Our Expectations Were Exceeded: Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by Laffncruiser

Celebrity Summit 4
Member Since 2011
12 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Our Expectations Were Exceeded

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
Ship condition: It's true. The Summit is an older ship and after ten years, showed some wear. But like an older home, this beautiful ship was waxed and buffed to a lovely luster, and we saw no evidence of the 'falling apart' comments seen on this site by other cruisers. That being said, the ship was consistently being maintained during our trip, both with cleaning and repairs/maintenance. The public areas, including restrooms and hallways were always clean in appearance and scent, and we never saw dirty elevators or trash/dirt on the floors. The only item we found of any note was stained tile grout in our shower, which was perfectly clean, but no longer pure white, due to age. Our room was clean, and our room stewart attentive and unobtrusive. Other attendants in the halls were quick to greet us and ask if we needed anything, even if they weren't our stewart. We were in one of the lowest-priced window view rooms, and felt we were spoiled and pampered. The bed was a pillowtop in More excellent shape, comfortable, with clean and crisp linens, and while it was two twins put together, we couldn't feel the connector underneath. We loved the large window (vs a porthole on Carnival.) The crew shared the plans for Summit renovations slated for January 2012, and we can't wait to see her after the changes.

Service: We saw several comments about poor service, and that is simply not the case. We DID see several cruise guests treat staff extremely rudely, and saw that staff member suck it up and treat them with the utmost respect and courtesy (the worst examples: buffet line. I was saddened to see the arrogance and disrespect shown to people serving them.) It's my guess that the complainers about customer service are themselves rude and selfish people who expect to have every request obtain a 'yes' and disregard that they are treating their fellow human beings like slaves. I can't say enough about how impressed I was by the service and kindness of the staff -- even the people cleaning the bathrooms or standing at the entrance to restaurants squirting hand sanitizer (how many people would want THAT job?) were acting like the Captain of the ship, welcoming and smiling. We did not spend time in the casino, but we experienced excellence in service, a true desire to go beyond to make our time on the ship special, and at no time did we see any crew member act in a rude or arrogant way. We saw plenty of guests behave that way, though.

Food: We saw several comments on this board about the terrible food or poor dining room service. Again, our experience was stellar. We chose the select dining option, so we had three different waiters/ass't waiters and sommeliers, depending on where we were seated. All of them were professional, attentive and friendly. They remembered us by name, made excellent recommendations for the evening meal and wine to match, and our meals were timed beautifully. Even when crazy busy, they stopped for a quick smile and greeting, happy to see us again. The dining room manager also made the rounds and talked with us about the upcoming plans for the new dining on board the Summit when the refurbishing was completed. She was clearly excited about it, and loves the ship and her staff. Our actual meals were beautifully prepared, and we cannot begin to understand why anyone would say the food was awful. There were so many choices, and everything we tried was prepared well -- on occassion we tried some things we wouldn't typically order, and probably won't again, but it was a question of personal taste and not preparation. All our main courses were cooked correctly to order, arrived hot and well-garnished, and the appetizers/second courses were also nice portions and beautifully presented. The pizza and sandwich stations in the casual dining areas were absolutely yummy, and came with goodies like gourmet olives and marinated veggies -- lots of extras that wouldn't have been missed if they weren't there, but added to the enjoyment, because they were.

POOL AREAS: The staff was good about keeping fresh towels available, the deck clean and drink service consistent. The music at the pool was great, fun and upbeat without being over the top, whether live or over the speakers. The pools were sparkling clean.

ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed the nightly live entertainment in the theater, especially the dance/singing troupe, who featured an acrobatic/ballet/dance couple that were truly a delight to watch. The comedy and magic nights were entertaining, though we felt the comedian used some fat jokes that were inappropriate and insulted some of the overweight people in the room, and wasn't a kind thing to do. I felt this was not necessary, especially when the comedian brought up an eleven year old boy and traded "your momma" jokes/insults that included several fat jokes. This was the only low point for us, though some of the singers and dancers were better than others, the shows were fun, well-written and choreographed, and enjoyable.

PORTS/EXCURSIONS: We enjoyed every stop, and took a variety of excursions, some on our own, some through the ship. Every excursion we took had an informative and pleasant guide, and was as advertised. We took the arial tram on Dominica and got rained on heavily in the (yep) rain forest. We bought little rain slickers and had brought umbrellas, and our whole tram laughed like hyenas in the pouring rain, which made for a wonderful memory, but recommend being prepared to get wet!

WHAT WE TOOK AWAY: A cruise, like any other vacation, is what you make it. We experienced excellent service, but we were happy to be there, in a great mood, treated people well, and had a fantastic holiday cruise. We knew that everyone working was not home on the holiday so we could take a Christmas cruise. Their presence made our trip one we will never forget. We loved Celebrity, and would recommend this trip.

Additional notes: We flew in the day before to San Juan and stayed in historic old town at CasaBlanca Hotel. It was in a great location, with 1920s decor reflecting the movie, and wonderful oversized pop art on the walls. No elevators so carrying luggage up the stairs substituted for a work out, located on a busy street so can be noisy, but we loved it. The staff provided us with a suite with bedroom, sitting room and balcony overlooking the street. The bath was small (about the size of the ship bathroom) but decor and ambiance was delightful. We walked to a different restaurant for our meals and wandered the streets with no problems. The hotel has free internet, which was a plus for us getting final items completed before getting on the ship. Less

Published 01/12/12

Cabin review: 042124 Ocean View 4

Though we were on the lowest deck for guests, we loved the location of this room. It has a large ocean view window that allowed a lot of light into the room (when curtains are opened) and gave us island views as we arrived in ports. The bed was very comfortable (two twin beds joined, but couldn't feel the connector) with clean, crisp linens, extra pillows on request, and smelled clean. Our bedding, furniture, carpet and walls were all in good conditions and very clean. Ample closet with suitcase pull-downs for unpacking, drawers under the safe and shelf, extra storage above TV for tan lotion and such. Bathroom was adequate with shelves for toiletries, tile floors. Shower had slide bar and removable handheld. Only negative: stained tile grout in shower stall, which was clean but obviously older. Shower curtain was clean and mildew free. Since the boat is being refurbished this month, I'm guessing that the baths will be brand new. Our room was located near the center of the ship, so it felt very stable, even in rougher waves. It was near the elevators, but not so close that we could hear people waiting for them. We didn't hear anyone on either side of us. We also did not hear any of the public areas above us, it was quiet and peaceful any time we were in it (with the exception of children running and screaming in the halls in the early a.m. which was a discourtesy on the part of our fellow passengers with younger children, and not something the ship crew can prevent.) We loved our room!

Read All Ocean View 4 (04) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We toured the island with several stops for views and photographs and visited a very large, private garden that was stunning. Our tour guide was informative and fun, and we would recommend a tour like this for a first time visitor. Now that we've done this tour, we'd likely do something different next time.

See above, all combined in one tour package.

This was truly a rain forest experience. Trafalgar falls is beautiful and requires walking on uneven trails, but we saw a wide variety of ages and fitness levels on the trails. Going slowly on wet rocks (it rained) is a must, as are closed toe, sport shoes with some kind of gripping bottom. There were some women in leather sandals who were struggling and had to be helped. The falls were also a bit commercial, with lots of tours coming and going on the trails. It wasn't overly crowded, but not a private hike in the woods, either. After the falls, we stopped at a lake in an inactive volcano, which was beautiful and a windy/short stop. Then on to the tram. We did buy little rain parkas for $2 each at the tram station, and had brought two small umbrellas in our pack. Each tram is open, and holds about ten people, including the guide. The first portion is about half way up the tree line and is in the midst of the jungle -- absolutely beautiful. It started raining on us, and though the top is covered, the sides are not, and people in the front get drenched. The seats are closed (as opposed to grated) so you will end up sitting in water when it rains. Key helpful point: bring a compact umbrella and make sure your rain poncho is completely under you to keep water from soaking into clothing. We used our umbrellas at an angle to keep rain off us from the sides, our fellow tram mates were drenched. The weather was very comfortable, and though it's cooler in the rain forest, it wasn't causing anyone to shiver. According to our tram guide, it rains every day (rain forest!) so expect to get wet. At the top, we had the option for a zip-line adventure, which we didn't do, but a couple in our party did, and it was fun to walk along the trails and hear them laughing and screaming. There is a bridge that spans the river, quite high up, but very well made and maintained, and offered beautiful views. The trails were about ten minutes of walking, easy but included some wet stone and wood stairs. We got back to the tram for the trip back (about 1/2 hour each way) and this time were above the treeline for glorious views. We did not see birds or other animals, though we heard birds. When we arrived back, they provided a lunch, which was a mix of Subway sandwiches and island chips, desserts, fruits, punches and smoothies. We sat in large tents without sides, surrounded by jungle. Our van ride back included more information on the history of the island and living conditions of the residents, and was our longest excursion. We had a few hours to hang out in port before the ship left.

We flew into San Juan, and stayed over night in historic old San Juan before heading off to our ship in Pan Am Pier. We chose the Casa Blanca Hotel, which was reasonably priced for a suite with bedroom, sitting room and balcony overlooking the street below. We were right in the heart of the restaurants and night life, and within a block of the piers and seawalk on the Old San Juan side (our ship required a short taxi ride to the other side of the bay.) Our hotel offered free internet, a restaurant with excellent breakfast, and excellent service. There is no elevator, so must be able to carry bags to upstairs rooms. Bath was small but nicely done, the decor is 1920s and mimics the movie by the same name, and had wonderful original art and chandeliers, mirrors, furniture. Really cool, and a nice way to unwind and get on the ship early. We were on the ship in less than ten minutes, and the crowds were light. Our room was ready at 2 and we immediately dropped off our bags and went and got lunch and the casual restaurant on board. Later in the afternoon after unpacking and checking out theship, we went back to get bottled water and some champagne at the entrance (smart idea and budget stretcher if you love bottled water!) there were a lot more people in line right before the ship left and they had a longer wait, but it still seemed to be very organized and easy to move through. Our only negative experience excursion was the day of disembarkation, when we chose to do the El Yunque rain forest tour before our 5 p.m. flight. We loved the rain forest and were amazed by the forestry department care of this park and the gorgeous welcome center, shop and their excellent introductory film. We highly recommend fitting in a visit to this national park. Our only negative was an over-the-top bus driver/guide. He wore us out with his loud, non-stop delivery and sound effects (like making loud screeching sounds every time he drove on a curve, or repeating loudly "scuse me, scuse me" to every beep as the bus was backing up.) He meant well and loved giving the tour of the trails, but we found ourselves annoyed on the more than half hour ride to the park, and then hanging back just to get some peace once we were in the forest! He loves his job, and shouldn't be fired, but it would help to give him some training on how to soften his presentation a bit. Otherwise, this was a great way to spend our last day in San Juan. We plan to hire a private guide at the park and spend at least a day there. Truly special and beautiful.
Read 2945 San Juan Reviews

We did not opt for a guided excursion, but instead, took a taxi to Christiansted($12 round trip) to then catch a water taxi ($4 round trip) to a small Cay Island for putting our toes in the sand, sitting under an umbrella and wandering the shore. We had a lovely lunch and then wandered the boardwalk and some shops (saw lots of beautiful fish just standing on the piers), caught a taxi back to Fredericksted, and walked around town -- looking in a museum and several cool art galleries. We wanted to visit the fort, but got caught up in art and missed that opportunity. We also walked along the beach and really enjoyed this very laid back island, and felt this island was the most relaxed and had beautiful beaches and water. Loved this island/port.

We would recommend this to any first time visitor to St Kitts. The double-decker train was big fun, and we stayed on the top level for the entire trip. We were served frozen drinks throughout the trip, and enjoyed the coastline views along with both elegant and country life. We saw monkeys in the trees, plus lots of horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and birds. The people in the communities would stop and wave as we went by. An acapella girls group sang songs and moved from car to car. The engineer/guide was funny, interesting and informative, and we felt like we got a good idea of the island from that experience. The bus trip was also interesting (small bus, about 24 people). We wished we had added the catamaran option to the trip, as several people we met said they did both and really loved it, too.

St Maarten is fine, though mostly about shopping. We didn't spend much time here, though we walked around the shops for an hour and then strolled the beach close to port.

Clean boat, beautiful day, lovely coast, nice captain and crew. We enjoyed being out on the water and were happy with the length of the trip and the experience.

We had been to St Maarten, but not the French side of the island, so we elected to take a combo catamaran and Marigot trip. Our original excursion offered a catamaran ride along the coast that would take us to Marigot, that excursion was cancelled, so we took a close alternative that offered to catamaran along the St Maarten side, and then docked back at start location to take a bus to Marigot. This excursion was still wonderful and we're glad we swapped out and still did a boat cruise along the coast, rather than just catching a taxi to Marigot. Marigot had a lot of restaurants along the boardwalk, with small shops and elegant malls. The public restroom was filthy, but glad it was there (right across from small tents/stalls.) We had a great meal at a French Restaurant that had spray misters for patio dining. Lobster pizza and mega large shrimp Caesar salad. We didn't find the shopping to be superior to other ports, but were glad to see the French side of the island. Our tour guide made several stops for photos along the way back, and we felt it was a great value and great way to discover both sides of the island.

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Member Since 2011
12 Forum Posts
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