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luvabargain

Possible First time Celebrity cruisers - questions about the line and Equinox in particular

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Hi all,

 

I'm now in the search mode for our next cruise.  A little about me and dh and how we cruise:

 

We have been on approximately 7 or 8 cruises and have cruised Carnival, RCCI and MSC.  We love them all, and we are not picky.  We've learned things are different, from ship to ship and company to company, and yet many things are the same, and we like the diversity of trying new things.  We prefer port days to sea days, as we are people who are always on the go on vacation - we like to experience things.  I do tend to forget that we are in our late "ahem" 40's, and not in our 20's anymore.  My poor husband.  We are recently empty nesters, and our young adult children will not be taking the trip with us, I don't think. 

 

Our first priority when booking a cruise is that it matches our vacation dates.  My husband and I both have to bid for our vacation dates every year, and I do not have wiggle room in my dates, which makes it tough to work around.  I'm throwing around a few ideas, but one I really like is the Equinox 12 day Caribbean sailing, it goes to several ports, none of which we have been to, and we really want to do a lot of scuba diving in different areas.  I coerced my hubby into scuba on our cruise last year, and it was the highlight of our trip, and now we are going to get certified.  He likes the idea of cruising and diving rather than do a land based scuba vacation.

 

I have some particular questions about the entertainment onboard the Equinox.  We will be going to several ports, but there will still be about 4 sea days, plus we're going during hurricane season, so that can mess things up and it's a risk we are willing to take.  We like to go to all the different shows and entertainment venues - comedy, music, acts, etc.  I'm curious if there's good evening entertainment onboard?  Also, although we are water people, we do not like to just hang around the pool all day.  We do for a little while but then get bored if there's no activities.  We do love to soak in hot tubs and saunas and things like that.  On our last cruise we actually went on two different cruise lines back to back and I had us doing ship tours, escape rooms, bowling, zip lining, and the list goes on.  Again, my poor husband.  I'm going to have to scale that back.

 

All this just to ask if there's any recommendations, or things for me to consider, or any messages to point me to. 

 

I appreciate it!

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13 minutes ago, luvabargain said:

  We like to go to all the different shows and entertainment venues - comedy, music, acts, etc.  I'm curious if there's good evening entertainment onboard?  Also, although we are water people, we do not like to just hang around the pool all day.  We do for a little while but then get bored if there's no activities.  We do love to soak in hot tubs and saunas and things like that.  On our last cruise we actually went on two different cruise lines back to back and I had us doing ship tours, escape rooms, bowling, zip lining, and the list goes on.  Again, my poor husband.  I'm going to have to scale that back.

 

All this just to ask if there's any recommendations, or things for me to consider, or any messages to point me to. 

 

I appreciate it!

Celebrity is more laid back on the ships.  They do not have the extra things like rock walls, bowling etc available.  There are activities going on but nothing like you mentioned.  Ship tours are available tho.  The main thing is figuring out what is important to you for the cruise and you have seem to identified with the more active style.  The best is to look at the ships in particular.  The S class ships are great and have a great flow to them on how they are laid out.  I find the service and food excellent, all subjective for everyone, but I am coming from a Hospitality background.  I just turned the sigh 50ish area.  The entertainment is mostly good but like any place it can be hit and miss at times, but the shows are generally very well produced.  

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We tried Celebrity, specifically the Equinox in April. We’d previously been twice on NCL. Short story -  we are going back to NCL in March .  
 

We found the Equinox to have a fair amount of live music, which was nice. Mostly easy listening type music. No comedy club.  No District Brew House, no Cellars wine bar. We also missed O’Sheehans (pub style, all day food).  Though we are not water slide, rock wall climbing types, it is sometimes fun to watch activities- none of that on the Equinox. 

 

Fewer area to sit outside at a bar. We did enjoy the El Bacio cafe and the martini bar on the Equinox, that bar seemed to be the only lively one. Overall, a much more laid back vibe. But hey, a day at sea is always better than a day at the office!

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With only 1 theater--there are 2 shows at night that allow for early/late seating dining to take i the shows

There are not separate comedy clubs

You may get a late night "adult comedy" show depending on who has been brought in/onboard

You will find silent disco, kareoke and such... the level of participation varies

We found participation and livliness was better with more Europeans/Brits than a cruise of mostly Americans. This has been true both sailing out of Europe and sailing out of the Caribbean. Did B2B on Equinox in Sept..and the week that was mostly Americans was far more quiet--and there was far more in the way of late night/participation with the Brits/EU folks

No bowling, no zip lines, no rock walls

More like Wine tasting, trivia, bocce, putt putt, 

Happy hour at the Martini Bar

perhaps Bridge/canasta in BLU during the day on sea days on a TA 

Outdoor movies

 

 

 

 

Edited by Fogfog

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This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.  Thanks guys.  On this trip we are not looking for entertainment such as slides and rock walls, etc., but more laid back entertainment, and wouldn't expect all the other stuff from Celebrity anyway.  With this being so port intensive, it wouldn't be necessary anyway.  We do like live music, wine tasting, etc.  We are really not too picky, but we do like to enjoy entertainment while on vacation.  We are not big drinkers,  so not into the heavy partying scene.  I just want to be sure that there is stuff to do other than just sit poolside all day or evening. 

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We are D+ on RC and E+ on Celebrity. We cruised mainly RC for years before trying Celebrity...

 

Celebrity’s shows are nothing like as spectacular as RC’s and daytime entertainment is low key. There are no announcements that an activity is about to start so unless you read your ‘Today’ you can miss things. Several activities have an additional cost.

 

Celebrity’s strengths are better food (from buffet through to speciality restaurants in our opinion), a really nice friendly  atmosphere, only a few children and a feeling of rest, relaxation and wellbeing hard to describe....We enjoy the live music around the ship. 

 

We often find our evening entertainment involves a pleasant chat with new friends for pre dinner drinks, a leisurely meal, a stroll around the lawn area with a drink and chat at one or other bar followed by enjoying our balcony...It sounds almost boring but never feels so. It would take an exceptional itinerary to make us now choose RC over Celebrity.

 

We get off an RC cruise often feeling in need of a holiday, we get off a Celebrity cruise feeling refreshed and relaxed...

 

To make the most of Equinox I do suggest you book a dining package to enjoy the speciality restaurants. You will need to plan your sea days, don’t dismiss things like cookery demonstrations or talks, they are often more interesting than they sound. Equinox is a lovely ship in great condition...big enough to have a good range of bars etc but not so big that it is overwhelming...Give it a try and see what you think...

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One thing I would add....not sure how Celebrity compares to cheaper alternatives, but as a generalization the better quality (and smaller ships) tend to be more port intensive. For us we are all about activities (off the ship) and all about relaxation, great food, drinks, and service on the ship.

 

Someone had explained it to me this way; the budget operations are about "saving fuel" and "keeping you on the ship" to increase revenue. The more inclusive, the more their goal is to "get you off the ship". 😉

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Pictures of some daily planners are in the first post of this thread (currently on the first page): JUST OFF THE EQUINOX - 12/21 HOLIDAY CRUISE pt 3.

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1 hour ago, chemmo said:

We are D+ on RC and E+ on Celebrity. We cruised mainly RC for years before trying Celebrity...

 

Celebrity’s shows are nothing like as spectacular as RC’s and daytime entertainment is low key. There are no announcements that an activity is about to start so unless you read your ‘Today’ you can miss things. Several activities have an additional cost.

 

Celebrity’s strengths are better food (from buffet through to speciality restaurants in our opinion), a really nice friendly  atmosphere, only a few children and a feeling of rest, relaxation and wellbeing hard to describe....We enjoy the live music around the ship. 

 

We often find our evening entertainment involves a pleasant chat with new friends for pre dinner drinks, a leisurely meal, a stroll around the lawn area with a drink and chat at one or other bar followed by enjoying our balcony...It sounds almost boring but never feels so. It would take an exceptional itinerary to make us now choose RC over Celebrity.

 

We get off an RC cruise often feeling in need of a holiday, we get off a Celebrity cruise feeling refreshed and relaxed...

 

To make the most of Equinox I do suggest you book a dining package to enjoy the speciality restaurants. You will need to plan your sea days, don’t dismiss things like cookery demonstrations or talks, they are often more interesting than they sound. Equinox is a lovely ship in great condition...big enough to have a good range of bars etc but not so big that it is overwhelming...Give it a try and see what you think...

Exactly and well said.  I usually take 10plus on celebrity and by day 2 I don’t really know what day it is and don’t care.  It’s very relaxed calming atmosphere on board.  

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We also cruise frequently on both Celebrity and Royal, have also done princess, ncl and carnival - Just did an Equinox cruise in August and loved it - third time on Equinox.  Service typically excellent- food very good, especially in spec. restaurants.  Typical daytime activities- evening shows as said before, nothing like Royal Caribbean- but usually very entertaining. Live music in many areas at night- and excellent Cafe al baccio for special coffee and teas. 

 

Love that the Casino is smoke free, so the ship doesn't have a musty odor.  The very limited announcement policy is also a plus.

 

The ship is a good size and easy to navigate.  I think you will enjoy your cruise!

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We haven't been on Celebrity since 2014 (Silhouette).  Do they still have homemade hard-scoop ice cream in the buffets?  Has the menu changed in Qsine now that they've added the cartoon/virtual dinner element to it?

 

Now that Michael's Club is suites only - are there other lounges more crowded?

 

And...have they improved Select Dining?  When we went in 2014 it was a circus and even with reservations, we had to wait every night.

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9 minutes ago, micmacmissy said:

We haven't been on Celebrity since 2014 (Silhouette).  Do they still have homemade hard-scoop ice cream in the buffets?  Has the menu changed in Qsine now that they've added the cartoon/virtual dinner element to it?

 

Now that Michael's Club is suites only - are there other lounges more crowded?

 

And...have they improved Select Dining?  When we went in 2014 it was a circus and even with reservations, we had to wait every night.

Yes they still have the ice cream in the buffet.

Qsine is now Le Petit Chef, Qsine menu is gone.  LPC has 2 set menus each with different  animation.

I rarely saw more than a few people in Michaels Club  before it became a suite only lounge.  Haven’t noticed the bars are any more crowded.

We have not been on the Silhouette but have rarely had a wait in Select dining when we had reservations,  That being said we don’t dine until around 8:15.  

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4 minutes ago, jelayne said:

Yes they still have the ice cream in the buffet.

Qsine is now Le Petit Chef, Qsine menu is gone.  LPC has 2 set menus each with different  animation.

I rarely saw more than a few people in Michaels Club  before it became a suite only lounge.  Haven’t noticed the bars are any more crowded.

We have not been on the Silhouette but have rarely had a wait in Select dining when we had reservations,  That being said we don’t dine until around 8:15.  

 

Bummer!  Loved that Qsine menu.  At first glance, the animation dining seems so gimmicky and Disney to me -  but maybe i need to research more.

 

Glad to hear Select dining has improved!

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7 minutes ago, micmacmissy said:

 

Bummer!  Loved that Qsine menu.  At first glance, the animation dining seems so gimmicky and Disney to me -  but maybe i need to research more.

 

Glad to hear Select dining has improved!

Le Petit Chef was a nice experience- also the food- while not the great Qsine menu, was very good.  The M class ships still have the good old Qsine.

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47 minutes ago, Cruise a holic said:

Le Petit Chef was a nice experience- also the food- while not the great Qsine menu, was very good.  The M class ships still have the good old Qsine.

Sorry to report but the old QSine menu is gone from M class ships too.  Such a shame as we were big QSine fans. 

 

I believe it's now LPC fleetwide. 

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The one thing I've noticed is Celebrity's demographics seem to be trending toward an older clientele. That doesn't bother me except the ship goes to bed relatively early. On a 12 night cruise, I would expect it to be pretty quiet by 10:30 or 11 PM. Even on my last 7 night most everything except the Martini Bar (and it wasn't packed) was done by midnight.

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Prior to trying Celebrity we usually sailed on Royal. We tried Celebrity for its longer itineraries.... and except for one Royal cruise we have stayed with Celebrity over the past three years. This may not be the best analogy, but sailing on S class ship was like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes... just fit well. While I loved the Oasis class ships... like the earlier post... I felt exhausted by the end of the trip... I felt I had to plan out everything and worried about missing things. On Celebrity is was laid back and comfortable. We tend to pack a number of novels and like to spend time sitting on the veranda reading... just enjoying being at sea.  The food, service and general attitude of crew is great... you really feel people enjoy their jobs.... 

Yes there is not as much to do, so if you love having your day planned out.. Royal would be better.... but if you like a relaxing vacation with the opportunity to meet new people in a more comfortable environment... Celebrity is great. The passengers are older and there are fewer children... but it doesn't feel like an old crowd... just perhaps more mature.  We liked S class... and have been on Silhouette, Equinox and Eclipse... all nice ships... great layout. We also tried the Edge... nice ship... but we prefer S class. There are more bars and it just had a better flow.  The entertainment is better on Royal, but not bad on Celebrity and we never had an issue finding a seat when we walked in late.  One thing I really like on Celebrity is their Ocean View cafe... great selection and small thing... but I prefer china plates and ceramic mugs to plastic ones... Food just tastes better on china. Main dining room is large but not overwhelming and even with select dining they try to keep you in the same area..so you can get to know your serving staff. Murano is a great specialty restaurant... and the Martini bar is fun... but don't miss the Ensemble lounge for live music in a quiet setting. 

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1 hour ago, CoconutOne said:

The one thing I've noticed is Celebrity's demographics seem to be trending toward an older clientele. That doesn't bother me except the ship goes to bed relatively early. On a 12 night cruise, I would expect it to be pretty quiet by 10:30 or 11 PM. Even on my last 7 night most everything except the Martini Bar (and it wasn't packed) was done by midnight.

I have found that it really varies by length of cruise, but also by what nationalities are the majority on the ship.  We have found the longer cruises (10+ nights) do trend a bit older.  Have been on a couple 14 nighters where the average age was 70+.  At the same time, have sailed on cruises with a lot of people from Great Britain, Canada and Australia and generally speaking those cruises were a lot more lively well towards midnight (I never made it up after that so don't know how long the partying lasted).  I know these are broad generalizations but it has been our experience so far.

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5 hours ago, Cruise a holic said:

Le Petit Chef was a nice experience- also the food- while not the great Qsine menu, was very good.  The M class ships still have the good old Qsine.

Nope...those are leaving M class as well.  The Summit now has Le Petit Chef.  I really wanted to try Qsine.  I hate they got rid of Silk Harvest too!

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4 hours ago, phoenix_dream said:

I have found that it really varies by length of cruise, but also by what nationalities are the majority on the ship.  We have found the longer cruises (10+ nights) do trend a bit older.  Have been on a couple 14 nighters where the average age was 70+.  At the same time, have sailed on cruises with a lot of people from Great Britain, Canada and Australia and generally speaking those cruises were a lot more lively well towards midnight (I never made it up after that so don't know how long the partying lasted).  I know these are broad generalizations but it has been our experience so far.

 

It's very possible the nationalities do impact it. Normally when I sail it's majority American.

 

As for the length, you're right, and I know Celebrity realizes it. Most younger passengers can only take off a week at a time. Celebrity's new strategy with Equinox (6 and 8 night sailings) is interesting. They're promoting the 8 night as "Still only a week of vacation time needed." We'll see how it pans out.

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To get a really good feel would recommend downloading the Celebrity App and look at a cruise on Equinox for the current week.   You will be able to see all the activities and times to give you a good feel of what to expect.  Recommend change the filter from recommended to All to see everything. 

 

While it may not match your itinerary it will give you an idea of times and things available.    Another is to read some of the Live Blogs that post the dailies. 

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13 minutes ago, Jim_Iain said:

To get a really good feel would recommend downloading the Celebrity App and look at a cruise on Equinox for the current week.   You will be able to see all the activities and times to give you a good feel of what to expect.  Recommend change the filter from recommended to All to see everything. 

 

While it may not match your itinerary it will give you an idea of times and things available.    Another is to read some of the Live Blogs that post the dailies. 

 

Great advice - thank you!

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