Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by Mill99
- Sail Date: January 2013
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
The ship itself is great - very impressive, clean, lots to do, good food and service. I would highly recommend it (though as this was our first cruise I have nothing to compare it to).
We originally booked an inside cabin but were offered a very last minute (as we flew out from London) upgrade to a guarantee verandah cabin at a cost of Â£150 extra each. We decided it was worth it and were delighted to get a 1B class of cabin for this extra cost. That said, I originally booked direct with Celebrity (online) and I don't think we got a particularly good deal - no obc etc. Having spoken to other guests, I wouldn't do this again, I'd book through an agent or try phoning Celebrity to get a better deal.
I found Celebrity's administration pre-cruise to be not particularly good. Information is limited and sent in a haphazard way and this is an area they could improve. Their website is also poor and not user friendly.
In particular when deciding to choose a drinks package they were very coy about revealing drinks prices onboard. Why? I emailed several times and got a couple of drinks lists, but from a different ship plus never a complete list and never very up to date. [once onboard we found that the drinks offered on the Equinox were different to some of those on the menu we'd been sent (from I think the Eclipse)- doesn't leave a good impression of Celebrity's organisation].
In the end we booked a premium alcohol package for my husband and a premium non alcohol package for me. We kept a running tally and we did get our money's worth and more, but we were having freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast and specialty coffees and teas throughout the day, as well as the drinks in bars and with meals. You could do without the package if you wanted to save money(though their standard, free coffee is pretty revolting)- we valued the package primarily because we didn't have to decide whether or not to get a coffee or a drink (i.e. the all inclusive feel). The drinks menus onboard could be better. Non alcoholic drinks were hardly ever listed and many n/a drinks existed which were not on any menu in any bar. We had to ask the waiters/bar staff and they suggested drinks.
Their communication on board was haphazard - we missed the Cruise Critic meet because it was scheduled for 10.15am on day 1 of the cruise (the first full day on board) - a note was left outside our cabin somewhere after 11pm the night before (we'd already gone to bed) and because we only left the cabin at 10.30am, we didn't see the note and we missed the meet. Ok, the ship staff are busy on sailaway day, but this was disappointing. Our first excursion was cancelled due to swells in the sea and again, we didn't receive a voice mail on the phone until 30 minutes before the time given to meet for the excursion on the pier - we'd already left the cabin for breakfast and so spent some time looking for our excursion meeting point on the pier and then disappointed that it was cancelled, having to go back onboard the boat to try to book another excursion. Excursion staff need to manage this sort of thing better. The message had been left with them the evening before by the tour company, they supposedly get into work at 7am, but they didn't leave the message with us till 7.35am. Small things like this spoil the overall experience to some extent.
In summary - I'd highly recommend the Celebrity Equinox, but Celebrity need to improve:
1. their website - make it easier to find information.
2. their pre-cruise information sent out - we had the same information emailed several times, (as attachments needing to be printed), but in different formats (16 pages colour print out) - once I'd printed it was clear that though the documents were presented differently they contained exactly the same information. Waste of my time and printing and made the whole thing confusing.
3. The information they are prepared to give out re drinks prices - why are they so secretive?
4. Their communication on board.
5. Their non-alcoholic drinks menus (particularly non-alcoholic cocktails and smoothies available)
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Beach BreakWe'd booked a beach break through Celebrity originally to a particular beach (can't remember which one) - I'd looked at the beach online and thought it looked good. Pre sailing Celebrity emailed to say they were changing the excursion to a beach bar break - which could have been at any beach on the island. We therefore cancelled and booked a day at the Hilton Barbados (recommended by someone on the Cruise Critic board) through barbadosforaday.com.View All 97 Beach Break Reviews
This was great. WE got a taxi independently (cost $7.50 each, though I think we could have got that cheaper). The taxis at the cruise port are all officially organised but expensive. I think if you step outside the cruise port you could get cheaper taxis. Other people had booked island tours by taxi for $30 each, so our fare definitely looked expensive.
Facilities at the Hilton were lovely. Clean, good pool area with a restaurant/bar. The deal included a meal and drink (non/al) there - which was very good. The beach is right there - beautiful, white sand with snorkelling at the rocks. Loungers are free by the pool and on the beach.
Whale & Dolphin WatchingDominica is a beautiful, but poor island. This excursion was great. The captain of the boat was very skilled at spotting whales and getting alongside them to give us a great view of them. We saw lots of sperm whales - adults and calves - it was a wonderful experience. They don't guarantee sightings of course, but if the whales are there I'm pretty sure that captain will find them.View All 18 Whale & Dolphin Watching Reviews
I'd recommend it.
Island tourWe did the 4 x 4 St Kitts discovery tour. This was well run by the people doing it and we did see a lot of the island. The rating I've given was really for St Kitts rather than the tour. Cockleshell Bay where we ended up was a rather sorry beach with lots of litter, beach touts and rather poor facilities. Not enough time there to swim or anything - we just stayed around the vehicle chatting - however the man running the excursion was very chatty and informative about the island etc, which was interesting.View All 203 Island tour Reviews
St. MaartenWe did the island tour with a stop in Marigot. Interesting to see the island and the shopping in Marigot is better than in many of the other towns/islands we'd visited.View All 4,132 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
Would probably recommend this tour.
View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review
Beach BreakWe'd thought carefully about excursions before booking and really wanted good snorkelling. WE therefore originally booked the St John snorkel tour which had great reviews. This was cancelled at the last minute due to high sea swells - ok, there was nothing Celebrity could do about this, but their organisation re letting us know was very poor. They knew the evening before that it wouldn't be going ahead, but didn't leave a message until 1/2 hour before. We'd already left the cabin to get breakfast and find the meet point on the pier. Hung around for a while trying to find the tour, then found out it was cancelled and had to go back onboard to book another tour (i.e. got what was left that nobody else wanted).View All 198 Beach Break Reviews
We went on the coral world and then st magens beach excursion. Coral world was ok in parts, but they had performing sea lions/captive sharks kept in tiny tanks etc which I don't like - I wouldn't bother booking it myself.
Magens bay beach was very nice - I'd recommend going here.