We've sailed with Celebrity before. 21 days on the old Mercury through New Zealand and Australia; 14 nights on the new Solstice to the Caribbean; 14 nights round trip from Seattle to Alaska on the un-solsticized Infinity; and now 14 nights on the updated Summit. We won't judge future cruise selections on Celebrity based on this experience on the Summit.
First -- highlights were the great evening entertainment and the Celebrity Life lectures from the Kennedy Space Center and NASA. All were excellent. Celebrity is to be commended for continuing it's great stage presentations and for the variety of live entertainment throughout the ship.
The staff were very accommodating friendly. We were greeted by staff we had met on prior Celebrity cruises. Both Devon and Marlon in the aft bar on 10 remembered us from prior trips and were very service oriented even though their bar was often the wettest and coldest place on the whole ship as we travelled further north.
While the remodel created the Bistro and the Cafe Balia, the new Wine Cellar is a dark area hardly used by wine drinkers. It is more a holding place for diners. The new Kids Club could be placed anywhere else but not where it was on the 11th deck. The Reflections view was really slighted when one half of the windowed area went to the Kids Club. That used to be a favorite place to read, look outside, and just enjoy the view. Not so much anymore.
The shore excursions were not that good. We'd thought that the Hop On Hop Off trollies would present good opportunities for city highlights. Not the case! You hopped on at the ship and returned to the long lines there to catch the next trolly to the other routes. Best excursion was the horse drawn carriage ride for almost 3 hours in Quebec City -- booked through a Cruise Critic member. We took a vendor tour in PEI which gave us a great overview of the area with a driver who spoke difficult to understand English although he'd lived there for more than 20 years. The ship's tour to Kennebunkport was enjoyable but had no photo opportunity stops.
Tendering was a disaster! Celebrity needs to seriously consider its ports of call particularly when the tender boats must traverse about a 20 minute route to get from ship to shore. In all of the cruises we've taken, we've never experienced such a long wait for the tendering process.
Although we booked our cruise more than 9 months in advance, no early seating seats were available. Instead we were booked for open seating which was fine but did not allow you the opportunity to really connect with the wait staff.
Food on this cruise was not up to par with prior cruises. Not that the food was bad --- it was just so so. Fish and poultry dishes were always dry. Steaks never were more than a half an inch thick and were limited in selection. Lobster was inedible. It appears that the only really good food is served in the speciality restaurats with the surcharges. We hope that this was just an anomoly with the chef on this cruise.
Housekeeping did a great job in our staterooms. The open elevator shafts in the glass walled elevators were filthy. While I recognize that it may be difficult to clean those areas, if guests are viewing inch plus layers of dust and grime each time they ride the elevators it presents a poor image of cleanliness. Attention to these little details are important -- as attention to the safety of the life jackets. I saw a photo from one of the passengers on the grounded tender with his life jacket that fell apart when he tried to don it.
We will cruise Celebrity again (our Elite status is a perk) but truly hope that quality becomes a concern of corporate staff so that Celebrity's ships don't slip into the category of other lines with whom we will not again sail.