We recently sailed to Bermuda on the Celebrity Summit. We had a fantastic time. The ship is beautiful, the food is great, the entertainment was right on.
It is fairly easy to walk from one end of the ship to the other and with the exception of the main pool area the ship never felt crowded.
We have adopted a strategy of eating during the second seating in order to avoid the crowds. This means that we can sleep longer in the morning, have a late breakfast, enjoy a late afternoon lunch, attend the first show (which is not as crowded as the second show). It really improved the whole experience.
NO ADVANTAGE TO BOOKING DIRECTLY WITH CELEBRITY
We booked this cruise directly with Celebrity to see if there was any advantage to booking directly with the cruise line. We did not feel that we received any better service over what an online agency offers. In fact, an online agency would have offered us more perks for the same price.
The Celebrity agent we booked with seemed more confused with requests we made and they never followed up with us before or after the cruise. Celebrity rarely offers upgrades to its guests, and those who book early lose out on some great last minute deals.
PRETTY SHIP WITH SOME WEAR AND RUSTING
We prefer ships that are under 100,000 tons. We feel that the crew offers better service on these smaller ships. The Celebrity Summit is 90,000 tons, which for us, is the perfect size for cruising. We had sailed on the ship back in 2010 before new cabins were added on deck 11. Most cruise lines get it wrong when they add cabins to older ships, but Celebrity did everything right. When they added cabins they also created additional lounging deck space on the aft of deck 12. As a result, there was never a shortage of sun loungers on this cruise. This aft deck is also used to show movies on select nights.
Celebrity trimmed the size of the viewing lounge on the forward part of deck 11, but they also dramatically improved the layout of the lounge. We found it to be very comfortable and Celebrity utilized it several times during our cruise. Other changes made to deck 4 and 5 (new bars, a Cafe, Bistro, and Gelateria) all dramatically improved this ship. In my opinion this is the best ship currently sailing to Bermuda during the summer.
Above: Revelations Lounge Below: Crush Bar
Below: Cellar Masters
Below: Bistro on 5
GOOD FOOD BUT POOR SERVICE IN MAIN DINING ROOM
This crew delivered, with a couple of exceptions. Our second seating dining staff, including the Sommelier, did not deliver. The waiter forgot appetizers during the week, leaving at least one person at our table of 8, waiting while the rest of us felt bad about going ahead and eating ours. The wine Sommelier showed up late to the table on several of the nights and never returned to offer more wine or other beverages. He even rejected my wife's request to look at the wine list. We don't think that our situation was common for the dining room and I am sure others had wonderful service. Even with the poor service we were very happy with the quality of the food.
EXCELLENT BUFFET FOOD SELECTIONS AND ATMOSPHERE
The buffet lunches provided salads bars, a sandwich bar, pasta station, pizza station and fresh food- without all the casseroles that some cruise lines have at buffets. Except during crunch times, seating was never a problem and the layout provided a lot of quiet dining spaces, especially toward the aft. We ate one dinner in the buffet and we were NOT impressed with the selection for dinner. The breakfast buffet, however was pretty good, except several times some of the stations ran out of juice or coffee. The best strategy was to walk through the whole buffet first before standing in line for food. There is also an outside deck in the aft with more tables and a bar.
OUTSTANDING FOOD AND SERVICE IN NORMANDIE & QSINE
On the flip side the staff at Normandie and Qsine were outstanding. These are the two specialty restaurants on the Summit. In fact, our experience at Normandie was one of the best dining experiences (service and food) that we have ever experienced on any ship. We knew we were in for a treat when they served water and then walked around and offered us lemon or lime slices for the water. We never felt rushed through the meal and the waiters were very professional adding and removing plates and utensils. The Rack of Lamb was very well seasoned and perfectly done. As a added bonus they offered a cheese board selection after the meal and before desert.
Below: Salad in Normandie
Below: Rack of Lamb in Normandie
Below: Cheese Board in Normandie
LOTS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT
We are tired of cruise lines that keep cutting back on entertainment. It is one reason we shy from sailing Princess now. Celebrity delivered. They offered 3 production shows on this cruise (outstanding singing and dancing), 2 comedians, an acoustic/acapella group that was amazing, a magic show, acrobatics during many of the performance, plus tons of games shows and other activities. The crew on this ship was great, especially the Captain who participated in several of the games shows.
EXTRA TOUCHES MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
The staff in the Mast bar made the best drinks on the ship. They really seemed to enjoy the work and we ended up enjoying getting drinks there every day.
We love Celebrity because of all the extra touches. From the champagne we received while boarding the ship, to the sail away by the Statue of Liberty, to the chocolates on the pillow (a cruise line that still does that), to the hand towels in the bathrooms, to the bathrobes in the cabins, to the wet cloth and water served when boarding in Bermuda. Celebrity is one cruise line that continues to provide its customers with the best value.
Steve Millay, ACC
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