Caribbean Christmas Escape!: Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by hyker1

Celebrity Summit 4
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Caribbean Christmas Escape!

Sail Date: December 2012
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
This was our very first cruise with Celebrity. We have always sailed with Norwegian and have been loyal customers until now. Celebrity caught our attention, since they drastically limit smoking aboard ship (we hate it when people smoke around us!), we'd heard great things about the cuisine, and we'd heard they catered more towards "adult-cruising". We were drawn to this particular cruise because of the many stops and since the itinerary featured so many places we'd never been.

Embarkation was so easy. Literally, we walked through security, straight to the Aqua Class desk, and there were NO LINES! Never has an embarkation been as fast and simple. I was very impressed. Staff greeted you with trays of Mimosas and juices as soon as you set foot on board. Sweet!

We boarded around 1pm, and our staterooms weren't ready yet, so we were invited to go up to the OceanView Cafe for lunch which we did. My husband and I were really surprised with the large seating More capacity and easy access to the food at the buffet. We've never liked cruise ship buffets on NCL, since they're usually over-crowded and insanely busy. OceanView staff certainly handles the crowds well and instead of just grabbing at things and helping yourself, they serve everything for you, make salads for you, etc. Very nice touch at a buffet. Also, I have to mention the ice-cream. Celebrity makes home-made ice-cream every day. It's to DIE FOR! It tastes just like my Dad's home-made ice-cream, and they always have Vanilla, Chocolate, & Strawberry, but then rotate other flavors into the mix on a daily basis. I went to the OceanView Buffet daily for my ice-cream fix. Fantastic stuff! Around the time we finished eating, an announcement was made that staterooms were ready, so we headed off to find ours.

Our stateroom was fine. There's not much space between the bed and mirrored wall, but that would be my only issue regarding design. I really loved the balcony/verandah and it WAS more spacious than ones I've had before on NCL, even in Suites. We traveled in Aqua Class, and I had a lovely little satchel with facial mist and lip-balm on the bed as a gift. There were brand new Frette robes in the closet, Champagne chilling on ice, a fruit bowl that was constantly replenished, and everything seemed really tidy and nice. The deck chairs are especially comfortable and can be adjusted to lie back some, which makes your private verandah a nice place to lay-out. My husband sleeps with a C-pap machine, and (like on most ships we've been on) there was no outlet next to his side of the bed. I called twice to request an extension cord for him. It was never sent. However, his cord turned out to be just long enough, so we made-do. All other room service was very prompt and our steward (Naik) was courteous and prompt with servicing our room.

I was anxious to check out the spa. On NCL, one may purchase an "spa-pass" for the week which allows you access to a thermal suite (each ship has a different thermal suite layout/facilities.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't have to pay extra to use the sauna, thermal area, etc. Plus, since I was in Aqua Class, I had use of the Persian Garden. This turned out to be my "Happy Place"! I would spend several hours there daily with my Kindle, reading and relaxing, enjoying the benefits of the aromatherapy, steam-rooms, and heated, tile lounges. Love, love, LOVED that!

I did use the thermal suite area, called "Thalasso-therapy pool". NCL has Celebrity beat in this area, and even though I didn't have to pay extra, I did miss NCL's nicer "menu" of therapy pools and ambiance. The therapy pool is in the Solarium, which had surprisingly little "personality". It's a fairly good-sized area, with very little decor. The rest of the ship was so beautiful, that this particular area surprised me a little in its plainness.

My biggest complaint concerned the pool deck. First of all, there are two pools... one for kids and one for adults, which (ideally) makes for a good plan. However, kids were constantly in the adult pool, and the ADULTS ONLY posting that was delineated was completely ignored by staff. My feeling... if you post a "regulation", STICK by it! One afternoon, I was taking a swim and a kid jumped in the pool nearly on top of me and whacked me in the face with his foot. Second, I was hoping to take a swim after dinner, but the entire pool area, thalasso-therapy pool, etc. was closed promptly at 8pm! NCL always left their pool open for night use until at least 10pm, and the whirlpool tubs are open later than that. I made sure I shared these pool concerns on the cruise critique they gave us at the end of the week.

If we had any other complaint it was that there were very few activities on board, aside from the evening shows, boring talks about how the ship runs, or annoying sales pitch speeches from the jewelry stores about gemstones (LOL!) They only held Bingo two evenings, and my husband loves Bingo. NCL definitely has Celebrity beat on varieties of activities on board.

I went to one of the shows, featuring a very talented comedian/impersonator who supposedly will be starring in a film about Bill Cosby in the near future. It was an enjoyable show, but some of his racial humor was a little too edgy for me. However, he was a talented gentleman, and aside for some of the comments on race, I loved the show.

Now, the food. Wow. Where does one even begin? Since we were in Aqua Class, we had the privilege of eating in the specialty restaurant, "Blu". We LOVED it! NCL couldn't possibly compete with Celebrity in this regard, even in their specialty restaurants. The food quality on Celebrity, the presentation, taste, and service was WAY above standard. Let's see, we had Filet Mignon, lobster, Lamb, duck, New York strip, and those were just the main courses. On NCL, whenever you dine, you have different waiters. On the Summit, we had the same wait-staff, who we came to know, respect, and appreciate. Soo-Bass, Putu, Oni, and Marcel the Maitre-D went out of their way to make our dining experience top notch. I never had to ask for tea, water, or much of anything. Service was always prompt, and whenever we had an early shore-excursion, they wanted us to tell them so they could hustle our breakfast along and get it to us faster. They did just that. At Breakfast in Blu, they have delicious, freshly squeezed OJ and smoothies. Also, you can request fresh Muesli. They bring over a big cart and mix it up to your specifications. DELICIOUS!!! All the pastries and breads are home-made, and the pancakes especially are wonderful. I like eggs over medium, and they were the very first cruise ship to get my eggs cooked "just right". Frankly, the issues with the pool, activities, etc. all dim in relation to how fabulous our dining was. We looked forward to going to Blu each day. And by the way, if you want something fast for lunch, the Poolside grill has hamburgers to DIE FOR!

I will proceed to discuss our shore excursion experiences below, but generally speaking, we loved our cruise and are planning an Alaska cruise with Celebrity this coming summer! Less

Published 01/02/13

Cabin review: CC1101

Small but very nice. A little tight, moving from one end of the bed to another, since it's arranged very close to a mirrored wall. Beds were a bit hard, which my husband didn't like. I found them quite comfy. Shower head was especially nice, as we were in Aqua Class. Loved the different setting and the jets were fun! Bath products were also very nice.

Port and Shore Excursions

Whale & Dolphin Watching

This tour was the low point of our trip. Whenever you seek out wildlife, it's never a guaranteed thing. However, the staff/crew that led this tour didn't do much to enhance the experience. We were taken straight to the dock and boarded the whale-watching boat. We would be looking for Sperm Whales, 200 of which roam off the coast of Dominica year-round. The crew used echo-locating devices that were dipped into the water to sound "readings" to locate whales that were within several miles. We didn't have any luck. However, nor did the crew do much explaining as to what they were doing. Several people (myself included) fielded questions regarding the process, but sometimes we were "shushed" and we wound up learning very little about Sperm Whales. Consequently, little or no information was given about dolphins, which we were also supposed to be looking for. Several times, people saw birds feeding/flying about over the water, but we didn't see anything. Supposedly, we "heard" whales, but I'm not 100% sure about that, personally. The crew acted almost as though they were the only ones on board and that we weren't there at all. Most of the people on the boat fell asleep after the first hour and a half. My husband and I kept looking for wildlife, still asking several questions. Those were answer tersely without any additional information given. We both felt like the captain and crew missed a great opportunity to discuss whales and dolphins and perhaps even educate us more on the process of locating them, despite us not having any luck. Honestly, I didn't see a single person place anything in their tip jars. Sad to say, they didn't really deserve any, and it had nothing to do with our not seeing any whales or dolphins!

I LOVED this trip! We did another snorkeling excursion, and it was by catamaran. The crew was fabulous on this boat, which more than made up for the day before! They took us a short distance to a sheltered cove, and conditions for snorkeling were excellent. We saw a great variety of shallow reef life, spiny sea urchins, snake-fish, tropical fish, etc. Brian, our guide in the water, had a warm, welcoming approach and was very enthusiastic. The crew served rum-punch and sandwiches, and alot of us laid-out on the trampolines of the boat. After snorkeling, they took us to a fantastic beach for about an hour where we all went for walks or swam. The water was that stunning Caribbean blue that I sill can't get my head around. Really a super day!
Read 531 Grenada Reviews

We signed up for snorkeling at Buck Island. It was a lovely drive from Fredricksted to Christiansted to get our boat. The bus ride was about 30 min. There were about 30-40 people on this excursion. We were promptly ushered aboard the boat and then it took another 30 min. or so to ride out to Buck Island, which is a National Park-protected island and reef. Unfortunately, that day it started getting really windy and rough. Several people were cut on the coral and got thrashed around by waves pretty badly. Both my husband and myself were hit hard by the surf, but we were lucky and though beds of coral were just feet away from us, we managed to steer clear of harm's way. I'm a die-hard snorkeler, so I stayed out, but just didn't get too far into the reef. Of course, I didn't get to see as much marine life, either, but it was better than nothing, and nobody can control the weather. They wound up cancelling the next tour, due to the rough conditions. We enjoyed seeing the area and Buck Island's beautiful. Had conditions been better, it would have been a perfect day!

Island tour

We honestly didn't know what to expect on this excursion. We knew nothing about St. Kitts. It turned out to be one of my two favorite ports. Byron, our driver, knew a lot about the area, culture, etc. We were there on Christmas Eve, so the locals were getting ready to have their big Christmas festival. Byron explained what was going on, etc. Made it really interesting! Our first stop was Romney Plantation which dates to the early 17th cent. We were given about 30 min. to walk around, see how Batik is made, experience the Rain Forest, tropical plants, etc. The only reason I'm giving this particular tour a "4" is that we were a bit rushed. I think they could easily add another 2 hrs. to this one so that people don't feel hurried/pressed for time. Next on the agenda was the Brimstone Fortress, located on a high promontory which had volcanic beginnings. This was a spectacular fort and lookout and was lots of fun to tour. Again, we were a bit rushed, but it was a fabulous experience, and we took some awesome photos. This tour really wetted our appetite to return to St. Kitts! It is a gorgeous place.

Scuba - beginner

I took my first scuba-dive, and it was a fairly good experience. We dove near a wreak in about 38 feet of water. Saw lots of lovely coral, sponges, and tropical fish. After a short scuba experience, I snorkeled. Really beautiful cove and lots of sea life. I saw a good-sized barracuda and a tuna. My dive course was very straight-forward, informative, and well-organized. The gear was in excellent condition, and I felt very safe. We dove in groups of three and our instructor, though a no-nonsense sort of guy, was also VERY into safety and precautions. I very much appreciated that, since this was my first experience. I highly recommend this diving experience to anyone who's adventurous and would like to try diving. As a result, I may take a class now and try to get some more experience towards certification. :) Good-times!


My husband and I did separate excursions on this day. He went on another snorkle, and got to swim among rays and sea-turtles. He said it was awesome, and he really loved it. His group sailed a a cute little sailing vessel designed to look like a pirate ship. They served beverages and he said, though it was crowded, that everyone had a super time and was very friendly.

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