What a fantastic welcome we received as we stepped onboard the brand new Celebrity Equinox in Southampton, it was smiles all the way and as soon as we stepped onboard we were greeted with a glass of champagne to welcome us onboard. We stood in ore as drank our champagne looking out into the Grand Lobby.
We were advised that we were more than welcome to go to our stateroom and leave our baggage there until staterooms were ready for occupation. We were directed to a lift, which was called by an attendant and we stepped out at deck 7, around the corner and there was our stateroom 7278, very handy location midship. I will be honest and say that my very first impression was that the stateroom seemed a little narrow and almost cramped but my opinion soon changed of this. I was impressed with the amount of storage space. It was a very well thought out design and layout. There were plenty of draw space, a larger safe than usual, a mini bar, nice dressing table, lots of little shelves for bottles and nic nacs, a coffee table and lovely leather sofa/sofabed. The lifejackets were stored in a basket under the bed, but this still left plenty of room for empty suitcases, and above the bed was two additional cupboards. The soft furnishings and choice of colours of brown and coffee tones was very luxurious. Hubby was very impressed with the 32″ plasma tv, which you could angle to suit your viewing angle. I confess to not being a TV watcher, especially when on holiday, but he always has the TV on and t did make the viewing a lot more pleasurable than squinting at a cheap portable TV in the corner of the cabin. The bathroom really really impressed me. Having just returned from Arcadia, and having a bathroom for sole use where I really struggled to get even half my stuff in the one small bathroom cabinet. Equinox was just the opposite, there seemed to be cupboards and little drawers all over the place and I knew I could have had all of my stuff stored away during a two week cruise without having to go and rummage around in the cabin trying to remember where I had put stuff. Shower was a corner cubicle with curved glass doors which again was a big bonus, and the designers had also put in a low foot rail to make it easier for ladies to shave their legs!
Dual Voltage 110/220
32″ flat screen TV
Interactive TV to book shore excursions, order room service etc
Wireless internet connection in all staterooms
100% Egyptian cotton linen
Complimentary use of bathrobes
Direct dial telephone
Thermostat controlled air conditioning
100% Egyptian cotton towels
Complimentary 24 hr room service
Complimentary shopping bag
Midship area of the ship all concentrated around the Central Lobby/Atrium type area, but to me it didn’t feel open plan. The rooms were extremely well designed and I liked the flow from one to the other.
Café al Bacio & Gelateria
Not your average coffee bar, more like a sumptuous lounge with armchairs and comfy sofas, serving pastries and speciality coffees, Traditional gelatos/Italian Ices.
Bistro on Five
Onboard creperie with table service for lunch and dinner offering sandwiches and light snacks
Galleria Tastings, Passport Bar and Galleria Boutiques and Art Gallery
Nice open plan area where you could sit and have a drink at the bar whilst watching everything around you going on. Well light art gallery, very individual shops and boutiques of fine jewellery, perfume, glass ornaments, clothing and even a gents shop I recall.
Well displayed area. I did spot some less tradional shots which was refreshing to see. The smaller photos (might have been 8×6?) were $19.95 but didn’t see any portrait size on display to note the price.
Large traditional theatre spread over 3 decks. I did t attend the show on either night but heard very good reports about excellent stage effects.
Very retro nightclub with suspended bubble chairs and lovely white leather sofa bays.
A smaller entertainment theatre type venue for late night comedians, live music and movies also used for talks and lectures during the day
As is usual ofr an American ship, a very large casino are with a nice bar. Row after row of slot machines (mum would have been in holiday heaven!) and gaming tables around the outside.
Shops on the Boulevard
Extremely impressive and eye catching window displays. Usual shops selling logo wear, Bijoux Turner, tobacco and spirits, Swarovski, and souveniers, but choice was good and they were a pleasant shopping experience.
An iced top bar in an ice bar and sumptiuos themed décor room. I really liked this room but then I would as I am quite partial to a Martini Cocktail!
A little alcove next to the Martini Bar, offering Vodka and caviar tastings.
Wine Bar with extensive selection of wines. Traditional Wine Cellar decor
At the bottom of the Grand Lobby. Bar served speciality coffee and pastries as well as a full bar service.
Live entertainment venue with string quartet and cocktail type music. Lots of comfy chairs and sofas. Guest Relations desk was also in Grand Lobby.
This was about the only bar that was a bit of a walkthrough bar, but non the less it was a very nice lounge type bar, ideal for pre dinner drinks as it was enroute to the speciality dining venues.
Décor reminded me very much of a Gentlemans Club, Specialised in single malt whiskeys. It is also the Jazz club, and Piano Bar
Very impressive to look at form the opposite side of the atrium. Over two floors with a wide selection of books
Area off the main atrium on one of the passenger desks. Plenty of computer terminals.
Sky Ocean Lounge
Observation lounge forward of Resort Deck. Loved the cream and purple leather décor. Fantastic panoramic views. In the evening it became the party venue with live music and good size dance floor.
Speciality restaurant serving classic and modern interpretations of Europes finest cuisine. Fine dining at its best with attentive service and flambe at the table.
Designed for AquaClass guests offering indulgent menus and healthier options. We dined in her the first evening, I was worried that ;healthy’ meant small! But I confess to being almost full by the time main arrived, and the strawberry brandy basket sweet could not be ignored. Mr C had the Fillet Mignon which he said just melted!
Asian Fusion cuisine accompanied by exotic cocktails is what the official blurb is telling me! We would have loved the chance to dine in her and it looked very special. They could also accommodate large parties in here on the large tables, but also catered well for smaller groups and couples.
I loved the look of this restaurant, but time did not allow us to dine in here. Italian flair with steaks. Panoramic views around the aft gave a fantastic view of the wake.
Silhouette Dining Room
We dined in here on the second night of the trip. I was very very impressed. Service was first class, both waiters introduced themselves and were very attentive throughout the meal. The meal itself could not be faulted. The choice was vast, it was extremely well presented and it was hot. My sample of sweets were to die for! Delicious. Coffee was also served at the table. Although we were on first sitting we never once felt rushed and I probably enjoyed my dining experience in here more than in Blu, although both were first class.
Ocean View Café
Very light and airy with lots of separate food serving sections each offering different things. The selction at both breakfast and lunch was vast and I don’t think you would have failed to find something different. Im never a fan of the self service buffet dining areas but I liked this one!
Aqua Spa & Café
Situated in the Solarium offering spa cuisine and healthy snacks
Mast Grill & Bar
Burger Bar up on top deck with all the usual items grilled to order.
The Lawn Club
Ok I was a sceptic with this one. I went onboard with the ‘why do we want grass on a ship’ question dangling in my head. Well, would it be too tongue in cheek if I said ‘it grew on me’!! Yes, I really liked the lawn. There were people playing lawn bowls, people playing croquet and Im told that you can have a picnic on the lawn too! It was real grass, we all touched it just to check and they do have a gardener onboard who cuts the grass and makes sure it is neatly manicured.
Hot Glass show
I confess that I never got to see the hot glass show but I did see where it was up by the lawn area.
Sports pool, family pool and wet zone. Stage area with live music during the day. Pool Bar. Double sun loungers and plenty of sunloungers both around the pool, in the shade and one deck above, both overlooking the pool and looking out to sea. Pool Butlers kept the deck tidy and ensured that there wasn’t any reservation of sun loungers.
XClub for the older children and Fun factory for the younger children. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see either of these venues as when we ventured up there they were closed. Mr C did make use of the video arcade though!
Oh this was lush! One of the nicest suites at sea I have seen. And by the way, the other suites that stick in my mind as being amongst the nicest have also been Celebrity! As the name suggests this was the biggest and the best suite on the ship, situated midship on Penthouse Deck. 1291 sq ft. Veranda 389 sq ft. very large separate lounge with baby grand piano, dining area with Butler kitchen, full bar, surround sound entertainment centre, 52″ LCD TV. Huge master bedroom with king size bed, 52″ LCD TV, large walk in closet and dressing room with loads of draws and hanging space. Possibly the biggest bathroom I have ever seen anywhere! Large double Jacuzzi bath, very large separate shower with dual shower heads, double washbasin and a 26″ LCD TV. Very large balcony with rattan deck furniture and hot tub.
Miship on Penthouse Deck. 590sq ft. Veranda 153 sq ft. Separate lounge with dining area. Surround sound with 52″ LCD TV. Bedroom with queen size bed, vanity unit, walk in wardrobe, and 40″ LCD TV. Bathroom with whirlpool bath and separate shower. Balcony with hot tub and rattan furniture.
Midship on Penthouse Deck. 394 sq ft. Veranda 105sq ft. living room with sectional sofa, surround sound entertainment centre and 52″ LCD TV. Separate internal bedroom with vanity unit, walk in closet and 40″ LCD TV
Suites receive the added benefits of priority check in and departure, priority luggae delivery and restaurant seating. Welcome champage daily delivery of fresh fruit and flowers. 24 hr Butler service. Full insuite dining service throughout the day. Personalised stationary, Hor d’oeurves, expresso and cappuccino. Oversize bath towels and luxury bathrobes, priority tender servies, personal computer and intrnet access and assistance with packing and unpacking..
Aqua Class stateroom
194 sq ft. veranda 54 sq ft. all double occupancy stateroomson deck 11 close to Aqua Spa. Same as or stateroom described at the beginning but with added benefits including frette bathrobes and slippers, enhanced personal care products, daily delivers of bottled water and teas, personal concierge to arrange spa treatments, complimentary unlimited access to the Persina Gardens and relaxation room, special programme of wellness classes. Priority seating in Blu speciality restaurant created for Aqua Class guests that also serves contintal breakfasts.
Concierge Class stateroom
Same staterooms as those described above. Benefits include special chck in. complimentary flowers and chamnpagne on arrival. Express luggage delivery. Golf umbrella and use of high quality binoculars. Expanded room service. Pillow menu.
Family Ocean View with Verandah
575 sq ft. veranda 53 or 105 sq ft. we viewed the family suite forward on deck 8. it was a large spacious room with separate lounge are to the bedrooms. Usual amenaties as described above for standard staterooms. Separate bedroom with queen bed. Small annexe bedroom with bunks. Ther ewas a standard size balcony to the side of the ship and windows in both the bedroom and lounge are looking out to the forward of the ship.
Overall, I was more than impressed with the Solstice class of Celebrity ships. I liked everything I saw and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, or to sail onboard myself. I loved the way the public areas seemed to flow effortlessly from one to the other. I loved everything about the décor. Service was first class, could not be faulted in the slightest. Food to a very high standard in presentation and service. Crew were happy and welcoming. That’s another thing I really did feel welcome!
I thought the staterooms were very well designed and again I loved the décor and themes. I do think this is what the traditional UK market has been waiting for and should be well received by loyal P&O and Cunard passengers if they are prepared to make the switch and give it a try.
In 2010, the third Solstice Class ship will be launched and sail form Southampton. I am able to offer some special rates with added benefits, on the following departures
14 night cruises departing 24th July 2010, 7th August 2010 & 4th September 2010
14 night cruises departing 26th June 2010 &10th July 2010
16 nights Venice cruises departing 18th September & 4th October 2010
In addition to the additional benefits that I am able to offer you wil also receive free parking at Southampton.
If you really want to try this exciting new ship, but perhaps still need a little convincing perhaps one of the two 4 night departures on 29th April or 4th May 2010 for 4 nights is the right choice for you.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org,uk or call me on 02476 742135 to discuss your requirements and confirm a stateroom on either one of or special offers or any of the fantastic cruises that Elclipse will be doing from Southampton next year, or Sample Equinox in the Med!
The full set of Equinox photos can be viewed by selecting my photo tab at the top of the page.