The Amazing Equinox: Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by aaofca

Celebrity Equinox 5
Member Since 2009
7 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

The Amazing Equinox

Sail Date: September 2009
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
This cruise was my honeymoon and my husband and I are first time cruisers. We have done quite a bit of traveling and usually stay in the finest resorts. Never have we had such a high level of service though as we enjoyed on the Equinox. We cannot stop raving about our experience. The ship is beautiful. They spared no expense, everything is of the highest quality. As I said the service is exceptional. Our room attendant Michelle was amazing. She waited on us hand and foot and every night would make creative animals out of hand towels to leave on our bed. In the morning at the buffet I was waiting in the omelette bar line. There were only a few people ahead of me but I was whisked away to a new station where I was waited on immediately and they apologized for the wait at the other one. What wait, there were only two people? But it was great and the service was like that the whole trip. Loved how after each excursion they greeted you with wet cold hand towels and fresh punch or water. More Lovely touch.

The food was amazing. I don't know how they make a profit. The buffet is open morning until night. Even if the main stations are closed, they always serve pasta, pizza, and salad. I am a vegetarian and very picky and I had no problem finding food. The main dining was nice although we were usually tired from the excursions and opted for the buffet. We tried Silk Harvest, which was nice and Tuscana Grille, which was our favorite.

There's so much to do on board that we felt guilty sleeping because we wanted to try it all. The hot glass show is very cool. Two out of three performances we saw were also really entertaining. We liked the history lectures and my husband liked his bocce ball lessons. The martini bar is also a lot of fun. The pool area is also great. My only complaint is that they keep the common areas, including the solarium, freezing! Bring a sweater along. Internet also costs a fortune, even the package deals. It was expensive for my husband to stay connected to his office.

Our room on the seventh floor was perfect. The bathroom was surprisingly spacious and a lot of room to store your personal items. The bed was comfortable. Ours was right next to the veranda, which we liked. Some rooms the bed is in the middle of the room instead and the tv is near the veranda. Our friends had that setup and liked it as well. We had a ton of luggage (big suitcases too) and many souvenirs and between the closet, under the bed, and over the bed everything fit. Drawer space however was severely lacking, probably to be expected with a cruise, and I ended up half living out of one of my suitcases. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze you just insert your ship id card into the machine and are free to go.

We decided to go to the Connections Party and I'm so glad we did. We ended up meeting another couple from our city and had a great time with them on board and plan to keep in touch.

Overall we had an amazing time. Wish we were back on the ship! We look forward to cruising again with Celebrity.

I am going to write the Amalfi/Pompeii review here since there is not enough room in the port reviews section. We booked it through the ship and it was wonderful. We loved our tour guide, she was warm and very funny. The Amalfi Coast is beautiful and very scenic but the narrow roads 800 feet up in the air with another bus trying to squeeze by was a little crazy but definitely worth it. We stopped in a beautiful little town by the sea called Amalfi. It was nice but they gave us almost two hours of free time, which was too much. The lunch was great and they were very accommodating to special dietary requests. Pompeii was great too. Definitely go into the ancient brothel. Less

Published 10/08/09

Cabin review:

Port and Shore Excursions

We did a two day stop in Egypt. On the first day we did the tour of Cairo (pyramids and museum) through the ship and loved it. The vendors around the pyramids were pushy but not as bad as we expected. They do not allow cameras in the museum but we were allowed to leave ours on the locked tour bus, which was nice because I didn't want to entrust my camera with the amazing pyramid photos to a museum employee. The museum would have been great but it was not air-conditioned and it was super crowded so you have wet people smooshing past you while you are trying to view the ancient objects. I wish they would charge more and get some air in there, it was really bad. The Hall of Mummies was great (and is air-conditioned). You must pay extra for that but it is worth it. The buffet lunch was at a beautiful hotel and although the food looked great we did not eat it because we heard you must be careful with Egyptian food. Some people on one of the other tours at a hotel buffet (don't know which hotel) and got sick so we are glad we brought protein bars instead!

We wanted a half day tour of Alexandria the second day so hired a private tour with Ramses. They were great! A lot of people were too nervous to leave the ship the second day, as were we because we have never traveled in this part of the world and didn't know what to expect, and Egypt is very poor and Alexandria definitely is third world. We are so glad we did not cancel because it turned out to be one of our favorite days of the cruise. We felt very safe. Rasha, our tour guide from Ramses, was there on time, had an air-conditioned van waiting for us, and was extremely knowledgeable. We started our tour by going to Qait Bey Fort. This was one of our highlights. The children and teenagers were very excited to see Americans. They were trying to sneak photos of us on there camera phone and follow us. Our tour guide offered to make them leave us alone but we were equally curious. We asked her to ask them if we could take a photo with them and they were so happy. Wanting to blend in (a joke with light blond hair) I had brought a head scarf. The girls helped me tie it in Egyptian fashion (the photos of that are great!) and we took photos with them and the boys next wanted their turn. We went to five countries on this cruise and the Egyptian people were by far the warmest we encountered. We asked our tour guide if she would mind stopping at the library just for a photo and she was very accommodating. I also suggest visiting the palace and gardens, which were beautiful. Since it is a Muslim country we thought we'd better not be too affectionate in public and as I said I brought a head scarf. But Rasha laughed and said it wasn't necessary, Egypt is not strict like that with tourists. We hope to go back to Egypt again in a few years as there is so much to see and we loved the people.

Athens was great to see. We heard it was best done by hiring a cab. We did just that. The cab drivers will try to rip you off but eventually we found one that agreed to take us around for four hours for 40 euros/person (there were four of us). It was nice we saw the Acropolis, the Olympic stadium, the changing of the guards (which was actually very neat), and then went shopping and had lunch in the Plaka district, which was a really good time. This was a good stop for souvenirs. It would have been nice to have a tour guide at the Acropolis but it was crowded and we probably wouldn't have had time for all of the other sites.

We recently took a cruise for our honeymoon that stopped in Haifa, Israel. We had been looking especially forward to this port. We arranged ahead of time with several fellow cruisers to hire a tour guide to take us around in a bus. My husband has been to Israel and assured me that the licensed guides are excellent. Not true with ours, Yehuda Guy. We booked this tour wanting to see three main sights: Megiddo, Akko, and the Bahai gardens. We were most looking forward to Megiddo as we had each read the 1,000 page book The Source in preparation. In the end, we only got to see Akko shortly.

Here's how our day went: We got on the bus and start driving...right past Megiddo! I brought this to Yehuda's attention and he announced that since some of the people were on his tour of Jerusalem yesterday (we were not) they had decided to skip Megiddo and go to a church in Nazareth instead. I told him that was not really fair since all of the people were not there yesterday to vote and asked if we could please take another vote. He impatiently told us that since we just drove past Megiddo it was too late. Why didn't he tell us about this itinerary change when we got on the bus? However, not wanting to ruin the trip for our fellow passengers we decided that we would just go up to him at the next stop and figure out how to get to Megiddo on our own.

The bus stopped in Nazareth and let everyone off. My husband went up to Yehuda and said, "Look we are really disappointed that we are not going to Megiddo as scheduled as that was the primary thing we wanted to see during the Haifa port."

Before he could continue on to ask if there was a cab around, Yehuda raised his voice and started shouting that they took a vote yesterday and there's is nothing he can do, and that we will get our money's worth! By this time our fellow cruisers were starting to crowd around, he was certainly making a scene. He went from calm to loud and angry in about 10 seconds. Luckily many of them were sympathetic to our situation and would have also liked to see Megiddo.

My husband said, "We won't be getting our money's worth since we won't see what we came to see, but it's not about the money at this point. We want to see Megiddo can you call one of the other guides to meet us there or help us find a cab?"

Yehuda, again with attitude told us we can try to go catch the bus and the driver may be able to help us and then walked off. The bus had taken off the moment it dropped us off, there was no way we could catch it, and he did not offer to call it for us.

We had a very uneventful trip to the church. We then went to the Sea of Galilee, which was beautiful. However, he picked a restaurant to eat at where in order to sit you had to pay $20/head for the food (which was terrible). Many people were not happy about this as that was the only shaded seating.

We stopped at the Jordan River, which was also beautiful and a great photo spot.

Then on to Akko. Somehow, this supposedly experienced tour guide did not realize it was the last day of the three day celebration following Ramadan. All of the cruise tour companies knew to go in the morning because it gets crowded. We were stuck in traffic for so long because of Yehuda's poor planning that our tour of Akko was brief and we had to skip the Baha'i gardens because we otherwise may not have made it to the ship in time. This also angered us. It was a terrible mismanagement of our time. If he had planned ahead like the other tour companies for the Arab holiday, we could have gone in the morning before it was crowded and we would have been able to see the Baha'i gardens, a must for a first timer to Haifa.

Because of Yehuda Guy's nasty attitude and poor planning of the day, we would not recommend this tour guide. The Haifa area however, was beautiful and is filled with history. Would love to go back with a better tour guide.

Read 141 Haifa Reviews

We were rally looking forward to Jerusalem and booked the Eternal Jerusalem tour through the ship. It was horrible. In fact afterwards we filed a complaint with the ship. The driver was the only one of the many buses that took the wrong way out of the port and held us up for an extra 15 minutes. Our guide was Shalom from Patra tours. He was a very nice man but a terrible tour guide. First of all, he couldn't speak English well. The few words he got right were very hard to understand because of his thick accent. We went to Yad Vashem and he kept referring to the Avenue of the Writers and how Schindler was among the Writers. Finally someone figured out he meant the Righteous, and corrected him. He did not bother explaining who the Righteous were so my husband had to inform the group and from that point on became a substitute tour guide since he has been to Israel before. Shalom next spoke about the need to memorize the victims and again it took us a bit but we realized he meant memorialize. He just could not speak English well. We only had an hour at Yad Vashem, which although brief we knew about in advance. What we didn't know was that Shalom would make us wait outside looking at the statues and art for 30 minutes and only give us 30 minutes inside, which was the real part we came to see. We asked him if we could go inside early and just meet him at the assigned time but he refused for no reason. He spent 15 minutes outside trying to explain how when the faces of statutes are looking down they have no hope. If he had spoken English he could have explained that in 2 minutes, which would have allowed more time to tour the inside. He was not good at managing the groups time. A few of us had to go to the restroom and instead of giving us a five minute break he gave us 15 outside and made the group sit there. Everyone was back but he didn't want to have to do another count so made us wait the whole fifteen.

He was not able to give us too many facts, and those that he did give were hard to understand. The buffet lunch was nice. We then went to Rachel's Tomb, which is a joke. Whoever designed this tour needs to take it off the itinerary. It is not where she's buried. It is just a white room with a lot of people praying and it is in a police zone of the country and getting the bus in and out ate up precious time.

We were not left a lot of time to see the Western Wall. But it definitely was a highlight. We had to rush from there so we could see the Cardo for literally 5 minutes. I would have loved to spend more time there as well instead of Rachel's Tomb.

Turkey was very cool. Ephesus would have been amazing but our tour guide (hired through the ship) was just so so. Ephesus was extremely crowded and you couldn't hear well or move to take a photo without getting bumped into. We did a tour that lasted about 3 hours and it was enough for me. I would like to go back with a better tour guide and when it is not so crowded. Kusadasi was great. The rug making show was interesting and brief, and you were free to leave at any time. The sales people are nice but pushy. "For you special price" you hear everywhere. We thought we would be able to get a nicely priced rug but they are super expensive and we figured we are better off getting them at home for that price where we could return them if they don't look nice. This is also a great stop for souvenirs. The market in Kusadasi has scarves, paintings, crafts, fake handbags, etc.

Read 614 Kusadasi Reviews

Santorini was nice, but we will not hurry back. It was our first port and we were excited to see Greece. We took the ship tour so that we could see both Fira and Oia. They made a special stop an hour ahead of time at a different port in the island to drop the ship tour groups off. This was great because we had more time and didn't nee to take the cable cars up. The winery was nice, we didn't stay long but the views were great for photos. We then went to Oia. A few nice photos but not much to do. Very touristy and lots of overpriced shops. Then onto Fira. Pretty much the same as Oia. We wanted to grab some Greek cuisine but were disappointed that it was different then American Greek food. Where were the falafals and hummus? We finally found a place that had them and we watched the guy squirt hummus from a bottle. Oh well! The line for the cable cars down was very long. The cable car ride down was scenic and brief. Our friends did the walk up the stairs to Fira and would not recommend it. They said it was extremely smelly (from the donkey manure) and our friend nearly got run over by a group of donkeys charging down. We heard people from the ship did not care for riding the donkeys up or down. The people at the top do not help you off the donkey, you have to do it yourself. Also supposedly they feed them at the bottom so they run down the hill, which we heard was scary. In addition I read an article saying they were not cared for properly so I think it is cruel to ride them.

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