Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by klingoncruiser
- Sail Date: December 2009
- Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class
The ship was docked at pier 18, which is the new one for RCL. Parking was simple as was loading and unloaded. No one seems to do this as easy as Lauderdale. Getting through the check in was quick and painless and we were off to the ship quickly as we carried our own luggage off.
The ship is very simple yet elegant. Not much glitz but I really liked the overall layout and look of the ship. Our room was 1019 and seems like the rooms are getting smaller and smaller with each passing year. Oh well, it was a place to sleep and hide from time to time.
DW and friend both loved the Hot Glass show. The ladies sat through almost every show and never got tired of it. Also, I was a bit curious about the "lawn". Wow, what a cool idea for a ship. Very nice touch. Our first port was Grand Cayman. Never my favorite port, so we got off wandered around for a short time, got a couple of rum cakes and back to the ship. No need to waste time here on overpriced and cheaply made souvenirs.
The next port was Cartegena. This was our first time to be in this port. We took a tour of the city using a private tour. It was a good idea. We were off to an early start and stayed one jump ahead of the ship tours. That meant we had time to wander around and see things without stepping on people at every turn. The monastery at the top of the hill is a stunning view. We had hoped to go to the gold museum but it was closed that day. Of interest was that this is a starting port for RCL. A ship loads and unloads at this port. It was odd to see a "terminal" in a place like this. Our guide laughed and said this is where the wild ones board. It also loads in Panama with mostly American passengers. I would go back to Cartegean again, but would like to see some different tours that take you out to look at nature and the country. Sadly, that appears to still be a dangerous thing to do. All the locals were very happy to have cruise ships back after years of them avoiding the port due to civil unrest. The vendors in the street are very aggressive, more so than Jamaica to some extent. However it was mostly easy to just say no or be serious about dickering for what they offered.
We docked in Panama and took a tour to the rain forest. This was one of the oddest tours I have ever been on. Our tour was guide by "Ricky Ricardo". His English was somewhat limited. However the people on the bus were embarrassing. I have never seen such a rude and unruly group. We could have really been in trouble as we are serious birders and could not believe our luck to get such a noisy group. However the driver noted our watching birds and dragged out a well worn book. We left the group to make out down the trail and we lagged behind and drug the driver with us. His English was very limited and our Spanish a match. However we all spoke birds and nature and this became the highlight of the cruise. Some of the birds we saw and the driver's knowledge of the local birds was amazing.(You know you have a serious birder when he pulled out his cell phone and began to play bird calls to call in the birds.) We went to a second stop on the tour and almost had a riot on our hands. The rowdy group wanted to skip the second half as it was hot, and they were missing their lunch and bridge games. "Ricky Ricardo" said we WOULD make the second part though which was great as we saw several Coatimundi which were the first I have seen. The wild bunch went on one trail and the driver and us took off the opposite direction. More birds and a troop of Howler Monkeys were added to the list.
Next was Costa Rica and we took a nature tour to an animal recovery site. This was well done and things were going well until it pounded rain as only it can in the tropics. Drowned rats we looked like but all had a great time anyway. (See how much fun a group can be when they are not being rude and ugly?) The next port was Belize and we did the Laminai and New River tour. This was our second time to take this tour. More pounding rain and a wild and wet ride down the river to the Mayan ruins. However once again nothing stopped our group. We were running late so we did not get to malinger down the river as in the past. Still a wonderful tour though.
Last port was Cozumel and DW and friend went Tequila tasting. The girls liked the new museum set up there as they had a very nice set up of Mayan culture. Then we went off to town to do some shopping off the plaza. (Best deals and most fun had away from the cruise shops) The wind was howling as a front had come through and it was only 74 there. Nice day. The last sea day was cold and getting colder as we moved north. This is always a possibility during the winter in the Gulf of Mexico. SO.... A few things of note.
We went to the Silk Harvest restaurant and it was every bit as good as others have said. The service and food were perfect.
The main dining started off a disaster. We went down to main seating and had ordered when a group came in late and said we were at their table. When we checked our dining card more carefully, we found that we had been summarily exiled from first to second seating. The maitre'd was huffed that we were there and finally found us a new place to be. He did get us a new table the next day after we had the loyalty lady follow up with an email to him. Second seating was NOT going to happen. We got the best end of the deal as our new table mates, waiter and asst. waiter were all great. The food was normal for Celebrity and we like what was offered each night. JMHO..... deserts were always a miss. I ate ice cream every night as most of the deserts were not to my liking. Oh well....
I would say that the Ocean View buffet was a bit off. The food was good and always lots of choices. However we noticed that all week the selections barely changed. It was good but nothing new every day.
The worst thing on the cruise was the smell in the hall on deck 10 forward. It was just awful and was there throughout the cruise. Sometimes, it even crept into our room. Our Steward said they were aware of it and trying to find a fix. They need to do that or this will become a major issue for anyone on that deck. No idea if it was on any other deck.
Shows were on par with most ships, and we did not bother to take in most of them. The new show the first night had some good parts but could have been better.
The smoking on the ship has been greatly reduced. No more smoking in the casino, in rooms or on the balconies. This is something that I really did notice and like. However there were still a few who did try to sneak a smoke on the balconies but it was WAY less than in the past. It will get better as time goes along. In general, this was the first time in years of cruising that I was able to enjoy the balcony without smoking someone else's tobacco habit. It was also nice to sit in the casino as long as I wanted and not leave gagging or having to change clothes reeking of smoke.
We were very disappointed with the loyalty functions. The morning thing was nothing special and the evening meet in the sky lounge was very disappointing. No emails before we boarded the ship either. We have never been treated like this as elite members and we did notice it. DW said that it felt like we were just passengers and not valued repeat customers.
Would we sail this ship again. Very definitely would.
Was this a great cruise with a great list of ports? Perfect!
We were very disappointed when we checked on booking this cruise for next Christmas as they had brain deaded the schedule. It was set too late to make the cruise and get back to school or have you children with you without missing a week of work or school. I have no clue what they are thinking on those dates. Guess we will look elsewhere which is a shame.
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