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Bernie Dougherty

Age: 64

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Celebrity Equinox

Sailing Date: 2011-01-17

Itinerary: Caribbean

The ship was new and, although it carries nearly 3,000 guests, it never felt crowded and there were plenty of elevators. It was extremely clean and well-maintained. A BIG plus is that smoking was restricted to certain exterior areas and only one bar. Would definitely cruise aboard the Equinox again, especially if it had the same contingent of officers and crew. Boarding and deboarding was extremely well-organized.

Both breakfast and lunch in the Ocean View eating area consisted of a wide and tasty assortment of foods. The dinner menu featured a choice between a "regular" assortment of dishes, which did not change from day-to-day, and another list, which was different each day. Food was generally excellent but there were one or two occasions where a few members of my group (28) reported the dish, particularly meat or fish, was either cooked insufficiently or too well. The speed of dinner meal service seemed to vary considerably each evening, depending upon which table you happened to be seated, although the entire wait-staff was extremely courteous.

Well-furnished, very clean, and decent-sized. All of our group opted for veranda cabins, which we utilized almost every morning for coffee, delivered by very efficient room-service.

The captain was seen often throughout the ship, and both the cruise director and the entertainment coordinator were outstanding. They were seemingly everywhere...all of the time. A wide variety of activities were organized everyday, ranging from a "Ryder Cup" putting contest on REAL grass (more like the rough than a green), to trivial pursuit games, to cooking demonstrations, to dance contests featuring both guests and officers. A former White House staffer presented several very interesting "behind-the-scenes"lectures. The evening entertainment shows were generally quite good, and included an outstanding ventriloquist. My group had early dinner seating and attended the second show, which typically began at 9:00 pm. One suggestion, however, is that follow-on events, such as the "Newly-Wed Game," begin at 10:00 pm, at the conclusion of the main show, rather than starting at 10:45 pm or later.

Our group really spread out and participated in a wide variety of excursions, ranging from snorkeling to taking city tours. The feedback was generally quite good, although many sites, particularly historic buildings, in the city of Cartagena have reached the saturation point in terms of the number of tourists that can reasonably be accommodated. One couple enjoyed water-related activities in Roatan, while most of the rest of us opted to remain on board. Panama City is an amazing sight, with a skyline that rivals any major US metropolitan area, and well worth a walking/riding tour. Those who took the Canal excursions commented that they were extremely interesting. Would have loved to have had more time on Grand Cayman Island, although with the large number of upscale jewelry stores that many of the ladies in our group visited, for the guys perhaps we saved money by having a shorter stay.

We have a group of approximately 30 seasoned cruisers who travel together at least once each year. Overall, the entire group had a WONDERFUL experience aboard the Equinox and would definitely consider using Celebrity again in the future.

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