42 Celebrity Summit Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We embarked in Venice where the ship stayed overnight so those traveling long distances would have the opportunity to spend some time in this beautiful city. We had arrived two days early to have even more time to take in the sights. We ... Read More
We embarked in Venice where the ship stayed overnight so those traveling long distances would have the opportunity to spend some time in this beautiful city. We had arrived two days early to have even more time to take in the sights. We chose a hotel near the Piazzele Roma because we knew it was close to the port. We were told that there was a free shuttle bus from there to the ship which was the case, but when we went out into the Piazzele to find it, there was no indication of where we would catch this bus. There were literally dozens of buses parked there and no one seemed to know which bus belonged to Celebrity. After asking and asking and asking, we finally found some passengers who had just disembarked and were waiting for the rest of their party to arrive on one of the shuttles. The door was closing as we ran (with 2 heavy suitcases each) up to the bus and the driver refused to open the door. Waiting for the next bus added another 30 minutes to our already hour-long wait. Everything went smoothly at the port when we dropped our luggage. Celebrity does not seem to send tags ahead of time any more because they send docs electronically, but we easily got tags from the porters and filled them out. We went into the terminal to hand in our documents knowing we had priority because of booking a concierge cabin. That wait was very short and the staff was quite efficient. We opted not to go to our cabin, but to head out to see more of Venice. Unfortunately we had shuttle troubles again. No one seemed to know where to catch it at the port. We did find it but also discovered that the last shuttle would be at 5PM and there would not be any shuttles on the next day despite the fact that the ship was there overnight. How cheap can Celebrity be??? Once aboard we thought we might be in the wrong cabin. We had last sailed on the Noordam in a regular veranda cabin and it was at least 35% larger than our concierge cabin on the Summit. I guess Celebrity follows in the footsteps of their sister RCCL when it comes to cabin size. Even Carnival and NCL have bigger cabins than we found on the Summit. As we usually do, we asked our cabin attendant to make sure we had a few things like extra towels and a filled ice bucket throughout the voyage. She was fabulous and we never had to ask again. I was a bit surprised when she did not replace our toiletries. What I found out indirectly was that she was instructed by the line not to replace them unless the passenger asks for more. Once again, cheap, cheap, cheap! That not being her choice, her service was impeccable. I wished I could take her home with us. She was the best cabin attendant we ever had. We were at a table for eight and everyone was quite pleasant for dinner. The wait staff was eager to please; the assistant waiter made sure I had ice tea every night without asking. The waiter, when asked, would make helpful suggestions. One negative was that it usually took us 2 hours to eat dinner so we did not finish until almost 11PM. The reason is that our waiter and assistant had five tables and three of them were large tables. Celebrity should have more wait staff and I think that the flexible dining was a possible cause of this. The food was utterly disappointing. My DH and I are not gourmets and he is limited in what he can eat. The menus were dull, the food was tasteless and the meals were generally uninviting. Our first cruise in 1991 was on the Celebrity Meridian an old converted ocean liner. At that time Celebrity was still owned by Chandris and the food was unbelievable. We were on the Zenith to Bermuda about 12 years ago and the food was also not to be believed. Celebrity was always known for its food, but that is no longer the case at least on the Summit. The Maitre'd tried his best to please, but he did not cook the food. Even the special items like French Onion Soup he brought for us were inedible. For the first time in all of our cruising days, we did not go to the dining room on the final night because the menu sounded so ordinary. Instead we went upstairs, watched the sunset and ate salad and pizza. I think Celebrity has lowered its food standards so past passengers will spend more and travel on Azamara. All of the staff was quite pleasant and helpful. The concierge was new, but he tried his best to give us bus and train schedules for the various ports as well as beach suggestions. The shopping guide was not pushy about which stores to use and she also gave some excellent port advice. The entertainment was decent, not fabulous. However, we were usually at dinner so late that we were too tired to go to the shows. Another minor disappointment was the condition of the ship. The common area couches and chairs were torn and ratty. The cabin was in decent condition although the TV was an old set not a flat screen. Perhaps the Summit has gone into dry dock since our cruise and is a little more "ship shape" now. The schedule was great. Each port call was at least 12 hours and we did not have to be back about until 15 minutes before departure. That was wonderful because it enabled us to have very full days in port. We did everything independently and had a ball doing it. We don't believe in using the tours and being crowded into buses like sheep. By traveling in the cities on our own, we got to speak to locals and the people were great in every country from Croatia to Greece to Italy to France to Spain. There is an entire thread on CC about traveling independently in Europe and that was a huge help along with our friends who had already been to these ports. I suggest independent travel to anyone no matter what your age (and we're no spring chickens). In most ports we saw lots more than the people who took ship's tours. So bottom line despite the lousy food and small cabin, I would recommend a Mediterranean cruise just for the ports. Keep in mind that the weather is very hot in July, so if you can go in the fall or spring that's preferable. We had a wonderful time and I cannot wait to go again with different ports this time. I know what the Celebrity of today is like so if I do cruise with them again, I will have lower expectations and not be disappointed. One final note: we canceled a February cruise on the Mercury and switched to another line partly because of these issues. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Since we are diamond RCCL folks, we were looking forward to at least the same type of customer service on a Celebrity ship, but that was not the case. Hardly a day went by that wrong information was given to us by crew members, which ... Read More
Since we are diamond RCCL folks, we were looking forward to at least the same type of customer service on a Celebrity ship, but that was not the case. Hardly a day went by that wrong information was given to us by crew members, which caused us great inconvenience.And we were told many times that no one knew answers to our routine questions.No one made an effort to find answers, either. In Venice, the check in process took over 3 hours. We were told the bus back to the ship from Piazzale Roma in Venice was available until 8:30 pm but it was never available. We knew how to use the public bus, so we made it back, but others were stranded. Waterfall Cafe is not a full buffet and had horrible selection and service. Our dining room waiter was lethargic and not helpful to the point that we requested a different table.The wait staff was great after that. We did have a terrific room attendant. She was superb. Evening theater entertainment was very mediocre and amateurish. Room service had to be ordered through the Guest Relations desk and never came with all orders right. We were given a credit for computer time but it was still billed to our credit card. When we went to the Guest Relations to express our concerns, the girl was very very rude and unhelpful. A first for us. The ship was big on germ prevention with hand sanitizer everywhere, but the attendant in the computer room was obviously ill with at least a bad cold and should not have been there. We loved the ports and never used ship excursions and had great experieinces. We decided to use Celebrity's Barcelona 4 hour tour on the last day. It was announced in the waiting for departure area that our luggage would be on the tour bus. But when we left the ship, we were then told to find our luggage-which was scattered all over the area. We then had to get a porter to take the bags to the bus.It was very messy.When we were off of the bus, our guide did not wait for the whole group to gather before giving information, so it was an unguided tour most of the time. Then at the end of the tour we were to be dropped off at Playa Catalonya. The bus parked by a median in the street,not at the outside curb. Our bags were dumped on the narrow median and other buses were in the lane closer to the curb. It was dangerous to say the least. Then we had to get ourselves and luggage to a cab stand 1/2 block from this point to get a cab to our hotel. Despite the splendid ports, we were really eager to get off the ship and the horrible tour experience at the end justified our eagerness to leave the Celebrity ship behind. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We go on a couple of cruises a year. We've been on the Summit before and previous to this cruise we were on the Constellation. Celebrity is our favorite cruise line. However, this cruise just didn't come up to the standard we had ... Read More
We go on a couple of cruises a year. We've been on the Summit before and previous to this cruise we were on the Constellation. Celebrity is our favorite cruise line. However, this cruise just didn't come up to the standard we had experienced on previous Celebrity cruises. We chalked it up to poor hotel management. Embarkation in Venice: Since part of our luggage stayed behind in Paris and we waited 3 hours at the Venice airport to try to resolve the situation, we arrived at the port after embarkation. Nevertheless, we were checked in quickly and the personnel was very friendly. Felt good to be on the ship and starting our vacation. During the night the ship moved ports and we were delighted to find out we were within walking distance of San Marcos Square and town. Guest Relations: They were wonderful. They assured us that our luggage would eventually arrive, no matter what port we found ourselves in. One of the staff even lent my husband his wind breaker as it was quite chilly in Venice. We did get our luggage on our second day in Venice. The only time we had a problem was when we didn't receive a notice to turn in our passports. Guest Relations accused us, and many other people, that we must have received the notice as everyone else had. Turns out that two decks, 2nd and 3rd, did not receive the notice. Our Stateroom: The shower temperature was luke warm and we complained for 3 days until they finally got it to barely warm. Our toilet didn't flush - and that took 4 days to fix. We had clanging noises outside our window which occurred mostly at 1:30 and 4:30 in the morning - that took 4 days to fix. We also had a problem with getting any notices. For some reason or other many notices were never delivered, for example having to turn in our passports prior to arriving in Athens. However, after I mentioned to Guest Relations that we weren't getting any notices, for example our CC Connections Party invitation - they stayed on top of the situation and followed up by phone to make sure we were informed of Captain's Club events. Our cabin steward, Ben, was exceptional. He couldn't do enough for us and took care of everything with a big smile. He was very chagrined at our plumbing and mail problems and was very worried that we would blame him. We kept assuring him that he was outstanding and we would give him special kuddos on our comment sheet, which we did. The Staff: This was one of the best staff we have encountered. When we were on the helipad we started a conversation with Natasha who was in charge of stores and other things on the ship. When she found out it was my husband's birthday she sent him a bouquet of flowers. We had many wonderful conversations with her throughout the cruise. As has been mentioned before, the people who work on cruise ships do not have an easy or glamorous life. They get by on about 4 hours of sleep and must always appear happy and friendly. We can only guess how hard it must be for them to spend 6 - we've heard it's now 9 - months without seeing their families. People have complained about the suggested tips. Can you have breakfast, lunch, dinner, night at hotel for a total tip of $3.50 per person anywhere else? We always give extra to our housekeeping staff and our waiter and assistant. Entertainment: In our opinion the orchestra and the singers and dancers and the shows presented were the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The productions were outstanding. One production had snippets from major Broadway shows including Lion King where they copied the amazing costumes of the original show. The entertainment all around the ship in the evening was also pretty good. Excursions: We did a lot of research and made our own plans. However, there were many complaints about the X excursions. Most important being that although they warned some excursions were strainuous they still took people who were frail. As a result there were more than acceptable falls and injuries in such places as the Acropolis and Pompeii. One woman who fell at the Acropolis had to be flown home as she fractured her leg. Some of the guides hired by X were careless, abandoning some people who couldn't keep up, etc. However, the excursion desk personnel were not interested in hearing complaints. Rome: We spent two days in Rome and relied on information from Fiona at the activities desk. She gave us a list of train times indicating the last train from Rome was at 4:39. We took the train and went on the Hop on Hop Off Bus - which was a great way to see Rome. Thinking we had to get back to the train station we didn't wait in line to see the Sistine Chapel. We were very disappointed to find out when we got back on the ship that the last train was closer to midnight. When I told Fiona she did us a disservice in listing 4:39 as the last train, she rudely answered that if we wanted to do Rome on our own it was our responsibility to get the right information and we should have read the boards at the train station. We had read the boards and 4:39 was indeed listed as the last time. Oh, Fiona said, you looked at the wrong boards. We did not rely on her for any more information on any other port. Ephesus, Turkey: We spent two days at Ephesus, Turkey. That's OK if you want to take a tour. We spent some time around the port. I like to window shop but couldn't as the merchants wouldn't leave us alone. They kept on trying to get us into their store and kept on asking us what we wanted to buy. It was exhausting trying to get away from them. Someone in our group wanted to know the prices of the rugs. Answer: How much money do you have? People don't like other people to know how much they spent on a rug so tell me how much money you have. Yeah, right. We wished we could have gone to Istanbul instead and don't know the reason for the change. Athens: We went together with other people on the CC roll call and took a van to Athens. We had a nice day walking around Athens. As a matter of fact, we walked so far that we had to take the subway to get back to our meeting place. Very interesting experience. Luckily I speak Greek so I had no trouble getting around Athens. Ville Franche: We took the train to Monaco. There was a sign at the train station warning us against pickpockets. The train was packed and sure enough I felt fingers on my hand. I yelled "hey." In retrospect I wish I had stomped on his foot. A man from the cruise who joined us put his camera in his pocket. He had his hand in the pocket and felt another hand joining his. We wished we could have spent two days in Ville Franche as we missed seeing Nice and Eze. Monaco was beautiful. We went to the Grimaldi Palace and really enjoyed seeing how Princess Grace lived. Florence: There again we joined a CC group for transportation into Florence. That's the way to go. We walked all around Florence and saw all the sights. We asked natives about the best gellato and were guided to a tiny place off the beaten path where locals waited in line. It was wonderful. Food on the Summit: The food in the MDR was mediocre. The few steaks we ordered were so tough we had to send them back. The food was always luke warm, never hot. The descriptions of the food were so enticing but the food hardly ever came up to the promises. We were looking forward to lobster night and that was a major disappointment. Lobster was served with shrimp in a risotto which was a glob of over cooked rice and over salted. We turned it back and didn't bother ordering anything else. None of the desserts were particularly "Oh my gosh, that was the best." We had a great waiter and dinner service was well orchestrated and dishes were brought and removed quickly. Food in the Lido deck was OK but, as many others have mentioned, coffee is awful. Luckily they had a nice variety of teas and my coffee-drinking husband became an avid tea drinker. Activities: There were a few interesting activities. However, the ones that interested me occurred at the same time such as trivia, wine tasting, scrapbooking, computer and language classes. The movie selection was not appealing - all from a year or longer. Captain's Club Activities: These were great. It was fun being on the helipad as we were sailing away from Venice. There was a very interesting navigation bridge tour. The Officer's parties were very well attended and the variety of beverages - Mai Tais, martinis, etc. was wonderful. We also had a galley tour and elegant tea and wine tasting which was at 11:00 am. Would have preferred an early afternoon wine tasting. Disembarkation in Barcelona: To say it was a disaster was putting it kindly. Our luggage was scattered among others in the same color - but not by the number. We had purchased Celebrity transfers, which we will never do again. After we spent quite a lot of time looking for our luggage we struggled past hundreds of people only to find that we had to wait in long lines - 5 and 6 abreast - to load our luggage onto trucks. The line did not move as porters went to the front of the line and loaded luggage and then found more customers and loaded more luggage, on and on. We were really worried that we would not be at the airport in time for our flight from Barcelona to LA. When we complained to a Celebrity rep, he blandly said "sorry for your concern" and walked away. It was unbelievably stressful. Then we had to find a bus which wasn't full. The same procedure was in reverse at the airport. It was absolutely horrendous. We later discovered that we could have taken a taxi for half the price. 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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
We cruised the Mediterranean Legacies itinerary on Celebrity's Summit sailing October 17-30, 2009. With it being our first time in Europe, we were greedy for as many ports of call as possible, and we booked the ship's shore ... Read More
We cruised the Mediterranean Legacies itinerary on Celebrity's Summit sailing October 17-30, 2009. With it being our first time in Europe, we were greedy for as many ports of call as possible, and we booked the ship's shore excursions at many of the ports. By the end of the second week, we were exhausted, and WHEN we do this sailing again, will be a bit less adventurous in the ports and may stay on the ship on some of the port days. By the way, we are a couple aged 47 in pretty good physical shape, but 5 extensive port days in a row later, we needed a rest! When we landed after our red-eye from JFK, which offered very little sleep time as we were delayed on the runway for almost two hours and weren't fed until 10 pm by the flustered crew on our Delta flight which had newly installed lie-flat beds (the seating arrangement seemed to give them fits)Anyway, after only 3 hours of sleep, we arrived in the Venice airport with no transfer arrangements since we had used frequent flier points for air travel. The Celebrity people hooked us up with a local taxi, and 50 Euros later, we were at the ship well ahead of the other people on our flight. Embarkation was a breeze, and when we boarded the ship, we went to our cabin first thing and were allowed access, so we did a quick unpack, then off to explore the ship. We had hoped to explore Venice that day/night since we were over-nighting, but were too tired, so we opted to sleep for 4 hours. Smart move- we awoke refreshed and ready to meet our dinner companions, which is always an anxious part of cruising, but we were very lucky. Seated at a table for 8, we met a couple in their mid-fifties from Chicago, and honeymooners 25 and 32 from Toronto. The 4th couple never showed up at the table, and the dynamics between the rest of us were great. We made fast friends, closing down the restaurant most nights (8:45 pm seating). The food was really good on some nights, not so great on others, but I would say overall very enjoyable. Our Sommelier Sheldon was terrific, and our head waiter Hernan and assistant Ishmael were the best we've ever had. Our cabin was nice and roomy compared to most we have had, with a balcony large enough to accommodate a large table, 2 upright chairs and a small table - we enjoyed breakfast most mornings on our balcony - in late October! The best thing I packed for the trip was a cheap hanging shoe bag which I cut to fit the bathroom door and held all of our necessary toiletries nicely. Our friends had one of the cc cabins at the back of the ship with a HUGE balcony, which I will definitely try for the next time I book ( I think it was #7203)- seriously, the balcony was as big as the room! The ship constantly had tastings and workshops and lectures and other activities - plenty to do on board. The shows were pretty good, and there is a disco for the young and young at heart - although we enjoyed Katie Guglielmo in Michael's Club as much as anything. We loved the wine tastings, and especially loved the Riedel Workshop. 2 weeks of constantly going in ports goes by way too quickly, and we hated for the cruise to end. I packed way too much clothing going for the layered thing I thought we would need in October's climate. We had their version of Indian Summer most of the trip, and a few more short sleeve shirts would have been nice! My advice: stick to one basic color, pack for one week and just launder the repeats. Travel packets of laundry detergent will do most of the job, and the ship's laundry service can do the rest... We ended up in Barcelona, and took the Shore Excursion transfer tour which was a great way to hit the Highlights of Barcelona, and they dropped us off at our hotel Casa Fuster which was very nice. We didn't think to bring a European adaptor for our phones/curling iron, but the front desk happily supplied us with one. I need to address 3 ports here as I only have options for six ports below. Venice: Rating: 5+ - We just walked off the ship and rambled around for the day, doing some shopping and sightseeing and cafe stopping. Had a blast! Very beautiful city and one of our faves - 1.50 euros for very nasty public toilets the only downside. Just go to a cafe and sit and enjoy a cappuccino to take advantage of their bathrooms - it is what we did in every port thereafter and had fun people watching. Barcelona: Rating: 4 - They have a hop-on hop-off bus which hits all the major sights and is a very good value. Gaudi architecture is really something to see. Las Ramblas is hopping and vibrant, but we really enjoyed having dinner in the Gothic quarter (and getting lost trying to get to the restaurant). Alfresco tapas at a little place called "Taller de Tapas" was excellent - especially the shaved artichokes and sauteed mushrooms polished off with a very good wine - Yummy! Athens: Rating: 1 - A very large and modern city- not really to our taste. Graffiti and zooming traffic everywhere. We took the ship's tour which took us to The Acropolis exterior, then on to the Plaka for shopping. Was glad to get to see the Acropolis and Plaka, but after a while all the shops seem the same. We found a little restaurant off the beaten path, ordered Gyros (slightly different from what we know here in the states) and good wine. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Apologies for what promises to be a very long review!  First up I will say that on the whole we had a great holiday - but it could have been much, much better.  Probably best to start with what we did like, before starting on the ... Read More
Apologies for what promises to be a very long review!  First up I will say that on the whole we had a great holiday - but it could have been much, much better.  Probably best to start with what we did like, before starting on the negatives!The staff were mostly fantastic, and the service was usually first class (however the promise of being called by name never actually happened - our cabin steward got our name totally wrong and we hadn't the heart to keep correcting him on the rare occasion that he used it!).Public areas were well laid out and spacious - we particularly liked the Martini/Champagne Bars and the Cova Cafe, which were probably about the best maintained areas on the ship.  The pool/sun decks were also well laid out, getting away from the straight rows of sunbeds seen on other ships; however it would have been good to be able to get a "soft" bed somewhere away from the pool; unfortunately the majority of the beds didn't have cushions and these were the ones to be taken first. That said, even on a sea day we didn't have a problem getting a bed in the sun (in spite of some blatant chair hogging going on).  Bar staff around the pool weren't as "pushy" as we had experienced on some lines, and of course we could help ourselves to drinks and ice from dispensers whenever we wanted.Food in the Aqua Spa was usually very good - we particularly liked it for lunchtime, where we felt very righteous eating something "healthy" in contrast to the other food on offer at that time (although I have to admit that the nachos at the Poolside Grill were very tempting!).  The only downside about the Aqua Spa was the general appearance of the whole area - definitely in need of upgrading.Ports of call were very good, and we visited some places we had never been to; we could have done without at least one of the Italian mainland ports, but did appreciate that these destinations were the highlight for most of the American passengers (we are UK based).Entertainment was on the whole good - especially the production shows in the theatre which were excellent; unfortunately the pool-side band was pretty awful (great on instrumentals, but they really shouldn't have tried to sing!!).  The string quartet, barber-shop quartet and guitarist were all excellent (although again the guitarist should have stuck to what he did best!).Now to the negatives: first impressions weren't great.  We were late arrivals and were left standing on the dock-side in Venice for about 20 minutes until someone eventually "processed" us; fortunately it was a pleasant, dry evening!  We were then left to haul our luggage up the gangway by ourselves (although there were plenty of staff around who could have offered to help).  We were given no assistance in finding our stateroom - simply pointed towards the lifts.  We were very disappointed with our accommodation; threadbare and stained carpet, holes in the curtain linings which let light shine through, very worn and aged soft furnishings.  We had one of the "sweet 16" rooms, and the balcony was a great size - but a total waste of time, since the only furniture we were provided with was 3 "odd" chairs (one obviously from the Aqua Spa Cafe complete with stained cushion) and a small wobbly table which we had to steady with a piece of paper in order to use it!  Such a waste of space - we would have loved to be able to spend more time out there, but it wasn't even practical to eat breakfast or lunch out there without hauling our indoors coffee table out (which was very heavy to move).As the holiday progressed we realised that we had a very bad smell and a wet carpet in our room, coming from the numerous cracked tiles in the shower.  To cut a long story short, we eventually had some of the carpet replaced and part of the shower retiled and grouted (of course this entailed us having to vacate our room for a whole day).  We were offered another room (after the repairs had been done), but since this was only 4 days before the end of our holiday we declined (we really didn't want to have to spend time packing, unpacking and then packing again!).  What really disappointed us (in addition to the appaling condition of the accommodation in general) was that Celebrity made no other kind of "gesture" to us whatsoever.  If we had returned to our room that night to even a plate of canapes or a bottle of wine, we would have been appeased to some extent, but we received not so much as a note.We felt generally that internally the ship was not in great shape, and is in need of a major over-haul in order to bring it up to standard.We were on 2nd sitting dinner in the Dining Room, and although we had requested to be at a table of 8 (we like to meet up with other travellers!), we were put at a table by ourselves; this really wasn't a problem, and although we didn't meet up with people, it also meant we weren't disrupting the table if we chose not to eat there.  We chose not to eat there quite a lot!  The food was without doubt some of the worst we have had on a cruise; the presentation was good, but the food was bland, bland, bland!  The beef in particular was completely tasteless and the desserts weren't much better; we would have liked to have seen some cheese on offer on occasion, but it never was.  The coffee was on some occasions undrinkable.  Our waiter was the "invisible man" and very inattentive (of course until the last few days!), although his assistant was much more friendly and chatted with us regularly.  We ate in the Normandy, which was slightly better (although I'm not convinced it justified the extra $$) and in the "casual dining" in the Waterfall, which was also better that the MDR (and with lovely sea views). The Waterfall buffet was actually very good in the early evening, when you could have sushi, freshly cooked noodles, pasta, salads etc.  However eating in a self-service cafeteria was not what we had intended to be doing on this holiday!Our general feeling (apart from our disappointment on the condition of the ship) was that Celebrity were trying to get extra $$ from you at every turn - from the ridiculously over-charged shuttle buses ($12 a head in Livorno for a 10 minute trip, $20 for the shuttle boat in Venice), to the various things available to entertain you onboard, which invariably carried an extra charge!  One of the biggest wastes of money we felt was the soda card - considering that drinks are available all round the ship all day, and the card can be used for nothing else but concentrated soda, our son certainly didn't get full value from this.  Our experience on other lines has been that soda cards can also be used for fruit juices and for "virgin" cocktails of the day - not so on Celebrity.  They even charged him for a "Shirley Temple" - which is basically just soda from the tap, but with a splash of grenadine added!  I think in summary we would describe our experience of the Celebrity Summit as "disappointing", and probably not one that we will choose to repeat. 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Sail Date July 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
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 took Celebrity on what was to be our first Mediterranean adventure last fall. While the ship was basically nice, there were many problems that made the experience unpleasant and disappointing: "sewer" smells in the halllway, ... Read More
We took Celebrity on what was to be our first Mediterranean adventure last fall. While the ship was basically nice, there were many problems that made the experience unpleasant and disappointing: "sewer" smells in the halllway, back ups in the shower, less-than-clean balcony furniture, wilted flowers, and definitely second-class cuisine. The personal service that we had enjoyed on two earlier Celebrity cruises was lacking in the dining room, and the constant hard sell of shore excursionsoften accompanied by warnings about personal safety if you put foot on shore without a Celebrity guidewere annoying and insulting. Added to this, lunches in the dining room were not served while in port (nearly every day), and the Summit ran out of everything from coffee cream to strawberries before the end of the cruise. Breakfast in the cafeteria was presented with boring repetition, almost exactly the same day after day. The quality of the entertainment varied, and there was nothing to do and little choice of food after 11 p.m. Celebrity has had problems with the propulsion system on this ship for years, and they have failed to solve them. They were engaged in a lawsuit, as I understand it, with the manufacturer, but they continue to use the propulsion system although it has repeatedly failed. Owing to this, we had to skip our port in Croatia. Also, we were scheduled to dock at Livorno/Florence, but the captain choose, because of the weather, to anchor at La Spezia. This forced us to use the leaking and ill-functioning ship's tenders into port. When we returned to La Spezia (after a 3-hour train ride in each direction to visit Florence), we were ordered to queue on the quay in a gale (winds of 50 mph) and cold thunderstorm, with water washing over our feet and tree boughs falling from above. There were no facilites, no bathrooms, and no shelter. Celebrity was unable to return us to the Summit, but their personnel warned us not to leave the quay. If we were not there when they were ready to board the tenders, we would be left behind. Following this experience, I had a cold that developed into a sinus infection requiring several courses of antibiotics, steroids, and finally, surgery. Celebrity did not offer as much as an apology, no less any other compensation.I consider Celebrity to be not just disappointing, but negligent. I will never, never travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
SUMMIT REVIEW I hope that this review is helpful and not overly detailed or boring! My DH and I have neither cruised before and selected this particular cruise for the destinations; cruising has made visiting Europe much more ... Read More
SUMMIT REVIEW I hope that this review is helpful and not overly detailed or boring! My DH and I have neither cruised before and selected this particular cruise for the destinations; cruising has made visiting Europe much more affordable than land-based tours. Our overall impressions: Ship-beautiful and still in good shape for its age. Cabin and private balcony were great, wish we had a bathtub! Cabin attendants were fantastic; we were in Concierge Class with our private balcony and really enjoyed it. Each day in port we had breakfast delivered in our cabin and this was the highlight of our food experiences onboard. Spring for the balcony, I cannot even imagine having gone without it. We spent much time there enjoying the sights in private. Food-in the main dining room, presentation was stressed over taste. Some dishes were good but others just not hitting it. However, for the price we paid for the cruise and the amount of food served at dinner, it was fine. The early seating is too early; the late seating is too late: however, other food served during dinner dining hours is slim and hard to come by. Celebrity needs more dining choices for these port-intensive cruises where the hours are not ideal. The Normandie was perhaps worth the $30/pp, experience was fun but the food itself, although presented beautifully, was not tasty enough for 5 stars. I would say go there, my husband would not. ***NOTE: Some other cruisers on this particular sailing gave negative reviews but mentioned the coffee was good. Please note the coffee was horrible, thus those giving negative reviews but thought the coffee was drinkable are not trustworthy. That just makes me laugh! We relished each good cup of java in port as we could barely stomach the stuff served onboard. Entertainment- My DH and I only attended one evening's entertainment, a Broadway revue. It was surprisingly wonderful, especially considering it was onboard a ship. I think Celebrity gets an A+ on the shows, although we only went to this one. With a very port-intensive cruise and late dining, the shows just don't get priority. Ports-Barcelona on Oct31-Nov1 was rainy and cool. We just tried to sleep off Jetlag then spent the morning of Nov1 (sailing day) taking the subway to La Sagrada Familia (easy to get there, worth the visit) then wandering down by the port at the end of Las Ramblas. The taxi driver we hailed at the hotel (Tryp Apolo, very nice!), did try to scam us for 50 euros to get to the ship. I was very glad to have read up and been warned about this beforehand, he finally accepted 15 euros after negotiating with the bellhop but he wasn't happy about it. Overall, I wasn't really taken with Barcelona and will not likely go out of my way to go back there any time soon. Nice -Nov2 was rainy/stormy in the morning. Our tenders really had a difficult time getting us over to Villefranche but the staff was wonderful and very helpful. We used Sylvie diCristo as our private guide in a group of 8. Sylvie was so friendly and easy-going; she tailored our sight-seeing to our wants and made adjustments according to the weather. Our lunch in a restaurant in Eze Village was unbelievable, even though the crepe place she wanted to use was closed. A rockslide along the middle corniche road caused us to have to turn around and use an alternate route but Sylvie's familiarity with the area worked out, we were not late back to the ship and had a great day along the French Riviera. Tuscany- La Spezia was rainy. As you have probably already read, the ship's captain changed our port at the last minute from Livorno to La Spezia and there are many rumors as to why. Rome in Limo was great, although we weren't able to call them from the ship, several members in our private group e-mailed them and without any note of reply, our guide was at the NEW port the next morning. Unfortunately, this port is some distance from Florence and that coupled with the rain decreased our time spent in that enchanting city significantly. However, the guide was very knowledgeable (although I knew some things about Florence that he did not-I'm a history buff) and his connections with a trattoria owner allowed us to sit down and enjoy an authentic Tuscan meal in Santa Croce Square. Timing our entrance at the Accademia just right allowed us to get in to see David without any line. Unfortunately, we did not have time to tour the Duomo or Ponte Vecchio but were provided with a driving tour and explanation of most of the city (this is mostly due to the weather and change in ports). Pisa was mainly a wash-out. Rome-weather was glorious and our Rome in Limo driver, Antonelo, was waiting on us as we disembarked. We set aside the entire first day in Rome for a complete Rome tour & overview. Antonelo delivered what is undeniably the most comprehensive one-day Rome tour that could be imagined. We elected to take the train back to the ship, giving us more "tour time" with Antonelo in the city. Day 2 we reserved a small group to tour Vatican City with Angel Tours, our Irish guide was a graduate art student, and was entertaining and thorough. Although I realize there is so much to see and do in Rome, our 2 days there left me feeling as if I had an idea what this city is about and I did not leave feeling as if I had missed out on much, like we did in Florence. ALWAYS chose a cruise with an overnight in Rome, if possible. Naples/Amalfi Coast- again had a private tour with a group of 8 and we used Drive Amalfi. Salvatore picked us up at the ship very early and skirted the city of Naples, explaining the high rate of crime and other social issues, making it not a desirable location to visit. Our first stop was at Pompeii, Salvatore had arranged an archaeological guide there for 2 hours and Vinny was very entertaining and informative. We continued our tour of the Amalfi coast, stopping many times along the coast to enjoy the view and take pictures. Highlights included an inlaid wood factory in Sorrento (I just happened to see it and asked to stop, which Salvatore obliged) and a fruit stand in Positano. The weather was iffy throughout the day with broken clouds and threats of rain but mid-afternoon it began to break up and we had glorious views during our late lunch in Pontone. Salvatore had taken us to a family-owned restaurant there and we were the only patrons this time of year. The food, wine and limoncello were exquisite! Last stop in Ravello with some time for exploration and shopping in the piazzas then a short drive back through the mountains to Naples and on to the ship. Athens-we chose to "do it on our own" with a few other couples from CruiseCritic.com here in Athens. A significant walk to the train station, which was fairly easy but lengthy, and then off near the Acropolis. The maps and explanations provided by previous cruisers and the ship's "daily" are not very good, our group got lost climbing the Acropolis, which forced us to go down again then make the ascent a second time and then wander aimlessly trying to find the Plaka, which should have been easy. As we were there on Sunday, getting into the Acropolis was free and breath-taking! The weather was sunny and cool, but not cold, making for perfect weather to visit this site. Shopping in the Plaka was a let-down after all the build-up but we really enjoyed a nice lunch of gyros and baklava. My advice: join a private or ship's tour for Athens, I really didn't get to see/experience as much of this city as others by trying to do it "on my own." Sure-cheaper, but not as good! Istanbul- our entrance into the port area was magical, rain clouds clearing and sun peaking through adding shots of yellow around the scene. Our second rainbow of the trip appeared here, photographs were awesome! Once docked, an authentic Turkish band in full costume began playing to welcome us to the city! For the first afternoon, we took the ship's tour bus to the Grand Bazaar with a small group of friends. Trying to rush to Topkapi Palace that afternoon did not seem worth it, so we missed this landmark as it was closed the next day. However, haggling at the Grand Bazaar was so much fun and I went home with some really great memories. That evening, my husband and I joined a college friend of mine that is from Istanbul at the Istanbul Modern Museum's restaurant for dinner. If you have a chance to explore this museum or enjoy their fine dining, please do! The restaurant has a great balcony overlooking the Bosphorus where views of both Sultanhamet/Europe and Asia can be seen. Day 2- I had arranged a private tour for a group from Cruise Critic with a guide recommended directly to me by my aforementioned friend. Selin was very knowledgeable and eager to show us her city. We started with a tram ride to the ferry station and short ride across the Bosphorus to the Asian side of Istanbul, as none of us had been to Asia previously. There isn't really anything to do over there, but watch commuters hurry to and fro but it was fun to take quick pictures then ferry back over to the European side. We took the very new and fun tram up to Taksim Square (Istanbul's version of Times Square) then walked down the pedestrian street, Ikstiklal for a few miles. This was a great way to watch a great mix of residents of Istanbul as well as tourists and visit many shops along the way. We ended up in the Galata neighborhood and visited Galata Tower (14th century), where the view over all of Istanbul from the top was worth the entire trip!!! We continued with a delicious lunch at a local's favorite meatball shop in the old neighborhood, Sultanhamet, then on to tour Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia). We arrived at the Blue Mosque just in time for call to prayer, so a glimpse inside but we chose not to wait the hour until visitors would be let in again for tours. We spent some time nearby in the Hippodrome then decided to head back to the ship. Istanbul is really very beautiful and interesting, a surprise for us all. Mykonos-I hadn't been overly excited about this destination, it was just on the itinerary, and I wasn't disappointed. This is my first Greek island but it was very brown, arid and lunar-esque. The small town itself was quaint and easy to wander around; we just hopped the ship's shuttle bus for the short drive. A lot of the shops had closed for the season by the time we arrived, but it was nice that there weren't too many tourists. We walked to the windmills then along the waterfront, finally stopping at the Music Cafe for lunch. Greek coffee may be strong, but it's fantastic! We did see Petros the Pelican nearby and got his photo. A lot of the buildings are beautiful and make great photos; the gardens and plant-life are surprisingly bright and colorful as well. I still wish we had gone to Santorini instead; Mykonos just isn't all that interesting or exciting as far as I'm concerned. But it did make for a nice, relaxing break after all of our whirlwind touring. Split, Croatia-didn't happen, as I'm sure you've read or heard. We lost an engine and missed this country entirely. I did get some nice shots of the Dalmatian Coast as we sailed by, and Celebrity provided a cabin credit for the missed port, but I'm still disappointed. However, I would have preferred to visit Dubrovnik over Split if given the chance. Venice-due to our extra day at sea and missing the Croatian port, we did not arrive at Venice when scheduled, but a few hours early. Unfortunately, this meant missing that famous "sailing into Venice" experience so many people talk about and I hate that it didn't happen ( well it did, but about 4 am). Disembarkation was smooth and we easily got to our hotel. We chose to stay at the Marriott Courtyard near the airport so that it would be easier to catch our flight at 6:20am the next day. Check-in took well over an hour as the staff there did not seem prepared for both check-ins and check-outs at the same time. If possible, store your luggage at the port, do your sight-seeing in Venice then check-in to the hotel in the evening. We signed up for the free airport transfer for the following morning and I showed up 10-15 minutes prior to scheduled time, but was so far back in line that by the time we got to the airport we almost weren't allowed to check-in and board...the people behind us were denied boarding! So, perhaps schedule your own airport transfer or be in the lobby 45-60 min before the scheduled pickup. The bus DOES pick up right outside the hotel and takes you straight to Piazza Roma, where crossing over into Venice proper is then very convenient and easy. No reason to pay for a taxi or other transportation from this hotel into Venice. Now about Venice itself, we formed a group of friends from Cruise Critic and chose to "do it on our own" again, here. Thankfully, we had two people with us that had been to Venice before and another person that was somewhat decent at reading the crazy Venetian maps. We certainly know there is too much to see in one day, but we did our best! I really enjoyed just walking in and out of shops, visiting with the locals and findings great photo-ops. We enjoyed the Ponte Rialto (Rialto Bridge), Grand Canal, St Mark's Basilica & Square, the Campanile, Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs, and an evening Gondola ride. St Mark's Square had been flooded early that morning, but the water was gone by the time we made our way there and it was sunny & gorgeous. The view from the top of the Campanile is a MUST and is very inexpensive. At this time of year, the lines to get into the Basilica were short and it was worth it. Unfortunately, the Bridge of Sighs was mostly under scaffolding for renovation so it wasn't very visible and we didn't have time to tour the Doge's Palace. Our evening meal was spent in a trattoria near Piazza Roma, we did have to pay a cover charge on the meal but it was very good and we all enjoyed it. The night shots of Venice I took are really fantastic. Cruise Critic- What can I say? I have never been on a cruise before until this one, and the information gathered from Cruise Critic was irreplaceable and worth its weight in gold. I had so much fun getting to know people and sharing private tours. I even took the initiative to design a website for our Cruise Critic group that was quite popular (http://www.freewebs.com/summitnov1/) and is still helping other cruisers on similar itineraries. Overall, our private tours/excursions cost less than the cruise line's excursions because the groups were 6-8. The CC party was held our first sea day (the first day) in the morning, and was attended by the most CC members they had had all season, so said the activities director, Rich. We had a good time but there were two problems: 1) Too early, about 9:30 am, so that some people that were jet-lagged or tired simply didn't get up in time to attend and 2) Coincided with the shopping discussion about the first ports and many wanted to go to that. Later in the day, there were fewer activities and more people would have attended that had intended to go. I would like to say that Celebrity was fantastic all-around and that this trip wouldn't have been as amazing as it was without Cruise Critic and all the friends I made here and all the helpful hints and information gathered-Grazie! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
BACKGROUND: My husband and I are in our mid to late 20s, and this is our 6th cruise, the second (kinda) with Celebrity. We tried this same cruise in June 2007 on the Millennium, when we had a disastrous incident with the known bad-actor ... Read More
BACKGROUND: My husband and I are in our mid to late 20s, and this is our 6th cruise, the second (kinda) with Celebrity. We tried this same cruise in June 2007 on the Millennium, when we had a disastrous incident with the known bad-actor pod propulsion system. The cruise was cancelled early, and we were given vouchers for the full value of the cruise. This Nov 2008 trip is the "do-over". Our vouchers from high season bought us a Concierge Class room on midship deck 8. We picked this cruise for the itinerary, not the cruise line. We departed out of the midwest over 2 hrs late because Philadelphia International routinely overbooks their flights. They would not allow us to take off as scheduled because there were no gates available. We missed our connection to Frankfurt, and luckily caught a flight to Munich instead (there goes the luggage). From there we flew directly to Venice, after a 7-hr layover. We told the airline about our (obviously) lost luggage, and they assured us it would arrive to us before we left Venice. We checked into the Carlton and Grand Canal hotel at about 6 pm, walked down the canal to this great pizzeria and got a Prosciutto and mushroom pizza for 10E. The hotel also told us they would keep an eye out for our luggage. They were very patient with my Italian and even switched to English when I got stuck. Something to be aware of in Venice; if you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs. You are never too far away from a church, and they ring their bells every hour. We checked into the ship the next day. Our luggage had not been delivered, and the airline (Lufthansa) said they would deliver it straight to the ship. We grabbed the free shuttle from Piazzale Roma to the ship, and there were a lot of people there to show us where to go. We checked into through the Captain's Club line with no waiting. They confirmed for me that we had been upgraded! (more on the stateroom at the end). Then we went and talked to Sebastian at Guest Relations (awesome) and told him about our luggage. I had seen a tip on CC to take a picture of your luggage in case you lose it, and then you don't have to try and explain what they look like. I gave him the picture and he said it would help his team a lot! After we got comfy in our room, we bought water taxi vouchers through the ship ($20 each) and headed out to the city. We figured that we were so jet lagged we didn't want to worry about someone charging us too much or having to walk back to the ship. They dropped us off just to the North of St Marks Square. We wandered around the Hotel Daniele, St Marks, and then had the best time getting lost in the city. We ended up by the Rialto Bridge and we found the most beautiful masks and bought them right there. Weather was a little chilly, but clear and sunny. We wandered back to the ship for open dinner seating and sat with a wonderful WWII vet and his wife. When we got back to the room, our luggage was there! YAY! VENICE EXCURSION: St Marks, the Doge's Palace and Glass Blowing. A boat picked us up at the pier and dropped us off at the same place as the day prior. Our guide gave us Whisper systems, and she spoke very good English. She took us inside the Doge's Palace, which was surprisingly beautiful and intriguing. The largest room in Europe was the grandest thing I have ever seen- almost better than Versailles. I would've liked to stay in the palace longer. The tour then took us to either a glass-blowing shop or we could peel off and do what we liked. We wanted to see inside the Cathedral, so we went inside. There was Mass going on, so no pictures and we had to be silent. I actually think the outside is prettier than the inside... it's all early Byzantine decorations inside. But the sound of the choir in that church was heavenly. Upstairs we paid 4E each and walked around a museum they have on the top floor. Gives a great view of all of St Marks Square. Great pictures; we saw where Indiana Jones comes up out of the sewers in the Last Crusade! Then we met up with the tour group and headed back to the ship for the sail away. Everyone is right. Sailing out of Venice is fantastic!! Even the Italians paused to see us sail out. And you are higher than everything... the rule was nothing was allowed to be built higher than St Marks Campanile, so we could see ALL of Venice. We sat on our balcony and had cookies and cappuccino that our butler brought us. We will definitely go back. DUBROVNIK: Croatia is beautiful. Never would have expected it. We had breakfast in our suite and then went to our coach. We went to a restaurant/winery in the Konvale Valley (which looked a lot like California) and had wonderful bite-sized snacks and wine. We wanted to stay there all day. Then our coach took us to the Dubrovnik city center. It was very small, clean, and VERY expensive. It really turned us off from the city. My husband wanted a tie, but they were charging 100E!! It soured the day after that. SEA DAY: Very smooth on the way to Athens. Checked out the spa and lost at bingo. ATHENS: Rain, rain, rain. We had brought the umbrellas that were in our stateroom, thank goodness! We met our coach and our guide took us up a very slippery walkway to the top of the Acropolis. She started to give us a very detailed history lesson through our whispers, but hubby and I got bored and wandered off on our own taking pictures. Like Venice, they had a similar building rule in Athens that nothing could be built higher than the Acropolis, so we could see everything. They are working on restoration, and the buildings look wonderful. Stayed up at the top for 30 min, then she took us to a little shop, then back to the coach for a tour around the city center, parliament and the original Olympic stadium. Then we drove 30 min down the coast to the Aegon Hotel for lunch. They fed us a LOT of good food. Cape Sounion was very nice, but windy. I like the story around the ruins, and they are in great shape for being very old. Then a nice drive back to our ship. In hindsight, we would have preferred to stay and check out more of Athens. KUSADASI, DAY 1: Stayed on the ship. Got massages. Checked out a few free movies from Guest Relations to watch in our DVD player in our stateroom. KUSADASI Day 2: No excursion. We just wandered into town. There was a high-volume of sales people, but they weren't too pushy. Not impressed though, and won't be going back. The Queen Victoria docked next to us—that was neat. At this point the Cruise Director came on the loud speaker and said that they were anticipating rough sailing into Naples and we would be wise to take precautions to avoid seasickness. Uh oh. SEA DAY #2- WOW. It started at around 2am and went all day long. We ended up with 15-17ft seas and wind gusts up to 60 knots. Hubby was queasy- I was ok. It was formal night, but I couldn't wear my nice shoes, so I was in a long gown and flip flops! The Captain slowed down to put out the stabilizers so we only felt the rocking in one direction, but it did delay us even further from getting into Naples. So, they decided to cancel the second day in Rome to make sure we got to see Naples. We ended up spending a day and ½ at sea, getting into Naples at 2pm on the 23d. We wandered to the castle off the shore, and to the Theater and big Piazze el Vicctorio Emanuel. Not impressed. Naples is dirty and it was very cold. NAPLES: Got up early for our hydrofoil ride out to Capri. It was raining; the storm we went through on the way up was following us. We took the crazy mini-buses up to Anacapri and we toured the home of Dr. Axel Munthe and his Villa San Michele, which I HIGHLY recommend. It was so beautiful. I also got my Carthusia perfume and a beautiful Chantecler bell. Then we had lunch at La Pigna. If I ever go back to Capri, I will eat here... fabulous food!! Then we went to the Garden of Augustus and wandered around the main square before taking the funicular back down the mountain to catch our hydrofoil back. The waves were bumpy by then... it got pretty sporty by the end. Back on the ship, we heard that the Naples harbormaster had closed the port due to high winds. We were supposed to sail at 7pm; we ended up staying in port until 12 midnight. ROME: Got into Rome about 2 hours late and it was cloudy and rainy again. We planned to spend the whole day in the Vatican. We took our coach into Rome and were dropped off in the Vatican's parking structure. There was no line to get into the Vatican Museum at about 12:30, and we walked right in. Tickets were about 12E each. There were times when my husband and I were the only ones in a particular wing of the museum. It was very special. We spent approximately 4 hours in the museum, and then walked through the Sistine Chapel. Always a thrill, I just wish we could take pictures. Then we took the walkway to St Peters' Basilica. It was so empty, we were really able to savor and enjoy the church. I would love to visit again. From there, we walked down the street for some tiramisu and cappuccinos. Because we got into port late, it had delayed most people's shore excursions significantly, so the ship had an open seating casual dinner. I, for one, really appreciated not having to shower and change to be allowed to eat in the main dining room. We were so exhausted. FLORENCE: By now, the temperature had really dropped. It never got above 45 degrees and we had a 30mph "breeze" most of the day. Very uncomfortable. Nice guide out of Livorno. We stopped at a leather factory- very disappointing. I would prefer they not make this stop. They dropped us off in Florence at Santa Croce Square. We walked to the Uffizi Gallery in 10 minutes and there was no line to get in. Tickets were 10E each. The set-up is interesting they funnel you upstairs to the main gallery and then downstairs. It is all renaissance art from the 14-16th Centuries. I saw firsthand the Caravaggio, Branzione and Botticelli masterworks I saw in school books. The Botticelli's were especially wonderful. You could tell which paintings were his because they were just better than the one next to it. I went through the small gallery in about 2 hours- my husband was VERY bored. No pictures were allowed... what's the deal Florence? Then we walked out to the Ponte Vecchio and I looked at very expensive jewelry. We walked to the Pitti Palace, but did not go in. Then we walked to the Baptistery at the Santa Fiore Church (Duomo). We had lunch at a place called the Black Bar, just to the North of the Baptistery. Hot food, free bathroom and a respite from the wind, plus we only spent 17E on lunch for both of us. Walked through the church and saw how big and beautiful it is. Really, the inside is as pretty as the famous outside. We didn't go upstairs. Then we walked back to Santa Croce Square and the Gold Corner with some cappuccinos. After a quick birds-eye view of Florence from Piazza Michelangelo, we headed back to Livorno. VILLEFRANCHE: We were very tired. At this point we were tired of traveling. ? We took a tender to the shore, then a bus to the center of Nice. It was very pretty and we saw a guy walking a cat on the beach... no lie. Wandered around for an hour or two, and then got back on the bus to go up to Monaco via the Middle Corniche. They dropped us in the Rock parking structure and we walked to the one thing we wanted to see—the Oceanographic Museum. Tickets were about 8E each. It was small, but wonderful. The full-scale model of the humpback whale and the bones of the sperm whale in the confines of one floor were awesome in addition to the live fish. We also saw a lobster as big as a German shepherd! And the building itself is a treasure. You can see all of Monaco from the top! Then we walked through the Exotic Garden to the actual palace grounds and had lunch at a lovely little cafe. Our last stop was to walk through the Cathedral where all the past royalty of Monaco are buried. Very beautiful little chapel. Then the bus took us back to the ship. SEA DAY #3: We just couldn't get a break. We had 12-14 foot seas and 45 knot winds. The Captain altered course to try and avoid the weather, but we didn't see clear skies until around 3pm. It really got to me by this time, because I was showing the first signs of a cold as well. We took it easy and tried to get all our packing done and settle our onboard account. Last formal night—we took pictures with our table mates... best table we've ever had! BARCELONA/DISEMBARKATION: Arrived in Barcelona on time, in the rain. We had the option to wait for our number to be called in the Suite guest lounge or the regular lounge, and we opted for the regular one. We barely sat down and we were called. It was about 0830. We disembarked and said farewell to the ship. The Barcelona Pier has an airport-like conveyer belt system in their terminal. Wonderful! All you had to do it wait for your bag to float past and pick it up. No searching or hunting. We got in the taxi line and they took us to our hotel, Gran Havana, for about 25E. We got there and found out our room was ready (meaning the hotel was nowhere near capacity). We checked in, took a break and then headed out to the city. We wanted to see the Sagrada de Familia once more and it did not disappoint (entrance was about 8E each). It was so wonderful-even in the rain. We spent about 2 hours in the church and the museum, and then walked back to the hotel, which is a short 15 min walk from the church. We took a break, using the provided hot pot and tea they had provided. By now I had a cold 100% and was glad for the break from the weather. Then we walked to Las Ramblas and followed it all the way to La Boqueria. THAT is an experience! La Boqueria is a giant open-air market. The crab and lobster were still alive on the ice! It was a very fragrant but wonderful experience. We had originally planned to go to the Barcelona Aquarium, but we were so tired, we headed back to the Hotel. At the top of Las Ramblas is a big square, and at the south end of the square is the Hard Rock Cafe, Barcelona. We went there and had a hearty dinner. From there we crashed at the hotel- ready for the journey home the next morning at 5 am. FLIGHTS: Flights home were uneventful, except that airports in Spain are not allowed to sell medicine, so I had to fly overseas with a sinus infection, which turned out to be pretty painful. Medicate before you fly! No luggage lost. Thank you US Air! SHIP: Condition of the ship was nice, clean and tidy. There was only one instance of an elevator not working and it was for less than a day. It was usually too cold in every compartment of the ship. I had to buy a sweatshirt to say warm. STATEROOM: We had been moved across the hall on deck 8 to a Sky Suite! So exciting for a 14-day cruise. Then we checked out our suite... wow . I've rarely been in a suite on land, so this was fabulous. I had room to do yoga in the morning, a very large closet and an actual bathtub and a wonderful showerhead. We also had toiletries and lots of pillows. Our butler was fantastic and even fixed my hubby's sunglasses when they broke. We opted for the cheese and crackers instead of canapEs (they were nasty). The cabin steward was ok. Always said hi to my hubby, never to me, and he always moved my things. We did notice mold in our bathroom, which makes me wonder why I didn't get sick sooner. We also had the bedside phone that did not work, and one of our closet doors opened on its own, spilling light on us at 2 am. Minor irritations if we were at home, but we paid a lot of money for this room- everything should work. That, and I turned the thermostat ALL the way up, and it was still never warm enough for us. SPA: Tried many different things with mixed results. The regular Swedish and hot stone massages were wonderful with a mild sales pitch at the end. I had a skin consultation with a very nice lady named Jamie. My husband used the Persian Garden as a place to relax, but said it was nothing special. I got my hair done for one formal night and was not pleased. She didn't listen to me when I told her my hair would not curl with hot rollers, but did it anyway. Plus, she was helping another client while I was under the drier watching time tick away until I had 15 minutes to change and get ready for dinner! And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I hit the breezy outside, no curl. I wasted my $40. The gym was good, but usually packed when we all got back from our excursions. Plus, there is nowhere to do pushups/sit ups except a hardwood floor in front of everyone. I also got a Coconut milk bath treatment... don't do it! The "light" exfoliation tore at my skin and I felt like I had a sunburn for the next week. It was very painful. Because I got the treatment the day before disembarkation, I never gave them the feedback... so I'm telling you! I spent a fair amount of time in the spa... stick with the gym and massages. FOOD: The food in the main dining room was generally ok. Our waiter was wonderful about telling us what was "good" or "bad" on the menu. Chilled soups and most meat dishes were spot on. Generally happy with the quality of the food, but it wasn't worth the silverware they used on us nightly! The assistant Maitre D and our main server Vedran were fabulous. Everybody else was ok. We ate at the specialty restaurant, the Olympic, once and it was TOP NOTCH. Well worth the cover charge. Wish I had skipped the cheese course, because it gave me crazy dreams! I loved the restaurant and wished we had gotten to eat there a second time. Pizza was always nice, and the Waterfall cafe was consistent. Nothing special, but consistently good food. I liked the popcorn in the movie theater. OVERALL: I enjoyed the itinerary. I enjoyed the company of now-friends. But I do not think we will sail with Celebrity again. There is another company that we sail with that has given us a truly wonderful and unique experience and Celebrity couldn't match that experience. Florence, Monaco and Venice did, but not Celebrity. To be fair, this cruise was well handled, with lots of communication from the staff and crew and working hard to make us happy. But we felt very out of place demographically. We are a little young for Celebrity's target audience. That, coupled with the very bad experience from last years' cruise, we were just glad to have it concluded successfully. We shouldn't be ready to leave the ship... we should be crying to want to stay...but Celebrity is a brand, and it did not draw us in emotionally. For that major reason, we bid adieu to Celebrity and the Summit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Our first Celebrity cruise was in early November 2007 on the Century. Until then RCCL (5 times) was our favorite of the 5 cruise lines we had sailed with but the Century blew them all away. We tried NCL this May but were disappointed with ... Read More
Our first Celebrity cruise was in early November 2007 on the Century. Until then RCCL (5 times) was our favorite of the 5 cruise lines we had sailed with but the Century blew them all away. We tried NCL this May but were disappointed with the quality of the food... plenty of choice but poor quality beef. The cruise was booked in early October. We are flexible on dates and find prices drop significantly in the last 4 weeks before a cruise particularly in Europe in November before ships cross the Atlantic for winter. This is fine by us as we find the Med in summer to be too hot. We were looking at going on the Century again but preferred the itinerary on the Summit. The early November sailing was chosen over the mid November one as last year the weather we had whilst on the Century was completely dry whereas there were a few rainy days later in the month. Unfortunately the weather forecast immediately before the cruise was for rain in all our ports for the first 7 days. We arrived in Barcelona the evening before the cruise and caught the airport bus to Placa de Catalunya near to our hotel. It was raining but we had missed the heavy thunderstorms of earlier in the day. We had pre-booked tickets for entry to La Sagrada Familia at 09:00 the next morning and following this we picked up our bags and caught a taxi to the ship for 10 Euro. Boarding was a breeze. We turned up about 11:30 and were on board by 11:45. We went straight to the cabin to see if we had any dining room table assignment card. We did not (as is usually the case for bookings close to departure) so we went to see the Maitre'D. We had requested a table for 2 and as usual had been put on a table of 8 so this was changed. Our balcony cabin was up to the standard we expected. The shower was a good size but a sliding door rather than curtain would have been an improvement. We put the air con on minimum temperature for the cruise duration. It would be useful if we could have turned the air con off at night as we sleep with the sliding door wide open (having discarded the quilts... I did say we don't like it too hot). Our room steward promptly made up our beds with extra foam mattresses as requested. Entertainment: We are not keen on vocalists so didn't go to those shows. Ones we did attend were of the standard expected (similar to RCCL/NCL). We did not use the spa, casino, shops, cinema, gym, pools, photographer, bars or wine service in the restaurant. What makes or breaks the cruise for us is the quality of the food and in particular the beef. Whereas RCCL and NCL only had beef on the daily menu about 3 evenings on a 12 night cruise (apart from the "always available" New York strip steak that NCL ran out of!) Celebrity has it every night and it is excellent. On the Summit we had prime rib the first night (and on two other occasions) steak Rossini the next, filet Mignon, short ribs, Chateaubriand, etc. Our waiter was excellent. I explained exactly how I liked my steak and every one he brought me was spot on. Unnoticed to me he apparently discretely watched when I first cut into a steak to make sure that it was cooked as per my wishes. I have to admit to being greedy and ordering a second portion on the third day and took up the waiter's offer to automatically bring me a double portion of beef from then onwards. These standard offerings were far better than those in the speciality Cagney's restaurant on NCL. Salads were excellent. Soups were good; I don't like clear soups.... So I don't order them! Deserts were very good. My wife had a more varied choice of entrees (chicken, pasta, etc) which she said were all very good with the exception of one pasta dish that she was not keen on (personal taste) - the waiter quickly brought out a replacement entrEe of the beef that I was enjoying so much. Anyone can order room service from the dining room menu during dining room hours as I did on one occasion. I was aware there may be a delay as I know that the food can only be collected from the dining room kitchen at particular times so any delay is more down to precisely when you place the order rather than anything else. My order came promptly and arrived quicker than my wife's order from the standard room service menu. I knew they wouldn't arrive together as they come from different kitchens. Only so much variety is ever available for a fried breakfast. I am not a great lover so often had fruit and toast. We preferred the breakfast in the spa cafe where in addition to the melon there was papaya and strawberries. We never found any queues. The coffee was awful. We finally worked out that you needed about a quarter cup of coffee, quarter cup of cream and half a cup of hot water to make it drinkable. Coffee in the dining room was OK. We had lunch onboard most days. Good variety although not up to the choice on RCCL. Meat quality was good (like RCCL and way better than NCL). My wife reported the pasta to be excellent although it is cooked to order SO YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR IT! Most of the Asians seemed to be getting their food from the Asian counter but we did not partake. The pizzas were not to my taste and were the same stodgy offering with sparse toppings as on RCCL and NCL. I love pizza and those we had ashore in Barcelona, Capri and Venice were wonderful... thin and crispy base with loads of topping. The wonderful home made ice cream bar got many visits. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. Decaf was always automatically delivered as requested. I was surprised that the baked Alaska was paraded with naked flames. I had understood that safely regulations now largely prevent this and I was not surprised that other dishes were not flamed anywhere within our sight. We did not go to the Grand Chocolate Buffet as this was not the traditional grand midnight buffet which research before the cruise had informed one that this had been replaced by a brunch in the dining room on a sea day and indeed this was the case (with the ice carvings, etc). Ship personnel: We had an excellent cabin steward. We had no problem with anyone. Cream was not always available at the spa cafe out of dining hours but hey just get it from one of the many coffee stations in the main cafe. We had not expected the coffee at the spa to be 24/7. If you don't want to take the shore excursions or shop in the recommended stores then do as we do - research the ports on the internet before you leave home for maps, timetables and don't bother going to the port/shopping talks. The rudimentary maps provided were better than nothing and there was some local transportation information provided. Indeed, the port information was the best of any line I have been on. Shore excursions are never cheap or particularly good value for money but I found Celebrity is considerably cheaper for an identical itinerary than NCL (up to 50%). We did 2 Celebrity excursions. Ports: Nice - After a rainy day at sea came a rainy day in Nice. We had planned to go to Eze but having tendered ashore we decided the rain was not easing and so returned to the ship. La Spezia - It must have been exceptional weather for us not to get into Livorno and this was due to our allocated berth and no other suitable berths being available. I thought that they did well to find La Spezia as an alternative rather than another day at sea (although they did not want to lose out on the profitable Florence excursions). I agree that the tenders could have been more waterproof but the staff were very good in terrible conditions. When we arrived ashore we were given a very nice map of La Spezia and despite the rain we enjoyed a leisurely walk to the train station where we took a trip to Cinque Terre (for a few Euros) which was delightful. On our return we window shopped in the pretty town of La Spezia before getting the tender back to the ship. No problem here but we were probably some of the last aboard before they suspended tendering. My sympathies go to those that had problems later on. Civitavecchia - Day 1 - We pre-booked tickets for the Galleria Borghese so walked to the train station and got a BIRG ticket at the kiosk (don't bother queuing at the ticket office) for all public transport for the day. Surprisingly clear day... no rain at all. Day 2 - Very enjoyable ship excursion to Tuscania. Naples - Hydrofoil and funicular to Capri then a bus to Anacapri. It was a very pleasant sunny day. Athens - ship sightseeing tour of Athens that did not include the Acropolis apart from possible view from a distance. However, since the marathon closed many streets it was impossible to get to the places on the itinerary... not Celebrity's fault. We actually were taken to the Acropolis instead so we have no complaints. Istanbul - Day 1 - instead of waiting for the shuttles we went our own way. The taxi fare would have been the same fare as the shuttles but we drew a little cash from an ATM and took the nearby tram. The tram was quite crowded but the younger people got up and gave us their seats... where else in Europe would you find this? The Grand Bazaar was our destination but was disappointing as many stalls were selling far eastern imported clothing rather than local stuff. Day 2 - As we have stayed in Istanbul before there were not too many sights we wanted to see again. We went in the Blue Mosque, visited the shops behind it and the Mosaics Museum then visited the Museum of Turkish & Islamic Art. Mykonos - A very pleasant port for window shopping. Split - Last year we did not get to Split on RCCL Legend of the Seas due to adverse weather stopping tendering and this year it was due to an engine or pod failure. As the failure was Celebrity's liability we were given $250 OBC per stateroom (inside staterooms got $200). I thought this quite generous and more than I expected. In fact the weather was quite bad so we may not have got ashore anyway. Venice - We took the complimentary port shuttle to Plaza Roma from where we took a water bus to the Lido where we had booked a hotel for the night. The following morning we caught the Alilaguna boat to the airport. In addition to the OBC our account also showed a further 2 x $18.50 credits which I believe may be a refund of port taxes relating to Livorno. This made our on board account in credit. This has since been refunded to my credit card together with a further $39 which is probably a refund of the port taxes for Split. The dropping of the fuel supplement refers to cruises in the New Year and so no one on our cruise will have benefited from this. In conclusion: This was an excellent cruise. It was our 13th cruise and I would put it a close 2nd behind the Century last year. This was because we were so impressed with the Century last year and so was not surprised by the quality of this cruise. I would not hesitate in recommending the Summit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Having just read the previous review, I feel compelled to present a different side to the story. I was on the same cruise and had a wonderful time! Yes, there were a few glitches, such as occur one way or another on most sailings, but we ... Read More
Having just read the previous review, I feel compelled to present a different side to the story. I was on the same cruise and had a wonderful time! Yes, there were a few glitches, such as occur one way or another on most sailings, but we refused to let them deter us from enjoying our vacation to the max. We had booked a veranda guarantee and were okay with our room assignment, a 2A room, but were first to arrive at the port and put our name at the top of the waiting list for an upgrade. We were told that it would be later in the evening before the upgrades would be available. Sure enough, while we were at dinner we received a call telling us that a CC room was available for $200/pp. Too late to move that night but we we did so first thing in the morning. The small difference in space was well worth the extra money as it gave us the elbow room we needed to be comfortable for 14 days. We did have some glitches with table assignment in the MDR. Our assigned table turned out to be at a group table and we were not part of that group. We were taken to a table upstairs and several ladies joined us, making 4 at a table set for 7we had requested a table for 8. The next night they were gone and a very nice single woman was there but she had asked to be placed at a singles table so she could meet people. We took matters into our own hands and talked with the maitre d'we were moved to a table for 8 with 2 couples traveling together, and were later joined by a 4th couple. We had a delightful time both on and off the ship with these folks and we all went to Normandie together one evening. We ended up with great servers, Rosario and Inacio (spelled correctly) who were of Roman Catholic Portuguese descent from Goa, India! Very interesting to hear their stories. I was delighted when the change was made to anchor off La Spezia because we had planned to visit Cinque Terre that day and it was so much easier. One man's pleasure is another man's pain, obviously. There was a Tourist Information booth right across the street from the dock area and we got a map and walked to the train station took 10 minutes to our destination. Our tablemates were among the group caught on shore while the weather died down. They were taken to a nearby ship and allowed to wait inside out of the worst of the weather. We did every port on our own took public transportation everywhere trains, metro, subway, buses and had a ball. The only exception was a great private tour we did to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast with some fellow Cruise Critic membersthat was a fun day! I am very anti-ship tours as I think they are a) overpriced; and b) way too insular to really experience a place. I know they work for some people, just not us. And when I add up the money we saved, it was enough to buy us three handmade Turkish rugs in Istanbul NOT at an 'approved' ship's store. I wasn't willing to subsidize the cruise line and we found a great shop on our own. They arrived a few days ago and look wonderful in our home. And yes, it was a disappointment to miss Split, but a) stuff happens, and b) they gave us a $250 shipboard credit that could be converted to a cash refund if your account balance was less than that amount. That went a LONG way to assuage our hurt feelings! In general the ship was in very good shape. We loved the thalassotherapy pool in the evenings after a long day touring one of the highlights for us. The only minor issue was the less-than-lovely and somewhat worn orange carpeting in our stateroom, which clashed with the blue bedspread and upholstery, and curtains of some very odd and unflattering print. I guess we could have let that ruin our cruise but in actuality didn't even notice after the first day. The staterooms need a cosmetic redo, but we had a wonderful, wonderful time and wold do it again in a heartbeat! Oh, and Venice is a must-see what an amazing place. can't wait to go back! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
RESERVATIONS I originally booked our cruise directly through Celebrity. The experience was reminiscent of buying a used car. After the agent informed me (1) that the cabin I was considering was the LAST ONE IN THAT CATEGORY and that ... Read More
RESERVATIONS I originally booked our cruise directly through Celebrity. The experience was reminiscent of buying a used car. After the agent informed me (1) that the cabin I was considering was the LAST ONE IN THAT CATEGORY and that he COULD NOT HOLD IT, and (2) that immediate booking would get me a $300 rebate, I agreed and charged the fare. Guess what? The cabin category remained available until the sailing date. Celebrity personal later told me that only one such cabin at a time was released into agent's inventory. Presumably, this is done so the agent can claim it is the last cabin in that category without, exactly, LYING. No materials were mailed to me, in spite of requesting hard copies. But email documents did not indicate anything about the $300. After six phone calls, none of them returned as promised, I demanded that the booking be cancelled without penalty, and a very nasty young lady finally did that. I immediately rebooked through a dependable online agent, lowering our fare $450 while upgrading our cabin from bowels-of-the-ship exterior guarantee to top-deck Concierge Class Veranda. I should've just quit while I was ahead. ARRIVAL: SMOOTH, BUT SIGNS OF BAD WEATHER ON THE HORIZON We flew into Barcelona two days early to have a taste of the city before embarkation. Our room at the Barcelona Princess Hotel was stylishly modern, clean, quiet, and offered an invigorating shower massage and a spectacular view from the 20th floor, showing all of Barcelona bisected by the Diagonal and punctuated by La Sagrada Familia. If you book there, get a room and breakfast deal. As it turned out, our breakfasts at the Princess were the best meals we had for two weeks. Embarkation on the Summit went very smoothly. We arrived about 3 p.m. for the 7 p.m. sailaway and encountered no crowds. Looking forward to our "Concierge Class" veranda cabin, we were not, at first, disappointed: The room was larger than standard veranda cabins and held a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fruit. The promised flowers were not there, though, and the "personalized stationery" turned out to be five sheets of Summit notepaper with our names laser printed in block letters. Although Celebrity advertises choice of pillows, we where never offered a choice, either during registration or onboard. And the marvelous upgraded showerhead could not have been the dribbling, non-adjustable one that nevertheless overwhelmed the clogged drain. The drain was cleaned after we reported it, but it clogged up again. There were also noticeable sewer smells in the corridor. The carpet was faded and the deck furniture was covered with frayed navy blue cushions spotted with white discoloration. As we settled in, a young women hurried in and dropped some drooping flowers into a tube-vase on the desk. She forgot about the budvase in the bathroom. When I called on the third day and requested a bud for the bud vase, a drooping, rotting rose was inserted there and remained until it fell apart. The stem endured for two more days before a replacement was brought at my request. So went the Summit experience on Celebrity Cruises, "Starring You." ENTERTAINMENT While we did not attend every mainstage show, we did manage to see most of them. Individual entertainers varied in quality, and we walked out after ten minutes on one forgettable female vocalist and quit early on one male vocalist. However, there was an astounding sleight-of-hand magician and two production shows that were the best I have ever seen onboard, particularly the one presented on the last of three formal evenings. Congratulations Celebrity Summit singers and dancers, musicians, and the entire production crew! Other entertainment around the ship was professional but nothing to write home about. Daytime events were limited to the very, very usual. The live string quartet was one upscale touch that still brought a whiff of class to the ship. Celebrity tends to fold the tent earlier than some other lines, with not much going on after the late production show. E.g., if you like karaoke.... INFORMATION FOR THE "GUESTS" If you don't like hard selling, you will be very annoyed on Celebrity. From the moment you step onboard, you are a cash cow to be milked. While there were endless seminars and daily newsletters telling you where to shop (in Celebrity-approved shops, only!), there was very little usable information about the ports. History? A little. How to get into Florence, Rome, or Monaco? A crude map that showed the train station with no indication of distance and few, if any, street names—but showing all the approved port stores. One daily newsletter was good enough to list some sites you might want to see while you are shopping, and it was put in those terms! You were repeatedly warned that going it on your own, you were not safe. TAKE AN OVERPRICED CELEBRITY SHORE EXCURSION OR HAVE YOU POCKET PICKED! JUST STAY ON THE SHIP AND PLAY BINGO! TAKE AN OVERPRICED CELEBRITY SHORE EXCURSION OR MISS THE SHIP! More about the safety and convenience of the passengers, below. See PORTS: INCLUDING A TALE OF EQUIPMENT FAILURE AND "THE SAFETY OF OUR GUESTS". THE FOOD: GUSTATORY DISAPPOINTMENT We were at a table for six at the early seating, and immediately liked all of our dining companions. Our hopes for the cruise picked up, although the food was lackluster at best. Salads appeared to have been poured from a plastic bag, and several of our tablemates complained about meat being tough. I had colorless, fishy-tasting fish, and subsequent dinners included Coq au Vin that tasted only of salt, another highly forgettable chicken entrEe, dry pork chops that required a very sharp knife and elbow grease, and clear soups that tasted like brine. Deserts were the exception, with the pastry chef doing quite well. Cold soups were usually good, but since we were travelling in cool and rainy weather, I wanted a good warm cup of soup. Our one standard room service consisted of beef consomme (brine); clam chowder (library paste without any clam flavor whatsoever); two sandwiches (meat on cold, toughened toast with a slice of lettuce); and the accompanying tiny pile of actually soggy potato chip crumbs with one sandwich and cold fries that appeared to have been boiled and tossed in oil. Thankfully, Concierge Class allowed us to order from the dining room menu for service in our room, although there was often a considerable delay. Better service was available at breakfast, when Concierge Class passengers had an expanded room-service breakfast available, including omelettes made with egg whites or egg beaters, fruit smoothies, and breakfast meats. I opted for this service several times after surveying the sad and endlessly identical breakfast service in the upper-deck cafe. Every SINGLE day, the same items were served. And in an attempt to seem high-class, Celebrity did not serve help-yourself style; you had to wait to have your eggs fried, wait to have your toast toasted, wait for a scoop of (mushy) hashbrowns, etc. But the time you assembled your breakfast, the first items were cold, not to mention the lines that formed. And there was not one item that tasted fresh. The only breakfast vegetables available during the entire two-week voyage were mushrooms, tomatoes, and potatoes. Bread, fruit, and cheese offerings were the same every day. The coffee was very good. Owing to the port-intensive nature of the cruise, we ate only a couple of lunches onboard. The spa cuisine available at the stern of the pool deck was very good, but available only a couple of hours daily. Other than that there were pizzas, hamburgers, and a distinct area that purported to offer Asian cuisine, but my husband is Asian, and he thought it was atrocious. I tried this menu once, and found that the items I had chosen appeared to have freezer burn, a very non-Asian phenomenon. Overall, I began to have the impression that everything in the buffet had been microwaved and then held on a steam table. Shades of Sizzler, which often seemed gourmet in comparison. In the main dining room, by the way, on Celebrity, where "You are the Star," our waiter and assistant waiter never learned our names—although they were invariably polite. After 10 days, they began to realize that I took the light salad dressing (never offered on the first pass) and drank decaf, which they would scurry back to the station to get. Forget showmanship; cherries "Jubilee" was presented on a flat plate over a melting mess of ice cream, and bananas Foster was not flamed anywhere within our sight. The single exception was a parade of waiters carrying the obligatory last-night baked Alaska in a bid for higher tips. And finally, the Grand Chocolate Buffet. Since the pastry chef was the one star of the Celebrity kitchen, I expected this rare late-night buffet to be quite good. But the buffet was held in the top-deck lounge, with a dearth of seating, very low lighting, and very loud music. Apparently, Celebrity hoped this would take your mind off the fact that there was very little chocolate available. Fruit kabobs were abundant, along with vats of no-taste "chocolate" sauce with the exact consistency of skim milk. There were no grand displays, no carvings, no large creations, no seats available, and no reason to even have a chocolate buffet if you can't do better than that. Oh, wait, I forgot one reason: There were drinks for sale. SHIP PERSONNEL In general, the ship's personnel were friendly. Our stateroom attendant, Jose, was first-class. But most of the personnel seemed clueless or just wouldn't go out of their ways. Example: One day at breakfast, I asked for a dish of strawberries. I was told a) there weren't any, and b) they were only for lunch. (I never saw a strawberry at lunch time.) Finally, one attendant took the time to get me a bowl of berries. The ship also ran out of coffee cream in the cafeteria, ran out of green tea, etc. When we asked for shoreside information, we ran into blank looks. When we asked how far the train station was from the port, we were invariably told it was "ten minutes," although that proved correct only once. And so on. SHORE EXCURSIONS We went on only one shore excursion, owing to the high prices of most excursions that did anything more than drop you off and pick you up five or six hours later (e.g., "Rome on your own.") We took the excursion in Athens that included the Acropolis, the adjacent ancient market area, a lengthy stop at an overpriced do-dad store where almost all of the participants stayed on the bus, and a detour that deleted sights on the planned route owing to a marathon race in Athens that day. Apparently our guide had not foreseen this, and no alternative was offered other than being dropped off at the Placket and finding our own way back to the ship. The Acropolis and Parthenon were breathtaking, both because of their history and grandeur and because of the steep climb to the top of the hill. Our guide, while knowledgeable, was somewhat difficult to hear and understand. Nevertheless, I would give this excursion a C+. Buyer beware: Celebrity's description of shore excursions often describe many sights you will only see on your own. Read VERY carefully. FUEL SUPPLEMENT: TOO BAD FOR YOU, THE "STAR" In spite of the precipitous drop in the price of oil, Celebrity held out and would not return or even reduce the $140 per passenger fuel supplement on this trip. Their newest policy was lengthy and convoluted, requiring a drop in prices that endured past the end of a "quarter." However, before the end of the quarter (one week before we sailed), they dropped their fuel supplement for new bookings. This booking happened to occur in Fuel Supplement No Man's Land, and Celebrity needs the money to have the Summit put in working order. The involuntary donation was $280 per cabin, and it didn't depend on when you sailed, but on when you booked. Are you getting the picture about dealing with Celebrity? Read on. PORTS: INCLUDING A TALE OF EQUIPMENT FAILURE AND "THE SAFETY OF OUR GUESTS" Our cruise was a late-season and port-intensive cruise, one that would be a challenge to many of the guests in the best of circumstances. Celebrity made one of most anticipated ports more of a "Survivor" episode, and cancelled another entirely owing to highly foreseeable continuing equipment problems. Weather started off problematical and caused a widespread power outage which snarled transportation in Nice. The night before we were to call at Florence/Livorno, we were cheerfully informed that owing to the weather, Captain Margaritas had changed our destination to La Spezia, where we would be tendered in to shore. Vessels anchored in the harbor should be able to stay; ships have never had to be moved due to bad weather. But because they are exposed to open-sea conditions, ships in the two anchorages outside the breakwater, 0.6 n mi east and 2 n mi south of Tino Island, should evade at sea if heavy weather is forecast. There are no good alternate anchorages near La Spezia in which to seek haven. Now, I know that Celebrity is not responsible for the weather. But when we arrived at La Spezia, we were loaded onto a tenders that were wet inside because of leaky roofs. People inside the tender were using umbrellas to protect themselves from the water coming through the roof. The tender pilot could not see out the window, and kept wiping it with his hand. Then he opened the "sunroof" to try to see his way. Finally, he actually sent a fellow crew member out onto the bow of the tender to manually work the windshield wipers, which either because of malfunction or weather were not operational on their own. After a long, cold, and wet ride, we arrived at the disembarkation point in the Port of La Spezia. We were sent ashore across a floating gangway to...uh, the shore. There was no building, no Celebrity personal available, no taxis, no phones, no information, no restrooms, nothing. We managed to find a taxi about two blocks up the street, and we took it to the train station and headed for Florence, a distance of approximately 100 miles that would require almost three hours by train in each direction. We ended up with few hours in Florence after waiting for the tender, riding the tender, taking the taxi to the train and returning in time for the oft-mentioned last tender at 6:30...only to find a queue of about 100 people or more waiting on the quay. As we joined the line, we were told that we couldn't board the tender owing to the bad weather. The line of people grew, standing in the dark and the rain, many with umbrellas. Suddenly there was a bright flash of lightening, followed by a clap of thunder, and then another. Heavy rain poured down, and winds reached 60 mph (according to Celebrity personnel and my own observations). A heavy palm frond fell and hit a women in the head. When we asked if we could take shelter somewhere, we were told to stay in line. If we weren't there when the tender boarded, the ship would leave without us. The storm continued. Umbrellas were blowing inside out. Waves were now breaking over the quay and seawater washed over our feet. The tender, lashed at the quay, was rocking wildly up and down. We stood in the driving rain. Besides the obvious misery, there was no restroom. After an hour in line, two tour buses, parked on the adjacent street, opened their doors to us and allowed us to shelter inside. We arrived back at the Summit at about 8:30. Another tender had headed for the ship, but the storm was so severe that passengers could not be unloaded when it arrived. We had dinner served in our room. I had a sinus infection and stiff neck for the rest of the trip. Celebrity NEVER offered an apology or any compensation for this experience. They solicited comments from guests, and after I wrote about the experience, they said someone would call me. Guess what? No call. And when I called them ten days after the end of the cruise, they said they would make sure someone heard about my terrible experience, but offered nothing. Their sole unsolicited reaction was an offhand joke at the next night's show. And by the way, two other large, well-known cruise ships whose passengers went to Florence that day docked at Livorno. If the weather was too terrible for us to do the same, a safe and adequate alternative should have been arranged. Such weather is not at all unusual on Italy's west coast at that time of year. Nevertheless, skies cleared by the time we reached Rome, an incredible city. We road the hop-on, hop-off bus after taking the train into the city, and enjoyed a day of unforgettable exploration, culminating at the Pantheon, where a political rally celebrating the outcome of the recent election in the USA was in full swing. Naples and adjacent Pompeii, Herculaneum, Sorrento, and Capri was more challenging. A man tried to pick my pocket on the bus, but he would only have gotten my lipstick. The cash was in a much safer spot. We visited Pompeii (a guide is necessary to get the best out of this astounding site, but they are available for about 10 Euros at the entrance). We didn't need help in Istanbul, because we have close friends there, and Mykonos was definitely a laid-back, do-it-yourself port. I mentioned our excursion into Athens, above. And then there was Split! ENGINE FAILURE No, there wasn't Split. The Summit failed to call at Croatia because of yet another episode of propulsion failure. We limped at half speed from Mykonos to Venice. Please leave yourselves time to enjoy Venice. It is an unbelievable city from a watery universe, a transition back to living on land, full of masks, Venetian glass, and gelato! IN CONCLUSION We have been on three Celebrity cruises as well as sailing on Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival. WE WILL NEVER SAIL ON CELEBRITY AGAIN AND ADVISE YOU AGAINST IT. This was, by far, the worst cruise experience we have ever had, and what made it worse was the total uncaring disregard, even stonewalling, of the cruise line. Celebrity cannot call itself a hospitality provider. You are not a star on Celebrity. You are merely an asterisk in the annual report. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
I had been researching this cruise itinerary for over a year, ever since the Travel channel featured Samantha Brown's first cruise, I fell in love with it. We convinced 4 friends into coming along and we booked for Oct. (after ... Read More
I had been researching this cruise itinerary for over a year, ever since the Travel channel featured Samantha Brown's first cruise, I fell in love with it. We convinced 4 friends into coming along and we booked for Oct. (after researching the weather patterns, precipitation and temps.) and high season vs. a less busy time. We booked thru a travel agent so really had no contact directly with Celebrity. Our flight with Air France was uneventful however the leg room seemed tighter than when we flew Lufthansa in 2004. Arriving in Venice, it took a little longer than expected to get to the ship, this time cut into the afternoon time that we had thought we'd be touring Venice on our partial First day. Note: next time we'll go a day early!!!!!!! Our embarkation went smoothly, we found our balcony cabin much to our expectations initially. Upon further observation we did notice that the carpet by the slider balcony doors had a worn pattern, some molding above the mirrored wall was not in place, one hinge to the cabinet door over our TV was broken off, the bathroom toilet seat was scratched and showed wear, there was mold in the shower and by the corner of the bathroom door on the inside the paint was chipped and rusty. These small areas mentioned did not by any means take away from our cruise experience, these are just things that we had not expected since Celebrity is known to be a "notch above". Our room steward, Dominique, was very good, he kept our cabin spotless every day, all day. Refilled our ice and water containers and was attentive to our needs and requests. Our bed was very comfortable and although I sleep poorly at home most nights, I slept like a log every night while on the ship. Sail away from Venice was spectacular!!!! Slowly leaving the harbor, passing the small canals and bridges with tourists waving, hearing the church bells off in the distance while music played on the ship, it was emotionally very moving. We chose the Summit for the itinerary, we knew it was intense and were prepared for it as much as one can be. Our impression of the Cosmopolitan was very good. We had requested a window table for 6, the total of our group. Our assignment was #492. Mookie and Bojan, our wait staff, were outstanding. Very personable, knowledgeable of particular menu entrees and attempted to meet our every request with graciousness and a great sense of humor. On other cruises we never saw the maitre d' except for the last night. On the Summit our assistant maitre d' was present every night, traveled from table to table and spoke with many. Our waiters remembered our names and our individual likes. The buffet was not the best experience quite a few times. The varied menu was accommodating (sushi, Asian, British breakfast, etc.) but often it was disorganized and disappointing. Sometimes lines were very long and/or stations closed during serving times. If one came in later from an excursion and went to the buffet for dinner rather than the main dining room you might find only three options (pasta, chinese and pizza). We had heard raves on cruise critic roll call about the waffles but the machine was broken the whole cruise. The pancakes were less than appetizing but the omelets were fine. The hamburger grill by the pool was a good break from the buffet also. Room service for breakfast was substandard, at least for us. We had gotten hooked on it on our last cruise (with another line) and looked forward to breakfast most days in our cabin. The menu selection was limited with NO 'write ins'. The food ordered and the food delivered were not the same and that which was delivered was cold. The main dining room for breakfast was very quick, had nice options and was less stressful than the buffet. I would recommend that Celebrity carry diet caffeine free soda and ice tea as there is nothing available except water in that category. We found that the first 4 or 5 days we were unable to serve ourselves. Everything was roped off and "hands off". Areas that were stainless were smeary and unattractive. Later we deduced that this was the result of bleach "bathes" of most all surfaces in an attempt to disinfect the ship of germs as much as possible, we then appreciated Celebrities efforts but felt that signs should have been posted to alert guests of wet bleach as one of our party had a blouse and sweater ruined by leaning up against it. After several days, things relaxed and it was easier to serve yourself and enter stores and areas without having to first be instructed to sanitize your hands. The Normandie was very enjoyable. The atmosphere, quality of food and service were very good. We noted the choreography of serving and individual interactions of the servers. Well worth $30.pp, a real special treat. Entertainment was varied and for the most part good. Several highlights were the pianist, the magician, the aerialists. Some of the shows and the talent were not as good as we have seen on other ships. This itinerary being so intense required planning. We booked most of our excursions through Celebrity and found each to be well organized, the guides were informative, personable and well spoken. Each was accommodating and thoughtful with scheduled "WC" breaks. Celebrity was well organized with getting guests off of the ship to meet the buses. We ventured out on our own in a number of ports and fared well with making proper connections via train, shuttle or metro. Never found pick pockets to be a problem but we were prepared and alert. Doing your homework ahead of time and being as informed as possible aided in things going smoothly. Live music could be found all around the ship, this was delightful and the Rendezvous lounge was always "hoppin". James the cruise director was outgoing, welcoming, humorous and helpful. The heated therapeutic pool was heavenly and so relaxing at the end of a long day, there were plenty of lounge chairs with attractive navy blue covers, the towels were plentiful and in good condition. Before we left home we were concerned about keeping in contact with our family at home. Cruise critic writers had suggested internet cafes in ports, as cell phones didn't seem to be an option. We found the ships internet room very convenient and for making short contacts with home, easily accessible and affordable. Disembarkation went smoothly and efficiently, we were off of the ship, had retrieved our luggage, were onto the bus and at the airport in a timely fashion. One very important alert to cruisers, be sure to read the small print in the booklet that Celebrity sends to you. Be aware of the 'GFO' desk, that's Guest Flight Operations desk, when you arrive at the airport, if you have any problems including with your flight, call the 800 phone number listed in the booklet. Celebrity states that they will resolve your problems. We were unaware of a "GFO" desk reference, we had no reason to think that the cruiseline would help us with our flight home, we thought we were on our own once the cruise was over. Unbeknownst to us, our flight carrier and time had been changed and we missed our flight. Being stranded in another country, having cashed in our Euros on the ship, we were handicapped, it was a horrible stressful way to end a delightful vacation. So be aware!!!!!!!!! This Mediterranean cruise was one that many only dream of, it came true for us. All in all it was a fantastic trip, the small negatives that I have mentioned didn't spoil our trip at all. I mention them to try to put things into prospective for those that may not have traveled the Summit yet and are reading comments from different perspectives. You'll find the cruise line staff very friendly and helpful for the most part. Hearing them say, "Welcome Home" each time you reboard at the end of an excursion day, gives you a nice feeling. We're not going to find perfection every where we go, if so, they wouldn't let us on board!!!!! Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Background: We took a standard balcony. Married, early 60's, with numerous annual cruises on multiple lines from Carnival to Seabourn. We selected this cruise for the itinerary, not the ship or line. Short version: Celebrity ... Read More
Background: We took a standard balcony. Married, early 60's, with numerous annual cruises on multiple lines from Carnival to Seabourn. We selected this cruise for the itinerary, not the ship or line. Short version: Celebrity remains and excellent choice in the so-called "mass marketing" cruise lines. Positives: Service and guest care, room, and itinerary. Negatives: Dining room closed for lunch, major reason to avoid. Fixed dining only in dining room. Specifics: Boarding: (4/5) Pretty standard and efficient considering most guests were there an hour or more prior to earliest time. Keep in mind that on all larger ships you can go right on with no waits by showing up about 1.5 hours after the earliest listed boarding time. Stateroom: Everything you would expect for a ship of this class with excellent service in every regard. Well maintained stateroom that was of average size for this class ship. Common areas: Not the best use of some space, but clean with no excess wear. Again, excellent service. Entertainment: Quite variable guest entertainers with lots of comedians. Staff entertainers and orchestra were average for this level of ship. The itinerary was so busy that there was little time for shipboard entertaining during the day. Itinerary: (5/5) Many guest like ourselves were on this particular ship for the outstanding ports of call for anyone interested in World History. Food: (3/5) We rarely ever eat in the cafeteria as we can do that at work; however, the dining room was only open for 2 or 3 lunches on the entire 14 day cruise which will probably keep us off Celebrity in the future. Breakfasts were good, but again not available everyday. Dinners are fixed seating (6:15 or 8:45) which is always risky depending on the table. Food was slightly above average for this class ship. Good , but rarely memorable. No one at the table had a bad meal, but all agreed that the food was pretty average in terms of quality of materials and preparation. Service was outstanding! Family: Celebrity is probably not the line of choice for younger children. Celebrity Captain's club perks: (1/5) Nothing notable for multiple return customers. We will be a higher level with our next cruise, but even that has nothing of value offer. Most important question: Will we book another Celebrity Cruise? Certainly not our first choice, but this is our first choice to recommend to those in our age group who have never cruised. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
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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