The outdoor pool deck on a Celebrity Summit cruise

Cruising Paradise: A Celebrity Summit Review

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

We’re frequent cruisers and have cruised on the Celebrity Summit ship twice. Our first trip was in 2014 to the Eastern Caribbean on a holiday cruise. Our second voyage on the ship was to Bermuda in the summer of 2019 immediately following a significant renovation on the ship. Since we have cruised twice, we’ve seen changes to the vessel over time and have had the chance to really explore the ship. There aren’t a lot a lot of detailed Celebrity Summit reviews, so this may help others.

Our Celebrity Summit Review

Celebrity Summit ship docked beside the buildings of Roseau, Dominica
The Celebrity Summit at port in Roseau, Dominica

Celebrity Summit Cruise Ship Overview

The Celebrity Summit is a Millennium-class vessel that was built in 2001 at a cost of over $350 million. While it is an older ship, it has been well maintained.

The 2012 Celebrity Summit renovation added additional cabins as well as other improvements to make the ship more similar to the company’s Solstice-class ships – larger public spaces, more dining options and a few special perks for those in Aqua Class.

Celebrity Summit orange life preserver on deck

The 2019 Celebrity Summit refurbishment saw the most substantial refit and renovations in the vessel’s history. All of the suites, cabins, and staterooms were completely renovated. Dining options were substantially expanded with new specialty restaurants added. The casino was completely modernized. The Oceanview Café was remodeled and now has a better passenger flow. The renovations are more substantial than photos would indicate, including enhancements to the plumbing (more on that later) and behind-the-scenes areas.

Tables set in the new Sushi on Five specialty restaurant.
The new Sushi on Five specialty restaurant

Anyone who has cruised before on any cruise line will recognize the general layout of the ship and the Celebrity Summit deck plans. The lowest level is the gangway and infirmary. There are a total of 11 decks accessible to guests (labeled Decks 2-12).

Ship's doctor working on a patient's foot
The infirmary (treating my broken toes in Bermuda)

The Celebrity Theater is in the bow of the ship from Decks 3-5. The shops, casino, front office, shore excursion office and lounges are available on Decks 4-5. Guest staterooms are located on Decks 2-3 as well as from Decks 6-9. Deck 10 is the pool and the buffet, called the Oceanview Café. Deck 11 is the walking track. Deck 12 is the sports deck.

Regardless of company, most cruise ships are laid out in a nearly identical fashion. While they may differ in the location of a specific bar or casino, it’s pretty standard.

People playing basketball on the Sports Deck

On our cruises, we spend the bulk of our time on Decks 10-11, by the pool or on the deck above looking out at the ocean. When visiting some beautiful ports of call, it lets us have the chance to have excellent views at sail away.

Card tables and slot machines inside the Celebrity Summit casino
The old Fortunes Casino from before the refurbishment
Casino full of people playing card games
The renovated casino

Staterooms

On both of our cruises, we were in an interior stateroom. We were in room 2088 – an interior stateroom on deck 2 – during our Eastern Caribbean cruise. And on our Celebrity cruise to Bermuda, we were in room 8105, immediately under the swimming pool (more on that below). On cruises, we spend so little time in our room the interior/exterior and room size make little difference for us. We’ve never paid for a big suite or balcony, and that’s fine by us.

Bed in an interior Celebrity Summit stateroom
The Celebrity Summit staterooms (pre-2019 refurbishment)

Our Celebrity Summit stateroom was pretty standard and had two twin beds pushed together to make a king-sized bed just like every other cruise we’ve been on. The stateroom had a small sofa (more like an over-sized chair), a coffee table, and a little vanity station. There was a flat panel TV and a mini bar. The closets had one large compartment for hanging clothes and a smaller section with shelving (one shelf held a safe for valuables) to serve as a dresser. The bathroom was pretty compact and had a shower, sink, and toilet.

After the 2019 refurbishment, the rooms have a more open concept and there is glass doors on the shelving and cubby areas, which make it appear more open and inviting.

Bed and chairs in an interior stateroom on the Celebrity Summit
The Summit staterooms (post-refurbishment)

Food Review

One of the things that many cruisers look forward to is the food onboard. There are 9 different restaurants and cafes on the Celebrity Summit. Every morning, we had breakfast in the Oceanview Café (Deck 10) in the middle of the ship. This is the long buffet with hot food and omelet stations in the morning and some cooked-to-order items for dinner. One evening, we had dinner here for the Asian stir fry, which was delicious. Most days, we had a late lunch at the Pool Grill (Deck 10), grabbing a quick hamburger and fries before soaking up some sun.

Spring roll on a plate
Cosmopolitan Dining Room filled with people at dinner
Cosmopolitan Dining Room/Main Restaurant

For dinner, we dinned almost every night in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant (Deck 5), which has been renamed with the super-boring name of Main Restaurant after the refurbishment.

We opted for Celebrity Select Dining – a more flexible option giving us the ability to make reservations for the times that interested us. We made reservations most nights, and on the one time we didn’t, we only had to wait about 20 minutes.

The food in the Main Restaurant was quite good. To feed several thousand people, everything needs to be mass produced, but it is done in a way where quality standards were very high. We enjoyed it.

Cakes in a display case in the Cafe al Bacio cafe
Cakes in the Cafe al Bacio cafe

One night, we went to the playfully modern Qsine. The Qsine menu, which is presented on iPads, is full of deconstructed items or whimsical recreations of favorites – spring rolls served in large springs, sushi lollipops, or a taco mortar pestle guacamole. The food was exceptional and the service matched.

Orange, white, and black chairs at tables in the empty Qsine Restaurant
Qsine offers a playful, almost whimsical, dining experience

We were not in Aqua Class, but we heard good things about the private dining room Blu.

Bartender pouring three martinis at once
The Martini Bar

Cooking Classes

One of the special experiences available on Celebrity Cruises are some of the cooking classes. On select sea days, cooking classes are offered. In the morning, you’ll make a multi-course meal and then eat it for lunch in the Celebrity Summit Tuscan Grille restaurant. It’s a wonderful experience!

People wearing chefs hats in a cooking class on the Celebrity Summit
Cooking classes on the Celebrity Summit

Entertainment

Every night, the Celebrity Summit had entertainment programs. There were two Broadway-esque singing shows: the classics with Stars in Their Eyes and iHollywood, which had tunes from the silver screen. Additionally there was an iMagic show with the greatest illusions in history and Joel Mason’s Elton John tribute show.

Unfortunately, we didn’t go to a single one of the evening programs. For us, it seemed liked there was usually only one show, which seemed to conflict with dinner. For the nights when they had two shows, the first was extremely early and the other was in the middle of dinner.

Theater seating and stage aboard the Celebrity Summit cruise ship

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Celebrity Cruises offers two different behind-the-scenes tours onboard. There is a behind-the-scenes Celebrity Summit Ship tour, usually on the first sea day. There’s a nearly $100 per person charge for the tour. You’ll see the bridge, the I-95 main corridor, and see how the magic is made. If you’ve never taken a cruise ship tour, it’s worth doing at least once.

Kitchen employee using a stand mixer in the ship's galley

There’s a second option for cruisers. The behind-the-scenes galley tour is free and not to be missed. You’ll descend into the bowels of the ship and see how your food is prepared. You can see the massive ice cream makers, employees cutting all the fruits and vegetables, and all of the prep work being doing. It is absolutely fascinating!

An employee cutting food on a Celebrity Summit galley tour

Ship By the Numbers

  • Occupancy: 2,218 (after the 2019 refurbishment)
  • Tonnage: 91,000
  • Length: 965 feet
  • Width: 105 feet
  • Draught: 26 feet
  • Year Built: 2001 (plus substantial renovations in 2012 and 2019)
  • Number of Pools: 3
  • Number of Hot Tubs: 5
  • Number of Restaurants/Cafes: 9
  • Number of Bars/Lounges: 9
Upper deck of the Celebrity Summit with its signature X

The Celebrity Cruises App

The Celebrity app is a useful tool onboard. It has detailed schedules, deck plans, and even a handy messaging feature to keep in touch with friends and family members on board. One of our top Celebrity cruise tips is to download the app at home to save slow downloads on the first day on the boat.

Revelations Lounge with chairs and tables in front of a stage

Celebrity Summit Eastern Caribbean Cruise

Check-In and Disembarkation in San Juan

The check-in process in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was relatively painless. The transfer of baggage from taxi to longshoreman took only about 3 minutes. Once inside the terminal, the lines moved very quickly. We were fully checked in and headed towards to the ship in about 20 minutes.

In some Celebrity Summit reviews we read, others noted a long, disorganized check-in process so we were expecting the worst. However, we found it to be efficient and consistent with other cruise lines.

Crowd of people waiting in a large room to board the ship

Disembarkation in San Juan was also relatively painless. Like all cruise ships, you leave the tagged luggage outside your door by midnight. The luggage meets you on shore. We were some of the last to leave the ship, heading up to the Oceanview Café for breakfast before taking our time getting off the boat. Once in the terminal, we did experience long lines to clear immigration (sadly, no Global Entry kiosks in San Juan).

The main staircase of the Celebrity Summit lined with poinsettias
Main Staircase

Celebrity Summit Itinerary in the Eastern Caribbean

This cruise was a seven night Eastern Caribbean cruise leaving out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Depending on which ports are included, they either sell this cruise an Eastern Caribbean cruise or a Southern Caribbean cruise.

The Eastern Caribbean ports of call were:

In each port, we opted to plan our own activities rather than book into one of the official Celebrity Cruises excursions. We’ve found this is a good way to get away from the crowds and have the kind of travel experience we really want. If you are new to cruising, we recommend reading our article Cruise Tips for a Better Voyage in which we share all of our tips and tricks.

The Celebrity Summit at port in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Celebrity Summit at port in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Celebrity Summit Bermuda Cruise

Check-In and Disembarkation in Cape Liberty, NJ

The check-in in Cape Liberty, New Jersey, was the fastest and most efficient check-in we’ve experienced. Cruisers can now use the Celebrity Cruises app to upload photos of themselves and scan their documents. When you arrive at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, all you need to do is drop your bags, head inside, use the facial-recognition software, go through security screening and get on the boat. Total embarkation time for us was less than 5 minutes.

Getting off the boat was equally easy. Roll off the boat, walk through the facial-recognition software, pick up your bags, and get in your car. It could not be faster or easier.

Red British-style phone booths with palm trees in Bermuda
Things are a little bit British in Bermuda

Celebrity Summit Bermuda Itinerary

The focus of this cruise is on Bermuda. There are usually two sea days in one direction and one sea day coming the other way. On some select itineraries, Newport, Rhode Island, or Charleston, South Carolina, are sometimes added. On some 10-day Bermuda cruises, both Newport and Charleston are added to the itinerary.

A Celebrity Cruise Accident

One evening we were coming back from dinner in the dining room and noticed the carpet in our hallway near our door was wet. It was about like someone had spilled a glass of water. No big deal. And then we heard the sound of water rushing in the ceiling above our heads. We opened the door to our stateroom.

Flooded stateroom aboard the Celebrity Summit after a pipe burst.
Flooded stateroom

The carpet was wet and water was pouring into our stateroom through the wall. Laura called down to the front desk and there was no answer – it rang for over a minute. By this time, some of our neighbors were encountering large amounts of water in their room. Down the hall, a family with small children started screaming and crying. Down the hall, some idiot yells, “The boat is sinking!”

Laura ran down to the front desk to try and get someone from the ship’s crew to come. They told her they were aware of the issue and it was being handled. Meanwhile, back outside our stateroom, there were no employees anywhere. I called the front desk and was told maintenance was fixing it. Meanwhile, no employees visible.

For over 30 minutes, water poured into at least a dozen staterooms and not a single employee showed up help or calm people down.

Stateroom with items piled on top of furniture after a flooding
Employees re-arranged the stateroom to clean up the water

Despite having just spent weeks in dry dock going through a multi-million-dollar refurbishment, it would seem the pipes had not been addressed. A high-pressure pipe connecting the swimming pool to a dump valve outside the vessel had burst. The entire contents of the ship’s swimming pool drained in guest staterooms – an estimated 15,000 gallons of saltwater – in our luggage, clothes, and personal possessions.

While waiting until 2:00am to figure out if we could go back into our room or waiting on employees to tell us anything, a server in one of the bars casually mentioned this has happened before. There have been at least two other burst pipes that have flooded the crew’s quarters on the lower decks of the cruise ship in recent months.

Steering wheel on the ship's bridge overlooking the ocean
The bridge

The next day, the captain and the director of hospitality met with the people whose rooms were flooded on the bridge of the ship. Explanations and apologies were made. We believe Celebrity’s efforts truly helped make the situation right and we were satisfied with the outcome. And, yes, we will probably cruise on Celebrity Cruises again sometime. But we were left with the nagging feeling that guest safety wasn’t a top priority.

Pool area full of people swimming and sunbathing on the Celebrity Summit ship

The Overall Celebrity Summit Cruise Experience

We would cruise on Celebrity again, but would look to a different itinerary.

Our overall Celebrity Summit review is very good. While the Celebrity Summit was an older ship, it was well maintained, particularly after the 2019 refurbishment.

The Summit itineraries are very good. The selling point of the 7-day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean is the chance to have six days in port and visiting some amazing destinations! On the Celebrity Cruises to Bermuda, the main selling point was the ability to drive to the Cape Liberty terminal and have several consecutive days in port.

Adults-only pool
The adults-only Solarium pool
Person with their hand under a Purell hand sanitizer pump
Wine bottles in a dispenser

13 thoughts on “Cruising Paradise: A Celebrity Summit Review”

  1. Thanks for such a thorough review its the best I’ve read and I have read a lot. My wife and my brother and I are cruising March 12th on the Summit and we’re really looking forward to it…your review makes me wish it were tomorrow. We are staying in balcony rooms, based on your thoughts about Aqua class rooms do you think it would be worth it trying to upgrade to these rooms? Thanks…Fred Anderson

    1. Celebrity AquaClass looks great! To be honest, I don’t know what the current price differential is on the rooms. If it were us, the price factor would make the decision for us. Have a great trip! When you get back, drop by and leave another comment. Let us know how you liked it.

      1. We have done Celebrity Aqua Class and found it to be overrated for what it offers. Access to the Persian Gardens room and dinner in Blu are the main things. Tea and fresh fruit in the cabin are minor perks. All spa services are extra. If they would throw in a couple of spa services like a massage and facial, it would be worth the extra cost. We find spending the extra $35/pp for dining in the specialty restaurants is more than worth it. Dinner in the main restaurant during our last cruise on Celebrity a few months ago was a big disappointment. Too many wild game and exotic meats, very small portions, cold bread, just to name a few. You should be able to get a good quality steak and something other than a boring grilled chicken breast any night at the main restaurant. Celebrity is our favorite cruise line, but they need to improve the main dining room quality and selection. I’m thinking this change encourages cruisers to spend the extra $$ for specialty dining, which may be the goal of the cruise line.

      2. Hi Lance…
        I just saw my comments from 2016. We really enjoyed that cruise so much so that we’re doing it again February 22-29/20.
        We’re looking forward to seeing the refurbishment and experiencing everything the Summit has to offer.
        Fred Anderson

        1. You’ll have to let us know how you enjoy the new Celebrity Summit. For us, the refurbishment was a welcome change. We like the new staterooms and some of the other changes. We didn’t like swimming pool draining into our stateroom during the night. We hope the address the plumbing/piping issues. After the trip, let us know what you think.

    2. This is great fo me and my husband we have cruised before many times, but first time on Celebity summit, we are leaving from Port Liberty , october 20, 2019 arriving at San Juan P.R thank you lots of help.

  2. I was on the Summit last year(2016) to Bermuda and we are going back this year. Love the ship. Ate in the main restaurant once and found it OK. The other six nights we are in the ocean view cafe. Different themed food every night, Mexican, Indian, Portuguese, British. We found it spectacular. I do like getting jizzed up for dinner when it’s just myself and the wife but with the kids not so mich

  3. Thanks for that review. Crusinng with Celebrity Summit for first time in March. Flying to San Juan. Taking a break from Princess Cruise line which is a great cruiseline. Looking forward to Celebrity Summit

  4. I do not have a cruise booked yet this year. But have been on Celebrity many times…Have also sailed NCL.. Carnival…Cunard…Royal Carribean…Princess and some lines that no longer sail…the old Home Lines and Sitmar…Been on 49 cruises ….and still think Celebrity is the BEST….hope to jump on one before the year is over!!!!

  5. Jeanine St Hill

    I just went on a Celebrity Summit cruise and the bathroom really had a sewage smell to it. We were show several rooms that also had that same smell. The room attendant said that the pipes needed to be fixed. I also experienced the same smell in one of the whirlpools. The food from the buffet made me sick, maybe it’s because there are no gloves worn by the chef. The basketball court needs to be upgraded because the rim is leaning. The only nice thing I liked was the massage and the Solarium.

  6. Linda Lee Reeves

    We are scheduled to cruise to Bermuda in July. We ar under the impression the Summit haa been refurbished. It doesn’r sound thaf way according to Ms. St Hill’s review. Was that cruise before or after the refurbishing?

    1. To clarify, the Celebrity Summit refurbishment was in March 2019. It was a full dry dock refurbishment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.