After touring the newly refurbished Celebrity Summit, which has received a number of Solstice-class upgrades (that is, it’s been “Solsticized” ), one thing became utterly apparent: This is one elegant ship … save for some remaining traces of its renovation, which the above photo shows. The public spaces and cabins have been updated with new carpeting, upholstery and furnishings, so the ship gives off a modern vibe with its warm colors and clean lines. It’s sleek, but somehow still welcoming.
Though my first day onboard was a bit hectic (aren’t they all?), I’ve gotten a solid look at Summit over the past 24 hours. My observations:
Refurb Remnants. Paint buckets … check. Wooden planks … check. Caution tape … check. I’m on the second sailing post-refurbishment, so I pretty much figured that I might see some such evidence of the ship’s makeover – after all, dry dock was less than a month ago. From repainting the top-deck basketball court to building new dining tables, there are still little tweaks being made across the ship. But from what I’ve seen thus far, it’ll all be worth it when the work is complete. That said, it would have been better if all the work had been completed before passengers were let onboard.
Muster Fluster. I was called down for the muster drill at about 5 p.m., and since the ship wasn’t scheduled to disembark from San Juan until 8:30, a number of passengers were either still boarding or had yet to board. As it was, we sat at our stations for over a half-hour waiting for instructions and announcements. The captain came over the loud speaker to fill us in on the cruise line’s safety policy and to express condolences over the recent Costa Concordia tragedy. But most passengers seemed to express little concern over safety and were content to chat and sip on cocktails from the ship’s new martini bar. About 45 minutes later I was back in my cabin rushing to dress for my 6 p.m. dinner assignment.
Food Stuff. I’ve been drooling over the pages of Celebrity’s new cookbook, “Excite the Senses,” and looking forward to a real treat. So far, though, the cruise ship standards are just that — pretty standard.
Best so far: I had a tasty black angus burger from the poolside grill, a luxurious dessert of praline-ice-cream-filled profiteroles in the main dining room and creamy fee-free pistachio ice cream from the buffet (I’ll try a treat from the new gelateria soon). And let’s not forget the breakfast bran muffin from room service, but it’s kind of hard to screw up a bran muffin.
Chow that needed some work: The phyllo-wrapped lamb shank I ordered for dinner wasn’t as crispy as promised, and the side of tomato rice lacked flavor and was a bit gummy. While my lobster bisque appetizer had plenty of seafood flavor, there wasn’t one chunk of lobster.
Of course, it’s only Day 1 — there’s still plenty of time for the culinary staff to get into its groove.
Booze Cruise. Here’s a change: I could find free drinks all over (and off) this ship in the cruise’s first hours. In the terminal, there were free strawberry daiquiri samples, and immediately upon embarkation passengers were greeted with a glass of French sparkling wine. There were also buy-one-get-one-free Bacardi drinks during sailaway, and there was a free rum tasting to christen the ship’s new Bacardi store (the first of its kind at sea). On Sunday, passengers who check out the Persian diamond boutique will be presented with free Bailey’s, and ladies who skip the Super Bowl activities and dine in certain specialty venues will receive another complimentary glass of sparkling wine.
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