We are empty nesters (in our early 60's) and this was our 9th cruise and our 3rd on Celebrity, with Celebrity being our favorite of the "mass" cruise lines. We think of Celebrity as being on the high end of the mass cruise lines, to give you an idea of our thought process. We have cruised on 2 other lines, with Carnival being one where we have taken our daughter's family which includes our 2 grand kids, and have enjoyed all lines. I want to say, so as not to offend anyone, that this review is my opinion and only that.
In general, we were very pleased with Celebrity and the Summit, with the exception of one main area that I will discuss in this review, along with a couple of other negatives I will mention. But, we will cruise on Celebrity again. So, to the review.....
We flew in to San Juan on Saturday and arrived around 2:30pm, and had booked transfers through the cruise line, with both being a first for us. The only reason I see for using Celebrity for the transfer is that they took our luggage directly to the ship and they put us in a much shorter line to board the ship. After getting on the ship, embarkation was a breeze and very organized.......no problems at all.
The dreaded life boat drill and hoping your luggage gets to your room was next. We found one of our bags as we were walking back from the lifeboat drill on the other end of the ship from our room. We assume it would have eventually made it to us.
We had an inside cabin for the first time as we booked this cruise at the last minute and got a deal. We decided we wanted to try and inside cabin since we are nearing retirement and have discussed cheaper inside cabin rates = more cruises. We had no problem as one wall was a mirror and cabin looked huge. Good move by Celebrity. The cabin had plenty of storage cabinets, drawers, etc. The suitcases fit under the bed. The cabin was really clean. I know the ship had just been through a refurbish so here is one of my issues.........the shower curtain had mould on it. No excuse for this. I told the cabin attendant that I wanted it cleaned and while we were at dinner, it was cleaned. Then the next morning, during breakfast, it was replaced with a new one. I will say that they satisfied me immediately. Cabin attendant was great.
The rest of the ship was clean. No issues. I will say that I wish I had some of what the decorator was smoking when he/she picked out the "art". To describe it as "bizarre" is the kindest words I can use. And I really can't call it "art".
The breakfast buffet was average, but no better than average. Usual lines at the omelet stations, but not as long as I have seen on other ships. Extremely long line at waffle station every day. A wait for toast everyday was expected. Wouldn't you think they would figure out these 3 bottle necks? We did not eat in MDR at breakfast. The coffee/juice equipment were in need of repair.
The lunch buffet is where I really had an issue with the Summit. In my opinion, the offerings/menu/recipes/kitchen execution/serving line staff execution were just "BAD". I don't know any other way to describe it. The staff was poorly trained and did not seem to enjoy their jobs. The coffee/juice/tea equipment mentioned above needed repair, along with the ice machine. About 3 days in to the cruise, a repair crew boarded the ship and spent 2 or 3 days working on the equipment and by the time the cruise was over, the equipment was working properly. The hamburgers, pizza, sandwich stations were well staffed and food was good. We did not eat in the MDR at lunch as were were in ports for 5 days.
The main dining room meals at night were good, not great, but good. They met my expectations for MDR food on a cruise ship, although the menu is not as varied as it has been in the past. I guess everybody is cutting back! Service was excellent in the MDR. I can't comment on the "pay to eat venues" as we did not participate. We are of the opinion that we have already paid for our meals.
Service on the ship, excluding the buffet dining, was excellent.
We booked this cruise because we wanted to visit the different islands and really enjoyed each one, although we had been to St. Thomas.
Debarkation went really well. We had a late afternoon flight out and had noted that. Therefore they had given us the last departures from the ship. I went to the serice desk and explained that I really wanted off early as were going to check luggage and then explore San Juan. They were accomdating. I did not use my prepaid transfer back to the airport to save time. We caught a taxi and were at the airport in minutes after clearing the customs shed.
Although, I was disappointed in few areas, mainly the food, service,and equipment functioning properly at the buffet, I will book on Celebrity again and would probably book on the Summit again. I would hope they would have corrected these issues.