My parents and I have never been to Maine or the Atlantic provinces in Canada. We heard from many that the towns were quaint and the scenery was breathtaking. What better way to be introduced to these regions then to take a cruise on our favorite line, Celebrity? We booked a little more than two months before on the Summit in concierge class category C2. We are relatively new to cruising as our first cruise was this past April on the Solstice. I had done the research and understood that the Summit is an older ship and not in the Solstice class. I had read the mixed reviews with some critical of the Summit for its aged condition. Knowing all these facts, I lowered my expectations before embarking so there would be no disappointment. What I was really interested in were the ports.
To my surprise, my expectations were slightly exceeded. I thought I would be boarding a ship on its last leg and instead, I was pleasantly surprised at its cleanliness and evidence of a good ongoing maintenance program. Once in a while I would see fixtures and blemishes that would need attention, but they were so minor that they were not enough to affect our satisfaction. For example, elevator buttons that had broken off or minor rust.
Our concierge class veranda stateroom on deck 8 was in pristine condition after we had two problems fixed by maintenance. The sliding glass veranda door was slightly off track making it very difficult to open. Also, the vertical bar in the shower that holds the removable shower head fell off because the bottom screw had rusted out. We notified our stateroom attendant and he summoned the maintenance team that arrived in a matter of minutes. A new track was installed on the slider and the bar in the shower was secured with a new screw in very short time. Cleanliness was very evident throughout the ship. The key is that if you have a problem with something that doesn't work in your room, do not put it off. Tell the attendant and they will make it right.
The quality of food in the Cosmopolitan dining room was excellent. Here you will find the standard Celebrity service with the standard menu on the left and the specialty menu on the right that changes each day. There many five star restaurant quality entrees, soups and appetizers that sets Celebrity apart. I loved the baked Alaska on the second formal night that was brought out in the entertaining parade. The first four nights we were at a table for six but the other three seats were never occupied. We wanted some company. Each of the first four nights, Larry, the assistant maitre d kept calling staterooms that supposedly wanted early dining and wait listed. However, Larry informed us that the passengers were either too busy or were in a party of two and demanded only a table for two because they wanted to be alone. For the last three nights, Larry changed us to a table for twelve that had three empty seats. This made us so happy as we finally had other people to converse with. We had great table mates. Everyone liked each other so much that we all exchanged phone numbers and emails on the last night. Some lived very close to our winter home in Florida and we will probably see them again.
The Waterfall Cafeteria was a mob scene after boarding with long lines. But after that, it wasn't too crowded. The quality of the food was average, with standard breakfast, salads and lunch foods. You take a tray and a plate. For the main course sections of the line, you have to request and be served by the employee on the other side. For some salad and dessert items, you serve yourself. It was ok.
The entertainment had its strong and weak points. It's really a matter of opinion on what one considers entertaining. Personally, I hated the variety show and Broadway medley show with its ghastly bright fluorescent costumes and terrible acting. They were too loud for my parents and were kind of tacky to me. However, the comedian, acapella group and the Paradise String Quartet were the best I've listened to and seen. They really enhanced the entertainment experience and set a standard for cruise lines.
I went to the art auction but didn't participate that much. I was there for the free champagne and the raffle at the end. It was interesting to read all the fine print from Park West, the outside company that does the art auctions for Celebrity. I'm not that educated in art so I would never buy on a cruise ship without first doing research.
The casino was very nice to me. I hit two jackpots and left the cruise ahead $500! Being from the Las Vegas area, I would have liked it more if the casino used the E-Z pay system, where you get a ticket upon cash-out instead of waiting for coins to spit out from the machine and grab handfuls to put in a bucket. I used the hand-sanitizer stations a lot there! The slot tournament was fun, but I thought the prize structure would be higher than a first prize of $340 given all of the people that paid $25 to enter. But Celebrity is in it to make money on board and I'm sure Jason, the casino manager is limited in what he can do given the directives he receives from corporate in Miami. I felt good for the person that won. She was sick and had to pay $400 in services to the medical office earlier in the cruise. The win helped to pay her bill.
Pool area was well kept and there were plenty of deck chairs when I wanted to be there. My parents loved the saltwater Thalassotherapy pool with its water jets and massaging water that would pour down from above.
Embarkation and Disembarkation were a breeze. But the cruise terminal at Cape Liberty is old and ugly. It needs to be bulldozed and rebuilt closer to the ship so you don't have to take a bus to the gangway. We had car services that dropped us off and picked us up right on schedule when we returned.
All in all, this was a good cruise with high standards of service that Celebrity is known for. I enjoyed this millennium-class ship sailing.