Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by italian stallion
- Sail Date: February 2015
- Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Veranda
I am going to take a different approach in writing this review. This will be a collective summary of my wife and I experience on the 11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise aboard the Celebrity Equinox sailing from Feb 23 – Mar 6 – 2015.
It all began last year during our 14 Night Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse. We decided to pay a visit to the Future Cruise Sales Dept. on board and select a cruise for 2015. We opted for the 11 Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise as it presented us with cruise stops that we have not visited before, albeit shorter than our normal 14 day cruise vacation that we are accustomed to, never the less it appeared interesting enough to book. So the 5 couples that we always travel with agreed and this brings us to this review. I must mention that booking a future cruise on board your present cruise is very rewarding and should be highly considered for anyone thinking of planning a cruise. Please pay them a visit while your cruising, it will be worth it.
We always ensure a day prior to cruise departure and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Convention Center/Cruise Center on 17th Street in Ft Lauderdale. We enjoyed our stay in clean and well-kept hotel premises. They do provide free Airport to Hotel shuttle, but you have to call them and may have to wait, perhaps well over 30 minutes, so taking a taxi right away after you secured your luggage might be more satisfying. Included in the price of your room is a tasty most appreciative full breakfast. This feature is a huge plus in our books. Location, location, location, this hotel is within walking distance of ALL YOUR NEEDS. We stopped in at Walgreens for last minute essentials and had a beautiful meal right across the street at BRAVO RESTAURANT. Next morning after our breakfast we decided to burn some calories and walked to the bridge to view the Equinox moored at Terminal 18 and were fortunate enough to witness the drawbridge in action. We did all our pre cruise visits on foot, no cabs needed.
The boarding time was moved ahead to 2 PM. No boarding before 2 PM as the ship and terminal was being sanitized and prepped for our cruise. There was an outbreak of Noro virus the sailing before and Celebrity did their due diligence and we were thankful for that even though it resulted in delay. This was not a normal embarkation process due to the outbreak but it resulted in NO NORO on our cruise. Can’t complain for that. Congestion on the ship, delayed getting in our room and a late departure was the result. We always are prepared, our motto “Expect the Unexpected”.
Upon entry, we upgraded our Beverage Package from Classic to Premium, a smart move on our behalf as this provided us all the beverages we elected to drink (Martini’s, special cocktails, craft beers, specialty coffee, upgraded wines) all with a swipe of the card with no charges. Our B2 Balcony room was 6152 on Deck 6 Forward Starboard. Being a little apprehensive on its location but we settled in quite nicely. Not our favorite location, but acceptable none-the-less. It really did serve us quite well. Room was always well kept and presentable by our stateroom attendants. We think all staterooms are comfortable and provide ample space for your voyage.
Our days on the ship consisted of pretty much of the same pattern. Up early, shower, some java and a croissant in our room, out on the balcony checking out the vista, may be some photo ops, then preceded to have breakfast provided in the Ocean view café and the Main Dining Room (MDR). Breakfast items were always the same except for 1 or 2 items that resulted with OK satisfaction. Then we went along our merry way to enjoy our excursions or on sea days exploring and enjoying the ship.
Our itinerary had Georgetown Grand Cayman, Cartagena Colombia, Colon Panama, Puerto Limon Costa Rica, Belize City Belize and Cozumel Mexico along with 4 at sea days. Elected to take a ship-sponsored excursion at all stops except in Cozumel, which we have been several times.
Grand Cayman was a high light for us. Taking part in the Sting Ray City excursion provided us with fantastic memories recorded on video and photos beyond imagination. What an experience to hold a Sting Ray in your arms all by yourself and stand in the sea with these docile creatures having them swim beside, through your legs and up against your body. Must recommend this excursion. Cartagena was a surprise, lovely and a pretty city having very warm temperatures (30 C ) and enjoyed the walled old city as well as the Castillo. Nice blend of the old and modern experience. Entry to pier was very picturesque. Thoroughly enjoyed this visit. Our next stop was Colon. A must for all who visit for the first time is participating going through the Panama Canal in a boat (other than a cruise ship). This man made wonder is of epic proportions will leave you with life long memories. Along the 50 mile-long waterway, there are 3 sets of locks, Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun. Our excursion took us through the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks; the rest of the way was in an air-conditioned travel bus. Went from Colon (Atlantic side to Panama City (Pacific side). A long and hot day was spent but no charge cold non-alcoholic refreshments and a small meal were provided on the boat. The next stop on the agenda was a bus, boat (canals) and train tour of Limon Costa Rica. Here we seen some of the native fauna and flora, the Del Monte banana plantation with of course some samples. We had rain showers and misty conditions for the better part of the tour but cleared up towards the end bringing all creatures out and about, the howler monkeys did let us know they were there, seen the native birds and smaller green creatures camouflaged amongst the dense rain forest.
Costa Rica is mainly rain forest and is indicative what you will see. Belize City was also a bright spot for us as we hovered the lagoons and shallow waters in an airboat. Quite an experience riding with ear protection (a must) and wind blowing in your face, zig to the right then zag to the left slowing right down as we approach the abundance of wildlife (Birds and Turtles) giving all aboard a fantastic opportunity to see and photograph. The areas we seen are only allowed to be used by the excursion airboat because of the shallow water and not to damage the biological environment. Canoeists are not allowed. Our only stop in Cozumel was at Senor Frogs located right at the International Pier where we moored for their giant margaritas and double shot. We browsed around the shops at the pier for a short while and returned to the ship. There were 6 ships docked at Cozumel that day, so go figure. I will mention to book excursions at all these ports, unless you elect to remain on and enjoy the ship.
Typical days at sea on the Equinox were easygoing and very relaxing for us. We simply used the Solarium for quiet time and rest and ventured out to the main pool area to spend time cooling off in the pool, catching some rays and satisfied our hunger pangs at the Mast Grill-the best tasting burgers at sea. You gotta eat there. We did not bother with the limited mediocre activities and what Celebrity calls enrichment programs, these simply don’t interest us. A factor that really impresses us with the Solstice Class ships is the space provided. When you consider the gross tonnage of the ship and the passenger capacity; the space provided is phenomenal resulting in absolutely no congestion and plenty of ship space for us cruisers to maneuver around with pleasure. This is a great feature we certainly appreciate. Also adding to this is the fact there were very few children present on this cruise, which makes an almost adults only cruise. We found the shops on board the Equinox to be a non-factor having very little impact drawing us to them. Not much content of interest. A very nice area we spent some time during the day is at the Lawn Club. Green natural grass to enjoy a game of bocce lawn polo or lay a blanket and enjoy a picnic with beautiful Sunset Bar providing refreshments. We behaved like many other cruisers and spent time photographing the ship from bow to stern, top to bottom all nooks and crannies being careful not to omit any photo worth part of the ship totaling well over 2000 photos with some impressive footage on video.
The Silhouette Dining Room was our choice to engage in having early seating for dinners. All our dinners were consumed here. Did not eat at the Specialty Restaurants. Food in the MDR was quite frankly sub par. My wife was not pleased at all; she filled up with bread sticks and French Onion Soup. I will give the food only a passable grade. You may ask why we continued to eat in the MDR? Well it was our friends and our cruising group who made the experience pleasurable. We had a table for our own group and enjoyed their company. Lunch and breakfast was usually at the Ocean View Café, a buffet style eatery with different food stations to choose from providing a repetitive menu day in day out. What looks like a lot of different foods, really is not; as some of the stations are doubles, but I will say that you can get a full assortment of food with an all right level of satisfaction. We never had trouble finding a seat and the wait staff was always present to offer getting refreshments or to clean your table.
Providing the main entertainment was the Equinox Theatre. We elected to omit 5 shows in this venue. When you consider the price that Celebrity charges for a cruise, the entertainment aboard the Equinox was rather poor. The resident Celebrity singers and dancers are elementary and the Special Guests they had were not much better. The female pianist singer performer Claire Vinkesteijn was entertaining as was the Juggler/comedian Pete Mathews. Phil Tag a comedian had the crowd in stitches at times and kept us all awake providing some good old comedy relief. The rest was all down hill from there. All the Celebrity Singers and Dancers show were poor grade as was Tony B, Marcus Tyrell and the Serenades (Motown Tribute) and two others; a comedian and ventriloquist. I must wonder about the Cruise Director. She and her staff are responsible for the arrangements in providing all entertainment. I would categorize her as terrible. This carries over to all areas of entertainment - DJ’s, Jazz group (not a fan); guitarist/violin group, resident party band (mediocre) and Shawna (Activities manager) try again. Maybe they are in the learning stage and might get better????. I do understand that Celebrity is trying hard to improve their entertainment, as they are well aware of their mediocrity. Please improve in this area; your work is cut out.
Overall our cruise experience was satisfying, we did have ample relaxation and down time. Celebrity does offer a quality vacation with good service. It was good enough for us to book on board at the Future Cruise Office a 14 Night Exotic Southern Caribbean on the Celebrity Eclipse in 2017. So that tells you we enjoyed our Celebrity Equinox cruise. Our next cruise is a 8 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on RCI Navigator of the Seas followed with a 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on RCI Allure of the Seas in 2016 making this a 15 Night Cruise.
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Air Boat TourWicked, never been on an air boat. Fantastic experience, sat right up front, just wife and I with the rest behind us. Great tour guides. Breif explanation prior to getting on airboat and away we went to see a variety pf birds and turtles wit an explanation of each as we slowed right down to witness. We heard about the manatee and being endangered because of human (canoeists) interfering in their habitat. This is a highly recommended excursion. Great pier for tendering, nice picturesque waterfrontView All 45 Air Boat Tour Reviews
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