Over the last few years I have cruised all the mainstream lines and have never had a bad cruise, some have been better than others. I sailed on Century a couple of months ago and so enjoyed it that before debarking I booked this repo on Summit. It did not disappoint.
I planned to fly to San Juan early in the day to allow for some sightseeing in Old San Juan. This was the only glitch and entirely my own fault. I had cruised to San Juan many times before and always docked across from the Sheraton with the other cruise ships. My plane landed at 9AM and the taxi whisked me to a previously unknown to me port on the other side of San Juan. I was not alone as quite a few earlybirds were camped out on the curb waiting for the terminal to open.
Once the embarkation staff opened the doors it was just a few minutes till onboard with champagne in hand. Cabins would not be ready till 1:30PM, but the buffet was open. This was the most busy the buffet was at any time during the cruise, but it was not crowded. The weather was overcast, so I waited in the buffet till the cabins opened. At 1:30 I dropped off my carry-on, met the awesome room steward Sandy, freshened up and went to explore the ship. It took just a minute to get my bearings and start exploring. The ship is beautiful. All the lounges, bars and public areas were immaculate and inviting. I found the atmosphere to be peaceful and every one of the crew members friendly, helpful and unobtrusive.
The service was by far the best I have experienced. The cabin was fine. The water pressure in the shower was weak, but adequate. I did not participate in any of the activities being content to enjoy the perfect weather throughout the cruise.
The food was excellent both in the buffet and the dining room. There was never a line in the buffet - not sure how that was managed, but it was lovely. There were so many choices for food that in 8 days I never managed to try a gourmet sandwich or the pizza. The offerings at the Aquaspa Cafe were perfect, especially the cold soups and muffins. Dinners were a high point of the day. Our table at the Main sitting with our servers Edwin and Pauline was filled with conversation, laughter and food experimentation.
The entertainment was diverse and really good. The band on deck most afternoons was low key, but always got people up to dance. The lead female singer had a very rich, pleasing voice. Their music added to experience, it did not dominate it - that's a good thing. Pre-dinner at the Cova Cafe we were treated to either an acapella group or a classical string trio. They were both professional and thoroughly entertaining. In Rendezvous a jazz group played favorites and consistently filled the dance floor. The female singer was a joy to listen to, her enthusiasm was infectious. Michael's Club featured a female singer/piano player who was very enjoyable also. The production shows in the theatre were very good. Most ships are lucky to have one strong lead singer, this ship had FIVE and if you count the ACD, SIX. With all those strong, true voices the shows were fantastic! Mark Preston, of Lettermen fame, put on wonderful shows. He is a real showman who comes across as very sincere and seems to really enjoy interacting with the audience.
I took advantage of ship tours in Tortola BVI and Bermuda and was very pleased with the experiences and value of the tours.
During this cruise I was fortunate to participate in both a galley tour and a bridge tour. Both were extremely educational and enjoyable.
This cruise seemed to showcase the food and chefs more than most - how lucky!!! One night a buffet was held on deck - I ran up to see it being set up, lots of carved fruit, couldn't stay awake to see the completed buffet. We were treated to two days of a special brunches. They were set up in the main dining room with ice sculptures, full breakfasts, waffle and omelet stations, lots of seafood, carving stations, food, food and more delicious food. Both setups were waaaay over the top! One evening most of the entertainment was gathered in Reflections, the lounge at the top of the ship, taking turns on stage while the Chocolate Buffet was presented, another delectable feast.
Celebrity seems to do just about everything a bit better than what I have experienced on other lines. One area that can't be blamed on or credited to
the cruise line is the behavior of the passengers. My fellow passengers on two Celebrity cruises have been more polite, considerate, empathetic to the crew and generally better behaved than on the other cruise lines. People held elevators, did not push or shove, didn't mind clearing a coffee cup and were usually pleasant. Of course there were one or two exceptions, but mostly the people contributed to a wonderful cruise rather than detracting from the experience.