9 Celebrity Summit Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

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 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
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
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
Our first trip to the Med. to celebrate a special birthday for Lynda. Flew to Barcelona and stayed 2 nights at the Tryp Apollo which we would recommend given the fair pricing and great location (near waterfront & Las Ramblas - 10 ... Read More
Our first trip to the Med. to celebrate a special birthday for Lynda. Flew to Barcelona and stayed 2 nights at the Tryp Apollo which we would recommend given the fair pricing and great location (near waterfront & Las Ramblas - 10 minute walk). Took a Taxi from the Airport to the hotel. We noticed from previous reviews Taxi would cost 25 E which is what we paid door to door. Took a suite upgrade at the Hotel for 35 E per night however, would not recommend this given the short time you'll be in the room. Found Las Ramblas a lot of fun with lots of places to eat. The street is also a good place to have breakfast with several places offering coffee, juice, toast (jam) & croissant for 5E. Hotel staff told us not to go to Las Ramblas in the evening however, we strolled down during the late evening & had no trouble (nor did we notice any) at all. Used the Hop On/Off Bus for a tour of Barcelona and found this to be great value. We went on the blue and red lines and skipped the green. Got off on one stop and went up the Funicular to Mount Tibadabo which is high above the city and offers great views and reasonable pricing for lunches and beverages. Embarkation was quick and easy. We went to the port around 1 PM as suggested by the Cruise Line however, several people went as early as 11 AM with no problem at all. We registered on line prior to the cruise. We last sailed on the Summit 3 years ago in the Caribbean. We took Concierge service on that trip however, decided not to on this one. Our cabin was entirely adequate and well serviced by Peter and his associate. We tipped our room attendant the first day and were well served throughout the voyage. Laundry(pressing) service on the first day was prompt and reasonably priced. Our cabin was opposite one of the service doors used by the staff. When I mentioned the noise from opening and closing the door during the night disturbed my sleep, Peter told the staff and the problem disappeared the next day. Great service !. Used very few of the activities offered in that this is a very busy itinerary. Musicians were all good and provided both listening and dancing music for all to enjoy. One complaint I and others had is that on the White Night (dining under the stars), once dinner was over, they changed the dancing music to a "techno" theme for the balance of the night. This music was not "age appropriate" in my mind with most of the "over 50"s" leaving early for other choices on board. Front desk and other staff on board get high ratings for being friendly, helpful and efficient. Food and Beverage: While food was generally "O.K." in the dining room, consider this area to have deteriorated somewhat since our last trip on the Summit considering she is rated a 5 star ship. We were at late seating and found on most occasions our dinners were "rushed", hampering our time to visit with our table mates. Very little "Wow" factor on presentation. The salads in particular need to be improved. As an example, the green salads included lettuce that looked old and wilted with very little color. I finally asked for some tomatoes to be included for some variety. Shrimp Cocktails included only 3 pieces of shrimp. (Ask for two orders). Our Waiter tried very hard to make us all happy during our meals as did his assistant. Buffet dining was good with a wide variety of choices. Drink prices expensive. As an example, one bottled beer in the pool area cost $6.90. Our table mates found the dinner wine service not up to 5 star standard. On several occasions and despite several reminders, their white wine was not delivered and served cold. Simple thing to fix but wasn't. On two occasions, they waited well into the dining before their wine was poured. Perhaps more staff are needed in this area. One other item we noticed is that dress code does not appear to be enforced - ie on 2 Formal Night occasions we noticed jeans in the Dining Room. Shore / Excursions: Took the Tender from the ship to Villefranche. Walked to the train station (short distance) and took the train towards Monte Carlo. We got off the train on the second stop at Eze Sur Mer and found a local bus (#83) to Eze. NOTE: If you go this route, suggest you try to coordinate timing for the local buses. In our case, we just missed the 10:00 bus and had to wait an hour in the sun with no place to sit. Also, if the train stations are closed, you can only use coin to purchase your tickets at the machines (not Credit Cards). Eze was worth the trip. Nice village with great views and shopping. Livorno/Pisa/Florence: We did "Florence on your own" as several of our friends on board said Pisa was a waste of time and took away from time in Florence. If doing again, we would probably use the Hop On/Off bus for a tour of Florence. We missed going up the hill south of the city where we understand you get great views. Rome: Strongly suggest arranging for private tours. We used Rome Cabs. Joined up with 2 other couples and toured Rome in a very comfortable Mercedes Mini Van. What a treat. We saw all the major sites including the Colosseum, Forum, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps followed by a very nice lunch arranged by our Driver Salvatore. In the afternoon, we went for a tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Our driver arranged for a Private Tour Guide (University educated with good command of English). Well worth the costs especially when you are sharing with the other couples. NOTE: Our driver made arrangements for all of the tickets needed eliminating long and slow lineups. Naples/Capri/Pompeii: Took one of the Ship' Tours. Weather not so great for Capri but got better in Sorrento which we loved. Capri(outside of a visit to a fantastic Garden) mostly for Shopping. Had a great lunch in Sorrento arranged by our Tour Guide. Would like to have stayed longer in Sorrento. Looks like a great place to visit. Drove to Pompeii (very scenic - make sure you get on the right side of the bus for the views) which was fantastic. Our Tour Guide was very helpful. Make sure you have water and good footwear as the tour is somewhat lengthy. Santorini: Did on our own and used the Funicular to the top of the hill. You can walk up however very steep.Use the Donkeys at your discretion as they can be slow, and take a change of clothes. The smell is terrible. Santorini was fantastic as we expected. FYI - you can rent Quads which two can ride for only 25 Euro per day and well worth it. We found this out too late in the day. Took the bus out to Oia which is absolutely beautiful. Walked around for awhile and then stopped at one of the great restaurants for some food and wine and enjoyed the fantastic view.Took a cab back to Fira and had a great lunch overlooking the ocean and our ship. Several choices for eating. Athens: What a great place. Used Athens Taxi for a private tour with another couple. We got an early start (met us at 7:30 at the Pier)so as to avoid the crowds at the major sites. When we finished our tour of the Acropolis, the crowds trying to enter (Ship's Tours) were very lengthy. Visited the Parthenon and Olympic Stadium as well as other sites. Nice to have a Tour Guide to help you avoid line ups for tickets. Our Guide arranged for a great lunch at an out of the way restaurant where locals eat. We told him we wanted a slow lunch (some can be rushed). He arranged a spot for us to meet after lunch and at this time, we asked and he agreed to change our itinerary ie he had planned for us to visit the Museum in the afternoon. We instead asked for him to drop us off in the Old Town (Plaka) area so we could walk around, shop etc. No problem. NOTE: Prior to our Cruise, some people had told us Athens was not very clean. We found the opposite on our visit. Dubrovnik: Biggest surprise. Did on our own and used ship's shuttle bus. Beautiful city. Walked the wall for 3.5 hrs with friends. Had a great lunch in the town square followed by a walk around the city with a brief stop for some wine. Want to go back and stay for a week or so. Venice: Did on our own and met up with friends later in the day. Lovely place but very crowded narrow streets. Best time was at night listening to the Musicians in St. Marks Square. Found a great restaurant in the inner part of the city and had a very nice dinner. Stay away from the expensive restaurants on the Grand Canal. Went to Harry's Bar for overpriced Bellini's which were fantastic. Disembarkation: Very quick and efficient. Venice Airport can be very crowded on departure dates especially when there are several ships in port. Make sure you know what counter to line up at for check in. (We confirmed this 3 times). Stood in line for 2-3 hours to make sure we got good seats on our flights home. Conclusion: Notwithstanding some negatives noted in our comments, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and the people we met on board some of whom have become close friends. The service and friendliness of the staff was especially noted. The ports are fantastic. Suggest you take private tours when possible as these are normally less expensive and you get much more from them versus the ships tours. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Background Info-I booked this cruise as a birthday gift for my husband who turned 50 during the trip. This was our 5th cruise. The others were to the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera. One on Carnival, one on Princess and three on ... Read More
Background Info-I booked this cruise as a birthday gift for my husband who turned 50 during the trip. This was our 5th cruise. The others were to the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera. One on Carnival, one on Princess and three on Celebrity. This was our first trip to Europe. Arrival & Embarkation-After we passed through Customs in Barcelona we found all of our suitcases. We had purchased transfers to the ship through Celebrity. We had to go outside with our bags to find the Celebrity representative waiting. They took all our bags which were sent directly to our cabin and we were loaded on a coach bus. It was a holiday in Barcelona so the traffic was light (it also meant that many of the sights were closed) and we arrived at the ship in 20 minutes. There were no lines at embarkation & because all our paper work had been completed online, we were on our way to the ship in 2 minutes!! We stopped at the bottom of the escalator at a small liquor store to purchase wine to bring onboard and 5 minutes later (after the requisite embarkation pictures) we were standing in our great cabin 6135! Since it was just noon and the cabin wasn't quite ready we dropped off our carry-ons & headed to make massage appointments & have lunch. Excursions-We booked 4 excursions through Celebrity online before we left. In Villefrance we did the Nice & St Paul excursion. We wandered around the lovely town of Villefrance in the morning, ate crepes at an adorable cafe then lined up and got on a coach bus for our tour. They drove us through Nice to the village of St Paul. I would have liked to spend more time in Nice-it looked (from the bus window) like a great town to spend an afternoon. St Paul is like the town of Eze. It's a medieval town perched up on a mountain filled with cute-artsy shops. The next excursion we purchased was Florence & Pisa on your own. I'm sorry we didn't look into a private driver here. Pisa is worth seeing once in your life for about 15 minutes-not the almost 2 hours that this stop took. Unfortunately the buses have to park so far away that this trip took away from much more valuable time in Florence. I would have been happier with a guide in Florence, there was too much to see on our own. Cruise critic friends took the Hop-on/off bus once we got to Florence-that was probably a better way to see everything. In Rome we had arranged a private tour with Claudio from limoinrome.com/ who met us in a very comfortable Mercedes minivan. We added the private Vatican art-historian/guide for a once in a lifetime tour of the Vatican. Claudio was fantastic! He'd pull right up to a site tell us how much time we would need to see it and then show us where he'd be parked waiting for us. It was because of Claudio's professionalism, insight, timing and driving skills that I felt I got to see most of Rome in a day! The third Celebrity excursion we took was the Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii trip, a lot to do in one day! Impossible to do when there are too many cruise ships in port. Taking the hydrofoil to Capri was easy-it was docked right next to the Summit. When we got to Capri there were many tour groups trying to do the same thing. We waited for the cable car on the bottom, and then waited on top for our entire group to get there. We wandered around the beautiful town for a little while then waited to get back down again. Too many people-too many lines. We walked over to the hydrofoil to take us to Sorrento. After the ½ hour ride to Sorrento hundreds of people all waited together to take the not air-conditioned- too small- local buses to the top of the hill. Our tour guide wasn't as aggressive as some of the other tour guides, so most of the other tour groups piled into the buses that were there while we just waited on the street for one of the buses to come back to get us. I don't know why our coach bus couldn't have been there-it showed up after we finished our lunch to take us to Pompeii. The lunch that was included with this trip was delicious, however we sat in the middle of a shopping district-a scenic restaurant in Sorrento would have been much better. We then drove to Pompeii for a very interesting, informative tour. After a ½ hour stop at a Cameo factory we were back onboard Summit. The first thing we did was cancel our remaining Santorini excursion. I couldn't face the crowds-line-bus thing anymore!! In Santorini we went with 2 other cruise critic (absolutely wonderful) couples that we met on board for a drive around Santorini. John, our Aussie friend had the gumption to actually drive the streets of Santorini (thanks John!) we had a fabulous day driving over to Oia for some breathtaking sites and decent shopping, then to a local winery. We came back to Fira, returned the car & had a fun lunch at the top over looking the bay where the Summit regally sat. At this point there was a long line at the cable car to bring us back down to where we would get on the tenders, so my husband and I decided to walk the donkey trail back down the hill. The steps aren't great & you have to watch out for piles of donkey poo-but it was an adventure!!!! We also did a fantastic private Athens tour with taxigreece.com with another fun cruise critic couple(Hey Bob & Sandy!). The only thing to be aware of is that the taxis in Greece are very small, so if you're going on a private tour with another couple, the back of the vehicle is very tight and someone's going to be stuck in the middle on the hump (that was me!)!! The sites in Athens were very interesting. We also took the scenic drive around the coast to Poseidon's temple-spectacular!! Dubrovnik was probably the biggest surprise. We were met at the ship by Florio of www.queen-service.com. He took us on a full day tour of his beautiful city. We had a chance to walk the wall, do some shopping and then to a delicious homemade lunch at Konoba Konavle restaurant. He then drove us over to the beach resort town of Cavtat. In his very comfortable mini van we were able to see sites that those in buses could only dream of. Our final stop was Venice. Pulling into St Mark's basin with opera playing on the speakers all over the ship was something I will never forget! Most passengers purchased the water bus passes that the ship offered (I think it was a one day pass with unlimited trips for $10 per person.) This was a boat that took the passengers directly from the pier to St Mark's. We opted to walk instead. We wandered past the train station to the Grand Canal then to Cannaregio and the Ghetto. Next, a fantastic lunch of Pizza & Prosecco and to the Rialto Bridge for site seeing and shopping. The following day we checked into The Locanda Vivaldi right on the Riva Schiavone next to St. Marks. They offered a free Murano Glass Tour then from the hotel we wandered from the St Mark's area over to the Academia Bridge. Venice is the perfect walking city! The Celebrity Summit-She's not one of those flashy-glitzy ships. She's grand in a more sedate-refined manner. The ship is not in pristine condition, but who would expect her to be after 7 years of sailing with thousands of people onboard every week. We did express our interest in speaking with Daniel Stacy, the Hotel Director and sure enough we were given an appointment and ample opportunity to sit down & speak with him. Our concerns were all very minor for the most part, but it was a pleasure spending time discussing our problems & suggestions. As cruise critic members we found cards in our cabins inviting us to a Connections party the morning of the first day at sea. More crew showed up than members, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet with the upper echelons of the Celebrity Summit crew including Captain Berdos and John Howell, Cruise Director! We were all invited later on in the week for a tour of the bridge-WOW! It is obvious that Celebrity values cruise critic opinions, as a member it's nice to know they care about our cruising experiences. Our cabin 6135 which was on the Penthouse level in between the suites had a huge veranda complete with 2 chairs & a table that we could have room service meals upon. It also had 2 chaise lounges & a small table. It was always clean & comfortable. As we've done in the past, we tipped our cabin attendant at the beginning of the cruise & experienced outstanding service throughout. Chaise lounges on sea days were a problem. Cruisers went out at the beginning of the day & staked their claim, then disappeared for hours at a time! We always went all the way to the front of the ship & as high up as we could go (I think to the area where topless baiting used to be on the M class ships) and would find chairs there. Somehow they need to do a better job of encouraging people to remove the towels when they leave (otherwise you don't know if someone is still sitting there) and not allowing people to leave their belongings and walking away for long periods of time. I can't give you much info about the Flava night. We chose to eat in the main dining room then went out on deck to find the music ending. It was a picture perfect evening and many people were milling about on deck, not wanting to go inside…the dj just packed up at 11:00 to go play in the lounge without any announcement-it would have been nice if someone could have stayed outside on deck, playing music for a longer time. We only went to 2 shows while we were on board. The first, a medley of Broadway shows was good-the ship entertainment staff is always fun to watch. The second was a magic show that was drawn out & boring. We had second seating dining and by the time dinner was over we were ready to retire for the night. I had requested & received a table for two-which was wonderful, however next cruise we're requesting a table for 8. It's nice at the end of the day to share the day's experiences with tablemates. A few of the cruise critic members were at a table nearby so we would stop by after we were finished to enjoy laughter and desert with them. (Thank you Carol & Ron, Marilyn & John, Phyllis & Frank, and Sally & Ken-I miss you all already!!) We had dinner at the Normandie restaurant twice. The service, food and ambiance were not to be missed. The casual restaurant, the Waterfall café was well worth the $2.00 per person service charge-make sure to make reservations early in the day for this restaurant. The food in the main dining room wasn't bad, but not as good as I remember from past Celebrity cruises. The service was decent-our assistant waiter was more responsive than the waiter, surprising since he was responsible for many more tables. The wine sommeliers were very attentive, but mixed drinks in the dining room were hard to come by. Disembarkation- We requested the last group leaving the ship because we were staying one night in Venice. It seemed that there were no problems with everyone leaving the ship. We went to retrieve our luggage then were escorted outside by a porter. We were taking a water taxi with another cruise critic couple. He walked us over to the waiting area for the water taxis, then dropped our luggage off and graciously accepted his tip. Then we find out that we needed to stop by the water taxi desk before we walked outside to reserve and pay for a water taxi. We then had to walk back inside to make the arrangements that we were unaware of. We also found out that there was a vaporetto right there that has direct service to St Mark's for 6.5 euros per person and 3 euros per suitcase. At the airport if you take the water taxi there is a 7 minute-easy walk to the terminal. Don't allow the porters there to convince you that you need the 40 euro minivan to the terminal door-it's definitely a rip-off (glad we didn't have enough euros & turned down the offer!) It would have been nice if Celebrity printed instructions and available options for Disembarkation for the many of us who were not using the Celebrity transfers. This was the trip of a lifetime! The people-fantastic, the ship-wonderful, the crew-professional & friendly, the ports-beautiful and interesting. We booked the maiden voyage of the Celebrity Equinox for another great trip to Europe-if it's ½ as good as this trip was, it will be spectacular!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Summit, August 3, 2008, Venice to Barcelona. Disregarding nearly every form of airline screwup known to man, the cruise was outstanding. The ship performed perfectly, the crew was very attentive and the ports were each very interesting ... Read More
Summit, August 3, 2008, Venice to Barcelona. Disregarding nearly every form of airline screwup known to man, the cruise was outstanding. The ship performed perfectly, the crew was very attentive and the ports were each very interesting in their individual way. The good: Unless otherwise indicated below, everything was good! The Summit is a great ship, and the major onboard facilities all seemed to be working. I didn't catch any reports of mechanical issues anywhere. We had cabin 7158 (starboard/aft/veranda) and there were no problems with water pressure, temperature, air conditioning, noise, etc. Despite financial pressures apparently causing some staff retention problems (declining buying power of the US dollar world-wide), I never ran into any bad attitudes in the staff or crew, and John (Cruise Director) did an all-around excellent job. Because we had the combination of late dining and early port calls, the DW and I only attended a few of the evening shows, but the guest entertainers and theater company did a quality job with the stage. Also, the lounge acts in the various venues around the ship were very good. No complaints at all. We had two Cruise Critic meetings during the cruise, and I feel very positive about the exchange of information. At least to me, it sounded like RCL/Celebrity monitors CC and takes the feedback to heart. Keep up the good work! We did dine in the Normandie restaurant twice, and the experience was exceptional. The service and ambiance were fantastic, and the food was generally perfect. I normally despise liver in all of its forms, but I got out of my comfort zone by ordering the fois gras, and it was magnificent. I hate it when that happens! Now I'll need to risk it again some time, and I know it won't be that good anywhere else. The not-so-good: The wait at embarkation was too long, and too hot. The building facility is very basic. Our inbound flight was delayed, but I'm glad we didn't get there on time. Two more hours of waiting in that lobby would have been too much! We were on an Acropolis tour in Athens and the crowds were massive. Our group made it to the top, but the access to the site was closed shortly thereafter because the hill was simply overwhelmed with tourists. It was exciting to stand in the midst of so much history, but the amount of reconstruction and scaffolding around the monuments was definitely a detraction. On our way out of the site, trying to locate our tour bus was a joke. We were running around the parking lot, through continually moving buses, looking for a little paper sign in the front window. After each lap, everything moved around so there was no way to work methodically through the area. In Rome, our original tour was cancelled, so we rebooked to a tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's and the Coliseum. I was really looking forward to the Vatican museum, and spending some time with their incredible art collection. No such luck. In reality, the museum tour is just a path to get from the edge of the Vatican property to the entrance of the Sistine Chapel. We were herded quickly through a couple of galleries of statues, paintings and tapestries and that was the sum total of the Vatican Museum experience. What little we did see was magnificent, but it wasn't a museum tour. Regardless, the Sistine Chapel was interesting and St. Peter's is awe inspiring. The tour of the Coliseum was pretty much as expected. The entire day in Rome was hot (very), crowded and rushed. I guess I can understand the rush to some extent, given the amount of history that we were trying to cram into a few hours. Florence has way too much to see in one day, and that makes any tour a challenge. We went to the Accademia Museum to view the David, then continued a walking tour around several of the larger buildings in the area, including the Duomo complex, Ponte Vecchio bridge, Palazzo Vecchio, etc. The tour description indicated about 2 miles of walking, but I would estimate closer to 4 miles. I routinely walk over two miles as part of my exercise routine, and this was longer. The crowds were not as bad as Athens or Rome, but it was still very busy. I'm glad we didn't stand in line for the Uffizi Gallery - about a two hour line for people without reservations! We have cruised with Celebrity before, and fresh morning waffles were a favorite. Unfortunately, the Summit appears to have sacrificed quantity for quality. I was never able to get one hot off the griddle, as there was always a pre-cooked buffet pan waiting. Still OK, but quality definitely suffered. The Interactive TV system is flaky. About 25% of the time it wouldn't respond at all for ordering room service or checking an account balance. One of our breakfast (room service) orders simply disappeared. I never was brave or desperate enough to attempt a pay-per-view movie with it. Mysteries: Even the Normandie dinner lobster was over-cooked and rubbery. I also had trouble getting a steak, filet or lamb chop any less cooked than medium. I like rare, and that was seemingly impossible. Cold soups were excellent, but the desserts were weak, with the exception of the Normandie specialties. If you order a root beer float at the Cova (it's on the menu), you're not going to get what you're expecting. More like a thin shake. Good, but not a float. The "Notes" area is now an Acupuncture clinic. Didn't try that one. The photographer assigned to taking formal-night photos in our area of the dining room seems to have some problem with couples putting their arms around each other. He was adamant about people being "shoulder to shoulder" with arms down. It was annoying initially, but turned into a running joke at our table. Overall, I give the whole cruise four stars out of five, and I would do it again any day. Some Photos: http://good-times.webshots.com/album/565510557NHDaZd Later! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
Some background. We are a well traveled 42 year old couple traveling with our 16 year old daughter. We have been on 3 cruises prior to this one. We have never taken ships excursions and have always done our trips on our own, with our own ... Read More
Some background. We are a well traveled 42 year old couple traveling with our 16 year old daughter. We have been on 3 cruises prior to this one. We have never taken ships excursions and have always done our trips on our own, with our own planning. This was an extremely busy cruise and the extensive planning made it easy. We did much more than the ships tours at 1/10 the cost and on our own time and leisure. We clearly understand the cost/benefits of some cruise lines and itineraries and had appropriate expectations. Venice Upon arrival from multiple delayed flights, we arrived after we had been quoted 90-100eu for a water taxi, but since we met up with another cruise critic couple on the plane we decided to spit the cost. When the taxi service realized there would be two hotel stops the rate went to $135eu. We had planned on purchasing the Vaporetto pass for the 72 hours, but we didn't and thankfully so as we did not use it once while there. Venice was smaller than I expected and can be done easily on foot which is what we did. We did get lost a few times, but that just added to the fun of this incredible city. We spent 2 nights prior to boarding at the Westin Europa and Regina on points and were upgraded in both our rooms. After 2 days in Venice, we were thoroughly exhausted. The crowds were incredible and we did our best by staying out of the crowded tourist areas during peak afternoon times. We used the free Rick Steve's podcast audio tours for many of the sites here and really enjoyed the Frari Church and its history. Embarkation We decided to spend the day in Venice and show up around 4pm on the first day in port since we had the next day here too. We opted to spend the 100eu to get a water taxi from our hotel to the ship via the Grand Canal. Embarkation had started 4 hours earlier, so there was no one around. Once on the ship we knew our bags would be a while so we went to the Waterfall Cafe for a snack and made reservations for the Normandy that night at 8pm. After 3+ hours of our bags still not showing up we had our room attendant go search for the bags. He was unsuccessful; however they did show up a few minutes later giving us little time to change for dinner. This was VERY disappointing seeing there was no one checking in and it should not have taken nearly 4 hours to get our bags. Others said they too were late getting their bags, in fact we saw some bags showing up 3-4 days later at port from misrouted airlines. The Normandy experience was just OK, we commonly eat at high end restaurants so we are not easily impressed. Service was fine, if not annoying with their high level of attention. The food was well prepared and flavorful, about what I would expect from this level. Croatia We were told the ships shuttle was $10/pp. We opted to take a taxi for $10eu each way making our R/T taxi ride about $30 for three of us, about the same if we had take the lemming (Ships) bus. We used the ATM just outside the Pile gate to get about $50 in local currency and did the wall tour, backwards (Clockwise) as recommended. We then walked around town, had lunch away from the tourist areas and returned by walking up to one of the many taxi's waiting at the walls entrance for a quick ride back to the ship. We did see some walking on their own, but I don't think they were walking to the old town area which is an impractical distance to walk. Croatia is an easy port to do on your own and I would recommend anyone to do this on your own. You can easily see the sites, have lunch and shop in 3-4 hours here. Santorini I had given my family the choice of the donkey up or down the hill. They hesitantly agreed to go up the hill on the donkeys. It was the one experience of the whole trip that will NEVER be forgotten. As you get off the tender you will be guided by the donkey men who will try and get you to ride one of their donkeys up the hill. It was $5eu per person. I was surprised to see they just put you on a donkey and tell it to go up the hill on its own. Now, I use "on its own" because it is just that. You are at the mercy of the donkey to go or stop at its leisure. I found that yelling did nothing. Reaching back and slapping its' rear got it going. If one donkey stopped they all stopped. If one passed your stopped donkey, they would join up and start again. I would highly recommend doing this just once for the experience. Once we went into town we found not too much to do on our own, so we rented a car for the day and went to the far end of the island and went to the beach. After a few hours on the beach we then drove back to Oia for a late lunch then returned back to take the gondola back down. Santorini is an easy port to do on your own. I would recommend simply taking the city bus to Oia for shopping and lunch and return to Fira for more shopping. This is a leisure port that anyone can easily do on their own. Athens I had read so many horror stories about the taxi drivers here that I would not even respond to their requests for a taxi ride. We opted to walk from the ship to the train station. We were told it was only about a 20 minute walk when in reality it was more like 45 minutes since it turned out to be about a mile and a half. The taxi board at the Cruise ship terminal says a taxi to the Acropolis should be $8eu, but I did hear people pay $20eu for a taxi to the Acropolis, if true would really be the way to go. Be careful, taxis try and get an agreed rate then at the end tell you that was per person. We had a great time walking around the Plaka and the Acropolis here on our own. Took the train back and once again walked back. Probably did about 5 miles walking on this port and could have cut out about 3 miles had we taken a cab. Naples Without a doubt, Naples was one of our favorite ports because we went to Sorrento. We opted to take the hydrofoil over to Sorrento for a couple hours then take the train back to Pompeii and back to Naples. We underestimated the time we wanted to spend wandering around Sorrento, due to the incredible shops and scenery. We then walked over to the Sorrento train station which stopped right at the entrance to the Pompeii ruins. Again, even with umbrellas, it was hot out and only felt like seeing a cursory view of the ruins. We got right back on the train and got off in Naples. We made the easy walk over to Da Michele for some authentic pizza. A 16" margarita pizza was $4eu, a tasty bargain to say the least. After a late lunch we made the easy walk over to the port and back on the ship. Rome We set new records as the tour desk did not even have times earlier than 7:50 for the train schedule. We not only got off the ship by 7:10, we were on the 7:30 train which put us in Rome for the 8:40 arrival at the St. Peters stop. An easy 20 minute walk to the entrance of the Vatican put us with plenty of time to spare for our 9:15am prepaid entrance to the Vatican. We were traveling with another couple we met on the ship that did not reserve their entrance to the museum and proceeded to get in the line that was already 1000 ft. long. Surprisingly, by the time we got our tour group together and to the tour entrance, our friends were already inside the Vatican museum entrance AND bought their tickets making their wait at 9am about 10-15 minutes. After pounding out the Vatican museum and seeing the Basilica in about 3 hours, we took a taxi to the Coliseum, walked it and the Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps.. (Note- Make sure to buy your Coliseum/Forum/Palatine tickets at the Palatine ticket booth, just 100 yards from the Coliseum). The line to get tickets at the Coliseum was at least 45 minutes long and we were able to walk right in. From the Spanish Steps we took the Metro back to the Termini station for a 4pm train back to the ship which should have given us about an hour and half safety margin About half way back the train stopped for no apparent reason. We sat on the tracks in the middle of nowhere for about 45 minutes until we continued our journey. We found out later the trains went on strike and ALL trains had stopped. Ironically there was an accident on the highways which delayed 13 tour buses and the ship left port at 8pm, an hour later than scheduled. Florence We took the ships shuttle to the port entrance and walked the three blocks to the train station. The train takes you right into the heart of Florence making everything within easy walking distance. We had booked 11:15am reserved entrance to the Uffizi and after seeing the lines, we were glad we did. We went up at 10am to see if we could get in earlier and they didn't bat an eye issuing the admission at 10am. Using Rick Steve's Uffizi audio tour we were able to see, in detail the pieces that were of interest to us. We then proceeded to Santa Croce (Which I highly recommend) to see the burial place of many famous historical figures. We then took the train ride back with a 1 hour stop to take the requisite pictures in Pisa makes this an easy do it yourself port. Villefranche/Monaco This is such and easy port to do on your own. We took the city bus into Nice and walked around for a bit, but since it was so hot we opted to head up to Eze. We walked back to the bus terminal and took the 20 minute ride up to Eze. We walked around for a bit and decided we were too worn out from the previous 3 intense days and it was hot, so we opted to head down to Monaco. We did not realize the bus only ran down to Monaco like once every 1.5 hours so we had a quick lunch right next to the bus stop in Eze. We tried to get a waiting taxi for the 7km ride to Monaco, but they wanted $50eu for the 15 minute ride. After a brief walk around Monaco, we jumped on the wrong train back to Villefranche that was actually the express train to Nice. Once in Nice, we jumped back on the train for the 7 minute ride back to the ships tender early in the afternoon. Debarkation We were scheduled to meet in the lounge at 7am to disembark. Instead we went to the dining room and finished around 7:30am and made our way directly to the gangway. There was no one around and we walked right off the ship. Since the others in our disembarkation group had already exited and claimed their bags, we simply walked right up to the baggage carousel and picked up our bags and walked to the waiting taxis. We were told the taxi should only cost about $10eu to Las Ramblas, but baggage was extra. Our taxi driver quoted us $25eu and he explained it was because there is a $2.40eu per person port charge and $1eu per bag. We argued a bit and tried to walk off. He convinced me this was the going rate and he would run the meter to prove it. On the way at one intersection our taxi pulled up to another taxi and our driver said "Punta Punta" meaning he had some whining customer (to put it politely). After taking a round about way to our hotel (Le Meridian) the meter read $8eu. I simply got out of the taxi and asked the bell men to intervene since they were well armed as to the costs of the taxi service. They too thought he was a rip off and told him he was ripping us off. He finally agreed to take $20eu which I reluctantly agreed to. Barcelona Barcelona is an awesome city. We went first thing to Sagrada Familia and found it incredible and a definite "do not miss" on our trip. Was used the subway which I found to be one of the best in the world, I wish the USA could take some notes here. An older couple befriended us during open seating at breakfast that morning and asked to join us for our day in Barcelona. When we were getting on the subway a man and woman pushed her as they went on board and tried of open the ladies purse. Unsuccessful, they jumped off the subway train just as the doors were closing. The rest of our day was spent wandering Las Ramblas, having Tapas and just getting lost. The next morning we found the bus that left just up the street that went directly to the airport for $4eu person and really didn't want to deal with the taxi drivers again. After we got on the bus we watched the others in line waiting to board. We saw two men at the end of the line with no baggage, we watched as they slowly tried to open the baggage of the passenger at the end of the line. My wife knocked on the window to get his attention. He looked at her and she motioned to the guy behind him. He simply smiled and told the crook she was trying to talk to him. Fed up with crime in general, I climbed over everyone trying to get on the bus and told the man he was about to be a victim from the two crooks standing in front of him. I told off the thieves and told them to leave. We had been warned about the thieves and pickpockets throughout the cruise ports. We saw nothing in any of the other ports to make us look over our shoulder, with the exception of Barcelona which we encountered 2 incidents in less than 24 hours. Barcelona was one of our favorite cities, but after the criminal experiences, we would have to seriously reconsider ever coming back here. The Ship Experience John, the ships cruise director met us at our cruise critic get together with some hors d'oeuvres and light drinks. He had some of the staff attend as well. John mentioned he follows cruise critic very closely and reads ALL the reviews (Hi John!) I was glad to see such reception from the crew to our group as well as a great turnout from the Roll-Call. The sports deck was still closed during most of our trip since they were still finishing the refurbishment from dry dock that was not completed. The condition of the ship was good. I was surprised to see a need for significant refinishing on the rails on the 10th floor near the T-Pools. This is easily repaired and I was surprised this was not taken care of in dry dock. The food was about what we expected, good, not great. Portion sizes were not large, but they were appropriate. Food Selection was good at the dining room. We never ate at the buffet, but had some snacks here. We found the selection decent, but not extensive. We enjoyed the pizza at the rear buffet area. I loved the homemade ice cream on board, but found the lines unacceptable. We watched as many as 16 people waiting in line with one attendant is not right. I complained to the food service manager on duty and he grabbed someone out of the hallway and told them to scoop ice cream for a while. That lasted about 2 minutes and the clerk would disappear without shortening the line. Once again I brought it to the attention of the food service manager and he once again grabbed someone walking by to assist. As to the ship, it was about what we expected. It was a well run machine, classy and efficient. The 12 days gave us ample time to form friendships and recognize familiar faces in port. We found the ship was about 60% Americans and for the most part they were upper middle class and respectful. Entertainment The Celebrity Dancers and Singers were expected to be typical and we were not too interested in seeing another high school type production. Boy, were we wrong! The quality of the dancers and singers was excellent. Their Broadway musical was very well done and in our opinion was on par with some of the original productions we have seen firsthand. Granted the sets were limited, but this is a cruise ship and you only have so much to work with. I guess we went in with low expectations and they were far exceeded. We did not go to see the 4 acappella singers in the theater as it did not interest me. We did see them performing all over the ship and felt the ship was relying on their mediocre performance too heavily throughout the cruise. The ships band was awesome and we did enjoy their performances throughout the ship and the cruise. We were just too tired to see the comedian in the theater his first night. I love a good comedian and again, I skipped him partially due to low expectations. We did see him on one of the last nights and found him hilarious and regretted not seeing him on his first night. I read on other reviews complaints about the cost of drinks on the ship. To anyone who has ever ordered a drink at a nice restaurant or ANY restaurant in Europe knows $6-$8us for a mixed drink is an incredible bargain. We found $6eu for sodas commonplace in Venice, that's about $10us for a soda let alone a mixed drink which we found as high as $20eu or $30us at some ports. Sodas on the ship ran $1.95, which is cheaper than any sit down type restaurant I know of here in the States, let alone in the EU. Shuttle costs I found the whole idea of the ship charging for shuttle services offensive. I soon expect them to charge for tender services as well. We never used the shuttle since they don't start until about an hour after the ship docks which was an hour less time in port for us, so we did it our own, for less money too. Taxis were readily available right at the ship at all the ports, however some of them did not want a short trip to the train station or to town, they only wanted to do all day tours for a small fortune. 4 days of intensity We choose this ship for its itinerary. It is a very intensive trip to say the least. There are four days in which you have Naples, Rome, Florence and Nice/Monaco all back to back without a break making the next day which is at sea very welcoming. I wish they could have simply done the overnight in Rome which would have broken up the intensity and given much need time to see more of Rome as well. The Room We thoroughly researched which room we wanted on the ship. We knew this was a very port intensive trip and we wouldn't spend much time in the room. We opted for outside room 9001 which is on the port side. We loved the size and layout of this room since our 16yo daughter was sharing it with us. Our room steward asked if we wanted the sofa bed left open and we did. The room gave us the open sofa bed, the king size bed then a nice sitting area with 2 chairs and a table PLUS the vanity with another chair. The room size is about 250sq. ft. which puts it in the suite category for the outside cabin price. One of the things we liked best about the far forward room was there was very little foot traffic, even from the crew staff quarters in front of us which I read other complain about. Just one floor up was the spa cafe which we ate at almost every morning. Usually a breakfast of cereals, breads and bagels, fresh fruit and yogurts made us eat better and the fact the buffet was so far away made it uninviting. The spa area and T-Pool were very convenient as well. In fact the first week I never used our rooms shower, it was easier for me to use the locker rooms to shower in. They even had free razors and shaving cream to use here. Summary Overall we had a great trip. The itinerary is way too much to consider a vacation; this was an intense history lesson. We walked about 3-5 miles at each port; saw all the sites with only a basic cursory view due to the time limitations at each port. We returned home exhausted from our travels with a great understanding of what each country and port has to offer. We would definitely recommend the Summit and this itinerary as it was a trip we will not soon forget! I should be able to post some of the 1500+ pictures we took and you can view them here: http://picasaweb.google.com/lawsons.pictures/SummitCruiseJune162008 If you have any questions, feel free to email me at jlawson@Bigvalley.net Read Less
Sail Date June 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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