Overall Rating: Excellent
|Departed From:||Barcelona, Spain|
|# of Nights:||11-14 Nights|
|Overall Value:||Very Good|
This was our first time in the Mediterranean and so glad that we chose Celebrity to take us there! First - the ship: The Equinox is a gorgeous ship - very large but not crowded, if that makes sense. Passenger traffic flows very nicely and there are enough public rooms that any one is never overly crowded or loud. We were very pleased with our cabin, which was a sunset veranda (off the back.) The layout was roomy and functional, the decor and furnishings very nice, and the bathroom was wonderful - larger than on other ships - with many drawers and shelves and sliding doors for the shower. We enjoyed the pool and sunning area on the two sea days that we had. There was not a problem finding chairs and there were quiet areas to escape the pool games and music. The Solarium is lovely and contains it's own bar and grill. The ship had an ATM that dispensed Euros at the standard exchange rate with low fees....what a plus! Embarkation was very smooth - we were on the ship in about 15 minutes and were handed a mimosa upon arrival (hooray!) We always head up to the buffet since cabins were not yet available and our first impression of the food and venue was very positive. The layout of the buffet makes it seem less crowded and there are enough food stations that lines are practically non-existent. We were not that far removed from breakfast, but some delicious tomato soup with breads, meats, and cheeses hit the spot.
The only problem is that we felt like we hardly got to enjoy the ship because we were so tired from the port days. Being the first time in these ports, we felt we needed to make the most of the time we had, and we did! We were on the run from 5:30 a.m. until early evening, would get back to the ship, grab something to eat and flop into bed! So we didn't really see any shows (except the first night) or catch any of the lounge entertainment. We booked almost all of our excursions through Celebrity and we were not disappointed. The groups were kept small and they tried to order the itineraries so that we avoided peak crowds. Lunches were in lovely settings with good food and very attentive service, and the guides were very knowledgeable and eager to share with us.
This cruise started in Barcelona (great city) and went first to Nice, then on to Florence, Rome, Amalfi, Santorini, Ephesus, Athens, Montenegro and finally Venice. We really got a good overall taste of the Med and thus discovered where we would like to return and where we don't feel the need to return. We did all the requisite sites: the Colosseum, the Vatican, Pompeii (amazing,) etc., and would look forward to going back to explore some of the surrounding areas. Be prepared for a lot of walking over uneven surfaces and up/down hills. I wish I would have "trained" better beforehand - maybe I could have stayed up past 10:00 each night, lol! We chose this itinerary partly because it did include two sea days. We figured we would need a break and boy, were we right, especially because the weather was so hot and often humid! Each day as we returned to the ship, though, they greeted us with cold towels and refreshments; and the one day that it did rain, they met us coming off the bus with umbrellas!
The entrance into Venice was spectacular - don't miss it! It takes about 1.5 hours to make it into a berth once the journey begins, but to see Venice unfold as you slowly move along is unforgettable. The ship gave us very good information as to how to get around both with an excursion or on our own as we would be docked there overnight with disembarkation the next morning. We had an early flight so had to take off our own luggage and head through the terminal on our own, but again, they were very informative and helpful and we met our driver with no problems.
We were very pleased with both the ship and the itinerary and would not hesitate to do both again (maybe at a slightly more relaxed pace!) It was a perfect way to celebrate our 40 years together! I am happy to answer any and all questions or provide further info.