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!
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 It has been replaced by contemporary design that is inviting and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
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.
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.
Celebrity ships traditionally have a combined
observation lounge and nightclub. On Celebrity Equinox, the design team came up with the Sky Observation Lounge
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
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.
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!
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!