June 2016 - 7 Night Greece & Turkey (Athens To Istanbul) Cruise on Celebrity Equinox
This was my first cruise with Celebrity line. Booking via Hilton Honors was easy, but I found it difficult to decipher the different package options, which is best to review PRIOR to booking. The Celebrity website had a lot of server problems, and it was easier to call them directly to ask questions. I booked late but was able to obtain a Concierge class midship room (1104). The location was right off the library and was quiet. The room size and balcony size was more than adequate. Room was clean, and staff provided both morning and turndown service daily. The room stewards are great. The food I found fair. Breakfast buffet had omellates cooked to order in addition to the usual potatoes, pancakes, waffles, etc. I did order room service twice and it was delivered on time and was good, although warm instead of hot. Lunch buffet was ok. The quality could be improved. We ate dinner in the specialty restaurants 6/7 nights and the food there was very good, although very rich and fatty. Given this, I would be interested in the healthy alternative Resturant "Blu", that is only for aqua class guests. The Conciege class offered the balcony and reported priority with Resturant reservations plus early disembarkation from the ship. I did not find any particular advantage with the Conciege class, which is another reason I would consider Aqua Class on my next cruise. We booked the 5 dinner specialty package, which was worth it. Bear in mind, however, that you must dine twice in Silk Harvest (Asian), and then once in the Italian and once inte French Resturant. I did not realize the package was predetermined in this way, but the food was good in all 3 restaurants and worth it. We upgraded to a premium "Best" package that had prepaid tips, Internet, premium drinks, and also premium water (Evian). It was totally worth it, particularly because we got an on board credit of $300 that went towards our extra dinner and massages. The spa experience was fair. We went twice. First for a healthy feet leg massage that was standard. Second for a couples aromatherapy massage. The massage room we found too bright and not very relaxing as a result. Plain water was offered but nothing else (not even the fruit water that is offered all over the ship!) A massage does not include access to the steam room/sauna, which is an extra charge. The aromatherapy massage was a hot oil rub and nothing more. My husband commented that it was the worst massage he has had to date! Rather disappointing. Ship entertainment is ok. Poolside music and activities were kind of dull, the nighttime shows were more entertaining. They had several musical bands that, some of which were very good, and a few of which were just awful!
The ports of call were all beautiful and interesting: Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, Mykanos and Ephesus are all worthwhile stops. Tours offered with the cruise were expensive, and I found private tours for a similar price. I would shop around given this. Overall a nice cruise, shy from great but very good.