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Cruise Ship Information

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GTS Celebrity Summit is a Millennium-class cruise ship owned an operated by Celebrity Cruises. She was built in 2001 by the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France for Celebrity Cruises as GTS Summit. She was renamed with the "Celebrity" prefix in 2008.

Celebrity Summit features a special restaurant that has original panels & ornamentation from SS Normandie, which includes the bronze statue "LA NORMANDIE" purchased in 2001 from the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.

Based in New York City or San Juan, her normal cruise track finds her wintering in southern Caribbean and summering at Bermuda with port calls at popular destinations such as Kings Wharf, and during the winter season the normally calls at St. Croix, St. Kitts, Dominica and Grenada, as well as St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Barbados and Antigua. When cruising to Canada and New England in fall, key ports of call are: Portland, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Québec City and Charlottetown.

In 2012, Celebrity Summit was outfitted with Summit-Class features, and 60 new staterooms. She now weighs in at with 90,940 GT

Atmosphere on board 

Celebrity Summit now sails with an updated sense of style and excitement. The Millennium Class ship was recently "Solsticized" to bring you dazzling new features including the addition of AquaClassstaterooms, the hip Celebrity iLounge and the uniquely extraordinary restaurant, Qsine that delivers a surprising culinary journey crafted by our James Beard featured Master Chef. Now, we’ve enhanced the onboard entertainment experience, too, with unique opportunities you won’t want to miss. These include Indulgence, which blends mouthwatering delicacies with live performance art; Scratch DJ, the first DJ program at sea, specially curated for Celebrity Cruises by the esteemed international academy; and Tenors of Rock, a high-profile group from the UK who perform classic rock songs like you’ve never heard them before. Let it be said, that with all this and more, we can’t wait to entertain you.

Family with Kids/Teens

While Celebrity isn't known as a kid-centered line, it's doing more to promote its programs and facilities for young ones and teens. Celebrity's partnership with Xbox means there are up-to-date video games in the Fun Factory, arcade and X Club, and the "Teen Bliss" program with Canyon Ranch offers mani, pedis and "two by two massages" for kids to enjoy a spa day with their parents. One pool is considered the "family" pool.

The Celebrity Fun Factory is located on Deck 11 and is open 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. For activities, children are divided into the following categories, with two counselors per age group: Shipmates (ages 3-5), Cadets (ages 6-8), Ensigns (ages 9-11), Junior Teens (ages 12-14) and Senior Teens (ages 15-17). "Toddler Times" are held every day at specific times; adults must be present.

Shipmates and Cadets are based in the Fun Factory for almost all of their activities, while Ensigns are able to sign themselves in and out for programs until 10 p.m. While most programs are complimentary, Fun Factory charges a fee of $6 per hour for group baby-sitting, known onboard as "parties." "Morning parties" are designed for children whose parents have booked an early shore excursion through the line; "lunch parties" take place only on port days; "dinner parties" are for parents who want to dine separately from their children; and "slumber parties" go until 1 a.m. so parents and kids can pursue their own late-night activities.

X Club for all teens opens at 10 a.m. and is located on Deck 11, although teen activities are held throughout the ship. A Scratch DJ Academy is held on every cruise, and iTake gives teens GoPro cameras to make their own videos and edit them in the ship's iLounge. Other teen programs include soccer challenges, Ping-Pong tournaments, a talent show and dance party, scavenger hunts and flash mob dancing.

All families with children have daily programs from both Fun Factory and X Club delivered to their cabins.

Private in-room baby-sitting is available for children older than 12 months for $19/hour; reservations must be made 24 hours in advance.

Past Passenger Programs

The Program: Captain's Club, a three-tiered system

Perks: "Classic" members (those who have earned one to four credits for cruising with Celebrity) get perks including access to the loyalty desk and loyalty host, a premium onboard discount booklet, a one-category upgrade (when available), pre-sailing dining reservations at alternative eateries on applicable vessels, and little freebies like wine tasting and golf clinics. "Select" cruisers (five to nine credits) receive all of the above as well as a complimentary wine seminar, priority status to shore excursion waitlist, an invitation to the senior officers' cocktail party, 25 percent off any Internet package, complimentary pressing of two clothing items, and discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or more.

Added perks for "Elite" members (10 or more credits) include a private shipboard departure lounge with continental breakfast, priority tender service, priority waitlist for dining room seating, elegant tea service, complimentary use of Thalassotherapy pool use on Celebrity Mercury, complimentary access to the Persian Garden (port days only), access to the new Captain's Club Lounge at Michael's Club (certain hours of the day), 90 free Internet minutes, one free item of dry cleaning, a complimentary bag of laundry (wash, dry and fold), discounted laundry on cruises of 12 nights or more, and the ability to join Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society at the Diamond level.

All members get the traditional invite to the captain's cocktail party, newsletter and chance to cruise on reunion voyages.

Incentive to Belong: As Celebrity's ships get larger, preferential boarding and disembarkation is a nice benefit. Also, because the tier system is based on credits -- not just the number of cruises taken -- there are ways to move up the ranks faster. For example, you'll earn an extra credit for booking a Concierge-level stateroom or higher, or for sailing for 12 nights or more, for a possible total of three credits for one voyage.

Members-Only Deals: Captain's Club members are offered several special discounted sailings per year, some of which can be a good deal compared to retail rates, especially if it also includes an onboard credit or discount certificate. Compare prices to verify the savings.

For More Info: Visit the Captain's Club section on Celebrity's Web site or call

Fitness And Spa

Spa

Celebrity signed a partnership with Canyon Ranch in 2014, so the famed destination spa is now in charge of spa and salon services, as well as fitness classes. The line says Canyon Ranch spa cuisine will appear on menus in 2015.

Located on Deck 10 forward, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at sea and until 9 p.m. in port. A separate salon offers manicures, pedicures, acrylic nails, lash extensions, teeth whitening, blowouts, updos and highlights.

Treatment rooms are scattered around the fitness area, which means you're walking to your massage through the same hallway used by people heading to the gym. Before your treatment, you can relax in the Persian Garden, which offers heated loungers, an aromatic steam room, Finnish sauna, herbal sauna, ice fountain and sensory showers. Access to the Persian Garden is complimentary for passengers in AquaClass. Everyone else can purchase a day pass to the Persian Garden or a cruise-long AquaTherapy pass to access without a spa treatment. Just know that the thermal suite is much smaller than what you'd find on Summit-class ships.

The spa offers a variety of services, including massages, facials, waxing and body treatments. As of summer 2014, a 50-minute massage cost $140, high for a ship. During our "Awakening" massage, our therapist showed us stretches to alleviate joint tension, a welcome addition. We also noted that no one tried to sell us products.

On Summit, Canyon Ranch occupies a separate space midship on Deck 7 for acupuncture treatments and chiropractic work.

Fitness

The Fitness Center is also located on Deck 10 forward and offers stunning sea views from the equipment: treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and a full weight area. For a fee, you can attend Pilates, spinning, yoga and CrossFit classes. Personal training and fitness consultations are also available.

The Fitness Center is open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

A jogging track is located on Deck 11. It's not cushioned, and unless you're there at extremely odd hours, you'll find your run marred by clueless passengers standing in your way.

Food & Dining

Celebrity markets itself as a line for foodies, and for the most part, the cuisine onboard is a notch above other mass-market lines. From the Oceanview Cafe buffet to Cosmopolitan, the main dining room, to specialty restaurant Qsine, we found that while the food wasn't OMG-wow (a Top Chef-themed dinner aside), there weren't a lot of outright misses either.

Free Dining

Cosmopolitan Restaurant (Decks 4 and 5): The two-level Cosmopolitan Restaurant features sophisticated decor accented by La Normandie, a seven-foot-high bronze statue of a woman draped like the goddess Athena. Created by Art Deco sculptor Leon-Georges Baudry, this statue originally graced the first-class smoking room in the legendary liner SS Normandie. The dining room also has a sweeping staircase for grand entrances on formal nights and a two-level glass wall with panoramic views aft.

The restaurant is open seating for breakfast between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. You'll find the usual offerings, including eggs Benedict, waffles and omelets. On certain days, Cosmopolitan opens for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m.

There are two options for dinner in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. Passengers can go with traditional set-seating at either 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. or opt for the more flexible Celebrity Select dining option. With Celebrity Select, passengers have the option to eat any time between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and to decide whether they want to eat with their own party or at a mixed table with other passengers. They can also make specific dinner reservations for each day of their cruise online in advance, make reservations onboard or simply show up when ready to eat (although lines can form if you don't make a reservation). If you choose Celebrity Select, you have to pay your gratuities in advance.

The nightly four-course menu has two options: classics such as filet, salmon and escargot on one side and more modern dishes such as kale salad on the other. On one evening, this side of the menu was dedicated to dishes created by chefs from the TV show Top Chef; the braised short ribs we had that night (recipe by Ash Fulk of New York City's Hill Country Barbecue) proved to be the best meal of the cruise. Gluten-free, vegetarian, no-sugar-added and lactose-free menu selections are marked.

On our cruise, the biggest issue was not the food, but the service. While our waiter was agreeable and adaptable to the people at our four-top, the wine steward knew very little about wine and at times seemed not to have read the menu. He was not capable of suggesting wine to pair with different dishes.

Blu (Deck 5): Blu, which is exclusive to passengers sailing in AquaClass cabins, features modern decor, soft lighting and a menu inspired by spa cuisine. Though the food does not seem overly healthful, the restaurant features smaller portions and dishes that are lighter than what you typically find in the main dining room or buffet. Options include seafood ceviche, tortilla soup, pumpkin gnocchi and Hawaiian salmon. Dinner is open seating between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Suite passengers have the option of dining at Blu if there is availability.

Blu also offers an excellent breakfast menu -- featuring yogurt parfaits, fruit smoothies and pancakes -- to AquaClass passengers. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. On my sailing, Blu was piloting lunchtime service on embarkation day to take pressure off the main buffet.

Oceanview Cafe (Deck 10): On the casual dining front, the Oceanview Cafe serves buffet-style breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You'll find various carving stations, made-to-order omelets and pasta dishes, pizza and antipasti, and a slew of internationally inspired dishes, including everything from British bangers and mash to Indian curries and fee-free sushi. An ice cream bar sits at each entrance to the buffet. Treats include a selection of hand-scooped hard ice cream, freshly baked cookies and toppings like Reese's Pieces and Sour Patch Kids.

One surprising highlight of dining in Celebrity Summit's buffet is the view. The venue is spacious and features floor-to-ceiling windows all around; it feels much more like a cafe than a cafeteria. There are even "portholes" built into the floor so passengers can peer down into the ocean as they dine.

As noted in the Overview, Oceanview Cafe on Summit has switched to a different style of service, where dishes are pre-plated into individual portions. Aside from the fact that the trays were a little too small to accommodate multiple dishes, we thought the new format made the buffet food look more appetizing and the overall experience more upscale.

We had trouble keeping track of the various opening hours for different sections of the buffet. Breakfast, including the waffle station and omelet station, closed promptly at 10 a.m. Late breakfast, which ran from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., had far fewer choices; you were better off waiting until the full lunch buffet opened at noon. In the evening, sushi, curries, Mexican, stir fries and other international options were served from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -- but if you arrived a minute later, you were stuck with pasta, pizza and cold charcuterie. We found the pizza decent but not spectacular. (Still, at 1 a.m., you can't be too choosy on this ship.)

Pool Grill (Deck 10): Located in a covered area near the pool (natch), the Pool Grill is a less crowded spot to get made-to-order omelets and other breakfast foods in the morning (open 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.). At noon, it becomes the main place for those in swimsuits (which are discouraged in Oceanview Cafe) to grab burgers, fries and hot dogs -- even fried chicken and waffles. We found the fries nice and crisp. Open from noon to 6 p.m.

AquaSpa Cafe (Deck 10): Within the enclosed solarium encompassing the thalassotherapy pool, the AquaSpa Cafe serves up lighter breakfasts and lunches, as well as smoothies and juice mixes (for an extra cost). While we enjoyed the elaborate yogurt parfaits, we didn't think they were worth the $5 cost. (On the other hand, the complimentary chocolate beet muffins were so tasty, you'd never know they were healthy.) Open 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for breakfast and noon to 12:30 p.m. for lunch. An afternoon tea is spread out in this space from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Room service is offered around the clock. Breakfast can be ordered the night before, but we were also able to get a pot of coffee in a reasonable amount of time just by phoning in the morning. The standard menu, available from 11 a.m. to 5 a.m., includes a reasonable selection of appetizers, salads, desserts and stalwarts such as cheeseburgers, pizza and club sandwiches (accompanied by fries that were still crispy and toasty). For an extra cost, you can order premium items such as a caprese salad ($10), filet mignon ($20) and a cheese platter ($15).

Fee Dining

The Normandie (Deck 3); $40 per person: The Normandie, a 134-seat specialty restaurant, serves upscale dishes prepared using traditional French methods; think goat cheese souffle, pan-seared foie gras and Dover Sole Veronique. It features memorabilia from the legendary transatlantic liner, including gold-lacquered paneling depicting hunt scenes that originally adorned the smoking room on the SS Normandie. The restaurant also touts a dine-in wine cellar, open kitchen and "butterfly service" with waiters serving, presenting and removing dishes at the same table in unison. Many dishes are prepared or finished tableside. Open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily; lunch in The Normandie was offered on embarkation day for free for VIPs and suite passengers and at least one sea day from noon to 1:30 p.m. for $25.

Bistro on Five (Deck 5); $7 per person: The ship's creperie is open from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily, making it a convenient option for passengers looking for something to nosh between meals and late at night. The menu features both sweet and savory crepes, salads, paninis and flatbreads along with wine by the glass, beer and cocktails. We were underwhelmed by our flatbread and savory crepes, but the dessert crepes received high marks.

Cafe al Bacio (Deck 5): A mixture of fee and free, Cafe Al Bacio offers specialty Lavazza coffee beverages and complimentary pastries in a coffeehouse lounge that surrounds the atrium. Don't miss the house-made gelato in a freshly made waffle cone; it's worth the extra fee ($4 for a small, $6 for a large, $7 for a sundae). Cafe al Bacio is open 6:30 a.m. to midnight; the gelateria serves between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Qsine (Deck 11, midship); $40 per person: Now a Celebrity fixture on most ships, Qsine is a super-sleek and inventive dining venue that offers a whimsical, interactive dining experience. The menu is presented on an iPad and features items inspired by cuisines from around the world, including disco shrimp, filet mignon with five sauces, tacos with guacamole you prepare yourself and Kobe beef sliders. All are served in creative vessels -- you'll rarely see a serving plate. While the food doesn't taste as exciting as the presentation, Qsine offers a fun, modern ambiance that's perfect for a group. (The plates are meant to be shared, and portions are sizeable, so if you're traveling solo or as a couple, you'll get full long before you explore most of the menu.) Open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Entertainment

Celebrity's enrichment program, offered day and night, it is called Celebrity Life. Activities are divided into four categories: Culinary, enrichment, wellness and trivia & games.

During the day Celebrity offers a number of choices for enrichment and entertainment. Those who can't bear the thought of disembarking without winning just one more luggage tag can compete in multiple games of trivia and game shows.

Passengers who would like to disembark with a bit more brain power than they came aboard with can attend lectures in Celebrity's Beyond the Podium talk series, where topics have included a self-improvement specialist, an expert on Atlantis, and a real-life crime scene investigator discussing forensic science.

Culinary-oriented options include wine tastings and a Riedel glass tasting (a fascinating and experiential look at how the shape and feel of a wine glass impacts its taste), galley tours and cooking and cocktail-making demos in the atrium. Arguably, the most unique enrichment experience is the "Hot Glass Show," where passengers can sit surrounded by the grass of the Lawn Club and watch a master from the Corning Museum of Glass practicing his or her art, with a second artist providing commentary. This goes light years beyond the demonstrations we're all used to seeing at the Murano glass factories.

Then there are the standbys we all expect: bingo, dance lessons and the like.

One disappointment -- and this comes from someone who doesn't spend a lot of time in casinos -- is that the casino on Summit is entirely too small for a 2,850-passenger ship and could use more gaming tables. At most, four blackjack tables would be open at any given time, and only one of those had a five-dollar minimum.

A decent variety of musical performances -- on deck, in lounges or in the main showroom -- cover a variety of musical styles. These included a solo steel pan player, a classical string quartet, solo pianists, a jazz combo and big band stylings from the main show band.

Summit Theatre, the ship's main show lounge is an extremely well designed room with excellent sightlines and semicircular rows of comfortable theater seats, all with good views of the stage. There are no tables, but drink holders have been added to the armrests. Normally three production shows take place on a seven-night cruise; one of the shows is a Cirque du Soleil-inspired circus show, while the other two are standard revues with the star aerialists used like featured dancers. Other main show lounge performances included a singer, and welcome aboard and farewell shows.

Shore excursions were handled efficiently and smoothly. We didn't find anything new or unique on our sailing, but we were, after all, on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Our offerings may not reflect the choices available on Summit's European cruises.

Staterooms

Celebrity Summit features a variety of cabin categories to suit any passenger's needs, from tiny insides to lavish 1,500-square-foot suites, and 60 percent of all accommodations feature verandahs.

Summit standard cabins -- insides, outsides and balconies (called "Deluxe Oceanview") -- average a paltry 170 square feet (38-square-foot balconies), about 15 to 20 feet below the industry average.

Decor features hotel-style white bedding with light brown accents, rust carpeting and striking red love seats thrown in for a shock of color, all of which replaced the flamboyant turquoise-and-yellow Caribbean decor of the old abodes. (For a before and after, check out part three of our refurb slideshow.)

Insides, outsides and balconies feature two twin beds that convert to queens, safes, small desks, stocked mini-fridges, flat-screen TV's and bathrobes. The mini-fridges are locked; have your room steward open yours and clear out the for-fee booze if you want to store your wine or water. Shower-only bathrooms have hair dryers, shampoo, moisturizer and bar soap. There is no shower gel.

Drawers might be some issue for because they were a little stressed for space -- especially with having to pack for a 12-night cruise. There are drawers hidden in a secondary closet in each room, which also houses the safe. There's another drawer above the flat-screen TV, which is also where extra bedding is stored.

For those looking for a little more space and a few more amenities, the ConciergeClass cabins are 191 square feet with 42-square-foot-balconies. Added touches for concierge passengers include welcome bubbly, a pillow menu, nightly canapes, a 32-inch TV and nicer balcony furniture. In 2012, Celebrity expanded the ConciergeClass services to include an exclusive pre-departure lounge with free coffee and juices. Sky Suites come in at 251 square feet with 57-square-foot balconies.

Continuing up in size, Family Oceanview cabins are 271 square feet with enormous 242-square-foot verandahs that feature pairs of loungers and tables with two chairs each. Inside, there's a partition separating the "master bedroom" from the lounge/extra bed area.

Eight 467-square-foot Celebrity Suites feature lovely floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows (but no balconies), a jetted tub and a pair of entertainment centers. The eight 538-square-foot Royal Suites (195-square-foot balconies) add more space and feature whirlpool tubs on the verandahs. On the top of the list are a pair of 1,432-square-foot Penthouse Suites with massive, 1,098-square-foot balconies. These suites also feature a baby grand piano, should you wish for a private concert or to tinkle the ivories on your own.

All suite passengers enjoy the service of a butler, who can help pack and unpack, set up in-cabin meals and help make onboard arrangements. Other suite extras include complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant (one dinner for cruises of seven nights or less, two for cruises of eight nights or more); priority check-in; in-suite breakfast, lunch and dinner; complimentary espresso and evening hors d'oeuvres.

There are 26 wheelchair-accessible cabins, including insides, oceanviews, balconies, concierge class cabins and Sky Suites.

Tipping

Celebrity suggests a per-person per-day gratuity of $3.50 for the waiter, butler (Suites only) and stateroom attendant; $4.00 for Concierge Class stateroom attendant; $2.00 for the Assistant Waiter; and $.75 for the Assistant Maitre d' and the Assistant Chief Housekeeper.

All guests are given a form to sign if they wish to have these gratuities charged to their shipboard account. Children under 12 who are the third or fourth person in the stateroom pay only half these amounts. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion. Note: Passengers who choose "Celebrity Select Dining" before their cruises are required to prepay gratuities (prior to boarding).

Alternatives: If you wish to adjust the amount you pay, this can be done onboard at guest relations.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills.

Fellow Passengers

Celebrity has been marketing itself as "modern luxury," targeting professionals 35 and older who love food and wine, although the ship still attracts quite a few baby boomers. When the ship makes its Bermuda runs in the summer, the passenger base is primarily from New York, New Jersey and the East Coast, although we noticed a fair amount of Canadians. In general, Celebrity does not attract as many families; while our summer sailing had 400 children onboard, they were generally seen and not heard. This is also a crowd of low-key partiers -- in general, imbibing seemed responsible.

Our recommendation

The stylish ships of Celebrity Cruises feature high-end decor, modern technology, excellent enrichment programs, superior dining options and outstanding spas.

Celebrity Cruises is best for: Adult couples, cruise line also attract families with teen-agers, family reunions, multi-generational; Young adults looking for soft adventure and sports activities; Boomers looking for a cruise with lots of enrichment at sea; Spa lovers and Travelers who want a taste of luxury at a premium cruise price.