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Just came home from the Equinox, Barcelona to Istanbul, 2 weeks. This was our fourth Celebrity Cruise and our second on this ship. The following is quite long but hopefully valuable. Embarkation Ship was in “Code Red” due to previous voyage’s novovirus occurrence which caused delayed boarding. There were not enough staff to manage the rush, and as such our “Select” line did not move for over 20 minutes while the man managing the lines alternated between the “Super Elites” and the regular line. The person checking us in was not an employee of Celebrity and did not know any answers to our questions, repeatedly telling us we could go to Customer Service on the ship (which we know is overwhelmed typically on departure day). A new policy to collect and hold our passports was not conveyed ahead of time and the front staff was telling us it was “because of Turkey” when the letter we were given at that time said it was a new rule of “Greece”. The cruise line sent out emails about the novovirus situation but not the surrender of passports, which caused and overall bad boarding experience. General Service We were in Concierge Class on Floor 10. The common areas were all very clean and well maintained. Our room attendant Philipe was great, always cheerful and the towel animals were always entertaining. While the ship was in “Code Red” the food and bartending service was definitely lacking, it appeared that there was not enough staff at bars, and strangely a lot of inexperienced bartenders who made different versions of the same cocktails. The food in the main dining room was lackluster and average was about the best you could say (5/10). Our main room dining staff (Katrenya, Jasminka and Robert) were wonderful and very efficient. Four days into the cruise the food in the main dining room dramatically improved. (I would give them an 8/10 from that point on). We had a couple cocktails in the Emsemble Lounge that were so bad we put them down and went elsewhere. Other cruisers we talked too told us they did the same thing. The service in the Molecular bar was great and it became our hangout for great drinks. They are supposedly changing over to the World Class Bar in October but the bartenders felt it would be a good thing as it would allow them to make some of their own creations. The bartenders at that bar were consistently great, social and very efficient. Kudos to Jelena, Barbera and Ivan (who later was moved to the Gastropub). Specialty Restaurants Spectacular service and food in Murano (2), Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grille. Never disappoints. I would eat in these restaurants more often except I like the socialness of the mixed table as we were only a single couple travelling together. Great lunch in the Gastropub. The Steak and Guinness pie was incredible. If you can, try all the specialty restaurants. Excursions We took three private excursions with people we met via Cruise Critic – kudos to “Hawaiiyes” for arranging these. They were all through Papillon and our drivers were all very nice and informative. This was the first time we did private tours. Due to problems in Turkey our cruise did not do our overnight in Istanbul but luckily we didn’t have any tours planned but some people we were talking to were quite upset because they have planned private tours and even though the previous voyage also cancelled the overnights, pre-cruise checking with Celebrity did not identify we would be also missing the overnight, so this is a word of warning to people who plan private excursions or early departures – your plans can get messed up even if you do your due diligence to verify before boarding. We also did a few Celebrity Excursions, all of which had a wine tasting element. They were all run well – no complaints about the service. The “CV62 Bracciano Lake & Wine Tasting” could have had more time at the actual winery, the lake portion was too long and personality, did not add any real value to this tour. Entertainment We usually do dinner at 8:30 so we avoid the entertainment. We didn't therefore go to any productions but you can't avoid the silly hype games which in my opinion are too loud and disruptive around the pool and common areas. Because this was Sept there were few children on board (earlier reviews commented on all the kids, so I thought I would touch on that too). I did attend the Top Chef Quickfire - fun and amusing to watch, and the Discovery - Navigation lecture which was very interesting and informative. Previous cruises we have participated in the wine tastings but this time didn't bother as it is the same each cruise. I spent a lot of time in the casino and did participate in all the blackjack tournaments. Overall the Cruise was an enjoyable experience and we would cruise with Celebrity again.

Enjoyable Overall

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review by ChampagneandFanfare

Trip Details
Just came home from the Equinox, Barcelona to Istanbul, 2 weeks. This was our fourth Celebrity Cruise and our second on this ship. The following is quite long but hopefully valuable.

Embarkation

Ship was in “Code Red” due to previous voyage’s novovirus occurrence which caused delayed boarding. There were not enough staff to manage the rush, and as such our “Select” line did not move for over 20 minutes while the man managing the lines alternated between the “Super Elites” and the regular line. The person checking us in was not an employee of Celebrity and did not know any answers to our questions, repeatedly telling us we could go to Customer Service on the ship (which we know is overwhelmed typically on departure day). A new policy to collect and hold our passports was not conveyed ahead of time and the front staff was telling us it was “because of Turkey” when the letter we were given at that time said it was a new rule of “Greece”. The cruise line sent out emails about the novovirus situation but not the surrender of passports, which caused and overall bad boarding experience.

General Service

We were in Concierge Class on Floor 10. The common areas were all very clean and well maintained. Our room attendant Philipe was great, always cheerful and the towel animals were always entertaining.

While the ship was in “Code Red” the food and bartending service was definitely lacking, it appeared that there was not enough staff at bars, and strangely a lot of inexperienced bartenders who made different versions of the same cocktails. The food in the main dining room was lackluster and average was about the best you could say (5/10). Our main room dining staff (Katrenya, Jasminka and Robert) were wonderful and very efficient.

Four days into the cruise the food in the main dining room dramatically improved. (I would give them an 8/10 from that point on). We had a couple cocktails in the Emsemble Lounge that were so bad we put them down and went elsewhere. Other cruisers we talked too told us they did the same thing. The service in the Molecular bar was great and it became our hangout for great drinks. They are supposedly changing over to the World Class Bar in October but the bartenders felt it would be a good thing as it would allow them to make some of their own creations. The bartenders at that bar were consistently great, social and very efficient. Kudos to Jelena, Barbera and Ivan (who later was moved to the Gastropub).

Specialty Restaurants

Spectacular service and food in Murano (2), Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grille. Never disappoints. I would eat in these restaurants more often except I like the socialness of the mixed table as we were only a single couple travelling together. Great lunch in the Gastropub. The Steak and Guinness pie was incredible. If you can, try all the specialty restaurants.

Excursions

We took three private excursions with people we met via Cruise Critic – kudos to “Hawaiiyes” for arranging these. They were all through Papillon and our drivers were all very nice and informative. This was the first time we did private tours. Due to problems in Turkey our cruise did not do our overnight in Istanbul but luckily we didn’t have any tours planned but some people we were talking to were quite upset because they have planned private tours and even though the previous voyage also cancelled the overnights, pre-cruise checking with Celebrity did not identify we would be also missing the overnight, so this is a word of warning to people who plan private excursions or early departures – your plans can get messed up even if you do your due diligence to verify before boarding.

We also did a few Celebrity Excursions, all of which had a wine tasting element. They were all run well – no complaints about the service. The “CV62 Bracciano Lake & Wine Tasting” could have had more time at the actual winery, the lake portion was too long and personality, did not add any real value to this tour.

Entertainment

We usually do dinner at 8:30 so we avoid the entertainment. We didn't therefore go to any productions but you can't avoid the silly hype games which in my opinion are too loud and disruptive around the pool and common areas. Because this was Sept there were few children on board (earlier reviews commented on all the kids, so I thought I would touch on that too).

I did attend the Top Chef Quickfire - fun and amusing to watch, and the Discovery - Navigation lecture which was very interesting and informative. Previous cruises we have participated in the wine tastings but this time didn't bother as it is the same each cruise. I spent a lot of time in the casino and did participate in all the blackjack tournaments.

Overall the Cruise was an enjoyable experience and we would cruise with Celebrity again.
ChampagneandFanfare’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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