We chose Celebrity and this itinerary from a coworkers recommendation. This was our first trip to Europe as well and what a fabulous "first" trip. Starting in Barcelona we arrived 2 days ahead of time to explore this city and recooperate from the RedEye flight from New York. Our Prearranged/Prepaid "City Airport Taxi" service was waiting just outside of baggage with our name hoisted in the air. The driver was nice, limited English but all went well. We absolutely loved staying at the Hotel MonteCarlo on La Rambla. Wonderful staff-they made it. Fluent in English(which helped us-we should have been better prepared with our Spanish and WILL the next trip) and helpful at every turn. The rooms were perfectly clean and well appointed. Location, Location, Location. Please look at this facility if traveling to Barcelona pre/post cruise. Bacelona is a great city but would need 4-5 days to explore everything. We did a Runner Bean walking tour of the maze-like Barre Gotic area and really felt it informative and entertaining(Lowri, our guide was wonderful). Please take one piece of advice if you plan to visit Basilica Sangrada Familia--get your tickets online ahead of time. We walked right in the back while the que in front was over a 2-3 hr wait or more! It is a magnificent architectural wonder and awe inspiring.
The regular taxi service took us to the port. My husband and I have been on 4 other cruises on 3 other cruise lines and NONE compare to Celebrity Equinox. This is a beautiful vessel that is meticulously kept inside and out. Again, it is the staff that make it. The CEO and leadership hopefully realize how lucky they are to have such a completely cheerful and attentive staff. We were on the Concierge Level and had priority boarding with that-could start at 11am. Probably 10-15 min and we were on board. The rooms were not to be ready until 1pm so we sat in a lounge( about 90 min-our room was ready a little early). Looking back now, everyone was rushing to board at 11 but I noticed the arrival/boarding area at 1pm and NO one was in line to get on! No rush, no fuss. Last boarding time I believe was 3pm! Next time we will wait til closer to 1 to board. The Equinox is a beautiful ship on every level. We had room 1025 w lg baloney slight to the Left front of the ship-a little more forward than midship. We usually like midship, less "rocking" if rough seas. The weather was ideal this trip and we were lucky. Only one day of moderately rough seas. The bathroom area is the largest I have seen with a great walk in shower. 2 people could easily work around in the bathroom at the same time. Adequate Electrical outlets. Very Quiet. No noises heard from above/below or the next door cabins. We heard vacuuming once or twice but not overtly loud. Our Room Stewards were gold! Marlin and Madah I believe.
We had Select Dining and never had trouble getting a table immediately(only once when we had 6 of us--it took about a 5+ minutes) Our servers Veysil and Alisen were wonderfully attentive. The food in the Main dining area is vast and well done. I had taken a Galley Tour which was very interesting and I was very impressed with the cleanliness and organization. We ate several times in the "cafeteria" style area and was always pleased. We were very impressed with the availability of staff offering hand sanitizer/cleaner. The Purell dispensers were all over! Wonderful Idea.