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Irish60

Long Summit Review - (Dec.14-21)

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Hi, this was our first cruise ever and because of all the tips and help we received from these boards I thought I'd try to write a review to help any other newbies out there. It got alot longer than I expected so beware.

San Juan

We arrived the day of sailing and got to the ship around 4pm. Taxi was $26 (it was $26 on the return trip when we shared a taxi with another couple, live and learn). Didn't get to see the city really until sailaway but would like to go back and look around.

Embarkation

Very smooth, taxi took you right to the lineup area. We had luggage tags from our TA but they would write them up on the spot if you didn't have yours. I'd read alot about tipping the porters and did give the guy at the front $10 but I don't see how it would help you since he keeps the money and the guys behind him through them onto large buggies. Went into the building next and through a quick carry on check to the processing area. The lineups were small and were sectioned off by Aqua class, Concierge, etc... We went to the counter, showed our passports, visa, etc... and received our Seapass cards within 2 minutes. We then walked through building straight on to the Summit and were greeted by a choice of a Mimosa or juice? We then took a elevator to our room.

Cabin

We were in concierge class room 8079 and loved it. It was midship and very quiet. Our balcony always seemed to be on the right side at each port to get a great view in the morning. There was a bottle of bubbly waiting on ice and was enjoyed thoroughly. The service is one of the main reasons we will cruise again. You got up, had a shower and went for breakfast and when you returned there was fresh fruit, refilled ice bucket, new flowers and a whole set of new towels including beach towels for any excursion you went on. It was nice to come back from an excursion and have a shower again to get ready for the night only to come back later again that night to new towels. Simple things make me happy I guess :) Our cabin steward Melwin was outstanding.

Ports of Call

Just a note that if you wanted to bring water on an excursion, there was always a guy while leaving the ship who would offer you a bottle of water or can of pop (all cold) before leaving. You just gave him your seapass card so there was a limit of one beverage per card.

Barbados

Had a magnificent day in Barbados. We had pre-booked Calabaza Tours and the day couldn't have been better. While waiting for the taxi, we met a few couples that were going on the trip with us. One guy (Bill) told us about a previous trip where they were going with Calabaza but they arrived the day after they had booked. He phoned Gina (owner of Calabaza) and she arranged a trip for them with another catamaran. Anyway, we got to the boat and were greeted by Gina, Andrew and Danny, the crew. There are only 12 people per cruise so it was an intimate affair with much room to move around. We first went to swim with the turtles which my wife loved. Then they took us snorkeling to a few ship wrecks and finally a long sail to a beautiful spot for lunch and swimming. The food was great and the drinks were too (rum punch - yum). Started out around 9:30 and back to boat by 3:30. When we got home, we had an email from Gina with pictures of all the underwater stuff and receipts to all her food and drinks. The service was outstanding and I would recommend this trip to anyone.

St. Lucia

We didn't book and excursion here but did walk into town to shop. It was a slow time of year so apparently we docked right in town which in my opinion, was kinda run down. The other docking area looked much nicer (you could see it from the Oceanview cafe) and maybe we should have taxied over there. Some really nice craft stuff in the small markets but you really had to watch your step on the streets what with giant potholes and fellas walking up to you offering drugs. My least favourite port.

Antigua

Again we booked our own excursion here. We went to the Coconut Beach Club and I don't think I've had a more relaxing day in my whole life. Taxi was $16 (make sure they take you to the club and not Coconut Beach which is somewhere else). Check in at front desk and they give you beach towels. You go down the path to see a beautiful eating/bar relaxing area with an infinity pool. Walk further to the beach which is so quiet. There were only about 20 people there the whole day. Price includes all drinks and a lovely lunch. Only one type of beer on tap but it was good enough. Pina Colada's were great. Arranged with same taxi driver to pick us up. Ride back was at least twice as long as he had to go through town and it was very busy so keep that in mind.

St. Marten

The port here was beautiful. This was the only place we booked through the cruise and part of the excursion was cancelled. The first part was cancelled because it was too rough and merky for the semi-submersible to be worth it. The second part was a trip to Marigot for shopping. They offered everyone a 50% discount and they would still do the trip. We thought that was okay so we went. It's a beautiful island but I found most of the trip rushed. Marigot was awesome, beautiful shopping area but we were allowed one hour to shop. It seemed to me that they could have given more time since half the trip was cancelled but it was okay I guess. Lots of wildlife pics taken of iguanas. One suggestion I have for Celebrity is that when these type of cancellation occur they should meet everyone on they ship before they leave so that if they want to not participate, they can go to the excursion desk before getting of ship and meeting up with the tour guide.

St. Thomas

Nothing planned here because we had heard about the shopping. We shopped for awhile and on the way back to ship we saw a sign for a butterfly farm. It was only a few blocks from the ship (just behind Senor Frogs). We went in ($12 each) and it was better than I expected. The woman running it was very nice and spent alot of time trying to find one elusive butterfly for us with success.

Disembarking

Very organized. We met in the theatre and were called by groups. Left the ship and walked down to a large hanger where all the luggage was put in rows according to your group number. One of our bags was in the wrong group but it didn't take long to find. Large lines form so get your bags ASAP. Go through customs and get a cab to airport. We waited around the airport for 4 hours for our return flight but it is a nice enough place so it was okay.

The Food

Main dining room

We enjoyed all the spots on the boat we ate at. We had select dining and would do that again next time. There were a few fleeting moments we wished we were in the main dining room (formal nights seemed to have things going on by the noise of the crowd) but we enjoyed the intimate and quieter feel of deck 5. Being totally new to this we were kinda nervous going for our first dinner but our waiter (Jorge A) was a blast. He told us all about the menu setup (favorites vs daily) and told us how things worked overall. By the end of dinner we felt great about select dining. Even though we had a two seat table, we usually ended up talking to the couples on either side of us through dinner which was great. The choices were varied every day and quite good. We would have to ask our waiter to send the sommelier over at the start of dinner but after that drinks came when we asked and many times before we asked. We both had the classic package so I was worried about choices but there were enough wine choices for us. In fact I learned the first night that I shouldn't have so many choices with dinner. After a drambuie with dessert I was wondering if the ship was moving or me.

Oceanview Cafe

Went there for every breakfast except the first morning which we ordered room service. Good selection for breakfast for heavy stuff (bacon, sausage, etc...) to light stuff (Yogurts, fruit, etc...). Only day I didn't enjoy too much was the english breakfast day. Very big area so there were few times you had to wait in line long. If you wanted a made to order item such as omelet or stirfry you would expect to wait. We had lunch a few times here as well and dinner once (because we did a sneak peek at the MDR menu which is posted outside main door of MDR and didn't see anything interesting and we had heard the curries in the buffet were good - they were)

Qsine

We weren't going to go to any specialty restaurants because the food was very good in the MDR and we couldn't see the price being reasonable but the day we went to St. Marten we got that refund and with our 30% discount it was basically free (at least that's what we convinced ourselves). It was awesome. The food was alot better than people give credit on these boards and even though there was only about 10 people in the restaurant, the atmosphere was great. The 30% discount came from talking to Qsine rep outside the buffet. They seemed to be set up there every day to drum up business. I saw the same guy (who turned out to be our waiter in Qsine) the next day and asked if it was always that slow there. He said it was during that time of year. I said I should have asked for 50% and he said we could do that tonight. Tempted as I was because we didn't even get through a third of their menu, we passed.

Cafe el Bachio (don't know if I spelled that right)

We didn't get coffee here but did pick up nightcaps for our room since it was the closest bar to us. We tried some cookies and liked them so on one of our excursion days we stopped there and got some in a take out bag.

Room Service

We made what I assume to be a rookie mistake our first time with room service. We wanted to relax our first morning (sea day) so we filled out a breakfast form (in the room) and hung it on the door. It asks how many you want of each thing like bacon, sausage so I was thinking I would be hungry and ordered three bacon, three sausage, etc.. thinking they were orders of each but when it arrived we had three pieces of bacon, three sausages... :) So we shared that on the balcony and went searching for more food. Luckily that was the only sea day so they had a lavish brunch set up in the main dining room (not really advertised but was from 10-1 I believe). We used room service a few more times mainly to order pizza or a hot dog (they were the best - same ones as at the grill by the pool - yum) and had no problem. Everything arrived hot and usually within 10 minutes of ordering off the TV. Tipping each time might have helped.

Drink Package

We had the classic package as I think everyone aboard had and found it perfectly fine. Maybe the only limitation was wine at dinner (choice wise) but everything else was great. I'm a rye and diet coke fan and was pleasantly surprised at the choices I had. I expect Canadian club and crown royal but I stuck with Seagrams 7 which I really enjoy. To each his own. I took the opportunity to try alot of drinks I wouldn't normally try and enjoyed the pina coladas and the many beers to choose from. I will never try a mojito again - yuck. I found anywhere you went that if you tipped the waiter he would return to you before you finished your drink. I always tipped a dollar a drink (I mean they're free!) and was surprised how many people didn't ever tip.

Entertainment

I guess we are easy to please because we thoroughly enjoyed all the entertainment on the ship. The nightly shows in the theatre were great. Very talented ensemble. The lead blond female singer had a very powerful voice and the dancers were amazing since the boat moved around quite a bit sometimes. The comedian was very funny. The hypnotist took a long time getting his victims set up but in the end he had them doing very funny stuff. The guitar player and the pianist moved around alot doing sets so we saw them a few times. Both were good but I thought the piano player thought alot of himself. I wish I could remember the names of the bands but the salsa band was great as was the main band playing revelations most nights. There was a accapella group too but we only saw them on the main show first night. My only little complaint was when you did get comfortable to enjoy a set, they were too short and it seemed like the entertainer had to rush away to get to the next set. The cruise director was also great.

Service

Outstanding service. Not only the quality of work but the attitude while working. Select dining let us experience a few different waiters and they were all great. I don't know when the cabin stewards sleep they always seemed to be in the hallway. All the staff seemed to speak english and spanish which makes sense. There seemed to be alot of people from Puerto Rico since it's a cheap week out for them. I would love if a cruise line pulled up to my front door and offered me a free drink package to go with them. My wife speaks fluent spanish so it allowed us to interact with even more people which is always a bonus.

Kids

I'd guess there were maybe 50 kids aboard and they were fine mostly. At the start of the theatre show the cruise director always said " the first three row are for people over 18" (don't ask me why, maybe some costumers are too revealing) but as soon as he left the stage kids, sitting with their parents, would make a run for the front. I don't get parents that let that happen but hey that's me. Otherwise there were many wonderful kids on the boat. We had a couple in front of us once in the balcony and their two kids sat quietly through the whole show mesmerized by it. We saw them the next morning at breakfast and my wife told their mother how impressed we were with them and she got up from the table and gave my wife a big hug practically crying for joy. Funny watching the husband looking like he had no idea what was going on.

Tips

- going to the theatre, bring a drink or go 10 minutes early to get the waiters attention. If you give a small tip he will come back through the show to check on you.

- remember you can get a water or pop on the way off the ship and it's cold.

- use the daily schedule to plan things to do on the ship. Alot of things are scheduled at the same time so you have to get picky sometimes.

- we never took our passports with us. We had a copy with us. All ports just wanted to see your card getting back through except St. Thomas were you had to show photo ID as well. We are Canadian but our drivers license was fine for that.

- We brought $500 cash with us 125 was dollar bills. We had nothing bigger than a 20. Very handy so you have the right change for cabs etc... and didn't get stuck with the local currency for change. The ones were great for tipping drinks, room service, etc... We came back with $3 :)

- if shopping on the ship, ask if something your interested in is going on sale later in the week. It can't hurt, everyday they have some good deal.

 

We have some regrets like never going to Bistro on five or trying the ships pool but my biggest regret was no booking again while on ship. We would have received $300 OBC as well as the drink package guarantee but I couldn't commit at the time. Overall we always had plenty to do and see and would recommend this cruise for any first timers because of the busy itinerary and not much "at sea" time so you can test the waters :)

 

Sorry for the long review. Like I said you guys helped me out planning things so I just wanted to pay it forward. Next time we cruise we will probably be brave enough to register for roll-call.

 

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The first cruise is amazing. Always a great memory. And hopefully the first of many to come! Very nicely done. So glad you enjoyed it.

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Excellent review, lots of great tips. Thank you for doing this.

We are sailing Feb.15, can't wait for our first Celebrity cruise!

Cheers

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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Great review! Thanks for taking the time to post. I'll be on the Summit (same itinerary) in October so it was very helpful!

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Nice Job! We also love the Summit. Jorge in the MDR is an old friend of ours......he's the best! Glad you enjoyed your first cruise and I'm sure it won't be your last.

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Very good review!

 

I'm glad you enjoyed your first cruise!

 

You're hooked now!!!

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As we are doing the same sailing in March, I wonder if you would mind sharing what nights/ports were the Formal Nights on board.... it can vary depending on itinerary, but as my sailing on the Summit is the same itinerary as yours, it would be helpful to know.

Thank you.

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Great review, we were on Summit last November and have her booked again for next January, great ship!

 

Just wanted to mention you said you didn't see anyone else tip for drinks with the pkg, but with the beverage pkgs a 15% tip is included with each drink, so it's up to the individual if they want to tip extra.

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Nice review. We got on the week after you and had a wonderful time on our third Summit cruise of 2013! Can't wait to go on her again in April!!

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Nice Job! We also love the Summit. Jorge in the MDR is an old friend of ours......he's the best! Glad you enjoyed your first cruise and I'm sure it won't be your last.

 

Thanks. Jorge was awesome for a first timer. I forgot to mention that we had other waiters, specifically Acuna who was also great. Along with our waiter at Qsine (Yogi) sometimes I wondered if I was on a Disney cruise :)

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As we are doing the same sailing in March, I wonder if you would mind sharing what nights/ports were the Formal Nights on board.... it can vary depending on itinerary, but as my sailing on the Summit is the same itinerary as yours, it would be helpful to know.

Thank you.

Thanks. The first formal night was the Sunday or sea day. I went in a suit and my wife wore a nice dress and we didn't feel out of place. I thought most people were dressed nice. It was a nice atmosphere up in select dining so I imagine the main area would have been that much better. The second formal night was the Thursday and was called a black and white night. Since my suit was black and I had a white shirt I thought we would be fine but that was the day we decided to go to Qsine so we just went casual. You could always try the first formal night and then decide about the second.

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Great review, we were on Summit last November and have her booked again for next January, great ship!

 

Just wanted to mention you said you didn't see anyone else tip for drinks with the pkg, but with the beverage pkgs a 15% tip is included with each drink, so it's up to the individual if they want to tip extra.

Thanks. Yeah I didn't want to give the impression that people were cheap because it is included already. I just notice early that a dollar or two first round went a long way to having people look out for you. I would definitely recommend trying it in the theatre.

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Thanks. Yeah I didn't want to give the impression that people were cheap because it is included already. I just notice early that a dollar or two first round went a long way to having people look out for you. I would definitely recommend trying it in the theatre.

 

Good idea, tipping early on if likely to want several drinks in theater. I would never have thought of that, but then I'm a Brit and we are not so used to tipping.

 

A further point about the package being included. The cruise price is increased to compensate for the drinks, so they're not so much 'free' as 'pre-paid'.

 

Thanks for a great review.

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Hi,

 

glad to hear that you had a great time on SUMMIT!

The cruise you have done we will do in April 2014, so your report is quite helpful!!

 

According to your review, our favourite ship is in a good shape! :)

Edited by celebrity_fan

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