Length: 964 ft
The third ship in the Millennium-class, she has the "Solsticized" enhancements adding Blu and Qsine.Best For People Who Want
Spacious cabins with good amenities; suites with butlers; private balconies; sophisticated touches like a piano lounge, martini/caviar bar, full-service florist; extensive spa facilities.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A vibrant, high-energy environment with Broadway shows. Venue for singles and children; an all-inclusive luxury experience.Onboard Experience
You will notice the relaxing and elegant atmosphere onboard Summit the moment you cross the gangway. As your cruise progresses, gentle reminders that you're aboard one of the most sophisticated ships in the "premium" range of cruise lines will appear.
The tone is set early in the cruise. Representatives from each of the ship's activity options set up poolside tables to answer questions of arriving guests on embarkation day. Whether it's spa appointments, questions about Internet rates or casino gaming, it's a nice touch to begin the cruise. There is enough variety in onboard activities, enrichment lectures, and quality entertainment to keep almost any type of cruiser happy -- all led by a friendly and energetic Cruise Director and his staff.
Over the past decade we've noticed a change in the attitude of staff on Celebrity ships. They've moved from delivering a professional but reserved service, to a still professional but friendlier service. Positive change in our view, and clearly exhibited on our Summit cruise with friendly, yet excellent, service throughout.
The only drawback we encountered in service came when "Elite" members of Celebrity's repeat passenger program, Concierge Club, and suite passengers are offered priority embarkation and disembarkation, along with other perks. The number of those who qualify seems to have grown so large that it is hard to deliver the perks. Check-in lines were shorter for regular passengers.
On the final morning VIP and Suite passengers were invited to wait comfortably in Ocean Liners Restaurant to enjoy a continental breakfast, but still had to wait for their colored luggage tags to be called rather than the promised priority disembarkation.Decor
Celebrity's designers deserve an ovation for their ingenious fusion of contemporary, Old World, Art Deco and chic resort influences. The highlight is the central atrium with glorious amounts of natural light on the edges and a stunning white onyx stairway down the center. The translucent staircase glows with internal yellow neon light and is lined with three-story-high mahogany pillars surrounded by long golden flowing curtains. Altogether, the combination is a visual delight.
Vast expanses of glass and beechwood bisect mahogany-paneled walls, most adorned with provocative works of art. Design accents include golden velveteen and suede brocades, burled woods, and ornate topiaries.
Elegant striped, floral, or patterned fabrics in pastel distinguish the stateroom decor, along with Deco lighting fixtures, and marble desktops.Public Rooms
During the Solticization upgrade the ship received AquaClass® staterooms and the popular restaurant, Blu, exclusively for AquaClass guests. She also has the Celebrity iLounge - essentially an "Apple Computer" store at sea where you can participate in the iLearn enrichment series or buy the latest high-tech gadget from Apple.
They also added the "uniquely unordinary restaurant, Qsine," with a menu and wine list presented on an iPad and the ultra-cool, ice-topped Martini Bar.
The busiest public rooms onboard Summit are the Champagne and Martini Bars on Deck 5 and the Rendezvous Lounge on Deck 4. These large lounges, located just forward of the two level dining room, span port to starboard.
Though the dance floor is located in the Rendezvous Lounge, a circular hole in the middle of the Champagne/Martini bar above opens to the Rendezvous Lounge below. This allows both lounges to share the live music emanating from the Rendezvous. One can opt for the Champagne/Martini Bar lounge, and it's more upscale art deco design, or the more casual Rendezvous Lounge below.
I particularly liked the handle straps on the seatbacks in both these lounges, making it easier for passengers and staff to move them around as needed.
Originally the ship's Cigar Bar, Michael's Club, forward of the casino on deck four, is now used as the singalong Piano Bar. It offers a very sophisticated, intimate, yet clubby atmosphere, with high backed leather chairs, and cocktail tables used to create small groupings.
The Cova Café, on deck five atop the three-deck tall Centrum (atrium), is an excellent people watching spot with free fancy pastries as well as specialty coffees available at an extra cost. A talented a capella singing group entertains patrons in the evenings.
Fortunes Casino, deck four mid-ship, is roomy and features the normal variety of table games; including craps and a recently added Texas Hold'em poker table. Numerous slot machines include one-cent slots. TV screens behind the small service bar show sports events -- though the staff seems to favor showing mostly soccer games.
As with many Celebrity ship lounges, the forward observation lounge on deck 11, which becomes a disco at night, is comparably breathtaking. The three-deck Celebrity Theater seats 901 for Broadway-style floor shows, and around 890 enjoy unobstructed sight lines. What appears to be torches around its periphery are in fact blue and orange lights projected on a strip of thin cloth blown by a fan from below. They give the venue a warm, flickering glow.
But , oh the views from the exterior glass elevators. These lead to the 15-store shopping emporium featuring such notable designers as Donna Karan, H. Stern, Escada Sport and Tommy Hilfiger. You can choose from Swarovski crystal to Fendi purses. The elegant alternative dining room, Ocean Liners, will steal your breath away.
"Words" is the name of the library on Sky Deck. It is open around the clock and books are borrowed on the honor system rather than having a staff member with limited hours checking the books in and out.
The three-deck Celebrity Theater seats 901 for Broadway-style floorshows, and around 890 enjoy unobstructed sight lines. What appear to be live torches on the periphery of the audience are in fact blue and orange lights projecting on a strip of thin cloth blown by a fan from below. They give the venue a flickering glow.
The cyber café, off the Centrum on deck four, has 18 computers in comfortable surroundings offering Internet access with rates from 75 cents per minute to package rates of 250 minutes for $100. Wi-fi service is available in public areas at the same rates if you bring your laptop, though Internet service in the staterooms is not available, except in the top suites.Cuisine
Celebrity Cruises was long associated with the culinary guidance of 3-star Michelin chef Michel Roux of London. That association began when Celebrity was under the auspices of John Chandris and lasted almost two decades before the line sought the guidance of dining expert Elizabeth Blau.
Now, Celebrity Cruises' reveals that within Blau's portfolio of culinary experts was one that the line grew so fond of they have tapped him as the "go-to guy." New Vice President of Food & Beverage, Jacques Van Staden is now in charge of creating the menus for each of the ten different dining destinations onboard Solstice and all other Celebrity ships as well.Restaurants
The Normandie alternative restaurant, an homage to the famous French liner regarded by many as the finest passenger ship ever built, aspires to be among the finest restaurants at sea. The three-hour dinner ($25 per person surcharge; an additional $27.95 for five paired wines) is pure theater, a flourish of waiters in white tie cooking flambée entrees table-side (watch you toupee!). The service that is outstanding here, but the food quality was only slightly better than the dining room due to the a la minute aspect of delivering searing hot food to the table. There are signature dishes not found elsewhere onboard, including Rack of Lamb en Croute and Chateaubriand for two. The impressive list of international wines ranges in price from $18 to $450 a bottle.
QSine: This restaurant replaces the Silk Harvest restaurants of Asian fusion cuisines found on Solstice and Equinox. The restaurant features unusual shared dishes served in quixotic presentations. Describes are a "tapas-like" experience, the cuisine is tasty and just plain fun. The cuisine was specially designed by Celebrity executive chef Jacques Van Staden. Surcharge.
The very elegant two-level Cosmopolitan Dining Room is located in the stern with two-deck-high glass windows welcoming warm, natural light and offering remarkable views of the sea. Its tables are widely spaced enough to permit conversation at sub-shouting levels. The Lido café, deck 10, offers casual dining from 6:30 a.m. to half past midnight, including lunch and breakfast buffets, pizza, afternoon tea and late night snacks. Four buffet lines make for little waiting, and floor to ceiling windows and glass floor areas provide excellent views of the sea.
The Seaside Café attempts to alleviate waiting and congestion by breaking the two buffet lines into separate areas with offerings changing daily. There is a separate sandwich counter aft, as well as pizza, Asian food and pasta stations.
Because it is a cafeteria style buffet line, even with the attempted separation, we found people in the buffet lines running into the pasta line from the other way. During breakfast hours the sandwich station serves made to order pancakes and waffles with a selection of toppings. Many people seem to never discover this area, so service is fast, and the pancakes are hot and fluffy, and the waffles excellent.
This rear section of the café, called the Grill, is also the place for casual dinner, served a la carte. Reservations are required and dinner is served between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. There's also a sushi service here in the evenings. Outdoors at poolside, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts and fries are available during the day. On some nights Summit lays out themed midnight buffets. 24-hour room service is also available
For healthy fare, the Aqua Spa Café by the thelassotherapy pool serves breakfast, lunch and extremely light dinners; all cold items, nothing cooked. Menu offerings include high-nutrition, low-fat cereals, yogurt, bagels and the like for breakfast. Later in the day, cold plates like apple/walnut salad, citrus marinated salmon, tortilla wraps and cold soups are on tap.
All passengers can also order room service meals from the lunch and dinner menus during the hours those meals are being served. Continental Breakfast room service only is offered except for those with Concierge-class or suite-level cabins. For an out-of-cabin continental breakfast experience, don't miss the absolutely decadent pastries at the Cova Cafe Milano.Service
The service on our sailing was exceptional. A decade ago one would find Celebrity Cruises' staff very professional yet stoic in service. These days, they are encouraged to make the service friendly as well as professional. Beyond exceptional is the tuxedo-clad service in the Ocean Liners specialty restaurant.Tipping
Celebrity suggests a per-person per-day gratuity of $3.50 for the waiter, butler (Suites only) and stateroom attendant; $4.00 for Concierge Class stateroom attendant; $2.00 for the Assistant Waiter; and $.75 for the Assistant Maitre d' and the Assistant Chief Housekeeper.
All guests are given a form to sign if they wish to have these gratuities charged to their shipboard account. Children under 12 who are the third or fourth person in the stateroom pay only half these amounts. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.Entertainment
Celebrity production shows include terrific special effects, and the quality of performances by the Celebrity Singers and Dancers displays excellent talent. Various headline performances throughout the cruise include typical cruise ship fare: comedians, ventriloquists, pianists, etc. depending on when you cruise.
During-the-day activities include dance lessons, trivia contests, Pictionary, brain-teasers, charades, napkin-folding and arts and crafts classes, as well as enrichment lectures on various topics, which change on different sailings.
Summit offers a movie theater for near current-run feature films. With any luck you will catch something you really wanted to see when it was first released, but our selection did not seem to be as adult oriented as the passenger mix.
Nightclubs include Michael's Club, an elegant setting for crooning and tickling the ivory. The Rendezvous lounge features live music. The Martini and Champagne Bar serves what the name implies. The Bar at the Edge of the Earth on Deck 11 has various theme parties throughout the cruise, like Mardi Gras night, where participants are given bead necklaces and Mardi Gras style masks. The room décor is bizarre, but the cruise staff does an excellent job of energizing the crowds and making the parties fun.Cabins
Summit has some of the best designed and most comfortable staterooms afloat, with such amenities as television with closed-circuit movies, CNN and pay-per-view first run movies; direct dial phones, bathrobes, a stocked mini-refrigerator; and bathrooms with a shower and built-in shampoo and soap dispensers, vanity and hair dryer. Celebrity offers CNN and ESPN international feeds rather than U.S programming.
From the least expensive insides to outside balcony cabins, the staterooms are beautifully decorated in soft hues with comfortable beds and seating options. They serve as an oasis of calm away from other parts of the ship. Standard inside and outside staterooms are 172-sq. ft., with good storage space. The lovely balcony cabins measure 184 sq. ft. There are 26 wheelchair-accessible staterooms, including several suites.
Concierge-level and suite guests get handheld hair dryers, but there's nowhere to plug them in; you must use them at the desk/vanity area rather than the bathroom.
"Concierge Class" staterooms are 191 square feet with a 41-square-foot veranda. They include welcome-aboard champagne, fresh flowers and fruit, afternoon canapés, a leather key holder, personalized stationery, oversized tote bag, and upgraded mattresses and bedding.
Priority services promised include priority luggage delivery, dining time and seating preferences, shoe shine service, VIP invitations to exclusive shipboard events, priority shore excursion bookings, early embarkation and disembarkation, and a one-touch button on the phone to reach a Concierge Class desk representative directly.
A changed we noticed since our last Celebrity cruise was that invitations to VIP events were discontinued, and replaced by a calendar of VIP events waiting in your cabin when you board. Then, as the cruise progressed, the events were listed in the ship's daily newsletter, as they were to occur, with a note telling those guests eligible to check their calendar for where and when the event is held.
This new system took away from the more personal feeling of receiving an invitation, and in my view also told non-eligible guests that there was a special event occurring, but they weren't important enough to attend.
Butlers attend the residents of suites, of which there are several types. The Sky Suite (254 to 362 sq. ft) has walk-in closets, whirlpool tubs and the large balcony.
Not quite big enough? Then consider Celebrity Suites (498 sq. ft.), Royal Suites (562 sq. ft.), or even the two enormous (1,690 sq. ft.) Penthouse Suites, with 180-degree views from the balconies.
For great value in pricing and excellent accommodation try the Category FV cabins located on the stern corners of each passenger deck. They are 245 sq. ft, with a sliding door which separates the sleeping area from the sitting area (with two sofas that are hide-a-beds), and a 275 sq. ft balcony. These are not considered suites and do not come with the accompanying amenities, which translates into great value because they are priced lower than suites, sky suites, or concierge class cabins.
Do note that many Concierge Class and the Deluxe Oceanview cabins on the Sky Deck are rather overshadowed by the overhanging deck above.Fitness/Spa
buffs will be pleased with the glass-enclosed fitness center offering 14 treadmills, 12 exercise bikes, six stair-steppers, two rowers and free weights. Aerobics classes are scheduled throughout the day. Personal training, a body composition test, an Alpha massage capsule, and destress and detox packages are offered at various fees.
At 25,000 square feet, the adults-only AquaSpa is one of the most spacious afloat. The jewel of the fitness area is the highly atmospheric, relaxing Thalassotherapy pool, a sort of saltwater Jacuzzi, in which you'll feel as though you've retreated into a different world altogether (a small fee for use all day). The Persian Garden aromatherapy oasis is a nice place to meditate for an additional charge.
Treatments administered by Steiner's of London are by no means inexpensive but usually booked solid anyway. Get 20 percent off if you book on sailing day, and watch for specials on treatments while the ship is in port.
At $29, the "Frangipani" treatment, a scalp, neck and shoulder massage, is by far the best value on offer. There are also exotic "Sensory Heaven" treatments, such as the float massage, haiku ritual facial and an "aroma stone massage."Attire
There are two formal nights on a seven-night cruise, three on longer ones. On two informal nights gentlemen need only jackets and no ties. On formal nights most men turn up in dark suits rather than tuxedos, while ladies choose dressy pantsuits or dresses. By day, don't even consider wearing anything other than shorts, sneakers, polo shirt and a baseball cap.
We love the new Celebrity Summit since it has now been "Solsticized" and we are Thrilled that Celebrity Cruise lines No LONGER serves Foie Gras due to the torture invloved in creating this liver dish. Now my family and friends can finally enjoy dinig at Normandie and The Murano restaurants! We did celebrate by partaking in the "Five Senses" wine pairing dinner at the Normandie.
The ship has a Hip and Modern feel mainly in the new venues including: BLU Restaurant, Bistro on 5 cafe, Cafe al Bacio, and Martini/Crush Bar. We LOVE Blu and we think the outdoor pool area is actually nicer than on the solstice class ships. It has a better flowing design and the 2nd pool is deeper. The Solarium on the Summit is not as Stunning as on the solstice ships, however, the pool is much, much, nicer: thallsotherapy pool and 4 large spigets that will massage your neck and shoulders.
The theatre is not noticably smaller and has comfortable bench seating and better shows that we saw on the 12 day Silhouette. The Main Dining room is Gorgeous and we think much prettier than the Solstice "HollywoodGlam" style.
We love this ship and we enjoyed the 5 stops on this cruise. Also, We discovered that you can fly Business/First on American and Delta for a tad more than coach when flying into san Juan. What a treat that was!
We will continue to travel on Celebrity for many reasons, mainly the great service, outstanding food, fun Martini Bar and Beer tastings at Michaels Club.
And now that Foie Gras is no longer available we feel good that we are not condoning animal torture by spending our vaction cash on this cruise line.
My husband and I vacationed on the Summit for one week. This would be our 6th time cruising, but our 1st for Celebrity. For us, this ship would score a 4 star but for food we rank it a 5 star. Keep in mind we are both foodies and love to cook and eat. It was fantastic, both gained 8 pounds in one week :). Luckly it quickly came off when we returned home ;)
An escape to the warm tropical seas of the southern Caribbean and New Year's Eve at sea; that was our Christmas present to each other this year and we were very excited about it. We had only one other cruise and that was about six months earlier on Holland in the Med, so were still pretty new to the whole cruising thing, but if Celebrity was anything like Holland, we knew we were going to have fun. Well, we did have fun, but if our experience was at all representative of Celebrity, we won't be going back.
Now let me begin by telling you that the ship, Summit, was on her last voyage before heading into dry-dock for a renovation. That having been said, I will refrain from comments that pertain to the ship specifically, though in all honesty, it was clean and well kept. We had no issue with that at all. In addition, the service was, for the most part, fantastic. Our major concerns centered on two areas; food and operations.
The food was, well, acceptable. Now for anyone who has never been on a cruise before, you maybe thinking "Acceptable soundsâ€¦acceptable." But that's not true. Cruise ships all about the food. But even that statement is somewhat subjective, so let me give you a few specifics.
For openers, the variety of food was limited. Or there were sever food stations and each had something different, but they were the same each day. Breakfast is kinda tough to fill with an ever changing variety. You got you pastries, pancake-like items, eggs, fruit, cereal, etc. But lunch and dinner can (and in our opinion should) be unique. If only one station had a dish that represented the food from the area, that would be very interesting. For example, while on our Med cruise with Holland, both lunch and dinner included dishes from Greece, Turkey, Croatia, and Italy as we pulled into each respectively. Surly on a Caribbean cruise the ship could have had at least one dish that was representative of the islands; jerk pork, sea bass with mango chutney, even Roti (an Indian-like dish that is actually a local standard). When I mentioned this to a senior restaurant staffer (I'll not mention his title so as to protect him, but he's since left the ship and is now on another Celebrity vessel), he asked if I thought people would actually each local dishes. My wife and I and the other couple dinning with us that evening all looked at each other then back at him as if he were mad. "Of course!" we assured him.
Ok, so enough about variety. The food quality was hit of miss. On the same evening that we chatted with the aforementioned staffer, four of the six of us dinning together that evening ordered the lobster. Two of us sent it back and the other two simply stopped eating. It was awful. It was not edible. But that's not the half of the experience that night. Though what I'm about to tell you was not the norm, it does bear telling. Service that evening was exceptionally slow. We waited a very long time (at least 15 minutes) to get our entrÃ©e, not fed, just the entrÃ©e. There were courses before the entrÃ©e that came just fine, but then we waited. When asked, we were told it was due to the popularity of the lobster, I can only imagine that it was the pre-sampling popularity not the post, which was driving everyone to order it. Never-the-less, lobster is always a popular item and they should be prepared for that. Given that the food is "free" and lobster is so expensive, naturally everyone is going to order it. So, we wait for lobster that's inedible and two of us send it back. Bad enough, but it gets a little worse. Our waiter never returned to see how we liked our meals. Ya know how the waiter always returns to your table to see if you need anything (usually within seconds of your plate arriving and prior to you having a chance to taste anything)? Our waiter disappeared. I'm certain he was busy with other guests, that's completely understandable. But when his assistant (each table has a waiter and an assistant) took back the two lobster dishes, even he could have asked if we wanted something else. Nodda! Now in fairness, a couple of nights prior to this, we had an opposite experience. Basically the same restaurant, different server, he was wrath-like in his attention. So chalk it up to a bad night.
Another food area that really lacked excellence was up on the cafeteria. Each ship usually has a large cafeteria-style restaurant where there are several food stations and it's pretty much self serve. Now, I come from a food service back ground so I understand the challenges associate with buffets. It's difficult to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold and keep everything from drying out, yadda, yadda, yadda. Difficult, but not impossible. On Summit, it just wasn't done right. The only way to ensure hot eggs was to have them make an omelet; the only way to ensure fresh pizza was to wait for it to come out of the oven, and the only way to get hot pancakes was to get them somewhere else. Ironically, when we had this very discussion with the aforementioned senior staff member, he agreed with our lamentation. Incredibly, he too had had a bad experience with each of the items I mentioned. His response? "There was nothing I could do." This was a senior restaurant staff member. He was a boss. If he couldn't do anything to correct an issue he himself experienced, what does he expect the passengers to do? I gotta tell ya, we were pretty flabbergasted when we heard him tell us that one.
Other food related issues a more centered around poor planning. There were a lot of kids on board and as such, things like ice and ice cream were very popular. Naturally they're popular with adults as well, but the sheer volume of people quickly overwhelmed the resources. The ice machines ran out, the ice cream was soft, or gone, or was behind long lines with only a few servers. A question of logistics.
So, enough about the food. The other area of frustration was in the ships operation, Holland just had this part down to a science. At check-in, we all stood in line waiting, waiting, waiting for the staff to check us in. While there were many people doing the job, they just didn't seem to have an efficient flow about the process and as a result, it was a long wait. But even when we did finally get through, the staff dropped the ball. They gave us out key-cards and sent us off toward the ship. When e got to the ship, we realized they'd not told us our room number of how to navigate the ship, nor were there any crew members stationed to direct us! Now, my wife and I are seasoned travelers, so we quickly found our room number and a map, but that's not the point. On Holland, a crew member escorted us to our room, giving us a quick navigational lesson in route.
A final note on operations. It seemed that things were just "tougher" on Summit. When you go to a five star hotel (and nearly all cruise lines make just such a claim), you expect a simple response to all your requests (whether literal of figurative) and that is, "No problem." I'd like a bottle open and wine glasses brought to my room. No problem. I'd like coffee and pastries to breakfast. No problem. I'd like to have dinner with some new friends we met on board. Problem? Most cruise lines have two dining options; timed or open. The timed option means you have a set dinning time and table each night; 8:30 at table 12 with the Smiths and the Jones'. Open means you can dine whenever you wish, though you may have to wait for a table. We opted for open and while on the cruise we made friends with a couple that had chosen timed. In order to have them join us, we had to call guest services who then called the restaurant to facilitate our request. Come on people! It's just dinner! That was pretty frustrating.
So I've written a lot that may lead you to believe that our experience was bad, but that's not the case at all. We had a wonderful time, it just wasn't the quality that we'd come to expect. Perhaps if we'd traveled first with Celebrity before Holland, we wouldn't have the same high expectations. Then again, this was our first cruise on Celebrity and perhaps we should give them a second chance. Perhaps the next time we cruise on Holland we'll have a less wonderful experience (hope not). It is not my intent to dissuade any one from a Celebrity cruise. There are many, many people who love Celebrity and wouldn't consider sailing with anyone else. I hope that like any caring business, Celebrity considers our experience and takes the appropriate actions to ensure the quality of their line is not tarnished. As for my wife and I; as I said earlier, perhaps we'll give Celebrity a second chance, perhaps not.