Overall summary: Had a great time! The service, the food, and the live entertainment were all absolutely top-drawer excellent!!
Integrity of Celebrity: I always prefer to deal with a company with integrity and while all companies claim to have integrity you rarely find out for sure until an issue arises and you see how they deal with it. This ship unfortunately had a Norovirus outbreak early in the month. I think many companies would go out of their way to try and hush this up or down-play it, but not Celebrity. I really appreciated that Celebrity was up-front about it to the extent they asked the co-operation (eg. extra hand sanitizing) of their guests to help ensure the problem was completely resolved. I also over-heard a cabin steward reporting an incident with a guest that the steward could not resolve to the guests satisfaction. With most companies, it would be up to the guest to escalate the problem, but Celebrity goes the extra mile.
Background: I have only cruised twice before, once on the Caribbean Princess, and once with Carnival.
A little explanation of my user name may be appropriate here. I was a bit reluctant for our third vacation in a row to be another cruise, so when my wife told me it was a re-positioning cruise I thought she was bribing me with more variety in our sex life, but I digress....
I could go on and on about how great this cruise was, but I will simply say it was all great except for my nits.
Here are my nits:
It’s been a couple of years since my last cruise, but I really felt the "up-sell” was being pushed much more than I remember, examples: I had to pay for a yoga class (never before); The drink packages were insanely expensive; Bingo was $40 & up. The fitness area (not including the extra-charge spa area) was too small for the ship, with too few regular exercise bikes
This may not bother many people, but compared to Princess, they were not keeping up with the battle against rust. On Princess you would always see workers chipping away and repairing small rust bubbles long before they blistered, but on the Summit there were some large unsightly rust areas. While our cabin on the Summit was very well appointed and well designed, there were rusty areas in the shower stall, which I felt was incongruous with the overall quality of the accommodation and service.
The itinerary on "sea days” was full, but, in my opinion, scaled back too much on "port days”. Even un-supervised agenda items like "bridge, cards and board games” were not offered on port days.
A couple times the shower in our room had a definite unpleasant "sea” odour. I was left wondering if there are times when the desalination system was being overwhelmed.
Suggestions for Celebrity:
Be more flexible in timing when things are going well. There were two separate karaoke events later in the evening (after 10 pm) that was going really, really, well; lots of participation, lots of laughing, about 100+ people having a great time. But because the schedule said it ended at such and such a time (not really late) the facilitator stopped it cold. In one case the next event for that venue was guitar player and the place literally emptied out, some shaking their heads. I understand the guitar player needed to play, but that ship has far more venues than it has concurrent agenda items, the guitar player could have been re-located with a sign on the door of the original venue.
Alcohol is the lubricant of karaoke. There was a huge difference in the success of the karaoke events that were scheduled later in the evening (great) and those scheduled earlier in the evening (OK, but not great). If I remember correctly, karaoke was only scheduled later in the evening 2 or 3 times.