Summit- My wife (Julianne) and I had the pleasure of cruising on Celebrity's Summit April 30 - May 7th in the Western Caribbean. I found the cruse reviews to be very helpful so I vowed to post one after our journey. First, I think it should be mandatory that anyone who leaves a review give their age and a bit about who they are and what is important to them. I am 37 and Julianne is 35. We are very active, water & beach enthusiasts and are NOT "partiers" at all. Julianne had never cruised before and I did once 14 years ago.
Celebrity and its Summit were amazing. The ship is beautiful and the service incredible! We had the time of our lives! What a terrific vacation experience! With that said, I would not give as strong of a recommendation for the hard core, die hard partier types out there. Don't look for any "Girls gone wild aboard the Summit" videos anytime soon! The Summit was anything but that type atmosphere. It was a first class, refined experience maybe so much so that the very few party animals that were aboard appeared to find some aspects of Celebrity somewhat frustrating.
Dining We had late seating and dined in the main dining room (The Cosmopolitan) every night, except the one night we spent at the specialty restaurant - the Normandie. At dinner we received excellent service and were served fantastic food at the Cosmopolitan, so good that we did NOT dine in the less formal waterfall cafe even once for dinner! Our waiter Ibraham was superb and treated us like royalty and our assistant waiter Lawrence was excellent. For breakfast we had room service deliver us croissants and coffee at 6:30 or 7 AM every day. The croissants are the best we have ever tasted and it was a great way to start our day. For our breakfast meal we mostly dined at The Waterfall Cafe buffet.
Overall the food was great with tons to choose from including the yummy Belgium waffles, omelet station, pastries and fresh fruit (the scrambled eggs were not very good and bacon a little cold). The buffet was also a little bit faster then the Cosmo so we could investigate the port cities a bit earlier than most others. For lunch we did 50/50 Cosmo vs. Waterfall Cafe just depending on when we got back on the ship and how we felt. Both had great lunches. The specialty restaurant (The Normandie) was the greatest dining experience of our lives. We asked for and got a table for 2 which made for a more intimate dining experience for our special occasion. Best foods ever eaten in our lives include the CHEESE SOUFFLE, Chateaubriand, Sea Bass and Bombay (dessert). Well worth the $60 bucks, believe me!
Spa/ Gym We did some spa treatments, it was nice but if you need to cut costs you might want to bypass it. Adjacent to the spa is the gym which many were saying is the best afloat. We used it everyday except one and absolutely loved it! It was a big part of why our cruise experience was so great. In the Spa area there is a lite menu cafe (there are so many places to eat on the Summit it is hard to keep track of them all). We were told the Spa Cafe is also run by the Normandie group (management/ chefs) and it shows!
Pool The pool deck was awesome! Voltz played music with a Caribbean flair in the afternoon which gave the deck a nice feel. At peak times it was difficult to find a chair on deck 10 but deck 11 overlooking the pool always had spots. The indoor Theasotherapy pool was absolutely great! The bubbles and everything were great.
Cabin #2138 outside cabin, mid-ship. Our cabin assistant (John) was excellent! If you are looking to save a few bucks go with this lowest cabin deck, mid-ship (a cabin in the #2128 range would probably be even a bit better). To me these cabins should be the MORE expensive cabins than upper decks because for the most part you never feel you are moving and with the gas turbine engine it is super quiet (completely inaudible from our cabin) and has no "cut through" traffic that some upper decks have. Sure you have to spend an extra few minutes per day on the stairs (it's healthy) but it's was no big deal for a fairly young couple like us. Julianne had gotten sea sick on tiny (less than 100 passenger boats) in her life and was nervous about cruising but never once even got even close to being sea sick the entire week.
Shows Several guests aboard said other ships had better, whatever. The cruise director Simon was great! We did go to all but one show, overall we enjoyed the shows. The comedian, Ray, was hilarious! We did NOT book a cruise for the shows so we really didn't care much whether they were Broadway caliber or on par with our local high school drama club.
Games/ Activities/ sports activities The activities staff tried their hearts out but with so many I-can-care-less-about-games-and-activities-passengers on board they really didn't get much participation. We did a few poolside games and other ship activities and had fun.
Ship/ cruise summary At the all important post cruise "weigh in" I gained 2 lbs and Julianne just 1, taking the stairs, walking the ports and working out all helped make that possible for us (I don't believe we missed a single meal).
Tips- snorkeling is great fun so if you are planning to snorkel a lot buy your own gear at home and bring it. Depending on where you go many places have good snorkeling right off the beach! There is a mini bar in each cabin so you can save some bucks by packing a few beverages (pack it in bags with lots of cushioning). The cabin attendants can care less if they are alcoholic beverages or not. Research the ports (internet/ travel mags) before you leave. If you can afford the extra vacation day go down a day early. We stayed at Sleep Inn for just $59 which had nice free shuttles from the airport and to the ship port. Nice deal, nice, newish, very clean place, it allowed us to arrive at the ship port at 11:15 AM and be nearly first on board at noon! First thing- book your excursions - talk to the rep about what you want to do over the entire trip and take their advice as to best excursions!!! Book the Normandie before the masses get to it. Join the captain club while on board, its free. WE LOVED CELEBRITY'S SUMMIT!
Ports (WESTERN CARIBBEAN) Some Western Caribbean ports like Key West, Grand Cayman and maybe Cozumel "doing it yourself" excursions might be the way to go but for some suspect locations you are better off going with the celebrity sponsored excursions! Key West was great. Walked around and shopped for an hour. Rode bikes for a few hours seeing sites (this is a great island for bikes) ONLY $4 a day rental at Keys Mopeds and Bikes on Truman Ave. Found a local beach for an hour to sun bathe and swim. What a fantastic day!
Cozumel- Went with Catch the Wave excursion via Celebrity, what a joke! We were disappointed but we heard from many other passengers that the other 4 Celebrity snorkeling excursions were all very good. We booked Catch the Wave via the internet a month before the trip and the excursion rep at the Summit desk said Catch the Wave had changed and they were telling folks to avoid it. Too late for us. ? The water in Cozumel is super clear and beautiful.
Belize- We had planed to do it ourselves in Belize. It was the first time the Summit ever visited in Belize. It was disorganized and after talking with some locals we had an uneasy feeling about our plans to grab a water taxi to Geoff Cay so we got back on board (we really wanted to snorkel Belize's Cays, no luck). (Cozumel and Belize days were mostly spent on the ship which wasn't exactly what we had planned but because the ship is so great we did enjoy those days).
Roatan- Breathtaking island with hilly terrain. Did the Celebrity excursion to West Bay Beach (Tabayana Club). One travel book had West Bay Beach as the most beautiful in the entire Western Caribbean, it's hard to argue, WOW. A picture postcard beach and snorkeling was very good with a huge barrier reef a mere 3 minute swim off shore. Nearby West End is suppose to be nice but we never found time to take the 10 minute water taxi ride over.
Grand Cayman- We honeymooned in Cayman 8 years ago. Cayman is so beautiful words can not do it justice. Eight years ago, we had done everything Cayman has to offer including sting ray city, 7 mile beach, hell, turtle farm, everything (all great) so we did our favorites this year, Rum Point! We rented a jeep, took the very scenic 50 minute drive to Rum Point which is still quite, secluded, and absolutely beautiful!! After a few hours we jumped back in the jeep, drove through Cali Kia stopped at the blowholes all of which were on the way to Smith Cove which is close to the port and so nice! It is quaint, beautiful, scenic and completely un-crowded beach with good snorkeling. Then we hopped back in the jeep snorkeled at Eden rock, shopped in Georgetown and grabbed the last tender back on board. Bye Cayman, we love you!
Budget car rental had a great cruise special $49, EVERYTHING (gas, license, transfers) included with very convenient transportation from the pier to the vehicle at the airport. WE LOVED CELEBRITY'S SUMMIT! -Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org)