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Weenah

“Live” Trip Report – Celebrity Equinox May 13-23, 2020

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You might be saying to yourselves, “What in tarnations? A trip report from the future? Is this a time paradox? Did I take a 60+ day nap and find myself in May? Does this guy possess the Time Stone from the Marvel movies?” There are a lot of fantastic trip reports on Cruise Critic and I wanted to differentiate this one from the likes of:

  1. The thorough and informative reports from @Jim_Iain 
  2. The positivity found in @chicagopaul's reports.
  3. The great pictures from @mahdnc.
  4. The amazing writing and creativity found in the best trip report I’ve encountered thus far by @David Kane.
  5. And a special mention to @Denny01 not for the trip reports, but because I appreciate the wit and sensible approach to all that I’ve read from you. Please consider adopting me so you can be my dad.

 

In the interest of doing something different, this report will be a trip though time and based on the perspective of a couple that has never cruised before. While I haven’t read all 5487 pages in this Celebrity forum, since joining Cruise Critic in September 2019 I don’t recall a trip report from cruising newbies. I’m even more certain there hasn’t been one containing a trip though time. I intend to take each of you through a journey from the catalyst of the trip, up to the present, and will provide periodic updates leading up to and while on the ship. Fair warning, I don’t recall what happened ten minutes ago much less months ago so the accuracy of information won’t be perfect, but it’ll be good enough. So strap in and let’s do this.

 

Before we get started a little bit about us. And as laziness breeds resourcefulness here’s a copy and paste and slightly modified dossier of us from a previous thread: The better half, @DiggyO, and I are in our mid-forties and in our nearly 12 years together have opted to focus on work and saving for retirement over vacations and experiences. The kids are out of the home and living their own lives and all that remains under this roof is us and a pair of spoiled rotten dogs. Now that we're feeling more comfortable with our retirement nest egg, we are less concerned about the stress often felt when not focusing on our future retirement over the near-ish term. We’ve never taken a real vacation that wasn’t interrupted by or involved other friends or family.

 

And to start the journey, let’s go back to ~August 2011. A co-worker tells me about his cruise and all the fun he had on it. Enter my inner monologue: “This seems interesting, I should check out pricing on that cruise line’s website.” “Hmm. Waaaay too expensive and I need to focus on saving for the future.” I don’t recall which cruise line I searched, cabin type, or even the price. It just wasn’t going to happen and thus my brief interest in a cruise faded just as fast as it arrived.

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~August 2011 through ~August 26th, 2020: Work work work work work. Save save save save save.

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~August 27, 2020: Inner monologue – “We need to go on a vacation and could use some time to unplug from ‘life.’ I should look into a cruise again.”

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~August 28, 2020: Sigh, “It’s time to make the donuts” so more work, more save.

 

And now for an intermission. More history will be shared in the coming days as we're just about to share the experience of researching and booking of our first cruise.

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7 minutes ago, Weenah said:

You might be saying to yourselves, “What in tarnations? A trip report from the future? Is this a time paradox? Did I take a 60+ day nap and find myself in May? Does this guy possess the Time Stone from the Marvel movies?” There are a lot of fantastic trip reports on Cruise Critic and I wanted to differentiate this one from the likes of:

  1. The thorough and informative reports from @Jim_Iain 
  2. The positivity found in @chicagopaul's reports.
  3. The great pictures from @mahdnc.
  4. The amazing writing and creativity found in the best trip report I’ve encountered thus far by @David Kane.
  5. And a special mention to @Denny01 not for the trip reports, but because I appreciate the wit and sensible approach to all that I’ve read from you. Please consider adopting me so you can be my dad.

.........

Wow, what an interesting (and weird!) thread. Love it. And yes, I’ll adopt you, but only if you are making a Great Deal of Money and ready to take care of me and send me on many, many cruises!!!

 

Den

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Look forward to your time machine trip into the future.   I find it interesting to hear about all of the work and planning that goes into getting everything in place prior to a cruise.   I've pulled up a front row chair and looking forward to your fun dialogue.  

 

Jim

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Welcome back! I really shouldn't write at the end of a long work day. I tend to make errors such as listing the wrong year of time travel in the above posts. Anything "2020" should have been "2019". Oh well, back to it.

 

August 31, 2019

Extensive research commenced on a cruse line and ship. We entered this experiment with almost no knowledge of cruising past rumors, anecdotal evidence, and hearsay ie; Carnival is a party line, cruising is stuffy and for old people, ships are cesspools of germs and filth, et al. Our approach in choosing a line might be unique in that our search consisted of finding experiences we didn't want rather than did. We're of the mindset that it's easier for us tolerate something we can't predict than it is to tolerate something we flat out want no part of. Yes, we over-indexed on the research but it's how we're programmed.

 

Subjective experiences such as food quality weren't given consideration. Even with no cruising experience figuring out which line has the best food would be a waste of mental energy. Plus we're not food snobs and enjoy mediocre food just as well as exquisite dining. As long as the food doesn't suck we'll be just fine.

 

Did not wants in priority order:

  1. Children (or too many of them). We're empty-nesters and while ours are great, we're done with that until we're grandparents.
  2. We didn't want to feel that we'd miss something on our cruise. Oasis class ships are clearly off the short list and with smaller ships you have a greater opportunity to experience almost everything.
  3. Sensory over-load. We're not affected by this but it can be a distraction.
  4. Rock walls, flow riders, et al.
  5. We don't want to think about things; we just want them to happen.

Wants in no particular order:

  1. On the bell curve of an age demographic we wanted to be on the left side of the curve.
  2. Slow and easy. This is a vacation and we want to relax. We love observing people and watching the world go by.
  3. 7+ day cruise. If we're making the commitment, we might as well go all in.
  4. A simple, easy, and common itinerary that included easily navigable ports. Mobility isn't an issue, simplicity is a desire. Over-complicating our first cruise might turn us off from future cruises. We like to think of our first cruise vacation as "Cruising 101".
  5. Ease of travel pre and post-cruise.
  6. Affordable. Subjective to be sure. However, as we have no benchmark on what is or isn't affordable we had to use our best judgment here. Concierge, Aqua, and Suites are nice, but not something we need to enjoy our trip, at least for now.
  7. Balcony is a must have.

After a bit of research our shortlist consisted of:

  1. Celebrity
  2. Princess
  3. Holland (mostly because of the music which we love experiencing)

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You are off to a great start.  You have chosen a great cruise line, a beautiful ship, and an awesome itinerary.  We did it in 2018 and are repeating it this year.  Love these long reports, so I am intrigued by the 60-day prelude and what it might bring.  You have a great writing style.  More please.

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Congratulations on your trip and engaging writing style . If you would like to see some photos of the ABC islands as visited on the Eclipse , our travelogue can be found here :

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I love your writing style and you sense of humor.

I also attack cruising with many of the same thoughts...

Keeping it simple, not a lot of kids, at least 7 days...

We love Celebrity!!

Hope you have a fantastic cruise!!!

Edited by tcmagnum

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20 hours ago, Weenah said:

You might be saying to yourselves, “What in tarnations? A trip report from the future? Is this a time paradox? Did I take a 60+ day nap and find myself in May? Does this guy possess the Time Stone from the Marvel movies?” There are a lot of fantastic trip reports on Cruise Critic and I wanted to differentiate this one from the likes of:

  1. The thorough and informative reports from @Jim_Iain 
  2. The positivity found in @chicagopaul's reports.
  3. The great pictures from @mahdnc.
  4. The amazing writing and creativity found in the best trip report I’ve encountered thus far by @David Kane.
  5. And a special mention to @Denny01 not for the trip reports, but because I appreciate the wit and sensible approach to all that I’ve read from you. Please consider adopting me so you can be my dad.

 

In the interest of doing something different, this report will be a trip though time and based on the perspective of a couple that has never cruised before. While I haven’t read all 5487 pages in this Celebrity forum, since joining Cruise Critic in September 2019 I don’t recall a trip report from cruising newbies. I’m even more certain there hasn’t been one containing a trip though time. I intend to take each of you through a journey from the catalyst of the trip, up to the present, and will provide periodic updates leading up to and while on the ship. Fair warning, I don’t recall what happened ten minutes ago much less months ago so the accuracy of information won’t be perfect, but it’ll be good enough. So strap in and let’s do this.

 

Before we get started a little bit about us. And as laziness breeds resourcefulness here’s a copy and paste and slightly modified dossier of us from a previous thread: The better half, @DiggyO, and I are in our mid-forties and in our nearly 12 years together have opted to focus on work and saving for retirement over vacations and experiences. The kids are out of the home and living their own lives and all that remains under this roof is us and a pair of spoiled rotten dogs. Now that we're feeling more comfortable with our retirement nest egg, we are less concerned about the stress often felt when not focusing on our future retirement over the near-ish term. We’ve never taken a real vacation that wasn’t interrupted by or involved other friends or family.

 

And to start the journey, let’s go back to ~August 2011. A co-worker tells me about his cruise and all the fun he had on it. Enter my inner monologue: “This seems interesting, I should check out pricing on that cruise line’s website.” “Hmm. Waaaay too expensive and I need to focus on saving for the future.” I don’t recall which cruise line I searched, cabin type, or even the price. It just wasn’t going to happen and thus my brief interest in a cruise faded just as fast as it arrived.

We will be on this cruise with you and yes I did look at the title and think "what? did I miss something??!!"  Looking forward to reading your pre-cruise posts and to a great cruise in May!

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OMG....  were we separated a birth?!?  The logic, the approach, the over-thinking of minutiae.  Hello?  

 

Srsly...  great choice.  Enjoy the planning, then get on board, unpack, and live in the moment.  Nothing will ever compare to your first cruise.

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September 1, 2019

 

With our shortlist settled we used this lazy Sunday to view a STUPID amount of cruising-related videos on YouTube. I pulled up my YouTube watch history and counted no less than 50 videos viewed this day.  Some videos stood out, others left much to be desired. Video production values aside, we were able to glean a lot of information provided by these moving pictures that the written word cannot capture. We're visual learners and while we have discovered Cruise Critic by this time, we hadn't created accounts for this site yet and had only performed a cursory examination of the vast information on it.

 

We watched informative videos from (what I have since learned are some of the usual vlogging suspects) Tips for Travellers, Emma, La Lido Loca, Don's Family Vacations (he's...interesting, to be sure) et al. Admittedly we did focus first on the Celebrity videos because we are slightly limited in our traveling dates due to our professions. Celebrity had one particular sailing itinerary and dates that worked for us given the travel time frame constraints we had.

 

Two videos stood out in our search as they provided a full ship walk through. One was pre-Hoppenization and the other post. It wasn't clear to us what had changed after "The Hoppening" but it didn't matter. Both videos included information that aligned to our cruising requirements stated above so we ceased further research into Princess and Holland. Reflecting back to those videos it might seem strange to you, what the ONE thing was that pushed us over the tipping point and sealed the deal. It doesn't get a lot of attention on Cruise Critic, but it was Slush on deck 12. One of the videos we watched included the Slush menu. Upon viewing it we were sold.

 

It was settled. We found a ship, we found an itinerary, and we found our dates (see subject line of this thread). The stars aligned perfectly to what we were looking for and what we knew at the time. With our decision made, tomorrow we'd be calling X to place the reservation.

 

To be continued...

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September 2, 2019

 

With our sailing decision made, we called X to make the reservation. As Hurricane Dorian created a state of emergency in Florida the Miami(?) call center was closed and we were transferred to a Resolution Specialist located in Wichita, KS. The agent we spoke with was amazing which makes sense as their job is to make the likes of us happy, or less mad depending on the situation. Going into the call we were prepared with a stateroom already picked out. Even with no cruising experience and limited knowledge on the subject it doesn't require a rocket scientist to know it's a good idea is to look at deck plans and figure out what's above and below your cabin.

 

Placing the reservation was seamless and uneventful. We're technically astute and prefer making reservation or submitting orders on the interwebs over phone calls. We opted to pickup the phone as I had found a mention of an extra $100 OBC buried on Celebrity's website if you called. For an extra $100 OBC it was an easy decision to put on my big boy britches and brave making a phone call. Apparently your Captain's Club level must be Classic or higher to get this $100 OBC. As I have no status I can only chalk up this $100 OBC fortune to my smooth talking.😛

 

In the spirit of "affordable" requirement in the OP, we booked a 1C cabin, 8311, with 4 perks. I'm a light drinker while the better half is known to indulge here and there. Any of you can make a strong argument that I could have saved a decent chunk of change by opting for the classic package or none at all and you'd be right. But lest you forget our "don't wants" > "wants" and the premium package aligns to our not wanting to think about minutia such as signing receipts or handing over a credit card. 

 

On the next episode we'll cover our search for a TA.

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Weenah, We will be on this cruise also. I hope everything is better by then. You will always remember your first cruise more than some of your others. We enjoy the planning part and the anticipation. 

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On 3/7/2020 at 9:31 AM, Weenah said:

Reflecting back to those videos it might seem strange to you, what the ONE thing was that pushed us over the tipping point and sealed the deal. It doesn't get a lot of attention on Cruise Critic, but it was Slush on deck 12. One of the videos we watched included the Slush menu. Upon viewing it we were sold.

 

It was settled. We found a ship, we found an itinerary, and we found our dates (see subject line of this thread). The stars aligned perfectly to what we were looking for and what we knew at the time. With our decision made, tomorrow we'd be calling X to place the reservation.

 

To be continued...

You are absolutely right!  Slush is one of the reasons we love Equinox!!!

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Wow I love this! More please! Love hearing your planning.

 

Also a first time cruiser, going on the Equinox but I’ll be on the sailing before yours. 

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Posted (edited)

We will also be joining you on the 5/13/20 Equinox.  Will be our 2nd time on her.  Can't wait to board and set sail!!

 

Looking forward to your "Live" trip report, including all your planning!!

 

Be prepared to get "hooked" on cruising.  We sure did!!

Edited by debshomespun

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