We had a great cruise on the Equinox. This was our first cruise on the Equinox, but we have sailed on three other Solstice class ships. It is a beautiful ship.The service, food, and beverages are great. Staff is wonderful, friendly, and helpful. The other passengers all seemed to be having a great time. It was spring break time, so it was a more varied crowd than we usually see. There were a lot of kids - no issues at all. We saw kids eating in the main dining room - all well behaved, just having a good time. There were a lot of extended family and friend groups. The ports were fun. It was a fun vacation.
5 out of 5
We drove to the port, parked in the port garage, and walked across the street to the terminal. We arrived at about 11:15 am, and were onboard in about half an hour. There was no line at check in, and everything went smoothly,
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We always enjoy the food on Celebrity ships. We ate 5 dinners in the main dining room, 1 dinner in Tuscan Grille, and 1 dinner in the Oceanview Cafe (buffet). All the food was excellent. We love the Tuscan Grille, and like to eat there the first night of the cruise (when it is discounted). The main dining room was great. We have select (anytime) dining, and ate at many different times, different tables every night. Service was great. The Oceanview Cafe has a standard menu of many options with different features every meal. We had gyros and stuffed grape leaves one night for dinner. We also ate all our breakfasts in the Oceanview Cafe.
3 out of 5
Celebrity has discontinued the relationship with the Corning Museum of Glass hot glass shows. When onboard one of the ships with the hot glass studio, we loved watching the demonstrations. There used to be three glass artists, and typically each one would make a glass creation. The artistry and complexity was amazing, and always enjoyable to watch. Now there is the Hollywood Hot Glass class in that space. We watched a demonstration the first day (rather basic piece). The rest of the cruise was classes where guests could sign up to make a glass piece to take home - costs ranged from about $60-$120. It is disappointing that a truly special experience has now been made a revenue generating opportunity for Celebrity.
We also enjoy the various speakers in the Beyond the Podium series. On various cruises, we have gone to lectures about rum, pirates, mystery novels, geography, history, etc. There were none on this cruise. I was told that they only have the lectures if the cruise has 3 or more sea days. Too bad. In January on the Eclipse (14 days), there were two different speakers on board. Also, there was just one lecture about navigation by a ship officer. Sometimes we have attended multiple talks about various aspects of the ship (presented by one of the ship officers).
In general, there seemed to be fewer onboard activities. But, we were on a cruise, so really can't complain about having extra time to relax, read a book, do nothing.
5 out of 5
The ship's singers and dancers were very good. On some cruises, we have not been as impressed. We only went to one of the production shows, and it was excellent. We had seen one of the others on another ship, and did not care for it (and skipped it). We were at the Tuscan Grille on the night of the other production show, and the timing just didn't work out. After seeing the last show, I think we should have gone to all of them.
The ship's orchestra was excellent. They not only played for the stage shows, but also for parties and other venues throughout the ship.
There were two comedians (both very funny), a Beatles tribute band, and a husband and wife country and rock singing duo. All the shows were very good, and very entertaining.
The various live music ensembles that play throughout the ship were all very good. We only saw a couple groups once or twice (we were enjoying other areas of the ship when they were performing). The two bands and the DJs were also great. We really enjoy the wide variety of music, and going from place to place on the ship with a variety of musical entertainment.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Service was excellent. Our room steward, Rama, was the best we have ever had. He was so helpful, proactive, friendly, and all around great. He brought me a couple pitchers of ice water every day (better than I had asked for or even imagined).
5 out of 5
We really like the design of the Solstice class ships. The grand foyer area and related open areas on the next two decks is a lot of fun and spacious. We like the Oceanview Cafe with the stations instead of a single long cafeteria line. It is easy to move around and get what you want to eat. The Sky Lounge on Deck 14 takes up the entire front of the ship. This is very spacious, and is not weirdly cramped like the similar space on the Millennium class ships.
The ship was very clean and well maintained. Crew members are constantly working to clean, touch up paint, etc.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Our cabin is on the bow of the ship overlooking the helipad (no balcony). We loved the room. It was spacious, and had a little extra room. It is at the very front, so there is more motion than other parts of the ship. We have absolutely no issues with sea sickness, and enjoy the extra rocking. It would be a consideration if anyone is prone to motion sickness.
Enjoy it. Ask questions. Crew and other guests are very helpful, and will share information, ideas, and tips. Read about the ship and Celebrity on websites like Cruise Critic and the booking site, too.
We have visited Miami many times. We live within driving distance, so we simply drove to and from the port. It is not difficult to get there (other than traffic on I-95). We parked in the port parking garage which is expensive ($22/day), but so convenient. We easily walk on and walk out. We are on our way in minutes.
We really enjoyed the day in Key West, our first visit on a cruise ship. It seems like a bit of a "cheat", because you can drive there from Miami. It is a small, compact town, so it is very easy to walk everywhere. We toured the Hemingway House (really interesting, great tour, and I am not a Hemingway fan). We walked to the southernmost point (to take a quick photo). We visited Ft Zachary Taylor state park. We have a Florida state park pass, so it was free (I think it might be $5-6/person normally). It is a Civil War era fort, and it was fun to walk around it. There is also a beach area which is pretty nice for a Florida Keys beach. There are a lot of rocks/coral/shell bits, so water shoes would be really helpful. We also visited the Truman Little White House, and had a very enjoyable tour there. It seems like a little thing, but the admission fee included a bottle of ice cold water. After walking around Key West for a few hours, it was amazingly refreshing.Very nice touch. We finished by walking along Duval Street and Mallory Square, poking around shops, etc.
We had never been to Costa Maya. We did a ship excursion to Mayan ruins - Dzibanche and Kohunlich. It was a long day without a lot of riding in a bus. But, it was a great experience. We got to climb two Mayan pyramids. We learned a lot about the Mayans and these sites. They are inland a ways, and not visited that much. We had two tour guides as well as the bus driver. One of the guides took us through each of the Mayan sites. Lunch was provided (very meager), a banana, a little bag of peanuts, a little cookie, and two or three bottles of cold water throughout the day. On a cruise vacation, you will never starve. But, for this tour, you should make sure to eat a good breakfast. We arrived back at the port just after all aboard time, so we didn't see any of shops or things at the port.
We have been to Cozumel three times, and usually have gone on excursions to the mainland (Tulum, XPlor). We had been planning to do the ship excursion to Chichen Itza. We cancelled after the US State Department did not allow US employees to ride the ferries between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen (after the ferry bombings). I also read that most cruise lines had cancelled excursions using the ferries. So, we were cautious and cancelled that excursion. Instead, we did the America's Cup excursion. We were split between two 1980s era America's Cup racing boats (Stars and Stripes vs True North). Everyone could choose to be active, a little active, or just watch. We chose to be active, but I think some of the people who chose to be al little active worked harder than we did. We actually had a race with five legs around three markers. Our boat won, but everyone had a great time. It was about 3 hours total time. It is a great excursion for anyone interested in sailing, America's Cup, racing, or just some fun time on the water. No sailing experience or knowledge is required.
On a previous visit, we had done snorkeling and Sting Ray City and a stop on Seven Mile Beach. On this trip, we wanted to see more of the land side of Grand Cayman. I had arranged to rent bikes (privately not through the ship), because our arrival was too late to go on the bike tour. When I reconfirmed one week prior to sailing (as requested), the vendor told me that he was too busy and couldn't help us. I was unable to find another bike rental before we left. Instead, we just got off the ship (via tender) and signed up for an island tour with a company at the pier. It was a two hour tour with a couple stops all around the island for $20 each. It was fun, and inexpensive. I would definitely recommend doing this rather than signing up for a similar ship excursion which is much more expensive.
5 out of 5
Disembarkation was very easy, and running ahead of schedule. There were extra US Customs people working, so it went very fast. We were in the parking garage at 8:30 am. I think our luggage tag number time was 9:10 am, so we really were fast.
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