Celebrity Equinox Holiday Cruise Day 1, Dec. 23, 2011, Ft. Lauderdale
Cruise day at last! We sat out by the hotel pool after breakfast, waiting for the 10:30 shuttle bus to the cruise port. There were passengers aboard for the Equinox, Ruby Princess and MSC Poesia, and we were dropped off first at exactly 11:00.
There was no line up, and we walked right in and right up to the check-in counter.
We were checked in, photographed and on board by 11:15 a.m., the earliest ever!
Of course cabins were not prepared until after 1 p.m. so we made our way through the beautifully decorated foyer, drinking the glass of champagne given to all passengers as they boarded.
We soon found our way up to Deck 14, to the Ocean View Cafe for an early lunch.
This buffet style cafe was large and well laid out, with many different food stations and plenty of room to move around.
It never seemed crowded, and wait times were minimal, especially on the first day as we were two of the very few on board at this time!
After a delicious lunch, we headed outdoors to explore the ship.
Starting at the top, we discovered the lawn. Yes, a real grass lawn, beautifully tended and so soft to walk on. I immediately went barefoot to try it out!
The lawn was adjacent to the Glass Blowing exhibition area, where passengers could sit and watch glass blowers ply their craft at special times during the week.
Next stop was the main pools, two of them, divided by a walkway, with hot tubs situated on the four corners.
An added attraction was a large area with in-ground
water jets which shot up in the air sporadically, delighting small children, and catching many bathers unawares!
At night, the jet holes were lit up with coloured lights to form a dance floor for the night time pool parties.
We continued on up a few decks to explore the Solstice deck, a quiet area away from the main pools and all the noise that they entail. Cushy, comfortable seating was the attraction on the Solstice deck, large wicker lounge chairs, some big enough
for two, with thick cushions and pillows. A wonderful place to relax!
We also discovered the Solarium, an inside pool area for adults only, with natural light, spacious seating, quiet spa-like music, and its own small healthy snack food cafe and drink station. This was to become my favourite spot during the cruise.
By 1:00 p.m. it was announced that cabins were ready, so off we went to check it out. We were situated on Deck 11, near the midship elevators, and our cabin was in Aqua Class, balcony cabins with certain priviledges and amenities, such as priority boarding, welcome champagne, fresh fruit and afternoon canapes every day as well as fresh fruit iced tea daily, our choice of 5 different pillows, and the use of plush robes and slippers.
We found the cabin small but beautiful, with a large King size bed with rounded corners, a comfortable seating area, flat screen TV, tiny balcony with 2 chairs and a small table, a rather small bathroom with a rounded corner shower, and a very tiny closet which was awkward to access, being so close to the bed. Although small, it was tastefully decorated, the bed was comfortable, and our room steward kept it immaculately clean, so we had no complaints.
We were quite content with our home for the next 10 days.
to be continued.....
Last edited by rollerdonna; January 9th, 2012 at 09:52 PM.
Reason: add photos
OH Rd, The ship looks fantastic, so many nice compy perks. Now, curious about the lawn, it actually grows and they must cut it weekly?? I love how it looks, but not sure about the upkeep?? I also love the buffet with the different stations, I think that is the way to go. I love those on some of the Royal Caribbean ships, rarely any waiting and you go get what you want, instead of waiting in a line to pass up items you don't want, but have to wait to get to what you do want...
Donna, glad to see we like the same things..I thought the lido buffet was the most smartly designed I have ever seen. Every other aqua class cabin is designed with either, the bed, or the couch closest to the closet. We had the couch,and it was a royal pain. The bureau was too tiny for 2 gals
I'm looking forward to hearing more,and interested to see if you have any comments on the ladies rooms.....great pictures!!
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
After checking out our cabin, we continued our exploration of the ship.
As Aqua Class passengers, we were entitled to dine at the BLU restaurant, a specialty restaurant at no extra cost, so this was the first place we visited.
BLU is a very classy looking restaurant, with comfy white leather chairs and banquettes, white linens, accented with blue glasses, and a splash of blue on the white dinnerware.
One entire wall is a bas relief rose pattern, and the pattern is repeated in the blue carpet.
Another wall is full of multicoloured cylindrical holes, resembling paint cans. Some were solid, and some peeked through to the other side of the dining room.
Above it all was a magnificent chandelier, in clear crystal with blue/purple accents.
Two other specialty restaurants were located in the same general area on Deck 5.
The Tuscan Grille, an Italian steak house was homey and warm, decorated with kegsand a lot of red.
The Silk Harvest, specialty Asian cuisine, had a decidedly Asian feel to it, evidenced by the tiny bonsai trees on all the tables.
We never tried either the Silk Harvest or the Tuscan Grille, and can only report 2nd hand, comments from other passengers that they did not enjoy either one, and they were not worth their extra $25 fee.
Sailaway was scheduled for 4:30, and although the Cruise Director made an announcement to "come join me and my entertainment staff on the pool deck for our sailaway party", there was no party. The live pool band played, and people gathered, seemingly looking for a party, but there was none to be found.
Most people, us included, ended up on the top decks to watch the sailaway from Ft. Lauderdale, disappointed that there were no special drinks, no games, no prizes, no dancing, and no excitement for our sailaway. At least the band, "D'Revelation" was good!
We decided for our first night dinner, to try the special BLU restaurant. It was smaller, quieter, more intimate than the main dining room, and we were made to feel very welcome, and service was certainly attentive. The menu however, was quite exotic and there was not much that appealed to me. I did try the French onion soup (not very good), followed by a small filet mignon. There were no sides served with the entrees, unless you specifically asked for potato or vegetables. It was after all, a "healthy spa menu".
Unfortunately, I had arrived with a headache, and it soon turned into a migraine,
and I had to leave in the middle of dinner without eating much at all.
I went to bed at 7:30 and called it a night, missing the Welcome Aboard show and any other entertainment scheduled for that evening.
Our bed was beautifully turned down and waiting, with chocolates on our pillows,
and my Christmas night shirt artfully arranged!
Good night from Day 1 on the Equinox!
Last edited by rollerdonna; January 10th, 2012 at 12:00 PM.
As usual, along with all the others, I am enjoying your review and look forward to the next installments.
Having sailed Solstice twice in 2010, and been Aqua class, we also dined in Blu. From what I recall, and things may have changed or ar different on Equinox, the Blu menu was not at all what I would term exotic. As well, I recall the servings to be complete with veggies; we never had to ask.
We dined at Tuscany, and found it to be wonderful. Lots of food, and to us, all of it was very good. We think the fee is more than reasonable.
As for sailaway, Celebrity for some reason has gotten away from the fun-filled party atmosphere. We too were a bit disappointed......the best sailaway we ever had was on our first ever cruise which was Monarch of the Seas out of San Juan...way back in 1999...
We went on Eclipse, so we had the innovative Qsine restaurant instead of Silk Harvest. We LOVED Tuscan grill, found Murano too quiet & a bit too posh, Qsine was different, more suited to lunch than dinner we thought. We only were on a short cruise & dined in the MDR once for formal night it was very good we thought. Apart from Blu I don't see any reason to upgrade to Aqua or Concierge though. We thought the cabin was one of the nicest we have had, & the bathroom the best we have ever had, compared to P&O bathrooms it was big & luxurious! Balcony was small I agree.
Some answer questions...I also question answers