Having cruised with Celebrity five times before - this being our third time on the Summit - I was very disappointed to find the many changes that did not improve our cruising experience! My husband and I have been on 10+ cruises but have always preferred Celebrity for the "elegant touch" it provided. This is no longer the case.
Cape Liberty Embarkation - we have also cruised from this port with Royal Caribbean and have NEVER experienced the stress of parking our vehicle there as we did this time! The vehicles were sandwiched in so tightly that, had my DH or I been an oversized person, we would not have been able to exit our vehicle! Our car is well cared for and we would never dream of parking this closely ANYWHERE at home. The gentleman who had been instructed to pull along side of us apologized for the close proximity upon getting out of his car. My DH was furious but I asked him to keep quiet since our vehicle would be in that lot while we were thousands of miles away! To More
add insult to injury, upon returning to Bayonne after our mediocre cruise, cars that were parked after ours were nicely spaced and the parking lot was half empty! Please note that we were the second disembarkation group at 8:20 a.m. so only the "unassisted walk-offs" had disembarked before us so not many vehicles had yet departed the parking lot! Again, I was trying to be positive - our vehicle was unscathed when we returned. The rest of the embarkation process was fairly easy and we were quickly on the ship.
Oceanview Café - We proceeded to Deck 10 for the much anticipated buffet at the OC and were not impressed with the selection. We thought it was an isolated incident - cleaning up from the previous cruise and preparing for the present cruise - but dining in the OC did not improve much as the week progressed. The food was not enticing; the selection extremely limited; the service horrendous; and changes to presentation were not positive ones! There was only ONE place to get oatmeal which I have each morning. Most days there were no raisins, no walnuts, very little brown sugar. Now, please understand that my DH and I are not sleep-in cruisers. We were at breakfast by 8:30 a.m. each morning! Forget about bananas....there were none to be found. I think they were kept under lock and key. And then there was the French toast episode. It was served in a basket instead of being freshly made and only one side was cooked! The other side was just plain white bread! I did file a formal complaint with an OC manager, Elston, who tried to be so helpful throughout the entire week, but unfortunately, it never got better. Tables were not cleaned off in a timely fashion, the ice machines were constantly "out of order," and you couldn't find anyone if you needed assistance. Oh, and what happened to the trays which made carrying your food selections so much easier? Overall, the OC was nothing like we remembered....it was a total disappointment.
Stateroom - we usually always book a veranda/mid-ship but this time we wound up at the end of the forward part of the ship. When we walked into our room, it was set up as twin beds when I had specifically asked for the beds together. DH and I have been married for almost 42 years and have never slept in twin beds! We laughed and hoped it wasn't a sign of things to come; I called housekeeping and they had the beds together by turn-down that night. I also called guest relations to say that a gift and special message I had ordered for DH had not arrived. She rushed me off of the telephone and said it would be in our stateroom by 6 p.m. that night....it never arrived! Our stateroom attendant, Glorio, was wonderful and took care of any and all problems that arose. However, he was not able to totally get rid of the "funky" smell in our bathroom. I think we just adjusted to it after the third day. Just a note here: DH and I have just been through the worst year of our married lives and we were so looking forward to this cruise together; to kind of bring us back to a happier time. We booked Celebrity instead of one of the other lines we have previously cruised because Celebrity has that "extra" touch. Well, that's not true anymore...it was a huge disappointment.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant - although we had exceptional service at our dining room table with Douglas and Arta, that is the only thing positive about our dining experience on the Summit. Douglas greeted us each evening with a very sincere smile and Arta had our soda and ice tea there upon arrival. However, the menu was limited, the food was mediocre both in taste and presentation; in fact, Celebrity should serve dinner on smaller plates to accommodate the tiny portions. They look lost on the plates now being used. Again, Celebrity fell short of our expectations here.
Entertainment - the Celebrity we remembered had "wowed" us on previous cruises in the entertainment category. Again.....just mediocre. We attended the show each evening but were never excited about seeing anything in particular. We did, however, enjoy the comedian, Don Gavin. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time....thank you, Mr. Gavin! As for activities, while DH and I mainly enjoy our relaxation on a cruise, I found the daily activities very limited. Celebrity has definitely downgraded everything.
Disembarkation - once the cruise is over, DH and I like to disembark as early as possible so we were scheduled to be off of the ship right after the cruisers who carried off their own luggage. We had to vacate our room by 8 a.m. and wait in the Theatre. While waiting, we were speaking with two fellow cruisers who agreed that the Muster drill held prior to sailing and herding all passengers into the Theatre in the event of any emergency was extremely dangerous! There would definitely be mass havoc and hysteria and people would not "calmly follow staff" to their muster stations/life boats on deck! My DH and I said that no way we would get stuck with over 2,000 people in the theatre and then try to make our way out to lifeboats....it was a ridiculous assumption on the part of the staff and had never been done like this on any other line we had cruised with; RCCL, NCL, Princess. The DJ, who was in charge of our disembarkation group, knowledgeably(?) stated that he had been with the cruise line for five years, it had always been done this way, and I would be denied a life boat if I refused to go to the theatre in the event of an emergency! SERIOUSLY!!@# Let's see, five years with Celebrity would mean he has been there since 2009. DH and I cruised with Celebrity in 2010 and the muster was NOT held in the theatre! And to voice his silly threat about denying anyone a seat on a lifeboat, I believe Mr. DJ requires more cruising training! Again...very disappointed in Celebrity!
I'm sorry this review is so negative. I really did want to enjoy this cruise and try to find "the positive" in all things throughout this cruise. Perhaps my expectations for Celebrity were too high; especially since not having cruised with them since the refurbishment in 2012. But, I was very disheartened. While I have always preferred Celebrity, DH and I have already reserved our next two cruises.....with different lines. Celebrity, please take note! Less