I just finished my Celebrity survey so while it's still fresh in my head I thought I would come here and share my thoughts for better or worse.
My wife and I sailed on the July 25-August 1 first return to service sailing of the Equinox. This was my fifth cruise and first with X, the previous ones being either Carnival or Princess. Rather than trying to compose a narrative I'm just going to post bullet points and you can decide whether they are positives or negatives.
This is only the second cruise I've paid for, Alaska being the other. My wife gets "free" cruise offers from he casino all the time so our other cruises have only cost tips, port fees and transport to the port. We paid close to $1800 for the two of us for an inside cabin.
The embarkation process wasn't bad. I used a X transfer from the airpot and met my wife, who was already in town after sailing on the Edge by herself the previous week. We were scheduled for 2:00 but they did let us on a little early, which was nice because their transfer company dropped me off around 12:00 and the sun was hot. There wasn't great communication between the workers because you could ask the same question to two different people and get different answers.
We were in cabin 7150. It was extremely clean and in great condition but it was easily the tiniest cabin I've ever been in. The beds were curved at the foot so no matter how I tried to position myself one foot was hanging off. Fortunately I don't go on cruises to spend a lot of time in my cabin.
The ship was elegant in an understated way. Very nice, spotless and quite comfortable. I can't say it was a whole level of luxury above the Princess ships I've experienced, but it was very nice.
The Captain and Cruise Director were nice and personable. The Captain did a donut in the harbor to celebrate their return to cruising and he seemed quite proud of it. He did a talk about the building and operation of the ship and was both funny and informative.
Buffet was served. You grab your plate and the servers handle the utensils and put the food on it for you. I never had to wait more than a couple of minutes so it wasn't an inconvenience at all. I actually liked this better than the old way of everybody putting their filthy hands on the spoons. Given we were sailing at reduced capacity I'm not certain how well it will work once they return to 100%.
Service in the main dining room started out very slow and improved only to moderately slow by the end of the cruise. You could tell the staff hadn't worked together before and so they were not communicating well and getting in each other's way. I expect this will improve a lot in coming weeks and they develop a routine.
Overall food quality was excellent. I think this was probably the best food of any of my (admittedly few) cruises. I thin there was only one entree that I didn't care for and that might just have been a taste preference and not a quality issue. If I had access to food this good at home I would weigh 400 pounds!
I was told that since Celebrity is a premium cruise line I would see a different level of behavior than the Carnival ("the Walmart of cruise lines") crowd, but I didn't see as much of a difference as I was expecting. There were not as many loud, public drunks but they were just replaced by more people being jerks to the staff. Some people just love being bullies and apparently poor foreign cruise ship staff just trying to make a meager living are their favorite targets. The poor girl who stood outside the buffet directing people to wash their hands took way more abuse than anyone should have to endure. I saw some really nasty and uncalled for behavior from people who were old enough to know better.
The shows were great. They had two well-known comedians, Dan Grueter and Ronn Lucas, as well as some great production shows. Best dancers I've seen on a cruise.
The reduced capacity made many things easier. You hardly ever had to wait for an elevator and leaving/entering the ship at the ports was speedy.
My overall impression is that we had a great time, and it was great to get back out on the ocean on a big ship again. My enthusiasm was somewhat tempered because between the time in late May when we booked and the time we sailed three of the original ports (PR, DR and Tortola) were deleted. Of the three ports we visited (St. Marrten, St. Thomas and Nassau) only one was on the schedule when I paid for the cruise. I know we could have shifted but my wife had a short time window and we wold have lost $400 in flight change fees. I really wanted to see PR and had already been to 2/3 of the ports we visited.
We had a good time and both agree we would do it again, but based on this one example I'm not sure that I see as big of a difference between the X experience and my four previous cruises on 'lower tier' lines as I was expecting based on this forum.