Expectations Beater

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 17

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Celebrity Summit

7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 28, 2019

Ship: Celebrity Summit

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 7058

Traveled as: Family (young children)

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Celebrity does a really good job. It runs a wonderful ship. For instance, we disembarked in every port by 8 a.m. and no one had to re-board until 5 p.m. or sometimes later. Everything ran on time and everything worked like it was supposed to. There was a Norwegian ship in St. Kitts that had supposedly lost a generator. For some strange reason, that justified making the ship sail more slowly and which in turn cut down on those guests' port time. Also, they said their cabins were warm. I have heard many stories like that related to Carnival and Norwegian ships. I have never experienced or heard about anything like that on Celebrity ships. Another plus to this cruise is that cruising from San Juan is a great way to go for travelers to the windward and leeward islands in the eastern Caribbean.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
The pier used by Celebrity in San Juan (the Pan-American pier) is especially easy and quick to use and quick to get through. While the facilities are not as new as Miami or Fort Lauderdale, the boarding experience is much better.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
The quality of the food in the main dining room has improved since my experience last year on the Celebrity Reflection. However, the older design of the Summit’s Ocean View Café is not only smaller, it’s too spread out. The specialty dining continues to be very good.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Celebrity has fewer in enrichment activities for adults than I would like. Also, for teens older than 17 years, there are very few organized teen activities even though this New Year's sailing had a fair number of 18 to 25-year-olds on board.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
Very good. The Celebrity singers and dancers were better than last year. The musicians were especially good. However, the visiting performers were not quite as strong as my Celebrity Reflection cruise last year.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Absolutely wonderful staff. Celebrity always shines in this area but the staff on the Celebrity Summit is especially good. Since it's one of Celebrity's older ships, it's the opposite of what I thought I would see. I expected a good staff but thought the best and most experienced staff would be on Celebrity's newer and bigger ships. Apparently, that's not how things work at Celebrity.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Extremely clean with a very modern and fresh feel. Since the Summit is almost 20 years old, the ship’s condition was the biggest surprise to me. Also, the Summit is very well-maintained. I never once came across anything that did not work properly and never once saw an out-of-order sign.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Very clean and fresh. The inside cabins are smaller than on the Solstice class ships but more efficiently designed so the smaller space was not that noticeable. However, the Summit's showers are a little small for anyone over 200 pounds.

Ship tip

Try your key card on the gate to The Retreat sundeck. It opened the gate for us which was very useful on our one sea-day when space around the pools was in short supply.

Ports of call

San Juan, Puerto Rico

5 out of 5
Did a City-Walk tour of old San Juan. A good choice if you are in at least average shape but arrange it yourself before your cruise. There’s no need to go through Celebrity. Uber works great in San Juan. We used it at least 8 times and never waited for more than 5 minutes.

Bridgetown, Barbados

4 out of 5
Paid a taxi $200 to drive three of us around the island for about 4 hours. This is a good idea if your tour includes: 1) a one hour tour of Nicholas Abby, 2) a ride on the nearby sugar cane train, 3) a brief stop at Cherry Tree Hill Overlook, 4) an extended photo stop at Bathsheba Beach, 5) a visit to one of the many gardens, and then 6) a one to two hour stop at a beach near your ship (where taxi may or may not be willing to come back to get you). I was not impressed with Bridgetown, the restaurants there, or the shopping at the cruise port.

Castries, St. Lucia

4 out of 5
We went scuba diving in Soufriere Marine Park. If you are a certified scuba diver, that is probably the best thing to do in St. Lucia. St Lucia's diving is especially good in the Soufriere Marine Park and the 40 minute dive boat ride to the Park is interesting, pretty and you will see some impressive yachts. Castries is dirty and primitive. There is a traditional Caribbean market that is large and interesting. It even includes an animal butchering area where you can buy meats that were walking around earlier that day. Otherwise, skip Castries.

St. John's, Antigua

5 out of 5
The best thing we visited on any of the leeward and windward islands is Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua. It's a UNESCO World heritage site for a reason. Unfortunately, it's some distance from the cruise port. We just got a taxi driver to take us (and there were over a hundred to choose from) but if you aren't on the adventurous side (or you're worried about getting back to the ship on time), this would be the one excursion I would consider booking through Celebrity. After our tour, we walked out to the end of the boat pier where the huge sailboats are docked despite the sign saying boat passengers only. We walked up to admire the boats with no problem. I recommend visitors next walk on the trail to English Harbour pointe. Nelson's Dockyard is a great area to have lunch. There are many wonderful hotels and restaurants in the area. All the restaurants are expensive but some are really good. We then went to Shirley Heights Lookout. (There is a restaurant on top but it wasn't open when we were there.) It has amazing views and is so close to Nelson's Dockyard, missing it would be a crime. On our way back to the port, we went to Jolly Beach for a couple of hours. It is just one of Antigua's many wonderful beaches. Next time we go, we plan to ride horses on the beach. Also, we passed a zip-line set up that looked like a lot of fun.

Basseterre, St. Kitts

3 out of 5
Not too much on this small island. Fortunately, there is great shopping right at the cruise port. We went to Brimstone Hill Fortress which is very good. I want to do again someday but my family said once is enough. FYI, it's not very close to the cruise ship pier. We also went to Romney Manor (once is definitely enough) and a beach (that was crowded, expensive and average).

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5
Lots to do here. We did the Tree Limin Zip Line Adventure and it was very good. However, even though we booked it ourselves weeks in advance, it was over $120 per person. Also, it's a ways from the cruise ship but, on the good side, quite close to Megan's Beach. Megan's Beach is the best beach we saw anywhere on our cruise. (However, I've been next door to St. John before and it has the prettiest beaches I have ever seen anywhere.) Transportation around the US Virgin Islands (and also Puerto Rico) is much more efficient than on any of the other islands we went to. Uber does not work here but the open-air buses on St. Thomas work great and get you around quickly and inexpensively.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
The San Juan Pan-American Port is so easy to use. And the people we encountered act like they really want you to return.
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