Eastern Mediterranean Cruise November 2011
aboard Celebrity Equinox

Friday 18th November 2011

So, here I am, sitting on the sun-drenched balcony of our 'Stateroom' on Celebrity Equinox, with an Internet package sorted out and ready to entertain/bore you (delete as applicable) over the next ten days.

The ship is only two years old and it makes the Queen Mary 2, quite frankly, look complacent and desperately out of date. Gill thinks that Celebrity must have let loose some very talented designers as there's a fair number of 'wow!' moments as you walk around the public areas. We've been on so many cruise ships and can make lots of quick comparisons, and without a shadow of a doubt this is the best-looking ship we've ever been on.

We're delighted to see that, once again, we can have breakfast delivered to our room – I'll never forget sailing into Venice as I tucked into a cooked breakfast on our balcony!

Yesterday we had a more leisurely start to a holiday than usual. We flew from Gatwick at 11.30am and landed at Fiumicino at around 3pm local time. We took a train to Trastevere then a cab to our hotel. We knowTrastevere quite well from our trip to Rome five years ago. Having left our luggage at our hotel we took a tram up to the cat sanctuary at Torre Argentina - we always call there when in Rome.

We then walked around, enjoying the atmosphere, as darkness fell. Then we crossed back over the Tiber to Trastevere and found a restaurant for a quick meal before walking back to our hotel. This was described in its own literature as a 'boutique' hotel, and certainly the photos make this appear justified, but it was modernised way back in 2001 and is now a bit tired-looking. Still, for 99 Euros for the night we weren't complaining.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Real grass on deck 15!
Bar at the stern
Across the lawn to the glass-blowing
demonstration area

After breakfast this morning we to the tram back to Trastevere station and took a one hour journey by train to Civitavecchia to board the Equinox. We arrived at 11.30 and feared that we mightn't be allowed on board before 1pm, but we whizzed through the registration process and were on board by midday.

A comfy sprawl in the sun
Our stateroom
Our stateroom

We had a light lunch in the stunning self-service restaurant before exploring the ship. It actually has real grass on one of the upper decks – I've really no idea how they keep it in such perfect condition with nearly 3,000 passengers on board. There are beautiful bars and quiet areas scattered all over the ship, and apart from the main restaurant there are also small, specialist restaurants that you can book into for an additional charge.

Our balcony
Super swish buffet area
Sky Lounge, overlooking the bows

10.30pm - Back in our cabin following the evening's activities. The show in the theatre was OK-ish, but didn't leave us eagerly awaiting subsequent nights. There was the usual ship's band (quite good, this one), the usual singers and dancers, underwhelming really, a comedy magician/juggler (jury's out on him) and an A Capella group who've already warned us that they'll be popping up all around the ship – hmmmm!

This evening's meal in the gorgeous-looking main restaurant was good. We're on a table of eight people, and the buzz of conversation around us means that it's hard to hear what the people the other side of the table are saying, so contact with them has been limited. Still, there's time.

This is the life!
Leaving Civitavecchia

We're in Messina in Sicily tomorrow but we're not taking a tour – we'll just wander around town a bit.

[next day]
[Messina]   [Valletta]   [Sea Day 1]   [Chania]   [Rhodes]   [Kusadasi]   [Athens]   [Sea Day 2]   [Naples]
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