Yikes, We just got off the Summit about 5 hours ago and so we're still sorting out our feelings about Summit and Celebrity. We took a 7 day cruise on Millie a couple years ago and were favorably impressed. Food, service, cabin, across the board it was wonderful. We chose the 10 day Summit cruise because of the reviews and the fact that it was idenitcal to Millie...figured at least we couldn't get lost. Unfortunately, looks is where the similarities ended. Oh there were some high points to be sure. If you're on Summit don't miss Carlo, the bartender in the Revelations lounge. Amazing guy who know more about liquor than anyone we ever met. And the service was pretty friendly for the most part. Downside? The thing Celebrity hangs its hat on--food. They have cut back to the point that it just isn't special. Here's another tip, on the last formal night in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant, stay away from the lobster. I've had better at Red Lobster. And if it was from Maine, it was only because someone trucked it there from Florida where it was probably caught and then flew it back to the ship. Mine was tough and had a very strange fishy taste. I couldn't swallow it, and we gave up dinner at that point, left the Cosmopolitan and never returned. A couple words on service: On our last trip, it seemed the stateroom attendant was just waiting for us to leave so he could clean up the room, make the bed or replace towels. Not so this trip. The bed was made to be sure and towels were replaced but not with the regularity we remembered from our last Celebrity cruise.
As far as the ports go, great choice. We enjoyed them all. St. Martin is fun shopping (go to the French side). St. Lucia was beautiful and make sure you take a tour of the island, you'll get some wonderful pictures. Barbados was flat, particularly after St. Lucia but nice none the less. People were friendly. St Kitts was also beautiful. There's a great old Fort you can tour (at least that's what we did). Great view for pictures from there.
Also a good place to pick up Caribbean art. Then St. Thomas. Always a pleasure. Snorkelling was fun at Turtle Cove. We recommend booking on the Doubloon. Fun schooner, fun crew, fun rum. Bottom line, cruising is a great bargain vacation. But as far as Celebrity goes, don't buy the hype about their cuisine and "Chef Roux". The food is at best, ordinary and certainly not exceeding expectations. I'll work on a more thorough review in a few days (which I will also send to Celebrity in the expectation that they will be apalled and immediately upgrade the food (hope spings eternal). In the meantime we'll be searching desperately for a cruise line that actually delivers on the food promise. Anybody got any ideas?
Sorry to hear that Summit was lacking so badly. In April we had the best cruise ever, especially food and service. So much so we are booked for March to do the 11 day. I hope it was only a fluke for you and not when we were on last April. What room did you have? Am curious to see if that might have something to do with the room steward/stewardess. Thanks for the reply.
Please say it isn't so--we are waiting anxiously for our trip in March on Summit. & have Constellation booked aftre that. As to formal nights--was the 2nd one on the day of Barbados? That's the night we are considering alternate dining as three formal nights are just too much for us! Hope your review will cover more than food, Like music at the pool & throughout the ship, the pools, T-pool, spa, shows, art work ,& organization of the excursions (whihc we always find lacking on Celeb). Food is always a chance thing but one item that has always made Celeb a bit better than Royal--hope it was a fluke! My hubby is allergic to lobster so that's no loss, but how about some of the other menu items & food service itself? Thanks in advance
Hey Chazaroo...I just got home today also from the 10-night Summit.
The itinerary was great and the weather couldn't have been better. The martini bar with Juanita as your server was the best. Love those chocolate martinis.
I agree, the food was not that great. The first few nights my steak and veal was tough, the lobster was okay. I was disappointed in the dining room food as well. I just went on the Horizon in May to Bermuda and every night the dining room food was great.
The Waterfall Grill was okay for lunch. I stuck with the freshly made pasta and salad.
The Cova cafe was great a great spot to have a latte and fresh croisants. I really enjoyed the Aquaspa food, since it was never crowded and you just walked up and picked up what was there.
I would take this cruise again, the itineary was great. I do think next time I would eat at the Waterfall Grill even for dinner, so I don't have to dress up. The dining room can get really noisy.
The Normandie restaurant though was a bargain and the food was fabulous.
They have also destroyed the Captains Club. Means nothing now, and we payed for it. Now everyone gets in, just apply. The benifits are none existant. They are to busy kissing up to the concearge class passengers.
Can I get MY $35.00 BACK??
This was our 4 Celebrity cruise, we will try Princess next cruise.
For anyone who had paid the $35. to join, which we had in 1995, they sent us a coupon for $50.00 on board credit so I am not going to complain about that. As for the Capt. club extras, we still get the royal treatment after 8 cruises, #9 coming up in March. We were on Millie a few weeks ago and still got extra perks for being a CC member.
As Jeanne&Ellis mentioned you can get a $50 shipboard credit for the fee you paid for CC. Why does it make any difference if one pays $35 to join? I'm not sure I understand your logic that it means nothing now. Seems other lines are also going this way, regarding not charging. Not sure about Princess.
Also, what do you mean by "kissing up to the Concierge Class"?
I think the point being made is that if everyone is a member how is it special--the CC party will be for the entire ship unless you get to a higher level. But on Royal where anyone can be a member, the party was crowded but so much fun. Plenty of food, drink, music & space for all & not too much of a sales pitch . So I am not unhappy--glad to have the shipboard credit on a future cruise. I just need my vacation to be fun & relaxing--not elite. I am glad the Summit writers had more positives to add even if the food wasn't tops.
Glad you had a good cruise. We were in 3094, inside cabin and you're right it probably was attendant related. Luck of the draw. In hindsight we should have let him know what we expected on the first day. That might have solved the problem. As for the food. Again, maybe a fluke but I would plan on the Normandie on any night you see either duck or lobster on the Cosmopolitan menu. Good luck with your next cruise.
Charlie and Yu-chin robb
Well I can see why your room steward might have not been the best. They start out in the lower rooms and have to work their way up to the better rooms, which can also mean bigger tips. I think as you said, you should have spoken to him when you saw things not being done right. They don't want a bad report and that is the way they learn how we cruisers want things done. Good Luck on your next cruise. I will definitely post on our return in March.
Loved the ship, loved the crew. Food was okay -but you had to be very selective. We liked making our own sandwiches (excellent selection) - turkey was very good - not processed, roast pork was terrific as were the make your own pasta selections. We asked for extra fresh garlic to be added - and at dinner the food was presented well. Pasta dishes, dessert and meat dishes were fine. Entertainment was great. Our cabin, 8169 had great service! Doris and Jose took excellent care of us. Room service was on time and hot. Coffee was not good - go to the Cova Cafe for really good coffee.
Cabins have been refurbished on 6th and 8th floors - 7th and 9th still look a bit dowdy.
FOOD could be better for sure, but the value we got for our money was excellent!
Pauli.. I have to agree with you. The value we got for our money was the best. This was the best relaxing cruise itininary I have been on. How can you beat four days at sea and five great ports. I would do this cruise again in a minute.
We took two excursions through Celebrity and they were top notch.
I was at the Cova Cafe every day, even as a breakfast substitute....the croissants were to die for.
The only mistake I made was that I should have sent back my tough meat. But that was my mistake and the next time I will. My other meals in the dining room for the rest of the cruise were great. Our waiter Juan Table 449 was the best. We had shrimp cocktails every night and didn't have to ask. He even brought out other dishes for us to try. He was great and we all rewarded him for it.
My husband and I even got an invitation to sit at the Captain's Table one night with the Hotel Manager....now talk about service.
My cabin 8097 had the best steward, Esther. On the last day when everyone cleared out we asked her if we could see some suites and aft cabins and she set it up for us.
As far as the service on the Summit, every staff member said hello....good morning whenever you passed them. Also, the people on this ship were the friendliest I've ever seen.
Nothing is perfect in life....but a 10-day cruise to the Southern Caribbean on the Summit is pretty darn close!
WE were on the Connie in November and loved everything, or almost anyway. Our biggest disappointment was the build up didn't quite meet the actually experience. Everything was great, but certainly not 110% better than other lines. The major lines, NCL, RCL, Celebity, Princess etc are still mass market products. $ for $ I would take Celebrity, add $100 or more per person give me NCL.
We were also on the ship. This was my second cruise on major ocean liner overcall (Carnival Conquest in Dec. 2002) and I would like to share my full review (long) with you.
PRE-CRUISE: We flew into Fort Lauderdale (2.5 hr from DC National) the day before and took the advantage of a free-night coupon staying at La Quinta Inn airport.
EMBARKATION: La Quinta Inn provides free shuttle service to the pier every hour. We arrived at the port at about 10:20 with two other couples also staying at La Quinta. Apparently, we were too early, as people from last ship still dominated the luggage pick up/drop off area. At 11:10, they began the boarding process for Captain’s Club members and guests with suite. We were the first group after that, and the whole process was very smooth. Since we did the online documentation at home, it took us less than a minute to finish. At 11:45, I had my welcome champagne onboard.
THE SHIP: Summit was launched in 2001, and it is in an excellent shape now. Throughout our cruise, we can see the strong effort to keep the ship in its top form. At St. Kitts, we noted that the anchor was a bit rusty when leaving the ship. And, when we returned, they have painted! Overall, it is a beautiful ship.
THE CABIN: We had a standard balcony cabin at Penhouse Deck. The cabin is nice with plenty of storage. The bathroom was impressively organized, functional and neat layout. We liked the shower unit, spacious with heavier curtain which won’t stick on you. The veranda was large enough for us to sit with a small table to hold coffee or drinks between us.
FOOD: Our top interest of a cruise was not the food. However, we did have a high expectation onboard Summit because we heard a lot of positive comments about the food on Celebrity. And, we were not disappointed. When talking to other people, seems everybody agreed that the food on Celebrity is at the top of major cruise lines. I just list a few examples which I appreciated very much:
1. The delivery of breakfast to our cabin. People complained that the food arrived with a sudden knock on the door on other lines. With Celebrity, a phone call was made to the cabin informing breakfast was on the way. It was a nice touch and avoided the awkwardness of a surprise.
2. Wonderful fresh pastries every morning in the Cova Café Milano. Actually, we found the bakery on Summit was excellent.
3. Low Cal, Low Fat spa lunches in the Spa Café. They were well prepared with great taste and view. Everybody needs some light food sooner or later during the cruise.
4. The sushi bar at Deck 10 every evening. Since we were at first seating, sometime I had a few sushi after show.
5. The specialty restaurant, Normandie. The food in the main restaurant—Cosmopolitan was generally very good. The Normandie was outstanding with many extras. I love the rack of lamb and Michel Roux’s sample dessert so much, the best I have ever had.
6. La Grand Buffet (midnight). We enjoyed watching, and photographing more than eating because not much room left.
Downside: those meat dishes (steak etc.) in Cosmopolitan were not very good, though we had never complained it to the waiter. We ordered seafood, duck etc. later and liked them. The lobster at the final night was not impressive. When we had many other choices, we are ok with that.
Another criticism: the Chinese food buffet on Dec. 20 (at sea) was so-so. Maybe because we are Chinese, and Chinese food won’t be at their best when serving in a buffet style.
ENTERTAINMENT: We went to almost all the evening shows, and we like them. We heard many people comparing the show on Celebrity with those on Carnival. And, some people like Carnival the better. Comparing to Carnival Conquest we took last year, I would say both of them are excellent, with somewhat different style. For production show, Conquest was more like a Vegas show, while Summit was close to Broadway. Summit’s magic show was better than Conquest’s. IMO, the cruise director on Conquest was much better than the cruise director, Simon, on Summit. We appreciated great sense of humor (verbally) more than those funny gesture and body language.
FITNESS: We did our regular exercise in the ocean-view gym every morning of sea day. There are so many equipments including treadmills, bikes, step units, rowers, free weights, and sequenced pieces of equipment for lower-to-upper body development. You need sign-up for the use of treadmill. In the famous AquaSpa resort, our favorite was thalassotherapy pool under a dome. We use it everyday at about 10pm, when usually no more than five persons were there. We spent little time in the main pool area. Maybe because of this time of the year (before Christmas) and the length of the cruise (10 nights), we did not see many kids there.
SERVICE: At mid-thirties, among the younger group of fellow cruisers, we didn’t use a lot of services available. However, we were impressed by service team’s attitude of work. They were diligent and always willing to please you. That why we were happy to give more than recommended amount of tips at the end of cruise. We like those hardworking people who love their job and deserve good rewards, though the service may not be always given to us directly. Those small touches, such as the cool towel provided when returning ship from a hot island visit, were great. What we like the most? The cabin attendant cleaned the rail, glass, and everything in the balcony, at least once everyday. This made we felt that balcony was much more enjoyable than Carnival Conquest a year ago, although at that time, our balcony was one of the biggest on the ship.
An area should be improved: the security personnel were cold and sometime rude. They could, with a poker face, grab your boarding card from your hand suddenly, put in the machine, return it to you without a SINGLE word. How about “welcome back” with a smile?
PORTS OF CALL:
St. Maarten/Martin, Dec. 15: We were not shopping for jewelry etc., so we took a public minivan bus from Philipsburg to Marigot ($1.5pp) on French side first. After strolling the town with a clear view of Fort St. Louis, and a shopping mall, we found not much to do if not shopping. We decided to catch another bus to Grand Case. Although we told the driver where we would like to, we were still on the bus when Grand Case was passed for quite a while. The next interesting place was the famous Orient beach, where the bus finally dropped us on the beach ($3 pp). The driver did us a favor by doing that because the beach is about 1.5 mile away from the bus route. Although Orient beach is famous as a nude beach, most people had their swimming suit on. Topless ladies were not uncommon as well. The beach itself, as Caribbean St. Tropez, is indeed beautiful, with lots of water sport equipment available to rent and enjoy. We hiked uphill back to the bus route. The effort was well worth it. We passed several villages with great view of the colorful villa, beach and bay. We then caught another bus back to Philipsburg ($2.5pp) for some souvenir shopping.
St. Lucia, Dec. 16: We spent most of time on the Land and Sea shore excursion booked with Celebrity. We prefer the Sea portion to the Land portion. We started with the Land portion on a minivan visiting downtown of Castries, a banana plantation, a fishing village, and finally to the volcano. We didn’t feel too well on the way. In addition to people tried to sell you something everywhere which was not unusual in Caribbean Islands, the local people at St. Lucia went further. They wanted to show you their fishing stuff, taking pictures with them. And, they asked you to PAY them for doing that. The volcano is still alive, but nothing spectacular. We have visited those live volcanoes with red lava flows in Hawaii many times. The Sea portion was fun with great view of the coastline of St. Lucia. The twin pitons and Marigot Bay are beautiful.
Barbados, Dec. 17: First, we walked a while in Bridgetown. We heard some negative things about Bridgetown, such as dusty and dirty, before this cruise. But we didn’t see that way. Actually, we like it and think it is an interesting place to spend sometime in. We started our bus adventure again after meeting a couple also from Maryland (Roger and Sara). The bus system of Barbados combining the normal bus and the private minibus is very convenient and cheap, 75c (1.5 Barbados Dollar) per ride. Originally, we planned to go to Gun Hill Signal Station and they liked to visit Sam Lord’s Castle. Because there would be a long wait for the bus to either places, we ended up with a bus to Martins Bay at the east (Atlantic) coast. Nice place with great scenery. The wave was rough and high, which was not good for swimming. After a break for taking some nice pictures, we headed to Bathsheba Bay, also on the east coast, which provided one of the best views of the Atlantic coast. We saw those amazing rock formations frequently shown in Barbados postcards. We also collected some colorful shells and corals. With plenty of time left, we then went to the west (Caribbean) coast, swimming at Church point beach, part of the Golden Coast. We were glad to have the “bus tour” in Barbados, seeing and feeling the local people, their way of living, and their culture.
St, Kitts, Dec. 18: I would like to go to the beaches in the Southeast pan handle while my wife liked to see Brimstone Hill Fortress. So, to show respect to my boss, we took a taxi tour to visit Brimstone Hill Fortress and Romney Manor. The Fortress had an entry fee of $5 per person. At beginning, I hesitated to visit it because we had visited quite a few fortresses before. But, I was glad that we did this one. It is a unique one, and you can see yourself why it is a World Heritage Site. The view at the top of the fortress was gorgeous. You could see several neighboring Caribbean islands in distance. The visiting of Romney Manor, a restored manor house originally built by Thomas Jefferson’s brother William was also interesting. We liked the introduction and display of how the batik fabrics were printed 2500 years ago in Caribelle Batik, and did buy a big batik. We returned to the ship at 1:00. After a quick lunch, we were back on taxi to South Friar beach. We had a good time (about 1.5 hr) for swimming and some snorkeling in the coral reefs about 20-30 m offshore.
St. Thomas, Dec. 19: We heard a lot about the Trunk Bay beach, Virgin Island National Park in St. John. So, we didn’t want to miss that. A 30-min cab ride brought us to Redhook on the east side of St. Thomas, followed by a 20-min ferry ride to Cruz Bay, St. John, then another 10-min cab to Trunk Bay. Not easy, but it was definitely worth the efforts and many fellow cruisers did the same thing. Trunk Bay beach is claimed as the 10 best beaches. This is the best Caribbean beach we have ever seen so far, and very comparable to the best Hawaiian beaches. We enjoyed powder white-sand beach, calm and clear water, and people watching. I like snorkeling, though not an expert, and appreciated the underwater trail very much. This was also my best snorkeling during the whole trip. There was an incident on our way back, when taking a ferry directly to downtown of Charlotte Amalie. One of the two engines failed, and fire and smoke were found on the back of the boat. All passengers were asked to move to the front of the boat. No big deal, except a delay of 10-15 min.
DISEMBARKATION: We had a 3:20pm flight back, so we were ask to go to Celebrity Theater no later than 9:15am after breakfast. Our color was called at 9:45am. We found our luggage easily. The security and custom were tighter than New Orleans a year ago. A cab ride put us in airport at 10:20am. After check-in our bags, we even spent sometime at Fort Lauderdale beach. Not bad, people were swimming there, not me though.
OVERALL: A great, great vacation. And, we will be back on another Celebrity cruise.
We were also on the 12/12 Summit sailing and everything was wonderful, service and staff excellent,,,found out you can't please everybody, but to find so much fault is unfrounded.....
Cathy and Pauli were in our cc group and we had a nice sail-a-way party and our cc party was pretty full....
Don't know what people expect when they cruise, have always found X to be one of the best,,,maybe the disgruntled passengers should try Carnival.
Ann. I tend to agree with you. I think in most cases, people tend to have outrageously high expectations on a cruise, regardless if it's Carnival or Celebrity. Guess that's why when reading these posts, you have to take them with a grain of salt.
I'm sure there are occassions when people have had genuine issues/concerns with certain aspects of their cruise. It is good to hear from people from this same cruise that had an outstanding cruise experience as we will be on Summit in October.
It will be our second Celebrity cruise.
Riverhill. Thanks for all the info. Sounds like you really enjoyed!