We are two early 50 year old professionals who travel as much as we can: this was our 7th cruise with Celebrity and our 2nd this year - we also have 2 more booked with them so we are regular and loyal customers to date. We travelled from the UK having made our own flight arrangements with BA two days before sailing and stayed at the Westin Downtown LA. Not a lot to do around there, but it fitted our needs of being a good base from which we easily arranged a day trip round LA and the homes of the stars with Guidline tours - we booked this on arrival at the Hotel, did not seem to need any advanced booking which was good as we were unsure whether we would get flight delays etc. Arranged to go down to San Pedro using Prime Time shuttle - perhaps a mistake as although it was not overly expensive we did go via LAX and did several circuits there as the driver looked for more fares Embarkation was a little chaotic as the ship had been several hours late in due to bad weather. We were asked to wait at the Catiline Ferry Terminal where free sandwiches and drinks were provided. We were bussed over to the ship around 2pm where it seemed others had fared much worse with confusion and long lines, consequently on boarding the ship we were surrounded by some very unhappy people which put a damper on our high spirits.
We have sailed on Summit before and found her to be in good shape - yes there were scratched chairs in our room and the jacuzzi was temperamental but no worse than we have had in many 5 star hotels. We did have to make comment to the Assistant Chief Housekeeper about the standard of cleaning in our room, particularly the bathroom, but this was dealt with perfectly and we would put it down to an oversight by the Stateroom Attendant who was very sweet, but as her contract was ending that week, she was less attentive than others we have had. Our butler was not as good as others we have had and seemed rather remote, never around or opening doors however, if you had never had a butler, you might have though him to be good. One thing if you are in a suite, insist they give you the Concierge Class menu. Our butler declined at first but got the message I wanted it and I did order from it (though one day he did blame our late breakfast on the fact I had done so and that meant he had to go to 2 places, so if you do, ask for the breakfast a little ahead of when you need it if you are time critical for an excursion. We did see our Assistant Housekeeper Suardi regularly - an excellent person well worthy of his tip The dining room staff were first class, in particular Marco the Assistant maitre D who visited very table every night - we were on Level 4. Ali and Ketuk were a great waiting team and they coped well with the requests from our table. On the first night the menu of items that you can have very night (escargot, Caesar salad, chicken or steak etc) is printed on the menu but it does not appear on other nights. Do nt be afraid to ask for a reminder of what it contained, likewise 2 people on our table (my husband being one) had food allergies and Marco was excellent at checking things, even doing so very discreetly the night we dined with the Hotel Director.
We found the food very much to our liking and had no issues with it. We would recommend visiting the Aqua Spa, not only for lunch as others suggest but have one or two breakfasts there - the bread is coming straight from the oven and the Chef d Range from the Speciality Restaurant makes the best hot toast over! There were theme buffets most lunchtimes as well as the usual buffet, pasta, pizza, salad bar, sandwiches, outside burger bar, main dining room etc etc - would defy someone not to find something they like. Would suggest if they have an Oriental Buffet check out to see if they have the chap making the stir fries fresh for you - he was opposite the ice cream bar on our trip mmmmmmmm
On board activities Good mix, with 8 at sea days it could have become repetitive if you had not got a good book with you. The average age of passengers on the ship was one of the highest seen according to the crew so some events (quizzes etc) were very well attended, evening activities less so and as such there was little atmosphere after 1030pm - but you got great very personal attention in the Martini Bar!! Shows were varied and in particular Brooks Aehron who did 3 concerts was an exceptional pianist. We were on board for Halloween and this was marked by many people dressing up and lots of halloween activities. They did a new thing - we all gave good feedback so hope future cruisers get it - on the third at sea day the helideck was opened for an hour and the Hawaiian musician on board (Henry Allen) played music to get us in the mood as we met and mingled with senior officers (this was an open event to anyone) It was a lovely relaxed hour and very good fun Shore Excursions
We booked our excursions through the cruise line with the exception of an all day drive around Oahu which we did with a private driver arranged through Caseys Limos. The Circles of Fire and Water helicopter trip was dogged by mist, but we did get off unlike other groups, however the water element is one waterfall in the distance. We did buy the DVD of our trip ($25) and would say it was a very good buy as the quality is good and it is a nice reminder as it has shots in the cabin as well. Our trip to Lanai through X was cancelled at the last minute because of "difficulties with the operator" but we managed to pick up a local guide who drove us up to the Iao Needle and around the north of the island. In the evening we had booked the old Lahanian Luau direct with them on recommendations through these boards and would thoroughly recommend this. It is a very easy taxi ride from the tender dock and back and is a smaller personal experience than the ships own excursions - good food was enjoyed! Our Oahu Big Circle drive through Careys was excellent. Next day in Honolulu we went on the ships trip to the Arizona and Mighty Mo but this was a mistake. Because you are in a big group we had to wait for everyone to get off the bus, go to restrooms before you join the ticket line, by which time over 200 others had joined the line so what should have been a 5 hour trip was heading to turn into a 7 hour trip, not helped by poor timekeepers in the group. As a result, as we wanted to have a drink at Waikiki Beach before the ship sailed at 1800 we invested $20 to get our own cab back thereby saving an hour or so and in hindsight should have just done the trip ourselves, it was easy enough to get cabs at the dock and at the Memorial. At that stage we probably would have said we will never do another ships excursion when in Kona we had the best one ever - a Cloud Botanical walk in a private nature reserve with an excellent guide followed by a lovely visit to Mountain Thunder Coffee farm - and excellent small award winning organic farm not frequented by large coaches.
At each port there are long lines to clear port security (not sure why as you still have the ship security) but credit has to be given to the tender team who were absolutely first class even when there was a swell and to "Happy Happy" whose welcome back on board was so infectious you forgot about the line you had been in Disembarkation This was first class - we were the second time they had used a coding system for immigration as well as disembarkation and it worked like a dream. There estimated times were spot on and it was so relaxed.
Summary A great trip, lovely people - it was however what we made it to be. When we had our one issue, we raised it, it did not "fester" it was dealt with and everyone moved on. We went to enjoy ourselves and we did!!