Immediately upon stepping foot onboard Celebrity Summit, one gets a sense of the ship's elegant yet youthful vibe. The design is contemporary with a whimsical flair, and while there are no water slides or rock climbing walls, you will find other playful areas, such as the pool deck, wherewith a game of cornhole (beanbag toss) is played while a DJ spins the latest hits in the background, or at the Sunset Bar, where you can dance along to live acoustic jams with your favourite cocktail in hand.
Foodies, in particular, will enjoy a cruise on Celebrity Summit for its variety of culinary offerings that range from the traditional to such unique dining experiences as a virtual dinner show called Le Petit Chef, where a 3D animated chef prepares your meal.
While there is plenty for everyone to enjoy on Celebrity Summit, suite passengers will find many more services that cater to them. The Retreat Lounge, for instance, offers concierge service, complimentary drinks and entertainment throughout the day. All the way up on Deck 12, the Retreat Sundeck provides suite passengers with their own sunbathing sanctuary, surrounded by unobstructed ocean views. All of these spaces give cruisers staying in Sky Suites and above a feeling of exclusivity and the ability to enjoy suite perks in private spaces outside of their cabin.
Celebrity's culinary and suite offerings certainly mesh with the line's modern aspirations, but not everything does. Some entertainment lounges feel dated, and we were underwhelmed by the variety of theatre productions and some of the live musical acts. (That said, live music prevails on this ship during the evening hours, and you're likely to find something that suits your tastes.)
Overall, Celebrity Summit makes for a relaxing yet fun cruise experience, where food and cocktails take centre stage, and Instagram-worthy moments abound. The crew, who are outgoing, engaging and committed, further elevate the experience, with plenty of senior staff engaging with passengers (photos with the captain, anyone?).
Daytime: During the day, the dress code is resort casual.
Evening: Celebrity passengers tend to dress up for dinner -- typically button-down or dressy Tommy Bahama-type sport shirts and slacks for men and dresses or smart-casual pants for women. Formal night on Celebrity has been replaced by "evening chic" in the main dining room. This means that men can ditch the full suit and tie in favour of a sport coat and collared shirt, with designer jeans. Women can wear cocktail dresses, sundresses or designer jeans or nice pants. In the buffet, almost any form of dress is allowed except swimwear, flip-flops, spa robes and bare feet.
Not permitted: T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, tank tops, caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main dining room or specialty restaurants at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed during evening hours.
Live music-lovers will have their fill, with entertainment available almost every night at Cellar Masters, the Rendezvous Lounge and the Sunset Bar. While the bartenders at the martini bar put on shows themselves, the bar also occasionally hosts DJs to heat up the party. Those who wish to dance can look forward to silent disco parties -- where passengers listen to music through headphones streaming different stations -- and other dance events on the pool deck.
Located on Deck 4, forward from the Grand Foyer, Fortunes Casino is refreshingly smoke-free. There's a bar inside and a range of slot machines, taking bets from a quarter to $2. Table games include blackjack, three-card poker, Texas Hold'em, roulette and craps. Electronic poker and Lotto are also available.
While Celebrity Summit doesn't have a "party hearty" vibe, there are still plenty of places throughout the ship to grab a drink, at least until 1 a.m.
Martini Bar & Crush (Deck 4): This ice-covered bar might seem like a gimmick, but the flashy mixologists keep the atmosphere loose and fun instead of pretentious. Nearby Crush serves vodka flights and caviar.
Rendezvous Lounge (Deck 4): A pleasant and spacious spot with a small dance floor, Rendezvous provides the perfect place for a pre-dinner drink or to unwind with a piano player in the evenings. This is also where evening karaoke is held.
Retreat Lounge (Deck 4): Exclusively for suite passengers and VIPs, the Retreat Lounge is where Summit's top cruisers can go for complimentary drinks and concierge services. The club opens each morning for a light breakfast, while the bar is open most of the day, with hors-d'oeuvres served every evening before dinner. A few events are held here on each cruise, including a captain's reception and a Champagne tea service, complete with a violin duo.
Cellar Masters (Deck 5): Comfy seats, a knowledgeable bartender and a wide range of glasses that were part of our premium beverage package made this the favourite for our group of oenophiles.
Sunset Bar (Deck 10): At the back of the ship, just off the Oceanview Cafe, Sunset Bar offers a relaxed atmosphere with views and a casual vibe. Guitar music is performed here at night -- appropriately -- while the sunsets. One of our favourite spots on the ship -- Sunset's location just off the buffet means it's also a quiet and alfresco area to enjoy a snack or meal.
Sky Lounge (Deck 11): With amazing views and soothing decor, the Sky Lounge serves many purposes: During the day, it's used for trivia, activities and meetings. (The Cruise Critic Connections Party is held there.) At night, game shows and other entertainment take over the space. When it's not in use, the Sky Lounge is also a fantastic spot for whiling away the afternoon over a book and a coffee while glancing out the windows.
The music during the day tends to be happy and upbeat. At night, dance parties, including silent discos, are held on the pool deck.
An indoor thalassotherapy pool designed for passengers 16 and older is forward of the main pools inside a solarium. Although it's covered, the area is sunny and bright and has very comfortable loungers. If things get too loud outside, this makes a nice escape.
A basketball court is open on Deck 12 for pickup games. Ping-Pong tables are scattered throughout the ship on Deck 10. This deck is also where cornhole and bottle toss matches are held throughout the day.
If you're simply looking to tan, loungers abound near the pool on Decks 10 and 11. You can almost always find some peace and quiet aft on Deck 12, where the Rooftop Terrace is located.
Suite passengers have their own, exclusive sunbathing space, The Retreat -- nestled all the way forward on Deck 12. The area is small but well-laid out with a central hot tub and two levels of lounging space. Seating arrangements range from padded deck chairs and shaded cabanas to beanbag loungers and larger couches. Although there is no bar, passengers can order drinks from a menu through dedicated Retreat servers who provide more intimate service.
Guest Services, the Captain's Club desk for cruisers who are members of the line's loyalty program, the Destination Concierge and the Shore Excursions desk are located on Deck 3, within the Grand Foyer. The Medical Center on Deck 1 has limited hours; a few over-the-counter remedies, such as Ibuprofen, are offered free from a shelf near the office.
An ATM is located within Fortunes Casino on Deck 4 and charges a hefty service fee. Deck 4 also houses the Photo Gallery and Studio, where passengers can purchase professional photos from their cruise.
Deck 5 is where you'll find all the shops, which sell clothing (including Celebrity logowear), jewelry and watches, accessories, electronics, liquor, toiletries and other products. This is also where the Future Cruise Sales office is; make sure you check your Celebrity Today daily schedule in advance to see what the best offers are. The Art Gallery on Deck 5 hosts a range of sales, auctions and events.
Celebrity Summit's iLounge computer centre is located midship on Deck 6 and is open 24 hours. Classes are available for an additional fee and might include editing photos from your iPhone or iPad. (Find Celebrity Cruises internet prices here.)
The two-story library is tucked away midship on Decks 8 and 9. You'll find a nice variety of best-sellers and classics you can check out during your cruise, as well as reference books you can consult within the space. You'll also find a concierge desk on Deck 8, with office hours for passengers staying in Concierge Class cabins. Hours are posted on the door.
Laundry services are available on board for a fee; there are no self-service facilities.
For an additional fee, you can relax in the Persian Garden thermal suite. It offers heated loungers, an aromatic steam room, infrared sauna, a Turkish bath, salt room and sensory showers. Access to the Persian Garden is complimentary for passengers staying in AquaClass cabins. Everyone else must purchase a day or week pass to the Persian Garden.
A basic 50-minute aromatherapy massage costs $155. Discounts are available while the ship is docked in port. Unique, wellness-focused treatments include the Organic Lavender and Seaweed Sugar Glow exfoliating treatment ($145 for 50 minutes) and the Mindful Dreams Ritual, which incorporates meditation into the massage ($258 for 75 minutes).
The Fitness Center is also located on Deck 10 forward, and while small, offers stunning sea views and lots of equipment: treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and a full weight area. Select classes, such as Pilates, spinning, yoga and CrossFit, come with a fee. Personal training and fitness consultations are also available and take place in an enclosed space within the fitness centre.
A jogging track is located on Deck 11; nine and a half laps equal 1 mile. 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. We never saw anyone using the track for its intended purpose.
Celebrity Cruises has long been touted as one of the best cruise lines for foodies, and Celebrity Summit is no exception. The food quality and service is consistent across every restaurant, whether complimentary or fee-bearing; in fact, we found ourselves craving the buffet -- generally a "last reserve" on other cruise lines -- for dinner one night. While we did run into some hurdles trying to get gluten-free dishes in the alternative restaurants, more popular venues such as the complimentary main dining room, buffet and even room service put speciality items front and centre.
Note: If you have dietary restrictions, let your cruise line know ahead of time, and be sure to check in with the maitre d' on embarkation day.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant (Decks 4 and 5): The two-level Cosmopolitan Restaurant features a modern design with soft tones and whimsical touches, such as floral-detail sconce lights and throne-like chairs. It is the main option for dinner and is also open for breakfast, and lunch on select days only.
For dinner, passengers can opt for traditional set seating (same table every night) at either 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. or choose to eat any time, with whomever they want, between 5:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. 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 and tuna poke, on the other.
Gluten-free, vegetarian, no-sugar-added and lactose-free menu selections are marked.
Oceanview Cafe (Deck 10): On the casual dining front, the Oceanview Cafe serves buffet-style breakfasts, lunches and dinners -- and the food is surprisingly good for buffet quality. The space is open and has a good flow, with various seating arrangements along a wall of windows, as well as outside.
You'll find made-to-order omelettes and other breakfast standards in the morning, and various carving stations, pasta dishes, pizza and antipasti, and a slew of internationally inspired dishes, including everything from British bangers and mash to Indian curries at lunch and dinner.
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.
Pool Grill (Deck 10): Located in a covered area near the pool (natch), the Pool Grill is the main place for those in swimsuits (which are discouraged in Oceanview Cafe) to grab burgers, fries, hot dogs, fried chicken and waffles and occasional barbecue bites.
Spa Cafe (Deck 10): Within the enclosed solarium encompassing the thalassotherapy pool, the Spa Cafe serves up light breakfasts and lunches, as well as smoothies and juice mixes (for an extra cost). The complimentary chocolate beet muffins were so tasty, you'd never know they were healthy.
Blu (Deck 5): Blu, which is exclusively open to passengers sailing in AquaClass cabins, features modern blue-and-white decor, soft lighting and a menu inspired by spa cuisine. Though the food does not seem overly healthy, the restaurant features smaller portions than what you typically find in the main dining room or buffet. Breakfast also is available to those staying in AquaClass cabins. Suite passengers have the option of dining at Blu, as well but only if there is availability.
Luminae (Deck 4): Luminae is a private restaurant for cruisers sailing in the suite stratosphere. Suite-class passengers can dine at Luminae for breakfast, lunch or dinner, every day of their cruise, without reservations. Meals are a step above AquaClass cuisine, with more inventive options. There's also a separate menu developed by New York City-based celebrity chef, Daniel Boulud, with French-inspired dishes available gratis every night.
Room Service: Available around the clock, room service is free of charge, although there's a $4.95 fee for all orders made between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Passengers can choose from a variety of soups and starters, salads main courses and desserts; there's also a separate kids' menu. We were impressed by the beverage choices, which list unusual options, such as prune juice, and special items, like lactose-free and soy milk. Arizona Iced Teas and alcoholic beverages are a la carte.
Tuscan Grille (Deck 3); $45 for dinner, $35 for lunch: Despite the high cover charge, we feel the quality of the food at the line's signature Italian restaurant is worth the splurge. Start with calamari or beef carpaccio and definitely split an antipasti board with house-cured olives, meats, cheeses, crackers and fig jam; then close out with a grilled branzino, rosemary snapper or filet mignon. Select menu items carry an additional fee.
An Italian cocktail menu is on hand, in addition to a lengthy wine list, to match your meal. Ports, speciality coffees and Italian desserts, like a tiramisu or spumoni doughnut, are also available to sweeten the palate. Drinks are an additional cost.
Lunch is offered on the final sea day of each sailing, with a scaled-down version of Tuscan's full dinner menu.
Sushi on Five (Deck 5); a la carte: The ship's casual sushi eatery, open for lunch and dinner, serves up Japanese fusion dishes and a variety of rolls that can be paired with imported sake and beer. Despite its location near the Grand Foyer (atrium), Sushi on Five never seems to get overcrowded.
Cafe al Bacio (Deck 5); a la carte: A mixture of for-fee and free, Cafe al Bacio offers specialty coffee beverages and complimentary pastries in a coffeehouse lounge that surrounds the atrium. Don't miss the housemade 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). Plenty of offbeat but enticing offerings can be found on the menu, like espresso with blackcurrant jam and fresh wild berries with cream or hot chocolate with espresso, crushed amaretti biscuits and peaches.
Qsine (Deck 11); $45: Now a Celebrity fixture on most ships, Qsine is a super-sleek and inventive dining venue that offers innovative, global cuisine served in unexpected ways (think sushi lollipops and chocolate-covered strawberries on a bed of real grass). The venue also features an experience called Le Petit Chef, during which table tops "come to life" with a 3D animated chef who prepares a digital version of your meal as you wait for the real one to arrive. The experience costs $55.
Chef's Table (location varies); $199 per person, $279 per couple: This special event includes a private galley tour, a multicourse dinner and wine pairing, and a Celebrity Cruises cookbook. Expect the executive chef to make an appearance to see how the evening is progressing. It's typically held in an intimate venue, like the Cellar Masters tasting room, once per cruise.
Regardless of which room category you choose, all cabins on Celebrity Summit feel like a home away from home -- with a fresh, contemporary design and modern comforts like bedside outlets and convenient RFID door-entry technology. More than 80 percent of the 1,119 cabins onboard also offer an ocean view, while 26 are wheelchair accessible.
All standard cabins are decorated in shades of cream and blush, while suites feature their own light, fresh colour schemes with pops of color. Ample storage can be found in both the cabins and bathrooms, thanks to soft-close cabinetry and shelving efficiently designed to maximize space in the room.
One unique feature almost all cabins (99 percent, according to Celebrity) include is a king-sized bed -- as opposed to a queen -- which can be split into two twins when needed. Meanwhile, all bathrooms have large vanities with under-lighting effects, elegant touches like faux marble, and high-quality C.O. Bigelow bath amenities.
Other consistent features throughout the cabins are interactive flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, sitting areas with either pull-out sofas (either twin or queen-sized, depending on the category) or settees, and multiple, conveniently placed outlets and USB ports.
Interior: Inside cabins are 170 square feet and are located on Decks 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 11.
Oceanview: Ocean-view cabins are the same size as inside rooms and are located on Decks 2, and 6 through 9; a window or large porthole allows plenty of light inside.
Balcony: Cabins with verandas range from the standard 170 square feet to 191 square feet and are located on Decks 6 through 9. The balconies measure 38 to 54 square feet and are large enough for two chairs and a small table.
As an M-class ship (short for Millennium class), Summit has 16 "Sweet 16" rooms -- eight port (left) and eight starboard (right) veranda cabins far forward on Deck 6 with balconies that are larger than average but sold at the cheapest Category 2C prices. Ask or look online for cabins 6016, 6018, 6020–6031, 6033 or 6035. (If you're prone to motion sickness, the extra space might not be worth it to you.)
Concierge: Concierge Class rooms are a type of balcony cabin, measuring 191 square feet and located in prime locations on Decks 6 through 9 (almost all aft rooms fall within this class). Passengers who book these cabins receive a number of added perks, including a welcome bottle of sparkling wine, pillow menu, daily fresh fruit and afternoon hors d'oeuvres. Also included are priority check-in, priority embarkation and disembarkation at each port, a Celebrity Cruises tote bag, cardholder and use of a golf umbrella and binoculars, as well as access to an exclusive pre-departure lounge with free coffee and juices and an exclusive welcome lunch on the first day, held in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant.
AquaClass: At 195 square feet, AquaClass cabins are slightly larger than Concierge Class rooms and offer many of the same perks but also include freshly brewed iced tea and a personal spa concierge who is available to arrange spa treatments. Passengers booked in these cabins get complimentary access to the spa-inspired Blu Restaurant and the Persian Garden thermal suite. AquaClass cabins can be found on Decks 9 and 11.
Family: The most spacious balcony cabins -- those configured for families on Decks 7 through 9 -- are about 271 square feet and boast impressive 242-square-foot balconies. The family balcony cabins each feature a "master" bedroom with a privacy partition, a queen-sized bed and two convertible sofas. While they resemble suites in size, these cabins do not come with the same perks as the higher cabin categories.
Mini-Suite: The lowest suite category onboard Celebrity Summit is the Sky Suite, located on Decks 6, 8 and 9. The 251-square-foot cabins feature lounge chairs in the sitting areas, in addition to the amenities found in standard cabins.
Suite: Suite passengers, including those staying in mini-suites, receive all the perks offered to Concierge Class passengers, as well as access to Luminae, a suites-only restaurant, plus the Retreat Lounge and the Retreat Sundeck. Personal butler service (includes assistance with unpacking and packing), lunch and dinner in your suite, and complimentary espresso and cappuccino from Cafe al Bacio served in your suite are also included.
Celebrity Suite: Nearly twice as large as Sky Suites, each 467-square-foot Celebrity Suite on Decks 6 through 9 have panoramic windows, a dining room, a glass-enclosed sitting area, two entertainment centres, a walk-in closet with vanity and a whirlpool bathtub.
Royal Suite: The 538-square-foot Royal Suites on Deck 6 are similar to the Celebrity Suites, but they have balconies with whirlpool tubs and floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors instead of panoramic windows.
Penthouse Suite: The most luxurious accommodations on Celebrity Summit are the 1,432-square-foot Penthouse Suites on Deck 6 aft. Each features a foyer, a baby grand piano, a butler's pantry, motorized draperies with lights, two interactive entertainment systems and a wet bar, in addition to the amenities present in the other suite categories. Penthouses feature a master bedroom, complete with an extra dressing room and vanity, a powder room and a marble master bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower.