(note: in order to provide the most accurate information possible, this post was updated with current information from Celebrity’s website on Concierge Class & Aqua Class in February 2016. New offerings, which were not a part of our cruise in 2013, are marked with a *. In addition, Summit was scheduled to go into dry dock in early 2016, so undoubtedly she was spiffed up a bit!)
During our cruise on the Celebrity Summit this summer, we decided to splurge a bit & sail in an Aqua Class cabin. Let me explain: Celebrity offers two different types of upgraded classes, Concierge Class & Aqua Class. Concierge Class includes early embarkation & debarkation, along with priority check-in; sparkling wine upon sail away (who doesn’t love bubbly?); fresh cut flowers in your room; priority reservations at specialty restaurants; upgraded pillows, sheets & duvet covers; complimentary evening canapés; express luggage delivery; fresh fruit in the cabin; bathrobes (actually available in all staterooms upon request); use of binoculars & a golf umbrella; extra hairdryer* & a Celebrity tote bag.
Aqua Class includes everything above, plus exclusive access to BLU restaurant (this is where you eat your meals, instead of in the Main Dining Room); unlimited access to the Persian Garden & spa relaxation room, as well as a special spa concierge & a VIP tour of the spa; spa inspired room amenities (slippers, shower gel) & bath robes; an upgraded cabin shower & fog-free mirror*; welcome bottled water*; daily delivery of tea only*, an aromatherapy diffuser*, pillow menu, on-demand wellness programming* & an upgraded room service menu.
For our sailing, the upgrade cost was the same for both Concierge & Aqua Class, so we thought we’d give Aqua Class a try.
Some of the in-cabin amenities are really nice: oversized bath sheets (we definitely noticed when they gave us regular towels vs these!) & the pillow menu (sounds minor, but a week on a cruise with a horrible pillow really puts a cramp in your vacation… & a kink in your neck!) were very appreciated. It’s always nice to have a bottle of wine waiting in your room when you arrive & bottled water is a HUGE help, especially when traveling in the Caribbean (update: it appears they now only offer daily iced tea service, with a “welcome” bottle of water at embarkation). The apples in the picture below were a little mushy & stayed in the same place the entire cruise – we were excited about daily fresh fruit, since we’re big fruit eaters at home, but this didn’t satisfy that desire. Maybe we should have asked our cabin steward to change them out?
The fresh flowers were a nice touch, but by the end of the trip, they just seemed to be taking up extra counter space. The tea was really weak, so much that after two days, we decided it wasn’t worth the counter space it took up & just asked for water.
The canapés… oh, the canapés! Honestly? They were pathetic. A few stale chips, a teaspoon of salsa, a few melon balls… absolutely ridiculous that Celebrity even wastes time on these, they’re so bad. (update from 2017: the canapes are still awful!)
Because the Celebrity Summit is a much older ship which has been updated, there’s really only so much you can do with a cabin. One place that the age of the ship really showed is in the bathroom. Stocked with Aqua Class amenities, such as nicer toiletries, & a super nice shower head, the bathroom itself was disgusting. The mirror was chipped throughout the glass, there was rust & mold in the shower &, after falling in love with Celebrity bathrooms on the Equinox, I promptly fell back out of love on this cruise.
Outside the Cabin
The Aqua Spa
Cruise lines put a huge premiums on their spas, as they’re a big money maker for them. Unfortunately, the Aqua Class amenities that are most attractive involve a spa – but only on a Solstice class ship, not a Millennium class ship. They hook you with photos like this:
But on the Summit, it actually looks like this:
The two photos above are of the same on-board feature: the Persian Garden. I’m not saying it’s not nice on Summit, it’s just not what is advertised (sweeping views of the sea) – it’s disappointing (in reality a small, dark space for 2 – 3 people max). In addition, the Celebrity Summit doesn’t have a relaxation area (an area on the Equinox we spent some time in & were looking forward to spending more) & if we got a VIP tour of the spa or a special concierge, we weren’t notified. The spa on the Summit was disappointing.
Blu is the exclusive Aqua Class restaurant, which means if you sail Aqua Class, rather than having an assigned table in the main dining room, this is where you eat your meals. One of the things B & I like about cruising is the social aspect, so we missed the chance to sit in the main dining room & meet other couples; however, we had sat at a lot of empty tables on previous cruises, so we thought we’d give it a shot (we actually did end up meeting a very nice couple from New York & enjoyed chatting with them throughout the cruise).
Dining at Blu is very much like dining at a regular restaurant. You check in with the maitre’d & are seated at a table for two, if there is one available. Because you do not have a set table, you don’t have a set waiter & assistant waiter. We missed this more than we thought we would – our waiters have been some of our favorite staff people on previous cruises!
The food in Blu mostly lived up to its billing. The breakfast especially was fantastic (blueberry pancakes!). Other highlights included the braised short ribs, the grilled fish & the plain ol’ piece of cheesecake. Celebrity advertises Blu as “clean eating,” but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s all healthy – or tasteless!
Would I sail Aqua Class again? Yes – BUT only on a Solstice Class ship. The amenities on a ship built for this class of cabins, rather than retrofitted, would certainly be better. In fact, when we sail Celebrity again, in my mind, Solstice Class ships will be our only option.
Curious about the rest of our experience on the Celebrity Summit? Read my full review here.
Have another question about cruising (Aqua Class or otherwise)? Just leave a comment below & I’ll do my best to provide information!