Back To Line

Celebrity Cruises: Equinox

Equinox Cruise Review

The second ship in Celebrity’s Solstice-class, Celebrity Equinox was introduced in 2009 with the premium features introduced by the cruise line on Celebrity Solstice, including the Lawn Club, a buffet restaurant with stations instead of lines, spa-inspired accommodations, and more specialty dining options. Based in Rome (Civitivecchia), Celebrity Equinox sails the length of the Mediterranean and through the Greek Isles in summer months on 11- and 12-night voyages and then heads to her winter homeport, Fort Lauderdale, to offer a variety of 10- and 11-night Caribbean itineraries.

While Solstice-class ships are contemporary in design—even a bit edgy for Celebrity—the line included enough spaces with old-world ambience to satisfy traditionalists. The atmosphere is not unlike a hip boutique hotel filled with grand spaces as well as intimate nooks and crannies. Celebrity Reflection adds an additional deck for more high-end suite accommodations.

The Lawn Club, a half acre of real grass on deck 15, is where you can play genteel games of croquet, practice golf putting, indulge in lawn games and picnics, or simply take barefoot strolls. In a nearby open-air "theater" on Solstice, Eclipse, and Equinox, artisans demonstrate glassmaking in the Hot Glass Show. A similar space on Silhouette and Reflection houses an outdoor grill restaurant, and those ships, along with Solstice also have private cabanas in the Lawn Club (for a fee). These ships have a lot to offer families, with a family pool and the most extensive children's facilities in the Celebrity fleet.

Since it was founded in 1989, Celebrity Cruises has grown from a single refurbished ocean liner into a fleet of premium, sophisticated cruise ships that have a reputation for professional service, fine food, and some of the best design in the industry. Signature amenities have grown with the fleet, including gourmet specialty restaurants that carry an additional fee, large staterooms with generous storage, fully equipped spas, and butler service for guests in the top accommodations categories. Valuable art collections grace the stylish modern luxury ship interiors.

Although spacious accommodations in every category are a Celebrity standard, Concierge-class, an upscale element on all ships, makes certain premium ocean-view and balcony staterooms almost the equivalent of suites in terms of service. A Concierge-class stateroom includes numerous extras, such as chilled champagne, fresh fruit, and flowers upon arrival; exclusive room-service menus; evening canapés; luxury bedding, pillows, and linens; upgraded balcony furnishings; priority boarding and luggage service; and other VIP perks. At the touch of a single telephone button, a Concierge-class desk representative is at hand to offer assistance. Suites are still the ultimate, though, and include the services of a butler to assist with unpacking, booking spa services and dining reservations, shining shoes, and even replacing a popped button.

What You Should Know


  • An interactive TV system allows you to book shore excursions and order room service
  • Aqua-class has its own staircase direct to the spa
  • A Hospitality Director oversees restaurant reservations


  • Closet space is skimpy in standard cabins
  • There are no self-service laundries
  • Dining choices are plentiful, but pricey
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,253
  • Entered Service 2009
  • Gross Tons 122,000
  • Length 1,041 ft.
  • Number of Cabins 1,425
  • Passenger Capacity 2,850
  • Width 121 ft.
  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Jan 2, 2017

South Caribbean

Celebrity does not cater to families and definitely not to ages 16-20. There is no evening programming for these age groups past 12midnight, even if the company of parents, and security runs the ships is a detention centre rather than vacation. If you are between 16-20 be prepared to be kicked out publically in by military-style authority that is intimidating, aggressive and harassing. As a parent of two teenage girls, 17.5 and 20.5, the embarrassing

use of excessive stalking, intimidation and expulsion from dance parties and boat was inexcusable and resulted in creating a miserable experience for the family. Ever other family I spoke to with young adults had the exact negative experience. I will never travel Celebrity Cruise lines again, unless I'm 80 and want to nap all day and be asleep by 10pm - there is no celebrating allowed on Celebrity cruise lines. Good food. Obstructed view for our cabin. Make sure you clearly ask if your balcony has an obstructed view because Celebrity will not volunteer the information prior to boarding. The show entertainers were great, otherwise unless you call drinking at the martini bar and karaoke must-have activity, there was nothing to do on the ship after 10pm. The house band was mediocre and played music for the 60-80 year old crowd. There was no late lounge with youthful music for families with teens or young adults wanting to have fun on board - it was like they closed down and wanted everyone in bed rather than having fun on vacation. Lots of cool activities for older people like glass blowing, political speakers, and tour to ship. So unless you wanted to learn about future cruising or eat or spend $$$at spa - SEA days were painfully boring. The outdoors pools are open to families with young children splashing everywhere. The pools are very small and get closed for volleyball and other Olympic Games when it people need to cool down from heat. Constant poolside live music but again music selection catering for 60++ It was a very negative experience based on the harassment, intimidation and authoritarian style of the security staff. I would NOT recommend this cruise if you are travelling as a family, have young adults between 16-21 travelling with you and if you like to stay up late having a fun time dancing and celebrating a holiday. If you're retired, 60+ and go to be in bed 10pm, this is for you - otherwise you'll be bored. The ports, wait staff, stateroom attendants were excellent and hard working. The food was very good by cruise standards, the ship was well maintained, and show entertainers were excellent. Security, guest relations and the up-selling or drink packages/restaurants was a horrible experience. I will never travel Celebrity again.

Read More
  • New

Nov 24, 2015


There were three very good (private) shore excursions; excellent food; the usual high quality Celebrity service and relaxing sea days. There were two good speakers and a couple of decent shows, plus the amazing glass blowing, but the daily activities need improvement The food was almost up to the level of Crystal; Oceania's Marina and Azamara Quest. So that is very high indeed! We liked the way the buffet is arranged. We had a Sky

Suite on Deck 12, which was up to date and roomy, with a nice bathroom. As usual, we had more than enough storage room. 2 daytime speakers were quite good while one was terrible. The glass blowing is wonderful. Everything else was sadly lacking. As usual we relied heavily on private tours found on the Internet, with excellent results. The one short ship's tour we did in Valencia, as time was very limited was reasonably satisfactory; but if one has a full day there are excellent private tours in Valencia. The Canary Islands we visited; Lanzarote and Tenerife, are unique and it is worth searching for a small private tour to really see and appreciate these islands. Celebrity Equinox 2015 Transatlantic: Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale Why this cruise? We usually choose a cruise for its itinerary; modified by the perceived caliber of the cruise line, based on our prior experience if possible. We liked the four stops, particularly Lanzarote and Tenerife in the Canary Islands. We had visited there in 2009 on Equinox’s initial transatlantic voyage, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. It was our 11th Celebrity cruise (out of 37); which included Expedition to the Galapagos Islands. This cruise lived up to our expectations of a well-run trip on a very attractive ship with a professionally trained and attentive crew; quite decent food and fair entertainment. The Itinerary and Shore Excursions This was a typical “repositioning ”cruise; bringing the ship from Europe to the Caribbean for the fall/winter trade. After departing Barcelona our stops were Valencia and Malaga on the mainland and, as noted, Lanzarote and Tenerife in the Canary Islands. We had visited Valencia with a major tour including a paella feast while on Eurodam in April, and our stop here was short with a 2:00 P.M. sail away time, so we opted for a quick ships€™s tour of the city. It was reasonably priced and did a pretty good job considering the time constraints. A fellow passenger had arranged a private tour out of Malaga to the town of Ronda. The Malaga stop usually invites a trip to Granada and the Alhambra; but since we had done that also in April, we chose Ronda. There were six of us with a guide named Maike Ange who works with ToursByLocals (sic) and who we had also used on the Alhambra visit. She is originally from Germany, but has worked in Spain for over 35 years, and is extremely knowledgeable and professional. Ronda is a small but beautiful hillside city with many very old buildings, and a sense of isolation in a busy world. We had a very good lunch at a restaurant on its terrace, which afforded a beautiful view of the valley below. The route back took a different course, which led us down the mountains south of Malaga. At one point we stopped and were able to see Gibraltar and the mountains in Africa beyond the Rock! We reached the Mediterranean and drove along a coast road past some striking resorts and homes. We also stopped briefly for coffee near the sea. Altogether this was an excellent full day trip for about $108.00 US per person. Lanzarote is a unique place, which must be seen and experienced to understand its attraction. We love it. The charm may not be obvious to all. The island was engulfed in volcanic ash through a series of eruptions circa 1736-44. No one died fortunately, but much of the land is barely arable, and water is a highly valuable and rare commodity, most of now being supplied through a de-salinization plant. There is a National Park, which we visited and which is mostly covered with lava. On the rest of the island there are scattered growing patches in which grape vines are cultivated behind small circular walls about two feet high to protect them from the ever present wind. Outside Arrecife, the capital, virtually all homes and buildings are white structures with rectangular designs, no more than two stories in height, and marked with doors, and window frames that are blue, green or brown. They are all neat and well cared for. A local man, Cesar Manrique, an artist and architect who studied in Paris and New York, returned to his home and, as a person whose family had influence in addition to his artistic credentials, persuaded the local government to restrain all future building to low rise proportions, and to mandate the white color. He also created a beautiful botanical garden which we had visited in our prior trip. This time we visited his re-working of a lava tunnel, which led down to the sea, turning it into a marvelous underground theater as well as a small garden. His home is also worth a visit. Our tour company,, provided a very competent guide and a driver who led us through the rain and fearlessly over narrow roads in the national park. All in all, we really had a marvelous full day look at Lanzarote and renewed our admiration for it. Tenerife is quite different from Lanzarote in that it is very green over most of the land, except for the upper portions of Mount Teide, the highest point in all of Spain at 12200 feet, and the caldera at the side of this mountain. We had some confusion about our connection, and because we could not find our guide, the two couples with us grabbed a local taxi, and we went along with them. It was a Mercedes van, and reasonably suited, although our driver’s English was limited and he could not provide the information that a licensed guide would have done. Nonetheless, at 250 Euros total for a seven-hour tour it was quite satisfactory. On the way up the mountain we travelled mostly through clouds. However we emerged into sunlight at about 6000 feet, and when we reached the base of the cable car at 7730 feet it was bright sunshine. There are two cars and they reach their destination 11640 feet up the mountain. The cost is not bad, but we did not have the time or inclination as the cars were crowded and many people were waiting. Off to one side of the cable car station there were spectacular views into a caldera forming the southwest side of the mountain. On the way back we traveled to the north side of Tenerife through a town called Oratava, which had a charming small building built in 1632 called Casa de los Balcones. Inside were a couple of interior patios with the delightfully ornate balconies responsible for the name. Afterwards we descended to the north shore and a town called Puerto de la Cruz, which had a small harbor with a breakwater subject to huge waves crashing over it and providing a wild ride for 8 or 10 brave surfers. This was a very attractive seaside location with many high-rise apartments or condos looking over the sea. Altogether our experiences in the Canaries, despite bad weather, were delightful. These are prosperous and attractive islands, very neat and clean; with all sorts of accommodations and attractions for the multitudes of tourists visiting from Europe and providing a relatively strong economy. There was one sea day between Malaga and Lanzarote and after Tenerife we had seven days at sea until our arrival in Fort Lauderdale The ship Equinox is a large and beautiful vessel. It tends to the modern mode, with wide expanses of glass, shaped metal, striking colors and artwork everywhere. The design is typical, with decks 3, 4 and 5 containing the shops, casino, numerous bars, and most of the dining venues and entertainment centers. Decks 6 through 11 were devoted mostly to cabins with the exception of the library, card room and computer center. Deck 12 has suite cabins aft, the two pool areas, one open and one closed, and the spa/gym set up. Deck 14 (no 13 of course) has the buffet aft, a walking circuit above the pool areas, and the main Sky Lounge forward, with two conference rooms to one side. Deck 15 is largely open with a sports court, the “bowling lawn”, and the glass blowing set-up; but it also has an activity room for table tennis and the play areas for children. There is an open deck aft and the Sunset Bar. Deck 16 is a small forward area with lounge chairs for sunning. The main elevator set-up is striking. It is slightly aft and consists of eight cars. The car doors are four to a side and the center of the single shaft is open from deck 3 to deck 15, with a glass roof and open side at deck 15 allowing daylight down the entire shaft. The back of each car is glass so that you see across the open shaft into the cars on the other side. The only problem is that it is not possible to call a car on the other bank of four, or do anything else but use the four on your side. This results in some delay during busy hours. There is also a standard bank of four elevators forward. Our cabin We had opted for a Sky Suite for the additional room and some other benefits. Repositioning cruises are not that expensive, so this was not a major extravagance. Sky Suites are not true suites; but simply large verandah cabins with a few extras. We liked the large closet space in which everything hung without squeezing, drawer space far beyond our needs and a very nice tub/shower with a rain shower head and a hand held spray, in a tub long enough to stretch out nicely. A nice feature also was the soft overhead night light which came on automatically in the bathroom, enabling one to find one’s way around without turning on the normal bright lights. The verandah had two comfortable lounge chairs with ottomans and a large table. The couch was also good sized and the desk/vanity had plenty of surface area to hold items without getting crowded or misplaced. Lighting was good and the thermostat actually controlled temperature. Food Many consider this the most important facet of the cruising experience; and those who do so would not have been disappointed by Equinox’ offerings. Our viewpoint was colored by the fact that as suite guests we had exclusive access to the newly created Luminae, a very high end restaurant on deck 3. There are 58 suites on this ship and therefore no problem ever finding a good table. While Luminae was open for all three meals, we never had lunch there; and we only selected breakfast, with its more limited menu, after being frustrated finding seats in the buffet. We had also tried the special breakfast offered to Elite class passengers in the Tuscan Grill, but Luminae was better and involved less walking and effort. One achieves Elite class by accumulating points based on the number of sailing days on Celebrity, Azamara Quest and Royal Caribbean, and with a total of 13 cruises on these lines, we have now reached Elite Plus with 150 days. The selections on Luminae’s special menu were limited to four starters, entrees and desserts, but we were allowed to use the main dining room menu, and pretty much order whatever we chose from either or both. There were little additional treats, and the service was very personal, efficient and pleasant. Most of the tables were for two people, but close enough to share conversation with others. The quiet pace was a change from the rush and bustle in the main dining room where we ate twice, once at a table for ten, and once by ourselves. We did, thanks to our Elite status, have the right to have two free dinners at any of the specialty restaurants, and we used them both at the Silk Harvest, a very good oriental restaurant, which never seemed crowded, or even heavily used. Our butler (a suite perk) made the reservations and we were told that on one occasion there was no seating available. We believe that this was not due to the size of Silk Harvest, but to the small staff. We did not eat at Blu, the Aqua Class restaurant, nor The Tuscan Grill or Murano’s, the other specialty restaurants. Blu does not carry an extra charge, and when, in 2009, we had sailed on Equinox’ initial Transatlantic crossing, we had enjoyed its healthy dining aspect. Edith is vegetarian, and, thanks to the wait staff in Luminae, and the equally pleasant and helpful staff in Silk Harvest, had a much better ability to come up with decent dining. The normal extra charges for Silk Harvest, The Tuscan Grille and Murano were $20.00, $40.00 and $50.00 per person respectively, which for the latter two at least seems quite high, and probably not justified by the difference between these venue and the main dining room. The buffet was a mixed blessing. The set-up is good, with several free standing serving stations, so we were not forced to stand in long buffet lines (except at the ice cream station). The selection was quite varied and of generally very good quality, at times reaching an excellent level. The main problem was finding seating and the noise, as well as the need to fight to retain ones eating utensils from the wait staff determined to whisk them away as soon as you looked as though you had stopped eating. The coffee was not good, and the drink stations not very efficient. There were a number of other snack type dining venues around the ship and Edith enjoyed light breakfasts at the Aqua Spa cafe© for a “healthy alternative breakfast” on deck 12 by the covered pool after her morning walk. I favored the Gelateria. Overall, on a scale of 1 to 100, I would rate Equinox’ dining at 93, compared to Crystal at 97; Oceania’s Marina (and probably Riviera) at 94, along with Azamara Quest. The other Oceania ships would be at 91; Princess and Royal Caribbean at 84; HAL and Carnival at 83 and Norwegian at 80. We have not sailed on Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn or Silver Seas, and it has been some time since we have sailed on Carnival or Norwegian, so our ratings there might not represent the present quality of those lines. Entertainment and shipboard activities This was a mixed bag; with an overall rating of about 60 on the 1-100 scale. The major singers/dancers shows – 3 in all – were pretty good, with the aerial act showing a lot of imagination and daring. The other main stage shows tended to be loud and not funny, except for the magician, who was entertaining. But then, I am a sucker for magicians. Some musical acts were staged in the deck 3 atrium, directly in front of the main elevator shaft, which was open to deck 15, and therefore pretty loud. There was a guitar/piano duo playing at various bars which seemed to be tolerable. Celebrity has a “Beyond the Podium” series of speakers during sea days. There were three of these; and two were very entertaining. Steven Friedman presented a series on Broadway shows, in chronological order over seven lectures, from the 1920s to the present day. In addition to being very informative, they were highlighted by his excellent singing of three or four songs from these shows in each talk. This was quite a new concept, and greatly entertaining. Dr. Christine Bridges gave a series of talks dealing with Spain and the Spanish explorations and conquests in the new world. She had a light and pleasant touch and was deservedly popular. The third presenter was a complete waste of time as far as we were concerned. He was an Australian, with an almost unintelligible accent, talking about rowing across oceans. He was poorly organized; and the boring photos of rowboats did not seem to be connected with anything. After one show, we never went back. The “signature” show of this class of Celebrity ships is the Hot Glass Show, held once or twice every sea day. It is put on by the Corning Glass Company, and takes place in a partially covered area on deck 15 and is put on by three professional glass blowers with two very hot glass ovens. They make all sorts of beautiful colored glass objects from vases and plates to figurines. Each show is unique and lasts about one and half hours. There are about forty seats for viewers, and they were usually filled with standees in the rear. There was always an element of suspense as there is no guarantee that each effort will work. Indeed, on the last show we watched a glass hat designed to be placed on a pirate figurine fell and broke on the deck. This show has run for years, and it never loses its attraction. What we did miss was a classical music group. Even Carnival had one on our initial cruise on Elation in 1999; and some of them have been really good and were scenarios we looked forward to each day. They have ranged from a solo harpist, to piano/violin duos to trios and quartets, and the lack of such entertainment on a very large ship with the potential of a decent sized regular audience is inexcusable. There were the usual trivia type games and special happy hours, Captains Club cocktail parties and “seminars” designed to sell services and products from the stores. In addition two ship’s officers had lectures on navigation and the engineering, which attracted a largely male audience, and despite some language problems, were enlightening. We do not do the casino on any cruise. The crew Celebrity seems to hire from a wider range of countries than most cruise lines. 87 nationalities were represented on board. The most surprising was the Executive Chef who hailed from the far off shores of California. Americans are normally found only among the Cruise Director’s staff and the entertainers and lecturers. When our Sky Suite butler greeted us, we were amazed to see Alfred, who had been our butler on two Infinity voyages in 2002 and 2003. Our cabin stewardess from the Philippines has been with Celebrity for 12 years. This speaks to a good working relationship between Celebrity and its crew, and happy crewmembers mean happy guests. The friendly attitude was evident in all facets and every range of crewmember. The Guest Relations staff was very helpful. We were not thrilled with the Cruise Director. He was a cheerful and outgoing Argentine, but with a repertoire of bad jokes, and an accent that made some of his information unintelligible. Our Luminae dining experience, as we noted, was excellent, and the service was led by Dev from Mauritania. He was extremely helpful and friendly, as was the rest of the staff there and in Silk Harvest. The main dining room staff was also good, but a little rushed, which often happens on larger ships. The Gelato server and I became fast friends. Overall experience This was quite a nice cruise; not the best, but certainly not the worst we have experienced. Our shore excursions were very good, primarily because of the Canary Islands exposure. The sea days were relaxing, but not exactly exhilarating. The cuisine scene was excellent, both as to quality, food variety, dining room ambience and service. The size of the ship and the number of passengers limited social interaction with our shipmates; and we really prefer it if there are 1000 passengers at the most. Putting it altogether would place this cruise somewhere in the middle range of all our sea voyages.

Read More
  • New

Mar 21, 2015

Ephesus Shore Excursions

We actually only booked the tour for Ephesus, but the other places were really interesting! Our best compliments to the driver (Tayfun) and the guide (sadly didn't catch the name). Our guide told us really interesting info about Turkey on the drive (what gets built and produced where etc.) Also the presentations were done with funny anecdotes and interesting historical background info. We booked the tour online from . It was great

the we were dropped off a bit earlier, because our cruise ship left a bit earlier than as planned. Highly recommended!

Read More
  • New

Apr 5, 2014


Another wonderful ship from the SOLSTICE CLASS A couple of "misses" in the Silhouette (MDR) Well planned, plenty of room and storage Impossible to do everything, day and night, 24/7 something for every one and their tastes the excursions we booked while aboard the ship via interactive TV in our stateroom were an excellent value We flew DELTA from Newport News to Ft. Lauderdale. This was a first for us, we let celebrity

book the air, which gave us a lower rate than delta and assured seats which Deltas web site would not allow. We paid the extra $$ for our luggage and had a typical flight, cramped seating, pretzels. Richard booked the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale on line. Their website said walk to mall, there is no mall, unless you call Big lots and Walgreens a mall. The real malls are miles away. We took a cab, the shuttle would not get us, cost $35.00, however, we insisted on a receipt, and suddenly the rate became $25.00, and the hotel refunded it in cash. The room the motel and the breakfast were nicer than most, and we would use it gain, closest to the port, too. We boarded without a glitch, we are high priority members with Celebrity and had Concierge Class cabin. We know the Solstice class ships very well, having sailed REFLECTION and SILHOUETTE this past year, and we have a preferred cabin location, so we made our way, champagne in hand to our cabin. The layout here as with most new ships regardless of cruise line, is pretty much the same. T\here were five large dresser drawers and two large over the queen size bed storage cubicles, and ample closet space, as well as ample storage space in the bath. A bottle of Balnc de Blanc and fresh fruit and a stocked honor bar were the embellishments. Our travel agent provided a ship board credit. We had dined in the Ocean View Cafe prior to the cabin visit, having priority privileges due to our concierge cabin, and had found the place immaculate and the food awesome the selection wonderful and the service, by that I mean, being served iced tea, and busing used plates as were needed, to be efficient and friendly. This is the time I run to the main dining room to see if our table request has been honored, late seating, table for two, and our request had been taken care of. We despise open seating as we prefer our waiters for dinner when we are not dining in a specialty restaurant. A word on the buffets, I am not a great fan of them, not on land nor at sea. I dislike pushing and shoving and cold hot food and warm cold food, and the general appearance of "slop" presented for helping ones self to. One major, self billed premium line, when they run out of an item, that's it, when they have sticky and filthy spoons and serving pieces, they remain, wet trays are used, and the passengers they cater to are grumpy and obnoxious. Tables are not bused quickly. Here is the Celebrity difference: none of the above ever occurs at any Celebrity buffet, be it breakfast, lunch or light snacking.We partake of as many and as needed meals in their Ocean View cafe as we wish, in fact, we both often find that the buffet is nicer than the breakfast or lunch offered in the MDR. It also helps that the service crew members up there are so genuinely nice and eager to make the visit a pleasant one. Pizza made with real pizza dough crust, not the usual cardboard kind, gluten free pizza and pasta, fresh salads, infinite combos here, home made dressings always in all dining venues, Indian, Asian, English - English breakfast any one?, whole carved turkeys and steamer roasts, duck at a buffet? Yes, and more than any omelet choice than even the best 5 star hotel has dared to offer. Gelato, ice cream, sorbet, made on board,fresh fruit and cheeses, tons of smoked - freshly sliced off the slab - smoked salmon, - the list could go on and on........... We have been on the best of the best ships, and nobody, not know how offers this, and to 2,800 passengers daily? Come on...... My general rule of thumb in the MDR first night is, there is only one chance to make the first impression and it had better be good. The table was locate in a semi private area, only two tables for two were there, a pillar with draperies provided the privacy on two sides. Larger tables flanked the perimeter of this area, and we really felt a sense of quietude there. Our waiter and his assistant were delightful from the first hello. We had the same sommelier each evening, he was one of 22 in the Silhouette, which is the MDR on the Equinox. Our wine and preferred cocktails were ready each night upon our arrival, and the chefs recommendation was offered for our perusal each and every meal by or waiter. We had only two "misses" in the MDR with our ordering, and that was corrected without a second thought. One side, left, is the dinner menu's always offered selection, shrimp cocktail, French onion soup, escargots, fresh Caesar salad, roast chicken, cedar planked roast salmon, sirloin strip steak and more, up several notches from many other cruise lines and the dinner menus themselves were top-rate,on the right side, Oysters Rockefeller, lamb shanks, Cornish hen, lobster, turkey, duck several times, rack of lamb, Beef Bourgingnon, daily made fresh pasta and sauces, house dressings, a true cheese course, and more, up-scale items, the selections unbelievable, considering how many portions and passengers were to be served. Incredible, and delicious, all at proper temperature, beautifully prepped and presented. Each evening for Elite Captains Club member an above, the Sky Observation Lounge cordons off a section for these "elite" souls, for the express purpose of a get together, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, where select cocktails, beer and wines are offered free of charge, with complimentary canapes and hot hors oeuvres, with smiling service in a congenial atmosphere. We were there every night, and still made time for dinner and the shows. Once during the cruise we attended a captains Club wine tasting, which offered four flights, non expensive, one we ordered later in the MDR. This tasting lacked some finer points we have found on other cruise lines at similar events, such as no fruit, cheese or palate cleaners, and there was no spitting out of the wine. But, we did order one bottle, so it served its purpose. Seems as though the long line and shaking the hand of the Captain has diminished of late, blame it on the noro virus, we are told. We were presented to the captain, Captain Micheal, as he prefers to be called, and low and behold, we had sailed with him when he was Staff captain on the Chandris SS Victoria, and Celebrity SS Meredian and MV Horizon. He of course remembered one of our now retired captains from both Chandris and Celebrity ships, Captain Pagonis, who just last year retired while we were on the Summit in Bermuda. We started our first port day with breakfast in the cabin, served on our balcony, fine, except coffee for two was only coffee for one, as one pot was missing from the order. No big deal, I could have called and ordered another, but let it go. Our first port was Grand Cayman, and the Equinox was there along with Nieuw Amsterdam, Carnival Breeze, Silhouette and Oceania Marina. so, figure approximately 15,000 plus passengers could conceivably be rampaging St. George or Seven Mile Beach. We had booked "Tiki Beach" tour, at seven mile beach, and it w.a.s. MOBBED. The beach is broken up in sections, our being "Tiki". We rented an umbrella, $20.00, $10.00 of which was refunded when returned. For this we also got a free punch, not a drop of rum just punch. Bathroom and changing area clean. We had a beautiful beach experience there, rented an umbrella, and enjoyed our first beach visit in many a cruise. For Christmas I gave husband as a gift certificate for Murano, the French alternate restaurant that the Solstice class ships offer, and we went there for one of two meals during the cruise, and it was heaven on a plate, the food, the table side prep, the menu, the quality, the atmosphere and everything that makes up and elegant dining experience. We miss Murano, or Normandie, or SS United States et cetera, as the names of the restaurant vary per ship, and decor in most instances, menu happily, remains true throughout the fleet, save for Xpedition. We a particularly fond of the Peakie toe crab with caviar, diver scallops, lobster bisque and mushroom cappacino, salads offered here only, lobster prepared table side as well as table side prepped Dover Sole, the most gorgeous rack of lamb at sea, and I know of what I speak here, heavenly souffles and ices and bakery confections, and the marvelous cheese trolley which all add up to one of the very finest dining experiences at sea, in all honesty, it is similar to dining in the Cunard Line Grills. We reserved one more night in this heavenly piece of Paris at sea. Celebrity is the only cruise line that has a glass blowing studio on some of their ships, through a partnership made with Corning Glass Works. We attended one work shop and learned a lot about this ancient art. Items made during the cruise are auctioned off for "the Cure", for cancer. Starting bids are at $1,000.00 per item. A special piece is made for the kids in the group whereby the kids draw what they would like to see blown in glass, one drawing is selected, and made, the child whose item is made gets to keep the item. Replacing Qsine, one of the alternate restaurants on the Solstice Class is the Asian Fusion "Silk Harvest". We reserved on dinner there, and enjoyed the appetizers, or starters, which included soup, spring rolls, crisp wontons and shrimp. Very good they were. The mains were a little disappointing to us, not too spiced, and not very imaginative. Service was exceptional. There is a separate sushi menu available and exotic drinks. It has been many years cruised to Cartegena, once in fact, on the MS Mermoz. Back then it was a dusty dump, dangerous city. It has grown, become very modern, with some interesting shops selling emeralds and art. Emeralds are NOT from the large jewelers found throughout the Caribbean, buyer beware. We opted for the horse drawn carriage ride, one of the excursions offered on the ship. The old city, a UNESCO site, is quite beautiful with colorful bougainvillea and brightly painted shuttered houses and cobblestone streets. It is a nice alternative to the fortress trip, which we did do years ago, and found it to a long hot trip. It hit 97 degrees this day of the carriage ride. Oppressive humidity, too. The Vision of the Sea was in Colon, Panama when the Equinox docked. This was a sultry hot and humid morning, and we had elected not to take any excursion, since we had done the canal by train and visited Panama from previous cruises, and we wanted to enjoy the ship and just shop at the pier. Each port area seems to have things that differ from the others, and anywhere in Panama you can count on hand made and sewn items made by the Cuna Indians, the charming indigenous Panamanian natives. Hand carved bone items and woven items are also must see items here. Mulas, hand fashioned and colorful fabric items are the key things here. There is a Farmacia here, nothing like one in the States or Canada, but, you can often find what you may need. The first big production show of the cruise was called "Limelight" with typical Broadway tunes presentation, and this one was excellent, long on talent, costumes and choreography, The second was celled "reMix", and what a show this was. This offered and olio of popular tunes, from today and disco, to the '50's to today's new chart busters. The vocal artists were perfection, singing movie tunes, up to and including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Ricky Martin. High energy and expensive costumes and lighting plus the ships live band made for one highly explosive evening of sheer energy, iced by the acrobatic and areal artistry that Celebrity has become famous for. Imagine a version of Britney Spears "Toxic" followed by Ricky's "She Bangs". It doesn't get much better than that. In all of our cruises we had never been to Costa RIca, and this was one of the reasons we booked this particular Celebrity cruise over others. Our shore excursion was "Caribbean Train Boat and Bus". The bus was from the ship to a banana plantation, which was closed on Sunday, so were able to only walk around this plantation with our guide . The boat was a boat trip through a river in a rain forest, where we saw much natural beauty, egrets, a small blue heron and two Jesus Christ lizards, so named because they are able to skim across the water. The river is beautiful, local houses line the river banks. The train is an old train once used for passenger use from the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean coast. The train has been cared for and rebuilt, and has a WC on board, it is pen ar, closed roofed. We saw many howler monkeys and a sloth along the way. It is up to the animals to be seen, not by man, so animal encounters vary, Limon, Costa Rica is to put it mildly, seedy, and best not strolled through. Our guide Monica and driver Freddy were excellent on this trip. In the water from our cabin balcony in the Equinox ernes, terns and dolphins frolicked throughout most of the day. Belize is another can of wax, or is it worms. We heard it was awful, we merely took the Beach Boar trip, and that was enough not sandy, just while hard packed sand, cloudy water and a restaurant tht had only nachos and chicken with rice, and a primitive toilet system. The boat ride was long and not very interesting, and well, we just tacked this place up to another place to have seen. This was another first, we had never been to Belize before. Dining is its calling card, we hear. I for one, was less than impressed. So, Cozumel, a favorite of ours, we have seen Cozumel grow from dirt roads and the tackiest of shops, to what it is today, a first rate tourist city in beautiful Mexico. It is a long ride, and even longer walk, from the pier to the downtown. In were the Disney Fantasy, Silhouette Carnival Glory, and a fav of ours, Celebrity Summit. Always busy, Cozumel never seems crowded. The taxi is $8.00 for two each way. At eh very end of the waterfront downtown is the Forum, a high end shopping area. On the second floor is a kosher Israeli/Mexican restaurant, "Jerusalem. It overlooks the harbor, on this day, the Disney Fantasy. The food is incredible. We had shwarama, shredded chicken with assorted dipping sauces and salads, a a chicken schnitzel, preceded by home made pita style breads, hummus and chimichiri sauce. It was wonderful, and the only meal we had off ship. We ambled around for trinkets, and we bought our son a work of art, a solid-heavy cuff bracelet, inset with leather bands, signed in the verso by the artist. Again, shopper beware, buy silver from the ships recommended shop, it is guaranteed. The third show was the stopper of all shoes ever on a ship. The show, "Equinox, the Show" was made for the Equinox Theater, which was purpose-built for this and other shows that are heavily into acrobatics and aerialist performances. The aerialists literally fly thought the room three decks above. Costumes are stupendous to say the least. I could go on and on about this cruise, the food, the crew, captain, decor and the beauty of the ship, the duck a l'orange, the drinks, stars and performers, the under the star shows, the new on-coming CANYON RANCH SPA, debuting fleet wide, but, what I will say, we have booked yet cruise, and our loyalty points just keep adding. What more can two guys that have been on 84 cruises with many lines on many ships have to ad to what we now consider the best cruise line at sea.

Read More
  • New

Nov 27, 2012

eastern medittereanean

After my husband stated he would never go on another cruise again(not a good experience with Royal Caribbean) , several years later I got him to consider a trip to Europe for the first time. The only way he agreed to go was if he did not have to get up and re-pack every morning to see different places and would consider a cruise. My husband's a born skeptic; but walked away from this experience"totaling changed" on how cruising Can Be! The Celebrity

Equinox was not only a newer ship..but proved to be the grandest in every port of call. The staterooms were as "sizable" as a hotel room; bathrooms were roomy with shower height that accommodated my husband and mine 6 foot frames! They fed us, very well..and the main dining room meals..I wanted to meet the Chef just to let him know he was putting out some 5-star meals, my plate was cleaned! The 24 hour Oceanview cafe was elegant but casual enough that if you choose not to get dressed, do would a wide buffet style service of hot & cold; so much food, so little time! The state-of-the-art fitness room got more action out of us than our workouts at home trying to "battle the bulge", but I think I may have lost that one! To see Europe for the first time, ports of call were AWESOME. I got to see Italy, Greece & Turkey in a 10-day span. I felt Celebrity took SAFETY as a priority and felt secure with the excursions purchased thru their shore excursions. Didn't really want to spend time in the theatre for acts and venues; or participate in their many on board activities..those are for people who need to be entertained. I did exactly as I wanted on a day to day basis and Celebrity offers many choices. We would just "kick back" at times and catch up on their free "on Demand" latest movie releases with an awesome view of the sea from our veranda. The only complaint; The guy in charge of re-stocking the mini-bar in the room kind of "slacked off" nearing the end of the week and I had to "search" for a open bar instead of having cocktails where I would have chose to! But overall, it was money well spent. I'll travel again with Celebrity: The staterooms-stellar; service-exceptional; food-great/good.

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.


Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top
Subscribe to Newsletter
Sign up for Travel Tips & News
I want emails from Fodor's Travel with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails.

Thank you for your interest!

Look out for our newsletters with travel tips and special offers.