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Review of the Celebrity Summit
Cruise Date: January 2009
Celebrity Summit TA Nov 29, full review
This is the area where Celebrity still continues to excel and even amaze me as a customer. The service throughout every aspect of the ship was nearly flawless. Every detail, from the politeness of the servers to the way they served your drinks and food made it so special. We boarded the ship and received the champagne greeting, and since it was early we ate buffet/grillhttp://***************/2009/01/celebrity-summit-14-day-trans-atlantic-cruise-november-29th-2008.html# - which was pleasant. However, the first area where we received excellent service was in changing out dinner seating assignment when boarded. Of course it would have been better if Celebrity had gotten our table request for 4 right from the start, but the change process was painless. The assistant maitrede was set up in an area outside the dinning room. When I explained to him that we had two children and that we thought it would be better for the other passengers if we were seated at our own table, he was able to immediately assign us another table. Once we got to our table on the first evening, the waiter, Rosario from India, was wonderfully friendly and very helpful with recommendations.
Next, we met our Sommelier who was the best weve ever had with Celebrity. Not only was he very friendly and helpful, but extremely knowledgeable about the wines that were on board and able to make recommendations in all price ranges. In bars and lounges the cocktail wait staff were extremely friendly and efficient. I dont recall every having to wait for a beverage. Our cabin steward did an excellent job of keeping our room tidy and neat. We didnt have many requests, but any special room service requests or needs were met promptly.
The food was for the most part excellent. We attended almost all of the evenings in the ships two level Cosmopolitan restaurant. Celebrity offers fixed traditional seating in this, their main dining room. We tried the late seating on this cruise so that we could enjoy a more relaxed less rushed schedule when getting ready for dinner. We liked the later schedule.
I enjoyed all of my appetizers, soups and salads. I especially loved the escargot appetizer, consomm soups, and variety of salads. I also had an excellent spring roll and puffed pastry. The entrees were for the most part very good.I enjoyed a charrasco style steak. I also enjoyed several chicken and fish dishes. One night, three of us had the veal, and though it was a hit with my husband and son, I thought it was a little institutional.
Also the Chicken Saltimbocca was stuffed with tons on spinach and the sage was indiscernible. I like the sage to be the dominant flavor in this dish. Though it wasnt terrible, they should have called it chicken stuffed with spinach, not Saltimbocca.
On this particular cruise we dined more often in the buffet/grill area for lunch than we have on previous cruises. Since the ship was not completely full, the smaller amount of passengers made these areas much easier to navigate than on other cruises that were at full capacity. We enjoyed the burgers and tacos from the grill as well as the salads and entrees in the full buffet area. All of the food was flavorful and with a wide variety, there was always something that I liked. In the evenings they offer pizza, pasta and an international station. The international station replaced the sushi bar which used to be offered every night. Now instead they have Stir Fry, Indian or Indonesian, or Sushi. This was a bit of a disappointment to the sushi lovers who could only get their fix every third night, but probably a welcome change for those who are not sushi fans.
For sweet lovers they had wonderful dessert as well as hand scooped ice cream at no extra charge.
Ship and Amenities
Overall, I love the size, lay-out and amenities of the Celebrity ships. This ship features a 2 level theater, cinema/conference center, casino, a piano bar, martini/champagne bar, disco and small Rendezvous lounge for quiet music and dancing. We enjoyed the disco/observation lounge during both the night and day. This area was actually one of concern to me as the disco had been redecorated several years ago as the Bar at The Edge of the Earth for the joint venture that Celebrity had with Cirque de Solei. One of the main problems with that redecoration was that the draped fabric inhibited the views. While most of those decorations remain in place, Celebrity did remove the most obstructive drapings, thus re-establishing the panoramic views in this room. The ship also has a spa and work-out center and an indoor thasselotherapy pool. Outdoors they have to swimming pools and four hot-tubs. The indoor pool and spa area are adults only, so we spent our pool time in the out door areas. There were plenty of different public spaces.
Nickel and Diming You to Death
For the most part Celebrity is pretty good about not charging for extra things that I believe should be included in the cost of the cruise. This ship has one small specialty restaurant with a $30 up charge. However, we were more than happy with our service and food in the main restaurant, so we did not feel a huge need pay the extra charge and dine there. Those that choose this option raved about the experience in the Normandie. There were a few offerings by Celebrity of which I thought the prices were a bit excessive. The least expensive wine offered by the glass was a white wine for $6, with most of the by the glass wine running in the $8 to $12 range. Beer ran at least $5, and call brand mixed drinks were $8. One evening I ordered a call brand vodka on the rocks for my husband and was given and charged for a double though I didnt order a double. The wines with dinner were both pricy and generally very good. In that atmosphere, I didnt mind paying a bit extra for the wines as they came with such great and knowledgeable service, but I felt the wines by the glass should have been priced a little bit lower.
The other aggravatingly over priced item was the cost of a shuttle into town at several of our stops. The nominal charge was $10 per person. I thought that was very high even for a round trip, so I never purchased the fare. However, I heard from another passengers that this was each way and you cold only purchase a round trip ticket. For a family of 4, that is $80 just to get into and back from the port city. Most of these ports were reachable by walking (about a mile or so), so depending on the weather we either choose to stay on board or make the long walk into town.
There were a few extra activities that were offered for a small charge. They had a Round the World wine tasting and a Wine Appreciation wine tasting that were both offered at $10 per person. We attended and enjoyed both of these events.
Also, we bought two soda cards at $5 a day for my son and husband. My daughter and I choose to forgo the soda cards as we didnt think wed have more than two a day. However, the two soda cards we purchased for the guys seemed to work no matter who ordered the sodas, just as long as one of the card holders was present.
Also, on Celebrity, the regular coffee in the buffet is free; the fancy coffee in the Cova Caf is available at an extra charge. I enjoyed one cappuccino one afternoon, as the $4 charge didnt seem like too much for a small splurge.
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