Celebrity Summit Med Cruise - Nice but Not Spectacular
Below is a very quick review of our experience on our recent cruise to the Med on the Celebrity Summit. Please keep in mind, everyone has their own opinions and I am certain not all of my comments would be shared by other cruisers who sailed on this particular sailing.
The ship itself was in good shape, mostly clean with minor repairs needed. For example, the chairs in the Rendevous lounge, one of the main lounges, appear in need of great repair and seem to be the originals from the ship's launch in 2000. However, the ship appeared mostly in good shape. This ship was recently in dry dock.
We found the food to be very mediocre and our best meal in the formal dining room came the 2nd to the last night of our 12-day cruise. Up in the Waterfall Cafe' the "informal" evening meals were of the same variety each and every night - you had a choice of sushi, asian food or pasta. The asian selection was quite tasty, the sushi quite dry and the pasta (no matter what ingredients added to it) quite tasteless. On this particular cruise we were quite disappointed to say overall that our best meals were breakfast - except for the bacon which was fatty and rarely cooked to crispness. We did note that the best day to get bacon was the last day when we were in port awaiting disembarkation. I am convinced this is an intentional tactic to stir people away from eating probably what is their most expensive breakfast item. I know it sounds crazy, but I truly believe it to be the case. We did have great service in the main dining room, however, it was very professional and not personal. In general, on other cruise lines we took the time to get to know our waiters personally. Our service team rarely had time to talk or just didn't seem to want to. But I must say, they were extremely professional and always had the desire to make sure we were completely satisfied. In all cases, delivering the correct order and allow for multiple orderings of entrees. One item which also constantly annoyed our party was the taking of pictures while eating. Yes, this is done by most cruise lines but does not live up to Celebrity's "upscale" reputation. Additionally, the photographer never asks "would you like your picture taken". It's simply "ok, by yourself or you two get together"...etc.
The shows were hit and miss...they had 2 "large scale productions" during this 12-day cruise - typically what you would get in a 7 day cruise. The shows were hit and miss, the first being excellent. The second, very mediocre. The entertainment around the ship was also very mediocre. We met each night at the Rendevouz Lounge. The band Diamond Quartet sang pretty much the same set/songs each evening. You do have to give it up to the lead singer as he truly tries his best to enjoy what he is doing. But the sets get very old quickly. The entertainment throughout the ship was just mediocre.
The friendliness of the staff and crew did seem to be a "notch" above most other lines on which we have sailed. When returning to the ship from port, security would "welcome you home". One thing I did notice however was that any Celebrity representation was missing at disembarkation. This always irritates me as this is their chance to tell their guests "thanks for sailing", etc - a last chance to leave their guests on a positive note. They did have 10 or so staff members lined up, standing just near the main atrium stairwell but they said nothing and you would not have seen them unless your turned around as you disembarked the ship. In fact, there appeared to be no Celebrity representation anywhere between actual disembarkation and the luggage warehouse. This has amazed me as we have experienced with other lines. Very recently, we have noticed that one line has improved greatly in this regard.
Our cabin steward (Gatot) and his assistant were probably the best we have ever experienced. They were attentive to every need and called us by name each time they saw us.
Since we had sailed on Royal Caribbean several times previous and the privileges cross RCCL brands, we were invited to the "repeat passenger" party. This could not even compare to other lines' passenger parties in terms of food and drink offered. On one day, they also held a Captain's Toast which was scheduled for 15 minutes each. Very tacky to us. In fact, the Captain was very impersonal on this particular ship. At noon on the last day, he made an announcement from the bridge regarding our current position, how many miles we had traveled since Ville France, temperature, etc. At then end of his update he simply said "we hope you have an enjoyable trip home".
One additional item which we felt we would not experience on an apparent "upscale" cruise line was the placement - 2 times throughout the cruise - of our running "Sea Pass" account total. It was folded and placed behind the room number placard on the outside of our cabin door. They did not place in an envelope. Very tacky.
We were also displeased with them pulling into a port and then charging to take their shuttle, transporting us to the main downtown/center of 3 different ports. In Venice, Celebrity charged 20.00 to take the tender to town. Likewise, we were billed 10.00 by Celebrity to take the shuttle into each of Debrovnic and Livorno. It simply did not sit well with us. We talked that we would much rather them just add it to the price of the cruise.
We did notice that the price for drinks were quite a bit higher than other lines which we have sailed recently. A 12 ounce Bud-light, for example, was 5.00 (excluding the atuomatic 15% tip). A Corona was 6.00 (excluding the automatic 15% tip). Not that we did not have a very high "Sea Pass" bill at the end of the cruise, but drinks were pricier than what we have experienced recently. Keep in mind, also, that everything is in US dollars do some may see this as a "deal" when comparing the dollar vs. the Euro.
I do have to commend them on the itinerary they put together. We visited so many great ports and will have memories from each port for most of a lifetime.
Overall, we had a decent experience but were not too impressed with the Celebrity brand. Our party of 8 was pretty much in agreement that we would "probably not" sail on Celebrity in the future. We simply did not see the things that others have reported to make this a line which stands out.
Did you post this on Reader's Reviews or Cruise Reviews? That would be the proper place for it. If someone is wanting to check out the ship or itinerary, your views would be read there, along with others to give a balanced view. We were on the Summit for 14 days in December and disagree with you on almost every point!
The food in the DR was exceptionally good, wait staff professional but also very personable. At the buffet we also enjoyed very good food, even crisp bacon (although we rarely eat heavy breakfast foods like bacon and eggs and stick to fruit, cereal, nuts etc.) entertainment was usual ships entertainment but very good. Music venues throughout the ship were also very enjoyable....Jefferson Ang, concert pianist Avner Arad, Elk Island Quartet, etc
I felt obliged to reply to this post as it paints such a dreary picture of life on the Summit. I maintain that one's attitude colors a lot one's experience. I will board the next Celebrity ship with a big smile on my face and the knowledge that I am one of the few lucky people in this world who can go on a beautiful ship and enjoy all it has to offer. I hope I never become so callous as to board with a critical eye and a constant comparing attitude. (Not to suggest this was the case with the poster). Perhaps part of the problem was that the poster's expectations were for "upscale" cruise experience and in fact, it is better but not a lot different than RCL.
On disembarkation, the staff were there as we lined up, but the cruisers leaving were so rude and impatient, that the staff could say little. What on earth would you expect from the captain other than "I hope you have an enjoyable trip home".......perhaps a personal handshake with each passenger?
Our next cruise (always Celebrity!) will be with best friends who are virgin cruisers. It will be good to see things through their eyes and enjoy the experience with them.
After having been on approximately 40 cruises, I have the experience and knowledge (and a great attitude!) to know the difference between a great product and a mediocre one. Actually RCCL was much better than Celebrity. And what would be the problem with "expecting" an "upscale" experience? Sail on...
Yes, you obviously have lots of cruising experience. We love RCL as well, but it doesn't quite measure up to Celeb in our experience. As I said in my post I was not necessarily saying that the OP had a bad attitude etc. but it is often the case with the more seasoned cruiser to be more critical. As has been said many times on these boards, Celebrity is considered 'upscale' but numerous posters felt that it was not. Still, all in all, a great cruise line. Sorry your experience on Summit was not all you had hoped. I apologize if you took my post as a personal insult.