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We chose this cruise because of the 2 nights in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, which coincided with my birthday. We booked it two years in advance. We stayed at the Marriott Springhill Suites (FLL) the night before the cruise, and took their free shuttle to the cruise port. Cauation We prepaid for the return shuttle, but should not have. It turned out to be a big bus, which would have taken too long to fill before heading to the airport, Fortunately, cabs were readily available, and not that expensive, so we took one instead. Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale went smoothly. Our cabin was on Deck 10, #1217. Very quiet in the cabin. Our steward, Magesh, is probably the best attendant we’ve had anywhere (15+ cruises), and really made the vacation special. The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle was attended by (literally) hundreds; the Tuscan Grille was too small of a space for us. The Cruise Critic members provided a lot of Mardi Gras revelry on the ship. We were a bit surprised that the ship did not embrace the Mardi Gras theme a bit more, but they did decorate the main lobby appropriately. We were disappointed not to have local cuisine included in the dining room options. Late evenings were more fun on this cruise than I’ve had on any of our nine Celebrity cruises. Music trivia started in the Sky Lounge about 10pm, with that theme’s dance music going until (at least) midnight. Great job, John Grantham (cruise director) and Justin (entertainment staff)! [On past cruises, most Celebrity late evenings ended up with rap music by 10:30 or 11:00, driving out the guests and making way for the off-duty crew. ] We enjoyed the special entertainment brought aboard, and the guest speakers, particularly Lisa Didier. The ship’s singers and dancers are good, but the material they performed was usually not very interesting to us. We chose Select Dining, and were able to get the same wait staff each night. We appreciated the efforts of Concierge Maria , and our fantastic waiters, Cedamir, Santos, and Wine Steward William. The food quality was very good to good, with a nice selection, saving no local flavors. We did eat in the Tuscan Grille one night. The food was quite good, and the meat was cooked properly. The ship’s new upgraded internet was great. Occasionally had trouble connecting, but never for long. Premium beverage package wine selections were not premium by any imagination. Some bars only serve premium package or paying customers, so when friends had a mixture of premium and classic packages, those with classics had to get their drink elsewhere. Celebrity seems to be expanding their “class” system of passengers, already having made multiple limited dining facilities, and taking Michael’s Club out of general use. Disembarking at the end of the cruise saw tempers flaring, as it started about ½ hour late. The self-carry luggage walkers with early flights were not happy. Really – Celebrity does warn you not to book your flights first thing in the morning, so this issue was firmly on the passengers, in my view. All in all, this was a fantastic cruise and a fun way to see Mardi Gras. New Orleans would be a fun port at other times of the year, too. Port comments: In Grand Cayman, we enjoyed a private tour (of about 18) on a catamaran, with snorkeling at two reefs. The tendering process from the ship was typical Celebrity – quite chaotic. Getting back was much better, because there was no line in the early afternoon. Seas got rough a couple hours later, so you may hear other opinions of the return tendering. In Costa Maya, we visited the Chocchoben Ruins on a private excursion of about 40. In Cozumel, we did a ship’s tour to a dolphin encounter, which included transportation and a buffet lunch. While the dolphin area was austere, the rest of the resort was nice. We chose this because we had onboard credit to use. In New Orleans, the immigration process was a disaster. The process seemed to start late, lines were long, tempers were flaring. Everyone had to go into the terminal, but since it was dinner time when we docked, many then stood in another very long line to get back aboard. Some parades are not far (6-8 blocks?) from the Julia Street Cruise Terminal, so it was easy to walk there and enjoy the festivities. We were glad we did not reserve grandstand seats. The Riverwalk Mall is close by, and has a Café du Monde shop in it for those needing a closeby beignet fix. The next day, we took a free walking tour, arranged over the internet. We enjoyed our guide, and learned a lot about the French Quarter and early New Orleans. We also explored the French Market. On Fat Tuesday, we walked beyond the French Quarter, to find ancestral homes. This section was alive with Mardi Gras, but a family version of it rather than the bawdy Bourbon Street mayhem. We wore out masks much of the day. As we had been warned, most businesses and many restaurants were closed.

Great way to see Mardi Gras

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by WineandRoseLady

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2017
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Concierge Class
We chose this cruise because of the 2 nights in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, which coincided with my birthday. We booked it two years in advance.

We stayed at the Marriott Springhill Suites (FLL) the night before the cruise, and took their free shuttle to the cruise port. Cauation We prepaid for the return shuttle, but should not have. It turned out to be a big bus, which would have taken too long to fill before heading to the airport, Fortunately, cabs were readily available, and not that expensive, so we took one instead.

Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale went smoothly.

Our cabin was on Deck 10, #1217. Very quiet in the cabin. Our steward, Magesh, is probably the best attendant we’ve had anywhere (15+ cruises), and really made the vacation special.

The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle was attended by (literally) hundreds; the Tuscan Grille was too small of a space for us. The Cruise Critic members provided a lot of Mardi Gras revelry on the ship.

We were a bit surprised that the ship did not embrace the Mardi Gras theme a bit more, but they did decorate the main lobby appropriately. We were disappointed not to have local cuisine included in the dining room options.

Late evenings were more fun on this cruise than I’ve had on any of our nine Celebrity cruises. Music trivia started in the Sky Lounge about 10pm, with that theme’s dance music going until (at least) midnight. Great job, John Grantham (cruise director) and Justin (entertainment staff)! [On past cruises, most Celebrity late evenings ended up with rap music by 10:30 or 11:00, driving out the guests and making way for the off-duty crew. ] We enjoyed the special entertainment brought aboard, and the guest speakers, particularly Lisa Didier. The ship’s singers and dancers are good, but the material they performed was usually not very interesting to us.

We chose Select Dining, and were able to get the same wait staff each night. We appreciated the efforts of Concierge Maria , and our fantastic waiters, Cedamir, Santos, and Wine Steward William. The food quality was very good to good, with a nice selection, saving no local flavors. We did eat in the Tuscan Grille one night. The food was quite good, and the meat was cooked properly.

The ship’s new upgraded internet was great. Occasionally had trouble connecting, but never for long.

Premium beverage package wine selections were not premium by any imagination. Some bars only serve premium package or paying customers, so when friends had a mixture of premium and classic packages, those with classics had to get their drink elsewhere. Celebrity seems to be expanding their “class” system of passengers, already having made multiple limited dining facilities, and taking Michael’s Club out of general use.

Disembarking at the end of the cruise saw tempers flaring, as it started about ½ hour late. The self-carry luggage walkers with early flights were not happy. Really – Celebrity does warn you not to book your flights first thing in the morning, so this issue was firmly on the passengers, in my view.

All in all, this was a fantastic cruise and a fun way to see Mardi Gras. New Orleans would be a fun port at other times of the year, too.

Port comments:

In Grand Cayman, we enjoyed a private tour (of about 18) on a catamaran, with snorkeling at two reefs. The tendering process from the ship was typical Celebrity – quite chaotic. Getting back was much better, because there was no line in the early afternoon. Seas got rough a couple hours later, so you may hear other opinions of the return tendering.

In Costa Maya, we visited the Chocchoben Ruins on a private excursion of about 40.

In Cozumel, we did a ship’s tour to a dolphin encounter, which included transportation and a buffet lunch. While the dolphin area was austere, the rest of the resort was nice. We chose this because we had onboard credit to use.

In New Orleans, the immigration process was a disaster. The process seemed to start late, lines were long, tempers were flaring. Everyone had to go into the terminal, but since it was dinner time when we docked, many then stood in another very long line to get back aboard. Some parades are not far (6-8 blocks?) from the Julia Street Cruise Terminal, so it was easy to walk there and enjoy the festivities. We were glad we did not reserve grandstand seats. The Riverwalk Mall is close by, and has a Café du Monde shop in it for those needing a closeby beignet fix.

The next day, we took a free walking tour, arranged over the internet. We enjoyed our guide, and learned a lot about the French Quarter and early New Orleans. We also explored the French Market.

On Fat Tuesday, we walked beyond the French Quarter, to find ancestral homes. This section was alive with Mardi Gras, but a family version of it rather than the bawdy Bourbon Street mayhem. We wore out masks much of the day. As we had been warned, most businesses and many restaurants were closed.
WineandRoseLady’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Concierge Class
Cabin C2 1217
Our cabin was on Deck 10. It was in a very quiet area. Our steward, Magesh, is probably the best attendant we’ve had anywhere (15+ cruises), and really made the vacation special. We asked for robes, which were then provided. The appetizers showed up every afternoon, along with a bowl of strawberries.
Resort Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Chacchoben Mayan Ruins
    Had a bit of a walk to the office to meet the tour. Bussed to the ruins. Personable guide told us the history and culture, and showed us around the site. Good trip.
    View All 374 Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Reviews
  • Chankanaab National Park Tour
    This was billed as a dolphin encounter, which means you stand in the water and touch the dolphin as it goes by doing a number of moves, and being told about the dolphins. After about 40 minutes, you can go have lunch & drinks at a buffet, or make use of the other park facilities. Transportation was included. In retrospect, swimming with the dolphins would have been much more fun.
    View All 229 Chankanaab National Park Tour Reviews
  • Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
    Lots to do here, but this time came the night before our cruise. Went to a local Cuban restaurant for dinner.
    Cruise port is close by.
    View All 1,961 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Port Review
  • Snorkeling
    Tour guide was waiting for us when we got off the tender. Nice catamaran. Visited two snorkeling sites-one with stingrays; saw lots of fish and coral. We took our own masks and snorkels, but used their fins. Very enjoyable day. We, and our equipment, were rinsed when returning to the boat after the last snorkel. Very pleasant trip.
    View All 317 Snorkeling Reviews
  • French Quarter Walking Tour
    Walked about 20 minutes from the ship to the tour location. Group was split into two groups. Our guide was very informative and really loves New Orleans. Afterwards, gave us some restaurant advice and information to help locate ancestral homes. Fun time.
    View All 9 French Quarter Walking Tour Reviews