Customer service issues, and whatever happened to quiet?
Celebrity Equinox Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean
Sail Date: July 25, 2015
Cabin Type: Suite
Cabin Number: 1609
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 1 year ago
We began at the pier not knowing that the town of Civitavecchia had suffered a massive power failure, thus rendering the computers for check-in inoperable. Thus, the boarding process was a chaotic mess, certainly not Celebrity's fault- except, NO ONE from Celebrity made any effort to communicate to more than a thousand sweating angry passengers massed together in a hot warehouse just WHY there was such problems. The result was pretty ugly, with passengers pushing and shoving through non-working security terminals, angry people cutting in front of others to reach the check-in desks, etc. Not a good beginning. To make matters even more stressful, the woman who checked us in gave us serious grief because our 15-year old daughter's last name doesn't match ours. (I'm her step-father). Her passport was clearly in order, all of us having passed through Customs without a hitch. Celebrity had no issues when we made our reservations months before, giving us no hint of any "added requirements". Suddenly, my wife is being threatened, in a menacing way, that our daughter can't be allowed to board. ("But, this time, we'll look the other way".) This was ridiculous, and inexcusable.
After the life boat drill, as we returned to our room, one of the crewmen exclaimed in a loud voice, "Let's Get This party started!". Harmless enough, except the message seemed to be that the goal of the ship was a "drink til you drop" Carnival cruise. (I'm familiar with those). Not everyone on this ship was there to party. Though from the music that blared incessantly throughout the ship, whether in the lounges, on deck by the pool, or through the PA system in even the most specialized restaurant, it was not possible to find what some of us were seeking: a little peace and quiet. Even on the verandah of our suite, the awful music from poolside engulfed us. I promise the folks at Celebrity that of the roughly 2800 passengers, a sizable percentage were not interested in hearing poorly done 1980s cover tunes.
One aspect of cruising we enjoy is the casino. In this case, we were greeted by a casino employee, microphone in hand, who sung our first names out to anyone who would listen, with an absurdly enthusiastic "Jeff and Stephanie! How wonderful to see you!" As anyone who has been to Las Vegas can attest, that kind of indiscretion would have cost that woman her job in Vegas. We do not gamble to make friends or become part of some kind of rumba line. It's a personal experience that clearly, Celebrity does not respect.
Here's a piece of advice for Celebrity: Don't schedule Florence Italy as a stop on a Sunday. With only a half day's time to enjoy one of the world's most spectacular cities, you put us there when the cathedrals and churches were closed to visitors until the afternoon, and for those who enjoy upscale shopping, many of the stores aren't open at all.
You offer a "teen spa service". Very nice- we scheduled our 15-year old daughter for a facial. But, upon arrival, we were told that she isn't allowed to partake unless one of her parents sits with her the whole time. That is NOT a teenager's idea of a spa experience.
There are a great many more nit-pick complaints, including the wine steward who didn't understand how to re-cork a bottle of very expensive Bordeaux we had intended to enjoy over two nights. But in most cases, the staff was exceptional. "Michael's Club", exclusively for suite passengers, was an excellent concept- the manager Bartosz, was wonderfully attentive to our needs, and helped to solve various issues. Our suite's butler, Cesar, was wonderful. The specialized dining rooms offered meals far above the cruise-ship norm. (If only you could eliminate the rock music blaring above our heads). In every case, the wait-staff and maitre'd were most friendly and helpful. For breakfast, the one oasis of calm seemed to be the restaurant "Blu", but it was only open from 7:30 to 9:00. (The typical "all you can gorge" buffet was packed, with a scramble to find a decent place to sit.)
I participated in a Texas hold-em tournament just outside the casino, where we were buffeted by what seemed to be a K-Mart blue-light special grab fest for cheap purses and jewelry. A hundred or more passengers with shopping baskets, swarming over piles of what appeared to be cheap junk. ("Purses, $10. Buy 4, get one free!") Really? Tacky in the extreme. An onboard flea market.
The past four times we have cruised have been on Crystal Cruise Lines. I now understand why they get the prices they do. You get what you pay for. In the future, we would opt again for the more expensive and considerably more sophisticated cruise. Celebrity seems to try to have it both ways- offer a hint of elegance, with a constant theme that lets everyone know that if you miss the "party days" with Carnival, you can still find them here.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
There was no outside adult pool- despite the depth differences of the two pools, kids were packed into both. Not everyone is on the ship to entertain their toddlers. We watched one fellow trying to work with his i-pad get repeatedly drenched, until he had to simply give up.