Arrival: We are two women in our 50s who wanted a relaxing vacation. One of us had sailed on the Celebrity Summit multiple times before while the other is a relative newcomer to the Celebrity line with two previous trips on the Equinox. We ... Read More
Arrival: We are two women in our 50s who wanted a relaxing vacation. One of us had sailed on the Celebrity Summit multiple times before while the other is a relative newcomer to the Celebrity line with two previous trips on the Equinox. We arrived at the port at about 10 a.m. There were essentially no lines for check in. As Aquaclass passengers, we were seated in a designated section and permitted to board at 11 a.m. This process was seamless and efficient.
The stateroom: Stateroom 9048 was ready when we arrived, which is pretty impressive. Our travel agent warned us that this was forward, but it is central enough to be considered midship. The staterooms has been refurbished and the stateroom color palette is an inviting warm driftwood with blush accents. There is ample storage for clothing; drawers are situated throughout the cabin. We had twin beds, a desk and chair and an oversized armchair. There is no table which some other reviewers have lamented. However, we didn’t really miss the table, and its absence opens up the room. We also never use room service, so we don’t need a table. There is a table and two chairs with headcushions on the balcony, so one could eat out there. The bathroom is very efficiently designed with a good-sized stall shower with rainshower head and sink and toilet. There are multiple shelves for storing toiletries and Bigelow products for hair and bath, which are of a good quality and pleasant to smell without being overwhelming.
One small note is that the closet has yoga mats in it in keeping with the wellness theme of the Aquaclass. However, these mats take up a lot of space. We found it easier to place them atop the closet. We would also suggest that, since it is not possible to do yoga on the scant floor space of a stateroom, that Aquaclass include at least one complimentary yoga class with the mats or store them elsewhere and make them to available to guests who ask. Certainly, it’s nice to have a yoga mat, but it’s not really a special amenity since if one were to pay for a yoga class upstairs in the fitness center, one would get a mat anyway.
Public spaces: Public spaces are plentiful and attractive. We were impressed by the consistent cleanliness of this ship. All of the furniture in the lounges and seating areas was in good repair. The walls are freshly painted and the carpets are clean and fairly new. Many of the design themes make use of bold color and light to dramatic, but not Las Vegas cheesy effect. The lounges and bars are inviting with clean modern lines. It’s also common to see savory plants throughout the ship.Some of the accent artwork is a little off-putting such as the sculptures of heads on each floor of the staircase.
Safety drill: From my perspective, safety drills are like dental work. They can be painless and over in a minute or agonizing and long. Luckily, our safety drill fell into the first category. Our muster station was the upper level of the Theater. Crew members guided us to our area where we were seated and listened to instructions from the crew onstage. It was very easy to hear and understand and we did not feel like our time was wasted as I did two years ago when the Celebrity Equinox was using a James Bond style video story to provide safety drills. This drill was clear and succinct and we did not have to bring our life preservers.
Dining: We dined at Blu, the dining room dedicated to Aquaclass’s 240 guests. Blu is an intimate dining room that offers healthy options that are extremely flavorful and diverse. The breakfast menu is good, but a little limited if you don’t like eggs. We would suggest the addition of waffles and oatmeal. The staff at Blu is excellent. Special thanks to Yerangel, our waiter, Rusti, our assistant, Anastasia, the sommelier, Rusian, the beverage server and Michael from Kenya. The wait staff are extremely professional and attentive. We never waited for anything that we requested and they were familiar with our preferences early in the cruise. Dinner at Blu was also very good. Particular stand out dishes were the lamb chop salad, the grilled tuna salad, the stuffed turkey and the T-Bone steak with white bean salad. The menu always has an entree salad, which is an excellent feature for health conscious guests. We also enjoyed the lavash bread very much. Desserts were consistently good and we appreciated the daily sorbet choice and the inclusion of many fruit based desserts, especially the olive oil cremeux with mandarin oranges. Blu’s decor is very attractive and modern; the blue and white palette evokes the colors of the ocean and compliments the wide, round windows that overlook the water. These tables are often in demand unless it is very sunny out. Note that Blu does not serve lunch. No reservations are required for Aquaclass guests. Suite guests may dine at Blu, but must make reservations. Formal night meant cocktail dresses and suits, not gowns and tuxedos.
Buffet: We dined the buffet every day for lunch. It is spotless and well-designed. There are discreet hand-washing stations to encourage guests to wash their hands before dining rather than just using the standard Purell. We found that there was sufficient seating, although it was a little busy on embarkation day. There are a variety of choices, including Indian and Asian stations, a salad bar and a make your own specialty salad bar, a cheese station, an elaborate bread station, a grill station, a grilled vegetable section, an extensive fresh fruit selection, cold cuts and a pastry station. “Scoops” features ice cream and sorbet. There is also a kids station with child friendly pasta, pizza and chicken. Most of the food at the buffet was very good and the beverage servers are efficient. There is also tea at 4 p.m. with scones and pastry. If you drink a lot of water, soda, coffee or tea, you might want to consider the premium non-alcoholic beverage package. We both drink a lot of Evian water and found this the easiest way to stay hydrated without the fuss of having to pay for each beverage.
Cafe Bacio: We visited this coffee bar several times a day for iced beverages and snacks. If you like specialty coffees and teas and beautiful pastries, this is a great stop any time of day. Maria made us our coffee in the morning and was very sweet and efficient. The cookies and muffins are tasty and make good bedtime snacks.
Entertainment: While we liked the design and layout of the theater, the first comedian, Al Ducharme was only passingly amusing. He doesn’t seem to like women very much and his overuse of sound effects did nothing to improve his performance. His joke about living with four guys named Pedro was borderline racist. However, the “Life” show is a sort of shipboard Cirque du Soleil-style performance with acrobats, music and dancing. The acrobats were especially impressive. The Broadway revue was also very entertaining. We were blown away by the young woman who sang the song from “The Color Purple.” She has an incredible voice. If you like recent Broadway hits, this show was a lot of fun.
We attended the shipboard game shows in the Sky Lounge with Dominick. They were fun and we liked his snarky humor. His general trivia at 4 p.m. was really difficult, but amusing. FYI, Bolivia is the country with the most salt flats. We also played music trivia which was fun.
Pool: The main pool has music and games every day. We prefer a quiet environment and used the heated, saltwater solarium pool, which is for those 16 and over. It is enclosed and air-conditioned. On sea days, it can be difficult to get a lounge. The Spa Cafe has healthy continental breakfast items, including whole wheat bagels topped with almond butter, banana and orchid. At lunch time, there are salads and wraps. Smoothies are available all day.
Spa: Adjacent to the solarium pool is the Canyon Ranch spa. We each had two spa treatments. I had a deep tissue massage with Isabel as well as a reflexology treatment. Both were excellent, but I was particularly impressed with the immediate results of the reflexology treatment. My friend had a seaweed body wrap to reduce cellulite and soften skin, and an anti-aging facial which reduced the lines on her forehead and made her skin feel much tighter. While none of these treatments are inexpensive, they are worth it. Aquaclass guests get free use of the Persian Gardens, which were pleasant, but definitely smaller than other thermal spas we’ve seen. The Persian gardens has only one heated tile lounger. This compares unfavorably to NCL and HAL spa offerings as well as Celebrity’s own Equinox. There is a hamam steam room, a dry sauna, a wet salt room, and a steam room. While these are relaxing, you can’t spend a lot of time in any of them. The waiting area at the spa is limited. Other cruise lines encourage you to change into robes and make use of lounges while you wait for therapists. This is reminiscent of a doctor’s waiting room with an honest-to-God folding chair. However, I was happy that the intake form was brief. Other cruise lines that have Elemis spas practically ask for your medical records. The spa desk is friendly and efficient.
Excursions: We sailed on the White Nights catamaran party and would definitely recommend it. The Rising Son is a large and well-appointed catamaran that sails into the Bermuda sunset for two hours. The price includes Prosecco and Rum Swizzle and a narrated tour of the coastline. The captain and deck hands were friendly and knowledgeable. The general vibe was relaxed. Although alcohol was included, the excursion seemed more about appreciating the beauty and history of Bermuda. The sunset was absolutely magnificent and the brief sprinkle of rain produced an unforgettable rainbow. We also appreciated the choice of songs as we sailed. There was a little bit of everything. Everyone is supposed to wear white for this excursion. We guess it’s to make things a little more Instagram worthy, but we never took a group picture. Some people didn’t get the white clothing memo or booked late and didn’t bring any, but that was not a problem. Wear sensible shoes. You are still on a boat.
Fellow passengers were mostly middle-aged with some young families. There seemed to be a lot of people from the New York and New Jersey area. We wouldn’t say Celebrity attracts a lot of children, but there are activities for them.
Overall impression: we were very happy with the new “revolutionized” Summit and felt the service and amenities were superior. We would definitely cruise on this ship again. Read Less