My Wife, Barbara, and I are experienced travellers from the UK. We started cruising some years ago on the old Swan Hellenic ship "Orpheus". This initial cruise was a real baptism of fire! - but that`s another story. This cruise on "Summit" was our 6th cruise, having travelled before with RCI ("Voyager of the Seas") and P&O ("Oceana", "Arcadia", "Adonia").
The flight out from London Heathrow started with two hours just sitting on the plane waiting for a "technical problem" to be fixed. Arrival at LAX started with the inevitable melee to get through immigration and then we had to scramble for the shuttle bus to Crowne Plaza Hotel. One night here and very comfortable.
On arrival at San Pedro, the usual chaotic lines were encountered and I think the cruise line could certainly make improvements in this department. Eventually boarded the ship and were quite pleased with our inside cabin. Met our two stateroom attendants Tina and Holil who were extremely pleasant and efficient throughout the cruise.
This cruise was meant to call at Seattle and Sitka, but due to problems with a bearing affecting one of the propellers, these ports had to be missed - apparently due to the ship having to proceed at a much slower speed. We were disappointed about this, but not as much as many other fellow passengers who, despite being given a 200 dollar per cabin refund, free drinks, and a discount off future cruises, decided to adopt a mutinous attitude and demand a full refund and a free cruise (chance would be a fine thing!). This aggressive atmosphere disrupted our enjoyment of some of the public rooms and became an unwelcome topic at mealtimes.
The ship, itself, was lovely and a joy to sail on. We enjoyed all the facilities on offer and would certainly be pleased to do a repeat cruise on this ship.
The food was of a good standard, although with mass catering you have to expect some areas of compromise. Our two waiters, Edwin and Sal, were truly excellent. Our evening dining companions included another couple from the UK (Yvonne and Reg), and another delightful couple from California (Joan and Greg). Gourmet dining was available, at extra cost, at the Normandie restaurant. The Cova Cafe was a splendid place to have a coffee and delicious pastry plus the added attraction of a string quartet playing popular classical music. Buffet fare was predictable with the usual jostling for position in the lines.
Evening entertainment was plentiful and varied, with the main theatre putting on some fabulous shows. One highlight was a classical pianist from the UK who gave the most memorable and witty performances and who received a standing ovation at all his appearances.
Ports of call were excellent, especially Skagway and Victoria, and although two destinations were cancelled, we did not feel that our cruise enjoyment had been diminished to any great extent.
Disembarkation at Vancouver was a real drag and the subsequent fracas with the coach transfer to the airport was unwelcome. Again, something that should be addressed by the cruise line.
General weather conditions were good and the seas, although choppy to begin with, soon settled down. This ship is big and stable and would be a nice introduction to cruising for anyone who has not yet tried this superb way of travelling.