Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by mojomorris: Repositioning on the Celebrity Summit - NJ to San Juan
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Repositioning on the Celebrity Summit - NJ to San Juan
BACKGROUND: My wife and I are both 50+ and now cruise at least twice a year. We've only cruised on Princess (Platinum card) and Carnival (Platinum card) but decided to try Celebrity since we found a really good rate for a Concierge cabin on this repositioning cruise. We're easy to please, use an AAA travel agent and always book a balcony cabin BUT we're always on the lookout for the best deal. We tend to book an aft cabin on a deck or two below Lido and the casual buffet eateries. That way we're close to the food but always use the stairs so we do get some exercise (LOL).
ARRIVAL: The flight to Newark, NJ was somewhat of a nightmare. Half of our baggage wound up in Philadelphia while we were in Newark, NJ. YIKES! The US Airways rep and the Celebrity "Meet & Greet" folks (at the airport) were very helpful in getting us on the ship then bringing our luggage from the Newark airport to the ship JUST before the ship set sail. I'll be sending out e-mails to Celebrity and More US Airways complimenting those folks for a job well done! I was glad we purchased the transfers from Celebrity prior to the cruise. Other than that, we checked in at the ship around 2:45 with no lines, dropped off our remaining luggage and headed up to the Lido for food.
THE CABIN: We were on Deck 9 aft cabin 9181 (Concierge cabin) - one deck below Lido. The cabin was the usual that you would expect but having that balcony and the "wall of glass" with sliding door makes me feel less claustrophobic. And to me there's nothing like sitting on the balcony reading a book or watching the sun go down to make you feel like you're on vacation. And since this was Deck 9, there were no people above us to look down. HOWEVER, there were support beams at 45 degree angle that went between cabins up to the overhang on the Lido deck above. So I guess you could say the view was somewhat obstructed. If you're a stickler for no obstacles in your view, book a cabin on Deck 8. Sometimes/rarely some noise floated down from the Lido but it wasn't much distraction. Our room steward (Bart) was so very pleasant, helpful and (although I sensed he might be tired from the long work days) never showed any sign of negativity. He also spoke English well so there were no communication issues. There is plenty of storage space BUT the closets are right across from the bathroom so you can't open the bathroom door and closet doors at the same time. Not only is it a tight fit walking between the foot of the bed and the wall, but there's ALSO a large mirror on the wall at the foot of the bed.....kinda weird waking up and seeing yourself in a mirror but maybe some folks like that sort of thing??? LOL.
THE FOOD: We had early dining (6:00 PM) and only went to the dining rooms on two nights - one "casual" night and one formal night. Service was very good and there was enough time to make the meal feel enjoyable and not rushed. The offerings were many (even Escargot), we especially enjoyed the lobster tail(s) on the 2nd formal night and Crème Brulee (every night). It seemed that the chef was "recommending" the veal and/or lamb every night (even lobster night) - maybe there was a sale on that stuff prior to sailing? I'm not a red meat person so I ordered seafood.
For casual dining, there are so-o-o-o many buffet stations to choose from and so much to eat that in the evening we usually opted for something quick, light and easy rather than the MDR. Also, Pizza, burgers and even sandwiches from the "Deli" filled the bill. The buffet offerings for breakfast were numerous; I usually had an omelet, hash browns and fruit. For evening buffets, there always stir fry, pasta kitchen, scooped hard ice cream, salads, and a "gourmet" station that grilled steak and fish (salmon + tilapia) to order. Just be sure to check your daily paper for times. I had a hankering for a sandwich @ 3:30 PM but the sandwich shop closed @ 3:00.
One thing I noticed was the lack of seafood dishes in the MDR. You can get shrimp cocktail every night but I was looking for scallops and shrimp dishes which were rarely offered. Perhaps those dishes are found in the specialty restaurants. Overall, I have to admit that I thought the food was somewhat better than Carnival but not better than Princess.
We never used room service or the specialty restaurants so I can't comment on them. If you can't get fat and happy on this ship, pay more money and try Azamara Lines.
SHORE EXCURSION: Lucky for us, the weather cooperated so that made for 3 wonderful days. In Saint Maarten we did a catamaran sail & snorkel. The water was calm and warm but visibility was not that good although we did see several varieties of fish, seas urchins etc. Win some, lose some. BUT we did have rum punch on the trip back to the pier - excellent!
In St. Croix we did the West End Highlights tour. That included a stop at a sugar plantation with guided tour, a stop at a sugar plantation that became a botanical garden with guide and finally a stop at the Cruzan rum factory with guided tour AND pina colada samples at tour's end. Nice touch - excellent time!
In St. Thomas, we shopped for souvenirs (like Cruzan rum) and then finished our packing.
OTHER SERVICES/MISC: The ship may have two thousand people but it's big enough that we never felt crowded. Just don't wait until "rush hour" to eat or go to the shows.
The internet loung (Celebrity iLounge) has Apple computers and several Internet "plans". You could: pay 75 cents per minute, get 45 minutes for $25, 90 minutes for $50, 200 minutes for $100 plus two others. On the first day you could get add'l free minutes if you bought the $100 or more plans. We opted for the $50 plan just to check mail a few times during the week and to "check in" for our flight home. BE AWARE ----- the service is painfully S-L-O-W. On the last day when everyone was working on flights, the system was overloaded and some machines couldn't get an internet connection.
One of the nicer touches on the trip was the newlywed + anniversary couple party (by invitation). It was on a sea day late morning and we were given champagne/mimosas, photographed and enjoyed a luscious piece of cake at the end. There was a champagne giveaway to the most newly wed and longest married couple. This was a lot better than getting a small cake in the MDR like some cruise lines do. Unfortunately, we couldn't find our photo in the photo gallery so there's no reminder of the occasion.
Concierge cabin perks were kind of nice. We purchased the upgrade to Concierge primarily to get early embarkation/debarkation. Since we embarked late, we didn't use that perk. For debarkation we sat in a meeting room (rather than the theater) and had coffee, tea, rolls etc . Day 1 - upon initial arrival in our cabin there was fresh fruit, flowers and a full size bottle of sparkling wine. That helped cut down on our bar bill. LOL We were given small hors de oeuvres daily - not much to eat but something to enjoy with a drink on the veranda/balcony. Would I upgrade to Concierge again? Probably so - if it were a small charge like it was on this cruise. Is it worth $200 p/p? Uh... no - spend the diff on your bar bill.
Spa: didn't use the Spa although I used the gym in the late mornings, afternoons and early evenings so I had no issues with finding an open machine.
We didn't buy any photo packages and ignored most (but not all) photographers who tried to snap our pix.
The Passengers' Service desk was helpful and I detected no "attitude" from the people there. There were some really outrageous/dumb requests from passengers and the staff kept their cool.
Stores onboard: The boutiques/stores has their usual "sales" which were mostly for old stock although I bought a Celebrity T-shirt for $10 and the wife bought a couple $10 watches as souvenirs.
Entertainment: We didn't go to any of the clubs at night - not enough time it seems but we did attend one show in the Theatre (a comedian) and enjoyed it. We listened to music in a club next to the MDR while waiting in line for dinner and saw an "a cappella" act in one of the lounges (which was a nice touch).
Departure: Since we had a Concierge cabin, we had our early breakfast and waited in one of the meetings rooms (a perk) until our color/number was called. There was tea, coffee, sweet rolls etc available. By 10:00 or so we were out the door, down the gangway, thru customs and on our way to the shuttle for the airport. No muss, no fuss.
Overall: The ship has so many mirrors on the walls that I felt like I was in a "fun house" and actually walked into a wall when I saw an exit on my left side that was just a reflection of an exit on my right side...DUH.
In the end, I never had an "OMG" moment where I was completely blown away by the Celebrity experience. BUT I also never noticed the things other posters mentioned like moldy showers, bad carpeting, rude staff etc. Maybe we're too easy going to notice the picky-picky stuff but we thought it was a GREAT time and a GREAT value. If we find another bargain like this from Celebrity again, we'll be back. Less
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Cabin review: C39181
Support beams at 45 degree angle that went between cabins up to the overhang on the Lido deck above - the view was somewhat obstructed - for unobstructed view book a cabin on Deck 8. Sometimes/rarely noisy. Plenty of storage space BUT the closets are right across from the bathroom - can't open the bathroom door and closet doors at the same time. Tight fit walking between the foot of the bed and the wall.