by David Carson
January 4, 2002
Overall, this cruise on the Summit was terrific. I certainly wouldn't mind returning! It certainly was better than the last cruise I took on the Grand Princess on every point except for the issue of having a nightclub (more below). I tend to agree with most of the posted reviews on this cruise and ship about rooms, food and etc. I would just like to add my thoughts on certain subjects that I think needed more treatment.
I was especially pleased with the level of staff effort expended on ensuring we had a good cruise. At almost every point the staff, was friendly personable and helpful with only a few exceptions. It was refreshing to find people who are willing to carry on a conversation with you and try to get to know you personally even when there are so many people on the ship. The activity directors Peter and Rani did a terrific job throughout the cruise. A favorite event sponsored by Peter and Rani was playing volleyball on deck 12. By the end of the cruise, we had our own volleyball club going with people we had met. Our waiters in the main dining room, Zoran and John, were the best. They never missed a beat. The level of service here especially was top notch. I preferred the Summit's dining room experience to the Grand Princess's smaller rooms. In addition, Celebrity seems to have done a winning job of matching people at tables. We made some great new friends this way. Many of the drink waiters were friendly, personable and competent.
Shore excursions during this trip were enjoyable. They were well coordinated and I met many friendly people on this part of the cruise. The 12 metre racing in St Maarten I feel deserves special mention here. The people who are running this operation have it down to a science. The run a tight ship (no pun...) but are relaxed enough to have fun. They even provide free drinks of all kinds-what a thought! Actually, crew members are very professional, friendly and expert in their way of handling both the people and the boat. Having raced sailboats for many years, I felt their sailing skills were top notch. I had one small problem during one of my five shore excursions but it was handled to my satisfaction by the staff, both quickly and efficiently.
Of course the food was wonderful. I agree with what all the other people who took this cruise posted in their review. I respectfully disagree about the pizza. I thought it was much worse than average and there was always a long line for it. Unfortunetly, there were gap periods were food of any kind was unavailable. If you woke up at 11:15 (and some people do this being a vacation) and didn't want to wait in your inside cabin for room service for example, you were out of luck till 12:00. Another gap was between 3 and 5-just when shore excursions are returning. Finally, I thought that the cost of drinks was a bit too high.
I had only a few minor problems during this cruise. First, I felt that average age of the passenger list had to be over 60. One could only meet people in their 20's on shore excursions. In addition, there is no true 'discotheque' or nightclub. The Revelations lounge exists solely as another sedate showroom. It was dark and gloomy and even the cruise director acknowledged problems getting people to go up there. When it was in the nightclub mode, it just didn't succeed. I must say I was appalled at the behavior of many of the seniors. There was more than one instance of people being pushy in general and being unreasonable with the staff that I witnessed. What happened to common courtesy? Second, I doubt I will every purchase any service from any of the spas. Although the staff was generally friendly, the prices are quite high and do not include the 10% service fee. As a ski instructor, I would love it if the resort management automatically charged 10% on every student's lesson for my tip but sadly, in the real world, this doesn't happen. In addition, the treatment rendered was quite below my expections. Overall, dealing with the spa was like purchasing a used car at an upscale dealership. Next, the artwork decorating the ship added up to less than its sum total. In other words it was incoherent, uncordinated and mostly uninspired. This however is a minor point. Overall, an excellent cruise that generally exceeded expectations.