March 16th - March 27th, 2015
Celebrity Equinox is the second oldest of Celebrity Cruise Line's Solstice class of 122,400 ton luxury cruise ships. She came after the Celebrity Solstice, but before the Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Silhouette, and Celebrity Reflection.
We chose this cruise, not only to get back aboard our favorite cruise ship models, the Celebrity Solstice series, but also for this very rare treat of an itinerary to mostly brand spanking new locations for us. Accompanied by our two fellow cruise fanatic best buds, Steve and Kim, we set sail upon what Celebrity billed as "The Ultimate Caribbean 11 Night Cruise". This itinerary was a roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Cayman, to Columbia, to Panama, to Costa Rica, to Belize, to Cozumel and back to Ft. Lauderdale with a few "Days at Sea" scattered into the mix.
For the most part, Celebrity Equinox is still in tip-top shape. Celebrity definitely keeps pampering her older ladies in the fleet... not something that can be said for other cruise lines. Food, without exception, was a 10 out of 10 in every locale aboard! Even the buffet was superb... so much so, that you didn't feel guilty if you skipped dinner in the Silhouette Dining Room (Celebrity Equinox's Main Dining Room, or MDR in cruise speak) and ate in the buffet instead! The crew and officers were wonderful and service was a solid 10 in most locations except, oddly, in the MDR using the Select Dining seating we had (more on that later) and one staff member in the Canyon Ranch Spa was over schooled in "up-selling" to the point that he blew a sale opportunity with me (see below). Our cabin, a very spacious inside cabin, #1100, was magnificent! An excellent home away from home. The shore excursions were very good... even though we had to miss one that we really looked forward to doing. Shows aboard, especially "Equinox", were excellent.
Presenting Equinox: As I've stated in past Solstice-class reviews, our first encounter with a Solstice-class ship was the Celebrity Solstice herself back in 2009... Equinox, being the second in the line, is basically a carbon copy of Solstice. If you've been on Solstice, you know Equinox... right down to the Lawn Club and the Hot Glass Show topside. I did miss the enhancements we found on the Silhouette... for instance, the expanded space and added furniture of the Sunset Bar (topside aft). I also missed "The Porch"... a fee based restaurant on Silhouette. It's surprising that Celebrity hasn't brought some of these enhancements to Equinox. Hopefully this will be done in a refurb later. We were glad to get a chance to finally eat at "Silk Harvest" for lunch on one special day (generally, the specialty restaurants do not serve lunch except for a few select days on the cruise) which we missed on Solstice. (Silhouette doesn't have Silk Harvest... they have "Qsine" instead)
The Embarkation: The Celebrity Equinox was docked at the exact pier used by the mega-gigantic, Oasis of the Seas... so getting aboard was pretty easy. About the only delay getting aboard ship was caused by the security authorities confiscating our tiny portable steamer. Now, I'm all about the rules, so I looked again at the cruise embarkation rules... and while it said that irons and candles were forbidden aboard (and with good reason), steamers were not mentioned anywhere as being forbidden. They kept the steamer in Ft. Lauderdale and we picked it up post cruise. Once through security, we mentioned this to a Celebrity agent and we were told, "Don't put the steamer in your carry-on luggage... put it in your suitcase. They would never take it out of a suitcase!" Lesson learned. Fortunately, only a few of our items needed steaming when we unpacked, so we simply used the free pressing coupons we had to get them ironed out again. Once aboard, we were handed champaign (ahh... the Celebrity difference!) and told that lunch was being served in the buffet on deck 14. But since we were already coming in on deck 5, we headed directly aft to the specialty restaurants and booked our dinner at Tuscan Grill for that night (20% off the usual fee for first night dining) and at Silk Harvest for lunch later in the tour. (We had also booked a lunch at Tuscan Grille for later in the tour, but Diane was sick so we ended up canceling that one) After this, we headed up to the phenomenal buffet (nobody does buffets better than Celebrity!) for our first lunch aboard. After this, we walked about ship then went to inspect our cabins around 1pm.
The Ship: (Because of the similarities with Silhouette, I've borrowed this description from that review with appropriate changes where there are differences) Like the others in the Solstice class, the ship has two major elevator shafts: one forward, and the other, more or less midship. There are no elevators or steps aft, so if you have an aft cabin, be prepared to do some walking. Theaters are located forward, the bulk of restaurants (Silhouette Main Dining Room, Blu, Tuscan Grill, Murano, Silk Harvest and Luminae and the Oceanview Cafe) are directly aft at different levels. Bars are scattered about ship... the notable ones are The Martini Bar, the Sunset Bar, the Casino Bar and the Molecular Bar and the Ensemble Bar. There is a nightclub called "Quasar" and an excellent venue called the Sky Lounge forward and topside with sweeping views of the sea and amazing furniture. Restrooms aboard are beautiful! The sinks are all glass in a water fall shape, and feature touchless water faucets. There are small rolled up cloth towelettes next to each sink to use to dry your hands. All restroom doors feature a button used to open them that is wheel chair friendly but also meant for all guests to use with paper towels to avoid you actually contaminating your clean hands! Seats throughout the ship are of just about any kind imaginable. Some are straight out of Alice in Wonderland, while others are very conservative. There are lounging couches on decks and beds at pool side (as we first saw on Solstice). The colors in the ship are reds and browns... warm colors that are soothing to the eye.
The Inside Cabin Experience: Our cabin, 1100, is the roomiest inside cabin we've ever had! It was definitely easier to navigate than the standard shoebox shaped balcony cabin. There was an amazing amount of space around the bed (on Explorer of the Seas' inside cabin in 2014, there was NO space to either side of the bed... you had to get in bed at the foot of the bed and shimmy up) and even a nice foyer space at the entry door. Our suitcases (2 29" Revo models) easily slid under the bed, but they also could have been left out in the foyer and never been in the way. There was ample space for our carry on luggage in a nook next to the bed (see 1st picture- far wall to the right side) that kept it out of the way for the entire cruise. The bathroom, very large and conveniently laid out, was very nice for this cabin class. The cabin is located directly aft of the Equinox Library wall... as such, it was always easy to find at a glance... and it was always extremely quiet. There was also more than enough closet space... including storage over the bed and drawers at the make up table. There were two comfortable chairs as well. Television used Apple powered servers and was very fast and responsive. There's a room safe and a "chiller" fridge (but this didn't really make things cold). The linens and matresses were very comfortable. I'm a light sleeper, but the bed and the gentle vibrations of a cruise ship had me asleep very quickly every night. There's also nice art in the room. Colors are in earth tones and burgundy... very appealing. The bathroom has an automatic nightlight. There's a surprising array of shelves for storage of bathroom type stuff in the bathroom. Everything is, as usual with Celebrity Solstice class cabins, tastefully and comfortably arranged.
The Dining Experiences: Food aboard Celebrity Equinox was oustanding at every venue. It didn't matter if you were grabbing a burger at the Mast Grill or eating a filet mignon at Tuscan Grille, the food was always superb. Service was mostly very good except at the main dining room, The Silhouette... there, service was abysmal. But more on that below. Here's a recap of the restaurants we visited:
The Oceanview Cafe: (Our comments here were the same as in the Silhouette review, so I'm using that description again with some additions!) As we discovered on Solstice and Silhouette, the Oceanview Cafe buffet food was superb! Best buffet on any ship we've sailed on. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks and pizza and pasta till 1am. There's also sushi around 5:30pm each day! It's really a great place for a quick bite or a full meal. There's ample seating within and outside aft. Like all ship buffets, this place can become densely crowded on at sea days, and at peak breakfast and lunch hours. It's often a good idea for someone in your group to grab a table while the others make up their plates. Note to buffet patrons on every cruise ship in the world: when you are done eating PLEASE GET UP and move on so that your fellow guests can find a spot to eat. Hey, they have "Pool Butlers" who monitor chair hogs at the pool... why not the same thing at the buffet? I actually saw people using a large table here to play cards one lunch time while people were trying to find a place to sit... and there's a perfectly good card room aboard for playing cards! That's just ignorant. Also, don't sit at a table for six if you are eating solo... and if you do, at least invite others to join you.) About the only thing I'd like to see Celebrity add here is the soda dispensing machines (that take a special cup sold with soda packages) found on Royal Caribbean's ships for those who've paid for the soda packages. It was a real hassle finding someone to get me a soda every time we came here. I usually just walked over to the Ocean Cafe bar and had them get me one.
- The Ocean View Cafe - SUSHI!!! Every night from 6pm on...
The Silhouette Dining Room: This is the Celebrity Equinox's main dining room, or in cruise fan speak, the "MDR". This is the same gorgeous layout as the other MDRs in the other Solstice class ships. The food here was magnificent every night. I especially loved (and had almost every night) their french onion soup and shrimp cocktail. This restaurant excelled at lamb dishes... even their lamb shank (which I usually don't care for on Royal Caribbean ships) was delicious. Finally, too, this ship had what I call, "normal desserts". I'm a chocolate icing on yellow cake kinda guy... exotic desserts can be fun, but more often then not (for me) they are disappointing. So, I like to have the option for more traditional desserts, and here, Celebrity did not disappoint. So, the best thing I can say for the MDR is that the food was a 10 out of 10 all the time. Unfortunately, the service was severly lacking. We used Celebrity's "Select Dining"... this is an open seating arrangement where you can eat when you want to eat. All they want to know is a reservation time and you're set. Each night you are given a different table and waiting team. Part of the joy of eating dinner on a cruise is the service. Usually a waiter hands you the menu and an assistant waiter gets your non-alcohol drinks and serves bread and butter, etc. Next the waiter comes back and tells you his recommendations for the menu, and other dining advice then he takes your order. After delivering your meals, after a time he checks back with you. Of the 11 nights we were aboard Equinox, we only ate in the MDR on 9 nights (one night was in Tuscan and one in the buffet), and of those 9 nights we only had an actual waiter on 2 nights. On all the other nights, we had no waiter... just usually an overworked or disinterested or confused assistant waiter (different each night) that never explained the menu choices or made recommendations. Each night we would ask the smiling hostesses for a table with a view and we'd be marched to a table in some remote corner; we'd ask for a table with a waiter and assistant and we'd get the same smile from the hostess and be seated at a table where no one seemed to know who was supposed to serve our table. It was appaling. Particularly disappointing was the night that I asked one of the two smiling hostesses (they were otherwise ambivalent on either Select Dining entrance, other than the smiling and rolling of the eyes) to have them sing "Happy Birthday" to my wife and she nodded and typed this into the computer (I saw her do so) and then we were placed at a table where again, there was no waiter. Finally, an assistant waiter showed up saying, "I didn't know this was my table... what do you want?" I whispered to him that at the end of our meal, they are supposed to sing "Happy Birthday" to my wife and he just looked at me and walked off. They never sung "Happy Birthday". When I passed by the hostess desk on our exit, she was not to be found. There didn't seem to be any head waiters in the Select Dining areas either. One night, we did get a waiter and assistant waitress towards the end of the cruise, Sam and Wida. They were wonderful! We got the whole Celebrity service we always loved. We told Sam about how awful the service was at our other tables on other nights, and he said to please ask for him. So, on exiting that night, we approached the smiling hostess and said we'd like that table the next night. She said it was, "Impossible" to reserve a table. So, the next night (our final dinner aboard) we saw that table empty and we immediately asked to be seated there. The very same hostess who said it was impossible to reserve the table said it was "reserved" for some "favorite" guests. We were seated two tables away when I finally found a fellow that looked like he was sort of in charge, but it was not one of Sam's tables. Again, it was an aloof assistant waiter. (What was this, a training cruise?) Sam's table, the one we wanted, stayed empty till the end of our dinner. What a disgrace. Now, I will say that looking down into the main floor of the MDR, where the traditional early/late seatings take place, every table had a waiter and assistant waiter assigned to it. So, I think that the best recommendation I can make here is to avoid Celebrity Select Dining on the Equinox. For us, it was a failure. One other disappointment, although it seems this was a Celebrity decision and therefore, beyond the control of Equinox is that they no longer do the giant buffet in the MDR on the last Sea day of the cruise (see my Silhouette review for pictures). This was always so wonderful. There's an abbreviated version in the Ocean Cafe now. Too bad.
- Celebrity Equinox Silhouette Dining Room...
Bistro on Five: (fee based) I've always enjoyed this place on other Solstice class ships, but we ate here one afternoon around 3pm. It was empty. But the service was still incredibly slow. The food was tasty, but I remember their being more options on the menu in the past. The price is also now $7 rather than the old $5 for entry... kind of kills the "Bistro on Five" idea, even though the restaurant is still located on deck five. I will probably skip this location in the future, but if you've never been, you might want to try it.
- The quaint and very quiet Bistro On Five... get your crepes here...
Cafe Al Baccio and Gelateria Find these on deck five directly across from Bistro on Five. For a nominal fee, the Gelateria serves up excellent gelato and Cafe Al Baccio has amazing pastries and cookies (all free). Don't miss these locations on Equinox... still kicking myself that we didn't get gelato till the last night!
Decadence at Cafe Al Baccio...
Tuscan Grill: (fee based) Still the best location for dinner ocean views (try to get a reservation before sunset) and great steaks. I will always book this location on any Celebrity Solstice class ship. Again, we ate here on the first night and that got us a 20% discount. I especially remember the excellent onion soup and a very tender filet mignon.
- Diane at Tuscan Grille!
Silk Harvest: (fee based) This was on Solstice, but not on Silhouette... and we never did try it on Solstice... so we were very happy to get another shot at this restaurant on Equinox! We weren't diappointed! Silk Harvest is an "Asian fusion" restaurant... as such, you have many of the dishes you would get in Asian fusion restaurants back home, only with Celebrity's gourmet flourishes. We ate here for lunch (note: lunches are offered only on one select day at sea in the specialty restaurants. The fee is lower and the menu may have a few less items on it than at dinner. Check on board for times for your cruise.) on one of our sea days and everything was delicious!
- Sushi at Silk Harvest! Incredible...
As I said on my Solstice and Silhouette reviews, this little near pool grill serves excellent burgers, hot dogs, and fries! Grab your plate and run back to the pool! Celebrity BBQ! Always worth at least one lunch (best when the ship is in port and you can have it all to yourself!
Aqua Spa Cafe: (some items included, some fee based) This little place is actually in the Solarium. They serve healthy light breakfasts (think yogurt, grain buns, etc) and lunches (think salads and fruit and salmon) in a sort of mini buffet arrangement. I ate many breakfasts here as I decided to be an early riser and to get my great pool location early as well. There's now a sign telling people that they must wear proper attire (noticably missing on Silhouette a few years ago) when eating here even though it's directly adjacent to the Solarium pool and loungers. Still not sure what all the fuss is about this, but at least this time, I made sure I didn't commit the crime of strolling 10' over for a muffin in a bathing suit.
The Equinox Nightclubs and Bars and Casino: Equinox's
The Sunset Bar: A great location for a bar on all of the Solstice class ships... but we preferred this bar on the Silhouette where there were far more couches and chairs and less lawn. In fact, I'd eliminate more of the lawn sections near this bar on all the ships and place more tables and chairs. (Rarely is this lawn area ever used... and squeezing everyone into a narrow walk along the lawn fighting for chairs is a poor design. At the very least, The Sunset Bar area on Equinox should be redone in the image of the one on Silhouette. Kim and Steve and Diane and I had a great night here playing "Heads Up"!
Martini Bar: This is always the crowd pleasing bar on all of the Celebrity Solstice-class ships... and so we spent several nights getting delicious martinis here. The frozen bar is fun, and the drink preparation can be quite a show in itself. Definitely get at least one martini here!
Casino Bar: This is a beautiful bar located in the casino but facing the shopping area. Very nice place to stop after winning or losing money in the Casino!
- Beautiful Bar at the Casino
The Quasar disco was state of the art, and in an excellent step up from the Quasar disco on Solstice, it stayed open beyond 1am. The first night we danced there, the place was hopping with top 40 dance hits. We were so happy! But then the DJ decided every subsequent night to mostly play boring salsa music after midnight. We asked for something else (since his choices literally emptied the club every night) but to no avail. This is terrible. Why even have a DJ if he isn't going to take requests? Again, great club, losing money.
Sky Observation Lounge: As Elite members of the Celebrity Captain's Club, we had a "Happy Hour" event here almost every night, so we spent a great deal of time here! But there were many other events done here as well... and this is the most beautiful and luxurious bar aboard with sweeping views forward and over the bow! Amazing location! There was an excellent St. Patty's Day party here on St. Patrick's Day!
Michael's Club: This bar, which we were able to enjoy on previous sailings on Solstice and Silhouette is now exclusively for Suite Guests. I think this is a mistake but on the other hand, Suite Guests do pay a collosal amount of money, so whatever.
The Molecular Bar: Finally got a drink at the Molecular Bar on Celebrity Equinox (missed it on the Silhouette)! Expensive but exotic and delicious drinks are created here. It was fun, and the bartenders were very helpful.
The Equinox Pools and Solarium: Again, just like on Solstice, the pool area and the adults only Solarium are beautiful, and comfortable with ample towels available. On Silhouette, the pools stayed open till 11pm, but unfortunately, on Equinox, they closed at 8pm. This is a pity as the pool areas are beautiful at night. Again, I wish Celebrity would do as her sister company, Royal Caribbean, does and keep at least one pool and one hot tub open 24/7.
The Main Pool: The main pool is about the same as we experienced on Solstice. The "A" frame beds are still there and still incredible. There is plenty of shade and plenty of spots in the Sun at the main pool area. There are two adjacent pools, one shallow and one in the 6' deep range or so. There's also an array of four hot tubs here. There were very few pool bar-waiters. This seems to be a trend. There are many activities here, so it can be noisy at times. The seats are cushioned and comfortable. There are also plenty of seats around the top tier and many of these are shaded as well.
The Solarium: (adults only) Just as beautiful as the ones we Solstice and Silhouette, but Equinox's needs some touching up here and there. The Solarium is the perfect escape for adults wanting to get away from kids (although there were hardly any on this cruise) and the noise of the main pool area. The waterfall wall and dancing fountain is here as on the other Solstice class ships. On the wall opposite is a fake flower wall that looked dusty and old. The ever changing light show on the waterfall wall is beautiful. The loungers are incredibly comfortable and again, there are plenty of towels available (and without the annoying need to sign for them ala Royal Caribbean). The Solarium pool has an easily accessible stairway into it and it's only about 4' deep. The white clam shell couches we loved on Solstice and Silhouette are here again, and we spent an entire day in one. Again, there is direct sun and complete shade areas in the Solarium. The sunny areas never get too much sun though as the glass roof is artistically adorned with solar power cell grids... so I'm guessing there's a certain amount of SPF for this reason, just due to the design? There are also two hot tubs at the port and starboard windows. The Solarium is completely enclosed against the elements. We spent most of our pool time here rather than the main pool. There are a few dedicated "Pool Butlers" that make sure there's no holding of seats; if a chair is empty for more than 30 to 60 minutes, the Pool Butler swoops in and removes the towels. (Which is how it should be; there is a special ring in hell for those throw a towel or a book on a chair and then cavort around the ship and never use the chair they are holding.)
Unique to Equinox: As
The Spa Experience: The workout room has fantastic state-of-the-art equipment.
Entertainment on Equinox: On this 11 night voyage
Our Itinerary: Twelve nights from Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ to the best of the Caribbean islands and back was a dream come true for us! The best part was no airfare! It's always great to park and sail... but NJ to the Caribbean is the best. A twelve night cruise is perfect, too, on such a great ship and in AquaClass! Here's our day-by-day itinerary:
Day One: Embarkation... Port Everglades is generally congested on weekends, but this cruise departed on a Monday, so getting over to the port was a breeze. We arrived around 11am, and we were glad to see that this was the same pier used by Oasis of the Seas with it's huge number of check-in agents. After going through security, we were stopped for our clothes steamer, which the port people confiscated. There is nothing in the Celebrity docs stating that a steamer couldn't be brought aboard, and we've used this steamer on countless cruises, but they insisted on keeping it there in Ft. Lauderdale till post cruise when we could pick it up. We told a Celebrity rep about this and we were told to, "pack it in the suitcase next time... they'll never take it out of a suitcase." Wow. Anyway, the check-in was fast and the four of us got our boarding picture taken together. We then headed right over to the two escalators for the ride up to the boarding ramps. We were aboard quickly, and in typical Celebrity fashion, we were immediately handed a glass of champagne. We would normally head right up to the buffet, but I suggested that since we were on deck five, we ought to go back to the specialty restaurants and make our reservations. We did reserve dinner for this first night at the awesome Tuscan Grille at 20% off. (Generally getting a table at a specialty restaurant on the first night does get you a discount, but they also kept offering the discount at all the specialty places for the rest of the trip) We also booked a lunch (rare) at the Silk Harvest and Tuscan Grille for the two days they offered lunch at these locations. (These are usually only dinner venues) After this we went up to the Oceanview Cafe buffet and had an incredible lunch. We sat at the outside tables all the way aft. Later we got to our wonderful cabins, 1100 for us, and 1140 for Kim and Steve. Diane and I got into our bathing suits and our first afternoon in the Solarium. Muster drill was held shortly before the ship set sail, so in our bathing suits (but with shirts and coverups) we headed to our muster station. Mustering on Equinox was handled well (no, you don't wear your life vest to these on Celebrity either) but it did drag on a bit. After the muster drill, we headed up to an upper deck location on the port side and watched our departure from Port Everglades... always breathtaking views of the beautiful homes and towers along that waterway. Dinner at Tuscan Grill was wonderful with incredible views aft.
Day Two: At Sea... Diane and I LOVE the Solariums on Solstice class ships... they are our go-to spot on any cruise. The adults only, and mostly serene (except for those occasional loud mouths screaming across the room) experience here is exactly what we want. We had breakfast here. Then we moved from our loungers into one of the big fun clam shell beds looking out at the ocean. At lunchtime, the buffet was decorated all out for St. Patrick's day... we all had an excellent meal! After, we were lucky enough to find seats in the Solarium again. We stayed here till five o'clock, then we moved on to the Sky Lounge for the nightly Elite "happy hour" with drinks and hors devours. This is an outstanding location for this! After dinner, we headed back to the Sky Lounge with Kim and Steve for the St. Patty's Day Party which was a lot of fun... the crew was magnificent! Later we ended the night with snacks in the buffet!
Day Three: Grand Cayman... Landing here was by tender... Grand Cayman doesn't have docking facilities to handle large cruise ships. There were about five cruise ships anchored off the island, so things ashore were crowded, to say the least. Once ashore, we took the first cab we could find to the first location (cheapest ride) on Seven Mile beach. Big mistake as just about everyone else seemed to do the same thing... the beautiful beach was wall to wall people. Not very pleasant. Diane and I have been to Seven Mile beach on many occasions and always found it to be a nice, relaxing place. If we get the chance to go there again, we'll take the next location further up the beach (a more expensive ride, but so what?). We only stayed on the beach for about an hour then we headed back to town and walked through some stores. Then we hopped the water shuttle back to the ship and had lunch aboard.
- A bunch of cruise ships anchored off Grand Cayman means a lot of visitors invading this beautiful little island!
- Oh, so very crowded! But we found a spot for the four of us to squeeze in!
Day Four: at Sea... Diane and I were up at 7 am to get our places in the Solarium. We spent the day here then enjoyed the Persian Garden's heated tile beds. These weren't included as they are with Aqua Class cabins, but we booked the week to use as we pleased here. I highly recommend this to anyone... especially for those with back or neck pain. The views are amazing as are the showers and the aromatherapy steam rooms! We had a wonderful lunch at the Silk Harvest... if you love Asian fusion food, don't miss this fee restaurant!
Day Five: Cartagena, Columbia... We did a tour here of the city and the fortress. Cartagena was like any city in the States... there were pleasant locations and dirty areas. But there were also a large number of some amazingly pushy vendors, especially at the fortress. We also had time (of course) for shopping on the tour, and Diane bought emerald earrings at Mister Emerald. The latter part of the tour was to an old Church and to a location of the Spanish Inquisition! I would do this tour again... the tour guide and the people we met were very nice.
- First view of Cartagena, Columbia!
- Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, in Cartagena, Columbia
- Walking about town in Cartagena, Columbia!
- Balconies and bougainvillea in Cartagena, Columbia!
- A street artist creates paintings on glass in just a few minutes- amazing!
Day Six: Colon, Panama... Our day here was spent on a ferry traveling through the locks of the Panama Canal! This was an amazing tour! We traveled from Lake Gatun to the Pacific Ocean all in a few hours. Extremely interesting... I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Panama City, which we saw from a distance at the end of the Canal voyage, looks breath-taking! Sorta like The Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz! A bus took us back to the ship which we rejoined about a half hour before departure. This was a Celebrity sponsored excursion, so there were no worries of missing the boat. Note: Lunch was served onboard the ferry, and although I was fine, Diane and many others on this tour, came down with food poisoning. So, if you do take this tour, maybe it would be better to take a snack (if allowed) from the ship. The food all tasted fine. The only thing I didn't have was the fresh pineapple. So if you do eat on this tour, maybe it's best to avoid fresh fruit?
Day Seven: Puerto Limon, Costa Rica... We were both really excited to do a Forest Canopy tour here in Costa Rica, but as I said above, Diane was up all night running to the bathroom due to food poisoning. So she went to the ship's hospital that morning (there were a few other passengers there already with her symptoms... no fever or vomiting, just diarrhea!) to get some imodium. Even though the doctor was convinced that she was suffering from food poisoning, the cruise lines follow a strict protocol that says, "treat this as norovirus" until it can be proven otherwise. So, Diane had to spend the entire day in Costa Rica confined to our cabin. I cancelled our tours (yes, they will refund excursion fees when confined to the cabin), and I spent the rest of the day bringing food to Diane. (This is one time a balcony cabin would have been nicer... she could've at least been out on the balcony for fresh air) She actually had no symptoms that entire day, the bad food having passed the previous night. All day the ship checked to see that she was ok and (more importantly) staying quaranteened. I felt bad for the staff scrubbing the walls in our corridore... I apologized to them and told them that this was due to food poisoning for sure as Diane was fine back in the cabin. They were all very polite (and somewhat relieved) to hear she was ok. At any rate, Diane didn't get to see Costa Rica at all. I actually ran down and walked around the pier just to say that I actually was in Costa Rica. What I saw looked beautiful and lush. Kim and Steve did their ziplining tour... they said from what they saw that we didn't miss much, but they may have just been being nice to us!
Day Eight: at Sea... Diane's quarantine was officially over, so as this was another day at Sea, we headed straight to the Solarium at 7am. We hit the Persian Gardens again and we ate a delicious lunch in the Main Dining Room. After a relaxing and wonderful day, we headed to dinner then to Celebrity's unique Cirque-style show! This one is not to be missed!
Day Nine: Belize City, Belize... Here we did a long bus ride to the Mayan ruins at Calhu Pech... literally on the other side of Belize (almost crossing into Guatamala!). This was an excellent tour; there were restroom facilities at the site. These ruins were amazing! I would definitely do this trip again... very educational. After this, we were taken into town for a "special treat"... a stop at a local bakery in San Ignacio where we could pick out a pastry and coffee for a snack (included in the tour price). This was delicious! Giant sticky buns in Belize! Everyone we encountered in Belize were very friendly... this is a beautiful country! I'm hoping to get back again. We decided that after a long day of touring the Mayan ruins, it would be awesome to lay on the tile beds in the Persian Gardens to watch our departure at dusk. Leaving Belize is fascinating as it's a zigzag path out between buoys to avoid damaging the coral reefs. It's like a carousel of cruise ships out there.
Day Ten: Cozumel, Mexico... Cozumel island will always have a soft spot for us as it was the first foreign location we ever traveled to on a cruise ship way back in 1994 aboard Carnival's MS Holiday! Everytime we return to Cozumel, it's always better. Friendly touristy place which is also a jumping spot to many mainland excursions and many on the island itself. This trip, Diane and I decided to just spend the day shopping in the multitude of shops at the port... no planning, no rush... just a nice and relaxing day.
Day Eleven: At Sea... Rainy
Day Twelve: Ft. Lauderdale and home... Getting off the ship was
Celebrity Equinox Art: I don't usually
The Equinox Debarkation Process: Celebrity has
Things Celebrity should do to improve Equinox: Keep at least one pool and one hot tub open 24/7 like their sister company, Royal Caribbean, does on all of their ships.
Why Celebrity Equinox should be your next cruise choice: It's
~Cruise Review Menu~
All photography on this page done by Paul and Diane McCullough