My wife and I just returned from the February 11 2012 Southern Caribbean cruise on board the Celebrity Summit. We have sailed twice before with Celebrity, Millennium(2004), Century(2008). We booked this holiday directly through Celebrity. We are both in our late 30s. Here are our thoughts...
We arrived in San Juan the night before departure and stayed at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center. Really nice room, close drive by taxi from airport and to pier. Make sure that your prepaid transfers are in order because we were not on their "list", or even better just get a cab to and from airport. Made complaint to guest relations and are still waiting for a response or refund.
Arrived at pier at 1pm and on board at 1:15pm, smooth and seamless. Had a few drinks, lunch and room was ready shortly after.
We booked one of the new aft Aqua Class rooms on the 11th deck above Sunset bar, on smoking side(port). Larger balcony(9.5ft x 9.5ft). People eating below can see you if they look up. Noise was not an issue, could sometimes smell smoke from below. Very easy access to the bar below with the stairs conveniently located beside your balcony. Some ash on balcony from smoke stack. Bed is comfortable, bathroom is great, decorated very well, storage space is good, room seemed larger than CC on Century. Would book this room again in a second.
Food and Drink
We ate at the Blu restaurant, booking Aqua class is worth it alone simply for this restaurant. The food quality and taste was fantastic, the presentation attractive and serving sizes were reasonable; not overly large but satisfying. We booked the Normandie one evening and were somewhat disappointed. We recall being more impressed with Murano on board the Century and found that the food in Blu was so good that it was not worth the additional cost at Normandie. One specialty restaurant which is absolutely worth the fee is Qsine; well worth it. The sharing concept tapas style dining experience is both fun as well as delicious and if you are travelling with friends this is a "do not miss". The buffet at breakfast is good, coffee however was bad throughout the ship but is drinkable at Al Bacio coffee bar.
We purchased the premium drink package. We liked the idea of not having to worry about how much each drink we ordered would add to the end of the week cost. We think we came out ahead, but admittedly drank more than we normally would have.
The staff is excellent! Across the board they were friendly, efficient and aimed to please. We only encountered one staff whom we didn't like. The sommelier in Blu appeared disinterested and unengaged.
Not Celebrity's strong point. Cruise ship quality. One comedian was entertaining although the magician/comedian was downright awful. The dancers and singers were fine. Nightclub band was OK. Poolside entertainment was fine as well. I think on a whole we can't say anything was all that bad but not really fantastic either.
Sightseeing tours can be easily arranged with any cab driver as you get off the boat and ends up being less expensive than booking through the ship. One tour we did book through the ship was the volcano hike in St. Kitt's. We enjoyed this but think it's important to note that the warnings of "strenuous activity" are not exaggerated in this case. Several people on this tour were unable to finish and you should be in good physical shape to sign up.
Less smooth than getting on. Our disembarkation time was 3.5hrs prior to our flight time and yet we barely made our flight and had to skip ahead of security lines to make it. Customs at the pier was very slow moving, the prepaid bus transfer dropped us off at one end of the terminal and delivered our bags to the other end of the same terminal causing even more delay. Better off taking a cab and staying with your luggage.
We had a fantastic trip. We found other passengers to be very friendly and found ourselves striking up conversations with fellow travellers regularly despite being about 15-20 years younger than the average passenger. Again, we were very impressed by the staff who really deserve to be commended for their hard work and service with a smile. We hardly saw any children on board and would not likely choose Celebrity if we were travelling with our own children.