We took an UBER to the terminal for 10:30am… the drive from our condo to the Port of Miami was literally 5 minutes and the view is just spectacular.
We got dropped off and breezed through security and check in. We waited maybe 10 minutes for them to start boarding and since we had Concierge staterooms we boarded right after suite guests. When you board a Celebrity ship although you may not be in an extravagant atrium you are greeted with a glass of champagne and for us that was the perfect start to our vacation! Embarkation was on Deck 5 so we went straight to Cafe al Bacio where we immediately upgraded our drink packages from the Classic Beverage package to the Premium Beverage package. (We had the Classic package as part of our 2 free perks which included wi-fi as well as on-board credits). I believe the upgrade cost was $10 USD per person per day. They will do it right there at the Cafe and at any bar on the ship. This way we didn’t pay for any of the specialty coffees at the Cafe which is normally a la carte pricing if you aren’t on the beverage package.
After a coffee and latte we made our way up to deck 14 to the Oceanview Cafe to check out the beautiful buffet – we love how Celebrity arranges the buffet around “pods” vs a traditional long-line buffet. This helps disperse the crowds well. We never felt the buffet was crowded as long as we didn’t get there at 12pm. We would usually arrive around 1pm on our sea days and were able to get our food with almost no wait.
One of our favourite spots to sit down is at the back / aft of Oceanview Cafe. It’s outdoor seating and as Canadians we just needed to get some of that sun. By that point it was 11:30am and we needed to make better use of our beverage packages and had some nice drinks soaking in the Miami sun! We strolled up to the lawn club on 15 – since our travelling partners had never been on a Solstice class ship it was neat seeing their reaction to having live grass on board a cruise ship. The glass show is now closed on this ship and hoping they put in the restaurant that is on some of the other Solstice ships soon. Unfortunately there is a smoking area up here and we found the smoke quite strong on some days while up on the lawn club.
At this point our group split up for a bit and we spent some time at the pool… on the Equinox there are two pools (one deeper than the other) as well as the Solarium pool and hot tubs. So there are plenty of places to soak depending on your mood.
By 1:30 we had enough sun and they announced our staterooms were ready. We ventured down to our cabin on deck 11 and were pleasantly surprised at how large our cabin was, especially the balcony. We chose a slanted “hump” balcony and we loved how large it was. Enough to have probably 8 people on it and we could stretch out on the loungers they provided. Definitely worth the small additional price we paid for Concierge. Note that not all Concierge rooms are this large but you have to seek out these “hump” balconies. A good place to start is to examine the deck plans – we like to use Cruise Critic deck plans because you can also see some reviews of specific cabins: https://www.cruisecritic.com/celebrity-equinox-deck-plans/dp/
We had barely checked out our room when our luggage arrived and we unpacked, met our room steward and then headed down for the General Emergency and Lifeboat Drill. On Celebrity they mainly just have you watch a quick video and then you are on your way! We returned to our rooms to get ready for our first dinner in the main dining room. But before we did that we wanted to check out the sail away party and watch as we left Miami. This is almost always one of our favourite parts of a cruise and the sun was shining as we left the Port and sailed out to sea!
We had Select dining which meant we could go to Deck 4 of the Silhouette Restaurant and eat at anytime between 5:30pm – 9:15pm. We love Select and not having to always be there at a certain time. With that said, we did seem to dine around 6:00pm every night and the staff were exceptional, giving us the same server every night we were there. Dinner each night was exceptional – we ate in the main dining room every night except for one specialty night. The food and service was just that good that we didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else!
After dinner we checked out the Martini Bar and Crush on Deck 4 – which became one of our favourite places. Those bartenders know how to make some great drinks and they are very entertaining. Each night we would watch the Celebrity show and this night was Comedian Rich Aranovitch who was very funny.
After the show we had a few drinks at the various bars on the ship – there are so many to choose from! Some of our favourites were the Ensemble Lounge and the Sunset Bar out on Deck 15. The day was a long one so we got to bed early and ready for our first day at Sea!
There is so much to do on Embarkation day that it’s hard to do it all. We will be posting the dailies given out so you can plan out what you may want to do. Keep in mind Celebrity is always changing this up but at least you will have a general idea of what to expect.
Celebrity Today: Day 1 Embarkation Day