Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by grtfldave
- Sail Date: June 2015
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class
Our trip started out with a flight on Lufthansa out of O'Hare. We left at 9:20pm and had the best service ever on an airplane. Within an hour we had a snack and cocktails/wine were being passed out. By 11:30pm dinner was served. We thought this was strange but our lack of jet lag when we arrived in Rome was proof enough for me. There was also a tray with water and juice for us by the restroom stairs...yes..I said stairs...all the restrooms were below. This prevented a backlog of people waiting in the isles. By midnight, the lights were turned off for around 4 hours when we were served breakfast. We landed in Munich (what a fantastic airport) and had a 2.5 hour layover before heading to Rome.
There have been many reviews about the taxi's in Rome so we opted to hire a private car. ROME CABS was fantastic! We were concerned they wouldn't find us because we had pulled into a different terminal due to the fire that happened in Terminal 3 a few months ago. Our concern was unfounded as we walked out of baggage claim to find our driver waiting for us. He maneuvered through Rome traffic like a pro while at the same time giving us the History.
Our Hotel was the Intercontinental Hotel de la Ville right above the Spanish Steps. This was a great location with a spectacular view of Rome from their rooftop Bar. There have been some mixed reviews about this hotel and its rooms but I can tell you we had no issues whatsoever. The room and bathroom were normal size IMHO and did not seem worn out. Upon arrival we received 30% off dinner at the rooftop Bar and a 50% discount on breakfast (a European/American) buffet. Our first meal was pasta....mama mia! fresh pasta and sauce with mediterranean seafood was to die for and the house red wine was better than many bottles bought stateside.
While in Rome we visited the Colosseum, Forum and Vatican. That's quite a lot to do in one day while its 90 degrees plus. For the Vatican, we used the Viator Tours and this was very informative. David was a great guide and he was very personal. At night we met 12 of our Cruise Critic friends for a cocktail at the rooftop bar and then headed out to meet 6 more at Ristorante 34 for a nice pre-cruise meal. This restaurant was very good but one waiter working by himself had a tough time keeping up with a bunch of American, Canadian, Australian and British tourists!! All in all we had a great meal, great wine and great conversations. We ended the evening with Gelato at Venchi. This is the oldest Gelateria in Rome. It was also amazing.
We used Rome Cab to take us to Civitavecchia which is an hour and a half from Rome. I highly recommend this option rather than a regular cab, the train or cruise line bus transfer. It was very comfortable and cost effective (we shared a ride with another couple and split the cost).
When you arrive at the port, its nothing like Florida, and more like Bayonne. However, embarkation was quick and our cabin was ready for us before 1pm!! For the first time ever we were able to drop off our carry-ons and head to lunch.
We are not fans of buffets on ships but Celebrity tends to get it right every time. The food was hot and fresh, lines always moved quickly and the room wasn't crowded. We ate all our breakfasts here and had eggs made to order whenever we wanted.
The Equinox is set up like all the other Solstice Class ships with some subtle differences in decor, color and art. For example, Equinox has a full lawn club with the Corning Glass show instead of the Lawn Club Grill and Alcoves. We actually saw people using the grass for relaxation and activities such as bocce ball on a daily basis.
Sailing on Equinox is like visiting a classy high end hotel and the service is top notch. Our Room Steward Tomas met us shortly after we entered our Concierge Class Cabin. He gave us his spiel and let us be. Throughout the cruise he called us by our first names and asked how are day or night was. Our cabin was cleaned each day and our daily hors d'oeuvres and fruit were in the cabin when requested. He even left a towel animal one evening!!
I can't say enough about the food and dining room on Equinox and all Celebrity Ships. However, this cruise was one of the best in terms of service. Our waiter Yosanto and Jorge, his assistant were the best we have had since our cruise on Reflection. They were funny, remembered all our names and what we liked and were very attentive to our needs. In terms of food, the taste was on point, however, some of the food I had came out lukewarm and courses tended to be very spread out across the whole dining room. I do think that the port intensive nature of this cruise affected service (many tables were incomplete or straggled in late) so servers sometimes had to scramble to get food ordered and then all delivered at the same time. We also ate at Tuscan Grill. The food and service here can be equated to a high end Italian Steakhouse. You order an Appetizer, soup or salad, a main course and dessert. I can guarantee that you will end the meal fully satisfied so if you choose to eat there, bring an appetite.
Because we had the premium drink package, we spent a lot of time at bars. With only one sea day, we didn't drink at the pool. We did however enjoy cappuccino at Cafe al Bacio which is one of our favorite places to relax during the day. Our favorite spot was the Martini Bar. The bartenders know how to perform and pour a great cocktail. We also met people at the Sunset Bar at the back of the ship. We enjoy this spot as well (who am I kidding...we enjoyed all the bars!!!). We did miss having an acoustic guitarist here though. The Ensemble Bar on deck 4 just before entering the Specialty Restaurants was a space we would go to listen to a great Jazz quartet and have a nice cocktail.
Entertainment on board for this cruise was hit and miss. The house band (Airband) was not very good and the Equinox singers were just so so. However, the lounge acts were very good! I would recommend visiting the lounges over the production shows but would attend the headliner shows in the theatre. One of the headliners was Jayne Curry. We've seen her on the Constellation and feel she is one the best headliners we've seen on Celebrity.
This cruise stopped at Livorno (Pisa/Florence), Villefranche (Nice, Monaco/Monte Carlo, Eze), Corsica, and overnight in Palma de Mallorca. If I were to describe each port in detail, you'd be reading all night so I'll hit the high points.
Livorno: We chose to hire Romeinlimo for this port. Hiring a private car was the best thing we did at each port. This tour was the best of the bunch. Our driver, Gianmaria made a point of learning our names and using them all day as this was an 8 hour tour. He was very informative and it felt like he was a knowledgeable friend taking us on a tour of his homeland. We stopped in Pisa for 45 minutes to look at and take pictures of the 3 monuments i.e leaning tower of Pisa...from there we took the hour drive to Florence and spent the rest of the time exploring the sites including the Duomo (Santa Maria), Leather shops, Ponte Vecchio, Academia museum, etc. In the middle of the tour. Gianmaria dropped us off at a Firenze restaurant that was outside of the tourist area called La Cantinetta Di Bolgheri. This was so traditionally Firenze! The Chianti, pasta and bruschetta was sooo good! We ended this day with a stop at Venchi before heading back to the ship
Villefranche: For this stop we used Riviera Premium Tours. Our driver was not as personable as Gianmaria but he was very informative. Here we visited NIce, Monaco/Monte Carlo and Eze. Eze is this quaint medieval village in the mountains. I recommend visiting and spending time looking/shopping at the nice stores, eating at the high end restaurants and just checking out the village. You will never see anything like this in France.
Corsica: This was our relaxation stop. We took a bus tour of the area which has lots of history (birthplace of Napoleon) and fantastic beaches. We then walked around the city square and went back on the ship.
Palma de Mallorca: Overnight. I love this concept! We were able to spend a lot of time on this historical Spanish Island. Day one we purchased tickets on the hop on hop off bus (which you could use for 24 hours) to visit Bellver Castle which sits on a hill overlooking Mallorca. At the end of the ride we stopped at the main area called Passeig des Born with shops and restaurants and had lunch at Restaurante Moby Dick. This place had the best lobster paella!! Day two was our last day before ending the cruise in Barcelona. Since it was the last day, 19 members of our Cruise Critic group took over Mood Beach Club. We had a great time relaxing at a private pool with access to the mediterranean and a nice restaurant. It was a great end to a fantastic cruise.
Barcelona: Debarkation- We stayed in Barcelona overnight so we decided to take a 4 hour tour of Barcelona with Barcelona Day Tours. This was another great choice as the guide was personable as well as knowledgeable. We toured the city and stopped at Park Guell, a Gaudi House and Sagrada Familia before the bus dropped all of us and our luggage off at our respected hotels or apartments. We also toured Camp Nou, home of Barcelona FC, on our own ( a dream for a futbal fan such as myself!!). We ended the night visiting with friends for dinner at Sensi Bistro for modern tapas.
Our hotel in Barcelona was the Barcelona Hilton which is about 15 minutes from La Rambla and 5 minutes from Camp Nou. Its in a what we would call a quiet suburban area. The hotel was modern and very comfortable.
Well, I think that's it.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Corsica (Ajaccio)We just took a bus tour of the island. It was interesting to hear the history of Napoleon and look at all the beaches. This was our "rest stop" on this cruiseView All 353 Corsica (Ajaccio) Cruise Port Reviews
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Pisa/FlorenceVery personal and informative. Even suggested and sent us to a fantastic Firenze restaurant. We visited PIsa, the Duomo, Piazza dells Signoria, Accademia Museum, Ponte Vecchio Santa Croce and stopped at Venchi for GelatoView All 12,792 Pisa/Florence Reviews
Nice, Monaco/Monte Carlo/EzeWe visited Nice for about 45 minutes and I wish it would have been longer. There is so much to see there. Also, visited Monaco/Monte Carlo and Eze. Eze is a fully functioning medieval village on the side of mountain. Highly recommend visiting EzeView All 12,792 Nice, Monaco/Monte Carlo/Eze Reviews
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Rome (Civitavecchia)Loved Rome. There is so much to see and do but its very hectic and busy. You need to spend more than one day to see and experience multiple sitesView All 2,146 Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Reviews
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