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Sail Date: January 2009
On arriving in Fort Lauderdale from Canada, it was shocking to find it was almost as cold as Canada,On Monday we boarded the ship with ease,found our cabin with a lovely balcony and spent most of the next few hours getting our bearings. ... Read More
On arriving in Fort Lauderdale from Canada, it was shocking to find it was almost as cold as Canada,On Monday we boarded the ship with ease,found our cabin with a lovely balcony and spent most of the next few hours getting our bearings. The ship was beautiful, very new and modern, the stateroom was very good,after some minor setbacks with seating arrangements for dinner,everything was smooth sailing,(well not exactly, the seas were a little rough).Food was great, evening entertainment was fairly good. Room service was exceptional, with a small exception, we ordered champagne for a specific day but it arrived two days early. The ports of call were nothing to write home about. We did a 10 hour excursion in Costa Rica, it poured rain for the whole day. Very expensive tour, our suggestion would be to cancel shore trips if rain is forecast for the whole day, since it was organized by the cruise line. During our trip over 300 people became ill, we do not know the cause but it was a little disturbing. We did not become ill, but several of our friends did including my brother.(his first cruise). At this point we would still use Celebrity, but am considering another ship. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
We embarked on the Equinox in Fort Lauderdale without a problem. Everything is incredibly efficient. My wife and I occupied a very nice suite on Deck 9, overlooking the stern of the ship, a beautiful view indeed from a large balcony. ... Read More
We embarked on the Equinox in Fort Lauderdale without a problem. Everything is incredibly efficient. My wife and I occupied a very nice suite on Deck 9, overlooking the stern of the ship, a beautiful view indeed from a large balcony. After one day at sea on our way to Grand Cayman, we noticed a very strong smell in the corridor outside our door. To me, this smelled like sewage. Unfortunately this smell persisted throughout the whole trip, sometimes worse and sometimes a little better, but it never went away. One of the staff told us that this had happened previously also. The smell was so disgusting, I sent an e-mail to Celebrity from the Equinox, but received only an automated response. We also discussed it with Guest Relations, who assured us that they were well aware of the problem ... but it was never fixed.This really took all the pleasure out of having an expensive suite. The ships specialty restaurants can only be described as FANTASTIC. The food and service were absolutely perfect. This contrasted rather sharply with the bland food in the dining room, and the same buffet every day. The desserts looked beautiful, but were quite tasteless. To have a decent dessert, you needed to go to another deck and pay $5 each. A group of us had a "taste test" with the morning buns. Except for the shape, nobody could identify a taste difference, once any icing was removed. The service for the most part was excellent, and courteous.I must say in all the cruises we have been on, the staff have been very kind and helpful. Unfortunately, the odour on Deck 9 , and apparently elsewhere, was so bad, people would stand in groups and complain. Unfortunately, Celebrity seemed to take little notice, and this upset our whole cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
For the first time ever, I have felt compelled to write a review within the first hour of returning from a cruise (albeit short). This was a mini cruise but with maximum impact. What an extraordinarily beautiful and classy ship this is. Oh ... Read More
For the first time ever, I have felt compelled to write a review within the first hour of returning from a cruise (albeit short). This was a mini cruise but with maximum impact. What an extraordinarily beautiful and classy ship this is. Oh yes, from the outside it does look like a 'block of flats' but once inside it is full of intimate spaces, soaring light filled atrium and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Rarely have I been astonished by 'modern' design as I am a traditional Gal at heart and my home is Edwardian comfort. However,  everywhere you look is a feast of inspired detail where no expense has been spared in the materials used, from the various marbles to the ice blue textured curtain fabric in the 'ice topped' Martini bar. We spent a good few hours exploring the ship.  The marathon was made long because we had to try out/sit in/lay on every chair/seating unit/couch! You probably think I am mad, but if you want to see the best and most interesting collection of 'designer' seating then forget shops and book a cruise on Equinox. Talking of shops, to be honest I am not a great lover of cruise ship shops.  But these give you the feel of being in the Burlington Arcade in London with their 'shop windows' and their elegant spaces. I understand that Equinox is sister to the Solstice but the decor is warmer in tone and colour. I liked the 'Entertainment Court' idea. The nightclub Quasar and the Equinox Theatre, as well as a smaller cabaret space, is there on Decks 4 & 5. The theatre has a large stage with a semi circular apron and three tiers. Sight lines are excellent and the seating appears to curve around the stage. It seats around 1200 and there is lots of leg room. No need to stand up to let people through! Wide walkways and at the back of each tier there are long curving marble bars with bar stools. I have only once come across this type of 'arrangement' in a theatre and that was on Ocean Village 1 ! It works very well.  The show was also surprisingly similar to Ocean Village's Planet show on their top deck rigging over the pools, with the same 'out of this world' music. It was also very like the show on P&O's Ventura.  Here they use backing track for the singers to sing to and the singers barely moved, in fact when they did it was on little platforms which slide across the stage by remote control. It took a while to realise that the singers were singing as it sounded pre recorded. However that is more a salute to their talent than anything else.  The costumes were stunning but the choreography was lacking.  Even the best dancers look ridiculous with bad choreography. The acrobats though were extraordinary.  Some even 'flew' above the audience as they performed with their 'silks' and rings.  For me, the balancing act and the contortionist were highlights.In a similar way to the entertainment court there is a 'court' of restaurants. We ate in the Italian- themed Tuscan Grille. This is one of 5 speciality 'extra charge' restaurants and the Tournedo Rossini melted in the mouth. The standard of food was sublime and the setting, across the back of the ship with a deep expanse of glass, was lovely. Each restaurant was beautifully designed but my favorite has to be (remember I'm traditional) Murano, with its private dining area off the main restaurant. Opulent. The main restaurant, Silhouette, is dazzling with its white and stainless steel. It is two tiers high and I understand the food was excellent. I did wonder why there was no Alcohol Gel anywhere on the ship for ones hands but I asked and was told, not only that I was the first to ask! but that it is normal to have the dispensers throughout the ship but the dispensers had not arrived yet. They will be in situ before the inaugural cruise. Finally, the main 24hr Buffet eatery called Oceanview Cafe was very well laid out with lots of space between each 'island' style serving station. There was plenty of room in the seating areas (one outside) with a variety of table sizes. I was very impressed. It is similar to the layout in Grand Princess but the seating area is more spacious. Again, P&O should see how it should be done and sort out Ventura!Music varied from classical to Jazz and we were treated to a superb performance by 'All Angels' on the pool deck as we sailed away from Southampton in blazing sunshine. There was a Big Band performance in the ten story high sunlit atrium and in the Sky Observation lounge, there was a dance band in the evening. This enormous lounge, during the day, has wonderful 180 degree views over the front of the ship.  It is also the only indoor space where smoking is allowed (port side).  For the smokers among you (or for those who wish to avoid) smoking is only allowed in 5 areas, 1 inside and 4 outside. No smoking is allowed in the cabins or on balconies. Now to the cabins.  We had a balcony cabin on deck 9. My husband was impressed that the TV was wall hung, flat screen and fully interactive with the keyboard for the Internet combined with the TV controls. Oh, he also was very pleased with the number of power sockets (American) and that the 'Ethernet Port' was in a very convenient place!  The doors to the cabin are recessed. Why? The cabin doors (and indeed the loo doors in the public toilets) all open outwards into the corridor.  Although this makes for more space in the cabin, it would cause problems to those with wheelchairs, walking aids and pushchairs as one would have to block the corridor to get into the cabin and there will be no keeping of wheelchairs etc. outside your cabin door anymore!  That makes the lack of width in the cabin critical. I could barely get past the curved end of the bed. The decor is soft with a cream leather sofa. The dressing table is the smallest I have ever come across, approx 2' wide, with a well lit mirror. The wardrobe is small with sliding doors barely 18" from the edge of the bed but the hangers 'hook' onto the rail - hooray. There is a very high sill AND change of floor level into the shower room. It is very small but with a reasonable corner entry shower area, with GLASS doors. The sink is an oval basin on top of the work surface.  A clever way of using the narrow space it sits on, however, not child friendly. Nor is there any indent in the work surface to put your wet, slippery soap. Although there are little drawers and a tall slim, glass fronted cabinet, one is struggling for space to lay out make up etc.  In the main cabin there is a decided lack of drawer space and the bedside 'tables' were mentioned by many as looking out of place (dark wood) and useless as they were basically three small shelves without sides to them, so things just fell off. The top shelf did have a 'lip' though. The balcony furniture was the same as Ventura but with a much better round teak topped table. P&O take note ! My conclusion was that the cabin was adequate.  The larger suites though are out of this world. Oh, I nearly forgot. No more fiddling with light switches guessing which did what on your way in or out of the cabin - there is one named 'Master' - brilliant! There is so much more that I could wax lyrical on but it is some of the little touches one appreciates the most. The lifts are summoned by pressing the buttons on a 'pod' standing before the lifts. The lift has arrived when the glass ceiling above and in front of the lift, turns from blue to pink (no little arrows here). There is a stand with a perspex 'ship' perched on it in the lift vestibule. This shows where you are in the Equinox and also has a flat 'plan' or map of the deck showing clearly where everything is including walkways and the public toilets. The 'Relaxation Lounge' is next to the two level Library which is a stunning space open to the atrium with its 'hanging tree' (yes it is real). The Aquaspa is gorgeous and has its own cafe and the Sports Court resembles a squash court in that it is sunken with solid walls.  You can really play a game in there ! Nice touch - the Aquaspa shop and the sports shop are next to the spa and the Lawn Club. Ah! The Lawn. I really though this was an idea too far and laughed cynically when I heard about it but - it really does work. It is a HUGE area of the most perfect grass and is a joy to sit on and to relax beside as croquet or bowls are played. Very English. I leave it to you to discover all the rest that this ship has to offer.  Now, just for the record, I have never cruised with Celebrity before and the views expressed are not influenced by anyone or anything, they are genuine. We cruise 2 or 3 times a year, paid for by us and no one else. We were on this event by invitation from our travel company. We have been on various Sun Cruises ships, Island Star, Oriana, Oceana, Arcadia, Aurora, Ventura (09), Ocean Village, Seabourn Legend (09), Voyages of Discovery, Sea Princess, Grand Princess, Star Princess and NCL Jade. Would we cruise with Celebrity ? Yes. Would we cruise on a Solstice Class ship at 122,000 tons with 2850 max passengers? Yes. Never thought we would say that after Seabourn Legend, but Yes. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
My partner and I were invited onboard Equinox for a one night cruise to nowhere so our time onboard was limited but had a lasting impression!Although I'm not a seasoned cruiser I have been onboard numerous other ships for similar ... Read More
My partner and I were invited onboard Equinox for a one night cruise to nowhere so our time onboard was limited but had a lasting impression!Although I'm not a seasoned cruiser I have been onboard numerous other ships for similar events and this is the first time I've walked away with such a strong opinion on a ship of this scale.This ship has such elegancy and class throughout that I was quite stunned.We had an Ocean View Stateroom, which was neat and compact with plenty of storage. The colour scheme and design was very calming and it really felt like somewhere you could relax for weeks at sea.The bathrooms also have ample storage, which has always been rare in my experience.We only had time for a few drinks in Cellars and then we ate in the Silk Harvest, which is their Asian Fusion restaurant. The food and service was superb and would fit in well in any trendy European City.The whole Promenade Deck is extremely classy, with a fabulous Martini bar.Even though I had a very limited view this really felt like a ship Celebrity can be proud of and a huge pat on the back for the designers! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Don't be fooled, Southampton is an hour and a half from London but well served by the transfers provided. As we stepped on boards four giant words in twinkling colored jewels greeted us in the huge atrium - Here comes the sun. ... Read More
Don't be fooled, Southampton is an hour and a half from London but well served by the transfers provided. As we stepped on boards four giant words in twinkling colored jewels greeted us in the huge atrium - Here comes the sun. Yes this is the song of the Equinox and we were so lucky to be on board for the Inaugural Naming Cruise. Having not sailed on a Solstice class ship we were immediately lost, no problem! The floor guide who was to meet us outside the elevator on Deck 7 did not materialized but we thought lets go and find our cabin - oh but wait, what an amazing globe and table by the elevators *makes mental note to consider how it could become part of my carry offs* We found our room very easily and after a push me pull you effort that was to typify the next two days we did eventually open the door. Its no problem, we just needed reprogramming. We are used to suites but as we were allocated rooms and guessed we would be low in the pecking order we had a 2a. Now this is where Celebrity may have shot themselves in the foot - the room was far bigger than we imagined, we loved the comfy sofa by the window and we thought the layout of the bathroom was far better than some of the suites. Loved the design in the room and found good storage, so maybe we need to think, why have a suite. Anyway small amount of unpacking done we ventured to find the Buffet - great at last a buffet that does not resemble the school dinner lunch queue. Beautiful crockery and a lovely selection of food. We were on board for the naming celebration so we were in evening gear by 1600 listening to the band of RAF Halton on the lawn. Yes the lawn which I thought would be naff, no its great and there are big sofas up there and a lovely bar at the back of the ship, somewhere I would certainly use again for pre dinner drinks. The naming ceremony was pure theatre and the godmother was inspirational. Pre dinner, the Martini Bar was mobbed (probably because it was free) but we found Mark who had looked after us on Century was running the Ensemble Bar beside the special restaurants and we decided this is where we will drink! Silhouettes is a stylish restaurant and the food and service we enjoyed each night was excellent, well cooked and beautifully presented. On this trip it was open seating so we could not build up a longer term relationship with staff but each server was friendly and attentive. After the show (the theatre clearly is technically far superior to any of the other Celebrity ships and I think some great show designs will result) we went wandering around the ship to find so much beautiful art. Loved also the layout with the disco, small theatre and large theatre all together. Loved also you could move around the ship without having to walk through the casino. Made for much better traffic flow. Having been rocked gently to sleep, next morning the sun shone over the English Channel and we made way to breakfast (no room service on this trip) and again a great range of buffet items and more lovely crockery. After a morning curled up on one of the sofas by the lawn with a book we ventured to Bistro on 5 for lunch. Other half is so reluctant, he does not like crepes he announces. Cowboy crepe later he declares that maybe he has never had crepes before or if he had they were bad ones and this was fabulous. I have to agree, that plus a bowl of gelato and I was well set up for the most lovely afternoon back at the lawn. The other half clearly thought he had challenged his waistline too much so he went to the gym which he commended as being very well set up with good kit and a separate area for classes and spin bikes. In two days we did not have enough time to try everything, all the speciality restaurants offered mini tastings and inspired us for visits in the future, the cellar masters with the little dollar shot tasting card looked good and the library was in a lovely open place and had a very good range of books to borrow There were no on board quiz or entertainment activities other than the 2 shows but it was clear there was a lot of potential for great experiences, the Accapela group and poolbands only did short stints but they were good. So it was a two day trip to nowhere, the sun did come out, but even if we could not sing Here Comes the Sun every day, this is a great ship to cruise on Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2009
Dreadful traffic organisation at Southampton meant what should have been a 2-hour drive (with an arrival at 2pm) turned into a 3 and a half hour nightmare, with the last one and a half hours stuck on the dock road, able to see the ship and ... Read More
Dreadful traffic organisation at Southampton meant what should have been a 2-hour drive (with an arrival at 2pm) turned into a 3 and a half hour nightmare, with the last one and a half hours stuck on the dock road, able to see the ship and yet not get to the car park. Apparently it was the fault of all the cruise lines planning to set off the cruises on the same day. Hog wash! If a port's traffic organisation can't cope with their customers then they shouldn't accept the bookings for the berths. FINALLY arrived at check in with minutes to go before the deadline. Hot, flustered and in no mood for a holiday. And from then on Celebrity worked their magic. Efficient security, luggage whisked away, red carpet gangway and onto the ship. Straight into a magnificent atrium with glass-sided lifts, library, bars. Even the inevitable muster stations drill was well arranged to take us into the Tuscan Grill (one of the speciality restaurants) for a video instead of lining us up in ranks on decks a la Royal Caribbean. Cabin was in an excellent position across the stern, meaning great 180 degree views. Downside was that it had little storage space. Fine for a week, but not much drawer space and I guess that for a longer cruise it would have needed you to keep clothes in suitcases under the bed. The run of the mill food was splendid. The standard dining room menu included lobster and fillet steak. Specility restaurants were fabulous. The Murano was very swish, and the wine pairing menu was pricey but worth every penny for a very special treat. Tuscan Grill provided another fabulous steak meal with some very knowledgable wine suggestions. Entertainment first rate - string quartet, a capella singers, great jazz, aeriel artists, singers, and a crazy juggler.Stavager. On a Sunday this is probably the most boring city in Europe. Clear that the money from oil means that no-one has to open up their businesses to obtain tourist dollars. A fairly good museum about drilling for oil in the North Sea, but it was the only joint in town. Won't bother going back.Gerainger. Wow and mega-wow. Tiny 200-people village set at the end of a fjord. Surrounded on 3 sides by 4,000 feet high mountains. You can reach the glacial mountain top via a stomach-churning bus ride and look down to see your ship in the fjord like some model. Souvenir shops selling better quality than most (but still some tourist-tat for those who collect it) Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
As usual Celebrity received their newest ship the Equinox a bit early and was able to do a 7 day cruise prior to the official inaugural cruise. (not that we ever knew we were on an inaugural as their was never anything special mentioned or ... Read More
As usual Celebrity received their newest ship the Equinox a bit early and was able to do a 7 day cruise prior to the official inaugural cruise. (not that we ever knew we were on an inaugural as their was never anything special mentioned or done to indicate such). The embarkation was very well run - Kudos to those port employees in South Hampton who really had it all very well organized. just like that we were whisked on board. The ship is stunning and I must say very much like a high end inner city luxury hotel with it's Martini Bar and wine tasting venues. snazzy nooks and crannies to relax and enjoy. One thing for sure is that you'll notice the furnishings as they are all varied and quiet stunning. A lot of attention to detail on making the ship less "shiplike" and more like a resort. Take the lawn for instance - It's huge and covers 90% of the top aft deck of the ship. It's size alone will make you stop and pay attention to it. Cruisers took full advantage or croquet and bocci ball tournaments and I found myself just taking my shoes off and walking on it. An underused and barely noticed giftshop sells Lawn club merchandise and opposite that is the Hot Glass exhibit. We found that fun to watch for 10 minutes but felt it lost its luster after one viewing. All the way aft is the Sunset Bar and you must spend time there. It's a great place to watch sunset. Several nights we ordered a bottle of wine ( which the staff keep on ice in a bucket next to our chairs). The even have tables that light up in the center and make you feel like you are sitting around a fire pit. Cool! Down one deck is the Oceanview Cafe and this is the new style of buffet dining with stations rather than trays and lines. Always a good selection and of particular note was the incredibly high quality of produce and fruit served here. Huge berries, the freshest ingredients like heirloom tomato salads. Being the ship was in Europe about half the guests were from europe so there was a lot of English dishes on the buffet as well. The traditional pizza taco bar and forward of the cafe is the Burger Bar ( as we called it) with onion rings fries, nachos and the like. We would try to do healthy once or twice during the cruise but the burger bar was a favorite! We were on deck 9 in a Concierge Class cabin. Lovely! Be sure to note the storage ABOVE THE BED (two huge hidden shelves) Had it not been for those I would have been upset about not having enough storage. Closet is good but drawer space is limited. The bathroom is gorgeous and well thought out down to a foot rest in the shower for women to be able to shave their legs. Love the lighting over the artwork - makes for romantic mood lighting. The main dining room was pleasant and you feel like you are in a South Beach restaurant. Very impressed with the service but somewhat underwhelmed by the food itself. Sadly having been on Celebrity years ago I do feel that the main dining room food has dropped a bit. To make matters worse the specialty restaurants are SO good that it pales the main dining room food even further. If you are thinking about skipping the specialty restaurants because of the $20 or $30 service fee (cost depends on restaurant) DON'T!! Each is unique and impressive. A must is Tuscan Grill. Situated on the very aft of the ship it has table to ceiling glass windows looking out over the ocean. The food is impeccable and we left filled to the brim. Silk Harvest is a must and the Sushi alone was worth the cover. Murano, the most expensive and the high end dinner spot on board was good but the other two will wow you for the unique ambiance and food preparation. We've been in a Murano like setting on other ships so didn't find this quiet as novel. Oh yes - Bistro on 5. Amazing crepes and panini's - We ate their only once but loved it ( $5 cover) A couple of negatives- On our Cruise(Aug) kids seemed to take over way to much of the ship. Karaoke turned into a nightmare and the ships staff did nothing. Also the pool is WAY to small for this many passengers. I worry what it will be like when the ship gets to the Caribbean. Wine prices are crazy high and need to be evaluated. We did like that there was a lot of wines available by the glass however. The production shows really are not very good (there were three) Having seen RCCL and Carnival production shows previously these really look amateurish. The production singers really tried and they were great ( good solid voices) it was just that the material and show construction wasn't good- at all! Celebrity needs to invest in this area and should really pull these shows as soon as possible. Ports- Took the bus into Paris from Le Havre. When they say Paris on your own they mean it- The guide on board handed out a map told us where to be at 4pm to load back up and that was it. During the 2 1/2 hour bus trip she didn't say a word. Cherbourg- Stayed aboard and caught up on sleep Gibraltar- Walked around town- a bit touristy but a nice sunny day Lisbon-Took the ships walking tour guide was good. $47pp was a bit steep for what we got Vigo Spain- Why? Categena Spain- National Holiday - Everything was closed-Why do cruise companies do this? Can someone look at a calendar to determine that maybe it might not be a good day to be in X because of this or that. Barcelona- Sunday and guess what? Everything in Barcelona was closed - we knew it would be so we hopped a train from Sant station and headed to where everyone from Barcelona escapes - "Sitges" A lovely beach town just a 33 min train ride away. Here the stores were open and cafe's were all a buzz. When we got back to Barcelona as expected it was full of tourist meandering around with nothing much open. Rome- Do yourself a favor- Take the port shuttle to the entrance of the port - FREE and walk the 3 blocks to the train station. The train from the port to the airport was less than $20 euros for both of us. The ship wanted $123 USD per person for the same transfer. If you wanted a bus from the ship to the train station they wanted $23 just for that. Crazy! Overall the ship itself gets an "A' the itinerary was not so great but we had a wonderful time and you will too on the Equinox. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We booked this cruise 18 months in advance, knowing it was our anniversary. The itinerary was incredible, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.We did it all on line, our only contact with real people was with custom air to finalize ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months in advance, knowing it was our anniversary. The itinerary was incredible, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.We did it all on line, our only contact with real people was with custom air to finalize our flights to and from Chicago. We believe we did a smart thing in leaving for London a day early. We arrived in London on Friday, after an overnight flight. We stayed at the Hilton Heathrow Airport Hotel, which was walking distance from the airport. By doing this, we were able to recover from the jet lag caused by the flight. On Saturday, we returned to Heathrow, where we were greeted by Celebrity personnel, and had luggage stowed and escorted to a very comfortable bus for the trip to Southampton. Everything was very well organized, and timely. The trip to the port was only about 1 hour, and uneventful. Embarkation was quick and easy since we did all required paperwork on line prior to leaving. It seemed like just minutes before we were walking on to this absolutely gorgeous ship, handed a glass of champagne, and we begun our exploration. This ship is huge, but you had the feeling you were in a five star hotel and not aboard a ship. The dEcor was subtle, but if you paid attention, the detail was amazing. The hotel staff, headed by Captain Simon Wier, was a well oiled, customer service team, doing everything they could to ensure that everyone had the holiday of a lifetime. Activities: If anyone gets bored, it's their own fault. You do not have to hang out at the pool to find something to do. We enjoyed cooking demos, wine tasting, hot glass shows and a fantastic program about music with a visiting professor. We did enjoy the pool on port days when most folks left the ship. Service: This was out of the ballpark. From the pool butlers, to the food servers, to the stateroom attendants, everyone went out of their way to smile and make you feel like you were their only passenger. It was absolutely heartwarming. Shore Excursions: We only did three, and we will give you our opinion of the three. Just a note - you will not need your passports to enjoy the tours, but you will need your ship card and a photo id to return onboard. That will save you a marathon run back to your cabin to pick up your id before you leave the ship. The staging of the tours is in the theater, which is in the bow of the ship (the pointy end). When you have to run back to the stern to get the id, you realize just how big this ship is. 1. Paris and lunch on the Seine: A great trip, but you are on a bus for 2.0 plus hours to get to Paris, and then you stay on the bus and drive past all the historical and tourist sites. Our tour guide was very well versed in French history, and was very informative. Lunch was good, but crowded and rushed to see the sights and get you back to the bus. A stop was made at the Eiffel tower, where you finally got off the bus, this was welcome, however the crowds were shoulder to shoulder, with one hand on your camera and the other on your billfold, watching for pickpockets. Again, it was a full 2 hours back to the ship. We really felt sorry for the folks who flew into England on the day the ship departed. They were shot, and cranky, and did not have a good time. 2. Gibraltar upper walking tour: Very good. A great guide, lots of knowledge of the history of the country, and the fort built inside the rock. Unfortunately for us, it was too windy to use the cable cars to get to the top of the rock. Awesome to see Africa and Spain while standing in English territory. 3. Barcelona - Tapa tasting: Again, another great tour. It was not advertised as a short city tour, but we did end up with a short history of Barcelona, with a stop at great tourist sites. The restaurants were prepared for us. We received three Tapas, and a glass of wine each at each of the three different restaurants, which gave a great idea of what Tapas and life is Spain is all about. Stateroom: We were able to book a room on the stern of the ship (the round end, not the pointy one). The view was incredible, quiet and an easy walk to everything. Bernadeth was our stateroom attendant, and she was just incredible. We were Concierge class, and the amenities are worth the extra cost. It made the stay in your cabin extra special and more enjoyable. We are also members of the Captain's Club, which also is well worth joining. The extras perks from them add to an overall incredible experience. This was our sixth Celebrity cruise, and we felt this was the warmest and most enjoyable of them all. In your stateroom, there is a mini fridge, which you can ask your attendant to empty out, leaving a fridge for your own personal use. There is room service menu in the room, but your attendant can provide you with that night's menu from the main dining room, and you can call room service and have that nights dinner brought to your room to enjoy on your veranda. We did this one night, and it was just so special. We always give an additional tip to the person that delivers the meal to our room. The flat screen TV is really a computer, so when you turn it on, count to 10, and then see what happens. It is not instantaneous like your TV at home. Be sure to let them take your photo as your board the ship - you will have a surprise on your TV set in the room. The rooms are well laid out, with lots of storage. Do not overlook the bins above the bed. The safe has been moved out of the closet (like it was on the Solstice that took so much room) to above the fridge, which works very well. The bathroom is large, lots of storage, and the shower is very roomy, even for a 6 foot 200lb plus guy. Amenities in the bathroom are great, and the fresh rose on the counter every day is a very nice touch. Having a bottle of champagne for Concierge class was a nice welcoming touch. Bed was very comfortable, as you would not realize it was two twin bed put together to make a queen size bed. Linens were always fresh, well ironed, and the room was kept immaculate. Dining: We had a great table for two in the main dining room. Celebrity has rearranged the table from the Solstice, and the Maitre was very happy about this. On the Solstice, he looked suicidal with people trying to get better seating assignments. Our waiter and assistant waiter were great, again, always smiling and want you to have the time of your life. The food was very good, considering they were feeding probably half the passengers at one time. We had early seating, and never felt rushed. The wine list is extensive, especially as you look at the two story wine tower, and bit pricey. However, you can order a bottle of wine for dinner, have two glasses, which is half a bottle, and the wine steward will recork your bottle and serve it to you the next day. This really helps to keep costs down. It makes it much more cost effective than buying it by the glass. For those who have not been on a Celebrity ship, if the choices do not appeal to you, they do have a menu of items that are always available, which includes shrimp cocktail, salads, steaks and assorted desserts. Ocean view Cafe: Always an unbelievable array of choices. The food "pods" work great, and the lack of trays does cut down on the gluttony factor of many of the passengers. Remember, you can always go back for more. Specialty restaurants: Do not miss out on these. The Murano is extra ordinary. We enjoyed the pairings menu the night we went. You have five courses to choose from, and each course is paired with the wine that goes specifically with that food. As foodies, we enjoyed having two different items on each course, and trying the different wines, and actually seeing that the pairings does make a difference. Truly a memorable meal. Again, it is an extra cost, but the taste experience and the atmosphere makes it all worthwhile. The Tuscan Grill is just great. We enjoyed this on the Solstice, and chose this for our anniversary dinner. We are from Chicago, which is famous for the stockyards and steak houses, and we cannot find a better steak in town that we can there. The Filet is great, and the rib eye was over the top. Caesar Salad prepared tableside, and a great view off the stern of the ship. It was incredible to watch sunset over Sardina and Corsica as we ate. Let the wait staff take care of you, and you will have a dinner that you will never forget. We enjoyed the Silk Harvest on the Solstice. As a frequent traveler to Southeast Asia, we had some trepidation about the meal. Our waiter took full control of ordering for us, and there is no food in Bangkok or Ho Chi Min City that is any more authentic than this. If you are not a frequent traveler, trust the wait staff, they will take care of you. As a side note, when talking with the staff of the specialty restaurants, we found out that the management of Celebrity was not endeared to the idea of these spots. As it turns out, these restaurants are full every night, and obviously very successful. Do enjoy them - it is worth the extra cost. If there is a special occasion, book these restaurants on line four weeks out prior to your departure. It ensures that you have a table and makes the special occasion perfect. Children's programs - did not use. Entertainment: Anyone that has seen a Circe de Soleil show will appreciate the performance called Exocudus . To have these performers flying over the audience's head was truly phenomenal. These young people work so very hard in rehearsal to put on these performances, and then you will find them giving dance lessons or helping with tour departures during the day. Thank God they are young - they are the only age that has that kind of energy. The four man singing group was great. They performed at night, and also had shows throughout the ship which were very enjoyable. Again, a very hard working quartet of young men. Disembarkation: We have been on so many cruises and this in the thing that spoils the cruise. This was so different, and such a welcome relief. Before getting to port, we filled out paperwork about our post cruise plans, and we were delivered luggage tags with numbers and a letter as to where to wait. As it turns out, we went to our departure area, and things were moving ahead of schedule. Each number was assigned to a bus that was going to either the airport, Rome central, or the hotels associated with the post cruise packages. All luggage was orderly arranged, pickup was easy and on to the bus we went. No fist fights like we have seen in the past and absolutely no stress associated with getting off the ship. Thank you so much Celebrity. It was so bad in the past. Summary: With so many of the Solstice personnel transferring to this ship, the maiden cruise was flawless. Simple mistakes were more of a funny than an irritant. The people that work on this ship are the most dedicated to making the experience for their passengers the ultimate cruise experience. They work very hard, and deserver the gratuities that we give them. Our compliments to the officers and crew of the Celebrity Equinox You rock! Hey Simon - say hi to Nick for us. We miss you both. We will be sailing with you again in Aug 2011, with the 11 night in the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
What a wonderful experience, Celebrity are by far the best ship my family has been on. The staff are friendly, helpful and kind and cannot do enough for you. The bed room is lovely clean and tidy, not enough hanging space though for ... Read More
What a wonderful experience, Celebrity are by far the best ship my family has been on. The staff are friendly, helpful and kind and cannot do enough for you. The bed room is lovely clean and tidy, not enough hanging space though for three people and drawer space a little tight. The third bed comes out from above the sofa. The main resturant is lovely i would recommend asking to sit of the top floor near the balcony because this gives you a lovely view. The food is excellent and service fantastic. The Murano resturant is the best experience in eating and would definately recommend this, but not for children. The bar staff are helpfull and smiling always. We noticed a few difference:- we did not have to put on lifejackets for the drill all done by video, no announcements in the bedroom, no long queues to get of the ship. If at a push i was to look for something to moan about I would say the shows (except for the production shows) are terrible, their is no where to get a toastie sandwich outside late at night and cup of tea (you have to make it yourself) and there is no central location midship for people to gather only the sky lounge and that is on the 14th floor at the back of the ship so no one goes there. Also the cocktails that go round are $10. The crepe (bistro) you have to pay for and the coffee shop you have to pay for. Not good considering you are on a five star ship and have paid alot of money to travel. I would however give this ship 10 out of 10 and cannot wait to book another cruise. Enjoy Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
I cruised on the first Celebrity Equinox Mediterranean cruise on the 18th Aug. with my husband and 13 yr. old son. The ship is very beautiful and the staff are very friendly. We had a great time. My son absolutely loved the ... Read More
I cruised on the first Celebrity Equinox Mediterranean cruise on the 18th Aug. with my husband and 13 yr. old son. The ship is very beautiful and the staff are very friendly. We had a great time. My son absolutely loved the "Tweens" Club. It was hard to get him to eat with us or hang out with us on the ship as he wanted to spend all his time there. Even one of the younger children at our dinner table just wanted to spend all her time in her Club on the Children's deck!!! We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel pre and post cruise. I would suggest that anyone travelling to Rome arrive there on the day of the cruise as we arrived quite early from New Jersey for a one night stay (I didn't want to miss the ship!) and had to wait in the lobby all morning before getting a room. The room was very comfortable - loved the bathroom! We stayed in a suite before the cruise and a double after the cruise. Tours - we did the Amalfi by boat and Pompeii tour - Very, very hot walking through Pompeii, the cruise on the Amalfi coast was spectacular and the shopping was nice. I would say that there is not much time at all to shop if you take any of the tours. They allow you about 1/2 hr. which is not much time at all!! You really have to rush. Turkey was my best port as the ship docks in a port within walking distance to shopping, and I loved the gold jewellry there. In Haifa, Israel we did not take a tour but we went to the Kenyon or Canyon Mall which was close by - about 10 Euro taxi drive. It is a 3 story mall like the ones in the US. Tons of shops!! In Ashdod we did the Jerusalem/Bethlehem tour - fantastic!!. In Egypt we did a 1/2 day of Alexandria which included the Library (I wished I would have gone straight to a bazaar!) In Cairo, there was not much time for shopping at all. I found that the Cartouche that you order on the bus and pick up at the Papyrus Institute is not of a good quality. I later found that the ship has a better quality Cartouche that you have to order through the ship and they will mail it to you (for a hundred dollars or more, but you will note that the quality is more superior!). In Cairo we did the Lunch on the Nile River and the Pyramids and Sphinx. We all got a bit of the "runs" I believe from the luncheon on the Nile River (I was not impressed with the Nile River - very dirty and no, you will not see any desert on the side. It's quite built up. We had Police in boats on each side of our River Boat, and we travelled in a convoy to Cairo with a Police escort on each bus - however, I did not feel threatened or afraid - it's done as discretely as they can, and somehow you just don't feel frightened. The people in Egypt are very pleasant. Even venturing to Bethlehem throught the security checks where our tour guide had to get off the bus as they cannot enter Bethlehem. We had a tour guide from Bethlehem get on our bus there. Getting on and off the ship is very well organised - it's a breeze, really. All in All this was the best cruise we've ever taken. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
My husband and I thought this would be the intinerary to touch on everything we wanted. It did, and glad we did it. We're active, in our late 30's, and looked forward to experiencing the pyramids, and we found so much more! ... Read More
My husband and I thought this would be the intinerary to touch on everything we wanted. It did, and glad we did it. We're active, in our late 30's, and looked forward to experiencing the pyramids, and we found so much more! Pros: Ports of call, most. Con: Ship quality. Green and pretty, but walls are paper thin. However, staff and crew were awesome. Food was a disappointment - low quality for Celebrity and same stuff every single day in cafeteria for lunch. Dinner - save your cookies, you'll need it! Athens was a blast. We did it on our own. Cheaper than the ship, the 4 of us took a taxi to the Acropolis first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. Bargain with the taxi, they go lower. And with the help of the map at http://www.istopoli.com/cruise/athens-map-thision.html, we were able to navigate to all the major ruins/points of interest. This map was fantastic. It took us 7 hrs, stopping for lunch. Hint: Go to Plaka for lunch, nice shops and Greek eateries. Naples: We did Mt. Vesuvius/Pompei tour with ship. Guide was ok, would have been nicer on private tour. Loved the hike to Vesuvius and to see all of Pompei. Rhodes: Joined another couple and grabbed a taxi to Lindos. They're all sitting there when you get off the ship, so bargain your price. Half of what the ship wanted. Good thing we did this rather than just 'old town'. As 'old town' is strictly shops, and I hate to shop, we did this after going to Lindos. Lindos gave a beautiful view of the island and people, definitely worth it! Kusadasi, Turkey: Ok, loved this more than Athens! We hired a guide thru kusadasihotels@yahoo.com, and they rocked! Our guide, Paneyt (Pan-yate, spelling?) was AWESOME! He spoke greak English and had a wonderful sense of humor. We joined 2 other friends on this, went thru Ephesus, Virgin Mary house, lunch included (was fantastic!), and the basilica for like $45 p/person. This was our favorite tour, definitely worth it! Israel: Haifa: We did the ship tour to Gailee and Nazareth. Most uneventful tour; was on the bus most of the time and just got off to 'see' sites. If you can find a private guide, do it. Not worth the money with the ship. Not much to do at this port, but was nice to see. Ashdod: Went with a private tour thru Israel-rent-a-guide. Whatever you do, do NOT go with this company. They were 3 hrs late, the driver couldn't drive stick, and we had to skip lunch to get everything in. Plus, the same company was late the day prior for another group. Only good thing, was the guide that was subcontracted out - Meeha. He was awesome and thankfully took us thru Jerusalem and Bethlehem safely. Do be safe though, when we got to Bethlehem and into Pallastine, it's a whole different world. Be safe. Alexandria, Egypt: Day 1: After the safety concern from Bethlehem, we did the ship tour. First day was a bust. Hire a taxi and go to the library, museum of antiquities, and Alexandria musuem yourself. That's all there was to really see. Day 2: Giza pyramids and tombs with the ship: Was phenomenal! Would do this over again. Long bus ride, but going into the tombs and pyramids was definitely worth it. Only drawback was the stop at the Papyrus Institute on both days. This is a tourist trap - the institute is actually a gift shop. If you feel safe with a private tour, get them to skip this, definitely not worth it. Amazing trip. Like I mentioned, the ship itself was not of high quality. We had to switch rooms 3 times because of the thin walls and noise, and the food was really mediocre, but the staff made up for it. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
I take cruises more for the relaxation and entertainment. Educational experiences are normally a pleasant extra, but this trip totally opened a new dimension of understanding world affairs in the Middle East as well. Our trip to many ... Read More
I take cruises more for the relaxation and entertainment. Educational experiences are normally a pleasant extra, but this trip totally opened a new dimension of understanding world affairs in the Middle East as well. Our trip to many areas with Muslim populations was only heightened by the fact it was Ramadan, the holy period for Islam. First, I'm not strongly opinionated on any religion. But this cruise opened my eyes as well as my understanding of a part of the world that is remote via television and newsprint. I feel now having walked in many places Jesus walked, where biblical stories (such as David and Goliath) were seen firsthand, and where Muslims observed/celebrate Ramadan that I can relate and empathize readily to the faith that drives us all to find common ground. First, Celebrity Equinox is a great ship and Celebrity crewmembers were the move professional and "happy" team I have ever experienced of any cruiseline or service segment (hotels, resorts, etc). We landed in Rome for a pre-cruise stay at the Crowne Plaza St Peters in Rome. The hotel was very nice, clean and got our a room early. It's not in the middle of Rome sites/restaurants, but we explored the town (about 12-15 minute walk along a narrow roads) and caught the free hotel shuttle to downtown central rome and walked to all the major attractions. Celebrity provided great directions on how to get our luggage from our hotel straight to our room on the ship on August 31. PORTS OF CALL/SHOPPING/EXCURSIONS: I won't summarize much more on what other people have written on the great cultures of both historic Roman and Greek empires for the past 3,000 years (we finally got to see what's left of Ancient Rome and the Acropolis in Athens Greece. What really made our trip was to travel to ISRAEL (both Palestinian Bethlehem, Galilee/Nazareth, and Jerusalem) and EGYPT. Our tour guides we're Collegiate level knowledgeable of the ancient sites, but they also provided us and showed us the realities of living in modern day Middle East. Our Jewish guides/Arab drivers were all professional, but I was a bit shocked, maybe strongly suprised, when our Jewish guide had to get off the bus as we drove through barb-wire concrete walls and machinegun soldiers to get to Palestinian "controlled" Bethlehem. "Peace on Earth" signs seemed to contrast with the AK-47's during the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan. But our Arab tour guides gave us very detailed and understandable explanations of what Ramadan was really about with a focus on bring families together, and for all to help the less fortunate in our immediate communities including fasting during the day and feeding all at sunset. I feel alot is never explained or shown in Television/media on the positive spirit preached/practices by Muslims during Ramadan. The Celebrity Tours also took us to the heart of Christian/Jewish Holiest sites including where Jesus born, grew-up, preached, crucified, buried and resurrected. Again, I was never very serious about religion, but this trip certainly stirred me...and still does. We ended the trip in Egypt. The fun part was an impromtu Camel Ride near the Pyramids that our tour guide provided to us. Our Egyptian tour guides were very knowledgeable Egyptologists from the University/Colleges. We took the tour that included visiting anicent tombs and the pyramids. As summary, the Celebrity Equinox had wonderful food. The Main Dining Room food was excellent! I like the daily escargots, salmon, and steaks. Murano had the best Lobster and Filet Mignon I've ever had. The Tuscan Grill had wonderfully prepared seafood and steaks. The Silk Harvest featured asian cuisine, but I preferred simpler oriental noodle and rice dishes. The shows were orignal productions with wonderful dancing and singing. I was expecting something I had seen on other ships, but this was "Broadway" caliber. I don't know if a future cruise can top this one, but I look forward to the next and continuing my ballroom dance lessions. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
We just returned from a great trip abord The Equinox. The ship has a cool vibe to it, and some areas of the ship reminded me of a South Beach hotel. We were in #7208 one that had a larger balcony than most. Closet space, storage space ... Read More
We just returned from a great trip abord The Equinox. The ship has a cool vibe to it, and some areas of the ship reminded me of a South Beach hotel. We were in #7208 one that had a larger balcony than most. Closet space, storage space was more than on most of the other ships we have been on (and we had lots and lots of luggage!) Great TV! Near elevator, but not too close to be a problem with noise etc. I would rebook this room. Compact "friendly" bathroom with plenty of drawers and shelves. Good shower too.  I , noticed that a fellow passenger complained about paper thin walls, and though that was not a "problem" for us, we did on occassion hear our neighbors, and beside that fact, the ship oozes of quality. The specialty restaurants (especially Morano + Michel's Pub) are beautifuly appointed with amazing food and service as well. After thirteen days I was bored of the selections up at the buffet,and main dining room food was nothing to complain about, but nothing to rave about either (I managed to put on around six pounds anyway) I should mention that due to the hectic pace of all of the tours we only dined in the main dining room four times. The staff throughout the ship was top notch ( I couln't smile 24/7!) When other passengers asked "Are you enjoying your trip?" my answer was always "there's nothing to complain about". In retrospect though I should mention the cost and service of internet aboard. I purchased the $99 package for I believe 240 minutes and I am glad I did since connections are VERY slowww and you waste lots of time. Since we were staying in Rome after the cruise, Celebrity provided the transport back into Rome. That was a shortcoming, since we had to wait for about 45 minutes for taxis to get us to our hotel. None were waiting. It was a pity to end an exceptionaly wonderful cruise on this negative note. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
After finally arriving in Rome on a flight that was three and a half hours late, we were met by our hired limo driver and taken to the port by 2:30pm. We were booked into Aquaclass, which did give us a slightly shorter line for ... Read More
After finally arriving in Rome on a flight that was three and a half hours late, we were met by our hired limo driver and taken to the port by 2:30pm. We were booked into Aquaclass, which did give us a slightly shorter line for embarkation, but didn't get us our luggage any faster. Luggage finally showed up around 8pm. Embarkation was very quick and we were lunching on Deck 14 by 3:00. The ship is beautiful! There are many photos of it posted in various places on the boards, but they hardly do it justice. Artwork around the ship is tasteful, but kind of boring and uninspired. We thought the planter for the tree was a little on the tacky side with all the rhinestones glued to the base, other than that, we loved the ship! The life boat drill took place shortly before leaving port. Everyone was assigned to a different lifeboat station where we had to meat for the drill. The meeting places were in lounges, dining rooms, and theatres. We did not have to bring life jackets to the drill and had to watch a video. (Towards the end of the cruise in Naples, we watched as some of the crew actually lowered one of the lifeboats and practiced loading people on and off the boats. This increased our confidence that the crew would actually know what to do in case of an emergency.) Our cabin was on Deck 11 in 1645, Aquaclass. Aquaclass is worth the extra cost simply because it allows you to dine in Blu. Dining in Blu was like dining in a specialty restaurant every day! Food was fabulous and served promptly. We learned that each of the specialty restaurants, including Blu has its own galley and chef. That resulted in food temperatures being perfect when served. Blu was also open for breakfast daily on an open seating basis. We tried the buffet upstairs for breakfast a few times, but really liked the fresh squeezed juice and individual service we got for breakfast in Blu. Blu only seats around 120 people, so it was always a nice, intimate restaurant environment. Aquaclass guests also receive free bottles of water in the room daily, a carafe of iced tea, a bowl of fresh fruit, and canapes delivered to the room each afternoon. The Persian Garden was also a benefit of Aquaclass. We only discovered that about halfway into the cruise. It was a great place to relax after working out in the gym. The warm couches in the Persian Garden frequently lulled you to sleep in the lightly scented, peaceful atmosphere. We tried all three specialty restaurants and loved them all. Silk Harvest was the most fun and the friendliest atmosphere. The waitstaff there were especially friendly and welcoming. Murano was absolute perfection and a little too upscale for our tastes, but still very enjoyable. Tuscan Grill has the best views since it is facing aft. Food there was also fantastic. We dined in the Main Dining room just once for lunch. It was too large and food was good, but not great. Service there was very good, even compared to the specialty restaurants. We loved the buffet! Such incredible variety of offerings, especially at lunch. It was hard not to overeat. Prior to the cruise, I read a lot about dress codes on Celebrity and was very concerned that we would feel out of place. We were usually dressed in outdoorsy, practical hiking pants with lots of pockets and shirts with collars and lots of pockets and we had sport sandals. We frequently returned from excursions just in time for our early dinner seating and rushed straight from our tour to dinner. We asked if we were dressed too casually a couple of times, and the staff said that we were fine the way we were. We did not "dress" for dinner at all, but there were also many who did. Entertainment- we had a lot of ports on this cruise and most had early disembarkation times for tours. It really didn't make sense to have the earliest shows starting at 8:30 or later on the nights before early port disembarkation. We ended up only seeing 2 shows, and fell asleep during the first one. The shows we did see were OK, but not great. The singers and dancers all did a great job, but I was not really enthusiastic about the shows. During the second show we saw, I concluded that part of the problem might have been the sound mixing. It seemed like it was too hard to hear the singers over the percussion section. We went to see the hot glass show several times, it was always fascinating. We also saw two of the celebrity chef cook-off shows- which were really comedy shows in disguise. We attended 3 Behind the Podium lectures featuring a former college professor talking about the history at some of the ports of call. The lectures were very interesting and not nearly long enough. Musical entertainment was everywhere on the ship in public areas, lounges, and hallways. All of it was very good. The stateroom- was very well designed and very comfortable. The only noises we ever heard inside the cabin were from other toilets flushing in rooms above ours. The interactive TV was easy to use and kind of entertaining to find photos of ourselves scrolling across the screen. The lineup of TV channels was minimal. We could choose from FOX news or CNN, some foreign news networks, a sports network or two and not a whole lot of anything else. There is a good selection of free on Demand movies that pause where you left off when you turn off your TV. The bathroom was almost roomy and allowed two people to stand in there. Plenty of storage space for personal belongings. The bathroom also has a mirror that does not steam up no matter how many showers are taken. There is a hairdryer in the bathroom, and a magnifying light up mirror in the desk drawer. Balcony seating was very comfortable. There was also a small pair of binoculars for use in the cabin. There are no self service ironing or laundry facilities on the ship. There is plenty of storage in the room and our four suitcases easily fit under the bed. We were a little short on drawer space for our clothing, but managed by using the shelves on top of the closet and above the bed. The bed is actually two twin sized beds pushed together that were almost as big as a kind sized bed. The blanket was a little thick and heavy and we received a lighter blanket from our cabin steward. Some general ship comments- The public restrooms were gorgeous! There were even small, cloth towels for drying your hands! I loved the sinks! We were occasionally frustrated by the lack of trashcans in public areas of the ships. On a few occasions we wanted to dispose of some napkins or paper, and had to carry them around until we got to a restroom and went inside to dump our trash. For newspaper junkies- there is a daily 8 page newspaper available near the Guest Relations Desk on Deck three by noon each day. This was only our second cruise ever, first time on Celebrity. During this cruise we noticed that there were few overhead announcements. Almost all announcements were made by the captain and almost never more than once a day. We found this to be very refreshing. Our first cruise was another line two years ago and the overhead announcements were an endless annoyance! Not having so many announcements made this cruise much more pleasant and more of a hotel like atmosphere. Exercise facilities were very high quality. All the machines are very good and easy to learn to use. We only used the facilities on sea days and found that they were really crowded throughout the morning, and half empty in the afternoons. The running track on deck 14 is a good non-slip surface, but has lots of walkers and strollers who don't pay attention to joggers. We loved coming back from port excursions. Crew members were outside the ship handing out glasses of cold water and rolled up cold towels to wipe your hands and face with. It was a nice welcoming gesture. Re-embarkation generally went quickly and the security scans also were fairly fast. Service in all areas of the ship was outstanding! Most of the crew are experienced and transferred from other Celebrity ships. Everyone was friendly and always willing to do whatever it takes to make your cruise more pleasant. Our cabin steward would see us coming down the hall returning to our room and would frequently run ahead of us and unlock our door for us. On several occasions in the various dining rooms, we had trouble deciding on menu choices for dinner because we wanted to try more than one item. The waiters had overheard us and brought both items! Disembarkation was very fast. We even left earlier than our posted debarkation time because we realized we had erred in our times on our stated post cruise travel plans. No one had any problems with us leaving 40 minutes sooner than our scheduled 7:45 departure time. We loved the ship, the crew, the ports! We were beginning to discuss what to do for our next vacation and could not come up with anything. How do you top this? We definitely want to cruise with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
This cruise was my honeymoon and my husband and I are first time cruisers. We have done quite a bit of traveling and usually stay in the finest resorts. Never have we had such a high level of service though as we enjoyed on the Equinox. We ... Read More
This cruise was my honeymoon and my husband and I are first time cruisers. We have done quite a bit of traveling and usually stay in the finest resorts. Never have we had such a high level of service though as we enjoyed on the Equinox. We cannot stop raving about our experience. The ship is beautiful. They spared no expense, everything is of the highest quality. As I said the service is exceptional. Our room attendant Michelle was amazing. She waited on us hand and foot and every night would make creative animals out of hand towels to leave on our bed. In the morning at the buffet I was waiting in the omelette bar line. There were only a few people ahead of me but I was whisked away to a new station where I was waited on immediately and they apologized for the wait at the other one. What wait, there were only two people? But it was great and the service was like that the whole trip. Loved how after each excursion they greeted you with wet cold hand towels and fresh punch or water. Lovely touch. The food was amazing. I don't know how they make a profit. The buffet is open morning until night. Even if the main stations are closed, they always serve pasta, pizza, and salad. I am a vegetarian and very picky and I had no problem finding food. The main dining was nice although we were usually tired from the excursions and opted for the buffet. We tried Silk Harvest, which was nice and Tuscana Grille, which was our favorite. There's so much to do on board that we felt guilty sleeping because we wanted to try it all. The hot glass show is very cool. Two out of three performances we saw were also really entertaining. We liked the history lectures and my husband liked his bocce ball lessons. The martini bar is also a lot of fun. The pool area is also great. My only complaint is that they keep the common areas, including the solarium, freezing! Bring a sweater along. Internet also costs a fortune, even the package deals. It was expensive for my husband to stay connected to his office. Our room on the seventh floor was perfect. The bathroom was surprisingly spacious and a lot of room to store your personal items. The bed was comfortable. Ours was right next to the veranda, which we liked. Some rooms the bed is in the middle of the room instead and the tv is near the veranda. Our friends had that setup and liked it as well. We had a ton of luggage (big suitcases too) and many souvenirs and between the closet, under the bed, and over the bed everything fit. Drawer space however was severely lacking, probably to be expected with a cruise, and I ended up half living out of one of my suitcases. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze you just insert your ship id card into the machine and are free to go. We decided to go to the Connections Party and I'm so glad we did. We ended up meeting another couple from our city and had a great time with them on board and plan to keep in touch. Overall we had an amazing time. Wish we were back on the ship! We look forward to cruising again with Celebrity. I am going to write the Amalfi/Pompeii review here since there is not enough room in the port reviews section. We booked it through the ship and it was wonderful. We loved our tour guide, she was warm and very funny. The Amalfi Coast is beautiful and very scenic but the narrow roads 800 feet up in the air with another bus trying to squeeze by was a little crazy but definitely worth it. We stopped in a beautiful little town by the sea called Amalfi. It was nice but they gave us almost two hours of free time, which was too much. The lunch was great and they were very accommodating to special dietary requests. Pompeii was great too. Definitely go into the ancient brothel. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
My wife and I travelled in late September 2009 on Equinox's "Ancient Empires" 14 night cruise visiting Israel, Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Italy. This was a truly wonderful itinerary, whether or not you had great interest in ... Read More
My wife and I travelled in late September 2009 on Equinox's "Ancient Empires" 14 night cruise visiting Israel, Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Italy. This was a truly wonderful itinerary, whether or not you had great interest in the history of so many nations. We were also blessed with ideal weather, pretty well unbroken sun, but not too hot. This new ship fully lived up to our expectations. The "real grass" lawn club is not just a clever gimmick, the experience of sitting on this deck whilst way out in the open ocean, is almost surreal, but at the same time is a welcome oasis of peace and calm. The traditional buffet facilities in the Oceanview restaurant are so much better than the the previous style of older Celebrity ships. The food both here and elsewhere is still of a high standard. Yes, you do hear a few grumbles, but that's just the way some people are! As regular Celebrity passengers, we were highly impressed. Minor quibbles - some headline entertainers we felt to be little below par. The price Celebrity charge for shore excursions is still high, compared with "doing your own thing", but at least you are guaranteed, or so it appears, that the Celebrity shore excursion will be back before the ship leaves, even if departure is held up, as was the case on our voyage, for a couple of hours. Our stateroom attendant Aida May was excellent, as were our waiters Faruk and Joseph. Altogether another first rate vacation on board a class leading vessel. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
My wife and I are in our mid 60s and have been on 13 cruises including P&O, Cunard and Princess. We chose this particular cruise primarily for the opportunity to visit Israel and Egypt and the chance to sail on a new ship. This was our ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid 60s and have been on 13 cruises including P&O, Cunard and Princess. We chose this particular cruise primarily for the opportunity to visit Israel and Egypt and the chance to sail on a new ship. This was our 3rd cruise with Celebrity and Equinox is easily the best ship we have sailed on. It is superb. The grass on the top deck is something different from the norm and a very pleasant area in which to sit and relax. We travelled from Gatwick to Rome and apart from a lengthy delay in the arrivals hall in the port when someone had fallen on the gangway and embarkation was halted, everything went like clockwork. We were greeted with a glass of bubbly on board and proceeded to our cabin quite quickly. Our cases arrived a couple of hours later. We had booked an inside cabin as we only use it for sleeping and dressing and we weren't disappointed. The cabin was spacious and the bed really comfortable. The bathrooms are well designed with a glass enclosed shower instead of the normal curtain. There is sufficient storage space in the cabin although drawer space is a little limited, however the cupboards over the bed are very useful. Our cabin steward looked after us very well and kept the cabin spotless. The lifeboat drill (which took place at 5pm when we were trying to unpack our suitcases) was chaotic and a waste of time, but is mandatory. Service was excellent throughout the ship including the main dining room and self service buffet. The food was so good in the main dining room that we were not tempted to try the specialty dining rooms. We generally ate breakfast in the Ocean View and also finished the night off there with a cup of tea and a "light bite". The evening entertainment in the theatre was excellent - the best shows we have seen on any cruise. However daytime activities on sea days did not appeal to us. We were disappointed that there were no organised bridge sessions. We did not use the ship's excursions preferring to 'do our own thing' and in Israel and Egypt organised our own minibus tours with other travellers met through Cruise Critic. There were no problems and we always made it back to the ship in good time! Collection of luggage on the night before departure was extremely well organised - cases not required to be put out until 23.00hrs. Disembarkation on the following morning was equally slick and transfers to Rome airport were very efficient. However, the BA check-in was extremely inefficient with queues for the fast bag drop taking well over an hour. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Sep 12-28, 2009 I'll offer the following cruise report on our Sep 12-28 Mediterranean and Holyland Cruise on Equinox. Everything thing that had to do with flying was awful and most everything that had to do with the cruise ... Read More
Sep 12-28, 2009 I'll offer the following cruise report on our Sep 12-28 Mediterranean and Holyland Cruise on Equinox. Everything thing that had to do with flying was awful and most everything that had to do with the cruise was wonderful. Quite a study in contrasts. We booked a flight with Delta which was farmed out to Al Italia when we connected in JFK. I had retrieved boarding passes via the internet with seats together for my wife and self which were promptly ignored and we ended up 5 rows from each other for the transatlantic flight. My wife had a better seat with leg room just behind a bulkhead but her seat mate nearly started a fistfight with a passenger seated behind. Upon landing we spent literally 3 hours collecting baggage. One of two checked bags failed to make our flight. Half of the time was spent standing in line to file a lost luggage claim upon completion of which I was notified that the lost bag had arrived on a different flight. At least it didn't chase us across the Mediterranean. Note to everyone; pack a change of underwear and medicines in your carryon just in case. Cruising without most of your clothes is more common than you might think. We had airport transfers with Celebrity which was happily uneventful. We arrived at the cruise port in Civitavecchia, passed through the check-in with rapidity and were ushered to the 11th deck for a buffet lunch as the cabins were not quite ready. Equinox is the newest Celebrity ship in the Solstice Class. It was launched in August of '09, one month previous to our cruise. We had a Veranda cabin on the 6th deck amidships close to the elevators. This a well appointed cabin and the nicest we've had in the budget class of cabins. A full description is best obtained from X's website but we found it had a major fault. Between one and two AM we were awakened by the constant banging of metal upon metal doors opening and closing and the footsteps of those passing on deck 5 below. I assumed these were crew members performing their duties. We have a Baltic cruise scheduled on a sister ship (Eclipse) for next year and have secured deck 8. The next two days were spent onboard before the first port-of-call—"Santorini". These at-sea days work out well to recover from the traumas of overnight flights. There were several other ships at anchor when we arrived. The town center as such for the tourists is located on a hill overlooking the harbor where we landed. There are three ways up. The ships cruise director recommended way involved an hour or more approximate wait in line for the "funicular" or cable car for a 4 euro charge each way. A second way is to ride on the back of a donkey up a winding switch-back walkway. The drawback to the donkey ride is that you will smell like the donkey after the ride. For those that are cardiovascularly fit; you may walk the same trail that the donkeys use. This has the disadvantage that you need to watch where you step. My recommendation is to choose your poison. After you wait in the hot sun for an hour or more each way for the funicular, or walk up and down the hill for 30 minutes each way, or ride the donkey each way; all choices will likely leave you smelling like a donkey. We didn't partake of any of the ship excursions as the one we scheduled was canceled. Santorini is very picturesque but the shops on the hilltop were pretty much like tourist shops everywhere. The next stop was Piraeus, the port for Athens, Greece. We took a ship excursion which included climbing the hill to the Acropolis viewing the Parthenon and other ruins. This trip was billed as strenuous but this arthritic 65 y.o. couch potato managed just fine. Athens is a large metropolitan crowded city as expected. We left with sort of a "been there done that" feeling with no particular interest in returning. Nothing negative, just nothing especially exciting. Onward to Turkey, the port city of Kusadasi was a convenient walk from the ship. We took a ship excursion to Ephesus and a local museum ending with a carpet seminar followed with a low pressure sales pitch. Most every local we encountered had a command of English so there was no difficulty dealing with the trinket merchants. Although the local currency is the Turkish lira, all the merchants were happy with dollars or euros. Indeed, when we sampled the local cuisine at a waterfront Burger King, the cash registers were capable of dealing with and exchanging dollars and euros. We left Turkey wishing that we might explore this country in more depth. I would suggest anyone visiting this port to look into arranging a private guide for a small group. Alexandria, Egypt was up next. We took the ships tour to Cairo and the pyramids of Giza including a boat ride on the Nile and a trip to a papyrus making demonstration. This made for a long day as the bus ride is a 6 hour round trip. We were here on the last day of Ramadan. The most notable observation made was the obvious lack of garbage collection. Trash was piled everywhere. Driving down the highways, litter was everywhere. Tall apartment buildings had laundry hanging from most of the windows which made for a shantytown like appearance. As they say; "we ain't in Kansas anymore". We also noted the presence of security guards in business suits wearing machine pistols on their belts traveling in convoy with the tour buses. They were with us at all stops. The pyramids were impressive and I had a preconception of them being well out in the desert so the illusion was shattered by the skyline of Cairo in the background wherever you looked. (I had the same preconception about the Alamo). There were locals in full Bedouin regalia setting astride camels offering to pose for pictures. Our guide said we could set on the camels for pictures for free but they charge to let you off! We also visited a mosque (Citadel of Al Saladin in Cairo). The floor was covered with dirty carpets (none hovered) and huge chandeliers hung from the ceiling covered in dust apparently left over from construction in 1184 AD. Cleaning was not their long suit. As in Turkey, there was no need to obtain the local currency. Two days in the ports of Ashdod and Haifa only provided a taste of Israel. If you have a religious bone in your body, it's hard not to be in awe of the Biblical history surrounding this country. We selected the tours that emphasized Biblical events. In two days we visited the old city of Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, a limited view of Golan Heights, the Church of the Beatitudes built on the hill supposedly where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, and visited a kibbutz. In the old city of Jerusalem we walked the Via Dolorosa. Our guide was a Jewish expat from New York who explained the Stations of the Cross in detail. Entering Bethlehem was interesting when you consider that it is in the West Bank and under control of the Palestinians. It is off limits to Jewish citizens so our guide was replaced by a Palestinian Christian. The Church of the Nativity was built to commemorate the actual birthplace of Jesus. The entrance to the church is small and to enter one must bend well over to fit through the short doorway. According to the guide this opening was configured small to prevent scallywags from entering on horseback. There were well over a thousand people forced into a compact space to waddle through narrow corridors to view the birthplace of Jesus. We were on our feet packed like sardines for over 2 hours. I'm glad we went but wouldn't look forward to a repeat. Following a visit to a souvenir shop, we exited the West Bank through an Israeli checkpoint where the bus was examined closely for explosives. Two days later we were in Naples and on our way to Pompeii and a boat ride along the Amalfi Coast. Pompeii was another been there experience; certainly an ambitious archeological dig and our guide did a good job explaining the significance of what was learned about the inhabitants. The Amalfi Coast is one of the most picturesque in the Mediterranean. A tour by water is a good way to visit except this day the sea was confused providing for one of the roughest boat ride I have endured. Try and pick a calm day if possible but the weather otherwise was wonderful. Rome was the end of the line and we capped off the first day back with a ships tour of the Vatican. The Vatican Museum stretches for over 9 miles so in the few hours allotted we only got glimpse of the high points of the museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. We booked two nights in Rome at the Crowne Plaza St. Peters. This hotel is the post cruise choice of Celebrity Cruise Lines. I was quoted a price of $500/night through the Celebrity. I ended up booking the hotel directly for about half that amount; additionally a Roma Pass was part of the package. The room was very satisfactory but the hotel food was mediocre. We attempted to utilize the local bus system and got lost a couple of times and finally hired (15 euros) a taxi into the historic city to visit the Coliseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill. The Roma Pass covered the entrance fees. Arguably, a good guide would be informative but we made do with a guide book. The return flight was equally as frustrating as the initial hop across the Atlantic. The international terminal at Leonardo da Vinci International is huge and one would think that Al Italia might be easy to locate. Not so, as the signage is small and obscure. Once located there were two queues and I chose the shorter only to finally be directed to the long one for check-in. After obtaining boarding passes, the gauntlet for the security line had to be one hundred yards long. The overseas flight was routine. After landing at JFK we collected luggage, finished the passport checks and then tried to find the Delta connection to recheck our bags. Once again signage was a problem. The first security person we contacted gave us misinformation but the second one directed us to the Korean Airline booth where the Delta Airline person recollected our luggage. Why she couldn't have a Delta sign available is beyond me. We landed at Terminal A and needed to catch the final flight in Terminal 1. The two terminals do not connect so it was necessary to walk outside to the adjacent Terminal 1 through a thunderstorm and yes, the walkway was not covered. I have cruised on six different ships with three different cruise lines. I have never had a bad cruise and have always felt the ships personnel did a great job. I have flown internationally several times and in and out of most of the major airports in the USA and never had as much difficulty locating connections as I did this trip. I read another post where the author thought Newark was the most traveler unfriendly airport they had encountered due to lack of signage. JFK must rank up there among the unfriendly also. In any case we are not defeated as we are scheduled for another European cruise next year. Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
This was an Eastern Mediterranean, Holy Land and Egypt cruise in early Sept 2009. The Celebrity Equinox was virtualy a new ship. While there could have been some deficiencies in service etc. on such an early voyage, there was absolutely ... Read More
This was an Eastern Mediterranean, Holy Land and Egypt cruise in early Sept 2009. The Celebrity Equinox was virtualy a new ship. While there could have been some deficiencies in service etc. on such an early voyage, there was absolutely nothing to complain about. The ship was excellent, the staff and sevice outstanding as were the main shows, food and restaurants. We went Concierge Class and the extra for this service and the slightly larger veranda was worthwhile. We did not use any speciality restaurants as the fixed dining in the main restaurant was more than adequate in terms of quality and quantity. This was our 8th cruise, first with Celebrity, having been with 4 other companies, and it was the best cruise company and overall package we have had. My wife and I are in our early 60's We had been at many of the Ports on previous cruises and tended to do our own thing except in the Holy Land and Egypt. Therefore I will not comment on Pompeii (Naples), Athens, Rhodes, Mykonos or Ephasis (Kusadasi)all of which we enjoyed in the past. We only walked around the local area in these ports on this occassion except in Naples where we took a Celebrity trip to Sorrento and a small cruise along the Amalfi Coast. While a bit expensive this was an excellent trip and encourages us to consider a holiday in that area in the future. The main reason for taking the trip was the opportunity to visit the Holy Land for two days and Egypt for two days. We docked in Haifa and visited Nazareth and Galilee (10.5hrs) and at Ashdod from where we visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem (10.5hrs) Expensive and tiring trips but inspiring as well as disturbing. The trips were outstanding however, one must recognise that the main sites are extremely busy and one has to visualise the situation 2000 years ago. The disturbing thing was the tranparent emnity with Arab and Jewish guides each presenting an undercurrent of their views during expplainations. A problem in some places, especially Jerusalem, was the failure to manage "stragglers" in the group who kept disappearing into bazaars and delaying the main groups at every station. The groups were really too large at ~40 per guide. Great experience but "I've got the t-shirt" and will only go again in a very small group for a longer period around religious sites. In Egypt we had a lazy day and then a 10.5 hr trip to The Pyramids, Memphis and various places of interest near Cairo. Thoroughly enjoyed this as well. Excellent ship, cruise and itenery. Don't let my observations discourage you from the Holy Land just recognise it is busy, long and tiring. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
The Equinox is a beautiful ship with superior service & and a wonderful, smooth ride. The ship has fantastic stabilizers and you can hardly feel the motion while on board. We loved the cruise, but feel that the itinerary should ... Read More
The Equinox is a beautiful ship with superior service & and a wonderful, smooth ride. The ship has fantastic stabilizers and you can hardly feel the motion while on board. We loved the cruise, but feel that the itinerary should include more nights in Israel & only one stop in Egypt. The ports in Egypt are very far ((over 3 hours away) from Cairo and thus require very, very long trips to see the sights. One day is more than enough. The food in the main dining areas is just OK, but the food in the specialty restaurants is great! The desserts are easy to walk away from, so don't worry about eating too much chocolate on this cruise. We stayed overnight Rome one night prior to embarkation in a hotel purchased through Celebrity. They picked up our luggage at 7:30 AM the next morning & our luggage was waiting for us at our cabins when we boarded the ship. We have cruised with Celebrity before & loved the new no smoking policy. Congrats on that change!!! My only suggestion to Celebrity for improvement is on their shore excursions. They are quick to sell you their product, but give guests little information on how to navigate the ports on their own All their handouts give a brief map with a description of where to shop. They give very little info on the public transportation in the ports. When I asked about taking the hydrofoil in Naples, I was told by the shore excursion desk that they no idea of schedules or costs.The shopping desk was able to give me a little more information, but not enough to feel secure that the info was accurate. Celebrity needs to rethink their excursions in Alexandra, Egypt. The $175 excursion to the pyramids & sphinx required a 3 hour ride in each direction. The guide on the bus spent at least 1 1/2 hours trying to sell us tee shirts & gold cartouches(necklaces).When we arrived at the destinations she just dropped us off the bus and disappeared. She did not spend any time helping us navigate through the sights or directing us to important areas. We had great difficulty finding the bus in the maze of tour buses. Our tour did not cruise the Nile as described in the brochure. We were allotted 30 minutes to visit the Sphinx, and 40 minutes to SHOP in the Papyrus store.Something was wrong with that picture. Celebrity refunded us $25 as a measure of good faith. For the rest of the cruise, I did not book any more excursions through CELEBRITY. I went on the Internet & booked my own private guides. That was the best solution. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We loved this new ship. This was our 16th cruise so we have become somewhat "opinionated" about what makes for a good cruise. We had exceptional service and food for the entire 13 nights. We boarded the ship around noon after ... Read More
We loved this new ship. This was our 16th cruise so we have become somewhat "opinionated" about what makes for a good cruise. We had exceptional service and food for the entire 13 nights. We boarded the ship around noon after planning our own transportation with another couple from Rome (130euro total) Embarkation was quick and soon eating at the lovely buffet that we enjoyed throughout the cruise. Our balcony stateroom was very nice. Great bed/pillows and balcony seemed ample. Bathroom was also larger with glass shower doors. I missed a makeup (magnifier mirror) at desk. Not a lot of drawers but there was storage above the bed. It was a little difficult to reach, but worked. The food was pretty good in dining room - not always the best. However, we always left full so can't complain. Enjoyed Oceanview Cafe on deck 14 - had great selection and accommodated all the people. Never had problems waiting for food or a table. The pasta and omelette stations were wonderful. The room service had more options for breakfast - including hot breakfast - not just the continental options. Enjoyed room service on mornings when leaving early for ship excursions. Attended some of the night shows but pretty tired after port days so didn't make it to all of the shows. Especially enjoyed Fox News on the t.v. and all the choices for free movies in our cabin. Our cabin was so nice we stayed there more than previous cruises. That was nice after a long day in port! The staff was friendly and service was fabulous. We did not use any ship excursions but booked our own with advice from cruise critic. Many of the ports we had already visited. Had great private tours at lower prices and flexible with our requests. Takes a little research, but worth the savings! We rented a car at the port when we disembarked and headed for the Amalfi coast for 4 days enjoying more good food... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We loved almost everything about the Equinox, from the ease of boarding, to our huge veranda stateroom, the largest we have ever had on any cruise. We were in 9353, aft in a great room. Very quiet, good views from balcny, great closet ... Read More
We loved almost everything about the Equinox, from the ease of boarding, to our huge veranda stateroom, the largest we have ever had on any cruise. We were in 9353, aft in a great room. Very quiet, good views from balcny, great closet space but limited drawer space. Noticed that even inside cabins were almost as large as the veranda cabins, so wouldn't be afraid to book inside on future cruise. Unfortunately, our butler seemed to lack any language skills, so whatever we asked of her always got messed up or only partially completed. The dining optionw were good, except I still get annoyed with so many ships now forcing a cruiser to pay extra to eat in the specialty dining rooms. we eat out at fine restaurants at home, I don't feel we should have to pay $30.00 plus wine to eat while at sea. The main dining room is lovely, service is excellent, and the variety is very good, with many high end types of dining options on the menu each night. I was surprised to find escargot on their everyday menu! The French onion soup is fabulous, don't miss it. Deserts while presented well, seem to have little taste. the last night I had the chocolate lava cake, a favorite dessert of mine, that I seldom skip when I see it offered. It was a huge disappointment. Spongy cake and little "lava". We found the entertainment to be excellent. the options ranged from the usual song and dance variety shows, to Circe du soleil acts, classical pianists,string quartets, A Cappella song quartets, jazz bands, guitarists, to superb speakers who kept us spellbound. Seemed like there was always something to listen to and someplace to go. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Your taste in dining style may differ from ours, but Equinox accommodates all delightfully. Background: two married professionals, newly retired & exploring. This was our first cruise on Celebrity since a "Capitals of Northern ... Read More
Your taste in dining style may differ from ours, but Equinox accommodates all delightfully. Background: two married professionals, newly retired & exploring. This was our first cruise on Celebrity since a "Capitals of Northern Europe" expedition in 2004 on Constellation. We circumnavigated British Isles then a Norway cruise on NCL in May/June 2009 on the Norwegian Jade. The shipboard experience then was so bad that we viewed this cruise with considerable trepidation -- unnecessarily. We flew from Dulles to Rome on British Airways via Heathrow (the flight was magnificent, but try to miss Heathrow). We flew BA because BA has a World Travellor Plus cabin. It has just a bit more space to recline and to spread sideways that makes the long distance travel less onerous. Our stay in Rome was very rainy. We tried the wrong hop on/off bus; the view out the windows on the lower level were obscured with exterior advertising. We suggest that you try some other vendor other than the Rome Green Hop on/Hop off Bus. Our airport to hotel, hotel to ship, and ship to airport transfers were arranged with assistance of our TA (GalaxSea Cruises of San Diego, CA). They are terrific! We recommend them with no qualifying comments. Every little problem was handled superbly. Registration to board: fast and easy. SHIP: Equinox is in its Inaugural season with lots of small problems all related to its newness and "form over function" design. Nevertheless, it's elegantly beautiful. We almost never felt crowded on-board or during any of the ship to port disembarkations. We generally were very crowded moving vertically on this immense ship, however. Meals, except in the main dining room (MDR), were calm. STAFF: Exceptional in every way. Helpful and courteous from top to bottom, in every department. They tried (and were almost always success) in solving cruise related problems. More explicitly about this question of "form over function": Aqua Class is supposed to be a premium, occupying the Eleventh Deck of the ship. We had a balcony cabin on the starboard side (which meant that we saw very little but the sea when cruising). Directly above us was the jogging track. While we rarely heard joggers, we did hear high heels excessively on formal nights. Aqua Class is supposed to have prior access to the Aqua Spa Cafe; unfortunately, this gem of an eating venue is on the port side of the ship, adjacent to a smoking area. While it didn't ruin our experience too much, we did minimize our use of the cafe because of the smoke odor. We really didn't find much use for most of the amenities in Aqua class, but that is just us. The relaxation room and Persian Garden are lovely as is the free fruit and bottled water. The ship has elevators forward and aft. The location of the aft elevators is an issue, since they are split by a lobby (4 on each side of the ship). Since the eating facilities are all located aft, the vertical movement during eating hours or other prime times can be a hassle. STATEROOM: another example of problems. Lots of room to store clothes on hangers, very little room to store clothes in drawers. While imaginative use can be made of a large cabinet space above the bed, this means walking on the bed to get clothes. Not the best idea when the ship is rocking during stormy seas. We experienced several equipment problems in the stateroom, all of which were handled expeditiously by Equinox shipboard staff. In the process, we discovered that several of these issues were rather common. Toilet valve stuck after flushing, flooding the bathroom; refrigerator failed; flatscreen TV needed to be rebooted; bottom of curtain unraveled; "new ship odor" was a bit noxious. Safety drill, a mandatory exercise, was a farce. It wasn't until after the drill did we find the auxiliary staircase that we should have used. We never were told which was our lifeboat. While we heard the PA system announcing detailed crew fire drills on days when there were large numbers of passengers away on shore excursions, the passenger safety awareness was minimal. ACTIVITIES: Since we were part of the "Music at Sea" group, we thought the activities were superb. Other activities involving classical or "soft" rock were also fine. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We generally booked our own in Turkey and Israel, In Greece (Athens & Rhodes) were done on our own as well. In Naples, our "Music at Sea" group had a private tour of Pompeii. In Alexandria, Egypt, our tour was a bust because the guide (probably the same one mentioned in an earlier review) was too busy selling t-shirts and cartouches. The Cairo trip was magnificent, with a guide that was perfect. DINING & ENTERTAINMENT: It really is a matter of taste. We like fine dining, but hate menus written primarily in French, as were the menus in the MDR and Blu. We find it exceptionally pretentious, adding little and wasting inordinate amounts of time. Blu is "clean" cuisine, not "healthy" cuisine. We gave up after second try. My sister has numerous acute food allergies; she found the maitre d' in Blu magnificent in helping her, and she loved the food there. We ate all three formal nights in the Silk Harvest (Asian fusion). With 40+ years' experience with a variety of Asian cuisines, we have very high standards: Silk Harvest exceeded everything we've previously experienced on land (and, of course, at sea). The food was phenomenal, and the service matched. The value was exceptionally high. I urge you to try it. We ate five nights in the MDR (Silhouette). Staff were very busy, but tried hard to help us with the French menu. Given the busyness of the venue, we just tried to stick to the healthy choice menu. They got our orders correct perfectly 3 of 5 times, but the errors were just of the side dishes. The other four nights, near the end of the cruise, were in the Oceanview Cafe. WOW!! Okay, it was not a "fine dining experience" with waiter service and table cloths. It was only great, hot food. Even with rough seas, we didn't miss the trays in the evening. We should have gone there earlier. Based on prior experience, we tried having breakfast in either Blu or MDR. We changed after a couple of trips to both venues, and never found the Cafe overcrowded or the quality of the food lacking. We never ate at either the Tuscan Grille or Murano. Murano's menu turned us off, and the quality of the food in Tuscan Grille may exceed the steak dishes offered elsewhere, but we didn't find it necessary. We also never ate at Bistro on Five. See comments above for the Aqua Cafe. SMOKING POLICY: There is very limited smoking indoors on the ship. That means that the travel through the casino or lounges could be done without gas masks. (For you smokers, I'm sorry; for non-smokers, a truly great innovation.) Smoking is allowed FORMAL NIGHTS: My wife and I dressed in business atire every working day for more than forty years. We do not find it necessary to do so on a cruise. Policies on the ship allowed us to eat at any specialty restaurant without offending anyone, or being offended ourselves by the need to fit in. What a joy! Similarly, the Oceanview Cafe is very informal, making it just another great reason to enjoy ourselves up there. ENTERTAINMENT: If you enjoy "Las Vegas style" entertainment, you'll enjoy the presentations. If you enjoy "easy listening," soft and mellow music, light jazz, or classical, you will also enjoy yourselves immensely. SHIP SECURITY: Normally an invisible function. There was an "incident" involving some people who tried to board the ship while in Turkey. Handled by the ship's security staff in an amazing way. (I'm a security professional, so I noticed the incident when we were boarding the ship after our excursion.) CHILDREN'S CLUB: Essentially invisible to us, but the few times we did see the kids, they seemed to be having a good time. We suggest you talk to someone else with personal experience, though. DISEMBARKATION: Fast, easy, smooth, unstressful. This was amazing, since we were a party of six when leaving the ship, all with different disembarkation assigned times and baggage numbers. ITINERARY: Magnificent, but Alexandria was a complete waste. We found that a starboard stateroom disadvantageous only because all sights were visible on the port side. SUMMARY: For non-smokers, it was an amazing experience. We only wish that the menus were in English (after all, it was an English speaking cruise!) Staff were always superb, and food was just fine. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
EQUINOX - SIMPLY THE BEST SHIP THAT WE HAVE EVERY CRUISED ON. Our 10/23/09 Ancient Empires Cruise was our 13th ... and our best because of this new and beautiful ship --- and with all of its crew well trained to make guests fully ... Read More
EQUINOX - SIMPLY THE BEST SHIP THAT WE HAVE EVERY CRUISED ON. Our 10/23/09 Ancient Empires Cruise was our 13th ... and our best because of this new and beautiful ship --- and with all of its crew well trained to make guests fully welcomed. The only downer for this trip is that it rained nearly every day of our cruise. If you can believe it, we brought rain to Israel (which hadn't had rain since April, and to Egypt - Cairo which is as dry as a bone). We flew out of Philly direct to Rome on the excruciatingly tight US Airways Airbus. They must add many extra rows to economy class to eek out the most revenue. Food stinks as well. The flight home was even more tortuous .... At 10 hours plus for a direct flight back to Philadelphia. We started our trip with a three day pre-cruise stay in Rome at the cozy and upscale Best Western Hotel Canada, not 10 minutes direct walk from the Termini. Although rated as a 3-star hotel, it really should be a 4-star, as it comes with an absolutely fabulous full buffet breakfast that had prosciutto, soppressata salami, several other hams, large selection of cheeses, wonderful quiche, best eggs my husband ever had and dozens of fruit and baked items including a Napoleon Loaf ... the real thing. The breakfast room is run by a beautiful Senora, Dragica, from Slovenia, and what a job she and her staff do. Great Cappuccino, Cafe Latte to boot. Our room, a small Junior Suite with a balcony overlooking a courtyard was just 142 Euros/night, a bargain by Euro Standards. The hotel also manages to serve many different snacks in the lounge from 5 pm to 9pm each night. Thoroughly recommend this hotel which gets great reviews on TripAdvisor.com. One word of caution about a particular restaurant in Rome that absolutely burned us. Da Vicenzo ( Via Castalfidardo), not far from the termini. One of our party innocently asked the waiter to bring us some antipasto, and what appeared were 10 different plates of "cold fish" appetizers which were not appreciated by our group of six. For these appetizers we were charged over $100 and had very mediocre entrees at stiff additional cost. The waiter "saw us coming". Avoid this tourist trap! We pre-booked all transportation from FCO to hotel, hotel to Civitavecchia, Civitavecchia to FCO with Marco from Italycabs (Italycab@hotmail.il). This service was always early to pick us up, and very reasonably priced (e.g. 150 Euros for six people from the ship to FCO vs. $90 US pp Celebrity charges for its one-way transportation to/from FCO). We embarked in about 20 minutes and saw a beautiful contemporary- decorated ship (gone are the crazy tropical, eclectic designs). Our balcony room, 7293, port side, aft was large, cream colored and lighter wood tones with upscale bedding, cream leather couch and muted taupe and coral plaid carpeting. The standard-sized balcony has two wooden chairs and a small table. HDLCD TV mounted on the wall, granite countertops were a plus. The bathroom has a full, curved shower door, and nicely appointed cabinetry and ultra modern sink. Storage space is just ample (There should be more drawer space). Note: We were originally assigned a sixth floor room, but balconies on this floor (except for hump rooms) have obstructed views as the life boats are directly underneath. The seventh floor gave us a better direct view of the ocean. While the ship is 122,000 tons, we couldn't help but notice that it is shorter than similar sized ships but much wider. This makes for a relatively easy jaunt from the back to the front and a very comfortable, roomy Equinox theatre in the front of the ship. Deck 15 has an actual lawn for bocce and croquet, next to which is a glass blowing (show) venue. There is also a track for walking/running on Deck 14. There is also an outside burger/fries/hot dog venue on this floor. Not sure why this wouldn't be located on the pool deck? Also the Oceanview Cafe (breakfast/lunch buffet) on Deck 14 is not located on the same deck as the pools (deck 12). The cafe served the usual fare with separate cuisine stations as is on many other ships. There are no trays, just plates for guest's food. What did set the cafe apart from other ships is the ice cream/sorbet station with at least 8 different flavors, each day. The pizza station is a regular part of the cafe as is a made to order pasta station. With over 2800 passengers on the ship, finding tables to eat breakfast or lunch was a challenge. This seems to be a problem that every ship has. The food at the cafe is rated fair to good, depending on what you picked. On one day they had roast suckling pig, which is unusual fare for a lunch buffet. They also had a different carved meat each day. They also included a few different fruit punches each day. There is one large dining room (Silhouettes), on decks three and four. Compared to other ships' menus, there is a much larger selection of all items, including standard items available each night (shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, fabulous baked onion soup [table favorite], strip steak, cheesecake, crème Brule) and changing items each night. Unlike any other ship we have been on, fish was a highlight, along with terrific breads, and very good desserts (a first for us as no ships thus far had acceptable desserts). The Pastry Chef deserves four hats! Other entrEe selections varied from lamb, chicken, beef, lobster (third formal night), veal. Not too many pasta selections on this ship. Overall, we would rate the food in the main dining room as good ... not very good. But better than most ships we have been on lately. Soups (except for the great onion soup) are a very weak point and there simply was not enough veggies served. Our table mates requested peas, family style, every night. Salads were also not a strong point ... although they offered a great variety of salad dressings. All food was beautifully presented. A highlight on this ship is that they do not escort you but let you walk directly to your table, avoiding the long lines that so many other ships (NCL) create. A particular highlight on two of the four sea days was a buffet brunch (10 am to 1 pm) held in the main dining room, which included a much enhanced selection over the Oceanview Cafe's venue. Beautiful ice carvings, upscale hors d'oeuvres (snow crab claws) and a huge selection of hot/cold dishes, with expansive desserts made you feel like you were in a lovely upscale restaurant. Unlike other ships, there was no midnight buffet, which was ok by us. Pools/Gym: Because of the poor weather, the two outdoor pools did not get much use. However. just a few dozen feet beyond is the Solarium, with a nice square (not heated) indoor pool, which came in handy on all the rainy sea days. Next to this pool is an indoor mini cafe that has serves sort of "spa" breakfast and lunch items. Definitely "light" fare. The gym is large and well equipped and with several weight training machines, which are usually absent from most ships. Unlike most ships, Equinox charges for a lot of its exercise classes. Entertainment is a particular strong point of the ship and its shows were really very good. Celebrity spent big bucks to have professionally produced shows ... and it paid off. There were three major shows Equinox (a Cirque De Soleil knock off with terrific aerialists), Broadway Show Review and Remix (another great review of song and dance). The ship's band ... very large in number ... is the best we have ever experienced. There were also at least a dozen other singular performers (the very funny Uber Rossi --- comic cum acrobatist; a concert pianist, a female violinist, a xylophonist, Sound Decision (acapella group .... Just great), a falsetto operatic singer and many other great combo acts that performed through-out the ship. The ever present ship's cruise director, Nick Weir, a Brit, also gave a singing performance one night and he was superb. A great Cruise Director as well. The ship gets high marks for presenting very good maps and historic review of each of the major ports. Even more astounding is that they did not interfere with guests who booked private tours from getting off the ship as early as possible. This is a first for us. Always, those guests who did not buy ships' tours were asked to wait and allow those who did, first exit privileges. The ship had scheduled a number of interesting speakers on a variety of subjects, beyond touring. This made for something to do on the rainy colder sea days. Bingo is not a predominant money making activity, with only three or four sessions in the whole 13 days. While there are some interesting shops, we found the selections lacking and simply did not spend much. Prices for watches and jewelry were at full retail. Photos were pretty pricey at $19.95 a pop. We only bought two. Ports of Call: Thanks to Cruise Critic.com, we met a number of different groups on line and joined private tours that had been booked, at a great discount to the ship's tours. Here is a review of each tour: Athens: Nikos Loukas ($45 Euro pp) 10 person tour with Billy ... tour guide to see the changing of the guards at the palace, and the Acropolis and well as a general tour of Athens. This was the only tour that was mediocre, partially because our guide really didn't say much throughout the trip. The new Mercedes bus was very comfortable and roomy. A restaurant that Billy recommended for lunch was poor. Rhodes: This is a walk-off the ship site with the old town lined with shops, behind a city wall just ¼ mile from the ship. We spent a few hours walking around the old city before returning to the ship with a few souvenirs. Ephesus Turkey: We booked a six person private tour with Ekol Travel, with Ebru (April) as our guide and Sami as our driver ($45 pp). This was a full day tour and a very good one, a great value compared to the ship's tour, which was shorter and more expensive. We drove about 45 minutes to what remains of the Temple of Artemis and onto Ephesus which was an important cultural center and former capital of Turkey. We saw the Library of Celsius, Temple of Hadrian, Theatre and Odeon. Ephesus ... where only 25% of the artifacts have been excavated and where much more it to be found, is very reminiscent of Pompeii. Mercifully, the tour bus dropped us off at the highpoint and we gradually walked down to the culmination of the city. We also visited the house of the Virgin Mary (to where she was whisked away after Jesus' crucifixion by John to protect her and where she spent her last 13 years). It is beautifully preserved and quite moving to do a short walkthrough, given its small size. Israel: We booked two single day tours (not an overnight stay) with Guided Tours of Israel (Svika was our guide). We docked in Haifa the first day and were picked up early for our drive to Nazareth. Note: While Svika gave an excellent tour and was so happy the whole time because we brought much needed rain the area, the van he used was pretty substandard and terribly uncomfortable, a minus for the tour. Each tour was $99 per person and each was a very full day of touring from 8 am to 8 pm each day. Haifa/Nazareth: We went to the church of the Annunciation which was built over the house where Mary, Joseph and Jesus lived. Svika was upfront with us and said that while Christians agree that this is the very house, apparently the Greeks feel it is further away. It turns out that most sites in Israel are subject to some speculation that they may be in a different spot. We drove out to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee and them onto Yardent Baptismal site on the River Jordan, and watched as many donned white robes and dunked themselves in the River. This tour also included the Mount of Beatitudes and Tabgha.We ended up just before going back to the ship driving up a very steep hill to the Baha'i Gardens, an absolutely beautiful , "sequestered" area where people of Baha'i faith live ( a fourth faith in the land of Judaism and where some Muslims and Christians also live). We stopped at a nice lunch place .... Magdalena by the Sea and had a choice of whole fish or grilled chicken breast which included various salads on the table, all of which were quite good. For some strange reason our waiter charged some people $13 for their meal and others $20, even though we were all seated together at the same table and could hear the prices quoted. Our guide tried to resolve this, but failed. This was the only downer of the trip. Ashdod/Bethlehem/Jerusalem: After another early start we drove directly to Bethlehem, about an hour's drive. In order to enter the Muslim- occupied city, we had to wait for a Muslim guide as Svika, being an Israeli, was not allowed past the border. We linked up with several other small groups and waited for a large bus and guide to appear, losing a good 45 minutes. We finally made our way to the site of the Nativity Square and the adjacent church which has three different ethnic sections and is built over the "cave" where Jesus was born. Unfortunately, it was so crowded that we were not able to go down into the cave, but were able to see the back end of the cave, where there is a small room that contains a marker stone that can be kissed if you bend down and go on your knees. We then had a compulsory 45 minute tour of a factory in Bethlehem which infuriated some, especially since our temporary guide for Bethlehem was part of the family who owned the factory. Everything was inflated and overpriced. Most bought nothing. Then onto the Via Dolorosa (the streets on which Jesus carried the cross), to view the Stations of the Cross. The street path is original, however the hundreds of commercial tourist shops that line the street are not. It sort of takes away from the spirituality of this once sacred area. We had a brief lunch at a restaurant and had a wrap made of veggies and minced lamb with soda for 6 Euros. We drove to Jerusalem and went to the Western Wailing Wall, Garden of Gethsemane, and famous finished up at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which contains many blessed artifacts associated with the crucifixion of Jesus including the stone that his body was laid on after being taken from the cross, where he was prepared for burial. In this church is the Dome of Rock. We finished up on this very rainy day driving up to Mt.Zion/Olives and seeing a magnificent view of Jerusalem. Cairo: We did a two day, overnight tour with Moustafa Egypt Tours and Mohammed as our tour guide. This cost $225 US pp and was very reasonable compared t the ship's tour which was several hundred dollars more. The tour required a three hour bus trip to/from Cairo and an overnight stay in a hotel. We were booked at the Sheraton Cairo, a 1960's hotel which has had some updating. We stayed in the Nefertiti tower which was updated in the past five years. Complaints about the outdated Cleopatra tower which we read about we fortunately did not experience. Included in the two day tour was lunch the first day (on one of the Nile cruise boats, which did not travel and a modest buffet breakfast at the hotel.) We did the laser light show that evening at the Giza Pyramids for an additional cost of $25 US pp, but avoided the Nile cruise in the evening, since the food at lunch was quite poor and we did not want a repeat of this. Our friends went on the Nile cruise and said the only good thing about it was the whirling dervish performance, which lasted 10 minutes. We visited the National Museum the first day and saw all of the King Tut artifacts and saw the laser show the first evening which was an interesting narrated show that could have included more laser effects. The next day we traveled to Saqqara, seeing the oldest (step) Pyramids (2600 B.C.) and onto Giza to see the three most famous Pyramids (circa 2500 B.C.) and the Sphinx (which was a lot smaller than we envisioned). Our guide warned us about the camel rides and being careful not to choose any of the vendors in front of the big pyramids (only the ones in the back, which charged only $19 for a ride and included picture taking. Unfortunately one of our friends fell victim to the wrong vendor, ended up on a camel and had to pay $40 to be let down, and never got her picture taken. Seeing the pyramids up close was amazing. We opted not to do the inside walk of the pyramids which requires one to walk crouched through 3 foot high and wide tunnels ... for an extra fee. While we thoroughly enjoyed the two day tour, we felt that much too much emphasis was placed on selling cartouches, t-shirts and papyrus by our guide while we were in transit. And of course, there were several stops at sanctioned stores to pick up the goods ordered and to do more shopping. Naples: Since it was raining quite hard we decided not to go to Capri and walked to a nice pedestrian shopping street and later found our way to the most famous and oldest pizza restaurant ---- Da Michelle for some pizza Margharita and Pepsi. The pizza was very good - thin and very soft crust with great pomodori sauce for a mere 4 Euros per 14" pie. Not sure it was worth the 50 euro cab ride that five of us split, but at least the cab driver waited for us and we did not have a struggle to get back to the ship. Note: While we had a little trepidation about booking private tours in Israel and Egypt, we felt completely safe the whole time and had no worries other than protecting our wallets from pick-pockets which were in all the cities we visited. Overall, seeing all of these ancient treasures on one trip was a great experience and very much enjoyed. Disembarkation: Since we had an 11:15 am flight we requested a very early departure. Without having to carry off our own bags, we met in the Equinox theatre at 6:30 am and quickly got off the ship, retrieved our bags from the hall, and were on our way to FCO with much time to spare. Celebrity really knows how to handle the masses and gets kudos for making it so easy for its customers. We will definitely cruise this line again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Finally people are talking about the horrible smell on the Equinox. We sailed back to back Oct 23 starting with the ancient empires and then transatlantic to Ft Lauderdale in cabin 9263. The smell was obvious immediately but got ... Read More
Finally people are talking about the horrible smell on the Equinox. We sailed back to back Oct 23 starting with the ancient empires and then transatlantic to Ft Lauderdale in cabin 9263. The smell was obvious immediately but got increasingly worse as we traveled. Our cabin steward assured us the problem would be taken care of. When we questioned him we found out fixing the problem meant spraying a deodorant spray inside our cabin. They actually started leaving our veranda door open during the day to air it out. The halls filled with the stench and even went as far as the stairwells. I actually saw people holding kleenex over their noses as they went by our cabin. Our clothes started to smell and we put them out on the balcony to air out before we wore them. The bathroom got so bad I couldn't put on my makeup in there and was even afraid to leave my toothbrush. If you can imagine living in an "out house" for 28 days then you can relate. We did have a couple of other incidents too. A woman coming back from a tour tried to steal my purse off the xray belt and all I got from Celebrity was a shrug of the shoulders. We also purchased a bottle of wine and mine was served in a dirty glass with lipstick on the rim. He took my glass back to the bar and poured it into another glass and said to me "that should be better". I told them that wasn't very sanitary and was told that's the best they could do. There were other cabins around us experiencing the same stench and was told it was also on deck 10 and 11. Wake up people and demand this problem is fixed!!! The overall cruises were good. After reading other comments though about the smell and the fact that Celebrity has not addressed the problem, I don't feel I can recommend them to anyone. Read Less
Celebrity Equinox Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.6
Dining 4.5 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.5 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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