We took the Summit to Bermuda a couple of weeks ago and I will not likely ever sail with Celebrity again. Perhaps it is a bit harsh to judge an entire cruise line on one terrible experience. It was my 10th cruise, but my first with Celebrity. The advertising on their website and in adverts is very misleading. It did not deserve the high ratings that I've seen on a few websites. Doesn't the advertising focus on luxury? The reality is completely at odds with the image they try to portray in the ads.
The ship is 12 years old this year and is showing its age. It needs a complete do-over. Paint has been slapped here and there, but does not cover up the years of use and insufficient cleaning.
The artwork was probably not intended to be comedic, but one stairway was filled with busts of beaded women who look like they've stepped off the set of a trailer park reality show.
Kids Program My daughter enjoyed the program. She appreciated the staff and the activities that they prepared. There were lots of other kids on the ship, as we sailed in August, but I understand that the staff that support these programs are seasonal. You might not have the same experience in the off-season.
Maintenance - At 7:30 in the morning, the glasses and dirty dishes from the night before still lined the decks, deckchairs and tables. New deck chairs on the upper decks are in order. Our cabin was nothing short of grubby. The tiles in the bathroom were cracked and the grouting and the corners were black. Think gas station toilet dirty. Table linens were stained. There was a hole (6 cm x 4 cm across) in my bed linen.
Onboard Shopping If you are looking for alcohol, costume jewellry, or Apple products, youre all set. Other than that, the shopping was limited.
Bermuda Excursion We took the catamaran and snorkel trip. The sail on the cat was the best part of this excursion. If youre expecting Caribbean-type snorkeling, youre too far north for that. The reef looked sick and there were few fish.
Youd be better off popping over to the kiosk on the wharf and purchasing a bus/ferry pass and setting out yourself. (http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=252&&PageID=468&mode=2) The public transportation is clean, reliable, and easy to use. They will tell you on the ship that the prices on Bermuda are terrible, so its best to purchase everything on the ship. We didnt find that to be true.
We enjoyed swimming at Tobacco Bay and Horseshoe Bay (both gorgeous!), and pottering around St. Georges and Hamilton.
Food - This was the biggest disappointment.
Food and Drink Packages After much debate, we decided not purchase any of them and we were glad that we had made that decision. I had a latte on the first morning and then never again. It wasnt very good. We didnt need bottled water, except when we were in Bermuda. (It was cheaper in Bermuda than on the ship!) We had wine with our evening meals, which we purchased by the bottle or by the glass. We appreciated that we could purchase a bottle, drink some of it, and have it corked for later.
The Oceanview Cafe reminded me of university residence food, although the omelettes were very nice. Muesli was actually sloppy oatmeal and Canadian Bacon was a roll of pressed ham. We discovered that they had frozen gluten-free bread, but the dedicated toaster was broken. The coffee was poor.
Bistro on 5 This was worth the $5. charge. The crepes were delicious. The only problem we had was organizing the gluten-free option. When we asked, we were told we had to give them 20 minutes notice. When we called to make our reservation, we were told we had to give them four hours notice, which meant we werent able to eat lunch there that day.
We ate most of our meals at the Cosmopolitan. The menu is marked for various dietary needs. Don't believe it. The supposedly gluten-free potato curry is served with roti. When I asked about it, one waiter told us that it was made with rice flour. They are not afraid to make it up, apparently. The next waiter told us it was not gluten-free. It should not even have been touching the plate. We were comped two meals in specialty restaurants, but I'm afraid our trust was broken. The worst part is that there has been no change, so the next celiac/coeliac to sail with Celebrity will face the same problems. At least we knew not to trust them after this first incident.
In short, I don't recommend this ship. At all.