5 Los Angeles to Mexican Riviera Celebrity Summit Cruise Reviews

This was my first cruise on Celebrity, and it blew me away. I've cruised on Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, and this was the best. Embarkation was on October 10, 2005 in Los Angeles Birth 91 (i think) at the World Cruise ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Celebrity, and it blew me away. I've cruised on Royal Caribbean and Carnival before, and this was the best. Embarkation was on October 10, 2005 in Los Angeles Birth 91 (i think) at the World Cruise Terminal. Not the smoothest thing to do in the world, but it wasn't horrible. We got there at about 11am. We went in some doors and were told to go outside, but not really what the procedure was. This was by a port employee. Once outside, we assumed we were to line up in a line that was forming. Eventually, we found someone who gave us luggage tags we filled out. Then a porter came and took our bags. The only bad thing I can say here is it would have been nice to have a Celebrity employee there we could ask and confirm what the proper procedure was. The line started moving at 11:30am, and we were on the ship by 12:30pm. Was greeted with champagne and orange juice. We were told our room would be ready at 1pm and it was. We just hung out at the buffet before then, and toured the ship a bit. Later in the day, our bags were delivered to our room, one before the lifeboat drill at 4:30pm, and the rest after. There was lots of activity and give away's going on the first afternoon before departure. We didn't stick around for that as we mostly relaxed, toured the ship a bit, and ate. Food was good to excellent. Of course some things are better than others. If you don't like anything, ask for something else. Our waiter was very accommodating. If we wanted two things on the menu, it was no problem. Often we would get the beef or chicken dish with a side of lobster tail, or whatever else we wanted that night. Our table was 502 which is right at the back of the dinning room on the upper level by the window. Amazing view. Igor was a great waiter and Beata (I know im misspelling it) was a amazing wine steward. She was very friendly and can't say enough good things about her. Our table was for 8, and we sat with some great people. If you can, don't miss dinner in the dinning room. I think it is a big feature of any cruise, and it is fun to get to know the people you sit with, if they aren't total jerks, which I think is rare. You can request a change if it's ever a problem, and as a last resort, there are other dinning options. The sushi bar was open 5:45pm to 10pm. Mostly standard rolls, and sushi. Not a huge selection, but good for a cruise ship. Waterfall Cafe (think Windjammer on Royal) was great. Food was very good quality for a buffet, better than Royal Caribbean. Service is high for such a casual dinning venue. Waiters to take your tray to your table, bartenders, etc. Views are great. You can almost always find a seat at the back out on the patio. Again, great view. The Normandie is great. The food is amazing. Service can't be beat. Price is $30 per person plus $27.95 if you do a wine pairing with each course which is well worth it. It's easy to get reservations there. I don't think they were full any nights. If you want, do it on a casual night since the dinners on formal nights tend to be a bit nicer in the main dinning room, so don't miss those! Our stateroom was 7060, inside cabin. It was very nice. Every morning/night our room steward did our room, like any other cruise line. We also always had our ice bucket refilled and a crate of fresh water. It was great. Before our first stop at Puerto Vallarta, beach towels were delivered to our stateroom we could use for free or if we wanted to buy them, keep them and be charged to our account (or they would deliver new ones). We didn't want to bother ironing all our shirts before we went on the trip, so left these to our stateroom attendant. $2 a shirt or $3 for express (pressing only, no cleaning). It was easy. The shows onboard were average for any cruise. Actually, it would have been nice to see some more variety. 5 of the nights was the Celebrity singers/dancers. One night there was a comedian, Rich Papurra (bad spelling again). Another night a piano player. We were in the main seating for dinner, so our show was always around 9pm. If you're in the late seating, your show is either at 6:30pm or some nights it's not until 10:30pm or so. Pools are great on this ship. I thought they were big for a cruise ship. The outdoor pool was good, warm water, but not sure if it was heated. It was great weather and Mexico is very hot, so it might have been that warm on its own. Lots of deck chairs, never had a problem with finding one in the sun or shade, even on sea days. The thalasotherapy pool was very nice. Adults only which is great (not that I ever saw kids in the outdoor one either, few kids on this ship it seemed). The lounge chairs by the windows are very comfortable, and the area has air conditioning so it is very comfortable. Spa music is played, and you can fall asleep to it no problem. I liked reading in this area by the lounge chairs at the window. There's not many, so between about 11-3, it's more difficult to find one of those chairs. By the pool itself, you'll find a teak chair no problem. The casino was fun on this ship, my partner enjoyed playing the blackjack tables. The dealers were all very friendly. We ended up getting to know the regular blackjack players, and enjoyed striking up conversation with them and running into them on the ship and asking how they were doing. The slots don't pay out that great. It's not like vegas. Tendering was a bit challenging. We all had to go in the theatre, and you were given a number. When they called your number, you could go. We had to wait in the theatre for 45 min one morning, but that was probably the longest wait. By 11am, you won't have to wait at all. Just be patient. Some people we know missed their shore excursion because they said they waited over an hour for tendering. They got their money back no problem, but of course were a little pissed. They arrived at the theatre when they were told to, but it took too long. Not sure all the circumstances around this, but be warned. Our ship went to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Apparently Cabo San Lucas was the best, small, everything is close to the tender pier, and great beaches. We had so much fun on the ship, we only got off in Puerto Vallarta to go to Blue Chairs. Quickly got annoyed with the number of vendors asking us to buy crap. It wasn't a busy time I guess, so the vendor to beach bum ratio was higher. Literally every 30-60 seconds we were being asked to buy something. Hope I'm not missing anything. Basically, this ship is beautiful. The art is weird, but fun to look at. There's lots of it. The ship is in great shape. Cold towels and juice when you return from a port is great. Cushions on deck chairs are an great thing. Service is amazing. I think I'd go crazy working on a ship, but these people seem to love it, and are very friendly. It really feels like they want to help you and give you great service, not like they have to. At 91,000 tons, the Summit only has 1950 passengers max capacity. A Radiance or Vision class ship, similar in size or small or Royal Caribbean would have 2400+ passengers. It makes a difference. The atmosphere on the ship is more formal and classic. In general, you'll have a great cruise experience with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
As we gathered at the Los Angeles cruise terminal prior to boarding Summit, rumors already abounded as to a quickly developing hurricane that was now threatening the Pacific coast of Mexico. This had, of course, been a particularly ... Read More
As we gathered at the Los Angeles cruise terminal prior to boarding Summit, rumors already abounded as to a quickly developing hurricane that was now threatening the Pacific coast of Mexico. This had, of course, been a particularly active (and tragic) storm season in the Atlantic, and we knew upon booking this cruise back in June that hurricane risk even in the Pacific could be a factor. Nonetheless we boarded with great expectations, glad to be back aboard Celebrity Cruises following the 18-month hiatus since we'd sailed sister ship Constellation. Glass of champagne in hand, we soaked in the Grand Foyer, then toured the ship to explore the similarities and differences Summit had to offer. Most notably changed on Summit was the Bar at the Edge of the Earth, a renovated space that was designed for performances by Cirque du Soleil. The Edge indeed has a bit of an edgy feel, with luminescent ceiling hangings and canopied lounges  this replacing the ship's night club area, top deck forward, but still offering panoramic 180-degree views. Later in the day, however, we were informed that Cirque du Soleil performances had been suspended on Summit from this sailing onward, and were in the process of re-tooling. Though this was of some disappointment to us, we'd heard mixed reviews of the Cirque experience on Celebrity thus far, and were satisfied to know they were responding to customer feedback. Perhaps they might heed our comments, then, regarding Summit's artwork. While Constellation has some nice art in its public spaces, from Peter Max in an elevator lobby to a Chihuly chandelier outside the nightclub. Summit, meanwhile, has unstimulating photography and minimal gallery-quality pieces on display around the ship, causing us to wonder whether they'd pulled the good stuff and replaced it with a high-school art project. That aside, however, Summit is a classy ship, with decor bright enough to invoke that special at-sea feeling but relatively subdued compared to her cruise industry counterparts. The colors of Summit's Martini Bar and Champagne Bar gave less aqua and more cremes and beige than her sister ship, while the woodwork and carpeting have been kept up immaculately. That afternoon we took to our stateroom, and thanks to a short-lived deal earlier in the summer, we were in a balcony cabin for the first time. They say that once you have a balcony you cannot go back, and this was immediately apparent to us. On two previous cruises we'd had inside staterooms, appreciating the pitch darkness for sleeping at night, but missing some contact with the sea. With this cabin, however, we would not be sorry. As you'll see in the pictures, we took in sunsets, sunrises, breakfast on the verandah, early morning port arrivals, late night drinks, and the soothing noise of the bow crashing into wave after wave, all from the privacy of our quarters. This was especially beneficial due to our itinerary, which had four days scheduled at sea. The rumors of the hurricane, meanwhile, would add a fifth sea day. Before these came to fruition, however, we'd depart Los Angeles at sunset, meeting some of our fellow CruiseCritic.com members at a sailaway get-together which meandered from Mast Bar to Martini Bar. Following this was second-seating dinner, casual for the first night, where we got to meet our table mates with whom we'd dine for the entire sailing. A waiter gave some caution as we approached the table for six, indicating that the other four diners didn't speak English. The Assistant Maitre D, a lively Serbian named Sasha, invited us to be seated, however, noting that we would always change the dining arrangements the next day. Much to our delight, however, no such arrangement was necessary. We would have the pleasure of dining with a lovely couple from the Bay Area, Florin and Camelia, who were joined by Camelia's parents visiting from Romania. I commented that my father's mother had come from Romania, and that much of his family was from nearby Kishinev, the Moldovan capital. Turns out the mother and father live not so far from Kishinev, and we had a good laugh about what a small world it is. And thus we broke the ice, and broke bread together. Well, more than just bread, of course, as every meal in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room was a five course affair. Overall we were quite pleased with Summit's gastronomy, with kudos going to the meat dishes, the salads and consommes, and appetizers such as escargots and shrimp cocktail. And our waiter, assistant waiter, and assistant maitre d were omnipresent in their drive to go above and beyond, accommodating our every request. Liked the escargots? They'd magically appear from off-the-menu on subsequent evenings. Order a side of tasty fries one night? They'd be brought to the table every night thereafter, even on the last formal night with prime rib and lobster. Reminded us of our waiter on Constellation, Janusz, whom we later saw on this cruise! Turns out this was his last cruise, his contract was up and he was headed back to Krakow. So we felt glad to have seen Janusz, and got his email and phone number for someday we'd like to visit Krakow. Since Celebrity prides itself on having food that's a cut above the other mainstream lines, however, it's only appropriate that we mention a few shortcomings. The chilled soups were more like an early dessert, fruity and extremely sweet. The seafood was inconsistent, with shrimp and scallops not always cooked to perfection. And we were not the only ones to comment on the general saltiness of the food on board, surprising in an era when even cruisers are more conscious of health and diet. The sushi is decent, though of course we had our fill of good sushi in LA both before and after the cruise. The buffets were also fine, though their theme offerings usually came up short. Pizza and pasta were better on Princess, and we missed their bay shrimp, calamari, and fish & chips; but we appreciate the smaller touches on Celebrity such as real plates and linen (as opposed to the Princess platter), and waiters who carry your tray to the table and then bring juice or iced tea for you. At breakfast they also come by with fresh pastries, coffee, and tea in the buffet seating area, another nice touch. Lunch in the Cosmopolitan dining room was adequate though not as succulent as dinner, and breakfast here was fine, though it was far more enjoyable when we ate al fresco on the verandah. We also enjoyed several meals, snacks, and drinks on the teak patio behind the buffet area, a largely shaded area with full views from the aft. Jen had brought tiramisu out here one windy afternoon, and the cocoa powder was flying everywhere; luckily Sacha had been helping Jen and brought another napkin. We also knew, prior to boarding Summit, that we'd dine at least once at her specialty restaurant, The Normandie. This was a refined experience we'd loved on Constellation, and so we'd made reservations for the last night of the cruise. Upon boarding we stopped by Normandie to see about adding a night earlier in the cruise, and lo and behold the man behind the podium was Mario, our waiter from Constellation's specialty restaurant. In the middle of our first meal at Normandie we then saw Ivo, our wonderful Sommelier from Constellation, and were happy to chat with him as well. Not to be forgotten ever is the dining experience itself, beginning with an amuse bouche of salmon in pastry, followed by a tableside preparation of caesar salad from scratch, complete with egg whites whisked for nearly ten minutes. The lobster veloute and goat cheese souffle were, as always, remarkable, and the Chateaubriand for two was the best we've ever had, complemented by foie gras seared to perfection and a hearty Australian shiraz. We each partook from the cheese cart, with mild, medium, bleu, and goat cheeses but even in two sittings still didn't get to all fifteen varieties that were offered. Care for a glass of port with your cheese? They wheel another cart over, just ports, and I have Graham's Malvados for the first time. My only regret is not getting a bottle of this stuff in LA afterwards, since the liquor stores neither in Ontario nor in Quebec carry it. The meal is completed by, of course, dessert. I'd pre-ordered the chocolate souffle, decadent but not too sweet, served in it's baking bowl, unlike on Princess (who unskilfully carve it out and serve it without appeal into a brown mound). No, Celebrity does it right. And Jen's ganache was a perfect marriage of flavors chocolate and banana, with coconut ice cream on the side, a taste of the tropics that we were now about to enter. Earlier in the day, this our first full day at sea, Captain Karatzas made his noon announcement and confirmed the rumors: due to the proximity and strength of Hurricane Otis (which had been elevated from Tropical Storm just yesterday  sorry, couldn't resist at least one Otis Elevator reference), we'd be skipping our first port call of Cabo San Lucas, steering around the storm, and hopefully returning to a course for Mazatlan on Monday. The shipboard television channel also featured a repeating announcement from the bridge, with the captain outlining our course on visual charts and assuring one and all that safety was of paramount concern (this despite some whining from a few idiot passengers upset that they'd miss Cabo). He and the crew had also prepared the ship for rough seas, with breakables stowed, production shows cancelled in the theatre, and passengers advised to exercise caution when walking. A grade of A goes to Celebrity for communicating all of this so well; in fact the worst of the storm was always well east of us, and even near the ship's bow we felt little more than nominal rocking. After a second day at sea, with a leisurely pace and high clouds but tropical temperatures, we shook off the rough seas at night and steamed into port on schedule Monday morning. The slowing of the ship must have woken me up, and as I stepped out onto the balcony, the lights of Mazatlan were giving way to a slowly unfading dawn. We sailed past the sportfishing docks, where I'd once hung a 167-pound marlin, with outriggers and shrimp boats passing us in the opposite direction, heading out for a day's catch. Today we shared the berth with Regal Princess, which at 15 years is the oldest member of the Princess Cruises fleet. An hour later we were off the gangway and onto a series of pickup truck, water taxi, and tractor, finally reaching the coconut groves of Isla Piedra. Here we saddled up and headed out to the beach on horseback, and, save for the sunblock which was now streaking into my eyes, it was a wonderful time. My horse preferred to walk through the water rather than on the higher beach, slowing us down a bit but hey (hay is for horses), what's the hurry anyway?! Following a beer in the thatched palapa that is Victor's, we opted to return to the ship, clean up, and head into town. Though they say that much of Mazatlan has changed, it was good to see that El Centro had stayed much the same, with the Mercado and Cathedral being the highlights. Many passengers complained that Mazatlan wasn't pretty or exotic enough, but what I'd remind them was that it's an actual town, not just a resort but a working city, complete with a busy port and an economy that involves more than tourism alone. The next day we called on Puerto Vallarta, definitely more of a resort town, with its picturesque bay and seaside promenade lined with sculptures. Like Mazatlan, PV was hot and muggy, and after walking around town for strolling and shopping and a side trip to the former home of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton we spent the rest of the day aboard ship, greeted with cold towels, water, and a warm welcome home from several staff members. One gets the feeling that this really is home for the thousand or so crew and staff of Summit, and they're happy to share it with us, eager to show us a good time, aiming to please at every turn. Sailing out of Vallarta we saw the storm clouds gathering, and the next day gave us a new twist on thunderstorms, with 360-degrees of lightning at sea. Particularly unique was having breakfast in the cantilevered Deck 10 dining area, with dark skies, bolts of lightning, claps of thunder, and a view of the churning seas below through the glass cut-outs in the floor. That day I attended the second of four screenwriting seminars, part of the enrichment series that Celebrity offers; also available were a motivational series, computer classes, and acupuncture. Of course no day at sea is complete without the requisite art auction, afternoon tea, trivia contests, jackpot bingo, and the like. A nicety on Celebrity, though, is that these are not in-your-face profit centers, unlike on Princess who feel compelled to announce something every ten minutes. On Celebrity it's one announcement a day, that being the daily update from the bridge. The rain followed us into Acapulco, where a taxi driver told us about the tormenta they'd been having. Still, the showers dissipated by the time we reached La Quebrada, and we were able to see the famed cliff divers  one of those must-dos that, well, you just do. After buying a ticket, we were seated in a cliffside location facing the divers, where we once again ran into our tablemates from dinner (we'd seen them in PV as well as every day aboard ship, this on a ship of 2,000 passengers). Later we took a taxi around the cliffs and up a hill to Hotel Los Flamingos, a once-swanky (much like Acapulco itself) joint that was a favorite of Hollywood legends such as Johnny Weismuller, who filmed Tarzan in Acapulco and spent much of his life here afterwards. Los Flamingos is one of the best places in town for pozole, a hearty soup-stew concoction made of pork, hominy, onions, and garlic, and served with fixings to add such as avocado, cilantro, small but potent limes, oregano, jack cheese, jalapeno, tortillas, chicharones (pork rinds) etc. And Thursday is the traditional day to eat pozole, so we lucked out on all counts. This was our only meal off the ship, and, along with an appetizer of tamales, it was well worth the venture. We'd even contemplated dinner elsewhere in town, for perhaps another bowl of pozole and some fresh seafood, but upon seeing the main dining room menu with escargots, filet mignon, and other enticing offerings, we opted to stay aboard. Later we sailed out of Acapulco Love Boat style, close to midnight with all the lights in this harbor as a backdrop that we'll never forget. And thanks to Mike and Mary, who hosted a get-together at their cabin  the balcony extends out from the aft of the ship, giving 270-degree views. The previous day we'd done a roving stateroom tour, where various CruiseCritic.com members opened up their cabins for all to see. It was like a giant conga line at one point, roaming through the ship, other passengers joining, and all of us getting to see the various rooms and suites that Celebrity offers. Of course there's not a bad cabin to be had on a cruise, but some of these were quite amazing, with balconies and views of varying sizes and angles, and in-suite features such as flat-screen TVs, marble bathtubs with a view, etc. The one product we didn't get to see up close was the Penthouse Suite, though from the balconies of Mike & Mary and Jan & Colin, we did see the Penthouse balcony, hot tub and all. Our last port was the sleepy town of Zihuatanejo, and we were fortunate to have had the skies clear up for this gem. We anchored out in the crescent-shaped, well-sheltered bay and tendered ashore, immediately realizing we were not in your standard port  no duty free shops, no Diamonds International, just palm-lined beachfront with thatched-roofed cafes, beaches that went on and on, and a small, snaking promenade that made for a relaxing morning. Later we ambled through the flea market, picking up some nice silver pieces in a low-pressure, relaxing environment. Sailing out of Zihua (with butterflies all around us) and past the resort-lined beaches of Ixtapa on Friday afternoon, we knew we'd reached our final destination and would have two and a half sea days in which to enjoy the duration of the cruise. Of course that time went all too quickly, relaxing on the verandah; eating our way through dinners at the Cosmopolitan and Normandie; looking at (completely content and unable at all to eat) the Magnifique Gala Buffet; taking in elegant tea in the Cosmopolitan; having martinis with our mates Jan & Colin, Larry & Sue, and Mike & Mary; all etching into our memories this great cruise. We'll most definitely sail Celebrity again. It was and remains our cruise line of choice, though we continue to explore others. Our next sailing is booked on Oceania Cruises, from Athens to Istanbul, and no balcony on that one, but somehow I think we'll survive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
What a fantastic cruise! We booked the cruise for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and were not disappointed. The service on the ship was amazing. From our room steward, Felipe, and his asst., Encieto, to the dining room staff and everyone ... Read More
What a fantastic cruise! We booked the cruise for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and were not disappointed. The service on the ship was amazing. From our room steward, Felipe, and his asst., Encieto, to the dining room staff and everyone else working on the ship, they do try hard to treat you "famously". Booking a balcony in concierge class was certainly worth the money. Two of the ports we stopped at required tenders, so having priority tender service thru concierge class was great. We enjoyed the Aqua Spa Cafe for breakfast and lunch and ate in the main dining room for all the other nights except for a night in the Normandy specialty restaurant. The food on the whole was very good to excellent. We had late seating and one of our favorite spots was the 10 deck aft bar with a sushi bar(excellent), guitar player (ok), and a beautiful sunset each evening. There was a nice mix of ages on the ship with just a few children. We thought there would be a much older crowd, but there wasn't. We went to only a couple of shows in the theater that interested us and they were good, but the acts on the other nights didn't peak our interest. The late night activities at the bar at the end of the earth were enjoyable. I certainly would not call this ship a party boat, but there was enough going on at the casino & bar to keep you busy. During the day at sea, they were not a ton of activities going on, but that was fine with us because we just wanted to sit by the pool and relax. We booked our excursions on the internet taking the canopy tour in Puerto Vallarta and Randi's Happy Horses in Mazatlan. Both were great. Ship was in great shape, very clean. Pro's for the Summit: Service, Food & wonderful staff. Cons: Entertainment, Normandy specialty restaurant (food is just as good in the main dining room), Disembarkation (although the ship seems to be at the mercy of US Customs and how many people -- they send too few). Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
About Us My husband and I are both 32 with no children. We have cruised 5 times before (on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and now Celebrity). This was our first Celebrity cruise. We lived in Maryland for 10 years before moving to the West ... Read More
About Us My husband and I are both 32 with no children. We have cruised 5 times before (on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and now Celebrity). This was our first Celebrity cruise. We lived in Maryland for 10 years before moving to the West coast a few years ago. We currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada where I am a web site designer and he is an attorney. Type of Room Booked: Concierge Class stateroom, Cabin 8143. Cruise: 10 Day Mexican Riviera, round-trip from Los Angeles. September 29 - October 10, 2005. Ports of Call / Shore Excursions I am not reviewing the ports of call since the Summit sails all over the world and has such a varied itinerary. We have never booked a shore excursion on a cruise and prefer to "do our own thing " while on vacation. Embarkation Out of all the cruises I've been on, embarkation was the absolute smoothest. We arrived at the pier a little after 12:30 in the afternoon and we were standing on our stateroom balcony within 20 minutes. Since we were booked in Concierge Class, we had a special line and the service was very fast. After a quick scan of our carry on baggage and a check of our passports and ids we were stopped for the standard embarkation photograph and headed on board. Once on board, Celebrity's reputation for the highest levels of elegant service began! We were greeted by a white-gloved, tuxedoed employee (the first of many on this voyage). He handed us each a glass of champagne and escorted us to our stateroom. while a talented harpist played quietly in the atrium. Our stateroom was ready with the door open. Inside we found fresh flowers, a bowl of fresh fruit, chilled ice and water, and a bottle of champagne on ice. Concierge Class Let me say that the charge for Concierge Class was absolutely, 100% worth it! We received special service in all areas on this cruise. We had priority use of the Concierge desk (though we only used this once, it was still great to know it was there). We had complimentary use of a pair of binoculars that came in handy from our balcony stateroom. Fresh flowers in a modern flexible vase adorned the desk area and on formal nights, a single long-stemmed rose appeared in a stainless steel vase in the bathroom. Each day a large bowl of fresh fruit was delivered to our room as well as evening canapes (an assortment of 6 small toast rounds topped with a variety of goodies, from shrimp to caviar to proscuitto and melon). Every day we had a fresh bucket of ice and a carafe filled with chilled water. The fluffy robes were nice as well, as was the super soft, high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy duvet, and the menu of pillows (we chose an extra foam and a down pillow). The high power massaging showerhead was a pleasure to use too. The use of a large golf umbrella came in handy as well when the rain started pouring down in port! A decent Celebrity tote bag came in handy too and on the last night before the cruise ended, a very nice nylon collapsible bag and small overnight makeup bag were delivered to our stateroom for our overnight items. Our luggage was also delivered to us within one hour of sailing. Most people didn't get their luggage until much later. The one thing that absolutely made CC worth the price was the priority tender service. This saved us so much time in port! Every morning when tender service was required, two VIP vouchers were delivered to our stateroom. These were like magic tickets! You flashed them and you were put on the first available tender immediately. One morning, they even held a tender until we arrived! I was shocked! The early embarkation and debarkation was great too, though debarking was a nightmare as you'll read below. Everything Celebrity promises to CC guests in their promotional literature was delivered, though the only disappointment was the "personalized stationery. " It was more like paper with a laser printout of your name and cabin number, though it, too, did come in handy! Staterooms We were impressed with the layout of our stateroom. The design gave it a true sense of spaciousness and we never lacked for storage space or room to move around. The balcony was large with a nice big table and a small side cocktail table. The chairs had nice, thick blue cushions on them. I also loved how the balcony had clear glass on the bottom so you had an unobstructed view of the ocean. We found that the balconies weren't as private as on other ships. You could easily see the folks on each side of you, below you and above you. there are also "portholes " on the floor in the Waterfall Cafe upstairs, so if someone decided to get on the hands and knees and look down the hole, they could see right on your balcony and with the position of the mirrors, right into your stateroom. So make sure you keep your curtains closed when you aren't dressed! The bed was very comfortable and the upgraded luxury bedding was great. Soft sheets and fluffy pillows made it feel like a true floating resort. The fluffy towels were nice as well, and we also had a soft cotton bath rug in the bathroom. We found the bathroom to be not in the best of shape, but it was nothing to seriously complain about -- just a cracked tile here and there. The shower had a curtain and it would have been nicer if it was an actual door, but the shower was large and could accommodate 2 people! Our bathroom had a large container of cotton balls and swabs, mints, a sewing kit, shower cap and an array of small bottles of shampoo, lotion and more. There were also shampoo and lotion dispensers on the wall. Stateroom Attendant Our attendant was the best we have ever had on any cruise anywhere, period. Jose was like a ghost -- we hardly ever saw him, but no matter when we left, we came back and our room was spotless. After the first day, he easily adapted to our lazy schedule with no problem. On the first day at sea, we wanted some extra ice and water. After that, he brought extra ice and water every day. We never, ever had to ask for anything else again! It was weird -- it was almost like he could "sense " what you needed and when you needed it before you even knew you needed it yourself! I am not kidding. We'd come back from the pool deck and he would have even folded our dirty clothes and placed them in a neat pile! When you order room service, 9 times out of 10 your stateroom attendant will deliver your food. He would never take individual tips for that (we usually give $5 cash each time someone brings our food) so we more than made up for it in a large extra tip at the end of the cruise. Oh, and there are no animals made out of towels like on other cruise lines, but you do get yummy mocha flavored chocolate on your pillow each night! Dress Code There's been a lot of speculation on many travel boards about the dress code on board Celebrity. Let me start by saying that probably 99.9% of cruisers on our voyage respected and honored the dress code each evening. On formal nights there were more tuxedos than suits and more gowns than cocktail dresses, at least on the first formal night. It was fun to dress up for dinner and everyone looked so nice in their gowns and tuxedos. If you do not own a tuxedo, I highly recommend that all gentlemen rent one. The one thing I hated about the dress code is that it applied to all public areas on the ship after 6 p.m. We found it pretty unpleasant to be sitting in a bar at midnight in a stifling tuxedo and itchy beaded dress. But we, like most others on board, happily complied with the dress code. Each night at the dining room, the Maitre'D would greet everyone entering but I never saw him turn anyone away. I also never saw anyone turned away at the shows either, however, most people respected the dress code. Another thing to note: no jeans are allowed in the Cosmopolitan dining room at any time -- not for breakfast, lunch or for dinner. You can wear shorts to breakfast and lunch, but NO JEANS, EVER. Casual is the order of the day at all other times. I'm not a cruise snob -- I say let people wear whatever they want since they are on vacation. But at the same time, I believe in respecting cruising traditions when appropriate, and it wasn't hard for us to pack our tuxedo, suits, cocktail dresses and gown. And it's not hard for you, either! Common Areas / Public Rooms This ship is loaded with privately commissioned modern artwork and it is gorgeous. From sculptures to paintings to photographs, the ship is a floating modern art gallery! Even the hallways to the cabins (and our stateroom) had original photographs / artwork on the walls. Fresh flowers abound on this ship too. Our stateroom had long stemmed roses and fresh flowers, and the public bathrooms on each deck always had fresh flowers in them! The most inspired area on the ship was the Bar at the Edge of the Earth. Unfortunately, it was woefully underutilized except for the $40 bingo games. The bar was co-created by Cirque du Solei and is the funkiest place you'll ever see. Be sure to check out the oversized cabanas at the back of the club -- snag one of those and you can lie down and look out the front of the ship. A perfect activity just before the sun sets. The other bars were decent. Celebrity hypes the Summit as having a Martini Bar and Champagne Bar, but it's actually the same bar and isn't that great. We were disappointed in this. The pool deck was great with plenty of lounge chairs and two large pools and spas. The Thalassotherapy pool had a very nice area as well. Use of this pool was free. The shopping boulevard was adequate with the requisite onboard liquor shop (if you buy the liquor, they hold it until the last night of your cruise -- though we had no trouble brining liquor onboard after a day in port), several jewelry and watch shops, a couple of clothing and souvenir shops, and a super Bijou Turner store where everything is $10. My favorite part of the ship were the glass elevators. This is something I've never seen on a cruise ship. It was so fun to be able to ride up and down while you were looking out at the sea. The showroom was one of the nicest I have ever seen at sea. The ship itself was spotlessly clean and Celebrity seemed to be very concerned with keeping it that way. Automatic hand sanitizers were placed around the ship near dining areas and on the gangway. The Waterfall Cafe was a nice eating area. Make sure you sneak a peek at the portholes that are on the floor in parts of the Cafe -- you can stand on them and look straight down at the ocean! Our stateroom was in very good condition (just a couple of cracked tiles in the shower). I have to say that we also found the ship to be extremely warm -- they seemed to have a problem keeping the public areas well cooled, especially the Waterfall Cafe, the dining room and the bars. We were fine in our stateroom and the air conditioner worked great. Just something to note. All in all, the decor was very understated and muted and was not gaudy or tacky in any respect. Anyone who loves the glitz and glamour will be disappointed in this ship. Anyone looking for 5 star hotel decor will love it! Activities Maybe this is because I am young, but I am not exaggerating when I say there was absolutely nothing to do on this cruise! My husband loved it and loved just relaxing. I got a bit antsy on the third day at sea. While we knew this ship attracted an older crowd, I really wasn't prepared at the lack of activities. I didn't want Carnival (too rowdy for us), but I didn't want a floating retirement village either. THAT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE DEROGATORY -- I love older folks and we met some super elderly friends during the voyage. I just want to make sure other young couples are prepared for this before they book a Celebrity cruise. We would 100% book another Celebrity cruise when we want to relax and do nothing, which was one of our main goals on this trip. Let me give you an example of activities offered during one of the days at sea (this is typed directly off my Celebrity Daily paper): Catholic Mass, Walk-A-Thon, Catholic Mass, Veterans' Get Together, Shuffleboard, Men's Doubles Ping Pong, Computer Classes, Informal Bridge Play, Scrabble, Chess, Backgammon, Paddle Tennis Court, Movie Time (theater showed new- to- video films), Afternoon Bridge Play, Silk Flower Arrangement Workshop, Arts and Crafts (I'm not making this up), Sunset Cocktail Hour, Bingo (at a whopping $30 per person to play), Vineyard at Sea Wine Auction, Art Auction, and Volleyball. On some days there were line dancing classes and there were 2 events on the pool deck at night -- a " Melons on Parade " fruit buffet with Caribbean line dancing and a country themed night with -- you guessed it -- line dancing! I thought the activities on this ship were severely lacking in both creativity and general appeal. We weren't the only ones who felt this way either. The one night they had karaoke for just one hour, it was standing room only. A few fun nighttime activities were a masquerade ball and a 50s sock hop (though few people participated). The casino was adequate and the dealers were friendly. Entertainment I won't mince words: the entertainment on this ship was absolutely abysmal. We were shocked at how truly terrible Celebrity's entertainment program was onboard the Summit! I do not feel we are being overly harsh. Let me explain why I would rate their entertainment an "F." 1. Lack of live music. There was hardly any live music onboard this ship and the music that was live was just atrocious. With the exception of the Martini Quartet, a lovely string quartet that played classical instruments in the Cova Cafe, the entertainers were not that talented. Most of the entertainers were the kind you just feel so sorry and embarrassed for. The "party band " Headlines was so awful they routinely "forgot " the words to the songs they were singing. Maybe this wasn't such a bad thing since they couldn't carry a tune. The singers at the karaoke show were much better. Michael's Club featured Betsy Bogart, a cabaret singer and piano player who specialized in easy listening favorites (think James Taylor, Carole King, Carly Simon). Betsy was great the first few nights, but her repertoire was so limited that after hearing "Both Sides Now " and "How Sweet it Is " no fewer than 3 times per night each show, it got old very fast. Paul Strowe was an average guitarist who played Jimmy Buffet songs by the pool, though he sounded like your father in law singing along with the radio. The Savoy Duo was by far the worst. This band sounded like a bad 70s synthesizer organ. Just awful! In most other bars and lounges, prerecorded music was the order of the day. We didn't expect rock and roll, but we expected better than this. 2. Production Shows. The production shows were horrible too. They were just so terribly outdated! In ExtravaDanza, the singing and dancing was pretty good, but halfway through the show, the California Raisins came out and started singing "I Heard it Through the Grapevine."! Yes, the CALIFORNIA RAISINS! They were popular 20 years ago! I wish I could say that is as low as the entertainment sunk, but I'm afraid it gets much, much worse. The next night we were treated to the "artistry " of a Xylosynth. Yes, a man playing a synthesized xylophone. Shall I continue, or are your sides busting from laughing? You would be laughing, since you didn't sit through the actual performances! The comedian Rich Pupura was funny and not the worst I have ever seen. The one bright star was Atonio Salci, a pianist who was the first honest-to-goodness talent on the ship. His music wasn't the best but he was a very good entertainer. 3. See the Activities review above. Food All in all, it was hard to get a good, satisfying meal on this ship and it is darn near impossible to get something to eat after midnight. The Waterfall Cafe did not have good food. Each day they would serve a run of the mill breakfast and lunch buffet. The lunch buffet would have a different theme each day, like Mexican or Asian, but it was never anything special. The buffet was closed for dinner and became the casual dining restaurant with table service and a menu. You had to make reservations for this service if you chose not to eat in the main Cosmopolitan dining room. We did not try this alternative casual dining as we were so happy with the service in the main dining room, though the menus for the casual dining restaurant looked very good (and served less gourmet and more "picky eater " foods such as shrimp cocktail, roast beef and pastas). The Waterfall Cafe did have delicious homemade sorbet and ice cream in a variety of exotic flavors, but it was very melty all the time and hard to eat. It also had a made to order pasta station and pizza station, but I found the pizza to be very plain (Carnival's pizza is much better -- yes, that is a fact) except for the individual make your own pizzas (you get a choice of gourmet toppings like blue cheese and sun dried tomatoes) and the pasta bar was disgusting and made the whole grill smell like rotten garlic (my stomach is turning now just thinking about it). One some days the grill would run a deli sandwich stand but I found the sandwiches weren't tasty either! A huge disappointment. In the evenings for a short period of time, a sushi bar was open. The Poolside Grill did not have good food but each day they had a special menu item (chili cheese hot dogs, fish sandwiches, chicken parmesan sandwiches) and great french fries. The burgers and hot dogs are what you would expect on a large cruise ship; edible but not gourmet. The main dining room had very good food. If you are a picky eater, or even remotely adverse to trying new things, you will have trouble eating in the dining room. The menu choices were not too varied and were often "strange " to most folks. If you love duck, frog legs, rack of lamb and the like, you will love the dining room. Every poultry dish I had on board this ship was excellent. I only ate seafood twice and it was good too, as well as the pasta dishes in the dining room. The beef dishes were quite good and the steaks were incredible. The fish selections are unusual -- not your usual mahi mahi or salmon or flounder. The soups were unusual too but very good. There was also a chilled soup selection each night, the most inspired being the "chilled cherry " soup. Duck was on the menu every night. My personal memorable meals on this voyage were a seafood kabob (with fish, scallops and shrimp) served with fragrant basmati rice and a fork-tender filet mignon. My husband loved the escargot, specialty salads and prime rib. The best foods on board were the homemade salad dressings and the pastries. I cannot rave enough about how great they were! Be sure to try every dressing that is offered -- you will not be disappointed (are there any other diehard Celebrity dressing / Goombay dressing fans out there)? And yes, on the final formal night, lobster tails are served. And they are huge! Room Service had an inspired menu but uninspired food. The vegetable lasagna sounded good but was just a bowl with mushrooms, peppers and onions with one lasagna noodle spread across the top and cheese melted on top. The chicken noodle soup was awful -- more like a Japanese soup with clear broth and a small amount of thin noodles. The sandwiches were mediocre. As a Concierge Class guest, we had a special expanded breakfast menu that was absolutely fabulous! We ordered full breakfasts in our stateroom. The menu was varied and the food was good. My favorite was the yogurt and granola parfait, a large goblet layered with vanilla yogurt, homemade granola, blueberries and strawberries. I ate about 7 of those during the cruise! And it should be noted that each night's dinner in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant can be ordered and delivered to your stateroom. Just ask your stateroom attendant for the evening's menu and he will bring it in and set it up for you. My favorite part of the cruise was the nightly serving of Gourmet Bites. From 11:30 pm until after midnight, white gloved employees wander the common areas with trays of tasty hors d'oeuvres. They circle first with a tray of cold items, then hot items, then desserts. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire cruise. Miniature beef wellington, fish, caviar, croissants, mini pastries, tempura shrimp, miniature pizzas...everything you could imagine. There was a different selection each night and they were not served on themed buffet nights. I know food reviews are extremely subjective, but I have tried to be as honest and descriptive as possible. Service The service on this ship was impeccable. I have never been treated so "famously " as I was on this cruise. Celebrity gets the service aspect of their cruises 100% right on the nose. From the housekeeping staff to the bar staff to security and casino dealers, the service was incredible. The service even extended to days in port -- as we disembarked in Acapulco, there was a rainstorm. Celebrity employees held your umbrellas as you walked off the ship so you could hand over your keycards without getting soaked. In the steamy Puerto Vallarta, a valet was present with ice cold towels to help cool you down while you waited for the ship's tenders. (The towels made appearances in each port and in Zihuatanejo where the tender line was quite long, a server carried around a silver tray of ice cold water and juices). I felt like everyone on board truly enjoyed their jobs, from the clerks in the shops to the auctioneers to the room stewards and waiters. This is the first time on any cruise that we have tipped well above and beyond the recommended standard. We even gave the dining room maitre'd extra cash -- he was at our table promptly every dinner to chat and see how our meals were. The bar waitress promptly brought our glasses of Coke each night in the dining room. The first night I commented how much I loved the lemon that adorned the glass and each night our Coke glasses became more fanciful (with miniature umbrellas, lime swirls, triple cherries, etc.). A bunch of fun. Our waiters, Lloyd and Glen, were fabulous as well. After our first meal they learned our eating patterns to a "t. " They knew what we would order. Amazing. We tipped them 100% more than was suggested, as I'm sure most guests onboard did. The service was that incredible. When I wasn't feeling well one night and missed dinner, our head waiter called our stateroom to make sure we were okay. When I told him I wasn't feeling well, he showed up with a glass of ginger ale! The next morning when I was walking around the ship, I had no less than 4 employees come up to me to ask how I was feeling BY NAME (the cabin steward, our assistant waiter, and two of the bar waitresses). It was like I was a part of the family. If you want to be pampered in every way imaginable and be called by name as soon as your second day at sea, then book a Celebrity Cruise and you won't be disappointed. I have so many super service stories to tell that I could fill 30 pages. Disembarkation This was, I'm sorry to report, a complete disaster. I'm sure there will be many posts about this particular cruise and the disembarkation mess. I don't blame the cruise line -- the hold up was obviously with U.S. Customs. They had to clear everyone on board the ship. Once you cleared customs, you were given a pass and were able to disembark as soon as your color was called. As a Concierge Class passenger, we were the 5th color called off the ship (great since we were just driving from L.A. back home to Las Vegas). We were off board by 10:30 a.m. Read Less
Sail Date September 2005
We were very happy with our first Celebrity cruise on Summit. We would definitely cruise on Celebrity again and loved Summit. Embarkation: We waited a very long time (2 hours-some people had been waiting even longer) for our transfer to ... Read More
We were very happy with our first Celebrity cruise on Summit. We would definitely cruise on Celebrity again and loved Summit. Embarkation: We waited a very long time (2 hours-some people had been waiting even longer) for our transfer to the pier. There was very little direction or information while waiting or when the bus finally arrived. There was not a long wait at the pier, but Xpress pass or Concierge class didn't make any difference at all. Loved being greeted with champagne as we boarded and being shown to our cabin. Cabin: The cabin was gorgeous-plenty of room, large bathroom (nice to be able to turn around in the shower!). The bed was very comfortable. The balcony was adequate in size and had comfortable chairs. The cabin showed no wear at all. The steward and his assistant kept the cabin in immaculate condition. The refrigerator was well-stocked but the items were ridiculously expensive. Towels were rough and not absorbent. I think the Concierge Class cabin was worth it. Priority luggage delivery didn't happen. The cabin steward was attentive without being overbearing. You could hear pretty much everything going on in the hallway but little from adjoining cabins. Ship Decor: somewhat bland. Some nice art, some unattractive art as well. There was a lot of wear evident in the various public areas. The atrium was unremarkable. We found it easy to get around and got to know the layout quickly. The Waterfall Cafe and main dining room were very comfortable and attractive. Pool areas also showed a lot of wear. Although there were plenty of chairs, many were in need of new cushions. Pools and pool areas also unremarkable. The Bar at the Edge of the Earth was a striking place and we liked to spend time there (although we were quite disappointed that Cirque du Soleil was on hiatus). Plenty of comfortable and pleasant areas to sit around the ship. Easy to find quiet places-amazing on a ship this large with so many passengers. The promenade area rarely attracted people and it was a perfect place to go for quiet and a comfortable lounge chair. The shops were standard shops for a cruise line. Spa-this was my first use of a spa on a ship. I was very impressed with everything about this spa-the ambience, service and the fee was very reasonable. Highly recommend!!! Entertainment: Fair overall. The singers were excellent, the dancers were not very good. The musical entertainment was good, however, especially the Party Band and the string quartet. Cruise staff: most were aloof and rarely saw them. Food: EXCELLENT!!! The breakfast and lunch buffets were great at the Waterfall Cafe. Don't miss the waffle station. Also liked the pizza station and the free ice cream. Main Dining room food was incredible. Have had better desserts on other cruise lines but can't complain about this. Room service menu was much more extensive than I've ever seen on a cruise. The hamburger/hot dog grill not very good. Shore Excursions: limited choices compared to other lines and not well organized at all. Shore assistance was non-existent (i.e.-if you needed help with directions, suggestions, taxis etc. On the other lines I've been on, there have always been crew to help passengers with shore issues. Service: There is not enough I can say about the excellent service on this ship. I feel you cannot overestimate how important service is and the Summit crew far surpassed our expectations. There was a perfect balance of attentiveness and respect. Two areas of service that were particularly appreciated: in the dining room and deck service. Our waiter, his assistant, and the assistant maitre d' were attentive and extremely personable. Not only was the service superb but our interactions with them were enjoyable and relaxed. They really enhanced our dining experience. Deck service was plentiful, prompt and the deck staff were friendly and fun. The whole vibe of the ship was pleasant and I attribute this to the crew. Disembarkation: I loved how we didn't have to have out luggage outside the cabin until midnight. Immigration lines were a nightmare-the line wrapped around the interior of the ship TWICE. I am not saying this is Celebrity's fault-but there was NO ONE to direct people to the end of the line. There was so much confusion and no direction, no announcements about the problem. There were people with mobility problem who were having a lot of difficulty and people were very anxious about missing flights and if they were in the right place in line. Then when we got to the theater where the immigration people were, the cruise staff didn't seem to know what they were doing-it was very haphazard. Long lines also to disembark. Overall a great time and I recommend this ship to anyone looking for an attractive ship with excellent service and a relaxing atmosphere. This ship is not for people looking for a party atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date September 2005
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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