5 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
Embarkation was laboured and disorganized - we queued for ages at check- in - we were advised that there were too many people on the gangway - when we got to the gangway we were penned in a glass overbridge for at least twenty minutes in ... Read More
Embarkation was laboured and disorganized - we queued for ages at check- in - we were advised that there were too many people on the gangway - when we got to the gangway we were penned in a glass overbridge for at least twenty minutes in the heat of the midday sun. Luggage also took a very long time to be delivered to our stateroom - in fact we had to attend dinner in the clothes we traveled in. Not a great start. Ports of Call - with the exception of Mykonos and Split were very good. The mercenary approach Celebrity take with their customers all but spoils the cruise experience. As others have said Celebrity are in your face to buy tours, treatments etc. they also are not above misleading people into purchasing stuff on the basis of savings which don't materialize. A couple of examples of which was an offer of a reduction of $30 on two spa treatments bought on embarkation day, what they failed to tell you was that one of the treatments had to be taken on embarkation day. It is worth "standing your ground" and demanding a reduction of $30 (plus the 15% gratuity) - I did and accused them of misselling - they then changed their attitude and credited my account. A sale offering a huge reduction on digital cameras on the last day at sea in fact included no reduction in prices at all! The constant pushing of preferred products by shopping advisers on shore excursions was rather annoying. All of the "preferred products" were at exorbitant prices, something that was not advised at the "showcase excursion" meetings Breakfast and lunch in the Waterfall Cafe were a bit of a challenge - long queues for food followed by a game of find a coffee machine or hot a water urn that worked, then, find a cup to put it in. Breakfast and lunch in the MDR was disappointing, we tried it twice in an effort to avoid the melee of the Waterfall and were disappointed twice. Service was painfully slow. Towards the end of the trip, we found that hand sanitation dispensers were empty we shared a table with six American/Canadian guests and the consensus of opinion was that as the staff had all received their further gratuities from the guests they didn't have to make an effort - the last day MDR breakfast was a prime example - cold food and dreadful service. The saving grace of this cruise was the quality of the food in the MDR at dinner (early sitting) - the waiter, assistant waiter and wine waiter made this an enjoyable experience each evening. Contrary to some other comments we found the quality and choice of food to be excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Many areas were noticeably downgraded. For example, many of the signage on the buffet items were missing, and on many days, the soup remained a mystery and remained untouched by many that stopped by to look into the unmarked kettle. ... Read More
Many areas were noticeably downgraded. For example, many of the signage on the buffet items were missing, and on many days, the soup remained a mystery and remained untouched by many that stopped by to look into the unmarked kettle. Chicken fajitas were offered; however, no tortillas were available despite asking day after day. It was not uncommon to see waiters, servers and bartenders couching into their hands and then going on about their job; this despite a concerted effort to dispense hand cleaner to incoming guests to food service areas. Food quality has definitely slipped too, not only in the buffet lines, but the main restaurant food has gone from 'choice' grades down to 'select' meats, and even the 'prime' rib was uncuttable with the special steak knife provided, and the meat had to be sent back. Other areas of downgrades: no separate line for Captain's Club members at check in as stated om the cruise documents; ship maintenance was shoddy--for example only the top of the railings were varnished with the bottoms in a state of decay; shower tile grout was stained or missing; large cushioned seating units in disco were broken and tipsy, even after reporting an injury occurring as a result of the unstable seats that were obviously unsecured. One bright spot remained that reminded us of the way Celebrity used to be--that was the high quality of personnel behind the Guest Services Desk. In the several instances we had business to conduct or questions for the customer service staff who spent their time resolving issues and concerns, the performance was exceptionally high quality and consistently helpful and caring.Several balcony cabins which had no obstructions in last year's Celebrity catalog, now have window washing platforms, ladders and such partially obstructing the views, and a small footnote was added to the 2009 brochure. When I called Celebrity for an explanation as to how significant the obstructed view would be, the rep had to check around and only learned that it might be some metal scaffolding that could be attached to the balcony overhang, but she had no picture or details as to what could be expected. Also, the deck plans for the staterooms do not show the cabin attendant rooms, which are located directly opposite some cabins. This was comparable to having a dinner table next to the kitchen in a noisy restaurant, especially with the cabin attendant shouting to others in the hallway as she came out of her doorway, which of course the guests could hear all too clearly especially as she delivered breakfast trays early in the morning! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
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
This was our first cruise and as yet we havent decided if we would do it again! If we did venture onto the seas it would be with another cruise line. We arrived at the Summit in Barcelona, we had arranged our own flights from Manchester as ... Read More
This was our first cruise and as yet we havent decided if we would do it again! If we did venture onto the seas it would be with another cruise line. We arrived at the Summit in Barcelona, we had arranged our own flights from Manchester as the Celebrity option was more expensive and went via Frankfurt!!! and also our own taxi to the port - saving us a fortune. We were met with a long queue to check in - again I was glad I had done it all online and so we had a quick trip onto the boat where we learnt we could not get into our cabin for another 3 hours!We sat beside the pool and have to say we were very dissappointed with the first impressions.The pool area was crowded and a bit shabby. When we got into our stateroom ( concierge class with balcony)we were again dissappointed as the room was shabby and the carpet was worn.The curtains had holes in the lining and the net curtain was torn.There was a stain and a small hole in the bedspread too.On the very small balcony were 2 chairs and a lot of rust!! It was also a tight squeeze when our son's bed was out and it was impossible to get onto the balcony if he was in bed.Our room steward was Peter, who was very good and solved any issue straight away but the room was not good!! The public area's are better on the whole and in particular the martini/champagne bar was nice. Breakfast was in the waterfall cafe and although it was ok it was a bit of a scrum and we had difficulty finding a chair on a couple of occassions so we opted for breakfast in our room which was ok but the order was never right! As said before the pool area could do with some improvement and was overun with spanish teenagers the whole time who were really noisy and rude.   Dinner in the main restaraunt was good overall although on some nights we were struggling for choice.Our waiter was excellent though and made it a good dining experience overall. Our wine waiter was also very good and attentive throughout.We didnt dine in the waterfall cafe at night as we dont like to do this on holiday( and it was $2 extra!!) - we were looking for a bit of luxury. The soda package is a rip off as it doesnt include water!!!!!! The wine was expensive too and we felt we were being ripped off the whole time - this included the trips we booked and any photo's we bought.Overall we felt Celebrity were trying to get as much money out of us as possible at every opportunity. Turning to the trips, we took 4 by celebrity, Rome on your own ( you got a coach there and back) which did give us some useful tips on how to beat the queue's, Pompeii which was really good due to the great guide and Athens which was dire, again due to the guide and Pisa which was really good although expensive. Disembarkation was slick and well organised. When we docked in Santorini - we gave up and spent the day on the boat as the queue for the cable car was huge and didnt seem to be reducing - due to the number of cruises in that day.Dubrovnik was fab and we will go back there again as was Venice.We took the summit tranfer which at $20 was very expensive but it was the last day and we were too tired to care! The destinations were definitely the high point of ths holiday. The entertainment was poor - the shows in the theatre were on at weird times so we werent able to catch many ( the last dinner sitting was changed to 9pm which was too late especially with children and the earlier one to 6.30 which is much too early in my view) The dancers were ok and the 'orchestra' were out of tune the whole time.The band around the pool were absolutely rubbish, they couldnt sing and were much too loud - very intrusive as was the music in 'Rendevous'it was like they were playing a stadium!!! Our son ( aged 9 ) was hoping to make some new friends but the kids programme was really poor and the kids club was taken over by sulky american teenagers - it was like 'so raven' i n real life.The club seemed poorly supported and the facilities for children were really poor, old and tired. Overall we had a nice time as we kept ourselves to ourselves and the service of the staff was excellent but Celebrity really need to upgrade the ship and the value for money.The staff also seemed very stressed to get a 'excellent' recommendation on the customer comment cards and we got the impression they would get in trouble if they didnt get it. Would we cruise again?? maybe.With Celebrity - probably not. Read Less
Sail Date January 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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