, pub-4365197612565232, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Celebrity Summit Christmas Cruise - Rating & Review

Celebrity Summit Rating and Review

Our sailing on the Celebrity Summit was our first ever Christmas Cruise with Aaron's parents. It was also Aaron's parents' first ever cruise. We wanted to give them a taste of cruising with a 5-day itinerary. Aaron's parents are Catholic and wanted to attend Catholic Mass on Christmas, so we chose to sail with Celebrity because it is one of a few cruise lines that guarantees a Catholic Priest on its Christmas sailings.

This was also my first cruise on Celebrity. I am a Diamond Crown & Anchor Club Member on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and I was excited to sail on RCCL's "more sophisticated" sister line. Also, Celebrity matched my Diamond status as Elite Captain's Club, so I was able to experience some loyalty perks, despite this being my first Celebrity cruise.

Celebrity Summit

The rating system is based on ten nine (you'll see) components of a cruise vacation which I find important - itinerary, ship novelties, pools, activities, dining, bars and lounges, service, design and aesthetics, and stateroom.

Itinerary: 6/10

With a 5-night itinerary, you typically won't get more than two ports of call (exception being when cruise lines double up on their own private island - my favorite!), and usually one is either Nassau (Eastern Caribbean) or Cozumel (Western Caribbean). I think 5-night itineraries are more about the cruise experience and less about the ports of call, so itinerary wasn't a huge factor when selecting this cruise.

Cozumel: I think I've been to Cozumel more than any other Caribbean port of call. So often that in the past, we've even decided to stay on the ship while we were in port. Typically when I'm in Cozumel, I go to a private beach club. However, since we were with Aaron's parents, we decided to do a sightseeing tour instead. Best of Cozumel, booked through Celebrity and operated by Aviomar AdvenTours, was a very fun and well-paced tour which took us to the Mayan Bee Sanctuary, Mayan Cacao Company, and Barriecito for tequila tasting. We enjoyed this tour so much, and I'm glad that I got to experience different activities on the island.


Grand Cayman: Another port that I've been to a handful of times. Tender ports can be very inconvenient when it comes to leaving and returning to the ship, and Grand Cayman is no exception. I booked a tour through Celebrity as an effort to make the tender process less painful. It was still quite time-consuming, but we didn't have to worry about getting tender tickets. Our original tour was canceled, and the replacement tour that we booked was Destination Highlight: West Cayman Panoramic Drive. I was expecting it to be crowded, given that several other tours were canceled and I assume others were in the same boat of needing to book something else. What I wasn't anticipating was that our tour would be affected by Christmas Day closures (though in hindsight I am not surprised). The Rum Distillery was closed, and the gift shops in Hell were closed. It wasn't a huge deal, and we still got to see and learn about the island, but I didn't enjoy the pacing or large crowds on this tour.


This itinerary is just okay to me. It's one that I'll probably sail again because it is a popular 5-night itinerary, but it's not one that I would actively seek out. I'm rating it a 6/10.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 6/10
Cozumel: I liked that there were cool things to do at each of the places and plenty of activities close to the beach. Tour guide was really great, and they were able to guide us directly from the port to all of these places while being super conscious of when we needed to go back to the ship. I liked pacing of the tour. We did a lot but weren’t rushed. Overall no complaints. (7/10)

Grand Cayman: It's hard to judge because it was Christmas Day and everything was closed. Our original tour got canceled, so the tour we did was sort of the only thing we could have done. If you remember, they had to add like two extra buses so everywhere we went, it took a lot longer because we had like double the people there. The last stop was a public beach which was kinda weird, like hey check out this public beach but you only have 20 minutes. I want to go back when things are open to see what it’s really like. I would go again, but more dependent on when we’re going. (4.5/10)

Novelties "Do you have a...?": N/A

As I was working on this review with Aaron, we determined that Celebrity Summit doesn't really have any novelties. We don't see a problem with this. It's a rather traditional cruise ship and isn't attempting to be an amusement park, water park, or offer big thrills. Therefore, rather than ranking Summit in a category which it isn't even attempting to compete in, we're omitting this category from scoring.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: N/A
Novelties... the Martini Bar and the Smoking Section? Eh, it wasn't that novel. Pretty classic cruise ship.

Pools, Hot Tubs, and Waterslides: 5/10

Celebrity Summit has two pools and four hot tubs in the central pool area, as well as a glass-enclosed Solarium with a heated pool and two hot tubs. The Solarium is for guests ages 16 and older. However, there are posted times for "family swim," allowing kids to swim in the Solarium pool at specific times of the day. There are no waterslides on Summit.


Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather during our sailing, we didn't get to spend much time at the pool. We did swim in the Solarium pool, but didn't spend much time at the main pool. I'm rating the pools and hot tubs 5/10 because I feel like the quantity was sufficient for a ship of this size, but it also didn't feel very exciting. Celebrity chose to locate their outdoor monitor at the Deck 10 "Rooftop Terrace," rather than the pool which probably contributes to a quieter pool deck, but also takes away from the energy on the pool deck.


Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 7/10
Pools in the solarium were cool. It was just cold during our cruise. I could see myself spending more time out there if we were able to. Cool area to walk around if you’re sleepless. Just is what it is.

Activities (for adults): 6/10

Since our cruise was on an older ship, I had a feeling that we'd be relying more on the cruise ship activities for entertainment. On top of that, we had bad weather, which is when you find even more guests inside participating in activities.

On our first day, we watched the Deal or No Deal game show which was enjoyable as a spectator (to play, you need to purchase game cards, and the prize is casino game play credit - something we weren't interested in), and the host did a great job. On our last sea day, we found ourselves in the Sky Lounge for hours playing trivia, giant Pictionary, and more trivia. The lounge was packed, but I think that's something to expect on a rainy sea day. I thought that the activities team did a great job keeping the guests entertained, even if there wasn't a lot of variety when it came to activities being offered.


Usually, I enjoy watching and participating in the evening adult games such as Love & Marriage (or whatever the cruise line calls their version of the Newlywed game) and Quest. These activities were offered during our sailing, but they were in the Rendezvous Lounge where everyone was waiting for 2nd seating dinner. The lounge was so packed that we could never find a seat. The only way to watch would be to skip the evening show and stake out a spot in the Rendezvous Lounge around 7 PM. I really wish they would have held these activities in a larger, more out-of-the-way venue like the Sky Lounge.

They held a Silent Disco twice during our cruise. They used the Sky Lounge for the evening "club," and I thought the venue felt too large and exposed for a fun club atmosphere. Also, I'm bitter because I sat down in Sky Lounge during an evening dance party, and an officer came by and asked me if I'm 18 (no, sir, I'm 31).

I'm rating Activities 6/10 because while we did rely on them due to weather, there wasn't very much variety, and they were more popular than the venues had capacity for.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 6.5/10
I think there were a lot of activities like trivia and easy or approachable activities, no matter the enthusiasm or engagement level. I appreciate that because sometimes I don’t want to be doing anything, I just need something going on in the background and that was cool for me.

Entertainment: 6/10

We went to the show in the theater every night which is very nostalgic for me. During our sailing, there were two shows by the Summit Production Team - Life (night 2) and Soundtrack (night 5). We also had a bonus Celebrity Summit Holiday Show on Christmas night (night 4), featuring the Summit Production Team. I've described these as "variety shows." The narrative (if you would even call it that) very loosely grouped songs together. The production team had talented members, but they performed like individuals, rather than a troupe. The acrobats, Duo Miri, stole the show each night.


The other two shows were variety acts brought onboard. Oli Nez, the saxophonist (night 1), was entertaining and talented. However, we thought he talked a little too much about himself. We thought the magician, Ben Price (night 3), performed too many slide-of-hand tricks which weren't ideal for the theater environment. He also called two children to the stage to participate in an act, but got visibly frustrated with them and made rude comments when they didn't understand instructions.


I'm rating Entertainment 6/10 because while I was entertained every night, the caliber of production is nowhere near that of shows on other cruise ships today.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 9/10
I’m gonna give entertainment just a straight up 9/10 for being some of the weirdest most creative random sort of things like happening. Still to this day I think of that girl who was pregnant for like 20 seconds (Live on Day 2). Overall, the quality of the show was pretty funny. I appreciated the musical acts and also those really talented aerial artists. Least favorite show on that ship by far was that snooty magician.

Dining: 6/10

Celebrity Summit has one main dining room, the Cosmopolitan Dining Room, as well as two exclusive dining rooms - Luminae for guests staying in The Retreat, and Blu for AquaClass guests. since we were not AquaClass or Retreat guests, we dined in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room. There are three specialty restaurants (for surcharge) - Tuscan Grille, an Italian restaurant, Sushi on Five, a Japanese restaurant, and Le Petit Chef at Qsine, an interactive dining experience. We did not dine at any specialty dining venues on this cruise, though I would be interesting in trying Le Petit Chef and Sushi on Five in the future. 


For casual dining, there is Ocean View Cafe, the buffet, as well as Mast Grill, which has poolside burgers, and The Spa Cafe, which has small healthy bites in the Solarium.

I was disappointed in the lack of options for casual small bites. Compared to other cruise ships that I've sailed recently, casual dining was very limited. The operational hours for the dining venues was also incredibly limited. The Cosmopolitan Dining Room was only open for breakfast and lunch for an hour and a half. The Ocean View Cafe would be open to walk through, but the food was limited to posted breakfast/lunch/dinner hours which doesn't work well when coming back from an excursion at 2 PM.

I thought the quality of food in the dining room was hit or miss. More times than not, I enjoyed my dish, but there were a few times when it was just bad. Also, the portion sizes varied widely.

I rate dining 6/10. Our dining room experience was mostly positive, but I would have appreciated more options and variety throughout the day.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 8/10
I guess the only gripe I have the dining experience was that it seemed like we were forced to eat at the buffet, but we were always in there during transition hours. Quality and variety of food were good, and service was great. At first I didn’t like that we had to eat in the buffet or starve, but I kind of got used to that. However, if the only place to eat is the buffet, it should have longer mealtime hours. Dinner in the dining room was awesome. I was kind of on the fence the first day because I didn’t think we got very good service that night, but they really turned everything around on the second night. The dining team had some of the nicest people on the cruise ship by far, and I really appreciate the fact that they were able to piecemeal some of my concoctions (hot toddy). Dinner was by far was the shining star of the entire dining experience.

Bars and Lounges: 6/10

Celebrity Summit has a variety of bars and lounges. Crush Martini Bar is one of the most popular bars on the ship. The bar top is coated in ice, but I question how useful that really is for keeping the drink cool, considering that martinis are served in stemware. It's a fun place to be, as the bartenders serve the martini flight waterfall-style.

My favorite bar was Sunset Bar, located on Deck 10 Aft. It's a weird location because you need to either enter through the Ocean View Cafe (which may not be serving food) or walk down from Deck 11. However, it's a great atmosphere on the back of the ship, and a perfect spot to sit when sailing away from port.


Other bars include Cellar Masters (didn't visit often, but when we did, had good service), Rendezvous Lounge (WORST service, rudest bartenders), Sky Lounge (becomes the nighttime club), Pool Bar, and Mast Bar (smoking section).

I rate the bars and lounges 6/10. I think I would have given a higher rating if we had a better experience ordering drinks on this cruise. Not only did we consistently receive poor bar service, but the Classic Beverage Package was more limiting than we thought it would be. The Classic package included drinks up to $9, but for some reason, most drinks were priced at $10, which meant that it was an additional $1 charge for those drinks. $1 isn't very much.... but that's exactly why I don't understand the pricing structure. I learned that for cruises departing in 2023, the Classic Beverage Package includes drinks up to $10. I'm not sure if we happened to go on a sailing where the menu prices had been adjusted, but the beverage package limit hadn't, or if they increased the drink prices in 2023 as well.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 4/10
The drinks were good when we got them, but it was rare that we did. Read the other days on how our service experience was. It just overall was a bad experience.

Service: 4/10

So many people told me that I was going to be blown away by the exceptional service on Celebrity. Instead, my mind was blown by how bad the service was. Aaron and I were continuously snubbed, looked over, and treated rudely by the bartenders on our cruise. This happened several times every day by different bartenders at different bars - so often that it felt intentional. I do not place blame on the bartenders, as I believe this must be an ethos encouraged by their leadership. I've never encountered service this bad before in my 20+ years of cruising.

I do want to note that we really enjoyed our dining room team. Dipo, Rahmad, and Kan provided outstanding service and were very personable. We also appreciated our stateroom attendant Eka's effort to help us with our stateroom door when the battery died right before we needed to leave for our excursion.

I ranked service as "Excellent" throughout the post-cruise survey because I've heard that the survey affects staff compensation and employment status. However, I did leave this information in the "Additional Comments" section. My ranking for service in this review is 4/10, with the dining room team lifting up that score.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 6/10
Bar service was the worst service we received on the cruise. Dining room service was by far the best service. Eka was cool, and he tried really hard to get us in our room when the battery lock was dead, too. It was an unfortunate circumstance, but I felt like they tried really hard. Overall, my parents seemed very happy with everything, so that’s kind of all that really mattered to me. It wasn’t average by any means, but I’m giving dining a 9 and bar service a 2.

Design and Aesthetics: 8/10

Celebrity Summit launched in 2001 and is one of the older Celebrity ships. I appreciate the design of a classic ocean liner, so I was not concerned about sailing on an older "no frills" ship. Summit was "Revolutionized" in 2019, introducing a more contemporary design. The ship was well-maintained with high-end finishes, and I thought the decor felt more elegant than on Royal Caribbean ships.


For the most part, I thought the layout of the ship made sense. My main gripes are that you have to walk through the Ocean View Cafe to get to the Sunset Bar, and the Grand Foyer is being taken up by a useless gargantuan staircase.

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 6.5/10
I felt like I was on the Titanic. Honestly, it was sort of like every sort of 90s film in a cruise ship. In a lot of ways, it kind of reminded me of the Home Alone house but not in a bad way. Feels kind of dated and a little small. I don’t mind either of those things, but it’s a vibe.

Stateroom: 9/10

I really liked our stateroom. I appreciated the "Revolutionized" decor. The space felt new and fresh. It was also a good size for Aaron and myself, and we were happy to have the extra large balcony. I do think there could have been more/better hanging space, and I would have preferred to have a full length mirror in the room, rather than on the back of the closet door.


Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 6/10
I liked how big it was. I thought overall it was functional for us. One thing I didn’t really like about it was that the shower would just spill over and soak the restroom floor. It needed a full length mirror (out in the room - not on the back of the closet door), and I wish there were convenience outlets on both sides of the bed.

Final Rating: 62/100

I'm so glad we were able to go on a Christmas Cruise with Aaron's parents, and I thought this was a great introductory cruise. They had a great time and are already talking about future cruises. Aaron and I also had a very good time, but I guess we've been a bit spoiled when it comes to cruising and outstanding service, and unfortunately, Celebrity didn't live up to our expectations. That being said, I'm not ruling out future Celebrity cruises. Summit is one of the older Millennium Series ships, so I would imagine that the experience is much different on one of Celebrity's newer ships like Beyond and Apex (both of which I'm interested in sailing on in the future).

Aaron Review

Aaron's rating: 66/100
I feel like my summary is, “It’s the worst cruise I’ve ever been on.”


  1. I totally agree with your ratings. Xmas sailings out of FLA can be iffy; 3 years ago we were on the Equinox, and didn't have nice weather until SJU; and Nassau was almost a total BUST as it was rainy and cool until 3pm. That was our 1st Celebrity cruise, as we have graduated from RCCL; Can't W8 until the next review

    1. We've been so lucky with December weather recently, that I almost forgot how unpredictable it can be! On our first Christmas Cruise in 2009, it rained the first three days, and we were stuck inside on the little Grandeur of the Seas. Being stuck inside with so few minors on the ship, we became fast friends with the other passengers our age!

  2. I love that you do the rating. I ran across your blog a few years ago when I first started cruising and have really enjoyed your reviews of different ships/lines/itineraries both the formal posts like this and just hearing about the experience. I'm super excited to hear what you think of your DCL cruise as it has been the line I've been sailing with my kids. I think we did the same itinerary as you on the Fantasy this last Oct and really enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you! The Disney Fantasy cruise was a fun one - I'm excited to share more!

  3. I love the style of your reviews. They are the perfect blend of pictures and descriptions. I agree with the above commenter that I love your ratings!

    I first found your blog when I was looking at reviews before taking my family on the Disney Fantasy back in 2015 and I hope you keep it going for many more years as I keep following along and get many ideas for my families travels from you.

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy my reviews! Also stay tuned for my New Year's Fantasy Cruise Review coming soon!