Cruise Critic People I’m currently on the Celebrity Equinox day 10 of a 12 day southern Caribbean cruise. We did Aruba yesterday and will be doing Curacao today and then two days at sea back at Fort Lauderdale. I will now give you the Pro’s and Con’s of this cruise. Just to let you know I’ve done 14 cruises (about 1 a year) of which 10 were with Celebrity. I’m currently on the 11th floor in AquaClass. PRO’s 1. Getting on the ship – Much faster. I had a 2:30 get on and got to the dock at 1pm. I was on the ship before 1:25. 2. Staff is as exceptionally friendly. Really not much different than before. 3. The ship is very very clean. Even more so due to covid. You can see them at all hours of the day and night deep cleaning and sanitizing. 4. You can never get rid of chair hogs at the pool, but due to the population on this ship around half; the pool and pool chairs are much more readily accessible. 5. Ship is designed for cell phone usage. You will need your cell phone so that you can make appointments for dinner or the spa. Much more convenient and quicker. Yes you can still do it the old way too. 6. Room TV’s now compatible for USB. Yes, I’m a TV addict and will often bring a jump drive full of movies or TV shows that I want to binge watch. Now you can plug right into the USB port of the TV and get a directory of your movies. It appears only AVI movies work. MKZ does not work. Also, I have been known to bring my own TV remote, but didn’t really need it this time. My TV is a Samsung model HG43NF690GFXZA. I brought a 256 gb jump drive full of movies. 7. Room steward is fantastic! Aren’t they always! Great room steward. 8. Evening entertainment has been very good. Notice I didn’t say excellent?! Think of a very cheap casino on the Vegas Strip. That is how the entertainment is. 9. Internet speed. You have your choice of slow and fast. I can only comment on the fast. Price was around $399, but if you are Elite you get 30% off which brought the price down to around $240 for one user. Yes, only one user, but can be switched from one device to another at no charge. OK, now for the bad news. CON’s 1. Food quality and selection (even in the buffet) is terrible. Golden Corral or Denny’s quality at best. You will get sick of it quickly. Fruit under-ripe for the first few days. Same menus day after day. No midnight buffets, no big parades of food anymore either. I go on cruises for the food and now, what should be so simple, they ruined. Even at the fancy restaurants, they are just taking their regular food and just making it look fancy. I ordered Salmon Sushi rolls and the salmon inside the rolls was the same smoked salmon from breakfast. Really! 2. Lack of bar attendants so you can’t order (All Inclusive) drinks. I had the AI and before shows no drink attendants. Up at the buffet no drink attendants, by the pool no drink attendants: most areas – no drink attendants. OK, if you look hard, sometimes you can find one. Often times I just gave up. Stop at one of the bars on the ship to get your drink before dinner or a show. 3. Very difficult to tell what is covered on the regular drink package and the better one. I have the regular one. Much too often the bar attendant would tell me that there would be an upcharge for what I wanted like a strawberry slushee or something else. It’s not real clear what is included in each drink package. Keep in mind that you glass of wine will likely be part of your AI, but if you want to purchase the entire bottle, you only get 15% off the price of the bottle. So it pays to get drinks by the glass. 4. Celebrity has set the schedules of all the restaurants, so that around lunch time you are forced to eat at Golden Corral on deck 14. They want everyone to eat there. Deck 14 is called Silhouette (buffet) and it is cheap slop. 5. Stopping at the various islands and the ship won’t let you off (due to covid) – forcing us to book a Celebrity tour to get off the ship. 6. Sushi use to be free every night. Now it is pay only. I use to love the sushi before dinner. Nope, not any more. Not only that, but the Sushi on 5 restaurant opens at 3pm. Can’t even have it for lunch anymore. The prices are like a high end sushi restaurant. The restaurant is normally empty. 7. Qsine specialty restaurant at $55 / person – Quality and Quantity lacking. (I had to go up to the buffet after dinner to get more food. Small quantities do not always mean better!). On the other hand if you are traveling with an 8 year old and they want to see a 3D cartoon on their plate, then by all means go to this restaurant. 8. Food quality is poor to mediocre. Steaks are tasteless or too tough. Things are overcooked or undercooked. Overall, there is nothing REALLY good at any time. 9. If you paid extra for AquaClass and Persian Gardens – it is now by appointment only. They only book 8 people at a time. Even with the boat half full, appointments book up quick. My suggestion is to book all your days quickly. 10. The hot tubs allow a maximum of only 3 people. Yes there are many Karen’s who monitor this and will not let you in if you try and put 4 people in the hot tub. Overall, AquaClass is not worth it any more. You don’t get all the benefits and the food in Blu is pretty much the same as in the main dining room. 11. Activities are minimal and often downright silly waste of time. If you like going to Trivia or playing silly games, then by all means go ahead. Most of their activities are a silly waste of time. 12. When a show or activity is over, there is no control of allow people to leave without clustering together. In other words, no social distancing. 13. They use the same rag to clean every table instead of using a new cloth or paper. I remember some restaurants where I live using a new clean paper towel for each table so as not to spread covid. Not here, they use the same rag from table to table. 14. The Persian Garden sounds good on paper, but keep in mind with only two saunas, what happens when one sauna is down for repairs for two days or a group reserves all the good times? Not good. 15. Passengers are supposed to wear masks when off the boat. Many did not and nobody said anything. 16. Many of the tours like Aruba were more trying to sell us Aloa Vera than showing us the island. 17. Many of the on-ship activities now cost! Yes, going to the Deal or No Deal game show on the boat or some other activities now costs. 18. Water – yes water! They are now serving water in aluminum cans instead of plastic water bottles. The water from the aluminum cans tastes “tinny”. I’ve been ordering more Coke and drinking less water due to this tinny taste. SIDE NOTE 1: There is a router in each room. For those who are computer literate: They are Aruba brand routers, model AP-303H-US. If you slide the front up, you then have access to four RJ45 ports on the bottom and 1 more inside the router. I have not played with them yet, but might. They appear functional. SIDE NOTE 2: You can use a Travelmate Titan (Google it if you don’t know what it is) to divide your internet among up to four users. A very handy device: Ex: if you brought two laptops and two cell phones as I did and you want to connect them all at the same time? It works fine. Just keep in mind that if your speed is 400 mbps, when you connect four devices all using the Internet it divides it by 4, which means 100 mbps for each user. The speed of the Internet varies. In the middle of the night is the fastest speeds. Morning, Late afternoon or early evening is the busiest and consequently the slowest. Expect to see speeds change from 400 mbps to as slow as 0.50 mbps. Hope some of the above helps you.