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Linda Mitchell

Age: 55

Occupation:Attorney

Number of Cruises: 9

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Summit

Sailing Date: 2014-02-22

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

We (group of 9) sailed February 22, 2014. Overall the cruise experience on this ship was good, with some parts of it being great and only two really bad incidences. This was my 9th or 10th cruise (I've lost count) but the first time on Celebrity and first to any of the ports on this itinerary. Having sailed on the large Royal Caribbean ships where you have 4000-5000 passengers, I have to say, as a middle aged traveler (my kids are 22 and 27) I think I prefer the smaller ships, even if you give up a few things that might be of real interest to younger families.

(Rock climbing walls, promenade deck, big water slides theme restaurants, etc.) Getting on off the ship in ports was a breeze compared to the lines that can form when you have huge numbers of people. The ship is certainly not new but some of the things that were cosmetically wrong could be easily fixed and I don't know why they don't do it. For example, elevator buttons that don't light or are damaged/missing covers. The door that covered the cabinet where our refrigerator was had a hinge that was loose. You had to lift the door to make it close. If my husband would have a Phillips head screwdriver on hand he could have fixed that, as well as the closet door that had issues. Again, small things but they make a difference when you have to see/deal with them every day for 7 days.

I had read other reviews about the food quality and even heard a complaint or two from other passengers while on this cruise. I was not all disappointed with the food in any of the places we ate. The only complaint anyone in my family had was the lobster was overdone/rubbery. Everything else was great, the selections were plentiful in the main dining room (we did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants) and the Oceanview Cafe had good food too. Every morning they had made to order omelets and a wide variety of food at both lunch and dinner. Awesome cheeseburgers and made to order pizza were also available everyday. Our waiters in the dining room, Carlton and Nixon, were simply amazing. I could not have asked for better service. If I could take them on every cruise, I would.

The cabin was fine, typical cruise ship cabin. We ended up in quad because there were 3 of us in 1 room. The sofa sleeper would have been miserable but for the fact we "borrowed" the mattress off the sofa sleeper in another of our group's cabins. It might have been okay for a child, but certainly not comfortable for an adult. At least twice during this cruise, the toilets stopped flushing. Not just in our cabin, but apparently all over the ship. When we called to report it the first time, they indicated there was a problem with the "main" and they were working on it. Neither time was it an extended outage, but could have become a big issue if they don't fix it. Our stateroom attendant was very attentive and we always had fresh towels, ice, etc. Only had towel animals 3 of the 7 nights. Here is where the first of the two ugly incidents happened. The first night, we pulled out the sofa sleeper just to check it out. What we found was a urine stained mattress pad, with multiple stains. (I'll spare you the pics) I have kids so I understand little kids who might sleep on these sofa sleepers may have accidents. Here is what I don't understand and can't accept. When I pointed this issue out and handed the pad to one of the attendants he apologized, TOOK IT FROM THE ROOM and said he would replace it. After dinner, we came back to the room and the beds were all turned down. Of course, I checked the mattress pad. Imagine my surprise when I found the SAME urine stained mattress pad back on the sofa sleeper! Needless to say I had a discussion with the other stateroom attendant and reported it to guest services as well. They sent a housekeeping supervisor and I declined a bottle of champagne but accepted the 6 chocolate covered strawberries as a peace offering. Seriously though, why would they not either a.) bleach the hell out of something like that or b.) throw it away? Much of the bedding was well worn and had small holes/tears from being on metal frames which hold the mattresses. I literally laughed out loud when I found a card in my cabin telling me how I could order the same fine bedding they used on the ship.

Entertainment onboard was only so-so, with the exception of the aerialists who were spectacular. There was a show called "Sirens" which was kind of a Disney "Little Mermaid" rip-off. In the middle of this show, they threw in the Neil Diamond song Sweet Caroline. There were no characters named Caroline and it is obviously not a mermaid/pirate/ocean themed song so it was completely out of place. They did sing the Titanic song during this show-irony that was lost on no one. We went to Motown night in one of the bar/lounges and have to say watching the mostly drunk middle-aged/old people dance was as entertaining as the music. We played Bingo once, went to the casino a couple of times and other than that we did not really participate in any onboard activities.

I have booked excursions both independently and through the various cruise lines. Depending on where you are and what you want to do, there are advantages to both. This cruise was no different. The first port day we were in Barbados. We found a great cab driver who took 7 of the 9 of us all around town. He was knowledgeable, friendly and went out of his way to make sure we got to see all of the highlights, not the least of which was the green monkeys near the golf course. At the next four stops, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, various smaller groups did various things. I booked excursions for those four stops through the cruise line. They had a lot of variety and given that I had never been to any of these ports previously, I felt safer having the guarantee of the cruise line. Here is where 2nd ugly incident took place. The tour was called Local Taste of Antigua. There are no words to describe how bad this tour was. It was a scam, rip off, etc., etc., and it was a local family group all in on it. I went to the shore excursion desk and demanded a refund. This tour cost us $59.75 a person and you couldn't pay me anything to make me go again. Ultimately I got a 50% refund, but the attitude of the shore excursion person I dealt with was what sealed the deal. She admitted there had been at least one other complaint, but until she talked to the tour operator and heard their side of the story, she wasn't willing to do anything. Keep in mind our group had spent around $2,000 in excursions so it wasn't like I was trying to pull a fast one on them to get some great deal for free. Anyway, I will definitely reconsider my ship excursion purchases in the future. Given the information available on the internet and seeing the price gouging by the cruise line, I am sure I will be better off booking them on my own from now on.

Overall we had a good time. Whether or not I would sail on Celebrity again is still unknown. Barbados, St. Martin and Thomas have a lot to offer. St. Lucia is only a so-so port. I would not go back to Antigua if they paid me.

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