To return the favor to those cruisecritic members who were so helpful to me I wanted to "pass it on" to those of you who are just now beginning to plan your cruise of a lifetime! We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our cruise of the inside passage from Seward to Vancouver on the beautiful Summit.
Thanks to others suggestions, we chose the Celebrity Suite which was really unbelievable. The "window wall" offered an unparalleled view each day of the fantastic sites of this beautiful area of the world. In fact not having the balcony seemed to us almost a blessing as our view was unobstructed by a balcony wall. And if we wanted to be outside there were so many options on the decks that we never missed an outside balcony. This was one thing I had worried about as I have always enjoyed the balcony suites on other ships. But the Celebrity Suite has won my heart now! The separate bedroom was a delight, along with the jetted tub in the bathroom. (I will share one negative in case some of you have difficulty in getting in to a tub) The bathtub in the Celebrity suite is quite deep because it has the jets. But this makes it quite high when you are trying to get in and out of it. The shower is also in the tub so it is necessary to climb in for either a shower or a bath. This could present a problem to some. But that is my ONLY negative (slightly) comment about the whole trip.
The staff was incredible. The food outstanding. We did prefer the dining room to the buffet though as it had a better quality. And be sure to book dinner in the Normandie for a real treat. We so enjoyed our evening there with every detail of fine dining attended to. The Summit is a beautiful ship in so many ways that it is difficult to say what we enjoyed the most. My husband would vote for the Golf Simulator as he thoroughly enjoyed his time there. But I would honestly say that I enjoyed our suite the very most. We had wanted some relaxing down time and the suite truly offered us the space to do just that. We had breakfast in our room most mornings. (Food was delivered on time and hot too!) Sitting there watching those views while enjoying a beautiful breakfast was a real treat for us. The CD player (library of CD's available too) added even more. We also enjoyed the in suite computer as we had needed to stay in touch with our office each day. Every afternoon the butler brought by afternoon finger sandwiches, cookies, and coffee, tea, or even cappuccino. And then just before dinner he came back with some appetizers!!!
The staff was very present to your needs, but not "in the way". We simply loved it all! Be sure to visit the Revelations lounge on the 11th floor for the most outstanding views. We especially enjoyed rising early (5 am) on the last day (thanks to a cruise critic member suggestion) to watch the Summit cruise in to Vancouver!! You would really miss something if you didn't see that.
We also truly enjoyed the newest stop on the Summits list at "Icy Straight". What a delightful place! Take the walk through the beautiful pine forest and stop and sit a while on a bench along the shore to watch the whales swim right past you!!! The local Alaskans that work there are a real delight to visit with also. Icy Straight offers you a taste of true Alaska. We loved it! We had chosen not to do any shore excursions during our Summit cruise. We know that most people totally enjoy those and say that you do not get a true Alaskan experience without them. We beg to disagree! While we know that we might have thoroughly enjoyed doing some of them, we needed the "down time" from our busy lives more. We had chosen instead to do a pre cruise 6 hour "day cruise" of Prince William Sound out of Wittier the day before our Summit Cruise. (Beautiful!!! We saw 13 glaciers and all kinds of wildlife!!) (another cruise critic member suggestion!!) And then a post cruise 2 day train trip on the Rocky Mountain Railroad from Vancouver to Banf. (Absolutely fantastic. Be sure to choose the Gold Leaf Service!!!) This proved (for us) to be a good decision. We still enjoyed so much and not rushing off to do each days excursion during our 7 day cruise gave us time to really just enjoy what we were seeing.
A cruise can be exhausting IF you don't take time to be still too! I just wanted to add this comment for those of you that are planning your trip. Do not worry about trying to fit everything in. Take time to just enjoy whatever you do plan to do. You will find that actually that seems to be the lesson that the Alaskans that you meet will teach you. They have a very laid back way of life. They enjoy the simple things like the beauty of the wildlife, the mountain views, the moving water, and especially in summer...their beautiful flowers! And nothing brings a smile to their faces more than seeing the cruise ships come in to their town!
Alaska is wonderful in so many ways. But cruising with Celebrity on the Summit made it almost seem like a dream! We give Celebrity a "standing ovation"!!! Tell Mr. Elias (the Hotel Director on the Summit) hello for us. We were privileged to be invited to sit at his table one of the formal nights. Talking with him about his job and his love of customer service on the Summit revealed to us why his staff seems to care so much!!! Enjoy your coming cruise on the Summit. You are in for a real treat!!!