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                                                   Celebrity Equinox-May 2023

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                             05.20.2023   On the road again

    Hey Now! Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends! This will be a first over here at flysrb.com headquarters. On a boat out on the ocean. We have never cruised before. And I guess it almost becomes obligatory after one reaches a certain age. Sweet Ti & I both count in that category. So Resorts was giving away cruise certificates in January 2023 and I snagged one. The offer was for several itineraries and durations in the Caribbean. Inside cabins, 2 persons. Typical land casino offer. I have been getting the same kind of offers for years, but we really weren't that interested in cruising. I did a bit of research into Celebrity. Pretty classy line. We especially were drawn to the lack of kids on these ships. Brilliant!  We decided on a 6 night cruise out of Port Everglades onboard the Celebrity Equinox.    

 Time to do my homework. Cruise Critic- the best source I've found for accurate up to date info on everything cruising. I checked out the prime veranda rooms on the Equinox. We are going to try and upgrade to a nicer room. I see 8343 is a 1A Prime Veranda- the balcony is bigger that average on this ship. It's available too. Granted it's as far aft as you can get without being a sunset veranda or a sky suite. I call the number on the cert. which is the Blue Chip Club. Their player's club. After a brief hold I talk to a Host and am able to snag an upgrade to that specific room for right around a thousand bucks, including taxes and fees. We will take it. We added a Zero Proof beverage package and basic Wifi.  

  I had racked up a bunch of Skymiles during the Plague along with 300. in mileage certificates from AMEX. I booked an award flight and used the certificates to pay for another ticket. Total cost: 48. We are flying in the night before so I booked a room at Rodeway Inn.  120.00. They offer free airport and cruise terminal transfers.  

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 We got pulled by TSA at RIC by a rookie. First day on the job. I had all of our meds in my backpack, they were in clear gallon baggies. He asked about several items, cough drops, pills, etc. Then he spotted a bag of ginger chews. I told him we were going on a cruise and they were for seasickness. That diverted his attention from the backpack and he let us through. The flights were on time and we made our way down to the sunshine state. At FLL we grabbed our checked bags and the shuttle pickup spot was right around the corner. After a few minutes they showed up. We checked in and found our room. Looked like a typical cheap hotel room. Bit musty but serviceable. The central courtyard was quite nice actually. 

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 There's a nice little convenience store inside the lobby along with a bar that had a very good girl band playing. There was also a Quinceañera Party going on in the breakfast nook. Bubbles abounding. All being simulcast on Instadram or wherever. 

                                              05.21.2023     Ship of Fools

    Hey Now! We are up and packed hours before our boarding time, which is 11:30. I gather coffee Elizabeth and eventually we make our way to the breakfast buffet, such as it is. This is where all of the selfies were happening last night and there's glitter and fairy dust scattered everywhere. We hang out and watch the place fill up with strange and exotic people. Lots of Canadians. They're everywhere. We are supposed to be in the lobby by 10:45 so that's what we do. Pretty good crowd ahead of us. Some Canadians inform us they are still waiting on the 10:00 bus. Everything is running behind on account of there's only one driver for both routes. Good the ship doesn't leave till 4 p.m. The 10:00 bus finally arrives and there's a pretty good crowd left to catch the next one. So we all sit around and ask each other very nosy and personal questions that we would never do anywhere else. Lots more Canadians. Great travel stories. Then an entirely new group of tourists shows up in the lobby. They are from Korea and are going to the airport. Here we have a dilemma. So when the bus gets back from the cruise terminal, we are told that the Koreans need to get to the airport for their flight. We are going to have to wait a bit longer. The Canadians contemplate a revolt. It never materializes. But eventually the bus does. We are greeted by many friendly smiling faces from Celebrity as we enter Terminal 25. Beautiful space. Celebrity took a shot of each of us. Photo ID is what they now use for ship ingress and egress. They have this down to a science. Boom, we are onboard. 

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 The first place we are led to is our muster station which is on Deck 5 in the Tuscan Grill.  Specialty restaurant. Right in the aft of the ship. We didn't make plans to eat here this trip. Maybe next time. Incredible views. Our perky girl gave us the drill and we all made our solemn oath to meet here when we hit that iceberg. Too soon?  

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  We are just rubbernecking our way around the ship. I wanted to stop by the MDR (main dining room) and talk to the Maitre d  but was told he wasn't available. We have anytime dining and wanted a table for 2 available at a certain time. We were summarily dismissed by one on the head waiters. "Just show up- no reservations needed." Okay then. We made the long walk from the elevators aft to our room on deck 8. Wow. Our sea passes were there along with our checked bags. We moved in and our attendant showed up. Jenny Lyn. 

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 It's a beautiful room. Slightly bigger than a regular room but the balcony is much larger. We have a bulkhead for a wall to our aft so there's only 1 adjoining balcony. Jenny Lyn brings an extension cord and a gallon of distilled water for Sweet Ti's CPAP. Toke, toke. Let's find this buffet that everybody on CC is either raving about or dissing on. Of course the place is packed. But we find our way around, there's no shortage of tempting food items there. The only thing we aren't quite sure of yet is the drinks. The coffee, iced tea, water, and juice dispensers are self service. From concentrate, so it's mostly water. except the coffee, which is Lavazza. We swore off anything except coffee and milk from the dispensers. Turns out that our Zero Proof package comes with bottled tea, soda, water, and specialty coffees. We will figure it out eventually. Time for a serious walkabout y'all!

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  We could get used to this. One nice thing about the way this ship is laid out is that it never really feels crowded. Even when the buffet is packed there's just so much space you don't really notice. There's a spot I want to check out that's sort of a secret spot. It's called the Spa Veranda. You have to go through the spa AND the fitness center to get there. Hardly anyone uses it. 

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                               The hula girls were having launch party. They Lei(d) me. Mahalo!

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 We are getting better at finding our way around. We watched the ship leave port and in due time made our way down to the casino.

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 There's no smoking anywhere inside the ship. There's only a couple of smoking areas outside too. It's so nice to play in a smoke free casino. We both played on my card and hopefully our play will generate an offer or two. We hit the buffet for some desert and crash. 

                                   05.22.2023   Come with me- to the sea

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Hey Now! How cool is this waking up halfway in the middle of nowhere with my Sweet Ti. Life is good. I buttle coffee Elizabeth and when I return our continental breakfast has been delivered. They are charging for room service now except for that. We enjoy our repast on the balcony. Or at least we were until our next door neighbors fired up a nasty ass cigarette. Really y'all?????? I have an event planned for later this morning anyway. I booked a behind the scenes tour of the ship. I'm really looking forward to this. But first I have a walkabout.

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                                                    Sky observation lounge

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 I actually have to wear long pants and closed toed shoes to this which kinda makes sense. We are touring the laundry, engine room, recycling, galley and pantry, main dining room, and finally, the bridge. It was EPIC! 

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                     The tour lasted over 2 hours and provided a wealth of information. I highly recommend it!

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 Hey Now! The odds are lousy, but the conversion rate to tier points vs slots is 2:1 which in this day and age isn't that bad.  

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                                                        Portapotty door  

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              We are supposed to be setting up our Hot Glass class we signed up for. But every time we went by there wasn't anyone there. Finally they showed up and we are all set. Wed. @ 11am.  

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                                                     Our mascot Stretch 

     And speaking of fowl, we were exploring the forward area of the upper decks when my Sweet Ti discovered this little goody-      

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                                            She is christened Turganga Leela    

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                                               Who even knew that Cruising Ducks was even a thing.

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                                          Georgetown, Grand Cayman   05.23.2023

 Hey Now! Land Ho. We are tendered here for the day. Which basically means the ship is treading water. One of the things they went over  in the tour was the Azipods. They are kinda like Space Balls propulsion units. "Put her in Hover Barf"  

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            Great view from our balcony. I'm really glad we got the large economy sized one. Very nice place for breakfast. They started tender service promptly and made several announcements. We can't really make out the announcements in our room -much less on the balcony. If you happen to have the TV tuned to the Where is the Ship Channel you can hear it thru the TV speakers. Otherwise you have to walk out into the hallway. I only hope if there's an emergency they have a better way of communicating. After our repast we make our way slowly aloft to the Solarium.   

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                                                    Queen of the Library

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 You've gotta love being in port for the lack of people milling about. We had the Solarium more or less to ourselves. Hot Tub Lovin'! 

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  This is the life. And yet I can't sit still but so long. Once the crowds had somewhat dissipated I made my way down to Deck 4 to make a souvenir run. Or so I thought. There was absolute chaos around the gangway. Nobody was directing traffic. People were lined up tight and when the boat came alongside there wasn't any place for the passengers arriving. I got out of the way. Departure consisted of scanning my Sea Pass along with a face scan. The ride was smooth as glass.   

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  Quaint village. All I did was walk across the main drag into the first tourist joint I saw and grabbed 3 fridge magnets. Then I retraced my steps and caught the same boat I got here on. Whole thing took less than 10 minutes. 

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 I found my Sweet Ti at the Spa Café enjoying a plethora of small plates. They do a very nice job with these. 

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                                                                  Now our door got Leid

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                                 During sailaway we got to see the Azipods in action as the ship did a 360.     

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                                  The famous Martini Bar. Popular spot for drunks and soon to be drunks.

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                                                   Free hot dogs on a bun!!!!

       As we were leaving the casino I noticed that my IPod was gone from it's holder on the waistband of my shorts. Oh no! I run back to the last machines that we were playing at but no IPod. I ask at the Casino Bar- again no luck. They instruct us to try security. Just as we were walking out of the casino to go down to security a lady walks up to Sweet Ti and asks "Ma'am, is this you?"


                                                   This is the background picture on my IPod

It was a couple that spotted the IPod on the floor. And then they found us! We thank them profusely and offer them a reward. They wouldn't hear of it. But the rest of the trip every time we see them we wave and thank them again. Not only are all of our photos and videos are on there along with tons of downloaded music. Codgers are us. Just now, it's time for the fabulous production number, Topper!

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    Well, it was certainly an interesting um, show. A bit too heavy on song and light on acrobatics but maybe that's just from seeing too many Cirque shows in Vegas. Since the restart it's probably been harder for them to find performers. But it was ok. Not much of a crowd.

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                                                      Once again I came in last.                                      

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  What a lovely day! We are settling right in to this lifestyle. The buffet is taking care of all of our meals. Reading about all of the cutbacks on Celebrity on Cruise Critic, we didn't find any problem with the service or selections. Of course, we never knew what it was like before. I can see us doing this sort of thing on a regular basis.....                             

                                                                                               Cozumel     05.24.2023 

 Hey Now! Well, Happy 67th Birthday to me! I love waking up and walking outside on the balcony. I see the coast of Mexico, we seem to be following the coastline. I make a coffee Elizabeth run and we relax outside and ease our way into the day. We have our Hot Glass class later on this morning. Other than that we haven't any plans to excurse. Except for fridge magnets of course. We had a nice buffet breakfast as we have now run out of order forms for room service. We keep forgetting to ask Jenny Lyn for more. oh well. We walked out on deck to watch the ship dock at Cozumel, Mexico. 

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 It's a beautiful morning but it feels like it's gonna be hotter than hell pretty soon. We go by the Hot Glass studio and the boys are running behind. They have 1 customer in front of us. Seth takes our orders- we have a choice of several designs to choose from.

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 Sweet Ti picks a starfish with Conner, and I choose a jellyfish with Seth. We also get to pick 3 colors each to accent the pieces. Sweet Ti makes friends with the wife of the customer they are giving the class to and they sit and chat. I have another walkabout.

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                                               Finally, it's Ti's turn to try her hand. 

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                                                                     And now mine.

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                                                  Just a couple of blow jobs!


  We actually picked up the pieces a couple of days later. I decide to have a short walkabout to do my usual souvenir scavenger hunt. 

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                                              How to shop in 20 minutes or less.....

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 We take advantage of the lack of humanity on the ship and have a leisurely lunch at the OV and enjoyed the scenery. 

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                             Then we hang out at the Solarium more or less all by ourselves.  

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               Well, maybe with the exception of Hiresh. This guy follows us everywhere on the ship. Actually just the OV and here, but still. Hiresh's mother is visiting New Orleans from their home in Granada. We are getting the play by play reporting each day of her escapades.   

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                           They are always cleaning and painting and repairing something around here....


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                                                                                         At sea   05.25.2023

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                                                                                                      Bimini  05.26.2023

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                                             Port Everglades    05.27.2023

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