Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by joolsb: Celebrity Summit - not for us :-(
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Celebrity Summit - not for us :-(
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Apologies for what promises to be a very long review! First up I will say that on the whole we had a great holiday - but it could have been much, much better. Probably best to start with what we did like, before starting on the negatives!
The staff were mostly fantastic, and the service was usually first class (however the promise of being called by name never actually happened - our cabin steward got our name totally wrong and we hadn't the heart to keep correcting him on the rare occasion that he used it!).
Public areas were well laid out and spacious - we particularly liked the Martini/Champagne Bars and the Cova Cafe, which were probably about the best maintained areas on the ship. The pool/sun decks were also well laid out, getting away from the straight rows of sunbeds seen on other ships; however it would have been good to be able to get a "soft" bed somewhere away from the pool; unfortunately the majority of the beds didn't have cushions and More these were the ones to be taken first. That said, even on a sea day we didn't have a problem getting a bed in the sun (in spite of some blatant chair hogging going on). Bar staff around the pool weren't as "pushy" as we had experienced on some lines, and of course we could help ourselves to drinks and ice from dispensers whenever we wanted.
Food in the Aqua Spa was usually very good - we particularly liked it for lunchtime, where we felt very righteous eating something "healthy" in contrast to the other food on offer at that time (although I have to admit that the nachos at the Poolside Grill were very tempting!). The only downside about the Aqua Spa was the general appearance of the whole area - definitely in need of upgrading.
Ports of call were very good, and we visited some places we had never been to; we could have done without at least one of the Italian mainland ports, but did appreciate that these destinations were the highlight for most of the American passengers (we are UK based).
Entertainment was on the whole good - especially the production shows in the theatre which were excellent; unfortunately the pool-side band was pretty awful (great on instrumentals, but they really shouldn't have tried to sing!!). The string quartet, barber-shop quartet and guitarist were all excellent (although again the guitarist should have stuck to what he did best!).
Now to the negatives: first impressions weren't great. We were late arrivals and were left standing on the dock-side in Venice for about 20 minutes until someone eventually "processed" us; fortunately it was a pleasant, dry evening! We were then left to haul our luggage up the gangway by ourselves (although there were plenty of staff around who could have offered to help). We were given no assistance in finding our stateroom - simply pointed towards the lifts. We were very disappointed with our accommodation; threadbare and stained carpet, holes in the curtain linings which let light shine through, very worn and aged soft furnishings. We had one of the "sweet 16" rooms, and the balcony was a great size - but a total waste of time, since the only furniture we were provided with was 3 "odd" chairs (one obviously from the Aqua Spa Cafe complete with stained cushion) and a small wobbly table which we had to steady with a piece of paper in order to use it! Such a waste of space - we would have loved to be able to spend more time out there, but it wasn't even practical to eat breakfast or lunch out there without hauling our indoors coffee table out (which was very heavy to move).
As the holiday progressed we realised that we had a very bad smell and a wet carpet in our room, coming from the numerous cracked tiles in the shower. To cut a long story short, we eventually had some of the carpet replaced and part of the shower retiled and grouted (of course this entailed us having to vacate our room for a whole day). We were offered another room (after the repairs had been done), but since this was only 4 days before the end of our holiday we declined (we really didn't want to have to spend time packing, unpacking and then packing again!). What really disappointed us (in addition to the appaling condition of the accommodation in general) was that Celebrity made no other kind of "gesture" to us whatsoever. If we had returned to our room that night to even a plate of canapes or a bottle of wine, we would have been appeased to some extent, but we received not so much as a note.
We felt generally that internally the ship was not in great shape, and is in need of a major over-haul in order to bring it up to standard.
We were on 2nd sitting dinner in the Dining Room, and although we had requested to be at a table of 8 (we like to meet up with other travellers!), we were put at a table by ourselves; this really wasn't a problem, and although we didn't meet up with people, it also meant we weren't disrupting the table if we chose not to eat there. We chose not to eat there quite a lot! The food was without doubt some of the worst we have had on a cruise; the presentation was good, but the food was bland, bland, bland! The beef in particular was completely tasteless and the desserts weren't much better; we would have liked to have seen some cheese on offer on occasion, but it never was. The coffee was on some occasions undrinkable. Our waiter was the "invisible man" and very inattentive (of course until the last few days!), although his assistant was much more friendly and chatted with us regularly. We ate in the Normandy, which was slightly better (although I'm not convinced it justified the extra $$) and in the "casual dining" in the Waterfall, which was also better that the MDR (and with lovely sea views). The Waterfall buffet was actually very good in the early evening, when you could have sushi, freshly cooked noodles, pasta, salads etc. However eating in a self-service cafeteria was not what we had intended to be doing on this holiday!
Our general feeling (apart from our disappointment on the condition of the ship) was that Celebrity were trying to get extra $$ from you at every turn - from the ridiculously over-charged shuttle buses ($12 a head in Livorno for a 10 minute trip, $20 for the shuttle boat in Venice), to the various things available to entertain you onboard, which invariably carried an extra charge! One of the biggest wastes of money we felt was the soda card - considering that drinks are available all round the ship all day, and the card can be used for nothing else but concentrated soda, our son certainly didn't get full value from this. Our experience on other lines has been that soda cards can also be used for fruit juices and for "virgin" cocktails of the day - not so on Celebrity. They even charged him for a "Shirley Temple" - which is basically just soda from the tap, but with a splash of grenadine added!
I think in summary we would describe our experience of the Celebrity Summit as "disappointing", and probably not one that we will choose to repeat. Less
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Cabin review: 6027
Worn, threadbare and old soft furnishings. Great size of balcony but not enough (or suitable) furniture to utilise it to its full capacity. Cracked and leaking shower tiles, resulting in rotting, smelly and damp bedroom carpet. When 3rd bed is in use, difficult to access balcony. Handy for access to Theatre and Aqua Spa - but most other facilities some distance away.
Port and Shore Excursions
We walked from the port to the station - admittedly this wasn't a very pleasant walk, but it was early in the morning and we felt safe. The walk took about 30 minutes; I wouldn't have done this walk later in the day. Easy to find the train to Pompeii, where we spent a couple of hours getting a "taste" of the history. You could easily spend much longer, but the heat was the determining factor for us, and by 1130 we had had enough. We got on the train again, this time to Sorrento (we simply bought a Naples-Sorrento ticket and this seemed to be ok), where we walked through the town, had lunch, then walked down to the port to catch the ferry back to Naples.
The ferry actually docked right next to our ship, so we didn't have far to walk back! We sat and had a couple of drinks in the "Bar Beverello" at the port, which was a great place to watch the activity of the port.
Find a bar with a view (there are lots!) and settle down to enjoy the views from another angle (although be prepared to pay for the privilege!). On your way back to the ship take time to stop for a drink at one of the cafes at the dockside, and watch everyone else rushing back to the ship to pay twice as much for their beer!
The small "train" trip round the town is well worth doing, to give you not only a good look at the whole place without having to climb up the steep hills yourself, but also some spectacular views of the bay.
On certain days there is a small "antiques" market, located just outside the port entrance.
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