Summit - Alaska: Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by FlyingTiger
Overall Member Rating
Summit - Alaska
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Schedule -- Altered schedule and passenger experience
May 7/Los Angeles/departure at 5pm May 7/Los Angeles/We took a room at Best Western in San Pedro, right next to the port. Went out with my camera gear to take pictures of the arrival of the GTS Summit, but the ship was late for reasons I dont know. Warm welcome on board, very friendly stateroom attendant (Isma). I am happy and enjoy sailing out of the port of San Pedro.
May 8/At sea/ We enjoyed the life on board and were very fond of the captain, who seemed to be free of any arrogant manners and he proofed to be a great entertainer at welcome show. We were a little anxious about arrogant officers on the Summit because of such experience we made on this ship 9/2002. I was able to take pictures on whales, all was perfect.
May 9/San Francisco/8am - 6pm/sailing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge when sun is rising, maybe a More little fog on the waters, what a great picture that will be.
May 9/San Francisco/midnight - 8pm/last night, before I went to bed, I went out on the balcony and couldnt believe my eyes. Golden Gate Bridge right ahead, in the middle of the night. San Francisco had not even gone to sleep by the time we arrived. I was wondering how we got to SF so very fast. Than I found the not very detailed map of the ships route on cabin-TV and was sure, that I could keep track from now on. Wrong, the computer routing on cabin-TV broke down several times during this trip (or was shut down, who knows). OK, I said to myself, missed that bridge at daylight, I will take a picture on our way out. Wrong, we were sailing late and it was dark when we reached the bridge. We were informed about an inspection which had to be done on the engines by US authorities.
May 10/at sea/early this morning, we were informed by radio about the malfunction of the engine and that we only could make a speed of 17,5 knots instead of 22,5 knots. (It was here that we were offered a $200 per cabin as compensation - later it was altered to a $200 gift.) Therefore we could not hold to our original itinerary and were informed about the changes. Many passengers were angry, because they had appointments and arrangements for Seattle. Since the captains radio message was very brief, passengers (not the ships management) requested a meeting in the ships theatre to clear things. Some 1000+ passengers attended this meeting including my wife and me. I did not have any questions and up to this time I still said to myself: these things happen, happened before, will happen again and this will not ruin my holidays or my good mood. But already at this meeting I felt very strong a tense atmosphere between the ships management and passengers. We felt uncomfortable because of strong ships-security presence on all locations of the theatre as well as a huge crowd of ships officers around the stage. After the captain made clear how lucky we are that he came to this meeting to answer our questions (other captains would not do that) he in fact was very patient to answer everything. Only later I found out, that he is only a string puppet of the Celebrity Corporation and his word means nothing. Anyhow, here he admitted, and that was videotaped, that a full refund would be appropriate. He also told the passengers, that the engines problem only showed an hour or so after departure from SF?? Well, everyone on board knew better already. After this meeting I never have seen the captain again on board. He also did not show up on the photo session with captain!!!
But back to the meeting, every second sentence was about that he can make no decisions and the big company has to decide (Blame not me, blame the ones out of reach). He promised that 2 company executives will be flown to Ketchikan (4 days later) to take care of this matter. Wrong again, the 2 company people were no executives, but office clerks who would report back to the company. Another very poor impression was left by the cruise director, who told 1000+ angry passengers, that we, the passengers, would not be the only ones missing on something. He was to celebrate an anniversary and for that reason expected his sister to come on board the Summit in Seattle. With grief he told us, that he is still very happy. I admit, I was thinking: wrong approach, really unprofessional, who cares.
May 11/Seattle/we were scheduled to see the Boeing plant -- May 11/at sea/we have not been to Seattle so far, so it would have been our first time. Missing the Boeing plant hurts, but we still kept our good mood. Tension between passengers and ship management builds up. I feel like a school kid without any rights.
May 12/at sea/I decided not to accept $200 as compensation and asked the reception to take the $200 off my board-account. I was told, that it is not possible to take the $200 off my board-account. Consequent I wrote a line, saying that I do not accept $200 as compensation and take it only under protest, handed it over to the reception and asked to acknowledge the receipt of my lines on a copy. Unbelievable, neither the lady in charge nor her supervisor did sign or chop the receipt. The company would not allow such action. I was just waiting for the argument, that the reception of my lines could not be acknowledged because of security reasons. Fortunately another passenger waiting in line stepped up and signed as witness. Thanks again to him. I was speechless but still kept up my good mood, only it was getting harder to be happy.
May 13/Ketchikan/7am - 4pm -- May 13/Ketchikan/7am - 2pm/missing 2 hours.
May 14 / Juneau / 7am - 10pm May 14 / Juneau / 8am - 10pm / missing 1 hour.
May 15/Skagway/7am - 8pm -- May 15/Skagway/7am - 7pm/missing 1 hour but still enough time to ride the train and making sensational pictures.
May 16/cruising Hubbard Glacier/9am - 1pm/we wanted to repeat the experience we made last August, cruising the Hubbard Glacier with the Radiance of the Seas -- May 16/cruising Hubbard Glacier/11am - 2pm/in fact the Summit did not even get over the entrance of Yakutat-Bay. The ship turned around once at an estimated distance of 5 to 7 miles away from the glacier and sailed away (pictures can be provided). We may just spend 30 minutes to watch an Holland-America cruise ship sailing very close to the glacier. I heard that the reason for this short turn should be, that there are no two ships allowed near the glacier. I do not believe that, because last years August, the Radiance of the Seas, with us on board, was not the only ship in Yakutat-Bay.
I stood under the impression, that the Summit would make the most of what was left to see on this cruise. But the did exactly the opposite, they did everything to avoid to show their customers the many beauties of Alaska. At this point the water in my glass swept over, this was the end of my patience. Now I was certain, that they did not care at all about their paying customers. We were the fortunate ones who knew already about the beauty of this glacier from our last cruise in Aug, '06. We knew about the "out of this world sound" this glacier produces, we knew about the calving action and its fascination, we knew about the brilliance of the blue colour. But all that could not be experienced on this cruise.
May 17/Sitka/7am-3pm -- May 17/at sea/the Celebrity Reps had been on board since Ketchikan, doing single??? interviews with the passengers. Today it was said, that the German passengers can take their interview. I went early to take a number and spend the whole day waiting for my turn. (Half an our reading a book, running back to 3rd floor looking if my number has been called already). But the 2 Reps accepted so many other passengers for interview in between (Passengers who did not have to pull a number) that it was after 8pm when I finally could see the Reps. Very polite people they were, but not allowed to say anything of any substance. Another lost day.
May 18/Inside Passage/whole day -- May 18/daytime at sea - nighttime Inside Passage/this morning we were informed by the captain, that a pilot would be coming on board at 5pm that afternoon. Until than, we would stay on one spot somewhere in nowhere. The fog was blamed, but have an hour after this announcement, the fog was gone and we had pretty sunshine. Another lost day. The time we wasted there was more than scheduled for Sitka. Why did they not go to Sitka then? Did the captain forget to ask for a pilot? Why, why, why? And no answers. Right at dinnertime we went into the interesting part of the Inside Passage. I did not go to dinner just to catch the last rays for a good photo. Another wasted day.
May 19/Victoria/8am - 5pm -- May 19/Victoria/8am - 5pm, we are already somewhat through with this cruise and enjoy only the beauty of Victoria and only the sight of the Summit makes me sick. And the bad experiences didnt stop. My wife wanted to send an birthday-mail to a friend. We had not used the internet so far, but in my documents, downloaded 1 week before cruise started, it said. As a "Select" member of the Captains Club, which we are (no more with pride), we were entitled to 10 minutes free internet access. Enough time to send a "Happy Birthday". In asking for this 10 Minutes at the desk of the Captain's Club, I must have forgotten for a moment were I was. "We changed policy", was what I heard from the lady in charge: "you have to buy now 100 minutes and than you get 15% off". What??? At least I had the guts to tell that lady that I actually did not expect anything different. Again the ship's management missed a chance to shine.
This evening we got a written message, that we will receive, in 4-6 weeks time, an offer for 30% off any other cruise within the next 18 month. The passengers who were scheduled for the following cruise May 20, which was cancelled, received their money back and an additional free cruise on top. I was told by the Celebrity Reps.
May 20/arrival Vancouver/7am/it will not surprise you, that we arrived in the middle of the night and Celebrity, as a last act, did not allow us to sail under Lions Gate Bridge and the beautiful port of Vancouver at daylight.
This is our experience with Celebrity Cruise 07/05/2006. Less