We go on a couple of cruises a year. We've been on the Summit before and previous to this cruise we were on the Constellation. Celebrity is our favorite cruise line. However, this cruise just didn't come up to the standard we had experienced on previous Celebrity cruises. We chalked it up to poor hotel management.
Embarkation in Venice: Since part of our luggage stayed behind in Paris and we waited 3 hours at the Venice airport to try to resolve the situation, we arrived at the port after embarkation. Nevertheless, we were checked in quickly and the personnel was very friendly. Felt good to be on the ship and starting our vacation. During the night the ship moved ports and we were delighted to find out we were within walking distance of San Marcos Square and town.
Guest Relations: They were wonderful. They assured us that our luggage would eventually arrive, no matter what port we found ourselves in. One of the staff even lent my husband his wind breaker as it was quite chilly in Venice. We did get our luggage on our second day in Venice. The only time we had a problem was when we didn't receive a notice to turn in our passports. Guest Relations accused us, and many other people, that we must have received the notice as everyone else had. Turns out that two decks, 2nd and 3rd, did not receive the notice.
Our Stateroom: The shower temperature was luke warm and we complained for 3 days until they finally got it to barely warm. Our toilet didn't flush - and that took 4 days to fix. We had clanging noises outside our window which occurred mostly at 1:30 and 4:30 in the morning - that took 4 days to fix. We also had a problem with getting any notices. For some reason or other many notices were never delivered, for example having to turn in our passports prior to arriving in Athens. However, after I mentioned to Guest Relations that we weren't getting any notices, for example our CC Connections Party invitation - they stayed on top of the situation and followed up by phone to make sure we were informed of Captain's Club events. Our cabin steward, Ben, was exceptional. He couldn't do enough for us and took care of everything with a big smile. He was very chagrined at our plumbing and mail problems and was very worried that we would blame him. We kept assuring him that he was outstanding and we would give him special kuddos on our comment sheet, which we did.
The Staff: This was one of the best staff we have encountered. When we were on the helipad we started a conversation with Natasha who was in charge of stores and other things on the ship. When she found out it was my husband's birthday she sent him a bouquet of flowers. We had many wonderful conversations with her throughout the cruise. As has been mentioned before, the people who work on cruise ships do not have an easy or glamorous life. They get by on about 4 hours of sleep and must always appear happy and friendly. We can only guess how hard it must be for them to spend 6 - we've heard it's now 9 - months without seeing their families. People have complained about the suggested tips. Can you have breakfast, lunch, dinner, night at hotel for a total tip of $3.50 per person anywhere else? We always give extra to our housekeeping staff and our waiter and assistant.
Entertainment: In our opinion the orchestra and the singers and dancers and the shows presented were the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The productions were outstanding. One production had snippets from major Broadway shows including Lion King where they copied the amazing costumes of the original show. The entertainment all around the ship in the evening was also pretty good.
Excursions: We did a lot of research and made our own plans. However, there were many complaints about the X excursions. Most important being that although they warned some excursions were strainuous they still took people who were frail. As a result there were more than acceptable falls and injuries in such places as the Acropolis and Pompeii. One woman who fell at the Acropolis had to be flown home as she fractured her leg. Some of the guides hired by X were careless, abandoning some people who couldn't keep up, etc. However, the excursion desk personnel were not interested in hearing complaints.
Rome: We spent two days in Rome and relied on information from Fiona at the activities desk. She gave us a list of train times indicating the last train from Rome was at 4:39. We took the train and went on the Hop on Hop Off Bus - which was a great way to see Rome. Thinking we had to get back to the train station we didn't wait in line to see the Sistine Chapel. We were very disappointed to find out when we got back on the ship that the last train was closer to midnight. When I told Fiona she did us a disservice in listing 4:39 as the last train, she rudely answered that if we wanted to do Rome on our own it was our responsibility to get the right information and we should have read the boards at the train station. We had read the boards and 4:39 was indeed listed as the last time. Oh, Fiona said, you looked at the wrong boards. We did not rely on her for any more information on any other port. Ephesus, Turkey: We spent two days at Ephesus, Turkey. That's OK if you want to take a tour. We spent some time around the port. I like to window shop but couldn't as the merchants wouldn't leave us alone. They kept on trying to get us into their store and kept on asking us what we wanted to buy. It was exhausting trying to get away from them. Someone in our group wanted to know the prices of the rugs. Answer: How much money do you have? People don't like other people to know how much they spent on a rug so tell me how much money you have. Yeah, right. We wished we could have gone to Istanbul instead and don't know the reason for the change.
Athens: We went together with other people on the CC roll call and took a van to Athens. We had a nice day walking around Athens. As a matter of fact, we walked so far that we had to take the subway to get back to our meeting place. Very interesting experience. Luckily I speak Greek so I had no trouble getting around Athens.
Ville Franche: We took the train to Monaco. There was a sign at the train station warning us against pickpockets. The train was packed and sure enough I felt fingers on my hand. I yelled "hey." In retrospect I wish I had stomped on his foot. A man from the cruise who joined us put his camera in his pocket. He had his hand in the pocket and felt another hand joining his. We wished we could have spent two days in Ville Franche as we missed seeing Nice and Eze. Monaco was beautiful. We went to the Grimaldi Palace and really enjoyed seeing how Princess Grace lived.
Florence: There again we joined a CC group for transportation into Florence. That's the way to go. We walked all around Florence and saw all the sights. We asked natives about the best gellato and were guided to a tiny place off the beaten path where locals waited in line. It was wonderful.
Food on the Summit: The food in the MDR was mediocre. The few steaks we ordered were so tough we had to send them back. The food was always luke warm, never hot. The descriptions of the food were so enticing but the food hardly ever came up to the promises. We were looking forward to lobster night and that was a major disappointment. Lobster was served with shrimp in a risotto which was a glob of over cooked rice and over salted. We turned it back and didn't bother ordering anything else. None of the desserts were particularly "Oh my gosh, that was the best."
We had a great waiter and dinner service was well orchestrated and dishes were brought and removed quickly.
Food in the Lido deck was OK but, as many others have mentioned, coffee is awful. Luckily they had a nice variety of teas and my coffee-drinking husband became an avid tea drinker.
Activities: There were a few interesting activities. However, the ones that interested me occurred at the same time such as trivia, wine tasting, scrapbooking, computer and language classes. The movie selection was not appealing - all from a year or longer.
Captain's Club Activities: These were great. It was fun being on the helipad as we were sailing away from Venice. There was a very interesting navigation bridge tour. The Officer's parties were very well attended and the variety of beverages - Mai Tais, martinis, etc. was wonderful. We also had a galley tour and elegant tea and wine tasting which was at 11:00 am. Would have preferred an early afternoon wine tasting.
Disembarkation in Barcelona: To say it was a disaster was putting it kindly. Our luggage was scattered among others in the same color - but not by the number. We had purchased Celebrity transfers, which we will never do again. After we spent quite a lot of time looking for our luggage we struggled past hundreds of people only to find that we had to wait in long lines - 5 and 6 abreast - to load our luggage onto trucks. The line did not move as porters went to the front of the line and loaded luggage and then found more customers and loaded more luggage, on and on. We were really worried that we would not be at the airport in time for our flight from Barcelona to LA. When we complained to a Celebrity rep, he blandly said "sorry for your concern" and walked away. It was unbelievably stressful. Then we had to find a bus which wasn't full. The same procedure was in reverse at the airport. It was absolutely horrendous. We later discovered that we could have taken a taxi for half the price.
Cabin 2143. Window was dirty and we had to ask that it be cleaned as we couldn't see out. It was cleaned the following day. We had plumbing problems for 4 days - toilet not flushing consistently, shower water lukewarm. Great location - midship, near elevators, easy access to everything. It was great being able to climb stairs from gangway instead of waiting for crowded elevators. Otherwise, typical ocean view category cabin of 170 sq. ft.
Venice is a magical city. We walked off the ship and wandered around San Marcos Square and the area around it as we were sailing away at 3:00 pm. It was a wonderful experience seeing the canals with the apartments and hotels literally coming out of the water. It was a bustling and busy port filled with water taxis, gondolas and even cruise ships sailing by. The stores along the dock had beautiful masks and Tshirts and other souvenirs at fair prices. We definitely would like to return to Venice and spend a few days.
The weather was awful - it was pouring rain and the temp was 42 degrees. Heard from people who went on tours that it was nothing much.
Busy and crowded. People going to the Acropolis found themselves shoulder to shoulder climbing up and then going down slippery marble steps. Found a nice souvenir shop in an alley near the Hard Rock Cafe which had lots of Greek stuff at reasonable prices.
If you don't take a tour and stay around the port - you will wish you had taken a tour. The shopkeepers won't leave you alone. They try to get you to go into their stores and follow you asking you what you're looking for. We would have preferred Istanbul instead of Kusadasi.
It's called the arm pit of Italy and I can see why. Dirty seaside town. They do have a hydro foil and other transportation to islands but the times weren't good for cruise ship passenger. Not much to see in Naples.
Busy, crowded but wonderful city. Lots to do and two days in port wasn't enough. Definitely take the Hop on Hop Off Bus to get an overview. When you go to the Sistine Chapel try to go when the crowds aren't huge otherwise you'll be pushed along without much time to see everything. The Vatican store has a post office, stamps, Vatican memorabilia and is a must-do.