Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by gamevod: Great First-trime Experience With Celebrity
Overall Member Rating
Great First-trime Experience With Celebrity
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
We are 60, long time cruisers (HAL, RCCL, NCL, Viking, Uniworld), who picked Celebrity more as a matter of timing, itinerary than any great decision-making process. Bottom line - we were very happy with the result and will likely look to Celeb first for big ships going forward.
Arrived on a late flight to San Juan, so got to the ship around five. Dock is an easy cab ride - $24. Almost no one else boarding when we arrived, so very easy check in. I guess we were so late that the usual fancy greeting on the ship had ended, so were a little surprised to board and not see anyone to help with carry-on bag, guide us to the cabin. That was about the only thing Celeb missed on the voyage.
We booked Aqua Class, not really knowing much about what it was. Big difference was dining, with service in Blu, a small restaurant (90 seats) only for Aqua for lunch and dinner. We thought this was great. Menu and service were excellent -- thank you Marcel. No table far from a More window, so always able to look out. No assigned seating times (dinner open 6-9:30 I believe), so we fit dinner where it fit our schedule -- sometimes we did the early show, sometimes the late one. Only one night where we arrived at a busy time and had to wait. Breakfast was more of an issue. Food was good, but dining started at 7:30, which made it difficult to get to an 8:15 shore meet for excursions. Wish they would move up the open time just a bit.
Ate at Qsine specialty restaurant one night. Heard a lot of hype about this, and lo and behold, not misrepresented. Really a unique experience. Not something I would do more than once/cruise, but would definitely try again on another trip. Very nice coffee/espresso bar. Good crepe restaurant ($5 cover, but worth it for a change of pace). Only ate breakfast at the buffet, and they had a weird system of having some serving lines fully stocked, but not open (maybe a staff timing issue). Also did not like the way certain operations were handled -- e.g., pancakes were WAY at the back of the dining area, not integrated near any of the main service lines. Interesting self-serve wine concept in Celler Masters (auto dispensed with ship card). Did not seem very highly utilized. We did not figure it out until toward the end, but will try on another trip. Did not see any sort of program listing for a free demo/explanation event -- if there had been one (maybe there was and we just missed it), we would have gone and more likely used. I expect this is something they could be scheduled without too much heartache.
The Aqua cabins are a little larger that standard cabin, had a nice shower and good storage. Lots of hangers (relative to other ships). Only cabin complaint was noise from the pool deck immediately above, which overhangs the cabins below. Sounded like people walking, but so random and the pool deck seeming pretty solid and thick that I am not sure it was not something else. In any event, if we did this again, we would pick a cabin to the aft of the main elevators so the rooms were below the buffet (I think these would have been quieter).
Two things we noticed very early were how friendly everyone was and how visible the top ship's staff was. As to the latter, not so much the cruise director, who we actually saw only at shows, but the line hotel and ship officers who seemed to be a real presence about the ship. And the stewards, dining staff, bar folks were all very friendly -- so much so that it must be a fostered approach to service. My only service complaint is that the pool bars often seemed understaffed and rushed, so not much time for passenger relations there.
The ship has a traditional corps of singers/dancers. A pretty good sized group that seemed more talented than some of the material they were provided. Sometimes I think the cruise lines get so enamored with costumes, production, being different, that they end up trying to be so original that it takes away from the entertainment value (e.g., a "Hollywood" show with dancing robots [maybe for the kids, but wholly out of context]). Two guest entertainers -- a comedian who was very funny and a hypnotist (I don't like this sort of shtick).
Rest of the ship's entertainers were a good mix. Two guitarists, piano player, ship "rock" band (they played everything), and an a capella group (which sang well, but infrequently and only for 10-15 minute stints -- not really sure how they fit in). There is a good mix of bars, lounges, but I thought the nicest, Revelations (which is the the "Crow's Nest position fore near the top) was woefully underused. Maybe it just does not fit in with the desired dining/main room flow by the shops and casino, but I thought it would have attracted a pretty good crowd if they had just advertised "easy listening/dance music" during dining hours.
Ship is not new, though I read that it had a pretty recent refit. It is not glitzy in modern megaship style. More like the older, more sedate Holland America style, which was fine for us. Good health club facility. Pool was not unexpectedly crowded on sea day, but plenty of space and chairs on the decks above, even though the ship was pretty full as I understand it -- above nominal capacity because of triples/quads. Still the ship did not seem crowded.
Not much to say about ports/excursions. The excursions were about what you would expect. The usual mix, some better than others. Less
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