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.
My wife and I recently completed the six day repositioning cruise from Bayonne, NJ to San Juan PR on Celebrity Summit. It was our sixth cruise overall and first on a Celebrity ship. Also, Summit is the smallest vessel we have sailed. Our sailing dates were October 23 â€“ 29, with stops in Bermuda and St. Thomas.
Summit will be dry docked after Christmas to be "Solstice-ized" so I won't spend too much time talking specifically about the ship. I think most of the changes will be occurring topside with perhaps a few of the lounges being modified for the new specialty restaurants. Here are our overall impressions.
Crew: I should start with the crew because you can't upgrade them and you don't need to. We did have to prompt our stateroom steward a few times for missing items, like shampoo or towels. But once we asked he came through with a smile.
Cabin: We had a balcony stateroom on the Sky deck, right below the Resort (lido) desk. The cabin was adequately roomy and we liked the configuration of the couch closest to the windows. This seemed to create easier access tothe balcony. The balcony itself seemed a little deeper than previous side balconies we have had, though not like an aft balcony. On Summit the Resort deck extended about 12 feet beyond our balcony. As a result we only had direct sun when the sun was very low. Also we could not look up and see the night sky. The door to the mini-fridge and the door of the mini-fridge open in opposite directions. This was cumbersome from time to time.
Shops: I have never seen so many square feet on a ship dedicated to shopping. There must have been eight to ten distinct shops plus kiosk type desks in the center of the ship. This long line of shops plus the photo gallery below served to cut off the theatre from the rest of the ship. I did have the chance to buy a pair of $2.29 nail clippers and was disappointed that Celebrity does not sell a biodegradable sun lotion that is becoming increasingly preferred in the Caribbean.
Dining: We were impressed with the roominess of the buffet area on the Resort deck as well as the main dining room. Most of the food on the buffet was only average and pizza was poor, it was bready and they were pretty tight with the toppings. The burgers by pool side were quite delicious though. The food in the MDR was tasty but not the best I have ever had at sea. The servings were more the sufficient. Cleaning one's plate might not leave room for dessert. The top dessert we had was the soufflé.
worst cruise ever. royal suites are horrible, butler service is nil. Please dont bother with this cruise line, you will be sooooooooooo disappointed!!!
My partner and I just returned from another wonderful Celebrity vacation, just a week ago. This particular cruise we chose to do a back-to-back cruise on board the GTS Celebrity Summit. The itinerary was as follows:
September 5-12: Bermuda, sailing out of Cape Liberty September 12-26: New England and Canada, sailing out of Cape Liberty
We have only been cruising for about 10-years now, so we do not quite have our Masters in the High Seas, but we have sailed many times with 95% of our cruises on Celebrity. The other two were on Princess (an awful experience as noted on another review - staying on the banks of the Amazon would have been better) and Carnival (which was fine for a first cruise to get my feet wet).
Our Concierge Class cabin was 9038. We have stayed in this cabin on all of the M-class Celebrity ships. The room is nice and provides a "bump-out" veranda, which is close to two times the size of an average veranda. The views forward and aft are amazing - as well as directly out to sea. We also like being directly belowthe Spa.
So, our flight into New York was uneventful thanks to American Airlines. We overnighted at the Marriott Residence (if you have the opportunity, the Courtyard next door is a star higher). Our adopted Jewish mother, Parrot Mom, e-mailed us Saturday evening to let us know the Summit was going to be late coming into Bayonne as the ship had battled a couple of days at sea thanks to an earlier hurricane. Rather than an early arrival, we opted to arrive around 2:30 or 3 PM, which was smart. Others who did not get the message were waiting to board for many hours. We breezed right through check-in, got our Sea Pass cards and joined the throng of cruisers waiting. The =X= ship had recently arrived, so passengers were still in the process of disembarking and the crew was cleaning her for our voyage.
We boarded around 5 PM and set sail just after 8 PM. The red, white and blue lights from the Bayonne Bridge were beautiful. We were serenaded all through sail-away (and our dinner on our veranda) by our neighbors who brought along their guitar. It was peaceful and beautiful listening to them both sing for a couple of hours.
After two days at sea we enjoyed docking at the Royal Naval Dockyard. We followed an avid Bermuda-Cruiser's advice and decided to work our way back in. That is, our first port day we took the ferry out to St. George's. (We purchased the two-day ferry / bus pass - great deal!!). The high-speed ferry was a nice ride. We enjoyed the sun, while we had it. St. George's seemed like a sleepy town. Lots of shops, but truthfully we never saw much of anything we wanted to bring back. Perfume shops seemed to be the big push from =X= and St. George's. We visited the "Unfinished Church" which was amazing to see, and also the Somer's Garden which was a great experience. We had a Dark and Stormy and a Rum Swizzle at the Swizzle Inn, along with a huge plate of excellent Nachos! This was after our tour of Crystal Caves (which was a joke to us). The tour guide "Ron" at Crystal Caves was over the top. Actually, he aided in ruining the experience. Just an awful, awful guide. Nonetheless, the drinks at the Swizzle Inn took that bad vide away!
The following day we took the ferry to Hamilton which was a bustling town. Hit the touristy shops on Front Street. The HAL Veendam was docked there as well, but there wasn't too much traffic. When we returned from Hamilton we decided to do a Jet Ski tour. In Bermuda one cannot take off on a Jet Ski rental, but must go in a group. This was fine. The Yamaha jet skis were all brand new and large! The "tour" was about 60-70 minutes. There were around 8 of us. Our leader took us all over, under the "Worlds Smallest Drawbridge", through St. Georges, and even out in the Atlantic! At one point he had to come back to me (I was the last in the formation) and told me I needed to "keep up with the group". After awhile I abated the fear of wiping out and had a blast. While we were skiing in the ocean, the skies opened up and it began to rain. If you haven't been on a Jet Ski while raining, it feels like little needles all over your body! All in all, it was very fun.
Our last day we stayed local in Dockyard and visited the craft market, stores, the fort or Dockyard and had an amazing lunch at the Frog and Onion. We tried hopping on the little white train that stops at the ship (complimentary) and takes you through Dockyard, but the train would always stop at the NCL ship first, so when it got to =X=, it was full of NCL passengers... and they weren't getting off! Once again, we walked to the town, which is a very nice walk around the marina and only takes about 10-15 minutes.
We walked up to the man-made beach at Dockyard, where they boast of Jet Skis (not the two we rented, which was right at the Marina and ferry ticket booth), a food court, canopied bed areas to lounge about, etc. We took one look, walked around for maybe 15-minutes and left. To us, it was a joke. They were trying to get us to come back for an evening party and kept saying, "And we have beautiful girls... lots of beautiful girls... " yeah, whatever, LOL. It looked like a younger party scene anyway. Just kind of trashy and blah.
Luckily for us we were in between hurricanes. As we were having lunch at the Frog and Onion, once again the clouds opened up but this time it was a non-stop downpour. The thunder claps were some of the loudest I have heard. Soon thereafter we were back on the ship and headed back to Cape Liberty, with another day at sea.
Bermuda was a great trip. I proposed to my partner on the journey back to the US, so it will be memorable for us. While we would consider going back to Bermuda, we prefer the Polynesian Islands and other Caribbean islands to Bermuda. It was a fairly clean island though and glad we were able to go!
When we arrived back in Bayonne, we were able to disembark quickly as we were sailing on the New England / Canada voyage as well. We visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty while we waited for our second boarding. Visiting Lady Liberty is an emotional experience, or it was for us. What we both found not only endearing but warm-hearted were the thousands of tourists we saw and how ethnically and culturally diverse everyone was... not the stereo-typical White person, but so many groups were there to honor and respect our country's freedom and one of the symbols of her freedom. I found myself being extremely proud to be an American... and we found ourselves very proud for walking up to the crown in Lady Liberty. It was a memorable experience, for our legs and calves as well as our well-being!
When we re-boarded the ship, there was a slight problem with our Sea Pass cards. They ushered us over to a couch and kept us content on champagne while we waited. Then it was time to sail away, again!
This was our second time on a 14-day N.E. / Canada cruise. The colors were just beginning to turn, but we saw many deep reds and oranges while in Canada.
We had 5 "Sea Days" along with the following ports:
Newport, Rhode Island: Our second favorite port on this cruise. Typical white-steepled churches, quaint shops and very nice locals. We took the morning and traipsed around the marina-town and later took an excursion to see the Mansions and do the Cliff Walk. We saw the Breakers (Vanderbilt's) mansion, which was a great tour! The Cliff walk was partial, but so glad we did it. The weather was nice, sunny with some clouds. Tour directors were great and the people we met were fun!
Boston, Mass.: We couldn't wait to arrive in Boston. Our adopted Jewish parents live here, Parrot Mom & Parrot Pop. They picked us up at the pier in the late morning. After some great hugs and a port-side reunion, we hopped in the car and Parrot Pop drove us to the Prudential Building where we boarded a WW2 amphibious vehicle for the Boston Duck Tour. It was an 80-minute tour and quite nice! The tour guide was hilarious and informative. After the tour we were treated to lunch at Skip Jacks, where we had by far, the absolute BEST lobster rolls (1/2 pound of meat!), clam chowder, Bloody Marys and Steamer clams. This was followed by the restaurants very own and famous Chocolate Bread Pudding. We made the trip back to our Summit, said some tearful farewells and re-boarded.
Portland, Maine: After arriving, we quickly boarded our coach and headed for downtown Portland, where we enjoyed a down-town educational tour. Then we were taken to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport where we enjoyed more history from our luxurious coach, a couple of hours of shopping and clam-eating (the best fried clams is at the Clam Shack!) and strolling through this very quaint town. I have to say though (and being a liberal doesn't spark this question), why does Bush fly his TEXAN flag at his estate in Maine? I was put off by that alone... oh well. I digress...
Bar Harbor, Maine: (Otherwise known as "Baaa Haaaba"). The last time we visited this quaint village, was during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. We didn't get to see much. This time however, we were able to enjoy our walk through town. Enjoyed a repeat lunch at Geddy's (Crab and Lobster sammies, but not as good as Skip Jacks!). We found a couple of pet stores where we enjoyed spending time and buying souvenirs for our "Bear" who we had to leave at home. The shop keepers and shops themselves are fun to visit. The people are nice, and [generally] quite happy to visit and welcome you... except for one shop, "Sun Catchers". We won't get into it here, but will be posting a negative review on the shop keeper. In short, one of the grumpiest, unhappy people we've ever met. We felt compelled to actually picket his store after his abrasive and rude treatment, but thought better of it. We decided to just snap a picture and post on the Internet. Much better coverage that way!
Halifax, Nova Scotia: Again, the last time we were here it was pouring down rain and we did not see much. We enjoyed this visit very much. We took the HOHO bus on their three different routes. We enjoyed getting off at various spots such as the Citadel, Public Gardens (a true Victorian garden) and downtown Halifax. We walked, and walked and walked. Had a wonderful lunch at a cozy jazz club / pub tucked far away from the tourists! There were a lot of bees though! Early in the morning we were enjoying some coffee and pastries at a coffee house, across from where the ship was docked and the bees just came out of nowhere! We found lots of bees in Prince Edward Island and Quebec too, though. Interesting.
Quebec City, Quebec: Our favorite port on this cruise. We overnighted here and enjoyed our two days in Quebec. We walked through Old Town the first day. We found a jeweler who was able to repair my partner's bracelet. The cobblestone streets make for a good workout, too! We found a French pastry shop and brought back to our cabin some yummy maple desserts! The second day we tried to get lost away from all the tourists. We took the funicular to upper or "new" town, walked through the Chateau Frontenac and then found a cozy little restaurant where we enjoyed first-hand, Canadian French Crepes for breakfast! What an amazing experience! We tried the ham and cheese crepes with Béchamel sauce... truly it was a wonderful treat. We found that most shop keepers and locals appreciate a "Bon Jour" or "Merci". This really goes a long way with the locals. Even if one doesn't speak French. They appreciate the tourist respecting their homeland and native language. Sadly, we found so many tourists and cruisers who really didn't care... or wouldn't make an effort (remember the term, "Ugly American"?) Of course then there are the tourists who sport their HUGE red, white and blue flag covered sweat shirts, ball caps, American slogans, etc. I don't get it... you're in someone else's country, and you're advertising your own. Hello? The weather was amazing the first day, and the second day we experienced cold and lots of rain! We made it in time to our ship where we were cozy and cocooned in the Aqua Spa. We floated around in the Thalassotherapy Pool and watched the rains come down, pretty hard as we sailed away from our favorite port.
Charlottetown, P.E.I.: I really tried to get into the "Anne of Green Gables" movie before we left home, so I would understand this fictional person and her hometown. I couldn't, but still enjoyed Charlottetown! The town is very walk-able. It appeared as though they have a large theater following, and were currently running, "Hairspray", starring George Wendt as Edna! It's a shame a matinee was not playing, as we would have enjoyed watching the show. Instead, we walked and walked, taking pictures of churches, gardens and the beautiful sea before us. We stopped for lunch at the Lobster Wharf for a (you guessed it) lobster lunch and then strolled through the terminal where we enjoyed the local artisan crafts. We boarded the ship and sadly bid our farewell to Canada and prepared for two glorious days at sea.
So I'm afraid we weren't able to share too many "exciting" events at our ports of call. This particular cruise was a wind-down for us. It wasn't as jam-packed as our European or exotic cruises, but still, just what we needed after a year of work and daily structure! Besides, we have been to most of these ports before, so it was refreshing to step off the vessel and walk around town, taking in whatever new sites we could.
A little about the GTS Celebrity Summit:
Our favorite ship so far is the Constellation. Although she is an older ship, her service speaks volumes. We were under the assumption that the Summit would be a close second, if not a steady tie. We were sadly mistaken. Please don't get us wrong, we immensely enjoyed our two cruises on board the Summit, but it surely isn't the Constellation. No, there were no "pod problems" as one particular avid Princess cruiser continually slams the Celebrity forums about, lol. Not one mechanical problem on either cruise actually (unlike the many on our one Princess cruise). That's a different review though...
Sure the Summit is older and she is beginning to show her wear and tear, but the staff does an amazing job ALL day and ALL night. Every time we stepped foot outside of our cabin we found the staff vacuuming, dusting, sterilizing, wiping down banisters and rails, painting, cleaning... you name it! Yes there is rust in some areas, but come on people... it's a SHIP! She spends between 48 and 52 weeks a year, at sea! To all the crabby and grumpy cruisers who find a chip of rust or worn carpets / wood distasteful, perhaps you're vacationing in the wrong venue. Honestly, by the time we got off the ship, we turned around and looked at her and both of us commented on how quickly they were able to re-paint everything! If not the whole hull, they re-painted a good portion of it. She is still a beautiful ship.
Although the service was great, it was not to be compared with the Constellation... perhaps even a little less than the Infinity. Still, the staff for the most part went out of their way to please every guest. We were more shocked with how many of the tourists spoke to the staff, in condescending tones! I don't know what it is about some vacationers, maybe they're as arrogant and rude at home... but I was always taught to treat others with courtesy, dignity and respect. I wasn't taught to bark orders at someone if I was patronizing their store, hotel or ship.
Food: We read some very mixed reviews on the MDR and other gastronomical venues. In short, we LOVED the MDR. We had a lovely table for 2 (table 537 first leg and table 555 second leg) on Deck 5, overlooking the MDR's 4th deck and a good part of the 5th deck. Our servers on both legs (and Sommelier) were very good and quickly memorized exactly what we liked or preferred. Sure there may have been an "off-night", but don't we all have off-moments? Their service was very good and the food was wonderful. If I could ask for one small change in the menu, it would be to use a little more spice. The food in the MDR was exceptional. The food was always hot, always! We never sent anything back. The portions are smaller as other cruisers have mentioned. This is a GOOD THING! Baked Alaska night was a blast; we enjoyed cheering for our team!
The poolside grill and Waterfall buffet were always good. We enjoyed the inclusion of Indian and Asian cuisine. Also, every night there was a carving station at the buffet where pork chops; steak, turkey and ham were in abundance. Of course the pasta bar, salad bar and pizza stations were good... as always. Sometimes it's nice to get away from the pomp and circumstance and find a quiet table for dinner. We did this a few times!
Normandie is the specialty restaurant. We had dinner here once. Since we had a $1200 cabin credit, we were actually looking forward to having 2 or 3 dinners here; however, once was enough. The quality of the food was amazing, as it always is... but the menu is lacking in options. The M-class specialty restaurants changed up their menus a couple of years ago (minor changes) and with a couple of exceptions, the same items are on there. By the time we ordered wine and an additional gratuity (and the $35 pp charge), we didn't feel it warranted a bill of $120, so opted out. Interestingly the same staff works in the Aqua Spa during the day as well. We found some of their behavior to be a little on the snobby side, which was weird. In Normandie, they were happy as clams, and bent over backwards but during the day at the Aqua Spa, they seemed put off.
Our cabin attendant was good. He was not exceptional, as we've had in the past. I think he had a few off days. His behavior was always respectful and courteous, and he would generally give us anything we needed. I didn't feel that "extra mile" that we feel from most of the staff. We did not give him an additional gratuity, but we did leave some San Francisco gifts from our homeland, for him and the assistant, along with some other goodies.
Charmaine is the Spa Manager and she is remarkable. She remembered us from a Baltic cruise a few years ago and treated us like royalty! We each enjoyed the Persian Gardens (almost daily) as well as hot stone / deep tissue massages. The Spa staff was always friendly and helpful.
We found the entertainment to have been the best we have ever experienced on a Celebrity voyage. Two different magicians (one was amazing, one shouldn't have come on board)... the aerialists were terrific and the Celebrity singers and dancers were superb. They didn't do any hokey numbers, in bad drag. Instead, they remained in professional dresses or evening wear and sang / danced their hearts off. What a refreshing experience for us! They had a special impersonator and she was just spectacular sang and impersonated: Barbara Streisand, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Arron Neville and many others. Definitely the highlight!
Oh yes, the chaise lounge hogs are still there. I think we sat next to the "epitomy" of them all. He strolled through the Aqua Spa area in the morning, and put some of his things on two chaises. He came back sometime after lunch (a few hours later) and put a NOTE on each chair, "We are still here, just across the T. pool on the other side." We were taken aback. He never did come back to sit on the chairs, but his wife did for about 15 minutes, this was well after lunch. Unbelievable.
Yes, the pushy people. One of our gripes (seems they were all cruiser-related, LOL) would be the passengers who, when the elevator door opens, they jump on, without letting other passengers get off first! Hello? Oy vey.
The buffet bandits. These are the people that have to get "every cent" worth... afterall, you hear them say, "I paid for it!" and by golly, their trays, and overflowing plates show it too. I wished Celebrity would show the movie, "Supersize Me". That ought to put a little damper in the greed, wouldn't you think? LOL!
So in short (although this was a little lengthy!) we enjoyed another fine Celebrity cruise, and will be looking forward to sailing with her in the near future. Currently we are booked for a Transatlantic Crossing on the RCL Jewel of the Seas for next September, but for the right itinerary, would definitely hop on board another =X= ship, no questions asked!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write us at: [email protected] We both enjoy international travel and cruising immensely and not too long ago was a board moderator on a cruise board. It seems I am still meeting people!
Happy and safe travels to all.
Why do we cruise? In my experience, we decide where to go and if we have a Cruise Company favorite we try to book with them. Often times we may jump around the industry to find and try a new Company's experience. After that, and aside from the ports, we base our on-board experience upon 3 major items. Our cabin and staff, the entertainment and amenities, and the food. Let's face it, the rule of thirds applies, but I think we weigh heavily on the food. My Wife and I are Foodies. We own and operate a very high-end gourmet food establishment for healthy gourmet and cater some of the most decadent parties involving 5 Star Food. We are predisposed to being hard on chefs, recipes, presentation, and quality. I will never bash a chef for an errant mistake. Kitchen staff are human and we all make mistakes, but there is never an excuse for anything beyond one bad meal. Before I do the ‘food' portion of my review, I'd like to start with the Ship, Cabin and Staff.
The Celebrity Summit is a nice old ship. I am nota fan of the Oasis or Liberty "city" experience. Having been on the Liberty last New Year's and hating the size and crowds, we opted for a nice romantic getaway to New England and Canada. For us, this time was to be mostly about relaxing and recharging. This aspect of our Cruise experience was a homerun! Our Cabin was a Royal Suite. Plush wood, 2 rooms, and a huge bathroom plus the veranda were delicious! While the furniture was old and the couches could have been updated; the bed being a bit too hard for my taste and pillows that never alleviated a sore neck, I was more than willing to overlook this. Our Butler Rikki, was an extraordinary individual who was always eager to please and seemed to anticipate all of our needs and desires, and this is why he got a great tip on our last day. The ship and noticeable from our veranda has quite a bit of rust. Looking up from our balcony and the underside of railings and rigging revealed a ship in need of a major re-paint and refurb.
The wood decking needed sanding and a lot of TLC. The veranda hot-tub was disgusting and uninviting so we declined to use this nice private amenity that could have provided a romantic bonus. The staff tend to clean only what they can see, and many have blinders on. There is a boatload of dust everywhere. In the Waterfall dining area there are several square Plexiglas displays that have paper decoupage' inside them. On the top was a layer of thick dust, and this is in an area where people are eating 4 feet away. I pointed this out the staff and they basically brushed it off almost as business as usual. Again to me, disgusting. So in a nutshell, many areas, the pool, bars, exterior and interior are in need of rehab.
The entertainment is not Broadway, but more like a professional summer-stock theater. Not bad! A couple of decent comedians rounded out the mix. The onboard bands we just ok. They were perfect for the older crowd, but not my cup of tea; and I really wasn't expecting more than what was delivered so I was ok with all of it. I just went with the flow. In all, the onboard experience was perfectly fine. If you wanted to relax, this was ideal. The AquaSpa was terrific as an experience and it attracted the older guests as expected. There are no kids allowed in this pool area so if any parents wanted to retreat for some down-time this was the place to go. The Casino the (Apple) iLounge, and club areas were all great and seemed to be well kept.
The food quality in Main Dining Room (MDR) was always poor and in most every case horrible. We dined with two other couples and we were in constant agreement along with other passengers that the food needed a complete overhaul. One of our tablemates is a vegetarian and her food offerings were disgusting. In fact until the third day of the cruise, none of us had any idea that there was indeed a Vegetarian Menu. A rib-eye streak served to us was ¼ inch thick, tough, and overdone. Food was overcooked, and cold. Dishes were inedible and poorly presented, but the promises for improvement never came. Omelets in the Waterfall were loaded with oil and grease. Poached eggs were hardboiled, and scrambled eggs were a mix of real and powdered. Desserts looked great but tasted disgusting. Simply, there is no fineness to any of the food. Nachos at the outdoor grill were stale, and the burgers and hotdogs simply tasteless. The burgers sat in their own grease before serving. I just don't know where to end this assault on my gastronomic senses. Everything I have learned about food from my mother and in my profession as a gourmet food lover and provider defied logic.
Our first night in the Normandy was mostly a good experience. I had Lobster that seemed to be seasoned with 5 Spice powder. Anise and Lobster do not go together, ever! The service and our 3 other visits to the Normandy were excellent, but at the additional $35/pp fee we found this a necessity to actually enjoy any dinner meal. By about the fourth night we totally gave up on the MDR. Overall and with exception to the Normandy, food quality was poor and this represents at least a third of the cruise experience.
The food service staff are mostly from India, and struggle with every ability to provide quality. Breakfast buffet meals were never really hot, and the struggle to move through the lines and retain a completely hot meal is a challenge. Celebrity touts their food and in no way did it come up to our expectations, and never did it exceed or excel. I have learned as a professional in the Gourmet Food Industry, NEVER over-promise and under-deliver. Now comes the question you really want answered, "Will I cruise on Celebrity again?" I'm really torn about this. Sure, there will be people who say the food was fantastic, and I respectfully say you are nuts, SORRY! I liked the service staff and most everything not associated with the food but unless there is a major change and a commitment to the menu, I can't say for sure that I'd return as a Celebrity guest. As of now and because of the serious problem with the food, I do not recommend Celebrity and in particular the Summit with this Executive Chef.
I am writing to share a problem my husband and I experienced on our 6/15/09 sailing aboard the Celebrity Summit from Venice to Barcelona. We invested $11,998 on the cruise fare alone, opting to upgrade to one of the finest cabins on the ship for a very special occasion: our honeymoon. We never expected what was to follow.
6/15 - We immediately noticed a sewage odor coming from our balcony and felt ill before we even set sail (i.e., nausea, headache, dizziness). We blamed the dock and avoided the balcony.
6/16 - We wanted to enjoy sailing from Venice on our balcony, but the smell was unbearable. We hoped the air quality would improve as we sailed to Croatia.
6/17 - We went to the medical facility and were told there was at least an hour wait. We opted to visit a pharmacy in Croatia so as not to miss out on the port and compromise our trip any further. However, once we were off the ship, the air was fresh, and we started to feel better.
6/17 - Sailing from Croatia at over 20 knots, the foul odor onboard intensified, despite thestrong breeze. At our expense, we e-mailed our agent at Prestige Travel for guidance, and called Guest Services. Guest Services did not respond, and the Hotel Manager was not available. We then stood at the Guest Services desk until the Hotel Manager, the Chief Engineer, the Chief Housekeeper and their assistants came to our cabin to assess the problem. They only acknowledged a "food odor," though it clearly smelled like a dirty toilet. The Chief Engineer suggested they "flush" the black water sewage system. In the interim, we were offered no reparations. Our room could not even be changed as the cruise was reportedly sold out.
6/18 - The sewage odor persisted, less so on our balcony, and more so in our cabin as well as the entire Deck 6 hallway. The cruise staff did not follow up with us, so we called the Hotel Manager again. It was maddening to have to spend any more of our honeymoon dealing with this. The Hotel Manager stated that while compensation would be in order, the nature and extent of that compensation would depend on how quickly the problem was resolved.
6/21 - The Hotel Manager offered us in writing 25% of the value of the cruise base price (i.e.., to compensate for 3 of the 12 days) to be issued as either a cruise credit towards a Celebrity Cruise with restrictions, or the same dollar value to be put towards our charges on our current cruise, with any balance being returned to the credit card provided upon embarkation. This would have been acceptable, except that the foul odor was worse than ever. We asked to reassess the situation towards the end of the cruise since the problem was clearly unresolved. However, as we disembarked, the problem remained unresolved.
A Celebrity Cruises representative in Miami who would only identify himself as "Victor" contacted me days later to extend the same offer. I felt the offer was unfair, so "Victor" agreed to contact me after the July 4th holiday to reach a mutually agreeable decision.
7/10 - "Victor" had not called back, so we called him. We were informed that he was not available and no other associate or supervisor could assist us. We left messages all week for his return call with associates who would only identify themselves as "Audrey" and "Pamela."
7/15 - "Victor" finally returned our call, and we informed him that we felt our cruise fare should be refunded, not just because we were deprived of the cabin experience we paid for, but because we spent our honeymoon inhaling sewage fumes and wasting time trying to solve a problem we did not create with cruise staff and representatives who have resisted every effort to right this wrong. "Victor" stated that refunds are never issued, so I immediately faxed him the original offer that was made in writing by the Hotel Manager. "Victor" stated he would call me back after discussing the matter with his superiors.
7/20 – "Victor" called to state that Celebrity Cruises could only offer 25% of the cruise fare as a cruise credit to be used by us alone over the next calendar year, excluding holidays. He further stated that the original offer from the hotel manager in writing only applied while were on the ship, despite the fact that this was never mentioned, in writing or otherwise, by any member of the cruise staff at any time.
We have shared this information with our travel agency and the following cruise ship executives, without any response to date: Mr. Daniel Hanrahan - President & CEO Mr. Richard Fain - Chairman & CEO Mr. Brian Rice - Executive Vice President & CFO I truly hope that by sharing this information with you, we can help ensure safe and fair travel practices in the future.
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 ;)
We had a 7 night cruise, and didn't find the "wow factor" of this line.
I read reviews before we took our cruise, and saw there was much negative about the wear of the ship. I tried to be open to it...but found it to be so correct. This is an older ship I know, but it is seriously in need of some major renovation! Wow! Interior fabrics are like "what? really?" Rust/corrosion is painted over and so noticeable, railings are really scuffed/worn. There was so much wear, I don't want to nag too much. But sad to say that I have to agree with a lot of the reviews of this ship.
Upon room check in, I asked the room attendant about getting flowers in my room, and she never did anything about it. She must've acted like she wrote it down and understood...but did nothing. Overall she did her job,(not requests) but it was definitely minimal. We've had much better attendants.
The shows were great! Really! :) This was the only thing that stood out to us on the ship. The food was okay, and mostly seemed cooled off whenserved. The buffet was alright. Sad to say that the hamburgers and spaghetti were my favorites for taste and hotness. The adult pool was fantastic, and the St. Lucia band they had on the boat was fantastic!!
We really tried to have an open mind on this boat, but found ourselves saying to each other " i just don't get it." As to how this cruiseline gets the excellent rating, I am unsure of that, unless it's the brand new ships. We may give a new ship a try at some point, but I think our next cruise will be with the princess.
I am taking this opportunity to comment, critique, evaluate my latest Cruise on Celebrity Summit, Sail Date 4/17/2010, Reservation 4697174.
We have taken 5 cruises in the last 5 years with the majority of them on Holland America Lines, the benchmark for all our cruises. We choose Celebrity Cruises because we believe them to be FIRST Class although we had options for other cruise lines with similar itinerary, we were disappointed.
The facilities aboard the Summit were a little lacking in that railings were sanded but not varnished, public bathroom floors were like ice skating rinks, lounge chair covers on the Promenade deck were stained, but most disappointing were our stateroom beds. They were too soft and lumpy resulting in back pains for my wife and me every night after our second night. I did bring this up to the Guest Relations desk to no avail.
The BEST NEWS is that the shipboard personnel were extremely friendly and helpful. In particular the Cosmopolitan dining room servers (Marius and Pauline) were outstanding and our sommelier Fernando provided us exceptional service and choices of wine. The concierge also provided exceptional service in addressing my needs.
Our worst experiencewas at the SS Normandie Restaurant. We had made reservations for the night of Friday April 23 and expected exceptional service and food. We were disappointed on both counts. The service was lacking starting with waiting to be greeted and shown our table to our server’s lack of attention throughout the meal. The food was poorly prepared. I had the filet and lobster, the steak was tough and the lobster was burnt. Although I left the food on my plate, no one until the servers were going to remove our plates, asked if there was anything wrong with the meal or offered to replace the food. I certainly believe this was a waste of money and a devastating experience.
Our second worst experience was at the conclusion of the cruise. After paying extra for transfers from the Pier to EWR airport, marching in the rain to our supposedly buses we found there was no room on the buses, and we had to wait for a returning bus to take us to the airport. After several updates of 15 minutes the bus will be here, 45 minutes later we took a taxi. This was poor planning and execution.
All in all the condition of the ship, the really terrible experience in the Normandy Restaurant and the disembarkation experience has left a BAD TASTE in our mouths for future Celebrity Cruises.
I am sending a copy of this review / evaluation to our travel consultant at AAA so she can advise others of our experience.