We took the cruise from Athens to Istanbul (7 nights). I want to have something clear: we are experienced cruisers as this was our 21st cruise.
1. Beverage Packages:
They are very annoying on day 1 trying to sell you the beverage packages. Visiting the lunch buffet the 1st day is very painful as they will try to sell it to you every 2-3 minutes. People, honestly, it is not worth it. But that is at your discretion. My critic is they bothering you while eating
2. Main Dining Room:
The worst dining experience we have had in 15 years (21 cruises). The head waiter was always in a hurry and he had no idea about the items on the menu. The assistant waiter was very rude and it was very common to have our water glasses empty. It is the first time in a cruise that I needed to ask for more water while eating almost every night. We didn't even met the Maitre D.
3. Shore Excursions: This was the worst part. In Mykonos they only drove us around the Island. The tour only went to a monastery. The tour didn't even go to the famous mills. The tour in Kusadasi Ephesios was the best one (Ephesios, and St. John tomb highly recommended). In Istanbul was the worst one. We went to the Blue Mosque for only 10 minutes. The tour guide only told us how to get in, how to dress, and where to find him 10 minutes later. Then we went to the Topkapi Palace. The tour guide gave us a 10 minute explanation and then gave us 45 minutes to be alone in a huge palace. Nobody seem to know where to go. It was a mess. In general I do not recommend taking the Celebrity Tours.
4. The Food:
The food was average. Not bad. Not excellent. Although every eating area was very clean
5. Night Shows in the Theater:
Although the cabin (inside) size is a bit larger than other cruises, the experience was terrible. The first day we found a stain in the bed sheets that honestly looked like male body fluid. There was a lot of dust in the cabin. It was very difficult to see the cabin steward. We saw him like 4-5 times in a 8 day cruise.
7. Pool service
Terrible. The first day was at the sea. We went to the Jacuzzi and in was very difficult to look for someone to buy drinks. When somebody finally came they told us that we weren't allowed to drink in the Jacuzzi. Ironic given that we are in a Cruise Vacation and at the sea. So I went to the pool bar to buy a few drinks for our group. Again it was the first day so I asked the bar tender what beers were available. The bartender made a very awkward mad face like he was mad that we were asking.
As an experienced cruise traveler I do not recommend the Celebrity Equinox. It is more expensive than Royal Caribbean, Princess or Carnival and it is not worth it. Those other cruise lines have the same or even better service level at lower prices. Also those other Cruise Lines have better Shore Excursions and tour programs.
These are my humble final thoughts based on 21 cruises in 15 years experience
Celebrity is Overrated, the service is very rude unless you buy expensive beverage packages, and everything else is average. So why pay more? Honestly, I may never go back to cruise on Celebrity.