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Equinox 9/17 LIVE BLOG; Aqua Class - 1st Time Celebrity! Let’s Cruise!


TravelBluebird
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Hello everyone! I’ll be live blogging my trip on the Celebrity Equinox 9/17 to 9/26. We are traveling from Fort Lauderdale to the ABC islands.

 

First, a little about me.

 

I’m Dee, and my husband is Russ. We have traveled on many different cruise lines; out first cruise was on  Renaissance to New Zealand back in the 1990s, and we were hooked! Lines we’ve been on include Carnival, Norwegian, HAL, Regent Seven Seas, the Caledonian Sky (Japan), and Viking Ocean. 

 

We have just taken our longest break from cruising since we started; our last cruise was December 2017 (Viking Ocean, Rome to Barcelona); we didn’t intend to take a break at all, but life happened (care of elderly parents, California fires, moving cross country, then COVID) We had planned to take a 28 day Regent cruise to Caribbean//Amazon for our 30th Anniversary, which COVID cancelled. We cancelled a Carnival Cruise feeling uncomfortable on protocols (yep, I love Carnival and Regent both; go figure), but we REALLY still wanted a cruise, started looking around, and CELEBRITY caught our attention.

 

We liked the Celebrity protocols for COVID, and the way they seem to be caring for passengers if COVID happens, and we loved the ABC itinerary, since we’ve never been there. Plus Celebrity has some awesome looking ships, so here we are!

 

As mentioned in the title, we are first-time Celebrity cruisers. We booked an Aqua Class balcony because we love spas and we are excited about Blu.  I have cruised mostly in balcony cabins, once in an ocean view, and a couple of suites. I’m a bit claustrophobic so interiors are the only cabin type I say a firm NO to.

 

Right now I am in full TRIP IN 2 DAYS mode.  This entails a long to do list, and me running about packing, buying whatever is needed but not at hand, adding apps to my phone, arrangements for the cat, double-checking all the reservations, getting work squared away, checking out camera equipment; you all know what I’m talking about! 

 

And yep, I still pack my camera. Bit of a dinosaur. I have “migrated” from really large SLR cameras to a new Fuji mirrorless; lots less weight. 

 

We are all set for our rapid antigen tests at CVS tomorrow morning, with a back-up at home proctored test if CVS doesn’t work out.  I’ve been careful but I’ll be nervous till I have those negative tests firmly in hand. I will report back on our testing experience tomorrow.

 

Thanks in advance for reading along and joining in! This thread is my way of helping pay back everyone here  at Cruise Critic that helped me get through my cruising drought, and everyone who has posted info and live blogs here; this is such a helpful and giving community.

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We’ll start our journey on Thursday morning; we drive to the Nashville airport (about 2.5 hours) so we can get a direct flight from there to FLL. We’ll stay overnight at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel. I tend to always book a Marriott brand night before a cruise since I’m lifetime Gold with them and I have a ton of points; so we normally can book the room for free.

 

We get to Fort Lauderdale in the evening, but we’ll be poking around the hotel and hotel area in the morning before we board, since the earliest boarding time we could get was 1:30pm (we booked the cruise relatively late, just last month).

 

 

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Thank you everyone!  

 

I’m so excited; trying to be calm enough to finish all the pre-trip must dos!

 

Just called the credit card companies to notify them of the vacation; my 2 Visa cards both had recordings which basically said “we no longer want to know your vacation dates; don’t worry, we’ve got you protected 24/7” which was new, because last big trip we took they still were taking vacation dates!  And a bit ironic, because when we visited our daughter in Japan pre-COVID, we notified them and 1 of those Visas was cancelled for fraud anyway during our trip (so maybe they really meant, don’t tell us because it won’t matter anyway?)

 

Our Master Card was happy to take the vacation dates down; even did it with a live  real person “banker” which I thought was very nice.

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5 minutes ago, blueboro said:

We are a party of 8 (6 from TN and 2 from KY) and will be on the cruise...provided we get negative test results.  

 

Hello neighbor!  Are you flying to FLL or driving?

 

Yes, we are very nervous about our test results tomorrow. Good luck! I hope we all test negative. Hubby and I are vaccinated and completely healthy and symptom free, and I’ve been uber careful. But you never know; only possible exposure we might have had would have been at a Grandparents dinner at our grandson’s elementary school on Friday night; good social distancing and we wore N95 masks there (gosh, those masks are particularly uncomfortable when worn for a long period of time).

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We will be following.

 

Surprised you never tried Celebrity  before  in your cruising days.  I bet you will enjoy it.  EQ is a great ship and you can't go wrong with AQ Class and Blu.   ABC itin is great...

 

Have been following the Jim/Lain EQ thread..  with great photos.  They may be back to back on EQ???  

 

Happy Travels!

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6 minutes ago, hcat said:

Surprised you never tried Celebrity  before  in your cruising days.  I bet you will enjoy it.  EQ is a great ship and you can't go wrong with AQ Class and Blu.   ABC itin is great...

 

Have been following the Jim/Lain EQ thread..  with great photos.  They may be back to back on EQ???  

 

Well you know how it is; you travel on a particular cruise line, then they throw all those shiny email offers at you; its hard to lift up your head and look at other dance partners! COVID was a nice pause that made me look around, and find Celebrity

 

Yes, I have been following the Jim/Lain thread! So much wonderful information and great photos; I highly recommend it if anyone hasn’t been following him!  And yes, they will be staying on the Equinox for my cruise as well!

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Thank you so much TravelBluebird for doing this on your first Celebrity cruise.  Most of the blogs lately seem to be in suites so it will be wonderful to see one in AQ class which is what we usually book.  Fingers crossed that you will be negative.  Our son lives in TN and he has told us COVID is pretty bad there.

Bon Voyage and Bon Appetit in Blu.

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1 hour ago, TravelBluebird said:

 

Hello neighbor!  Are you flying to FLL or driving?

 

Yes, we are very nervous about our test results tomorrow. Good luck! I hope we all test negative. Hubby and I are vaccinated and completely healthy and symptom free, and I’ve been uber careful. But you never know; only possible exposure we might have had would have been at a Grandparents dinner at our grandson’s elementary school on Friday night; good social distancing and we wore N95 masks there (gosh, those masks are particularly uncomfortable when worn for a long period of time).

We'll also be on this cruise in Aqua. Today I've started the serious packing and tomorrow morning we're going to do the proctored tests so fingers crossed that we have negative results.  Hope to see you on board!

Sue

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42 minutes ago, Stem to Stern said:

Any particular apps that you would recommend for someone going on a cruise?

 

The more obvious ones include the apps for my health and travel insurance (I have a yearly Allianz policy), and right now the CVS My Chart app to get my COVID test results; I also downloaded Navica in case I need to do the at-home proctored test instead. Oh, and I got the Southwest Airlines app; I’ve been a United girl for years, being on the West Coast; now in Tennessee I’m sort of stuck with Southwest for anything direct to Florida (unless I used Allegiant, which I just won’t). Celebrity app of course!

 

As a photo enthusiast, I’m fond of Snapseed for editing iPhone photos (and even my FujiFilm JPEGS on the fly). I also like Photoshop Express (I have full Photoshop on my iPad; Express is free and great on the phone). Mextures is great fun if you like to play with photo filters. I’m a bit of a nut for photo apps; if anyone wants a full rundown of them I’m happy to share!

 

Also made sure all of my usual critical apps were up to date (security system, bank, etc).

 

My husband wanted some TV show/movie downloads from Amazon Prime and such on his tablet, so I did those for him also.

 

This is my first cruise I’m leaving my lap top home and only using an iPad for blogging and photos; we’ll see how it goes! I do have a nice keyboard for my iPad which makes it possible.

 

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58 minutes ago, MartinsCruise said:

We'll also be on this cruise in Aqua. Today I've started the serious packing and tomorrow morning we're going to do the proctored tests so fingers crossed that we have negative results.  Hope to see you on board!

Sue

 

I hope to see you on board as well  (COVID tests willing!).  Look for a short woman with a ton of curly auburn hair; husband is taller and somewhat lacking in the hair department. We are in our early 60s.

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Ok; here’s a test to see how posting photos goes; also figured I’d do a picture of Russ and I since I think its nice to see who is doing a live blog, and also so people on the ship can say hello if they see us! This is us right after we got our COVID shots in Panama City Beach; we were so happy and felt (at the time) that COVID was going to be over. 

3FC38352-87F8-4AA0-A644-48C9BA9103E0.jpeg

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Hi and welcome back to cruising!  We just got back from Edge on September 4th.  We have cruised 28 times on Celebrity and RCCL when the kids - now 35 and 33 were young.  You will absolutely LOVE Celebrity, Equinox and Aqua Class!  We took our first cruise on Celebrity 10 years ago and completely fell in love.  Equinox is our favorite ship and Aqua Class and Blu are amazing!  Can't wait to follow along!  We love the Southern Caribbean and the ABC Islands.  Any questions feel free to ask.  Wanda

 

PS  - we have 4 grandbabies 5 and under and I was a nervous wreck waiting for the negative Covid test.  We also did it through CVs, so easy!  

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34 minutes ago, spammie said:

Hi and welcome back to cruising!  We just got back from Edge on September 4th.  We have cruised 28 times on Celebrity and RCCL when the kids - now 35 and 33 were young.  You will absolutely LOVE Celebrity, Equinox and Aqua Class!  We took our first cruise on Celebrity 10 years ago and completely fell in love.  Equinox is our favorite ship and Aqua Class and Blu are amazing!  Can't wait to follow along!  We love the Southern Caribbean and the ABC Islands.  Any questions feel free to ask.  Wanda

 

PS  - we have 4 grandbabies 5 and under and I was a nervous wreck waiting for the negative Covid test.  We also did it through CVs, so easy!  

 

Thank you Wanda! Wow; 28 cruises, I’ll definitely use you as a source of knowledge!

 

Edge sounds amazing too; we were also considering the Edge, but Equinox won out for this trip due to itinerary, and we were unsure if we’d like the infinite verandas. 

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I’m packed! 43 pounds; one suitcase plus under-seat fitting carry on; I’m pleased with that, although I have a small pile of things I WANT to bring that just missed the cut for the suitcase; which I’ll re-consider in the morning.

 

Husband refuses to put ONE thing in his case until he gets his negative COVID test tomorrow morning. But he has laid out lots of stuff on our Guest Room bed in preparation.  Evidently, Tennessee right now has the worse rate per capita for COVID in the nation, so I understand his hesitancy until we know FOR SURE we can take the trip

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6 hours ago, TravelBluebird said:

 

Hello neighbor!  Are you flying to FLL or driving?

 

Yes, we are very nervous about our test results tomorrow. Good luck! I hope we all test negative. Hubby and I are vaccinated and completely healthy and symptom free, and I’ve been uber careful. But you never know; only possible exposure we might have had would have been at a Grandparents dinner at our grandson’s elementary school on Friday night; good social distancing and we wore N95 masks there (gosh, those masks are particularly uncomfortable when worn for a long period of time).

We are flying out of BNA very early Thursday morning.  We are vaccinated also with no symptoms but still stressful not knowing.  If you see 8 loud people say hi.

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20 minutes ago, blueboro said:

We are flying out of BNA very early Thursday morning.  We are vaccinated also with no symptoms but still stressful not knowing.  If you see 8 loud people say hi.

 

I will definitely say hello if I see you! We leave BNA around 3:30.

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18 hours ago, TravelBluebird said:

 

Hello neighbor!  Are you flying to FLL or driving?

 

Yes, we are very nervous about our test results tomorrow. Good luck! I hope we all test negative. Hubby and I are vaccinated and completely healthy and symptom free, and I’ve been uber careful. But you never know; only possible exposure we might have had would have been at a Grandparents dinner at our grandson’s elementary school on Friday night; good social distancing and we wore N95 masks there (gosh, those masks are particularly uncomfortable when worn for a long period of time).

My wife and I are on this cruise too. We have been on the Equinox before and really like this ship....the last time was 2017 to the Southern Caribbean. As a first time Celebrity cruiser, you may want to see my youtube video on the Equinox.  Lots of photos of the ship and our stops in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacoa...     

 

We are fully vaccinated and have been self quarantining for the past 2 weeks...but even so, we are still a bit nervous about the test,  not about testing positive, but about getting the results back in a timely fashion. We are flying in to Fort Lauderdale Friday morning on a JetBlue non stop. It has been two years since we have even left Connecticut!!! Looking forward to meeting everyone!

Jim and Toni

 

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13 hours ago, TravelBluebird said:

I’m packed! 43 pounds; one suitcase plus under-seat fitting carry on; I’m pleased with that, although I have a small pile of things I WANT to bring that just missed the cut for the suitcase; which I’ll re-consider in the morning.

 

Husband refuses to put ONE thing in his case until he gets his negative COVID test tomorrow morning. But he has laid out lots of stuff on our Guest Room bed in preparation.  Evidently, Tennessee right now has the worse rate per capita for COVID in the nation, so I understand his hesitancy until we know FOR SURE we can take the trip

I was just like your husband for our 9/4 edge cruise - no packing until we have those results then we can get excited and move forward.  

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