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Jedi Jason

Celebrity Equinox Western Caribbean live blog Jan 4

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My wife initially suggested this cruise about 10 months ago kind of half joking because the kids would be back in school and the price was really good and there was a promotion that included 4 perks (tips, premium drink package, internet and an OBC).  Well I called her bluff and we ended up booking this cruise a couple of days later with Michelle from MEI.  It is on Equinox, a five night cruise departing from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale).  It ports in Cozumel and then Key West on the way back.  We booked a concierge class balcony room. Since we live in the Orlando area we decided to drive down the day before to a hotel we booked so we could be on the ship as early as possible without having the stress of driving down in the early morning hours.  Anyway, I plan on sharing photos and a description of what we did each day and am open to any questions about the cruise or ship.  More info to follow.

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So we didn't expect the kids to have a longer than normal Christmas break due to a teacher in-service they scheduled for the first full week of January.  Our original plan was to have an Aunt stay with them at our house but we have since changed plans since they won't be in school to travel to our Aunt in Indianapolis in the hopes our Florida kids could enjoy some winter weather including snow while Mom and Dad relaxed on a warm Caribbean cruise.  The travel day to Fort Lauderdale will begin with dropping them off at the airport.  We booked unaccompanied minor tickets on Southwest for them.  After dropping them off at the airport we will head south towards our hotel.  We booked the Sheraton suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek in the North Fort Lauderdale area.  It is peak season in south Florida for hotels so the prices are higher and the selection  and pricing has only gotten worse as we approach our cruise.  We did book this about three months ago for around $150 a night nonrefundable since we were at or inside our final payment date.  We have plans to try out a new to us restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, La Bamba the evening we check into the hotel.

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8 hours ago, Jedi Jason said:

We have plans to try out a new to us restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, La Bamba the evening we check into the hotel.

Ohh, you're going to LOVE La Bamba! Several of us here have dined there before and/or after our cruises, and it's always fantastic. Their margaritas are as awesome as the food! 😋

Have a good sailing! I'll be curious to learn about Equinox and the Solstice class in general. Have you previously sailed Celebrity? I'll be on Summit (the smaller Millennium class) this summer, and while I know on paper what the differences are, it will be good to see a Solstice class ship and hear your impressions.

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Tomorrow's the big day!!!

 

I've never sailed Celebrity, but just yesterday my cruising friend told me that it was an awesome experience.  He says "I know you're loyal to Royal, but..."

Yes, I am.   But it's still family, so who knows?

 

Looking forward to reading your blog!

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We made it to the hotel and got checked in a little before the official check in time of 3:00. The hotel is similar to some Embassy Suites that I have stayed in. The rooms are around a courtyard lobby that has some nice fountains. The rooms have a kitchenette and desk area in the front with the bathroom in the middle and the bedroom in the back. Our room is overlooking the pool area. The rooms are fairly simple in their decor and furnishings. There seems to be mostly stucco type walls as opposed to drywall.  Brunch at First Watch near the Orlando airport was a while ago. I had a really nice breakfast burrito that was on the seasonal menu.  We had some fish and chips from the bar to hold us over until we go to La Bamba for dinner. 

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9 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Ohh, you're going to LOVE La Bamba! Several of us here have dined there before and/or after our cruises, and it's always fantastic. Their margaritas are as awesome as the food! 😋

Have a good sailing! I'll be curious to learn about Equinox and the Solstice class in general. Have you previously sailed Celebrity? I'll be on Summit (the smaller Millennium class) this summer, and while I know on paper what the differences are, it will be good to see a Solstice class ship and hear your impressions.

Thanks for reinforcing my decision to dine there. To answer your question, we were on a short 3 night preview sailing on Celebrity Edge before the official maiden voyage. That is our only prior Celebrity cruise. We enjoyed it a lot so we knew we wanted to take another Celebrity cruise. It happens to sail out of the same new Terminal 25 in Port Everglades. 

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The highlight of our trip so far La Bamba. It was amazing Mexican food. The chips and salsa weee good. We had a guacamole appetizer and the margaritas! One passion fruit and one blood orange. They were very good. My wife had the Mexican pizza for her entree. They list it as an appetizer but it was the size of at least a medium pizza. I had the La Bamba combo since I couldn’t decide. The combo had the Chile rellano which was great and the chicken enchilada really good but the beef taco was mostly meat and just OK. Our table mates, my wife’s family, got the chicken mole and fajitas both of which were really tasty and looked good. We tried the fried ice cream even though we were super full. It was OK. I think the corn flake crusting on it was an odd texture for this dish for me. I see why it is a favorite of others in this forum. I hope I was able to make at least @Lovetocruise2002 A little jealous. 

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We are still not very hungry from last night so it’s something small and quick for breakfast at McDonald’s. The hotel  room had Starbucks coffee in the room yeah. We had two interesting issues with our room. The first issue was being locked out of our room because the batteries in our room door went dead and we had to get engineering to open our room and replace the batteries which are on the inside of the door. The shower had a crazy high water pressure and the shower head was left pointed up and out of the shower. It started to take the paint off the wall and flood our bathroom floor with water in the few seconds it was first on. The elevators were painfully slow moving which was worsened by us being in the 6th of the eight floors. Oh well, it’s cruise day. 

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We  are sitting in beautiful terminal 25 waiting to board. There is a separate waiting area for concierge class. It looks like we may have priority embarkation behind suite guests. The sea pass card is at your room on this ship and they encourage you to drop off your carry on luggage and pick up your card. Expedited check in was super quick. It took less than five minutes to checkin and get through security. There was a separate line including security screening  for expedited guests. 

We boarded about 10 minutes to 11:00 and we are exploring the ship. Lots of cool features to share with you. 

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5 hours ago, Jedi Jason said:

 

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JEALOUS!!!!  I'm assuming you are not at the 17th St. location though because of your hotel?  I have yet to visit any of their other 5 locations.

Just catching up now on this blog.  I'll be following along as I have always been interested to sail Celebrity one of these days.  That terminal looks really nice and modern.

Happy sailing!  Looking forward to your pics and your thoughts.

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18 hours ago, Jedi Jason said:

My breakfast burrito and a couple of hotel lobby photos. Front desk staff confirmed that this hotel was originally an Embassy Suites. 

Holy Christmas! You're in the same hotel on 17th Street that I stayed at in March / April 2018 for my first ever cruise! I totally recognize that lobby, fountain, pool, and everything else as I had taken nearly identical photos back then. What is the new hotel owner if it's no longer Embassy Suites?

2 hours ago, Jedi Jason said:

We had two interesting issues with our room. The first issue was being locked out of our room because the batteries in our room door went dead and we had to get engineering to open our room and replace the batteries which are on the inside of the door. The shower had a crazy high water pressure and the shower head was left pointed up and out of the shower. It started to take the paint off the wall and flood our bathroom floor with water in the few seconds it was first on. The elevators were painfully slow moving which was worsened by us being in the 6th of the eight floors. Oh well, it’s cruise day. 

:: facepalm ::

They were just replacing the door locks with the new "smart" units when I was staying there. You'd think that after almost two years they could get kinks like that worked out. And that's nuts about the shower! If it was high enough pressure to strip the paint, I shudder to think what that must have felt like on skin! 😱

Hope you're enjoying Equinox and having a great sailing so far.

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23 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I think he said Sheraton...

You, ma'am, are correct...

On 1/2/2020 at 11:31 PM, Jedi Jason said:

We booked the Sheraton suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek in the North Fort Lauderdale area.

Had to read the entire thread four times before I finally saw that. In the second post. 😅

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3 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

JEALOUS!!!!  I'm assuming you are not at the 17th St. location though because of your hotel?  I have yet to visit any of their other 5 locations.

Just catching up now on this blog.  I'll be following along as I have always been interested to sail Celebrity one of these days.  That terminal looks really nice and modern.

Happy sailing!  Looking forward to your pics and your thoughts.

We actually were at the 17th St location because we were meeting some locals who lived closer to that location and we didn’t mind driving to meet them since we didn’t fly but drove from Orlando. 

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Muster drill is completed and we set sail at 3:30. Probably going to watch from our balcony on the port side. My early impressions are the ship has an intimate feel to it. We finished exploring the ship just prior to the muster drill. The concierge lunch in the main dining room was a nice alternative to the buffet restaurant but was nothing fancy. The Apple pie ala mode was really nice. 

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35 minutes ago, Jedi Jason said:

The Apple pie ala mode was really nice.

Please tell me they don't follow sister brand Royal's example, and that the Celebrity apple pie is raisin-free! 🙏🏻

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9 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Please tell me they don't follow sister brand Royal's example, and that the Celebrity apple pie is raisin-free! 🙏🏻

No raisins in the apple pie. That’s why I enjoyed it so much. They let the apples be the highlight of the pie. RC ruins it with raisins. 

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A few random pictures from around the ship. You don’t have to check out the pool towels and they are plentiful. Adventure of the seas was also departing today as well. There were a total of seven ships in port when we arrived. We have a comedy show at 7:00 and the late dinner seating at 8:30. 

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Calling it a night since we are still behind on sleep from staying up late the last couple of nights. We had a nice dinner in the MDR. Nothing was extremely exciting but there were a few highlights: a feta and beet salad, beef spring roll, chocolate cherry trifle and a pomegranate mojito. The comic was good but not side splitting funny. His name was Miguel Washington. Tomorrow is a sea day. We booked a behind the scenes ship tour that we got on a cruise planner sale. 

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We experienced our first Celebrity sailing in October and will definitely be going back.  We loved it.  The towels is a HUGE plus...have you noticed the blankets yet?  

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8 hours ago, KathyC said:

We experienced our first Celebrity sailing in October and will definitely be going back.  We loved it.  The towels is a HUGE plus...have you noticed the blankets yet?  

Public area blankets?   I haven’t noticed. 

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