I wanted to share our experience on this cruise. It was my hubby, and my cousin and her best friend. Our 6th cruise, they're first. Our 2nd Celebrity cruise. In a nutshell, I LOVE Celebrity. The extra touches they bring to their cruises are just wonderful.
We've done Royal Caribbean, which we really enjoy also. But Celebrity has a few extra touches that really make a difference.
We were in an inside cabin, #7042. Our traveling partners were inside, #8005. Both cabins were comfortable, clean, plenty of storage space, and surprisingly bigger bathrooms than on other ships we've been on. You could even turn around in the shower!! Robes in the cabin, fridge, mini bar be careful of the bottle of wine on your vanity. The card SAYS A bon voyage gift for you, but it's not it'll cost you 24.00. I checked with guest services 2x to be sure,
FOOD. Believe it or not, we only ate in the main dining room one time during the entire 14 day cruise. It was pretty good that one night, though my cousin and her friend had the pasta and didn't think it was anything special. The beef I had was great. The rest of the time we ate at the buffet, pasta bar, pizza bar, sushi bar, and room service. It was all delicious. No complaints. Pizza was surprisingly good, and at the pasta bar you could pick your own ingredients and they cook it up for you right there at the buffet. And we are BIG sushi fans, and it was very good, very fresh, and the miso soup was pretty tasty too. Plenty of food was available 24 hours. The only bad thing I agree with that I've seen on the message boards is that eggs from room service are not great. It was the truth for us.
When you are in the buffet, there are trays. And the staff offer to carry your tray for you. Neither NCL or RCL provide trays, let alone staff who offer to carry your dishes for you. I just do not understand why they don't have trays. It is difficult enough to juggle everything on a calm day, but when the sea is a little rough..fugget about it!
ENTERTAINMENT. First let me say, in our limited cruise experience, I think Royal Caribbean has the best entertainment. Now that is said, on this ship we saw the cirque du soleil show, about 30 minutes long with 3 acts, all of which we thought were pretty good. Saw the comedian for about 5 minutes, and while others we talked to thought he was good, we feel like cruise ships are where older comedians go to retire, and to us, that was the case with this guy. The only other entertainment I saw was the Adult Talent Show, which was fun. There was this older gentleman who played the harmonica along with a pianist he played Crazy and Rhapsody in Blue. He was just great!!!!!
STAFF. Staff on every cruise ship we've ever been on are great. They really do make the cruise. Celebrity staff are top notch at what they do. I don't think we passed one staff member who did not say hello. When we got on the ship, they greeted us with champagne or orange juice, all lined up in their white uniforms greeting us. It was very welcoming. This type of welcome doesn't happen on other lines we've been on, either RCL and NCL.
SHIP. The entry way is just beautiful on this ship. Marble or stone stairway, lit from below very elegant. I've read on these boards that some people thought the Summit needed work, but as far as we were concerned, it was in great shape. Comfortable, clean, constant maintenance and upkeep by the staff. Our two favorite spots to hang out were the Champagne Bar Renato is the barkeep and he was just wonderful. The other spot is the back deck, outside of the Waterfall Cafe on deck 10. Tables, some cover, some umbrellas. It was extremely comfortable and a great place to just spend some time and goof around with others, and the staff.
GETTING AROUND IN HAWAII. Thanks to these boards, I realized before we went on the cruise, that a rental car is the way to make the best of our time. A lot less expensive, less crowded, and more freedom than ship shore excursions. It was a good move for us. We used Thrifty in HILO and Honolulu. Shuttle from the pier to the rental car pick up. Rented a convertible in Honolulu for the 2 days, and it was great. In Lahaina/Maui, we rented from a local rental place since most rental car companies are near the airport, on the other side of the island. We used Island Riders? About $50.00 for the day. This was a long in port day, and even though they closed at 5:00, we were able to just drop the car off and walk back to the pier (or take a $5.00 cab ride).
PORTS. HILO. We went to Volcano National Park, it is very different from anything we've ever seen, except that it reminds you a bit of Yellowstone. The lava tube was fascinating. We enjoyed it, and would recommend it. We left VNP and then went to Akaka falls. Beautiful highly recommend this too. No crowds, beautiful, lush pathway to falls. There is another fall in the other direction but we ran out of time and saw just Akaka. Well worth the trip.
MAUI/LAHAINA. We drove around and enjoyed the island. We found a beautiful public beach at one of the resorts, and snorkeled right off of the beach. It was fantastic. Beautiful weather, clean uncrowded beach, bathroom.
When you get off of the ship, you walk into a touristy but cute little town. The first thing that impresses you is this HUGE Banyan Tree in the park. I'm saying HUGE because I can't think of another more fitting word. It has so many big spreading branches out of it that they are supported with pieces of lumber, and lots of other banyan trees are growing out of it. It's just amazing. And if you go there at dusk, hundreds of minah birds in the tree start their chirping and last until the sun goes down, It was great.
HONOLULU. 2 days. This was our least favorite stop, and we were there for 2 days. It was the Los Angeles/New York of Hawaii. Actually, I like New York a lot better, much more interesting. Getting out of the city is important, at least to us it was. The first day we drove up and around North Shore. It was just beautiful. Great little funky surf areas, stores, restaurants. Good places to stop and enjoy the beach along the way. Very colorful. When we got back to the city, the traffic was horrendous, so we got off and followed signs to Chinatown, thinking it would be an interesting stop. Have dinner, a few drinks etc. Wrong!! This is not like Chinatown in Philly, or New York, or San Francisco. This is a seedy and dirty part of town that closes down before dark. We walked around a couple of blocks but didn't want to go in any of the few places that were open. Although, we DID NOTICE that it felt like Chinatown was slowly being rebuilt. We saw a few nice looking shops and clubs in between dirty looking buildings that gave the impression it was in the process of coming back to life. So I wouldn't write this area off just yet.
The 2nd day, my hubby and I went to the USS Arizona memorial, and also did the BowFin Submarine tour (since Rich is an ex-submariner). This was very nice, very well done and coordinated. We got up and off the ship early and were at the memorial by 7:15 a.m. There was a very long line of people already. When we got in (free entry), we were tour number 3. My understanding is that if you get there too late, you can have tour number 15 or something like that, and they'll only be up to number 5 you can be there all day waiting for your tour. What I mean by tour is, once they call your number you go into the theater and watch a 20 minute film, which is very good and informative. Then you go onto the shuttle boat out to the memorial, and stay there for about 25 minutes, then they call your number and you go back to the building on shore. There is an audio tour ($5.00) that you can take which is well worth the price. Then we went to the Bowfin Submarine tour which I could have lived without but my husband really enjoyed it. And it was NOT free.
You cannot carry any bags, camera bags, handbags, or anything into any of the exhibits. You can check your bags at the Bowfin area for $3.00 if you don't want to leave stuff in your car. We chose to leave everything but our camera in the trunk of our car.
KAILU-KONA. Since this was a tender port, AND we were there for such a short time, I booked a Zodiac Rafting/Snorkel trip through the ship. My husband and our fellow travelers booked a deep sea fishing trip which unfortunately got cancelled. Since the seas were so rough this day it was difficult to get the tenders going and by the time they did, there was not enough time for the 5 hour fishing trip. Everyone was reimbursed. In fact it was so rough, they were pretty much telling anyone who had difficulty walking NOT to try and go ashore.
The rafting/snorkeling trip was just GREAT!!!! The ride in the zodiac was so much fun, I sat in front, and with the rough seas I really got slammed around. I was a bit sore the next day, but it was worth the fun. We saw a pod of spotted dolphins while we were out in the raft, and they were jumping and surfing the wake of our boat. IT WAS WONDERFUL! We went several miles out to sea and up the coast, then came back into the coast near the Captain Cook monument can't remember the proper spelling of the Bay, but it's a Nature preserve. Snorkeling here was just great, it was a beautiful spot all around. You cannot go ashore here, and it can only be reached by boat. We got back in the Zodiac and rode back along the coast, seeing blowholes, caves, and the captain gave us lots of history along the way. They even hosed you down with fresh water and you climbed back on board, and fresh fruit, chips, water and soda were provided. I would highly recommend this trip, unless you have a bad back. Also, if you don't get around to booking it through the ships, they had a stand set up as soon as you get to the pier where I think you can sign up right there.
IN CLOSING we were worried that 14 days would be too long and we would get fidgety about being onboard so many days. But that was not the case, we played games, relaxed, ate, drank and laughed. We actually hesitated about getting off the ship on the second day in Honolulu because we were enjoying being on the ship so much. I would recommend this ship, this cruise, even this itinerary, to anyone. Our fellow cruisers were middle aged, like us, and older, so there wasn't A LOT of crowded nightlife, though we did go out to the clubs a couple nights and danced without bumping into a lot of people. Even got to dance to some big band music which was a lot of fun.
I would give the Summit, and Celebrity Cruise Lines a big old THUMBS UP!!!!