Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by RorySten
- Sail Date: February 2015
- Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
Port Everglades Embarkation:
We were advised before-hand via e-mail and phone messages, that the previous voyage had an significant outbreak of Norovirus, so the ship's staff was going to do a top-to-bottom sanitation of the entire ship, which would mean they would be delaying everyone's scheduled embarkation times. This was more than fine with us. We arrived within 30minutes of our newly assigned embarkation time, and we were walking over the gangway within fifteen minutes of arriving at the port.
The before-mentioned extra sanitation was very thorough, i.e. all staterooms were completely stripped of their contents, sanitized, and then returned into place, so everyone had to wait until 7pm (an hour after sail-away), before anybody could go to their cabins. The result was a ship-load of travel-weary passengers stuck in all the public spaces schlepping their carry-on luggage still wearing their winter travel clothing, met with a shortage of bar/wait staff to accommodate them (because they too were busy sanitizing the ship.) We just relaxed up on the sunset bar area by the lawn area soaked up the fine warm weather, and had a few drinks. We were just glad to be aboard and sailing away, and considered this to be just a minor inconvenience compared with getting a case of Norovirus during our precious cruising time. Our bags were bought to our room just as we were going to our 8:30 dinner.
We usually cruise by ourselves as just a couple, so we request assigned seating dining at a large table of other couples who often become our temporary traveling companions during a cruise, and we were not disappointed on this cruise. We were assigned to a ten person table of awesome table-mates, who were roughly the same age, and we got along wonderfully, (So kudos to Celebrity if they try to arranged this.) Our waiter, asst. waiter, and sommelier, Edin, Ryan, and Chris were outstanding, and the best we've ever had. Our asst. maître d was also very attentive and entertaining. Needless to say, we had dinner and breakfast in the main dining room every day, except one night for our anniversary, where we went to the Tuscan Grille Italian Steakhouse, which was excellent. We suggest a 6pm or sunset time for the Tuscan Grille like we had, since it has wonderful expanse of windows facing aft.
The enhanced sanitation procedures were in place for only the first three days, which meant no self-serving of food anywhere, e.g. wait staff had to shake salt and pepper our eggs at the table.
We had a "2B" cabin and veranda a few doors forward of the forward elevators, starboard side, on the seventh floor, with a very spacious balcony, and the best cabin layout we've ever had. There were lots of storage spaces to stow our clothes and gear, and a very well ventilated and easy to use bathroom and shower. Our stealthy cabin stewards did a great job of refreshing our rooms without getting in our way. The bed was a little stiff, but the room temperature was comfortable at all times.
The "behind the podium" lectures/seminars were great. We enjoyed The Equinox Theater production shows as much as any we've seen before. They also featured some outstanding Cirque-Du-Soleil type acrobatic, juggling, and contortionist specialty performers. My only quibble was that they only had later shows for the 8:30pm seating on the two formal nights (sea days), Otherwise, the late seating diners needed to go to an earlier 7pm show, which jams up those who are coming off of afternoon excursions or just those wanting to enjoy the ship's late afternoon activities like the pool or fitness area.
The various on-going daily entertainers offered a good variety for most everyone, though we wish they had a late night piano bar. Most entertainment other than disco was closing down at 11:45pm. Crowd control was good in that there were no large groups being assembled to wait needlessly, or grouped together so that they would block passage to others not involved. There were the to-be-expected deckchair reserving/kerfuffles on sea days which are typical of any cruise ship anywhere in the world, but since we're not sunbathers this was a non-issue for us. There were uniformed personnel stationed poolside to keep things from getting out-of-control, which was odd to see at first, but understandable.
This is not a child centered cruise, or cruise line, so not surprisingly there were hardly any children seen or heard.
We had our Kindle tablets with us, so we bought the cruise length WiFi package up front, and glad we did.because it was the best shipboard WiFi we've ever had on a cruise ship. It was truly ship-wide coverage, and it was fast, broadband fast! This allowed us to update family and friends back home on Facebook with pictures throughout the whole cruise.
We enjoyed the fitness area, which was the same equipment we're used to at home (except the metric weight settings.) We never had to wait to ue any equipment and the view was way better than anything back home. Even though we didn't use the SPA facilities, the staff there seemed very friendly.
The ship was spotless, no salt spray was allowed to accumulate on any windows or glass panels, so the ship just glistened and the carpets always vacuumed showing no wear and tear. The ship uses state of the art propulsion, so there no constant vibrations or chugging felt while underway. The ventilation is excellent, not one bad smell was detected anywhere during our eleven nights. The ship lecture was fascinating, and we learned how efficient and Eco-friendly these new Solstice class ships are.
My only technical complaint is that we couldn't hear the ship's announcements while we were in the dining rooms, or anywhere while outside on the public deck areas, and many other public spaces inside. Also, the air wash in Celebrity Center may need to be looked at since both of us, and other passengers found ourselves falling asleep (even in the morning lectures we were interested in.)
The extra sanitation evidently paid off, i.e. our cruise had no recurrence of Norovirus. We were so impressed with our Celebrity Equinox cruise, we booked on-board our next cruise on its younger sister ship, Celebrity Eclipse, for a 14 night Eastern Caribbean cruise in 2016 with the same cabin.
We didn't have to put our checked luggage out until 11pm on the last night, which is much nicer than the usual "before going to dinner" we've had to do on our previous cruises. From the time we were called to the gangway, to getting into our cab was no more than 30minutes.
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