Equinox Gallery
Celebrity Equinox ("Solstice-class") << Back Ship Gallery Index

Ship Gallery & Report (Page 2)

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Now part of Royal Caribbean International, ever-increasing demands for variety and quality, coupled with economy and efficiency, resulted in 2008 in the new "Solstice-class" of 122,000grt and 2,850 passengers, their largest and most advanced ships ever, offering sophisticated, stunning interiors and a previously unmatched selection of superb alternative dining choices.

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The Solstice class (2008- )
122,000 grt; length 1,033 ft; 2,850 passengers

The largest ship ever to be built in Germany, Celebrity Solstice entered service in late 2008 to great acclaim. The second ship in the class, Celebrity Equinox entered service in July 2009, followed by Celebrity Eclipse in April 2010, just a few weeks before our planned cruise on her!

(left) Celebrity Solstice had to be delivered backwards from her Meyer-Werft builders at Papenburg, Germany

The "Solstice-class" is uniquely characterised by its two small funnels and by its unusual "ducktail" stern, which improves not only stability & fuel efficiency but also her rather boxey modern design.

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The second ship in the "Solstice-class" to enter service was also the second ship in the class that we travelled on but our initial booking for the Caribbean was cancelled by Celebrity when they extended her European programme.
(left) Equinox at anchor in Santorini & (right) In Southampton in July 2009
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Eastern Mediterranean
20th - 31st October 2011

View the complete Log of this cruise >>

Virtually indentical to Celebrity Eclipse, a more extensive description of the ship's layout can be found on Page 1 - Celebrity Eclipse >>, but here are some of the highlights from Celebrity Equinox.

Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size Accommodation on board Celebrity Equinox
Previously on Eclipse, we had enjoyed a suite but this time, Andrew, Stella, Gerry & I opted for two C3-grade Concierge-class balcony cabins.

As with most modern cabins, it was comfortably appointed, although drawer-space for two people is not generous and wardrobe access is a problem when the bed is set as 2 singles.
( Above: C3-grade Balcony Cabin no.1299 )
The bathroom and shower are reasonably spacious however, with adequate storage for 2; and at least we had our complimentary bottle of bubbly!

Lesley & Peter did have a suite again; this time an S1-grade Sky Suite on the portside corner aft, with a wonderfully nautical window on one side!
(right) S1-grade Sky Suite no.1403 - complete with nautical touches!
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There are though, a few subtle differences between Equinox and her subsequent sister Eclipse. For instance, the main lobby Grand Staircase is set dead-centre, whereas on Eclipse, the staircase and ceiling are deliberately assymetrical (see below); the iconic "flying tree" is also different, while forward in the Theatre Lobby or "Entertainment Court", the staircases are again treated differently.

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The Grand Staircase The "Flying Tree" (Eclipse) Entertainment Court
(left) aboard Eclipse & (right) aboard Equinox

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"Bubble-chairs" in the
Quasar Night Club
Celebrity Central
The Lecture Studio
by Matt Johnson
Drinks Table
Sky Lounge
Spectacular Shows
in the Celebrity Theater

The differences between the 2 ships do not appear to manifest themselves in the stunning main restaurant, which also features the same glass and chrome moving Bottle-Tower as its focal-point.

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Identical to the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room aboard Celebrity Eclipse, we were able to get the same excellent table position, although this time, overcrowding at the next table caused the odd upset. Our stewards however, Cesar Romero Jnr (!) & the stoical Oleksi, were excellent throughout.
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It was so nice to have such an extensive menu to choose from again; and even if the menus were the same as last year, they were too extensive for anyone to notice! Not only was there a nightly changing menu with a substantial selection on it, but there was also the "Menu Classics" to choose from every night, giving us an outstanding choice. Classics Menu >>, First Night Menu >>

But as if the menus in the Silhouette Restaurant were not adventurous enough, there are a number of "Alternative Dining Options", each offering a considerably different style and experience.

Tuscan Grille
This is just one of 4 speciality restaurants aboard, for which there is usually an extra cover charge of $30 per person, unless you are in a Suite, in which case, you get two complimentary bookings.

Show Picture Full Size Here the wonderful aft sea view is matched by an Italian-style menu, served with exceptional flair. It was here I discovered Casserola e Granchio, a lump crab casserole starter that was just divine!
Tuscan Grille Menu >> and (right) Casserola e Granchio >>
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Having enjoyed so much the identical restaurant aboard sister-ship Celebrity Eclipse last year, we all had high expectations but were not disappointed and had a great time. Still keeping my cold at bay, I also had Rustic Seafood Stew and Sea-Bass with Garlic Mash, so it was no surprise I didn't really want a dessert! So I chose the Toffee Panna Cotta, which proved to be the most elaborate of all, arriving with a caramelised strawberry and vanilla ice-cream in a tuile basket! I was stuffed!

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Another venue for dinner for Peter, Lesley, Gerry & I and the more formal of the ship's alternative venues, here the service was impeccable and my Lobster Thermidor was divine. But was it really worth the $40 per person extra cover charge?
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(above) Murano - the Murano Dinner Menu >> & (above right) Lesley's favourite starter, Tian of Gravlax Salmon & Peekytoe Crab

The other 2 main alternatives were Blu, which was the same as on board Celebrity Eclipse but instead of that ship's concept restaurant Qsine, here there was the more traditional Silk Harvest.

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We didn't try this restaurant but the menu is Pan-Asian, a mix of Japanese, Chinese, Thai & Vietnamese. The additional cover charge is $25 but the menu doesn't offer the range of dishes you would expect in most such land-based restaurants.
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In addition, there are the less formal options of dining either in the Bistro on 5, where the speciality is dessert crepes and the cover charge just $5, or in the self-service Ocean View Cafe.

One difference we ourselves made this time was to take advantage of the exclusive daily hospitality offered to Elite members of the Captain's Club each evening at 5pm in Michael's Club where we were plied with canapes and invariably offered more than just one drink!

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Ensemble Lounge Michael's Club The Martini Bar
& its signature "Martini Flight", a 6-Martini sampler!

Mind you, that didn't stop us paying a couple of "loyalty-visits" to our old haunt, the Martini Bar, where the range of Martinis available is matched only by their strength!

NB The complete collection of interiors of Celebrity Eclipse can be viewed on my account here at Captain Martini >>

There is no doubting that, externally at least, the "Solstice-class" will win no prizes for grace or elegance. However, her interiors are simply stunning and yet practical, and while her layout remains fairly traditional, the quality and care that has gone into her uncompromisingly modern styling and the standard of service from her staff have resulted in a ship that exudes quality and elegance from within - which produces contented passengers who will want to return!
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In the 1990's, advertising itself as a "Premium Line", Celebrity Cruises established an outstanding reputation for its cuisine, particularly in the main dining rooms, with its formal presentation and service. However, the Chandris family sold its interests in 1997 to Royal Caribbean and there were rationalisations and economies which were not well received. Happily, these and other concerns were successfully addressed with its 4 "Millennium-class" ships and now, with the introduction of the new 5-ship "Solstice-class", it seems that Celebrity Cruises continues from strength to strength.

To prove the point, we were back aboard Celebrity Eclipse in 2012! see Page 1 - Celebrity Eclipse >>
and then Celebrity Equinox again in 2013!

Celebrity Equinox - Ultimate Caribbean
10th - 23rd February 2013

View the complete Log of this cruise >>

NB: The photos of Celebrity Equinox & all the ports visited on this cruise can be found on my account at Captain Martini >>

Total Mileage aboard
Celebrity Equinox/Eclipse: 13,293 n miles

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