This is a review of the last sailing of the refurbished Celebrity Summit to Bermuda for the season, departing Bayonne, New Jersey on September 1, 2019. I was expecting more from a ship that was recently revolutionized but, unfortunately, this was the worst Celebrity cruise I have been on (but certainly not the worst cruise).
Aft Concierge Class C1 stateroom 7208 had the largest balcony I have ever had on a cruise ship. The bed was super comfortable and I appreciated the fluffy white towels in the bathroom. I liked the redesign of the furniture that had many storage options. While the bathroom was small, it was functional with a powerful shower and lots of storage options, too.
Stateroom attendant, Michael, went above and beyond. Like on the Edge, I was expecting power and USB ports on both sides of the bed. However, one side had a side table but the lamp was connected to the wall, like a sconce. There was only a European plug behind the table, but Michael provided me with a European adaptor. I usually bring my own for extra power options, but I assumed wrong with the revolutionization of this ship and didn’t pack them.
Sailing out of Bayonne, New Jersey was easy. While the ride to the terminal wasn’t the most scenic, it was nice being the only ship there so traffic was minimal embarking and disembarking.
The specialty restaurant Qsine was on this ship (2 months before being converted to Le Petit Chef). Even after being my 3rd visit to this restaurant (twice previously on the Equinox), there were still mini menus I hadn’t tried yet. I liked how the location of this restaurant was on the top of the ship.
Tuscan Grill still has an excellent filet mignon but I would rather have it topped with crumbled gorgonzola instead of a thin, overly buttery sauce. They could probably provide it if you ask. The view from the side of the ship was stunning with a table for two by the window.
Sushi on 5 is the perfect place for a lunch on the last day.
Room Service was fast. They answered my calls after only a couple minutes of ringing and delivered under the 40 minutes promised during the peak morning hours. Being able to get eggs any style without an upcharge in Concierge Class is a plus. And the coffee is better than in the Oceanview Cafe or MDR.
The late night (11:15pm) adult show by the comedian was hilarious. It was very raunchy and made me laugh so hard I cried.
What a nice tribute to the SS Normandie in this little shrine area of the ship by The Retreat lounge. These artifacts are like what I saw on the Celebrity Constellation outside the Ocean Liners specialty restaurant.
While there wasn’t a major problem with vibration, there was soot on this aft balcony. We were also deviating our return course so as to avoid 23 foot waves caused by Hurricane Dorian, but with even 9-12 foot waves, you really feel it in this cabin. I normally don’t get seasick but I had to take a dramamine one morning when I felt it coming on from all the motion up and down and side to side.
The drink package has rendered getting a drink almost impossible. On the first night in the main dining room, I was told by the sommelier that they didn’t have any of the red wines (at least two) listed on the dinner menu because they hadn’t brought them up from “downstairs” since embarkation. On another night, he said they didn’t have Prosecco. I experienced the same problem in Qsine.
Drink service was poor in many instances and definitely not up to par with other experiences on Celebrity. I had to flag down a manager just to order a drink in the Oceanview Cafe during dinner. In the Rendezvous Lounge, there were no table servers at all. I had to go down to the concierge to complain and he said they won’t have servers there if it is not busy. But this was in the evening and the lounge was packed, so older people with mobility issues were having to get up and order from the bar, which is unacceptable. Getting a drink at the pool grill, Mast Bar, and Sunset Bar wasn’t fun either (or sometimes even possible from being ignored), as the staff in these locations was slow and seemed put out. You won’t get a smile or acknowledgement if you are waiting.
Like on the Edge, I am not a big fan of the “color” scheme in the stateroom. Imagine Golden Girls mauve and washed out pastel tones thrown in with a ton of gray and white.
The food in the MDR is bad by Celebrity standards. I had assumed that the revolutionization would include new menus and food choices and flair in presentation like on the Edge. I was wrong. It started with the Concierge Class embarkation lunch. It was exactly the same menu as what was on the Equinox last year. Unfortunately, the salmon was overcooked and didn’t have any garnishes on the plate like last year, just plopped on top of mashed potatoes and spinach (no finesse whatsoever). Steak Diane and saltimbocca dishes were tough to cut. The menu each night was the same as it has been for years on the M and S class ships, but the quality and presentation has gone down.
Bermuda is overrated. It is also unbearably hot and humid. I had assumed that it would be cooler being north of the Caribbean and out in the Atlantic. I should have researched. Why ships don’t sail here in October and April is beyond me.
I wasn’t totally impressed with the beach in Bermuda. I chose Clearwater Beach on St. George because I wanted to avoid the crowds at Horseshoe Bay Beach. I also wanted to watch the planes land, which was super cool and probably way better than Maho beach on St. Martin. However, there was trash on the beach (rusty nails, a dental flosser, paper plates, etc). And even though there was a bar next to the beach (Gombeys), there was no beach service for drinks and food, unlike the beach at Philipsburg, St. Martin, which spoiled me. Also, drinks and food were expensive even though all you are getting are weak rum swizzles and fried food. I wasn’t surprised to see the pool grill packed at 2:30 everyday in port as people returned to the ship hungry and thirsty, not wanting to get fleeced on the island.
Big problem when you spend tons of money on design over function. On more than one occasion did a guy try going into the ladies restroom. It looks like a man with a hat to me on the graphic on the light above the door. There is a big difference between testing a design virtually in 3-D vs. testing with actual people. I had the same problem with the Edge: it was clear that no one spent any time on a real mockup of the infinite veranda with that bulky furniture in such a tight space with folding doors.
The Celebrity Edge really set the bar for me as the best cruise I have ever been on (and has the prices to match!), and it was sad to experience the Celebrity Summit in comparison. Granted, this is one of the line’s oldest ships, but I was on the Constellation back in 2015, which was a solid cruise. I was hoping that the Celebrity Revolution would include changes (improvements) to the food and service. Instead, the Celebrity Summit exemplifies a common critique that, Celebrity just isn’t what it used to be.