Decided in February of 2007 to join 6 family members on this 14 day cruise to Hawaii out of San Diego and then return. My husband was celebrating his 60th birthday and my dad, his 80th. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before and this was to be our first Celebrity cruise.
We let Celebrity plan our flights and they did a great job. We took Delta there from Grand Rapids, MI to Cincinnati, OH and then onto San Diego. We returned on Northwest and went through Minneapolis on the way back. Layovers were just the right amount of time and we encountered no problems at all.
Something new for us was the valet luggage program Celebrity uses. For $20/person they will handle your luggage so that it goes onto your final destination (upon your return home). Once you put it outside your door, you do not see it until you go to baggage claim at your home airport. This service also includes Celebrity obtaining your boarding passes for you so that you can go right to security when More
you reach the airport. On our former cruises, one of the downsides was disembarking the ship - long lines - finding your suitcases in warehouses full of luggage - finding a bus - trying to find a bus with room for your suitcases - taking your suitcases off the bus - standing in long lines to get your boarding pass at the airport, etc. Now this has been eliminated by this new valet luggage program. It went so smoothly for us. We left the ship, stepped onto a bus, and went right to security at the San Diego airport. Luggage arrived in Grand Rapids, MI at the same time we did. We will use this service every time. Some airlines do not participate but many do and I highly recommend it.
The service on Summit was outstanding. The wait staff were the best we have ever had. The room steward for our concierge room was very nice and did a fairly good job but he was in charge of 15 rooms, which I think is a stretch for perfect service. He did accommodate special requests though, which I appreciated. One request was to remove all items from the room that would cost me money to use - bottled water, bar items, etc. This gave me room to put my own things in the refrigerator.
My room was nice. Concierge has decent sized showers so you can actually fit your body into them. Flowers, canapes before dinner, etc. were fun extras. However, my room was beneath what must be the busiest place on the ship - sounded like elephants bowling at all hours of the day and night. This was our only disappointment with the room. Stay off the 9th floor and this will probably not be a problem.
The shore excursions we went on in Hawaii were arranged ahead of time on-line and were all educational and fun. We did a bus tour on Maui (have been there many times before) of a beautiful plantation and a very tropical location called the Iao Needle. We also did a bus tour of the North Shore on Oahu. Saw lots of surfers and the narrator did an excellent job of giving us background information. On the island of Hawaii we visited sites where there has been lava damage in the past. This involved some walking across old lava from the 1980's. This was a long tour - about 6 hours. We learned a lot. The last excursion was in Kona (we love this city!!! - we hope to return here). We snorkeled from a beach, visited an old refuge site, and visited a small coffee producer.
I found the Summit ship itself to be ok. It was rather plain looking to me. I think Royal Caribbean ships are breathtaking so was a little disappointed in this but other than that there were lots and lots of activities from bingo to pool games, etc. Service was without compare.
The dinners were done well and a good selection of food available - lobster is still my favorite!
The entertainment was ok. We had a couple good comedians, one fantastic singer, and a very entertaining piano player. The ship musicians were good but the dancers and singers were just ok to me. Lots of my fellow shipmates really loved them though so you have to be your own judge of this.
If you sail on this ship, don't miss the coffee bar area. Mochaccino is the drink you will like if you are a fan of Starbucks flavored drinks. Cost is reasonable and includes a piece of delicious chocolate candy. This area also has baked goods which are free for the taking - an outstanding selection every day - not to be missed!
Enjoy this ship and crew when you go - stay off the 9th deck - go starboard. Less