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Celebrity Equinox Western Caribbean live blog Jan 4


Jedi Jason
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In no rush to get off the ship we had a casual breakfast in the Oceanview cafe and shared a table with a retired couple from Mexico City. We enjoyed a nice conversation and left about 8:30 to grab our remaining bags from our room. All the numbers had been called and there wasn’t any line in the terminal but a line on the ship which we cut in line because we couldn’t tell where the line started since our elevator dropped us off right next to the ship’s exit. We weren’t asked to present our passports probably because we had required immigration in Key West. They did stop us briefly to ask if we had anything to declare.
 

We were in the parking garage and in our car in minutes. Now the depressing drive home began with the knowledge that our cruise was officially over.  A short stop at home to empty the car and then out to get some lunch before heading to the airport to pickup the kids. For some reason my seapass card didn’t work at the restaurant nor did my drink package. There were actually prices on the menu and I couldn’t get as many things as I wanted without paying for them all. I passed on the dessert for the first time in a week. I will post some random observations/opinions and take any questions anyone has. 

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room 1269
I haven’t described the stateroom much. We had a concierge ocean view balcony room. Concierge rooms are the same as the balcony rooms with some minor differences. They have upgraded toiletries and use of plush bathrobes. I believe theee is an upgraded shower head and pillow menu. They are found in preferred areas of the ship which I believe means higher decks. We didn’t have any available on the hump when we booked 10 months in advance. We were on deck 10 port side about 10 rooms aft of the aft elevators. There were several concierge rooms along our hallway.  The bathroom had a good amount of storage and the mirror and vanity were along the length of the room. Closet space was pretty good with a small shelf along the top that we used for shoe storage. The chairs on the balcony reclined. The bathroom had a nightlight type of lighting that kept it from being completely dark inside. When the lights weren’t on. 

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Here are my overall impressions and random observations. Let’s start with the food since I haven’t had anything to eat in the last 2 hours so it must be time. Overall, when compared to Royal Caribbean, which hasn’t changed their MDR menus in a few years, it was a welcome change and upgrade from their food in the complimentary venues. The late afternoon options between 2:30 and dinner were limited to pasta, pizza, burgers, hot dogs and desserts primarily.
 

The buffet or lunch and dinner always had dessert options including soft and hard ice cream, salad bar, pizza, customized pasta, meat carving, other entrees and sides, Indian and Asian foods, Mexican food, grilled meats and more. It was generally the same each day for breakfast with egg and omelette stations, traditional American breakfast options as well as some English foods and Indian cuisine. There was usually a rotating featured item at each meal. 

The MDR had options that are different and frequently more upscale than what you would find on RC. In addition the quality of the food and presentation was superior. The dishes were a little on the small side so Zi just ordered an extra app and emptied the bread basket. The most disappointing thing was the lack of variety of the bread selection which was mostly French bread and breadsticks  but there was a plain and two flavored butter or dips offered each night. I rambled on a while about the food so I will have to put random observations in another post. 

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Equinox is one of the newer and larger ships in the fleet which has also been revitalized recently in the half billion dollar fleet upgrade program. It is a very popular ship in the fleet. I heard mixed opinions from people both onboard and online but I think it comes down to pre research and expectations and prior cruise experience to select the right cruise ship, itinerary and line. My opinion is Celebrity is a very nice and slightly premium cruise line that is a bit of an upgrade from mainstream cruise lines. It has a more elegant design and decor than the mainstream lines.  The level of service is also slightly better and more refined.  It does lack some of the signature activities that mainstream lines offer like rock walls. It is more of a relaxing cruise than the average ship, more adult oriented. There is also less of a hard sell to buy more stuff like specialty dining and drink packages except the first day. 
 

A few other random things. They only have paper straws and sometimes I wasn’t given a straw and had to ask for one if I desired it. The World Class bar had drinks that were mostly $12 covered by the premium drink package (up to $15) while the classic included drinks up to $9. This bar had higher quality ingredients including syrups made from scratch and several specialty drinks unique to this location. Specialty dining on a shorter cruise was almost entirely booked by the afternoon of the next to last day except for some parties larger than two. Curious that they didn’t want to seat us at a larger table to guarantee additional revenue as opposed to hoping a larger party might still make a reservation. They also didn’t charge us for our specialty dining we booked onboard until we showed up. I have heard some people book onboard at a significant discount same day but I would discourage this based on my experience on a shorter cruise unless you could make your reservation for later in the cruise. The casino was smoke free. It was not large but adequate. A little crowded at peak times and a $10 minimum for table games. I included a picture of the dining room chairs based on a request. 

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I forgot to mention the app which runs on the same platform as the RC app. It had the chat feature that we didn’t use since we ha had the internet package and have iPhones. It also had the unlock your room door feature which I don’t find to be convenient since I usually have pockets for my sea pass card. I am throwing in a picture of Symphony if the Seas departing Miami as we passes by the port on our way to Cozumel and some pictures of the pool deck, solarium and lawn club. Cabanas in the lawn club were $99 on port days and $249 on sea days. 
 

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I hope everyone enjoyed my blog and learned something about Celebrity and Equinox. I will continue to consider Celebrity cruises when cruising without my kids especially if they offer promotions that give free perks. I hope to see you onboard my next RC cruise which is the blog group cruise on Brilliance of the Seas in October. If you have any further questions please post them in this thread. 
 

Jason Peterson 

 

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10 hours ago, monorailmedic said:

Awesome job - tons of great info and pics!  Glad you enjoyed the sailing.

After hearing your three wishes podcast with @Matt I realized that I did not miss the dining room shenanigans in the MDR. There were no announcements over arguably the worst PA system ever encouraging you and/or your wait staff to stand up and dance or wave your napkins. It makes me cringe and I did not miss it at all on this cruise. I also was willing to give up the unique selections in the four different MDRs on Edge to have the same wait staff each night. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for such an awesome blog!  I'm so happy you both were able to take advantage of the Oct/Nov sale.  We are also sailing from this awesome same sale on the Edge in March ( it was cheaper than our Harmony in March) so we cancelled and booked the Edge with all 4 perks including the premium bev package.  That will be our actual first Celebrity cruise too!  We are Diamond Plus on Royal too.  We are thinking of adding on the beverages and more onto our premium pkg onto both of our cruises that you both did especially the Equinox.  So did you both use all your $50 casino cash before you cashed out or can you cash out and get $25 dollars back of the original $50?  A little confusing to say the least.

Any additional information would be gratefully appreciated!

 

Michelle

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On 1/22/2020 at 6:47 PM, Cruising to Retirement! said:

Thanks for such an awesome blog!  I'm so happy you both were able to take advantage of the Oct/Nov sale.  We are also sailing from this awesome same sale on the Edge in March ( it was cheaper than our Harmony in March) so we cancelled and booked the Edge with all 4 perks including the premium bev package.  That will be our actual first Celebrity cruise too!  We are Diamond Plus on Royal too.  We are thinking of adding on the beverages and more onto our premium pkg onto both of our cruises that you both did especially the Equinox.  So did you both use all your $50 casino cash before you cashed out or can you cash out and get $25 dollars back of the original $50?  A little confusing to say the least.

Any additional information would be gratefully appreciated!

 

Michelle

You need to go to the casino cashier and tell them you have the package with the casino credit.  They will then ask each of you if you want you credit for slot or table games since they require you to pick one or the other and you may not change it after you decide.  You will get promotional chips for the table games which you must play with them at least once and if you lose they are gone but if you win you get the winnings in regular chips and you should be able to exchange the promotional chips you just wagered for regular chips.  If you chose to get your credit for the machines (slots and other games) it will be loaded onto your card and you will be given instructions on how to use it.  Anything you win is yours to keep.  It will keep track of how much promotional balance you have remaining.  Just like the promotional chips on the table games you can't cash out your balance on the promotional money loaded on your card.  You don't have to use it all right away but any amount unused by the end of the cruise is lost so you want to take advantage and use all of it.

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On 1/28/2020 at 11:36 AM, Jedi Jason said:

You need to go to the casino cashier and tell them you have the package with the casino credit.  They will then ask each of you if you want you credit for slot or table games since they require you to pick one or the other and you may not change it after you decide.  You will get promotional chips for the table games which you must play with them at least once and if you lose they are gone but if you win you get the winnings in regular chips and you should be able to exchange the promotional chips you just wagered for regular chips.  If you chose to get your credit for the machines (slots and other games) it will be loaded onto your card and you will be given instructions on how to use it.  Anything you win is yours to keep.  It will keep track of how much promotional balance you have remaining.  Just like the promotional chips on the table games you can't cash out your balance on the promotional money loaded on your card.  You don't have to use it all right away but any amount unused by the end of the cruise is lost so you want to take advantage and use all of it.

Thank you so much for clearing that up for us!  It sounds like a great idea for us since I especially like to play the slots.  It will be a nice added perk to enjoy playing in a smoke free casino, too!  Your blog has been so helpful in navigating this great newly renovated ship!  We are looking forward to doing our first 10 day cruise ever on Equinox going back to the ABC's for 3rd year in a row and Key West and Grand Cayman in September.  It was an itinerary that was definitely calling our names!  Ha!

Thanks again for the awesome blog!  Please blog again on your next cruise!!!

Michelle

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/4/2020 at 3:30 PM, Jedi Jason said:

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. 

 

Was wondering about the concierge lunch. Seems very underwhelming. Was hoping for something more akin to the Chops lunch given to the key on Royal. 

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On 1/5/2020 at 5:27 PM, Jedi Jason said:

We ended up upgrading to the drinks and more package which was a wash because the upgrade price included a casino credit equal to or less than the upgrade

We’re you able to do that with them before the sailing? Or did you do it while onboard?

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Thanks for the liveblog and all the great info. We booked our first Celebrity cruise last week, a four night on Equinox over Memorial Day after our April sailing on Oasis got cancelled. I was astounded how great a deal it can be. With the four perks and a casino discount, the sailing effectively cost less than 100$. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/1/2020 at 10:40 PM, Andrew72681 said:

Was wondering about the concierge lunch. Seems very underwhelming. Was hoping for something more akin to the Chops lunch given to the key on Royal. 

It was not a Chops lunch.  It was a fairly simple menu but it was table service at a time when the buffet is usually super crowded so I appreciated it even though the food was not anything out of the norm for the main dining room.

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On 4/1/2020 at 10:43 PM, Andrew72681 said:

We’re you able to do that with them before the sailing? Or did you do it while onboard?

Yes prior to the cruise.  I think that you have to do it in advance because they want time to set up your card with the casino credit and have the wine bottles in your room when you arrive.

 

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On 4/1/2020 at 11:02 PM, Andrew72681 said:

Thanks for the liveblog and all the great info. We booked our first Celebrity cruise last week, a four night on Equinox over Memorial Day after our April sailing on Oasis got cancelled. I was astounded how great a deal it can be. With the four perks and a casino discount, the sailing effectively cost less than 100$. 

We love the four perks included promotions.  I would normally purchase all of those thing but you have to pay for tips anyway and I will spend the money onboard with or without the OBC.  The drinks and internet are a nice bonus.  If you enjoy your cruise as much as I think you will then you should consider Celebrity Edge or Apex which sail the Caribbean in the winter.

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27 minutes ago, Jedi Jason said:

Yes prior to the cruise.  I think that you have to do it in advance because they want time to set up your card with the casino credit and have the wine bottles in your room when you arrive.

 

Thanks. I’ll probably hold off as it seems like it’s about a 90 percent chance this late May sailing won’t happen. Which sucks as it was such a great deal. 

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