Just got back from a sailing to the southern Caribbean on the Celebrity Summit. I am a fairly seasoned cruiser having sailed on Princess 8 times previously. I always enjoyed princess but my family and I decided to try something new this time. We flew into San Juan Friday to ensure we would make the ship. Stayed at the caribe hilton hotel. Was nice and would recommend.
Saturday morning we decided that we would try to get on the ship as early as possible, so we taxied over to the cruise terminal around 11:30. Had preferred check in as we were suite members and were on the ship in 15 minutes. We were greeted nicely by crew members and led to suite lounge, referred to as michaels. It was the first week that this lounge was in service, and Cesar from Spain did an excellent job of helping us with our needs. Afterwards we met up with our friends on the boat and had lunch in the ocean view cafe.
Dining: Options were always plentiful in the ocean view cafe but I did not typically utilize them for lunch as I found the burger joint to be delicious. Pizza was nowhere near as good as Princess. Anyone who has been on Princess will tell you this. Layout of the restaurant was much better than Princess however. Omelette stations in the morning had good flow, bacon was tasty, and smoked salmon had good flavor. Princess omelette are also superior to celebrity omelette. Ate in the main dining room majority of the nights. Certain dishes such as prime rib, salmon, and beef tenderloin were delicious. However other seafood options proved to be inconsistent. Desserts bored me with the lack of chocolates. Cookies were stones. While it would seem that I am being harsh I did enjoy the main dining room food for the most part. However, I still prefer the Princess dining room to celebrity's. Pinto from India and Pauline from Trinidad and Tobago were excellent. Pauline was the sweetest and always quick to refill water glasses, while pinto had a great knowledge of the menu. Waiters knew our preferences by day one. Karen the sommelier from Columbia was also very good and joked with us often. Also ate at normandie. So DELICIOUS. Better than crown grill on Princess. Also ate at Qsine. Very intelligent and tasty. Saw our waitress from Qsine at the airport. Good to see that these people get time off.
Ports of call:
St. Croix: BEAUTIFUL. Loved the serenity and peacefulness of the island. Very well kept and cleaned. Went to a beach and rented some chairs and umbrellas for very cheap. It was a great experience and very relaxing.
St Kitts: Another great stop. Did an AWESOME zip line tour through the jungle and saw some monkeys too. Great view of the ocean as well from the line. Also very good shopping for some souvenirs. Would highly recommend the zip line tour.
Dominica: Was a bit sad to a degree to see how poor some of the locals are. Beautiful island but overrun by poverty and sadness. Not much shopping either but did a snorkel that was very good. I am not great at snorkeling but would recommend it to those who are. Next time we would just not get off the ship if we were to port in Dominica.
Grenada: Walked to a nearby fort that can be seen from the ship. The fort itself looked as if 1974 had been picked up and placed into the fort, and yet it was still extremely rundown. It was not an authentic fort, however the reason that we went to the fort was to get some great views of the island. Beware walking up to the fort as vans nearly clipped me on the narrow streets. Also beware of the obnoxious locals HOUNDING you until kingdom comes. It was quite annoying. We would most likely not get off at Grenada if we could do it again as well.
St Thomas: Been there multiple times. Loved the shopping options as usual. Definitely get of the boat at this port.
Our cabin was a beautiful suite with ample storage. Great balcony too. Room size was definitely superior to Princess. Shower and bathroom was terrible however. Huge step up to get in the shower which is hazardous to elderly and younger children. Shower pressure was also bad and temperature was cold.
Public areas in this ship are nice, but not stunning. The grand foyer does not top the piazza that Princess has, but everything is well intact aside from some faded carpet (which who cares). Casino was smoke free which was great. Celebrity Theatre was AMAZING. Much nicer than Princess theatre. The thing that we loved about the public areas was that they were never crowded. No fighting for deck chairs, seats for the show, etc. Pools were saltwater which was a drawback. No big screen which was also a disappointment as we enjoyed movies under the stars on Princess. The solarium was very nice but did not have a pool. Instead it had a therapy pool which was neat, but not good for the pale people who have low sun tolerance. Therapy pool was also saltwater.
Entertainment: Very good. Singers were talented and dancers had good skill. Will foraker is an amazing piano player, just watch his fingers on the last night show and you will understand how much skill he has. Hypnotist Ed Fernandez was hilarious. Our friend got hypnotized so that was funny. Comedian mr. Dan Wilson was also hilarious. Would highly recommend his show which is kid appropriate for the most part. Did not like the lack of live music around the pool decks however. On Princess there was always steel drum music which we enjoyed. Cruise director Kyle was very present which we liked, as was captain Leonardos.
Summary: I loved celebrity. The service was excellent and we felt pampered the whole week. Is celebrity a luxury cruise line? I don't know...tell me your definition of luxury and I'll let you know. We loved the fact that there weren't that many people onboard. But we also feel that Princess is an excellent cruise line. We will likely alternate between the two cruise lines. I would not hesitate to recommend celebrity cruises to anyone.