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CanadianMAG

Summit or HAL

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I need a little help I don't know where to start. 

DH and I have been on 3 or cruises before we had kids. Once we had kids we stopped (been about 12 years).  For the past 12 years we have done AI mexico trips and Disney world annually.  DH and I like good food, great wine great service.  When going to land resorts, we typically get suites and swim up rooms.  We like nice things, we are no party people and we like to eat - but we like familiar foods.   We do like good nightly entertainment we will usually do one or two  excursions a trip, but that is starting to stop as we feel like we have done them all.

 

We are looking at a few things for our trip in May which will be DH and I.  Punta Cana at a AI resort, the only reason we are not going there is the travel time from Seattle is crazy.  We want to stay away from Mexico this year. So we were looking at a cruise. We have narrowed it down to two and I really don't know what to pick. Do we want to go to ports we have been before but a nicer ship? or do we want to go to new places on a different type of ship.  My other hesitation on cruises are only so many times you can snorkel go on catamarans, go visit distilleries, coffee plants  etc.  We also just got back from Bora Bora and are afraid we won't be blown away by the water.  

 

Our choices - Summit Aqua Class (its about $100 more than the concierge class).  Grenada would be the only new port for us.  The ship would obviously be new for us to explore. BUT we leave from Puerto Rico which would mean a similar travel time as Punta cana 

Option 2 - Rotterdam HAL - in a Vista Class room all ports will be new we leave from Tampa. Stops are in Key West, Costa Mata, Mahogany Bay, Santo Tomas De Castilla. This ship is smaller although we like the Zeiderdamn 10 years ago, our traveling style has changed.

 

We also don't want to be charged for everything!  The only thing we drink is OJ and coffee at breakfast and water through the day and wine at dinner.   NO pops or cocktails.  DH LOVES room service, we often book hotels based on the room service menu.

 

I would be open to feedback and maybe even questions asked that will make me thing of something I never had before!

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I didn't really think very much of the service on Summit during back to backs last December. At the time there were several other reviews that discussed poor service. I'd suggest you read as many reviews as you can on here and other third party review sites to get a more balance opinion and then do the same with the HAL ship.

Ignore reviews written by obvious cheerleaders and whingers and you'll soon spot trends giving you a better idea on current service levels that hopefully will have improved. 

In all honesty I don't think you will be blown away with the room service menu. Sorry that this may sound negative, but the food from room service is average at best and often served lukewarm. 

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My husband and I have sailed on a few HAL ships (Veendam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam) and just recently sailed on the Summit...our first Celebrity cruise.  We've also sailed RCL before and were excited to try the line that we thought we'd read was a "step up" from RCL.  We expected it to be comparable to HAL.

 

We were underwhelmed.  

 

Don't get me wrong - it was a nice cruise and we enjoyed our time on the ship.  We knew not to expect a lot of bells and whistles and an older décor (the ship is going in for major drydock this spring), but it was the service that just didn't blow us away.  We felt the HAL experience was better on that front.

 

We also HATED that so many of the tables for two in the main dining room appeared to be nothing more than fours or sixes with the tables separated by a mere two inches.  Sorry, but that is not a table for two that I can feel is 'date night' for me and my husband, and leads to an awkwardness with the 'table mates' as you feel rude if you don't include them in conversation since you're so close, but don't really know if they want to talk since they, too, asked for a table for two.

 

No true promenade deck either for our morning walks.  We like to circle the deck completely and have always been able to do so, relatively protected, on the HAL ships...three laps to a mile.  There is only a jogging track on deck 11 of the Summit which requires 11 laps to a mile.  Not quite the same thing.

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From what I've read it seems that HAL and Celebrity aren't that different from the MDR perspective.  But where Celebrity shines is with their two higher-level dining categories.  AQ gets you Blu, which has a lot of fans and is claimed to have a healthy-food focus.  But if you bump up one more level, to a Sky Suite, you would get Luminae – which not only has terrific gourmet food but also lets you order from the MDR menu (for more 'familiar' dishes).  Suites also come with the BEST package that includes the upgraded beverage package (so the Luminae sommelier will have a wide range of wines to pair with your food), unlimited internet, gratuities, and some OBC – meaning you won't be nickel-and-dimed and you might leave the ship with no bill.  [Going a little further into the wish list: the Celebrity Suites on M-class ships are really terrific!  Mid-ship location, separate bedroom (nice and dark for sleeping) and living room (with an incredible curved window-wall), a huge curved balcony – and a butler.  If you can swing that, Summit would have it all over the HAL cruise!]

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All of the Caribbean Islands are basically the same.   

 

Seeing that that you are from Seattle I would suggest a Alaska Cruise.   Big advantage is that you won’t have to fly to the port.   Celebrity and HAL both cruise there so you could try both.    It was one of the nicest cruises we have done.   There are a lot of different type tours take and things to see and do.   They also had a snorkeling tour using wet suits.   It really isn’t freezing cold and the main thing is you are on a cruise.  One of the main advantages is that it is the USA and your cell phone will work and the ports are safe.  Another is the it always seems to be day time.  It is still light outside at 3am.  

 

We mostly do the Caribbean but the East Coast/Canadian Cruise and Alaska are our favorite.

 

Happy cruising 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

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Our experience is the Summit had excellent service. We’ve done two recent Summit cruises (NE/Canada and Bermuda) and found it great; same level as we’ve had on other Celebrity ships. 

 

The Summit is going through a Major upgrade in March so it will have very upgraded decor and a whole new look. Never been on HAL - hear it’s a good Line. 

 

Den

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9 minutes ago, miched said:

All of the Caribbean Islands are basically the same.   

 

Seeing that that you are from Seattle I would suggest a Alaska Cruise.   Big advantage is that you won’t have to fly to the port.   Celebrity and HAL both cruise there so you could try both.    It was one of the nicest cruises we have done.   There are a lot of different type tours take and things to see and do.   They also had a snorkeling tour using wet suits.   It really isn’t freezing cold and the main thing is you are on a cruise.  One of the main advantages is that it is the USA and your cell phone will work and the ports are safe.  Another is the it always seems to be day time.  It is still light outside at 3am.  

 

We mostly do the Caribbean but the East Coast/Canadian Cruise and Alaska are our favorite.

 

Happy cruising 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

Alaska is not an option, I am from the West Coast of BC, I grew up in a town  that ships used to go to.  I have seen the scenery that a paid cruise has to offer for free my whole life. I also worked for a small local airline and would often take flights along the coast, so I have seen everything by sky and sea. Thank you for that option - but I just would not enjoy it 😞  

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We've sailed on both Summit and Rotterdam.  Summit is an M class ship and does not have the glitz and glamour of the S class ships.  Summit is due for a re-fit in early 2019, so I'm sure it will have a newer feel.  We always found the service and food to be very good in both the MDR and in Blu when we sailed in Aqua class.  It's a smaller ship, so you never have to deal with line- ups like you do on the larger ships.

 

Rotterdam is one of the older HAL ships and is very traditional HAL decor and feel.  Lots of wood and brass and nautical art.  I personally would not recommend this ship if you enjoy a more lively atmosphere, especially after dinner.  Very low key entertainment.  Rotterdam is showing her age, but is dearly loved by folks who are loyal to the traditional cruise experience.  A much older clientele is the norm. 

 

I would recommend Summit over Rotterdam, but probably recommend an S class ship over the M class.  Have you considered the newest ship in the Celebrity fleet......Edge?  Very innovative, modern and some unique surprises.  Sorry, I'm not totally familiar with Edge's itineraries or if they would interest you.

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This from a fellow Canadian may help you decide on the Summit!

https://lifewellcruised.com/12-special-touches-that-will-make-you-love-celebrity-cruises/

We will be taking our first HAL cruise next month, and after reading the above blog, I'm wondering how many of the 12 special touches on Celebrity will be offered on the Nieuw Statedam.....

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Concur with Lady Arwen having cruised on both X (Constellation - sister of Summit) and HAL (K-dam and Volendam) in the last six months.  The big difference is the vibe on the ship and the entertainment.  Both HAL ships were very quiet in the evening.  Listening to the five piece band accompanying a BBC video does not compare to Celebrity's main stage dancers, singers, and aerialists.  Crews are both friendly and professional and food is about the same.  Have a great tip either way. 

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Hi, we are also from the Seattle area.  I would like to suggest something totally different!  Have you ever considered a Rick Steves Europe tour?  We just got back from our 8th RS tour.  Can’t say enough good things about them.  After the 2 week tour we took the train to Civitavecchi, Italy where we did a TA cruise to Ft Lauderdale!  This is the second time we’ve down a trip like this and find it’s much easier to adapt to the time change on a cruise.  We always fly back on Alaska Airlines which only nonstop flight is at 6:00pm.  I recently discovered resortpass.com where we booked a “day pass” at a hotel where we hung out for  the day.  It sure beats the airport!  Good luck making your decision!  You have lots to choose from.

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3 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

From what I've read it seems that HAL and Celebrity aren't that different from the MDR perspective.  But where Celebrity shines is with their two higher-level dining categories.  AQ gets you Blu, which has a lot of fans and is claimed to have a healthy-food focus.  But if you bump up one more level, to a Sky Suite, you would get Luminae – which not only has terrific gourmet food but also lets you order from the MDR menu (for more 'familiar' dishes).  Suites also come with the BEST package that includes the upgraded beverage package (so the Luminae sommelier will have a wide range of wines to pair with your food), unlimited internet, gratuities, and some OBC – meaning you won't be nickel-and-dimed and you might leave the ship with no bill.  [Going a little further into the wish list: the Celebrity Suites on M-class ships are really terrific!  Mid-ship location, separate bedroom (nice and dark for sleeping) and living room (with an incredible curved window-wall), a huge curved balcony – and a butler.  If you can swing that, Summit would have it all over the HAL cruise!]

 

Thank you so much for the suite details!  We just upgraded our Summit cruise to a Sky Suite 😀

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1 hour ago, Lady Arwen said:

We've sailed on both Summit and Rotterdam.  Summit is an M class ship and does not have the glitz and glamour of the S class ships.  Summit is due for a re-fit in early 2019, so I'm sure it will have a newer feel.  We always found the service and food to be very good in both the MDR and in Blu when we sailed in Aqua class.  It's a smaller ship, so you never have to deal with line- ups like you do on the larger ships.

 

Rotterdam is one of the older HAL ships and is very traditional HAL decor and feel.  Lots of wood and brass and nautical art.  I personally would not recommend this ship if you enjoy a more lively atmosphere, especially after dinner.  Very low key entertainment.  Rotterdam is showing her age, but is dearly loved by folks who are loyal to the traditional cruise experience.  A much older clientele is the norm. 

 

I would recommend Summit over Rotterdam, but probably recommend an S class ship over the M class.  Have you considered the newest ship in the Celebrity fleet......Edge?  Very innovative, modern and some unique surprises.  Sorry, I'm not totally familiar with Edge's itineraries or if they would interest you.

The Edge was almost double the price so we decided against  it. Thanks everyone  for opinions, it is helping.

 

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We recently returned from the Summit sailing out of SJU—one of the reasons that we chose this ship was for the wine—their main dining room, The Cosmopolitan, received the Wine Spectaor Award=great selection. We splurged on the Cellarmaster Dinner—-awesome!  If you love wine and good food —do it!!!  Enjoy your cruise!!

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UPDATE:  we have decided on a S-class  silhouette  9 day southern Caribbean!  

Now that is solidified just working on seeing what room we want and if it makes sense for the prepaying perks - and of course finding the best TA.  I am glad we now at least know where we are going!

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4 hours ago, CanadianMAG said:

UPDATE:  we have decided on a S-class  silhouette  9 day southern Caribbean!  

Now that is solidified just working on seeing what room we want and if it makes sense for the prepaying perks - and of course finding the best TA.  I am glad we now at least know where we are going!

 

Excellent choice -- we love Silhouette! Be sure to eat at the Lawn Club Grill. And avoid Concierge Class cabins that are underneath the Oceanview Cafe.

 

In terms of perks, the best "bank for the buck" is the drink package. If you wait until next week (Thanksgiving/Black Friday sales) you will probably be able to find an online travel agent offering free tips and OBC in addition to the free perk from Celebrity.

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On 11/10/2018 at 5:02 PM, BSinPNS said:

Concur with Lady Arwen having cruised on both X (Constellation - sister of Summit) and HAL (K-dam and Volendam) in the last six months.  The big difference is the vibe on the ship and the entertainment.  Both HAL ships were very quiet in the evening.  Listening to the five piece band accompanying a BBC video does not compare to Celebrity's main stage dancers, singers, and aerialists.  Crews are both friendly and professional and food is about the same.  Have a great tip either way. 

 

When we were on K-dam in June, they had pretty decent stage shows, certainly as good as what we just sat through (or tried to) on Infinity (and I am not a fan of the aerialists, especially when they insist on adding them to a show focused on Broadway music, without managing to find an accompanying song from a Broadway show). I was told on our cruise that HAL is getting rid of their singers and dancers and going with traveling shows where the entire (smaller) cast will go from ship to ship, so things may change. The BBC nature video was excellent and was accompanied by the orchestra and Lincoln Center Stage classical music quartet, not just a "5 piece band".  The Billboard Online area had two singer/piano players (dueling pianos if you will) and had a full house every night after the late show in the theater (they were so good, I even got my wife to stick around instead of going to our cabin after the show). I am not a big fan of jazz but the B.B. Kings Club was also very popular.

 

HAL does not have as much music around the ship during the day compared to Celebrity. However, I never saw as large a crowd for any of the Celebrity musicians as I did at Billboard Online on HAL.

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2 hours ago, MisterBill99 said:

 

Excellent choice -- we love Silhouette! Be sure to eat at the Lawn Club Grill. And avoid Concierge Class cabins that are underneath the Oceanview Cafe.

 

In terms of perks, the best "bank for the buck" is the drink package. If you wait until next week (Thanksgiving/Black Friday sales) you will probably be able to find an online travel agent offering free tips and OBC in addition to the free perk from Celebrity.

 

Thank you! I will wait until next week!  There are a lot of rooms left still so I guess it will not hurt to wait a week.

Question, can the OBC be used towards an excursion booked with the cruise line.

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2 hours ago, CanadianMAG said:

 

 

Thank you! I will wait until next week!  There are a lot of rooms left still so I guess it will not hurt to wait a week.

Question, can the OBC be used towards an excursion booked with the cruise line.

Yes it can.

 

You made the right decision avoiding non suite staterooms onboard Summit. They are not a good advert from Celebrity. Silhouette is a great ship and I'm sure you will enjoy sailing on her. 

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6 hours ago, CanadianMAG said:

 

 

Thank you! I will wait until next week!  There are a lot of rooms left still so I guess it will not hurt to wait a week.

Question, can the OBC be used towards an excursion booked with the cruise line.

 

Your OBC from Celebrity can be used for ship excursions. Also a note on Select aka anytime dining: gratuities are no longer required to be prepaid, so you can use OBC for that. Do the math- typically Celebrity offers a perk smorgasbord where you can choose 1 or 2 or sometimes  all 4. For your 9 day cruise the $300 OBC is a better deal than prepaid gratuities, but with an 11 day of longer cruise go with the prepaid grats.

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6 hours ago, Mynki said:

Yes it can.

 

You made the right decision avoiding non suite staterooms onboard Summit. They are not a good advert from Celebrity. Silhouette is a great ship and I'm sure you will enjoy sailing on her. 

How would you know that?  They would be all new staterooms (old cabins removed and new cabins installed with all new soft wares during the upcoming refurb.

 

OP, if it makes a difference at this point, Summit does not sail from San Juan in May as far as I know, rather, Bayonne to Bermuda, our favorite island by far!

 

I agree that Silhouette is a wonderful ship.

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