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Fangornforrest

Celebrity Equinox June 29, 2019 Review + Dailies

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Scan Jul 4, 2019.pdfScan Jul 4, 2019.pdf

 

My wife and I, mid 30s, had a great time on our 7-night Western Caribbean voyage. This was our second time on the Equinox, the first being in May 2017, on a 10-night southern Caribbean sailing. We also have a few recent sailings on Norwegian, and growing up I sailed many times on Celebrity, Carnival, Cunard, Princess, and Royal. The one thing that I would stress is that while we had an amazing time, we don’t adhere to the traditional cruising structures; we don’t do assigned-time dining  in the main dining room, we don’t really interact with the cruise director or entertainment staff, and evening shows tend to not be our thing. We cruise to unplug and relax, and not being on a schedule has seemed to be the best way to do that.

 

Embarkation was easy and fast, although we arrived at 1230 to avoid the main rush, and because  we were driving from Orlando. We pretty much went through security, got our tickets scanned, and hopped right on without much waiting at all. The terminal in Ft. Lauderdale seemed updated and quite nice, but we couldn’t have been in it for more than 10 or 15 minutes.

Having been on this ship not too long ago, I would say that as non-suite guests, I don’t think either of us noticed the “Revolution” upgrades other than the new paint and RFID Seapass cards. I thought the ship seemed updated and clean when we sailed in 2017, and I didn’t really think much had changed in that regard. We absolutely love the solarium, the casino being non-smoking, and the smoking areas being confined and isolated. The prevalence of smoking on NCL is always one of the top negatives for us. We like the lawn club too, but it gets too hot up there.

 

Cabin:

We stayed in room 6299. Cabin steward was awesome. We eat late and often times feel pressured to get out of the room in the evening so they can clean, but that was not the case this trip. The room was clean and our steward, Robert, was courteous and always gave us a smile and asked about our day. This cabin has a partially obstructed Verandah  view, as the dining room juts out below the balcony, so you can’t look directly down into the water. The balcony itself, however, was extended and we loved the extra balcony space.  My wife would have probably preferred a clear view looking down, but I really enjoyed the extra space.

 

Entertainment and Service:

In general, I think the service was fantastic. There were a few incidents I can remember from our 2017 trip that stood out to me as exceptions to that rule , but on this sailing I really think the crew and staff get an A+.  We didn’t interact the cruise director or entertainment staff, but I overheard others saying how impressed they were with him/them. From my perspective, we either had a particularly fun set of passengers or a particularly good entertainment staff, because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many people dancing at the evening parties and live music venues.

 

The entertainment is really where I think celebrity could modernize a bit. The staff did a great job getting folks dancing and there was plenty of live music, but the main theater is really the epicenter of evening entertainment, and regardless of the quality, that really makes it an all or nothing proposition. If you’re not into the comedian or talented acrobats, you may find yourself questioning what to do with your evening. We really like the smaller and specialized entertainment venues some of the other lines have developed. We love the dueling piano show and comedy club on NCL's ships.  For our part, we usually eat around 9, so the only option for us to grab a show is to go before dinner, or go to the adult late-night comedy shows. We’d rather swim and relax by the pool in the evening when no one is there, so we did not get to a main theater show. We did get to one of the late night comedy shows, but it was not really to our taste and we left after about 10 minutes.

 

Food & Bev:

I thought the food was quite good, with some caveats. We did a 4 night specialty dining package and did 3 nights at Murano and 1 night at Qsine/ Le Petit Chef. The food at Qsine is nothing special, not bad, but nothing to write home about either. The experience is one-of-a-kind and makes it worth every penny. It’s not something I would repeat on the same sailing, but we would definitely do it again on another cruise. It was so much fun! Murano, in our opinion is the best food on the ship. The service was good, although I think on our 10 day sailing fewer people were eating specialty dining per night, and as a result the service on this sailing  was not as doting as it was in 2017. On one of the nights at Murano they did seem to get quite backed up, and service was slow.  We didn’t eat at. Tuscan having had a bad experience there last sailing

For our nights at the main dining room, we did Select Dining mostly eating around 845 or 9. These meals were  fast and the waiters were all friendly. I think this one area where Celebrity has really improved greatly. I don’t remember select dining being as positive an experience for us previously. Main dining room food was good, not great, but we did try to eat in the main dining room on nights when we knew the menu would be better for us. My wife’s beef short rib was almost too fatty to eat one night, but she also had a delicious beef carpaccio.  The deserts at the main dining room were underwhelming.

 

One area where I think celebrity could do better is with more fresh vegetables. At the buffet it was hard to find green veggies outside of salads and green beans. In the other venues, non-potato vegetables were more for garnish than served as sides. We didn’t do too many meals at the buffet, but the variety and quality was good when you could avoid the crowds. I think we had one or two meals where it was crowded and everything suffered. Lots of fried food. The soft ice cream was surprisingly great, but maybe that’s because I had it during a less popular time? Variety would maybe get tired if you ate their more frequently that we did.

 

Our favorite spot of the ship was the coffee bar, Café El Bacio. Awesome service, yummy pastries and fun coffee drinks here. Maria noticed we were over charged for our premium package by not having a promotion applied and helped save us some money. Special shout out to her as she also provided friendly and prompt service throughout the cruise. We will make sure she gets recognized through the proper channels. I do think their espresso lacks punch, as I found myself ordering double shots of espresso after noticing the lack of caffeine that seemed to be in the standard order.

 

One thing that was great was being able to get bar service. I found there to be plenty of wait staff roaming the pool deck. We tipped, but never had trouble getting drinks.

One thing we missed from our last voyage was the bar Slush. Slush is still there, but was only open the two sea days of our sailing. On our last sailing, it was the most popular bar, often with long lines. A few drinks had fun souvenir cups and coconuts. This trip, while the menu was unchanged, there was no drinks in coconuts or other fun novelties. The bartenders at other bars also didn’t seem to know the Slush menu, so we couldn’t get our favorite Golden Coconut drink when Slush was closed. I wish they would have put more staff into this tiny bar rather than turning it into an overflow space. One person in line noted she had 'waited 7 days for this drink'.

 

Craft Social is a nice space that isn’t really utilized all that well and I think it would be a bigger draw if the food wasn’t an extra cost. Jeffery took good care of us there. The lobby bar beneath Craft (Passport Bar) could use some theming.  The Martini Bar, World Class Bar, and Sunset Bar continue to be the stars of the libations show. The Sky Lounge is such a great spot, but we were only ever really there for Trivia.

 

Passengers:

Generally passengers were older, but because of the time do year, July during the week of the 4th, and this being a 7-night sailing, there were children. I didn’t find either group to be disruptive or too prevalent for our comfort and we try to be patient with both groups. This cruise also featured a solid amount of folks our age. I heard German, the Queen’s English and Spanish being spoken, so there was a good amount of diversity in that regard. Also, this was a friendly cruise for the LGBTQ community, and we are happy to continue to sail Celebrity for fostering and open and understanding environment. Having said that, I can’t think of a fun analogy to express just how full of white people this cruise was. Passengers were really big on reserving pool loungers with a well placed book or towel clips. On the last sea day I did see staff clear some loungers “reserved” in such a manner. Good for them.  

 

Evening Chic was not enforced, but I can’t decide if a I care. In the Caribbean in July, no one should feel like the need to wear a blazer, but there were plenty of blazers.  There was also plenty of polo shirts, T-shirts, and less than Chic jeans. I kind of like the casual concept while on vacation and would probably rather not wear a blazer, but I’ll continue wearing one until the suggested attire is changed. Evening Chic at least provides an opportunity for those who chose to dress up to get their class on, while also letting the normies dress a little more comfortably. Part of me feels like they should ditch the concept if it’s not going to be enforced, and another part of me thinks it strikes a good balance to keep traditional and new cruisers happy.

 

Ports:

Ports were very generic for a Western Caribbean. Cozumel still has great off-the-beaten-path spots that shouldn’t be shared on the internet to preserve them. It also has tourist traps. in Key West, we planned our own food tour for the day and really enjoyed walking her Island. Grand Cayman was stormy, so we ended up walking about half of 7-mile beach looking for an uncrowded spot that rented loungers ( we found none), before a storm rolled in and we called it quits. We had a happier time watching the thunderstorms from the ship. Two carnival boats were in port before us, and the popular places to rent a chair and umbrella were pretty crowded before we arrived. On Costa Maya we stayed on the ship.

 

Disembarkation:

We did walk off disembarkation.  It was a little disorganized, but not the worst I’ve been a part of either.  The biggest knock is that customs didn’t seem ready, so after we got off the boat we stood in a long tunnel, many still standing in the gangway, until they were ready.  The Celebrity app, Room Steward, and the daily planner all gave slightly varying accounts of how to participate in the walk-off program, which was a bit annoying also. I wasn’t clear as to whether to meet in one of the public lounges per the daily planner, or just come when called as proscribed by the app and steward.  We did not seem to be the only people who weren’t entirely clear on how to participate, passengers did both.

 

I have the daily 

Scan Jul 5, 2019.pdf

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Thanks for the fast review. We were on the ship the week before you on the eastern itinerary, and will do the western when we return in a few weeks.

 

I agree with you about dress code enforcement. The only time I saw men in shorts turned away was on chic night, but other than shorts, anything went. I saw plenty of men in shorts on casual nights, so that standard seems to have died. I remember a few years ago my husband getting turned away from a daytime Captains Club event because he was wearing shorts. Personally, my family and I dress above the standard because of tradition. In fact, I just bought my teenage son a new blazer and dress pants yesterday because his dress pants were way too short on the last cruise.

 

I never got the chance to try Slush and the World Class Bar was empty every time I stopped in. My son and I called the Passport Bar the Pig Bar because there is a pig table in each corner. We would usually stop there before dinner to listen to whichever band was playing.

 

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I enjoyed reading your review.  Your experience with Customs has been typical for us in Port Everglades.  

 

I am glad you had a nice cruise.

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Nice review!  We were on this cruise also and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people up dancing at the parties, especially on a Celebrity ship.  We enjoyed this cruise, the food, although somewhat hit or miss, was the best I’ve ever had on Celebrity and I do agree with you about the desserts. Oceanview had beautiful looking desserts but they were pretty tasteless.  The only decent dessert I had in the MDR was the cheesecake.

 

My observation of dress code adherence in the MDR is it is kind of sexist. As I waited outside the MDR for my husband, I watched the Head waiter stop a family of four from entering, telling the father he was not allowed in wearing shorts but allowing  the teenage son who was wearing shorts as well as the teenage daughter in her Daisy Duke style shorts and the mother, also in very short, tight shorts to enter.   There were also lots of women wearing short shorts each night. So I guess when they say say no shorts in the dining room, they mean only for adult males?😂 

 

Loved the World Class Bar!  Best drinks I’ve ever had on a cruise ship!

 

Sherri🙂

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Thank you for your review. We will be taking our first X cruise in March. We too like to relax and be on no schedule while on vacation.

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I wrote this review from my phone while still on board. Some of the formatting and punctuation issues are making me cringe. Any way to edit the review to clean it up?

 

Sherri, your perspective on the dress code is interesting. I didn't notice a sex-gap, just general non-compliance. Again, I am not sure if I mind.   Looking at the MDR menu's, we might have had a different take if we didn't pony up for the specialty restaurants. We also like the World Class Bar.


Cyntil8ing, I grew up cruising during a more formal period and my parents made sure I dressed and behaved for the occasion.  I am not sure if I am a fan of tradition for the sake of tradition, but there is probably a good lesson on appropriate levels of formality here. 

 

 

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Nice review, thanks for sharing.

 

On your post it should say edit, and you can go back and fix what you would like to fix.

Edited by micheleata

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great review - thanks. We agree with you on almost every point. Especially Murano best food and Le Petit Chef super fun and worth every penny!

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Fang,

 

Love the review!! We will be on the Equinox for the 3d time on Saturday and interested in seeing some changes. Tho, I would say, they won't probably won't sway me one way or the other, we loved her just the way she was!! 

 

Glad you enjoyed her,

 

Andy

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Thanks for the review.

 

Do you know if there have been any changes to the Murano menu?

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19 hours ago, Fangornforrest said:

 

One thing we missed from our last voyage was the bar Slush. Slush is still there, but was only open the two sea days of our sailing. On our last sailing, it was the most popular bar, often with long lines. A few drinks had fun souvenir cups and coconuts. This trip, while the menu was unchanged, there was no drinks in coconuts or other fun novelties. The bartenders at other bars also didn’t seem to know the Slush menu, so we couldn’t get our favorite Golden Coconut drink when Slush was closed. I wish they would have put more staff into this tiny bar rather than turning it into an overflow space. One person in line noted she had 'waited 7 days for this drink'.

 

 

Noooo!!!!  I loved Slush and would have the chocolate/mint drink almost every afternoon after discovering it.  I will be super sad if it is closed most of the time when we board in September.  

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20 hours ago, Fangornforrest said:

 

One thing we missed from our last voyage was the bar Slush. Slush is still there, but was only open the two sea days of our sailing. On our last sailing, it was the most popular bar, often with long lines. A few drinks had fun souvenir cups and coconuts. This trip, while the menu was unchanged, there was no drinks in coconuts or other fun novelties. The bartenders at other bars also didn’t seem to know the Slush menu, so we couldn’t get our favorite Golden Coconut drink when Slush was closed. I wish they would have put more staff into this tiny bar rather than turning it into an overflow space. One person in line noted she had 'waited 7 days for this drink'.

 


I'm surprised to hear this!  On our June 1 sailing, Slush was open from 12 -5 every day.  I wish it had been open longer (although my waistline is probably glad it wasn't) because those were my favorite drinks.  The bartender seemed to want no interaction with customers, though--he never smiled or really acknowledged anyone.

We're on Summit in November and I'm bummed it doesn't have the Slush bar.  We were debating between that cruise and another on Equinox, and Slush was definitely in the "pro-Equinox" column!  Less expensive fare and new ports won out  🙂
 

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Thanks for the review. If I understand correctly, there are 2 menus for Le Petit Chef - is there a way to know when each is “performed” and served? Or do you just take your chances as it seems Ike this should

probably be booked ahead rather than waiting until onboard?

Edited by WrittenOnYourHeart

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17 hours ago, chemmo said:

Thanks for the review.

 

Do you know if there have been any changes to the Murano menu?

 

I believe it's the same menu.  Murano Lobster, Dover Sole, chateaubriand, lobster bisque and the Grand Marnier souffle were all options on both trips.

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I absolutely agree with your wish that someone would acquaint Celebrity with the foreign concept:  fresh vegetables!!  I’ve never seen such imaginative (🤬) use of canned peas and carrots.

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Sound like you have a fantastic time.  The last time we sailed on the Equinox was in April 2017 when we lived in NH.  Now we are taking a 7 day Eastern Caribbean in February 2020 and an Ultimate Southern Caribbean for my 60th birthday both on the Equinox and cannot wait.  Really disappointed that they got rid of Silk Harvest - our favorite specialty restaurant.

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Fantastic review My wife and I will be going on the Equinox for the first time and your reporting has helped us out alot Thank you Gary

 

 

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On 7/8/2019 at 7:53 PM, helen haywood said:

I absolutely agree with your wish that someone would acquaint Celebrity with the foreign concept:  fresh vegetables!!  I’ve never seen such imaginative (🤬) use of canned peas and carrots.

 

I once asked the waiter if Celebrity had cornered the market on green beans.  That seems to be the only vegetable they're familiar with.

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Thanks for the great review.  we just booked the August 24 cruise as a quick getaway.  We haven't been on the equinox since 2012 so were curious about changes to the glass show.  Did anyone participate in the classes?

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Doing same cruise in Feb.  would you mind sharing your Key West food tour?  Sounds like a fun way to explore the is,and.  Thanks.

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14 hours ago, sharon15131 said:

Thanks for the great review.  we just booked the August 24 cruise as a quick getaway.  We haven't been on the equinox since 2012 so were curious about changes to the glass show.  Did anyone participate in the classes?


I did--I made a Christmas ornament.  It was fun and now I have a nice souvenir of the trip.  I'd do a class again.

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just booked the glass class for the two of us.  was afraid if we waited until we boarded they'd be booked solid.  strange to find the glass show listed with the internet packages.

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On 7/8/2019 at 11:33 PM, Fangornforrest said:

 

I believe it's the same menu.  Murano Lobster, Dover Sole, chateaubriand, lobster bisque and the Grand Marnier souffle were all options on both trips.

 

Thanks... looking forward to the turbot...

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