42 Barcelona Celebrity Summit Cruise Reviews

The Summit has more going for it than not, but our cruise was negatively colored by illness aboard and a huge culture clash of passengers. First the good: the crew aboard the Summit is exceedingly well trained to provide outstanding ... Read More
The Summit has more going for it than not, but our cruise was negatively colored by illness aboard and a huge culture clash of passengers. First the good: the crew aboard the Summit is exceedingly well trained to provide outstanding service. It never varied from the most congenial, polite and gracious service in every venue. Even the public restroom staff were apparently trained to greet and chat with passengers. The restaurant staffs were a bit more subdued and harried toward the end of the cruise when longer hours and additional work were added to their already tough schedules due to the norovirus. Our cabin, a concierge class veranda, was perfectly designed for relatively spacious comfort. It did have the usual tiny bathroom, which was very ordinary with nothing to indicate the premium cabin category. There was a frig, which needed to be unlocked by request or was unavailable otherwise. I would like to note that the ship's review is quite incorrect on several points, such as internet availability in the cabins, the cost of internet (max was 65 cents per minute) and other points. It needs to be updated. Food was not up to prior standards of Celebrity, which we attribute to the downturn in pricing aboard any/all cruise lines. They simply cannot afford to provide costly meals at the prices charged for a cruise now. However, the prep was terrific, the quality good and the variety excellent. Of note was the unbelievable accommodation made for my gluten and dairy free diet. It was amazing how well they handled it and with complete grace. Kudos to them! Staff was very well informed about ingredients, which I found amazing. Again - Celebrity or the Summit in particular must train their staff very, very well. Very unusual for us: we took two shore excursions. One was to Provencal villages out of Marseilles and the other was to Alhambra from Malaga. They were both done very well and for very fair prices. The ship's design is user friendly and is chock full of public spaces. The interior design is very elegant and not glitzy. It is a beautiful ship. It is aging, which was only of note on the exterior (veranda, and when viewing the ship's hull). All exterior public spaces are still looking great, though. We felt that food safety and sanitation could have been handled a lot better from embarkation on, which probably contributed to the spread of illness, pegged as a norovirus as per a letter in each cabin from Captain Berdos. I hate seeing serve yourself buffets as any germs from passengers are transmitted via serving pieces and beverage stations. That stopped, with staff handling all food and beverages, once the illness was announced. How widespread the virus was, we will never know. It didn't affect our group of 4 but we are scrupulously careful about hand washing, touching public door knobs, elevator buttons, banisters, etc. Being sick on vacation is lousy and we go to extremes to avoid it. The culture clash aboard the Summit was our second episode this year. Celebrity dumps their unsold cabins in Puerto Rico. There were 900 Puerto Ricans aboard, 1/2 the passengers approximately. They do not mix well culturally with N. Americans, the vast majority of the usual passengers. Enough said except that everyone we spoke with to a person, including loyal Celebrity cruisers, said it was the last Celebrity cruise they would take. Celebrity needs to take note as it was a huge problem and one that staff was unable to handle any better. We will be writing a letter to Celebrity with our concern but don't expect any apology. A couple we met had taken a lengthy S. American cruise over Christmas 2008 and said that Celebrity had sold the ship out to S. Americans, which caused another huge culture clash. They are very well traveled, frequent Celebrity cruisers, and mild mannered people. The response they received from their letter to Celebrity was that since "they are Canadians, they are quite sheltered and unaccustomed to other cultures." It was a huge insult to them and they will never again sail Celebrity. We concur. We are sorry because we love the staff, the ship and the service. But, never again. Don't anyone accuse us of prejudice or intolerance or lack of worldliness. Not true on any count. It was simply a mix of cultures that aboard a ship does not work. It was felt by everyone, including the Puerto Ricans, who were vocal in their complaints also. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
My husband and I (along with my parents) were just on the Summit going from Barcelona to San Juan. My husband and I were probably one of the younger couples on board being 29 and 35. My parents are in their 50's. We did not book a ... Read More
My husband and I (along with my parents) were just on the Summit going from Barcelona to San Juan. My husband and I were probably one of the younger couples on board being 29 and 35. My parents are in their 50's. We did not book a hotel through Celebrity in Barcelona as we booked it on our own because it was way cheaper. Embarkation was a breeze both my husband and I, and my parents were in CC class, no line and we were on the boat in probably 1/2 hour, we also stopped to change some money which took more time than anything else! The ship was great! We have only been on Celebrity one other time and that was on the Galaxy on a transatlantic 3 years ago. This time (and last time) we had a balcony in CC class. I loved the room, thought the bed was comfy, everything was very clean and nice. I loved both of these ships the Summit however has a great indoor Thalassotherapy pool which was wonderful, and warm, which the Galaxy didn't have. Though I liked the buffet set up better in the Galaxy, either way both were/are great ships. Even more fun this time of year the Summit was decorated for Christmas! I really liked Celebrity's enrichment and learning programs. My husband and I went to dance lessons, all four of us went to the lectures which were very informational, one Smithsonian speaker on Oceans and the other on Africa. The on board ship entertainment (dancers and singers) were excellent! Having last been on NCL where I refused to go to the shows because they were so bad this was a welcome and wonderful change! The entertainers they brought on board were also very good. We did two shore excursions one in Agadir, and one in San Juan. Both were very good. My parents did an excursion at almost every port and they enjoyed all of them. My favorite places had to be Valencia and Malaga Spain. Both cities were very interesting. I managed to find a tack store (horse store) in Valencia where I could buy gifts for all my friends (most of them including me have horses). Malaga had a small Christmas market and they had a ton of Christmas lights hanging at almost every street, and each street had a different lighting theme. One street was all snowflakes, one street was a red and white design, one was music notes, all were very pretty! The food was fantastic, just as good as I remembered on the Galaxy. The buffet was always good, though I think the newer ships with the "pods" would work better than the old buffet line, as we had a number of people on board who didn't understand the concept of standing in line, and always tried to line jump. We also had the best waiters in the main dining room, very nice, professional, and helpful, they were excellent I can't say enough good about them. We also at the Normandie (twice) which was absolute wonderful. I wasn't sure how they could improve on the food and they did. It was so good that we went back the next night and took my mother. I am not a big fan of specialty restaurants (mainly because I don't want to pay extra) but this one is well worth it! I would definitely sail on Celebrity again, and we are currently looking for another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Started with two nights in Barcelona (Hotel Continental), ended with three nights in Venice(Hotel Ponte Mocenigo). Pre-booked private tours in Villefranche and Naples, Transportation only in Florence and Pisa, DIY in Athens, Istanbul, ... Read More
Started with two nights in Barcelona (Hotel Continental), ended with three nights in Venice(Hotel Ponte Mocenigo). Pre-booked private tours in Villefranche and Naples, Transportation only in Florence and Pisa, DIY in Athens, Istanbul, Split and Venice(with pre-booked excursions in each port) We took a Celebrity tour from Mykonos to Delos. Everything went beautifully except the Celebrity Delos tour, which was a dis-organized exercise in frustration. Because of our arrival time in Mykonos, we had no choice, other than Celebrity, in getting to Delos. This being our sixth cruise, I knew better than putting ourselves at the mercy of ship excursion people. This tour re-confirmed that belief. The overall appearance of the ship was excellent, a few rust spots and worn upholstery, but nothing to distract from the overall excellence. Our sweet sixteen cabin was perfect, and our room steward Nyak, was the best we have had in six cruises. The main dining room food and service was outstanding. One meal in Normandy, which was everything it was hyped to be. Variety, service, and convenience in the buffet was very good. We only went to shows on two evenings, both were excellent. The only negative on board experience was with "guest relations" ...wrong information, tone and attitude very offensive...needs adjusting. This was a fantastic cruise, the itinerary, the ship, most of the ship personnel, we met some very good people who we hope to cruise and tour with again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Summit 14-night Classical Mediterranean Barcelona to Venice, Oct 3 to Oct 17, 2009 Concierge Class 9th deck Background: This trip was the first cruise for my husband and I, and I did quite a bit of research on Cruise Critic and ... Read More
Summit 14-night Classical Mediterranean Barcelona to Venice, Oct 3 to Oct 17, 2009 Concierge Class 9th deck Background: This trip was the first cruise for my husband and I, and I did quite a bit of research on Cruise Critic and elsewhere prior to selecting this itinerary with Celebrity. We selected this particular itinerary for time of year, length, variety of ports, overnights in Rome and Istanbul, and pace that included 3 sea days. I had concerns based on threads on this board bemoaning the deterioration of the Celebrity brand in general and the condition of the Summit in particular. With a goal of reporting back to the Cruise Critic community that provided me with volumes of useful information for my planning, I tried to partake of many activities and be a careful observer of onboard life, both positive and negative. Overall: We rate our experience as excellent, but not outstanding. There are some areas that Celebrity could improve (details below), but nonetheless we are looking forward to possibly sailing with our 3 school age children on a shorter North American itinerary next year. Embarkation: Painless. We arrived at the port in Barcelona around 1 pm, and were offered cold water or fruit punch while we filled out a short health questionnaire. Within 10 minutes we were on board and offered a glass of champagne or a mimosa. Luggage: It was delivered while we were having lunch, so we don't know exactly when it arrived, but it was within 90 minutes of when we dropped it off at the port. Ship Condition: The Summit just turned 8. The inspiration of the French-built Summit is apparently the glamorous 1930's French oceanliner 'Normandie'; the Summit's interior design is Art Deco from that era. The original, beautiful large bronze statue of a woman from the Normandie is prominent in the 4th floor MDR. It is a quite nice ship, not "wow!", but refined, elegant, and generally in very good condition. Yes, there are areas where you'll see a little rust, numerous rails needing varnish, an uneven carpet seam here and there, etc. but these should be considered normal I think (though they may be a bit behind the curve on the railing varnish). There were workers painting or taking care of things all the time. In 5 years, people will probably be making the same comments about the Solstice and the Equinox. Stateroom: CC class. We found the stateroom to be well arranged with plenty of storage and hangers. Our suitcases fit under our queen-sized bed. The bedding and sofa were in excellent condition. The carpeting, while clean, had seen better days and was worn. The sheer drapery curtain was missing several runners that made it a struggle to open and close. Hardware on one of the closet doors was broken such that the door did not completely close. The shower was spacious enough and my tall husband appreciated the Grohe shower sprayer that had a height adjustment and good water pressure. There was always enough hot water and it was the correct temperature from nearly the moment the water began flowing. The towels had seen better days and could have used more fabric softener, but the plush bathrobes were nice. We asked for different pillows and were offered several choices. The most annoying element was that the exhaust fan in the bathroom did not work and despite requests, it was not repaired. Thus we endured more odor and foggy mirrors than should have been necessary. On a few days it seemed as though septic odor wafted back through the system into the bathroom. The old CRT TVs should be replaced with modern flatscreens. The balcony had two padded chairs and a table large enough for snacks or cozy dining. Flowers in the room and bathroom were fresh and changed as necessary throughout the cruise. There was a basket of fruit that was kept fresh, though we didn't eat much of it. The much-maligned canapEs of the CC boards arrived in the afternoon and were perfectly fine as far as canapEs go. They consisted of items such as salmon or blue cheese concoctions piped onto dry bread circles, garnished chunks of cheese, baby corn wrapped in turkey, caviar on cream cheese, bay shrimp on cucumber, melon and prosciutto ham, etc. Not scary. We were below the Waterfall Cafe and experienced little noise other than transient footsteps with two notable exceptions: once a heavy object landed with a loud thud, and the morning of departure there was a lot of staff activity that actually woke us up much earlier than we were planning. Service: Our stateroom attendant, Nicasio "Nick" was absolutely excellent and we both wished we could have taken him home with us. He kept our room spotless and although we didn't make many particular requests of him, he executed those that we did have flawlessly. As non-EU citizens, our passports had to be collected and held while we were in Greece and Turkey. A note arrived on our door with a drop-off place and time. Very quick to do as was the process to pick-up our passports. Overall, the service was helpful, friendly, and efficient. Food: This category deserves several paragraphs based on out experiences and the numbers of threads on the CC board relating to menus, preparation, etc. Main Dining Room - We ate most of our dinners in the MDR, late seating. We had a table for two on the 5th floor near the railing that provided excellent views of the room below, the staircase, and the Captain's table. We found that we regretted late seating, which started at 8:45. Due to the intensity of the ports and the length of the dining service (usually 90 minutes or more) we were a bit tired to fully appreciate it. We were also one of the last tables to be served in our service area. As far as the food itself, it was generally very good, with some notable hits and misses, and odd lapses. For example, on our first evening, I ordered the Fleet Executive Chef Jacques Van Staden's recommendation (his dish recommendations are noted on the menus) of Tangiers-style lamb shank as my entrEe. The lamb shank was large, meaty and tender on a bed of couscous. I had a vague sense of something lacking, however. That same evening, my husband had spaghetti that was no ordinary spaghetti. It had pancetta, chopped eggs, and other ingredients and it had him practically licking his plate. Another evening with both had beef fillets topped with oscar; my husband's serving had an appropriate amount, but mine had just a dab of crab and no sauce. The most predictable flaw was soups or entrees arriving lukewarm. Notably excellent items were an appetizer of avocado wedge topped with crab louie, French onion soup, Chicken Chiquita, duck medallions, mushrooms in puff pastry, and a cheese tart. Misses include an oversalted lobster bisque and a portabella mushroom terrine that was slimy but pretty looking. Only one evening did we not find something from the daily menu that didn't appeal to us and several evenings it was hard to make a decision. Anytime we had beef, it was tender. I had read reports of tough beef that was hard to cut, but in our experience that may be due to the dull steak knives that my husband described as a "mildly menacing butter knife". The menu was different each of the 14 nights. One night I had Beef Wellington that had an unwelcome addition of a piece of hard plastic in it. The plastic was shown to our waiter and the maitre d' who soon came over to apologize. Another time, our waiter strongly suggested that my husband order a second entrEe as a hedge against his first choice. Desserts were decent enough, but occasionally were too similar to the previous evening's choices, so we sometimes skipped them. Our waiter Renato was efficient, but we found his assistant, Carolina, to be more personable. The sommelier, Arie, actually seemed irked that we wouldn't buy the expensive wine he was pushing. My husband is knows wine and found a red and a white that was reasonably priced by the glass (to the sommelier's annoyance we think); we normally only ordered one glass each. Buying a wine package may have saved some money, but often our entrees were so different that we wouldn't have both wanted the same wine with dinner. The sommelier was also pushing wine tasting events and we were turned off by the "hard sell". Waterfall Cafe - Abundant choices for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, many hot items, omelets, breakfast pizzas and quesedillas, waffles, several types of Egg Benedict (on crab cake, Italian, German, etc.), French Toast, blintzes, fruits, hot and cold cereals, British section. The breakfast didn't change throughout the cruise, but there was a wide variety. For lunch, hot buffet, pizzas, pasta and stirfry, salad bar, made to order sandwiches, cold prepared salads. One day there was an Octoberfest section. We had dinner here three times. Besides the pasta, salad bar, stirfry, and pizza, there was sushi and a small, usually themed (Mexican, Indian, Greek, etc.) buffet (3 or 4 main dishes, hot side items, 3 or 4 cold prepared salads) during peak dinner hours. The food was generally of good quality, but it could be hard to get a waiter's attention, trays and dishes were unbussed, etc. Waterfall Grill - Burgers, hot dogs, nachos--things like that. We had heard the burgers were good, but found them so-so the one time we tried them. One seaday there were chicken fajitas that looked good with all the accompaniments, except tortillas. The servers had no idea when, or if, tortillas would be forthcoming, so we passed. Aqua Spa Cafe - Unfortunately, I did not get to eat here. I saw it, the food looked good, others said the food was good, and on the one day I went I was too late and it was closed. Normandie - We didn't eat here, mainly because my husband was getting tried of long drawn-out dining experiences. Main Dining Room for "Express Breakfast" and Lunch on sea days - The express breakfast is a simple meal of juice, coffee, eggs, bacon, and toast or Danish. Fast and good enough for an early port day. My husband was hankering for a good burger lunch by the second sea day and found the cheeseburger and fries adequate. I had a turkey panini that I enjoyed it more than he did his burger. We also had breakfast once in the MDR. Cova Cafe - We had tapas here twice; the first time with the only truly "bad attitude" employee we encountered on the Summit. I saw the afternoon pastries and they looked delicious, but was never hungry enough in the afternoon to have any. Brunch - On the second sea day, there was an elaborate brunch in the MDR. Good thing we arrived at the 10 am opening; our dinner waiter spotted us and ushered to a table�a couple we took a private tour with told us that later on seating was impossible and they missed out. Mediterranean Festival - The night we were docked in Istanbul there was music, regional dancing, and a buffet of Turkish foods in the pool area. Evening Dessert Extravaganza - The last formal night. There were chocolate fountains, tarts, mousses, cakes, Eclairs, brulees, etc. with ice sculptures in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth. Alcohol: We live in a high cost-of-living area, so to us, the drink prices were similar to what we'd pay in a hotel or restaurant. They have drink specials everyday (such as 2 for 1 margaritas or a bucket of beer where you get one bottle free). When we came into Istanbul 2 flutes of champagne were $6. Not bad. Though we did talk to a Scottish couple who voiced that $5 for a beer was outrageous. So depends on your perspective, I guess. Coffee: The much maligned beverage has earned it's rap. IT IS THAT BAD. We never had a single cup that was good. I had read on CC that good coffee was available at the Cova Cafe; turns out they only have coffee drinks, you can't get a regular cup. When I asked at the Cova, where possibly, we could get a good cup, the employee enthusiastically told us of the instant Nescafe coffee in the Waterfall Cafe. I know Fleet Chef Van Staden described in the forums a while back the reasons for the coffee woes, (water pressure and such), but as a person who grinds her own and has tried many varieties of beans, I think that the issue is simply low quality, STALE, coffee. PERIOD. The supreme insult came when I went to the Bar of the Edge of the Earth to observe our late evening passage through the Dardanelles. I was charged $3.00 for a cup of this liquid waste, served in a white wine glass of all things! Fellow Passengers: Average about late 50s, but numerous honeymoon couples as well. I saw few people that used a walker or cane. Kids: Very few. Maybe 20, including the Captain's own toddler son. Shows: Attended the Celebrity Theatre encore performance on last formal night. Musical variety. Vocals stronger than choreography. Decent sets, considering that this is on a ship. One element with two aerialists received the most applause. Other venues we listened to included entertainment at the pools, the Rendevous Lounge, the aft 10 deck, quartet with an excellent electric guitarist who soloed, and piano/vocals at Michael's Bar. Pools: I never hung around the main pools. I was looking for quiet to read and relax and on seadays and the main outdoor pools were a noisy, party-type area with the band. I used the Thallossotherapy pool and spas which I enjoyed plus the sauna which afforded a picture window view of the ocean. There were plenty of towels, and my only complaints are that the pool and spas weren't running one time when I was looking forward to using them and the pool butler came through too seldom in the T-pool area. Ship's Excursions vs. Independent Travelers: This is an area where Celebrity could improve. We know that ships want you to take their tours, but that's not for everybody. Not for us, anyway. But if you weren't on one of the X tours, you were second class. We couldn't disembark before the tour groups. The most blatant example was at the port of Naples. We go to the 1st deck ganyway per announcement only to be told that since we're not on a tour we need to go to the 3rd deck. Then there weren't any signs about which way to exit and terminal employees waved us in the direction of the excursion buses. We were meeting a small group for a private tour and apparently the signs to direct us "independents" out of the port were removed at some point. One couple in our group almost didn't make our party because of this. During the "shopping lady's" (Fiona McKenzie) presentations, she would omit certain info that would be helpful (for example, that there's a cheap and easy tram into the Old City Istanbul) in favor of stressing how passengers "needed" to buy their X shuttle tickets for Istanbul. The map distributed for Athens had a major error on it. There are other examples. The best defense is to do your homework ahead of time. Activities: We attended a chef cooking challenge in the Celebrity Theatre (moderately entertaining), two art auctions, a galley tour that was diminished only because the chef's English was almost incomprehensible to us and others. People kept asking each other "What?" "Do you understand what he's saying?" "What's he talking about?". Bridge tour (informative). Movie. Catholic mass. It seemed that the activities we were most interested in were scheduled at the same time on sea days. Crowds: I heard that the ship was almost sold-out, but it hardly ever felt crowded. I often asked myself "Where is everybody?". The exception was lunch when arrived Istanbul. It was crowded at the Waterfall Cafe and it took a little strategy to find a table. Also about a 15-minute wait to be tendered in Croatia. Internet: Only bother with it if you need to. Expensive and slow. Two of my sessions were complete busts that I really don't think I should have paid for. Smoking: I've read that Celebrity's new policy is non-smoking. Maybe I misunderstood what that means, but smoking was allowed on Decks 10, 11, and 12 (outdoor bars, pool, and lounging chair areas). Tendering: We were tendered at Villefranche, Mykonos, and Split. We only waited once, about 15 minutes to be tendered in Split when everyone seemed to be leaving at once. Disembarkment: Celebrity asked guests to complete questionnaires so that people with early flights could receive priority, or could purchase the ship's transport to St. Mark's Square. We had already figured out we were going to take the Alilaguna water bus to St. Mark's Square, so we had no special disembarkment needs. We gathered at the appointed place and were able to leave at our leisure within a 20-minute or so window. Our luggage, having been sorted by color and number codes, was waiting in the port terminal. We felt that the disembarkment process was a bit impersonal and that the staff was concentrating more on the new guests that would be arriving that day. Our last evening we didn't even get our canapEs, turndown service, or our last port info sheet delivered to our room. I started a thread on the Celebrity board in case anyone has specific questions that I didn't cover here. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We are a retired couple and love to travel. This was our fourth cruise and our third trip to Europe. We have cruised twice on HAL about 35 years ago and on Sitmar around 38 years ago. We cruised again last year on Princess. This year we ... Read More
We are a retired couple and love to travel. This was our fourth cruise and our third trip to Europe. We have cruised twice on HAL about 35 years ago and on Sitmar around 38 years ago. We cruised again last year on Princess. This year we were new to Celebrity. Our port of embarkation was Barcelona. We flew from our home in Detroit to JFK and from JFK to Barcelona. We arrived two days early and promptly checked into the Hotel Jazz. This was a great little hotel and the service was lovely and friendly. The place was spotless; the breakfast was delicious. The hotel was only a few blocks from the Main Square and La Ramblas. We had a great time over-all but had a poor experience with the HOHO bus. The busses are supposed to come every 20 minutes but they were often full and we averaged about 40 minutes to an hour wait for each bus. At no time was there room for us to go up to the top level; it was that crowded. The drivers did not speak English well and misdirected us. The bus broke down and we were stranded for 90 minutes waiting for a new bus. The following day I requested a refund and was told I had to complete a form. A month later, I still do not have a refund. In spite of this we really enjoyed the city. The shopping was great. La Rambla was beautiful especially at night. Don't miss the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the other Gaudi architecture. The Guell Park was amazing. I felt as though I fell through Alice's Looking Glass in this city. We boarded the Summit in Barcelona about 2 PM. The process took less than ½ hour from beginning to end. We were warmly welcomed with mimosas and escorted to our room. Our room steward, Naik, immediately stopped by, introduced himself and asked if there was anything we needed. He spoiled us the whole time we were on the cruise. I needed an extension cord for my heating pad. He immediately provided this and taped the cord along the wall so we would not trip over the cord. He was our personal genie; whatever we requested, he provided. He always had a smile. If he saw us walking down the hallway, he would open our door for us. Each time we returned to the ship from our shore excursions, the staff would greet us warmly and say "Welcome Home." We had a standard veranda cabin and it was more than adequate for our needs. There was ample drawer space and lots of cupboards. The closet was a little tight but we managed. There was a safe and plenty of shelving in the bathroom. Bring your own hair dryer; the one on the ship is probably an antique. The room was decorated in orange; in early "Howard Johnson's". However, the bed was very comfortable and we had a sofa and a desk as well. Our balcony held two chairs and a small table. We loved the "no smoking" policy. There was a problem with mold in our shower. We mentioned this to Naik and presto, the mold was gone and the shower curtain was replaced. The food in the MDR was very good. Our waiter, Nengah and his assistant Pavel also spoiled us. My husband asked for two helpings of shrimp cocktail and he got it, every night. Our travel companions requested certain flavors of ice cream and those were ordered especially ordered for us - even when they were not on the menu. Everything we ate was very good. If we attempted to order something that was not good, Nengah would advise us to order something else. Pavel especially was very friendly and both servers always had smile for us. There were plenty of choices for food. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches at the Aqua Spa and the food there was delicious. We tried the buffet from time to time and we were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. We did not try the grill or the pizzeria. We thoroughly enjoyed high tea; especially the bite-sized sandwiches. The coffee on the ship was foul beyond belief. We were forewarned by CC members and we bought our own coffee. There was a special brunch buffet, a midnight buffet and a chocolate buffet. There were canapEs passed every night after 11. You could eat your way through the cruise from beginning to end. However, all of our dining experiences paled in comparison to our two dinners in the Normandie. I can honestly say that these were two of the best meals I have ever eaten. Our entire group was awed by the presentation. The meal was beautifully plated and elegantly served. The fish I ordered was prepared tableside and flambEed. Once again the staff made us feel as though we were honored guests. This meal is well worth the up-charge; we liked it so much we ate there twice. There was lots of entertainment. For comedy there was Fred Kitts, who proved that you can be funny and be clean at the same time. He appeared twice and had the entire audience laughing. The variety shows were excellent. The musicians and concert pianist were outstanding. The movies were good but were more than a year old. Even though we are not movie buffs, we had seen most of the movies. The movie theater and the show room are very comfortable. There were plenty of activities to keep us occupied on sea days. My husband took two photography classes; I took a class in flower arranging and a refresher class in Excel. One photography class and the flower arranging class was free. There was a charge for the other two classes. There was a guest lecturer on the Olympics and even though I did not get to his lectures, I heard that they were good. There were classes in wine-tasting and several dance classes. If the itinerary had not been so port-intensive, we would have availed ourselves of these. We had an extra sea-day because we were unable to dock in Villefranche (due to poor weather). There were two get-togethers for Cruise Critic members. The pools were beautiful. We loved the Thalassotherapy pool. My husband used the gym. A few in our group used the spa and enjoyed it. There are lots of quiet little places on board to settle down with a book. There is a library with a nice selection of books and a lovely card room. There were few annoying announcements. If there was a disappointment in the cruse it was in the shopping. There was a lot of junk jewelry and clothing and most of it was over-priced. There was little "new merchandise" as the cruise went on. Some of the merchandise looked like it was left over from a garage sale. We broke our camera on the cruise and had to replace it. We were able to purchase a nice camera on the ship. The camera sold at the manufacturer's suggested retail price and we were pleased that we did not have to pay an inflated price. We had planned to do a walking/ shopping tour of Florence but the tours were already booked. We ended up taking the ship's shuttle to the train and the train to Florence. It took a half hour for the shuttle then a half hour wait at the train station. The train ride was 90 minutes and we had to reverse this whole process on the way back. We wandered around aimlessly at the train station until we got a cab. We went to the Santa Crorce area but we had only a few hours before it was time to get back. If you do not hire a guide for this city, take the ship's shuttle to the center of town. You will save about two hours. What we saw of Florence was lovely. We were a mixed group. My husband and I were new to Rome and wanted to sight-see. Two of our companions wanted only to shop. Another companion wanted to do both. Our solution was to hire Driver In Rome. Our driver, Paulo, effortlessly delivered us wherever we wanted to go. He dropped the two shoppers off at a shopping center and took the three sight-seers all over the city. Later he dropped the sight-seers off for lunch, picked up the shoppers and delivered them to the restaurant where they joined us for the meal. The second day we all went to the Vatican in the morning but the shoppers left after two hours while the others stayed to see the Sistine Chapel and the Museum. In the afternoon, we went to the Jewish Quarter. Paulo was unflappable. One note: If you hire Driver In Rome, ask for any vehicle but the Fiat; it was bumpy and noisy. Rome was a treat. A few people in our group learned that Paulo, our driver in Rome, was to be our driver in Naples. He agreed to play a joke on the others in our group and to pass himself off as his identical twin brother, Georgio, He met us in Naples in a different vehicle, thankfully a Mercedes van this time, and the trip was much smoother. Our travel companions fell for the little joke and we all had a good laugh. The weather was awful but we all enjoyed ourselves. We went to Pompeii, to a cameo factory and then for a magnificent drive up the Amalfi Coast. Wow!! We had a delicious lunch before driving back to Naples. We definitely recommend Driver In Rome for Rome and Naples and Florence. Ask for Paulo; he's great!! We had a sea day before turning and doing the Eastern Mediterranean. There were plenty of activities and we appreciated the time to relax. While we were still in Naples we heard that the Summit had cancelled several tours because there was a marathon in Athens. Since we had reserved a guide, we telephoned him and asked him if sight-seeing would be a problem. We were assured that it would not be a problem because our guide had a smaller vehicle and could go around the runners. Imagine our surprise when we got to Athens and our guide told us he could not take us to any of the high spots except for the Acropolis. He could not get to any of the other sights along the marathon route and had to drop us off several blocks away from the Plaka. He arranged to meet us several hours later. We had hired George's taxi service after reading rave reviews about him in Cruise Critic. George's son, Billy, was our driver. Billy was very pleasant but we felt that George's taxi should have leveled with us when we telephoned in advance. We could have cancelled. We paid 250 Euros to be dropped off at the Acropolis and the Plaka and returned to the ship. This service was very expensive for what we received and we were understandably disappointed. We could have hired a regular taxi for that. That being said, the city appeared to be like any large metropolitan city. The Acropolis was beautiful even in the rain. The Plaka was a great shopping area and there appeared to be some excellent buys. We did Istanbul on our own. We arrived about 1:30 on Monday and went straight to the tram upon leaving the ship. People were very good about directing us. Istanbul is a huge city but everyone is very friendly. We took the tram to Topkapi Palace and spent a few hours at the harem and the Palace. The grounds were beautiful. It was not hard to imagine girls as young as 11 or 12 being taken to the Harem possibly for life. It was dark when we left the Palace so we did not want to take the chance of getting lost in the dark. So we walked toward the Grand Bazaar and found the shuttle to the ship. We did a lot of people watching on our walk. The next day we took the shuttle to town and walked to the Blue Mosque. It was beautiful. We walked to the Grand Bazaar and spent several hours winding in and out of the shops. We purchased harem outfits for our granddaughters. We found the people in Istanbul to be very friendly. We did not feel at all threatened by being in a Muslim country. Mykonos was serene and beautiful. We shuttled to the town center and walked around for the entire afternoon. It was the last day the shops were open for the season but few shopkeepers were willing to bargain. Still, we enjoyed our sojourn there and took some beautiful pictures. It is fun wandering in and out of the alleys. The little island is peaceful and breath-taking. After leaving Mykonos and another sea day, we arrived in Split. We tendered into town and spent a few pleasant hours shopping the stores and flea markets and exploring the ruins. There is not a lot to do here so a few hours was all we needed. Disembarkation went smoothly. We were one of the last to disembark and we stayed in our cabin until the very end. We were not rushed. We left the ship on schedule and easily found our luggage. Getting a water taxi in Venice took some time but soon we were on our way. We were sorry to leave our adopted home on the Summit. I would like to mention how hard the staff works. Our room steward was on duty from early morning until about nine at night. Our dinner waiters were seen working the buffet at other times during the day. The staff at the Normandie worked the Aqua spa. We heard passengers complaining about the tips that were automatically charged to the cabins. We felt that these tips were not enough for the wonderful service we received. These people sign contacts with Celebrity and work for six months before they return home. Often they send money home to their families. They deserve every bit of their tips and more. We will definitely return to Celebrity. We would recommend this ship to anyone. We spend three nights here and stayed at the Hilton Stucky Molino. The hotel is located on a separate island but there is a complimentary shuttle to San Marco. The hotel is spotless and nice for a splurge. The staff was lovely and welcoming except for the concierge who was condescending and rude. We spent most of our time around San Marco Square. We are avid amateur photographers and found plenty of things to photograph here. We also wandered around other neighborhoods in Venice and Molino. Venice is a beautiful and easily doable on your own. The water busses will take you anywhere. We visited Murano. I am glad we went but we do not have to return. The prices were the same in Venice. Venice is not inexpensive. It cost us 60 Euros to get to our hotel from the pier and 112 Euros to get to the airport. All food is imported and delicious and expensive. In addition to paying high prices (in Euros) you pay a "cover charge" and a "service charge". But spending money is part of the fun. If you are going to visit Venice, budget accordingly. You won't be sorry. When we return, we will bring an extra suitcase for the masks and souvenirs. They are lovely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
1) Cruise left Barcelona on Oct. 3, 2009 arrived in Venice Oct. 17, 2009. 2) We left home Oct 1st spent a night in Barcelona and stayed an extra night in Venice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Quickly adjusted to time zone as well as not being in a ... Read More
1) Cruise left Barcelona on Oct. 3, 2009 arrived in Venice Oct. 17, 2009. 2) We left home Oct 1st spent a night in Barcelona and stayed an extra night in Venice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Quickly adjusted to time zone as well as not being in a crazy rush on sail day. 3) Stayed in Eurostars Ramblas Boqueria in Barcelona, Columbus Hotel in Rome (During 2 day Rome visit), Hotel Casa Nova in Venice. Rated Cruise 9 out of 10 (Best we've ever had in our 15 cruises) To clarify, we are very picky and unforgiving in lots of areas so a 9 is probably the highest we could give any cruise line. The criticisms of Celebrity is that the Guest Services staff is uninformed and not very helpful. We asked 3 questions of them in the 14 days and all 3 answers were wrong. Grossly wrong. Celebrity, in other areas, reminded me that they are in the business of making money first, being honorable second. Still rated a 9! We bought a Concierge Class Room. NOT WORTH IT!! No priority Tender boarding, pillow menu is a joke, dollar store binoculars were useless, daily canapEs and showerhead was the only thing left and that wasn't worth the up charge. Don't waste your money with this. Still rated a 9! Tours? Be careful. Very overpriced for what you get. They scare you into believing you can't do it on your own. OK, we bought transportation mostly. "Florence/Pisa on your own" was worth the price to not have to hassle with trains and local tour guides. Rome.. Buy a train ticket and do everything yourself. Easy as pie!! Istanbul all on our own, we saw everything our table mates saw without the cost. Still rated a 9! So, why rated a 9? The food was outstanding, the staff was unbelievably friendly, the timing of everything was spot on, our room steward was PRICELESS, the itinerary was 2nd to none, and the weather was perfect. I would certainly recommend Celebrity to anyone. One piece of advice to any Celebrity rep reading this: Your staff should do anything they can to make a guest happy. Your advertisement in the Photos Area said "Buy (3) 8X10 photos and get the Leather Portfolio free." Just because my Embarkation Photo was on sale when I bought it should not have disqualified me from the free Portfolio. This was cheap of you and your supervisor should have realized that I paid over $7,000 to Celebrity and that $5.00 difference between a full priced photo and the sale price wasn't worth me feeling you were greedy and cheap. "We will fix the ad for the next cruise", the supervisor said as she then wished us a good night. If you want more details about any of the ports, ship, tips, hints, etc.. Email me at poopacct@yahoo.com. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My husband and I have returned from the Barcelona-Venice Mediterranean cruise on the Summit. After reading some reviews of the Summit before we went I was a little worried, but everything went perfect and we had a fantastic holiday. ... Read More
My husband and I have returned from the Barcelona-Venice Mediterranean cruise on the Summit. After reading some reviews of the Summit before we went I was a little worried, but everything went perfect and we had a fantastic holiday. Embarkation was fast and very well organized. We got to the port, the baggage was taken away, and we spent 15 minutes at the checking-in desk and then we went on board where a glass of champagne was offered to us. Our cabin was on the 6th floor,concierge class, large enough for both of us and there was a nice balcony with some chairs and a table. Our cabin steward, Seby, was very helpful and gentle. The food in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant was excellent. Our seating was at 6:15 too early because we usually got back from the tours around 6. We asked to change to 8:45 but then again, too late! So we usually had dinner at the buffet or once at the not formal restaurant The Dimension which was an excellent choice! We didn't do any of the Celebrity excursion cause I thought they were a little expensive and we are used to travel , so we did everything ourselves.What we used to do: get the hop-on-hop-off in Barcelona, Athenas, Cannes. Pretty easy as they stop near the port(except for Athenas which is around 40 min by bus from the port and I wouldn´t bother to take the bus if I ever get back to Athenas! What a deception!) Livorno we rented a car as soon as we stepped out of the ship (90 euros but could have paid less if we had planned in advance)! I wanted very much to know Cinque Terre (about 1 hour driving from the port) It was perfect! The road is really good and signs every where! Impossible to get lost! Civitavecchia: We walked to the station and caught the train to Rome.We bought the BIRG ticket which covers the subway and tram as well. Naples: Another car rented to get to know the Amalfi Coast , this time cheaper as I had booked in advance: 65 euros. We drove from Naples to Vietri sur Mare and from there to Sorrento. Ravello is a perfect little town and Positano is perfect for lunch! Santorini: We caught the cable car to Fira and then we went to Oia. In Oia we went to Armoud Bay thinking we would swim and have lunch there. But is a bay not a beach, so... We went to a beach close by (beautiful but very hard to walk on the stones) Piraeus: We walked to the metro station about half an hour and caught the metro to Athens. We got off at the Monastery station and walked to the wrong(or right) direction. The idea was to catch the tourist bus (hop-on-hop-off). After walking for half an hour we got to the Acropole. At this point I was already exhausted because of the heat! I didn´t climbed the 150 or so steps ... and finally got the bus. I wouldn´t bother doing it again... Athena was a deception. Dubrovnik: We bought the transfer the ship offered to the entrance of Old Town and I think it was the best idea. There we walked around, visited the Museum , had a beer in the waterfront... Very lovely town. Venice: Sailing into Venice was absolutely fantastic ! An unforgettable experience! I had a stateroom with balcony , but I decided to go to the Tower level where the disco is, and I had an amazing view! I really wanted to share my experience and let you know that the ship is fantastic and I had the holiday of my life! Thanks to everybody who took their time writing tips and reviews. You made the difference Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This was our first Celebrity Cruise with two previous RCCL cruises to Mexico and Alaska. We choose this ship for its itinerary and it is a very port intensive trip to say the least. There are four days in which you have port calls in ... Read More
This was our first Celebrity Cruise with two previous RCCL cruises to Mexico and Alaska. We choose this ship for its itinerary and it is a very port intensive trip to say the least. There are four days in which you have port calls in Cannes, Florence, Rome, and. Naples. We arrived in BARCELONA two days before the ship's departure. We stayed at Condes de Barcelona, one of the hotels on Celebrity's list but we booked it on our own at less than half the price Celebrity charged. Barcelona is a beautiful city and easy to get around. We took a taxi from the airport (30 euro). We elected to see the city using the Hop On & Hop Off Tour Bus. The two-day pass was well worth the 27 euro price. Taxi from our hotel to the ship was another 30 euro (expect a surcharge for your luggage). We had been warned about the thieves and pickpockets throughout the cruise ports. Even then, my wife lost 20 euro to a sneak thief in Barcelona. This Gypsy put a flower in her scarf and when my wife opened her coin purse to give her a coin, the thief grabbed her paper currency and ran. This ruined the rest of the day for her. EMBARKATION: We arrived at 2PM and that was a mistake as it seemed to be the same time most everyone else chose. Celebrity's staff was well organized in spite of the crowd's surge and we were on the ship within 45 minutes. Recommend arriving before noon or after 4PM to avoid the crowds. OUR ROOM: We selected a Balcony room 7194 which is on the far aft Starboard side. The views from the Starboard side (Even Numbered cabins) were spectacular for this itinerary. The size and layout of this room was more than adequate for our needs. The balcony was small but adequate for standing looking out or sitting with our morning tea. There was ample storage for all of our things. Our room steward was great and always had our room spotless. Two Cruise Critic Tips that served us well were to bring a Power Strip for all your electronic gadgets and a nightlight for the bathroom. A Digital Clock came in handy too. We were upgraded to Concierge Class in addition to a significant price reduction several months before our departure. I probably would not have paid extra for Concierge Class but other people will have a different opinion on its value. One of the things we liked about the far Aft room was there was very little foot traffic, The Waterfall Cafe was three floors above which was very convenient to drop in for a quick snack or cup of Tea or Juice. THE SHIP EXPERIENCE: We attended the Cruise Critic Party (~10 AM on the first "At Sea" day) with many of other Roll-Call members. It was enjoyable meeting each other after months of planning together. We found the ship was about 60% Americans and a significant Canadian contingent, numerous Brits, and a bunch of Aussies. We saw very few children on this cruise. The condition of the ship was very well maintained. The T-pool was our favorite relaxation spot on the ship during our "at sea" days. The Fitness Center was very well equipped and in excellent condition too. (I should have spent more time at the Gym and less time at the Ice cream counter) One complaint is with many of our fellow passengers who went out early in the morning of the "At Sea" days to reserve their deck lounges and then not return for several hours later. There wasn't an open deck lounge to be found after 9 AM. SHAME ON EACH OF YOU! DINING: We chose Early Seating even though we knew we might have to rush back from our late tours (but this was not really a problem). We sat at a table for 8 and enjoyed the excellent company of our dining companions. The food selections were ample and the taste was excellent. Portion sizes were not large but we never walked away hungry. We only ate some breakfast and a few lunches at the buffet. The selection was adequate but not extensive. We enjoyed the pizza at the rear buffet area and loved the homemade ice cream. Don't be shy about ordering Room Service (it is included) for your morning Coffee/Tea/breakfast. This was a real time-saver while we were getting ready for those early port tours. (It also serves as your wake-up call ;-) ENTERTAINMENT: There was an enjoyable variety of musical entertainment throughout the ship. The Celebrity Dancers and Singers were excellent. Their Broadway musical was very well done and was equal to some of the original productions we have seen firsthand. The ships band was awesome and we did enjoy their performances throughout the ship and the cruise. INTERNET: There was Internet and Hotspots available on the ships Computer lounges but it was very expensive ($.65 per minute) which could be acceptable (given the location) but the speed was EXTREMELY SLOOOW. It is intolerable to charge a PREMIUM price for such slow speed internet service. There was also intermittent Cell phone connectivity through Verizon at $7.50 per minute. CANNES was our first port of call. My wife took Celebrity's half-day tour of Monaco and the Grand Casino and was happy that she did. I was happy to walk around Cannes and spend a restful afternoon on the ship. FLORENCE: We took a taxi to the train station for 20 euro. The 90 minute train ride (13 euro each way) takes you right into the center of Florence making everything within easy walking distance. WARNING: Be sure to get your ticket validated BEFORE you board. We should have reserved tickets for the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery so we missed out on both due to the very long lines. At least we had a nice lunch there. ROME: We had made arrangements for a private tour with DRIVERINROME. Our driver/guide Paolo was fantastic and we saw much more than we could have with Celebrity's City Tour. DRIVERINROME also arranged for ticket reservations and a licensed Guide for our group through the Vatican which was also awesome. We HIGHLY Recommend using Cruise Critic Connections Roll Call to set up your own group and make your own private tour. It isn't cheap (~150 euro per person) but you'll have a day that you'll never forget. NAPLES: We used Celebrity Tours and were very satisfied. My wife took the Sorrento & Pompeii Tour while I chose the Hike Vesuvius & Pompeii tour. We both had a great day. Our dining companions said that they really enjoyed their DRIVERINROME tour of the Amalfi Coast area. SANTORINI: We chose the Celebrity tour of Oia for a late lunch then returned back to take the gondola back down to the port. Santorini is a beautiful island that I could have spent more time exploring. ATHENS: We joined a group who had set up a private tour with ATHENSTAXI and had another day to remember. George was fantastic driver/guide getting us to the Acropolis well before the crowds. We also hired a licensed tour guide which was another smart move. We had a great time walking around the Plaka and the Acropolis. We ate lunch at a fantastic restaurant that overlooked the city. HIGHLY Recommend a Private Tour with your Cruise Critic shipmates in Athens as a worthwhile investment (~90 euro per person). AT SEA DAY: We ate at the Normandie were very disappointed with our experience as the service was seemingly nonexistent. The food was well prepared and very tasty. I wanted to give a comment to the maitre d' but he was not at his station when we left. So I went in and discussed my concerns with his assistant the following day. The maitre d' later phoned our room offering his sincerest apologies but nothing else. He really missed an opportunity here by not offering to remove the charge from our bill or at least giving us another complementary seating. In fairness to the Normandie, most other people we talked to were very satisfied with their "fine dining experience". DUBROVNIK is an easy port to do on your own. The ships shuttle was $12/pp but we opted to take a city bus (#1A, 1B, 1C or 1 D) for $4eu each way. We used the ATM just outside the Pier gate to get about $50 in local currency and simply walked through the Old Town which was spotless. You can easily see the sites, have lunch and shop in 3-4 hours here. VENICE: Entering Venice was an experience that we'll never forget. The ship passes St Mark's Square around noon and the scenery was magnificent! We had booked the "Secret Walking Tour" through Celebrity and it gave us some familiarity with the city's layout. DEBARKATION: We didn't have a flight out that day so we had one of the latest debarking times. We waited in a comfortable area (the Cinema). Our Bags were easy to find as there were in their designated color coded area. There was a lot of confusion at the exit because another ship was offloading at the same time. We took a Water taxi from the Ship to our Hotel for 90 euro (Celebrity needs to provide better information on this aspect of debarkation). We had also booked two extra days in Venice and are glad we did. Once you get your bearings, Venice is an easy city to tour on foot. It was great fun just walking through the various section of this beautiful city. SUMMARY: We had a FANTASTIC cruise. The itinerary was way too busy to consider it a "vacation" but absolutely enjoyable. We walked about 3-5 miles at each port; saw all the sites with only a basic overview due to the time limitations at each port. We returned to the ship each day exhausted from our travels with a general understanding of what each country and port has to offer. We absolutely recommend the Summit and this itinerary as it was a cruise that we will never forget! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
I am not a nitpicker so I will not go on about unvarnished railings or worn carpets etc. as I saw no evidence of either and I can't possibly see how these sorts of things can affect a cruise. The ship is magnificent,in excellent ... Read More
I am not a nitpicker so I will not go on about unvarnished railings or worn carpets etc. as I saw no evidence of either and I can't possibly see how these sorts of things can affect a cruise. The ship is magnificent,in excellent condition and all evidence is that it is well maintained. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port of Barcelona at 2.00pm after an eleven euro taxi fare from the Hotel Inglaterra and there was a crowd, but so what? It was interesting to see our fellow cruisers and we were on the ship within 30 mins. Get there at 4 if you want to miss the crowds. CABIN: On Vista deck our cabin was large enough with a good size balcony. Peter, our steward was there to meet us and make us feel comfortable. He also delivered our breakfast every morning and afternoon tea on some sea days. Daily bowls of fresh fruit were a welcome touch and our cabin was kept spotless. Nothing was too much trouble and he and his staff were well rewarded and I am not used to and dislike the whole business of tipping (We had arranged for the automatic tipping to be removed from our account and it was cancelled by Guest Relations without a murmur) FOOD: We dined in the MDR (only "just O.K." food and I agree with the criticisms), Destinations (the ship's best kept secret with excellent service, good food and the best views) and the Normandie. Now the Normandie is an outstanding dining room and really worth getting dressed up for on formal nights. Katerina and her staff have got their act together and provide excellent service with a flair. The food is superb especially the goat's cheese soufflE, the cappuccino soup (yes) the Maine lobster, the chateaubriand and the sensational Grand Marnier soufflE to name a few. The Normandie has it's own chefs and that certainly makes a big difference. For an extra $30 it is an absolute bargain and every cruiser should dine there at least once to make the most of the cruise experience. We had 3 wonderful and memorable meals in the Normandie. Thankyou Celebrity and Katerina! EXCURSIONS: The ship's excursions are way too expensive so we did our research and except for the Amalfi Coast, where we hired Guiseppe of Sorrento Top Cars (350euros) and had an excellent lunch at the Garden Restaurant in Ravello, we visited each destination on our own. We encountered no problems with trains etc. and visited all the places on our agenda. They included Museums (the new one in Athens is a must) lunches ( Da Fortunato at the Pantheon in Rome is one of my favourites) and shopping (Valmar on via Porta Rosa in Florence is amazing for cushions and fabrics). The fact that we had visited many of these cities over the years prior to the cruise meant that we could be selective and could use our short time to advantage. Disembarkation for the excursions was no problem and I found myself walking off the ship at Livorno at 7.01am after 7.00am docking. Well done Celebrity! On all occasions it was a nice touch to a arrive back at the ship to find a stall with wet towels and cold drinks. ENTERTAINMENT: The Broadway type shows were first class presented with enthusiasm and energy. The individual acts were entertaining, but I would have been prepared to pay extra for a realy big name. We were fortunate in that we had perfect weather everyday and the Med. was like a millpond. Countless times I stood at our balcony to make sure the ship was actually moving. Incidentally balconies are certainly worth it and how can I not forget the sun rising over Vesuvius from the comfort of ours. Overall a great experience from a very professional cruising company. As first timers we are now hooked!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Embarkation was laboured and disorganized - we queued for ages at check- in - we were advised that there were too many people on the gangway - when we got to the gangway we were penned in a glass overbridge for at least twenty minutes in ... Read More
Embarkation was laboured and disorganized - we queued for ages at check- in - we were advised that there were too many people on the gangway - when we got to the gangway we were penned in a glass overbridge for at least twenty minutes in the heat of the midday sun. Luggage also took a very long time to be delivered to our stateroom - in fact we had to attend dinner in the clothes we traveled in. Not a great start. Ports of Call - with the exception of Mykonos and Split were very good. The mercenary approach Celebrity take with their customers all but spoils the cruise experience. As others have said Celebrity are in your face to buy tours, treatments etc. they also are not above misleading people into purchasing stuff on the basis of savings which don't materialize. A couple of examples of which was an offer of a reduction of $30 on two spa treatments bought on embarkation day, what they failed to tell you was that one of the treatments had to be taken on embarkation day. It is worth "standing your ground" and demanding a reduction of $30 (plus the 15% gratuity) - I did and accused them of misselling - they then changed their attitude and credited my account. A sale offering a huge reduction on digital cameras on the last day at sea in fact included no reduction in prices at all! The constant pushing of preferred products by shopping advisers on shore excursions was rather annoying. All of the "preferred products" were at exorbitant prices, something that was not advised at the "showcase excursion" meetings Breakfast and lunch in the Waterfall Cafe were a bit of a challenge - long queues for food followed by a game of find a coffee machine or hot a water urn that worked, then, find a cup to put it in. Breakfast and lunch in the MDR was disappointing, we tried it twice in an effort to avoid the melee of the Waterfall and were disappointed twice. Service was painfully slow. Towards the end of the trip, we found that hand sanitation dispensers were empty we shared a table with six American/Canadian guests and the consensus of opinion was that as the staff had all received their further gratuities from the guests they didn't have to make an effort - the last day MDR breakfast was a prime example - cold food and dreadful service. The saving grace of this cruise was the quality of the food in the MDR at dinner (early sitting) - the waiter, assistant waiter and wine waiter made this an enjoyable experience each evening. Contrary to some other comments we found the quality and choice of food to be excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Many areas were noticeably downgraded. For example, many of the signage on the buffet items were missing, and on many days, the soup remained a mystery and remained untouched by many that stopped by to look into the unmarked kettle. ... Read More
Many areas were noticeably downgraded. For example, many of the signage on the buffet items were missing, and on many days, the soup remained a mystery and remained untouched by many that stopped by to look into the unmarked kettle. Chicken fajitas were offered; however, no tortillas were available despite asking day after day. It was not uncommon to see waiters, servers and bartenders couching into their hands and then going on about their job; this despite a concerted effort to dispense hand cleaner to incoming guests to food service areas. Food quality has definitely slipped too, not only in the buffet lines, but the main restaurant food has gone from 'choice' grades down to 'select' meats, and even the 'prime' rib was uncuttable with the special steak knife provided, and the meat had to be sent back. Other areas of downgrades: no separate line for Captain's Club members at check in as stated om the cruise documents; ship maintenance was shoddy--for example only the top of the railings were varnished with the bottoms in a state of decay; shower tile grout was stained or missing; large cushioned seating units in disco were broken and tipsy, even after reporting an injury occurring as a result of the unstable seats that were obviously unsecured. One bright spot remained that reminded us of the way Celebrity used to be--that was the high quality of personnel behind the Guest Services Desk. In the several instances we had business to conduct or questions for the customer service staff who spent their time resolving issues and concerns, the performance was exceptionally high quality and consistently helpful and caring.Several balcony cabins which had no obstructions in last year's Celebrity catalog, now have window washing platforms, ladders and such partially obstructing the views, and a small footnote was added to the 2009 brochure. When I called Celebrity for an explanation as to how significant the obstructed view would be, the rep had to check around and only learned that it might be some metal scaffolding that could be attached to the balcony overhang, but she had no picture or details as to what could be expected. Also, the deck plans for the staterooms do not show the cabin attendant rooms, which are located directly opposite some cabins. This was comparable to having a dinner table next to the kitchen in a noisy restaurant, especially with the cabin attendant shouting to others in the hallway as she came out of her doorway, which of course the guests could hear all too clearly especially as she delivered breakfast trays early in the morning! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
For those of you who enjoy large modern ships with old world charm, the Celebrity Summit may be the cruise ship for you. We first set eyes on it in Barcelona docked along side the MSC Splendida and while not as large as its Italian rival, ... Read More
For those of you who enjoy large modern ships with old world charm, the Celebrity Summit may be the cruise ship for you. We first set eyes on it in Barcelona docked along side the MSC Splendida and while not as large as its Italian rival, it by no means lacks presence with its distinctive blue and white colouring and its trademark X. On boarding the ship we were greeted with champagne and bucks fizz and afterwards we were taken to the cafeteria for lunch. Our luggage had been taken off us at the airport and it wasn't long before it was delivered to our bedroom. We set sail at 5pm leaving sunny Barcelona behind us. The Med was calm and at times you would hardly know you were sailing, this was partly due to the good conditions and partly due to the Summit's quiet gas turbine engines. Dinner was always a grand affair and with specially assigned waiters it wasn't long before we built up friendly relations with them. There was always a good choice of food with a set menu and a menu that changed from day to day. On two occasions there was brunch in the main restaurant, this incorporated the best of breakfast and dinner all rolled into one with little additional touches such as chocolate fountains and carved fruit. Staff were always friendly and the ship was spotlessly clean. There was always amble supplies of beach towels for lounging on, on deck and waiter service was never far away. At night there was always classical music to be heard and the shows in the main theatre were excellent. For my wife there was also the excitement of onboard shopping and for me there was a chance to relax in Michaels bar, a bar you might expect to see on the Titanic with all its old world charm. Everyone has a place they frequent on a cruise ship and for us it was either the Cinema, the indoor pool/solarium or the cafeteria at 12am for pizza. Often times I found the solarium pool empty around 8pm and so I would float in the salty water looking up through the glass roof at the stars as we sailed silently on to our next destination. Some other memorable moments included eating lunch aboard the ship while berthed off the coast of Cannes, the views were only spectacular. Another picture perfect postcard was when we were up on the cliffs of Santorini looking down at our majestic Cruise ship anchored below. For those of you who haven't seen a lot of Europe, there is no better way to get around and see the world; from Cannes to Florence and Pisa, then on to Capri & Sorrento, Rome, Santorini, Dubrovnik and Venice and all in 12 days. Celebrity Cruises suit those who like understated elegance, a middle class atmosphere, good service and excellent itineraries. It is not for those who like big, bold and brash, nor is for those who are activity mad or who have children; for you RCL may be more appropriate. All in all Celebrity Cruises lives up to its name and I will definitely be travelling on their Solstice class ships in the not too distant future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This third cruise we had done, proved to be the most superb holiday experiences of our lives!! We visited Barcelona, Villefranche, Livorno, Naples, Santorini, Piraeus, Dubrovnik and finally Venice. Having only used Ocean Village ... Read More
This third cruise we had done, proved to be the most superb holiday experiences of our lives!! We visited Barcelona, Villefranche, Livorno, Naples, Santorini, Piraeus, Dubrovnik and finally Venice. Having only used Ocean Village ( 1 and 2), when we booked, we wanted a different experience to the "freestyle" and we sure hit the jackpot. From boarding at Barca, which was so easy and efficient ( we were one of the first ones aboard and couldn't get to our cabin till 1:30 ish, giving us time to wander around and marvel at the ship)...to the final disembarking at Venice, we enjoyed every minute of this trip. The staff on the ship were the most courteous, hard working, attentive and friendly group of people you are likely to meet and our cabin stewards were just great! The Summit is a well maintained ship, spotlessly clean and extremely efficiently run. The entertainment was professional presented and although sometimes a bit loud around the poolside, very suitable for the passengers onboard ( the Russian string quartet were quite brilliant) The thing you will find about Celebrity is the little things that are so special and make the experience....cabins been cleaned and looked after three times a day, the bar staff on decks ( the jamaican contingent were terrific...." You're on a cruise...I have the booze")Canope's daily ( even though we were not Concierge) a couple of bottles of champagne from the HouseKeeper, frozen fruit kebabs served by the Officers by the pool, Gary the entertainment director, the dancing teacher ( lovely South African girl)...I could go on. Our cabin/stateroom was extremely comfortable and roomy. The balcony a reasonable size. We would advise that people do look at excursions booked by CruiseCritic.com people...its well worth doing. If you want a car in Civitavecchia, book one!!!!! We missed out as they had all gone. The Celeb excursions are quite expensive although the one to Cinque Terra is one not to miss. Be brave...do your own thing. The dining in the main restaurant was great with a varied menu every day, especially sumptuous on formal nights and plenty of it. Our night at the Normandie restaurant was a very special occasion and the service quite exceptional. The menu was extremely well presented and the food excellent. Breakfasts and lunches in the Waterfall cafe perfectly presented and tasty. As in all reviews, there are the occasional gripes.....some of the Spanish children on board had no manners at all and treated the staff around the pool like slaves....this was totally unacceptable and the parents did nothing about it and the only other gripe was smoking on the balcony next to us which was a bit of a pain in the mornings when you opened the balcony door for the first time and you received a whaft of smoke! All in all I would recommend Celebrity Summit although if you are after a young and vibrant ship, this may not be for you. For us, definitely a 10 out of 10 Dave and Karen Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We started our trip with an extra day in Barcelona, and we're glad we had the extra night, because we were both quite jet lagged and needed to rest up before we tackled trying to see all we could in one day. Not easily done, but we ... Read More
We started our trip with an extra day in Barcelona, and we're glad we had the extra night, because we were both quite jet lagged and needed to rest up before we tackled trying to see all we could in one day. Not easily done, but we got to the major attractions and sights. Finally it was time to board the ship. Just driving to the pier was exciting, seeing that wonderful huge ship just waiting for us to board! The boarding process was extremely fast and within about 15 minutes we were being welcomed with a glass of champagne! The ship itself isn't as flashy as I had assumed, a bit understated, but by no means lacking in any way shape or form. It was just right! We made our way to our stateroom, and were quite surprised that it was almost larger than our previous night's hotel room! Thanks to this site, I knew to pack our swimsuits in our carry-on so that we could relax by the pool before our suitcases arrived, but before we could even change into them, the suitcases were at our door! Leaving Barcelona at sunset, was beautiful, but we were ready to start our cruise. Our first sea day was fun, we got to sleep in and relax by the pool listening to the live band who were quite good. This was our first formal night and I must say that I was quite impressed to see that people really did get dressed formally for dinner. Mostly suits for the men, although we did see a lot of tuxes too. We were planning on having dinner at the Normandie restaurant on this cruise, but didn't end up doing that. The food and service in the MDR was just great so we just continued having dinner there. Our waiter Danny and our wine steward Kevin were great. Our room attendant Newton and his assistant were incredible. I don't know how they knew we were gone, but if we left,then came back in a few minutes, the room would be completely clean! Whenever they'd see us coming down the hall they'd open our door for us, and every time they'd have a warm smile and greeting for us!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Since this is our first cruise I can't say whether Celebrity Summit is the best ship/cruise line or not. However, I can state that my husband, five year old son and I had a great time and enjoyed the sunshine immensely! First, some ... Read More
Since this is our first cruise I can't say whether Celebrity Summit is the best ship/cruise line or not. However, I can state that my husband, five year old son and I had a great time and enjoyed the sunshine immensely! First, some positives. We chose a lower deck stateroom as I read you can't detect as much motion as higher up, and we chose not to have a balcony because I am the paranoid parent of one very creative, active five year old and I wanted to relax and sleep with both eyes closed. We had a very normal ocean view stateroom - no champagne breakfasts or roses or that type thing. The room was great. You walk in the door and the bathroom was to the right, closets to the left. Straight ahead was equivalent to a queen size bed and there was a couch that folded out into a single bed, desk with chair and small coffee table. Best of all, there was a decent sized non-opening window that my son loved to sit and look out and pretend to see pirates and sharks and squid. Our stateroom attendant, Marcos, was great. We would walk out the room and I swear in five minutes he was in the room cleaning up. And although we didn't have one of the more luxurious rooms, Marcos would greet us and open the door for us if he were in the hallway when we reappeared. We even got chocolates on our pillows when the beds were folded down for the evening, which my son absolutely loved. The drapes, linens and carpets on the ship are similar to what you would find at a medium quality hotel - floral type stuff. As for the food - there were lots of places to eat so you never had to do the smart casual/formal thing if you didn't want to. With a five year old and restricted luggage weight we opted out of the formal nights and ate at the buffets instead. We did dine in the Cosmopolitan (smart casual nights) twice, and although it was nice enough, it just wasn't worth the hassle with a child. We did, however, get the menu from the Cosmopolitan and order dinner from there through room service during the last formal night. Another great thing on this ship is the Fun Factory, which is the kids club. All our son wanted to do was go to the Fun Factory - forget thousand year old churches or that type stuff! There are categories based on ages, but I think they mostly mixed the kids up depending on how many there were. Usually there were three or four staff members in the Fun Factory, if not more. Activities varied and each day there was a sort of theme. The kids made crafts, played games on the Sports Deck, had a Rocket shaped slide and some sort of Space Ship to pay in, plus there were movies, competitions, stories, etc. When in port you have the option to leave your child on board in the Fun Factory and just pay $6 per hour for the lunch and dinner periods (12-2 and 5-7). Every child was signed in and out by the parent, and they had to wash hands before they could go into the play area. We were very comfortable with the staff at the Fun Factory and felt this was a very nice service. The hand washing thing was a big deal on the ship, which we really appreciated considering all the viruses out there. When you go to the dining rooms an attendant stood there to put some antibacterial cleanser on your hands, and there were dispensers everywhere. We also took advantage of the one price Soda plan. For about $138 my husband and I could drink as much soda as we could stand the whole trip. If you aren't a big soda fan skip this as there are tea, coffee, juice, and water available for free. Okay, now for some of the drawbacks and some suggestions. There is a real lack of information on the basics. For instance, one of our trips got canceled, and the cost was refunded. However, no one bothered to explain that a child's refund has to be completed by hand so would not show up as a credit until halfway through the trip. It took a trip to Guest Relations to find that out, which I found annoying as it could have been avoided by including one more line in the letter they shoved under our door. Also, you won't get told this until very late in the cruise, but you can opt out of the automatic tipping and just do your own tips in envelopes at the end of the cruise. You just have to sign a paper at the Guest Relations desk to do this. Trips are really expensive and usually if you do a little research you can go off and do the trips on your own for less money. We did Santorini, Venice, Barcelona and Villefranche on our own. There is a HUGE push to sell things to you on the ship. You get handed brochures for art auctions, jewelry sales, etc. etc. There are stores in the Emporium but the prices are expensive on some of the items so when you are in port check out the stores there to see if you can get a better deal! Also, there are lots of drawings to pull you into the Emporium and get you in the buying mood - they were fun, and you don't have to buy anything to enter - just be there at a certain time for the drawing. Also, if you have kids, there is no dedicated channel on the TV for kid friendly shows so you might want to bring a small DVD player or laptop and some DVDs for the kids when they are in the room. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
My family have recently returned from the Barcelona-Venice Mediterranean cruise on the Summit. Having read reviews of the Summit before we went I was a bit worried, but everything went smoothly and we had a fantastic holiday. We booked ... Read More
My family have recently returned from the Barcelona-Venice Mediterranean cruise on the Summit. Having read reviews of the Summit before we went I was a bit worried, but everything went smoothly and we had a fantastic holiday. We booked the flights ourselves through Easyjet and the money we saved on this paid for a hotel for 2 nights in Barcelona pre-cruise and a night in Venice post-cruise, both of which made the trip even more memorable. We stayed at Hotel Ramblas in Barcelona and Hotel Olimpia in Venice, both of which were perfectly situated for getting around the cities. Embarkation was absolutely amazing. We literally arrived at the port, our baggage was taken from us, we spent 5 minutes at the checking-in desk and then we were on board where a glass of champagne/mimosa/orange juice was waiting for us. Our cabin was quite large and there was just about enough wardrobe space, considering there were 4 of us. We had a balcony, for the first time, which was a real luxury and I loved sitting out on it having a glass of wine, wearing my Celebrity Cruises bathrobe! There is a pitcher of water on the dresser with an ice bucket which is filled each day. Our cabin steward, Sandy, was fantastic and if he saw us approaching our cabin he would instantly get his key out and open the door for us. The entertainment was OK, but not brilliant. The comedian was good and the female singer was quite good, but the rest, although obviously very talented, weren't really our cup of tea. The 3 shows by the celebrity singers and dancers were quite good, although in the last one, which was songs from Broadway shows, I only knew a handful of the songs. Even most of the songs they sang from the Lion King weren't songs from the film, so if you haven't seen the show you wouldn't know them. What was a shame was the fact that the theatre was hardly ever more than 50% full. The Cruise Director, Gary, was excellent and worked really hard. The food in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant was excellent. Our daughter has a nut allergy so she was shown the following nights menu every night and told that if there was something she wanted but it had nuts in, then they would prepare it for her without nuts. Our waiters, Owenn and Dennis, were fantastic and very attentive and soon got to know what sort of salad my other daughter wanted as an appetiser. The drinks waiter, Anthony, was also fantastic and some nights our drinks were waiting on our table before we even got there. My only complaint about the restaurant is that the 4 of us were put on a table for 12 (after requesting a table for 8) and no-one else turned up, so we were on the table on our own. The food in the buffet was good, but sometimes there were quite long queues. My daughters, aged 13 and 15, joined the teenage club on the first night and made loads of friends from several different countries, who they are still keeping in touch with. We didn't do any of the Celebrity excursion as, with 4 of us, they were just too expensive, so we did everything ourselves. I have never used public transport so much in my life! Here's a quick run down of what we did: Barcelona: Because we had so much time here we saw everything we wanted to. We bought a metro ticket that allowed you 10 journeys which cost €7.70 and this covered all the journeys we made. If you're there at night don't miss the magic fountains - they were spectacular. Villefrance: We tendered into the port and then caught the train to Monte Carlo. Unfortunately the train we wanted was delayed and then never turned up at all so we ended up waiting on the station in the roasting sun for an hour. Monte Carlo was pretty but me and the kids couldn't face walking up to the old town as it was so hot, so my husband went on his own, took loads of pictures and met us back at the station. We then went back to the ship for lunch, then went to the beach in Villefranche for an hour or two before going back to the ship. Livorno: We caught a taxi to the station in Livorno for €20 fixed price. Then we caught the train to Pisa (actually the train to Florence, but it stopped at Pisa on the way), looked around the Field of Miracles, watched everyone having their photos taken holding the tower up, then caught the train to Florence. It was a Monday so all of the museums were closed, so we looked around and then caught the train back to Livorno. We then had to wait for a little while for a taxi to arrive at the station to take us back to the ship, but we got talking to another couple who were on our cruise so they shared the taxi with us. In Florence don't miss all the padlocks on the Ponte Vecchio which lovers have put there and thrown the keys into the river to seal their love for ever! Civitavecchia: We walked to the station and caught the train into Rome, buying a BIRG ticket which covers you for the metro as well. We got off at Ostiense Metro Station and walked to the forum to buy tickets which get you into the Colosseum as well. The queues were much smaller here and it was great to walk straight past all the people queueing at the Colosseum when we went there! We then used the metro a couple of times to get from one place to another, but on the whole we walked everywhere and got to see everything we wanted. Unfortunately, we hadn't booked tickets to the Vatican thinking that we wouldn't have time, but we would have in the end. We then walked to ? San Pietro station and caught the train back to Civitavecchia. Naples: We walked to the station, through some very iffy areas, and caught the Circumvesuvian train to Pompeii Scavi. We spent a few hours looking around Pompeii, which is amazing, and then got back on the train to Sorrento. From there we caught the hydrofoil back to the ship. Santorini: We caught the cable car up to Fira and looked around. Then we caught the bus to Oia. Be warned, when the bus doors open it is a complete free-for-all with everyone pushing and shoving. In Oia we walked down over 200 steps to try to find the beach, but only found an area where people were swimming off the rocks, so we had a swim there instead which was lovely. Walking back up the steps I thought I was going to have a heart attack! We then caught the bus back to Fira and the cable car back to the ship. Piraeus: We walked to the metro station and caught the metro to Athens. Unfortunately, there were works on the line and we had to get off half way along and get onto a bus to take us the rest of the way, but we still managed to find our way around. We walked everywhere in Athens which was really easy to do. Don't miss the changing of the guard every hour outside the parliament building. Dubrovnik: We bought a bus ticket from the newsstand opposite the port entrance and caught the bus to the old town. We walked through the middle of the old town and climbed the walls at the Ploce Gate where the queues were smaller. After walking around the walls we had lunch and then went to the beach not far from the Ploce Gate. I have never seen water as clear as it was there. We sailed away from Dubrovnik at 5 pm and people were able to go onto the helipad to watch the sailaway. Venice: Sailing into Venice was absolutely amazing, with Pavarotti blasting out of the speakers on the ship. A sight not to be missed. We walked to St Mark's Square, taking it slowly and having a good look around on the 1st day then went back to the ship for dinner. The following day we disembarked at 9 am so caught a taxi to Piazzale Roma and lugged our cases over just 1 bridge to the hotel. We then bought a 36 hour ticket for the vaporettos for €23, which was definitely well worth it as we used it so much. We then proceeded to see as much of Venice as possible before catching the ATVO bus to the airport the following day for our flight home. Sorry for such a lengthy review, but the holiday was fantastic and I just wanted to let everyone know that the ship is in really good shape, the staff are all fantastic and it is really easy to do your own thing in all the ports. I also wanted to say thank you to everyone on CruiseCritic.co.uk who gave such helpful advice before we went. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Overall, the cruise was a great experience, more because the ports of call were great. Cruise began in Barcelona, stopped in Villefranche, La Spezia (instead of Livorno, more on that later), Civitavecchia, Naples, Santorini, Athens, ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was a great experience, more because the ports of call were great. Cruise began in Barcelona, stopped in Villefranche, La Spezia (instead of Livorno, more on that later), Civitavecchia, Naples, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik, ending in Venice. Celebrity does embarkation and disembarkation extremely well. Perhaps that is th only edge I would give Celebrity over the other cruise lines. The ship itself was ok, not awe inspiring or memorable like some of the newer ships. Food was average - some good meals, others not so good. Wine was way over priced. We purchased a wine package, which in retrospect was a mistake as the choice was limited. Celebrity has a no outside liquor policy, which is very unfair and punitive and denies the passengers the opportunity of enjoying some of the great European wines available at the ports of call. This is consistent with what I perceive to be Celebrity's "nickel and diming" passengers. I got the feeling that the goal was to maximize revenue per passenger rather than giving the passengers the best possible cruise experience. I understand that cruise lines need that additional revenue to make a profit, but it can be done very discretely and creatively without ticking off the passengers. We traveled with another couple and had asked for a late seating, table for 4. Our first night, we were at a table for 6. It took a couple of complaints and discussions before we finally got our table for 4 in a reasonably quiet area of the restaurant a few days later. Our first night, the wine steward was completely flustered. He charged me for 2 bottles of wine, even though I bought the package. I asked him to store my wife's bottle for tomorrow's dinner and he proceeded to put his fingers inside the bottle before storing it. Thank goodness we got another wine steward when our tables were switched. They charge almost $5.00 for a cappuccino. Since the regular coffee was just about the worst tasting coffee ever, we had very little alternative on board. Entertainment was so-so. It certainly was not better than Princess or Holland-America. There were some good performers and others were average. Shows were short. Many nights, there were less than 50 people in attendance. I felt bad for the performers. The last night, there was no show because "how can you compete with Venice?". Give me a break! Activities staff seemed somewhat disengaged. Some scheduled activities were no-showed by the staff, or they arrived late and were completely disinterested. On the last day, there were no prizes for the trivia contest. "We ran out of stuff!" We decided we were not going to be part of the overpriced excursions that Celebrity offered and did just as well using local public transit. Case in point: our traveling companions paid $200 each for a day long tour of Nice, Eze and Monte Carlo. My wife and I went to the same towns using public buses and trains, covering the same terrain for less than 5 Euro each. Next stop Livorno...but we were told for "safety" reasons, the ship must now dock in La Spezia. "And for the convenience of our passengers, we have added 4 extra buses for those who want to join one of our Florence excursions". Aha! Livorno was too convenient for the do it yourselfers, as they could take a short train ride to Florence or Pisa. La Spezia made it much more difficult to access these cities due to the distance and the need to switch trains. Our traveling companions were on one of the Florence excursions and ended up spending in excess of 5 hours on a bus. The advantage of La Spezia is that it is one train stop from the Cinque Terre. Walking through this area was spectacular so I actually thankful that Celebrity changed the port stop. In Civitavecchia, we took the advise of previous travelers and bought the BIRG train ticket to Rome. It included all buses and subways in Rome as well, so we were able to visit the Vatican, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Forum and Colosseum for the 9 Euro cost of the train ticket. Naples - we took the ferry over to Sorrento. It was ok, but in retrospect we should have gone to Capri instead. Next time! Santorini - absolutely spectacular. We took the bus to Oia, which is an even more beautiful town. Our friends rented an ATV and had a great time exploring the island villages and beaches. Athens - again we took the train from Piraeus. The Acropolis was way overcrowded so we admired it from a distance and explored the Plaka. Dubrovnik - another great walking city. Make sure to walk the wall, but do it early before it gets too hot. Celebrity charged $12 per person to go from the port to the old town. We paid the cab driver 10 Euro for the four of us to do the same. $96 round trip for 4 people using Celebrity's shuttle vs 20 Euro for a cab. That's one heck of a mark-up!!! Venice - what a wonderful city for just walking around and exploring. We docked so far from public transit that we had no choice but to use the Celebrity shuttle, which was $20 per person, but good both ways and unlimited numbers of trips. Again, no entertainment available other than a movie poolside. Disembarkation-that was very smooth. Again the four of us could have taken the Celebrity airport shuttle for a total cost of $132 but we chose to take a cab for 50 Euro. So, in conclusion, the itinerary and stops were terrific. Celebrity amenities and services average and certainly not above their alleged down market competitors. In speaking to many other passengers, their feelings were the same. And Celebrity, please change your coffee supplier. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Just got off Celebrity's Summit three days ago. What a disappointment! The good, first: the ship is spotless and the cabin steward was the best in the business. They should make him director of customer relations...he really ... Read More
Just got off Celebrity's Summit three days ago. What a disappointment! The good, first: the ship is spotless and the cabin steward was the best in the business. They should make him director of customer relations...he really "gets" it. I responded to a blast email that was waiting for me when I got home offering the director of something with RCI the chance to call me to discuss the issues I had with the ship before posting anything...no response. Now the not so good: I'm a "Captain's Club" member for what that was worth on this cruise. The desk was seldom open and the person staffing it was of no help. The concierge was usless. Example: while the ship was docked in Venice I wanted to make a local call. He refused to do it saying I could do so from my cabin. Hah! This cost $7.95 per minute. My cell phone did finally work on land but what a joke. EVERYTHING that was not included in the cruise price was prohibitably expensive: shore excursions, bottled water ($2.50 for 10 ounces), wine, wine tastings, vodka, vodka tastings, jewelry, tee shirts, mixed drinks, etc. One shore excursion was great, the other very expensive for a short period of time. Furthermore, while in Venice and having paid for a shore excursion, the staff refused to allow us to board a shuttle boat because we had not paid for that particular service. In previous ports, that was not a problem. There's little time for shopping in museum book stores because they want to take to other retail sources with whom they have an interest (glass blowing factory in Venice vs the book shop at St. Mark's). Booked a private driver for three cities through Internet website for 1,200 Euros. Inquired about this from Celebrity before sailing...their price $5,300 (yes, $5,300). Spa treatments were about the same as at home but the "relaxing" music was not quiet Asian sounds but the ship's "radio" with among other "pieces", rap music. I just loved listening to that during a masaage. Hard sell for acupuncture and their products. The food on this ship is mediocre compared to previous Celebrity cruises. Of course, the night the comment cards appeared in the cabins was the night of lobster and filet. Celebrity must feel that familiarity breeds friendship because most employees who were much, much younger than I felt quite comfortable calling me by my first name. At almost 60 I've lived long enough to determine who I want to be on a first name basis with. Even my 30 year-old son's friends are not that presumptuous despite having known them most of their lives. The staff assumed we were life-long friends. Celebrity needs to instruct staff that all older women are not flattered by that. And speaking of the dining room, "formal" night is a joke. Despite saying on the website and in printed materials about certain expectations regarding dress codes, ANYTHING goes...shorts, jeans, tee shirts, whatever passengers feeling like throwing on is permitted in the dining room. The staff has been instructed to let it slide. The "security" staff is positively obsessive about passengers bringing back alcohol. Never did, never tried but every single day they went through my camera bag thinking that a long lens was a bottle. This group of cracker jack security officers insisted one day on x-raying my film camera even after I asked them to hand inspect it, telling me that the film would be safe. I travel with a lead-lined bag to protect my film and asked them to hand inspect the camera because I hadn't placed it in that bag. They refused and proceeded to patronizing tell me everything was safe. What was frightening is that they NEVER looked inside the lead-lined bag. I could have had booze, guns, or explosives but their main priority was the alcohol that might slip on board. The photographers are aggressive every time you get off the ship and you need to be down right rude to get them to leave you alone. Again, $20 for one digital photo on formal night. Who are they kidding? Will I book with Celebrity again? Probably not. As much as I love to travel and to cruise, I will go longer between trips and go for a shorter time with a high-end line like Sea Dream Yacht Club. Celebrity had a good product at one time and they've let it become run-of-the-mill service with an expensive price tag. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Background My wife and I have just turned 50 (ish) and this is our 8th cruise, previously one cruise on Brilliance of the Seas and all the rest on Princess ships. We go for the destinations and are not shoppers and we don't use the ... Read More
Background My wife and I have just turned 50 (ish) and this is our 8th cruise, previously one cruise on Brilliance of the Seas and all the rest on Princess ships. We go for the destinations and are not shoppers and we don't use the onboard Spa's or the Casino. This cruise was for our 30th wedding anniversary and so we added the 4 night pre cruise tour of Madrid & Barcelona (we only do this on special occasions). Madrid and Barcelona A good start with a half empty BA flight from Heathrow, chauffeur driven car from airport to hotel where we met Katia, our tour manager for the next four days. Madrid was hot but worth the trip, we did a city tour and then had free time for exploration. On day 2 a coach tour to Toledo then transferred to station for high speed train to Barcelona (2.5 hours for 360 miles), very smooth train ride and well worth it. We had a coach transfer to our hotel which is where I met my first small problem. The air conditioning in the room would not go below 22.5 C. As a Northern European (Yorkshire, UK) I like to sleep in a cold room (10 to 15 degrees C). I did complain but nothing was done and indeed other people did say they had trouble sleeping (outside daytime temp was 29 degrees C). The rest of Barcelona was wonderful, I highly recommend a few days there pre-cruise. The Ship We had a concierge class cabin on deck 8 towards the stern. First impression was it was smaller than a Princess mini suite and I didn't like the fact that there was a large overhang from the main deck which left us almost permanently in the shade. Otherwise nice room with just about enough wardrobe/drawer space (cases fit under beds). Our steward was Ivan who was very efficient and friendly - on our anniversary we had room service breakfast and ordered the half bottle champagne, Ivan came with a full bottle explaining the half bottle wasn't on the menu anymore but there would be no charge. Overall ship impression. I felt that this ship was poorly designed, the cinema, conference/boardrooms are a complete waste of space.The conservatory was not at all how the brochure described it. It was just a florists with no seating. The foyer area was dark and not much happened there, I felt sorry for the musicians who normally played to a small number of people in the coffee/pastry area. The ship sorely needs a smaller functions room on the lines of Princess Vista lounge as some of the theatre acts played to very small audiences which was a little uncomfortable in such a large venue. There was the usual towels on sunloungers scenario with the crew doing nothing about it. Dining Waterfall grill - nice seating but horrible servery. With its trays and runners in front of the counters it felt like a motorway service area and trying to ask for things through the screens made it very difficult. We mostly had room service breakfast because we didn't like the waterfall. Evening dinner was a very nice experience, we had a table for six with Geoff and Christine from Australia and Mark and Gill from Alberqueque who only came three times. I should point out that we hate fixed dining and believe it to be an outdated system which should be removed as soon as possible. 6.15 is too early and 8.45 is too late but we picked late as lesser of two evils. The Normandie is a wonderful venue and everybody should try it at least once, the service and quality of the food is outstanding. The ships captain was the most boring person I have ever heard speak on a tannoy and became the but of our jokes over dinner. The cruise Day 2 at sea. As Villefranche is so close the ship sailed really slow to give a day at sea, this made the ship roll a little and I would hate to be in this position on a rough day, we were only travelling at 5 knots. Day 3 Villefranche. Royal Caribbean arrived first but tendering process was smooth and there were no crowds in the port. We took the buss to Nice (1 euro each) and then the bus to Eze (1 euro each). Eze is a very nice hilltop town, you could pass two hours here, longer with lunch. Public toilet behind tourist info (not free). We spent some time in Nice which was ok but Eze was better. Day 4 Livorno. As we have stayed in Florence before we opted for the train to Pisa. You can walk to the station from the shuttle drop off point but I would recommend the bus (no 1 terminates at the stazione). The train cost 7.20 euros return for two. If you take the direct route from station to leaning tower there is nothing to see but if you go to the right and up through the shopping centre it's much better and there are plenty of street cafes. It also brings you around the side of the leaning tower past some roman remains. Day 5 Civitivecchia. Again we travelled by train (9 euros each) and then used a HOHO bus as we had been before, we took in the roman forum, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain etc. We stayed away from the Vatican as it was a Sunday plus you need a full day there on its own. Day 6 Naples. As we had been to Pompeii before we opted for a train to Herculaneum. Don't go to Stazione Garibaldi as there is a Circumvesuviana station nearer. Make sure you take your passport with you if you want an audio guide (we forgot). On our return we walked through the city to Galeria Umberto braving the traffic (you need nerves of steel). Naples is a dirty City but is still full of character (there is a HOHO bus if you need it). As with some other stops I got the impression that we didn't get the best berths (Costa, MSC seem to get better). Day 6 at sea. Second formal night and our 30th anniversary. Started with champagne breakfast and then day sunbathing ending with dinner at the Normandie - wonderful. Day 7 Santorini. What a fantastic place to park a ship. Tendering process was pretty good (Greek ships) but the queue for the cable car was a nightmare, it took one hour and we had to fight off the German and Italian queue jumpers from the Costa and MSC ships. The harbour is tiny and can't cater for disembarking passengers and the cable car queue. Santorini is a wonderful place and I wouldn't recommend a ships excursion, just go up to Thira or catch a cheap bus to Oia. Day 8 Athens. Our original plan here was to use the metro to travel in. However, all the Athens tour guides went on strike and tours were cancelled. Instead the coach companies put on Shuttles for $20. We weighed up the pros and cons and decided to use this shuttle which would save walking and be no more expensive than a taxi. We got to the Acropolis at 0900 and it was already getting hot. Acropolis was worth a trip and we went on through the Plaka and up to the Parliament building for changing of the guard, all this is quite doable. Unfortunately the new Acropolis museum hadn't opened (it has now). If you go to the Athens be prepared for the heat (36C in early June rising to over 40 in July/Aug). Day 9 At sea, pleasant apart from fight for sunlounger, not much entertainment but suited us. Day10 Dubrovnik. Excellent place, walls very much like York (UK) but be warned there are lots of steps and they are very steep. Most people spoke English and accepted Euros so no need to do any foreign exchange. Day 11 Arrived in Venice. This, for me, was the highlight. Make sure you are on deck for this, it takes about an hour to sail through the City (yes, you sail right alongside St Marks and all the sights. Venice is a great city to travel on foot but you can get around on the vaporettos which get very crowded and cost 6.50 euros per trip (valid 60 minutes) unless you get a day ticket. We spent hours in and around St Marks and then blew 80 euros on a Gondola ride (35 minutes), well we might never go back. Day 12 travel home. To avoid the despicable cruise line practice of dumping you at the airport five hours before your flight we took our only ship excursion. This was a trip to Padua and airport drop off. Padua is a pleasant place to spend a morning (nice coffee bars) but they still dropped us at the airport 3 hours before our flight (they don't open the check in desks until two hours before flight). Marco Polo airport is small and there is very little to do until you get through security. This is my first attempt at a review and hope I didn't go on too much. Overall impression was, wonderful cruise. Regardless of the few critical comments above the service was excellent, I didn't come across one bad crewmember. All behaved and acted impeccably. Full marks to Celebrity for this alone. IF Celebrity took over Brilliance of the seas that would probably make it perfect. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Background My wife and I have just turned 50 (ish) and this is our 8th cruise, previously one cruise on Brilliance of the Seas and all the rest on Princess ships. We go for the destinations and are not shoppers and we don't use the ... Read More
Background My wife and I have just turned 50 (ish) and this is our 8th cruise, previously one cruise on Brilliance of the Seas and all the rest on Princess ships. We go for the destinations and are not shoppers and we don't use the onboard Spa's or the Casino. This cruise was for our 30th wedding anniversary and so we added the 4 night pre cruise tour of Madrid & Barcelona (we only do this on special occasions). Madrid and Barcelona A good start with a half empty BA flight from Heathrow, chauffeur driven car from airport to hotel where we met Katia, our tour manager for the next four days. Madrid was hot but worth the trip, we did a city tour and then had free time for exploration.  On day 2 a coach tour to Toledo then transferred to station for high speed train to Barcelona (2.5 hours for 360 miles), very smooth train ride and well worth it. We had a coach transfer to our hotel which is where I met my first small problem.  The air conditioning in the room would not go below 22.5 C.  As a Northern European (Yorkshire, UK) I like to sleep in a cold room (10 to 15 degrees C).  I did complain but nothing was done and indeed other people  did say they had trouble sleeping (outside daytime temp was 29 degrees C).  The rest of Barcelona was wonderful, I highly recommend a few days there pre-cruise. The Ship We had a concierge class cabin on deck 8 towards the stern.  First impression was it was smaller than a Princess mini suite and I didn't like the fact that there was a large overhang from the main deck which left us almost permanently in the shade.  Otherwise nice room with just about enough wardrobe/drawer space (cases fit under beds).  Our steward was Ivan who was very efficient and friendly - on our anniversary we had room service breakfast and ordered the half bottle champagne, Ivan came with a full bottle explaining the half bottle wasn't on the menu anymore but there would be no charge. Overall ship impression. I felt that this ship was poorly designed, the cinema, conference/boardrooms are a complete waste of space.The conservatory was not at all how the brochure described it. It was just a florists with no seating.  The foyer area was dark and not much happened there, I felt sorry for the musicians who normally played to a small number of people in the coffee/pastry area. The ship sorely needs a smaller functions room on the lines of Princess Vista lounge as some of the  theatre acts played to very small audiences which was a little uncomfortable in such a large venue.  There was the usual towels on sunloungers scenario with the crew doing nothing about it. Dining Waterfall grill - nice seating but horrible servery. With its trays and runners in front of the counters it felt like a motorway service area and trying to ask for things through the screens made it very difficult.  We mostly had room service breakfast because we didn't like the waterfall.  Evening dinner was a very nice experience, we had a table for six with Geoff and Christine from Australia and Mark and Gill from Alberqueque who only came three times.  I should point out that we hate fixed dining and believe it to be an outdated system which should be removed as soon as possible.  6.15 is too early and 8.45 is too late but we picked late as lesser of two evils.  The Normandie is a wonderful venue and everybody should try it at least once, the service and quality of the food is outstanding. The ships captain was the most boring person I have ever heard speak on a tannoy and became the but of our jokes over dinner. The cruise Day 2 at sea.  As Villefranche is so close the ship sailed really slow to give a day at sea, this made the ship roll a little and I would hate to be in this position on a rough day, we were only travelling at 5 knots. Day 3 Villefranche. Royal Caribbean arrived first but tendering process was smooth and there were no crowds in the port. We took the buss to Nice (1 euro each) and then the bus to Eze (1 euro each).  Eze is a very nice hilltop town, you could pass two hours here, longer with lunch.  Public toilet behind tourist info (not free).  We spent some time in Nice which was ok but Eze was better. Day 4 Livorno.  As we have stayed in Florence before we opted for the train to Pisa.  You can walk to the station from the shuttle drop off point but I would recommend the bus (no 1 terminates at the stazione).  The train cost 7.20 euros return for two.  If you take the direct route from station to leaning tower there is nothing to see but if you go to the right and up through the shopping centre it's much better and there are plenty of street cafes. It also brings you around the side of the leaning tower past some roman remains. Day 5 Civitivecchia.  Again we travelled by train (9 euros each) and then used a HOHO bus as we had been before, we took in the roman forum, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain etc.  We stayed away from the Vatican as it was a Sunday plus you need a full day there on its own. Day 6 Naples. As we had been to Pompeii before we opted for a train to Herculaneum.  Don't go to Stazione Garibaldi as there is a Circumvesuviana station nearer.  Make sure you take your passport with you if you want an audio guide (we forgot).  On our return we walked through the city to Galeria Umberto braving the traffic (you need nerves of steel).  Naples is a dirty City but is still full of character (there is a HOHO bus if you need it). As with some other stops I got the impression that we didn't get the best berths (Costa, MSC seem to get better). Day 6 at sea. Second formal night and our 30th anniversary.  Started with champagne breakfast and then day sunbathing ending with dinner at the Normandie - wonderful. Day 7 Santorini.  What a fantastic place to park a ship. Tendering process was pretty good (Greek ships) but the queue for the cable car was a nightmare, it took one hour and we had to fight off the German and Italian queue jumpers from the Costa and MSC ships.  The harbour is tiny and can't cater for disembarking passengers and the cable car queue.  Santorini is a wonderful place and I wouldn't recommend a ships excursion, just go up to Thira or catch a cheap bus to Oia. Day 8 Athens. Our original plan here was to use the metro to travel in.  However, all the Athens tour guides went on strike and tours were cancelled.  Instead the coach companies put on Shuttles for $20.  We weighed up the pros and cons and decided to use this shuttle which would save walking and be no more expensive than a taxi.  We got to the Acropolis at 0900 and it was already getting hot.  Acropolis was worth a trip and we went on through the Plaka and up to the Parliament building for changing of the guard, all this is quite doable.  Unfortunately the new Acropolis museum hadn't opened (it has now).  If you go to the Athens be prepared for the heat (36C in early June rising to over 40 in July/Aug). Day 9 At sea, pleasant apart from fight for sunlounger, not much entertainment but suited us. Day10 Dubrovnik.  Excellent place, walls very much like York (UK) but be warned there are lots of steps and they are very steep.  Most people spoke English and accepted Euros so no need to do any foreign exchange. Day 11 Arrived in Venice. This, for me, was the highlight.  Make sure you are on deck for this, it takes about an hour to sail through the City (yes, you sail right alongside St Marks and all the sights.  Venice is a great city to travel on foot but you can get around on the vaporettos which get very crowded and cost 6.50 euros per trip (valid 60 minutes) unless you get a day ticket.  We spent hours in and around St Marks and then blew 80 euros on a Gondola ride (35 minutes), well we might never go back. Day 12 travel home.  To avoid the despicable cruise line practice of dumping you at the airport five hours before your flight we took our only ship excursion. This was a trip to Padua and airport drop off.  Padua is a pleasant place to spend a morning (nice coffee bars) but they still dropped us at the airport 3 hours before our flight (they don't open the check in desks until two hours before flight).  Marco Polo airport is small and there is very little to do until you get through security. This is my first attempt at a review and hope I didn't go on too much. Overall impression was, wonderful cruise. Regardless of the few critical comments above the service was excellent, I didn't come across one bad crewmember.  All behaved and acted impeccably.  Full marks to Celebrity for this alone.  IF Celebrity took over Brilliance of the seas that would probably make it perfect.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Departed June 3/09 from Barcelona on 12 day cruise - 9 ports.  Ship was great, stateroom was roomy- enjoyed having the balcony to see the sunrise in the mornings and sunsets in the evening..  Staff was very helpful.  Formal dining room ... Read More
Departed June 3/09 from Barcelona on 12 day cruise - 9 ports.  Ship was great, stateroom was roomy- enjoyed having the balcony to see the sunrise in the mornings and sunsets in the evening..  Staff was very helpful.  Formal dining room staff, food selections were amazing.Highly recommend coming into the city the day before so you can see the city you are departing from.Barcelona - wonderful city did the local double decker bus tour on our own be extremely careful of pickpockets!!  They target visitors as they usually have more cash on them.  Try to carry your wallets inside zippered pockets, or moneybelts.  You have to use common sense. They usually work in teams, and we saw someone get their camera bag stolen. We did a combination of some Celebrity organized cruises and things on our own - this worked out great.  Recommend you go to the local grocery store at each port and buy 1/2 litre, or litre of water each time.  The ship charges too much for water upon departure. First stop was Ville France - took the local bus to Monaco for 1.4 Euro's - the best way to travel - very easy to manage. Took Celebrity shuttle to local Train station and we took the local train to Firenze (Florence) remember the cities will be in their own language, so you won't see "Florence" anywhere on the departure schedules - in Italian its Firenze.  Get off at the 2nd Firenze stop which takes you into the centre of town.  Find the leather market great gifts and prices!! Did 1/2 day organized Celebrity tour in Rome and 1/2 day on our own - this worked out perfectly.  If you're in Rome on Sunday the Pope will appear at 12:00 noon from his window beside the Basilica if you want to see him blessing the crowd. Naples is a dirty industrial city - don't bother walking around the city, but use it as a launch pad to see Sorrento, or go to Pompei. Santorini is outstanding.  You will be tendered on this stop Get water when you land!  Take the cable care to the top for 4 Euro's. If you decide to walk up or down the stairs, the donkeys literally run up both directions and you will be stepping over donkey do and trying to get out of their way.  We took the local bus to Oia (Eeah) - breathtaking - great shopping!    Athens was MUCH cleaner than we expected.  Pollution was bad, but again we were expecting worse. Took local subway into city for 1 Euro  easy to manage - great system!!  Don't start the walk up to the Acropolis without water!!  It was 36C the day we were there and that was early June.  Wear closed in shoes as it's dusty, dry and walkways are uneven.  We saw a lot of people in flipflops that were struggling.  There is a water fountain at the top, but we weren't sure about it, so avoided drinking from it even though we had now drained our water bottles.  There is a concession stand further down the walkway. Dubrovnik, Croatia was beautiful.  There are a number of bank machines to get local currency (Kuna).  The wall entrance gate did accept Euro's.  Walk the wall - it takes about 1.5 hours with stops for pictures. A beautiful overview to the city.  Go the beach afterwards - the water is unbelievable! Venice was beautiful - don't miss the ship coming into the port.  The water taxi's are expensive so just be prepared.  But you have no choice.  We took the local water bus which was good - still expensive.  Went to Murano Island to see the glass  - beautiful if you are interested in this sort of thing.  If you're taking your own taxi from Venice to the airport it will cost you about 100Euro's - you don't have a lot of choice.  We did the gondola ride go during siesta time and negotiate!! Walk away, they will call you back.  Wait for them to say the small and large canal ride - it cost us 80 Euro for 4 people during siesta time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We just returned from the Barcelona to Venice cruise aboard the Celebrity Summit and I have to say, all my homework paid off!  Thanks especially to Cruise Critic!!  They provided me with wonderful information that helped our vacation go ... Read More
We just returned from the Barcelona to Venice cruise aboard the Celebrity Summit and I have to say, all my homework paid off!  Thanks especially to Cruise Critic!!  They provided me with wonderful information that helped our vacation go very smoothly.  I knew exactly what to expect and was neither unpleasantly surprised or disappointed.I started my homework a year ago beginning with the cruise line that best fit our needs.  We have cruised before and we were not excited to go aboard the new "mega" ships with thousands of passengers.  We were looking for something smaller yet still catered to you and made you feel special.  Because of the smaller numbers, you actually felt more involved and it was a more intimate setting.  We didn't need the rock walls, giant movie screens and mini malls.  We were more interested in comfort and a great itinerary.  Summit satisfied that perfectly.  Summit is by no means a "glitzy" ship with a dramatic foyer.  Instead, it is warm and welcoming.  Our cabin with the balcony was perfect.  We were fortunate to have a starboard side cabin when coming into Venice so we had our own private arrival into Venice!  It is everything they say it is!  The room itself was great and the beds were very comfortable.  That was important since this is a very intensive itinerary and you come back exhausted!  Late dinner seating is the best!The best advice I want to pass along to those planning a trip to this area is to consider hiring your own private taxi.  We did this and it was the BEST thing we did and WELL WORTH THE MONEY!!!  I hired Mariano   info@pleasantravel.com  I cannot say enough... what a stress reliever!!!  He was amazing!  I hired Mariano for Florence, Rome and Naples.  I had read so many different things I was somewhat nervous but in the end decided this would be best.  It was amazing to have someone waiting at every port for us (my husband, myself, son and daughter-in-law) and we could turn over all the driving responsibilities to someone local. Don't even THINK of renting or driving on your own...traffic is insane!  The thought of loading on to buses with a crowd following a numbered paddle all day in the heat, did not appeal to me and when you figured the cost of a cruise tour versus a private, the cost was the same or cheaper!  The very best part was seeing things you would not have seen if you were tied into a cruise directed tour.  We actually had Pisa to ourselves since our driver knew exactly what time to arrive and drop off.  In Florence, we had an agenda that went flawlessly.  Rome, our driver was amazing and very knowledgeable.  I was somewhat disappointed that I was unable to get some Vatican stamps because it was Sunday but I gave him a postcard at the end of our tour and he went to the extra work of going back later for stamps and mailing it from the Vatican to me along with some extra stamps for souvenirs!  Finally, Mariano was our driver in Naples.  After reading everything about Naples and listening to Mariano, we opted to do Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast!  The BEST decision!  What an amazing journey!  Forget Capri!  Mariano took us to his own  home to meet with his wife and see his farm.  It was beautiful and something  you would not experience on a cruise ship tour!  He later took us along the coast and then to an amazing local restaurant in Ravello!  We finished our day at Pompeii and went back to the ship tired but happy!  In Athens we hired Georges Taxi.  Another very good decision.  Athens is a very big overwhelming city and George knew exactly where to go and he too took us to places that were more "local" versus where the cruise ship and other tourists flock.  He too took us to a  wonderful Greek restaurant for lunch that let us try so many different dishes!  Santorini, Dubrovnik, Venice we did on our own and it worked out just fine.  They are all very "doable."  Finally, take the time to experience Villefranche.  It was one of my favorite ports!  Everyone races to Nice or Monaco but to me, Villefranche is a perfect!Hopefully this will help you make your decisions when you plan your cruise!  As with all travel, we did have some "glitches" but everything worked out.  Celebrity delivered and we would consider going on another Celebrity cruise.  Bottom line, do your homework and read cruise critic and listen to the people who have been there, done that! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
My wife and I had planned for a cruise holiday about three months ago. Eventually the choice of the cruise ship was made based on the ports covered, size of the ship and the favorable member reviews in Cruise Critic.We were met at ... Read More
My wife and I had planned for a cruise holiday about three months ago. Eventually the choice of the cruise ship was made based on the ports covered, size of the ship and the favorable member reviews in Cruise Critic.We were met at Barcelona Airport by Celebrity staff at noon and in no time at all we embarked the Summit in time for lunch in the Waterfall Cafe on Deck 10.  The whole process of embarkation was systematically carried out without hitch.The stateroom was in immaculate condition, adequate in size with a nice balcony.  The bathroom was very clean.  Two cracked floor tiles and the shower curtain did not bother us at all; but the button to flush to toilet was badly positioned behind the toilet bowl cover.  An outstanding feature was the exhaust which was very effective - a feature often overlooked even in 5-star hotels.Although one could have sit-down breakfasts and lunches in the Metropolitan Restaurant, we chose to have ours in the Waterfall Cafe.  The food was plentiful and was generally good. Thai curry beef, sushi and sashimi were all authentic; but the stir-fried noodles could be improved by adding Asian vegetables instead of capsicum and celery.  The barbecued chicken from the Poolside Grill was very good.  Hot and cold drinks were available at any time.  Many types of fruits and tea were offered. The coffee was poor - not strong enough.  Even the latte in Cova Cafe was not up to standard.Dinner in Metropolitan Restaurant was a delight. We had a table to ourselves (Table 513).  Waiter Sen was very good in his recommendations.  Equally cheerful was Asst. Waiter Sebastian who was very attentive to our needs.  Sommelier Doriana was a gem - hightly motivated and helpful in wine selection.  The food was great with ample choice of fish, meat, vegetables, soups and desserts.The dinner at Normandie Restaurant was reasonably good.  You could tell that the food cost more that $30 as it included lobster tail, lobster bisque, escargot and foie gras.  However, the thermidor lobster tail I had was tough - perhaps too big or over-cooked.The Celebrity Showtime was spectacular with good resident singers and dancers in attractive costumes.  Guest artist Tommy Bond gave an outstanding performance.One of the reasons for choosing Summit was the itinerary.  The ports visited were Barcelona, Villefranche (Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes), Livorno (Pisa, Florence), Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples (Capri, Pompeii, Sorrento), Santorini, Piraeus (Athens), Dubrovnik and Venice.  We joined five shore excursions offered by Celebrity and went on our own in Rome, Dubrovnik and Venice.  All the shore excursions were well organized and covered the major tourist sights.In summary, good crew, good food, great service and a well planned itinerary made our holiday on the Summit a memorable one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My wife & I have returned from a enjoyable cruise on the Summit,we booked cruise only, & booked our own flight with Easyjet to Barcelona.A few points here regarding getting to the ship. Beware the taxis,they charge for each ... Read More
My wife & I have returned from a enjoyable cruise on the Summit,we booked cruise only, & booked our own flight with Easyjet to Barcelona.A few points here regarding getting to the ship. Beware the taxis,they charge for each case,some friends hired a taxi from the top of La Rambles & they got to the ship the reading on the meter was about 14 euros,he then added on the cases & they were charged 27 euros.  The ship is further away than it looks from the bottom of La Ramblas,we found out,because we walked. A Port shuttle bus does run from the Columbus statue for 2 euros.Embarkation: We left our luggage with a porter & proceeded to the check-in, there was a queue, but we were checked in , in about 15 mins.,   SHIP:   The ship is in excellent condition when you think it is nearly 8 years old. There is the odd rust spots & rust, painted over,also some carpets had raised joins, but most seemed new.The lounges are very comfortable, the pool area & aqua are very nice,I could not fault anywhere.CABINS:  The cabins are a good size ,as is the balcony. There was plenty of space for our cloths & the beds were one of most comfortable we have slept in.   The bathroom was a good size with the bonus of a larger shower than usual.   The cabin all round was in excellent condition, except for one thing,the carpet although clean ,could have done with a shampoo. Dressing gowns are one size & can be a bit small for some men , here I don't want to get into trouble,so some women also.DINING: MDR. Of course this is subjective, from my point of view the "Fine Dining" is too cheffy & pretentious for my liking.  My wife, our table companions & other people we met, some having sailed with Celebrity before, the general consensus was that the food was very good & as good as ever.We had an excellent mix on the table, 2 Brits (us), Kelly & Scott from California, & Rita & Debra from Toronto. Our Waiter(Lesme) was the best waiter we have had, always joking & picking on me. Ranjid our ass't waiter was quiet but very very efficient.  BUFFET etc.,   Usually buffets are hit & miss, Celebrity are more of a hit.  Breakfast, plenty of choice, with even American crispy or English bacon being served. You can order freshly made eggs & omelettes, there is an Asian section, waffles pancakes,& many healthy options.   Lunch ,again plenty of choice,fish,various meats,veg,salads,shusi, a pizza section were you can order a freshly made one, a pasta section, also a stir-fry section.   So So much.POOL GRill. Hamburgers, chips , BBQ chicken & chilli. We both only liked the chilli here.Tea,coffee,fruit juice  24/7, in addition ice cream & sweets available for several hours.DRINKS, As usual on cruise lines very expensive, although $9/£6 for a glass of wine in the lounges is the most expensive we have come across. We had wine at dinner , the cheapest by the way was  about $27 inc., the 15%.  ENTERTAINMENT: I find cruise shows a bit samey,that said Summits shows were very good,because the resident dancers & singers were excellent. There was very good aerialists, an a cappella group who I found boring in the large theatre,but people said they were excellent in the lounge. NO COMEDIANS THOUGH, WHY!!! The guest artists were all from the uk,a male allround singer who was good,a female classical singer who was excellent,& my favourite Brooks Arehon a classical pianist(with fun, jokes & stories),who I thought would be boring,turned out to be the hit of the week. By the way I prefer heavy rock type music.  DAY TIME.   A lot of activities going on bingo(Oh no),quizzes,sports.games,there was a  band called Great Ideas?? who did poolside shows, not repetitious & were excellent. The daytime hit of the week for me was the afternoon show with ,yes again,Brooks Arehon.EXCURSIONS:All done DIY, no problems all easy,except Livorno,see my thread PORTS of CALL,  Med East/WesternDisembarkation.For us excellent. Left our cases outside cabin on the last evening,a.m. had breakfast, waited till all the crowds disembarked, strolled of the ship, picked up a cases & got the 2 euro shuttle to La Rambles.In summary the cruise was a success,great itinerary except LIVORNO,great table companions & waiters,good entertainment & finally not forgetting our lovely cabin attendant (Lourdes) &the rest of the polite & smiling crew members.  We would sail with Celebrity again.   @font-face { font-family: Calibri; } @page Section1 {size: 595.3pt 841.9pt; margin: 72.0pt 72.0pt 72.0pt 72.0pt; } UNKNOWN { FONT-FAMILY: "Cambria Math"; panose-1: 2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4 } P.MsoNormal { FONT-SIZE: 11pt; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 10pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: "Calibri","sans-serif" } LI.MsoNormal { FONT-SIZE: 11pt; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 10pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: "Calibri","sans-serif" } DIV.MsoNormal { FONT-SIZE: 11pt; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 10pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: "Calibri","sans-serif" } .MsoChpDefault { } .MsoPapDefault { MARGIN-BOTTOM: 10pt; LINE-HEIGHT: 115% } DIV.Section1 { page: Section1 } TABLE.ae_noborder { BORDER-RIGHT: #cccccc 1px dashed; BORDER-TOP: #cccccc 1px dashed; BORDER-LEFT: #cccccc 1px dashed; BORDER-BOTTOM: #cccccc 1px dashed; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse } TABLE.ae_noborder TR TD { BORDER-RIGHT: #cccccc 1px dashed; BORDER-TOP: #cccccc 1px dashed; BORDER-LEFT: #cccccc 1px dashed; BORDER-BOTTOM: #cccccc 1px dashed } Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Service This is the area where Celebrity still continues to excel and even amaze me as a customer. The service throughout every aspect of the ship was nearly flawless. Every detail, from the politeness of the servers to the way they served ... Read More
Service This is the area where Celebrity still continues to excel and even amaze me as a customer. The service throughout every aspect of the ship was nearly flawless. Every detail, from the politeness of the servers to the way they served your drinks and food made it so special. We boarded the ship and received the champagne greeting, and since it was early we ate buffet/grill[ which was pleasant. However, the first area where we received excellent service was in changing out dinner seating assignment when boarded. Of course it would have been better if Celebrity had gotten our table request for 4 right from the start, but the change process was painless. The assistant maitre'd was set up in an area outside the dinning room. When I explained to him that we had two children and that we thought it would be better for the other passengers if we were seated at our own table, he was able to immediately assign us another table. Once we got to our table on the first evening, the waiter, Rosario from India, was wonderfully friendly and very helpful with recommendations. Next, we met our Sommelier who was the best we've ever had with Celebrity. Not only was he very friendly and helpful, but extremely knowledgeable about the wines that were on board and able to make recommendations in all price ranges. In bars and lounges the cocktail wait staff were extremely friendly and efficient. I don't recall every having to wait for a beverage. Our cabin steward did an excellent job of keeping our room tidy and neat. We didn't have many requests, but any special room service requests or needs were met promptly. Food The food was for the most part excellent. We attended almost all of the evenings in the ship's two level Cosmopolitan restaurant. Celebrity offers fixed traditional seating in this, their main dining room. We tried the late seating on this cruise so that we could enjoy a more relaxed less rushed schedule when getting ready for dinner. We liked the later schedule. I enjoyed all of my appetizers, soups and salads. I especially loved the escargot appetizer, consomme soups, and variety of salads. I also had an excellent spring roll and puffed pastry. The entrees were for the most part very good.I enjoyed a charrasco style steak. I also enjoyed several chicken and fish dishes. One night, three of us had the veal, and though it was a hit with my husband and son, I thought it was a little institutional. Also the Chicken Saltimbocca was stuffed with tons on spinach and the sage was indiscernible. I like the sage to be the dominant flavor in this dish. Though it wasn't terrible, they should have called it chicken stuffed with spinach, not Saltimbocca. On this particular cruise we dined more often in the buffet/grill area for lunch than we have on previous cruises. Since the ship was not completely full, the smaller amount of passengers made these areas much easier to navigate than on other cruises that were at full capacity. We enjoyed the burgers and tacos from the grill as well as the salads and entrees in the full buffet area. All of the food was flavorful and with a wide variety, there was always something that I liked. In the evenings they offer pizza, pasta and an international station. The international station replaced the sushi bar which used to be offered every night. Now instead they have Stir Fry, Indian or Indonesian, or Sushi. This was a bit of a disappointment to the sushi lovers who could only get their fix every third night, but probably a welcome change for those who are not sushi fans. For sweet lovers they had wonderful dessert as well as hand scooped ice cream at no extra charge. Ship and Amenities Overall, I love the size, lay-out and amenities of the Celebrity ships. This ship features a 2 level theater, cinema/conference center, casino, a piano bar, martini/champagne bar, disco and small Rendezvous lounge for quiet music and dancing. We enjoyed the disco/observation lounge during both the night and day. This area was actually one of concern to me as the disco had been redecorated several years ago as the "Bar at The Edge of the Earth" for the joint venture that Celebrity had with Cirque de Solei. One of the main problems with that redecoration was that the draped fabric inhibited the views. While most of those decorations remain in place, Celebrity did remove the most obstructive drapings, thus re-establishing the panoramic views in this room. The ship also has a spa and work-out center and an indoor Thalossotherapy pool. Outdoors they have to swimming pools and four hot-tubs. The indoor pool and spa area are adults only, so we spent our pool time in the out door areas. There were plenty of different public spaces. Nickel and Diming You to Death For the most part Celebrity is pretty good about not charging for extra things that I believe should be included in the cost of the cruise. This ship has one small specialty restaurant with a $30 up charge. However, we were more than happy with our service and food in the main restaurant, so we did not feel a huge need pay the extra charge and dine there. Those that choose this option raved about the experience in the Normandie. There were a few offerings by Celebrity of which I thought the prices were a bit excessive. The least expensive wine offered by the glass was a white wine for $6, with most of the by the glass wine running in the $8 to $12 range. Beer ran at least $5, and call brand mixed drinks were $8. One evening I ordered a call brand vodka on the rocks for my husband and was given and charged for a double though I didn't order a double. The wines with dinner were both pricey and generally very good. In that atmosphere, I didn't mind paying a bit extra for the wines as they came with such great and knowledgeable service, but I felt the wines by the glass should have been priced a little bit lower. The other aggravatingly over priced item was the cost of a shuttle into town at several of our stops. The "nominal" charge was $10 per person. I thought that was very high even for a round trip, so I never purchased the fare. However, I heard from another passengers that this was each way and you cold only purchase a round trip ticket. For a family of 4, that is $80 just to get into and back from the port city. Either way whether it was $40 or $80, it was still way too much. Most of these ports were reachable by walking (about a mile or so), so depending on the weather we either choose to stay on board or make the long walk into town. There were a few extra activities that were offered for a small charge. They had a "Round the World" wine tasting and a "Wine Appreciation" wine tasting that were both offered at $10 per person. We attended and enjoyed both of these events. Also, we bought two soda cards at $5 a day for my son and husband. My daughter and I choose to forgo the soda cards as we didn't think we'd have more than two a day. However, the two soda cards we purchased for the guys seemed to work no matter who ordered the sodas, just as long as one of the card holders was present. Also, on Celebrity, the regular coffee in the buffet is free; the fancy coffee in the Cova Cafe is available at an extra charge. I enjoyed one cappuccino one afternoon, as the $4 charge didn't seem like too much for a small splurge. Destinations One of the biggest surprises of this cruise was the wonderful ports of call we visited. I had done quite a bit of research on the ports and had actually made tour plans and decisions before the trip. Barcelona was our embarkation port, and I would say to try to arrive in Barcelona at least a day or two before your cruise. We very much enjoyed the city it multitude of art, culture and history. Our first port of call was Malaga. This was a city in which we had planned to go into town and see a few of the sights near the port. Had the weather been better than cold and windy or the shuttle prices been a bit more in line with what I was willing to pay we probably would have gone into town for a few hours. However, since we'd been up late from the night before, and didn't feel like fighting the cold and the wind, we choose to view the city from the comfort of our balcony. Our next port of call was the beautiful Island of Madeira. This small garden isle provided us with many sights and landmarks right in the port town of Funchal. We first walked into town from the port which took about 10 -15 minutes. The city is known for its many gardens and we visited two. Then we stopped by the local church where we checked out its unique Portuguese Knot-Work ceiling. We did a little souvenir shopping for things like T-shirts, embroidered items, and Madeira Wine. Then we took a taxi up to the touristy area Monte where we enjoyed some of the gardens and then took the famous guided wicker toboggan ride down the mountain. After the ride we walked down the narrow streets back into town and to the ship. Our next stop was the Island of Lanzarote where we took our one and only ship's tour. I had done enough research to know that the port was not near anything to see, and that the island's main attractions was the Timanfaya National Park which can only be toured, for the most part, by motor coach. We chose the tour that took us not only in to the exciting "Fire Mountain" portion of the park, but also included a camel ride around the volcanic sand dunes that give the island part of its unique landscape. This tour was fantastic. People of all ages enjoyed the short camel ride. Nearly everyone on the coach was amazed at the formations left by the eruptions on the island that occurred in the 1730's. Because the island receives so little rain, only 1.3 centimeters per year, the volcanic areas are barren and other-worldly looking. The tour also included a brief stop to see the area where the lava from the eruption met the sea and a stop at the unique vineyards planted in volcanic soil and surrounded by semicircular rock walls. I would highly recommend this tour, as national park was definitely one of the most strangely beautiful places in the world I have ever visited. Tenerife was our next stop in the Canary Islands. Keeping our budgets in mind, I had planned a walking tour of the town Santa Cruz de Tenerife with stops at several museums. The city provided a free shuttle bus for cruise passengers, but had requested that it be for elderly or physically limited passengers. It seemed many people were taking the shuttle, but in order to work off all our big meals we choose to walk into town. Our ship was the fourth in line, so we had quite a walk just to get into the port area. Once in town, we found the tourist information booth and got directions to the first museum. The Regional Military Museum of the Canary Islands was located about a mile from the center of town. This free museum featured exhibits on the famous British defeat at the hands of the Spanish during a poorly planned attempt to take the island. The museum featured an Oil Painting of the famous British captain, Lord Horatio Nelson, who let the attack, loosing his arm and the cannon that fired the shots that wounded him. Next we did a little window and souvenir shopping in the famous shopping streets of Santa Cruz. Then, we headed over to the Museo de Hombre, a geological and archeological museum of all the Canary Islands that features extensive exhibits, (mostly in Spanish) of all the flora, fauna and civilizations of the Canaries. Our favorite part was exhibit of Canarian native Guanchen Mummies. Our final stop before making our 5 day journey across the Atlantic Ocean was Santa Cruz de la Palma. We were so exhausted from walking all over Santa Cruz de Tenerife, we thought we might just enjoy Santa Cruz de la Palma from the comfort of our balcony room. It was a little rainy all day and being tired and sore I thought I'd take it easy. Had the shuttle been a bit more affordable, the four of us might have ventured into town. Other passengers that did make it into town reported that this was the most charming and beautiful of the cities we visited in the Canaries. After our sea days crossing the Atlantic we spent our final day in St. Maarten. We kept things simple by walking into Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. We enjoyed a snack and some drinks at a beach front cafe. The kids and I enjoyed swimming at the beach and we also picked up some inexpensive souvenirs at the shops in town. Embarkation The embarkation was very easy as we had already printed out our express boarding pass. All we needed to do was show our passports and our credit card for our on board spending account and we were set. Our luggage arrived at our room early and I was able to unpack most of it before we even sailed away. Disembarkation I wish I could say that our disembarkation was as pleasant as our embarkation. Our ship had many passengers who were non-US citizens. When entering the US they are required to submit to a finger print scan and a digital picture. Celebrity did not do a good job of briefing them on this procedure prior to our arrival in San Juan. Surely Homeland security knew to expect many non-US passengers disembarking from our ship, but they didn't have nearly enough agents assigned to handle the extra time needed to process these passengers. We were in no big hurry as we were spending the night in San Juan, but it was a bit frustrating that we stood in an un-air-conditioned terminal for over 45 minutes just waiting to clear through. It also didn't help matters that many of the passengers complained and argued with the agents about the entry policy, rather than just getting it done as quickly as possible. Perhaps too, Celebrity could have been more informative to the foreign passengers about this process during the disembarkation talk. Entertainment Overall, the entertainment on this cruise was very good. The ship provided music and entertainment in almost every genre. Generally the quality was very good, with a few noticeable exceptions. The two headliners, Singer ,Jack Walker, and Comedian, Fred Klett, were very good. I had seen Jack Walker on my Infinity Cruise in 2005. He is a first class operatic/pop tenor who performs pop, Broadway, and classical pieces much in the line of Russell Watson, Michael Ball, and Michael Crawford. He performed two shows which were some of the entertainment highlights of this cruise. Fred Klett performed his comedy act on the latter half of the cruise. His observational family oriented comedy was fun for all of us. He had all of us laughing pretty hard. His act was clean and for the most part focused on what life was like growing up in a family of 10 kids. The kids liked him so much they pooled their spending money and bought his DVD to take home. The Celebrity singers and Dancers performed three full scale production shows and one or two numbers in some of the other shows. Their first full scale show featured mostly Broadway and Movie numbers. I felt that this show was just "OK", some parts very good and others kind of boring. Their next show was "Night of Stars" which featured songs of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century like Cher, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra. However the set was rather one dimensional, the choreography overly simple and almost amateurish at times, and the singing a bit forced. I think the singers and dancers did fine with what the material they had to work with, but this show was just not at the level one would expect from a cruise line like Celebrity. However, the Celebrity Singers and Dancers redeemed themselves with their final production show. This show featured a multitude of Broadway numbers including ones from Gypsy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Wicked, Mama Mia, Hair Spray and The Lion King. All of the songs seemed to fit the singers' voices much better than the pop songs in the previous shows. They also had an opportunity to portray the characters from the shows rather than imitate a famous star. Character interpreting seemed to be one of their strong suits in this show. Finally, the costumes for this show were much more elaborate and fitting to the different Broadway shows. During the "Lion King" finale they nearly replicated some of the puppet costumes and sets from the original show. I really enjoyed this show as did most of the audience which they demonstrated through a standing ovation at the end. The other entertainers included and a'capella group, string quartet, a jazz/dance music ensemble, a piano player in the Michaels club, and a crew talent show. The singing group was pretty entertaining. They performed several times in the theater and in the smaller venues on the ship. The guitar player usually played on the aft lounge on the back of the ship. We were able to enjoy his music from our balcony. We didn't have too much of an opportunity to listen to the ensemble as we just didn't spend too much time in the lounge they played in. I should also mention that the Celebrity singers and dancers performed songs in the intimate Michaels club. Unfortunately, I was again too worn out from daytime activities to attend this event, but several other guests raved about the performance. The smaller venue and songs of their choosing really gave them an opportunity to show the quality of their voices. The other passengers also said one of the dancers was just as good as the singers. The string quartet was made up of a group of recent graduates from the University of Indiana School of Music, who looked to still be in their teens but were apparently a bit older. What a treat their music was in the dining room on formal nights. They also performed in the Cova Cafe and presented two concerts in the Cinema. The party band on this cruise was one of the best we've had a sea. "Frontliners" was from the Philippines, like the bands on our Hawaii and our Alaska cruise. They provided fantastic cover music for all of the theme parties from the 50's, 60's, 70's and beyond. They had two male and one female singer, all with broad vocal ranges. We had a lot of fun listening and dancing to them mostly at the theme parties held in the Revelations lounge. Our main complaint about the band was that they didn't play often enough pool side. During our warm sunny sea days they only did one 45 minute set. During our final Sail-a-way from warm sunny St. Maarten, they did not play at all. On previous cruises we have very much enjoyed hanging our on the pool deck en listening to the band play as we sail off into the sunset. With so many choices there seemed to be a type of music for everyone. Activities In addition to the entertainment, the ship provided many daytime activities to keep the passengers time occupied both on sea and port days. The games included Trivia, Battle of the Sexes Trivia, Name That Tune, Pictionary, and Pool Side Game Team Games. They also had a guest lecturer on the music business and Broadway. They had food demonstrations, wine tastings, margarita tastings, and even Martini tastings. They had movies in the cinema and also played those same movies for free in room. They had a water color artist teaching art classes. There were art auctions and fitness classes. There was so much to do, there was no way one could attend all the activities. It was nice meeting with fellow passengers and hearing about their different experiences. One passenger showed me her fan that she had hand painted in the water color class. Another shared with me how much he liked the paella and sangria making demonstration. I did not get to attend as many activities as I would have liked too because they seemed to conflict with some of my other plans. Some other passengers expressed the same feelings about the activities, so I don't know if we were off schedule or the activities were off schedule. In the evenings they had more theme parties than I can remember from previous cruise. They had the 50's & 60's party, a Disco Party, a White Night (which really wasn't much of a theme party at all, just fun music and dancing), and a Caribbean Deck Party. Most of these events were held in the Revelations lounge, and during these times the ship usually featured additional entertainment on other parts of the ship. Another fun activity was their ballroom dance contest. Male and Female passengers auditioned to compete in a "Dancing with the Stars" type competition. They rehearsed all week with a ballroom dance partner from the Celebrity Dancers, and then competed in a dance off one night in the Revelations lounge. I enjoyed watching the couples rehearse through-out the week, but again missed the dance off due to just being a bit to tired to attend. They also had two nights of Karaoke in the lounge. There were many participants, including my self, and a large crowd there to enjoy the performances. The activities staff was even nice enough to play my own discs that I had brought with me. Their own collection of Karaoke was rather limited and included no Broadway songs. Several other passengers also borrowed my discs. We were very pleased with this accommodation , but the limitation with using my own discs was that they were not able to change the key on these songs. However, our first disappointment with the karaoke was that the second night of Karaoke was only for one hour. The hosts told us that they were planning on having one more, longer evening of Karaoke, but that event never materialized. Those of us, that are diehard karaoke performers, were disappointed that they did not host another evening of karaoke, especially when the first two evenings had proved so popular. We just thought that on a 14 night cruise they would have more than two nights of Karaoke. This also brings me to my other area of disappointment: the passenger talent show. As a singer and dancer, I always sign up for the talent show, and on all but one cruise, they have had enough participants to stage a show.However, on this cruise, they had what they called their "Starring You" awards show. The show was only for passengers invited to participate from the ballroom dance contest and the best three Karaoke performances. They also presented a trivia and a best photo award. I was chosen to compete in the "Best Live Performance" category against two other passengers who had also sung at Karaoke. They did a great job in showcasing the participants with a full audio and technical rehearsal. However, my disappointment came from the fact that this format excluded so many other passengers from having a moment in the spotlight on the big stage. I know there were two other men who participated in Karaoke would have loved to perform in the talent show. There also may have been other passengers that were wonderful singers or dancers but were not invited because they did not participate in Karaoke or the ballroom dance contest. Sail-a-way The only reason I put the "Sail-a-way" into a separate category is because this was absolutely the highlight of our Hawaiian and Mexican cruises, and such a disappointment on this cruise. Our Alaskan cruise only had one big sail-a-way party, the first night when we left Vancouver, simply because the cold sometimes rainy weather was not conducive to sitting up on the pool deck and listening to the band. On our warm weather cruises the band played great music every day as we sailed away from our port. Usually the sunset, scenery, music, drinks, and fellow passengers combined to make these events the highlight of the cruise. However, on this cruise even when we had beautiful weather leaving our last port of call they ship failed to schedule the party band to play live music by the pool. Kids Program The kids program for this cruise was fantastic despite the fact that there were only 6 children registered in the program. There were three pre-school age children who only came in the Fun Factory occasionally to play with their parents or grand parents. In the older kids category, they had my two children age 10 and 12, and one other 12 year old boy from Australia. One might expect that they would not keep the program fully open when they have such a small amount of kids on the cruise. However, they kept the same hours as on all our previous cruise, generally from 9 to 5 with a break for lunch and 7pm to 10pm in the evenings. My kids had fantastic time in the club, perhaps because they could pretty much pick what they wanted to do. Often they choose to play board games or video games, but they could also watch movies are do crafts with the counselors. Accommodations Our room on this cruise was absolutely wonderful. We had cabin 7199, a corner Family Veranda room. This was the first cabin that we've ever had on a cruise that was really ideal for four people. We had nearly twice as much closet space and storage draws as we would have in standard balcony cabin. The beds were very comfortable and the full king size bed with easy in and out was a vast improvement over the Family Verandas on the Mercury. One of the nicest features of this room was the huge oversized balcony. We were afforded fantastic views of every port as we sailed away. I rarely noticed any excess motion in this room, also an improvement over the FV rooms on the smaller Mercury. Celebrity usually reserves these rooms for families of 4 or more, however they will sometimes make the available for two if there are not in demand from families. Evening Dress Codes and Packing For this cruise Celebrity had three formal nights. It appeared that most passengers enjoyed dressing on these formal evenings. If passengers chose not to dress formally there were plenty of options for them including the casual dining area, pasta station, pizza, international stations, and room service. I don't recall seeing anyone dressed extremely casually on the formal nights in the dining room. For the rest of the evenings the dress was "smart casual and above." On these evenings I saw passengers dressed in mostly very nice smart casual to very dressed up but not quite formal. Women wore very nice slacks outfits or dressy dresses. Men generally wore dockers to dress slacks with generally casual collared shirts including prints, stripes and solids, with or with out jackets. There was one group of younger people (maybe late 20's) who really stood out as under dressed in jeans or cargo pants with flip flops and hoodie sweat shirts on the smart casual. They did wear dark suits with ties on all but one formal night. They were not turned away from the main dining venue but I would have felt very out of place had I dressed so casually on what is called "Smart Casual". They were definitely the exception to the mode of dress on this cruise as most passengers tended to dress very sharply in the evenings. We truly enjoyed dressing up on most evenings, especially the formal nights. The small mistake that our family made on this trip was over packing. We had a little trouble figuring out what clothes we would need as the weather in Barcelona was cold and we weren't sure what to expect on the Atlantic crossing days. It turned out we brought too many dress sweaters for my husband as he generally was able to wear short sleeves or lighter weight shirts in the smart casual evenings. My son actually probably planned the best as he wore mostly short sleeve shirts and then added a solid blue blazer on smart casual evenings. My daughter and I did not wear every evening outfit we packed, and probably could have saved some space by planning on repeating some of the casual evening outfits. Changes There were a few things that had been changed since our last Celebrity cruise that I found to be a bit disappointing. The smallest item was probably the lack of cloth placemats in the buffet trays. This had no real affect on my cruise, but I noticed it. The next noticeable change was the availability of sushi in the evenings only every third evening. The Grand Midnight Buffet was supposed to be replaced by two events: A grand brunch buffet and a "Staring You" party with carving stations and snacks. The brunch buffet did not compare in any way as a substitution for the grand mid-might buffet and they never held the "Staring You" reception. Another noticeable change was that they no longer had bar waiters coming into the dining room for beverage service. We really noticed this change the first couple of nights because it took some time for our sommelier to handle this for us. One night our waiter was very late in taking our dinner order because he was handling a Martini order for another table. However, once everyone got into the swing of things our sommelier came to the table with our sodas, and other passengers seemed to get their martinis in the bar before dinner rather than the dining room. Another change that I didn't like was the "Starring You" show mentioned earlier. I think the traditional passenger talent shows, bad performers and all, is much better than this format. Captains Club and Cruise Critic Activities I was very pleased with the number of Captains Club activities, though on this type of cruise I think that most of the passengers were Captains' Club members. We attended the Senior Officer's Cocktail one afternoon and one of three Chardonnay Blending seminars. However, we did not attend the Captains Club Formal night because of the expected overflow crowd. From what we heard from people who did attend, they tried to have everyone enter through one door and show their sea pass in order to get in. When the line got too long and stagnant they opened up another door to allow everyone in. However, the coupons and discounts offered to captains club members really weren't any thing but sales pitches for items or treatments that the cruise line was trying to sell. It would be nice if Celebrity offered something of real value to its loyal passengers. The cruise director was also very helpful in organizing activities for Cruise Critic members. We had our first little party on the first Sea day where we were greeted by the Cruise Director and some of the activities staff. They also held another get-to-gether for us another day and even offered us a bridge tour and early access to the day they offered visits to the Helipad. We were pleased that the Cruise Director and staff were so eager to do a few small extra things for our group. Conclusion We had a wonderful and memorable family vacation on this cruise. We had many positive experiences that definitely outweighed the negative ones. Perhaps the best part of this cruise was the friendships we made with fellow passengers. However, after all of our previous Celebrity cruises we have felt that nothing could equal the Celebrity cruise experiences. With the few minor flaws on this cruise, I would have to say that though Celebrity would probably still be my first choice, I would definitely consider cruising with another line for the right price, itinerary, or ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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