Me and my wife, both 33 had chosen the equinox since we had previously done symphony and bliss late last year. Although the dry dock was soon coming I knew (or thought) the food and service would shift our expectations to a positive light. This my wife’s 5th cruise and my... well I stopped counting a while ago.
We arrived late at the port, closer to 2pm. As expected, embarkation was a breeze. Maybe 15 minutes taxi to ship.
Ship Appearance: (pre dry dock)
The ship looked good, I had sailed the silhouette in 2014 and everything was basically the same. There were some independent contractors on board doing some repair work to various doors and parts of the ship but this was kept to one area at a time and did not really effect anyone.
6291 (2C) balcony was great size wise. It had a little extra space do to its position on the ship but some people would call it an obstructive view. We were directly above blu restaurant and at midnight and 4am there would be a ton of noise for about 5-10 minutes and then stop. Since I booked a gty category this is something I had to live with albeit not a deal breaker.
The bed was bad and the pillows even worse. The bed was hard as a rock and the pillows were as thin as crackers.
Leroy, was fantastic. A true highlight of our cruise. Every request was made and he was a true ninja. I don’t know where he was hiding but everyday like clockwork our rooms were turned over twice. Some days we did not even leave the room until 1pm and it would still get done.
If I had to say the average age on this ship was 47 years old. Not too old but this is a weeklong Caribbean cruise so that is expected. Less then 15 kids under 18 and 1 infant. I did notice half of the people were from Canada and a lot of people from England as well. Maybe 5-6 sets of lgbt.
To be honest I was a little skeptical of captain Kate to begin with. Not at all because she was a woman but because how interactive she is known to be with guests. She made me coffee and wished me goodbye of the gangway during disembarkation and I was the 3rd guest off. I personally did enjoy those touches. Her announcements were comical and informative. She was also the most punctual and clear speaking captain I have ever heard, she could be a radio host.
Perfect setup, never busy and relatively new machines.
Well laid out but busy on sea days. This was the first time I can remember having to circle the dining room 2 times to actually find a seat. On port days it was manageable. The food quality in the buffet was hit and miss which did not reflect my 2014 experience on silhouette where all the food all the time was flawless.
Most desserts (sad) cheesecake in MDR was the only thing I liked the first night. The rest of the cruise it was not as sweet as the first.
Meat carving stations
Room service food and selection
French fries everywhere are undercooked
Sushi on 5 was mediocre but I’m a huge sushi snob. My wife loved it
Regular coffee is basically coffee flavored water
Murano, excellent as before
Most MDR dishes were good, portions were smaller then last time I believe
Indian station in buffet
Pizza station in buffet
Ice cream in buffet
I had 3 burgers, one was amazing and the other 2 were like rubber ducks between bread
Me and my wife had the classic package and maybe spent an additional $25 on drinks so for us it was not worth the $140 for both of us to upgrade to the premium package. The beers were abundant and they would usually go in the back to get what they did not have.
Bartenders and Bar service: (detailed)
Sunset bar: While visiting here nightly, the 2 Jamaican bartenders were downright rude and even drunk on several occasions. The closing time was posted at 1am, at around 12:04 on the first night I asked for 2 drinks and was hit with a rude “ We are about to close but I’ll make you some”
The next night the same thing, they were very cold, distant and again drunk. It was only when I asked for a receipt and tipped $5 did this change things (as expected)
Although they would still seem to “forget” me every night until they were paid to remember me again. This was probably the sour spot of the cruise just because how much I enjoyed the aft view of the ship.
Sky observation lounge:
Our other favorite spot. Bartenders were hit and miss. Most did not know how to make the special drinks in the bar menu and would reference flash cards. Service overall was quick.
Impossible to grab attention of a waiter. I had to go to the bar and tell them to bring it to me each time. Did not go here more than 3 times. The drinks in the bar book here are yummy though.
Quasar: (“the nightclub”)
Probably the worst nightclub on a ship I’ve been to. It’s not really a nightclub or a bar or a lounge. It is a weird space and hopefully will be turned into something different during the dry dock.
Again, they closed the bar at 8pm instead of the posted 9pm. The bartender offered us beer but was counting the liquor before putting it away so he could not make us a cocktail. Also this place gets way to smoky during the day.
Like many others before me we missed out on trying the food here. Drinks were good but service was slow!
Best drinks and best service winner overall.
Overall bar experience.
Was fair, not poor. Bartenders in passport and 2 bartenders in sky saved the cruise. I just don’t think they were motivated to be there, Be it the tips that week were poor or the end of their contracts, the bar staff was not motivated and did not do a good job. I did not visit the world class bar, casino and martini bar so I can not comment
Comedian was good and marriage show was just okay. Im not big on cruise ship plays and musicals except for Disney so I’m kind of partial.
Ports: (San Juan, St Thomas Nassau and Punta Cana)
I won’t comment on San Juan St Thomas and Nassau as I have been there a bunch. I was super excited for PC and we missed it as all the previous cruises here from celebrity have. In the back of my mind I expected this to happen
Punta Cana sticks out on the edge of the Dominican Republic so the water is always rough. Only a few voyages have been able to successfully tender here. We pulled up and anchored, you can feel the ship rocking more than the whole cruise. Captain Kate announced that the tenders were unsafe to board from the ship. So we pulled away.
With the late call in San Juan it was like 4 sea days. Quite a bunch for a 7 day cruise IMHO.
Terrible payout on slots that’s all I will say.
Very quick, not as fast as royals but second best among cruise lines.
Easiest debarkation ever! Room to taxi literally 8 minute walk through.
I liked the ship, a lot more toned down then what we are used too. It will be a while before we try celebrity again to be honest. I like all the lines and am not loyal to any, they all have there good and bad.
It is safe say there has been cutbacks in the last 5 years. The MDR was spectacular last time and left no reason to venture to specialty restaurants. I was asked 8 times if I had a dining package or reservation. I did get great discounts (they were negotiating) on Murano and sushi on 5. Since we had a lot of OBC we decided why not. Murano I would go back to and pay full price no problem.
IMHO NCL has a better buffet product and RCCL has better MDR food. Although that might be skewed because we were on their newest ships. But I swear, noticeably better.
The age for us was a tad older which is not a problem but I think it is suited better to an older crowd. Less to do in general and everything is closed by 1am. The edge might be our next celebrity ship in a few years but I still have to show the wife Carnival, Disney Princess and possibly try Oceania.