Celebrity Equinox underwent an extensive refurbishment in May 2019. It received additional suites; Michael's Club was transformed into the Retreat Lounge, exclusively for the use of suite passengers; and the ship's Oceanview Cafe buffet restaurant was redesigned in an open, marketplace style.
As Celebrity's dedicated Caribbean ship, Celebrity Equinox takes advantage of the weather with outdoor amenities, such as real grass lawn on top of the ship and a Lawn Club Sunset Bar, complete with deck furniture and faux fire pit.
If that sounds sophisticated for a cruise ship, then you're correct. As one of the line's Solstice-class ships, Celebrity Equinox is about modern touches aimed at a crowd that enjoys craft beer and top-shelf mixed drinks, restaurant experiences that punch up to gourmet (the line has announced a partnership with Michelin-starred restaurateur Daniel Boulud) and entertainment that trends more toward cabaret -- think aerialists and magicians -- than big musicals or raucous parties.
While families do sail on Equinox during school breaks, and there are kids' clubs, children are not the focus on this ship. A collection of edgy and engaging modern art, with a living tree suspended in the atrium, sets an adult vibe. While there's an outdoor main pool, it's relatively small; significant real estate is given to the calm adults-only Solarium with yet another pool. Canyon Ranch provides spa services.
Evenings on Celebrity Equinox are relaxed. At night, you might have the opportunity to stargaze at the night sky with an enrichment guide, or you can check out the constellation lights twinkling above the bar in the Sky Observation Lounge. You can slow dance with your loved one to a live band before dinner, but you can also get down to your own beat with giant headphones during the silent disco.
Celebrity Equinox has a mix of cabin and suite options, with various associated perks. Both Suite Class and AquaClass spa cabins come with dedicated restaurants, leading to more personalized and intimate service; Suite Class has its own VIP lounge and special invite-only events. For groups, this means that you might have to coordinate your cabins carefully, so you are able to dine with your friends or family.
Daytime: Casual, with shorts and T-shirts most common inside the ship and bathing suits and cover-ups on the pool deck.
Evening: Resort casual, with button-down or dressy Tommy Bahama-type sport shirts and slacks for men and dresses or smart casual pants and blouses for women. Formal night on Celebrity has been replaced by "evening chic," meaning men can ditch the full suit and tie in favour of a sport coat and collared shirt, with designer jeans. Women can wear cocktail dresses, sundresses or designer jeans or nice pants. Dinner in Murano is listed as "smart casual and above."
Not permitted: No swimwear, spa robes or bare feet in the buffet. T-shirts, tanks tops and flip-flops are not permitted in the main dining room at any time; shorts are not allowed at dinner (although this might be flexible).
Day & Night
Celebrity Equinox is a relaxed ship, with enough activities and shows to stave off boredom but not so much going on that it feels loud or frenetic. During the day, passengers take part in a range of activities -- games against the crew are common -- that often have a trendy spin, such as adult colouring sponsored by Lonely Planet. More often than not, people are happy to relax by the pool, covered adults-only Solarium area or the gorgeous top-deck lawn.
For some of the best entertainment on the ship, head to the Lawn Club for the Hot Glass Class, given by glass blowing artisans from Hollywood Hot Glass. It's particularly nice to sit out on a mild evening, as the kilns' interior temperatures average around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pavilion can get hot on a sunny day. You can learn to make glass creations such as a heart, star, bowl or ornament.
Bar culture is prevalent on Equinox, and many folks linger with a cocktail in a lounge before or after dinner, around a show or late into the night. Music is performed continually throughout the night at lounges and public spaces across the ship.
An LGBTQ social hour is held nightly at the always popular Martini Bar. Celebrity Rox, a dance party out on the pool deck featuring live performances from the cast of the Equinox Theater, is held once per cruise.
Also once per cruise, the Lawn Club hosts an evening concert; turnout is usually high (and surprisingly energetic). Blankets and pillows are strewn about the grass, but there is plenty of space to dance. Glow sticks, beads and a pop-up bar add to the festive atmosphere. On some nights, there is stargazing on the lawn.
Equinox offers a nice mix of drinking destinations, from relaxed bars with spectacular views to energetic places to dance to excellent cocktail options.
Martini Bar & Crush (Deck 4): You'll find all the fun-loving people crowded around the iced counter at the Martini Bar in the evening. It earns its reputation as one of the most popular bars onboard for its elegant atmosphere and high energy. Order a martini flight; it's worth it for the show alone.
Quasar (Deck 4): The nightclub on Equinox has a '60s-meets-space vibe. Come here for karaoke competitions, late-night dancing and the popular silent disco.
World Class Bar (Deck 5): World Class Bar is where you go to test the ship's mixologists. Try a Ciroc Tropically Yours, made with vodka, rum, Coco Lopez, lemon juice and grilled pineapple juice. Occasionally, the bow-tied bartenders host a themed night, offering curious palates the chance to sip on traditional absinthe or other liqueur.
Michael's Club (Deck 5): Michael's Club gives VIP cruisers in Suite Class access to a quiet sitting area and bar, used for special events as well as complimentary drinks, light appetizers in the evening and a small spread at breakfast.
Slush (Deck 12): For $12 a pop, Slush blends a variety of frozen cocktails from a Sweet Tart to a Mint Cookie (and all the daiquiris and mojitos in between). Any drink can be made nonalcoholic for $8.
Sky Observation Lounge (Deck 14): Lights twinkle like the constellations at night above a large dance floor. Killer views, a stylish ballroom aura and plenty of nooks make this a favourite hideaway for some.
Sunset Bar (Deck 15): Drink in views of the wake from atop the ship at the Sunset Bar, near the Lawn Club. Semicircle seating areas with cheery red-orange cushions surround tables that resemble fire pits at night. The port (left) side of the bar is a smoking area; cigars welcome.
Two pools (one shallow and one plunge), along with four raised hot tubs, make up the outside pool deck, along with an interactive water feature consisting of numerous dancing fountains.
Forward from the main pool area is the adults-only (16+) Solarium that houses within its blissfully quiet enclosure two hot tubs and a lovely pool bookended by a wall of ferns and flowers, as well as a soothing water and light display.
Deck 15's Lawn Club allows passengers to play games such as bocce or croquet, or just wiggle their toes in the grass.
The Canyon Ranch SpaClub is on Deck 12 forward and has a wide variety of treatments, at higher-than-land prices (a standard 50-minute massage runs about $170). Look for port-day deals. A salon is located within Canyon Ranch, with a wall of windows, lots of natural light and chairs for hairstyling, haircutting, manicures and pedicures. A 45-minute spa manicure is about $42; a blowout is about $25.
The Persian Garden Thermal Suite is central to Celebrity's AquaSpa. The area includes a coed sauna and steam room, tropical rain shower and ocean-view relaxation chairs. It's complimentary for AquaClass passengers; other passengers can buy full-cruise passes for a fee. Also available only to AquaClass guests is a Relaxation Lounge with cushioned daybeds, on Deck 11.
The AquaSpa Fitness Center has one of the best views on the ship, with wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows and a roomy layout. The equipment is modern, there's a spacious and tucked-away area for classes and there are plenty of free weights and benches, in addition to the host of ellipticals, treadmills, bikes and machines. Classes, including yoga, spinning, Zumba and boot camp, are offered, mostly for a fee.
There's an outdoor jogging track -- eight laps equals a mile -- but the location midship above the pools means that during the day it's typically crowded with sun worshippers and not easy to keep up a good pace. It also passes through the smoker-friendly Mast Bar, oddly positioned right on the track.
Celebrity's heavy focus on dining -- the line tries to hit the trends that you find in restaurants on land -- means that there's an abundance of restaurant options. The problem is, you have to pay for many of them. If you're in a standard cabin, the only restaurants without fees are the Silhouette main dining room, the Oceanview Cafe buffet, some items at the AquaSpa Cafe and the Mast Grill.
Blu and Luminae are only for AquaClass and suite passengers, respectively. Speciality restaurant dining is popular on this ship, and packages are available for bundles of three meals minimum. Among these extra-fee options, the Italian steakhouse Tuscan Grille earns raves, as do the a la carte choices of Sushi on Five. You'll want reservations for speciality dining.
Silhouette Dining Room (Decks 3 & 4)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D):
As the main restaurant, Silhouette Dining Room -- with lofty ceilings and numerous table configurations -- offers passengers a choice of two set meal times: early (about 6 p.m.) or late (8:30 p.m.). Those who prefer flexibility can opt for Celebrity Select Dining, which lets them dine any time between 5:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Passengers choosing the flex dining option can pre-reserve space online or onboard or walk in during the allotted hours and wait for a space to open up (rarely more than a few minutes).
Breakfast is open seating daily with standard items served. Lunch takes place here on port days only, with soups, salads, hot entrees and grilled items.
Dinner menus are arranged in the traditional manner: appetizers, soups and salads followed by entrees and then desserts and cheese. Quality ingredients cooked and presented well make the main dining room experience consistently enjoyable. Expect a varied menu that changes regularly with the basics -- red meat, poultry, seafood and vegetarian dishes -- covered. If nothing on the rotating menu suffices, there are "always available" choices.
Different wines are featured on the menu each day, and a sommelier will make his or her way around to take drink orders or make recommendations.
Luminae (Deck 3)
Meals: B, L, D
Exclusively for suite passengers, Luminae is an open-seating, modern dining room serving dishes made from only the best ingredients onboard -- think dashes of truffle and a dedicated dessert cart. The restaurant is also rolling out a three-course menu by celebrity chef Daniel Boulud that will be offered nightly, in addition to the regular menu.
Blu (Deck 5)
Meals: B, D
Featuring seasonal fare in a soothing venue, Blu is the dedicated open-seating restaurant for AquaClass passengers. It serves dishes that focus on fresh, regional ingredients like local catches and seasonal vegetables.
AquaSpa Cafe (Deck 12)
Meals: B, L
AquaSpa Cafe, in the adults-only Solarium, serves healthier fare (think small salads) for breakfast and lunch. The cafe also offers Greek yoghurt parfaits, although those cost extra.
Oceanview Cafe (Deck 14)
Meals: B, L, D
A casual eatery, Oceanview Cafe serves food until 1 a.m. It functions as a multistation buffet for breakfast and lunch, and an open-seating, casual buffet alternative to the main dining room for dinner. Oceanview gives passengers the option to plate up hot entrees, pizza and pasta (including gluten-free), sushi, Indian curries, sandwiches, extensive salad offerings, ice cream and late-night snacks, all without additional charge. The choice makes it one of the best in big-ship cruising that we've encountered.
In the morning, you'll find made-to-order omelettes and eggs Benedict, yoghurt, fresh fruit and pastries among the offerings. Lunch is a mix of hot items, a full salad bar, sandwiches, cold cuts and vegetables. Dinner includes themed entrees, along with a carving station and plenty of vegetarian dishes, plus desserts and ice cream. The best feature, by far, is the sunny, open-air deck situated at the aft section of the restaurant.
Mast Grill (Deck 14)
This casual grill has hamburgers, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs and fries, free of charge. The food is mediocre, but it's good for a quick lunch or snack in between meals.
Pricing was accurate at time of review but may have changed since.
Murano (Deck 5); $50 per person (dinner); $30 per person (lunch)
Meals: L, D
The elegant French-Continental Murano serves luxuries like lobster cooked tableside, chateaubriand for two or a traditional French cheese plate and a custom wine menu; it's a romantic spot for special occasions. Vegetarian options like porcini and morel risotto are available. A lunch is available on a sea day once per cruise with a scaled-down version of the dinner menu.
Tuscan Grille (Deck 5); $45 per person (dinner); $25 per person (lunch)
Meals: L, D
Tuscan Grille offers a range of steaks as well as Italian dishes and pastas, along with a nice wine menu and a selection of Italian cocktails. The antipasti, which serves two to four people, is not to be missed. Ask to be seated by the windows when you make your reservation; the spectacular views of the wake make the meal all the more special. Tuscan Grille hosts lunch at least once per cruise, on a sea day, with a menu that is a scaled-down version of the dinner menu.
Silk Harvest (Deck 5); $35 per person (dinner); $20 per person (lunch)
Meals, L, D
Choose from Thai soups and curries or Chinese char siu pork at pan-Asian Silk Harvest. The menu is much lighter than the other speciality restaurants, and the space is also much smaller. If you're not sure what to try, order family style and split entrees. A drink list includes sakes and beers from across the Asian continent.
A scaled-down lunch might be offered during your cruise on a sea day. A dining event called Silk 'n' Soul ($79 per person) is held once per cruise and offers a tasting of various dishes from across Vietnam, Thailand, China and Japan, and includes a Champagne cocktail and live music; reservations are required.
Sushi on Five (Deck 5); a la carte
Meals: L, D
One of the best-kept secrets onboard, Sushi on Five has an excellent selection of hot pots, noodles and sushi at reasonable prices. A fun bonus is that Sushi on Five provides to-go lunch boxes for, say, a picnic on the lawn, or delivery right to your stateroom. We regularly saw 20 percent off total bill promotions.
Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria (Deck 5); a la carte
Cafe al Bacio is the place to see and be seen during the day. Patrons sip for-fee espresso drinks and pots of speciality teas with their complimentary pastries from gorgeous yellow high-back armchairs. The desserts here are seriously good with offerings like berry tarts, German chocolate cake, Nutella croissants and even sugar-free and gluten-free cookies. The Gelateria across the way charges just a few dollars for gelato in a waffle cup. There's also a menu of spiked coffees and for-fee dessert items like a gelato sandwich or sundae.
Gastrobar (Deck 5), a la carte
Meals: L, D
Gastrobar is the ship's home for craft beer and comfort food. A la carte small and large plates dish up elevated pub food like truffle fries or pork buns, plus flatbreads. Gastro opens at 4 p.m. on most days but is open for lunch at noon on sea days. On those days, it's a casual place to grab a burger and a beer and watch the afternoon game.
Chef's Table (Deck 5); $199 per person; $279 per couple
Held in Murano once per cruise, Chef's Table is a multicourse culinary experience, paired with wine, guest-starring the head chef onboard.
Celebrity stands out for having several upper-level accommodations that allow access to exclusive restaurants and lounges. If you're traveling as a group, plan to book into the same category because only suite passengers are allowed to eat in Luminae and Blu is reserved for AquaClass. While passengers in the more expensive cabins can choose to eat in the main dining room, their friends can't join them in the VIP venues.
All cabins have two twins that can be pushed together to form a queen bed. Some staterooms are also equipped with either a sofa bed and/or an upper pull-down bunk bed to accommodate a third or fourth passenger. Cabins also have a safe, a mini-fridge and an interactive TV. Wardrobe space is plentiful, but shelf space is limited. Cabins have hair dryers, and there are both European and American outlets.
Standard bathrooms are well laid out, with a glass shower door, tiled floors and plenty of shelving, as well as a couple of small drawers and cabinets for storage. The free bath amenities (shampoo, conditioner, soap bar and lotion) are Gilchrist and Soames.
Interior: Inside cabins on Equinox are comfortably sized, at 183 to 200 square feet.
Oceanview: Standard ocean-view rooms are 177 square feet, essentially the same as the interiors, but with a window. Ocean-view family suites are 575 square feet. These latter cabins have a second bedroom with a single twin bed, as well as a sofa bed in the living room.
Balcony: Standard balcony cabins run 194 square feet with 54-square-foot balconies. Balcony furniture consists of a round wooden table and two mesh lounge chairs.
Concierge Class: Concierge Class cabins are identical to regular balcony cabins, but they're distinguished by their premier locations -- higher up, facing the back -- and include perks like priority check-in and debarkation, welcome bubbly, Frette bathrobes, a pillow menu, massaging showerhead in the bathroom and access to an expanded room service breakfast menu. There's also an exclusive pre-departure lounge onboard with free coffee and juices for passengers staying in Concierge Class or above cabins.
AquaClass: AquaClass cabins (also the same size as standard balconies, with the same configuration) give passengers access to the AquaSpa relaxation room (with padded daybeds and ocean views), the Persian Garden (pre- and post-treatment grottos with steam, dry heat and aromatherapy) and Blu restaurant.
Special perks include fluffier bathrobes and towels, as well as AquaSpa "amenity kits" that include foot spray, lip balm and relaxation mist. Cruisers in AquaClass cabins also get fresh iced tea and canapes daily, as well as an upgraded (and healthier) room service menu. The bathroom has spa products, and the shower has a five-head Hansgrohe setup.
Suites: All suite passengers have access to the Retreat, a private lounge; Luminae, the stunning suite-only restaurant; a butler; in-room lunch and dinner service; evening hors d'oeuvres; complimentary espresso; and other perks that might include an exclusive sail-away party on the helipad.
Sky Suites: Entry-level Sky Suites are 300 square feet with a 79-square-foot balcony. They feature larger TVs, mini-fridges and shower-tub combos.
Celebrity Suites: These suites (394 square feet with 104-square-foot balconies) add yet more space, a distinct separation between bedroom and living room, plus two TVs.
Royal Suites: At 590 square feet with 158-square-foot balconies, Royal Suites come with added amenities such as a wet bar, dining room table, walk-in closet in the bedroom and a whirlpool on the balcony.
Penthouse Suites: Equinox's top accommodations are its 1,291-square-foot Penthouse Suites, each with floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors leading onto a 389-square-foot balcony, a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, a marble master bath (including a 26-inch TV), a separate living room, a full bar and a baby grand piano. The huge balconies feature plenty of lounge seating and a whirlpool each.