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Equinox April 30, 2013 - 12 night Venice overnight review

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We recently returned from the Equinox 12 night Venice Overnight sailing. Following is a brief recap of our experiences. Overall, we had a terrific cruise. Some parts were spectacular and others perhaps a minor disappointment.

 

We were picked up in Barcelona by Barcelona Day Tours to give us a 4 hour highlight tour ( and help us stay awake) We booked this with another couple we met on CC. The information was great and we had a taste of all the “important “sights. We had a 2-night pre stay at the Grand Hotel Central in Barcelona. It was a very nice, excellent location and good amenities. It has a beautiful rooftop infinity pool, but unfortunately, we had several days of cold rain so we never enjoyed this feature. Staff was terrific. Barcelona was beautiful and we did not let the rain stop us from seeing everything and having some great food.

 

The hotel was just a short cab ride to the port. We arrived at the port about 11:30 and the port was very busy. Funny – we were directed to a “priority” security line (we are Elite) and it had just one security scanner. The “regular” line had four scammers so the folks in the regular line got through security WAY faster than those in the priority line. There were several different actual check-in lines, for Elite- Suite- general passenger etc. and all seemed to be moving efficiently. There was a duty free shop after security and it was evident that one could pick up additional wine/soda to bring on board.

 

 

The Equinox is a beautiful ship with a terrific staff. We had a AQ cabin on deck 11. The cabin is adequate, but we find this type of cabin to be a bit deficient in storage. There is storage (like over the bed) but it is somewhat cumbersome to use. The bathroom is very nice. Because of the itinerary, we were not able to fully enjoy the AQ amenities, ( A first world problem for sure!)

 

Food in our opinion was good (not great). We were assigned Blu dining and ate around 8:30 most evenings. We were not picky about a particular table location or staff and had quick seating. We dined either by ourselves or with another couple to two. It was our first time in Blu. Dinner was good but nothing really blew us away. We did enjoy the Blu breakfast more than we expected. We had just one breakfast in the dining room, no lunches and dinners in the MDR. Except for the Bistro on Five, we did not do any other specialty dining. We attended the Elite Cocktail hour for maybe 20-30 minutes ( prior to it ending) and only on 4 or 5 nights. We thought the last sea day Brunch was not as nice as a previous cruise. While the food presentation was pretty, the food was really much of what is available in the dining room or the Café. Same with Elite “elegant” tea. One day ( towards the middle of the cruise) there was a $20 bottle wine special in the Café. We picked up a bottle. We also picked up a bottle in Dubrovnik and one in Italy and we were allowed to bring it on board. We did not have the drink package. We drank the Dubrovnik wine, and brought the Italian wine home.

 

The minor disappointment---the entertainment, was in our opinion, below par. We went to many shows and often felt like we wasted our time. As an example, the headliner one night was a lecture/demonstration by a pickpocket. The production shows were OK and while many liked the Cirque show, (the performers are amazing) we thought the music and costuming was distracting. Luckily, this cruise was not about the ship entertainment but more about the ports.

 

On to the ports. Nothing can really describe the beautiful experiences we enjoyed. As this was our first time at many of the ports, we did the usual “highlights” tours. We had a combination of self-tours and semi-private tours booked. We had NO Celebrity tours. We used See Amalfi Coast in Naples (6 of us) and used Rome in Limo in Florence and Rome. (8 of us) I can highly recommend both companies. Drivers/guides were waiting for us, were knowledgeable accommodating and provided wonderful experiences for us. In Dubrovnik, 6 of us picked up Absolutely Dubrovnik at the pier (not pre booked) They also provided a great day.

 

We did self-tours in Ville France (Monaco), Kotor and Venice. Our Venice self-tours were very successful We took the people mover from the ship to the Vaporetto station, bought a 24 hour ticket and used it as a hop on-hop off. We took it down the Canal the first afternoon and looked at the sights while listening to the Rick Steves narrative we had downloaded. We are dinner in Venice and then returned to town the second morning

 

We are very frequent RCCL cruisers ( over 50 cruises) with a few Celebrity cruises and some cruises with other lines. We had considered Celebrity a step above RCCL, and only considered Celebrity when planning this vacation. Quite frankly, although we had a fabulous time, we really did not consider this ship experience to be any better than RCCL. We’ll continue to sail both lines but will let itinerary and price be more of a determining factor rather than the particular line.

 

I’ll be happy to answer any questions, I can.

 

I hope future cruisers on this type of vacation enjoy the vacation as much as we did.

 

Marci

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Thanks for the review but just wondering - have you tried to post this as an actual official "Member Review" in the actual REVIEW section, vs here in the forum section? That gives more people access to it - however - I have been trying to post a review of Equinox, the TransAtlantic, the cruise immediately before yours - and for 2 weeks, the CC system has not been accepting it - weird error message - I've been in touch with their systems support team but no one is able to fix it! I have written several "official" reviews, in the Member Review section, in the past, no trouble until now! Just wondering, thanks.

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Thanks for the review but just wondering - have you tried to post this as an actual official "Member Review" in the actual REVIEW section, vs here in the forum section? That gives more people access to it - however - I have been trying to post a review of Equinox, the TransAtlantic, the cruise immediately before yours - and for 2 weeks, the CC system has not been accepting it - weird error message - I've been in touch with their systems support team but no one is able to fix it! I have written several "official" reviews, in the Member Review section, in the past, no trouble until now! Just wondering, thanks.

 

No - but thanks for the suggestion. I'll try. M

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Thanks for the review! We are on this sailing in June. Can you tell me what nights were the formal nights? Also what restaurant did you have dinner at in Venice, was it expensive and would you recommend it? Thanks!:)

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Thanks for the review but just wondering - have you tried to post this as an actual official "Member Review" in the actual REVIEW section, vs here in the forum section? That gives more people access to it - however - I have been trying to post a review of Equinox, the TransAtlantic, the cruise immediately before yours - and for 2 weeks, the CC system has not been accepting it - weird error message - I've been in touch with their systems support team but no one is able to fix it! I have written several "official" reviews, in the Member Review section, in the past, no trouble until now! Just wondering, thanks.

 

That's interesting - I have been checking the review section for the TA reveiws and have been surprized that there have not been any just yet. We sailed the TA last spring on the Equinox and are scheduled to sail her again on the November TA. Keep trying!

 

Dawn

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Do you recall if you were charged a Spanish VAT (value added tax) on purchases made while in the port of Barcelona? Most specifically I'm interested if you were charge the VAT on beverage purchases during sail away/embarkation.

 

Thanks for the review!

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Thanks for your review. We are on this cruise in October.

 

Some questions:

1. What nights were formal nights?

2. What was your cabin number? (We too have AQ on deck 11).

3. Also wondering about where you ate in Venice (like a previous poster).

4. For the Amalfi tour, did you go to Pompeii or Herculanum (sp)?

 

Many thanks, and glad to know you had a great cruise!! :D

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Do you recall if you were charged a Spanish VAT (value added tax) on purchases made while in the port of Barcelona? Most specifically I'm interested if you were charge the VAT on beverage purchases during sail away/embarkation.

 

Thanks for the review!

 

 

I did not purchase a drink at sail away so I can’t provide any information regarding the tax. .

 

Thanks for your review. We are on this cruise in October.

 

Some questions:

1. What nights were formal nights?

We had 2 formal nights . Some cabins ( like ours) had a cruising schedule that showed 3 formal nights and some cabins had a different list that indicated 2. We noticed the conflict when looking at the daily activity sheet. The first formal night was one of the early port days and the second was the last Friday of the cruise ( second sea day) .

 

2. What was your cabin number? (We too have AQ on deck 11).

1521

 

3. Also wondering about where you ate in Venice (like a previous poster).

I don’t know the name of the restaurant, it was a block or two off St Mark’s Square, There were a few streets of café after café, and we picked one that looked busy. My husband had the “tourist menu “ that was under 20E I had a pizza that was about 15E, we split a bottle of wine with the other couples who were with us. None of us were interested in a long “fine dining” dinner.

 

4. For the Amalfi tour, did you go to Pompeii or Herculanum (sp)?

 

In Naples, we did the Sorrento, Positano , and Pompeii. We had a driver and a guide for the day. The guide could not go with us to Pompeii so we hired another guide to walk us through Pompeii. We did the coast first then went to Pompeii. It wasn’t particularly hot and since we went in the afternoon, the crowds had thinned

Many thanks, and glad to know you had a great cruise!! :D

 

hope you all enjoy

M

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We recently returned from the Equinox 12 night Venice Overnight sailing. ..... There was a duty free shop after security and it was evident that one could pick up additional wine/soda to bring on board.

 

 

Marci

 

DQOTD, I had heard that the "two bottle" limit for wine for cabin consumption is .... how should I say, more "relaxed" :rolleyes: at Barcelona... is this true?:confused:

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DQOTD, I had heard that the "two bottle" limit for wine for cabin consumption is .... how should I say, more "relaxed" :rolleyes: at Barcelona... is this true?:confused:

 

It was true for us. We had one bottle in our carry on and one in our checked bag. ( we bought them in a wine shop in Barcelona). Then we bought one at the duty free. We never went through any additional scanning so there would be no way for anyone to know what was in the carry-on. Now – when our checked bag arrived at the cabin, there was a strange tag with a wine bottle printed on it. ( I should have taken a photo) – I don’t know if the bag was opened and they saw the bottle or saw the bottle with xray.

 

We bought another bottle in Dubrovnik expecting them to take it and give it to us the last night. It went through and we enjoyed it that night in the cabin. We then bought another bottle a few days later in Venice. Since we intended to bring that bottle home, we did not mind if they took it – but they did not.

 

We did not attempt to bring any bottle into Blu. We bought wine from the wine list.

 

We also had a can of beer from Kotor that was brought on with no issue.

 

Cheers

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Thanks for the info! Did you do Villefranche first or last? Our schedule has our 2 consecutive sea days at the beginning and Villefranche at the end.

 

Another question I just thought of was about tendering, was there any problems getting off of the ship early in Kotor and Villefranche?

 

Sorry for all of the questions:o

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It was true for us. We had one bottle in our carry on and one in our checked bag. ( we bought them in a wine shop in Barcelona). Then we bought one at the duty free. We never went through any additional scanning so there would be no way for anyone to know what was in the carry-on. Now – when our checked bag arrived at the cabin, there was a strange tag with a wine bottle printed on it. ( I should have taken a photo) – I don’t know if the bag was opened and they saw the bottle or saw the bottle with xray.

 

We bought another bottle in Dubrovnik expecting them to take it and give it to us the last night. It went through and we enjoyed it that night in the cabin. We then bought another bottle a few days later in Venice. Since we intended to bring that bottle home, we did not mind if they took it – but they did not.

 

We did not attempt to bring any bottle into Blu. We bought wine from the wine list.

 

We also had a can of beer from Kotor that was brought on with no issue.

 

Cheers

 

Good info. Thanks!

 

What did you buy at the duty free, was it good and how much did it cost (about)? We aren't wine- connoisseur and a nice glass or two before dinner on the balcony is all we're looking for.

Edited by A Sixth?

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We were also on this cruise, and agree with cruisegirl1 regarding the weak entertainment. Since it was such a port intensive cruise we wouldn't have attended many of the shows, but still thought that the entertainment offerings were weak. We were also on the transatlantic, and thought the the entertainment on that first leg of the B2B was much better.

 

We were also in an Aqua Class stateroom on deck 11 and loved the location. We were in 1606 so loved that extra large balcony.

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When you say you picked up Absolutely Dubrovnik at the pier without having pre booked, do they have agents at the pier that you can just approach and negotiate a tour? Can you tell me a bit about what tour you did? Thanks.

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Thanks for the info! Did you do Villefranche first or last? Our schedule has our 2 consecutive sea days at the beginning and Villefranche at the end.

 

Another question I just thought of was about tendering, was there any problems getting off of the ship early in Kotor and Villefranche?

 

Sorry for all of the questions:o

 

Villefranche was our first stop, and was the day after we left Barcelona. We had priority tender tickets and left around the time they called number 10. We left a bit later in Kotor and had no issues.

 

M

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Good info. Thanks!

 

What did you buy at the duty free, was it good and how much did it cost (about)? We aren't wine- connoisseur and a nice glass or two before dinner on the balcony is all we're looking for.

 

We bought a bottle of Cava. I don't recall the price. There were bottles of Spanish wine from under 10 E to about 30E. The salesclerks were making recommendations.

 

good luck

M

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When you say you picked up Absolutely Dubrovnik at the pier without having pre booked, do they have agents at the pier that you can just approach and negotiate a tour? Can you tell me a bit about what tour you did? Thanks.

 

They had no agents. We looked a bit bewildered as we walked out of the fenced area and a woman with business cards and a tour book approached us. She offered a set tour and the price. We did not try to negotiate. We didn't see any other tour guides around. In hindsight, we were probably crazy to get into their van, however it turned out to be a great day.

 

The driver took us to the top of the mountain where the cable car stops, then we went to the resort town of Catvan ( or something like that) then he dropped us at the old city for about 3 hours, then back to the ship. The full tour was about 6 hours and only 35 euros per person.

M

Edited by cruisegirl1

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Cruisegirl- thank you for your review. Future husband and I will be sailing the same itinerary in September. What did you think of your cabin location? We are in a cabin very close to yours- specifically in regards to noise & movement. Thanks!

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One more question! I just looked at our itinerary- you mention the first formal night was the "early" port day. According to our itinerary the only early day is when the ship is docked in Kotor and departs at 4:00. This is day 7 of the cruise- does it sound right that your first formal night wasn't until night 7? Thank you!

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I took it that it was one of the port days 'early' in the cruise and think it might be when we are in villefranche but not too sure as we are in port till after 1st sitting dining time

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Is nice and kotor totally doable on your own? Fear of getting lost is my paranoia.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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