo worth part of the ship totaling well over 2000 photos with some impressive footage on video. The Silhouette Dining Room was our choice to engage in having early seating for dinners. All our dinners were consumed here. Did not eat at the Specialty Restaurants. Food in the MDR was quite frankly sub par. My wife was not pleased at all; she filled up with bread sticks and French Onion Soup. I will give the food only a passable grade. You may ask why we continued to eat in the MDR? Well it was our friends and our cruising group who made the experience pleasurable. We had a table for our own group and enjoyed their company. Lunch and breakfast was usually at the Ocean View Café, a buffet style eatery with different food stations to choose from providing a repetitive menu day in day out. What looks like a lot of different foods, really is not; as some of the stations are doubles, but I will say that you can get a full assortment of food with an all right level of satisfaction. We never had trouble finding a seat and the wait staff was always present to offer getting refreshments or to clean your table. Providing the main entertainment was the Equinox Theatre. We elected to omit 5 shows in this venue. When you consider the price that Celebrity charges for a cruise, the entertainment aboard the Equinox was rather poor. The resident Celebrity singers and dancers are elementary and the Special Guests they had were not much better. The female pianist singer performer Claire Vinkesteijn was entertaining as was the Juggler/comedian Pete Mathews. Phil Tag a comedian had the crowd in stitches at times and kept us all awake providing some good old comedy relief. The rest was all down hill from there. All the Celebrity Singers and Dancers show were poor grade as was Tony B, Marcus Tyrell and the Serenades (Motown Tribute) and two others; a comedian and ventriloquist. I must wonder about the Cruise Director. She and her staff are responsible for the arrangements in providing all entertainment. I would categorize her as terrible. This carries over to all areas of entertainment - DJ’s, Jazz group (not a fan); guitarist/violin group, resident party band (mediocre) and Shawna (Activities manager) try again. Maybe they are in the learning stage and might get better????. I do understand that Celebrity is trying hard to improve their entertainment, as they are well aware of their mediocrity. Please improve in this area; your work is cut out. Overall our cruise experience was satisfying, we did have ample relaxation and down time. Celebrity does offer a quality vacation with good service. It was good enough for us to book on board at the Future Cruise Office a 14 Night Exotic Southern Caribbean on the Celebrity Eclipse in 2017. So that tells you we enjoyed our Celebrity Equinox cruise. Our next cruise is a 8 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on RCI Navigator of the Seas followed with a 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on RCI Allure of the Seas in 2016 making this a 15 Night Cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Cruised the Equinox from Feb. 23 thru March 6th and must say we had an overall great time. The ship was in terrific shape and the ports were great as well as the weather We had a bit of a tough start. The ship was being Sanitized from top ... Read More
Cruised the Equinox from Feb. 23 thru March 6th and must say we had an overall great time. The ship was in terrific shape and the ports were great as well as the weather We had a bit of a tough start. The ship was being Sanitized from top to bottom because of a recent outbreak of the nor virus the sailing prior. This cause a late departure and even later ability to enter the staterooms. There is no fault to be cast because it was a necessary inconvenience . But it did really make for a stressful first day and a lot of extra complaining from the grey hairs. I also must say this was the longest Muster Drill I have ever encountered, again a necessary evil. After finally being able to enter the cabin we were pleasantly surprise. This was a frugal trip for us so we booked an inside in deck 8 and were surprised by the size and layout for the room and bathroom. Plenty of storage and the best shower we have had outside of a suite. Our cabin steward was a great person but was overworked from the start. He did a superb job for us and any little request that we had he fulfilled quickly. The overall appearance of the ship was great with a really good flow throughout. We spent little time in the lawn club but really enjoyed the Glass show. What a great feature. The pool deck and the solarium were both great areas to spend time on the sea days. Though crowded I could always find a lounger in the sun while my fair skinned wife snuggled up to read her book in a shaded corner. It was nice seeing the pool attendants making a sweep occasionally to pick up discarded or unused towels thereby freeing up loungers. The shops that we walked thru are the same as we've seen on all cruise ships and the sales merchandise really was nothing special and a lot of the time priced the same everyday It was nice that with so many people having the free drink package the pressure to buy, buy , buy was very minimal on this cruise. I did enjoy the casino several time and even played the same $20 at the poker slots for 4 nights before I donated it to the ships purse. Lounges were fun for the most part especially Celebrity central whichh had some great entertainment venues going on. The dining experience onboard ranged from good to very good and only the first night where we dined at the silk harvest would I rate the experience exceptional. This night Not only the food but the staff and the ambience were outstanding. We had select dining which really works well for us as we like to dine alone but will always chat with those at the tables next to us. We just are not a 2 hour for diner group. We had a great wait staff in the back of the ship in the private room with Jonathan and his assistant Marco. They were exceptional and a lot of fun every night. We really enjoyed there efforts and the food they delivered was always hot and well presented. Overall the food was very good and on a couple occasions was exceptional .Definitely one of the best cuts of prime I have had in a long time and the Twin lobster tails were great. We were happy that, though the portions were not large, the variety of choices for the several courses never left us hungry and we never left overly stuffed. For breakfast and lunch we used the food court buffet and though it was buffet food I thought it was still better than most ships we have been on. Omelets were great for mornings and the Panini and pizza good for lunch. Always a fan of fresh salads and fresh fruit. There were time when the buffet would get crowded but all seemed to move fairly well. We waited till the end of the cruise when they offered 2 for 1 dining and we booked the Tuscan Grill at the back of the ship on deck 5. a perfect setting for another really good meal. The steak was great but the pasta was a little overdone. Really.... The entertainment was on of the weakest parts of the cruise for us. We enjoyed all the shows especially the first woman performer who was on Norway's got talent. She had an exceptional voice and was a great Pianist to boot. Also enjoyed the Juggler and the comedian. production shows were better than the reviews had lead us to believe. Kudos to the acrobatic couple who gave the shows a upscale element. The 2 entertainment groups were good for casual evening entertainment Overall we had a very enjoyable cruise with a great itinerary on a great ship and look forward to sailing Celebrity again in the near future Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My husband and I are 60 and this was our 25th cruise but first on Celebrity. We've sailed on most cruise lines but the most have been on Princess, Holland . This was an 11 day cruise to Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, Belize and ... Read More
My husband and I are 60 and this was our 25th cruise but first on Celebrity. We've sailed on most cruise lines but the most have been on Princess, Holland . This was an 11 day cruise to Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, Belize and Grand Cayman. We were late boarding due to the previous cruise having the norovirus on board so a deep cleaning was done before we could board and then it delayed us getting into our cabins. Boarding began about 1:30 but we weren't allowed in our cabins until 7:00 so the ship got a little crowded with everyone hanging out in the public areas, pool and bars. It also took a day or so for our room to be completely stocked with robes, glasses, ice buckets, etc. It may have also had an effect on the service and attitude of the staff. We had a concierge cabin at the back of the ship. As others have said it's a long walk to the elevators but we didn't mind that. It was a great location for the pool and the buffet which were also aft. It was very quiet. Our cabin steward was nonexistant. He did a good job but not great and we only saw him 2-3 times. It was late on day 2 before we met him. We had to continuously leave notes to ask him to replenish items and ice in the room. The cabins on Celebrity are not designed nearly as well as on other ships. Especially the storage. The closet is tight to get into and it's narrow--we much prefer the open closets on Princess and Holland along with the open shelves/cubbies on those lines. On the Equinox there are 5 small, shallow drawers that hold very little as do the shelves in the bathroom. The bathroom is beautiful but the storage is lacking and the counter is very shallow. There is storage above the bed but you almost have to stand on the bed to see what's in there. The balcony was a very comfortable size and it was nice to have the foot stools. The food in the dining room was very good but nothing really amazing, but the buffet for lunch and the specialty restaurants were very good to excellent. The buffet has so many choices--custom made sandwiches, Asian, American hot dishes, Italian, Indian, Salad Bar and everything was very good. We did select dining and made reservations for the entire trip and never had to wait for a table and had excellent service. We were pleased to see that Celebrity still has wine stewards which Princess has done away with and they all provided fast, efficient service. We felt like Celebrity has cut back in the staffing of the bar waiters and bartenders (wonder if it's because of the Beverage Package that so many people are getting) If there's fewer staff then it takes longer to get a drink--less drinks?? We had to go up to the bar several times to get a drink because we didn't see a server, sometimes the bartender doubled as a waiter and several of the waiters acted like it was a chore to get a drink. We also noticed that the pool/bar staff were really slow or didn't care about picking up used plates, glasses, etc. around the pool. Some days were better than others so the service seemed to be really inconsistent. We felt like there were a lot of pool activities that were fun and entertaining and a lot of activities on board for people that didn't want to be spending time at the pool--lectures, cooking classes, dance classes, trivia,ships tours, etc. The Activities Manager Shawna was extremely enthusiastic and fun! The ships officers participated in a lot of the activities along with the guests. We were VERY DISAPPOINTED in the lack of music /entertainment in the bar areas before and after dinner. There was basically 2 forms of entertainment that alternated--one a Classical music duo-Auburn Duo and a guitarist, Canean Cox. The classical music I'm sure appealed to some but it was the only option many nights before dinner and it was a "put you to sleep" environment--and the guitarist was excellent but after 11 days of listening to his sets of about 10 songs it got old. Some livelier piano music or a trio is needed. One day they had the guitarist up on the lawn with wine and cheese which was so much fun but it was only offered one day. There was usually a band that played in the foyer for 45 min. that people danced to but they usually only played from 5:30-6:15 and we usually missed that dressing for dinner. This time we did all our shore excursions through the ship and for the most part were very happy with them. We did the fortress tour in Cartegena and the tour was fine except for the tour guide being a little hard to understand. We did the Panama Canal transit on a small boat which was excellent and interesting but a long day. It's an 1 1/2 hr. drive to get the small boat which held about 350 people and then you don't know how long it'll take to go through the locks because you have to wait to go through with a larger boat so it was a lot of sitting on the boat and waiting for our time to go through the locks, but it was worth it. The Costa Rica Rainforest Extravaganza was interesting and well done too. Also did some Catamaran Snorkeling in Belize and Cozumel which were fun and great beaches. Even with the few complaints the ship was beautiful, food was excellent and it was a great trip. I just think their service and musical entertainment is below other lines.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Our cruise was the first caribbean cruise after the transatlantic. We were advised in advance of the delay in boarding expected as a result of needing to clear customs and all related paperwork and inspections. As a result of this ... Read More
Our cruise was the first caribbean cruise after the transatlantic. We were advised in advance of the delay in boarding expected as a result of needing to clear customs and all related paperwork and inspections. As a result of this awareness and clear communication from Celebrity about this, we had no problem with waiting 2 hours before boarding. The public areas were beautiful and immaculately maintained. We enjoyed the artwork throughout the ship, though some pieces were rather bizarre. The Equinox didn't show it's age being over 5 years old. Food and service are central in importance to our cruising experience. Celebrity is still the best cruise line in these 2 areas that we have experienced. Having said that, we have noticed some things declining partially due to the larger ships and mass marketing. We loved the 1,2,3 Go program and thoroughly enjoyed the drink packages selected (I stayed with the Classic and my husband upgraded to Premium). The food selection and quality in the Ocean View restaurant was outstanding! On the other hand, the staff and service was below expectations. Many times the tables weren't cleared in a timely manner and we always had to go up to the bar ourselves to get a drink. It appears staff are overworked and lack motivation with gratuities being shared regardless of performance. Though Celebrity is pushing the alternative dining venues, we feel the MDR (included in our cruise price) should be ample and it was. Though the selections did seem to repeat veal and duck 3 times, there was always other options available to satisfy anyone's tastes. We found the food to be good to excellent regularly or replaced immediately if not cooked to order. Once again, our waiter and his assistant were overtired and overworked, but tried their best to provide excellence in service. The sommelier on the other hand started off well but declined substantially as the cruise went on. A few nights we weren't offered a 2nd glass of wine and when your glass is empty right before the entree arrives, this is unacceptable. Again, he was probably overworked with people with beverage packages, so Celebrity needs to increase bar staff in the MDR in particular to accomodate this new inclusive feature of beverage packages. Overall we were satisfied with the food and service received despite my suggestions for improvement. Cafe al Baccio was great! Good coffees, teas and pastries in a relaxing atmosphere (most days). When the weather was rainy, it became very congested and was very understaffed during these times with no seating for service, so lines became long to get a coffee to go. Didn't like the Gastro Bar at all. Smelled of mold and mildew in the middle area of the bar seating and bartenders had bad attitudes! Acted as if they didn't see you or want to serve you even when the place was empty. My husband enjoys beer, so wanted to try some new selections, but they were out of them. For fee food (like a $12 cheeseburger) seems a bad idea to me when food is always available on a cruise ship. The entertainment we saw was well done and other passengers who attended all the shows enjoyed them all. Didn't care for the guitarist playing throughout all ship areas, but especially at the pool and outside bar. Need a more upbeat "caribbean sound" like a steel band. Finally, after a fairly decent cruise with a few disappointments, the disembarkation process was horendous! We were sent paperwork early on in the cruise asking when we would like to get off the ship. I thought 3/12 hours prior to our flight was plenty of time to allow for a stress free disembarkation. How wrong I was! Celebrity didn't give any communications to help us anticipate this awful procedure. Never before have we experienced such chaos and waiting in lines for 2 1/2 hours. Needless to say, we were very concerned about missing our flight, so attempted twice to talk to a representative who said nothing could be done to assist us. Finally, I approached a man (who I thought was a supervisor--Kenneth Robinson) for help, and was reprimanded for getting out of the line. He was the furthest thing from customer service I have ever seen, being disrespectful and blatantly refusing to help in any way. What a horrible ending to an otherwise pleasant cruise. Celebrity needs to address this issue of Customer Service and organized plans for disembarkation. Now that everyone has to pass through customs, TSA screening etc. there should be separate lines based on flight times, nationalities etc. just like they do for physically challenged people. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
(1) I think this is the all time record for a ship sponsored excursion since the ship was scheduled to leave port at 6 PM but our group from Equinox (dozens) re-boarded the ship at 7:30 PM (ship was held for our return) The bottom line ... Read More
(1) I think this is the all time record for a ship sponsored excursion since the ship was scheduled to leave port at 6 PM but our group from Equinox (dozens) re-boarded the ship at 7:30 PM (ship was held for our return) The bottom line cause of this was being held up in the locks for 3 hours because the Panama Canal control is in the hands of Panama instead of the USA and they were holding 2 tour boats hostage for 3 hours (waiting for a big cargo ship paying big bucks to use the canal) under the premise that water is so precious that only big ships warrant dumping the umpteen million gallons of water (readily available) to allow ships to go thru locks. This is nothing less than an act of being held hostage by their country for their financial benefit and crapping on tourists with no regard whatsoever for their comfort (NO A/C ON CANAL CRUISE BOATS) and makes one wonder if someone with a medical emergency would receive help in time or just be written off as a casualty of Panama Canal misfortune. (2) X-Rails: Are you willing to endure hours of driving an oversized go cart? (no power steering - requires brute strength to turn these i.e. most women not strong enough) also, rather than needing a bandana to screen out dust on trail thru tropical forest - after torrential rains days before - this excursion involved driving thru huge deep mudpuddles (dozens and dozens one after another) BOTH WAYS on trail to and from Jade Caverns. On the trail many breakdowns (ours lost front wheel - mechanic guy was provided apparently because such things happen often - another one lost a back wheel) and for repeat off course incidents they must throw lever at rear bumper to get reverse - no gear controls in buggies. When they say "strenuous" with this excursion that's a gross understatement. (3) This was our FIRST one with Celebrity after having 8 cruises on Royal Caribbean sequentially moving up to ever larger ones as they were built: (biggest of 8) Explorer - Mariner - Freedom - Independence - Oasis - Allure - also did Sovereign 3 day with grandkids, and last year a 10 day on Vision of the Seas. We will likely go back to RCL and the new Solstice class ship with our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was my fifth Celebrity sailing, and I now have about 56 cruises in total. In the early 2000's Celebrity had Chef Michel Roux overseeing it's food operation for the main dining room. At that time, the quality of the food was ... Read More
This was my fifth Celebrity sailing, and I now have about 56 cruises in total. In the early 2000's Celebrity had Chef Michel Roux overseeing it's food operation for the main dining room. At that time, the quality of the food was unsurpassed, and there was no need for speciality dining venues. In 2007, I went on the Constellation, and I noticed the food quality drastically went downhill. As a result, I did not have high expectations for the Equinox. My expectations were right on target. The food in the Silhouette Dining Room started out excellent, and as the cruise went on, the food got progressively worse. One night, I sent three entrees back because the quality of the food was inedible. Even certain foods which were prepared under the direction of Michel Roux many years ago now served on this cruise did not taste as good. I did not try any of the specialty dining venues. May I mention, no sorbet served in between courses during dinner as done in the past. In addition, fellow passengers shared with me that Blu started out great and the quality of the food went downhill as the cruise progressed. The buffets were great though. Be prepared to pay for afternoon high tea. This used to be free. I will say the tea was worth the price and it was magnificent. I was totally surprised at the lack of entertainment on board. There was no string quartet, no bands or singers at the pool, no festive decorations on the deck for the salsa night deck party, and basically besides a jazz quartet, mostly piped in music. I will say the piped in music was great and an interesting mix, but the level of entertainment did not meet my expectations especially for the price paid. The service was top notch. My waiter, Francisco, is a seasoned veteran and an asset to Celebrity. Overall, I would give very high marks to the service on board and to Lorena, in Guest Relations. She was very helpful and she provided accurate answers to my questions. Unfortunately, we had three days of heavy rain in Central America, but the weather did clear up in Cozumel. The ports and tours were great. I had been to that part of the world before, but not to Cartagena. I really enjoyed Cartagena and the old town is so beautiful and interesting. The passengers on board were wonderful. A great group of folks from all over the world. I had a blast chatting and laughing with them, sharing cruise stories. Conceirge Class is so not worth the price, The flowers that were delivered did not look fresh. The canapes were awful. The toiletries were scant, even if you asked for more. I would not spend the extra money again on that category in the future. Embarkation was a breeze. Debarkation was awful in Fort Lauderdale. It took about two hours to debark with hardly any porters or customs agents so it was a very exhausting struggle with undue stress. I was worried about making my flight which I allowed plenty of time. Fortunately, I did make the return flight home. Overall, I would give this cruise 4 stars. I had a fantastic time. Celebrity needs to improve on the quality of the food served in the main dining room and on the entertainment. I hope this review was helpful. Happy Sailing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
By way of introduction, my wife and I are both 60ish and avid cruising enthusiasts, having gone on over 20 cruises in the past 27 years (RCCL, Princess, Azamara, HAL, NCL), this being our sixth cruise with Celebrity. In 2011 we had a ... Read More
By way of introduction, my wife and I are both 60ish and avid cruising enthusiasts, having gone on over 20 cruises in the past 27 years (RCCL, Princess, Azamara, HAL, NCL), this being our sixth cruise with Celebrity. In 2011 we had a wonderful 12 day cruise on the Mediterranean with the Equinox' sister ship, the Solstice, so we were very much looking forward to this Central American cruise, having knowledge of the ship and certain expectations as to food and service. I can accept the fact that service in general is not what it once was, and that specifically the cruise ship industry is mired in competition and oversaturation, with escalating costs, and that finding quality staff to service the hundreds of currently floating cruise ships is becoming increasingly difficult, but I don't understand how Celebrity could deteriorate so significantly in just a few years. If half as much effort was put into food preparation and meeting the expectations of their passenger guests, as was put into promoting future cruise bookings, selling ship sponsored shore excursions, up-selling services/ drink packages and specialty restaurants, etc., then Celebrity would have no competition in the cruise industry. The Equinox is a beautiful ship, well laid out, comfortable and spotless, with some unique features like the mid-ship Atrium with 8 glass elevators and an open view to every floor from the Lobby on the 3rd to the 15th floor (no 13th floor), and the tranquil glass enclosed Aqua-Spa Solarium for adults only, with dancing waters and serene music, although when the hot tubs fill with people yelling over the jets, the tranquillity is lost. The common areas are modestly appointed but modern, deck space is nicely designed with plenty of lounge chairs in full sun or shade, even on ship days, although the chairs are tightly packed and sometimes difficult to get on and off without rubbing thighs with your neighbors. Embarkation was relatively painless, we arrived just after noon and it took about 30 minutes and were met with champagne as we boarded (as per tradition), then we proceeded to explore the ship which we were familiar with and ended up in our cabin, with our luggage arriving around 4pm. The cabins are fairly plain but an adequate size, comparably speaking, with only a few drawers but large closet and storage over and under the bed; the large flat screen TV has about 20 channels, mostly devoted to ship stuff (excursions, shopping, views, amenities, etc.) and news channels, although there are dozens of free On-Demand movies and lots of music. TV was better than on most other ships. The veranda is small with two chairs and a table, but all that you need for breakfast coffee or late day cocktails. The cooler is packed with expensive beverages, which we removed and stuck in a drawer. The bathroom is quite roomy and perfectly laid out. The muster drill took longer than on most ships and was inconvenient to get to and from, but in light of recent cruising events it made you feel more secure knowing that its being taken seriously. As most readers of Cruise Critic are already familiar with cruising and only wish to confirm their expectations or want to hear the negatives and criticisms, I will not disappoint. On the six days that we were in ports (Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Colon/Panama, Costa Rica, Belize and Cozumel) we arrived about 7am and were rudely awakened with announcements on the PA system advising of disembarkation, tender service, shore excursion meeting places, etc. This went on every 15 minutes, and in 3 or 4 languages. If you were an early riser and going on ship sponsored excursions, then this was useful, but if you had no plans or enjoy sleeping in when on vacation and leisurely getting up to coffee by 9 or later, this was aggravating. The passenger makeup was probably 40% N. American, 40% European (mostly Brits, French, German, Italian) and 20% Hispanic and Asian, and the average age was well over 70 (which explains the Catholic priest on board providing daily services and probably reading last rites). There were also more scooters and wheelchairs on board than I've ever seen in one place. So the ship tried to be all things to all people and accommodate everyone's physical, ethnic and culinary needs, which may be necessary to compete in the cruise market, but it quickly became obvious that Celebrity should probably try to do less and do it well. Unfortunately on port days there were problems with disembarkation by tender as priority went to those having booked shore excursions through the ship and everyone else had to wait until late morning to get off. There was also very little information provided by the ship as to the ports of call. On every cruise we've been on, guests are provided with maps of the city or island, points of interest, history, geography, beaches, shopping areas, local customs, currency exchange and culture of the people. On this cruise you were provided only with ship sponsored shore excursion info and maps of the stores approved by the ship for buying Tanzanite and Rolex watches. As we have been disappointed repeatedly by ship sponsored tours (a sucker born every minute) and have no interest in paying a few hundred dollars for bus tours to see monkeys in trees, turtle farms, banana plantations or swim with dolphins, we were left to our own devices to get off the ship, find taxis, arrange our tours, find shopping areas and beaches. Celebrity needs to be less self serving and consider their guest's interests and needs. If I were more cynical I'd say that Celebrity goes out of their way to force passengers into conforming to Celebrity's way or the highway; and make independent activity by passengers both on and off the ship as difficult as possible so that you just follow the course of least resistance as dictated by Celebrity. As another example, the Main Dining Room was only open early for 1½ hours for breakfast and for 1½ for lunch (not open at all on port days), so the only alternative was the Oceanview Cafe, which was a zoo, only with less appealing food. So for those that sleep in or don't want to formally sit and order food, other than a few bistro type cafes, the only real choice for breakfast and lunch was the buffet, which had terrible traffic flow with five large stations in the middle of a 2,000 sq. ft. cafeteria. The offerings at each station were totally disjointed; the hot food was at either end and the drinks and coffee were on either side (and at the far end of the cafeteria by the outdoor patio, which was nice but very windy at times). People wandered aimlessly from station to station while banging into each other and staff, which seemed equally lost in the cafeteria. I've never experienced such chaos while dining, or had to duck out of the way of staff. There was an incredible variety of food in the Oceanview, but none of it was noteworthy. It should not be that difficult to tell the difference between a cheese blintz, a cannoli and a stuffed manicotti, however..... For the herds of "Biggest Loser" candidates on board I'm certain that the food was perfect. The plates were huge, with large edges which allowed one to pile on 4-5 inches of food without dropping a crumb, but for those that have a pallet rather than just a gullet, most of the food was bland, boring or inedible, and what was tasty usually ran out early. The cafeteria service was another problem, as you would order an omelette and stand there for 10 minutes... then stand in line for 5 more minutes to get toast while your omelette got cold.... then you'd look around for other items while everything got cold. After all that you would look around for 10 minutes to find a clean table to eat at. My wife and I never ate at the same time, as we would get to the cafeteria, get drinks, find a table then one of us would get our food while the other held on to the table, and then alternate getting food while the other ate by themselves. The Eggs Benedict were poached one at a time in a large pot while 10 people waited, rather than poaching 6 eggs at a time. On one occasion my wife waited for several minutes at a carving station while the three serving staff behind the counter scratched their lottery tickets and joked around. These continuous inconveniences eventually forced you to eat the cold scrambled eggs or pick up dried sandwiches rather than wait in lines. Cafeterias are never enviable dining alternatives however other cruise lines make every effort to improve the experience; there is usually a flow pattern or several lines with organized plating and at the end of the line staff usually take your plates and lead you to seating with or without other people, as you wish. It was quick, efficient and organized. Here, however, people in scooters were trying to drive and balance their plates while serving themselves then trying to find a table. This obviously encouraged them to order room service or get others to find food for them which was unfortunate, as the staff was of no help. Celebrity really missed the boat here......pun intended. The MDR was better in quality but very much hit and miss. On my first occasion I really enjoyed both the salmon and the NY strip, then on later occasions the same entrees were tough or dry and inedible. Portions were ridiculous as one person's entree looked like an appetizer while the other was enough to feed a family. You could not tell from the descriptions and every night everyone around our table wished they had ordered someone else's dish. Our waiter was very nice and tried really hard but his recommendations at dinner were nonsense and obviously parroted what he was told to say, probably making suggestions based on what was most plentiful in the kitchen that day. Another problem is that the Equinox has Early and Late seating for dinner as well as Select Dining (anytime), which doesn't work and adds to the chaos. It should either be 2 sittings or open seating for everyone. We had requested Select Dining ,which we didn't get, with Late Seating for two as a second choice. On our first night we didn't have our table assignment card with us so rather than look it up the Maitre'd just sat us at an open table with two other couples. On the next night we went to our assigned table only to find that it was a table for 10 with only the two of us sitting there, which looked ridiculous and made us stick out. Upon complaining we were moved the next night to a table for two next to the front doors, while dozens of other tables around us were empty. Nobody really cared, although the staff kept asking us daily if we were pleased with our new table assignment as though they had done us a great favour. Service in general was just mailed in, done by checklist, and not sincere or consistent. The specialty restaurants were definitely better. The Tuscan Grill had some atmosphere and the food and service were of better quality, although not sure that it was worth the additional $70 for the two of us, as the calamari appetizer was chewy and the meal took almost three hours with half hour breaks between courses. For this reason we cancelled our dinner at the Murano Restaurant which we enjoyed on the Solstice, as it was an additional $90 and we knew that the tableside cooking would have taken 3-4 hours and our reservations were for 8:30. Once again Celebrity appears to be trying to clearly distinguish between the terrible food and service in the cafeteria, the mediocre and inconsistent food and service in the MDR and the clearly superior food and service in the specialty restaurants which are what a cruise dining experience should be, but for an ever escalating cost. A less significant disappointment was the ports of call, which were somewhat pointless. Grand Cayman is lovely, but we arrived on a day with 6 other cruise ships, which made getting around difficult, the beach was packed and shopping was impossible. Cartagena was very hot and busy and we laughed at the ship excursions, so took a taxi to the Old City, which was nothing more than a tourist trap, with hundreds of small tacky shops with aggressive street merchants and pushy jewellery salespeople. It was funny watching the 25-30 horse drawn carriages single file in a smelly parade around a few city block with our fellow passengers paying $100 for this pointless ride. Colon is a run down and busy port city so you can't get out to the Panama Canal fast enough. It is unfortunate that the cruise doesn't go into the canal and Gutan Lake rather than park in Colon. Costa Rica and Belize are very poor third world countries, yet attractive in some aspects, but not much to see or do other than zip lining, which might not have been the best choice for this geriatric crowd. Cozumel was OK but the International Port was several miles south of the main port and city centre and somewhat inconvenient. The entertainment was average for a cruise and fine for the audience, with the one exception being an all Chinese band called Southside, which was just exceptional. They played throughout the ship at different times, with two incredible vocalists who did everything from Country to Hispanic melodies, with a special talent for Soft Rock and Jazz. The disappointment in the entertainment was the Theatre shows which were mostly held at 7pm and 9pm. This meant that late seating in the MDR forced you to watch the 7pm show so you had to get ready for dinner at 6pm. Once again it was of benefit for Celebrity not to have 8pm and 10pm shows like every other cruise ship, thus forcing night-lifers to spend money at either the ship bars or the Casino after dinner. Clever on their part but very transparent. Disembarkation was a nightmare and put the cherry on our disappointments, taking almost 4 hours as Immigration was understaffed, blaming the government sequester problems. I believe that the actual cruise price was of good value however everything on this trip was an up-sell or add on expense. The ship sponsored tours were far too expensive for what you got and capitalized on an older clientele which was nervous about travelling on their own yet wanted to see some sites in each of the ports. The alcoholic drinks were very expensive in most bars at $10-12 as was the coffee shop, Cafe al Baico, which had delicious pastries and desserts for free but unless you bought a $5 nothing special coffee, you were ignored by the servers. With a couple of drinks per day and a bottle of wine every second night and the gratuities, be prepared for an added $800-$1,000 on your tab, without any shore excursions. One final tip -- don't buy anything in the on board shops during the first half of the cruise as everything goes on sale by the end of the cruise..... Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
After two cruises within the year on RCCL large ships which left us fatigued from all the activities we decided to take it down a notch with Celebrity. In terms of a entertainment we found it many steps downward but service and food were ... Read More
After two cruises within the year on RCCL large ships which left us fatigued from all the activities we decided to take it down a notch with Celebrity. In terms of a entertainment we found it many steps downward but service and food were definite steps upward. This was our fourth time on Celebrity having taken a 7 day cruise to Bermuda and two eleven day cruises previously. We chose Aquaclass instead of a suite due to only corner aft sky suites available at booking. While many love this location we do not share the affinity for the location. Our cabin 1523 located forward ship and under the gym and spa was perfect for us and one we wouldn't hesitate to book again. We found the cabin pretty narrow and storage a challenge but we made it work. However, the only benefits of Aquaclass I consider rave worthy are the shower and Blu dining room. Since we consume lots of water and told that bottled water would be provided daily in aqua cabins we skipped checking in our usually duffel bag full of Deer Park. The ship provided water but it was the reverse osmosis water served anywhere on the ship and rebottled in recycled brand name bottles which was disappointing. The dining room Blu isn't so much about the food as it is the size of the dining room--a more intimate atmosphere alleviating us the need to book a specialty restaurant. Our shipmates on the cruise were pretty mature with seemingly a high number requiring physical assistance or scooters. This cruise also had a high percentage of non U.S. residents that were engaging an quite friendly. Diners in Blu were also very friendly and we often engaged in conversation with the tables in close proximity. This made for the entertainment that was sorely missing on this cruise. I can only conclude that Celebrity directed monetary resources to the staff and services and not to entertainment. New Year's night was the most exciting with free champagne to toast even before midnight. Not to be missed on Equinox is the Molecular Bar where the bartenders are mixologists with drink prices of $12.00. We found the bartenders and staff at the Lawn Club great but I am convinced the alcohol is watered down-probably due to the drink packages available. Gym and equipment also get high marks. We tried our hand at the Casino out of sheer boredom and lost like most passengers reported. Overall ship service was absolutely great provided by a staff that appeared fairly relaxed and extremely courteous. Special shout outs to the staff of Blu and Celebrity's "Loyalty Ambassador." Weather in Dec-Jan was perfect and we made all the ports. In each of the ports we acquired tours from the locals with no major regrets. Cozumel- Been there done that so many times I wish it wasn't a stop. Hubby took advantage of this being the first cruise stop and went into "town" for a full body massage for $50.00 while I gem window shopped. Massage suite was air conditioned with only two massage tables/areas. It apparently IS the place to dump spouse to allow peaceful assessment of the stones. Costa Maya - Somehow we've missed this port on other cruises but we really enjoyed it. Recommend skipping the golf cart rental(60.00 for two hours) walk outside the gate and pay $2.00 each for a taxi to the beach area. Many beach cafes where a chair/umbrella and internet access is free with purchase of food/beverage. Beach great-bathrooms clean what else could you want? Many passengers stayed in the port area to swim with the dolphins and shop the vendors in the area-very Americanized. Costa Rica was also a great port and the place I considered the best for shopping on the entire cruise. Locals at the port "tent straw market" are not aggressive and are very courteous. This is the port for coffee, massages, manicures/pedicures (ladies take your favorite color) and other touristy items such as T-Shirts. Prices are considerable higher at other ports. In Colon, we were able to tour the Gatun locks, tour Colon the city, drive to Panama City visiting the old and new cities, and a stop for shopping on the way back to the ship. Negotiated cost was $150.00 for two. A highlight was that our tour guide drove us to two additional locks and across/back the two main huge canal bridges which gave us a great view of the canal in both directions. I recommend skipping the taxi "cartel" that will accost you in the terminal and instead find one of the "red polo shirts" tour guides at the bottom of the escalators. Initially we negotiated a tour to Miraflores Locks and Panama City with a taxi service paying the first $35.00 to the cartel with $115.00 to be paid to the driver upon completion. The cartel then will appoint a driver for you. However in our case the driver did not wanted more than $115.00 for his services. After arguing with the cartel and then telling us that he needed $5.00 more we terminated the arrangement, received our initial deposit back, and obtain the services of a "red shirt tour guide." Cartagena- $20.00 per person bus tour acquired from vendor. A mistake--other passengers will not respect the meet-up time and therefore some sites are skipped. Also the tour guide's main job is to get you into an assigned jewelry store to purchased oil dipped resin filled emeralds. Street vendors are really, really aggressive and are all selling the same made in China souvenirs. Picked up Columbian coffee and costume jewelry at cruise port. Internet Cafe available at port for $3.00/hr. Caymans - Had the privilege of tendering ashore to join the passengers from four other boats in port. I've always wondered why this is such a major cruise port. Bought $7.00/bottle beer at local cafe, taxi to Seven Mile Beach and back, and very amused at jeweler trying to convince me to purchase a "yellow diamond" without proper papers for 8 grand. I rewarded his efforts by buying a $25.00 rainbow topaz that I set in an empty setting. I spent days viewing the "yellow emeralds" better known as golden beryl onboard the ship--didn't purchase-but the salesperson offered to buy us champagne to think about it. She also visited us at the Molecular Bar to inform us we only had two hours left to make the purchase. Cruise recommended for those whose prime objective is relaxation and can self entertain. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This will probably be a long review so here goes. The cruise on the Celebrity Equinox was my 60th birthday present from my husband. We are both retired and it was just the two of us going on the cruise. We have not cruised a lot. ... Read More
This will probably be a long review so here goes. The cruise on the Celebrity Equinox was my 60th birthday present from my husband. We are both retired and it was just the two of us going on the cruise. We have not cruised a lot. Previously we have been on the NCL Gem, NCL Epic, Emerald Princess and NCL Dawn (sans DH). We flew into Fort Lauderdale a day early on February 12th which was a good idea since our flights were delayed and we missed our connecting flight. We stayed at the Best Western Plus in Dania Beach and I would highly recommend it for pre-cruise. We took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port at 11:00 AM and the boarding process was fast and painless. We arrived at the ship at around 11:30 and we were on board with a glass of champagne within 15 minutes. We were in cabin # 1515 which was on the port side on deck 11. It was an Aqua Class cabin which was about 8 cabins from the front of the ship. Of course our cabin was not available when we boarded so we headed to the Cafe (buffet) on Deck 14. I really liked the way the buffet area was laid out as it was easy to get around and there were no line-ups. There seemed to be plenty of seating and we never had a problem finding a table. I can't say enough about the staff and crew on the ship. By the third day the chap taking the orders for eggs/omelettes knew my name! Once we had eaten our cabin was ready so we headed down to have a look. CABIN: I was not very impressed with the cabin considering how much you pay for "Aqua" class. Basically it is a regular balcony cabin with a few perks. You get a bowl of fruit every day and there is a bottle of sparkling wine/glasses on the first day. Later they will put some flowers in your cabin and they stay for the rest of the cruise. My biggest complaint was the lack of storage. There were five drawers which were not large and a closet. Over the bed there was a long cabinet with doors and one shelf. It was not convenient to get at things up there but that was pretty much where you had to put a lot of your clothes. For an 11 day cruise the drawers were pretty much full of socks, underwear and bathing suits. We did not plan to attend any of the "Formal" nights so all our clothes were t-shirts, casual pants/slacks and shorts. The majority of these were not going to be hung on coat hangers. I would suggest that Celebrity take of their closet space and install a set of open shelves for more storage. The bathroom had lots of storage although I don't know why. The storage cupboards were only about 8 inches wide but they went from the ceiling to the floor so there was lots of room for shaving gear and make-up, etc. The shower had both an adjustable shower head with hose and six individual nozzles that would spray your body if you turned on that option. The nozzles were adjustable and felt great if you had sore muscles. The downside is the advertised "seat" for women to use. I was very pleased to hear about this at first because I was not looking forward to trying to shave my legs in a shower. But there is NO seat! There is a round metal bar (which is about 1 foot long) set into the corner of the shower about 18 inches from the floor. From the corner of the shower (think triangle) to the center of the bar is about 8 inches! I tried sitting on this and believe me it is not possible unless you are 10 years old. The best you could do is to use it as a foot rest to raise you leg while shaving. I suppose it was better than nothing at all but not by much. The ship itself was beautiful with very tasteful furnishings and colour schemes. Everything was spotless although there were several areas of carpet that looked like they had been cleaned and then did not match the rest of the area. The Lawn Club was totally unique and we did get to play croquet, bocce and bean bag toss on various days. The grass was very yellow and worn in a lot of areas. On the second last day of the cruise they tore up all the grass and were in the process of laying all new sods so the next bunch of passengers would have fresh new grass. There were several things that we really liked about this ship. One was the Relaxation Room which was at the end of our hallway on Deck 11 and only for Aqua Class and Suite passengers as well as Spa customers. This room had about 10 single beds to lie on and it faced the front of the ship and was all glass windows so you had a great view and lots of peace and quiet. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Solarium on Deck 12 which is the enclosed pool area for adults only. It is closed off from the two main (outdoor) pools and the stage where they play music so it is a lovely place to relax with soothing music and a very beautiful water feature. The pool in this area is only 4'9" deep so you don't have to be able to swim to enjoy it. The rest of the area is filled with very comfortable padded loungers. There is also a small cafe area here which served all healthy foods and snacks during the day. Hot tubs: another failing on the part of Celebrity. There were two of these in the Solarium and four of them on the main pool deck. Instead of having jets of water these hot tubs had bubbling air coming out of them. The problem with this is that the tubs are very full and so the water is nearly up to your chin. With the water being churned with bursting air bubbles you were constantly getting water splashed in your eyes and face. Since the water is full of chemicals to reduce bacteria, etc. I was not impressed getting it in my eyes. The only way to get around this was to sit in the hot tub and not turn it on. I did not use it after my first experience. We booked all our own excursions in Cozumel, Roatan and Grand Cayman and did not take any excursions in Panama, Columbia or Costa Rica. A note to anyone who is planning to take this itinerary: the "docks" in Colon, Panama and Cartagena, Columbia are at container piers. The ship docked at 8 AM in Cartagena and we were able to see the pier from our balcony. We watched in awe as FIFTY white tour buses arrived and parked in a row on the pier for all the excursion customers. The temperature in Cartagena was listed as 99F on the day we were there. We walked to the small shopping area which was at the end of the pier and to our right. There were parrots, flamingos and monkeys outside in the gardens and shopping inside. However there were too few clerks and I ended up putting my purchases back and leaving because of the lines of people and the slowness of the staff. The warning is for people coming back from these bus excursions. I am not sure of the time but I will say 3 PM. FOURTEEN buses arrived back at the pier at the same time so that between 400-500 passengers had to line up to get back on board the ship and go through their security. There was only one gangway open with two lines of staff so all these passengers were left standing in 95F + heat and sun for quite a long time before being able to get back on board. Celebrity should really consider setting up some canopies for shade. I would suggest taking a lot of water and possibly an umbrella for shade. FOOD: - Being in Aqua class gave us the advantage of being able to eat at Blu which is special restaurant with healthier selections. We ate here twice (once for my birthday) and it was not to my taste. We both like plain food with not a lot of spices and sauces. The food here (and in the MDR) is more gourmet and not for us. We did have one meal in the Main Dining Room and it was completely full so the volume of people talking along with all the staff gave me a headache! The staff was excellent but we ate the majority of our meals in the buffet on deck 14. The food was very good at breakfast and lunch but very skimpy at supper time. Apparently most people who cruise with Celebrity prefer the fancier food in the main dining room and the specialty restaurants so there are very few people at the buffet at supper time. We didn't starve but the carving station often had chicken or roast pork at dinner. The hamburgers at the Pool Grill were wonderful. I would definitely recommend trying them and there was ice cream in the buffet all day until 10 PM. My husband enjoyed the pizza and he is very fussy about his pizza. We did have room service one day for breakfast and that was a wonderful treat. Everything was properly hot or cold and our room attendant called us beforehand to tell us that the meal was on its way. I do want to make a special mention of our room attendant, Rhodalyn, who was just amazing; friendly, helpful and took care of every request within minutes. ENTERTAINMENT: - We only went to two shows and both were comedians. Both were very good and family-friendly. There was an a cappella singing group that were excellent and performed often in the atrium on Deck 3. The highlight of the cruise for my husband was the hot-glass blowing exhibitions on Deck 15. There were two men and one woman who each created a piece of glass art during each show. It was fascinating and very informative. Some of the pieces are auctioned off at the end of the cruise for charity although the other pieces are not sold. CASINO: I am not a big gambler so I take a certain amount of money to play the slot machines whenever I cruise. I am not sure if I am paranoid but I will mention this to anyone who is interested. I played four different slot machines (only the 1 cent and 2 cent ones) and on the second last night of the cruise I was ahead by $31.00 which I had in a slot coupon. On the final night of the cruise it seemed (??) that ALL the slot machines had been re-set NOT to pay out any money. On the machines that I was regularly winning on I was getting no special bonuses and I tried all four of the machines I had regularly been playing and eventually lost my $31.00. This was no big thing but I will make sure NOT to gamble on any cruise ship on the final night from now on. The ship had a lovely card room with lots of games and puzzles and a beautiful two storey library with large, comfortable chairs. My only complaint about this was that one wall of each of these rooms was open to the central atrium so that when music was being played in the atrium it could be heard clearly in both the card room and the library. Personally, when I am playing cards or sitting down to enjoy a good book, I don't want loud music annoying me. LOBSTER night: a big complaint. We knew when we booked this cruise that there were "formal" nights and that didn't bother us because we normally did not eat in the MDR anyway. Our first cruise was NCL and we really enjoy and are used to "freestyle cruising" where you do not have to dress up for anything unless you want to. We had packed clothes to be "smart casual" so that we could eat in the MDR or the specialty restaurants if we chose to. However, on the two nights when lobster was on the menu in the MDR (and nowhere else) you HAD TO dress formally to get into the dining room. So basically we were denied this delicacy based on our choice to not pack suits, ties, dress shirts, dress shoes and an evening gown, etc. I even checked with Customer Relations to find out if we could eat in the MDR if we dressed in "smart casual" and I was told "no". DIS-EMBARKATION - This was very well managed and we were given luggage tags for a 9:15 departure based on the time of our flight out of Fort Lauderdale. We walked off the ship and were able to quickly retrieve our luggage and head to customs. THAT was a real headache. The line was very, very long and very slow. Apparently this had something to do with the Customs officers having computers and also having to use a fingerprint scanner on any passengers from Europe. Once through that we were outside and into a taxi within minutes. My husband and I will not be cruising with Celebrity again and that is a strictly personal choice. It is a more expensive cruise line and more formal that we like. We took this cruise because of the itinerary and the special occasion of my 60th birthday. We have yet to try Royal Caribbean and Carnival so those will be the next on our list and after that we will be going on the newest NCL ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I will try to be fair and state the good with the bad. First of all check-in was a breeze. It was very organized and our room was ready when we got on the ship at 1:30ish. We were greeted with a champagne/mimosa welcome drink. A ... Read More
I will try to be fair and state the good with the bad. First of all check-in was a breeze. It was very organized and our room was ready when we got on the ship at 1:30ish. We were greeted with a champagne/mimosa welcome drink. A non-alcoholic drink would have been nice for those who don't drink alcohol. The ship is by far the most beautiful and cleanest ship we have been on. The rooms were not disappointing. However, a hand-held shower head would have been appreciated. I understand the aqua class had them. We were only the concierge class and didn't rate one. The room stewards were excellent. We had a balcony and it was a nice size. Since we were concierge class, we always had fresh fruit, fresh flowers, and canapes. We never wanted for ice, it was always there. The on-board activities were many and varied. There was something for everyone. I especially enjoyed the scrap booking classes with free kits! The guest speakers were also interesting. However, I would have hated to be a kid on the ship. They offered kids club, but no pool was kid-friendly. I think they would have been bored. The shows at night had talented people, but for me and my husband they just didn't click. I got bored every night before the show ended. Once you saw the acrobatics do their contortions, you didn't really want to see it a second time because it bordered on being freakish. So where did Celebrity falter? In the dining room. I am just going to be honest. It is the worse service we have ever had. I don't blame the poor waiters. You never saw them. They were obviously busy else where. Celebrity really needs to look at this problem. Every one we talked to expressed the same complaint. We finally moved to another table and the service improved, but, it never met Carnival's standard. Another review called it robotic, and I would have to agree. It just never felt comfortable or sincere. And the food, I would take Carnival or Princess food over it any day! On lobster night they offered a half lobster. I think that is insulting. It wasn't good enough to request another one. They drip the butter over the meat instead of having a small bowl for butter. And the lobster like everything else had some weird sauce on it that to me wrecked the flavor of the lobster. If you love lamb, you would have loved the Equinox because it was on the menu every night. I am not a lamb lover, so I had a hard time finding a dish to order. This is the first cruise that the buffet food beat out the dining room food in taste. We will probably try Celebrity again, but only if it is the cheapest! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Ship was beautiful, staff very friendly & accommodating. I use a walker & found it difficult to open & keep door open to enter cabin over the sill. Inside the cabin I had to fold the walker (3 wheels) & store it behind the ... Read More
Ship was beautiful, staff very friendly & accommodating. I use a walker & found it difficult to open & keep door open to enter cabin over the sill. Inside the cabin I had to fold the walker (3 wheels) & store it behind the drapes as the passageway was very narrow. Purposely taking late dining to relax after going ashore, we found that most shows were changed to have the late sitting passengers see the show while the early seating passengers ate. Therefore, we missed most of the shows. Another reminder for all- If you have booked to take a cruise on a new ship that is coming into port for the first time, as was the Equinox (this year it will be the Silhouette), don't rush to get to the ship early as we had to hang around until 2:00 PM in order to board as the Coast Guard had to do its thorough inspection of the Ship. The food & elegant of service was not up to par as it had been on the Millennium in 2006, nor Azamara Journey in 2009. However, I love Celebrity & am taking the October 10th, 12 Day Holy Land Cruise on The Silhouette and remaining on Board for the Transatlantic Cruise into Port Liberty, NJ Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I do think the Equinox has many good things about it. For instance, I very much like their buffet upstairs and many areas are attractive. That said, I find a number of things less pleasing. 1.) They have given 3/4 of one deck to alternate ... Read More
I do think the Equinox has many good things about it. For instance, I very much like their buffet upstairs and many areas are attractive. That said, I find a number of things less pleasing. 1.) They have given 3/4 of one deck to alternate restaurants. That leaves less room for lounges and theaters. I find this increase in alternate restaurants to be unsettling. 2.) The main restaurant service was very slow. We were stuck in the far corner and thus got no air at all. We were sweating all through dinner every night. I also found it odd that there was the exact same breads for dinner every night. No variation. Just as there is almost the exact same food in the buffet every day for lunch and dinner. Exact same breads there, too. 3.) The theater is not user friendly. Many seats have blocked or partially blocked views. There is simply no place to set a drink. all you have is a hole in the arm of your chair and if your drink if there, your arm can't be. Due to the somewhat small size of the chairs, that's not good news. The entertainment was lackluster all but 3 nights. 4.) There is an appalling lack of storage in the balcony cabins. I hate those tiny boards jutting out from the wall that are supposed to be substitutes for night tables. They are not. There are only a few small drawers and ours were so hot from the adjacent refrigerator that I was nervous about putting some things in them. There was some storage overhead but not enough. Likewise, I found the closet to be smaller than on many ships. 5.) All that grass takes up space that could have been used for deck chairs. The only uses for it that I could see was horseshoes, bocce, and croquet-- not exactly hot entertainment in most people's books. Likewise, the glass show was been there; done that. Is there anyone over 10 that has not seen glass blown? 6.) The cabins were hot during most of the day. Thankfully, they cooled off at night. Frankly, I did not like the design of the ship. The art was rather avant-garde and much of it was just dumb. I missed the usual large atrium. To me the center of the ship looks like an Embassy Suites. Most of the ports on this cruise were very interesting. Cartagena was lovely, though blast furnace hot. Colon was filthy but there was much to see of interest in the environs. The Embera Indian village was great, as was the canal. Limon and Roatan were also of interest. I always like shopping in Cozumel, so that was fine. But Grand Cayman is a bore. Read Less
Sail Date November 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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