Having cruised with the same compay 6 times around the Caribben and Hawaii we decided to cruise closer to home so having heard how good Celebrity Equinox was we thought we'd try a Solstice Class ship!
We flew from Leeds and the flights/transfers were booked through Celebrity and although it all worked out fine on departure day and disembarkation that was the only 'downside' to our trip......not as organised as it should have been for a premium line. We hit the check-in at peek time so had a 45 minute wait in a queue which we've never experienced before but one of those things!
Once onbaord it was a treat to be met with a glass of bubbly then we went to find our cabin, no maps to follow but we found it quite easily and were impressed as it was slightly larger than the balcony staterooms we'd had before, a nice seating area and all laid out well with good decor. The bathroom was the best yet experienced on a ship (and many hotels!) plenty of space for our toiletries and a glass door and a mirror which didn't steam up!
Off to explore, the ship is lovley and classy decor not in the traditional dark colours of many, lots of spaces to sit and take in the atmosphere and it didn't feel like a large ship at all.
We had 'select dining' as we like to dine when the fancy takes us rather than a set time, we made a reservation a couple of times but always got a table and never had to wait whatever time we decided to dine.
We dined in 'Tuscan Grille' one of the speciality restaurants and had a fantastic meal, but the meals in the MD were good and always hot and served with a smile and great service.
We were impressed with the buffet for breakfast and lunch, lots of choices but the same each day, a slight variation or theme day would have been nice but this is not a complaint just an observation.
The staff were some of the most pleasant I have ever encounterd and always willing to chat when you were out and about.
The entertainment was good, a variety of shows but I feel this is the hardest area to please people, but I go if it's soemthing I enjoy and do something else if it's not to my taste. The daily programme of events wasn't thrust down your throat which is a bonus and we particularly enjoyed our evening of 'Celestial Navigation' under the stars.
A thoroughly enjoyable cruise made so by such a great choice of ship and we will be cruising with Celebrity again!
In a great position mid ship, close to the elevators but not close enough for noise, the layout of the cabin was excellent as were the facilities inside.
We took a Celebrity organised trip to Rome as we wanted to cram in as much as possible into our day, on our 'Taste of Rome' tour we were taken to the Colosseum and St Peter's and had a small tour inside. Then we had 3 hours to do our own thing so we went to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon and found some time to have lunch and shop!
Another organised tour 'Sorrento and the Amalfi Drive' which is well worth the long day.....sit on the right hand side of the bus for the best views of the coast.....the lunch stop had amazing views.
Santorini is one of the places you have to visit to understand why people rave about it. We did our won thing, tender across, cable car up and walked round, had lunch in a cafe taking in the views.....which are exceptional
We did a half day tour to Ephesus as everyone we spoke to raved about it, it is amazing and a must see but half a day was enough in the heat. Walking around Kusadasi is easy and plenty of shops etc if you are into haggling for your souveniers.
We did dock here so had to shuttle bus into town, which is a more expensive option but the easiest and best way.....again we did our own thing. The down side was the wind, 3 steps forward 4 back but it didn't stop us enjoying ourselves and exploring which is very easily done
Athens.....again a half day organised tour as we were keen to see the Acropolis and Parthenon more than anywhere else. The guide took us up and explained everything then we had free time to take it all in and make our way back to the meeting point.
Valletta is easy to get around from the ship and there are plenty of options for trips that you can take yourself or just visit the gardens and town, take in lunch and have a great view of the Grand Harbour.