We sailed over the Christmas holidays on the Celebrity Summit out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. We are veteran cruisers, this being our 11th trip -- but this was the first time we have sailed with Celebrity. We have previously sailed with Costa, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Holland America.
We had heard many good things about Celebrity and were very much looking forward to an excellent experience on the Summit. Sadly to say we were severely disappointed. While we attempted to discuss this with the Concierge on the ship, he like most of the ship staff were truly disinterested in speaking with us.
The following is a list some of the issues/problems/concerns we had experienced:
-We were in a Concierge Class balcony room. Frankly other than the meager 6 hors d'oeuvres we received daily and the bottle of champagne upon arrival, there was no discernible difference between our service/perks and our daughter's (who was in an inside cabin).
-Breakfast in the dining room was terrible. The service was slow, the food cold and the menu never changed.
-Lunch in the Oceanview Cafe was basically a variation of the same thing every day. How many times can you serve Asian style noodles on a seven day cruise? The answer on the Summit is 7! This was without question the worst buffet food we have ever experienced on a ship. There was no taste, no creativity and no selection.
-Dinner in the Cosmopolitan was okay...possibly because anything was going to be better than the Oceanview Cafe. The Christmas pudding was probably one of the most dreadful things I have ever eaten in my life -- in fact I had to spit it out without swallowing it. Both my husband and daughter did not believe it could be that bad, so they too tasted the pudding and both spit it out. I have worked in the food industry, and no respectable chef would have let that go out of their kitchen. In fact, I am guessing that no one from the culinary staff tastes half of what goes out of the kitchen.
-Dinner in La Normandie was good, but disappointed that we had to pay an additional $120 to have an edible meal on the ship.
-Activities on the ship were few and far between. The Cruise Director should be more attuned to the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. There were only 2 bingo games and trivia was mostly at times when people were off the ship on excursions.
-The evening entertainment was nothing special. The comedian/juggler was probably the worst show we have ever seen. The revues were also boring, as evidenced by the number of people that would walk out mid-show.
-Overall the crew did not seem to have a focus on customer service, and rarely asked if everything was okay. Language seemed to be a barrier with many of the staff. On one occasion we had gone to front desk to ask for some blank paper and they had no clue what we were asking for. This was the first cruise that I have ever been on that language seemed to be an issue with many of the staff.
-For a ship that was recently refurbished it was hard to see where the money was spent. Many of the deck chairs were broken, the pool towels were stained and the shower rods in the staterooms were rusted. I spoke to someone who sailed on the ship last Christmas and they too were unable to see where the $$ were spent.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of our experiences on the ship. However, the combination of the foregoing and the lack of interest from the Concierge when we complained spoke volumes. I will say that we would think long and hard before ever considering another Celebrity Cruise or recommending it to our friends and family.
Upon our return I sent a letter to Celebrity and I received a call from Customer Service. They have offered us a cabin credit of $200 for a cruise with in the next 12 months. My response to them was that is not enough incentive to contemplate another cruise with them. Their response, well it's there if you want it.
We love to cruise, and if this was my first cruise I would probably never cruise again.