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This was our 11th cruise but first on Celebrity. Previous cruises were mainly on HAL but also on Princess and Norwegian. We are not committed to Celebrity after this fantastic cruise on the Equinox. Some particulars - I am in early 60s and DW is mid-50s. One note about DW - she has celiac disease and MUST be gluten free. This concerned us but I must say, all the dining venues, especially BLU went well beyond expectations in meeting our needs in this area. More later on this. Pre-Cruise We had a stressful year so wanted to maximize the vacation time. We drove to FLL from D.C. area and spent 3 wonderful days in Fort Lauderdale, including New Years Eve. We stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 and had a fantastic room on the 17th floor with huge balcony and incredible views from the ocean to city. Although the hotel was very busy, staff were excellent. Rented bikes one day and rode to the beach and beyond. Somehow ended up with the wrong bikes and they were not in the best of shape. But, it was fun. We also took an Everglades tour with a ride on an airboat which was also fun and worth the money. Highlight was NYE dinner in Hollywood at a Crab restaurant on the intercostal waterway - I can't remember the name but it was fabulous. We had a private cabana on the water and the crab was the best ever. Because we enjoy the spa areas (thermal suite, steam, sauna, gym) we had an aqua class room. Most aqua class people choose it for BLU and I would choose it for that reason alone. But we had so much more than just BLU with the relaxation rooms, steam, sauna, etc. Embarkation We arrived about 10:30 and had a bit of a wait until they opened the lines - maybe 15 minutes. After checkin we were sent upstairs and waited there about 20 minutes before boarding around 11:15. Highlights The food! We dined in BLU most nights but also did Tuscan Grill and Muranos. I cannot say enough about the service and food quality at BLU. Because my wife must be gluten free they gave her the menu each night for the next night. She put her order in and the next night it was prepared for her gluten free. The staff were wonderful and greeted us by name and ensured that we had a window seat every night. One night my wife had a cold and did not want to leave the cabin. The BLU staff brought her dinner (2 lobster tails) and I ordered regular room service. It amazed me that they did that. Both Tuscan and Muranos were excellent as well. We also could have eaten at the Asian restaurant but chose to eat in BLU an extra evening. We loved the fact that there were minimal announcements and the ship was generally quiet, even on the sea days. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Enjoyed wandering through the shops but did not buy anything except on T-shirt day. The specialty cafe was nice for the afternoon snack with a mocha. Gelato was great although a small charge. We had the classic drink package included but upgraded to premium for $10 per day. Probably would not do that again since we are not big drinkers and the house wine was good. The buffet was excellent for breakfast and lunch. Never felt crowded like HAL. Food quality was good and always was able to get a window seat. Music at various locations in the evening was enjoyable. I was able to do Breakfast 1 around 7; breakfast 2 at 10:00, lunch 1 at 12:00 and then the mid-afternoon post-nap cafe snack. Late evening snacks were good too. Yes, I ate too much. Most nights at BLU I could not decide on one dessert so went for 2 or 3. The only disappointment was the library. On HAL it is next to the Crows Nest and a good place to hang out with a drink or coffee and an excellent selection of books. On the Equinox it seems it was an afterthought and not maintained at all. Very few books and few places to sit and browse. No big deal since we brought multiple IPads with Kindle app. The Apple classes were good and since I recently switched to Apple MacPro it was a good learning experience. The only show we went to was the Beatles Tribute Band. Fun but a bit hokey. Enjoyed singing along. Overall it was a fantastic cruise on a great ship with a great crew. Loved every minute and will be back soon. Already planning our next cruise on the Equinox.  

Best Cruise Yet

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by benchmarklearning

Trip Details
This was our 11th cruise but first on Celebrity. Previous cruises were mainly on HAL but also on Princess and Norwegian. We are not committed to Celebrity after this fantastic cruise on the Equinox. Some particulars - I am in early 60s and DW is mid-50s. One note about DW - she has celiac disease and MUST be gluten free. This concerned us but I must say, all the dining venues, especially BLU went well beyond expectations in meeting our needs in this area. More later on this.
Pre-Cruise
We had a stressful year so wanted to maximize the vacation time. We drove to FLL from D.C. area and spent 3 wonderful days in Fort Lauderdale, including New Years Eve. We stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 and had a fantastic room on the 17th floor with huge balcony and incredible views from the ocean to city. Although the hotel was very busy, staff were excellent. Rented bikes one day and rode to the beach and beyond. Somehow ended up with the wrong bikes and they were not in the best of shape. But, it was fun. We also took an Everglades tour with a ride on an airboat which was also fun and worth the money. Highlight was NYE dinner in Hollywood at a Crab restaurant on the intercostal waterway - I can't remember the name but it was fabulous. We had a private cabana on the water and the crab was the best ever.
Because we enjoy the spa areas (thermal suite, steam, sauna, gym) we had an aqua class room. Most aqua class people choose it for BLU and I would choose it for that reason alone. But we had so much more than just BLU with the relaxation rooms, steam, sauna, etc.
Embarkation
We arrived about 10:30 and had a bit of a wait until they opened the lines - maybe 15 minutes. After checkin we were sent upstairs and waited there about 20 minutes before boarding around 11:15.
Highlights
The food! We dined in BLU most nights but also did Tuscan Grill and Muranos. I cannot say enough about the service and food quality at BLU. Because my wife must be gluten free they gave her the menu each night for the next night. She put her order in and the next night it was prepared for her gluten free. The staff were wonderful and greeted us by name and ensured that we had a window seat every night. One night my wife had a cold and did not want to leave the cabin. The BLU staff brought her dinner (2 lobster tails) and I ordered regular room service. It amazed me that they did that. Both Tuscan and Muranos were excellent as well. We also could have eaten at the Asian restaurant but chose to eat in BLU an extra evening.
We loved the fact that there were minimal announcements and the ship was generally quiet, even on the sea days. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Enjoyed wandering through the shops but did not buy anything except on T-shirt day. The specialty cafe was nice for the afternoon snack with a mocha. Gelato was great although a small charge.
We had the classic drink package included but upgraded to premium for $10 per day. Probably would not do that again since we are not big drinkers and the house wine was good. The buffet was excellent for breakfast and lunch. Never felt crowded like HAL. Food quality was good and always was able to get a window seat. Music at various locations in the evening was enjoyable. I was able to do Breakfast 1 around 7; breakfast 2 at 10:00, lunch 1 at 12:00 and then the mid-afternoon post-nap cafe snack. Late evening snacks were good too. Yes, I ate too much. Most nights at BLU I could not decide on one dessert so went for 2 or 3.
The only disappointment was the library. On HAL it is next to the Crows Nest and a good place to hang out with a drink or coffee and an excellent selection of books. On the Equinox it seems it was an afterthought and not maintained at all. Very few books and few places to sit and browse. No big deal since we brought multiple IPads with Kindle app.
The Apple classes were good and since I recently switched to Apple MacPro it was a good learning experience.
The only show we went to was the Beatles Tribute Band. Fun but a bit hokey. Enjoyed singing along.
Overall it was a fantastic cruise on a great ship with a great crew. Loved every minute and will be back soon. Already planning our next cruise on the Equinox.
 
benchmarklearning’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5119
Room seemed a bit smaller than we are accustomed to on HAL but more than made up for it with the multi-jet shower. DW loved it. Could have used a bit more storage space but we always overpack anyway. Very relaxing in the room and enjoyed our afternoon naps. Beds were good but we missed our Sleep Number bed. Room stewards were excellent. Gave us a great tour of the room and our Aqua Class benefits and they were always on top of every situation.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Barbados
    Beautiful island with a lot of wealth. We joined friends in renting a car and driver and went to find the wild monkeys. We were successful and it was fun feeding them. They do not like cookies but love bananas. Back to ship early for nap and food.
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  • St. Kitts (Port Zante)
    Loved St. Kitts. We had a friend of a friend give us a private tour of the island. So much to see. I would highly recommend any tour going to the Fortress and to the Batik shops. Wonderful people.
    View All 1,691 St. Kitts (Port Zante) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Maarten
    Again, we had been here before but did not see much. This time we took the beach tour with Bernards - Fantastic. The driver gave a running commentary and we learned a lot. First stop was Orient Beach and it was fabulous. Tip: walk around and check prices on chair/umbrellas. We paid $15 each when we could have gotten both for $8 a little further from where we were dropped off. We did not go to the end with the Orient Beach Club (nude) but there were a few topless participants on the main beach. Contrary to what I have read, they were not hard on the eyes...except some of the overweight men in skimpy speedos. Then we went to Maho beach for a bucket list event - watching the planes land. Amazing and was one of the highlights of the trip. Just before we arrived a man was blown off the fence onto the road and was run over. Not good and he was clearly seriously injured. We saw a number of 757s land and saw the KLM 747 take off - what a thrill! Would highly recommend this tour and Bernards.
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  • Island Tour
    Since we had been to St. Thomas before, we took a ship excursion to St. Johns. Quite a bumpy ride across the channel but we made it and the land tour was fun. Saw some great homes and beautiful views.
    View All 264 Island Tour Reviews