We are an engaged couple (male 31; female 28; both military veterans) and took our first cruise on Celebrity Equinox. We chose Aquaclass for the spa access and after reading great reviews about the exclusive restaurant, Blu. We typically travel "well," and this was truly one of our best experiences to date. We generally like low-key relaxing atmospheres with friendly people, but definitely still enjoy having drinks and such. This cruise matched our lifestyle to a T.
EMBARKATION: We showed up towards the end (had a late brunch with a family member in Ft Lauderdale) so almost no one was there. Super easy and got on the ship without issue and in less than 5 minutes.
CABIN: We were in Cabin 1630 and had a balcony. We thought it was perfect. Bigger than expected and very comfortable bed/sheets.
SHIP: Overall (and we have nothing to compare it to), we thought the ship was great. It's not so big that it's overwhelming, but small enough where you can get anywhere quickly. Elevators usually worked fine. Great decor and seemed fairly updated. The only minor critique would be that the pools are very small (and the hot tubs even smaller), but again not sure if this is typical because we have nothing to compare to.
DINING: This is really where our praise lies. Blu restaurant was absolutely amazing. Between the quality of food and the STELLAR service from Putu and his team, our expectations were shattered. It was so good that it has made me realize most of the US-based service industry is full of whiny grouchy servers and restaurants that charge astronomical prices simply because they can. We stayed in Miami for a few days after the cruise and every restaurant was terrible following our experience in Blu. Note that you need to stay in Aquaclass to have access, but it's really not that much more expensive and definitely worth the extra cost. I would recommend googling the Blu menus, as they have some really interesting choices. Also, the sky is the limit (meaning you can order as much as you want). We were especially happy with their allergy-friendliness (fiancee has celiac). The chef prepared anything she wanted and checked with her as to what she would like for the following evening. I cannot say enough great things about Blu, both for the quality of food and outstanding friendly service. We tipped extra at the end.
SERVICE: In addition to the great service in Blu, I should also mention our awesome stateroom attendant, Gede. If he is the standard for the rest of the ship, then no reasonable person could ever lodge a serious complaint about anything. We wanted for nothing and felt like it was personalized service even though he had several other rooms each day. We also tipped extra for his great service. As for the rest of the ship, everyone is so friendly and welcoming (even if this is a show, they do a great job; fake it til you make it!). From the bartenders to greeters, 5-star all around.
PORTS/EXCURSIONS: (all excursions booked online for a discount through the ship ahead of the cruise)
Puerto Rico: we did a self-guided tour of the old fort. Cool place to see, but not much else to do around there
St Thomas: did the catamaran excursion to St John and snorkeling. Great time and highly recommended. They also include a LOT of free drinks on the way back.
Tortola: we did the Escape to Jost Van Dyke and HIGHLY recommend it. White Bay Beach is the nicest beach I have ever seen in the world (and I have been to over 30 countries). Also basic lunch included and a drink. We ended up walking to another beach bar for more privacy and drinks.
Bahamas (Nassau): unfortunately, this was the only port it rained (early formation of Dorian) and our excursion to Pearl Island was cancelled. Ended up taking a cab to Atlantis with another couple and having quite a few drinks at a beach bar. Still a great time.
SPA: Spa access is a great included feature of Aquaclass. The steam room, heated tile beds overlooking the water, and aromatherapy rooms were an awesome daily experience.
OVERALL: The food in Blu and the stellar service from Putu's team and our stateroom attendant, as well as the general relaxing atmosphere of the ship, are what made our first cruise such a great experience. We met several experienced cruisers who told us that Celebrity is by far the best non-luxury line (we plan to test out those lines in a few years). We are excited to book our next cruise with Celebrity, perhaps on the Edge after seeing an ad for it on board. We also felt that the trip was a great value for our money, especially for what was included in Aquaclass. We overheard a few other couples saying that their MDR experiences were not that great. We signed up for the Captain's Club and plan to be back asap.
This cabin was excellent. Larger than expected and a spacious balcony. We never heard a single amount of noise from anywhere around us. The only thing to note is that it is a bit of a walk from the Spa, but not so much that it's inconvenient. We would definitely choose this room again on a future cruise.
The catamaran and snorkeling tour to St. John was an awesome experience. Enjoyable scenic ride, crystal clear water and tons of sea life (including sea turtles). Also were provided lots of drinks on the way back!View All 177 Catamaran Tour Reviews
Our favorite excursion of the trip. White Bay Beach at Jost Van Dyke is one of the nicest beaches I have ever seen in the world. The only thing is we wish we had more time there.View All 109 Jost Van Dyke Reviews