I’m not sure what it is about a Celebrity ship that makes you smile when you first step onboard. Ask anyone who’s cruised on Celebrity and they’ll tell you there is something pleasantly recognizable. It could be the warm welcome and glass of champagne that is handed to you the moment you come through the door. Maybe it’s the similar entrance on many of the ships, whether older or brand new like the Equinox. I’m convinced it’s something in the air…anticipation laced with fond memories of past Celebrity cruises. Having spent over one-hundred nights aboard Celebrity ships over the past four years, it’s like going back to summer camp.
We are sailing for ten nights to the southern Caribbean with port calls at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St. Maarten. Dominica is a new port for me and I am always excited to visit a new Caribbean island. My deluxe balcony cabin is all the way forward on the eighth deck, a bit of a walk from one of two banks of elevators. Sometimes it’s fun to have a cabin at the bow of the ship in rough seas; makes you feel like you’re an old salt. On the other hand, there is something to be said for calm seas and following winds. Today is a beautiful, sunny day and hopefully this weather will continue on our course to Barbados and then turn around and follow us back to Florida.
Embarkation for the Equinox in Ft. Lauderdale is at the beautiful terminal built by Royal Caribbean for the Oasis of the Seas. Needless to say, there are dozens of embarkation agents to speed you through check-in and onto the ship. If you prefer not to encounter hundreds and hundreds of arriving passengers, make sure you don’t arrive at the port between 11:30am and 1pm. That is when the majority of the passengers are in the queues; hungry, tired and a bit grumpy from an early morning flight to Ft. Lauderdale.
Muster was a cinch; no life jackets to wear or having to stand on deck in the hot sun while watching a demonstration on how to don your life jacket, which you are already wearing. Soon we were pulling out of the channel and into the ocean. I chose to wander around, becoming acquainted with the Equinox, the sister ship to the Solstice of which I was quite familiar. Starting at the top on deck 15, I slowly meandered down and around the outside decks, going back inside on deck 5. Heading towards the bow, I make a u-turn and headed to the very aft, walked down a flight and repeated this pattern down to deck 3. With my bearings confirmed I headed back to my room to unpack.
My dining time at 8:30pm afforded me a few minutes pre-dinner to stop at the Guest Relations desk and say “hi” to my old friend, Claudio, the Assistant Guest Relations Manager. There is something to be said for being a repeat passenger with any cruise line. On my last Celebrity cruise, I had the pleasure of getting to know Arno and Joanne, with over 120 Celebrity cruises under their belt and Joyce who has sailed on the Constellation more than anyone else.
Seated at my table in the Silhouette Restaurant on Deck 3, I met my seven new tablemates, had enjoyable conversation and an even more enjoyable dinner. Day one was complete; nine more to go.