Reviewed

Celebrity Equinox cruise ship review

Celebrity Equinox cruise ship, reviewed

This is a bit different from my usual reviews, being as that it’s a cruise ship rather than a hotel. But when you think about it, what is a ship really other than a massive floating all-inclusive hotel? Albeit more like a mega-resort with 1400 rooms, 10 restaurants, eight bars and its own theatre. But it’s still a place to stay and picking the right one is even more important, as when you’re miles out to sea you can’t really change your mind and go stay somewhere else.

Lucky I picked a good one on my first cruise – Celebrity Equinox. She’s one of Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class ships and has been sailing across the world since 2009. I had no idea what to expect, so was hugely impressed by the facilities on board, which were more luxurious than most hotels I’ve stayed in. But what’s it like on board? Here’s my Celebrity Equinox review.

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Celebrity Equinox review

The pool deck on Celebrity Equinox cruise ship

Celebrity Equinox pool deck

Where can you visit on a Celebrity Equinox cruise?

Our cruise on board Celebrity Equinox was a seven-night trip around the Eastern Mediterranean from Venice to Istanbul, calling at Dubrovnik, Corfu, Olympia, Santorini and Ephesus. But Celebrity Equinox sails on lots of different routes around the world, including the Mediterranean, Norwegian fjords and Alaska, but she’s currently based in the Caribbean.

Celebrity Equinox cruises generally last 7–12 days, but there are some short, two-night taster trips if you want to try it out. Staying in one place while the destinations come to you is definitely one of the best parts about cruising, and something a normal hotel just can’t compete with. It’s so nice to be able to unpack everything once and as you travel by night so you can make the most of your holiday days. Our cruise had no sea days so we arrived into a new port each morning around 9am and sailed around 6pm. So you get most of the day to see each place.

Disembarking can be a bit hectic and any passengers who are going on official cruise line excursions get priority, so we usually held off a bit until the rush had passed. Most of our port stops were outside the city, so you needed to get a taxi or bus if you weren’t not doing an excursion. Celebrity provided some basic information on transport and a shuttle in some places but it’s worth doing some research in advance if you want to explore independently.

Sailing out of Santorini on the deck of the Celebrity Equinox

Sailing out of Santorini

What are Celebrity Equinox cabins like?

There are a range of different cabins (sorry staterooms) on Celebrity Equinox. They start from interior (without a window), through ocean view (with a window), balcony (with a private balcony), Concierge Class (with extra perks like priority check in) and Aqua Class (with spa extras and a special restaurant), right up to luxury suites with a butler and VIP lounge.

Within each category there are a range of subcategories, and when you book you have the option of choosing a specific stateroom, which is useful if you want to be in a certain area (mid-ship on one of the lower decks is best if you’re worried about seasickness like me). Otherwise you just choose a category and are allocated the best available cabin.

We had a balcony stateroom on deck six at the back of the ship, so had great views as we sailed out of port. It was bigger than I imagined and never felt cramped, with lots of storage space hidden away. All cabins have a separate sofa seating area and desk as well as a big comfortable bed and en-suite shower room. You have an interactive flatscreen TV (where you can book excursions and check your account balance), toiletries, a hairdryer and mini bar.

Balcony stateroom bedroom and en suite bathroom on Celebrity Equinox

Our balcony stateroom

What facilities does Celebrity Equinox have?

Although Celebrity Equinox looks enormous, with 2800 passengers I did wonder if it’d feel crowded. But the public areas stretch over 12 floors and are divided into lots of smaller sections so it never felt too busy. Starting at the top there’s a real grass lawn, where there’s a weekly evening concert. There’s also a glass-blowing studio where they do nightly demonstrations.

Below is the pool deck with two pools, lots of sunloungers and day beds, and below that is an adults-only indoor solarium with jacuzzis and a pool with a waterfall wall of ferns. This is also where you’ll find the gym and the Canyon Ranch spa. The library stretches over two floors with books you can borrow and some relaxing spots to curl up and read.

Then underneath are various rooms like the art gallery, casino and shops, all set around a central atrium with glass lifts which connect the floor. Right on the lowest floors is a nightclub and the full-size Equinox Theatre. There’s a different show each night, with early and late showings featuring magicians, singers and a Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic show.

The Celebrity Equinox cruise ship library

In the library

What’s Celebrity Equinox’s food like?

You’ve got no chance of going hungry on a cruise – there’s always something to eat somewhere. There’s a huge range of eating options on board Celebrity Equinox, with formal dining in the Silhouette dining room, the Oceanview Café buffet and a few snack cafés included in the price. Speciality dining at Murano (French), Silk Harvest (Asian), Tuscan Grille (Italian), the sushi bar and gelateria cost extra. There’s also Luminae for Suite Class and Blu for Aqua Class guests only.

Most mornings we ate in the buffet, with a mix of cooked and continental options plus loads of fresh fruit. You can also have breakfast delivered to your room, you just fill in a form the night before saying what you want and when. If you’re on board in the daytime you can eat in the buffet, which has a wide range of hot and cold options, which were themed around each of our destinations, so there was a Greek day as well as a daily afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea in the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship buffet

Cake heaven in the buffet

We ate dinner at Murano one night, which costs an extra $50 per person. It has a smart, continental feel with lots of dark wood and moody lighting, and the food was a step up from the normal onboard menu. But we generally ate dinner in the Silhouette dining room on a flexible package, so we could go at any time and choose to either share a table or eat on our own. You can also opt for the more traditional timed dining where you sit at the same table every day.

Dinner is four courses: a starter, a salad or soup, a main course (or rather an entree as it’s an American ship) and dessert. Portion sizes are manageable so you don’t feel overstuffed by the end of it, and there’s a standard menu and one that changes each day, marked in case of gluten and dairy, and they’re happy to adapt dishes in case of intolerances if you give notice.

Dining at Murano speciality restaurant on board Celebrity Equinox

Dining in Murano

How about drinks?

There’s a selection of different bars on board Celebrity Equinox – our favourites were the Sunset Bar on deck at the back of the ship and the smart Sky Bar up front which is quiet in the early evenings. There’s also the Gastrobar for craft beers, the ice-topped Martini Bar and World-Class Bar for cocktail aficionados. We didn’t have any full days at sea so most of the time people were getting on and off or relaxing after a busy day, so sometimes it almost felt deserted, and was easy to find somewhere peaceful watch the sun go down with a G&T.

You can pay as you go for drinks on board or buy a package. The Classic Drinks package covers beer, wine (up to $9 a glass), spirits, cocktails and frozen drinks, as well as soft drinks, juices, teas and premium coffee. Or there’s a Premium Package covering fancy waters and more expensive wines. They were quite pricey at $49 a day though, and you have to buy them for the whole cruise, so we went for pay as you go and bought drinks separately.

The World Class cocktail bar on Celebrity Equinox

Cocktail tasting in the World-Class bar

What are the other passengers like?

Celebrity is an American company, but the guests on board were a real international mix. Our fellow passengers were mostly from the US, Australia and Europe, and there was a surprisingly broad age range. There was a mixture of couples and groups of friends as well as families, mainly with older children. Celebrity doesn’t have as much of a family-friendly reputation as some of the other cruise lines, but there are kids’ clubs and activities on board.

Cruise ship decks

Looking down

What’s the service like on board Celebrity Equinox?

There’s almost one staff member for every two guests. All were incredibly friendly and helpful, from the bartenders to the woman on the dining room reception desk who remembered our room number every night after we told her once. Cabin service went beyond what I expected, with a dedicated stateroom attendant who serviced the room twice a day (and created some impressive towel animals) and 24-hour room service. After feeling slightly awkward ringing up on the first day to have a cup of tea delivered, it didn’t take long to get used to it.

The only negative was that there can be some quite persistent upselling, especially on the speciality restaurants, spa and drinks packages. Tips aren’t included in the cruise price but are charged at a standard rate of $14.50 per person per day ($15 for Concierge/Aqua Class or $18 for suite passengers) – you can pay them upfront or at the end of the trip.

Cruise ship in Santorini, Greece

Celebrity Equinox in Santorini

What else do I need to know?

You don’t need any cash on board as everything is charged to your ‘Sea Pass’. This acts as an all-in-one ID, room key and charge card so you need if for anything from buying a drink to getting back on board, so take good care of it. If you want to check your email (or upload those holiday selfies), there is wifi on board but it’s pricey and slow. But there were cheap internet cafes near the port in all our stops. See more tips in my guide for first-time cruisers.

The Lawn Club deck on Celebrity Equinox

The Lawn Club deck

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Celebrity Equinox cruise ship review – including cabins, facilities, food and drink and useful tips for on board this Celebrity Cruises Solstice Class ship. #cruise #CelebrityEquinox #CelebrityCruises

Thanks to Celebrity Cruises for hosting us. All views and opinions are, as always, my own.

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    qb.support@aol.com
    September 15, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Great Ship, wish to travel on it..

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks, hope you get to try it out one day!

  • Reply
    Moritz
    September 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    The ship does really look good, even though the rooms are smaller than in most good hotels (what you should expect when going for a cruise). What I do not like is that Wifi is not only not free but expensive. Especially when you consider that there are no other options (when on sea). In modern times Wifi should be included if you are paying that much money for a cruise.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Funny I was just reading an article about this – apparently its because they need to use a satellite, which I can understand if you’re out in the Atlantic, but nearer land like in the Med I’m surprised they can’t use signals from land to make it cheaper. I guess it’s a good excuse to completely disconnect for a while though!

      • Reply
        Moritz
        September 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        Now with you explaining it, it really makes sense^^ Yeah, sometimes it may be a good idea to just shut off for some days and enjoy oneself 🙂

  • Reply
    Packing my Suitcase
    September 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Amazing! I have never been in a cruise ship like this one before… the rooms are great!! Seems like a lovely experience 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 15, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      I’d been on what I though were big ships like cross-Channel ferries but this was a world away from that! It really is a very different experience, and well worth trying at least once.

      • Reply
        Packing my Suitcase
        September 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

        I believe you! It does look a normal hotel, but even better, on the sea!! I hope to experience something like this and maybe combine it with diving 😀

  • Reply
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    September 15, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I’ve never been on a cruise – I’d previously always had some reservations about whether it would be something I would enjoy but the more I read about cruises, the more intrigued I become about finding out for myeslf – this looks like a great cruise liner for a first timer – food seems delicious and the rooms look very glam!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 15, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      It wasn’t anything I’d really thought about much either (I’m no boat fan and love to travel independently) but was surprised how much I enjoyed it. We met so many people who go on cruise after cruise and I’d never be like that but it’s something I’d definitely consider doing again – after being such a travel planner it’s nice to let someone else do the work occasionally!

  • Reply
    thegrownupgapyear
    September 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve never been on a cruise before, but we have friends who swear by them and say they are a good way to explore pricey European cities as you can eat all your meals on board. Your room looked amazing and I love the sound of cups of tea delivered to the door! 😉

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      There are some good routes around Scandinavia and the Baltic so that would be a good one to do and save money as it’s such an expensive part of the world. Loved the room service – I could do with that back home!

  • Reply
    thebritishberliner
    September 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    It looks delightful! I’ve only been on a one week cruise in Egypt which was fascination in itself and a couple of cruises on the Danube river LOL! I really like how detailed your post is as I’m a sucker for what exactly something is, where, how and why? Lovely!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks – I’d like to try a river cruise out sometime too to see how they compare – a lot smaller I guess!

  • Reply
    Fleur De Lyz
    September 21, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this cruise – looks like one that I definitely have to get on board on sometime soon! 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      September 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      It’s something I’d recommend trying at least once, it’s so hard to imagine what it’s really like until you do!

      • Reply
        Fleur De Lyz
        September 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm

        I’m sure 🙂 definitely planning on it!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Jones
    September 23, 2014 at 6:18 am

    I loved waking up in a new place each day and couldn’t wait to check out each new view from my pillow (I’d leave the curtains open!) The ship is wonderful to explore too – how many times did I get lost…?!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      September 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Waking up in a new place each day was fantastic – and I had to get a map too as it was so easy to get totally lost!

  • Reply
    Lawrence Beaury
    February 25, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    My wife and I took a 10 night and 11 night Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox in 2017 and 2018. We absolutely loved the food, the entertainment, the friendly service, music being played throughout the ship, time on the green lawn. We also loved our stateroom, which was large with plenty of storage space. In Jan, 2019 we took a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway and were greatly disappointed. On the Breakaway the storeroom and balcony were much smaller and there was much less storage space, even though with both the Equinox and the Breakaway we were paying for the same type of room, a balcony room. Also, the food in the buffet on the Equinox was much better, particularly when it came to the deserts. We already have our cruise booked for 2020, and it’s on the Celebrity Equinox. The ship that you select for your cruise makes all of the difference in the world.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 28, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      So true – the choice of ship is so important as you spend so much time on there. I was really impressed with Celebrity Equinox and hope to be back on another Celebrity cruise later this year.

  • Reply
    Scott Mace
    March 16, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    My wife and I went on an Eastern Caribbean cruise last year on the Equinox and it was amazing. Amazing staff. Already booked our Western Caribbean cruise for this July. I would definitely recommend it if you like or want to experience a cruise.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 22, 2019 at 10:13 am

      I’ve just booked an Alaska cruise for August with Celebrity and can’t wait! Hope you have an amazing time in the Caribbean.

  • Reply
    Adel
    April 18, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Just got off the Eclipse on their South American Carnaval cruise. It was my first time on such a large ship but I never felt crowed. I have cruise over 20 times mostly on ships that hold less than 700 guest. I must said I choose an Aqua class and I ate at specialty dining locations throughout the ship. When getting to dinner saw a mass off people trying to get to main dinning room. This was not for me but my dining experience was above my expectations. The ship facility and staff was great.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 24, 2019 at 8:53 am

      I’m sailing on Eclipse on an Alaska cruise later this year and really looking forward to it!

  • Reply
    JADANOMAD
    June 2, 2019 at 6:28 am

    We just completed our 8th cruise, second time to Alaska, on the Celebrity Eclipse! It was wonderful. The service was extraordinary, the food was exquisite, and the ship is comfortable and classy. This was our first Celebrity cruise, but it won’t be our last! The Equinox sounds very close to the Eclipse. Our evening in Murano, the French restaurant was better than I expected. We had Chateau Briand that was perfect and crepe flambeau at our table side. I hope you enjoy Alaska as much as I do. We saw humpback whales and bald eagles, Alaska is majestic and beautiful.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 3, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you! I’m really looking forward to seeing Alaska, it’s been on my wishlist for so long. And looking forward to getting back on board with Celebrity too.

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