Perfect! Of the things I would have changed, I didn’t ask, so that’s on me (e.g., loungers on balcony, etc.). The PR tour through Celebrity was the biggest disappointment, but it was not an expensive tour, so I’m not going to let that impact my cruise.
5 out of 5
Because of the hurricane, Celebrity asked everyone to show up an hour early, but it looked like everyone showed up at 10:30! Despite the huge crowd, our preplanning on the app and uploading our pics, we were on the ship within 30 minutes. No more lines at desks. The Celebrity folks had dozens of lines and iPads to sign us in and move us in. We went directly to our room, the cruise card was on our door, we dropped off our carry-on luggage, and off we went.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
This was my third cruise on Equinox, and the food was better than ever. We tried fixed seating the first night, but they changed the early time to 5:30 and that’s just TOO early. Plus when everyone showed up at once, it took awhile to get seated, took a long time to get a drink, etc., and it was slow all through dinner. We switched back to our usual “anytime” dining and back to better service. Some stand-out meals included escargot, short ribs, French onion soup, blue cheese soufflé, and the lobster was better than ever. The service was better, too, and they have a bread guy, a water person, a wine person, and two regular servers. Any wait was short. Our crowd put them to the test on lobster night, and we enjoyed several! The bars were great, especially the martini bar and Sunset Bar.
5 out of 5
Not everyone knows about this “light lunch” option. It’s at the back of the Solarium near the spa. Excellent light lunch, almost tapas style. Chicken, tuna, and salmon salad, sesame noodles, kale bow tie pasta, tiny sandwiches, healthy smoothies, tiny salads, etc.
Le Petit Chef at Qsine
5 out of 5
Great food, great service, fun show. The price is usually $55 per person and I could not find a discount before boarding the ship. When we boarded, I went to see the maitre d - he is at the Murano front desk all day, and he gave us 40% off. The show and dinner was well worth $55 each, but it was even better with 40% off.
5 out of 5
We didn’t try any activities, but I used the Relaxation room a few times; that undiscovered room is still perfect except one window is covered in condensation and you cannot see out that one. It was the same last year.
3 out of 5
The one music group we wanted to see (Fleetwood Mac music) was canceled. I did not enjoy the music at The Mast Bar - too much rap and hard stuff. The singer at the Sunset Bar was good when he was there, and the music they played later at night was good.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Our room steward (Gordon) was great and very unobtrusive. Every time we came back to the room, it was freshened. I loved the pillows from the pillow menu! I even got a body pillow; it was almost too big for the twin bed, but I liked it a lot. The pillows smelled a bit musty but they had very clean pillow cases so I didn’t say anything; I will say something next year if they smell funny. The room steward cannot fix something I don’t tell him about. The staff at the front desk weren’t very helpful when I had trouble with an excursion. They sent me to the excursion desk, the excursion desk sent me back, and I went back and forth. They were polite, though.
5 out of 5
As always, clean. I did not notice much from after the Equinox’s mini-makeover except the art in the room. It was great, it’s still great.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We were in cabin 1249. It’s a hump or slant balcony so our veranda was a bit larger than other balcony rooms. I think some hump/slant balconies are a bit bigger, but ours was still bigger than the standard. However, there was no lounger (there was plenty of room for 2 loungers) and they took away the footstools. I had a regular balcony room last year, and the balcony was much more comfortable with footstools so we spent more time on our balcony last year.
Try to get a hump/slant balcony and ask for loungers. Fill out the XPress pass on the app, including pictures, and you’ll sail through boarding.
Port was nice. We booked the Old and New San Juan tour through Celebrity because we had not been there before. At the first fort, the guide dumped us out and said to be back in 50 minutes. Several people were late getting back (6 people got lost in the fort), and the guide bitched about them, almost left them, but waited 5 minutes until they showed up. At the next stop (the fort on the sea), the guide said “you have 20 minutes, 20 U.S. minutes.” My friend and I returned after 15 minutes and the bus, the guide, and all the other tour people were gone! Did we both mishear what the guide said? My friend says no way, but they were ALL GONE. We were on the verge of panic (strange city, etc.) but another tour bus with the same company (through MSC cruise) had 2 extra seats and they let us on. We happily boarded and thought it was the same tour, however it kept getting later and later and our tour would have been over because we had dinner reservations at Barrachina at 7pm with friends from the ship. We had to exit the tour (guide was not pleased). Of course, we were on the other side of the island, and it’s not that easy to get a cab. We went to the Vanderbilt hotel (beautiful, by the way), and they called a cab for us. $20 later and only 5 minutes late, we arrived at Barrachina. Gus, the guide for bus #18, is the one who left us, btw. Celebrity would not refund our tour because Gus told them we were late and they considered us “whole” because we were clever enough to beg to get on another bus. They did refund the $20 for the cab ride.
Tour through Celebrity to Trunk Bay on St. John. Wow! So beautiful! They say you can snorkel and follow a “trail” on the sea bottom, but it’s not that easy. This was an inexpensive tour, and I’ll pay more next time to get a guide and not just a bus ride. We went to Magen’s Bay last year, and Trunk Bay might be even more beautiful.
My favorite tour ever! Boat ride to The Baths at Virgin Gorda, we get snorkels, masks, blow-up vests, and swim fins. Jump in and swim and snorkel a short way to the beach. Then there’s a hike through the giant boulders - there are places where you have to stoop and/or move around the boulders. There are steps and they’re sometimes slippery. It was not that difficult but it was hot and steamy as we walked through the caves formed by the rocks. Plus, you have to carry your snorkel gear including fins and mask (I just kept my vest on). I’ve heard people say it’s too crowded, but we were the only ship in port when our tour started. If it had been more crowded, the tour would not have been fun. After the hike, we came out at another beach where there was a small bar and bathrooms. From there, we snorkeled about 300 yards back to our boat. This distance was not a problem because we had plenty of time to snorkel, take pictures, etc. on the way back to the boat.
We did not visit Nassau because our ship sailed to Freeport to give food, water, generators, etc. after they were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. We were all proud to be on Celebrity as they ga e aid to Freeport.
5 out of 5
Concierge had its own waiting room, and we did not need to get up as early as they suggested. When we disembarked, we were able to get a porter and walk straight out. ALWAYS get a porter!
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