celebrity equinox - celebrity cruises - cruise ship review & photos

Celebrity Equinox cruise ship review
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Let's be honest. With their bulky bows and odd twin funnels, Celebrity Equinox and her sisters will never win a cruise ship beauty contest. But as we all know, true beauty is found on the inside. And so I boarded Celebrity Equinox at the Dutch port of Eemshaven for the crossing to Southampton, England, just hours after the ship was delivered to Celebrity Cruises. And pretty soon I found out that this is no ordinary cruise ship, but a trendy floating resort. Welcome on board!

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Grand Foyer Grand Foyer, looking forward Grand Foyer, looking aft Grand Foyer
Grand Foyer Grand Foyer, looking forward Grand Foyer, looking aft Grand Foyer

With the introduction of Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox, cruise ship design has been lifted to a whole new level. Gone is the make-belief glitz and the brass. It has been replaced by contemporary design that is inviting and luxurious at the same time. A good example is the soaring Grand Foyer that connects all passenger decks and is topped by a glass roof. Instead of the usual abstract, massive piece of atrium art, a live tree hangs suspended in the middle of the atrium in a huge pot covered in Swarovski glitterati. 

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Cabin corridor Concierge Class stateroom Concierge Class stateroom Spacious bathroom
Cabin corridor Concierge Class stateroom Concierge Class stateroom Spacious bathroom
Remote control Large balcony Room with a view Royal Suite living room
Remote control Large balcony Room with a view Royal Suite living room
Penthouse Suite living room Penthouse Suite bathroom   Celebrity Suite living room   Celebrity Suite bedroom
Penthouse Suite living room Penthouse Suite bathroom Celebrity Suite living room Celebrity Suite bedroom

The cabin corridors on this ship are remarkably wide and the new system of connecting two cabins by means of a shared recess is excellent. Most of the staterooms on Celebrity Equinox have private balconies. Note that the layout of the standard balcony staterooms differ. In half of the rooms (like ours), the bed is positioned near the sliding doors; in the other half, the bed is close to the bathroom. Talking about bathrooms, the ones on Celebrity Equinox are quite spacious and have a separate shower stall with sliding doors. Biggest stateroom feature is the large flatscreen TV which comes with an equally large remote control. The nifty thing is that this remote doubles as a keyboard - ideal for checking your e-mail or ordering an in-room movie.

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Library View out from Grand Foyer Library Team Earth
Library View out from Grand Foyer Library Team Earth
Lawn Club Lawn Club Lawn Club The best spot on the ship
Lawn Club Lawn Club Lawn Club The best spot on the ship

Before sailing, I thought the much-heralded grass lawns on Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox were purely marketing gadgets, meant to attract a lot of free publicity. But I was wrong! Directly after boarding, I saw people flock to the Lawn Club up on deck 15 - just to have a look at this miracle of seagoing greenery. Not much later, we found ourselves some ultra-comfy chairs and ordered drinks while overlooking the freshly mown lawn. Oddly enough, there is something comforting about an expanse of real grass fifteen decks above sea level.

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View forward over Pool Deck Pool Deck Solarium Solarium
View forward over Pool Deck Pool Deck Solarium Solarium
Solarium AquaSpa Relaxation Room Gym Beauty Salon
Solarium AquaSpa Relaxation Room Gym Beauty Salon
Oceanview Bar Oceanview Café Oceanview Café Oceanview Café
Oceanview Bar Oceanview Café Oceanview Café Oceanview Café
Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge
Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge
Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge
Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge Sky Observation Lounge

Celebrity ships traditionally have a combined observation lounge and nightclub. On Celebrity Equinox, the design team came up with the Sky Observation Lounge which is a visually stunning room with extra headroom and walls of glass on three sides. A very clever separation scheme makes the room feel much smaller than it actually is, while indirect lighting gives the Sky Observation Lounge a warm, trendy feel at night.

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Celebrity Equinox - Blu Restaurant Celebrity Equinox - Blu Restaurant Celebrity Equinox - Silk Harvest Restaurant Celebrity Equinox - Silk Harvest Restaurant
Blu Restaurant Blu Restaurant Silk Harvest Restaurant Silk Harvest Restaurant
Celebrity Equinox - Entertainment Deck hallway Celebrity Equinox - Tuscan Grille entrance Celebrity Equinox - Tuscan Grille Celebrity Equinox - Tuscan Grille
Entertainment Deck hallway Tuscan Grille entrance Tuscan Grille Tuscan Grille
Celebrity Equinox - Tuscan Grille Celebrity Equinox - Tuscan Grille Celebrity Equinox - Murano Restaurant Celebrity Equinox - Murano Restaurant
Tuscan Grille Tuscan Grille Murano Restaurant Murano Restaurant
Celebrity Equinox - Ensemble Lounge Celebrity Equinox - Ensemble Lounge Celebrity Equinox - Murano Restaurant Celebrity Equinox - Murano Restaurant
Ensemble Lounge Ensemble Lounge Murano Restaurant Murano Restaurant

On the Solstice-class ships, Celebrity Cruises introduce more dining options with a number of innovative specialty restaurants. Highest on the list is Murano, an intimate, classy dining room that serves up some of the best food of any premium cruise line. Natural meeting place for Murano diners is the beautiful Ensemble Lounge with its circular bar and overstuffed chairs and couches. Further aft, passing a hallway filled to the brim with modern art, are three more specialty restaurants. Silk Harvest is Celebrity Equinox's Asian fusion restaurant, while across the hall, BLU welcomes all suite passengers for "lean & light" cuisine. Probably the most stunning of all is the exquisite Tuscan Grill, an Italian steak house serving masculine food in rustic yet modern atmosphere. Best tables in the house are the ones lining the aft glass wall with sweeping views of the ocean. A cover charge applies for all these restaurants, but it's well worth trying at least a few out during your cruise.

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Celebrity Equinox - Michael's Club Celebrity Equinox - Michael's Club Celebrity Equinox - Bistro on Five Celebrity Equinox - Café Al Bacio
Michael's Club Michael's Club Bistro on Five Café Al Bacio
Celebrity Equinox - Art Gallery Celebrity Equinox - Galleria Tastings Celebrity Equinox - Galleria Shops Celebrity Equinox - Equinox Theatre
Art Gallery Galleria Tastings Galleria Shops Equinox Theatre
Celebrity Equinox - Equinox Theatre entrance Celebrity Equinox - Equinox Theatre Celebrity Equinox - Equinox Theatre Celebrity Equinox - Entertainment Court
Equinox Theatre entrance Equinox Theatre Equinox Theatre Entertainment Court

Celebrity Cruises have beefed up their entertainment lineup on their newest ships to suit a wider audience. We saw one show that featured an eclectic mix of acrobatics and singing and received a standing ovation. The three-deck high Equinox Theatre is the ship's main show lounge with excellent sightlines from most seats. It is interesting to notice how much thought has gone in the design of the passenger flow. Once the show is over, people leave the theater and whether they want to or not they stumble across shops on two levels, a casino and other money-making corners. Hats off to the design team!

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Celebrity Equinox - Entertainment Court Celebrity Equinox - Quasar Nightclub Celebrity Equinox - Quasar Nightclub Celebrity Equinox - Entertainment Court
Entertainment Court Quasar Nightclub Quasar Nightclub Entertainment Court
Celebrity Equinox - Shops on the Boulevard Celebrity Equinox - Shops on the Boulevard Celebrity Equinox - Fortunes Casino Celebrity Equinox - Fortunes Casino
Shops on the Boulevard Shops on the Boulevard Fortunes Casino Fortunes Casino
Celebrity Equinox - Shops on the Boulevard Celebrity Equinox - Cellar Masters Celebrity Equinox - Martini Bar Celebrity Equinox - Silhouette Dining Room
Shops on the Boulevard Cellar Masters Martini Bar Silhouette Dining Room
Celebrity Equinox - Cellar Masters Celebrity Equinox - Martini Bar Celebrity Equinox - Martini Bar Celebrity Equinox - Silhouette Dining Room
Cellar Masters Martini Bar Martini Bar Silhouette Dining Room

During our two-day stay on board, there was one room that proved most popular. Overlooking the Grand Foyer is the exquisite Martini Bar with its icy bar counter and several seating alcoves. This bar was packed both evenings and not just because of the free Martinis that were served on this pre-inaugural trip! The location and the trendy music make this place hot and happening. A winner, just like the stark Silhouette Dining Room next door. Even though I personally found the decor too minimalistic, I must admit that the room worked superbly when filled with guests. Unfortunately, I didn't find the time to photograph every nook and cranny on this amazing, ultra-trendy ship. Two days is really too short, so what better excuse to return to Celebrity Equinox!

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Photos and text: © 2009 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on November 14, 2009

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