Cruise to Bermuda aboard The Summit, Celebrity Cruise Line
Celebrity Summit Cruise Review to Bermuda
Sail Date: June 09, 2013
Ship: Celebrity Summit
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 4 years ago
It is with much regret that we write this letter about our recent cruise to Bermuda on The Summit. We think Celebrity should be embarrassed with this product and this ship! The sail dates were from June 9-16 out of Bayonne, N.J. We booked this cruise collectively so that our reservations were linked. We booked a pre-cruise package going to NYC on June 7.
We all have had many vacations with Celebrity Cruise Lines. We’ve sailed to the Caribbean many times and last fall, we sailed a repositioning cruise from Southampton. We’ve sailed on Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse and Silhouette. We have brought many friends and even our entire families on some of these trips. We’ve always enjoyed these trips immensely even suffering “cruisers’ remorse” when we ended our journeys. However, that was until we sailed The Summit!!!
This cruise, with the additional pre-cruise package was very costly. We even booked ourselves as Concierge Class passengers. We were extremely disappointed with the service, the food, the cleanliness of the staterooms, the bathrooms and the attitude of management representatives. While we don’t have any facts to support this idea, it seemed that there were too many passengers and not enough crew to take really good care of everyone. Here are some specific commentaries of events that happened:
1. Arrival at Bayonne was the beginning of the “downfall”. We arrived via shuttle bus to an open-air hangar facility at the far end. We had to walk the entire length to get on a long line to board a bus to take us to the check-in facility. It was very difficult for them to walk that entire distance.
2. When we de-boarded the ship, it was equally as awful, no, let me restate that, it was worse. We were given luggage tags numbered 23. We went to a shuttle holding area on the ship to wait for our numbers to be called. The room was very crowded. There was no where to sit since there were not enough seats for everyone in the room. We had to stand and wait. The “Continental Breakfast” of coffee/tea/juice and pastries was a joke. The pastries were awful and seemed stale and not much variety. Very poor representation! There were no crew members to clean up the area… very messy! We even went to tell someone about the chairs, but no more chairs arrived. When we got on board the shuttle bus back to the luggage terminal, which was another long line, we had to walk the entire length of the hangar to meet our shuttle bus to the airport. We had missed the transport because our luggage tags called us too late. We should have had tags that were 8, 9 or 10. So, we had to walk back the entire length of the hangar to get a previously arranged special shuttle bus to take us to the airport. Again, it was very difficult to walk all that distance!
3. Our first mishap once we boarded The Summit happened at the Maitre D’ desk on deck 4 for the regular dining room. We had pre-paid our gratuities and we were told that we would be able to eat at 6 o’clock every evening (and at the same table so that we would get to know our waiter). We just had to check-in with the Maitre D’ when we boarded, which we did. She told us that she could possibly fit us in and 6 o’clock and maybe the next evening but she couldn’t guarantee us anything and that we’d have to call every day to check for reservations. Ridiculous! We discussed/argued a bit over this and then we gave up. We went upstairs to the Oceanview Café for lunch to wait in a long, long line for lunch. The pizza station had no prepared pizzas ready to handle this crowd and we were told that it would be at least a 20-25 minute wait for more pizza.
4. It was probably around 2 o’clock Sunday, June 9th when we arrived upstairs for lunch. It was packed with people, no place to sit and in order to get some food, there were very long, very slow moving lines and it was set up like a high school or a homeless shelter cafeteria! Very unacceptable! The food was cold and quite utilitarian. The food was very salty. It didn’t taste good at all. The salad bar and bread bar had some type of plexi-glass but it was all scratched up and you couldn’t see through it. We had to bend down to see what was there. The salad vegetables were in bowls 4 deep in line and I couldn’t reach the back row and there was no one to help us get served. The salad dressing containers were empty and no one was there for a refill. The set-up of this café was so poorly planned. This was NOT the Celebrity experience and these were just our first moments on board!!! It could have been made into islands, like the area for bread and you wouldn’t have to wait in this long line if you wanted something at the middle or the end of the line!!! You definitely needed more servers and more crew to bus the tables. It’s not like you don’t do this each and every week when new passengers arrive for a new cruise!
We went down to customer service after lunch and they called a Maitre D' to speak with us. He told us that he would handle our dinner reservations, which he did. And we should be patient with the Oceanview Café because it was only the first day and they will get better. What a silly remark to make, since you do this every week! This is your business to make sure that this is not the way things should be handled. He said he would speak to the chef about the food temperature and saltiness, but we don’t think there was any difference for the rest of the trip.
5. Upon entering our staterooms, when one of us picked up
the phone and got a handful of jam!!! It was disgusting!!! Our cabins were directly across from a service entrance steel door. In the early morning, when breakfast room service begins, that heavy steel door continually banged/slammed shut. Upon speaking to customer service, the first response was that they couldn’t do anything about the door except to perhaps oil the door or have it close more slowly. That was NOT acceptable. We didn’t book Concierge Class to listen to that door banging from 6 AM on!!! We now spoke to the head of housekeeping and they put a sign on the door saying it was not to be used. That problem now solved. But it should have been resolved immediately by customer service on the first inquiry!
A word or two about the afternoon canapés… when were those made? Early in the morning? The day before? The cucumber slices and celery were soft… you could almost bend them. The bread with cream cheese was stale and hard! How could you in all honesty be proud to serve that!!!
We don’t drink champagne. It was part of the concierge package. We tried to exchange the champagne for white or red wine but customer service said they couldn’t do that. Another disappointing, disillusioning moment!
6. Now we come to the first dinner in the dining room. The kitchen
couldn’t keep up with the number of people in the dining room.
Dinner took well over 2 hours! Our waiter and his helper, were very nice and tried their best. This wasn’t their fault. The beet appetizer was a joke!!! It was 6 tiny cubes of beets and 6 tiny cubes of goat cheese on a huge plate. The Caesar salad came out limp and only a few pieces of lettuce. The salmon dinners were a ridiculously small portion on top of a small scoop of mashed potatoes and some vegetables (that looked like they had been in a blender) on a huge plate. It didn’t look appealing at all! We actually laughed when this food was presented and asked the waiter if he was kidding us with this food! Very, very disappointing since we have always, always loved the food on board, not even wanting to go to the specialty restaurants for that reason! We were also told that the portion sized were being controlled for health reasons – if I wanted portion control, we would go Aqua Class and eat in the Blu restaurant!
Additionally, the main dining room was late in opening for dinner many times, creating these huge long lines that stretched all the back across the lounges and into the hall. It was very difficult for the drink waiters to maneuver through the crowd… very uncomfortable and very grid-locked. Management said it was only 10 minutes or so to wait out there. Again, not acceptable since you do this each and every day, every week, every month!!!
7. We all had the classic beverage packages but the martini bar would not make a “small” chocolate martini for us on the package deal but he could get it if he ordered it in while eating in the dining room. What’s that about??? Also, when we ordered a Pyrat Alexander, it was one price at one bar and a different price at a different bar. What was that all about? And the bartender argued with us and we had to go and find a drink menu to show the bartender. Another ridiculous failed service on board! It was very embarrassing to be denied a drink at the bar, in front of other people and act as if we were trying to cheat the bartender!!! We were told that we could have any drink that cost under $5.00. A small Evian water cost $2.50 and the server wouldn’t give it to us, saying we could only get Geyser water and that Evian was only for the premium packages. Another conflict and another failed attempt at customer service!
8. One evening in the theater, the entire front left section was roped off and we were told that the section was for passengers that had suites. We said that we had a concierge cabins but that wasn’t good enough to warrant sitting in that area. That didn’t sit well with any of us!!!
9 The only time we could find seats/chairs/lounges on the pool deck, outside or inside was when the ship was in port. Those wooden chairs by the indoor pool were awful to sit on. They were uncomfortable and even with the old pads on some of them, they hurt our backs. It didn’t seem that there were enough lounge chairs to accommodate everyone on sea days and we saw that there was a large stack of broken lounge chairs (maybe 100 or more) in the back area. The pool butlers did not do a very good job of getting towels off chairs that were no longer in use. The only times we could get lounge chairs were on the port days.
10. On Friday of our voyage, one of us got on the long line to get an omelet. Of course you have to start all the way at the beginning of that line to wait to get to the person who is making 2 omelets at a time at the far end of that line. There was a floor cone about a foot behind the tile, on the carpet and when stepping back, off the tile, she stepped on the edge of it and fell down. She couldn’t break the fall since she had a tray of food in her hands that went everywhere. The passengers helped her get up. The crew was more concerned about cleaning up the mess to look like it never happened. No one offered to help her after that; one of the passengers even got her another tray, dish and silverware. The Maitre D’ named Alex came over and asked her if she was all right and if she wanted to go to the medical facility. She was in a bit of a shock and told him that she was OK and that she didn’t want to go to the medical facility. He promptly left her alone. When she told her husband what happened (lots of people around us saw what happened) we were surprised that Alex didn’t ask for her name and cabin number. So after breakfast, she sought him out and told Alex that she was surprised that he didn’t ask for her information. He told her that “It was the ship’s policy that once a passenger says that they are all right; he doesn’t have to ask for their name or cabin number!” He repeated this several times to her as she told him, that she’s a senior citizen, that she’s 68 years old and that perhaps later, she might be hurting or perhaps can’t get off the bed the next morning. At least the medical facility should be alerted that an accident occurred. She asked him that he should want to do a follow up call to her later in the day and the next morning to check to see if she was still OK. He just repeated the ship’s policy to her. He was very rude, very cold and very uncaring. She thought it was futile for her to continue this conversation with him. So after breakfast, down she went to customer service and they sent Vladimir to talk with her. She gave him the entire story. He apologized, told her that it is not the ship’s policy and that he would speak to Alex and alert the medical facility, in case she was to go there; they would know about the accident. That cone should not have been on the carpet – it should have been on the tile where the floor was wet in the first place. Or better still, how about cleaning up the floor immediately so the floor is not wet, that it is dry and clean and you don’t to put up a pylon in the midst of a busy crowd at all!!!
She did get a phone message from Alex the next day, Saturday and while we were at the buffet, he came to talk to her. He apologized and told her that he didn’t realize that she had fallen down. He thought she had only bumped into the floor cone. She asked him then why did you ask me to go the medical facility if she had only bumped into the cone. He just repeated that he really didn’t think that she had fallen down. He said that he didn’t really understand what had happened. He seemed to be exonerating himself with an excuse of not knowing what took place. He offered to have her be his guest at the high tea that day. She doesn’t drink tea. She doesn’t attend events like that and he didn’t ask her if she would even like this or was there was anything else she would like as an apologetic gesture. She left it at that. No use trying to talk with this man. He made it clear that he wanted no blame here or have any responsibility to what happened. He certainly is not a good representative of customer care and guest relations. Another big failure and so very disappointing.
11. Many of the bathrooms on The Summit were not very clean. The men’s bathroom on the port side of the dining room on the 4th deck, for example had urine all over the floor and no attendant in there. Disgusting!!! The bathrooms did not seem adequate enough to handle the large numbers of passengers using them, especially outside the dining areas and the theater.
This was a very, very disappointing vacation. We travel quite often – once or twice a year. We feel this trip was not worth our vacation time or our money. It was certainly not up to the standards that Celebrity advertises and touts as a luxury vacation company that we’ve experienced previously! This was not at all what we expected and certainly not what we deserve as loyal Celebrity customers. The Spa was very nice. The fitness area, was also very nice! The highlights of the cruise were the musicians, the dancers and the singers! Loved the specialty act, the magician and the comedian! They were excellent – loved all the shows!!! (Didn’t like the Donna McKeckny show though.)
Very surprised that Celebrity would sail this ship, even after being "solsticised"! Not up to Celebrity standards. Not worth the time and definitely not the money!!!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Do NOT take The Summit!!! The ship should be retired from the fleet!!!