Celebrity Summit to the Caribbean!
In December we spent one week island hopping through the Caribbean on the Celebrity Summit. Not a bad way to spend a week! We have grown to love cruising. It’s your hotel. It’s your transportation. And your place to eat, have fun, and relax.
This was our third cruise. We started in 2016 with an Alaskan cruise on Princess Cruises. We did that to get our feet wet. We weren’t sure if we would like it. But of course, we got hooked! Then in 2017 we did our first let’s-get-out-of-wintery-Wisconsin cruise and sailed on the Celebrity Equinox. That was a great trip too.
Choosing this Cruise
We enjoyed the Celebrity Cruises experience last year. We don’t need water slides or belly flop contests to keep us entertained. We just want to RELAX. So, Celebrity is a good fit. We also wanted an almost absolute guarantee of warm temps and sunshine, so that’s why we opted for a Southern Caribbean itinerary from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Plus we fell in love with Old San Juan when we visited in 2017 and wanted to see it again. In the depths of winter in January 2018, we booked this cruise when a good deal came along. All of the ports-of-call, except Puerto Rico, were new to us.
Below is an overview of the cruise experience.
- Friday, Dec. 7: Fly to San Juan, PR. Spend night at Sheraton Old San Juan.
- Saturday, Dec. 8: Leave San Juan on Celebrity Summit
- Sunday, Dec. 9: St. Croix, USVI – island tour
- Monday, Dec. 10: St. Maarten – beach day
- Tuesday, Dec. 11: Dominica – waterfall/rainforest tour
- Wednesday, Dec. 12: Grenada – river tubing
- Thursday, Dec. 13: Barbados – beach day
- Friday, Dec. 14: Day at sea
- Saturday, Dec. 15: Return to San Juan, Fly home
Painless. There was a port strike that happened earlier in the morning but was resolved by noontime. From the moment we stepped out of our taxi at the Pan American Pier to the moment we were in our stateroom, only 15 minutes had elapsed. And we have no special “perks” or “status.” Just luck I guess. Our room was ready when we got on board.
Balcony cabin, deck 7, room 7020. Spacious, comfortable bed and pillows, couch, good storage. Quiet–never heard any noise from above or next to us on either side. Balcony space was nice…we spent a lot of time out there. A slight smell coming from the shower drain and a couple of the shower tiles were cracked. We also knew that the ship was scheduled for dry dock soon. Great location, easy access to elevators. I thought being more forward in the ship we might feel more motion, but all was calm.
Great service from Ryan, our cabin steward. He worked like a magician, that guy! Also enjoyed our wait staff in the MDR from Tammy and Kelvin. Took time to explain menus and suggest items. Had to make three trips to Guest Relations because we kept de-magnetizing our seapasses. Service was quick and friendly. They also happily exchanged some larger bills for smaller bills for us.
This is highly subjective, so take it with a grain of salt (hey, that’s a food pun!). I wouldn’t say I would rave about the food here (last year on Celebrity Equinox we had a 3-night specialty dining package–so it’s unfair to compare). This year, we ate all dinners in the MDR. I had two things I would rank as “excellent” — a braised beef ragout with gnocchi as a starter (I could have eaten plates and plates of it as a main) and the slow braised lamb wrapped in phyllo. There were a couple misses: the seafood in the Mediterranean seafood orzo was chewy (a la rubber bands) as was the sirloin steak. I also had the teeniest tiniest chocolate lava cake I’ve ever had. Breakfast was good in Oceanview Cafe (the buffet), but lunch found me circling a couple times to pick something out and I’m not picky. Pizza in OVC could be good…or not. Sometimes nice and crispy, other times greasy and limp. But at least I didn’t have to cook for a whole week!
This was the smallest ship we’ve been on and found it naturally easy to navigate. It did not feel crowded at all! Easily found open tables in the Oceanview Cafe. It was easy to get on and off in each port. There was some evidence of the need for the dry docking. Carpet frayed here and there. You could tell our balcony probably needed scraped of the many coats of paint and be redone. There generally wasn’t a problem getting a chair in the pool area if you wanted some sun…or even some shade too. Because this itinerary was so port intensive, we didn’t have time to enjoy as my areas as we have done on previous cruises.
Again, since this cruise was so port intensive we were not expecting a lot. And in return, Celebrity did not provide a lot. The singers and dancers are always good, but the plot-less shows can get kind of repetitive. Neither of the comedians were funny to us, but we like edgier humor and that doesn’t really match us with Celebrity’s demographic. The magician/comedian (how about pick one!) was awful. On the plus side: We really enjoyed the live music. Since the cruise left from San Juan, there was more Latin music…another plus for me.
Super simple. Walked off when our group number was called. Luggage was already waiting. Line moved fairly quick for Customs and Immigration and then again to get a taxi.
I’ll blog more about the ports-of-call later, but here’s a quick overview:
St. Croix: Sundays in St. Croix are SLEEPY. So be advised to plan an excursion as a lot of shops are closed. We enjoyed our island tour though.
St. Maarten: We did a beach day here. No complaints. Kim Sha Beach at Simpson Bay is a nice area. Very relaxing!
Dominica: Beautiful green and verdant island. Really loved our rainforest/waterfall excursion. Some of the scenery reminded me of Hawaii.
Grenada: Similar to Dominica in being green and pretty. Loved our river tubing adventure. Would not hesitate to do that again.
Barbados: We did another beach day here. Harbour Lights at Carlisle Bay has a fantastic stretch of sand with crystal clear water.
With this port-intensive itinerary, the week flew by so fast. But all good things must come to end. We enjoyed our week in the Caribbean and look forward to booking future cruises!
Here are some pics from the ship. For more, check out my Flickr album.