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8 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale

8 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

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Celebrity Equinox (Photo: Celebrity)
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    San Juan
  • Day 4
    St. Thomas
  • Day 5
    St. Maarten
  • Day 6
    Tortola
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Nassau
  • Day 9
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Celebrity Equinox

Celebrity Equinox - Celebrity Cruises

Pros

Innovative features like a real grass lawn and glass-blowing show

Cons

Main dining could use a little improvement

Bottom Line

Sail for a strong mix of dining and activity options


Cruise Reviews

This was technically our second cruise, though Hurricane Matthew a few years ago wrecked the first one, so I don't really count it. Cabin We had room 6165, which was a standard Verandah Room with a partially obstructed view. ... Read More
This was technically our second cruise, though Hurricane Matthew a few years ago wrecked the first one, so I don't really count it. Cabin We had room 6165, which was a standard Verandah Room with a partially obstructed view. The cabin was absolutely fine. The only obstruction to the view was the lifeboats below us, but that didn't make any difference to us. The balcony was big enough for the two of us to sit out and watch the sunrise with a glass of juice and a croissant, which was all we really needed. The beds were comfortable, there was plenty of storage space (not that I need much), and the bathroom was perfectly adequate. The shower was quite powerful and ran hot almost immediately. There were two sockets in easily accessible positions - there may have been more if we'd looked for them, but 2 was plenty. We didn't spend much time in the room as there were plenty of public spaces and the weather was good, All in all, a good cabin. It's worth noting that we only took the cabin as it included a free drinks package - without this, we probably wouldn't have spent the extra... Dining Originally, we had planned to eat in the speciality restaurants a couple of times, but after eating in the Silhouette Dining Room, we quickly decided that the food and service were very good, and we really didn't need or want to pay $40+ for a meal somewhere else. We had dinner in The Silhouette most evenings, as well as breakfast 3 or 4 times. We couldn't fault it any time, though as we had different tables a few times, the quality of the service inevitably varied. Most of the time, we ate breakfast in the buffet, as well as most of our lunches, and 2 or 3 dinners. This was probably where I was most surprised - I had expected the food to be adequate, but no more. However, it was fresh, and generally quite good quality, and we were more than happy to eat here when we were pressed for time and couldn't risk the main dining room. A couple of times, we ate at the Mast Grill, and again I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food served. They only do burgers and hot dogs, but they were good burgers and hot dogs. But best of all was Cafe Al Bacio. We had a drinks package, so we probably averaged around 3-4 coffees per day in here. The coffee was high street quality and the cakes were better than anything you get on the high streets (around us, at least!). The service was painfully slow, but you could get a takeaway coffee from the counter (and many people did). The gelataria next to the cafe was also good. The only real disappointment was the slush bar, which was closed for the whole cruise as far as we could tell. Moving on to the bars, they were without exception excellent. Each has its own theme and a distinctly different feel, from the Craft Bar (which feels like an English Sports Bar), to the ultra-modern Martini Bar or the Sky Observation Lounge (where quizzes and other events are hosted - a great place to watch the ship pull into or out of port). They all serve cocktails and a good selection of drinks, and to be honest we didn't spend as much time as we'd like in any of them! Embarkation was very smooth - we turned up a few minutes early, and were in our room within about 30 minutes. Our first cruise embarkation was wrecked by a hurricane (it took 5 hours of queuing to get on the ship), so this was a major concern for us prior to the cruise. Happily, it couldn't have been any smoother. The entertainment was plentiful - there was always live music playing somewhere on the ship, with a fairly wide variety. There were also many activities on board, from dancing workouts to colouring, to talks about Faberge Eggs. There was a different show every evening, and the standard of these was very mixed. A couple of the musical acts were exceptional, the musical shows were good, but the illusionist was genuinely appalling and we weren't keen on a couple of the other shows. The lawn is a nice idea, but we were quite disappointed on both occasions that we tried to watch a film there. There were only 3 working loungers (the others were broken), and it really wasn't practical to watch the film without them. Even if they'd all been working, ten? Really? One small criticism is that there is a library and a card game room on the ship. These are pretty much unusable when there is a band playing below them - the sound is channeled upwards and it's actually louder than when you are next to them. But the sets are only 45 minutes, so a trip to Cafe Al Bacio and back, and the problem's solved! In terms of Fitness and Recreation, we only really used the gym. We went between 7 and 8 every morning, and it was largely empty - there was never a problem getting a treadmill, and the rest of the equipment was also available. No idea if it got busier later in the day, though. One concern that we had was whether it would be difficult to get a lounger, but whilst the 'best spots' were inevitably unavailable most of the time (unless you happened to get lucky just as somebody was leaving), it was never difficult to find two loungers together out of the sun (or in it, if we preferred). The staff on the pool decks were always friendly and helpful, and offered us drinks etc. regularly. Whilst we didn't actually use the pools ourselves, they didn't look packed, and there were frequently jacuzzis available as well. One irritation that we did have was that the Arcade Room was open with the machines turned on for the entire cruise, but all of the machines to pay to play them were out of order, so we couldn't play, and they were wasting a lot of electricity. The shops were about what you'd expect - out of the price range of 90% of the passengers - but there was a sale most (all?) days that offered some good bargains. With no previous experience of cruises, it's hard to rate the service. Everybody was polite, service was generally quick and our room steward always had time to say hello. We weren't really into scuba diving and lying on beaches, so the decision to cruise the Caribbean was with hindsight a little odd (then again, the weather was nice). We did go on two Shore Excursions, of which the first was excellent (Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua), and one was abysmal (a waterfall in St Lucia). To be clear, the waterfall was nice, but the guide decided that rather than talking about the island, he'd tell us why each month should be 28 days, each day should start at dawn, and that there should only be ten months in the year. Seriously, you don't want to know! It was the most painful excursion of my life. Would we go again? Yes and no. The ship was everything that we'd want it to be, but to be honest, it was the Caribbean that was a bit of a let-down. It was difficult to get past the 'touristy places' to see the real islands, and to be honest, given that their economies are so reliant on tourism, perhaps that's for the best. We'd certainly cruise on one of Equinox's sister ships, and will probably do so. Again, judging value for money is difficult with no experience of other cruises to compare against, but comparing the cruise to holidays of other types that we've had, it seemed very reasonable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Ft. Lauderdale, St. Thomas, St. Croix. Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten Number of Cruises – 27 Cruises on Celebrity – 6 Cruises on Equinox – 3 O.K. we love Celebrity and the Equinox. We figured we would have a ... Read More
Ft. Lauderdale, St. Thomas, St. Croix. Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten Number of Cruises – 27 Cruises on Celebrity – 6 Cruises on Equinox – 3 O.K. we love Celebrity and the Equinox. We figured we would have a rocky sea day heading south to St. Thomas due to passing tropical storm Karen, but it never grew to hurricane strength and stayed well east and north of us. Smooth sailing and sunny skies for 11 days. I doubt if I can add any original insights about the ports we visited, so I’ll relate some of the unique events occurring on our cruise. Docking at the Crown Bay pier, we were the only cruise ship in St. Thomas. The locals told us that we were the first ship to stop there in ten days due to weather concerns. I can’t ever remember being the only cruise ship in that port. The next day in St. Croix, my wife Joanne was relating this to a local shopkeeper and they told her they only see about twenty ships per year. In St. Lucia, the Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort was anchored a mile off our port of Castries. The US Navy took a 900=foot-long oil tanker and converted it to a hospital ship with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms and loads of medical staff. The ship is on a five-month deployment to the Caribbean and all-day long, Navy Blackhawk helicopters ferried patients to and from the airport in Castries. All of the medical care provided to the locals is completely free to them and when the ship departs it leaves several tons of medical supplies with the local medical services. Yes, it’s all paid for with our tax dollars, but it gives me a warm feel-good vibe that our tax dollars are doing some good in this world. One of the Equinox’s bus tours on St. Lucia had a head on crash when another driver drove on the wrong side of the road. Apparently, the bus driver and the guide had to be taken to a local hospital and Celebrity brought 20 bruised and battered passengers to the Equinox’s medical facility on deck 2. For the ship’s medical staff, it was an all hands-on deck response and fortunately there were no serious injuries. One couple were so impressed with the ship’s response that they immediately booked another Celebrity cruise while aboard. So, I’m sitting in Café al Bacio on deck 5 at around noon overlooking the three-story atrium and suddenly a Christmas show breaks out. The ship’s dancers popped an 8-track into the player on deck 3 and rehearsed a 30-minute Christmas song and dance routine. There were no costumes and this was not on the daily ship’s planner but it was a wonderful surprise to have Christmas in September. Hint for future cruisers: the grand finale number is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.” Perhaps this is just me, but I totally love seeing an electrical storm at night at sea. Sailing north to St. Maarten there was a storm that had to be 20 or 30 miles off our starboard side. We were in clear skies under a sliver of a new moon and every 20 seconds or so, the entire thunder storm looked like a giant flash bulb went off within it. There was no thunder due to the distance but you could see the storm soaring miles high. Good job Celebrity and mother nature. We had an unscheduled port stop in San Juan. Someone aboard had a medical emergency the night we left St. Maarten to head home. The Equinox was north of the Virgin Islands when It made a hard left to head for San Juan. We docked for five minutes at 5:15 a.m. to transfer a passenger to an ambulance on the pier and were off again. And no, passengers were not charged extra port fees for the stop. That day, the ship’s speed increased to 22.5 knots from 17 knots to make up lost time. Dining, crew, entertainment on the Equinox are all superb. We had two extra spectacular dining experiences at the Murano restaurant. Don’t miss it. We’ll be back, see you there. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
30th wedding anniversary. * Embarking from terminal 25 ft. Lauderdale, port everglades, which is used almost exclusively by Celebrity was a mess, no order at all; Upon arrival in the terminal 25 was met with a very large mass of people ... Read More
30th wedding anniversary. * Embarking from terminal 25 ft. Lauderdale, port everglades, which is used almost exclusively by Celebrity was a mess, no order at all; Upon arrival in the terminal 25 was met with a very large mass of people standing around Pressed up against the gangway that was not allowing entry to the ship. * Packs of people no queues, no signs, no directions or explanations why not being allowed to board. We completed about a week before on the Celebrity web page, the pre embarking docs Celebrity Express pass said to board 1200-1230. Boarding of the 100s jammed into the terminal 25 began at 1300. * During the wait pressed up against the crowd were a few celebrity employees roaming the 100s of passengers with computer tablets, taking pictures.Until we inched our way thru the masses that we discovered these roaming celebrity employees & struggled to learn what they were doing. the Celebrity employees did Not verify cabin number, drink pkgs, wifi, or Other items previously paid to the travel agent NOR items paid on the Celebrity web site by the passenger. On board that nite discovered wifes card did not have drink pkg upgrade fortunately before generating charges. * No key issued in terminal nor Gangway * No guidance from the gangway onto ship * The cabin contained 2Sea pass cards. I discovered before using the seapass card during the 12 day trip, that my wifes card did not have upgraded drink package associated with her seapass card. If I had not would have run up a large bill. I paid for the upgrade via the Celebrity web site weeks in advance of the voyage. I was required to go to guest relations, wait in Long line to straiten the mess they created. * Celebrity web site and the documents forwarded by the travel agent were dissimilar. never could locate on the Celebrity web site the specifics of: pre-paid items via the travel agent, or that I paid for on the Celebrity web site. Needed to patch the 2 together and hope they contained the total of all selections. * Online selections for pre-paid gratuities, drink pkgs, wifi that were selected weeks before sailing, were Not reflected online web nor app. * Celebrity app never same as printed daily planner on ship. Rooms, times for activities listed wrong on app vs. Print I.e. Never had menus for any dining venue. * Ran out of coke zero, then diet coke about ½ way thru voyage * Cancelled movie w/o notice * Venues unsuitable- several activities & games were hosted in ships areas with only 12 seats available. of the 12 seats, several empty seats were saved by passengers thereby creating disagreeable encounters when other people tried to be seated. attendees vastly exceeded 12 seats causing passages to be blocked to other passengers trying to proceed to different ship areas. * Specialty restaurant Tuscan grill was terrible (contrary to cruise critic reviews; maybe just the crew of the Ship?) 40% discount for specialty dining offered approx.. ½ way thru voyage which aggravated passengers who paid 100% for the same dinner. * Qsine Le Petit chef led to food poisoning were my wife projectile vomited during the next 12 hours * The Wifi for which I paid for, dropped a connection at least hourly * Three Holes were torn into 1 of our brand new baggage * At end cruise, we were given in the stateroom the wrong luggage tags to disembark @ ft. Lauderdale. Those Tags would have sent our luggage erroneously to Ft. Lauderdale airport never to be seen again. * FINALLY, With over a 1,00 passengers trying to disembark together, at the Ft. Lauderdale gangway I was prevented from departing the ship. blocked my exit with a security officer & told by the deck officer that the ship did not have credit card on file for me. the ship deck officer said the only credit card on file was for my wife. the deck officer said there was a $500 spa bill for my wife. the Celebrity officer said I had to go back into the ship down 2 decks, thru 1,000 departing passengers to Guest Relations to fix. I used a lot of colorful language to say that’s ridiculous that a credit card was not on file for me & only for my wife as I know the travel agent puts a card on file & I verified that a credit card was on file weeks before on the Celebrity Web site AND authorized it to be used by BOTH passengers(Mr. & Mrs.)in the cabin.Now on day 12, disembarking the ship says no credit card on file!! I offered to give them a credit card or number at the gangplank but they refused. N.B. crew stated card on file for Wife AND spa charge for Wife. So, why did crew even need a credit card for me?I should have walked off BUT instead went back into the ship, down 2 decks, past 100s of passengers, many of which witnessed the entire embarrassing episode unfold at the gangway where I was prevented from disembarking by security. Probably more problems... Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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