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Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,184 Reviews

Not awful, not great

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by Xertes

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2019
  • Destination: the Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View 7

This was our 4th cruise with Celebrity and 26th cruise overall. Our first cruise with Celebrity was on the Reflection back in 2014. Everything about that cruise was amazing and we were wowed. We declared Celebrity our favorite cruise line. We took the Solstice to Alaska in 2015 and while it is identical to the Reflection in terms of ship architecture, the Reflection's interior decor we found more pleasing. Nonetheless, the food was good and we had a great time. We cruised the Celebrity Infinity on a Panama Canal cruise in 2017. This is when Celebrity fell out of favor with us. While the main dining room food was good, the buffet food was often at lukewarm temperature at best. The grill where they had hot dogs and hamburgers was serving cold french fries. I don't mean barely warm, I mean cold. Ever eat a cold french fry? The hamburgers and hot dogs ranged from barely warm to cold. When the food temperature was mentioned to the grill attendant, he just shrugged. We decided to give Celebrity one more try. Hence, this cruise on the Equinox. Since cruise critic had it rated as best overall ship two years running, we were looking forward to repeating our Reflection experience. Sadly, this was not the case.

My wife and I are active seniors and experienced cruisers. We love cruising. The ship is our destination and we do not choose our ship on the basis of itineraries. We do not do excursions. We have taken several cruises where we never got off the ship at the ports. Food is 50% of the cruise for us. Entertainment 25% and the last 25% is divided among stateroom and activities, facilities, service, etc. We normally shop for bargains and get an oceanview room, unless we are going to Alaska, in which case it is worth the extra money for the balcony view. My reviews are geared toward rating those items on a ship that are important to me.

I will start with what I think was outstanding about the ship. The ship is beautiful. The public areas are all grandly decorated and pleasing. The layout is very good. Service by all personnel from room attendant to dining room wait staff to guest relations was outstanding. The one consistency that I have found on all Celebrity ships is that their pizza, which in my opinion, is the best pizza of any cruise line at sea and is virtually always available, except at breakfast. Entertainment was not exceptional but was very good. The singers and dancers at the production shows were above average. Costuming and staging was average. Story lines and ability to follow what the shows were supposed to be about were poor. Acrobats were very good. All of the specialty acts in the main theater were very good. Music in the atrium and on decks was good.

Entertainment =A-

Stateroom was very nice. Very comfortable bed, decent storage. Bathroom storage the best of any ship I have ever been on - equal to Reflection. Stateroom size is the largest for standard category stateroom around any of the cruise lines (Princess is the smallest).

TV selections were limited and horrible.

Stateroom gets an A rating. Would be A+ except for TV selections.

Pool temperature was good and pool depth ranged from over 3 feet to over 5 feet. As I am short, this was great. I did not need to hang on to the sides to stay in the pool.

Now for the bad - complimentary food venues. MDR was above average for MDR cruise food. Wait staff were outstanding. Oceanview cafe was a zoo. Embarkation day everyone gets sent up to the buffet until rooms are ready and there are not enough tables or chairs for everyone and it is a crowded mess. This is true of all the mass market cruise lines regardless of what cruise you are on. We are used to this. However, after embarkation day, things usually smooth out as not everyone is at the buffet at the same time and there are only a few meal times were it is a little crowded. Not true on the Equinox. It was always crowded during mealtimes and difficult to move from station to station or to find an empty table or chairs. .The exception would be most times at dinner, since people were eating in the MDR. Late night snacks were generally not crowded but breakfast and lunch were awful. There are not enough seats and tables for the number of passengers. Food (except for pizza) in the buffet was average at best. temperature was OK. Taste was OK, but not better than just OK. Choices were repetitive. If you wanted a hamburger or hot dog at lunch, you had to go to the Mast grill which was a walk from the buffet. If you were dining with your spouse and companion at the buffet and they were eating what was at the buffet, you had to walk to the Mast grill, wait in line, get your food and walk back to the buffet. By the time you made your way through the crowd and sat down with your companion, they were finishing their food and yours was cooling.

But the worst, the very worst, was the desserts, They looked gorgeous. presentation was exceptional. Taste was the exact opposite. They looked great and tasted horrible. Expectations were dashed with the first bite. Fruits were good. Watermelon outstanding.

Late night snacks consisted of the ever present pizza, pastas, make your own salad bar with a number of toppings excluding hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits and shredded cheese. Those happen to be my favorite salad toppings so I did not eat much salad. There were limited sad looking cold cuts, Cut up french bread, and rolls. No regular thin sliced bread at all except in the mornings at breakfast. Limited fruit but no watermelon. No hamburgers or hot dogs or potatoes.

MDR = B

Oceanview cafe = C-

Activities - not much. There were some trivia games. Dancing. Karaoke.Casino with $10 minimums as the lowest minimum at craps, roulette and blackjack. Craps table is open only in the evenings. Slots are tight. I will only play at $5 minimum or lower tables. I know they will win in the end but at $10 minimums, the money goes out too fast and that is no fun.

A lot of the activities that featured talks were just sales pitches to get you to buy something or go to their "recommended" shops at the port. Not objective information but that is typical for most cruise ships.

The on board cruise shops had a more limited selection than most ships we have been on.

Activities = C-

So, in summation we enjoyed the cruise but not as much as the cruises we have enjoyed on competitor's cruise lines. Would we book Celebrity again? Maybe if they improved the food, had more fun activities and offered a great deal that we could not refuse but our experience at this point is that the quality of the brand has decreased sufficiently that it would not be our first or even second choice.

How this has been rated best ship overall two years in a row is beyond me.


Xertes's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Ocean View 7

Stateroom was very nice. Very comfortable bed, decent storage. Bathroom storage the best of any ship I have ever been on - equal to Reflection. Stateroom size is the largest for standard category stateroom around any of the cruise lines (Princess is the smallest).

TV selections were limited and horrible.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


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Xertes
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