This was our 7th cruise, first on Celebrity. Additionally, this was our first try at a 14-day cruise. We arrived in Vancouver the night before and stayed at the Riviera Hotel. Good location, but the hotel was "aged."
Embarkation on the Summit was excellent, no delays in getting paperwork (as long as you completed the "X-pass" ahead of time) or in processing through U.S. Customs. We found our cabin, 7173, to be nice, and though we asked Elizabeth for an egg-crate mattress pad, none was to be found. The balcony was very nice, a little larger than normal, which came in handy while we were at Hubbard Glacier.
The M-class ship was nice, not too big, not too small. The grand foyer was very drab/professional and not decorated for extended viewing. The Internet Cafe was fabulous - though some of the connections were a little slow, service (by Dennis) was exceptional.
The Normandie was a very nice treat, and we were fortunate to get the "Wine Room" for our dinner. The food was great as well as the service, but honestly, since it took over 3-hours to accomplish the dinner, I was getting a little restless at the end.
The Theater was fabulous, great seating, great shows. The cast had 5-singers with every one having a first-rate voice. Clear and above, the best singing group we've heard on the high seas.
In the Main dining room, we had the late seating and a table of 10 (fellow CC members) that made evening dining a blast. Lets just say I didn't have a bad meal, and most were very, very good. Most of my selections were the beef, but i will add that several of the others had fish and poultry dishes and their reactions were different; some good, some bad. My advice is to choose wisely.
I took out the Spa package to use the Persian Gardens, and really got my money's worth. The Thelassopy Pool was a real treat and loved the built in seats. The three steam rooms were very relaxing, thou one room only had enough for 4-adults. The fitness facility is one of the largest I've seen and the treadmills and bikes were always working.
We did experience some medical issues, as Pebbles needed to use a wheelchair for several of the ports due to a leg injury shortly before the cruise. That cost us $171 to "rent" the wheelchair for 12 days. Then in San Francisco, I developed a mild ear infection and went to the infirmary at 9am and was second in line. At 11:30, I left the infirmary and missed my excursion. Bottom line, don't get sick on the Summit and don't be in a hurry with the Dr's Staff. The reason: All crew members go first, all followup visits go next, and new customers go last.
As for the ports, all of the Alaska ports were fantastic. Individually beautiful with a multitude of things to do and see. The captain proceeded to amaze one and all by getting the Summit within 80-yards of Hubbard Glacier. We had a fantastic show of calving, cracking and shooters; in fact I ran out of film and had to switch over to the digital camera.
Seattle, however, was another matter. Celebrity was at its worse as they required all passengers to get off the ship to clear US Customs. Well, that meant close to 2,000 folks getting off the ship and onto a port area that was not designed for this size of a crowd. Add to that the monstrously under-supply of buses (4-yep, that's right, 2000 people and 4-buses) that for $3 per person, we could catch a ride to any of 5-stops in Seattle. Well, 90 minutes after waiting in an unbelievable line, we finally got on a bus. The story was they couldn't get drivers; and when we got back to the cabin, we had a not saying they would refund the $3 per person charge.
Would we sail on Summit again, maybe. Will we sail on Celebrity again, probably not as HAL, RCCI, and Carnival are all ranking higher on our list. The Summit is a well maintained, well staffed ship and folks will get their money's worth. But #5 in the world (Conde Nast 2006 rankings)???? Really...