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K.T.B.

Summit Review -- Feb 2-9 sailing

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Just to forewarn you, this is gonna be long (2,200+ words!) as I tend to ramble at times and I want to give as much info and insight as I can! Anyway, my wife and I just finished our first, but certainly not last, Celebrity cruise on Summit! Not only was it our first Celebrity cruise, but it was the first time that we did a southern Caribbean cruise. And for the most part, we had a great time!

 

Before I begin though, allow me back up just a moment to mention something here that is non-Celebrity related. I only do so to let people be somewhat aware of what occurs or what could occur with airlines.

 

Two weeks prior to cruise, I go to check our flights. We were flying American and I knew that they kept changing the departure time for our return flight. We had a post-cruise excursion that was for people with 2:30 or later departures, so I needed to double check in case I had to make changes. I sign on, check the flight, the time hasn’t changed…. but I noticed on both flights that my wife and I are no longer sitting together! I had originally had me on the aisle and my wife in the middle seat. I’m now behind her by the window, while she’s still in the middle seat. This is on both flights! So now I call American.

 

First phone call lasts an hour (while I’m at work!) and I get nowhere because I keep getting told that they absolutely cannot change seats. When I get home, I sign on again to American’s site to show my wife the situation, and lo and behold I’ve been moved on outgoing flight! But, nope, not next to my wife, but 5 rows in front of her now. Second phone call goes nowhere and I get hung up on… er, disconnected. Third phone call, nada.

 

The fourth phone call, on a Sunday afternoon, I finally get somewhere. I lay everything out to the person on the other end; tell him exactly what happened, what I first saw, that I was moved, etc. At this point I no longer care where we are on the plane, as long as we’re sitting next to one another. Now then, after being told that under no circumstances can anyone ever be moved on the plane, the move me. Unfortunately, I am still next to the window on the return flight, but now my wife and I are both in aisle seats on the outgoing flight, “next to one another”. It took 45 minutes. Fast forward to the day before we leave, I go to check us in, and I can now move my wife back into the middle seat! Better yet, there was no one sitting in the window seat! We had the 3 seats to ourselves. :) It made the 90 minute delay in taking off very well worth it!

 

Lesson learned. Be tenacious with American Airlines! Thankfully Southwest will be flying to San Juan beginning in April!

 

Ok, now to the review!

 

As said in the beginning, this was our first cruise with Celebrity. We have 5 prior cruises under our belt, all with Carnival. We do love Carnival, but I want to do a Panama canal cruise one day, and Carnival no longer does them. Hence the decision to try Celebrity to see if we liked it. WE LIKED IT! :)

 

As per usual, we flew in the day before the cruise, but we had no intention of doing much sightseeing since we had the post-cruise excursion. We both just wanted to get to the hotel, change, and then get to dinner. We stayed at SJ Suites in Old San Juan. We both liked it. It serviced our need for a bed and bathroom, and it was clean. We had dinner at the Parrot Club and I highly recommend it! From there we just went back to the room and crashed. Having been up and on the go since 5:00am, we were ready!

 

Next day, cruise day! We had breakfast at Mallorca’s and it was fine. The place was very crowded when we got there (about 10-ish). We both wanted a little bit of “Puerto Rican flavor” and this fit the bill. We checked out of the room by 11:30 and headed to the ship and got there about 11:45. Dropped our luggage off with the porter, headed into the terminal, breezed through line (there was no one in line!), got the onboard picture taken, headed up the escalators to the ship. It took 15 minutes from the time we dropped off the bags until we set foot onboard. Period. The fastest we had ever gotten onboard for any cruise!

 

I should point out that we were Aqua Class. I booked that because I knew my wife would love the spa and mediation room and saunas. Even though we did enjoy the spa area immensely, I doubt we book Aqua again. And mainly because of Blu.

 

It seems in nearly every review I’ve read, people love Blu. We, on the other hand, did not. We had two dinners (first 2 nights on board) and two breakfasts (days 2 and 3 on board) there, in all cases the service was deplorable. Only on one night was the food very good, the other times it was horrible. The food was, at best, lukewarm and we could never get anyone to keep our drinks filled, nor could grab the attention of the cocktail waitress. We were basically ignored. For us, Blu was the only negative thing we can say about this cruise.

 

All right, back to the good stuff and to our first cruise day!

 

I had read enough on the boards to know that we got champagne when you get on board, but my wife didn’t know! I kept it a secret from her! Once on board we got something to eat at the buffet and then proceeded to explore. I took a lot of pictures (yes, I’ll be posting some!) and just reveled in how beautiful the Summit looks. I know some people have complained about some areas looking dingy or the bathroom having what looks to be mold, but I can say I never saw any of that! And I was looking for it, too, especially the mold. The ship was very well maintained as far as I could tell. And the staff and crew were awesome, as well as extremely friendly, always asking if we were having a good cruise. Our room steward was Diego and he was great. He always had a smile on his face. Best of all, he did an excellent job for us the entire cruise. I asked once, on the first day, to keep the ice bucket filled, and it was always filled.

 

Another surprise for us was how quickly we received our luggage. We had it by 4:00! At this point, I really had NO complaints about Celebrity! After unpacking, we lounged in the room for a bit before heading off to dinner. After dinner we had our muster drill at 7:45. It really worked out well for us because we wanted to see the Aqua-Fellas that night in Rendezvous. As luck would have it, Rendezvous was our muster station! We opted to not do the show that evening because we had a very early morning the next day. All in all, a great first cruise day.

 

The next day was St. Croix! We had an excursion planned for 8:30 that morning. Unfortunately, the Celebrity/Cruise Critic Connections party was scheduled for 10:45 that morning, so we missed it. However, the excursion we did was quite enjoyable! We did the Historical Walking Tour in Fredriksted. It lasted about 2 and half hours, and for us it was perfect. We got back to the ship around 11:30 or so, grabbed lunch, and then proceeded to relax by the pool the rest of the day. That night was the Super Bowl and neither of us had any interest, so after dinner we lounged a bit in Rendezvous and the later by pool which was deserted! It made for a perfectly quiet evening.

 

Next up was St. Kitts where did an Island History tour & Rum Tasting at 1:30. It was the kind of day I wanted! And with rum involved, it made it even better! That night was formal night and we ate at Qsine...

 

Qsine needs its own review I think! This place is awesome. Easily one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had, cruise ship or not. We had 7:00 reservations and did not leave until about 9:30. It wasn’t because we’re slow eaters, it’s that they will not rush you and want you to enjoy each course. I know we ordered too much to eat, but it was well worth it. The two things we probably could have skipped were the Crunchy Munchies and Persian Kabob. Not because they’re bad (believe me, they’re not!), but because we didn’t need them and they were our least favorite dishes. My wife’s favorite was the Lobster Escargot Fritters and mine were the Spring Rolls.

 

The next day we arrived at Dominica. The excursion we did was City Highlights By Trolley. It began at 10:30. This was probably my favorite excursion from the cruise, mainly because of our tour guide and our ride! Our guide definitely knew the city and seemed to have an encyclopedic memory of the plants and trees in the botanical garden. It was about a 2 hours tour, but a fun 2 hours. The rest of the day was spent lounging at poolside, turning it into a “sea day” of sorts. (We also got a tad sunburned, too, despite being under shade.) The show we saw that night was comedian Louis Johnson, and it was his “PG show”. The guy is hilarious! Even if you’re not a fan of stand up, don’t miss his show.

 

Day 4 had us in Grenada, the Spice Island! For me, this was all about nutmeg. So the tour we did was the West Coast and Nutmeg Plantation tour that began at 8:30. Until this tour, I didn’t know a lot about nutmeg, how it grew, how they processed it, etc., but you learn quite a bit on this tour. Also, until this tour, I didn’t realize that Grenada had a lot of winding roads going up and down the countryside and mountains. I was sitting up front, next to the driver, on the tour bus. My knuckles are still white! I felt like I was on a rollercoaster! The driver was great, but there are twists and turns on the roads that will turn your hair grey! Anyway, the tour ended at Grand Etang Forest Reserve, before heading back to the ship. Again we were back on the ship around noon or so, and we spent the afternoon by the pool. (Another faux “sea day”!). That night after dinner we went to see Jeff Taveggia’s show (he’s also known as Jeff the Juggler). It was a very good show, but if you’ve seen it once, you can pass on a second showing.

 

The next day was a real sea day! Our only one. And, of course, the pool area was PACKED, along with the obligatory saved chairs with just towels tossed upon them. Be that as it may, we still found a place to relax for the day. Eventually, just before noon, we were able to get to our favorite spot to read and relax. And that was our day. That evening we saw iHollywood at 9:00 (it was good) and Louis Johnson ADULT comedy show (it was even better than his other show!).

 

The last port on the trip was St. Thomas. We originally had an excursion planned to do an island tour, but the time got changed from 9:00am to 1:00pm! A 4-hour difference was a bit too much, so we just got a refund. We just ended up going off the ship for a short period time, with no idea of what we wanted to do. We eventually found ourselves going to the Butterfly Garden. What a fun place! Butterflies all over, as well as hummingbirds and supposedly an iguana or two (we never saw any). It ended up being the perfect thing. It also allowed to get back on board before 11:00 and we gave ourselves another "sea day". That evening we did no shows, we decided to just enjoy the last evening alone in our cabin…

 

Post cruise, we had an excursion to see Old & New San Juan prior to getting to the airport. While we did enjoy it, having a bus that is better designed to do a tour would be nice. You just could not see things that were being pointed out as the windows were too low or small. Be that as it may, once we got off the bus to explore sights, we truly enjoyed it. San Juan is a beautiful city. And the airport and flight went exceedingly well.

 

Overall, my wife and I really enjoyed this cruise. We've been won over by Celebrity. The crew was great. The ship is gorgeous. The food and food venues, save for a minor problem, were exceptional. And we made full use of our drink package as well! We will definitely be back!

 

Pictures to follow!

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Our first real close-up look at Summit:

 

529435_604621292888458_2061581678_n.jpg

 

Qsine display set up for embarking pasengers:

 

154847_604622476221673_965554744_n.jpg

 

The martini bar (the only time I think it was empty! :p ):

 

560257_604622699554984_423786218_n.jpg

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One view of the pool area:

 

231053_606677652682822_426141935_n.jpg

 

And from the other direction:

 

521773_604624486221472_1588027060_n.jpg

 

The spa pool area:

 

487815_604625162888071_924813591_n.jpg

 

Our cabin (1104):

 

535721_604625272888060_762373823_n.jpg

Edited by Kevin T Brown

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Glad you enjoyed your first Celebrity cruise Kevin.

Sorry Blu sucked for you. It was nowhere near as good on Summit as it was on the S class ships, in my experience. Next time, try an S class ship and prepare to be impressed.

 

Wish the newer ships had the 7 night southern Caribbean itinerary. I absolutely was enchanted by Dominica.

I rremeber those winding roads in Grenada. Was so ill after our van tour that I skipped dinner that night!!!

 

i kived Wsine in the summit too. Gorgeous location, great food

 

Thanks again for your report.

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And my favorite picture I took during the cruise:

 

555981_605612942789293_273089723_n.jpg

 

A hummingbird sitting still long enough for me to get an extreme close-up at the Butterfly Garden! :)

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Thanks so much for the review and pics! We too are sailing on Celebrity for the first time this next year having sailed on Carnival on all our previous cruises. The Summit looks like a beautiful ship!

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Hi,

 

Thanks for the review and pics....Summit was our first cruise with Celebrity, and when we became big fans !!

 

Did you frequent the Martini Bar ? Looking at your pic...I swear that looks like "Wid" behind the bar, who was on the Millie in Oct/Nov...just curious...he was one of my favorite of all time.

 

Thanks again.

 

Woody

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Thank you for your review. We'll be on the Summit 10 weeks today! We are also in an Aqua class cabin and have really been looking forward to dining in Blu. Most people rave about it. Hopefully, we'll enjoy it, but if not, plenty of other dining choices, including the MDR.

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We were on that sailing and we loved it, too. We are established Celebrity cruisers (we made elite on this trip) and it lived up to its expectations.

 

I did not take as many ship pictures as I have on other trips but I'll be posting a link to those that I did take.

 

 

Out only ship excursion was the post-cruise trip to El Yunque and drop off a the airport.

 

In St. Kitts and Grenada, us and our friends rented a cab for a 3 hour jaunt around the island. In St. Thomas, we took the "dollar ride" bus to Red Hook and had lunch with friends who came over from St. Johns. Otherwise, we wandered around the port area for a few hours and then went back to the boat.

 

We were in Aqua, too. Stateroom 1038 and it had an oversize veranda and overhang. Very happy with it.

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Thanks for the review and pictures. We will be doing the same cruise 2/1/2014. Your reviews of the excursions are very helpful as we plan our trip.

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Thanks so much for this review. You have managed to really make me homesick for my favorite ship. :) Glad you liked her too.

 

Do you remember the name of the guitarist?

 

Anne

Edited by cruiseacecat

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Hi Kevin. Thanks for a great review. We did this same cruise in Dec 12 and had a similar experience - everything was great. We were in a suite and could have dined in Blu but based on several comments I saw we elected not to and I'm glad we didn't. We just enjoy the experience of being at a larger table and getting to know new friends. We have been on several Celebrity cruises (including 2 on Summit) and a couple on Carnival. We also enjoy Carnival - mainly because our kids and grandkids enjoy Carnival.

 

Thanks again for a great review.

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WHAT???? You did not mention waffles.:D Hope we meet again one of these days. Anne

 

OT.

Who me? Hello Anne. We hope to see you again sometime also. :)

Edited by Texed

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Great report! We sailed on the Summit too, and like you, in Aqua. I have to agree with your assessment of Blu. We liked our meals there (we had wonderful dinner company :D) but the service was always a bit disjointed. There was lots of staff but some nights they just reminded me of chickens running around without their heads! The flow in that restaurant just wasn't smooth or coordinated. As Sandi said, however, don't base your experience with Blu on the Summit as the decider on whether to go Aqua again. On the Equinox Blu is so good that we'll probably eat there for 15 straight nights on our upcoming transatlantic. ;)

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By the way, we ate in Blu every morning and evening and loved it. Sorry you did not have good service.

 

We did. Although I was disappointed with the cold soups which in the past have been incredibly good.

 

We did not do a specialty dining this trip although I think we shall try Qsine on our next trip.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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Thank you for your review and pictures. We did a B2B on Summit in 2010 and it was probably our favorite cruise. We were treated like royalty.

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Hi,

 

Thanks for the review and pics....Summit was our first cruise with Celebrity, and when we became big fans !!

 

Did you frequent the Martini Bar ? Looking at your pic...I swear that looks like "Wid" behind the bar, who was on the Millie in Oct/Nov...just curious...he was one of my favorite of all time.

 

Thanks again.

 

Woody

 

We never did visit the martini bar. Martinis aren't our thing. :)

 

Thanks so much for this review. You have managed to really make me homesick for my favorite ship. :) Glad you liked her too.

 

Do you remember the name of the guitarist?

 

Anne

 

No idea what their name is, we never saw them.

 

By the way, we ate in Blu every morning and evening and loved it. Sorry you did not have good service.

 

We did. Although I was disappointed with the cold soups which in the past have been incredibly good.

 

We did not do a specialty dining this trip although I think we shall try Qsine on our next trip.

 

I think one of the things that disappointed me the most about Blu was after complaining about the bad service we were told that the Maitre'D would probably contact us about it. He never did, but we got a note thanking us for visiting their dining room!

 

Be that as it may, that experience will not deter us from Celebrity. :)

Edited by Kevin T Brown

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Thanks for the review and pictures! We have not been on the Summit for quite a few years and just booked a trip in April.

 

I am not surprised at the crowds at the pool on the sea days, but I was shocked to see how few loungers there are around the pool now that they had added the cushioned seat sections in the upgrade. I am constantly amazed at how few loungers are directly around the pool areas on new or revamped ships for us sun people.

 

Thanks again and glad you had a great trip.

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We never did visit the martini bar. Martinis aren't our thing. :)

 

 

 

No idea what their name is, we never saw them.

 

 

 

I think one of the things that disappointed me the most about Blu was after complaining about the bad service we were told that the Maitre'D would probably contact us about it. He never did, but we got a note thanking us for visiting their dining room!

 

Be that as it may, that experience will not deter us from Celebrity. :)

Thanks for your answer. Hope there WAS one.

Anne

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Thanks for the review and pictures! We have not been on the Summit for quite a few years and just booked a trip in April.

 

I am not surprised at the crowds at the pool on the sea days, but I was shocked to see how few loungers there are around the pool now that they had added the cushioned seat sections in the upgrade. I am constantly amazed at how few loungers are directly around the pool areas on new or revamped ships for us sun people.

 

Thanks again and glad you had a great trip.

 

As crowded as it was by the pool area, and despite the chair savers, there were areas to grab chairs. And I did see some of the pool attendants helping people move chairs or gather up some "lost" items when someone complained about the situation. No fights, no disagreements, no problems.

 

 

And to cruiseacecat: As for the guitarist, my wife reminded me that we did "see" him once as we walked through the pool area one day. We didn't stay to listen as we were headed back to the cabin. So I can offer no opinion on his playing skillls nor do I know his name. :) I do know he wore a cowboy hat, maybe that helps?

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Thanks for your review of the Summit, Kevin. Since you didn't like the Blu did you just dine in the MDR the rest of the week and if so did you have any problems getting a table in the MDR?

 

We are booked on the Summit in June and the Aqua was the same pricing as the Concierge so thought we should give it a try :D

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As crowded as it was by the pool area, and despite the chair savers, there were areas to grab chairs. And I did see some of the pool attendants helping people move chairs or gather up some "lost" items when someone complained about the situation. No fights, no disagreements, no problems.

 

 

And to cruiseacecat: As for the guitarist, my wife reminded me that we did "see" him once as we walked through the pool area one day. We didn't stay to listen as we were headed back to the cabin. So I can offer no opinion on his playing skillls nor do I know his name. :) I do know he wore a cowboy hat, maybe that helps?

Thanks again. I do think I know who you mean.:)

Anne

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Great review and pics...we are on the SUmmit for my first cruise EVER April 6th!

 

Your review of Qsine, nailed it for me going to book reservation soon. Need to find out when formal night is though, I am not sure I want to pack my suit :cool:

 

I have a weird question regarding the port heavy itinerary though.....Is a drink package at all worth it when you only have 1 sea day?

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Thanks for the great review, booked a family thanksgiving cruise, 8 cabins so far....is it November yet?????

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Dianeksfun we are on the 2/1/14 sailing too-hope to meet you then-This is our first Celebrity sail-we were previous Royal patrons-not that we do not like Royal just changing things up a little. Don't really know what to expect --

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Thanks for the great review and especially for the pictures! We sail on The Summit again in December...she is our favorite ship and we are counting the days. Thanks for giving us a little taste to hold us over. ;)

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