Don't be fooled, Southampton is an hour and a half from London but well served by the transfers provided.
As we stepped on boards four giant words in twinkling colored jewels greeted us in the huge atrium - Here comes the sun. Yes this is the song of the Equinox and we were so lucky to be on board for the Inaugural Naming Cruise.
Having not sailed on a Solstice class ship we were immediately lost, no problem! The floor guide who was to meet us outside the elevator on Deck 7 did not materialized but we thought lets go and find our cabin - oh but wait, what an amazing globe and table by the elevators *makes mental note to consider how it could become part of my carry offs*
We found our room very easily and after a push me pull you effort that was to typify the next two days we did eventually open the door. Its no problem, we just needed reprogramming. We are used to suites but as we were allocated rooms and guessed we would be low in the pecking order we had a 2a. Now this is where Celebrity may have shot themselves in the foot - the room was far bigger than we imagined, we loved the comfy sofa by the window and we thought the layout of the bathroom was far better than some of the suites. Loved the design in the room and found good storage, so maybe we need to think, why have a suite.
Anyway small amount of unpacking done we ventured to find the Buffet - great at last a buffet that does not resemble the school dinner lunch queue. Beautiful crockery and a lovely selection of food.
We were on board for the naming celebration so we were in evening gear by 1600 listening to the band of RAF Halton on the lawn. Yes the lawn which I thought would be naff, no its great and there are big sofas up there and a lovely bar at the back of the ship, somewhere I would certainly use again for pre dinner drinks. The naming ceremony was pure theatre and the godmother was inspirational.
Pre dinner, the Martini Bar was mobbed (probably because it was free) but we found Mark who had looked after us on Century was running the Ensemble Bar beside the special restaurants and we decided this is where we will drink!
Silhouettes is a stylish restaurant and the food and service we enjoyed each night was excellent, well cooked and beautifully presented. On this trip it was open seating so we could not build up a longer term relationship with staff but each server was friendly and attentive.
After the show (the theatre clearly is technically far superior to any of the other Celebrity ships and I think some great show designs will result) we went wandering around the ship to find so much beautiful art. Loved also the layout with the disco, small theatre and large theatre all together. Loved also you could move around the ship without having to walk through the casino. Made for much better traffic flow.
Having been rocked gently to sleep, next morning the sun shone over the English Channel and we made way to breakfast (no room service on this trip) and again a great range of buffet items and more lovely crockery. After a morning curled up on one of the sofas by the lawn with a book we ventured to Bistro on 5 for lunch. Other half is so reluctant, he does not like crepes he announces. Cowboy crepe later he declares that maybe he has never had crepes before or if he had they were bad ones and this was fabulous. I have to agree, that plus a bowl of gelato and I was well set up for the most lovely afternoon back at the lawn. The other half clearly thought he had challenged his waistline too much so he went to the gym which he commended as being very well set up with good kit and a separate area for classes and spin bikes.
In two days we did not have enough time to try everything, all the speciality restaurants offered mini tastings and inspired us for visits in the future, the cellar masters with the little dollar shot tasting card looked good and the library was in a lovely open place and had a very good range of books to borrow
There were no on board quiz or entertainment activities other than the 2 shows but it was clear there was a lot of potential for great experiences, the Accapela group and poolbands only did short stints but they were good.
So it was a two day trip to nowhere, the sun did come out, but even if we could not sing Here Comes the Sun every day, this is a great ship to cruise on
Good location, very well laid out. Nice balcony, you can see the lifeboats below if you are towards the edge of the balcony