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Cruise Ship Information

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Celebrity Equinox is a Solstice-class cruise ship built by Meyer Werft in Germany. Celebrity Equinox is the second of the five Solstice-class vessels, owned and operated by Celebrity Cruises. She is a sister ship of Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette and the Celebrity Reflection. Celebrity Equinox entered commercial service for Celebrity Cruises on July 31, 2009.

Atmosphere on board 

Celebrity Equinox captures the very essence of premium cruising. Even more so after her recent dry dock where she was enhanced with new amenities, some not available on any other ship in our fleet. Now you can enjoy craft beers and comfort food in the new Gastrobar. Or fresh, frozen cocktails on the pool deck at Slush. Shimmering in sophistication from bow to stern, she'll exceed your expectations as soon as you step aboard. Delight in your choice of ten exceptional dining venues. Relax in chic and spacious accommodations. Be surprised to feel grass beneath your feet at the Lawn Club as you sail out to sea. With every imaginable comfort, along with Celebrity's unrivaled guest services, you are bound for an unsurpassed experience no matter your destination.

Family with Kids/Teens

Two plunge pools and an interactive water feature made up of numerous dancing fountains make up the Deck 12 pool deck's well-designed (although crowded on sea days) outside space. The two-pool layout, with raised hot tubs and showers on deck in tucked-away spots make for a cozy but adequate setup for swimmers and sun-worshippers. The walkways of the deck above provide shaded spots underneath to relax.

Forward from the main pool area is an adults-only solarium that houses within its blissfully quiet enclosure two hot tubs and a lovely pool bookended by a living wall of ferns and flowers, as well as a soothing water and light display. If you have a late seating in the main dining room, the early evening hours are a fantastic time for a swim. You'll likely have the place to yourself.

On Deck 15, the Lawn Club and its surrounds make up the signature space aboard Equinox. From picnicking and lawn games (bocce, croquet, giant Jenga, etc.) to simply sitting and people-watching, the public park at sea is an ideal venue for relaxing at any time of day. The Lawn Club is located between the Corning Museum of Glass' outdoor glass-blowing show and the Sunset Bar.

Curving walkways connect the forward and aft spaces of decks 14 and 15 and double as a jogging track, but the midship area doesn't do much more than overlook the pool area on Deck 12 from the Mast Bar and Mast Grill (smoker friendly and oddly positioned directly on the jogging track).

At the forward end of the ship, one level up and accessible from both the exterior and interior (via Deck 14), is the Solstice Deck (16). An open-air space, the Solstice Deck is favored by smokers and sun-seekers who want to be away from the busy pool, two decks below.

Back inside, situated at the extreme forward end of Deck 12, are the spa and fitness facilities. It's slightly daunting to be running on a treadmill and heading toward an infinite horizon, but the AquaSpa Fitness Center onboard Equinox has one of the best views on the ship. The gym section of the fitness center (which also includes the spa and a hair and nail salon) has wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows and a roomy layout. The equipment throughout the gym is modern, there's a spacious and tucked away area for classes that also enjoys a great view, and there are trainers on hand. Although there are plenty of free weights in addition to the host of ellipticals, treadmills, bikes and machines, there's no bench (for bench-press lifting).

Classes, including yoga, Zumba and boot camp, are offered, most for a fee (since 2014, the famed destination spa Canyon Ranch has overseen these offerings). The jogging track (eight laps to the mile) is located one deck up from the gym, and, annoyingly, it runs near two smoking areas onboard. There's also a basketball court located at the forward end of the ship on Deck 15.

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub includes the typical, slightly overwhelming array of spa treatments, from massage offerings to a gold facial. A standard 50-minute massage runs about $110 (cheaper on port days), excluding bells, whistles and hot stones. It also offers medi-spa procedures like teeth-whitening and acupuncture.

The Persian Garden, a Millennium-class idea expanded to the Solstice-class siblings, is central to Celebrity's AquaSpa concept. The area includes a coed sauna and steam room, tropical rain shower and heated oceanview relaxation chairs. The facility is available for free to AquaClass passengers and for $99 to all other passengers (based on a one-week cruise).

Past Passenger Programs

The Program: Captain's Club, a three-tiered system

Perks: "Classic" members (those who have earned one to four credits for cruising with Celebrity) get perks including access to the loyalty desk and loyalty host, a premium onboard discount booklet, a one-category upgrade (when available), pre-sailing dining reservations at alternative eateries on applicable vessels, and little freebies like wine tasting and golf clinics. "Select" cruisers (five to nine credits) receive all of the above as well as a complimentary wine seminar, priority status to shore excursion waitlist, an invitation to the senior officers' cocktail party, 25 percent off any Internet package, complimentary pressing of two clothing items, and discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or more.

Added perks for "Elite" members (10 or more credits) include a private shipboard departure lounge with continental breakfast, priority tender service, priority waitlist for dining room seating, elegant tea service, complimentary use of Thalassotherapy pool use on Celebrity Mercury, complimentary access to the Persian Garden (port days only), access to the new Captain's Club Lounge at Michael's Club (certain hours of the day), 90 free Internet minutes, one free item of dry cleaning, a complimentary bag of laundry (wash, dry and fold), discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or more, and the ability to join Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society at the Diamond level.

All members get the traditional invite to the captain's cocktail party, newsletter and chance to cruise on reunion voyages.

Incentive to Belong: As Celebrity's ships get larger, preferential boarding and disembarkation is a nice benefit. Also, because the tier system is based on credits -- not just the number of cruises taken -- there are ways to move up the ranks faster. For example, you'll earn an extra credit for booking a Concierge-level stateroom or higher, or for sailing for 12 nights or more, for a possible total of three credits for one voyage.

Members-Only Deals: Captain's Club members are offered several special discounted sailings per year, some of which can be a good deal compared to retail rates, especially if it also includes an onboard credit or discount certificate. Compare prices to verify the savings.

For More Info: Visit the Captain's Club section on Celebrity's Web site or call

Fitness And Spa

Canyon Ranch took over Celebrity's spa offerings in May 2014 and the AquaSpa was rebranded the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea. Spa services include a dizzying array of spa treatments like a variety of massage offerings from sports to New Age and everything in between. A standard 50-minute massage is $110, excluding bells, whistles and hot stones. Quality and experience of therapists is a bit hit-and-miss; our Swedish massage was bone-crunchingly hard, and we had to tell the practitioner to lighten up a number of times. (She ultimately apologized, saying "I don't know my own strength," which seemed odd coming from a massage professional.)

It also offers teeth-whitening and acupuncture. Beware of the product sales pitch. (Feel free to just say no.)

The Persian Garden, a Millennium-class idea expanded to Equinox and its siblings, is central to Celebrity's AquaSpa concept. The area includes a coed sauna and steam room, tropical rain shower and heated oceanview relaxation chairs. The facility is available for free to AquaClass passengers and for $99 to all other passengers (based on a one-week cruise). AquaSpa pools include a circular spa pool, a swim pool and two whirlpools in the absolutely gorgeous Solarium.

Though the AquaSpa pools are closed to children, the main pool area does include a family pool (shallow for youngsters), separated narrowly from the "Sports Pool" on one side and the "Wet Zone" on the other. The Wet Zone is a flat area with vertical fountain jets that fire at random; it's great fun for kids to play in or for anyone wishing for a quick cooldown. Together these three form Equinox’s main pool area, accompanied by four hot tubs.

A fully stocked and staffed gym sports all the newest fitness machines, as well as a serpentine jogging track (eight laps to the mile). Classes in yoga, aerobics and the like cost $11 per class. The nicest recreational area is the Lawn Club, and though Celebrity is careful to avoid excess wear and tear on the living grass, the ship's own backyard does feature a bocce court and a three-hole putting course. At the forward end of the ship, on Deck 15, is a basketball court.

Food & Dining

Celebrity's heavy focus on dining means that there's an abundance of options to select from any time you feel peckish. The two fee-free standbys on offer are the main Silhouette Dining Room and a lido deck buffet called the Oceanview Cafe. There is also a second dining room, Blu, that's exclusively for use by AquaClass and suite passengers. Added-fee specialty restaurants open to all paying passengers on Equinox include the pan-Asian Silk Harvest, the Italian/American Tuscan Grille and the continental Murano Restaurant. More informal joints include the Bistro on Five, Cafe al Bacio, the Gelateria, the Mast Grill and the AquaSpa Cafe.

For dinner service, the Silhouette Dining Room -- a deceptively intimate showroom of a dining hall with lofty ceilings and numerous table configurations -- offers passengers a choice of two set meal times: early (6:15 p.m.) or late (8:45 p.m.). Those who prefer a flexible approach can opt for "Celebrity Select Dining," between 6 and 9:30 p.m. Passengers choosing the flex-dining option can pre-reserve space (online up to four days before sail date or while onboard) or walk in at any time during the allotted hours and wait for a space to open up.

Dinner menus are arranged in the traditional manner: appetizers, soups and salads followed by entrees and then desserts and cheese. Quality ingredients cooked and presented well make the main dining room experience consistently enjoyable. Expect a varied menu that changes regularly with the basics -- red meat (lamb chops provencal), poultry (jerk chicken or Cornish game hen), seafood (sesame encrusted seared ahi tuna) and vegetarian dishes (stuffed Portobello mushrooms) -- covered. If nothing on the rotating menu suffices, "always available" choices, from soups to desserts, include escargot, lobster bisque, steak, chicken and creme brulee.

Along with the chef's recommendations for each of the evening's courses, vegetarian dishes are indicated on the menu, as are gluten-free, lactose-free and no-sugar-added foods. The "Sommelier Recommends" section of the menu suggests red and white wines, by the bottle or glass; passengers without a drinks package that includes wine will pay the listed price.

Drink packages range from $7 per person, per day (soft drinks), to $54 per person, per day (soft drinks, coffee, tea, house wines, beer and some spirits); wine packages cost upwards of $99, depending on which wines are included. Passengers can bring their own wine onboard, but there's a $25-per-bottle corkage fee to drink it in the dining room -- one of the highest in cruise travel.

During sea days, the expansive Silhouette Dining Room is open seating for breakfast and lunch. During port days, however, the dining room is closed for lunch. Classic dishes like eggs Benedict and made-to-order omelets are served for breakfast. The lunch menu offers the typical soups (including a chilled soup), salads and hot entrees. Passengers can also order items like burgers from the grill.

The casual eatery, Oceanview Cafe, on Equinox's Deck 14 stays open 24 hours and serves food until 1 a.m. It functions as a multi-station buffet for breakfast and lunch, and an open-seating, casual buffet alternative to the main dining room for dinner. Oceanview gives passengers the option to plate up hot entrees, pizza and pasta (including gluten-free), sushi, Indian curries, sandwiches, extensive salad offerings, ice cream and late-night snacks, all without additional charge. Celebrity's buffet, featuring an excellent range of International cuisine and standards, is one of the best in big-ship cruising. The only minor flaw in Oceanview café's well-designed space is the hard-to-reach second row of offerings at the buffet stations. The best feature by far is the sunny, open-air deck situated at the aft section of the restaurant. The area is generally not crowded and includes patio-style eating arrangements, comfy couches and the Oceanview Bar.

Back inside Equinox, the cluster of Solstice-class alternative restaurants is located on Deck 5 (Entertainment Deck). These include Murano, serving rich French-Continental cuisine ($45); Tuscan Grille, a northern Italian steakhouse with lovely wake views ($35, try the ribeye); and Silk Harvest ($30), a pan-Asian restaurant whose decor brings to mind a mass-market Asian chain restaurant and whose food is good, though not inspired. Celebrity offers alternative dining packages, bookable in advance, that offer savings of some 20 to 30 percent off the retail price for these eateries.

Also on Deck 5, just next to the Tuscan Grille on the ship's port side, is Blu, a healthier alternative private dining room designated for passengers staying in Equinox's AquaSpa cabins. These AquaClass passengers eat free, but the venue is available to suite passengers, too, on a first-come, first-served basis. Blu's menu is similar to that of the Silhouette Dining Room, but it has fewer offerings, and the style of cuisine is slightly lighter and more healthy. Reductions are used more often than rich sauces, although our visit included a buttery crab bisque as a chef's recommendation, and the New York strip steak is a menu staple.

Believe it or not, there's more. In Equinox's indoor public hub on Deck 5 are the dual Italian threats to the waistline, Bistro on 5 and Cafe al Bacio. The dangerously delicious crepes at Bistro on 5 are easily the best value of all the for-fee specialty restaurants onboard at $7 per visit. You can choose from a variety of savory and sweet crepes, with all the usual suspects and more for fillings (ham, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. on the savory side), and you can even build your own. If you have a chocolate craving, try the Nutella, banana and pistachio crepe served warm with whipped cream. The cover charge includes all the crepes and sides (salad, soup) one person can eat. If you want a snack rather than a meal, Cafe al Bacio serves complimentary pastries, and for-fee espresso coffees and tea, and the Gelateria across the way charges just a few dollars for gelato in a waffle cup.

Poolside, you can visit the Mast Grill for hamburgers and sausages free of charge or the AquaSpa Cafe in the adults-only Solarium, serving healthier fare (think salads) for breakfast and lunch. The cafe also offers Greek yogurt parfaits, although those cost extra.

Finally, the room service menu, which includes breakfast dishes, sandwiches, salads and snacks, is offered 24 hours a day, complimentary.

Entertainment

For some of the best -- and simplest -- entertainment on the ship, head to the Lawn Club for a demonstration of glass-blowing by the crew of young artisans from the Corning Museum of Glass. It's particularly nice to sit out on a mild evening, as the kilns' interior temperatures average around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pavilion can get hot on a sunny day.

You can cool down with a cold drink just a few steps away, though, at the Sunset Bar, with its perfect-for-sailaway vibe -- at the aft of the ship, of course.

If you're craving something a little bit more bawdy (and not in any way family-friendly), try the Sin City late-night comedy and burlesque show on Deck 4. During this adults-only show, veteran comedians are joined by scantily clad women as they perform the standup and vaudevillian variety bits that have won the troupe awards in their hometown of Las Vegas. It should be noted that the comedy acts are from the U.S. circuit, and the humor is of a definitively American variety.

For more typical cruise entertainment fare, there are the twice-nightly acts in the Equinox Theatre, performed shortly after each dinner seating has finished. In addition to the shows produced onboard, well-respected guest headlining acts include singers and musicians from stage and studio backgrounds, magicians and theatrical productions; evening shows are generally well attended.

The casino, located on Deck 4, doesn't break the mold with its flashing slot machines and standard set of games, including craps, blackjack, roulette and three-card poker. Nearby is the futuristic nightclub, Quasar, which is a favorite with the younger crowd. On the other side of the casino, you'll find the 24-hour Cellar Masters wine lounge. The wine on offer is dispensed via self-service Enomatic machines, which means there's little need to staff the place with a bartender.

The ice-topped Martini Bar on Deck 4 remains one of the most popular before-dinner drinking spots, but if you're in the mood for something lighter, look no further than the Molecular Bar on Equinox's Deck 5. If "healthy cocktails" exist, the Molecular Bar has them. The small, midship bar creates a list of around 10 specialty cocktails using herbal infusions, fruits and vegetables, and other fresh, natural ingredients (think ginger, dark chocolate or even grilled pineapple). It goes almost without saying that the liquors are all top-shelf. Everything on the menu is $12, except a Celebrity Signature Cocktail that runs $20. Keep an eye out for the "Brilliante," a sweet little concoction of Brut Champagne, Agave Nectar, Angostura Bitters and Grand Marnier.

For beer-lovers, there's Michael's Club, just behind the Ensemble Lounge's bar on the way to the eateries on Deck 5. Outfitted like a 19th-century explorer's library, Michael's has an impressive list of beers in bottles and hosts small musical acts, trivia nights and more.

All the way up on the 14th deck is the spectacular Sky Observation Bar & Lounge. With killer views and the feel of an elegant ballroom, it quickly became one of our favorite bars at sea, without question. Have a martini at the bar on formal night to get that James Bond feeling.

During the day, Celebrity offers a number of choices for enrichment and entertainment. Those who feel compelled to try their hand at winning door prizes can compete in multiple games of trivia, game shows and the ever-popular cruise ship cliche, Battle of the Sexes.

Passengers who prefer something requiring a bit more brain power can attend educational programming that ranges from computer lessons in the Internet cafe to lectures on a range of subjects and foreign language classes with Rosetta Stone.

Equinox, of course, has the standbys we all expect: art auctions, bingo, dance lessons, wine appreciation and the like, as well as the casino and smaller groups of musicians playing sets on the pool deck during the day and around the lounges at night.

Equinox splits time between the Caribbean and Mediterranean, so shore excursions reflect those different deployments. In the Caribbean, options focus on snorkeling, beach days and island tours. Mediterranean cruises may concentrate on more cultural endeavors, with food, wine and city tours frequently playing a large part in what's offered.

Staterooms

Celebrity Equinox features a variety of cabin categories to suit any passenger's needs, from tiny insides to lavish 1,500-square-foot suites, and 60 percent of all accommodations feature verandahs.

Equinox standard cabins -- insides, outsides and balconies (called "Deluxe Oceanview") -- average a paltry 170 square feet (38-square-foot balconies), about 15 to 20 feet below the industry average.

Decor features hotel-style white bedding with light brown accents, rust carpeting and striking red love seats thrown in for a shock of color, all of which replaced the flamboyant turquoise-and-yellow Caribbean decor of the old abodes. (For a before and after, check out part three of our refurb slideshow.)

Insides, outsides and balconies feature two twin beds that convert to queens, safes, small desks, stocked mini-fridges, flat-screen TV's and bathrobes. The mini-fridges are locked; have your room steward open yours and clear out the for-fee booze if you want to store your wine or water. Shower-only bathrooms have hair dryers, shampoo, moisturizer and bar soap. There is no shower gel.

Drawers might be some issue for because they were a little stressed for space -- especially with having to pack for a 12-night cruise. There are drawers hidden in a secondary closet in each room, which also houses the safe. There's another drawer above the flat-screen TV, which is also where extra bedding is stored.

For those looking for a little more space and a few more amenities, the ConciergeClass cabins are 191 square feet with 42-square-foot-balconies. Added touches for concierge passengers include welcome bubbly, a pillow menu, nightly canapes, a 32-inch TV and nicer balcony furniture. In 2012, Celebrity expanded the ConciergeClass services to include an exclusive pre-departure lounge with free coffee and juices. Sky Suites come in at 251 square feet with 57-square-foot balconies.

Continuing up in size, Family Oceanview cabins are 271 square feet with enormous 242-square-foot verandahs that feature pairs of loungers and tables with two chairs each. Inside, there's a partition separating the "master bedroom" from the lounge/extra bed area.

Eight 467-square-foot Celebrity Suites feature lovely floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows (but no balconies), a jetted tub and a pair of entertainment centers. The eight 538-square-foot Royal Suites (195-square-foot balconies) add more space and feature whirlpool tubs on the verandahs. On the top of the list are a pair of 1,432-square-foot Penthouse Suites with massive, 1,098-square-foot balconies. These suites also feature a baby grand piano, should you wish for a private concert or to tinkle the ivories on your own.

All suite passengers enjoy the service of a butler, who can help pack and unpack, set up in-cabin meals and help make onboard arrangements. Other suite extras include complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant (one dinner for cruises of seven nights or less, two for cruises of eight nights or more); priority check-in; in-suite breakfast, lunch and dinner; complimentary espresso and evening hors d'oeuvres.

There are 26 wheelchair-accessible cabins, including insides, oceanviews, balconies, concierge class cabins and Sky Suites.

Tipping

Celebrity suggests a per-person per-day gratuity of $3.50 for the waiter, butler (Suites only) and stateroom attendant; $4.00 for Concierge Class stateroom attendant; $2.00 for the Assistant Waiter; and $.75 for the Assistant Maitre d' and the Assistant Chief Housekeeper.

All guests are given a form to sign if they wish to have these gratuities charged to their shipboard account. Children under 12 who are the third or fourth person in the stateroom pay only half these amounts. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion. Note: Passengers who choose "Celebrity Select Dining" before their cruises are required to prepay gratuities (prior to boarding).

Alternatives: If you wish to adjust the amount you pay, this can be done onboard at guest relations.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills.

Fellow Passengers

Celebrity attracts an upper middle-class passenger base, the majority of whom are experienced travelers. It was mostly couples or groups on my particular cruise, typically in the 45 to 70 age range. During the summer and over school holidays, the number of kids onboard may balloon to 250 or more.

When Constellation is in Europe, the passenger mix is international, with a roughly even blend of North American and European cruisers, most of whom hail from the United Kingdom (the largest Continental contingent), France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. Passengers from Japan, Israel and South America were also onboard our sailing. In the Caribbean, expect the breakdown to skew much more North American.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer a vibrant, high-energy environment; lots of singles and children; open, single-seating or anytime dining; a small-ship cruise experience

Our recommendation

The stylish ships of Celebrity Cruises feature high-end decor, modern technology, excellent enrichment programs, superior dining options and outstanding spas.

Celebrity Cruises is best for: Adult couples, cruise line also attract families with teen-agers, family reunions, multi-generational; Young adults looking for soft adventure and sports activities; Boomers looking for a cruise with lots of enrichment at sea; Spa lovers and Travelers who want a taste of luxury at a premium cruise price.