Cruising Aqua Class

(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.

In-Cabin Experience

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?

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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!)

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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.

the black dots are chips in the mirror
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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:

photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

But on the Summit, it actually looks like this:

photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

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

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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).

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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!

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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!

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

So…

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

Curious about what life is like in a non-Aqua Class cabin on Celebrity Solstice Class ships? Read my reviews of our time on the Celebrity Equinox & the Celebrity Reflection

Have another question about cruising (Aqua Class or otherwise)? Just leave a comment below & I’ll do my best to provide information!

Share Button

About christina

Christina is a 30-something D.I.N.K. travel writer & photographer who travels the world often wedged into the middle seat. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook.

,

43 Responses to Cruising Aqua Class

  1. Ebony October 24, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    I’ve never be a fan of cruses but this post makes me want to hop aboard. Well done!

  2. Darren May 28, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    Thank you for posting this review. We have been on three celebrity cruises but never above Concierge and your post helped us decide whether to go Aqua or not (on Solstice only, of course!). We are going to go for it!

    Brilliant detail and pictures.

    • christina June 1, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      I think you’ll love it! It just makes the whole thing seen a bit more posh.

  3. Kari August 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Thanks for the great information and attention to detail! My husband and I have sailed Celebrity Solstice class ships previously, and decided that we would only sail Solstice class after our first one. We have just booked our first aqua class cruise and this has answered all of my questions! THANKS!

    • christina August 3, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      You’ll love Aqua Class! Note that Aqua Class on S-Class ships are very different than my experience on the Summit – it’s glamorous and wonderful (or so I hear :)) Have a great cruise!

  4. Robert Duke of Wanstead August 23, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Thank you for your informative insight into Aqua Class we will be experiencing this in October on the Infinity TA cruise. We dont seem to be able to ascertain the length of time that Elite members are able to enjoy complimentary drinks in the evening on Celebrity from 5 till 8.30 on RCCL is it just the one hour on celebrity and are there designated lounges for Elite and Elite plus members?

    • christina August 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Bob –

      I think you’ll love Infinity! I’m not an Elite member, so it’s a bit hard for me to know, but from what I could tell, there was a designated lounge for Elite members when we were on Reflection: Michaels Club (the former cigar and craft beer bar). I’m not sure their hours, but I can confirm that it was never very crowded.

      I’d encourage you to check out the forums on Cruise Critic – cruisers there seem very knowledgable on the Elite perks.

      Have a great cruise!
      Christina

  5. Edy September 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Perhaps the only way to cruise is when you are an Elite member. After our experience on the Infinity we will probably not cruise for a long, long time! The room was small, the shower pathetic, the amenities were mediocre for the price of the fare. Travelers be ware!! Do not go on Celebrities Infinity, when you pay for Concierge class and expect something definitively special- you will not get it!

    • christina September 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

      Edy –

      I’m sorry you had a disappointing experience. As you can see from my post, we were also disappointed by our experience. I think the difference is that we both cruised Concierge or Aqua on a Millennium Class ship – which is VERY different than cruising even regular on a Solstice Class ships. Having been on both (S Class twice), Solstice Class is almost like cruising a different cruise line. It’s largely a factor in when the ships were built: all their Millennium Class ships are older and even if they’ve been “Solsticized,” it’s not the same as sailing on a ship that’s 10 years old or less.

      I will likely always choose Celebrity, but when I do, I will only choose Solstice Class ships going forward.

      Christina

  6. Laura October 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    So I am travelling on Celebrity Constellation next week which is millennium class not solstice and just upgraded from concierge level to aqua class. Do I want to accept it? Sounds iffy based on your post? We keep getting upgraded because they keep lowering the prices.

    • christina October 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

      Considering the difference between Aqua Class and Concierge Class is minimal, as long as you like your new cabin location, I’d take it.

      Sailing on a M-Class ship is just different than an S-Class ship – and that’s okay! Happy cruising!

  7. Gordon November 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Travelling to US west coast in July 2015 to see my bro. and after that trying to find a couples cruise for a week.
    Most attractive is the Celeb Summit from Bayonne to Bermuda and back because we can then return direct to Glasgow from NYC. However, I have my doubts about the Summit.We have 4 Celeb cruises under our belts but all Solstice class.
    Looked at Carnival from LA but not sure Carnival is either classy enough or for couples.
    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    • christina November 16, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      Celebrity Summit out of Bayonne is NOTHING like Solstice Class. It was so different, in fact, that we actually questioned after our Summit cruise whether cruising Celebrity was really for us. Our cruise last April on Reflection confirmed that it was – we just need to stick with S Class ships. Also know that cruising to Bermuda and parking there for three days is a very different cruise experience than a typical cruise.

      I would look at some of the ships sailing out of Manhattan – the Norwegian Breakaway has been getting good reviews (they were docked with us in Bermuda), but you certainly have to like the Norwegian product and have to like cruising with kids and families. What about the new RCL Quantum of the Seas, which is also sailing out of Bayonne? Again, you have to like the fancy megaship (which it sounds like you do, with S Class ships).

      LA cruises are popular, but certainly a different product. I would not sail on one of the Carnival ships there, as they’re older. The Crown Princess and Ruby Princess are supposed to be nice and cruises out of LA – probably the closest cruise line to Celebrity (IMO).

      In July, though, you have to be concerned about hurricanes (regardless of which side of the ocean you’re on). Make sure you have good travel insurance in case you want to cancel (we’ve cruised with hurricanes before and, while we’ve never had to skip ports because of it, the cruise line can skip ports and not reimburse you).

      Personally, I would book the cruise I wanted, even if it meant flying from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami through JFK to get back to Glasgow.

      Good luck! Feel free to shoot me an email at christina (at) myviewfromthemiddleseat (dot) com if you have more questions!

  8. Edward March 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Very nice review of Aqua class. We have sailed on Celebrity Mellinieum class ships three times – twice on the Constellation (one in Concierge and once in a deck 9 Aqua-Class) and once on the Mellinieum (also deck 9 Aqua-Class). The Constellation and Mellinieum are both older ships (Mellinieum 2000 & Constellation 2002) but I witnessed none of the condition issues that you encountered. Last year we did a Transatlantic on a Solstice class ship,the Celebrity Equinox, also Aqua.

    Everyone’s needs and wants vary and our opinion of the spa of Mellinieum versus Solstice class differs from yours. We prefer the more intimate size of Mellinieum versus Solstice. We enjoyed both, we just preferred the Mellinieum ships.

    The Blu is excellent and IS why we pick Aqua cabins. We enjoy the smaller Blu restaurant in the Mellinieum ships and the tables for two are close enough to the neighboring tables that we often befriended them. Also, the smaller Blu restaurant in the Mellinieum ships have fewer waiter and you get to know them all.

    • Geoffrey May 16, 2015 at 9:22 am #

      I’m taking my nephew and going on a much needed cruise to Bermuda in August immediately after I finish my last term of a 5 year program to become an Oriental Medical Doctor(acupuncture, massage, moxabustion, etc.). Intense program and I will need to unwind for a week as I haven’t been on a vacation in at least 10 years. My question is this–we are in Aqua class for me as I enjoy the spa and like the idea of Blu and the balcony for me to sit on and just read a good old fashioned Agatha Christie mystery novel. However, my nephew is 15 years old and I wonder if he will have enough activities on the ship to at least not always be around me. I want him to have a great vacation and I will always be there for him however are there enough other teens on the Summit ship in the summer??? ARe there activities for him where he doesn’t need me to tag along with him?? I’m hoping he can make friends but if he doesn’t–I’m there for him.

      • christina May 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

        The Summit is much smaller than the larger ships which have more bells and whistles. Since I don’t have kids myself and don’t normally travel with kids, it’s hard to know if your nephew will have fun or not. I think it depends on what kind of 15 year old he is :) There were definitely teenagers on our ship hanging out, but I’m not sure if they knew each other ahead of time or not. I went on my first cruise with my parents when I was 13 and had a blast!

  9. Mel C November 14, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Sailed 8 Celebrity cruises – noticed slight changes every year in services, products, food, etc etc. Some better- some not so better. Tip of the day for the fruit issue ……. In your cabin swap out the apples like take them out of your cabin, leave them in various places on the ship ( kidding ) but if the attendant sees the fruit is gone they’ll replace it with fresher fruit. Otherwise I found they just usually leave it their till who knows when. :)

    • christina November 14, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

      Well why didn’t I think of that? :)

  10. Candice February 9, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

    Thank you for the information. Am I to understand that if you are booked in Aqua class you cannot alternate between Blu and the main restaurant?

    • christina February 9, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

      Candice –

      Unless they’ve changed something since our cruise, that is correct. The menu closely mirrors that in the dining room (but they offer more “healthy” options). The biggest difference is that at Blu you almost always get a table for your party size, vs being in the dining room where you may be seated at a larger table with people you don’t know. We actually made friends with another couple & sat with them one or two nights (you request your table at the host stand when you arrive at whatever time you wish), but it was certainly a less social experience than the dining room. Note that you can still eat in the dining room for breakfast (which I would argue was the best part of Blu) & lunch.

      The only way this may have changed is because they’ve greatly expanded the “any time dining” in the main dining room the last few years – not sure if this has opened up tables for Aqua Class guests.

      Enjoy your cruise & let me know if you have any other questions! Cruising Aqua Class on an S-Class ship is definitely worth it!

      Christina

  11. john s February 21, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    hi , going on Hawaii Solstice cruise to Vancouver. Thinking of Aqua class cabin. 10 yr anniversary. What are the fees for Blu,garden/relaxation, and is expanded room service included-looks good. :) also w/free classic beverage plus tips…will there be added service fees?

    • christina February 21, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

      Happy anniversary! I think it would absolutely be with it on Solstice. No extra fees on anything you mention – usual gratuity package covers all the “extras.”

      I believe expanded room service is included, but it has been a few years, so if that’s important to you, I’d be sure and double check. We had some nice room service meals on our balcony!

  12. Amanda February 24, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    We did an Alaska cruise in Aqua class on the equinox and are looking into a Caribbean one on the summit this summer. We are leary to try another cruise line b/c we loved the entire experience with Aqua class. Blu was the best part for us. We thought the food was fantastic and we did friend several neighbors at breakfast and dinner. The buffet food was just ok and we weren’t amazed by the spa itself on the equinox but the restaurant and priority boarding make it well worth it if the pricing is about the same. I’m not sure about normal room service but we enjoyed milk and warm cookies and steak and frites dinners often in our cabin as late night “snacks” since we tended to dine early so we could catch shows in the evenings.

    • christina February 24, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

      I bet Aqua Class on a S-Class ship is amazing! I definitely want to try it one day. We’ve cruised lots of Celebrity cruises, but are trying Princess for the first time next month! Definitely interested to see the difference.

  13. Candace February 24, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    My friends and I (4 couples all in our early to mid 30’s) booked the Celebrity Summit Aqua class and this posting makes me think we made a big mistake! :(

    • christina February 24, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

      Any cruise is a good cruise! You’ll have a great time.

  14. Kirsty February 25, 2016 at 6:24 am #

    Hi Christina, loved your blog…my husband and I are travelling on celebrity Eclipse (Aqua class) from Southampton England to the Norwegian Fjords. Is this one of the newer ships you are talking about? It’s our first time on Celebrity, we travelled on Norwegian Jewel With the kids on a Caribbean cruise & decided it wasn’t for us. Our only other experience was Silversea Spirit which we loved but it was a little on the old side (we’re early 40’s). Decided it’s best to go with others on Silversea in the future.
    We have a drinks package thrown in with the deal. On Norwegian this included gratuities but from what I can make out not on Celebrity? Many thanks.

    • christina February 25, 2016 at 7:19 am #

      Yes – Eclipse is a newer ship – you’re going to have a great time!

      I’m actually not sure about gratuities being included on a beverage package, sorry.

      Although Celebrity will be very different than Silversea (one of the few truly luxurious small lines), I still think you’ll enjoy your voyage. I’m curious to see what the age range is of your fellow passengers. We’ve had a hard time finding people our age (mid 30s) on any cruise that’s not a short jaunt to the Caribbean. But we don’t mind being the “young people.”

      Bon voyage!

  15. Kirsty February 26, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    Thanks Christina,

    We don’t mind being the ‘youngish people either’.
    Really looking forward to it now. Apparently they have introduced new for 2016 a restaurant & bar lounge for suite pax only. Looked into the price & it’s a huge jump from Aqua Class. Maybe one day!
    Will let you know the age range & how we got on.

    • christina February 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

      Yeah, suite is a huge jump :) Bon voyage!

  16. Joy February 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi there! Looking at an Alaska cruise on Celebrity Solstice and love the idea of Blu and some private spaces. Have you been on that ship? Are all Aqua Class created equal?:) I love the “middle seat” concept, btw. :)

    • christina February 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

      Hi Joy! I haven’t been on the Solstice, but have been on its sister ships Equinox and Reflection. All Aqua Classes are not created equal – yours will be much better than mine! Those ships were designed for Aqua Class rooms, not retrofitted like the Summit was. Have a great cruise!

  17. Paul March 1, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    Just returned from an Aqua class Western Caribbean cruise on the Silhouette. Excellent experience, weak tea and all (it went bye bye on day 2). Blu is top notch. I didn’t miss the “cattle call” to the main dining room at all. Plenty of nice folks to talk with and a fun loving but professional dining staff to enjoy. It really spoils you.

  18. Romy March 25, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    We are planning the Alaska cruise on Solstice, aqua class, in July, It’s our first time on Celebrity cruise so we are excited. We’ve been on Royal Caribbean cruises (allure & mariner of the sea) which we loved and once on Princess cruise which we didn’t want to Repeat.
    We loved the night entertainments Royal so I was wondering if the night entertainment on celebrity is any good? How’s daily activities?

    • christina March 26, 2016 at 9:03 am #

      I’m sure you’ll have a great time! I can’t speak to the production shows, as we tend not to go, and I’m guessing they have special daily activities on Alaska cruises that differ from the Caribbean.

      I’m sure you’ll love Solstice!

  19. Mara August 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    Hi,

    We are planning a cruise for our honey moon and I came across this. I really wanted to travel with Celebrity summit just because it goes to a lot of the islands in the Caribbean. It leaves out of Puerto Rico. Now I have no idea what to do. I really don’t want to go on a run down ship. Any suggestions?

    • christina August 12, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      Hi Mara –

      Tough question! Summit went into dry dock for improvements in early 2016, so hopefully some of these things were improved. It doesn’t change the fact that it is an older ship though.

      Since it’s your honeymoon (congratulations!), I think you definitely want a special experience though. Have you considered the Celebrity Ultimate Caribbean itinerary? It’s on the Celebrity Equinox out of Ft. Lauderdale & is a great cruise (we went on it a few years ago, you can see our review here: http://myviewfromthemiddleseat.com/2012/04/cruise-review-celebrity-equinox-10-day/). It’s one of the best cruises we’ve ever been on & the combination of islands is great.

      Or, since it’s your honeymoon, you could really splurge & try Viking Ocean Cruises or Seabourn Cruises.

      Whichever you decide, I know you’ll have a great trip!

      Christina

  20. Sharon August 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    We are planning a Christmas cruise going around South America on Celebrity Infinity. It’s a 15-day cruise and we are booked Concierge Class. Should I look into the Aqua Class?

    • christina August 17, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

      I think if the price difference isn’t that much, and you enjoy and plan to use the spa, it’s worth it! Otherwise, I think Concierge Class is fine.

      Enjoy! Sounds like an amazing cruise.

  21. Sheila January 22, 2017 at 7:58 am #

    Just a quick question, where is the Blu restaurant on the Summit, doesn’t show on Cruise Mates boat map, thank you in advance

  22. peter stafford August 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    we are looking at the 10 day italy an greek isles cruise on celebrity reflection , is this a good ship to upgrade to concierage or aquaclass ??
    Thank you

    • christina August 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

      Hi Peter –

      We recently returned from a cruise on Celebrity Solstice, the Reflection’s sister ship, and upgraded to Concierge Class (actually it was the same price because we booked late). I don’t think it was worth it – the perks were minimal (pillow menu, fresh fruit in the room (for us, the same apples sat there all week) and a concierge who called us every day to leave a vm and let us know activities around the ship. Having just cruised Reflection two years ago in a standard balcony (there’s a review here), I would say to go for that vs Concierge.

      Aqua Class is nice for two reasons: if you hate the main dining room and specialty restaurants and want to eat in Blu or if you really love the spa and want access to the Persian Garden.

      Otherwise, I stay go for the standard veranda.

      Have fun – I love cruising in Europe :)

      Christina

Leave a Reply