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Sail Date: September 2011
We enjoyed a 10 night cruise on this beautiful ship. We have sailed Celebrity before, once on Century and twice on Millenium. We wondered how Millenium could be over-shadowed, but we found out on Equinox! Although she is a massive ship, ... Read More
We enjoyed a 10 night cruise on this beautiful ship. We have sailed Celebrity before, once on Century and twice on Millenium. We wondered how Millenium could be over-shadowed, but we found out on Equinox! Although she is a massive ship, she never seemed overcrowded. We also found it relatively easy to find our way around, as there is a similarity in the layout of Celebrity ships. This ship is immaculate, we found no fault. Our cabin was spacious and the bathroom larger than we have found on cruise ships, with a good sized shower (with proper door, no flimsy curtain!)and plenty of storage for all our bits and pieces. Slight problem with the wardrobe in the cabin being close to the bed, made it a little awkward, but a very minor point. The balcony was a good size, with comfortable furniture. We made good use of it, as the weather was wonderful! Our cabin stewardess (Odeta from Lithuania) and her assistant to be really attentive. Every need was met and more! We chose second sitting for dinner, and found no complaints. We found the wait-staff, Arslan and his assistant Paulo to be polite and efficient, as well as entertaining! We had most agreeable table companions in Peter and Julie, Reg and Joy,and really enjoyed their company! None of us felt the need to use the speciality restaurants, as we were all well satisfied with what was served to us in the main dining room, the quality of the food was outstanding. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Ocean View Restaurant, and were impressed with how well organised it was. The absence of trays made for less of a "canteen" feel, and for anyone who needed assistance to get their food to the table, there was always someone around to help. The choice of food was amazing, and from plain eaters to those with a more sophisticated palate, everyone was catered for. The entertainment on board was more or less what we had experienced before with Celebity. West-end type shows, cirq-de-soleil type acts, the usual A Capello group, a very talented latin singer and guitarist, etc. The Celebity resident orchestra were outstanding. We enjoyed most of it. The only thing I would say was that the theatre performance for the second-seating dining was before dinner at 7 pm and we found this a bit awkward. If I recall correctly, on the other ships it was after dinner, and we felt we would have been happier with that. Small point only. We like to dance, and found the music excellent around the ship. The ports of call were interesting. New to us were Sicily, Turkey and the greek island of Myknos. We tend to do our sightseeing independently, but there were plently of organised trips to be had, both from the ship and to be organised at the port. One small piece of advice, if you take the local bus from Kusadasi to Ephesus, be aware that you will be dropped off 4 km from the top of the site. We found this out to our cost, but happily shared a horse and trap to the top of the site with a young spanish couple. The walk back to the bus stop from the bottom of the site was downhill, and only 1 km, so it worked out fine! Taxi will take you to the top then wait for you at the bottom. The site is breathtaking. We found the other ports interesting, and if you have not been in this area before, well worth the trouble. We would not hesitate to recommend this beautiful ship to you. You will be looked after to the highest standard from the moment you board until the moment you disembark. Nothing is too much trouble, and as we kept being told, anything you want, you only have to ask! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Embarkation was the usual slow laborious process but, with patience and good will, we were processed, received our cruise cards and made our way onboard. Disembarkation went very smoothly and we found our luggage very quickly. First ... Read More
Embarkation was the usual slow laborious process but, with patience and good will, we were processed, received our cruise cards and made our way onboard. Disembarkation went very smoothly and we found our luggage very quickly. First impressions. Magnificent ship. The ship still has the "new" smell, the carpets are all springy underfoot. Everything exudes superb build quality. The public areas are all beautiful, ship extremely well laid out. Our concierge stateroom on deck 10 was ready and waiting for us. Everything worked perfectly. Our steward introduced herself to us and we received perfect service from her and her team throughout our cruise. Sun loungers - plenty of availability around the ship. Loved the fact that they all had cushions. Food - we dined every night in the main dining room. I've seen various negative reviews about this, but, in our opinion the food and service were first class. We never felt any need to visit any of the specialist restaurants. Very nice to see properly prepared kippers and smoked haddock in the MDR at breakfast. The Ocean View Cafe had a good assortment of food at breakfast and lunch but evening? Oh dear very disappointing it just closed up. After the evening show we would make our way there expecting to find coffee and pastries. Were they there? no they were not, but, plenty of other disappointed people who, obviously, were there with the same intension. The ship needs a proper pastry chef. It pains me to say it, but, I have experienced much better deserts and evening catering on Princess and RCL. Oh yes, and please can the bar staff be instructed in the art of making an Irish Coffee. The one I received was AWFUL. It seemed like it was just a latte with a shot of whisky and SQUIRTY cream from an aerosol on the top. Ships crew - unfailingly superb. Watching them manoeuvre such a large ship in and out of port, I was full of admiration for the skills of the captain and the bridge crew. On board entertainment - all musicians and the singers and dancers were superb but seemed to be let down by the content of the shows. Big production shows, oh dear, after such a build up from the cruise director we were disappointed. Shows seemed badly put together and throughout the 12 nights were very repetitive. Cruise Director - its probably me, but the guy just irritated me every time he came on stage and opened his mouth. We just couldn't warm to him. Michaels Club - What a disappointment. I was expecting so much. A small depressing place with no atmosphere. The connections party was held there and there were just too many people for such a small venue. It's a shame that they could not use it as a cigar bar. That would liven it up. Fellow guests - we found everyone polite and courteous. Ideal travelling companions and good company at dinner. Ports of call - all these were exactly as expected and did not disappoint. On balance, we had a wonderful cruise. The positives greatly outweighed the negatives. This was our first Celebrity cruise. Would we cruise with Celebrity again? Most certainly. Minor niggles aside, the overall quality of the experience was superb. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We arrived at Rome airport and were greeted by Celebrity staff and when we had retrieved our bags they were taken by Celebrity to be transported to the ship we were then taken to our coach for the 65 minute transfer to the port the whole ... Read More
We arrived at Rome airport and were greeted by Celebrity staff and when we had retrieved our bags they were taken by Celebrity to be transported to the ship we were then taken to our coach for the 65 minute transfer to the port the whole procedure was so smooth and efficient On arrival at the port we had no waiting time and were on the ship very quickly we then went to have lunch in the Ocean view which was excellent before going to our stateroom our bags arrived within an hour The ship is beautiful our stateroom on the starboard side was very comfortable and we relaxed before the ship sailed for our first port Santorini The itinerary was excellent and we had overnight in Istanbul where we had 2 tours booked we also booked a tour in Santorini which was well worth the trip as we saw the island the only drawback was the very long wait at the cable car at the end of the tour (we were told there are long queues) but very exhausting in the heat! The ship was spotless the staff attentive and friendly the entertainment very good We had the 9pm sitting for dinner in Britannia and the staff there were excellent as was the food We were celebrating my daughters birthday and there was a song performed by the staff much to the amusement of the guests ! We have used celebrity before on the Eclipse and the standard on Equinox was equally high we have already booked on Eclipse for a cruise next year The itinerary was excellent I would have liked longer at the beach at Mykanos on a tour which was 4 hours duration and would have prefered to just use a beach closer to the ship and then see more of the town Istanbul is a huge city Kusadasi a crazy shopping area with mega fake goods ! We did not go to Ephesus (too hot) and Salerno was interesting as we had already "done" Amalfi Naples and Sorrento previously To sum up Celebrity is our favourite cruise line as the standards are very good I hope they will keep it up Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2011
Having cruised with the same compay 6 times around the Caribben and Hawaii we decided to cruise closer to home so having heard how good Celebrity Equinox was we thought we'd try a Solstice Class ship! We flew from Leeds and the ... Read More
Having cruised with the same compay 6 times around the Caribben and Hawaii we decided to cruise closer to home so having heard how good Celebrity Equinox was we thought we'd try a Solstice Class ship! We flew from Leeds and the flights/transfers were booked through Celebrity and although it all worked out fine on departure day and disembarkation that was the only 'downside' to our trip......not as organised as it should have been for a premium line. We hit the check-in at peek time so had a 45 minute wait in a queue which we've never experienced before but one of those things! Once onbaord it was a treat to be met with a glass of bubbly then we went to find our cabin, no maps to follow but we found it quite easily and were impressed as it was slightly larger than the balcony staterooms we'd had before, a nice seating area and all laid out well with good decor. The bathroom was the best yet experienced on a ship (and many hotels!) plenty of space for our toiletries and a glass door and a mirror which didn't steam up! Off to explore, the ship is lovley and classy decor not in the traditional dark colours of many, lots of spaces to sit and take in the atmosphere and it didn't feel like a large ship at all. We had 'select dining' as we like to dine when the fancy takes us rather than a set time, we made a reservation a couple of times but always got a table and never had to wait whatever time we decided to dine. We dined in 'Tuscan Grille' one of the speciality restaurants and had a fantastic meal, but the meals in the MD were good and always hot and served with a smile and great service. We were impressed with the buffet for breakfast and lunch, lots of choices but the same each day, a slight variation or theme day would have been nice but this is not a complaint just an observation. The staff were some of the most pleasant I have ever encounterd and always willing to chat when you were out and about. The entertainment was good, a variety of shows but I feel this is the hardest area to please people, but I go if it's soemthing I enjoy and do something else if it's not to my taste. The daily programme of events wasn't thrust down your throat which is a bonus and we particularly enjoyed our evening of 'Celestial Navigation' under the stars. A thoroughly enjoyable cruise made so by such a great choice of ship and we will be cruising with Celebrity again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We love cruising and cruise twice or more a year. We arrived early at 11am to avoid lengthy queuing in our car as previously and waited in the foyer for half an hour or so until allowed up to the boarding lounge. Quite a large number of ... Read More
We love cruising and cruise twice or more a year. We arrived early at 11am to avoid lengthy queuing in our car as previously and waited in the foyer for half an hour or so until allowed up to the boarding lounge. Quite a large number of crew were also arriving so all credit to them for the seamless changeover. As noted by an earlier reviewer there were a lot, such a lot, of very elderly and disabled people on board. It once took us an hour from the scheduled meeting time for a trip to get ashore to the coach. The crew were trying to lift very many disabled people in wheel chairs and scooters down a steep plank in a general free for all disembarcation. I was wondering if there is not some maximum number that can be coped with on a ship before it represents a safety issue in the event of an evacuation. The Oceanview gets very crowded and it helps if people act with consideration for their fellow diners. I was astonished when an elderly lady without a dish or cup in hand sat down next to me one day to wait for her husband and proceeded to sweep the uncleared items from her table on to the cleared place of my husband who had gone for desert. The staff were clearing quite quickly but she did not wish to wait. An elderly man in a singlet at luchtime was very offputting. As noted in a previous review the number of people with tattoos, male and female, is increasing. When we first started cruising with Celebrity there were mostly American guests on board and many more international guests, with more UK guests standards of cruise dress and etiquette are slipping. Very many people said it was their first cruise and a lot of moaning went on. The staff do an excellent job in difficult circumstances. We dined on second sitting and although the doors were opened at 08.30 for 08.45 our waiter was often still 'meeting and greeting' at the door until 09.00. We had generally good service although a beef dish that was recommended to my husband did not turn out to be worth it so we tended to ignore recommendations and assumed it meant 'we've got a lot'. Fairplay we have never been told something is unavailable, amazing. The vegetables are often little more than a garnish on a long menu so rather than ask for a plate of steamed vegetables, which they are happy to provide, I always looked for a good helping of vegetables at lunchtime. Some lunchtime meals were so outstanding I was happy with a lighter meal at dinner. The smoking policy on Celebrity is that guests can smoke in the Sky Lounge, port side. As the air conditioning cannot cope with this, by late evening it has built up and so we did not spend much time there. We did go up one evening for a publicised special dance event but the party had not started and we retreated to the Disco. This is an underused facility, mainly because even when hordes are passing it after the show it never has floor filling music to tempt anyone in. We made a request and the floor soon filled but then it became obscure music again after 20 minutes and people drifted away. Actually we spent less time than usual dancing on this cruise and more time watching movies in our cabin. We dance a lot when we are on Cunard because it has a great Disco/nightclub and floor filling DJ also Grand ballroom for a twirl. The Ballroom floor on Eclipse adjoins the grand staircase which was part roped off one night with a big yellow hazard sign on the ballroom floor so photos could be taken. This kinda kills the romance. As noted in a previous review, the audience participation event 'Masquerade' was dulled down by about 16 seated elderly and disabled guests taking over the whole area surrounding the ballroom floor expecting a 'floorshow' which it isn't. Most of the Rocky Horror music type 'show' is on the staircase which is not viewable from the sofas. Perhaps the organisers could explain that this is a participation event and that the best view is from above. Cunard doesn't allow smoking in the Skylounge equivalent (however they do allow it in the cabins although I haven't yet had a problem tainted cabin). Evidence has recently been published that even one exposure to second hand smoke can cause a cardiac event so Celebrity should address this in the design of their new ships with a dedicated smoker's room like Cunard. Apparently 'third hand' smoke impregnated on drapes and chairs is carcinogenic according to a report in our our Local Authority magazine. In Provence we took a trip to 'Sanary and Castellet' two excellent stops for strolling with camera. The scenery on route is very pretty. In Pisa we viewed the Baptistry and the Cathedral interiors and admired the Leaning Tower exterior. If you wanted to climb it you would need to rush to the ticket office immediately on arriving at the 'Field of Miracles' to get a timed ticket which would allow you to do so before the scheduled departure. Unlikely at peak times. I was glad I took an umbrella as the walk to the Field was about 15 mins in very hot sun. In Civitavecchia we took the free bus into town and went first to the little archeological museum. We then strolled up the main street, looked at the market, finally we strolled along the promenade and read about the history of the Spa Resort it had been before the war. The Promenade is being restored and there are several pleasant cafe bars in this area. In Cagliari we went to the small archeological museum which has been excavated under a church revealing the ancient town walls and streets. We then enjoyed the views from the Bastion and walked up to the Cathedral. The Governor's Palace is worth a visit. We took the Cadiz walking tour and had a glimpse into the Arabic style courtyard interior of a private Club. The Cathedral, Covered Market and old Town walls were very interesting. Cadiz is more or less a grid system so you could do this tour using a guide from the Tourist Office. From Lisbon we took a trip to 'Medieval Obidos'. There were two beautiful museum/art galleries (free) to enjoy in our free time. A beautiful 17c church, a castle and many little shops are to be found inside the tiny walled citadel. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We took an eight day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Summit, and we had a great vacation. We booked the cruise, though we were initially concerned due to mixed reviews on the ship, and we were very pleasantly surprised. For anyone ... Read More
We took an eight day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Summit, and we had a great vacation. We booked the cruise, though we were initially concerned due to mixed reviews on the ship, and we were very pleasantly surprised. For anyone considering the Summit and reading the reviews saying that she is badly worn and in need of refurbishing, I have this to say. We saw signs of wear and aging in just a few places, and it was minor. Our cabin was in good condition, as was the ship in general. Yes, she is due for dry dock this next year, and probably due to this the cruise was somewhat less expensive than the shorter cruise on Royal Caribbean for the same week. We would do it again in a heartbeat. We thought the service was top-notch -- can't say enough about the professionalism and quality of the crew. Overall, the food was exceedingly good, often outstanding. The one exception would be the steaks in the main dining room, which I would rate as fair to good. Everything else we ate was great. We loved our tablemates, and found our dining room staff top-notch. We did not dine in the Normandie -- one of the couples at our table did, and said the service was great but the food was not really any better than in the main dining room. The entertainment was also outstanding. We did have rain -- so much so that we had to stay on the ship in St. Lucia :-(, and a good bit of rain in both Grenada and Barbados. I took a Southern Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean in January 2010, and the weather was better. The rainy season is supposed to end in November, but I guess this year it dragged on longer. One of our favorite stops was Antigua (again) where we booked a snorkeling and lobster lunch with Creole Cruises (amazing). Overall, we loved the Summit and were very impressed with Celebrity. I'm already looking at cruises again. I will say the one thing we missed is that there were no towel animals -- but since my daughter did not come with us this time, it was not an issue. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Another great Celebrity cruise with specialty restaurant providing the wow factor..........The veranda cabin was 2 feet shallower than the concierge cabins. The only downside was the smaller vanity and as such it was less used. The option ... Read More
Another great Celebrity cruise with specialty restaurant providing the wow factor..........The veranda cabin was 2 feet shallower than the concierge cabins. The only downside was the smaller vanity and as such it was less used. The option to upgrade to concierge of $700 pp was not worth the extra. The ship was full because of the time of year (over Christmas and New Years)The Constellation was Solsticized, which was a nice improvement from Summit. The addition of Tuscany as a 2nd specialty restaurant was great, as was Cellar masters and Cafe @ 5. Although I am a wine lover, Cellar Masters took up too many square feet and was under-utilized, as was the specialty wines by the glass automatic dispensers. I suspect that section will be re-configured.The wine choices, including 5 Champagnes by the glass was wonderful.Michael's was great with a wonderful pianist/singer. Staff was very friendly and helpful.We dined in Ocean Liners (3), Tuscany (3) and MDR 7 and it was well worth the $390 extra. We were regulars and treated incredibly well.Zip lining in CR was fun but my wife had to pay full price even though she did not zip line.3 formal nights were fun but many passengers dressed down and would not have been admitted to a private club on such an occasionDebarkation in San Diego was very slow and annoying but we were forewarned that it would be slow.This was our 2nd Celebrity cruise in 2010 and very favourable. We will likely sail Celebrity again, however, we would like to try upscale in order to avoid some of the less attractive aspects, being their emphasis on junk food, sloppy dressing passengers and fewer of the buffet crowd. I recognize that this might sound a bit snobbish, but we do enjoy healthy alternatives, fine dining and dressing up on special occasions.I suspect that a large percentage of Celebrity passengers are more "mainstream" than "premium" passengers, but because of the more subtle approach to cruising, the more mature passengers prefer what Celebrity has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
The December 27 sailing of Celebrity Equinox was our sixth cruise overall and second New Year's cruise. We're an energetic gay couple in our early thirties who tend to be relaxation-oriented while cruising. That is to say ... Read More
The December 27 sailing of Celebrity Equinox was our sixth cruise overall and second New Year's cruise. We're an energetic gay couple in our early thirties who tend to be relaxation-oriented while cruising. That is to say we're happiest on the beach or by the pool, cocktail-in-hand, and don't always take advantage of the myriad organized activity and entertainment options usually on offer (so you won't read much about them here). We also have little use for anything formal, but do notice and appreciate fine food and quality service. Pre-cruise After a harrowingly narrow escape from the northeast's Great Snowpocalypse of 2010 on the morning of December 26th, we stayed one night at Ft. Lauderdale's Hyatt Pier 66. We had a lanai room that opened out to the pool area. We enjoyed the Hyatt for its sleek aesthetic (lovely sliding louvered doors rather than curtains in the room, minimalist lobby, etc.), but found the hotel's location a bit bothersome. Yes, it's closer to the beach than hotels on the port side of the bridge, but we were only there for a few hours and just needed to get some shopping done and go out to dinner. This led us to the conclusion that we might be better off at the Embassy Suites, which seems to be situated in a more walkable area with more restaurants and stores nearby... We'll try that next time. Embarkation We headed to the ship at about 11:30 a.m. The new terminal is very well laid out and convenient. Clear signage and helpful staff abound. We easily located the line for Concierge Class and didn't wait a moment to check in. There didn't seem to be lines for any category, in fact. We walked right onto the ship without slowing down. Bravo. On Board For us, cruising has so much to do with the ship. For this reason, embarkation day is always one of the highlights of our trip... Exploring the public rooms and touring the facilities for the first time (with that signature glass of X welcome champagne, of course!) is always so exciting. And Equinox did not disappoint. Celebrity Equinox is truly spectacular. Easily the most beautiful ship we've had the good fortune to board. With stunning, modern, grand spaces (like the atrium bordered by eight glass elevators that travel 15 decks toward the sky) as well as intimate spaces (like Cafe al Bacio with its windows that look out onto the promenade, evoking that marvelous ocean liner feel) Equinox has it all. And somehow the ship feels even less crowded than other ships we've sailed on despite accommodating 1,000 more guests. After seeing photos, we'd imagined that the pool area might feel a bit closed in by the towering sun shades, but it doesn't at all. It's a truly awesome, open space. And nestled at the foot of each of those sun shade structures is a sort of mini-cabana - a wonderful place to spend a sea day. We were impressed with the Sky Observation Lounge and noted several times what a great space it was, but how underutilized it seemed to be. One of our favorite places on board was the Sunset Bar, aft on Deck 15. We spent many evenings up there with new friends. A truly fabulous venue for a sailaway cocktail... I hesitate to even mention it because I don't want anyone else to discover it! We also really enjoyed the Martini Bar on Deck 4. Barman Edy (pronounced "Eddie") is a genius. I won't say anything else because I don't want to spoil it for you. Just go spend some time with Edy and his colleagues. You'll be impressed! Overall - and in seemingly every design detail - Equinox is magnificent. One example is the feeling one gets when walking on Deck 4 between the Entertainment Court and the Grand Foyer... What could have been a simple corridor, or part of the casino, is a soaring airy space overlooked by the art gallery and Tastings/Molecular Bar area one deck above. This shopping arcade has a very upscale feel, as does nearly every inch of the ship. Design-wise, Equinox is so very chic. Not at all resort-y or kitschy. Just gorgeous. Stateroom We enjoyed our stateroom, Concierge Class (C3) 1277 on Deck 10 (bed near the verandah). The location aft of the atrium was ideal as we always wanted to ride on those amazing glass elevators rather than the less impressive forward set. Choosing a stateroom aft of the atrium also means the overhang from the public decks above is one deck higher (further removed) than it is from midship staterooms. This was our fourth cruise with a verandah stateroom and we were thrilled. The layout is truly awesome. I simply can't explain how they've made 200 square feet feel so spacious. A very comfortable space with tons of storage throughout. And the bathroom is almost shockingly large. We loved the furniture on the verandah and the fact that the sliding door can be fixed in any position on its track by rotating the handle to lock it in place. There's nothing like listening to the sea as you fall asleep. Absolutely the best stateroom we've had. Dining We ate everywhere on the ship we could! Tuscan Grille was our favorite. We enjoyed two evenings there and thought both the food and the service were unmatched. The filet couldn't have been more perfect. We thought the food at Murano was truly outstanding (the duck was extraordinary!), but the atmosphere was a bit too formal for our taste. Silk Harvest we thought was a lot of fun, with delicious food, but we are surrounded by excellent Asian food at home, so while Silk Harvest was a fun diversion, it was no culinary adventure for us. Still, I would recommend it without reservation. As I've mentioned, we like to keep things pretty casual on vacation, so the Bistro on Five proved to be a great fit for us. We never wanted to go to the Oceanview Cafe (buffet) for dinner, but there were two nights when we didn't feel like dressing up and having the whole Silhouette (MDR) experience either. On both of those nights we went to the Bistro on Five and enjoyed great food and excellent service in a much more casual, delightful atmosphere, for just a nominal fee. Surely the cover must be for crowd control. It's a wonderful place! The only restaurant we didn't get to try was BLU. Interestingly, one of the reasons we'd chosen Concierge Class rather than trying Aqua Class is that we thought we'd prefer Silhouette over BLU's "clean cuisine". If I were booking again today though, I'd choose Aqua Class. I found myself disappointed when friends who were in Aqua Class asked if we could be their guests at BLU one night and the maitre d' apologetically informed them that it was impossible. We would have really liked to try BLU. And of course, Aqua Class guest aren't obliged to eat in BLU, it's simply their option. And the setting is so much more intimate than the MDR that I think we would have enjoyed it, given our preferences. That said, however, the Silhouette Dining Room was very cool - glitzy and glamourous. And Celebrity Select Dining works very well. We made and changed reservations a few times without any trouble and never once waited to get in. The only downside is that you may not always get your preferred table... Another reason to try Aqua and BLU. If you value intimacy over glitz and glamour, that is. To each his own. Service The service aboard Celebrity Equinox was outstanding. Our cabin attendants Ozy and Alex were really wonderful. Never intrusive, but always eager to offer a cheerful greeting, run ahead of us to open the cabin door, or help with anything else. All the bar and restaurant staff were wonderful too. We had the premium beverage package and didn't notice even a hint of negativity about the arrangement from anyone. It's amazing that on a ship this large (the largest we've been on by a great deal), the service still feels so remarkably personal. The one negative issue that arose during what would otherwise have been a near-perfect vacation was Cruise Director Que's unwillingness to put an LGBT gathering in the Celebrity Today daily program. On previous cruises, this has never been a problem. Que explained to us that this is corporate policy and that "special interest" group meetings are only posted on a board near guest relations, never put in the cruise daily. Since we hadn't realized this was the case, we'd already missed two of these meetings and imagined there must have been others who were unaware as well. Putting an LGBT gathering (just a time and place) in Celebrity Today just once at the beginning of each cruise would make such a difference to LGBT guests and would require so little effort on the staff's part that I can't understand why Celebrity won't allow it. Still, we eventually did make a bunch of wonderful new friends and despite this issue, felt that overall the service aboard Equinox was first rate. Disembarkation Disembarkation was a breeze. We were assigned the 8:10 a.m. departure group (based on our flight out) and were told to meet in the Equinox Theatre at that time, and that there was no need to come early. We arrived at the theatre door at exactly 8:10, just as the activities staff was announcing that our group was welcome to proceed to the gangway on Deck 5. Just like on embarkation day, we didn't even stop moving. Just turned around and walked to Cafe al Bacio and off the ship. We found our luggage, made it through customs and were in a taxi before 8:25. Couldn't have been easier. Bravo once again. In Short Despite the one small issue with the LGBT gathering (will X change the policy?), Celebrity Equinox was precisely what we were looking for. The ship's fabulous public spaces, excellent facilities, multiple delicious dining venues, extremely comfortable quarters and friendly, professional service all made for a near-perfect combination. We look forward to being back onboard Celebrity's Solstice-class ships. Spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
My girlfriend and I just got back from an amazing cruise aboard Celebrity's Eclipse. First off, as a quick intro we are in our early 30's, and we are experienced travelers, with this being our 8th cruise. We have also ... Read More
My girlfriend and I just got back from an amazing cruise aboard Celebrity's Eclipse. First off, as a quick intro we are in our early 30's, and we are experienced travelers, with this being our 8th cruise. We have also cruised Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. This is my second Celebrity cruise, and my girlfriend's first. Embarkation in Miami: We arrived around 2pm, and boarded the ship effortlessly. My first step on the teak deck showed me the newness and beauty of the ship. Another step had me in front of a white-gloved staff member offering a choice of either mimosa or champagne. Nice touch, Celebrity. Very classy. I noticed these small but very important gestures the entire week. From that point on, we were overjoyed with every aspect of the ship. Typically, we choose interior cabins due to their economy price and convenience for mid-day naps and sleeping late, but we got a great deal on a balcony cabin, so we splurged. The cabin, on deck 8, was in a word, wonderful. The room was spotless, extremely well set up, and gone were the overly annoying blues and pinks of other cruise lines. The cabin was decorated in earthy tones, with wood cabinets and granite countertops. The balcony was large and beautiful. The bathroom was also fabulous, with a vessel sink and tile backsplash. The shower was easily large enough for two people, and had a door rather than the annoying curtain. There was plenty of room, and the bed was one of the most comfortable we'd slept on while on a ship. This theme of cleanliness and beauty ran throughout the ship. Public areas were amazing, and while it is a larger ship, it never felt cramped. The pool area was, of course, a popular hangout on sea days, and the Oceanview Cafe did seem a bit hectic on the day everyone boarded, but other than that, the cruise and the onboard experience felt very intimate. The Lawn club was fabulous, the previously mentioned Oceanview Cafe and the Moonlight Sonata (the wine tower is truly something to behold) were amazing, and the specialty restaurants were gorgeous. We found the ship to be the most attractive one we had ever cruised on. As far as beverages go, we found the sunset bar (at the very aft of the ship) to be rarely crowded, and Michael's Club (as well as the darkly lit area just outside of the entrance) to be wonderful places to enjoy a refreshing drink. The martini bar was fantastic, as was the casino. I was even blown away by the beauty of the public bathrooms. The ship is completely modern and beautiful, from head to toe. To be honest, I really don't have much to say in any sort of negative slant towards the ship. One very important note: My girlfriend and I typically bring a bottle of wine or alcohol onboard in our bags with no problem. I had previously read that Celebrity was really cracking down on this, but that we were allowed two personal bottles of wine with a corkage fee. So we decided to pack two bottles of wine, in our checked luggage, and if discovered, be very willing to pay the fee. So by evening on the first night, neither of our bags that contained the wine had shown up at our door. Around 6pm I got a call from the room steward, letting me know that I had to go to deck 2 security because there was liquor in my bag. Of course, I was pretty embarrassed, but he said not to worry, that there were plenty of people in the same boat that we were in. When I got down to deck 2, there were indeed a large number of people claiming their bags with alcohol. In order to leave with the bag, one had to open it and show the contents to a security staff member. Those with wine were allowed to keep the bottle(s), but any liquor was confiscated. I assume that it was given back at the end of the cruise, but I don't know. So take this as a word of warning to those thinking of sneaking the hard stuff on board. Truthfully I was a bit surprised that they did this, but I suppose its the direction the industry is going. Food was fantastic on all fronts, which was a welcome surprise. I admit that I have feared for some time that with the advent of specialty restaurants, cruise lines would allow the quality of main dining room food to deteriorate while focusing on the revenue generating specialties, but it was not the case here. Steaks were cooked very well, risotto was fabulous, and appetizers and desserts were fantastic. Also, the service was top notch. We did try both Qsine and the Tuscan Grill, which were both spectacular. In the Tuscan Grill, the steaks were cooked to perfection, as was the Sea Bass. Also, ask for Ozzy if you can. He will take care of your every need. Qsine is not to be missed. Everything about this restaurant is just fun. When you enter, they give you an IPad with which to browse and order the many small plates available in a tapas-style configuration. These were all better and way more creative than any tapas place I've been to. Sushi lollipops, Kobe beef sliders, a trio of soups, all served so creatively that they're as fun to look at as they are to eat. For example, the painter's filet arrived in the shape of a painter's palette, with the outside colors being various accompaniments that were to be enjoyed with the filet. Simply amazing, and well worth it. The only gripe I had with the overall ship offerings was the sushi that was offered nightly. It wasn't bad, by any means, but other lines (specifically Carnival, which is totally unbelievable) had much better rolls and fresher tasting fish. Also the pizza from room service was pretty doughy, but I wasn't expecting too much there. The ports were great. Please note that if you are ever in Costa Maya, please get out of that initial port area. I love Costa Maya, and have never spent more than 5 minutes on that tourist trap of a pier. I was told by another cruiser that the owner of the pier made a deal with the cruise lines that they would try to keep as many people on the pier as possible, but anyone who stays is missing a true Mexican/Caribbean gem. Rent a golf cart of take a cab into town. You will find great bars, fantastic restaurants, waaaaaaaaaay cheaper beers, great people, crafts, massages, and beautiful beaches. I hate to hear every cruise how many people didn't even know there was a town there. Also, if you are in Cozumel and have some wheels, Mr. Sancho's and the "Freedom in Paradise" reggae beach bar are totally worth the trip - my personal favorite being the Reggae bar. Its at the very southern tip of the island, and they have cheap drinks and great eats. It is well worth the trip. West Bay in Honduras was also a great beach with a lot of fun things to do. Entertainment was basic cruise fare...I don't usually attend many shows. The newlywed game, ran by passable cruise director Paul Baya, was bland. However, the cirque-de-soleil style show, titled Eclipse, was pretty good. In fact, I believe a lot of the stunts were more dramatic than the majority of the crowd could understand. If you are a Captain's Circle member - don't miss Celebrity's club member party. It was far and above the best of the parties that any line has thrown that we have attended for return guests. This is reason enough to join the club. The only issue we had with the entire cruise was the disembarkation. No numbers were going to be called like other lines, they just basically told you to vacate the stateroom by 8:30 and go to your assigned waiting area (the Moonlight Sonata for us). Well, rather than harp on it, lets just say we didn't get off the ship until around 11. There were tons of people standing around, with no information from Celebrity about how long things were taking or why. I was told by one of the customs people that this always happens in Port of Miami on disembarkation day, so I don't think this is a negative aspect of the ship or Celebrity itself. Overall the cruise was virtually perfect, and the Eclipse was one of the best ships we have ever been on. I will have to say that I personally prefer the "main street" design that Royal Caribbean takes on its larger ships as opposed to a 3-4 story atrium, but that's just me. It seems like it creates more of a central hub for the ship. I do like Celebrity's focus on elegance rather than family, and while I do like RC's approach to active people (basketball courts, rock climbing walls, surfing, etc.), Celebrity's focus on understated sophistication is also very a welcomed change of pace and was executed with ease. We will be sailing on Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We arrived later than expected due to a three hour drive in bad weather and afraid we wouldn't be allowed on the ship. Registration was a breeze and we were greeted by a calming, friendly agent who immediately put us at ease. This ... Read More
We arrived later than expected due to a three hour drive in bad weather and afraid we wouldn't be allowed on the ship. Registration was a breeze and we were greeted by a calming, friendly agent who immediately put us at ease. This gorgeous ship truly feels like a 5-star hotel. Despite the large number of guests on the ship, we never felt that we were in a crowd. We bought a bottle of our favorite wine to enjoy on our balcony with the lovely complimentary appetizers brought to our room every afternoon. Without exception, the wait staff was top notch. The holiday decorations and professional entertainment were very uplifting and kept us smiling. The ease of getting a quick bite to eat at the informal International Buffet was a treat. The food was always fresh and what great selections! The nightly dining included was very good; however, one night we chose to splurge and ate at the Tuscan Restaurant. OMG! I'm sorry we didn't eat there every night! The food was exquisite and worth the extra $. The martini bar was a favorite hangout with top-notch martini experts making unique concoctions. Yum! We did not book any excursions, but had a grand time just tooling around San Juan, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas on our own. It was drizzling in San Juan so we spent half the afternoon at Senior Frogs wearing balloon hats and eating popcorn out of dog bowls while sipping marvelous margaritas. I thought we would be bored with Labadee, but had the best time there. Actually, it was beyond our expectations and we had a blast. Disembarkation was a breeze...the easiest we ever experienced. The only disappointment was the lack of storage in the room. Two of my 4 cruises have been on Celebrity and, without doubt, were the best. The Eclipse, just launched in April, 2010, was an excellent choice and wouldn't hesitate to "do it again"! If I wasn't such a lady my husband would have had to drag me kicking and screaming off the ship. I didn't want to leave....neither did he. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
We booked this Thanksgiving cruise way back in March I found the Sheraton Old San Juan with Priceline at a reasonable price .We headed out on the 21 giving us time to unwind before our cruise Nov 22 . Coming from the GREAT WHITE NORTH it ... Read More
We booked this Thanksgiving cruise way back in March I found the Sheraton Old San Juan with Priceline at a reasonable price .We headed out on the 21 giving us time to unwind before our cruise Nov 22 . Coming from the GREAT WHITE NORTH it is always smarter to leave early although still no snow to speak of WE travelled on US air via Philly.smooth ride but no entertainment on plane After a relaxing evening we were awakened to the site of Millie across the bay A quick cup of coffee and off we went May I say that the Sheraton was a great place to stay at Restaurant was up behind the hotel ...very nice fish dinner Arrived at the dock under pouring rain behind a great LONG line . I searched for a porter cause there was no way I could drag so many suitcases up front .Once he came we were hustled in .he took care of bags and we were in . Speaking Spanish definitely was a plus .Port was a bit of a mess with people luggage and rain WE got to our cabin quickly dumped our stuff .Returned for our champagne and lunch upstairs Met our cabin steward FRANCISCo who cleared the fridge ,gave me extra towels and chit chatted .VERY nice guy We explored the ship ...very nice ,clean, friendly staff WE left at 8;30 as planned We chose Millenium because of its itinerary and were not disappointed The southern Carib is truly wonderful each island prettier than the next On St Croix we went to sandcastle Beach...nice relaxing day Dominica was us under liquid sunshine with our GREAT GUIDE PEPPER .We HOOfed up Trafalgar falls and visited many surroundings Pepper avoided crowds and got us to SCREWS SPA for a FABULOUS sulphur bath ..My aching bones loved it.We had the place to ourselves my sister and 4 other members of our roll call. Pepper REALLY planned it well .I asked for sun for Champagne REEF and lo and behold it came out Be advised you need shoes to get to reef ...wicked rocks everywhere .but fish were very colourful Pepper showed us different parts of his lovely island All around a GREAT day .Thank You PEPPER All the ports we visited were great . Celebrity threw us an amazing Meet and Greet party for Cruise Critics Roll Call. prior to late dinner one evening ...champagne and snacks and all upper echelon staff came to chat ...WOW!!!VERY IMPRESSIVE!!!GOOD JOB CELEBRITY I was really impressed they respected us so much KUDOS TO CELEBRity On this ship all officers including Captain were VERY visible ...also impressive mingling with guests The following is what I enjoyed the most on Millenium no smoking indoors or in cabins ..WOW I REALLY appreciated that ...no stinky rooms or clothes or hair ...All other companies please take note I discovered the Thalassotherapy pool ..OH LORD WHAT A BLESSING IT was aa wonderful soothing experience When we were at sea the waves in the pool were glorious .I wish all ships had such a pool It was REALLY fun I appreciated the wet towels and cold drinks after shore excursions and the pitcher of water in cabin I found in general the staff and crew to be happy on board ..smiling and helpful ...happy crew happy ship Dinner on Celebrity was DELICIOUS ...my favorite was the Morroccan lamb and seared tuna ..The chef even shared his recipe for that one ...I guess it helps to speak FRENCH as well /I made it at home ..DELICHE All in all Milli did not disappoint My only beef...... shows prior to dinner ...I missed them all I need to rest up before dinner and shower etc By returning around 6 there was no way I could make the pre-dinner shows .PLEASE dinner and a show in that order I did enjoy the production shows after dinner Brunch on the seaday was very appreciated I highly recommend Millie esp since it goes to shoeheaven ...CURACAO ...picked up quite a few pairs of really wild shoes ...I LOVE CURACAO People there are so very nice If you must go to Southern Caribbean find a cruise that goes to Curacao It truly is the best In conclusion thanks Julian Hotel Manager for bridge tour ...I even have a picture of me at the wheel all 8 inches of it wearing the Captain's hat Costa put on me ...the guys on the bridge were a hoot!!11.Cruz and Santuara our waiters for excellent service. our TEXAN tablemates ...NASA retirees ...who were fun to be with. We really enjoyed ourselves .Yes we will do CELEBRITY AGAIN!!! Michele Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
We arrived in Miami at 10am. Our relaxation began as soon as we got to our hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Biscayne Bay. This was in the middle of nowhere with a nice beach, 2 pools, one adult, one family. They were showing a movie that night at ... Read More
We arrived in Miami at 10am. Our relaxation began as soon as we got to our hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Biscayne Bay. This was in the middle of nowhere with a nice beach, 2 pools, one adult, one family. They were showing a movie that night at the family pool. It was windy and a little cool, however the pools were like bath water and the loungers plush complete with pool butlers. The ocean felt a little cold. They do offer a reasonable "Bon Voyage" package and room rates, however we had "club level", all the food and champagne we needed and a wonderful 5 star dinner in the dining room. Breakfast was also good, if you have "club level"they have the best cookies! I had been diagnosed with cancer just a few days before final payment was due, so no alcohol for me and I need to eat. I felt very lucky to be on the this cruise as I was 6 weeks post op. We left the hotel at 10:30am it was $34.00 to the pier. We met wonderful people while waiting to get on board. Embarkation was easy, however they were having problems with the credit card machine and 4 days into our cruise we got a note that it had not been activated. An easy fix by the wonderful Guest Relations people on board. We boarded after 1pm, with a glass of champagne in DH's hand we explored our new home. We could not get into our room until 3pm. Lots of wonderful lounges, a smoke free casino-yea! We rarely had to deal with a smoker, except one who was lounging by the pool on the wrong side of the deck. It was nice to not smell smoke on the balcony, hallways, balcony and inside of the ship. Eclipse has by far the best buffet afloat of the ships we have been on. Liked the layout of the ship. We enjoyed the adults only pool and the piped in music, never took our ipods. We enjoyed the Hot Glass Show twice. Loved our AQ room and Persian Gardens, the dry sauna and relaxation room. We did not like the tea in our room however. We had the best cabin steward and I needed lots of water which I had. The shower was amazing and I would book this category again for the shower and amenities. It was nice having not to bring Q Tips and cotton balls. The first night dining in "Blu" was a nightmare for me. We had an 8:30pm reservation, I was hungry and ordered asparagus to arrive when DH's salad arrived, didn't happen. After 45 minutes and not happy waiters I went up to the buffet to eat, came down and the asparagus (over cooked) and pasta dish (spinach too oily and overcooked) waited for me. We then requested the dining room the next night as there was nothing I could eat, had a wonderful experience in Moonlight Sonata. We then ate at the buffet and "Q'sine" one night, this is a culinary journey like no other you will ever experience anywhere in the world and is not to be missed! We had turkey dinner and lobster in "Blu" on Thanksgiving at 6pm and everything was perfect this time. Our last night did not see anything I could eat in "Blu" so went to the buffet. Our room was across from the elevators and was constantly noisy, from hall closets, to kids running down the hall, to late night parties in the atrium and pool parties where people were jumping up and down until 2am. The balcony was deep, but not sure we would book it again, do not need a deep balcony, can only see forward and was still windy, if you look aft you see the Royal Suite Veranda. It was shady almost always which was nice for me and I could sit in the lounger with my wig off and no one would see me. San Juan we got off and took a walk, got caught in a huge downpour. St Maarten took a tour with Bernard's Tour, would recommend him again. Went to two beaches and saw the Planes fly over us. St Kitts got off and walked around the port shops and peeked over at the Millennium and laid out in the sun. On our way back to Miami it was not windy and it was warm. We loved the gelato with the home made waffle cups and cones. Could not get a milkshake made anywhere, tried everyday, every bar. DH had the premier soda package and loved it. I enjoyed the apple juice anytime from the buffet or Aqua Spa Cafe. We enjoyed afternoon ice cream complete with Reece's pieces and M&M's to sprinkle on. We loved being able to walk in our slippers and bathrobes to the spa and adult pool. The fitness room was by far the best ever. I loved the hours of the Persian gardens, adult pool and fitness room. The room service menu was the best we have ever seen and we had room service breakfast nearly every morning. This was by far the most relaxing cruise we have taken where we did not have to worry about smelling smoke from smokers. we could have asked for and more. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Hotel/Embarkation: We flew into FLL the night prior and stayed at the LaQuinta FT Lauderdale Airport. Very clean, friendly staff, super cheap. Steve from SAS picked us up at 11:00 Saturday morning and we were on our way. We arrived at the ... Read More
Hotel/Embarkation: We flew into FLL the night prior and stayed at the LaQuinta FT Lauderdale Airport. Very clean, friendly staff, super cheap. Steve from SAS picked us up at 11:00 Saturday morning and we were on our way. We arrived at the terminal right at noon, entered the terminal...and stopped. Almost 3 hours later we were on board. I know that arriving at noon was going to put us right into the thick of things, but wasn't expecting it to be quite this long. Online registration/check in seemed to have been an exercise in time wasted, as we had to fill in the same information all over again in the terminal. Finally just before 3 we were on board with our champagne, and headed directly to our stateroom. Stateroom: Our home for the week was AQ1551, port side, next to one of the bubble cabins. Very convenient to the elevators and spa. Cabin and bathroom were both big, with plenty of room for us and our belongings. Limited drawer space, but the overhead cabinets above the bed made for plenty of storage. Balcony was nicely sized with two chairs/footstools, and a table. This cabin was of the bed-near-the-door configuration. Flat Screen TV was on a swing arm which allowed us to watch free movies in bed -- a luxury! Our cabin attendant was generally absent -- and not in the good 'the cabin fairies visited while we were gone!" way, but rather in the "strange that he never introduced himself, cannot be found for ice, doesn't seem to pick up consistently, and leaves odd notes" way. Housekeeping was really the only service quibble we had, and we weren't going to let it ruin our trip. Public Rooms: The last email I sent before shutting off my phone in Miami was "this ship is gorgeous!" and I still felt that way a week later when we left. From the art to the furnishings you could see how much thought was put into every detail in every space, making everything comfortable and elegant. All areas were always clean, including the public bathrooms which were lovely and well-used. We were sailing full and rarely saw passenger logjams -- the flow seemed to be working. Dining: Its been a very long time since I last sailed Celebrity, but the food and service were every bit as good as I remembered. We had a bit of a service misstep Saturday night in Blu, had a quick conversation with Adrian & Akar, the wonderful Maitre D' and Assistant, and were nothing short of amazed every meal thereafter. The food was lovely, with a decent variety of choices. The portions were just right, and never left us stuffed or hungry, and the presentations were very nice too. But the true star of Blu was the staff. Everyone from the Maitre D's to the waiters and assistant waiters operated like one big family, and welcomed us into their dining room every night. They were warm and friendly, and maintained just the right balance of formality and friendliness to make sure meals were elegant without being stuffy. Luana, Musfiin, and Danny were among some of the best I've ever had, and nothing was ever too strange or inconvenient for them. Dinner at Blu was the highlight of many days, and we never left the dining room without a good meal, some good laughs, and good company. We had dinner at QSine one night, and actually found ourselves missing Blu. The food and the presentations were really remarkable and innovative, and the service was perfectly adequate -- but it just wasn't what we'd been spoiled by across the hall. The buffet (Oceanview Cafe) was always well stocked and manned, with a wide variety of foods. Soup, salad, pizza, pasta, Indian, Mexican, breads, stir fry...a little something for everyone. The food was always tasty and hot. Finding seating in the buffet was a problem sometimes, as folks tended to linger. If you head aft outside, there are usually a few tables near the Oceanview Bar. We ate breakfast here most days, and really enjoyed the omelets and waffles. Room service was hit & miss. Some of it was quite good, some was just okay. Sometimes we'd get all the necessary items, sometimes we'd get no silverware. It always came pretty quickly, even late at night. We did have lunch in Bistro on 5 one day, for the $5 surcharge. I very much enjoyed this, and was surprised to see the restaurant always empty. Activities/Entertainment: We did not participate in many of the activities, but the Cruise Director's staff was always around and working hard. We attended the first night show, the last day cooking competition, late night comedy, and the Liar's Club. All were adequate and about what we'd expect -- nothing really outstanding, but plenty enjoyable. We did spend a bit of time in the casino each day, which was quite good to me, and not so good to my fiance. We did pop in briefly on the Thanksgiving football and tailgate party and thought it was a nice idea, and well executed. I watched the Officers vs Passengers pool volleyball tournament, and was very amused. Bar service: We vacillated a lot over whether to purchase the bar packages, and in the end we did not. I still believe this was the right choice for us, as neither of us drank anywhere near the daily charge, but I have to admit being a little jealous at the convenience I saw other folks experiencing. We did have one soda package, and I never experienced any weirdness on the part of the crew when using it. Starting Sunday we fell into an easy routine of stopping by the Molecular Bar on the way to dinner, and spent an always enjoyable hour with Thomas every day. This is a man who takes his craft and his cocktails very seriously, but is charming, funny, and engaging. We eventually drank our way through the cocktail menu, and enjoyed each one. I was even the recipient of a custom cocktail one evening, complete with a peanut butter cookie to compliment it. Ports: We visited San Juan, St Maarten, and St Kitts. At San Juan and St Maarten we just wandered around a bit and did some snacking and shopping. In St Kitts we took a ship-sponsored excursion to Caribbean Cooks, a cooking school run by two sisters who used to live in Northern Virginia. We spent a delightful afternoon with them, full of good stories and good cooking. In the end we ended up with 6-7 dishes and a book of recipes used in class. Not your typical city tour or beach excursion, but I'd highly recommend this one for anyone looking to do something a little different. Disembarkation: A world of difference from embarkation. Much more organized and orderly. We had been assigned a 9:15 disembarkation, but things were moving so quickly that we were off the ship closer to 8:30, and by 9:15 we were back in our SAS shuttle en route to FLL. Overall: Eclipse is a beautiful ship with a wonderful crew upholding the Celebrity standard of service. While there were a few wrinkles to work out, I'm confident that they're a function of newness, and that they'll be sailing near-perfection in no time at all. If you have the ability and means to sail AQ, go for it! Blu, the daily iced tea and bottle water, the ultra fancy shower, and access to the Persian Gardens are all worth it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Well a fantastic cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse, there were a few niggles like all cruises but the majority was fantastic. The Ship Definitely one of our favourites, from the public areas to the stateroom we love the styling and ... Read More
Well a fantastic cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse, there were a few niggles like all cruises but the majority was fantastic. The Ship Definitely one of our favourites, from the public areas to the stateroom we love the styling and the atmosphere onboard. Large yes but plenty of intimate areas to sit chill out or have a drink. The Cabin 1605 Aqua Class on the portside forward facing on the hump. The advantage of this cabin was the balcony 15 feet deep on onside 13 feet deep on the other it was massive, even in the rain and wind it was possible to sit outside with no ill effects, there were 2 seats, 2 foot stools and a table. Inside the bed was next to the balcony, which did make moving around a bit difficult but after a day or so we got the hang of it. Plenty of hanging space but not a great deal of drawer space for 16 nights, gym stuff etc stayed in the roll on bags and was pulled out as required. The bathroom had plenty of storage with a shower that blasted water from all angles. Being Aqua Class there were 3 or 4 bottles of water, fresh fruit and flowers each day. Dining Blu The jewel in the crown of Aqua Class, the food and service was great every night and for the majority of the time we were able to get the waiter area we wanted with the staff we wanted, however all staff were great and we sat in a variety of places due to the anytime dining in this restaurant. The food was quite un-Americanised in comparison to the main restaurant. It was served in a very contemporary style with what we felt good sized portions. Breakfasts were also good here for the 3 times we made it. The difference in the ambient noise when dining when compared to the main dining rooms on ships was unbelievable Main Dining Room We had lunch here twice plus one of the brunches and enjoyed it each time. Oceanview Cafe Good selection throughout the day and the quality was good, on occasion it could possibly have been slightly warmer but that is a common buffet problem. Bistro on 5 and Cafe Al Baccio Great for lunch and the Crow's Nest captured the record for the most diners at on table - 12 in total, thanks to Brenda for organising. I would like to see a slightly different menu in the Evening but for lunch and that returning to the ship snack it is ideal. We enjoyed numerous different teas and coffee's in Cafe Al Baccio and the pastries/cakes/sandwiches were to die for. Qsine and Murano's We tried Qsine again and although we enjoyed it we felt that Murano's trumped it for food quality and service if we go onboard again we will certainly go again. FlambEed Lobster and the FlambEed Strawberry Crepe's being the highlight. In all the dining areas tea was available in individual teapots and there was a wide choice of teas. Bars & Drinks package We took the Classic Drinks package so basically beers too $5 and all other drinks to $8, this was approx $39+15% a day. We pre-booked before joining the ship and were apprehensive about had we done the correct thing, but for us it worked really well. We had freshly squeezed orange juice or freshly made smoothie's ($2.5 to $4) each morning in the Oceanview Cafe, fresh Espresso based coffee ($3 to $5) in any of the restaurants or bars rather than the "machine" coffee, all the teas or coffees in Cafe al Baccio ($3 to $6). Cans of soft drink were $2.50 and bottled water was $2 to $4 depending on size. It is fair to say that we used at least half the cost in non-alcoholic drinks daily. It was good to experiment with the different cocktails and spirits these were generally cost $6 to $8. The wine was very easy basically the selection at $8 a glass in blu met our needs and the glasses were kept topped up. When we mentioned to the Sommelier that we had tried wine in cellar masters that we enjoyed it appeared the next time we dined even though it was not on the Blu wine list. The more expensive package included the martini and molecular bars where the drinks were $10 to $12, but you could basically get all other drinks at those venues. In addition although it included more beer selection too $8 but there were not many spirits between $8 and $12 - only a handful. The other spirits were over $12 therefore not in either package so it is worth planning ahead as too what you like. There is a slightly wider wine choice too. Remember all the above do not include the 15% gratuity. Entertainment The live music around the ship was varied but all had something in common the artists were good something we have not seen on a ship for a while. What we saw of the main theatre acts were good but the 7pm show was not really for us. Ports For us the main ports were Split, Venice and Dubrovnik and we walked the feet of ourselves. We thoroughly enjoyed each of these ports and I will highly recommend the tour that we booked in advance in Venice - The Secrets Itineraries of Doges Palace (http://www.museiciviciveneziani.it/frame.asp?pid=595&z=2&tit=_EN_itinerarispeciali) and really enjoyed it. We pre-booked Vaporetto tickets and collected them at Place de Roma with no problems. We also visited the Opera House which was an enjoyable tour. Palermo - what a riot - dark, dusty, dirty, noisy and smelly. Although a complete contrast to the rest of the cruise I secretly enjoyed Palermo. Niggles We did have some drinks appear a few times on the bill and after few discussions with the Guest Relations staff I finally asked to see the Bar manager. The matter was then resolved and we received compensation for the hassle. People with feet on tables that you eat off - do you do it at home, why do it on a cruise. Man boobs, hairy chests and women in bikinis dangling over the food choice at the Aqua Spa cafe sorry please show some respect too others and follow hygiene rules, we could not eat there after what we saw. Crow's Nest meet and lunch We had a meet on the second sea day (Cruise Critic meet was the first sea day) and then lunch later in the first week and we enjoyed meeting all the other nesters and they really added to the enjoyment of the cruise. If you have never attended a meet before remember everyone is nervous as you before the meet but you will get on like a house on fire. It was our first time and we will attend on other cruises in the future. We were also invited to the bridge and engine control room. So that is it a superb ship, a superb cruise, superb staff, and some superb new cruise friends what more could we have asked for. Our pictures are at http://picasaweb.google.com/clydecruiser/CelebrityEclipseOctober2010# not had time to tag them due to work but hopefully you can guess where. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
My new husband and I (we got married in St. Thomas on this cruise!) sailed on the Solstice at the beginning of May. It was a wonderful trip. We travelled with my parents who are normally Carnival cruisers and I've sailed with various ... Read More
My new husband and I (we got married in St. Thomas on this cruise!) sailed on the Solstice at the beginning of May. It was a wonderful trip. We travelled with my parents who are normally Carnival cruisers and I've sailed with various cruise lines prior to this trip. We stayed at the Il Lugano hotel in Fort Lauderdale pre cruise - about 30USD taxi fare from the airport. Beautiful hotel with wonderful staff! In order to get to the ship we used the free shuttle within 5 miles to meet my parents at the Best Western Oakland Park just a few mins away and got a shuttle for 20USD along with them. The Best Western came with free shuttle service from the airport and back to the ship for guests and full breakfast! We did see the pool and it was quite large! Definitely a great value for pre-cruisers. Embarkation at the dock was smooth and easy. Our cabin on deck 10 was beautiful as far as staterooms go with the balcony having a couple of chairs with foot stools and a table big enough to eat breakfast on! The added touch of fresh flowers and plusher towels that came with the concierge class was quite nice. PS. Don't stay on deck 3 - my parents had an oceanview room complimented by lots of machinery and other noise from below.... The food was great! We ate...alot - everywhere from the spa cafe to the buffet to room service to the Tuscan Grill and the Harvest Silk restaurant. The Oceanview Cafe allowed for great people flow and tons of selection! For me gluten free is important and there was always gluten free bread to be found along with many options that were gluten free + there were lots of crew around to ask questions about ingredients. I was told there was gluten free pasta available although I didn't look for it. Gluten free dining in the main dining room and specialty restaurants was quite easy. I pre-ordered the night before for all the dining options and at the Harvest Silk restaurant they judged as we placed the order. The waiters in all the restaurants we dined at were great! I enjoyed the musicians in the various bars and lounges throughout the ship but the theatre shows were just ok. I haven't seen anything that compares to a trip on the Norwegian Sun in 2001. The ship is very large and even with all the staterooms sold out it didn't seem crowded. Seemed like there was always lots of crew around keeping things in tip top shape. They all seemed happy and always willing to help. What a bunch of comedians too! My mom and I had hair and makeup done at the spa for my wedding - did have to bring my own makeup - but we were pretty happy :) My mom had several spa treatments and loved them all - she's an avid spa go-er and was quite pleased. Our only real complaint was the lack of good strong filtered coffee. There is a coffee bar on board for purchasing espresso drinks but their regular supposed filtered coffee/mixture really was pretty awful most days! Overall the cruise was wonderful. We all loved it and the ports we visited. We didn't take in any ship sold tours and only wandered San Juan and St. Maarten. St. Thomas we had arranged for transportation to Magens Bay for our wedding and enjoyed the beach afterward. Can't wait to sail again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I am a recently retired travel manager of 3 large agencies. I have cruised a lot and done many ship inspections in the last 20 years. Back when I was an agent, I always felt it was my responsibility to listen to what my clients desired in ... Read More
I am a recently retired travel manager of 3 large agencies. I have cruised a lot and done many ship inspections in the last 20 years. Back when I was an agent, I always felt it was my responsibility to listen to what my clients desired in a cruise and then to use my experience to guide them to the proper choice whether they wanted an intimate experience or parades down Main Street. My main reason for writing this review is to refute some of the reviews I had read prior to our recent cruise about the Celebrity Millenium. We are currently in our winter home in Cabarete, Dominican Republic on the North Coast so we had a driver take us on the 4 hour journey to Santo Domingo. From there we took an hour flight to San Juan where we embarked the Celebrity Millenium for a 15 night cruise to eleven Caribbean ports on December 18, 2009. There were 6 of us and we got a van to take all of us from the airport to the port with luggage for $27 plus tip. We had sailed on the Millenium years ago when we did Scandinavia/Russia. The ship was still in excellent shape and we enjoyed our CC Concierge balcony stateroom. The balcony was not as large as I had hoped but the room was well laid out and there was ample storage. I would strongly recommend upgrading to a balcony, especially on a longer cruise. It makes all the difference. Our friends who had booked an inside stateroom had "cabin fever" by the time they debarked. We chose the Concierge level since it came with pre-paid gratuities on the internet site we used. But it had a few other perks such as champagne waiting for us in our stateroom, more square feet, fresh flowers and daily canapEs, and thicker bathrobes. My husband has breathing difficulties and a wheelchair was provided to us free of charge the entire trip. The staff was so helpful on the few occasions where we used it in port. The main disagreement I had with CruiseCritic reviews of this ship were the comments on the quality of the food. The food was fabulous!!! Believe me....I know my food and this was as good as I have had on any comparable ship. We had escargot every night. The Prime Rib came medium rare exactly as ordered. If we couldn't make up our mind and wanted multiples of things to try...no problem. I am writing this review because I can simply not allow those negative reviews to go unchallenged. (And...no...I do not work for Celebrity Cruise Lines!) This was a holiday cruise over Christmas and New Years so the ship had every age demographic. I cannot comment on the childrens' programs except to say that they seemed content and busy with scavenger hunts and teen movies, etc. Celebrity is a more refined experience. You won't find blaring announcements every hour hawking Snowball bingo jackpots. No drunken rowdiness poolside. If this is your type of thing this is NOT your ship. I heard some people grumbling that there was not enough to do and that the ship was deserted after 11pm. For us, it was exactly the relaxation we were looking for! There is a real Cinema which I enjoy although I would have enjoyed more of a variety of movies. The dining room was lovely but not over-the-top. Celebrity is understated elegance at a premium price rather than a luxury-ship price tag. I have cruised Crystal, Windstar and Seabourn which were fabulous experiences but also came with fabulous price tags! I felt Celebrity incorporated many of their strong features at a more affordable price. If there was one area for improvement, it would be the entertainment. I only attended the headliner shows. There was a comedian who was very funny the first night and not funny the second night. There was a Liberace-style pianist who was really good and played everything from Rachmaninoff to Jerry Lee Lewis. He was excellent both nights. There was a good magician and a concert violinist. We enjoyed them but I must admit that entertainment on their sister line, Royal Caribbean, is much better! One particular disappointment to me was the church service on Christmas Eve. It was pitiful. Held in the main theater, they didn't even come up with a piano for singing and the priest that did the Interdenominational service was about the worst speaker I have ever had the misfortune to listen to! But I guess if I was looking for a touching religious experience I should have stayed home, right? The ports were wonderful and we only did one excursion from the ship in Dominica. Other than that, we hired vans at the tourist authority and got 3 hour tours for between $20 to $25 per person. In Barbados we took a taxi to Harbor Lights beach (no fee to enter but $25 for two chaises and an umbrella). In Aruba, you can take a local bus to Eagle Beach for $2 pp right outside the ship terminal or a van for $3pp. Guadeloupe was horrible. They wanted $50 pp for a ride around the island and wouldn't even accept anything but Euros. It was almost like Guadeloupe didn't want you there...seriously. Ah, the French..... It was a wonderful holiday and happy cruising to all of you! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
We had heard that with major cutbacks the experience had significantly degraded aboard Celebrity's Millennium. We have come to really enjoy Celebrity for the food in the main dining room, the wait staff, entertainment, and service. We ... Read More
We had heard that with major cutbacks the experience had significantly degraded aboard Celebrity's Millennium. We have come to really enjoy Celebrity for the food in the main dining room, the wait staff, entertainment, and service. We were not disappointed with this cruise in the least. We booked a Concierge Class Balcony Cabin and enjoyed the size and location of the room (quiet deck). The cabin steward, Lawerence, was very friendly and responsive. The only issue we had at all was that room service couldn't seem to get the order correct on our breakfast orders. We chose the main seating at a table for 10 and had the best table mates we could ever ask for. This is honestly one of our favorite parts of the trip--getting to know other travelers. We were probably the last one's out of the dining room each evening as we would just sit at the table and enjoy each other's company every night. The food was very good. I can only recall on meal that I wasn't absolutely thrilled with, and even that one was still pretty good. Michael Dsouza was our server and he was absolutely wonderful. Always attentive with a little extra fun and comedy as well. We all enjoyed him thoroughly (felt like I left a friend when we left). My favorite meal was the beef wellington and our favorite dessert was the after eight ice cream---yum!! We visited the "Olympic" specialty restaurant and the food and service definitely were worth the supplement. The strawberry crepe dessert was one of the best desserts I've ever had and both of our meals were superb! The live music was noticeably absent and the piped in music seemed inappropriate for the atmosphere. Pan flute disco hits----hmmmm not really what we expected. (The lobster and filet were both superb!). We didn't go to the theatre every evening, but the shows we attended, we really enjoyed (I heard not such good things about the Christmas show). I honestly thought that this was the best ensemble cast of any ship we had been on. They seemed to really work well together and were all solid performers. There wasn't that much other than decorations, a Christmas show, a mild New year's eve party that got rained on that made this an extra special holiday experience, but we had done the same timeframe on Princess' Grand Princess last year and this one was MUCH MUCH better. Can't even compare the food and service. Celebrity is hands down better. We visited 12 ports, but since I only have space below to talk about 6, I will review the 6 that stand out to me. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
We sailed on the Celebrity Solstice for the second year in a row for New Years. We traveled with 3 other couples who have done the same. Overall it was a good cruise, but compared to last year, last year was better. Why? too many kids on ... Read More
We sailed on the Celebrity Solstice for the second year in a row for New Years. We traveled with 3 other couples who have done the same. Overall it was a good cruise, but compared to last year, last year was better. Why? too many kids on the ship and no parents at all to watch or control them. The security staff on the ship no way enforced the rules of "Adults Only" in the solarium pool area as well as the late night comedian and the bars. I would recommend the rules being enforced and changed to 18 years or older only. Individuals in the suites and Aqua Class such as ourselves should have priority for tables and sitting on New Years Eve around the outside pool and deck area where the New Years party was held. And again NO ONE UNDER 18. There should be more security concerning out of control teenagers and there should be NO GLASS of any kind used upon the deck during the New Years Eve party. Other than these few issues, our stateroom attendant was excellent as always, room service very good and on time, the ladies in the Aqua Spa were great, and the Blu Restaurant and Waiter were outstanding. The food and service excellent overall. Need to consider adding a sports bar where there is room to sit and watch the ball games. Too many people crowded into the Casino to watch the games and not enough room to accommodate. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I am 17 years old and this is my 12th cruise. I have been on 3 NCL, 1 HAL, 1 Carnival, 1 Princess, and my 6th Celebrity cruise. This is the newest and biggest ship in my 12 cruises. We are a family of 9 all from Illinois and our ages vary ... Read More
I am 17 years old and this is my 12th cruise. I have been on 3 NCL, 1 HAL, 1 Carnival, 1 Princess, and my 6th Celebrity cruise. This is the newest and biggest ship in my 12 cruises. We are a family of 9 all from Illinois and our ages vary from 12-80. Embarkation: Embarkation is very well done. We unexpectedly needed a wheelchair and my grandfather received one with a guide from the port authority very quickly. Our guide was very nice and did an excellent job, its a shame they cannot accept tips. Public rooms: The public rooms are truly gorgeous. I cannot tell you how many times I just looked around and wondered the amount of time it must have taken to design all these rooms so elegantly. Also we understood from cruise staff that this was one of the fullest ships they have had, the public rooms did not seem overly full at all. The restrooms are also really, really nice. I must say. Cabin: We had an inside but my aunt and uncle had a balcony. Both cabins are very nice and the bathrooms are even rather large for a cruise ship. I had no problems with the water temperature or the pressure. The tvs also have a way to move so you can watch them while sitting on the sofa or while in your bed. A very cool feature! You can also see your photos on the tv which is sweet! Fitness: The fitness center is very nice, the only problem was that this was a very fit crowd so it was very difficult to get machine time. Enrichment: My uncle went to the enrichment series on weather and said it was very interesting. Dining: The oceanview cafe is the best buffet I have seen on a cruise ship. They have so many choices for lunch and its very easy to get around because it is not just a line each group has its own station. For example they have a line for sandwiches, a line for Mexican, and a line for pizza to name a few. The soft serve ice cream is really good and I thought the pizza was pretty good too. We ate in the main dining room every night and thought the food was pretty good not great but pretty good. A main problem was that our waiter and asst. waiter had 21 people to wait on while they usually only have 13-16. This made the dinners very slow and finished plates were not cleared as quickly as usual but this is the maitre d's fault. Entertainment: I only attended 2 of the Broadway styles shows both of which were good. I personally didn't care for the comedian, I cannot recall his name. Service: As with any Celebrity cruise the service was very good. I would have given it a 5 other than the MDR problems. Still very good service, don't get me wrong. Shore Excursions: We didn't book any excursions with the ship but did a tour with Oscar Brown in Costa Rica, and tours in Columbia and Belize. Overall: An awesome cruise, if you go in with a good attitude to any cruise you will have a great time. I mean its a cruise what is not to like?!? Its a very beautiful ship and has a great crew who work very hard! I hope to sail on her again sometime! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
A nervous month was spent pre cruise waiting to see if BA cabin crew would strike and disrupt our London-Miami flights booked through Celebrity. Thankfully the courts intervened. Flying directly to Miami was a benefit as we did not get ... Read More
A nervous month was spent pre cruise waiting to see if BA cabin crew would strike and disrupt our London-Miami flights booked through Celebrity. Thankfully the courts intervened. Flying directly to Miami was a benefit as we did not get delayed by the snow storms in NE USA which affected Cunard passengers for example. Flight on time and amazingly got through Miami immigration in a few minutes - no queue at all and staff polite! Celebrity air and hotel arrangements took us to Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel which was fine with ground transfers working well. Nearby Bimini Grill excellent for dinner. Check in at port and boarding was quickest ever partly because of booking Aqua Class. Staterooms were not ready until 1.30pm so lunch at buffet first. Bags arrived by 4pm. Aqua Class cabin was excellent differing mainly from others with the six jet shower. The real benefit of Aqua Class is dining in Blu Restaurant which we found outstanding both in food and service - breakfast and dinner there every day except one night in Murano's -again top quality dining. Open dining in Blu is settling in and we settled on 7pm virtually every night. The food was memorably good with only occasional odd menu items such as polenta with the pork chop and macaroni cheese with chateaubriand! We did not partake of the Persian Gardens (heated benches and steam rooms, sauna etc) which are an Aqua Class benefit. We used the gym every morning before 6.45 as by 7am none of the many treadmills were available. The Aqua Spa cafe which we used daily on Millennium ships was not the same on Equinox being located in a corridor almost and subject to ingress of smoke from one of the (few) smoking areas. We usally had lunch in the buffet restaurant which was varied and of a good standard although very crowded at times. The three main shows in the theatre were good although the Cirque de Soleil type 'Equinox -the show' may not be to everyone's taste. Other acts were varied and of pretty high standard although we did not try the late night adult comedian. The Cruise Director Gary Walker (English) was very approachable and open and available to all. The internet service seems slower than on the Millennium class ships and failed completely the night before docking when check in for flights was needed. We are not major sun bathers which was lucky as 3,100 pax filled all loungers very early indeed on sea days. Activities seemed well organised and attended. The New Year party on deck was good fun and the large crowds generally very well behaved -only a handful of drunk teenagers. This was a Western Caribbean cruise and the ports were mixed - Grand Cayman - fine for snorkelling and stingray watching - not much history. Our Cartagena tour was cancelled - twice! We had done a city tour there before so stayed on the ship. We did a monkey watching tour in Panama which was fine - we have done a canal transit in the past -so fun to speed along part of it. In Costa Rica we visited the Sloth sanctuary -well worth while and in Belize did an airboat tour of the swamps to view wildlife. Apart from the airboat breaking down and torrential rain it was fine. The five mile tender into Belize City must make it vulnerable to weather. All these tours were organised through Celebrity and yes were more expensive than direct booking or picking one up on shore. However past bad experience has left us wary of these local tours in this part of the Caribbean. On Cozumel we had booked a hire car from Avis on line and it worked well. Difficult to get in a days driving however on such a small island! Immigration at Fort Lauderdale was tedious but relatively efficient and by 12.15 we were at Miami airport after efficient bus connection. Thankfully we were on the 5.10pm BA flight as we understand the second flight went technical and left the following day. We made our connection to Belfast at Heathrow on time just before the snow arrived to disrupt many flights. An excellent cruise with Celebrity Equinox proving an outstanding ship and Aqua Class proving a fine experience thanks to Blu! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
This was our 15th cruise on Celebrity. We range in age from 49 to 59 and have cruised several cruise lines over the years. We drove from Texas to the cruise as I don't like to fly. The ship was docked at pier 18, which is the new ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise on Celebrity. We range in age from 49 to 59 and have cruised several cruise lines over the years. We drove from Texas to the cruise as I don't like to fly. The ship was docked at pier 18, which is the new one for RCL. Parking was simple as was loading and unloaded. No one seems to do this as easy as Lauderdale. Getting through the check in was quick and painless and we were off to the ship quickly as we carried our own luggage off. The ship is very simple yet elegant. Not much glitz but I really liked the overall layout and look of the ship. Our room was 1019 and seems like the rooms are getting smaller and smaller with each passing year. Oh well, it was a place to sleep and hide from time to time. DW and friend both loved the Hot Glass show. The ladies sat through almost every show and never got tired of it. Also, I was a bit curious about the "lawn". Wow, what a cool idea for a ship. Very nice touch. Our first port was Grand Cayman. Never my favorite port, so we got off wandered around for a short time, got a couple of rum cakes and back to the ship. No need to waste time here on overpriced and cheaply made souvenirs. The next port was Cartegena. This was our first time to be in this port. We took a tour of the city using a private tour. It was a good idea. We were off to an early start and stayed one jump ahead of the ship tours. That meant we had time to wander around and see things without stepping on people at every turn. The monastery at the top of the hill is a stunning view. We had hoped to go to the gold museum but it was closed that day. Of interest was that this is a starting port for RCL. A ship loads and unloads at this port. It was odd to see a "terminal" in a place like this. Our guide laughed and said this is where the wild ones board. It also loads in Panama with mostly American passengers. I would go back to Cartegean again, but would like to see some different tours that take you out to look at nature and the country. Sadly, that appears to still be a dangerous thing to do. All the locals were very happy to have cruise ships back after years of them avoiding the port due to civil unrest. The vendors in the street are very aggressive, more so than Jamaica to some extent. However it was mostly easy to just say no or be serious about dickering for what they offered. We docked in Panama and took a tour to the rain forest. This was one of the oddest tours I have ever been on. Our tour was guide by "Ricky Ricardo". His English was somewhat limited. However the people on the bus were embarrassing. I have never seen such a rude and unruly group. We could have really been in trouble as we are serious birders and could not believe our luck to get such a noisy group. However the driver noted our watching birds and dragged out a well worn book. We left the group to make out down the trail and we lagged behind and drug the driver with us. His English was very limited and our Spanish a match. However we all spoke birds and nature and this became the highlight of the cruise. Some of the birds we saw and the driver's knowledge of the local birds was amazing.(You know you have a serious birder when he pulled out his cell phone and began to play bird calls to call in the birds.) We went to a second stop on the tour and almost had a riot on our hands. The rowdy group wanted to skip the second half as it was hot, and they were missing their lunch and bridge games. "Ricky Ricardo" said we WOULD make the second part though which was great as we saw several Coatimundi which were the first I have seen. The wild bunch went on one trail and the driver and us took off the opposite direction. More birds and a troop of Howler Monkeys were added to the list. Next was Costa Rica and we took a nature tour to an animal recovery site. This was well done and things were going well until it pounded rain as only it can in the tropics. Drowned rats we looked like but all had a great time anyway. (See how much fun a group can be when they are not being rude and ugly?) The next port was Belize and we did the Laminai and New River tour. This was our second time to take this tour. More pounding rain and a wild and wet ride down the river to the Mayan ruins. However once again nothing stopped our group. We were running late so we did not get to malinger down the river as in the past. Still a wonderful tour though. Last port was Cozumel and DW and friend went Tequila tasting. The girls liked the new museum set up there as they had a very nice set up of Mayan culture. Then we went off to town to do some shopping off the plaza. (Best deals and most fun had away from the cruise shops) The wind was howling as a front had come through and it was only 74 there. Nice day. The last sea day was cold and getting colder as we moved north. This is always a possibility during the winter in the Gulf of Mexico. SO.... A few things of note. We went to the Silk Harvest restaurant and it was every bit as good as others have said. The service and food were perfect. The main dining started off a disaster. We went down to main seating and had ordered when a group came in late and said we were at their table. When we checked our dining card more carefully, we found that we had been summarily exiled from first to second seating. The maitre'd was huffed that we were there and finally found us a new place to be. He did get us a new table the next day after we had the loyalty lady follow up with an email to him. Second seating was NOT going to happen. We got the best end of the deal as our new table mates, waiter and asst. waiter were all great. The food was normal for Celebrity and we like what was offered each night. JMHO..... deserts were always a miss. I ate ice cream every night as most of the deserts were not to my liking. Oh well.... I would say that the Ocean View buffet was a bit off. The food was good and always lots of choices. However we noticed that all week the selections barely changed. It was good but nothing new every day. The worst thing on the cruise was the smell in the hall on deck 10 forward. It was just awful and was there throughout the cruise. Sometimes, it even crept into our room. Our Steward said they were aware of it and trying to find a fix. They need to do that or this will become a major issue for anyone on that deck. No idea if it was on any other deck. Shows were on par with most ships, and we did not bother to take in most of them. The new show the first night had some good parts but could have been better. The smoking on the ship has been greatly reduced. No more smoking in the casino, in rooms or on the balconies. This is something that I really did notice and like. However there were still a few who did try to sneak a smoke on the balconies but it was WAY less than in the past. It will get better as time goes along. In general, this was the first time in years of cruising that I was able to enjoy the balcony without smoking someone else's tobacco habit. It was also nice to sit in the casino as long as I wanted and not leave gagging or having to change clothes reeking of smoke. We were very disappointed with the loyalty functions. The morning thing was nothing special and the evening meet in the sky lounge was very disappointing. No emails before we boarded the ship either. We have never been treated like this as elite members and we did notice it. DW said that it felt like we were just passengers and not valued repeat customers. Would we sail this ship again. Very definitely would. Was this a great cruise with a great list of ports? Perfect! We were very disappointed when we checked on booking this cruise for next Christmas as they had brain deaded the schedule. It was set too late to make the cruise and get back to school or have you children with you without missing a week of work or school. I have no clue what they are thinking on those dates. Guess we will look elsewhere which is a shame. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
We flew to Rome on Monday and spent three nights there. Then we were escorted to the Port of Rome for our ten day trip. The ship is so beautiful. It was the 11th cruise my husband and I have taken and this was the most beautiful ship of ... Read More
We flew to Rome on Monday and spent three nights there. Then we were escorted to the Port of Rome for our ten day trip. The ship is so beautiful. It was the 11th cruise my husband and I have taken and this was the most beautiful ship of all. Our cabin had a balcony, which we have gotten use to inn the last 5 cruises. The staff was excellent. We had wonderful bathrobes waiting in our closet. The bathroom was large and every well accomadated. The nicest one we have found so far. The bed was very comfortable. Overall we loved this ship. The food was excellent. Reviews on this board had us worried about the food. But, it seems they have gotten a new chef from France recently and he did a wonderful job. Each night we were able to have escargot if we wanted it. We had duck, lobster, lamb, prime rib, etc. The portions were huge. The salads were very unique each evening. One thing, you did not get to eat in the dinning room at lunch. That was different for us. But, the buffett was the best I have ever seen. The selections were excellent and I am sure no one went hungry. For the first time ever I did not mind eating at the buffett. The entertainment was no so good. The usual type of entertainment and nothing to rave about. The ports were great. Ephesus was the main attraction. We chose a private tour for that as well and Athens. Used the ship's shore excursions for all other ports. The tours became a little of the same after a while. All of the Greek Islands were basically the same sites. They were beautiful, but after a while the ruins got to all run together in our minds. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast were my favorite. Things that were not as great as other ships...they seem to no longer make the little animals out of the towels for your room. I noticed this on the last two Princess cruises as well. The photos of you coming on the ship and off were poor. The gladiator and Roman had on tennis shoes. Who wants a picture with the Roman wearing tennis shoes? Not us. There was no meet the Captain personally. He was on the stage at the theatre and spoke to everyone as a group. What's up with that? It use to be so nice to get your picture taken with the captain. No more. And the champagne was awful with no appetizers like you usually have. It was not a party at all. But, I don't want to be negative. The cruise was wonderful. The staff was excellent. The ship is just beautiful. I would go on it again. The ports were great. We had not been to any of them except Rome and Naples and even enjoyed repeating those. I would highly recommend the Solstice. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
This was a repositioning cruise (Ft Lauderdale to Santiago transiting the Panama Canal). Our cruise was quite heavily discounted on account of the costs of one way fares back to the US from Santiago. We had a Veranda cabin but I seem to ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise (Ft Lauderdale to Santiago transiting the Panama Canal). Our cruise was quite heavily discounted on account of the costs of one way fares back to the US from Santiago. We had a Veranda cabin but I seem to recall that inside cabins were selling for as little as USD600 per person for the two week cruise in the month or so before we departed. This was our first Celebrity cruise, but will definitely not be our last. With the cruise being so heavily discounted, I fully expected that Celebrity would need to cut some corners somewhere along the line, however this was NOT our experience and it was very much a four plus star cruise experience across the board. In no particular order Pre - Cruise Hotel to Avoid America's Best Inns Ft Lauderdale Sth. A nightmare and with any luck will have been closed down by the time this goes to print. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor for the gory details. Embarkation and disembarkation smooth and well organized on both ends. Appreciated the nice touches such as ice cold faceclothes, bottled water, etc while we waited to embark. Lots of staff around to assist and a very warm welcome. Fellow Passengers Primarily from North America and generally in the 70+ age range. We met several lovely passengers who were well into their 80's as well. Entertainment Was very much tailored to the age profile above, particularly the singers/vocal entertainment. Was not that great from our perspective, but the oldies seemed to really enjoy it! Cabin Verandah cabin was well appointed and spacious. Only complaint is that the layout is such that you can't access the closet if someone is in/needs to use the bathroom, as the doors sort of open into each other. Just a bit annoying, that's all. Got used to it by day 13! Cabin Steward Excellent and unobtrusive service. Gym Much of the equipment was not in good working order approx 1/4 of the machines with "out of order" notices on them at any given time and a bit too much mirror gazing by some of the staff, when they were there. The lack of staff presence was also a problem when the air conditioning went off unexpectedly (as it was prone to do) however the Spa ladies were always helpful in tracking down someone to fix it. Shore excursions we didn't do any personally as we were travelling with our own group, however the other passengers seemed to speak quite highly of the ones they'd done. The prices as well we found were much more reasonable than what we'd become accustomed to paying on Princess. Internet Bought a package at the usual shipboard rates and was pleasantly surprised with how well it all worked. Found both the internet cafe and wireless connections to be reasonably good esp compared to the connections on Princess. THe chap in the Internet Cafe was excellent and very helpful and patient to those who were not quite comfortable with the technology. A credit to Celebrity, this guy would stay on well past his official leaving time to help others out. Activities a wide range of things to do if you were so inclined, and a great Cruise Director/activities team, with heaps of energy and enthusiasm and a real "can do" attitude. Food Quality was generally excellent, esp AquaSpa Cafe, which is the best kept secret on the boat with its heathy eating menu and beautifully presented meals. The buffet was okay but not adequately staffed (you could not help yourself as there were staff "servers" on all but the salad bar) ie the pasta bar had only one server and so even if you just wanted a bowl of plain spaghetti, you had to wait behind all those in front of you who were ordering customized pasta toppings etc. We tended to avoid the buffet for that reason, although as mentioned above the food was generally excellent with great variety. On the positive side, they did have waiters come and take your full tray from you and carry it to your table for you, which was a nice touch. There were some problems in the Main Dining Room on a couple of nights, which seemed to be management issues rather than issues with individual staff. There was apparently a "change of senior staff" early on in the cruise and things got a bit better after that. Kids Club There were only nineteen kids on this cruise and in one word, FABULOUS! A highlight of our experience with Celebrity. Truly wonderful staff who clearly loved their jobs and made sure our kids had a great time despite the small numbers. I can't speak highly enough of the Kids Club team on our cruise and hope that Celebrity realizes what a great group of people they have there. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Wow, Well this is my first cruise review but I have done thousand for hotels, so I will try my best. My cruise was from Valparaiso, Chile to Buenos Aires for Xmas and New Year with my two kids. Well Im going to write my review in parts, ... Read More
Wow, Well this is my first cruise review but I have done thousand for hotels, so I will try my best. My cruise was from Valparaiso, Chile to Buenos Aires for Xmas and New Year with my two kids. Well Im going to write my review in parts, and for my journal of each day check my blog: Embarkation: After a 3 days stay in Chile ( you can check here my blog: http://celebrityinfinity.blogspot.com/) I arrived to Valparaiso Port for a fast "check in" it just took me like 10 minutes, then I took a bus so I didn't walk like ... a lot, well I arrived in front of the ship and it was incredible the first time I saw it and it was incredible, well when I arrived to the ship I was escorted to my cabin with a champagne oh and my kids supposedly with orange juices but they were mimosas, well. Room: My room was 9009 and it was located Forward, near the elevators, When I enter the room I thought that it was going to be more little but not it was big, not so big, I also met my stateroom attendant, JosE from Philippines. The room was good I have a veranda of view to the port side, it has the pricey mini bar and the t.v. with channels in spanish, yeah for my kids, and a little bathroom. After this we decide it to go to a tour of the ship.Oh and I also understand why it is important the midship Overall Ship: It was big at the first time I was getting lost and tired, it´s an awesome ship, it has many things except that the things for kids are missing. I would said that this is more for adult, sorry for all parents reading this, but yes this is more for a couple. Oh when I go you will not know that it has more than 8 years, the only old thing I saw it was the hairdryer in the room that was really old. But well maybe it will be because it was in dry dock for 3 weeks. Food, Buffet, Ocean View : Well at the first days it was not so bad they also give very good mexican food, but all the days was almost the same thing, it was good specially the ice creams, try the banana with ron, It was not so bad, but at least they change some things, oh and their desserts were not so good as I expect. But well the good thing is that you can also eat in the AquaSpa that is healthier. or in the Trellis but is very early. The Trellis: A very good restaurant to have dinner, they always give you a different thing, thats what I like it, well the bad thing is that you need to get dress every day, oh and the formal nights were good, the 3 were one in xmas one in new year and the other the 2 of January, that the last one is the cool one. The food here its excellent. And my waiter Cristos was excellent, but Carlos that is for wine, that was the best person in all the cruise if you see him please tell him a big hello from Mexico. Activities: The activities were good, well the trivias were very bad and short, and some activities were never done. There was only one activity for families: Bingo, and I never won :( but well, they were some other activities but more for kids. Oh and about the Bingo, I like it very much, its very cool specially with the activity staff: Ezperanza, please if you see her tell her how is her spanish, also they were two more persons of Canada and Mayela from Mexico. Also the Enrichment Series they told me it was very good Children Club: Well for my 8 years old girl it was good the activity during the day but when it was the party well that was more as a free time, and guess what I bought the V.I.P Pass and I didn't use more than 50 dollars and it cost 200, well they also give you a xclub kit, that is like 40 dollars plus a Backstage in the Theatre and a Bridge Tour, that was very good. And for my 13 kid, well it was also like free time almost all day. He might not have a good time but he is more an adult so there was no problem. Entertainment: It was very good, the shows at night were incredible, also the Starring you wow I just love it. It was one of the things I really like, and this was for all persons, oh and I wish I could saw completely the Global Show, but my kids were sleeping and it was 11:30 p.m. so I go. Overall its very good the Shows and all the things Shopping: One word: pricey, except for the sales, The Emporium is pricey in almost everything, at least they have their 10 dollars things, the clothing was good and not so expensive. But the photos, o.m.g. 20 bucks for one photo, well minimum, you need to buy the ones from Xmas and New Year , plus the special elegant ones, thats like 60 dollars. Or more. But the photos were good. In Ports: To tender is the worst thing ever and each time it get worst, in Puerto Montt well not so many problem, in Punta Arenas we were at 7 Celsius and need it to wait like 30 minutes well for Punta del Este, very hot, and like 40 minutes, and just because they put 3 boats more. In Holidays: In Xmas it was good they give you a (I don't know how to say it) with a ... sorry I just don't know how to say it but it was good, very familiar. In New Year the worst thing for kids, my little girl I need it to take her to the Club in New Year and then I went to the Constellation and when I was getting to pass with my 13 years boy, they didn't have a paper to sign up so in the line I just heard the Happy New Year oh my god, I decide it to go to the Martini Bar with my second favorite waiter from Colombia, Karen a very good service, then we went to get my daughter and went to sleep... Oh and one thing its very disorganized, also there was some problems with a man that broke the nose of another men. Service: I think it was a very good service although I didn't heard the same from many persons, I loved the service from everyone, except one that was in the Guest Relations, she is from South Africa what a bad service she gave me, but the whole entire crew give me a very good service, well specially, like I say it Carlos and Karen, wonderful people, but Alan King was just wow, the best cruise director very funny, just the best person. Disembarkation: It wasn't so bad, I went off at 8:45 it was fast and kind of smooth. Well here was my long and long review, and I could continue, if you have questions just send me an email to oav1995@gmail.com its just for cruise things. Im just putting some ports, because CC don't have all In Punta Arenas I did a tour with the ship very good explanation but we didn't saw many penguins Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
After 18 months of anticipation, we finally boarded Solstice! Info - We are DINK's in our 40s. Ok, one of us, the other one is lying. This was our 13th cruise - we cruise X and RCCL exclusively. Pre Cruise - We spent 2 ... Read More
After 18 months of anticipation, we finally boarded Solstice! Info - We are DINK's in our 40s. Ok, one of us, the other one is lying. This was our 13th cruise - we cruise X and RCCL exclusively. Pre Cruise - We spent 2 nights at the Hyatt Pier 66. Nice property with excellent service. We enjoyed sunset drinks at Pelican Bar. The pool was pretty crowded but this was the Saturday before NYE so that is to be expected. The workout room is quite small for a resort of this size but equipment was fine. I had a manicure for $50 (sigh, I can get one at home for $15 but it wouldn't have lasted the cruise) and had a shampoo/blowout for over $100 - way too much and she took over an hour and a half. I can get a shampoo/cut and dry for about an hour - I was climbing the walls towards the end and finally told her I HAD to leave. She was very nice but it just took too long! Gratuity is automatically added there. We were fortunate to have a Tower Room that faced the port so we could watch the ships leave and watch them come in - yep, we got up early enough to see several arrive although JUST missed Solstice. Checked out and took a cab (actually a nice SUV, lucky us) and arrived at the port around 11 am. EMBARKATION: Very smooth. We arrived early on purpose so had to wait for about 30 minutes. Once they opened it up, we were checked in quite quickly. Definitely among the first onboard around 11:30. THE SHIP: Visually stunning. I can really find nothing to complain about regarding the ship. The decor is tasteful, varied and soothing. It will be hard to find a way to fully experience the ship in 7 days. We didn't so darn it, we'll have to go back. POOLS: Aquaspa is my favorite lounging place for sea days and quiet mornings. This was no different. From the various loungers, cabanas etc to the placement of the whirlpools to the pool (ideal temperature - never fear, it is NOT cold), it is a lovely place. Chair hogs ruled on this sailing (New Years, whattaya expect?) but we found chairs before 9 am quite easily. After 10 am, good luck. Being a ghost, the pool is not my scene although I like going in the afternoon to listen to the band and enjoy the sun. This was the most crowded pool deck I have ever seen - not a chair to be had. However, again, holiday sailing and a large percentage of passengers who were sungods and goddesses as well as MANY children. I was pleased to see that security was vigilant about enforcing the no children policy in the Aquaspa. DINING: I found the Grand Epernay to be stunning. We had a lovely table (#241 - great location). Service was a bit slow the first 2 nights but they rallied later. The food was fine - not fine dining cuisine but very nice. Not a bad meal. We requested escargot and our maitre'd made sure we had it beginning Wednesday and again on Friday and Saturday. We ate in Tuscan Grille and Muranos. Both are very nice but I would return to Tuscan Grille over Muranos. I enjoyed the service in Tuscan provided by Slobadan and Luciana - if they are your servers, you are in for a treat. Muranos had a mistake on our charge - we had prepaid for specialty and he brought us the bill, not only for us but also for our tablemates who were in a suite so they were also supposed to be free. It took him 15 minutes to bring back the corrected ticket. Not the end of the world, but evidence that they are still working out some kinks. We had brunch at Bistro "For" 5 and had an excellent meal. It was virtually empty and our wait was brief - they do cook to order so our waiter told us it would take about 15 minutes. That was acceptable. Other cruisers we spoke with had mixed experiences - some had great service and food, others waited an hour for their food and finally left. Again, I think as the crew gets in sync things will be fine. LOUNGES: Michael's seemed too sedate and boring for us but others enjoyed it. Ensemble Lounge - we tried twice. The first time it was busy and it took an hour to get a drink. The second time we went in around 11:30 and there were only 2 people at the bar. The bartender never came over to us so we left. I think it is a nice venue for pre dinner drinks when dining in the Specialty Restaurants but didn't feel compelled to seek it out. On the flip side, it was the favorite lounge of others we met. Martini Bar was usually hopping and great fun. It is centrally located and between the main dining room and the casino so it is easily crowded. There was a quite large Latin passenger base on our cruise and the Sky Lounge was mainly the Latin lounge most evenings so we did not venture there except for Captains Club and Cruise Critic functions. It is nice, your standard lounge similar to the ones on M class ships. Quasar was small and we just popped in to look at it - I think it was really packed late night but with a huge amount of young people on the sailing, we didn't have it on the To Do list. LAWN CLUB AREA: We liked it. It's a lovely area with seating. This is where the cigar smokers went but with the wind it was never much of an issue. We liked to go grab a mid/late afternoon drink at the Sunset Bar and enjoyed it very much. We watched a small part of the Hot Glass show - it was interesting but 20 minutes was plenty for us. The complete show is listed as 2 hours. SPA: Glad I was onboard early - I still stood in line for 40 minutes to make an appointment. I really wish X would provide Captains Club members the option to pre-book spa appts - even if its just Elite members. It is silly to stand in line and it's also so hard on the spa personnel since people can be so rude. It shouldn't be hard to make this easier. The spa is lovely - the Relaxation Room is nice and since I had a Captains Club coupon, I could access the Persian Garden once. It was peaceful since I was the only one in there but not worth paying for and I think the PG on M class is much nicer. CONCIERGE CLASS ROOM: The room is efficient. The bathroom is greatness. My husband is 6'5 and could maneuver in there quite well and was very pleased with the shower. The shampoo conditioner body wash lotion are of good quality and lemongrass (mmhm) We found closet space to be fine but I'm an efficient packer. Our safe froze up twice but they fixed it in a timely manner. The interactive tv was great and got the seal of approval from the IT professional husband. It was great to access the photos and keep track of our account - the music channels were great and we enjoyed the bridge cam. Husband prefers M class CC rooms because they are more square and it was a tight fit for him to walk around the bed. Our balcony was quite deep (probably 15 feet) since we were on the hump - with the couch by the window so it was harder to see the actual ocean from the bed than we are used to. We had room service breakfast one day and it was pretty blah. CASUAL DINING: Food at the Pool Bar was always good. Aquaspa food was good. The sushi in Oceanview was excellent both times we tried it. Pizza was good. We eat breakfast early to avoid the crowd and never had problems. Waffles, omelettes fresh! Silverware is now at all the stations so no issues there. We never had table issues. The only flaw I saw was in the afternoon after the lunch is closed and before tea is open, the pizza/pasta station is combined in one line and it was long. We came back onboard one day and stood in line for well over 30 minutes. If you wanted pizza, you still had to stand behind all the pasta people. If you wanted pasta, vice versa. They should separate it and make it 2 lines. SERVICE: With very few exceptions, we had outstanding service. Most of the staff was friendly and eager to please. Our cabin attendant and assistant were mainly invisible but appeared whenever we needed them and did a great job. CAPTAINS CLUB: Our Elite party was a bit of a bust. It was at 11 am pre arrival in san Juan. Due to a medical emergency, we got into San Juan at 11:30 instead of 2 pm so all the senior officers were on the bridge. Perfectly understandable. Our disappointment was that since we did not know we would be arriving so early, we completely missed the approach and watching from the deck as we approach the Fort had been something we looked forward to. We missed it since we were in the lounge and unaware of how early we would be arriving. The regular party was fine, albeit a bit stuffy and too long. GALA BRUNCH: No more midnight buffet which to me is not a bad thing. They had a brunch which was outstanding. We enjoyed it very much - look for the chicken pot pies, they were fresh and hot. ENTERTAINMENT: I very much enjoyed Solstice. I have seen several Cirque du Soleil shows and this was quite on par. I recognized many of the "acts" but felt the performers were very strong. I should also admit that I work in entertainment so I am pretty hard to please. We also saw the late night comedy show of Louis Johnson and I enjoyed his act very much. CASINO: This was our only real "disappointment" and had nothing to do with Celebrity. There were 2 gambling groups on board, as well as a large group of passengers who apparently did not go to dinner. We could never get a table past 7 pm to play AT ALL EVER. The slot machines were the tightest I have ever seen on 13 cruises - I don't always ask to win (ok that's a lie) but I would like to at least play for a while on my donation. I would put $100 in and never hit a thing. No thanks - I prefer to donate more slowly than that! :) Had I been able to play at the tables, I might have recouped some slot money but it was impossible. DISEMBARKATION: We were at 8:45 and were off within 5 minutes. The easiest I've seen. SOLSTICE IN GENERAL: Will we cruise Solstice again? Yes. Will we choose her OVER M class? Not really. We will probably forgo holiday cruises again. Although we had a great time, there were issues with unruly children and out of control partying by the 16-25 age group. Since there were so many large family groups on board, it seemed like security was challenged by many things but overall did as well as they could. There was a diversity of cultures onboard and sometimes it appeared to negatively impact others enjoyment. I heard more passengers complaining than ever before - while some may have been warranted, sometimes it seemed to be nitpicking. Read Less
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