We like to escape New England in the winter, and for the past ten years, that’s been a Celebrity cruise. We prefer the M class ships, so when Summit became available for this “repositioning” cruise, we signed up a year ago. Of course, the devastation from the hurricanes forced some changes and some worries, but things went pretty smoothly. The hotel we had booked in San Juan stayed open and was accommodating, though we cut our stay short by a day. Embarkation was quick and smooth. We had lunch on the sunset deck as usual, and were able to get into our room right afterwards. We had a Concierge Class stateroom, which was pleasant and comfortabe, with plenty of storage space. Our stateroom attendant introduced himself and seemed very personable, but fell short in several instances during the.cruise. One day our room was never cleaned; though I asked for ice to be delivered at 4 each day, it didn’t come twice and the other days was delivered around noon, so was melted by the time we needed it; and he removed dirty glasses but didn’t replace them. This was not the standard we were used to on Celebrity.
We were also disappointed in the main dining room. Not one of the dinners we had there was exceptional; in fact, most were subpar. My husband found the meat entrees, with one exception, unacceptably tough. Even the pasta was way undercooked one night. The menu is less varied and the offerings are more pedestrian than they used to be. We noticed last year that the food was not as good as it had been, and this year was worse. We did enjoy the Tuscan Grill, and Oceanview Cafe, where we often lunch, is still good. I was disappointed in the menu changes at the spa cafe, though. And what happened to the hors doeuvres in the CC stateroom? Dried cranberries instead of shrimp? Celebrity seems to be cutting back significantly on their food costs. On the upside, our waiter and sommelier in the MDR were very good.
Because the ship had to abort landing in Nassau, our final port, we had three sea days in a row. The staff and crew did a good job of adding activities at the last minute to keep folks occupied. Captain Kate is a treasure, with her wonderful humor and visibility. The activity offerings are pretty standard—lots of trivia, sports contests, karaoke, etc. And lots of merchants hyping jewelry and watches, art, spa treatments, etc. The production numbers in the evening were standard fare, but a couple of the featured performers were good. We particularly like the Summit and other M class ships because of the Rendezvous Lounge, where live bands play for dancing before and after dinner. The dance band this time was Lucky Band, not as good for dancers as others we’ve experienced on Celebrity. (Kathleen and the Saints, where are you?). The ship’s orchestra, however, played a couple of times, and they were very good. There is also a party band that handles the late night and poolside venues; they did a good job with the “jump up and down” music.
Celebrity upgraded their WiFi a couple of years ago, but it is still slow and very expensive.
We were in the first group to disembark due to an early flight, so debarkation was relatively quick and easy. One complaint, though: the only place serving coffee before 8:00 was the specialty coffee shop, where one cup of not very good American coffee was $6.20. I find that outrageous.
We have been loyal Celebrity cruisers for ten years, and we still like the ships and enjoy the experience. But I’m afraid they are going the way of the airlines—putting their resources into making the experience better for the higher-paying customers at the expense of those of us not in the suite class. It’s still hard to beat Celebrity’s value when they offer their free perks, and we have booked a cruise on the new Edge next year. But because of what we see as slippage in Celebrity’s quality, we’ve also booked two cruises on other lines.
Bed faces the stern, next to the bathroom. Plenty of storage space. Bathroom adequate, but shower very small with curtain rather than glass door. Standard balcony with table and two chairs. Starboard side, which put us on the less scenic pier side in all but one port.