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The San Juan itinerary has long been the stepchild of Caribbean itineraries, with the "Eastern" and "Western" routes out of Miami and Ft Laud getting all the flashy ships. San Juan, due to the shallow ports of the Windward Islands and I guess the fact that it sails out of a somewhat inconvenient port, gets the smaller, older ships. This is a shame since a cruise out of San Juan allows one to visit islands with varied flavors, from the lush hills of Grenada, the French culture of Martinique to the volcanoes of St Kitts. I picked the Celebrity Summit because it was the best rated cruise out of the port. I knew it was a smaller vessel and that suited us fine. We were a big family group, 21 in all ranging in age from 12 to 87. We arrived in San Juan on a very early flight, the ship sailed at 8 pm and we arrived in port at noon, so embarkation was a breeze. Others in our group that landed at 1:30 pm took over 3 hours to embark. Cabin, balcony, was as expected, small but well laid out and lots of storage and hangers. The cabin was not particularly clean, a crust of dust laid over the phone. The bathroom tile had mold in the grout and a tile on the floor had about a third broken off. Right away we were barraged with offers for the drink package, it was relentless, we were approached by over a dozen people in quick succession. I finally relented after seeing that a Stella (which I had just purchased at home for $13.49 for a twelve pack) was $10. At the end the package was worth it for us since besides liquor and wine it includes water bottles and premium coffee. The premium package is $65, plus 18% gratuity, per day. I must note that my 21 year old daughter was sold a package without an issue but was later ID constantly, even to get "Cherry Brandy" gelato, this despite the fact that the cabin key notes whether one is underage. We ate at the regular dining room each night. On the first night we asked if they could put three tables together to accommodate all of us, they said they couldn't put three tables together, but could do two. Second day it didn't happen, third day they came after we were already sitting to make it happen..too late, fourth day nothing happened and all and all until the last day when they got it together. For some reason two of the tables had office chairs and not the regular dining room chairs, the office chairs had metal legs with wooden handles and I cut my finger on the handle. The waiter saw me bleeding on the napkin and he called the assistant maitre d (the same one that couldn't put the tables together) he apologized and assured me that the next day they would change the chairs, next day came, same chairs. The dining room ran out of 5 different wines they sold by the glass during the week. This cruise only had one day at sea, which was great for me since I really wanted to spend time on the islands. All aboard was at 4:30 so each day we would come from our activities starving, like everyone else on the cruise. At 4:30 all you could find on the main buffet was an "Asian" station that at this point only had was pasta (for some reason), a pizza station, a pasta station and burgers and hot dogs by the pool. Not only was this a ridiculously limited menu but the pasta and pizza station were administered by one person each so the lines were long. This was every single day. One day a lady came by while we were having lunch asking for comments, we told her how we felt so later that day they called my cabin to say that the next day they would have more stations open. Next day, same deal. Let's point out that pizza, pasta, burgers and hot dogs, are the cheapest things they can give. The same slow service due to a shortage of workers could be experienced in the mornings in the omelette and eggs benedict station. This was my 12th cruise, but I have not cruised for almost 10 years. It used to be that cruising was a sort of "arrival" for a middle class family, you got to dress up, and eat well and watch a show, and in the ship everyone was the same. The staff tried hard to please, the line tried hard to please. There was the legendary midnight buffet with glass sculptures, the pool side BBQ, even the (I'll admit a little corny) cherries jubilee and baked alaskan parade. Now the tips are included, which takes all incentive for the server to serve, food is bland and of pedestrian quality, unless you are willing to pay $200 a night for a family of four for the "good" food or pay for "Aqua Class" or the "Suites" and get the exclusive restaurants. The cruise lines are following the lead of the airlines, a budget price to get you in and then clobber you with extras. We were offered a "movie night dinner" for an extra $15.

Summit is an afterthought

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by AlainL

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony 2A
The San Juan itinerary has long been the stepchild of Caribbean itineraries, with the "Eastern" and "Western" routes out of Miami and Ft Laud getting all the flashy ships. San Juan, due to the shallow ports of the Windward Islands and I guess the fact that it sails out of a somewhat inconvenient port, gets the smaller, older ships. This is a shame since a cruise out of San Juan allows one to visit islands with varied flavors, from the lush hills of Grenada, the French culture of Martinique to the volcanoes of St Kitts.

I picked the Celebrity Summit because it was the best rated cruise out of the port. I knew it was a smaller vessel and that suited us fine. We were a big family group, 21 in all ranging in age from 12 to 87.

We arrived in San Juan on a very early flight, the ship sailed at 8 pm and we arrived in port at noon, so embarkation was a breeze. Others in our group that landed at 1:30 pm took over 3 hours to embark.

Cabin, balcony, was as expected, small but well laid out and lots of storage and hangers. The cabin was not particularly clean, a crust of dust laid over the phone. The bathroom tile had mold in the grout and a tile on the floor had about a third broken off.

Right away we were barraged with offers for the drink package, it was relentless, we were approached by over a dozen people in quick succession. I finally relented after seeing that a Stella (which I had just purchased at home for $13.49 for a twelve pack) was $10. At the end the package was worth it for us since besides liquor and wine it includes water bottles and premium coffee. The premium package is $65, plus 18% gratuity, per day. I must note that my 21 year old daughter was sold a package without an issue but was later ID constantly, even to get "Cherry Brandy" gelato, this despite the fact that the cabin key notes whether one is underage.

We ate at the regular dining room each night. On the first night we asked if they could put three tables together to accommodate all of us, they said they couldn't put three tables together, but could do two. Second day it didn't happen, third day they came after we were already sitting to make it happen..too late, fourth day nothing happened and all and all until the last day when they got it together. For some reason two of the tables had office chairs and not the regular dining room chairs, the office chairs had metal legs with wooden handles and I cut my finger on the handle. The waiter saw me bleeding on the napkin and he called the assistant maitre d (the same one that couldn't put the tables together) he apologized and assured me that the next day they would change the chairs, next day came, same chairs. The dining room ran out of 5 different wines they sold by the glass during the week.

This cruise only had one day at sea, which was great for me since I really wanted to spend time on the islands. All aboard was at 4:30 so each day we would come from our activities starving, like everyone else on the cruise. At 4:30 all you could find on the main buffet was an "Asian" station that at this point only had was pasta (for some reason), a pizza station, a pasta station and burgers and hot dogs by the pool. Not only was this a ridiculously limited menu but the pasta and pizza station were administered by one person each so the lines were long. This was every single day. One day a lady came by while we were having lunch asking for comments, we told her how we felt so later that day they called my cabin to say that the next day they would have more stations open. Next day, same deal. Let's point out that pizza, pasta, burgers and hot dogs, are the cheapest things they can give. The same slow service due to a shortage of workers could be experienced in the mornings in the omelette and eggs benedict station.

This was my 12th cruise, but I have not cruised for almost 10 years. It used to be that cruising was a sort of "arrival" for a middle class family, you got to dress up, and eat well and watch a show, and in the ship everyone was the same. The staff tried hard to please, the line tried hard to please. There was the legendary midnight buffet with glass sculptures, the pool side BBQ, even the (I'll admit a little corny) cherries jubilee and baked alaskan parade. Now the tips are included, which takes all incentive for the server to serve, food is bland and of pedestrian quality, unless you are willing to pay $200 a night for a family of four for the "good" food or pay for "Aqua Class" or the "Suites" and get the exclusive restaurants. The cruise lines are following the lead of the airlines, a budget price to get you in and then clobber you with extras. We were offered a "movie night dinner" for an extra $15.
AlainL’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony 2A
Cabin 2A 7117
The cabin is small but well laid out with lots of storage and hangers. The bathroom is dated with mold in the grout.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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    Went to Carlisle Bay beach there is a beach club there where they rent umbrellas and chairs and you can eat and drink. The fish sticks were not bad and a bucket of beer (12) is $20 so not bad either. The water is crystal clear.
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  • Grenada
    Went to Grand Anse beach, really nice, loved the island. Unfortunately they are building something large right smack on the water where the water taxi leaves you which is where the food and service is found. You can walk to the other end where it is much peaceful but there is no service. You can get the water taxi right next to the ship for $10 round trip.
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  • Martinique
    Outside of water sports there are very few tour operators in Martinique which is a shame because the island has a fantastic rain forest with unique fauna. We did a canyonneering tour where you basically rappel and slide down numerous waterfalls in a canyon. We are all fit, but this is a very rough ride. While the tour guide was an expert, it was her assistant's first day and we were a group of 12 including a 12 year old. We felt very unsafe.
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  • Nature Adventure
    Did a volcano hike with Greys Tour. The hike is very strenuous, you are climbing up 3200 feet in two hours with roots and slippery rocks on your way. If it rains, and it always rains, the trail gets all muddy so it's slow going. The top is the big pay off with a great view of the volcano's caldera, well worth the climb.
    Grey's picked us up at 9 am, told them the ship sailed at 4. We had a 17 year old guide who tried to rush us up the mountain to meet another group that had started half an hour before. We met up with the other group at the top, had refreshments and began our descent. The guide was nonchalant, conversing with my kids about life on the island, soccer, etc, when I asked him the time it turns out it was 3:07 pm, we are still on the trail and the trail head is 45 minutes away from the terminal. After a white knuckle ride on an open air "bus" with not even seat belt followed by a hurried run down the pier while the ship horns were blaring we made it into the ship at 4:15.
    St Kitts is getting more passengers than usual due to the damage to the other islands and tour operators are taking advantage, over booking tours and hiring inexperienced guides. If you want to do this tour I suggest either booking through the ship or starting really early.
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    The island took a beating. We went to Megans Bay beach and you can notice the devastation, however, they have planted a bunch of palms and trying the best they can. There is a temporary bar/restaurant set up with limited menu (hamburgers/chicken sandwiches and cold sandwiches, beer, spirits, margaritas and painkillers). They don't have a blender, so no Bushwacker, and no credit card machines so cash only.
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