I had the honor of eating my way through life aboard the Celebrity Summit during my spring break this past week, and one could only imagine how many times I’ll be going to the gym this week…
The Celebrity Summit, as a cruise itself, was honestly not my all time favorite. This was my third cruise experience, as I’ve previously sailed the seas aboard the Norweigan Gem and a Holland America ship. The Celebrity Summit had everything one could want on a typical cruise vacation, but there was nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary — some nice swimming pools, hot tubs, a spa, and, yes, lots and lots of food. I found other cruising lines to have a more interesting ship with a larger variety of options or activities that truly make that cruiseline stand out, such as Noreweigan Gem’s Freestyle Dining option and their beautiful bowling alley aboard the ship, or Holland America’s overall charm that I found permeate throughout.
Then again, in all honesty, I will admit the crowd aboard my ship also deflated my own experience a little. As one of the few in this country to have spring break at the end of April, one could imagine what a cruising experience would be like for a college student aboard a ship of retirees and regularly indulgent Americans.
Nevertheless, my cruise experience was wonderful, and I loved spending time with my family as we explored Bermuda, St. Thomas, and St. Martin/Maarten. I had the honor of cruising through the oceans with America’s first female cruise captain in the industry, which was a very pleasant flag of progress to spot in America today.
And, I will give it to the Celebrity Summit that their dining room had some truly phenomenal food…
My parents and I are always skeptical of dining room food on cruises, and we often find ourselves avoiding buffets and the traditional dining room setting all together and opting for specialty restaurants aboard in an attempt to find the best of the best cuisine available. There were two specialty restaurants available on ship — one italian and one fusion-hipster restaurant that served aesthetic dishes such as “sushi lollipops.”
But it was truly a daily surprise to find how attractive and well-prepared the food at both the traditional dining room and buffet was. We ended up heading to the dining room for a vast majority of our meals, with the occasional skip to the buffet. My family generally loaths the entire “all-you-can-eat” concept, especially with the huge variety of food, but the buffet was also worthy of praise.
Since most meals were in the dining room, we came to know the dining staff quite well. Our dinner service was excellent — highly attentive and personal waiters who genuinely put in as much effort as possible to keep you happy. Breakfast service was also efficient and quick, and in general, it’s incredible how quick the turnover time between courses were. I never found myself waiting centuries for my entree or dying of starvation at any point, and so the transition between courses was spot-on.
The food itself varied, but was generally always good. Presentation and portin sizes also varied substantially. There were days when the portion sizes were legitimately laughable for an appetizer, where we had a plate served with a single scallop (yes, one scallop) or literally a couple of leaves. However, other appetizers were very fairly sized, and in general, the presentation was attractive and sometimes even beautiful.
Food quality was often a hit-or-miss, but most of the food choices were hits. The most “misses” I found were around steaks, where they were often overdone or just plain unexceptional. The most “hits” I found were around chicken, and I don’t know what they do to cook their chicken, but whatever they’re doing — it’s working. Pastas were also very good, generally speaking, with satisfying sauces and appropriate portions
Desserts were often very well-presented, and there was always a good sugar-free option available. However, I do think that their desserts were not comparable to NYC desserts or other desserts I’m used to, where their cakes were often mediocre in my opinion. The ice cream, however, which they make on the ship themselves, was always spot-on and often sugar-free.
The dining room menu in general changed everyday, with a small section of options that the kitchen offered daily, such as caesar salad or broiled salmon. The menu was always interesting and featured enough options to satisfy any type of eater. There were always options available for guests with dietary restrictions, including gluten-free options, vegetarian options, and sugar-free options. They also, to my liking, note which dishes are considered “healthier” in comparison to the other options with a small green check.
The buffet offered a huge variety of food, as expected, ranging from salads to pastas to meats to desserts. The dessert station literally resembled some sort of haven for a lot of cruise guests, but the buffet may it extremely possible to eat healthy. We often hit the buffet for lunch, and I found myself eating exceptionally healthy simply because I was a huge fan of the healthy options available. My go-to lunch was a salad with some veggies and chicken, which often came out looking and tasting fantastic.
As a New Yorker, my dad always says that we’re spoiled when it comes to food, and it’s very true. It’s hard to ever reach New York City standards of food, and although I can’t say that the Celebrity Summit accomplished NYC standards, they did do an exceptional job at preparing and serving their guests.
I’m glad to take another break, one that will likely last many months, that will consist of not eating incessantly. I partially loath cruise ships for amount fo food one ends up eating, regardless of how healthy you try to be it’s inevitable. But overall, the Celebrity Summit probably did have the best food out of any cruise line I’ve been on, despite the fact that I preferred previous cruise ships themselves. I had a wonderful time, and it was very much a positive experience, but I may not personally choose Celebrity again in the future, only because of my personal affinity for Norweigan. The food in general would get a 8 out of 10 with me, which I consider very solid considering we ate at traditional dining room settings.