12 Celebrity Summit Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

We had an incredible time with Celebrity on our Caribbean cruise. We started in Puerto Rico, going to St Thomas St John, St Maartin, Bermuda, then back to NJ (where we live), so we only had to take one flight, which was handy. From start ... Read More
We had an incredible time with Celebrity on our Caribbean cruise. We started in Puerto Rico, going to St Thomas St John, St Maartin, Bermuda, then back to NJ (where we live), so we only had to take one flight, which was handy. From start to finish, we had a great time with the exceptional service of the staff, beautiful ship, and tasty food and drinks. I'm a vegetarian, so I'm always a bit worried about what I'll be able to eat, but there were delicious options for every meal and both my husband and I loved it all. Dinners were our favorite as we had our sommelier Raul providing great recommendations on the wine for the night and our waiter Marvin suggesting foods we would like based on our previous meals, nailing it every time. We are already looking int our next cruise with Celebrity; I would recommend them to anyone looking to try a cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Let me start out by saying that this cruise was our 5th. We have done 2 Norwegians and previously we have been on Celebrity Silhouette and Reflection. After some serious research we have decided to remain loyal to Celebrity as they seem to ... Read More
Let me start out by saying that this cruise was our 5th. We have done 2 Norwegians and previously we have been on Celebrity Silhouette and Reflection. After some serious research we have decided to remain loyal to Celebrity as they seem to suit our life style. We like good food, exciting cocktails, fantastic service and an older more refined crowd that still likes to enjoy themselves. We chose Summit this year because of the Caribbean itinerary. We want to go to places that we have not yet been which starts to get a little difficult after having been on 5 cruises. Summit is an older, smaller ship than those we have sailed on in the past however, reviews were good and a smaller ship can be a more intimate experience they stated. We opted for the Aqua Class having done Concierge class on past Celebrity Cruises. In a nutshell, it was explained to me by Celebrity Aqua Class generally includes all the amenities of Concierge Class plus additional perks such as access to exclusive Blu restaurant and the Persian Gardens Spa. The boarding process was painless and stream lined. One of the first things I noticed once on board was the age of the ship. Although maintained well one could not help but notice the rust that is inevitable when saltwater comes in contact with steel. Having never sailed on an older ship one could not help but feel a little sad to see what was once been a grand lady of the seas starting to show her age. Not a deal breaker but lesson learned. After taking a walkabout the ship we were ready for some lunch. Upon arriving at the main dining room we were informed that the lunch this day was only for Concierge Class. Whoo, Whoo, Whoo, stop the clock. We're Aqua Class. Aqua Class is higher on the food chain than Concierge and Blu is not open for lunch. Where are we to eat? Well, where else...the buffet. People cruise for many reasons. Some people cruise for the all you can eat buffet. We're not one of them. If you've never been to the buffet on a cruise ship it’s a feeding frenzy. I don't want to come off as an elitist, I’m not, it’s just that we are more quality than quantity although we have been known to enjoy the buffet for breakfast and coffee on port days before an excursion. OK, not a deal breaker just another lesson learned. Blu was nice with amazing service. The staff were attentive, remembered our names, preferences and always seated us quickly. The food was what I would consider average. After several nights we started comparing the Blu menu to the Main dining room menu. This night we liked what was being served in the main dining room so we decided to eat there. It’s a different experience. Blu is small and intimate. The main dining room is grander with its 2 story ceiling to floor windows, grand stair case and is more akin to the tradition of cruise ship sailing from days gone by. “Table for 2 please.” “What’s that? Were Aqua Class and we have to eat in Blu?” “But we don’t care for the menu in Blu tonight. I’m sorry sir but you must eat at Blu”. And before we could say a word the hostess was on the phone with the matra de at Blu explaining to him that 2 of his diners had gone rogue and were currently off the reservation, no pun intended. We returned to Blu where our matra de was waiting for use. He seemed genuinely disappointed in us. We told him that we love Blu, it’s just that this night we decided to go for a change. Would it be possible to order off the Main Dining room menu? After all both restaurants share a common kitchen. We were told that this would be nearly impossible and would take forever. Do you see where I’m going with this? Perhaps we are just not Aqua Class people. Perhaps, just perhaps were are Concierge people. After it was all said and done we were able to get the meals from the main dining room in Blu but not without feeling a little like pains in the ass. OK, I have yet to have a bad day on a cruise ship and these turn of events were far from doing so. It’s like going to a restaurant and ordering wrong. There is nothing wrong with the meal. I just didn’t care for it. Getting back to the age of the ship. Did I mention that it was starting to show her age? She was. And along with that it seemed that a lot of things were not working as they should. No deal breakers but accumulatively it started to become a Nuisance. Let me give you a couple of examples. Our refrigerator in our room didn’t work, no problem they replaced it however the new one never really got to temp. My card would not work in the door to our cabin. It would work for a while and then it would just stop. I literally had to have it changed 4 times. The door to the balcony would not stay open in high seas. I would put the deck chair in the door way to keep it open while we slept. The bottom of the shower door did not make a good seal and the bathroom floor would fill up with water during showers. We did the best we could until the seal completely fell off. I told our cabin steward about this and told him that I would leave the seal in the sink. The remote for the TV did not work and had to be replaced. When we had returned to our cabin it still had not been repaired. One night we stopped into the wine cellar for a happy hour. My wife had 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, her go to drink and I had a Monkey Shoulders Scotch. Keep in mind I am not a Scotch drinker I ordered it because I like the name. The next morning we saw a charge on our account for $70.00. When I enquired about the charge I was told it was for 2 glass of wine and a glass of scotch. Whoo, Whoo, Whoo, stop the clock. I have the Premium Drink package. Did I mention that I was Aqua Class.? Shouldn’t your bartender give you a head up if you are ordering something out of your package? Shouldn’t you have to sign something if you are ordering out of package? I was pretty sure I did not sign anything and I told the Guest Relations Rep that if I did I would own it but I don’t think I did. And to add insult to injury I would have enjoyed the scotch a hell of a lot more had I know what I was paying for it. In the end they voided the charge. Anyhow I’m rambling. Despite this less than stellar review I still love Celebrity and I have already booked my next cruse on The Equinox in Jan 2019. I still feel that Celebrity is a great value and will continue to cruise with them. Hope this is helpful. More to follow....................... Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We drove down to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. We enjoyed the large two-room suite and manager's evening reception with drinks and snacks. The short drive to Port Everglades was ... Read More
We drove down to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at Embassy Suites. We enjoyed the large two-room suite and manager's evening reception with drinks and snacks. The short drive to Port Everglades was unfortunately prolonged an additional 30-minutes because our Garmin GPS kept sending on a wild goose chase through a shopping center rather than the road to Port Everglades. Stateroom: We stayed in a marvelous Sky Suite in deck 6 near the aft section of the ship. Our stateroom attendant did a great job – friendly and efficient. He promptly adjusted things we requested like removing the heavy bed comforter and replaced it with a blanket. The bathroom was huge! Abundant storage for sundries with two sinks, a sitting bath tub and the most luxurious shower I can ever remember. Luminae: The restaurant is on Deck 4 and reserved for suite guests. We went straight there after embarkation to relax, have a beer and enjoy lunch. Passengers not staying in suites may accompany their friends for an addition $30 per person for dinner. Reservations are recommended. We found the extra cost very reasonable to avoid the chaos in the main dining room. Service is superb and quality of the food excels many of the specialty restaurants. Embarkation and Debarkation: The Celebrity Summit was docked at Terminal 21 right next to the Midport Parking Garage. Expedited lines for both were available for suite guests. We were grateful to minimize time standing in lines. Luggage delivery: We dropped our luggage off at 11:15am with the usual gratuity and received them in our suite by 2:30. Very good! What we did not like about the cruise: Time Change: The ship changed all the clocks ahead one-hour after the formal night on Day 3. Unfortunately, that night was also very rocky and windy. There was a lot of broken dishes in the main dining room. Waiters had a difficult time balancing the dishes on a pitching deck. There were many passengers sea sick because of the weather and imposed jet lag from losing an additional hour sleep. The ship did not change the time back to Eastern Standard Time until Day 7, the last night of the cruise. Our humble advice to the captain: PLEASE STAY ON SHIP'S TIME! Itinerary Change: The captain wisely decided to bypass tendering into the port on our scheduled stop at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic due to high wind and waves. He docked at Puerto Rico instead. I decided to stay on the ship. St. Thomas Dock: Celebrity docked at the Crown Bay Pier instead Havensight Mall, which has fantastic shopping and Paradise Point for spectacular views, good food and great drinks. We took a taxi to Mountain Top for shopping. Cost from Crown Bay is $20 per person, each way. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We booked this cruise 3 weeks PTD for the amazing price for an inside stateroom. The cabin was well appointed and roomy. I couldn't believe all the storage spaces. We went to Antigua, St. Kitts and St. Thomas. Nassau was aborted ... Read More
We booked this cruise 3 weeks PTD for the amazing price for an inside stateroom. The cabin was well appointed and roomy. I couldn't believe all the storage spaces. We went to Antigua, St. Kitts and St. Thomas. Nassau was aborted due to high seas. We did tours on St. Kitts and St. Thomas. Stayed on board for Antigua. Their big claim to fame is 365 beaches. We preferred the lovely poolside and spa pol areas. So relaxing and with hardly any passengers around, you did not feel cramped for space. Really glad we did that because our 3 sea days were not so nice poolside. Way too many people for such a small area. It was crowded and noisy. This was our first Celebrity cruise and I had heard great reviews about the food. Sadly, we were disappointed. The Cosmopolitan dining room was very pretty, service excellent but the food was just so-so. It could have had more flavour and be hotter. The Oasis Cafe (buffet) lacked variety. Plus there were 4 separate buffet areas, the 2 standard (port and starboard) and then a separate pizza place and a grill at the stern. Unless you spend time walking allover the place, you would never know about the last 2. So it was a lot of walking just to see what was there and then go back to get what you want. Plenty of seating and the service was very attentive. The food lacked in flavour and needs to be hotter. Embarkation was San Juan and I will never sail from there again. You can find great cruises out of Florida without the hassle and extra expense of flying to San Juan. It was a good thing we flew in 1 day early. I had the unfortunate experience of having one bag not arrive when I did. It was a complete mess trying to have the bag delivered to the ship. American Airlines said they would, Celebrity said the porters pick them up. Well, i was notified by Guest Services that the porters said they could not promise to get the bag to the ship on time. I was told the best way was to go get it myself. Seriously! So I was already on board and getting settled in when I had to take a cab back to the airport. The bag was there but AA didn't understand why I came for it. It was tagged for 5pm delivery. Get bag, get cab and go back to ship. $50 later I am at the pier with my bag. It became a finger pointing contest as to who lied to whom and I was the one caught in t he middle. I blame Guest Services for not knowing procedure and sending me back to the airport. And here's the clincher .... upon returning to the ship, I was not allowed back on. Why? Because I had my husband's ship card. It was scanned when I left the ship but no one noticed it was the wrong card. So now ship's log has me on board and my husband off. By this point I was ready for a complete melt down. Fortunately a very nice man with port services spoke with embarkation check -in and I was whisked to a special desk, issued a new card (thank heavens I had my passport) and then escorted to the ship. My escort demanded to speak with ship's security supervisor who immediately took over. I was then escorted to our room where the security officer verified my husband's presence and identity (recording it all on a body camera). I was so stressed and exhausted (did I mention HOT too?) Sadly, not a single Celebrity security person ever apologized. I went back to Guest relations several times but the woman who helped me initially was never there and I really did not want to repeat this tale of woe. As for the stress, the massage I had booked earlier was the perfect remedy. Spa services...WOW!! I can't say enough good things. We had a couples massage and I had a pedicure. The best I have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
A very low fare made us take this cruise at the last minute ,the condition of the bathroom floor in need of new caulking and water leaking from the shower was a letdown. The ship is old and needs an upgrade,the food is better than the ... Read More
A very low fare made us take this cruise at the last minute ,the condition of the bathroom floor in need of new caulking and water leaking from the shower was a letdown. The ship is old and needs an upgrade,the food is better than the other lines, the shows were very good but there was very little to do during the 3 sea days.Our cabin attendant wasn`t as good as we expected but the service in the rest of the ship was great.We didn`t take any shore excursions. Embarkation was great, in 20 minutes we were done,disembarkation was slowed by customs but were done in an hour.[had the same problem in Fort Lauderdale in the past] Very few children on board.The open areas were a little crowded during the 3 consecutive sea days.The adult pool was made into a theselotherapy pool and we think it should go back to a regular pool. Will do it again next year for the same rates. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We have cruised 5 times now and are trying to narrow down what cruise line and style we like best. Celebrity Summit definitely is NOT one we would choose again. We chose this based on recommendations from our travel agent that we would ... Read More
We have cruised 5 times now and are trying to narrow down what cruise line and style we like best. Celebrity Summit definitely is NOT one we would choose again. We chose this based on recommendations from our travel agent that we would enjoy the smaller ship size and atmosphere as it is a "step up from Royal Caribbean." Though we did enjoy the smaller size (the ship was easy to remember and navigate), the overall atmosphere was disappointing to say the least. Let's start with the pros: Embarking/disembarking was very easy-- a definite plus! Our balcony stateroom (9179) was good (cabin service was amazing!) The bed was comfortable, the bathroom shower was much more spacious than others we've experienced (with a shower curtain instead of a capsule that you step into). The balcony had a great view and was unobstructed. There was plenty of storage areas in the room also Plenty of deck chairs near the pool (this may be because the cruise was running at a little over 1/2 it's capacity). Room service was quick and attentive No smoking in the casino All public bathrooms were always very clean Cons: The overall atmosphere seems more like a livelier ride in an elevator than a Caribbean vacation cruise. The "all inclusive beverage package" included in the booking sale was not all inclusive and this got very annoying to have to ask every time we ordered a drink from a different bartender if our drinks were covered under our package level. A few times we were charged for drinks and had to have our bill corrected. The entertainment was about right for a cruise ship, but it did cater to an older crowd. The dining room is VERY strict about their dress code. It was frustrating to my husband to have to change into pants just to eat dinner and then go back to the room and change back into shorts. Several others were upset at this dress code (which is understood on formal night, but on average nights seems a bit overkill for a Caribbean cruise). The pools and hot tubs closed at 8 p.m. -- so much for relaxing in a hot tub after dinner. The music at the pool was repetitive -- same songs every afternoon. It got old. I sure don't want to seem like a cruise snob and the bottom line is that we were in the Caribbean and any day there is a great day! However, if you are looking for that Caribbean vacation feel-- this is not the boat for you. If you are looking for calmness and maybe some Zzzz's-- (and that's ok if that's you!) -- then this is your boat! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I traveled wth my mother who is 81 and I'm 54 . This was a repo cruise from Bayonne NJ we had three days at sea with a stop in St Martin and St Thomas . This was our first cruise with Celebrity my mother had to use a cane for this ... Read More
I traveled wth my mother who is 81 and I'm 54 . This was a repo cruise from Bayonne NJ we had three days at sea with a stop in St Martin and St Thomas . This was our first cruise with Celebrity my mother had to use a cane for this trip and the cruise line was very helpful with getting her in the handicap line for boarding the ship . We were able to board after the people who were in suites. For disembarking they had wheel chair assistance from ship to cab which was a blessing because my mom's mobility got worse during the trip. We were in room 9008 our stateroom attendant was Bambang he did a great job with keeping room cleaned and providing ice for us etc. He even cleaned the balcony Windows . I've been on many cruises and I would have to say this cabin was the best , even though it was an older ship . I did not notice any damage to this cabin whatsoever it had a lot of storage space and we only had to go up one flight for the buffet and spa. The ship as a whole was very beautiful and was easy to find where everything was if you are directionally challenged like me. The public bathrooms were kept cleaned as was everything else I did not notice any tables in the buffet that were left dirty. There was always someone coming around to clean tables. The food was so good! If there was something that did not appeal to your taste buds, trust me you could easily find something that did. The issue I had is that when something was really good it would disappear and never be replaced . The cookie pie was good and the lobster in the dining room was good . The oriental night in the buffet was good too. The entertainment was not so good . I only enjoyed the comedian . On other cruises I would attend every show on this one, we did not attend a couple and did not attend the final show it was that painful. They had a Motown theme show and it was so so, how can you mess up a Motown show?? Service was EXCELLENT ! One night we had dinner at Quisine and could not find it so I ask this gentlemen for directions we were all the way aft and he was going aft and stopped to walk us to the restaurant which was mid ship and made sure the person in the restaurant knew we were there for dinner. I did not get his name but he said he was from South Africa. Not too many activities on this ship but I wasn't looking for that when I booked this cruise. The Latin dance class was fun and I notice a lot of trivia games if that's something you are interested in. The ports were beautiful St Martin was really nice and from St Thomas we did a ship tour to St John Cinnamon Bay which was also beautiful the only thing is Cinnamon bay is under construction and did not have chair rentals or concession stands or water for showers. So if this is a problem which it was for my mom you might want to try Trunk Bay which has more people and not as beautiful as Cinnamon Bay in my opinion . Another point , the ferry ride over to St John is not good for older people too bumpy and a lot of water was splashed in the boat if your not sitting in the right spot. In summary this was great cruise and I'm glad I did not let all negative reports stop me from taking this cruise. I will definitely cruise on the Summit or any other Celebrity ship if the price is right in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We hadn't been to some of the islands on this itinerary and wanted to re-visit others. The ship is slightly smaller than some of the "Millennium" class ships and has a more intimate feel. The public spaces seem less crowded ... Read More
We hadn't been to some of the islands on this itinerary and wanted to re-visit others. The ship is slightly smaller than some of the "Millennium" class ships and has a more intimate feel. The public spaces seem less crowded and the staff seems less hurried than on some of the larger ships. We had sailed on the "Summit" before and wished to enjoy the new retrofitting, particularly in "Aquaclass" and the yummy "Blu" restaurant. The outside windows could have used a good washing however, as could our veranda glass. The service was outstanding, the food excellent, and the new female captain (Kate) quite personable! The value for the money is always exceptional on Celebrity. When disembarking in San Juan grab a porter for your luggage and you'll be zipped through customs - well worth the five dollar tip to get through an otherwise tedious disembarkation! Recommend allowing plenty of time for departing the San Juan airport, as can be backed-up as long as two hours waiting on the "agricultural" and TSA checkpoints. A good book will help. Can't wait to cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have been on about 10 cruises, have sailed with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and MSC, and have just returned from a 7-day on the Celebrity Summit out of San Juan. Overall we are extremely impressed with Celebrity. At first, we were not ... Read More
We have been on about 10 cruises, have sailed with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and MSC, and have just returned from a 7-day on the Celebrity Summit out of San Juan. Overall we are extremely impressed with Celebrity. At first, we were not sure we were going to be happy on this cruise as when we checked into our stateroom, (an inside cabin), there was a large wet place on the carpet next to the bathroom door. We called stateroom services right away and they were there in a flash. They explained that the silicone caulking in the bathroom needed to be repaired and a workman came soon to do the work while we were at dinner. The next day they brought a blower to our room to dry out the carpet alll day while we were ashore. We had read that the Summit had just had a remodeling done, but the floors in the Ocean View Cafe were out of level and had many weak spots that could trip you up, so we were wondering just what had been remodeled. However on our second evening we went to the main dining room for the first time and enjoyed the most delicious meal ever on a cruise and the very best of service from our waiter Ferdinand and his assistant, Hanif. The Maitre'D was also very impressive, always stopping at our table and taking plenty of time to talk to us and to see how our day was and to be sure we were being well served. On our third day, we returned to our stateroom to find a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fruit. There was no card and we asked our steward who told us it was from Customer Relations because of our problem with the carpet. Can you believe that? Also, on returning from shore excursions there was always an ice cold cloth and cup of water waiting for us as we reboarded the ship. That was so so welcome after a hot day on a Caribbean island!! We also enjoyed watching the Superbowl on the mega-screen in the ship's main theatre. And the production shows there were out of this world. Simply terrific! Can't say enough about the Spa pool (Adults only) area. So relaxing and fun. All in All, we would rate Celebrity far above all the other cruise lines we have sailed with. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Celebrity Summit and 5 Eastern Caribbean Ports Part I - Precruise A. Cruise Critic Cruisecritic.com was once again very helpful in securing key information for all of our ports of call and getting to know some of our fellow travelers ... Read More
Celebrity Summit and 5 Eastern Caribbean Ports Part I - Precruise A. Cruise Critic Cruisecritic.com was once again very helpful in securing key information for all of our ports of call and getting to know some of our fellow travelers before the cruise. B. Choice of Route The cruise left from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and traveled to St. Croix, St. Kitts, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Thomas. This was our first trip to St. Croix and a return visit to the others. We love forts and looked forward to exploring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in St. Kitts in more detail this trip. C. Choice of cabin We sailed on the Celebrity Summit. I wanted an opportunity to try the AquaClass cabins and check out BLU, the restaurant for AquaClass passengers. My wife lives on the balcony when we book them so she loved the idea. D. Passports Even though we were boarding in San Juan, PR (a territory of the USA), we were visiting 4 foreign countries, so we felt it would be a good idea to bring passports. This trip we used passport cards. They were accepted without a problem and were so much easier to carry around than the standard passport book. We did bring the passport book with us in case it was needed but was able to leave it locked in the cabin safe the entire trip. E. Insurance I insured the trip through Travelex, which I concluded was a good choice due to: relative cost comparisons, ease of access and booking, good disclosures, excellent coverage for what I needed, and especially because their insurance is "primary", meaning that I do not have to involve any other insurance in the claims process. I had no interest in proprietary insurance offered by a travel agency or cruise companies because if either goes under your insurance is worthless and defeats the purpose. We bought the insurance within 14 days of our booking to assure their would be no questions about "existing medical conditions", although I am not aware we have any. Thankfully we never had a need for the insurance. F. Prebooking Excursions Based upon the recommendations we got off the Ports of Call threads, we decided to prebook three excursions (privately, on St. Croix, St. Kitts, and Dominica) which we arranged via email. The rest of our excursions were all privately booked upon arrival in the respective ports. We have found that researching excursions ahead of time and making arrangements directly with the tour operator has always resulted in a more enjoyable, less expensive, tour than can be arranged through the ship. Tour group size typically runs about 8 to 12 passengers versus the hordes typical of a ship's tour. G. Packing We packed for 2 Semi-Formal nights (suit and tie / dinner dress), and 5 Casual nights (polo's/aloha shirts and Dockers, blouses and skirts), in addition to enough clothing to cover us for 5 days. Although it was a 7-day cruise, we packed for 5 and gave the ship our laundry on day 4). Among the most helpful "extra items" we packed were battery powered alarm clock, shoe rack, camera, sunscreen, highlighters, balloons, snorkel and mask, collapsible dirty clothes bag, wide-brim hats, a backpack, and a water camera. We also made seven 8x10 posters for our cabin door (one for each day, "If this is Wednesday, it must be Dominica!" and the like) and mentioning Cruise Critic in hopes that someone else on the boards would notice and strike up a conversation. The cabin doors are metal. We held up our signs with little magnets. Part II - Embarkation A. The Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico We flew United Airlines from Charlotte, NC to San Juan via Washington DC and arrived by noon. The flights were thankfully uneventful. 40 minutes after landing we had our luggage. We then attached our Celebrity bag tags, asked a Yellow Cab dispatcher for a cab, and within minutes were in a van headed for the port. Celebrity Summit was berthed at the Pan American Pier. The port is just a few miles from the airport. A cab ride to the port was about $23 plus tips. (I believe the cost is $19 plus $1 per bag). B. Security Processing and Boarding We arrived at the pier about 1:00 pm and got into a 20-minute line to drop off our luggage. We tipped our baggage handler $5 and headed into the building. There was a brief ID check, then a quick x-ray scan, before proceeding to the check-in lines. Fruit punch and water were offered just inside the terminal. Separate lines were set up for Suites, Aqua Class, Concierge Class, Elites and Select members, and a line for all others. Once in line, you waited until being directed to one of over a dozen Celebrity check-in agents. Priority was generally given to folks in the line order sequenced above. The agent checked our passport cards, credit card, and embarkation form. Within 5 minutes we had our Sea Pass (which is used as your ship ID, ship credit card, and door key). Boarding had already begun so we headed straight for the ship. A picture and two more security checks later, we were on the Summit. An attendant greeted us with a choice of champagne or orange juice. Cabins were ready, so we made our way up to our cabin to check it out then set out for lunch and to explore the ship. C. Explore The Cabin We were in cabin 9070, an AquaClass category A2 cabin with 195 square feet and a 54 square foot veranda. We were located slightly forward of midships, starboard side, on Deck 9. The cabin was well laid out. Lots of drawers and enough room in the closets for our clothes. The bathroom had a toilet, sink, and enclosed shower. The thick veranda curtains will block out most light when closed, but you can tell the difference between day and night. Hangers and robes were provided. Hint: you can secure additional wire hangers from your room steward. The desk featured a number of informational brochures including Saturday's event newsletter "Celebrity Today". Being Cruise Critic members, we received an invite to the gathering scheduled for that evening. We notified our cabin attendant of a couple of minor repairs that needed attention, and asked that our mini-fridge be emptied of all beverages so we could use it for bottled water. It not much of a fridge, it's more of a cooler and it kept water cooler than room temperature but did not chill it. All of these items were taken care of by the time we returned to the cabin. D. AquaClass AquaClass includes: priority embarkation and disembarkation, a bottle of sparkling wine, daily fresh fruit and flowers, oversized bath towel, plush frette robes, and slippers (which you can take home), unlimited access to Persian Gardens (the various steam rooms in the spa), complementary bottled water and flavored iced tea (delivered to your room each afternoon), and exclusive dining in Blu Restaurant for breakfast and dinner. E. Tour of Ship and Search For Food We found sustenance in the Waterfall Cafe on the deck 10 for a buffet lunch. The ship is well laid out with ample sets of stairwells and elevators. For most of the week, we tried to take the stairs when traversing the decks (and pretended that this was sufficient exercise to cover our food intake). G. Dinner in Blu - 6:00 pm "First Seating" We were seated at a table for 2 in Blu, a restaurant for AquaClass passengers. It's a medium sized restaurant with windows. There is no charge for passengers staying in AquaClass cabins. A $5 charge is assessed to passengers staying in suites, on a space-available basis. Throughout the trip we usually arrived in time to secure a table next to the window. Blu is "open seating". You could eat anytime between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm, except on the first night where they asked you to dine at an assigned time due to the lifeboat drill at 7:45 pm. Blu is also open for breakfast, but not for lunch. H. Lifeboat Drill At 7:45 pm (about 45 minutes prior to leaving port), we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill. The drill went smoothly and lasted 20 minutes. We were not required to wear lifejackets. We simply had to get to our muster station, watch a lifejacket demonstration, and listen to announcements from Captain Theodoros Zakkas. Part III - Food! Celebrity has a good reputation for their cuisine. The meals met our expectations. Not only was it good, it was downright outstanding on many nights. There was good variety. Nice presentations at dinner. We never needed to send back an undercooked or overcooked item. Our Maitre'D and waiters were very friendly and helpful. Meats were cooked to order. Yes, you could even order "rare". A. Always Available The following items are available every night: shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, chicken, salmon, and a NY Strip steak. B. The Best Breakfast Items in Blu Mango smoothie, mixed berries, smoked salmon, and the nice crispy bacon. C. The Best Dinner Appetizers Escargot, Macadamia Nut Crusted Scallops, and the Goat Cheese Souffle in Normandie. All appetizers were well presented. D. The Best Soup Roasted green chili corn soup. E. The Best Entrées Filet Mignon, Rib Eye, Veal chop, lobster tail, and the Pecan-encrusted Duck Breast in Blu; and the Venison Tenderloin and Rack of Lamb we enjoyed in Normandie. F. The Best Desserts Crème Brule, Strawberry Soup (rendition of strawberry shortcake), and the combination of scoops of chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. G. Room Service Room service was available 24/7. We didn't order anything from room service. H. Grand Buffet Brunch There was one brunch buffet, held in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant on Deck 5, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, on our only sea day. This grand buffet, complete with ice sculptures, carved pumpkins and creative food animals, made-to-order omelet and bananas foster stations, jumbo shrimp, sushi, breakfast items and carved meats, vegetables and sides, and a huge dessert bar. It was not highlighted in the daily, though it was well attended. We would not have known about this awesome buffet had we not read about it on CruiseCritic.com before our cruise. I. Sushi Bar A section of about a dozen beautifully prepared (very fresh and chilled) sushi was available each nights from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm on one side of the Waterfall Cafe. It is a winner. J. Classic Drink Package We received the Classic Drink Package free from Celebrity when we booked our cruise during a special promotion. The Classic Drink Package includes sodas, fresh squeezed and bottled juices, premium coffees and teas, non-premium bottled water (aka Crystal Geyser), all beers up to $5 per serving, and spirits, cocktails, frozen drinks, and wines by the glass priced up to $8 per serving. All bar gratuities were also included. The normal price is $44/day/per person plus a 15% gratuity charge. While we didn't come close to utilizing the package to it's fullest, we did enjoy picking up bottled water on the way off the ship, the coffees and teas at Cafe Al Bacio, wine with dinner, and loved not having to sign any receipts when getting drinks for the duration of the cruise. K. Normandie Specialty Restaurant Normandie is one of the Summit's specialty restaurants. The interior is decorated with the original paneling and ornamentation from the SS Normandie, a French Transatlantic that was the largest and fastest ship in the world when it entered service in 1935. Cost is $45 per person and they offer AquaClass guests a 50% discount on the first night. The food, service, and wine were outstanding. We especially enjoyed the Warm Goat Cheese Souffle, Hazelnut Coated Lamb Rack, and the Five-Spice Crusted Cervena Venison Loin. Our Sommelier was attentive. We chose a nice red that was included with our Classic Drink Package and our glasses never went dry. Allow 90-minutes to 2-hours for this dining experience. Recommended. L. Cafe al Bacio Hit up Cafe al Bacio for a variety of espresso, cappuccino, latte, mocha and macchiatos; as well as a dozen premium hot teas and iced teas including White Ginger Pear which I enjoyed. I don't drink coffee but enjoyed their hot chocolate. My wife fell in love with the Cafe Mocha Caramel Machiatta. It was a great place to stop in the morning on the way to breakfast. If you want a quick bite to eat, they offer almond croissants, pain au chocolate, brioche and apple turnovers in the morning; light lunch items; and desserts at night. The baristas at this cafe are very friendly and efficient. Most non-alcoholic drinks are in the $5 ballpark and were included with the Classic Drink Package. M. Oceanview Cafe and Grill Found on Deck 10, Oceanview has several buffet stations, a grill (hamburgers and hotdogs), and a sandwich bar aft. The food was generally good if you stayed away from the fried foods. Notable items included: shepherds pie, carved lamb, caribbean slaw, and the nightly sushi bar. Part IV - Entertainment A. Movies There is no venue on the Summit that regularly showed movies. They were available on your cabin TV, but what fun is that? B. Shows We found all of the shows (iHollywood, Sirens, and Stars in Their Eyes) in the Celebrity Theater to be entertaining. The singers and dancers were among the best we've ever seen on Celebrity. As always, we were not too crazy about some of the selections. The costumes, while odd at times, were extraordinary inventive. Unlike some other cruiselines, all of the music is still performed live by the outstanding Celebrity Orchestra. The guest talent was also entertaining: James Stephens III (comedian, who will be appearing as Bill Cosby in an upcoming movie), and Steve Carte (musician, juggler, comedian). The theater itself is beautiful and the viewing is excellent downstairs. Almost all of the second and third floor seating is partially obstructed by high glass safety walls, safety rails, or the occasional pylon. C. Casino The Fortune's is filled with slot machines, one Craps table, a roulette table, a bar and a few blackjack tables. The casino was open while at sea and closed while in ports. The Casino is a fresh-air, non-smoking, environment! This is the first casino at sea I could enjoy in years, and (with the exception of the craps table) it was kept pretty busy most nights. Kudos to Celebrity for their non-smoking policy. There is no dedicated sports bar on the Summit. The casino bar does show sports on their flat screen TVs. D. Spa Did not utilize the spa, but did enjoy the Persian Garden steam rooms. It is located on Deck 10. It could use some low-volume soothing music or melodies. E. Outdoor Pools and Hot Tubs There are several hot tubs and two pools. We did not use the pool facilities at all. F. Celebrity Orchestra and Other Ship Bands The Celebrity Orchestra was excellent and performed at all of the shows in the Celebrity Theater. Among the other entertainment we enjoyed was Jefferson Ang (guitarist and vocalist), 4 Sail (a capella quartet), and Will Foraker (pianist). They played at various venues on the ship. We were disappointed that Celebrity did away with the String Quartet. G. In-room TV There were a several closed-circuit ship channels and satellite stations available on the TV in the cabin. You can also order room service and check your current account balance on the TV as well. Additionally, movies were available on your cabin TV. Both pay-per-view and free (recent DVD releases like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) were available. Soccer and cricket were about the only sports available in your cabin. H. Michael's Club This is used as an all-purpose room. It's now a non-smoking lounge (yea!) It's got the largest collection of bottled beers on the ship (most were pricier than the $5 limit included with he Classic Drink Package). The $5 and under beers included: Dos Equis, Sam Adams, Amstel Light, Becks's, Red Stripe, Heineken, Leffe, Franziskaner, and Blue Moon. The bartender was very friendly and efficient. The room was home to a wedding reception, meetings, some trivia contests, our Cruise Critic Connections Party, and an art auction (which unfortunately usurped several innings of the World Series one night). All the other MLB World Series games were shown live in their entirety to a large and lively crowd. I. Room Service You can order from morning to late night. We didn't order anything from room service this trip. From past experience, they are generally punctual and they don't just drop the order off at your door --- they come in and set it up for you. Be sure to tip! Part V - Parties A. Cruise Critic Connections Party We signed up for the Cruise Critic party on the Celebrity web site. We received an email confirmation that a party would take place. On day 1 we received an envelope containing an invitation to the party, set for that evening in Michael's Club (now a non-smoking lounge). At the appointed time we arrived at Michael's Club on the Deck 4. In total, over 3 dozen folks attended. We had a great time meeting and greeting other addicted cruise critics. The Cruise Director Alexander Yepremian and Captain Club Hostess Melissa Snow were in attendance. Alex made a short presentation and answered questions. He was among the most approachable, visible, and entertaining Cruise Director's we have met. B. Captain's Gala Toast Held Sunday (day 2) at 8:30 pm and 10:45 pm prior to the show in the Celebrity Theater. There were several free drinks to choose from as you entered the theater. Captain Theodoros Zakkas welcomed passengers to the Summit and introduced his staff. C. Monster Mash Halloween Bash Held on Halloween night at 10:30 pm. Originally scheduled for the Pool Deck, it was moved to the Revelations Lounge on Deck 11. The lounge was rocking and packed with costumed passengers. It was fun seeing all the inventive costumes. There were also 3 dozen intricately and cleverly carved pumpkins throughout the public areas of the ship. D. Sail Away's From Ports Celebrity featured a sail away party on Deck 10 each night that we left a port. Note that you need to be back on board at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. We left one passenger in Dominica who didn't make it back to the ship in time. Totally his fault. When this happens it's up to you to find alternate transportation to the next port to rejoin the ship. Part VI - Health Concerns A. Smoking Celebrity does this right! There was no smoking in the restaurants, casino, show lounge, Michael's Club, cabins or verandas. Smoking was permitted outside on the port side and rear of the ship only. We are very sensitive to smoke and applaud Celebrity on it's smoking policy. The ship's environment was very enjoyable. We did not observe anyone abusing the smoking privilege, except for one fella who lit up an electronic cigarette in the Revelations Lounge during the packed Halloween Party. B. Pools and Hot Tubs There are two pools and hot tubs on Deck 10. We did not witness any babies in the pools or tubs. C. General Cleanliness of the Ship You could not take a stroll without witnessing some type of cleaning going on at all hours. The ship was constantly being cleaned: floors, walls, fixtures, everything! That said, you could see some wear and tear around the ship and the ships' exterior railings are visibly worn. Other than that she really is in good shape. D. Viruses To the best of our knowledge, there was no outbreak on our ship. Kudos to our fellow passengers and Celebrity personnel for their personal diligence. E. Seasickness We had some minor roughness at sea a couple of days. Until this year, I always alternated half of a patch behind my ears for the duration of the voyage. This trip I tried going unmedicated. It generally went well as I never got seasick. On the rougher days I sought out ginger tea and ginger ale with limited success. Part VII - Ship Notes A. Ship and Crew We were very impressed with the ship and crew. Very friendly and competent. The ship and furnishings were in pretty good shape. She was very clean. B. Our Cabin Steward While we felt our room steward and assistant did a great job with our cabin (no complaints), they did seem stretched thin at times. I have no information to base my conclusion on but I think they had to handle more cabins than in years' past. C. The Shops Merchandise did not rotate very much. There was something on sale each day. They had tons of $10 watches and t-shirts they worked hard to unload most days of the week. D. Internet Service The good news: there are about 18 computers available in the Celebrity iLounge located midship on Deck 6, and while busy at times there always seemed to be an available laptop to use. All had internet service and free printing capability. It was nice to be able to use our Elite coupon good for 90 free minutes to secure our airline boarding passes. The bad news: there are no windows-based laptops (which is only slightly problematic for non-Apple users); it costs close to 50 cents per minute for internet usage if you don't have a coupon or go over your allotted package; and the ship's internet is slow as molasses in winter. It took over 20 minutes to get and print the airline boarding passes, and that was on one of the faster laptops. For whatever reason, some of the laptop connections were faster (and I use that word lightly) and more efficient than others. E. Kids We saw a few kids and a couple of babies on board. They are looked great in their Halloween costumes and were well behaved. F. Dress Code The formal nights were less formal than we remember from prior cruises. We saw few tuxes. Most men were well dressed (with jackets) on formal nights, and all the women dressed up. A couple of knuckleheads dined in inappropriate dress. G. Customs We went through customs upon Disembarkation in Puerto Rico. Basically we just got in a long 25-minute line, after claiming our bags, to show our passports and customs declaration cards to Customs Officials. If you're in a hurry, you can pay a porter $5 to help you with your luggage and they'll walk you straight through customs (via their own special line) in under 5 minutes. That's a pretty good value and you let them handle your bags all the way to the taxi. Part VIII - The Ports A. San Juan, Puerto Rico 8:30 pm Departure. The ship birthed at the Pan American Pier. RCI's Jewel Of The Seas was parked right next to us on the pier. Once we departed we didn't see them again until St. Kitts, and that was the only time we had another ship in any port with us. B. Frederiksted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands 8:00am - 5:30pm. We arrived on Sunday. A lot of businesses around the island (including the Captain Morgan Run Distillery) were closed. A reggae band was playing on the pier when we arrived. From the ship, you can see the quaint town of Frederiksted in front of the pier with lots of shops, to the left is an old fort (Fort Frederik) with a beach to its left and then about 2 miles further left was a popular beach called Rainbow Beach which had a bar and rented watercraft. We prearranged a 1.5-hour ATV jungle tour with Gecko Island Adventures for $135 for the two of us on a shared ATV. About one third of the tour is on paved roads and the balance is off-roading. There were numerous puddles and we did get a little muddy. (I'd have gotten real muddy if my wife had let me zip through the puddles rather than slowly go around them). There were 4 ATV's in our group, plus our guide. I would suggest you dress comfortably in clothes that are okay to get dirty, wear sunscreen, eye protection, water shoes, and a bandana to cover your nose and mouth from the dust the ATV's in front of you kick up. We had a lot of fun. At the end of the tour you have the option of staying at Rainbow Beach or catching free transportation back to town. We opted to go back to town, eat lunch on the ship, change into our beach clothes and hit the beach next to Fort Frederik. If you stay at Rainbow Beach, it only costs $3 to get back to town. It's only a few minutes away. To find the Gecko office, exit the Pier and walk down the first street directly across from the pier (which is Customs Street). You will see a mini police station on the right. Enter into Strand Square Courtyard via the entrance next to the police station. Once in the center of the courtyard turn to your left and you'll find the Gecko office where you can pay with cash or credit card. You will then be fitted with a helmet. Our tour started at 9:30 am and we were asked to be at the office no later than 9:15 am. After lunch we walked past the fort on the ocean side. Just past the fort is a reasonably nice beach with a bar and grill. Umbrellas and chairs can be rented. The sand was soft and the ocean pretty. Great place to take pictures of the ship from the beach. As forts go, there's not much to see, but the cannons are cool and there is a museum inside, but they don't make it very inviting to visit. There is one entrance gate, located on the town side. The gate was closed, but unlocked, though it looked like it was padlocked shut. St. Croix C. Basse-Terre, St. Kitts 8:00am - 5:00pm. On our first trip to St. Kitts we hired Thenford Grey for this "Island Tour". This is a great tour. However on our second tip we wanted to spend a lot more time at the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park so we arranged with Thenford Grey to be dropped off early and then join his regular tour when they arrived at the fortress prior to continuing on to South Friar's Beach. Brimstone Hill is an impressive fortress which sets atop a volcanic cone that is 800 feet high and offers 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and neighboring islands. It's also a World Heritage Site. We spent 3 hours exploring the fort and outlying structures. Hint: bring a flashlight to explore dark passages. Next to the fort is a tall grassy mound called Monkey Hill (aka Fort Charlotte). A worker had recently cut a 6-foot wide access path to the top of the hill which offers nice views. About 75% to the top is a side path that will take you to a recently rediscovered 15x20 foot (my estimate) stone out-building, with openings for 3 cannon, that was hidden under vegetation. It also offered views of the fort and the steep gorge behind it. After we left the fortress, we visited an overlook where you could see the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean on either side of a thin stretch of the island. The bodies of water could not have been separated by more than a quarter-mile. We the got dropped off at South Friar's Beach which offers an active bar and grill with lots of shade and picnic-style seating, restrooms, an outdoor shower, changing rooms, a nice beach with black and beige sands, a protected swim area and some snorkeling opportunities. We saw over a dozen different types of fish along the manmade reef and lots of sea urchins (some close to a foot in diameter). Brimstone Hill Fortress on St. Kitts D. Roseau, Dominica 8:00am - 5:00pm. We prearranged the "Roseau Valley Treasures" tour with Bumpiing Tours. We enjoyed this tour so much the first time we were here a few years ago, we hired them again. The cost is $50 per person (cash, paid at the end of the tour). Levi Baron met us just outside the pier and was our driver and guide for the day. Levi kept us one step ahead of most of the tours. Our first stop was Champagne Reef for snorkeling. Upon reaching the beach we walked a short 5 minutes to the end of the stony beach, until we got to a cliff where we donned masks and fins. Underwater geothermal springs vent out gasses that form warm bubbles, like Champaign in the Sea. It was pretty unique. Levi took us on a guided tour of the reef where we saw lots of fish and an old ship's cannon. Our second stop was Titou Gorge (one of the spectacular locations where "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" was filmed). Once you get past the cold chill of the fresh water at Titou Gorge, you swim about 200-feet up a cave like area (high walls on both sides with a crevice view of the sky while swimming). The water is 15 feet deep at its deepest point. After about 100-feet of swimming you get to the middle of the gorge where there is a submerged ledge you can stand on. That’s the only place you will be able to stand before you get to the end of your swim. When ready, we continued our swim to the waterfall at far end of the gorge. This is an incredibly beautiful gorge and an experience not to be missed. Stop three was Trafalgar Falls which has two waterfalls and an opportunity to soak in natural hot mineral spring pools. The waterfalls are both picture worthy and despite being fed by two different sources, can be included in one picture. The hot spring pools are fun and relaxing. Following the falls we drove through the Botanical Gardens and learned about several local fruit and flower bearing plants and trees. Our final stop was Morne Bruce, an overlook with a view of the city of Roseau and the ship in port. Summit in Dominica E. St. Georges, Grenada 8:00am - 5:00pm. On our last trip here we enjoyed Mandoo Tours 4-hour half-day "Spice Plantation Route" tour. This trip we hoped to take it easy on Grand Anse Beach, a non-snorkeling 2-mile crescent stretch of sand not too far from the ship. Most folks take a water taxi to Grand Anse Beach for about $6 per person each way. The water taxi is about 1/2-block to the left of the ship (as you face the island). We opted to take a local bus ($1 US). The bus depot can also been seen from the ship. Just look for the 2-deck parking garage with a hundred mini-vans another half block from the water taxi dock. It's easy to catch a water taxi or bus in either direction to and from the cruise pier. If you take the bus, you want the Zone #1 bus to Grand Anse (and back to St. George). It's clearly written on the windshield. The bus holds about 14 passengers and the driver (working with a conductor) will work to keep it as full as possible throughout the trip. You will not save time taking the bus. You take it because you want to get a better flavor of the island and it's residents. Grilled Baracuda and Rocket Potato Salad at Umbrellas If you take the water taxi, upon arrival you'll get swamped with offers for chairs and umbrellas (among other things). I suggest you walk away from the dock, past the spice market, and settle in an area away from the heavier crowds. If you arrive by bus, get off at the Spiceland Mall, cross the street and walk 1 block down a driveway where you'll find yourself at a great beach bar and grill called Umbrellas. It's an airy, clean, comfortable restaurant with great food. Don't panic when you read the menu. The prices are in Eastern Caribbean Dollars and $1 USD = $2.70 ECD. We enjoyed their grilled barracuda (two thick nicely grilled mild flaky white filets) with a side of "rocket and potato salad". Rocket is a non-bitter local leafy vegetable. Lunch was awesome. We also ordered a locally bottled ginger ale and a bottle of their local Carib Lager. There was plenty of food for two to share. With tip, the total was $58 ECD (about $22 USD). Upon exiting Umbrellas, you'll find yourself on the less crowded section of the beach (3/4 down the beach from the water taxi dock). When your beach day is done, reserve your steps and take either the bus or water taxi back to the ship. The skies were cloudy and it rained most of the day (sometimes torrentially). I estimate that there were no more than two dozen folks from the ship on the beach, and they outnumbered everyone else, except the vendors at the spice market. We had a great adventure despite the lack of an intended sunny beach day. Grand Anse Beach F. St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands 8:00am - 5:00pm. This is our fourth visit to St. Thomas. On our first trip we privately arranged for an island tour with Godfrey's Tours for a 2-hour island tour. On our second trip we enjoyed snorkeling at Sapphire Beach. We jumped a ferry to St. John on our third trip and snorkeled two awesome beaches: Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay. On this cruise (trip 4) we considered visiting Meagan's Bay which requires a regular taxi at a cost of $8 per person each way plus a $4 per person admission. Instead we hopped a $2 taxi back to Sapphire Beach. Despite what everyone at the pier will tell you (and they will lie to you), you can get local transportation for $2 per person in an open-air taxi to Sapphire Beach. Simply walk out of the Havensight pier main gate, cross the street, turn left and walk until you get to the Bus Stop (there is a pullover area) near the K-Mart. It is a leisurely 10 to 15-minute level walk. (You might also be able to catch a bus at the new Wendy's near the traffic light prior to K-Mart bus stop). When you see an open-air taxi drive up, flag him down, tell him where you wish to go and enjoy the trip. When you climb in, say "Good Morning" and you'll be met with a return chorus. The drive takes about 20 to 30 minutes each way to Sapphire Beach depending upon traffic. Pay upon exiting the taxi. If you are going to Sapphire Beach, you will be dropped off at the entrance to the Sapphire Beach hotels which is at the top of a hill. A short 5-minute walk will get you on the beach. Under a Shade Tree on Sapphire Beach Sapphire Beach is a gorgeous white sand beach with lots of shade trees and awesome views of several nearby islands including St. John. The snorkeling is good, especially on the right hand side of the beach where the sand disappears into reef rocks. We rented two unpadded beach lounge chairs for $7 each and sat under a nice shade tree. A dive shop, bar, grill, and restrooms are available. We lunched at Banana Cabana which serves burgers, mahi sandwiches, and chicken sandwiches for $10 - $15. We opted for the Jerk Chicken sandwich for $12 which we enjoyed. Banana Cabana is semi-hidden between the first two buildings on the far right of the beach (as you face the Caribbean). We saw three iguanas of various sizes checking us out on the beach. Pick up the open-air $2 taxi again where it dropped you off and ride it until you get back to the Wendy's. You'll see the ship in full view in front of you. Tame Iguana on Sapphire Beach G. Days At Sea We had one day at sea. There was no lack of things to do on the ship. Sea Days actually provided nice rest spites and allowed us to get reenergized. Eat, play games, port shopping briefings (basically a way to kill time watching a talking advertisement), attend shows, eat, nap, midday snack, cards, pools, bars, eat, trivia contests, read, chat with fellow passengers, eat, board games, rum tastings, gambling, watch the World Series, exercise (no, not really, but there really is an exercise room), eat, live entertainment... the list goes on! H. Ships in Port We only encountered one ship in port with us the entire trip. We shared St. Kitts with RCI's Jewel Of The Seas. Visit CruiseCal.com to see which ships are likely to be in port during your cruise. Part IX - Tipping The service personnel on Celebrity receive meager wages and rely on your tips for income. While Celebrity says it is customary to offer gratuities to the ship's personnel who service you on the voyage, it really is expected, and it's something you should figure into your cruise budget. I say it's expected, but the ship's personnel work long hours to service you and the other passengers. They genuinely do everything they can to service your needs. Celebrity suggests $161 for a party of 2 on a 7 day cruise which breaks out as follows: Waiter $51.10, Assistant Waiter $29.40, Stateroom Attendant $49, Dining Room Management $14, Other Service Personnel $17.50, and additional tips for room service, bartenders (even though a 15% gratuity is already included in all bar drinks) the Sommelier, and any other personnel who you wish to tip. And feel free to tip above these guidelines. Here's a really handy Cruise Tip Calculator covering all major cruise lines. If you have purchased a drink package, a 15% gratuity is already included. Part X - Captain's Club If you have taken a previous voyage and are not a member of the Captain's Club, sign up. It's free. Benefits include a Captain's Club express line at Embarkation, priority Disembarkation, some small cabin welcome gifts (my wife likes the Celebrity travel tote), casino and spa discounts, free entrance into the wine-tasting seminar, and a one cabin upgrade. Some exclusions apply. Elite members also receive coupons for 90 free minutes of internet, one item drycleaned for free, and an opportunity to have a bag full of laundry (about 30 items) cleaned free, as part of their sheet of coupons. Elite members also have been getting a sheet of coupons, good for three drinks each day between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm at almost any bar, instead of the prior practice of offering a get-together in a lounge with free drinks. Part XI - Disembarkation and Customs A. Disembarkation Breakfast was served on the buffet, and in the restaurants. Disembarkation went smoothly. Earlier in the week everyone completed surveys which were used to prioritize passengers. Clearly those folks needing to catch early plane connections or who were on escorted tours in San Juan had highest priority. Captain's Club members had priority within their color group. Color-coded disembarkation luggage tags were issued to all cabins, and passengers were instructed to place the tags on their luggage, and tear off the stubs for bag retrieval. Disembarkation began around 8:00 am. All passengers were instructed to sit in public areas, or lounges, until their group color was called. Our flight wasn't due to depart until 2:30 pm so we had a late debarkation. Our color was called around 9:45 am. We retrieved our luggage in the passenger terminal and waited in a 20-minute line to clear Customs. Hint: if you're in a hurry, you can pay a porter $5 to help you with your luggage and they'll walk you straight through customs (via their own special line) in under 5 minutes. That's a pretty good value and you let them handle your bags all the way to the taxi. If you have time to kill, there's a sightseeing tour that will also drop you off at the airport. When exiting the terminal building for transportation you find taxis on your left and tour busses on your right. For $25 per person, we gave our bags to the sightseeing tour guide. Her son loaded bags into the back of the air conditioned van, and we jumped in, took a seat and waited for the large van to fill. Once full (about 16 or 18 passengers), our driver left the port and headed for Old San Juan. She gave us information about the city, stopped for pictures, allowed us 20 minutes to tour the area near the entrance to El Moro, then dropped us off downtown near Fort San Cristobal for about 90 minutes. At that point she picked us up and took us to the airport, returning an hour later to take the rest of the group to the airport as they all had later departures than us. This was a great way to spend some free time in San Juan and get to the airport. B. Customs Allowance According to Celebrity, US citizens traveling to the Caribbean are permitted $800 worth of Duty Free goods including 1 liter of alcohol per person. In the Virgin Islands (i.e. St. Thomas), travelers are allowed an additional $400 Duty Free exemption including 4 liters of alcohol and 4 cartons of cigarettes per person. Since we traveled to both sets of islands on this cruise, we were permitted to take advantage of both allowances. All you needed to do was to declare the total value. Anything greater had to be itemized (declared) and a duty paid. Part XII - Praises, Gripes and Your Questions A. Praises Summit's personnel are very attentive, friendly and helpful. Officers made themselves very accessible. Food was very good to outstanding. The ship is clean and in reasonably good shape. Alexander Yepremian was the most outgoing and personable cruise directors we have had the pleasure to sail with. The Summit Production Singers and Dancers, along with the aerial duo, with were the most talented group of performers we've watched on any ship. It's nice to se Celebrity still believes in live music for the production shows as the Celebrity Orchestra was outstanding. And we really appreciated Celebrity's smoking policy. B. Gripes We certainly didn't have much to gripe about, although if you got any group of folks together, a similar theme emerged: The price of the photos was outrageous. We didn't buy any. However, had they been priced at $5.00 (still high) she said she would have bought several. I really don't understand the mentality of taking tons of pictures of passengers and then tossing most of them due to folks unwillingness to overpay for the pictures. We won't. (By the way, the photographers were very good, usually available, and not intrusive). We've been cruised for several years now and have posted tips on excursions to over 20 Caribbean Ports at: www.lavasurfer.com/info/caribbean-secrets.com Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We booked this ship on a RCI cruise last year. We booked a Celebrity Suite that offered a lot of space but no balcony. The advantage was that we had two separate sleeping areas without booking two cabins. We don't spend a lot of ... Read More
We booked this ship on a RCI cruise last year. We booked a Celebrity Suite that offered a lot of space but no balcony. The advantage was that we had two separate sleeping areas without booking two cabins. We don't spend a lot of time on a balcony, so that was not important for us. We flew to San Juan on Friday, and boarded Saturday early afternoon. The process was quick and easy, with a shorter line for suite guests. The regular cabin line looked easy as well. There was a buffet lunch awaiting us on deck 11 (waterfall cafe) and our cabin was ready after lunch. We were invited to the Normandy specialty restaurant for dinner. The $35 per person charge was not charged (another suite perk). The food was very good, the atmosphere was great, but I did not feel that it was worth the $35 it would have cost to dine there, since the Cosmopolitan dining room offered great service as well as good food.We sailed at 8 pm, and made the short trip over to St. Thomas on slow speed, arriving Sunday at 8 a.m. We booked a 4 hour bus tour of the island. Our guide was Doctor something, but he was a little grumpy for a tour guide. We spent the afternoon on the ship. That evening I went to Michael's pub on deck 4, another perk for booking a suite. There were not many people there, but there were free drinks, something that is of value if you want any drinks during your cruise. I was met by a lovely hostess, Korina Murphy, who took me under her wing and booked me a seat that night at the captain's table (a real honor on a cruise ship) and tours of the bridge and engine control room. I am not sure if this was due to my work as a ship captain or my status as a guest in a suite, but I felt like I was treated as royalty.We sailed at 5 for an arrival in Saint Maarten at 8. Another slow speed trip, but I recommend getting up early to see the sunrise while entering port. It was my favorite time of day, few people about, and worth the effort. All of the islands had beautiful harbor entrances except Bridgetown, Barbados. We booked a high speed rafting trip around the island of St. Maarten. You get a lot of sun and snorkeling, but it was too much sun for me. That night we sailed for Antigua, where we booked the Taste of Antigua tour. I booked this after a catamaran trip was cancelled for reasons unknown. It wasn't bad, but probably not worth the cost. The "taste" was a small bit of salt cod, a local form of grits, and fried plantains. The ginger beer was not that great, so I bought a real beer to wash it down.Wednesday morning we docked at Santa Lucia, where we booked a Lost Village of Castaries tour. It was probably the best tour of the trip. It was a relatively new offering, and took us to a small fishing village. There were only about 18 people on the tour. We stopped at a pottery maker's home on the way. We had lunch at a lovely lady's home where we could use her personal bathroom. She made us a home made cake, and the local school children sang for us, and a local man played the steel drums. We felt like guests, not tourists being processed. Probably success would spoil this unique experience.Thrusday we called at Barbados. We booked the popular five star catamaran trip. If you like snorkeling, this is probably the best place to snorkel, lots of fish and turtles. I was disappointed that the catamaran had a broken main sail, and it could not be raised over about half way, limiting our speed under sail, so we motored most of the way. I prefer the silence of sail on a boat. Friday we could rest at sea. There were a lot of activities, and the pool was crowded. We packed and organized our rooms and souvenirs. Each night we went to the theater and enjoyed the shows. The ship's entertainers were good, but not great, but what you would expect for a cruise ship. The favorite entertainers were a group of four young men, the Acapellas? who were really talented. Saturday we arrived early. Our son left at 7:30 to standby for a 9 a.m. flight, which he missed. We left about 8:00. Disembarking was easy, but the line of people leaving had to pass through customs, the line stretched the length of the terminal building. There were only two lines for Customs, but they did not seem to open up suitcases or cause a delay. The line took about 20 minutes to complete and get to the taxi. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The day before the cruise we took Amtrak from Washington, DC to Newark International Airport and stayed at the Country Inn. We spent some of the evening across the street in Jersey Gardens Mall. Ate dinner there. I used the pool and ... Read More
The day before the cruise we took Amtrak from Washington, DC to Newark International Airport and stayed at the Country Inn. We spent some of the evening across the street in Jersey Gardens Mall. Ate dinner there. I used the pool and fitness center. Late on the next morning, we took a convenient but expensive Yellow Cab minivan to the dock. Would recommend using Independent Driver instead. Boarding was fairly smooth except the part where there loaded us on a bus to go from the terminal to the ship. There was messy and uncoordinated, but it didn't really matter. This was a repositioning cruise and the ship was far from full. No issues ever about getting a lounge by the pool or a good seat in the theatre. Our room steward, Pascoal, was tops. The shower was surprisingly large and I liked how the shower curtain was completely attached on one side. Excellent storage. We enjoyed the room and the balcony. Lynn hated the TV selections, but they had MSNBC, which I watch, except for friday night and weekends. So, I had no TV issues. The room creaked and made bumps in the night noises at an above average rate, even though this was a relatively smooth cruise and the ship was quite stable and quite clean and lovely in virtually every aspect. Our wait staff at dinner, Ignasius and Anna, could not have been better or more simpatico. The dinning room and food were great. Our table mates were wonderful. The buffet had good food, but kept running out of things like food, coffe, ice, plates, sliverware, and virtually anything you might really need to eat there. The setup was very awkward. I waited five minutes once for a slice of fritata because the setup required someone to serve it to you, but the only person there was way too busy cooking eggs to order for others. I finally went to another area to get a plate, came back, reached in deep under the counter to get to the fritata plate, and served myself. When I complained, the maitre'd or whatever he is called expressed visible contempt for my lack of patience. However the people working in the Buffet were very, very nice. At dinner, the Buffet made no effort to be a reasonable substitute for the dining room, even on formal nights. The theatre was very good. The entertainment was very good. The lectures were very good. We loved our two days in Bermuda. We loved our two sea days. We loved our tour on St. Thomas. In San Juan, we took the ship's tour to El Yunque. Afterwards, the tour bus driver dropped us at our hotel in Isla Verde, the Vendanza. We had a nice corner room with views of the sea and mountains. We were on the beach in the afternoon and walked under starlight after dinner. On Sunday, we rented a car at the hotel and went to the Arecibo Observatory, the World's largest raido telescope, and to the Camuy caverns, which need more extensive development for the visitor tour, so visitors can see more of these magnificent caves, which are equal or superior in magnificence to Carlbad Caverns. On Monday morning, the car rental manager took us to the airport for our flight home to Dulles Airport and Fairfax County. JetBlue was terrific. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
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 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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