We are a couple that picked this sailing to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We do cruise often across different cruise lines and have sailed on the Equinox 3 times prior to this cruise and once earlier this year, so knew pretty much what to expect. Celebrity is definitely our favorite cruise line but we sail on Princess more often due to the close proximity of one of their embarkation ports to our home. As with many Celebrity cruises, there were very few children onboard. I saw one, someone else told me there were eight. Most passengers seemed to be in the over 50 crowd.
We flew in the day prior to the cruise and stayed with friends that live in the area. They also drove us down to the pier in the morning so no transportation or hotel comments to make. We arrived at the port at approx 11:15 AM and were onboard well before noon, so I was surprised by some of the comments on our roll call stating that the embarkation process being unacceptable. I believe it was well organized and moved along rather smoothly. We were directed to the priority line due to the number of times we have cruised on Celebrity. When one of the workers at the port noticed our line was getting long, they redirected a number of the awaiting passengers to the concierge line, which might explain why we were allowed to board rather quickly.
In taking care of business first, we headed to the Hostess, Paola, at the MDR to make our dining reservations for select dining and for Murano. She did allow us to make reservations for the specialty dining at the dates / times we wanted, however, she was incorrect in telling us the date of the second evening chic night. Well, no matter, one mistake is forgivable ... and it was a small one at that. She also allowed us to make reservations for the night of embarkation and the following night. However, this is where her helpfulness ended. She would not allow us to make reservations more than one night out and we would have to revisit every day to make the reservations for the following night. Well, this still would not have been so much of a problem except she would never allow us to make a reservation from that point on throughout the remainder of the cruise. She said there was simply nothing she could do for us. I asked if that meant we wouldn't be able to eat in the MDR the entire time throughout the cruise but she said, of course they could seat us but we would have to just show up and wait until after 8:30 or maybe 9:00. We cannot eat that late so a couple of times, just gave up waiting and went to the buffet instead. Once, we even asked in the evening 2 days ahead of time and she said they were completely booked. In over 50 cruises, I have never experienced this before. I am not asking to be treated any better than anyone else, however, everyone else we spoke to said they were allowed to make reservations for dinner for the entire cruise on embarkation day or were given a reservation the day before their dinner, so it did seem as though she singled us out with her uncooperative attitude. Finally, we realized that Kataryna on the other side of the room was much more helpful and she was able to find us a table, and on elegant chic night to boot ... now, how was that possible when there was nothing Paola could do for us in the same dining room? Next time, we will know better. I love the concept of anytime dining but looks like we may have to go back to traditional dining instead or be relegated to eat at the buffet instead. Don't get me wrong, we had excellent meals in the buffet but it is not exactly why we book a cruise on Celebrity. More on dining later ... back to embarkation. After getting our only reservations allowed for the MDR, we parked ourselves at the Passport Bar when we boarded and ordered ourselves a welcome aboard drink. Soon, the announcement was made that our rooms were ready so after finishing our cocktail, we headed to our cabin to unpack our carry on bags. We've seen inside this room before, side aft on the port side in a 2C category. Our room steward, Adi, knocked on the door soon afterwards, introduced himself and asked if there was anything he could get us and inquired about our normal schedule. Adi was awesome ... so efficient, kept our cabin very tidy, always anticipated our every need and slipped in and out of our room when we headed out for breakfast. A+++ goes to Adi!! Also, Bagus, down the hall, was so friendly with a kind word and smile when passing by on our way to the midship stairs. Actually, all of the room stewards on this deck that we encountered daily were very friendly.