John and Lynn recently completed a cruise on the beautiful Celebrity Equinox, one of the Solstice class of ships in the Celebrity fleet. This was their first cruise on the line and they took a few notes on what to look forward to with this brand. Spoiler: They loved it!
- The Captain Kate McCue was very interactive with guests whether it was the daily announcements, picture opportunities and meet and greets. This was nice to find the Captain to be this approachable. She was also very professional and was the one who made the announcement of a port cancellation due to high winds.
- The staff were happy and engaging. There were 2800 passengers and 1100 staff but we could always a find a seat during the day or evening, it never felt crowded.
- Our room steward, Dominick, was very sweet and did a wonderful job. While there were no towel animals, he was courteous and accommodating so we couldn’t ask for much more.
- We found getting around the ship extremely easy. As you approach the elevators at mid-ship and stern there is always a model ship at each set of elevators with floor details.
- The buffet area is very roomy. We are early risers and usually the area is quiet from 7 to 9 but even at lunchtime it was never crowded. There’s also two of everything in different areas of the buffet so you can always get what you’re looking for without too much of a wait. The floor to ceiling windows all around the buffet was also a bonus for the view.
- There is only one main dining room and it has two levels. The lower level is for the scheduled seatings (early or late) while upstairs is Cruise Select Dining (flexible). We made reservations well ahead and we never had to wait. Expect the service to be a bit more upscale with a Sommelier on hand for wine and flavored butters with bread at every meal (super yummy!). The room is very bright and well decorated.
- The Solarium (16+ no children zone) is an amazing alternative for poolside relaxation. Completely domed in with relaxing music and nutritious snacks on hand, this enclosed pool area allows you to really relax if the typical pool-side entertainment isn’t your thing. The crowds don’t start until later, around 9 or 10, so finding a lounge chair was never a problem for us.
- The shops on board were more upscale than we have seen on some other lines. We did purchase some merchandise and it was of great quality. We never felt pressured by anyone on the ship to buy, even though there were lots of different offers around.
- Our Stateroom, also known as a cabin, was slightly larger than past cruise staterooms. We were impressed with the size of the bathrooms as it was also large and so was the shower. A nice change from some of the more cramped washrooms on some other lines. We found that there was lots of storage and two North America outlets in the room and one in the washroom.
- We tried two different specialty restaurants that were an extra fee to attend, but man was it worth it! The Tuscan Grille (Italian) was a favourite. We went twice! The waiters were fantastic to explain everything and made dietary alterations without questions. Great food and service. The Murano (French) was an upscale experience. John’s entree of Sole was de-boned in front of us. The menu also had an option for a five course food and wine pairing for $89 USD which we found to be good value.
- When we boarded we had already purchased the Classic drink package. This allowed up to have additional branded drinks and alcohol up to a $9 value during the cruise. They did suggest we upgrade to the Premium drink package which included drinks to a $13 value which we decided to do. We felt like we received our money’s worth from the package. If you don’t drink much alcohol there is a water package which may be worth the investment.
- There were ample bars to visit that were not overcrowded and all had exceptional entertainment.
- There was no smoking throughout the entire interior of the ship, including the casino. The only places were around the exterior pool area and some isolated small areas. It never felt smokey anywhere we went on the ship.
- The entertainment throughout the ship was great. Compared to some of the Broadway style productions we’ve seen on other ships they weren’t as extravagant but it was still nice with lots of singers performing.
A note about the Caribbean ports:
We took a taxi tour off the ship in St. Maarten, $30 each for about 2 hours (included 30 minutes shopping which we declined) taxi driver was nice and explained a lot about where we were. We talked about the aftermath of Hurricane Irma followed by Jose & Maria as things were still quite a mess. The state of the Island was quite devastating to see so please be aware that they are still recovering and not all areas areas are open.
We hope this helps you better understand the Celebrity Cruise Lines brand! We adored this ship and cannot wait until our next cruise in the fall on the sister ship, the Eclipse. Check out this awesome 2018 cruise to the Western Mediterranean HERE.
-John & Lynn, founders of Target Tours