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Sail Date: April 2019
After 2 amazing days in Rome, my wife and I set out on the NCL Spirit for an 11 day adventure to Greece, Malta and more of Italy. We booked an aft facing penthouse suite with large balcony not only for the space, but the service that was ... Read More
After 2 amazing days in Rome, my wife and I set out on the NCL Spirit for an 11 day adventure to Greece, Malta and more of Italy. We booked an aft facing penthouse suite with large balcony not only for the space, but the service that was promised. This ship does not offer a "Haven" experience, but suite guests get some similar perks. We have sailed in a Haven room before, so we can give an honest comparison. Without the Haven amenities on this ship there is not a dedicated dining room and lounge area to enjoy besides the steak house for breakfast and lunch. For dinner you are on your own unless you buy extra meals in the specialty dining rooms. This cruise came with 4 nights of specialty restaurants and we purchased 5 more. Before we sailed this seemed like a good idea but the only 2 good restaurants to eat in that could be reserved early was the French Bistro and Cagney's Steakhouse. The food and service was very good but grew tiresome by the end of 11 days. Other areas on the ship served decent food and didn't cost any more money. Suite guests also have the services of a concierge and a butler. This was the same service Haven guests have on other ships but there is no one specific place to go see either person. Instead you can call. Every time we called either person, they immediately answered and took care of us. In particular, our concierge Monica was simply outstanding! We had a problem with all of the amenities we had received with our cabin purchase and she took care of the issue within an hour of my call to her. We changed reservation times on more than 4 occasions and she always got us a table when we wanted it. She was the best part of our suite perks for sure. In short, we feel you cannot compare the Suite experience with the Haven experience. The exclusivity of the Haven is far above and the cost is definitely higher as well. Here are a few examples... At embarkation, we were given a #7 boarding card and had to ask if suite guests get priority. Of course our documents were checked properly and we received a #1 boarding pass. We then had to ask if there was a section in the waiting area for suite guests as well after we were told to sit anywhere and wait for # 1 to be called. This was all wrong because there is an area for Owners suite and Penthouse suite guests to check in. Unfortunately some of the staff were not aware and it did not make us feel like we were getting the exclusive treatment that was sold to us. The issues mentioned above that were fixed should never have been issues in the first place. When you book a cruise and get a price that includes all of the extras you check off, like Ultimate beverage package, Shore excursion credits, WiFi and Specialty restaurants, you should not have to go to anyone and wonder why you are being charged at the bar, dinner and WiFi. Seems like something got missed and if we didn't have a concierge to help, we would have spent a lot of time in line trying to fix it ourselves. The priority you get in each port of call is a nice perk for suite guests. If you have a booked excursion, you meet in Cagney's instead of the theater. You get off first and then wait for everyone else on your tour on the bus. Haven guests have it a little nicer in that they are escorted in a private elevator on and off the ship avoiding crowds of people. On this ship, the room we had was very nice. Some of the furniture is getting a bit dated but there was plenty of space and the bed was very comfortable. We were in cabin 9210 and a few evenings when the ship is at full throttle, the vibration and noise could be bothersome to some people. My wife and I did not mind too much. At normal cruising speed, it was fine. Current photos of this cabin are attached. We could not find any current information leading up to our cruise so we hope this helps. As far as the ports are concerned, this cruise was fantastic! Even though we did not call Santorini due to the lift not working on the island, we were able to visit some amazing places in just 11 days. Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Chania, Valleta, Messina, Naples and Livorno round trip from Rome. Simply amazing!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We just returned from another perfect cruise with Uniworld but it’s what we expected being return customers. Every time we get on board it’s like coming home again, we always see some cruise members from a previous cruise on other ... Read More
We just returned from another perfect cruise with Uniworld but it’s what we expected being return customers. Every time we get on board it’s like coming home again, we always see some cruise members from a previous cruise on other boats. This time it was the head chef and our waiter Alexander. This particular cruise pays special attention to the D-Day landing sites in Normandy. For those of you interested in history and the sacrifices our young men made to free the world of terror, this is the cruise to take. Being there in person gives you a whole different perspective than what you got from the history books. On board we enjoyed a plethora of gourmet meals accompanied by a superb selection of quality wines. Try the La Cave du Vin for cozy, hands on, fine dining in the boat’s wine cellar. Book as soon you get on board because it fills up quickly. There is an extra charge for this but worth it. And the bar in the Salon Toulouse will amaze you with the selection of fine beverages from all over the world. Cleanliness on board is beyond reproach as is the friendliness and the service of the entire crew. Special thanks for service above and beyond go to our Hotel Manager Maria and our waiters Nikolay and Alexander. And the shore excursions are always well orchestrated and professionally guided through interesting places. But as with everything in life there are always some glitches, minor in this case but annoying. This boat was just refurbished so they added some “improvements”. The faucet in the bathroom sink has separate hot and cold water controls. The hot water is scolding hot so it takes you a while to temper it to a usable temperature with the two handles. But the bigger problem is the water spout which comes out from the wall and almost to the outside edge of the sink. It makes it impossible to bring your face over the sink and to bring the water to your face to wash it. You have to stand back and the water goes over your feet and the floor. Hint to the designers; shorten the spout by at least six inches. The other goof is the new “Do not disturb” notification. They’ve done away with the door handle sign and replaced it with an electronic touch pad inside the cabin. However, this very sensitive unit is just below the wall slot where you insert the key card to turn on the room utilities. It is almost certain that you will touch it inadvertently and alter the setting when you insert and remove the key card. And when the card is in the slot it hides the indicator light. So when we didn’t get our cabin made up for two days I went to the reception desk for an explanation. They knew immediately what was going on because it has happened to others and they very kindly explained how this new system functions. And lastly, the room thermostat control is another touch pad unit. It is preset to 23 degrees Celsius and has a wide range of temperature settings. But regardless of what temperature you change it to the room temperature never changes from the preset temp. But these minor glitches will not deter us from sailing on Uniworld again. As a matter of fact, while on board we booked the Bordeaux cruise for May 2020. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did ... Read More
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did explore the embarkation port which was Singapore stayed 5 days and loved it a most beautiful city with so much history. The Quest ship is still being updated, there was some construction going on during the voyage, not too intrusive. I was in a suite club continental, everything was new and updated huge bathroom, king bed, new carpets, large balcony and many more perks that come with the suite cabin. There are unlimited dining options in the specialty restaurants all included and wonderful we ate in both Aqualina and Prime C excellent service! Also, all international buffets were outstanding. Entertainment was fantastic loved all of the local shows, Ports and excursions were good the only thing, I found it very hard to understand and hear the local guides speak, especially when in a group of 25 or more, they should provide headsets on all the tours. Overall we did enjoy this trip and all the beautiful ports, service by the cruise is outstanding and they really go out of their way to make you feel at home. I would consider another cruise in the future for sure! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with ... Read More
Overall excellent service. Boarding was very smooth. we were the first to board. Rooms were smaller than other Uniworld boats. We were on the lower level. this boat had a wider wall than other boats. The boat did have a problem with a lack of hot water. cold showers were not pleasant. The water problem did seem to get better later in the cruise, but only for short showers. Food service started a little rough. I was served raw salmon, and my wife was served raw chicken. I think it took a little while for the cooks to get used to the ovens. The food overall was very good. The lunches were outstanding. Uniworld offers local foods, and the chef did a great job with them. The only other misstep was during a flaming salmon presentation. The fire unexpectedly jumped and caught two passengers on fire. one was singed, the other had the presence of mind to roll on the ground and escaped with minor injuries. The restaurant staff was fantastic. the really anticipated your needs. Service was always prompt and with a smile. Problems were handled very well. Bar staff was also very good. they remembered what you liked. The only drawback was Uniworld did not include the same high quality drinks as part of the all inclusive. Many other passengers and myself were surprised to find a 9 euro fee for Makers Mark. The wines and port served at dinner and in the bar were surprisingly good. Excursions were changed because of maintenance on a river lock. This changed our itinerary. Overall I thought Uniworld did a good job redoing our ports. Our favorite excursion was dinner at a winery. the owner was a real character. The Sandman port tour would have been better if more time was added to enjoy the grounds. Front desk staff were mostly outstanding. One new person was not up to speed yet, but was very friendly. Lounge entertainer was better than other Uniworld boats. the additional entertainers were ok. My favorite part was cruising by the vinyards. The landscape was beautiful.This is not a high activity cruise. It is a great cruse for someone who wants to relax and enjoy some nice wines Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This is our 3rd Regent cruise, and 2nd on the Mariner. Happy on the 1st & 2nd cruises, but not so on this one. Let's start with the good points: * Excursions: Wide choice and well executed. * Drinks: Good variety, and ... Read More
This is our 3rd Regent cruise, and 2nd on the Mariner. Happy on the 1st & 2nd cruises, but not so on this one. Let's start with the good points: * Excursions: Wide choice and well executed. * Drinks: Good variety, and quality. Wines range is excellent. Bar staff are great, and very flexible. Shout-out to Maya in Observation lounge for her great mixing skills. * Rooms/Ship: Nothing to complain about here. Very quiet (no noise from corridor or rooms next door). Matched expectations and the brochure promises. * Entertainment: Standard fare. Not what we come on a cruise for. * Lecturers: Up there with the best we have seen. * Main Dining Room (MDR): Never denied a table. Good food & varied nightly, but a bit unimaginative. A few small hiccups with a lunch that took 90 mins to arrive, but not a show stopper. But the elephant in the room is the fiasco that is the congested La Veranda/Sette Mare. BREAKFAST (La Veranda) * The congestion is horrible. One example: Toast is made by 1 staff member, and the numerous guests waiting for their toast block the already narrow passage. * The limited space makes some guests pushy and rude; especially if time is short before an excursion. * Saw one guest served under-cooked fried eggs; she did not eat them. * Never went a 2nd time. LUNCH (La Veranda) * Best described as an unpleasant bun-fight on busy days. Continuously running out of things (Main dishes, butter, cheese, etc). When asked, staff would replenish but it just adds to the crazy congestion, frustration, and delays. * Staff will take orders and deliver - which is great is you want your food cold. DINNER (Sette Mare) * 4 nights in a row: Denied a table for 4 between 19:30 ~ 20:15. Usually told the wait was 45 mins. Or told: "Suggest you come at 18:30 tomorrow". So we went to MDR each time. * 5th time lucky, but underwhelming food. So what is the problem? As we were on the same ship just 3 months ago, and did not have the same issues, I concluded it is simply that when full (as it is on this cruise) the La Veranda/Sette Mare simply can not cater properly for the guests on board. This is especially acute if the weather means the pool grill is unpopular that day/night. Once we realised all our frustrations centred on La Veranda/Sette Mare, we simply stopped going there. The little frustrations vanished and we really enjoyed the rest of the ship & cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I would like to give a bit of back ground info on myself so that when reading this review you can judge if it is relevant to what you deem important in your cruise experience.  My husband and I are in our late 50's early 60's we ... Read More
I would like to give a bit of back ground info on myself so that when reading this review you can judge if it is relevant to what you deem important in your cruise experience.  My husband and I are in our late 50's early 60's we have over 250 days on Seabourn, 150 days on Silversea and 60 days on Regent.  We sailed the Navigator for a month and loved that ship (even though I felt it was a little crowded at times).  We sailed on the Mariner in Nov/Dec 2018 and enjoyed the cruise experience very much.  We would sail on either of the three lines mentioned but the itinerary comes first for us.  In fact we have a Silversea cruise booked in June 2019, I will be taking my mother on the Voyager in August and we have a Seabourn cruise booked in February 2020.  In this review I won't go into the ports because there have been live blogs done of this cruise so I feel that is redundant.  What I will do is talk about the on board cruise experience.  I'm a positive person and I'm aware how fortunate we are to be able to vacation in such a luxurious way but want to give both the positive and negative views of our latest cruise so it may help others in selecting a cruise line that suits their needs whilst also giving a realistic view of what to expect and not what the glossy brochures portray. The good: Cruise director: John Baron is probably my favourite cruise director.  We sailed with him on Seabourn (his first actually) and then again on both Mariner cruises we have taken.  He is friendly, approachable a good entertainer (his show was really enjoyable) and a great trivia host.  We have also sailed with Marla (his assistant) on Seabourn many times and it is always nice to catch up with her. Compass Rose and both specialty restaurants.  Food was very good at all three of these restaurants. Wine: I feel Regent along with Silversea offer the best wines on any cruise line we have been on.  I also really appreciate the wine tasting of non revenue wines that Regent does.  I wish other cruise lines did this.  The selection of beer and spirits is very good. Cocktails:  The best of all three lines as mentioned above.  Yes, Seabourn has this new mixology cocktail menu.  Very trendy but honestly IMO not as good as Regents offerings.   Shore excursions:  I know a lot of guest really enjoy having the all included shore excursions.  I'm not a fan really as I like to do a bit of both and I know I could do that on Regent but I feel in some way I have already paid for these so I may as well take them.  I find I'm far more adventurous when sailing Seabourn or Silversea as I do a bit of both the cruise lines excursions an independent excursions.  Having said that I can not fault both the organization and the tours themselves.  They are as good as anything that you would pay for on either Silversea or Seabourn.   We did two tours that included lunch and both were a highlight of the trip. Room Service:  I really like the way Regent handles room service.  You place your order and then they call you just before it arrives to your room.  We often have breakfast in our room and it is so nice to get this call and be ready for when it arrives.  Seabourn and Silversea call you after to ask how your food was and inform you that they are going to pick up the tray.  Every time! This gets annoying and feels somewhat disingenuous.  Also when you ask for a glass of Champagne from room service they bring you a bottle.  Seabourn will bring you a glass.  So kudos to Regent for that. Quietness and stability of the Mariner:  This ship rides so smoothly in rough seas and we had a couple of days of those.  The noise insulation is very good.  Never heard our neighbour or any guests in the passage ways.  No vibration that we felt. Breads:  My husband loves bread (french bread in particular) and I will agree with him that Regent has the best bread of the three cruise lines.  Crusty French bread and great artisan breads. Internet: My husband is Tech person and he finds it very important to have good internet access so he can keep in touch with his business.  He appreciates that you can have multiple devices connected in your room.  The not so good: Waiting two hours to be served lunch in Compass Rose.  I later spoke with Ricky (Food and Beverage Manager) and he explained they were implementing a new ordering system and had some teething  problems. This did get better as the cruise went along.  We did get numerous apologies for the wait. He also let know that on our last cruise there were only 500 passengers on board and that this cruise they was at capacity with a full ship. La Veranda:  I can not tell you how disappointed we were in this venue.  Crowded beyond acceptable.  Extra tables were put in the walkway on both side of the buffet and whilst this was appreciated by guests trying to find a table it made the buffet even more crowded.  A full ship with early spring weather (some sunshine but mostly cool) and the Veranda could not handle the passenger numbers.  Management needs to have a good look at this problem.  Perhaps offering a special menu in Compass Rose for lunch to entice more passengers to dine there at lunch would help.  We just avoided going there as it was a disaster.  People bumping into one another.  Dishes running out (seafood platter) and people waiting in queues for 10 minutes to get a portion.  They just did not cope with the amount of guests trying to dine here.  People couldn't find a table, food running out, long waits for it to be replenished.  I also found the food here to be unimaginative.  This is where Regent falls down.  Seabourn's buffet is so much better in variety and quality.  I will say the pizza was good but honestly that was about it. Regent makes the best burger as sea I have ever tasted.  That is where the good ends.  Look at what Seabourn and Silversea do at night on their pool deck.  A real alternative dinning option.  The buffet on the Mariner for lunch is not great at the pool deck.  They had a Mexican buffet and Greek one day and that was just okay but they could really improve on the food offerings here. Afternoon Tea:  Again this is an area where Regent falls behind the other two lines.  Chocolate afternoon tea.  Same tea bags that you can get in any venue and a couple of the cakes were still frozen.  If it is not a special afternoon tea event, you get a small buffet and an offering of tea bags.  Both Seabourn and Silversea have a tea selection which is served at your table and on Silversea a tower of afternoon tea snacks.  Some times we like to skip lunch and just do afternoon tea but we did not do this on Regent. Entertainment:   Some good and some not so good.  The pianist Nicky was fantastic.  The Duo at the bar at the back of the ship are great in the disco but not really suited to pre- evening dance music.  An example of this is that we had a full ship and only 4 or 5 couples dancing.  They are not great and we had them on the last Mariner cruise as well.  Seabourn wins out in this regard as they have a trio and a guitarist and also a pianist so you have much more choice.  Silversea is about the same as Regent.  The guests entertainers were also a mixed bag.  The Australian entertainer was very good.  The Filipino vocalist who won The Voice (or something similar) was good the first night but not so good the second night.  The entertainment is not the most important part of a cruise for me but I do like to dance before and after dinner and we did not do much of this on this cruise as the Duo was really not good.  Summary: As you can see there are more positives than negatives and we really did enjoy this cruise.  Having said that we have never experienced so many little hiccups on one cruise before.  Yes, no cruise is ever going to be perfect or perfect for every guest on board but there were a lot of little hiccups that I have not mentioned. These hiccups happen on all cruise lines but on this cruise there were more than usual.  I have tried to be honest and balanced in my review as I think this helps perspective guests set their expectations and helps them to select a cruise lines that works for them.  I usually like to end my review with would I cruise on this ship again.  Well, yes and no.  I would not cruise Mariner on a cold weather cruise where there was a possibility of a full ship.  I would probably cruise Mariner again a hot weather cruise if the itinerary was right but it may not be my first choice. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We did a 16 day cruise around the Caribbean.The weather was amazing and the crew could not have been more helpful. My wife and I paid a premium to go on this ship. All gratuities and drinks were included. We have completed about 11 ... Read More
We did a 16 day cruise around the Caribbean.The weather was amazing and the crew could not have been more helpful. My wife and I paid a premium to go on this ship. All gratuities and drinks were included. We have completed about 11 cruises on different ships. This was the first time on Azamara Journey. We enjoyed every part of the cruise except one thing which we consider very important and ruined the overall cruise. That was the deck chairs. For a luxury 700 passenger ship we expected to be able to sit around the pool on a nice day. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure a deck chair on the pool deck most days. On some days we had to sit in the Living room lounge as there were absolutely no chairs available. What annoyed me more than anything else was that there were always about 30 chairs with personal items on them but no one around. They had been "reserved" early in the day by passengers who wanted a deck chair for the day. Although there were signs up saying not to do this, the crew did nothing about it. I was so annoyed I took several photos of chairs that were reserved with personal items on them and went about 45 minutes later and no one had been sitting on the chairs. When I pay a premium for a cruise I do not expect this sort of thing to happen and I do expect to be able to find a deck chair for my wife and I. If you go on this ship do not expect to be able to sit on a deck chair most nice hot days.. I can understand this on a budget ship but not a ship of this standard Until they sort this out I probably will not be cruising with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Smallish boat/ship that has accommodation for about 50 people but with a staff ratio of 1 to 2 cruisers. Huge cabins that are exquisitely equipped, spotlessly clean and unbelievably sound proofed. All cabins have an exterior sliding door ... Read More
Smallish boat/ship that has accommodation for about 50 people but with a staff ratio of 1 to 2 cruisers. Huge cabins that are exquisitely equipped, spotlessly clean and unbelievably sound proofed. All cabins have an exterior sliding door and a full sized bathroom that would do many hotels proud. The shower is full sized and is welcome after a day exploring on the land. Each stop is associated with well organized and interesting tours that are included in the tour cost. Great food and open seating with casual clothing OK for any meal - meals are actually low stress and fun This cruise is well above what you get on most ocean going ships and really sets the bar very high with regard to quality and value for money Non-alcoholic drinks and beer are included and any cocktail or drink ordered is reasonably priced. All meals come with good quality free wine and each day their is a free cocktail happy hour (the cocktails are superb). What sets this cruise apart though is the staff who seem to enjoy your company - nothing is too much trouble. I world definitely recommend this cruise and I am alraedy planning to go again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
A friend told us of a "bargain" cruise on the Silver Wind sailing from San Juan. Therefore, we signed up for the cruise. The Silver Wind is an older ship which apparently is due for a makeover in 2020. Also, it is supposed to ... Read More
A friend told us of a "bargain" cruise on the Silver Wind sailing from San Juan. Therefore, we signed up for the cruise. The Silver Wind is an older ship which apparently is due for a makeover in 2020. Also, it is supposed to outfitted to sail to Norway and even the Arctic. In any event, I had read reviews online about how it is an older ship. Indeed it is. There are a number of pluses about the Silver Wind. It is a small ship with not too many decks. Thus, it is easy to get around without thousands of people being on board. The ship still has a nice design, and we were always able to find seating in the theater, unlike some larger ships on which we have traveled. There are basically 3 restaurants: the main restaurant, with open, anytime seating; La Dame, in which it is hard to get a reservation, and The Grill/Hot Rocks on deck 8 by the pool bar. For the most part, the food was good. The dinner at La Dame was excellent, as was the service. Dinner at Hot Rocks was also good; I like to choose the meat and cook it on the hot stone. Of course, others chose to have the chef cook their entrees. Lunch at The Grill, however, was hit or miss. My wife ordered a reuben. Anybody who knows what a real reuben sandwich is would be appalled. The sandwich had a few very thin slices of some processed meat, nothing like what a reuben is supposed to be. Even though my wife complained, the chef either didn't care or couldn't change it since the same lame sandwich was offered the whole cruise. Service in the dining rooms was usually quite good. The sommeliers are excellent, and the ship has a decent wine list, although some of the wines are a little overpriced. The serving staff was quite friendly as well. Generally, the bar drinks were good, though some were a little off. The pool had a number of lounges. Usually some were available, at least in the morning, since the cruise had no sea days. The pool was closed once for "sanitation". It is a small pool not conducive to swimming. The cruise director Colin is engaging and an extremely talented pianist. The singers were quite good; 2 of them had operatic voices. The shows were entertaining. The lecturer was John Pennycate, who gave several interesting historical lectures, although he was not allowed to talk about the controversial subject of the use of nuclear bombs during World War II. Our butler Ranni was hit or miss. For example, once we asked Ranni for a bottle of white wine, 2 diet Cokes and extra glasses. He didn't bring any of them. Other times, he brought ice as needed for me to ice my knee post surgery. Our room steward Karin was good, although she forgot to leave us wash clothes once. The ports of call were often lesser known Caribbean islands. The most well known was St. Barths. The only ship shore excursion we took was to Belle Mont Farms for lunch and an island tour of St. Kitts. The lunch was good with many ingredients grown on the site, and there was more than enough to eat. The tour was all right, but not outstanding. Also, the tour seemed a little pricey for what we got. On Antigua we had booked a tour through Costco which was much cheaper, although the lunch there could not hold a candle to the one on St. Kitts. For the most part the excursions were for snorkeling, sailing, etc. The one to the Baths apparently was somewhat risky since some people slipped going down around or through the rocks. The Silver Wind is not designed for children travelers, but several families brought children. There are not child activities on board. That having been said, this was our last Silversea cruise. The people on our deck were notified that the hot water would be turned off from 2:30 PM to approximately 3:30 PM for maintenance. Nothing else was said, and no warnings were given. When my wife took a shower later that afternoon, she noticed that her white wash cloth turned rust colored. When she dried off, rust-colored spots dotted her bath towel. Obviously, there was a lot of rust in the line, but the ship's personnel did not warn anyone of that possibility. My wife called the butler, who said that he was sorry. Then he ran the cold water. After he left, I turned the temperature to all hot water and let it run a long time. The bathtub floor was filled with dirt, sand, rocks and rust. I went to the reception desk and complained that they could have waited until the ship docked at the end of the cruise to do the work. The receptionist claimed that it was an "emergency". If it was an emergency, the work should have been done immediately, not hours later. I told the receptionist that at least the ship should have warned passengers about the possibility of dirt, rust, etc coming out of the shower and faucet and told them to run the hot water for a long time. The receptionist claimed that rust and dirt had never come out of any faucets or showers before. I told her that was extremely difficult to believe given how old the ship was, the maintenance problems and the likely result. After all, a hot water line broke earlier in the cruise, requiring the ship to move the occupants of two suites to other accommodations. Furthermore, outside of a perfunctory "I'm sorry" initially from the reception, there was never any apology from the hotel manager or anyone from the cruise line. Apparently, they felt that it was not a problem. We have sailed many cruises. While maintenance issues can pop up from time to time, we have never experienced anything close to what occurred on this cruise. The water coming out of the tub faucet at times looked like sewer water, and it left enough residue for us to start our own dirt lot. To cover my wife in rusty, dirty water was truly appalling. Not to apologize formally for such a horrible incident, however, is inexcusable for any cruise line, much less a so-called luxury cruise line. So I hope that Silversea enjoyed our dollars. They won't be getting any more from us ever again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I'll start this review as I have started all of my previous ones, with a bit of an introduction: My wife and I do 2-3 cruises a year, nearly all of them with Celebrity. We are 30 & 26 years old respectively, and have sailed the ... Read More
I'll start this review as I have started all of my previous ones, with a bit of an introduction: My wife and I do 2-3 cruises a year, nearly all of them with Celebrity. We are 30 & 26 years old respectively, and have sailed the Caribbean a half-dozen times. I will be writing this with the target audience of "First Timers" and will hope to shed some light on what we enjoy, and don't enjoy about cruising with Celebrity, and on the beautiful Equinox. Why this cruise? My wife is a school teacher, so we take a 7 day cruise every year on her Spring Break. We don't have bitter winters here in Central Alabama, but the end of March is the perfect time to hop down into the beautiful weather that the Caribbean offers year-round. We started off cruising Carnival years ago, but ultimately made the jump to Celebrity as we wanted something more sophisticated and relaxing. We don't like to be charged for every single item on a cruise, so we love that Celebrity allows us to go for the "all inclusive" package. We book through a wonderful Travel Agent who only does cruises. We went on board with a drink package, prepaid tips (paid by TA), and $450 on board credit. With Celebrity, the OBC can be used to book excursions, specialty restaurants, on board shopping, or virtually anything else you buy on board. Frankly, its one of the main reasons we sail with Celebrity. All in all, we got a beautiful Concierge Class Balcony and all the perks for well under $3000 for the entire trip. We brought about $500 US in cash for port spending and tipping on board.We have found that, with all of the inclusions, its really hard to beat Celebrity on price. Add in the service and the wonderful food, and its a no-brainer for us. We also have been fortunate enough to have my parents join us for each of the last three spring break cruises. Its wonderful to be on any cruise ship, but even better when you can spend the time with family. My parents being older, do not want a "party cruise". Celebrity offers a wonderful atmosphere that allows everyone to have a great time but not at the expense of others. The Equinox: After having sailed on her twice, it comes as zero surprise that the Equinox wins "Best Overall" on CruiseCritic every year. Its a beautiful ship with a very user friendly layout. At 121k GT, it sits right in the happy medium of cruise ships in terms of size. There is plenty to do, plenty of room, and yet still small enough to be able to get comfortable with the entire ship over the course of 7 short days. Our two favorite areas of the ship are the sundeck and the main atrium. Both are absolutely stunning whether it is day or night. Decks 3-6 are where all the magic happens. Bars surround the atrium on all sides but they are presented in a way that is very classy and doesn't ever feel crowded. The four main bars that we frequent are all very different in design and styles, and they are spread out in a way that no place ever feels particularly crowded. The martini bar and the Gastropub are opposite each other from the atrium. One serves decadent martinis in dozens of flavors and all is served in a beautiful lounge and a solid ice bar top. The Gastropub has the feel of a rustic craft beer bar that has an awesome selection of beers from around the world. This bar has ESPN running on TVs so it was crowded while the NCAA basketball tournament was going. The World Class bar is a really cool bar near the art gallery and shops. This bar has two "mixologist" that are expert beverage makers. I go here to experiment and try new drinks that I may not have tried otherwise. This requires the premium drink package, but you can literally tell them you like whisky, citrus, and sweet drinks and they will come up with something you've never tried before. Its a wonderful place to hang out before dinner or after shows, especially if your wife enjoys shopping as much as mine does! This last bar is my personal favorite: The Sunset Bar. Its an outdoor bar that is open from morning til late at night. It is at the top of the boat and at the aft, so the breeze and views are breathtaking. The Equinox, like all Solstice class ships, are covered in real grass on the aft 1/3 of the top deck. Its something extremely unique about Celebrity and its really neat to be in the middle of the ocean and have grass between your toes. All in all, its a wonderfully balanced ship. Its large enough for there to be plenty of options in how you spend your days, but small enough to still feel intimate. Captain Kate Mccue: Oh Captain, My Captain! I'll admit I was a skeptic at first. Not that I thought she was a bad Captain, but I didn't believe a Captain could have a significant impact on a cruise vacation. Most Captains that I have sailed with are only worried about doing their jobs, getting us to and from our destinations safely, and they allow the entertainers and the service staff to provide us a good time. And while that is completely fine, Captain Kate is amazing! Her personality infects the entire ship and everyone stops what they are doing when she speaks over the PA. She is an awesome Captain, and every single bit as good as she is advertised. I cannot say enough how impressed I am with her, other than it would be a mistake for Celebrity to ever let her go! Stateroom: Concierge Cabin (C2) Room 1249. The stateroom is the same as any veranda on the ship outside of Suites, but this cabin does offer a unique feature that only a few cabins on the entire ship offer... a larger balcony. The Equinox has a few "bump outs" or "humps" in her design that cause a few of the cabins on each floor "bulge" out a few feet. At the angles of these "bumps" you get a slanted balcony. From the nearest corner, it is no smaller than any other balcony on the ship, but at its widest, its nearly twice as long. Our deck chairs came with ottomans and the chairs reclined enough that we effectively had loungers on our balconies. We didn't get quite the breeze off the balcony due to where we were, but the extra balcony space will be missed on the cruises that we dont have it. Room layout is spacious enough for a cruise cabin, our bed was near the balcony compared to others that are near the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, its about average in size if you are used to balcony rooms. The shower has simple but elegant sliding glass door that doesn't waste any space. In concierge class we had access to slightly better bathroom toiletries and cosmetics. My wife didn't seem particularly impressed with the shampoo, but there could have been other factors that led to that. Dining: In this section is where we found the best and worst that our particular vacation had to offer. We went into this cruise knowing we would be doing a night or two in specialty dining, specifically Murano. I'll dive into the specialty restaurants in a bit, but lets get the not-so-pleasant out of the way. Please understand that we have never had an issue in the Main Dining Room. Celebrity does dining very well, and I'd even argue that it is one of their strengths. This time, we just weren't impressed. My wife, myself, and my parents got sat at a very nice four top. The MDR is crowded as it is on all ships, so that didn't bother us. We had a very nice and attentive head waiter, and the food both nights that we dined there was excellent. The bar/drink service however, was severely lacking. My father and I managed to get our wine quickly enough usually, but my wife and mother waited 15-30 minutes for their bar drinks every time they ordered. It became such an issue that our poor head waiter would go off running to get the drinks himself. This isn't a major issue, I am aware of that, but I expect more from Celebrity. After two identical services with the identical problems we called our Concierge (perk of concierge class) and told her about the issue and she asked if she could inform the Maitre'D. Literally 5 minutes later the Maitre'D had ran up to our rooms to apologize, hear our feedback, and promised to improve the service going forward. People, this is what makes Celebrity different. There are 3000 people eating dinner in his beautiful dining room, and he stopped mid-service to run up to our room to personally apologize and ask how to fix it. The next day we got back from a day at port and my parents and I each had a bottle of nice champagne from the Maitre'D, it was a wonderful gesture and we were impressed. Now as it turned out, we had a reservation at the famous Murano that evening. When we left Murano we were so blown away that we called our Concierge and asked her to book us in specialty dining for the remainder of the cruise. These restaurants are not free, nor cheap, but our concierge got us 20-40% off the listed price each night we dined in a specialty restaurant. So, in the end we never got to go back in the MDR, but I am convinced that the issues would have been fixed. Murano If you do one thing on a Celebrity Cruise, eat dinner at Murano. The first night of the cruise they offer it at a discount if you book ahead of time. My father and I are "foodies" and love fine dining. We both agreed that the Murano dinner service and quality of food is an experience that would be incredible even if it weren't on a cruise ship. Every single aspect, from the bread to the Grand Marnier Souffle is perfect. Lobster Murano is a top 5 dish that I have ever experiences and is cooked table side with everything from bacon, to lobster cooked in a cognac mustard creme sauce. We were so impressed that we booked it for every remaining night of the cruise that we could. One night they were fully booked, so we tried Tuscan Grille. It was very good, but with it being a for-fee Italian steakhouse, we left miserably full compared to the lighter and more elegant Murano. Entertainment & Activities This will be rather short as we did not attend any of the main productions in the theater. Celebrity keeps the same shows for 3-5 years before cycling them out, with us sailing on the Equinox as frequently as we do, there weren't any that we hadn't already seen. We did however attend the comedy shows and watch a lot of live music. The comedian was great and the house band was excellent as well. Celebrity offers other activities like bingo, concerts, seminars, and workshops that many find to be fantastic. Admittedly we mainly go find somewhere quiet near a bar, as we are both young and always seem to be around crowds on land, we enjoy a more laid back experience on the boat. Service With the exception of the MDR, which I consider a fluke rather than a flaw, service is impeccable on Celebrity. Tipping is a hot topic on any cruise forum, but I can definitively say that when I hand a bartender or my room steward a $10/$20 bill on the first day, they take care of my wife and I the rest of the voyage. I personally try to find a specific bartender in my most regular bars and tip heavy on days 1/2. I tip $1 a drink the remainder of the time and I am having another drink brought to me before the first one is finished. Celebrity has a wonderful staff and an underappreciated staff/guest ratio. I think the reason they named it "Celebrity Cruises" is because of how they want each and every guest to feel. It really is what makes them so special. Cafe Al Bacio: I couldn't figure out the best place to include this place in any of my previous sections, so I ultimately decided that it needed its own. Bacio is arguably the most loved place on the ship. They are a full service coffee & dessert bar that is open all day. In the morning people are getting their day started with anything from a cappuccino to a cup of decaf, and late at night every table is full with people winding down in the low light setting of an old city jazz bar. The live music from the atrium fills the bar and its just a super unique place to relax and enjoy yourselves. It sounds so simple and quaint, but I am amazed that every cruise ship in the world doesn't mimic this place into their own. Ports & Excursions: We loved every port we stopped at. We are very familiar with the Western Caribbean so only Key West was a first time port for us. Everyone has different interests at respective ports, so I will just tell you what we do every time and you look for more information if you wish. Key West: We wandered on our own, Key West isnt a large town and most of the cool stuff is near the ship. There are tours galore and a really neat aquarium nearby. Grab you a piece of Key Lime Pie and a Conch Fritter and enjoy your first stop of the cruise! Grand Cayman: 7 Mile Beach at Calico Jacks. You go to this beach for the water as it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. CJ's is great, but very crowded. Costa Maya: New favorite port in the Western Caribbean. The port itself is a maze, but very very beautiful. We find our way out and go to Maya Chan Beach Resort every chance we get. Check it out, its the epitome of a relaxing beach day. Cozumel: I have an answer to the famous Sancho's vs Nochi debate... Sancho's is the best! All inclusive, wonderful service, and a beautiful (safe) beach. We go every time we are in Cozumel and have no plans of changing! In Conclusion: My wife and I fell in love with cruising on our honeymoon and have been blessed to go one more than most our age. Celebrity is a perfect fit for what we want to do and how we want to spend our time on the boat. Its generally an older crowd, but we cruise like "older people". We have 2 more cruises currently booked with Celebrity, and 81 days cannot get here soon enough! Read Less

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