We sailed on the Summit September 30th to October 14th, this being our 11th cruise, and the third with Celebrity. The ship left Los Angeles, cruised the Hawaiian Islands, and returned to Los Angeles.
Embarkation could not have been any smoother. We took the time to fill out our boarding papers on the computer prior to boarding, so we literally were aboard the ship within 10 minutes. I wish all embarkations were this easy. If you drive to the port, parking is right next to the ship, but unfortunately uncovered. Parking for the duration of the cruise was $165.
Our room (9161) was a standard balcony room, with a decent layout and enough nooks & crannies to put everything away. The only negative feelings we had about the cabin was the bed and the location; the bed was lumpy and in need of a new mattress. As to the location, it was on the 9th deck located on the port side. This is significant in that smoking is permitted on the port side of the pool area (one deck up) and many of the port side rooms are smoking. When you sit on the balcony, the smell of cigarette smoke is sometimes quite strong, depending in the direction of the wind. Our room steward, Glory, did a fine job in keeping the room in order, and was usually found hovering somewhere in the hall waiting to get you something. Service is one of the main areas where Celebrity excels, and this cruise was no exception. The bathroom is a bit cramped, but hey, you are on a ship, so it is no big deal. My only complaint about the bathroom is that is doesn't have a decent 110 outlet that will handle a hair dryer (forget the built in one). My wife had to do her hair in the cabin, which can be somewhat annoying. No big deal, but still worth noting.
The food in the main dining room was very good, but most cruise lines seem to get that right. The buffet food was just your average buffet food, but further down the line, the pasta bar was very good. They had five different sauces to choose from, along with three different pastas, and an assortment of items to add; they were very willing to make a plate in any manner that you requested. At the back of the ship was a fresh sandwich bar making Panini style sandwiches everyday, which were usually very good.
We ate every night in the main dining room at the second seating, and the service was outstanding. As I said before, the food was very good, but the waiter will make or break the meal, and we had a great one. The waiter and busboy (Sol & Raymond) were on top of everything, and Marco, the Maitre'D stopped by our table every night at least once to make sure things were going right. If you eat at second seating, sometimes the shows are scheduled before dinner, which is annoying. One other annoying thing was the number of formal nights we had. This line tends to be a little more traditional in dressing for dinner, which we like, but they perhaps carried it a little too far. They define casual as slacks (no shorts) & sport shirts for men, informal as a suit/sport jacket & tie, and formal as a tuxedo or dark suit. On this cruise, there are seven causal nights, four informal, and three formal. Dressing up half the time for a Hawaiian cruise got to be a little too much; two formal nights and the rest casual would have been better for the tropics. Near the end, many of the men started skipping the jacket & tie on informal nights.
The bar and pool staff do a very good job, remaining cheerful in the face of some pretty rude passengers. Hats off to them for performing a difficult job.
The condition of the ship was very good with cleanliness being a priority. One exception to this being the Thaalostherapy Pool; we did not use it as there was usually a dirty scum on it. I do not know what the problem was with the filtering.
Entertainment on board was generally very good. The pool band was a little weak, and the guy in the piano bar was like bad karaoke, but everything else was very good to great. The shows we attended were excellent, and quite varied. The shows we missed were enjoyed by all we talked to. The music in the bars (with the exception of the aforementioned piano bar) was very good, with a nice variety. You can't ask for much more than that.
Celebrity has a good handle on the tipping. Near the end of the cruise, they give you a short form to fill out if you want them to deduct your tips from a credit card. If you do, they then give you an envelope with a slip to give to your waiter, etc. If you don't want automatic tipping, simply do not turn in the form and use the envelopes provided by your room steward. It is nice to have a couple of options, unlike a couple of other cruise lines we have sailed with.
The photo staff is just average, and almost everything they print out is an 8 by 10. Who wants that many large prints? More 4 by 6 prints would have resulted in more purchases by us. One night the photographer came to our dinner table, and I asked her to take a group shot. She told me that the group shots would be on the last formal night only, and instead took individual pictures of each of us. Just what I have always wanted: a picture of myself sitting alone in front of a plate of food. It amazed everyone at our table.
The port stop at Maui was way too short, arriving at 7 AM and we had to be back on board by 2:30 PM, as the ship sailed for Los Angeles at 3:00 PM; combine that with having to use a tender to get ashore, and you will not see much of the island. Poor scheduling that needs to be corrected.
Debarkation was as terrible as embarkation was smooth. The line to get your customs pass was confusing and long, and exiting the ship even worse. You always want to end on a high note, and here Celebrity fell short.
Overall, I would recommend this cruise and especially this line to anyone.