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As first time cruisers we spent a lengthy amount of time researching all the different cruise-lines that sail the Mediterranean and I found this site to be extremely beneficial. We ended up choosing Celebrity as it was highly recommended by various travel agencies and frequent cruisers. I have written a lengthy review of our cruise experience below. It is very long so apologies in advance. The ship overall was fantastic. Modern, clean and relaxing. We travelled from Perth, Australia via Dubai with 2 night stopover and then on to Barcelona. Upon arrival in Dubai we opted for a private taxi to transfer to our hotel, there are cheaper options available but after a long haul flight we were not in the mood to share a bus/car with other passengers or wait around. The private taxis are very nice (Air-conditioned Lexus, Mercedes etc). We stayed on the Palm at The Atlantis Hotel, which was a huge hotel with so much to do. Our room had a view of the aquarium below and The Palm. (See attached images) We visited the Burj Khalifa, Jumeirah Beach (went camel riding on the beach at sunset), the huge Mall, watched the fountain show at Burj (amazing at night), Atlantis Aqua-venture theme park and visited the beach walk at night for dinner and drinks at a rooftop bar. We ran out of time to see and do everything we wanted (The dune-dinner safari was high on the list) so if you decide to stopover here I would recommend staying for a bit longer. As we went late September we found the weather to be fine, it was a little hot but no different to Western Australian summers. At certain times of the year the weather can be too hot to even go outdoors! so choose your time right. Our next destination was Barcelona for a 2 night stopover prior to embarkation at the Barcelona port. Immigration in Barcelona was the slowest I have ever experienced. May have just been the time of day we arrived. Once again we opted for a taxi to our hotel near the city centre on Via Laeitina. Hotel H10 Montcada - This had amazing views from the rooftop bar of the Gothic quarter and city. The Hotel was clean and in a very convenient location, but the rooms were extremely small (all rooms are small in Europe though). We were able to walk to all sights from our hotel and we only ever caught a taxi once or twice. We picked a map up from reception who helped us work out the best way to navigate the city in order to see the sights we wanted. We visited La Sagrada Familia, wandered through the Gothic quarter and stumbled across a beautiful Cathedral, la Rambla, Park Guell and found some beautiful restaurants for afternoon tapas/dinner (The Spanish have a siesta in the afternoon so most restaurants etc don’t open until very late at night). We enjoyed the City and felt that 3 days was sufficient to see everything we were interested in. We embarked at Barcelona Port. The process was very organised and as we were concierge class passengers we were able to join a slightly faster line. We decided to arrive later in the day so we didn't have a very long wait for our cabin and luggage to arrive. The sail away from Barcelona was nice, but nothing great in comparison to the other ports we visited. The Ship was great and was the perfect size. We never felt that it was crowded (except for at embarkation/disembarkation). We loved the indoor adult’s only solarium and I loved the Persian garden. It was great to be able to relax after a long day exploring the ports. Our cabin was in the concierge class and located on deck ten. Our balcony had a great view and we loved opening the curtains to an amazing view of our new destination each day. Our room attendant was lovely and was always around if we ever needed assistance. The cabin, although not as large as hotel room was spacious enough and we had sufficient storage. I would highly recommend a balcony cabin. It was great to be able to sit out on the balcony and read a book on sea days or in the afternoon. The bathroom, although small, had a lot of storage space and was clean (no yucky shower curtain either). There was an outdoor pool/spa, which was always quiet busy and therefore we mainly used the solarium indoor (adults only & heated pool). The sunbeds were very comfortable and abundant. The Restaurant variety was great and the main buffet had a great variety of food options. The day-spa was wonderful. I loved starting each day with a visit to the Persian garden to use the steam/sauna room and relax on the heated beds. We didn’t see any of the shows whilst on board as none of them really interested us. The overall age group was 45- 65year olds, so although we were a lot younger than most passengers we actually preferred this. We had no desire to be stuck on a cruise ship with passengers chugging back beers and shots with crazy, noisy pool parties. We found all fellow passengers to be very pleasant. We booked most of our tours through the ship prior to departure. We didn't want to risk missing out on any preferred tours so chose to book them well in advance. ROME: We did the tour with the cruise line that visited the Colosseum (inside), Roman forum, Trevi fountain, The Vatican & lunch at a restaurant. We were so glad we did as the line to get in to the Colosseum was huge! We were able to skip the line and went in a side entrance. My husband loved this tour and Rome was his favourite port. It was very rushed and fast paced but we were glad we got to see everything. NAPLES: This was my favourite port as we booked a "Capri on your own" tour through the ship. We boarded a ferry across to Capri. The tour itself was not particularly organised, although as it was "on your own" we didn’t expect a lot! The buses that were to take all the passengers up the mountain in Capri were disorganised and no particular system seemed to be in place with passengers jumping on buses here, there and everywhere and other tour groups getting on the same buses etc. It took quiet a while to finally get a seat on a bus and up the mountain. The bus ride up the mountain was breath taking in more ways than one. The roads are so narrow and there is very little space between the bus and the huge cliff drop-off! Once again strange road rules, so there were many frightening moments with other cars navigating around us up the winding mountainous roads. The trip was well worth it though and the town at the top was stunning. Our guide instructed us of the main sights to see and how to get there, best restaurants and the meeting point at the end of the tour. This was all the information we needed and we enjoyed exploring at our own pace. We visited Vila San Michele which was perched on the edge of the mountain and offered the most spectacular view (see attached images). We then explored the quaint town and home of limoncello and enjoyed the picturesque views on offer. We had lunch at a restaurant on the edge of the mountain and it was the most delicious pizza and caprese salad (the town where caprese pizza was invented). The shopping is great with a variety of boutiques and lovely jewellery on offer to stock up on souvenirs. After meeting at the designated meeting place we made our way down the mountain on the funicular. We were then transferred across back to Naples and the ship. TURKEY: We waited until we were on board to book this tour, as at the time the Australian Smart traveller website was advising against visiting certain areas in Turkey. We spoke to the Shore Excursions tour desk and they said it would be fine and was safe at that time, so we went ahead and booked a tour. We boarded a bus at the port and made our way up to The Virgin Mary's house and the ancient city of Ephesus. We then had time at an Events centre where there was a buffet lunch and show. The lunch was tasteless and inedible and the show was boring. This part of the tour was a complete waste of time and money. We then had time back at the port to tour the town. We didn't particularly feel safe in the town and the shops were very dirty and had nothing of interest so we rushed back to the ship. SANTORINI: We didn't book a tour in this port and instead explore on our own. We got a little bit lost for a while but managed to find a shopkeeper that pointed us in the direction of a bus stop so we could make our way up to Oia. The view from Oia was amazing. Santorini is extremely busy and the narrow pathways around the cliff are packed with tourists trying to capture this pretty, piece of paradise. There are many shops, restaurants and cafes on offer. After having lunch at a cute little restaurant with caldera view we made our way back down through the other villages. We then had the tedious task of climbing down the many, many, many stairs to the boat tender. The line for the cable car to get down was way too long, so we had no choice. The stairs (588 in total) are very steep, slippery and littered with donkeys, so if you are not fit or have mobility issues I would recommend planning your day accordingly. There is an option to ride the donkeys down the steps, but we considered this cruel as the animals are left out in the hot sun all day with very little water. MYKONOS: There was an option to take a free bus from the cruise port in to Mykonos town which we opted for. Mykonos was very pretty and a lot smaller than we had imagined. The water was the beautiful, azure blue seen in postcards with a backdrop of the white wash buildings. We spent the day wandering around the pretty cobblestone walkways, looking through the many boutiques/shops and went to the beach for a swim and to look at the famous windmills. We then decided to walk back to the cruise port as opposed to taking the shuttle. I wouldn’t recommend doing this as it is very hot and there are no footpaths. MALTA: The cruise docked in Valetta and we booked a tour to the blue grotto through the cruise ship. Unfortunately due to weather condition we were not able to participate in the boat portion of the tour (when the swell is to rough the boats are unable to enter the grotto). We instead had the opportunity to tour the fishing port which had markets, restaurants etc . We then took a bus ride out to the blue grotto to view from above. The weather wasn’t great; therefore the water wasn’t as blue as it would normally be on a clear day. ATHENS: We booked a tour of Athens through the cruise ship. Athens was our least favourite port. The City is extremely dirty and covered in graffiti. We saw the Acropolis from the outside and visited Plaka. We couldn’t wait until the tour was over. We encountered some weather towards the end of the cruise and the boat was rocking and rolling around. A high number of passengers were not well, although we were fine. The pool was closed and walking outside was near impossible. This didn’t affect our overall experience though as we knew we were cruising after summer and the weather is never guaranteed on any holiday. Overall we loved this cruise and the variety of ports. Celebrity was great to cruise with, so much so that we have booked another cruise from Australia to New Zealand this year! Happy Cruising to you!!!

Beautiful ship, great ports and amazing customer service!

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by ELISHAMAREE89

Trip Details
As first time cruisers we spent a lengthy amount of time researching all the different cruise-lines that sail the Mediterranean and I found this site to be extremely beneficial.

We ended up choosing Celebrity as it was highly recommended by various travel agencies and frequent cruisers. I have written a lengthy review of our cruise experience below. It is very long so apologies in advance.

The ship overall was fantastic. Modern, clean and relaxing.

We travelled from Perth, Australia via Dubai with 2 night stopover and then on to Barcelona.

Upon arrival in Dubai we opted for a private taxi to transfer to our hotel, there are cheaper options available but after a long haul flight we were not in the mood to share a bus/car with other passengers or wait around. The private taxis are very nice (Air-conditioned Lexus, Mercedes etc).

We stayed on the Palm at The Atlantis Hotel, which was a huge hotel with so much to do. Our room had a view of the aquarium below and The Palm. (See attached images)

We visited the Burj Khalifa, Jumeirah Beach (went camel riding on the beach at sunset), the huge Mall, watched the fountain show at Burj (amazing at night), Atlantis Aqua-venture theme park and visited the beach walk at night for dinner and drinks at a rooftop bar. We ran out of time to see and do everything we wanted (The dune-dinner safari was high on the list) so if you decide to stopover here I would recommend staying for a bit longer. As we went late September we found the weather to be fine, it was a little hot but no different to Western Australian summers. At certain times of the year the weather can be too hot to even go outdoors! so choose your time right.

Our next destination was Barcelona for a 2 night stopover prior to embarkation at the Barcelona port.

Immigration in Barcelona was the slowest I have ever experienced. May have just been the time of day we arrived.

Once again we opted for a taxi to our hotel near the city centre on Via Laeitina. Hotel H10 Montcada - This had amazing views from the rooftop bar of the Gothic quarter and city. The Hotel was clean and in a very convenient location, but the rooms were extremely small (all rooms are small in Europe though).

We were able to walk to all sights from our hotel and we only ever caught a taxi once or twice. We picked a map up from reception who helped us work out the best way to navigate the city in order to see the sights we wanted. We visited La Sagrada Familia, wandered through the Gothic quarter and stumbled across a beautiful Cathedral, la Rambla, Park Guell and found some beautiful restaurants for afternoon tapas/dinner (The Spanish have a siesta in the afternoon so most restaurants etc don’t open until very late at night). We enjoyed the City and felt that 3 days was sufficient to see everything we were interested in.

We embarked at Barcelona Port. The process was very organised and as we were concierge class passengers we were able to join a slightly faster line.

We decided to arrive later in the day so we didn't have a very long wait for our cabin and luggage to arrive.

The sail away from Barcelona was nice, but nothing great in comparison to the other ports we visited.

The Ship was great and was the perfect size. We never felt that it was crowded (except for at embarkation/disembarkation). We loved the indoor adult’s only solarium and I loved the Persian garden. It was great to be able to relax after a long day exploring the ports.

Our cabin was in the concierge class and located on deck ten. Our balcony had a great view and we loved opening the curtains to an amazing view of our new destination each day. Our room attendant was lovely and was always around if we ever needed assistance.

The cabin, although not as large as hotel room was spacious enough and we had sufficient storage. I would highly recommend a balcony cabin. It was great to be able to sit out on the balcony and read a book on sea days or in the afternoon. The bathroom, although small, had a lot of storage space and was clean (no yucky shower curtain either).

There was an outdoor pool/spa, which was always quiet busy and therefore we mainly used the solarium indoor (adults only & heated pool). The sunbeds were very comfortable and abundant.

The Restaurant variety was great and the main buffet had a great variety of food options.

The day-spa was wonderful. I loved starting each day with a visit to the Persian garden to use the steam/sauna room and relax on the heated beds.

We didn’t see any of the shows whilst on board as none of them really interested us.

The overall age group was 45- 65year olds, so although we were a lot younger than most passengers we actually preferred this. We had no desire to be stuck on a cruise ship with passengers chugging back beers and shots with crazy, noisy pool parties. We found all fellow passengers to be very pleasant.

We booked most of our tours through the ship prior to departure. We didn't want to risk missing out on any preferred tours so chose to book them well in advance.

ROME: We did the tour with the cruise line that visited the Colosseum (inside), Roman forum, Trevi fountain, The Vatican & lunch at a restaurant. We were so glad we did as the line to get in to the Colosseum was huge! We were able to skip the line and went in a side entrance. My husband loved this tour and Rome was his favourite port. It was very rushed and fast paced but we were glad we got to see everything.

NAPLES: This was my favourite port as we booked a "Capri on your own" tour through the ship. We boarded a ferry across to Capri. The tour itself was not particularly organised, although as it was "on your own" we didn’t expect a lot! The buses that were to take all the passengers up the mountain in Capri were disorganised and no particular system seemed to be in place with passengers jumping on buses here, there and everywhere and other tour groups getting on the same buses etc. It took quiet a while to finally get a seat on a bus and up the mountain. The bus ride up the mountain was breath taking in more ways than one. The roads are so narrow and there is very little space between the bus and the huge cliff drop-off! Once again strange road rules, so there were many frightening moments with other cars navigating around us up the winding mountainous roads. The trip was well worth it though and the town at the top was stunning. Our guide instructed us of the main sights to see and how to get there, best restaurants and the meeting point at the end of the tour. This was all the information we needed and we enjoyed exploring at our own pace. We visited Vila San Michele which was perched on the edge of the mountain and offered the most spectacular view (see attached images). We then explored the quaint town and home of limoncello and enjoyed the picturesque views on offer. We had lunch at a restaurant on the edge of the mountain and it was the most delicious pizza and caprese salad (the town where caprese pizza was invented). The shopping is great with a variety of boutiques and lovely jewellery on offer to stock up on souvenirs. After meeting at the designated meeting place we made our way down the mountain on the funicular.

We were then transferred across back to Naples and the ship.

TURKEY: We waited until we were on board to book this tour, as at the time the Australian Smart traveller website was advising against visiting certain areas in Turkey. We spoke to the Shore Excursions tour desk and they said it would be fine and was safe at that time, so we went ahead and booked a tour.

We boarded a bus at the port and made our way up to The Virgin Mary's house and the ancient city of Ephesus. We then had time at an Events centre where there was a buffet lunch and show. The lunch was tasteless and inedible and the show was boring. This part of the tour was a complete waste of time and money. We then had time back at the port to tour the town. We didn't particularly feel safe in the town and the shops were very dirty and had nothing of interest so we rushed back to the ship.

SANTORINI:

We didn't book a tour in this port and instead explore on our own. We got a little bit lost for a while but managed to find a shopkeeper that pointed us in the direction of a bus stop so we could make our way up to Oia. The view from Oia was amazing. Santorini is extremely busy and the narrow pathways around the cliff are packed with tourists trying to capture this pretty, piece of paradise. There are many shops, restaurants and cafes on offer. After having lunch at a cute little restaurant with caldera view we made our way back down through the other villages. We then had the tedious task of climbing down the many, many, many stairs to the boat tender. The line for the cable car to get down was way too long, so we had no choice. The stairs (588 in total) are very steep, slippery and littered with donkeys, so if you are not fit or have mobility issues I would recommend planning your day accordingly. There is an option to ride the donkeys down the steps, but we considered this cruel as the animals are left out in the hot sun all day with very little water.

MYKONOS: There was an option to take a free bus from the cruise port in to Mykonos town which we opted for. Mykonos was very pretty and a lot smaller than we had imagined. The water was the beautiful, azure blue seen in postcards with a backdrop of the white wash buildings. We spent the day wandering around the pretty cobblestone walkways, looking through the many boutiques/shops and went to the beach for a swim and to look at the famous windmills. We then decided to walk back to the cruise port as opposed to taking the shuttle. I wouldn’t recommend doing this as it is very hot and there are no footpaths.

MALTA: The cruise docked in Valetta and we booked a tour to the blue grotto through the cruise ship. Unfortunately due to weather condition we were not able to participate in the boat portion of the tour (when the swell is to rough the boats are unable to enter the grotto). We instead had the opportunity to tour the fishing port which had markets, restaurants etc . We then took a bus ride out to the blue grotto to view from above. The weather wasn’t great; therefore the water wasn’t as blue as it would normally be on a clear day.

ATHENS: We booked a tour of Athens through the cruise ship. Athens was our least favourite port. The City is extremely dirty and covered in graffiti. We saw the Acropolis from the outside and visited Plaka. We couldn’t wait until the tour was over.

We encountered some weather towards the end of the cruise and the boat was rocking and rolling around. A high number of passengers were not well, although we were fine. The pool was closed and walking outside was near impossible. This didn’t affect our overall experience though as we knew we were cruising after summer and the weather is never guaranteed on any holiday.

Overall we loved this cruise and the variety of ports. Celebrity was great to cruise with, so much so that we have booked another cruise from Australia to New Zealand this year!

Happy Cruising to you!!!
ELISHAMAREE89’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Concierge Class
Cabin C2 1110
Great size, storage and layout. The balcony was a good size.
Room attendant was fantastic. The bed could be more comfortable though.
Resort Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Acropolis
    We booked a tour to the Acropolis and Plaka. We did not enjoy Athens as it is very dirty and felt unsafe.
    View All 350 Acropolis Reviews
  • Barcelona
    We had a 3 day stopover in this City prior to our cruise.
    We didn't book any tours and instead toured the city on our own with help from hotel reception and a map. We saw the Sagrada Familia & Park Guell and walked La Rambla, Gothic quarter etc. We stayed near the Gothic Quarter and enjoyed this location. It was close to restaurants, shops, marina and sights (all walking distance). Most restaurants open late at night in Barcelona.
    View All 2,290 Barcelona Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Barcelona Cruise Port Review
  • House of the Virgin Mary
    We enjoyed the visit to Virgin Mary's house and the holy water which we were able to take home. Ephesus was also interesting. The lunch and show component of the tour was not good. The food was terrible and we couldn't wait to leave. We skipped watching the carpet weaving at the end. The town at port was very dirty and not much to do or see. A tour here is definitely recommended.
    View All 81 House of the Virgin Mary Reviews
  • Blue Grotto Boat Trip
    We were unfortunately unable to do the boat tour as the weather and swell was too rough. We did get to see the blue grotto from above though. We also visited the fishing port/markets. Not a lot to do in this port.
    View All 29 Blue Grotto Boat Trip Reviews
  • Mykonos
    We decide to tour this port on our own as there wasn't much sightseeing to do here. We wandered around the pretty town and went to the beach. There are lot's of little shops, restaurants etc. Beautiful beaches too.
    View All 1,085 Mykonos Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Mykonos Cruise Port Review
  • Positano (Amalfi)
    We booked a tour to the island of Capri. We boarded a ferry over to the island and then met our tour guide at the port. We then boarded buses that took us up the mountain. The bus situation was very disorganised and nobody knew which bus to get on, where we were going etc. We finally got up to the town at the top of the mountain. The drive up was frightening as the roads are very narrow with traffic going both ways. Our guide instructed us of the various places of interest, restaurants and meeting place. We visited the Vila San Michele which had the most amazing view. We wandered around the town and had lunch at a restaurant on the edge of a cliff. We had ample free time to explore on our own. After the tour we met up with the rest of the group and made our way back down the mountain via funicular. We then made our way back to the ferry to join the ship. I would recommend this tour.
    View All 13,948 Positano (Amalfi) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Positano (Amalfi) Cruise Port Review
  • Colosseum
    We booked a tour that covered all the sight's we wanted to see in Rome. The bus trip from the cruise port to the City was long but definitely worth it. We were able to visit the Colosseum and we were able to sip the line and go straight through a side entrance which was great as the lines were huge. The Colosseum was amazing. We then visited the Roman Forum,Trevi fountain and all the sight's along the way. We had lunch in a local restaurant and then caught the bus to Vatican City, The traffic in Rome is terrible and parking is difficult, therefore there was a lot of walking. Vatican City was very busy and the line to get into the Sistine Chapel was too long so we ran out of time to go in. We then made the long journey back to the ship. This tour was great and covered all major sight's. I would recommend doing a tour in this port or you will not get to see all the main attractions.We would have spent most of the day in a line at the Colosseum if we hadn't booked a tour.
    View All 177 Colosseum Reviews
  • Santorini
    Beautiful place. The view is breathtaking and so many photo opportunities. We took the cable car up the mountain to the first town and caught a bus up to Oia. We stopped at a restaurant in Oia with a beautiful view and then made our journey back down through the villages. The stairs at the end to get back down to the cruise port are not easy so if you are not very fit I was advise making sure you have enough time to wait in the line for the cable car (the line was huge). The stairs (588 in total) are very steep and slippery with Donkeys at most corners. P.s Take comfortable shoes as the pathways are very uneven and cobblestone.
    View All 1,019 Santorini Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Santorini Cruise Port Review