This is our second cruise on the Summit and our 4th with Celebrity. Our first was
on the Summit in 2002 to Alaska, then on the Infinity to Hawaii, on the Mercury to Alaska in 2010and now in Oct, 2011 on the Summit to Canada & New England.
While cruising is still my favorite way to travel because I enjoy the true vacation experience and services offered such as food & entertainment and not having to unpack between ports, we have noticed that the quality has deteriorated.
While the food is still delicious, the quality has fallen. Instead of large shrimp in a shrimp cocktail, they are medium. The jumbo tiger shrimp was a medium shrimp about the size of my index finger. On the long awaited lobster night where your waiter removes the lobster tail from the shell, the tail is the size of a large shrimp and there is no removal from the shell. Even when we dined at the Normandy specialty restaurant for $40 a head plus tip, the lobster was small and there was no removal of the meat from the shell. And it seems as if Celebrity doesn't know how to make a good chocolate dessert. Their chocolate night didn't even have a yummy chocolate treat. No good fudge brownie or cake.
I think the key to an enjoyable cruise is your waiter and his assistant. This has always been the case & they make you feel special and welcome. They are the ones who remember who you are and what you like. No one else gives you that service or attention.
Our cruise director Daimeon was good. He had some good shows but as the cruise progressed, the jokes from the entertainers deteriorated and got off color. And the costumes on the ladies often were skimpy. We enjoyed the pianist very much and appreciated that he performed more than once. By the last night the entertainment wasn't worth watching and that was probably good since many cruisers were busy packing by then.
There normally is an afternoon or even a high tea served onboard at some point but now it is only offered at the specialty restaurant for $29. It used to be included with the price but not any more. My husband who is a retired meat cutter and knows meat says the steaks were precooked and heated in order to serve so many in a short time. There were no grill marks or signs of sizzling on the steaks. The only time we saw prime rib roast was during the captains function at noon where you sat with plates on your lap and with no place setting or fork & knife. It looked good but we never saw it in the dining room. This always used to be standard fare but not anymore.
We will probably cruise with Celebrity again since we were lured with the open ended certificate to give shipboard credit at a future cruise and purchased this. But now I wonder if that was a wise thing to do.
Overall we enjoyed the cruise and the cruising experience but when we remember what it was like 5 years ago, 10 years ago and even longer we must admit that things have changed. We think that to get the quality we used to get we must now book a higher level like the Solstice class or even higher.
The one cruise excursion we used was tea and walking tour at the Quebec Frontenac. The walking tour was okay but the tea was a great disappointment. It was not a high tea nor even an afternoon tea. There were no scones or devonshire cream & jam to go with it. When we got to the cafe, the plates were already on the table and contained 1 small think slice of a poppy seed bread, 1 small piece of chocolate cake, a piece of biscotti & 2 chocolate candies. That's it. Our server didn't know what a scone was and that it was standard fare for a tea. This was not really tea fare, no sandwiches and there was no place on Celebrity's evaluation for us to rate our excursion experience.