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Comparing Celebrity Summit Dec 31/11 B2B with Caribbean Princess Jan 8 /12

A Sixth?

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My wife and I took a B2B (okay, there was a night between the two sailings) on Celebrity’s Summit and Princess’s Caribbean Princess (CP) out of San Juan. Here are a few observations on the two ships and the way things panned out.


For some reason, the CP didn’t dock at the downtown pier but at the much inferior Pan Am dock which Celebrity always uses. Love to know why. Normally when Princess embarks at the downtown dock I’d give a big plus their way over Celebrity, but it was a wash this time.


First, let me say that the Caribbean Princess (CP) (116,000 tons, 2600 passengers and 1000 crew) feels much much larger than the Summit ( 91,000 tons and 2450 passengers plus 1000 crew). Sure the CP is about a third bigger, but it feels much bigger than just that. The variety of pools, MUTS and putting green for me puts the deck of the CP ahead of the Summit and I am no fan of Princess’s MUTS.


We loved the Solarium Adult spa pool on the Summit and thought it was a much better experience than the CPs Sanctuary adult pool. That said fresh water on Princess is IMHO a nicer dip than salt of Celebrity


We never found that either ship felt crowded. We always could find a sunbed if we looked hard enough, and bar service on deck on both ships was great. I thought that the pool butlers kept the sun beds on the Summit free’er of clutter. There seemed to be a bit more “reserves” on the CP but as I said, we always found a spot.


The crew on both ships was stellar. In particular our concierge on the Summit was spectacular in the way she dealt with a cabin issue / re-assignment. (Our toilet worked intermittently so she switched us eventually for the last two nights to a Sky Suite!!)


While there was a greater number of cocktail bars and clubs on the CP, the drinks were all carefully measured unlike on Celebrity who free pour much more generous shots, every time. That said the price of a bucket of Becks on the CP was $ 22.50 for 4 plus one free (5 total) and on the Summit the it was $ 30.50 for five plus one free (6 total) We also noticed that wine was a little less expensive on th CP.


Bar set ups, we always get a bar set up for our cabin. A 40 oz bottle of Bacardi White rum with 6 soft drinks was $ 80.00 on the Summit. The equivalent set up on the CP 3 x 375ml bottles of Bacardi White rum with 6 soft drinks cost about $ 61.00


Small thing, but the buttons for elevators on the Summit were on both side, while on the CP only on the right. When crowding aboard seeing what floors were pushed and selecting your floor involved a question/request… not an issue until you discover that you are the only one who speaks English.


Celebrity has better bathroom amenities. They include Q-tips, cotton balls that the ladies like, and a neutral scented body wash which as I guy I like. Hated the “girlie” soap which was the only Princess choice.


I loved our Caribe deck cabin’s over-sized balcony. I also loved our concierge class cabin on the Summit and really loved the Sky suite!!!!


Found that door-slamming was a bigger problem on Princess. You know, you’re in your bed, just about to drift off to sleep and a late night passenger comes back to their cabin and their door “slams” shut waking you. There’s something different in the way the hinges work….?


We love anytime dining, and never once waited on Celebrity for our table for five, but twice waited over 20 minutes for a table for two on the Caribbean Princess. One wait of 45 minutes ended only when we took our “beeper” to the Maitre d'.


I am surprised, but on our sailings, the food in the MDR was better on the CP though the portion sizes were more reasonable (small) on the Summit. Lobster isn’t what it used to be on either ship, and is Caribbean Prawn tails not clawed lobsters which are just plain better by a nautical mile.


The three fish dinners I had on the CP were amongst the best I have ever had on a ship. No dinner stood out on the Summit.


I have to admit that I really enjoyed being asked to sit at the Chief Engineers table one of the formal nights on the Summit. I have no idea why we chosen and was a tad apprehensive about what turned out to be our best dinner on the Summit.

The cheese plates on the CP simply blew the Summits sad selection out of the water. Celebrity listen up… three or four processed cheeses is not a cheese plate.


The pizza on both ships is pretty darn good.


The store on the CP seems better stocked, I needed a new bathing suit and couldn’t get one on the Summit. (Couldn’t find one I liked ashore… and the one I had packed was a well worn finished “no diving” or you will scare the children type.


Art auctions are alive and well on Princess. Had a bit of fun making fun of the “Art” and didn’t miss that activity now that the Auction is dead on Celebrity

I missed not being able to check my onboard account from my cabin TV on the CP. A nice touch on Celebrity.


Being the middle of an almost three week vacation, when we boarded the CP we headed straight to the one of the ships laundry matts and did two quick loads…. Sadly Celebrity has no such facility and we travel with carryon only so ten days maxs out our clothes supply…


The refit on the Summit actually began on our cruise. I am not sure I’d book another “last run before dry dock” cruise again. Not that anything


Summit pics:






Caribbean Princess pics:







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Thank you for the review. Love both companies!


One note.. If Princess sails into SJ with starting point somewhere else it docks in the downtown. If cruise starts in SJ it always at Pan Am. Except I believe for Carnival Victory, but it is a different story, as it has 2 emparcation points - SJ and Barbados.

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Thanks for the review. Having been on the Summit last June, I found it interesting. You were very lucky to get any response to your toilet problem. Both my sister's and mine (two separate cabins) had non-working toilets for three days and all they said was, "You, too?" No response, no acknowledgement of inconvenience. :( I would have appreciated even a note.


FYI, "CP" is the Sea Princess. The 2-letter code on the Princess website for the Caribbean Princess is "CB." :(

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Thanks for the comparison! We plan to go back to Bermuda someday and will likely do so on the Summit; interesting to hear your comparisons between the two lines/ships (we've been on the CB twice so far). One question....what is in the foil packets in your breakfast photos from the CB?

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Thanks for a great review and comparision.


What class cabin were you on on the Summit? It looked roomy. We were in a balcony on the Solstice with the bed near the balcony and found the cabin to feel very "tight". And yes, our balcony on the CB/KP was just as "tight".


Did you make it to the brunch while on the Summit? Although, I prefer Princess, I really enjoyed that brunch.


BTW....The silver pouches were a yummy breakfast sandwich. Egg, English muffin, cheese and I believe a choice of either bacon or a ham slice. Crispy and tasty.

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Thank you for your review! We're looking to sail CB again in April, but we hated the bed the last time we were on it. It sagged in the middle of the twin beds. So when they were combined, we could feel the edges in the middle and made it uncomfortable.


I was wondering what you thought about your bed on your cruise? I believed the ship had a drydock last November and was hoping the beds were replaced by then.

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Thank you for taking time to post a review. We've sailed both ships and would not hesitate to sail either ship again. I just saw the pictures of the Summit after being refurbished. She looks awesome. Additionally, if anyone is considering booking a regular balcony room on board the Summit, I highly recommend you book a room with a sweet sixteen balcony. The ship only has 8 of these cabins. We had 6030.

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  • 1 year later...

I appreciated your review and comments. I'm off on my first Celebrity cruise soon and am anxious to compare it to Princess. I know for sure that I will really miss Princess' laundry and cheese plates (totally agree with you about them -they're delicious! ;) ). I think I'll miss the service in the buffet too. Princess really does that better than any of the other cruise lines I've been on so far. But I'll go with an open mind and appreciate what Celebrity does well.

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