Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Celebrity Equinox - The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation

On the last evening of our cruise we had a family dinner at Tuscan Grille, the steakhouse on the Celebrity Equinox. It was not planned that Tuscan Grille would be the best place for a family to dine together, but it was.


We were seated at the best table in the house, overlooking the ship’s wash. Beautiful. Everything from the overflowing choices of breads, antipasti that was fantastic,etc. was spot on. Lots of comfort foods and very good to excellent steaks. Fried calamari, crostini with various toppings (tapenade, sundried tomatoes, cheese, etc.), steak tartar, etc., then rib eye, filet mignon, mixed grill all were prepared and presented deliciously. (My rib eye was a bit fattier than I would have liked, but as I was not paying by the ounce or some outrageous ala carte price, simply cutting away that portion was an easy solution.)

Our waiter insisted we at least try the pasta, which I did. It was well prepared in a light tomato sauce; tasting of high quality ingredients. (I must admit we kind of skipped desserts as the meal was so big.) And the wine list was paired very well with the menu. 

Once again the d├ęcor was wonderful. Big leather wingback chairs with beautiful dark wood tables and even unique silverware.

My only disappointment is that we did not dine here earlier. I am usually not a fan of steakhouse cuisine, but the menu variety and preparation was so good and the feel of the restaurant so comfortable that to me calling it a steakhouse is “unfair”.

After packing and a nightcap at the Martini Bar (with its very cool ice bar…pun intended) it was off to our last night’s sleep and a very civilized disembarkation.

The Celebrity Equinox has a new, improved, disembarkation system. Rather than being forced out of your cabin at early hours to huddle in the public areas, you are given a time to meet in a certain area and are disembarked within 5 minutes of getting there. You are also given tags with numbers rather than colors, so when you get to the hall you simply look for your number and your bags are there.

For us, we were given a disembarkation time of 8:45 a.m. and an invitation to a VIP lounge (actually Cellar Masters) where continental breakfast was served. We arrived at 8:20 a.m. for a quick breakfast and Celebrity was so efficient, that we were called to disembark at 8:30 a.m. As we were independent and our car was not to pick us up until 9:00 a.m. we were allowed to stay longer. Very civilized.

A word of caution: Even though Celebrity was very efficient in its disembarkation, the port was very inefficient in getting vans and busses to the pickup area. There was actually a delay of almost an hour so some people were left wandering and wondering where there private transfers were. (And I highly recommend private transfers in Civitavecchia because it is so unfriendly to taxis and so far from any real source of taxis.)