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  1. Can anyone tell me what changes have been made to the equinox? I heard that the solstice deck is now for suite guests only. Any other additions and exclusions?
  2. We had cabin 9131, which is located forward portside. The smoking area is below on deck 5. The smoke smell was pretty strong both at sea and in port, depending on wind direction. Will not be booking this area in the future.
  3. 11-night Southern Caribbean. Itinerary: Ft. Lauderdale, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Antiqua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Ft. Lauderdale CABIN: 1625 (Aqua Class) We’re 53 years old, married 23 years. For cuisine, I eat everything and my wife is a pescatarian (vegetarian and seafood). This is our 13th cruise overall, fourth on Celebrity and second on Equinox. In addition to Celebrity we’ve sailed Princess, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Holland America and NCL. We'll be sailing Virgin Voyages in 2020. As you read through this you might think some areas are negative, but you’re paying good money to go on your cruise so I like to give a true sense of what everything was like for us. It’s very difficult to have a “bad cruise” because after all, you’re on a cruise ship being pampered day and night by the crew. The main difference between cruises is the level of service from the crew, the amount and types of activities, and the quality of the food as you compare ships. It’s primarily the level of service from the crews that make each ship experience unique and what ultimately ensures you have a great cruise. I’m arranging this review by topic such as Embarkation, Ship, Dining, Excursions instead of by day so you can read everything about a topic at once. At the end of this review is a “Quick Tips” section for first time Celebrity Cruisers followed by the Excursions. PRE-CRUISE HOTEL We always come into a port at least one day early to ensure no surprises getting to the ship. For this trip we returned to the Embassy Suites 17th Street. We’ve stayed there at a few times because while it’s dated, it is convenient to a shopping center that includes a Publix supermarket and several decent restaurants. The rooms are generously large as the hotel is older. But the hotel is not really that well cared for and at this point, we’re done with this hotel especially since we finally discovered the ease of the Water Taxi on this last trip. The Water Taxi is inexpensive for an all-day pass and it drops you off at Los Olas Blvd. and other locations around Ft. Lauderdale as well as having a leg that goes to Hollywood. There is a Hilton Marina hotel just down 17th street from the Embassy Suites that has a Water Taxi stop right outside. The Taxi runs till 10pm so plenty of time to grab dinner and hop a ride back to the hotel. Admittedly the Hilton does not rate much better than Embassy Suites when you look at the travel sites, but the ease of hopping the Water Taxi to explore the city is more appealing than the shopping center behind Embassy Suites. And if we need to go to the shopping center, it’s about a 15 minute walk up 17th Street. The Embassy Suites does have a cruise shuttle, but we opted to use Lyft for the ride to the port and it was $14 for a standard Lyft. We had two full sized suitcases, a carry-on piece of luggage and two backpacks. All fit easily into the standard car and we were at the port in less than 15 minutes. EMBARKATION Embarkation was quite smooth thanks to the newly refurbished Celebrity Cruises Terminal 25 at Port Everglades. One tip, when you come up the escalator after security, you’ll come into the main waiting room area. Instead of joining the bunched-up crowd at the top of the escalator, head to the far end of the waiting room where there is a second ship entrance. We found it far less crowded over there. The audio communications in the waiting room were very difficult to understand. Anytime an announcement was made, we had to ask the workers what was being said. Celebrity would do well to install large screen TVs above the ship entrances so we can clearly see who is boarding as they run through the various levels. We did take advantage of the digital check-in in advance having uploaded our photos so we were able to walk onboard using our boarding pass on our phones. It was such an easy boarding process without the need to stand in lines, get room keys and such. Go straight to the waiting room and then go onboard the ship when our group was called. Immediately after boarding we were able to drop off our carry-ons in our cabin which was awesome so we could explore the ship without lugging anything around. Our cabin cards (keys) were waiting outside the cabin. A great improvement over waiting until 1pm just to be able to drop stuff off. THE SHIP This was our fourth time sailing a Solstice Class ship, second time sailing Equinox, with the other two being the Silhouette and Reflection. Equinox differs from the others with the Hollywood Hot Glass show up in the Lawn Club area, formerly the Corning Museum Hot Glass Show. Equinox went through a partial dry-dock refurbishment in March of this year. All the original planned ‘revolutionized’ changes were not completed due to an issue when a Royal Caribbean ship caused some damage at the original drydock location. Equinox had to be rescheduled for another location across the Atlantic. Due to the change of location and shorter drydock timeframe, some planned changes will not be completed until the second drydock in 2021. She has a lot of European styling throughout, it evokes the feel of a classic ocean liner with many modern touches. Yes that is real grass up on the Lawn Club, Deck 15. It’s a fun place to gather and they have lawn games like Bocce to play. The Solarium Indoor Pool is one of the nicer indoor pools at sea. One ‘revolutioned’ addition is the Retreat Sundeck up on Deck 15 forward reserved for Suite guests only. From what we could see there is very little shade up there, it really is a SUN deck. Two more ‘revolutionized’ additions are the Cabanas and the large screen on the Lawn Club on Deck 15 aft. More on these later. Aside from those two obvious changes, the only other noticeable change for those who have sailed her before would be the new carpet in Concierge Class and above cabins and the change of Silk Harvest restaurant to Le Petit Chef (at QSine). The glass elevator areas behind the Grand Foyer on Deck 3 opens all the way up to Deck 15 allowing you to hear the bands and anything else going on all the way to the top of the ship. This is a good and a bad thing. The good is that you can be on any deck and hear the music. The bad is that if you’re just trying to play a game in the Game Room, read in the Library or work in the iLounge, the band sounds like it’s right in the room with you. The sound travels very well. Consider that when looking at the cabins directly adjacent to the rear elevators. Most everything in terms of food and shops are laid out on Decks 3, 4 and 5. Oceanview Café (buffet) is on Deck 14 as is the Mast Grill and the Aqua Spa Café is in the Solarium Pool area on Deck 12. CABIN: AQUA CLASS 1625 Our cabin was on Deck 11, Cabin 1625 near the aft of the ship on the port side. This cabin is part of the Aqua Class. We usually try to book an aft cabin because the vibrations from the engines helps us sleep though the vibrations were barely noticeable inside the cabin. Cabin 1625 was also very convenient to the aft stairs and elevators just a short walk away. Just one set of stairs up to the pool deck and two sets of stairs up to the Oceanview Café. We booked the cruise while onboard the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas. Yes, you can book cruises for both cruise lines while onboard an RCCL or Celebrity ship. We then had the reservation transferred to our Costco Travel Agent. We purchased the basic drink package and when the Premium package went on sale before our cruise, we upgraded to that package. Note that as of October 2019, the drink packages are going up per person. You really have to drink a lot of alcohol or coffee to make that worth it. The cabin itself is really no different than your standard Veranda room but with some extra perks for being in Aqua Class. Such as breakfast and dinner in the Blu restaurant, flavored iced tea each afternoon, afternoon snacks and the plush robes with slippers and other accessories as well as access to the Persian Gardens in the Spa and one bottle of Champagne. Being up on Deck 11 gave our cabin plenty of protection from the sun and rain thanks to the deck 14 overhang. It was like having an extended awning over our balcony. We heard no noise at all coming from the pool deck as it was not directly above us but in front of us. The bathroom layout in the Solstice Class ships is among the most efficient of any cruise line. The space allows plenty of room to stand at the sink with the arrangement of the shower and toilet. There are plenty of cabinets and shelf space and even the trash can is tucked away. The Aqua Class provided an enhanced shower with additional body jets to go with the standard overhead shower. The shower controls are really nice with the water pressure and hot/cold controls separated so if you need to turn off the water during your shower, it comes right back on at the same temperature as when you turned it off. The shower is small, but functional and includes sliding glass doors so you don’t have to worry about shower curtains sticking to you during a shower. Inside the cabin there is a decent-sized closet, but the dresser / drawer space is somewhat limited, just four drawers. A trick learned from a fellow Celebrity traveler is using 12” x 12” collapsible cubes placed in the cabinet above the bed. This cabinet can easily hold 8 of these cubes and we’ll put our underwear, socks, t-shirts and other stuff in there. Note that those cabinets above the bed are scheduled to be removed as part of the revolution so they may disappear after the 2021 drydock. Another great tip is to get a wall hanging, canvas shoe rack and hang that on the bathroom door. We’ve used that for most every cruise we’ve been on. Our room steward, Jonathan, was among the best we’ve ever sailed with. His attention to detail and going out of his way to stop what he was doing to unlock our door for us was above and beyond. POOLS The Equinox has two pools, one outdoor and the Solarium indoor pool. The main pool on Deck 12 is split into two halves by a walkway over the center. There is covered seating up underneath the Deck 14 walkway on either side. The back of the pool area features some oversized round padded seats and there are some padded loungers tucked between the ‘sails’ on either side of the pool area. The Solarium indoor pool is air conditioned and features padded loungers on wooden frames. They can be a bit uncomfortable for a long day at the pool and the backs do not come up very high. Reading on these loungers can be a bit more difficult if you like to basically sit up while reading. But it is lovely sitting in cooler comfort vs. baking in the sun. Pools are open late on Celebrity, as late as 10pm on most days. We enjoy the occasional after dinner soak and swim, the nighttime lighting is especially pretty in the pool area. COCKTAILS & COFFEE Cafe Al Bacio / Gelateria The Cafe Al Bacio is always very busy due to the normally great coffee and tea drinks they provide. I say ‘normally’ because for the first time in four cruises on Celebrity, the baristas on this cruise were disappointing. They seemed to favor speed over quality of the drinks. Some drinks were lukewarm, I had two cappuccinos that barely filled one third of the cup, Americanos that tasted like they were the last coffee dregs in the pot two hours ago. Actually the coffee flavor overall was much more bitter than on previous cruises, it tasted like they are using a much lower quality coffee blend than in the past. But there was no consistency and never a really good cup of coffee from this barista crew. Until now this has been a solid go-to coffee spot for me and one of the reasons we go with a drink package since my coffees are included. This cruise, the crew simply wasn’t cutting it and it wasn’t worth the aggravation after a while to be bothered with them. I also noticed that the Mocha drink tasted off and saw that they’re using a chocolate powder instead of chocolate syrup to make it now. My wife always gets iced tea here as they have a wide variety of teas to choose from. The brand of tea is still the same and they still have the wide variety of flavors. The Gelateria was quite sad. Nothing like when we first started sailing Celebrity four or five years ago. The inside of the case was always wet with moisture, the gelatos were melting and simply did not look inviting. The gelato sandwiches were especially sad. Not much filling and again they were melting and looked wet from the case. First time sailing Celebrity we skipped this altogether because we didn’t see anything worth paying extra money for. We didn’t even want the free scoop of gelato that came with being in the Captain’s Club. World Class Bar Most reviewers will rave about the Martini Bar and the “show” but we much prefer the World Class Bar on Deck 5. The only place on board where you can get a really good cocktail. They only make a limited number of cocktails that are displayed in the menus, but they are incredibly delicious. On this cruise, Jay was the master mixologist and continually made the best Old Fashioned for me each night. Note that this is a rum based Old Fashioned, not bourbon or whiskey. My second favorite drink was the Johnnie Walker Citrus Gold. We would have one or two drinks before the 7pm show, then grab another after the show to talk to dinner. If you like a really good drink, sample the World Class Bar. Slush Bar This was a disappointment for us as Celebrity opted not to open this bar at all during our cruise. It was supposed to be open on Sea Days, but never did. These are essentially alcoholic milkshakes and this was our afternoon treat on the other ships. Sunset Bar Lovely view looking aft on the ship, often a great place to meet and mingle with other guests as it’s always hopping. They make a decent Margarita on the rocks. Smoke can be prevalent as there is a large smoking section on the Port side. DINING We never use assigned dining for any of our cruises (except Disney because it’s required) and on this cruise we had the option to use Blu as our main dining room as it comes with the Aqua Class cabins. Note that on the first night of most sailings, Celebrity offers 30% off specialty dining for that first evening’s meal. You’ll usually find the folks outside the buffet area ready to take your reservation. Also look out for specials as the cruise goes along. For the final four or five nights of our 11-night cruise, they were offering 2 for 1 specials to dine. BREAKFAST: For breakfast you have four options depending on what you feel like that day. Aqua Spa Café in the Solarium pool area. Oceanview Café (buffet). Main Dining Room (or Blu or Luminae if you’re in those categories). Café Al Bacio (Deck 5) The buffet and main dining rooms will offer a full breakfast while the Aqua Spa Café offers a healthy alternative and Café Al Bacio offers sweets and continental items. AQUA SPA CAFE (in the Solarium Pool area, Deck 12 Forward) If you’re in the mood for something light and (yes) healthy, for breakfast, visit the Aqua Spa Café in the Solarium. ANYONE can eat here, it’s not a paid extra for Spa users, all guest onboard can partake of the light fare they offer such as avocado toast, bagels with peanut butter and fruit, fruit plates and breakfast bars. For an additional fee they also make smoothies, fresh pressed juices and a few other items, but the coffee, tea and the items put out each day are free for all guests. If you have the Premium Drink Package the Smoothies are included, I enjoyed the Antioxidant smoothie. SILHOUETTE DINING ROOM We only had one dinner here when we joined some fellow passengers after an excursion. The service was exceptional as always, but the food was meh. The starters were not bad, but my “rigatoni with prosciutto and crème sauce” was literally devoid of flavor. I could have ordered something else, but my wife was less than enamored with her entrée as well. As I knew this would be only meal in here, we just let it slide as we very much enjoyed the company of new friends. BLU Restaurant (Aqua Class only) Our first-time having access to this restaurant and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of food, especially the starters. Breakfast here is a combination of traditional eggs and the like along with some healthy choices. For dinners, we ended up ordering 2 or 3 starters because they sounded, and tasted, so good. The entrees were generally good to incredible. Blu was the most consistently good dining experience we’ve had on Celebrity for a ‘main dining room.’ Hostess Marianna was simply incredible, always smiling and always ready to accommodate our requests. Wayne and the entire staff inside Blu were impeccable in their service from the first meal to the last. Note that if you are in Aqua Class, the Blu Host can book your reservations for any of the restaurants on board. You can also ask if they are offering any specials for the restaurants. SUSHI ON 5 Sushi on 5 continues to improve each time we eat there. The rolls are completely on par with some of our regular sushi restaurants at home. First off for a vegetarian, it may not be worth it. Check the menu before you book to see if you even want to eat there. If you eat seafood, there are plenty of options and they are quite good. I honestly can’t remember the rolls as we had two or three of them, but they were all good. This is an ala-carte menu so you pay about US market value for the sushi. We didn’t find it priced much differently than the many sushi restaurants we visit around Atlanta. TAJ MAHAL INDIAN DINNER This was a special dinner offered one night on the ship and on our sailing it was a $40/pp charge. The dinner was held inside Sushi On 5 and featured an incredible selection of Indian Dishes. The menu will most likely vary with each sailing, but our dinner consisted of samplings from everything on the menu. Anything we wanted more of, they would bring it out. Some of the dishes included Samosas, Dal Tadka, Palak Paneer, Aloo Gobi, Butter Chicken, Hriyali Jhinga with Mango Salad (Shrimp), Murgh Tikka (Chicken), Chicken Cafreal. We joined another couple to make it a party of four and absolutely LOVED this meal. Celebrity is known for good Indian food in the buffet, but this was a step above what you get there. Well prepared, well seasoned, more spice and kick on a few dishes. So glad we spotted this dinner in our app prior to boarding. Note that as of our sailing, this dinner was only offered on sailings longer than 7 days. OCEANVIEW CAFE (Buffet and Ice Cream) This is a really good buffet as far as cruise standards go. A quick tip, there is a second Café Al Bacio on the port side of the ship as you enter the Café. Coffee only, they don’t have the specialty teas, but if you want a cappuccino or latte, you can get it right there. It’s also a full service bar. For breakfast the buffet does not really change. One thing I love at breakfast, and it’s my guilty pleasure on Celebrity, is the Fried Toast in the English Breakfast section. Add a slice of cheese, maybe a slice of ham, place a poached egg on top and you have a great egg on toast. For lunch and dinner, be sure to walk around the entire buffet at lunch and dinner as those do have some great variations. There can be some unique items are tucked away in a place you might not expect. Celebrity is known for the Indian cuisine in the buffet and it’s quite good. Not as spicy as you might get in a restaurant which makes it a perfect place to explore the cuisine if you’ve never had it. Throughout the cruise they will have theme nights to honor cuisines from Mexico, Italy, India and others. For the most part, breakfast, lunch and dinner, this buffet really hits the spot with outstanding dishes, with a few misses of course, like the pizza. Their dough still tastes like flour even after its baked. For salad, they have a very good salad bar, two actually, and most lunches I would put together a nice salad starting out at the salad bar and then adding either cold cuts or some of the hot meats to the top. You can make a great taco salad adding beef, onions and cheese sauce from the Mexican station for example. One day they had wonderful fajita style beef and I laid that on my salad. One area that you can really see the cutbacks from our first sailing 4 or 5 years ago to today is the cheeses, both in the buffet and all around the ship. Celebrity used to have a wheel of blue cheese out on the buffet for most all lunches and dinners. That was completely absent on this cruise except for the Italian lunch. And the cheeses that were out there, cheddar, provolone and others just didn’t have much flavor. They’re clearly using much cheaper cheeses than they used to and it really shows in the lack of flavor. Small thing I know, but the high-quality cheese is one thing that used to separate Celebrity from the other cruise lines. The desserts are VERY hit or miss, especially the cakes. They look great but oftentimes don’t have much flavor or they’re dry. One of our favorite desserts were found during “Mexico Day” when they had a dessert bar of churros, tres leches cake and other Mexican desserts. Those were great. The free ice cream is not bad and you really can’t complain about it because it’s free. 😊 PROGRESSIVE LUNCH: At the time of our sailing, this was $25/pp. This special lunch was served twice on our cruise in the Tuscan Grille where menu options from Tuscan Grille, Murano and Sushi On 5 were offered in a single seating. It was a great way to taste flavors from the various restaurants if you so choose. We had food from all three restaurants and while it was nice sitting right up against the rear windows of the ship, this lunch was ok, but not something you have to do. You might want to save the $25/pp for a dinner or drink. TUSCAN GRILLE, MURANO, LE PETIT CHEF We did not visit any of these restaurants for dinner while onboard. Tuscan Grille was disappointing on our last cruise with Equinox, its menu is stale and has not really changed in 4 years so it was a pass for us. The pasta dish we had during the previously mentioned Progressive Lunch was overcooked, which shouldn’t happen in an Italian restaurant. Murano, again the menu is stale and hasn’t changed in 4 years so we didn’t see the need to spend extra money again for a meal we can easily order at home for much less. Le Petit Chef (at QSine), which replaced Silk Harvest, has a VERY limited menu because your food has to match the animations. We were not impressed with the menu options and fellow cruisers confirmed the food is not worth the upcharge. We had no desire to pay for a dinner gimmick. I should note that we enjoyed Silk Harvest twice on our previous cruise. We also enjoyed the original QSine concept multiple times on Reflection. THE CABANAS As part of the revolutionized Equinox, birdcage like Cabanas were added to the Lawn Club on Deck 15. In a word, both the cabanas themselves and their placement are odd. We have paid for cabanas and retreat areas on other cruise lines and in our opinion these were simply not worth paying for. First, the Cabanas are out in a public area, they are not in an area that requires access to keep out traffic and noise. When we pay for a cabana, we’re looking for a sanctuary away from the noise of the rest of the ship, that’s part of what you’re paying for. These cabanas are next the hot glass classes going on, next to the large movie screen where they show movies during the day, the lawn games are going on to one side and there is traffic continuously moving along the outside of the ship heading to and from the Sunset Bar along with people laying out in the lawn club. So you are literally paying for the privilege to sit inside a birdcage, not the use of a private area. Both the concept and execution of these particular cabanas was a fail for us to warrant paying for them. Your mileage may vary. INTERNET and CELEBRITY APP MUCH improved over our last sailing two years ago. I purchased the standard internet package, unlimited use for the entire cruise. The WiFi was reliable across most everywhere on the ship. The main issue was that Celebrity blocked Instagram from working after Day 4 of the cruise. No explanation from the iLounge tech, but both the App and the website were blocked from the Ship’s WiFi on the standard internet package after Day 4. That’s usually how I share photos from my travel so I stopped tagging Celebrity when I posted from ports. Every other app and website worked so long as the address was .com. The Celebrity App was clearly re-skinned from the Royal Caribbean app and it actually works. You can start using the app in advance of your sailing but you cannot add anything to your Calendar until one day before sailing. Once onboard, you can use the WiFi for free to simply access the App to check schedules and you can send text messages to anyone onboard via the app. Again, you can do this for free, no charge. We found the schedule was completely accurate and some of the restaurants have menus you can review. Celebrity has greatly stepped up their digital game. HOLLYWOOD HOT GLASS CLASS On our previous sailing this was still the Corning Museum Hot Glass Show. Now it’s run by the Hollywood Hot Glass company out of Florida where you can sign up for 20 minutes classes and make a unique souvenir to take home. Price of the class varies depending on what you decide to make, there’s a set fee for the class and then an addition feel depending on the item. You can make paperweights, glasses, pumpkins, fish and other assorted items. We each made tumblers and really enjoyed the process. The instructors do most of the work and you simply have to follow along. You get to choose the colors, blow into the pipe to blow out the glass, use the paddles to flatten out the bottom and so on. All in all a very entertaining and unique experience on a cruise ship. I’d recommend you do it at least once. LAWN CLUB / CELEBRITY CENTRAL MOVIES As part of the “revolutionized” Equinox, a somewhat large video screen was added to the back of the main Lawn Club area where they show some daytime and nighttime movies. The further you sit back from the screen the better the image. In fact, if you sit on the last row of the Hot Glass Class benches, those are great seats for the movies. Celebrity offers these awkward and barely functional padded loungers on the ground that are supposed to sit up on their own. They were not comfortable at all. The sound is decent, though they could turn it up a bit louder as the engine rumble does come through from the stacks right behind the movie screen. It is a nice addition, but not nearly as good of an experience as the Movies-At-Sea on Princess. Celebrity Central looks like it received a much-needed projector upgrade and we enjoyed three movies in there over the course of the cruise. Sound was pretty good so if you want to sit and enjoy a film, it’s a much better experience than it has been in the past. Note that we had some issues with people vaping during the movies up on the Lawn Club. E-Cigarettes are not permitted in that area of the Lawn Club, but there were no personnel to ask the people to stop. We ended up having to move back to the Glass Show area to watch the movie. ENTERTAINMENT The worst part of any Celebrity Cruise, in our opinion is the main entertainment in the Equinox Theater. This is no slight to the Celebrity cast and crew as they are all extremely talented. But they are given terrible material to work with. The shows honestly feel like someone went to a Cirque du Soleil show and said “Oh I can produce that.” No, no you can’t and you shouldn’t. First off these shows run forever. Elysium has been on our last three cruises stretching back 3 or 4 years. We have previously reviewed that show as the worst original production show at sea and we’re not alone based on the discussions with our fellow cruisers. Topper started out ok for a few songs, kind of an Alice In Wonderland Meets a Magic Hat kind of vibe, but then we bailed because there is no sense of flow or story. We didn’t bother to attend Life which was offered on the final night of our cruise. Here’s hoping at some point Celebrity can ditch the ‘we’re above everyone else producing high class art’ mentality and get to producing fun entertainment for their cast to perform. Usually the visiting acts are worth attending, but they were hit or miss on this one. Uptown was essentially a Motown review with three incredibly talented and energetic singers. A highly entertaining act that involved a lot of audience interaction, comedy and a finale that literally had the entire theater on their feet singing and dancing along. They even did an encore. Easily the best show of the cruise and one of the most entertaining shows we’ve seen at sea. Singer Savannah Smith was a powerhouse singer and she put on an entertaining show. She had a lot of energy despite a very mellow crowd. She also did a miraculous job staying upright when a portion of the stage started rising too early and she tripped approaching it. All in all an entertaining 45 minutes. Comedian Rondell Sheridan was brilliantly funny. It almost hurt to watch him at times he was so funny and a perfect comedian on a cruise ship. His barracuda story was simply brilliant. Highly recommend his show if he comes on board your sailing. Comedian Rich Aronovitch was ok. He had moments of brilliance, but was not consistent. Singer Darren Dowler first showed an awful video to pitch us on how awesome he is, but his first 20 minutes of the show were pretty good. Then he started doing bad impressions and the show went downhill from there. Donovan and Rebecca are incredibly talented athletes who are a 5-minute act in a larger show, not a 45-minute show on their own. We left after the first song when they started video clips from “America’s Got Talent” to show how awesome they are. Apparently they kept showing MORE videos throughout their act to convince you how awesome they are. Magician Bobby Borgia got screwed by the very poor audio-visual setup on the Equinox. He was doing up close, sleight of hand tricks in the audience. In order to show that to the theater they used a live roving camera. The video delay was almost 2 seconds from that camera to the video screens. It was completely distracting and unwatchable. It’s also inexecusable. I work in video production and there’s absolutely no reason for a camera hard wired into the house to have that much of a delay. We have less delay with satellite shots from across the globe. We might have enjoyed that show if the audio and video were in sync on the screens. We had to leave after 5 minutes. The bands and performers around the ship were awesome. On Shuffle in particular was a killer band with a fantastic lead vocalist showcasing a wide range of music styles. The Drift Live duo were also great. The Equinox Orchestra performed a set in the Grand Foyer that was a lot of fun. So if the main theater show doesn’t work for you, you’ll often find great entertainers around the ship. DISEMBARKATION Incredibly simple. We were Group 13 and were walking off the ship around 8:20am. Once off the ship all we had to do was stand for a facial recognition camera and get our bags. That’s it. No customs, no hassle, just pose and grab the bags. We picked up a Lyft outside and were at our airline gate at FLL about 9:00am. I will note we were the only ship in Port Everglades that day so traffic was incredibly simple getting out of the port. If there was a ship at Terminal 21 it would have been much more hectic and slow getting out of there as all traffic has to pass by Terminal 21 on the way out. WRAP-UP (Excursions below) While there is a lot to like about Celebrity, the four cruises have gotten progressively less enticing than the previous. By that I mean our very first cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette was amazing from entertainment to food to events to staff to the full experience on-board. Reflection was a bit of a let-down from Silhouette and these two cruises on Equinox the cutbacks from Celebrity are starting to show. We’re paying a premium to sail Celebrity and you expect that step above the others to justify the costs. But with the continuation of really bad theater shows, decline in the coffee service, raising costs of dinner and drink packages and stale menus in the restaurants, we’re taking a pause from Celebrity. When we do sail Celebrity again it’ll be because of a port heavy, interesting itinerary so any shortcomings and repetition on board won’t matter so much. There are so many ships out there that look they have more to offer for what we’re looking for in a vacation so we’re going to do some exploring. As I always tell my friends, “if you have a bad time on a cruise, you worked really hard at it.” It’s not that we had a bad time on Equinox, it’s just time for us to look for new adventures on other cruise lines. If you sail Equinox tomorrow, you will have a good time and meet some great people, especially at the World Class Bar. FIRST TIME CELEBRITY CRUISER TIPS I mentioned this earlier in the review, but the Aqua Spa Café in the Solarium pool area (deck 12 Forward) is available for all guests, not just Spa or Aqua Class guests. Great light breakfast and lunch options. If you don’t want a drink from the bar in the buffet, simply tip over the card on the table with the advertised drinks of the day. That’s how the waiters know there are no drinks needed at this table and they won’t bother you. The Martini Bar is a great place to relax, read and play games during the day. It’s full of natural light with large, oversized chairs. The bar generally doesn’t open until at least 4pm. The very last row of the Equinox Theater on both decks has high top chairs with a bar to hold your drinks. We call these “escape seats.” You can see the beginning of any show and if you don’t like it, simply get up and leave without disturbing any of your fellow guests. A great balcony cabin to consider on the Solstice Class ships is the very last cabin on either side of the ship. These feature an angled balcony that allow you to see down the entire length of the ship forward, great for picture taking or relaxing outside. See Cabins 8341 and 8330 on the Equinox Deck Plans for two examples. These are on most all decks. I mentioned this earlier in the review, but there are two ship entrances in the Waiting Room of Terminal 25 in Port Everglades. When you reach the top of the escalators, move all the way across to the other side of the waiting room where there is a second ship entrance. We found this far less crowded than the first entrance. EXCURSIONS We did excursions in St. Thomas, St. Croix, Barbados and St. Lucia. We stayed onboard at Antigua and St. Maarten, though I’ve included some notes about both as we’ve visited them in the past. ST THOMAS We booked the BOSS submersible adventure through the ship. This is a one-man submersible unit that is essentially a huge diving bell over your head and you ride on an electric scooter underwater. Essentially snorkeling without the need to snorkel. I really enjoyed this as I don’t really snorkel and it was neat to go underwater and see the fish up close. I was admittedly nervous about getting into the unit, but it was actually quite easy to get in and out of the unit in the water. You get about 20 minutes in the unit and there are 3 or 4 groups of people who go out at a time, up to 50 people total. When you’re not in the BOSS unit, you’re free to lounge on the boat, go for a swim or snorkel. You’ll have about an hour of snorkel time when you’re not in the unit. Captain and crew were awesome, putting everyone at ease in the water and ensuring everyone was comfortable in and out of the units. ST. CROIX Our first time to this island as very few cruise ships stop at this island, only about 40 each year. We booked an independent tour, Taste of Twin City Food Tour to sample some of the local cuisine. This was a fantastic tour led by a wonderful young woman who took us to places we never would have ventured on our own. If you book this tour, know that you’ll have to catch a taxi from Fredrickstad where the ship docks to Christianstad on the other side of the island, about 30 minutes. There are taxis right inside the port area and when we sailed it was $16/pp round trip for the taxi. The taxi stop was about a 20 minute walk to the tour meeting point. We sampled food at 4 restaurants, a bakery and a bar. There was nothing ‘scary’ or ‘super spicy’ to worry about, just really good food over the course of about 3 ½ hours. You’ll walk and learn history in between each sample and end up about a block away from where the taxi will take you back to the ship. We really enjoyed this tour, but then we love sampling local cuisine whenever we can. BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS Here we booked the Mount Gay Rum Tour through the ship. The ‘tour’ part of the day was shortened due to lack of electricity in the distillery, they were installing solar panels that day. But that only meant we got to the rum tasting that much quicker! We sampled 3 different rums, although really, the same rum, different ages. 3 years old, 10 to 15 years and 20+ years. The guide was very knowledgeable in helping us to taste the rum properly and I purchased a bottle of the Black Barrel rum. This is a good, low excursion type of tour and if you like rum, worth a visit. One tip, inside the large Barbados Port Terminal building is a small shop called Ahha serving coffee and cold drinks. I had a delicious coconut, chocolate smoothie type of drink from here. ST. LUCIA If you are prone to motion sickness at all, any driving tour of this island may not be for you. St. Lucia is an endless series of hairpin turns, switchbacks and very tight driving up, down and all around the hills and mountains. You may want to book a sailing or travel to a nearby beach to minimize your time on the roads. We privately booked a 5 ½ tour through Cosol that included a 1-hour swim / snorkel, banana plantation stop, volcanic mud bath, volcano visit, waterfall visit, lunch, snack and stop at the Governor’s Mansion. While our guide, Bumpy, was awesome, this tour was about 1 hour too long. We were on the road approx.. 2 ½ to 3 hours of this tour, that was a long time to be in the car on those roads. It felt like a lot of driving to say “look at this,” then back in the vehicle to keep driving. Dropping two stops would have helped. The banana plantation was the first stop and it was really just an excuse to stop by a roadside stand to encourage us to buy something. Yes we got fresh bananas and yes we got a short lesson on how the banana plantations work, but it was really about encouraging us to shop. The next two lookout stops were the same, beautiful views to take photos that happened to be roadside shops where we could get an exclusive discount. The lunch stop was pretty good, we loved the local dogs and cats who were hanging out outside. Then it was on to the water taxi and our ride to the swim and snorkel stop between the Pitons. The boat ride was quite nice, but the ‘beach area’ for us to use was not exactly relaxing. The lounge chairs were mostly damaged or broken and there weren’t enough of them for everyone on the tour. The water itself was gorgeous, it was nice to swim between the Pitons, the fish were great and we were told by those snorkeling that it was quite nice with the coral. But the actual beach space was not a place you’d want to hang out for a while. The water itself was the highlight of this tour. After an hour, it was back on the boat to get back in the van and on to the drive through volcano. In the tour literature it reads like you can do the volcanic mud bath and volcano tour. In reality, you have to choose one or the other, we chose to skip the mud bath and do the volcano tour. It was pretty neat seeing an imploded (vs. exploded) volcano sulphur spring that was boiling. Looked like a living National Geographic special happening right in front of you. The people who chose to go to the mud bath said it wasn’t worth it, just so incredibly hot and no shower or spring to rinse yourself off. If you choose to do the tour, you must be in good walking condition, you’ll be walking up and down a steep incline to view the sulphur springs. The next stop was the waterfall that you can wade out into the catch pool and grab a photo standing directly under the waterfall. It was also a good place to fully rinse yourself of the mud if you did the mud bath. Back in the car, and instead of traveling directly back to the ship, we returned to the same location as lunch to have a snack of bread and cheese. It was ok, but not worth making a final stop for, we could have just headed straight to the ship. All in all, a very long day and as I said, Bumpy was great, but the tour itself was just too long with too many stops. ANTIGUA and ST. MAARTEN TIPS In Antigua we enjoyed the Reef Runners tour on a previous cruise. Inflatable small boats, 2 people per boat which you get to drive to a snorkel site. Snorkel for about an hour or so, then drive the boats back to the dock. Really fun and well-done tour. In St. Maarten be sure to check out That Yoda Guy if you are a Star Wars fan. The owner is one of the artists who worked on the Yoda for the original movies. He has a fun collection of Star Wars stuff in his shop along with items for sale. You can also get Guaveberry and other flavored rums from the Old Man Shops, I recommend the Mango Rum which makes great daquiris when you get home.
  4. Hi everyone, just wondering if anyone can remember the cost of the Gelato on board Equinox? i know the Ice Cream is free but my cousin is wondering how much to budget for his daily fix of gelato😋 Thank you in advance.
  5. We just finished a ten day cruise on the Equinox and there was only 1 movie available for free on our tv on demand. There were several others for pay. There was another movie available on channel 7 each day. Plus they showed several current movies in the theater and the celebrity theater. On this cruise there were many sea days and we love to watch s movie each day in the afternoon so we were disappointed. Our cruise was great but we do miss the movie.
  6. We have sailed on Carnival and RCI, but Celebrity is our cruise line of choice. I have been a member of these boards for a while. Lately, I have been getting discouraged with all of the complaining going on. How about some positive comments? There are many that complain about the drink packages, the food, service, tote bags, foot stools, in-room movie charges, etc. People have a right to gripe, but once is becomes endless, it gets to be frustrating. As far as the drink package - they have always added 18% on, now it is 20% for new bookings. They are not the only cruise line doing this. Just for the heck of it, I priced out the same cruise on Carnival, and found it to be more expensive than Celebrity. The food: Celebrity has some of the highest caliber food than most cruise lines. Sure, you pay for specialty restaurants - another complaint - but they are worth it. Service: Workers bust their butts to make sure you have a good time. There is not one time that someone did not have a smile and say something nice. It is worth giving your cabin steward a little extra at the end - another gripe about tips. Tote bags: This does not mean much to us. Food stools: When I first heard this, yes, I was upset. I ordered 2 nice blow up footstools to take with us that weight less than 3 pounds for the both of them. In Room movies: I love movies like the next person, but I do not go on vacation to watch movies. These are just my humble opinions - but, I would love to have positives instead of negatives.
  7. Stateroom outlets: We know power strips aren't allowed, but with the number of chargers most of us travel with now, we're wondering as to the number of US standard 110 outlets in a typical verandah stateroom. Water: Have been puzzled by the number of threads on bottled water, both still and premium. Water can be "safe" but unpleasant to drink (looking at you, Disney World). Is the ship's water palatable or problematic? Beverages in the Buffet: Is there any beverage service (beer, wine, soda) in the Oceanview, or is it only self serve water / coffee / juice? We've done 14 or so cruises on other lines, but this is our first on Celebrity. Thanks!
  8. What deck is the Diamond Club on?? george35
  9. I was on the Equinox in Nov/2017 the shows I remember seeing were Topper, Elysium, Amber Ashley's tribute to Whitney Huston. Last year on the Reflection again there was Topper, Eylsium, Amber Ashley's tribute to Whitney Huston ....So I am hoping this Nov 2019 I do not run in to the same shows yet again. We end up walking out every single time and get disappointed. I like shows (he does not) but it is something we can do in the evening that I enjoy, otherwise we end up back in the cabin waiting to fall asleep. Yes I am aware there are many things to do on a ship , but when one person has PTSD the crowds and noise are hard to tolerate. So simple things like sitting still knowing your surroundings is something that we can do.
  10. Sorry this is late, but I had a lot going on when we got home. Ship: Celebrity Equinox Dates: September 13—September 23, 2019 Ports of Call: Grand Cayman, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Key West (Labadee) Cabin: 8269, Category 1A, Deluxe Ocean View with Veranda Cruising History: 43 total, 7 with Celebrity We began our day early on the 13th leaving out of Charlotte around 7:30 in the morning. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 9:30, grabbed our luggage and a taxi and were on our way to the terminal. There are no sections for loyalty groups anymore, everyone sits wherever you can find a seat. They take your picture and that was about it since we’d already done everything else on line, so check in was easy. We didn’t wait very long before boarding began and they took those in wheel chairs first, then by loyalty status. We didn’t have to wait very long before our group was called. You go straight to your cabin and your card is outside your door. We last sailed Celebrity in November of last year and it wasn’t done this way. We were able to throw our carry-ons in the cabin, which was nice, and headed off to the buffet. We were on board having lunch by 11:00! After lunch we began exploring the ship and it was very much the same as the Reflection, as it should be since it’s the same class ship. Later in the cruise we began to get the two confused when trying to find a certain lounge! After exploring, we were able to go the cabin at 1:00. We met our Steward, Anak. He was the best! Even when I told him he didn’t have to clean our cabin, he did anyway. I swear he was hiding somewhere in the cabin because every time we left it was cleaned up when we got back! I had sent Special Needs an email before we left asking for a fan for my asthma so I could breathe at night. The temperature in the cabin stayed at 68 during the day, but at night it stays a steady 70-72 all night. I can’t sleep with it that warm and Anak didn’t know about the request. I had somehow lost my email reply from Special Needs saying they would provide one. At Guest Services I spoke with Adrianny, but of course she had no record of either my email or the one from Special Needs and said they didn’t have any fans to give me. I tried very hard to explain about how I couldn’t breathe without cool circulating air, but it fell on deaf ears. Not long after we returned from the muster drill, Anak was knocking on the door and when I opened it, viola! He had a box fan for me! I sent Adrianny a thank you note, and I slept well since I could now breathe throughout the night. Anak, Cabin Steward: The Equinox is a beautiful ship and we enjoyed sailing on her. My review is in sections so you can read what you want and skip over what you don’t want to read. Cabin: We had cabin 8269 with a balcony. The cabin itself was a good size, but I felt the desk area needed more drawer space. On the Reflection it had several more drawers which I liked because there were plenty of drawers for our clothes and plenty of drawer space for my makeup, brushes, etc., so I could keep the desk neat when not in use. There were two US outlets and one European outlet at the desk. I brought an adapter with two outlets and two USB ports for charging our cell phones. My adapter has three outlets, but once you use one, there is really only a space for one more to plug in. This came in handy at night when we were charging camera batteries and cell phones. Other than the bathroom, this is the only place with outlets. It also has a night light on it which helped when getting up during the night. My Adapter [/ URL] We had plenty of hangers in the closet for our clothes and room for our carry-ons; however, I kept one out between the sofa and closet just to sit things on, like tote bags, etc. The big suitcase fit under the bed with no problem. The safe is in a small cabinet above the refrigerator. Someone else had mentioned in their review that their safe wasn’t bolted down. I had never thought about that before and I checked ours, and it wasn’t bolted down either! Nothing was ever missing and I guess if anyone were to take it, everyone would see them with it! There were two hooks on the wall which is where my husband likes to hang his pants, and I brought some magnetic hooks to hang things on like my purse, beach bag, etc. I also brought some magnetic clips to keep the important things safe like the “Today” paper, Cruise Critic and Loyalty invitations, itinerary, etc. This helps to ensure that we didn’t throw away anything important with all the “junk” papers you get every night. Note: the walls are not completely metal so you can’t hang anything heavy on the magnetic hooks. When stuck on the bathroom door, however, you can hang heavy items on the hooks. Our balcony was a good size and the two chairs were the kind you could adjust the back to different positions. We had a small table as well. We used the balcony quite a bit since our side was always on the docked side at each port. The Ship: As I said earlier, the ship is laid out exactly like the Reflection, but with a few differences. The tree is different; on the Reflection, it’s in a pot with “roots” growing all around to the elevators. On the Equinox it’s in a beautiful mosaic pot. We saw it get a haircut one day and I would not want to be the guys who have to do that! The Lawn is a little different and the glass blowing demonstration and classes are up on The Lawn. We watched a little bit of that on the first day. The glass blower puts a creative spin on the items so they are not your typical, perfectly blown items. The Grand Foyer is pretty much the same and outside the Celebrity Central is an area where they do quick games each night before the 9:00 show in the theatre. Those are always fun to watch and participate in. The Solarium is the same as the Reflection, and so are the chair hogs. We saw a woman saving 6 chairs one day and a man saving one for his wife. The pool guy put a card on the ones that had been empty for more than 30 minutes with stuff on them. When he got to the six, I guess the woman told him they were on the way. When the man’s wife came down, he showed her the card and laughed. She left and the chair stayed empty for most of the day. The 6 chairs were empty for another hour. Someone said something to the pool attendant pointing at the chairs and at that point, she gathered up everything and left. I don’t care if it’s a port day and everyone is off the ship, but on a sea day with lots of people walking around trying to find chairs, it’s just common courtesy. Food: We had anytime dining, or whatever it’s called, and would go anywhere between 6:00-7:00. We had a good wait team, Eldho, waiter, and Woutlais, assistant waiter. Woutlais told me I said his name “just like my momma!” He is from Haiti and had a great sense of humor and could speak English quite well. He’s working his way up to waiter status and I hope he makes it. Eldho & Woutlais: For the most part, the food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) was good. There were a few nights that we had a hard time finding something we wanted off the menu, but we didn’t go hungry… We did not try any of the specialty restaurants, but we did get some tarts, cake, and cookies from Café Bacio, and of course the buffet was always plentiful. One night, the buffet had filet mignon and beef wellington! Unfortunately, we had just eaten and were not hungry. Some of the appetizers I got were spring roll, crab cake, spinach and artichoke dip, creamy wild mushroom risotto, and of course shrimp cocktail. Soups were butternut squash, squash, yellow corn, chickpea-tomato, and wild mushroom and barley. My favorite was the butternut squash. It has a creamy smooth texture with a flavor that dances on your taste buds! Yellow Corn Coup: Bleu Cheese Souffle App My favorite appetizer was the shrimp cocktail…you can’t go wrong with that. I can’t remember everything we had since my notebook disappeared out of my suitcase; it was in the outside zippered part, oh well…let’s hope my memory can hold out. Spring Roll App Squash Soup Butternut Squash Soup Entrees we ordered were Beef Tornedo, Roasted Trout, Penne Primavera, Short Ribs, Beef Wellington, Lobster Tail, Prime Rib, Steak Dianne, Sea Bass, Beef Brochette, and my husband got the steak a couple of nights. I loved all of the fish and the Beef Wellington was very good, as well. The Steak Dianne was good and had a very flavorful gravy that would melt in your mouth! The lobster was tasty as well; the ones we had on the Reflection were dried out and tasteless. The beef brochette was the worst thing I had. At the buffet: Prime Rib: Steak Dianne: Roasted Trout: As always, the desserts looked better than they tasted. I stuck with ice cream or sherbet most nights. I really wanted a soufflé and finally on the last night, the Grand Mariner was on the menu! It was worth the wait with that smooth, hot, creamy vanilla sauce…mmmm! I can taste it now! Grand Mariner Souffle Cheese Cake: We ate most lunches in the buffet and most of our breakfasts in the MDR. The first few mornings I ordered an egg white omelet and it was good, but the cheese made them too greasy and there was always too much omelet, so after the fourth day I ordered a Belgium waffle. Well that waffle was so tough, I couldn’t cut it with a knife much less chew it! The grits were okay, not made the way any proper Southerner would make them (with milk, not water), but they were edible. We had a card in our cabin asking for our feedback so I mentioned the waffle and that evening the Maitre d’ was waiting at our table with Woutlais and apologized profusely about the waffle and promised it would not be like that again. Later while we were eating, another Maitre d’ came to our table apologizing about the waffle. They DO read your comments! I can assure you that my waffle was perfect for the remainder of the cruise. We also got a few things from the Spa Café and our free gelato. We got a hamburger one day from the Mast Grille that was good. Spa Cafe: Sky Lounge: We had free drinks loaded onto our card as part of loyalty perks and we always went to the Sky Lounge for this. We sat at the bar every night and Riz was our favorite bartender. After the third night, he would have my glass of wine and my husband’s whiskey sour waiting on us. We made some new friends and enjoyed this time before dinner. Riz: The Captain: Entertainment: I have no complaints regarding entertainment, in fact, I think it was the best we’ve had on any ship. The first night was Fred Klett, a comedian. This guy is very clean, no cussing, not even a damn. He was absolutely hilarious! We went back the next night for his late night show and it was the same way. He is a really funny guy who should not be missed. The second night was a show called Topper by the Celebrity singers and dancers. It was pretty good and I felt the singers and dancers were all very good. Fred Klett was the late night show. Third night’s entertainment was an illusionist, Jason Bishop. He was very good and even sitting on the front row, we couldn’t figure out how he did some of his magic…maybe it truly was magic! The fourth night was Elysium by the Celebrity singers and dancers. We started not to go because we’d seen it two years in a row on the Reflection, but I’m glad we did; it was completely different. It was darker, but very well performed. If you are on the Equinox and have seen it on the Reflection or another ship, do go, you will be surprised at the difference. The fifth night was Stacey Kay. She was a contestant and maybe a runner up, on America’s Got Talent. We ran into her leaving the buffet that evening before the show. She had several plates of food and said she’d lost a bet with friends and she had to get food for everyone. I held one of the plates until she got to her floor. This girl can sing and has a great personality! You won’t want to miss her. The next night we had Domenick Allen. He had formerly played with Foreigner and many other bands. He plays many different instruments and gave us a mini rock concert! This guy is so talented and having been a rocker, really lit up the stage! If you love rock concerts, you should see his show. On the seventh night, we had comedian, Rich Aronovitch. Another comedian who has won awards, been on numerous TV shows, and Madison Square Garden, he also really delivered! He was one of the best I’ve heard and even his late night adult’s only show was not that bad. He wasn’t raunchy, but did cuss. He made fun of every culture, every kind of people, and kept us laughing the whole time! He didn’t leave anyone out, EVERYONE was made fun of! Oh…don’t go into his show late or leave early, just sayin’. The next night was a group called Uptown. They were three men who sang and performed Motown songs. They were excellent and gave us another mini concert! By the time they performed the last song, everyone was on their feet dancing! If you love the Four Tops, The Temptations, and all those old Motown songs, you will not want to miss them. Entertainment the next night was Darren Dowler, who is billed as an impressionist, but he has also sung with quite a few well known bands and is also an actor. He is very good and once again, gave us a mini concert. This night was also Rich Aronovitch’s late night adult comedy show. And that brings us to the last night. The Celebrity singers and dancers performed a show called Life, Light, and Love. It was very well performed and the aerialists are some of the best I’ve seen. We also listened to a band around the ship called On Shuffle that is really very good. We enjoyed listening to them and watching everyone dance. Another great band onboard was Dancing Town. In the Celebrity Central one evening was a show called “Lost Legends” with Michael Redden. He was really good, singing songs by artists such as John Denver and others who have left us too soon. I could have listened to him all night. They also showed movies in the Celebrity Central. Ports: Grand Cayman: We have been to Grand Cayman many times and decided to stay on the ship. This was a very relaxing day for us spent at the Solarium. Aruba: Although this is another port we’ve been to many times, we decided to get off and head to the mall for some free WiFi. We found Starbucks, just as we had left it in November. After checking emails and fb, we headed out to get some shots of places we already had shots of – oh well, they were still just as beautiful as we’d left them! We were here from 11:00 am. until 11:59 p.m., but didn’t go back out after dinner. Curacao: Another place we’ve been to many times, but one of my favorites with its beautiful, colorful buildings and amazing bridge. We decided to get a day pass at the Renaissance Curacao Resort. This was a wonderfully relaxing day for us. The hotel has two pools, one that is sandy with salt water and feels like you are in the ocean, and a fresh water pool, both of which are infinity pools. The ship was docked practically at the hotel and it was such a nice view. We had free WiFi here, which was nice. We met Susie, a very sweet girl from Jamaica who was working as a massage therapist at the hotel. She will take good care of you. She had a 90 minute massage for $119. I really enjoyed this wonderful, relaxing day in beautiful Curacao. After we left the hotel, we walked around Curacao for a bit before returning to the ship. I also shot my postcard pic here! My Post Card Pic: Early Morning: Susie: Bonaire: Bonaire is the only port on this itinerary that we had not been to and were looking forward to it. We had rented a golf cart from Bonaire Cruisers and drove around the island. We had planned on going to the Donkey Sanctuary, but we started very early so we wouldn’t be in the heat too long, and got there too early. It would be another hour before it would open -- 10:00 -- and we didn’t want to wait that long. Everyone said we would see lots of donkeys along the roads, but we didn’t, not one. We saw lots of donkey do, but never did we see a donkey. What we did see was a lot of desert with dying cacti (they haven’t had rain in months), and beautiful clear water. The water is a crystal clear turquoise blending into a darker beautiful blue which faded into the light blue sky. The water was so crystal clear that you could see the rocks at the bottom. Bonaire is known as a good place to snorkel and dive and we did see people doing just that. We also saw the salt pans, which are huge, and the flamingos! We saw the old slave huts, and a “rock garden” where people have made “sculptures” with rocks along the ocean side. Since we started early, we finished before it got too terribly hot and went back to the ship. We enjoyed our day driving around the island in a golf cart! We actually took both routes and had plenty of time to enjoy it all. If you want to do this, don’t wait too long to book as they do sell out. You can contact them via e-mail and read about them on TripAdvisor as well. Salt Pans: Key West/Labadee: Key West was scheduled as our last port, but because of weather conditions we were unable to go there and stopped at Labadee the day before our Key West stop. I was okay with this since I don’t really like Key West and love Labadee. The weather was beautiful for Labadee and we spent the day at Columbus Cove. My husband stayed in the ocean most of the day while I worked on my tan. Since this stop was not planned, lunch was only served at one location. We opted to walk around a little before we went back to the ship for lunch. I noticed that they have replaced the chain link fence with a concrete wall since we had been there last. Everything else is the same and I got some beautiful shots of the waves crashing on the rocks! This night we had some rough seas as we had sailed into a storm. The lightning and thunder outside our balcony door was both beautiful and scary; I’ve never seen lightning that close to our ship before. I opened the curtains so I could watch the lightning light up the sky! We were out of it within an hour or so and on our way back to Fort Lauderdale on calmer waters. Embarkation: Embarkation was very quick and easy. We had an 8:15 debarkation time and we found our luggage very quickly. Since we had nothing to declare, we just walked right through Customs without stopping and out the door! What an improvement! Cruise Critic Meet & Greet: Our CC M&G was scheduled on the first sea day at ten o’clock. We made our way there and it was pretty crowded. They didn’t ask for our invitation so anyone could have walked in. We did have name badges, though, so I guess that was their way of keeping up with who was a Cruise Critic member and had registered for the M&G. Tips & Suggestions: Café Bacio has plenty of sweet things that are free, but you have to pay for the coffee there. We had 90 minutes of free Wifi and we used them the second to last night of the cruise. We actually didn’t even use all of them. On the Reflection, it took forever to get logged on and a lot of our free minutes were used up with that, but on the Equinox, it was quick and we had plenty of minutes to do what we needed to do. If you get free minutes as a perk, you should use them. Consider taking some magnetic clips and hooks. The clips helped me keep all of our “Today” papers in order along with other papers that needed to be kept for reference. The hooks were good to hang extra towels on the back of the bathroom door, to hang my purse, and pool bag. Terre’s Final Thought: I really liked the Equinox and hope to sail on her again. The ports were great, and if this is your first cruise, try different dishes, you never know what you will love. Check out the different venues and bands around the ship, and just enjoy yourself…you will never see these people again, so go ahead, make an idiot of yourself! This ship is beautiful and there are many fun things all around the ship…do as much as you can, have fun and enjoy your cruise!
  11. Just off of the Equinox, saw something I never have on any other ship or cruise line. One evening in the buffet the chefs were cleaning and filleting fish on the buffet line in front of everyone. They looked like very fresh fish. Handed the fillets to the Cook, he grilled and also deep fried. I had grilled and my husband had the deep fried. Both had excellent texture and taste. The size of the fish were about 16 inches to a large 24 inches or so.
  12. We board the Equinox on Monday. Can’t wait! It will be our third cruise on Equinox. We are regular RS cruisers from the U.K. who occasionally splurge on a PH. We booked this cruise a long time ago interested in experiencing a post Revolution ship....We are aware the full Revolution didn’t take place, we found this out on Cruise Critic. We were disappointed and if we hadn’t by the time we found out already been committed to flights would have changed our booking to another S class ship post full Revolution. However, no cruise in a RS on an S class ship is other than a luxury experience so we aim to enjoy! I will give some background to our experience and travel so far and be willing to answer questions as our holiday progresses. Our party includes myself, husband and adult son. We have land toured and cruised pretty well world wide. We tend to see the Caribbean as our ‘crash out’ holiday destination and invariably tie it in with a Florida visit. Frequently Orlando area but also the Gulf Coast and the Keys. This pre cruise holiday has focused on revisiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We were contacted by the shoreside concierge Zoey about four weeks ago. She really supported us last year when we had a last minute flight cancellation then lost baggage so we were delighted to hear from her again. She had taken the trouble to look up our last on board preferences as a prompt of what we may want, very efficient. She has mailed us our ‘priority’ sign to put in the taxi for drop off at Special Delivery. Interested to see how efficiently it all works. It will be our first visit to the new terminal. We expect to board on Monday and find our cabin all sorted but, as always, we have printed off a copy of the email for our butler so he can use it as a checklist for the cabin and confirm our dining bookings. Zoey has also contacted us since leaving home to warn us that boarding could be slightly delayed owing to a Coastguard inspection. We flew out direct to Orlando last Saturday from a regional U.K. airport on Virgin Atlantic. For any U.K. readers, flying to Orlando for a few days then driving down to Fort Lauderdale can be a good option. Several charter carrier options also available from regional airports too. We flew business...With knees and other joints showing their age this tends to be a necessity on long haul rather than a luxury! On the Virgin 747 ‘Upper Class’ is in the nose cone, 14 seats and a small bar. Whilst dated in some ways it does have an ambience and character that sets it apart from bigger business class carriers. We will miss these old birds when they are retired. We are presently staying in a rental villa in the Kissimmee area. It is our fourth stay here and we love it! Easy access to the theme parks and then your ‘home from home’ to return to. Coming from the U.K. having a private pool and sunshine is a real luxury we enjoy to the full. We cannot believe that our luxury villa is costing no more per night than a reasonable hotel suite. As a family we have always enjoyed visiting theme parks. Our last theme park visit was less than wonderful as both my husband and myself were finding the strain of walking and warm weather hard work.This time, with some reluctance, we decided to hire a mobility scooter...It has been wonderful! We just hired one and then took turns riding and walking. The best of both worlds, some exercise but not to the point of exhaustion. Whilst we are not yet probably at the stage of needing a scooter at home we would certainly look at hiring one on a strenuous holiday again. We booked the scooter on line and arranged to have it delivered to and collected from the villa, couldn’t be easier. So despite not being a Spring chicken I have enjoyed three park days shooting aliens, riding broomsticks, being attacked by dinosaurs and even magically riding in a motorbike side car.....Never too old to have fun! Today we intend to relax by the pool then tomorrow we drive down for an overnight stay at the Embassy Suites. Whilst we could drive down on the day it adds a timing stress that we can do without! The hotel overnight means we will board fresh and relaxed... More to follow....
  13. Does the Equinox have a lounge equivalent to the the Michael's club on Silouette?
  14. Does anyone know if Dimi is still the Casino host on Equinox? Thank you!
  15. Hi, we just got off the Edge about 1 week ago had an amazing time except for the choices of whiskeys/bourbons. When we go on Celebrity we always upgrade to premium. In the past equinox and summit was asked at the dinner table for a bourbon whisky list they gave one to my husband and of course the joke was he would work the list down trying different types he enjoyed. On the Edge they Only had a few, & no list. Actually, the sunset bar only had a couple of different ones to try. Because my husband loves the bourbons, yes we tried all bars including the martini bar, no luck🥺 So my question is, is Celebrity changing their high end bourbon /whisky choices to only a few?? Because we want to book another Equinox cruise this January and both my husband and friend love their whisky/ bourbon and this would be our friends first time with Celebrity and I Want him to enjoy his premium upgrade package 🥃.
  16. Thought we'd book Edge but I cannot bite the bullet on that price point. So now considering Equinox, eastern itinerary. Stops in Samana, Dominican Republic...is this a bummer of a stop? Any thoughts? We are looking for relaxation, great service, good specialty restaurants. Will Equinox hit the mark? (We were on Silhouette back in 2014 and loved it). Not sure what specialty restaurants they have now... 2nd option, for those who care to weigh in, is Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas...thoughts on that? We've been on Allure before so know what we're in for in terms of size, etc. Our kids (16, 19) have never sailed on Celebrity and really want to - they care less about bells and whistles and would love the dining and relaxation on Celebrity. So thanks in advance for any thoughts and advice!
  17. Booked a cruise on the Equinox and got that "Move Up" email, so I looked at the deck plans and started wondering if I'm reading them right that 2 Royal Suites are located under the pool ("Resort") deck and another 2 under the pool deck bathrooms ? Furthermore, these cabins are located right by the elevators. Can you hear the sounds from the elevators ? Do they ding every time they arrive on the level they stop at, like elevators often do ? Can the sounds from cabin movements and opening and closing doors be heard from inside the nearby cabins ? Please forgive me if these are stupid questions ; I've never been on a cruise ship.
  18. I have read several different posts that mention Equinox as having a second refurb dry dock as this year's was only partially done. Where is this information coming from? Has there been a formal announcement from Celebrity about this? We are just off the Equinox for the 4th time in our first Sky Suite. Everything was great and everyone I spoke with was very happy with the ship's facilities and appearance. I was most happy with the balcony furniture and the lack of the proposed large suites taking away from the Sky Lounge and the lack of proposed new cabins on several decks. For instance I believe the library was supposed to be turned into inside cabins and the card room done away with. Those would be huge minuses to me and I hope those changes are never made.
  19. Does anyone know what Equinox is doing after the 1/4/2020 cruise? I tried to Google charters but found nothing. We wanted to consider a B2B but can't find the second B!
  20. A few quick notes. Expedited Boarding has gotten more complicated every time we use it. First time in July was quick, second time in August was slower and this time we had to be processed by four different agents. I think the pier staff need more training on this new procedure. We were in cabin 6121. It had all the updates except carpet and sofa. Previously we were in an AQ and a CC cabin and those had been totally refurbed. A different bathrobe from the waffle ones; this one is a soft flannel finish. The Muster Drill did not show the Golden Bear video. A demonstration of how to put on a life jacket and told a comprehensive video was on the TV. Our OBC showed up on our TV account on embarkation day! That’s never happened to us before...normally it takes a day or so to appear. We were in a regular balcony cabin and did not receive a tote bag. I did not ask for one. As with every Caribbean cruise we’ve taken, regardless of length, Celebrity ran out of Diet Coke three or four days before the end of the cruise. The ship looked beautiful and the service was great.
  21. Was on the equinox a couple of weeks ago and we had another good cruise. Some observations: This year the captain was non existent and with his thick accent we found it hard to make out what he was saying on the speaker sometimes They had the outside screen going but we didn’t watch any films due to having seen them all Rocketman, Apollo 13, Dirty Dancing, Aladdin. Food in the buffet was good however on one occasion I picked out a spoon which clearly needed a good wash and handed it to the manager on duty so to at least highlight that it wasnt good enough. We found the food in the MDR was nowhere near as good as previous cruises. Our servers were excellent but after the sommelier had poured the first glass of wine only on one occasion did he refill without having to be asked Entertainment on stage was the usual affair with the exception of a three man vocal group called Uptown very good. Entertainment round the ship was fine and we both enjoyed the solo singer guitarist. We normally don’t enjoy the production shows but found this time the singers seemed to be well matched and had decent voices The stateroom although we don’t watch much tv it seems there are only about six channels to choose from. The robes have been changed to a material which makes you sweat and the table on the balcony is ridiculous. Finally the casino. I know we don’t go to play with dealers who want to be your friend however they did not seem to have any personality in addition the tables were pretty quiet especially the roulette table which normally only had one running instead of two. Perhaps it’s due to the ten dollar a play rule? In summary we keep returning to Celebrity because we find it a safe bet and we enjoy the little extra Elite perks however noticing standards slipping.
  22. We are experienced cruisers, all RCCL in past 20 yrs, a few other lines going farther back. Once evening dinner has passed, we like to kick back in comfortable shorts and casual shirts, attend shows and live music that way, and some forum content we’ve seen suggested evening dress remains more formal on Equinox. Anybody been on Equinox in the last 60 days that can offer insight to how formal evening attire needs to be ?? Our RCCL experience says no issue, evening casual (shorts) is a very common practice. Wondering if we need to pack differently due to this .... thanks in advance to anyone who can offer actual recent experience (on Equinox)
  23. Many are still concerned about furniture on Equinox balconies. Our sky suite had a new reclining chair with footstool, 2 matching plain chairs and a very large white table. If you remember the post made of a footstool that replaced the handicap shower stool which was initially given upon request for a foot stool, I can tell you where that rattan-looking foot stool came from. It was from the Retreat Sun deck. There are several of them up there.
  24. How is the new refurbished Equinox? Is the buffet area the same? How about the cabins and carpet? We were on this ship when it was new and loved it. Thinking about March 2020. Thanks for and info.
  25. I'm going on my first cruise next year on the Celebrity Equinox. Been wanting to try cruising for a while and am very excited! Had to cancel a RC cruise last year due to illness. We have a 2B unobstructed oceanview veranda booked on deck 6 forward, wondering if I should try to change it to a higher floor; it looks like the lifeboats being so close might affect our view. Would also prefer a quiet room with the bed closer to the veranda. Is the layout random, or is it based on room number? Does anyone prefer the sofa closer to the veranda, and why? We have a $200 OBC and just got an email about using it for dining packages, wifi, drink packages, etc. We have the classic drink package and wifi as our 2 perks, so will probably use it for a dining package. It's a 7 night Caribbean cruise with 2 sea days, so thinking about the 3 or 4 night dining package. I know the dining package will be worth it for us, but wondering if we need to make all reservations in advance, or wait until we get onboard. They also have a deal for day of embarkation meals at Murano or Tuscan Grill. Is this separate from the dining package? I chose the 'anytime' MDR option. Will we be able to get our own table for 2, or is it all communal? I'm more of a buffet person, so not sure how often we'd use the MDR. We both have the classic drink package as a perk. Can one (or both) of us upgrade to the premium drink package, and how would we do that? Would they just charge the difference in cost? Read about an additional fee being added to the drink package soon, so would probably need to do this soon to avoid that fee. Finally, does the Sunset Bar allow cigar smoking? Finding conflicting information. Would like a nice outdoor place to smoke a cigar with a glass of whiskey. Thanks for all the great info on this forum! Can't wait for my first cruise!
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