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Celebrity Summit Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,435 Reviews

Magic carpet ride on the Summit

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by Michigan honey

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2009
  • Destination: the Eastern Mediterranean

We are a retired couple and love to travel. This was our fourth cruise and our third trip to Europe. We have cruised twice on HAL about 35 years ago and on Sitmar around 38 years ago. We cruised again last year on Princess. This year we were new to Celebrity.

Our port of embarkation was Barcelona. We flew from our home in Detroit to JFK and from JFK to Barcelona. We arrived two days early and promptly checked into the Hotel Jazz. This was a great little hotel and the service was lovely and friendly. The place was spotless; the breakfast was delicious. The hotel was only a few blocks from the Main Square and La Ramblas. We had a great time over-all but had a poor experience with the HOHO bus. The busses are supposed to come every 20 minutes but they were often full and we averaged about 40 minutes to an hour wait for each bus. At no time was there room for us to go up to the top level; it was that crowded. The drivers did not speak English well and misdirected us. The bus broke down and we were stranded for 90 minutes waiting for a new bus. The following day I requested a refund and was told I had to complete a form. A month later, I still do not have a refund.

In spite of this we really enjoyed the city. The shopping was great. La Rambla was beautiful especially at night. Don't miss the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the other Gaudi architecture. The Guell Park was amazing. I felt as though I fell through Alice's Looking Glass in this city.

We boarded the Summit in Barcelona about 2 PM. The process took less than ½ hour from beginning to end. We were warmly welcomed with mimosas and escorted to our room. Our room steward, Naik, immediately stopped by, introduced himself and asked if there was anything we needed.

He spoiled us the whole time we were on the cruise. I needed an extension cord for my heating pad. He immediately provided this and taped the cord along the wall so we would not trip over the cord. He was our personal genie; whatever we requested, he provided. He always had a smile. If he saw us walking down the hallway, he would open our door for us.

Each time we returned to the ship from our shore excursions, the staff would greet us warmly and say "Welcome Home."

We had a standard veranda cabin and it was more than adequate for our needs. There was ample drawer space and lots of cupboards. The closet was a little tight but we managed. There was a safe and plenty of shelving in the bathroom.

Bring your own hair dryer; the one on the ship is probably an antique.

The room was decorated in orange; in early "Howard Johnson's". However, the bed was very comfortable and we had a sofa and a desk as well. Our balcony held two chairs and a small table. We loved the "no smoking" policy.

There was a problem with mold in our shower. We mentioned this to Naik and presto, the mold was gone and the shower curtain was replaced.

The food in the MDR was very good. Our waiter, Nengah and his assistant Pavel also spoiled us. My husband asked for two helpings of shrimp cocktail and he got it, every night. Our travel companions requested certain flavors of ice cream and those were ordered especially ordered for us - even when they were not on the menu. Everything we ate was very good. If we attempted to order something that was not good, Nengah would advise us to order something else. Pavel especially was very friendly and both servers always had smile for us. There were plenty of choices for food.

We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches at the Aqua Spa and the food there was delicious. We tried the buffet from time to time and we were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. We did not try the grill or the pizzeria. We thoroughly enjoyed high tea; especially the bite-sized sandwiches.

The coffee on the ship was foul beyond belief. We were forewarned by CC members and we bought our own coffee.

There was a special brunch buffet, a midnight buffet and a chocolate buffet. There were canapEs passed every night after 11. You could eat your way through the cruise from beginning to end.

However, all of our dining experiences paled in comparison to our two dinners in the Normandie. I can honestly say that these were two of the best meals I have ever eaten. Our entire group was awed by the presentation. The meal was beautifully plated and elegantly served. The fish I ordered was prepared tableside and flambEed. Once again the staff made us feel as though we were honored guests. This meal is well worth the up-charge; we liked it so much we ate there twice.

There was lots of entertainment. For comedy there was Fred Kitts, who proved that you can be funny and be clean at the same time. He appeared twice and had the entire audience laughing. The variety shows were excellent. The musicians and concert pianist were outstanding.

The movies were good but were more than a year old. Even though we are not movie buffs, we had seen most of the movies. The movie theater and the show room are very comfortable.

There were plenty of activities to keep us occupied on sea days. My husband took two photography classes; I took a class in flower arranging and a refresher class in Excel. One photography class and the flower arranging class was free. There was a charge for the other two classes. There was a guest lecturer on the Olympics and even though I did not get to his lectures, I heard that they were good. There were classes in wine-tasting and several dance classes. If the itinerary had not been so port-intensive, we would have availed ourselves of these. We had an extra sea-day because we were unable to dock in Villefranche (due to poor weather).

There were two get-togethers for Cruise Critic members.

The pools were beautiful. We loved the Thalassotherapy pool. My husband used the gym. A few in our group used the spa and enjoyed it.

There are lots of quiet little places on board to settle down with a book. There is a library with a nice selection of books and a lovely card room. There were few annoying announcements.

If there was a disappointment in the cruse it was in the shopping. There was a lot of junk jewelry and clothing and most of it was over-priced. There was little "new merchandise" as the cruise went on. Some of the merchandise looked like it was left over from a garage sale.

We broke our camera on the cruise and had to replace it. We were able to purchase a nice camera on the ship. The camera sold at the manufacturer's suggested retail price and we were pleased that we did not have to pay an inflated price.

We had planned to do a walking/ shopping tour of Florence but the tours were already booked. We ended up taking the ship's shuttle to the train and the train to Florence. It took a half hour for the shuttle then a half hour wait at the train station. The train ride was 90 minutes and we had to reverse this whole process on the way back. We wandered around aimlessly at the train station until we got a cab. We went to the Santa Crorce area but we had only a few hours before it was time to get back. If you do not hire a guide for this city, take the ship's shuttle to the center of town. You will save about two hours. What we saw of Florence was lovely.

We were a mixed group. My husband and I were new to Rome and wanted to sight-see. Two of our companions wanted only to shop. Another companion wanted to do both. Our solution was to hire Driver In Rome. Our driver, Paulo, effortlessly delivered us wherever we wanted to go. He dropped the two shoppers off at a shopping center and took the three sight-seers all over the city. Later he dropped the sight-seers off for lunch, picked up the shoppers and delivered them to the restaurant where they joined us for the meal. The second day we all went to the Vatican in the morning but the shoppers left after two hours while the others stayed to see the Sistine Chapel and the Museum. In the afternoon, we went to the Jewish Quarter. Paulo was unflappable. One note: If you hire Driver In Rome, ask for any vehicle but the Fiat; it was bumpy and noisy. Rome was a treat.

A few people in our group learned that Paulo, our driver in Rome, was to be our driver in Naples. He agreed to play a joke on the others in our group and to pass himself off as his identical twin brother, Georgio, He met us in Naples in a different vehicle, thankfully a Mercedes van this time, and the trip was much smoother. Our travel companions fell for the little joke and we all had a good laugh. The weather was awful but we all enjoyed ourselves. We went to Pompeii, to a cameo factory and then for a magnificent drive up the Amalfi Coast. Wow!! We had a delicious lunch before driving back to Naples.

We definitely recommend Driver In Rome for Rome and Naples and Florence. Ask for Paulo; he's great!!

We had a sea day before turning and doing the Eastern Mediterranean. There were plenty of activities and we appreciated the time to relax.

While we were still in Naples we heard that the Summit had cancelled several tours because there was a marathon in Athens. Since we had reserved a guide, we telephoned him and asked him if sight-seeing would be a problem. We were assured that it would not be a problem because our guide had a smaller vehicle and could go around the runners. Imagine our surprise when we got to Athens and our guide told us he could not take us to any of the high spots except for the Acropolis. He could not get to any of the other sights along the marathon route and had to drop us off several blocks away from the Plaka. He arranged to meet us several hours later. We had hired George's taxi service after reading rave reviews about him in Cruise Critic. George's son, Billy, was our driver. Billy was very pleasant but we felt that George's taxi should have leveled with us when we telephoned in advance. We could have cancelled. We paid 250 Euros to be dropped off at the Acropolis and the Plaka and returned to the ship. This service was very expensive for what we received and we were understandably disappointed. We could have hired a regular taxi for that. That being said, the city appeared to be like any large metropolitan city. The Acropolis was beautiful even in the rain. The Plaka was a great shopping area and there appeared to be some excellent buys.

We did Istanbul on our own. We arrived about 1:30 on Monday and went straight to the tram upon leaving the ship. People were very good about directing us. Istanbul is a huge city but everyone is very friendly. We took the tram to Topkapi Palace and spent a few hours at the harem and the Palace. The grounds were beautiful. It was not hard to imagine girls as young as 11 or 12 being taken to the Harem possibly for life. It was dark when we left the Palace so we did not want to take the chance of getting lost in the dark. So we walked toward the Grand Bazaar and found the shuttle to the ship. We did a lot of people watching on our walk.

The next day we took the shuttle to town and walked to the Blue Mosque. It was beautiful. We walked to the Grand Bazaar and spent several hours winding in and out of the shops. We purchased harem outfits for our granddaughters. We found the people in Istanbul to be very friendly. We did not feel at all threatened by being in a Muslim country.

Mykonos was serene and beautiful. We shuttled to the town center and walked around for the entire afternoon. It was the last day the shops were open for the season but few shopkeepers were willing to bargain. Still, we enjoyed our sojourn there and took some beautiful pictures. It is fun wandering in and out of the alleys. The little island is peaceful and breath-taking.

After leaving Mykonos and another sea day, we arrived in Split. We tendered into town and spent a few pleasant hours shopping the stores and flea markets and exploring the ruins. There is not a lot to do here so a few hours was all we needed.

Disembarkation went smoothly. We were one of the last to disembark and we stayed in our cabin until the very end. We were not rushed. We left the ship on schedule and easily found our luggage. Getting a water taxi in Venice took some time but soon we were on our way. We were sorry to leave our adopted home on the Summit.

I would like to mention how hard the staff works. Our room steward was on duty from early morning until about nine at night. Our dinner waiters were seen working the buffet at other times during the day. The staff at the Normandie worked the Aqua spa. We heard passengers complaining about the tips that were automatically charged to the cabins. We felt that these tips were not enough for the wonderful service we received. These people sign contacts with Celebrity and work for six months before they return home. Often they send money home to their families. They deserve every bit of their tips and more.

We will definitely return to Celebrity. We would recommend this ship to anyone.

We spend three nights here and stayed at the Hilton Stucky Molino. The hotel is located on a separate island but there is a complimentary shuttle to San Marco. The hotel is spotless and nice for a splurge. The staff was lovely and welcoming except for the concierge who was condescending and rude.

We spent most of our time around San Marco Square. We are avid amateur photographers and found plenty of things to photograph here. We also wandered around other neighborhoods in Venice and Molino. Venice is a beautiful and easily doable on your own. The water busses will take you anywhere. We visited Murano. I am glad we went but we do not have to return. The prices were the same in Venice.

Venice is not inexpensive. It cost us 60 Euros to get to our hotel from the pier and 112 Euros to get to the airport. All food is imported and delicious and expensive. In addition to paying high prices (in Euros) you pay a "cover charge" and a "service charge". But spending money is part of the fun. If you are going to visit Venice, budget accordingly. You won't be sorry. When we return, we will bring an extra suitcase for the masks and souvenirs. They are lovely.

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Cabin Review

Cabin 2 C 6060

We had a standard veranda cabin and it was more than adequate for our needs. There was ample drawer space and lots of cupboards. The closet was a little tight but we managed. There was a safe and plenty of shelving in the bathroom.

Bring your own hair dryer; the one on the ship is probably an antique.

The room was decorated in orange; in early "Howard Johnson's". However, the bed was very comfortable and we had a sofa and a desk as well. Our balcony held two chairs and a small table. We loved the "no smoking" policy.

There was a problem with mold in our shower. We mentioned this to Naik and presto, the mold was gone and the shower curtain was replaced.

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