Celebrity Summit Dining
Celebrity Cruises has long been touted as one of the best cruise lines for foodies, and Celebrity Summit is no exception. The food quality and service is consistent across every restaurant, whether complimentary or fee-bearing; in fact, we found ourselves craving the buffet -- generally a "last reserve" on other cruise lines -- for dinner one night. While we did run into some hurdles trying to get gluten-free dishes in the alternative restaurants, more popular venues such as the complimentary main dining room, buffet and even room service put specialty items front and center.
Note: If you have dietary restrictions, let your cruise line know ahead of time, and be sure to check in with the maitre d' on embarkation day.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant (Decks 4 and 5): The two-level Cosmopolitan Restaurant features a modern design with soft tones and whimsical touches, such as floral-detail sconce lights and throne-like chairs. It is the main option for dinner and is also open for breakfast, and lunch on select days only.
For dinner, passengers can opt for traditional set seating (same table every night) at either 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. or choose to eat any time, with whomever they want, between 5:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. The nightly four-course menu has two options: classics, such as filet, salmon and escargot, on one side and more modern dishes, such as kale salad and tuna poke, on the other.
Gluten-free, vegetarian, no-sugar-added and lactose-free menu selections are marked.
Oceanview Cafe (Deck 10): On the casual dining front, the Oceanview Cafe serves buffet-style breakfasts, lunches and dinners -- and the food is surprisingly good for buffet quality. The space is open and has a good flow, with various seating arrangements along a wall of windows, as well as outside.
You'll find made-to-order omelets and other breakfast standards in the morning, and various carving stations, pasta dishes, pizza and antipasti, and a slew of internationally inspired dishes, including everything from British bangers and mash to Indian curries at lunch and dinner.
An ice cream bar sits at each entrance to the buffet. Treats include a selection of hand-scooped hard ice cream, freshly baked cookies and toppings like Reese's Pieces and Sour Patch Kids.
Pool Grill (Deck 10): Located in a covered area near the pool (natch), the Pool Grill is the main place for those in swimsuits (which are discouraged in Oceanview Cafe) to grab burgers, fries, hot dogs, fried chicken and waffles and occasional barbecue bites.
Spa Cafe (Deck 10): Within the enclosed solarium encompassing the thalassotherapy pool, the Spa Cafe serves up light breakfasts and lunches, as well as smoothies and juice mixes (for an extra cost). The complimentary chocolate beet muffins were so tasty, you'd never know they were healthy.
Blu (Deck 5): Blu, which is exclusively open to passengers sailing in AquaClass cabins, features modern blue-and-white decor, soft lighting and a menu inspired by spa cuisine. Though the food does not seem overly healthy, the restaurant features smaller portions than what you typically find in the main dining room or buffet. Breakfast also is available to those staying in AquaClass cabins. Suite passengers have the option of dining at Blu, as well but only if there is availability.
Luminae (Deck 4): Luminae is the private restaurant for cruisers sailing in the suite stratosphere. Suite-class passengers can dine at Luminae for breakfast, lunch or dinner, every day of their cruise, without reservations. Meals are a step above AquaClass cuisine, with more inventive options. There's also a separate menu developed by New York City-based celebrity chef, Daniel Boulud, with French-inspired dishes available gratis every night.
Room Service: Available around the clock, room service is free of charge, although there's a $4.95 fee for all orders made between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Passengers can choose from a variety of soups and starters, salads main courses and desserts; there's also a separate kids' menu. We were impressed by the beverage choices, which list unusual options, such as prune juice, and special items, like lactose-free and soy milk. Arizona Iced Teas and alcoholic beverages are a la carte.
Tuscan Grille (Deck 3); $45 for dinner, $35 for lunch: Despite the high cover charge, we feel the quality of the food at the line's signature Italian restaurant is worth the splurge. Start with calamari or beef carpaccio and definitely split an antipasti board with house-cured olives, meats, cheeses, crackers and fig jam; then close out with a grilled branzino, rosemary snapper or filet mignon. Select menu items carry an additional fee.
An Italian cocktail menu is on hand, in addition to a lengthy wine list, to match your meal. Ports, specialty coffees and Italian desserts, like a tiramisu or spumoni doughnut, are also available to sweeten the palate. Drinks are an additional cost.
Lunch is offered on the final sea day of each sailing, with a scaled-down version of Tuscan's full dinner menu.
Sushi on Five (Deck 5); a la carte: The ship's casual sushi eatery, open for lunch and dinner, serves up Japanese-fusion dishes and a variety of rolls that can be paired with imported sake and beer. Despite its location near the Grand Foyer (atrium), Sushi on Five never seems to get overcrowded.
Cafe al Bacio (Deck 5); a la carte: A mixture of for-fee and free, Cafe al Bacio offers specialty coffee beverages and complimentary pastries in a coffeehouse lounge that surrounds the atrium. Don't miss the housemade gelato in a freshly made waffle cone; it's worth the extra fee ($4 for a small, $6 for a large, $7 for a sundae). Plenty of offbeat but enticing offerings can be found on the menu, like espresso with blackcurrant jam and fresh wild berries with cream or hot chocolate with espresso, crushed amaretti biscuits and peaches.
Qsine (Deck 11); $45: Now a Celebrity fixture on most ships, Qsine is a super-sleek and inventive dining venue that offers innovative, global cuisine served in unexpected ways (think sushi lollipops and chocolate-covered strawberries on a bed of real grass). The venue also features an experience called Le Petit Chef, during which table tops "come to life" with a 3D animated chef who prepares a digital version of your meal as you wait for the real one to arrive. The experience costs $55.
Chef's Table (location varies); $199 per person, $279 per couple: This special event includes a private galley tour, a multicourse dinner and wine pairing, and a Celebrity Cruises cookbook. Expect the executive chef to make an appearance to see how the evening is progressing. It's typically held in an intimate venue, like the Cellar Masters tasting room, once per cruise.