Well, it was our first cruise to this part of the Caribbean and we picked as to the number of different islands during the cruise. We‘ve been on a number of other cruises before, several of those with Celebrity which is so far our favorite cruise line.
Although we enjoyed the cruise, I have to say it does not fully met our expectations.
The itinerary was interesting, the islands are beautiful but very poor, i would have expected that they benefit much more from all the Cruise ship tourists coming over the year.
We knew upfront that the summit is an older ship and will undergo a major overhaul shortly after our cruise. Anyhow, we recently have been on the Millennium just as well short before going into dry-dock. The overall appearance of the Millennium was nicer, cleaner and better maintained than our impression from the Summit.
Food (we mainly went to the main restaurant for the fixed seating) was good quality, although we do have the feeling that the overall quality of food on Celebrity shipps is slightly getting down. Disappointing was the variety of food, menu was pretty much the same as during our last cruise on Millenium last October. That combined with a not extensive selection each given evening does not support the feeling of getting your money worth. Instead with all „special events“ being promoted by the staff you get the feeling that the cruise line wants you to pay additionally if you like good quality.
We went on several days to the spa cafe for breakfast or lunch, they have nice small (and more or less healthy) food, however it is disappointing that the menu seems to never change, so after some day you had everything and it becomes boring.
Service in the main restaurant was as good as always. Staff is very friendly, attentive and professional. However, the Sommelier concept (which we love as ware wine lovers) does not work anymore, if the the Sommelier has to many table to serve. How can a Sommelier advise you if he is mostly in a rush? He still did his best and we got nice wines to drink. But here as well as for the food, wine menu could need more changes from one cruise to the other.
Positively we noted that the beer selection increased and they had a decent number of different beers on board.
Beside the good service in the main restaurant we noted that service level in the Cafe al Bacio and in some bars was not as good as used from Celebrity. In the bars we had the feeling of a lack of staff, in Cafe al Bacio staff was there but not really attentive and not always as friendly as we are used to from former Celebrity cruises. For the stateroom, we had the impression that the staff has to less time for each stateroom to keep it in real good shape. They probably increased the number of staterooms each person has to look after.
We booked three excursions with Celebrity and two on our own. We liked the fact that the groups were not as big as on other cruises, however that is most likely just based on the fact that the busses on the islands are smaller (and older). Especially as the busses are older and not that comfortable is was disappointing, that on the cruise line excursions this busses were pretty full packed, where the privately book tours left some seats empty to make it a little bit more comfortable. And if you now expect that those privately book tours have been more expensive, just the opposite is true. Cruise line charges more for less comfort.
Overall: I still like Celebrity, staff is (mostly) very friendly and attentive, although the cruise line have to make sure that there is enough staff available. We very much liked the room service, which comes (except for a short blackout period during the night) free of charge and we enjoyed having breakfast in the room, although the selection in balcony class was not that extensive. However it was sufficient for a short breakfast before going on excursions.
We like the ample room in the public areas, we never had the feeling the ship is too crowded and we alsways found a quiet place to sit and relax.
However, we don’t like that we get the impression of a continuing lowering of quality and a continuing increase of „add-ons“ sold for „a fee“ (which is mostly much more than justified by the added quality. I know that’s not only true for Celebrity and maybe not only for cruise-lines too. Seems that companies try to reduce more and more the base fares to attract customers which then find out that they have to pay more and more additionally to get the service which was advertised and which they thought they have bought.
I hope that will change back to a fair and transparent pricing. Customers may be sometimes not really clever but on general not as dump as marketing specialists believe, especially not those with enough money to pay for quality.
As the ship will undergo a major overhaul in February a Cabin review is currently useless