Equinox Review September, 2013

My wheelchair guide, hopefully will help, but you might want to seek further advice from your cruise consultant.

Equinox berthed in Cannes, with the tenders in operation

Godmother of the Ship Nina Barough C.B.E.

 

From the Celebrity launch booklet issued on 29th July, 2009

 

Celebrity Cruises is extremely honoured to have Nina Barough CBE (Commander of the

British Empire), as Godmother of the exceptional Celebrity Equinox. A remarkable woman who represents lifestyle empowerment with real zest and joie de vivre, Nina is a highly

successful fundraiser, business woman and leader.

When Nina set off for New York City to raise money for breast cancer research by power walking a marathon in her now ­signature, decorated bra, little did she realise it was

the humble beginning of a fundraising mission that would recruit thousands of women

and men; and, little did she know that at the time, she would soon be diagnosed

with breast cancer.

 

Today, Nina is a picture of health, mother to a beautiful baby girl, and her grant making charity, "Walk the Walk," which is well known for its marathon Moon Walks and Sun Walks, has not only raised almost £50 million ($85 million) for vital breast cancer causes, but has inspired women, men and families to make life changes by being responsible for their own health and well-being. In 2008, she was awarded the "Pride of Britain Award," as well as "Woman of the Year for Outstanding Achievement."

 

Nina Barough was the inspirational founder and CEO of Walk the Walk, the charity which funded the building of Maggie's Glasgow Gartnaval and has also given a grant to a Maggie's Centre at the Fort Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert. It has been reported the fund raising has passed the £80 million mark.

 

and now for the main staff members' on the Equinox:

 

Captain Michael Karatzas Both his father and brother were involved in the maritime.

He says is top priorities the safety of all the guests and crew along with the safety and security of the ship. He spends his vacation back in Athens with his family.

 

Staff Captain IIias Stepanatos Born and raised in Kefalonia an island in the Iona Sea.

His early career was in cargo ships. He joined Celebrity in 2000 and has worked his way up to a Staff Captain. He spends his vacation on the Greek Island of Kos.

Chief Engineer Ioannis Tseronis Graduating from the Merchant Marine Academy he joined Celebrity in 1997 and was involved in the construction of Summit; Solstice; Equinox and Reflection. He has a tremendously role but virtual invisible.

 

Executive Chef German Rijo He joined Celebrity in 1990 having developed his love for cooking at home in the Domicican Republic. He enjoys adding a fusion of flavour and a touch of finesse to his cooking.

 

Cruise Director Jason Ward In the past worked as a sing/dancer and had his own dance company he also had a hotel and restaurant. More recently he worked for Disney Cruises Lines managing the inboard Entertainment product.

 

Cruise Director Chris Scaliotis Born in Cyprus an English mother and a Greek Cypriot father. At the age of 12 Chris and family moved to England. after initially working for Sheraton Hotels he decided to return to Cyprus to work in local Resort Hotels before he joined Celebrity. He loves spending his free time enjoying swimming; reading and spending time with his daughter.

 

Food and Beverage Menze Heroian He began his career in food/beverage with Westin Hotels, then onto Caesars Palace and afterwards Director of Food for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Restaurants. He joined Tismans Hotels as Vice President overseeing a folio of ten hotels.

The Captains' Club [2012 version]hostess on this cruise was Aurora Niebla. Normally you would find her on Deck 5 by the starboard exit, but that was taken over on this cruise by the Salesteam selling future cruise. It is usually a shared office but Aurora was located on Deck 7 where there was just a desk, it seemed a bit unfair. An unusual announcement that at the Captians' celebration shorts would be permissible, normally only slacks/trousers were the order of the day, perhaps that did put some off as numbers were down when I popped in to take a couple of picks:

You see the officers around the ship and when they are wearing their uniform what do the various designations you see on their sleeve

We flew Glasgow/Gatwick/Barcelona having stayed in the Holiday Inn there where our accommodation was free thanks to my priority points coming in useful. Arriving at Barcelona airport we where met by a Celebrity rep and taken by taxi to the Regina 4 star hotel. plus the ship It was in many ways but not in others but it was well situated. On the balcony great view of a busy junction and just over the road you could see the stop for the open top tour bus. There was a H & S issue over the long ramp used the access the lift it was long and There was a H&S over a long ramp used to access the lift , it was ling and steep and with NO strips to give you grip. I did advise the Celebrity rep in the morning before being taxied away to the ship. As a result we where in our stateroom by11.30 and allowed to stay there until the all the accommodation was ready around 13.15 (1.15 pm)..when all there guests made there way to their rooms.

What was different from previous cruises; in the main dining room many of the courses had a cheese base, I never thought cheese was that good for you !!; On Deck 14 where they serves you hot dogs and burgers it was now a sachet and not a dispenser for your tomato sauce/salad cream etc and the ice cream dispenser had gone; the flowers in our room were the poorest we have seen on any cruise and there was no single rose from the Captains' club; the new breakfast menu very much improved but apart from that nothing else to say.

We were in stateroom 2102 on the starboard side, this one slightly noisier than 2101 on the port side, which we prefer but it wasn't available. We were well catered for by Zenon & Imade and nothing was too much trouble.

my only regret is the time it is taking to complete this review and so acknowledge their great efforts. During 2013 mention was made of the NEW breakfast menu and I agree it is much improved and give it our seal of approval menu Every night a chocolate sweet on your pillow and the programme for the following day.

We had our drinks in the Michael's Club on Deck 5 just off the Ensemble lounge. Most guests seemed to pass it or look and an left. It plays a significant part in all the Celebrity ships in that it takes its name from Michael Chandris the original owner of the shipping line that Royal Caribbean bought over in the mid nineties and there is the same style room on all the Celebrity ships. This year they held a British Quiz; music most nights prior to this and a whisky tasting hosted by Miroana, she really was putting a great deal into making it a success and it was here we met up with our great friend Erol, now the Head Bartender

In the main diningroom we were looked after by Pasion & Valentin along with our favourite Sommelier Milca. It is often a problem for Christine to cut up some meat courses and Pasion did a great job approaching her in a way she would let him help. We were seated at table 128 on this occasion.

There was the new style seapasses:

but with the introduction [2014] of the new grades namely Elite Plus and Elite Zenith

there will be improvements, apologies for the small print but there is a lot of information displayed.

TV Channels in your room:

These were the settings in September, 2013 and could be different on your cruise.

1. TV Guide

2. Cruise Directors Channel

3. Shore Excursions Network

4. Port/Shopping Trolley

5. View from the Bridge

6. CNN

7. ESPN

8. Fox News

9. BBC World News

10. Sky News

11. Sky Sports Channel

12. Engage

13. Prime Telly

14. Prime US

15. Movie Channel

16. Euro News Spanish

17. Celebrity International Spanish

8. Euro News French

19. Celebrity International French

20. Cartoon Network

There was the usual brunch and the number and variety of ice sculptors were fantastic and I don't think the pictures really show them of to their very best.

as you can see the event was very popular with the guests

Just a tip I find the ice sculptures are better photographed in room lighting rather than by flash.

And now some back ground on the ports of call:

Both at Cannes and Kotor it was tender transfers.

Cannes Just off the ship/pier and you were right beside the shops, also a pick up point for helicopter bookings. Overall the limited areas we were in would score 8/10.

Livorna port for Piza/Florrence I went in search just for a post office in Livorna. The stop you are dropped off by the shuttle bus is just over from an impressive bank frontage. Go back up the street the bus brought you down. At the top take the pedestrian crossing, followed by the next over to the far side pavement. On your left is an impressive church follow it around to the back of that church then straight on to find thepost office, the impressive frontage, it is an old tall building with small red post boxes just as you are getting closer to that building. As we didn't use the wheelchair best assessment was it could be around 8/10 The bus cost FREE. Now I was on my own with no Christine and wheelchair, but 8/10 would be my thoughts for wheelchair friendliness in these area I visited.

Civitavecchia port for Rome, we decided just to visit the shops. There was a free bus shuttle drops by the Michaelangelo Tower/Castle and if you follow the crowd they will make there way to a narrow exit OK for wheelchair users but not for the powered ones, they would have to head down to the left and cross at the junction,then go up to the right the way where they will meet with those who took the short cut. Up to the left and around takes you to the main shopping street OK until about mid way bad cobbles but head over to the other side where there is an area which that has a path way clear of cobbles. At or near to the top of this street over to the left there is an open market and an enclosed section selling fruit; fish; clothes; gadgets leather goods and cards are on sale. This area scored 6/10 and the access up the high street it was 8/10.

The cruise ship will provide transport to the dock gates not recommended you walk and from there it is about 15/20 walking distance, see the guide for further information:

http://www.tomsportguides.com/Rome_Civitavecchia_08-07-2012.pdf

The majority of guests heeded further inland mainly to Rome about 2 hours by coach but there is also a fast rail link and that will take you there in under 60 mins. But be careful to allow enough time to get back to the ship.

Naples. The worst port for a push wheelchair, there was extensive cobbles on the pavements and in crossing the road. It is possible the powered wheelchairs might cope better ? We gave up after an hour and made our way back to the ship, given what we encountered a score of 2/10 was all I could give.

Kotor It was worth a visit the way to the exit was good 7/10 perhaps a little higher. On reaching the street with the crossing turn right and follow the road where you will get access with no steps if you went to the left. The access in via the castle main section some bits bad and good some bits 4/10 and others which were not bad so 7/10. Inside again there was a wide variations, keep central as you can going off on the side streets here the score could drop as low as 4/10. On returning to the ship some local dancers were putting on a great display.

Venice short video no commentary Images I took around 70 but this is a small selection. When we saw how busy it was in St. Mark's Square en route to our berthing point, we just stayed on the ship and some we spoke to said it was for the best but can't offer any scores. Another reason if you look at the photo's of the bridges they have steps up/down and not handy for wheelchair users, I don't think they are all of this but having not gone in to look around can't say any more. There was a bus for wheelchair users but it never moved all day. There were around 7/8 cruise ships in port that day.

Dubrovnik We have been before but a city worth a visit. There was a ship bus shuttle costing $25 return each and the journey time could vary due to traffic conditions but 15/20 mins would not be far away. The arrival point was fine just a case of finding point to bump up the wheelchair onto the pavement. After that it was all down hill just before you got to the entry there was a section of cattle grid but the wheelchair coped OK. As you then go to the left and follow the flat route into the entry point as you turn right to continue going down don't go to far over the left as there is sharp downhill part keep to the middle or the right but you get a similar affect just before you turn left in the walled city, keep to the middle or right if you can. Inside there are many good areas and some not so good but I never had any real problems. My best guess is as low as 5/10 and as good as 8/10, but we really did manage. I was a bit concerned about the uphill exit but it went much more smoothly that I had envisaged, then at the same point you got off the bus is where you board and the drivers were extremely helpful.

The leaflet covering the Celebrity Life activities. In past reviews I have listed these in the past and where they generally happen but this leaflet gives a good guide to all the events. The other source is the daily newspaper available from a stand down by Guest relations various options Britain; USA; France; Spain etc

Every evening music or entertainment in most parts of the ship but as some have commented it is dead after midnight, well on odd evenings that might be true but with 3 formal nights; pool parties; casino and Sky lounge entertainment we don't agree. After some long excursions quite a few do like to bed early ?

There is a Cinema and these are some of the films shown during our cruise:

The Sapphires Bio-Comedy PG-13 103 Identity Thief Comedy R 111 mins 

The Call Crime R 94 mins and The Factory Crime R 108 mins

Amor French with English subtitles Drama PG-13 127 mins

Stoker Drama R 190 mins and Les Miserables Drama PG-13 158 mins

Quartet Comedy PG-13 98mins Zero Dark Thirty Drama R 157 mins

Gangster Squad Action R 113 mins

The Cinema is located Deck 4 Central

The ship has Wi-Fi throughout and the IT Helpdesk is located on Deck 6 mid-ships, there are discount deals and if you scroll back up and look at the Captains' Club Benefits you will see what is on offer. If you are entitled to a complimentary package say like Elite member' then there are 90 free mins and for Elite + it is 200 free minutes. There is a A5 leaflet you can pick-up on how to use the system

as a result of the new package announced in November, 2013 pricing state here may no longer apply.

There is a data socket in your room but they so far have advised not to use it.

Light socket 115v sockets x2 230v socket Data socket

not recommended

 

Now some views around the ship, now there are 100's of paintings/photographs around the ship but you can view them on the other cruise reviews.

We were advised on the documentation/labels issued for our homeward bound leg that a taxi would take us to the airport and for info it cost 45€. Celebrity did pull out all the stops for helping me get Christine around the ship and like all wheelchair guests there was always staff there to get the wheelchair guests up/down the gangways when in port.

Well as the sunsets as we depart from Dubrovnick it will rise again when we join Eclipse in the Caribbean in the spring. So many thanks to all the staff who made the cruise so memorable.