This was out first Cruise to Hawaii and our first cruise from San Diego. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay the night prior to Embarkation, a good hotel with all the amenities of a Holiday Inn. This Hotel is literally across the road from the Cruise Port, we were on the 10th Floor and could have thrown our luggage from the window across the street onto the ship!!! We were awake very early due to the time difference (we are from England) so were sat on our Balcony of the hotel at 5am and watched Summit pull into her berth...
We didn't check-in until 3pm on Embarkation day as we wanted to have a wander around San Diego, this was a wise thing to do, we were on board and in our cabin by 3.20pm, with Champagne, our luggage was delivered to our stateroom by 5pm.
What followed was a wonderful trip - our stateroom was in a great location, midship, balcony concierge class, 2 floors down from the Pool and 3 floors up from the dining room (we used the stairs most of the time, to help exercise the food off!)
Our stateroom attendant was good and was extremely helpful. We had the 'New bedding' which was very crisp. The bed was very comfortable. Room service was excellent and our daily fruit replenished with our choice of fruit. We left a note requesting the ice bucket to be filled daily - which was duly done.
We enjoyed every meal we had, our waiter, Acosta and assistant waiter were very attentive, our first table was on deck 4 - aft, which was quite noisy and above the engines, so we requested to move to Deck 5, again done with no problem and we enjoyed a lovely location next to the window on a table for 6. We found the food to be of excellent standard, although it could have been a little warmer on serving. The Sommelier, Marko was extremely knowledgeable and always there when we were seated, with our choice of wine.
Breakfast was always at the aft of the ship, outside, lovely view of the 'white line' disappearing into the distance on a beautiful azure ocean.
We ate lunch in the Grill daily, which we always chose a light salad with fish, which was 'tossed' for us in a salad dressing of the day - very nice.
We ate in the specialist restaurant, Normandie, this is a 'must do' - what an experience, we ate on a table for 2, had 4-6 waiters attending to our every need, the food was piping hot and excellent standard. Well worth the $30 cover charge.
At this point, we could not have had better service from any of the staff all over the ship, there was always a smile and 'Good Morning' from everyone, Bar staff, Restaurant staff, Pool Staff, Housekeeping staff even the engineer staff whom you occasionally came into contact with.
We enjoyed the entertainment, Top Notch and Jefferson Ang being our most time spent listening to. The shows were of a good standard, plenty of daily activities if required, but we were looking for a relaxing vacation, which is exactly what we had. We thoroughly enjoyed 'Paki' and the Hula Maidens.
Maui, was beautiful and we loved the overnight stay, allowed us to explore with more time spent on shore without having to 'clock-watch' & rush back to the ship. Oahu was very busy, Pearl Harbour Memorial with its long lines took up most of the morning (even though we were one of the first off the ship) Spent the afternoon at Waikiki Beach, sat on our grain of sand watching the surfers..... Did a tour in Hilo (from the dockside) whistle stop, here, there and everywhere - probably wouldn't have bothered but felt the need to see some culture. Kona - absolutely lovely, but just not long enough, tendered in and out, long queues, but well worth seeing 'Snorkel Bay', swimming with Turtles, exotic fish and I believe some people were lucky enough to swim with the dolphins.
Last four days - at sea - on our way back to San Diego, very restful, breezy, cooler weather, but pleasant for us 'Brits'. Disembarkation was the usual -get up, breakfast, get off situation - quick and painless.
Sadly the cruise came to an end, we could have sailed around again, quite happily........
One thing I would like to note - Mr Philip Herbert, the Hotel Director, was a wonderful host. He was seen in and around the ship, conversing with passengers and asking if there was anything the ships company could do for you to help make this a better cruise - this was a very unexpected and welcoming factor - we will definitely sail Celebrity again and maybe even Summit on her new itineraries.......