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Celebrity Equinox
"Here Comes The Sun"

Celebrity Equinox

Celebrity Equinox Celebrates
The Sun

Part One

by Linda Coffman

July 2009: When Godmother Nina Barough said, "No one knows I’m going to do this," Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, admitted he felt a chill of fear creep down his spine. What Ms. Barough did at the naming ceremony was bless not only Celebrity Equinox with the traditional seagoing prayer for all who sail upon her, but she also bestowed a blessing upon the show lounge where guests were invited to join hands and think of something meaningful in order to create lasting good karma for those who will sail after us. Then we hugged. As the founder of “Walk the Walk,” Ms. Barough electrified those in attendance with her personal story as a breast cancer survivor who works tirelessly to raise funds (almost 50 million pounds to date) for vital breast cancer causes. By cutting a pink ribbon, her Godmother send a champagne bottle created by Corning Museum of Glass smashing against Celebrity Equinox's funnel in an updated twist to the time-honored tradition. 

It's no surprise that the second "sister" ship in Celebrity Cruises' Solstice-class series is as impressive as the first. With a name like Equinox, you'd expect a ship with a certain harmony and you wouldn't be disappointed. The decor isn't theme driven, but the sun is celebrated as it streams through overhead skylights onto a real live ficus tree planted in an enormous vase studded with multi-colored Swarovsky crystals and suspended above the ship's lobby.

While not the world's biggest cruise ship, at 122,000 tons Celebrity Equinox is large, yet her designers have achieved surprising intimacy. From any spot in accommodations passageways you can see no more than a third of the length of the ship. Aboard Celebrity Equinox you’ll find signature spaces that define the identity of Celebrity Cruises as well as some “California” style elements, such as the Galleria Tastings, that integrate nicely with the South Beach vibe of the draped alcoves in the trendy Martini Bar. Some of the art may look familiar to Celebrity Cruises past passengers. Much of the collection that formerly graced Celebrity Galaxy made its way to Celebrity Equinox when the older ship left the fleet. Innovative, yet simple—clean and crisp with an edgy vibe. That's the view of Celebrity Equinox.

Celebrity Equinox AquaClass
AquaClass stateroom 1553 on Deck 11
Celebrity Solstice
AquaClass bathroom
Celebrity Equinox Balcony
A balcony spacious enough to spread out on & even a table appropriate for dining

Accommodations
One of the first things you'll notice, even before boarding, is the abundance of balconies on Celebrity Equinox. A whopping 85% of all outside accommodations feature spacious private balconies. My AquaClass balcony on Dolphin deck featured clear panels beneath the railing and was deep enough for two chairs with adjustable backs, matching footstools, and a dining table.

To get in touch with their feminine side, Celebrity planners tapped five well-traveled women to advise them on the layout and design of staterooms. While their suggestion to expand the size of the bathroom wins kudos, the sliding shower door is the biggest plus, as is the abundant bathroom storage.

While the standard cabin itself is 15% larger than other Celebrity ships, it has a space problem. One wall is slightly bowed out into the adjacent cabin, which gives more floor space to walk around the foot of the bed. That's fine, but it means that the opposite bow into the cabin makes the area housing the vanity/refrigerator cabinet/drawers on one wall and sofa facing it a bit too narrow to comfortably navigate, especially with a coffee table taking up floor space between them. In my cabin, the bed was situated on the far end by the balcony door, with the sofa and cabinetry closest to the entrance; in the adjacent cabin, the position of the furnishings was reversed and that layout appeared more spacious. Which leads us to the closet—it has sliding doors and is located in the cabin, not in the entrance passageway. That's good; however, there isn't much room to get into it because the long white leather sofa is in the way. There's more room to access the closet in the layout that has the bed closest to the entry, with the sofa next to the balcony door.

Once you do access the closet, you'll notice the shelves and safe are no longer the space hogs they were on Celebrity Solstice. The shelves are gone and the safe is in the cabinetry above the mini-bar. Retractable bars fold down for hanging short garments and now there's plenty of space for ladies' long dresses. Drawer space is a tad skimpy for what my husband and I pack on a longer cruise, but I'd like to give it a try in the future—my preview sailing was only two nights and I had the space all to myself. Be forewarned that the middle drawers get warm from the refrigerator ventilation, so don't put any chocolates (or anything else that might melt) in them.

Accommodations on Celebrity ships have traditionally featured numerous amenities and the line continues to provide Celebrity Equinox passengers with staples such as hairdryers, small refrigerators, 32" LCD interactive television (larger screens in suites), telephone with voice mail and caller ID, a personal safe, and robes for use throughout the cruise. Beds are dressed in 100% Egyptian cotton and have posh fluffy pillows. Bathroom towels are 100% cotton terrycloth. Real conveniences for passengers who must remain in touch with family or the office are ship-wide WiFi and cell phone connectivity. A highlight of Solstice-class ships for families is a unique "interlocking" system that connects adjacent accommodations—instead of a door-in-the-wall to connect two staterooms, the staterooms connect via a folded door in the passageway that becomes a single cabin door when in use.

Two "upgrades" to standard balcony accommodations are ConciergeClass (194 sq ft) and AquaClass (194 sq ft). While they are the same size as all other Ocean View Staterooms With Veranda, they feature special appointments. ConciergeClass passengers are greeted with a special check-in counter and welcome aboard champagne and find amenities such as express luggage delivery, daily deliveries of fresh fruit and canapés, shoeshine service, expanded room service breakfast, an extra hair dryer, Hansgrohe massaging showerhead, dining preferences, personalized stationary, a Celebrity tote bag, pillow menu, and the use of Frette bathrobes, a golf umbrella, and binoculars during the cruise.

Celebrity Equinox Penthouse Suite
Penthouse Suite Living Room

Located on the same deck as the spa's relaxation room, AquaClass is an all-new category that caters to spa-lovers. With a "secret" staircase that leads to the spa a deck above, just think... roll out of bed, slip on your robe, and head straight to the spa without having to enter public spaces. Amenities include seating in Blu Restaurant and plentiful stateroom goodies, such as Hansgrohe shower panels with multiple jets and a rainshower head, aroma scent selections, a pillow menu, daily delivery of bottled water and flavored teas, a spa concierge to handle appointments, Frette bathrobes and loofah slippers, unlimited complimentary use of the Persian Garden thermal suite and relaxation room, and spa toiletries, including foot spray, facial mist, and lip balm.

More space and comforts are available to Penthouse Suite (1,291 sq ft) and Royal  Suite (590 sq ft) occupants, including separate sitting areas that feature high-end entertainment systems and bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and other luxury appointments. Their huge balconies offer occupants the opportunity to relax in private hot tubs with unparalleled sea views. Celebrity Suite (394 sq ft) and Sky Suite (300 sq ft) accommodations have  combination shower/tub in the bathroom and oversized televisions. Additionally, Celebrity Suites have a walk-in closet, surround-sound system, and the bedroom features a second television.

Thirty accessible cabins are available in a variety of categories, including 12 with balcony, 12 ocean view, and 6 inside. For those who need some accessibility assistance, and who aren't in an accessible cabin, devices such as shower stools, transfer benches, and adjustable height commode chairs are available upon request.

 The dramatic rose mural in Blu Restaurant, Reserved for AquaClass Dining

 

Celebrity Equinox
Tasty treats in Cafe al Bacio

Dining
Celebrity Cruises made their reputation on fine dining and exquisite service and Celebrity Equinox expands on the experience with no less than ten restaurant/cafe options.

  • Silhouette Restaurant is the main dining room where dinner is served in two assigned seatings. "Celebrity Select," a new flexible dining program that is presently in the testing stage, is a highly anticipated open seating option. Elegant in its crisp simplicity, Silhouette serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A decor highlight is the dramatic double-deck wine tower.
  • Blu, the dining room exclusively for passengers booked in AquaClass, serves "clean cuisine"—a lighter version of the main restaurant's fare. Blu is also open for suite occupants based on availability (for a $5 per person gratuity charge).
  • Oceanview Cafe & Grill is the casual buffet restaurant with wide open serving stations that reduce lines. Servers are on hand to provide assistance with seating and drinks from either the beverage station or a full service bar located at the restaurant entrance. Adjacent aft is the Oceanview Bar for refreshments and al fresco dining.
  • AquaSpa Cafe offers light, healthy breakfast and lunch selections in the tranquility of the bright and airy Solarium.
  • Mast Grill & Bar is the place to go for fast food options such as burgers, tacos, sandwiches, and the trimmings in an ultra-casual setting overlooking the pools.
  • Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria features signature and specialty coffees, teas, pastries, chocolates, truffles, and traditional Italian gelato. The menu lists charges for individual items.
  • Bistro on Five serves a variety of specialty crepes complemented by soups, salads, sandwiches, paninis, and other light fare in a casual chic cafe setting. A $5 per person charge is assessed.
  • Tuscan Grille diners enjoy Caesar salad prepared tableside, an antipasti bar, Kobe beef, and a variety of tempting steaks. A $25 per person charge is assessed.
  • Silk Harvest celebrates a fusion of hot and clod, mild and spicy Asian-inspired dishes. A $20 per person charge is assessed.
  • Murano blends the specialty restaurant style introduced aboard Celebrity Century with those of Celebrity's Millennium-class ships to produce classic and contemporary Continental cuisine in a warm, intimate setting with tableside preparation and exquisite service. A $30 per person charge is assessed.

A restaurant Hospitality Director, in charge of overseeing reservations for all specialty dining, insures that all requests are handled efficiently. Suite passengers receive complimentary specialty dining based on the length of their cruise: one evening for cruises of seven nights and two evenings on cruises of eight nights or more. A $5 gratuity per person, per dinner is suggested.

If that isn't enough choice, there's 24-hour room service at no charge, although it's good manners to offer the steward a small gratuity for delivery.


More in Part Two --> Celebrity Equinox Preview

Cruise Diva's Celebrity Equinox Blogs:


More From CruiseDiva.com:

Celebrity Cruises Cruise Reviews

Celebrity Cruises Cruise Line Profile

Photos © Linda Coffman


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