In my final post concerning this cruise, I would like to do a review of Celebrity and its ship, the Equinox.
First — the good stuff
The Equinox is an absolutely beautiful cruise ship. It is functional and attractive. The bathrooms are the best-designed that we have ever encountered after this our fifth cruise. We would not hesitate to cruise on this ship again.
The staff is extremely well-trained and efficient when it comes to the jobs onboard the vessel and they all smile and greet guests with an appropriate greeting whenever we walk by. Service throughout the ship was exceptional.
Thus, we can make the generalization that pretty much everything that takes place on the cruise ship is done extremely well and commendably.
Now — the bad stuff
However, when guests leave the cruise ship, things tend to break down. It’s almost as if the staff and company do the “Pontius Pilate” routine when a guest leaves, saying to themselves, “They are on their own now.”
A number of experiences illustrate my point.
1. Our arrival at the Fort Lauderdale Airport was handled horrendously. Yes, Celebrity had people waiting for us at the airport; they moved us to an area on the lower level. However, no one told us what was happening as we waited for more than 30 minutes, wondering what was going on. It was only when I went up to one of the representatives that they were a bit forthcoming about our wait. Then, when our shuttle finally arrived, we had to walk a considerable distance to reach it (a person in our party was in a wheel chair). Communication eliminates wonder and anxiety. Pity that the Celebrity staff doesn’t seem to know that.
2. Our excursion in Panama was another example of poor organization and lack of communication. We were called to our excursion after a ridiculous wait in the theater with hundreds of people (poorly orchestrated). When we reached the buses, we were told to wait as two buses were loaded and dispatched. Before long, one of the buses returned and fifteen (15) more people were added. This means that the bus was sent away with fifteen seats unfilled even though people were waiting on the dock (the bus seats 49). We were still waiting. About five minutes later, the second bus returned to the dock and the remainder of the passengers were put on. We were extremely upset as were the people who were originally put on these buses since they had to return to the ship. It turns out that the excursion involved changing to smaller buses (15 people each) part-way through the trip. Anyway, there were no Celebrity staff members outside to coordinate the departure of the excursions (again, it seems that Celebrity doesn’t want any part of you after you leave the ship).
3. Another incident took place at George Town, Grand Cayman. Once again, as we left the ship for our excursion the meeting place was chaos. Too many people in a fairly small space trying to link up with too many tour bus operators. Was there a Celebrity staff member there to take charge? No.
When asked, “would you sail with Celebrity again?,” we would probably answer “yes,” but we will hesitate to book excursions with Celebrity, and we will probably make our own flight and transfer arrangements.