Cruising: Life on board

What it's like on a cruise -- description from a 10-day Celebrity Equinox Eastern Caribbean Cruise

I recently returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise with my family. Last week I shared details about all of our port days, but today I wanted to talk a little bit about what it was like on board. We were on the Celebrity Equinox, and had an amazing time. Obviously every cruise line and ship is different, but here’s what I found.

Lots to do; limited time
I found that usually there was a lot going on during sea days. Every night we received a printed schedule of the next day’s activities. Because I’m type A, I had brought a highlighter to mark up the sheet of potential events. One of my favorite events was an evening performance by a magician. I absolutely love magic, so I arrived early with George and got front row seats. He called up volunteers from the audience and both George and I were picked for different parts of the act! It was awesome.

Hanging out poolside at the main pool on the Celebrity Equinox

In addition to the scheduled activities, there were always the pools, bars, gym, and other spaces to explore and hang out in. Even with four total days spent on the boat alone, I would have been happy to keep lounging around, drinking pina coladas, and going to ship events.

Dressed for formal night on the Celebrity Equinox -- thoughts on cruising

I should mention that we had a great time dressing up on the ship-designated formal nights. George had bought me this really fancy dress for Christmas, so I’m glad I had some occasion to wear it. And you’ll see me here gambling(!) on one of those quarter machines with the moving shelves that push stacks of quarters. It was so addicting.

Gambling on a cruise ship -- quarters game

Dressed up for formal night on the cruise | Review of Celebrity Equinox Eastern Caribbean

Staying in touch is hard
For better or worse, it is really hard to stay connected to the main land while on board the cruise ship. My brother bought and shared an Internet package, so I was able to occasionally check email, but it’s impossible to do any serious web surfing.

Busy cruise docks at St. Maarten

I was also surprised to learn that my cell phone carrier, Verizon, also did discounted minutes and data on board, with a plan change in advance. I found the web speeds to be sufficient for email and any short browsing, but I obviously wouldn’t plan to do significant uploads or downloads.

They’ll take your photo if you want (every. single. day.)
On board they have a dozen or so photography staff to take photos. Most often, they are taking photos with a backdrop in the evenings. But they also took pictures when leaving the boat for port days and occasionally the photographers were just roving around the ship.

Group photo from a cruise -- a review of the Celebrity Equinox

My Mom wanted to take group photos with all of us, so we ended up visiting the photographers quite a bit. After I decided I wanted to buy some pictures, I went all in and purchased a photo package.

Taking goofy on board photos -- Celebrity Equinox

After that, George and I took photos at every occasion and racked up quite the stack. Some of the pictures are out of focus and poorly designed, but others are really nice and a great memento from the trip. Plus, after a while, you get tired of the same old poses and start to think of new ideas. It was also nice to be able to share the images with my family that vacationed with us.

Cruise photos with kids-- goofy faces

Great for a family trip
This trip was organized primarily by my Mom, who loves to cruise. My two brothers, and their significant others, my parents, and George and I all traveled together.

Hanging out on the Balconies together on the Celebrity Equinox

We all had rooms together at the back of the boat, and three of us had rooms right in a row. We were able to open up the balconies so that we had one long interconnected space. It was wonderful for pre-dinner cocktail hour and for watching the islands disappear into the distance when we left each stop.

Informal cruise photo from formal night on Celebrity

Beyond the adjoining balconies, cruising in general was a good choice for our group of nine. Every person had privacy in their individual rooms, but it was also easy to spend time together and do activities together. At the very least, we all sat together for dinner each night, which was a nice chance to spend time with my family that all lives in different regions.

Cruise sunset from leaving a port day

Opinions Celebrity cruise line and the Equinox
It’s been many years since my last cruise, and I’ve never been on a Celebrity cruise. While the initial process boarding the ship was really slow and painful, I enjoyed my experience overall. I really liked some of the little touches and upgrades, like nice lounges on deck, champagne when we boarded, and cloth hand towels in the bathrooms. The food was pretty good, although I found the quality of the seated dining experience to fall flat, both in terms of service and in food. It wasn’t outright bad, but it certainly wasn’t impressive on either count. But since that’s the worst that happened, we had an amazing time. All of the staff was wonderfully nice, and the ship was beautiful and modern.

Playing in the pool together

I would certainly consider cruising again, but I doubt I would go with just George and I. It was made so much better by having company and a diverse cast of characters to hang out with.

Leaving port on Eastern Caribbean cruise

Now I’ll just enjoy my tan while it lasts!

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