Celebrity Summit emerged from a 38-day, $75 million dry dock in late March that updated its staterooms and suites, as well as a number of public spaces. This much-needed refresh is the first major update in over a decade, which brought it in line with Celebrity’s popular Solstice class of ships. It’s the second in Celebrity’s oldest ship class — which also includes Millennium (for which the class is named), Infinity, and Constellation — to complete the line’s $500-million, four-year “revolution.”
Summit now has a more contemporary look that borrows design cues from the recently launched Celebrity Edge. But, space and infrastructure create limitations, so this is no mini-Edge. Rather, the result is more subtly modern interior décor, and new exclusive venues for Suite Class guests, which will eventually be fleetwide. There’s also a revamped approach to buffet dining in the Oceanview Café, which now includes 12 action stations and select à la minute preparation. It’s also one of the first ships to offer menus by Michelin-starred culinary master Chef Daniel Boulud. Right now, these menus are only in Luminae, which is exclusive to suite guests; however, the cruise line plans to roll this out as a Chef’s Table experience available to all passengers.
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The Updated Decor: Kelly Hoppen, the London-based interior designer who created the look for Edge’s suites (along with its exclusive sun deck and lounge), did the same for Summit. And, thanks to design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates, the dated staterooms now have a sleeker ambience in a muted taupe-gray palette with touches of coral. There are also updates that include completely redesigned bathrooms and charging outlets in one bedside table. They are modern, fuss-free, and now feature true king-size beds. Other venues with a fresher, more contemporary look include the Cosmopolitan Dining Room, Oceanview Café, Rendezvous Lounge, and Sunset Bar.
The Retreat Venues for Suite Guests: Cruisers in Suite Class accommodations won’t be disappointed by Hoppen’s design, the amenities, or by the three exclusive Retreat areas onboard. Summit has four suite categories — from the 308-square-foot entry-level Sky Suites, to the two 2,530-square-foot aft-facing Penthouse Suites, which feature a bathtub with a view and an expansive private deck complete with a hot tub. The look is finessed and sophisticated yet also airy (mostly in shades of white and gray) and crisp. The Retreat Sundeck is located forward on Deck 12 and features cabanas set around a large hot tub (but no pool). Suite guests can also exclusively dine in Luminae (which features a three-course tasting rotating menu of signature dishes by Boulud) and access the Retreat Lounge on Deck 4 for cocktails and snacks.
The Martini Bar and Sunset Bar: Both of these spaces are crowd-pleasers, whether you prefer the frenetically social vibe of the Martini Bar on Deck 4 (where ambidextrous “flair bartenders” entertain with their deft theatrics), or the mellow outdoor ambience of the newly refreshed Sunset Bar on Deck 10 aft (where acoustic music and wake views create a dreamy harmony).
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Grown-up Ambience: Summit isn’t a ship for rambunctious kids. There is a Camp at Sea club for younger cruisers, but there are no water slides or laser-tag courses. This is ultimately a haven for couples or groups of friends who want to explore ports by day and enjoy elegantly casual camaraderie in onboard restaurants and bars. Guests can also look forward to Chef’s Table, an exclusive five-course dinner created by Boulud and served at a 12-seat communal table in Tuscan Grille twice each sailing (this will be available in late 2019). This culinary experience is expected to cost $139 per person ($199 with wine pairings) and will need to be reserved well in advance of boarding.
Being a Big Ship That’s Not Too Big: Despite the addition of 30 new staterooms during dry dock, the 2,218-passengers Summit still accommodates about 500 to 700 fewer cruisers than Solstice- and Edge-class ships. Summit strikes a nice balance between spaciousness and intimacy. The Deck 10 pool area features a decent-sized pool (one of two onboard; the other is in the adjacent adults-only Solarium) and four hot tubs, and there’s no big screen or splash pool to raise the noise quotient. The ship has eight restaurants, including the Cosmopolitan Dining Room and extra-charge specialty restaurants Tuscan Grille, Qsine, Sushi on Five, and Blu, the latter of which is exclusively available to AquaClass guests.
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Who It's Best For
Couples Looking for Affordable Sophistication: While Summit doesn’t quite deliver the luxury-class ambience and all-inclusive ease of lines such as Crystal, Viking, and Seabourn, it does offer lower cruise fares than Celebrity’s newer ships. Additionally, its size means it can sail into ports that some larger ships can’t. Fans of Celebrity have always been loyal to its Millennium-class ships, and these new enhancements mean they have even more reason to be.
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The Entertainment Isn’t Revolutionary: Yes, Summit is hosting the premiere season of performances by American Ballet Theatre (a first at sea), which is available on a dozen sailings in 2019. The two dances bookend a longer performance by a modern violinist, and, while it’s refreshing to see ballet at sea — the performances of the principal dancer and soloist in the debut on Summit were wonderful — the staging didn’t wow. Ditto for December ‘63, a concert-like performance of hits by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons that could have had more impact with some multimedia effects. Unlike its sister brand Royal Caribbean and other big-ship lines, Celebrity doesn’t feature large-scale Broadway-style productions.
It’s Still an 18-Year-Old Ship: Summit was launched in 2001, before the heyday of bell-and-whistle-filled newer ships — so despite its fresh polish, it feels somewhat traditional. And even though staterooms look new, there are 168 connecting cabins in which sound transfer remains an issue. Avoid booking one if you’re not traveling with close friends or family. That said, Summit‘s bridge has been completely revolutionized with the latest navigational technology — and updates have made the ship 15 percent more fuel-efficient — so she’s good to sail itineraries to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe, and New England and Canada for years to come.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.
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Celebrity Summit at a Glance
- Line: Celebrity Cruises
- Class: Millennium
- Number of Passengers: 2
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2001
- Refurbish Date: 2019