Celebrity Summit earns a B: great food, underwhelming facilities: Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by lawdude11
Overall Member Rating
Celebrity Summit earns a B: great food, underwhelming facilities
Embarkation: Bayonne (Cape Liberty)
The Summit did a 7 night Bermuda cruise with 3 days in Bermuda and the balance at sea. My spouse my 6 yr old and I cruised in Concierge class. We booked rather late and so got a fairly good, but not exceptional deal.
Our overall impression was that the Celebrity Summit is a very efficient and well run ship. Staff are unfailingly courteous and efficient. Our room was invariably serviced every morning by the time we returned from breakfast (even on our last day) and was turned down every night when we returned from dinner. Marissa, our cabin attendant was a charming and diligent staff member.
Embarkation and disembarkation were astonishingly fast and efficient. That was equally true when the ship was docked in Bermuda.
Someone else on Cruise Critic once described 'Concierge Class' as a gimmick. That's exactly right. The cabins are the same size as More the standard Veranda stateroom. The afternoon canapes are a waste of time since you can get whatever you want from the buffet anyway. The priority boarding and disembarkation add nothing to the experience. Particularly when the cruise ends, the ship wants you to leave as fast as possible and does everything it can to expedite the process. Concierge class did not help us get reservations in the restaurants any faster than would otherwise have been the case either.
We only cruised concierge class b/c for some reason the price was lower than a standard veranda. We now know why: if you see Concierge priced less than standard veranda it is because you cannot select your cabin. it is assigned to you and it is theoretically possible to have a cabin with an undesirable location. We got lucky; our cabin was fine, but I wouldn't run the risk again.
Food offerings on the ship were of uniformly high quality and variety. Because we had a young child, we tended to avoid the dining room and the restaurants. Our one formal night in the dining room was satisfactory but not noticeably better than our buffet meals. Buffet favourities included the chocolate croissants, the individually portioned items, and the carvery. Our night in the Normandie restaurant was memorable with outstanding service, and a high level of cuisine. The closing cheese course was a knockout. I never even heard of an epoise cheese before. My wife's duck was very good and my venison was very well prepared. For me food defines the vacation experience. If the food is bad I'm not coming back.
we also enjoyed the poolside grill and the spa buffet, the latter of which we discovered only on our last full day. Our daughter was a big fan of the ice cream service. I appreciate that it was home made but found it to be only ok.
One small quibble; the buffet was often understaffed during peak periods. For e.g., you could spend inordinate amounts of time waiting for someone to show up at the carvery and slice the roast beef. Ok, one other small quibble: the coffee was bad. It was Italian Lavazza brand coffee; I don't know if the brand was the problem or if the problem was in the brewing, but either way, it was always rather weak tasting.
The ship amenities left something to be desired and that is why we can't rate our experience higher than a B. Summit was recently renovated and the decor and finishings are first rate. Alas the style masks a lack of substance. Here are the problems:
1. A ridiculous number of lounges that are mostly unused and that offer mediocre entertainment;
2. Only two pools and only one of which was available for children. Oh and that pool was 4 feet deep; too bad so sad for the short kids. Did I mention that the official bather load of the small pool was 11? Perhaps the 200 kids on board could swim in shifts? I hear that the night shift had some vacancies. That said, our daughter loved the pool. Of course she is only six; not sure how much mileage she'll get out of it next time;
3. a paucity of amenities for activities. My wife thought that the gym was very well appointed (I studiously avoided it so I venture no opinion). There was a nice multi-purpose court on the top deck for basketball and soccer, a reasonable casino, and a benignly neglected shuffleboard court on deck 4 (please let me know if you find the missing black disks). There was also a rock climbing wall...not; mini golf...oops also not...skating rink....oops, well you get the idea. if drinking in an empty lounge isn't your idea of fun, bring lots of books and pirated videos or money for the casino. Speaking of books, there was a two level 'library' but there was nothing in it and the books don't circulate anyway. How about dropping a few subscriptions to Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated? When we were in Bermuda, the NCL Breakout was docked ahead of us. We could see the water slides and other amenities that they had. Too bad we couldn't do a shore excursion to the Breakout.
4. although I have some derogatory things to say about the lounge crooners, the one show we saw, an amazing juggler, was outstanding, if a bit short; and
5. The ship does offer a kids club, the "Fun Factory" but it is also short on activities and stimulation for the kids. Our daughter warmed up to it over the week, but its not that spacious or well staffed. The staff who were there appeared competent and responsible. and
6. the world's most boring shopping experience. Ok, so it was not like I was going to buy anything anyway, but why bother with a single half deck filled with stores that walked right out of the airport duty free, but with half the selection?
On a related note, the 'upselling' on the cruise is relentless. Everything is included except for everything. You can never tell if the seminar/activity offerings are actual learning opportunities or just selling opportunities...actually you can tell; they are just selling opportunities. I don't mean to single Celebrity out b/c all the cruise lines apparently do it and its an important profit centre, but in the end a cruise is supposed to be a place where you should be able to let your guard down and enjoy yourself without always having to wonder what the angle is for the proposed activity. Its really a question of balance more than anything else.
Celebrity offers excursions. We took a quick look at them, found them a bit pricey and saw Bermuda on our own. Its hard to see much value added from an organized excursion when the internet gives you all the access you need. Of course, taking a crazy expensive taxi to the caves kind of proved how wrong I was about that. Rookie mistake. My view might be different if we had multiple stops and shorter windows to do our visiting. .
I think we would sail Celebrity again, but not until we've tried some other lines to get a sense of how it compares to them in price and amenities. Less
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