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Sail Date: August 2006
This was our second cruise and a cruise that we had been looking forward to, especially the shore excursions. We booked through an Internet company better than 60 days in advance but were told the only thing available was a Veranda ... Read More
This was our second cruise and a cruise that we had been looking forward to, especially the shore excursions. We booked through an Internet company better than 60 days in advance but were told the only thing available was a Veranda handicap room. We were told to be "happy" with this because they are larger than the regular Veranda room. I called Celebrity several times prior to sailing to ensure they wanted us to have this stateroom over another and to make arrangements for our anniversary celebration. We were told to keep that cabin and that the anniversary arrangements were in order. Onboard, there were disabled everywhere. I felt terrible keeping that cabin. Embarkation was mostly organized with the moving of a gangplank and numerous senior citizens taking their place in front of us. (This was an issue throughout the cruise, especially when it came to dining and viewing Hubbard Glacier. Seniors that I saw who could barely get around, became sharks during these two times.) My advice to anyone reading this is to thoroughly complete the online registration to streamline the embarkation process. I missed one step and it took several minutes longer thanks to the late arrival of a passport. Our cabin was clean and our luggage arrived piece by piece until time sail. It was at that time that we meet our cabin steward who was helpful at first, but strange. Over the next 7 days we often found him just outside our door, only to have him say, "Mr. ****, is there anything I can do for you"? The service was nice but then he twice walked in to our stateroom without announcing himself, both times we were undressed, both times just to drop off a brochure that he had days before slid under the door. In the bathroom we laid out our toiletries intending for them to remain in those places but they got moved under the sink, daily. The sink leaked into one of the shave kits ruining everything inside. We found the bed to be extremely uncomfortable. If you can afford a massage in the absolutely beautiful Spa, the metal cot with a 4 inch mattress won't matter. Our steward was gracious enough to bring another blanket but it just didn't make it better. When asked for additional hangers he returned with several horribly bent metal dry cleaning hangers that obviously belonged to his shipmates, not the cruise line hangers like I had requested. Every day he would place our change, tie clips and misc. items in our wine glasses.(???) Good thing we didn't need those in the room. Notes to the steward didn't help. He was just creepy, violating and didn't do his job. The food was great as was the service in the dining areas. We found it to be some of the best service anywhere in all service industries. Our waiters were entertaining and down to earth. They were part of the dinner party at our table every night and we truly looked forward to seeing them and seeing what the night would bring. The Waterfall Café had good food for on the spot eats, that is if you don't mind pizza and pasta. They could, however, use a change of menu throughout the week. They could also use a good floor, mirror, window and wall cleaning. Disembarkation day, it was nasty- almost too nasty to eat in there. The carpet and glass portholes were sticky and had the same food around the portholes that I'd seen days before. If you drink soda, get the 35.00 soda pass. It will get you unlimited sodas during the cruise. If not, sodas are costly. Be careful when approached by someone asking you if you want a drink in a fancy glass. Their slick sale and your excitement will cost you at least 10.00. You do get to keep the fancy glass. Shore excursions were a disappointment overall as far as price vs. value goes. The industry has the monopoly on port tours so it is tough to find activities to do on your own and fully catch the history and nature of the area. The gold panning is a blast and Mendenhall Glacier & Salmon Bake in Juneau is a must! Stay away from the Eagle Preserve Wildlife River Adventure Jetboat cruise in Skagway/Haines. This will cost you $173.00 each and you see nothing but a few eagles nests from a very long way away. Our boat broke down in the middle of the river after making everyone onboard, including the captain who had to be replaced, sick from gas fumes. Then they had to race around looking for birds finally getting us back to camp for a hurried hot dog and reckless bus ride back to the ship. In Sitka, the Russian and Raptor tour was the best tour we took for the money and the education of Alaska. Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest was also a fantastic tour for the price but be careful scheduling this and other whale watching tours. We saw several whales on this tour thanks to our superb captain but were scheduled to take another whale watching tour in Icy Strait Point the next day. (Cancelled due to gale force winds.) The Sea Otter tour more than satisfied our whale watching needs without needing another tour and should be considered by everyone seeing Sitka. Hubbard Glacier is remarkable but claim your viewing spot early and stay there. Some folks will do anything to see a chunk of ice thousands of years old. If you have a balcony cabin, stay there. You will get a premiere viewing without the pushing and shoving. The entertainment was geared towards the seniors. It's hard to sing Karaoke to 70's songs when you are sitting in a crowd of 70 and 80 yr olds. It is also hard to stomach a swing lounge band playing Grunge Metal at half beat, worse yet those same seniors are slow dancing to it. Kurt Cobain is rolling over in his grave. Yes, give the seniors a place to play. We want a place to play when we are seniors. But we ask for the same in return. Give us a 30-50 something's that like a beat a lounge and a band. We also don't play Bingo and Bridge. How about some ship board activities designed for us? The Cova Café is a Starbucks Pub on the high seas. No caffeine withdrawals here. They can make any coffee drink with or without alcohol and include a fresh Parisian pastry on the side. Of course, all of this comes at a price, a high price. Our happiest experience on this entire cruise would have to be with one staff member from the Security Dept. He greets everyone coming on and off the ship and only says, "Happy, Happy, Happy". He is known ship wide as Mr. Happy and even if you are having a bad port experience he is there to brighten up the day. The last item on this review is going to be Norovirus. Per Celebrity Reps. after our return, there were cases of Norovirus on our ship during our cruise. Midway through the cruise, PSA's started running explaining the virus and whenever we entered the ship we were watched and forced to use hand sanitizer. We had done this all along. Within 24 hours after returning home, both my husband and I became VERY ill with what we now know to be NOROVIRUS or Norwalk virus. Thankfully, we didn't get ill on the cruise but this is one heck of a stomach virus no matter where you are. Celebrity explained that unless greater than half of the ship gets ill it is not obligated to disclose it to others onboard, but that they would take our info and add it to theirs. Nice, and right now someone else is sleeping in that bed in that room. Disembarkation was a snap, done within 1 hour. We took the train to Anchorage. Eat before you get on the train as snacks are the only thing served. Your tour guide will keep you entertained for the entire 4 hour ride so keep your camera ready. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise, Norovirus, strange steward and being mid 40's in a mid 70's crowd. Your cruise is what you make of it and even though Celebrity forgot my anniversary altogether, we celebrated, saw great creatures and learned about one of the last pristine areas, Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
This was my first cruise to Alaska, but not my first cruise experience. I had, however, never been on a Celebrity Cruise before. My mom and I flew into Anchorage and were picked up by a shuttle from the hotel. We were staying at the ... Read More
This was my first cruise to Alaska, but not my first cruise experience. I had, however, never been on a Celebrity Cruise before. My mom and I flew into Anchorage and were picked up by a shuttle from the hotel. We were staying at the Ramada and had made the reservation ourselves. The internet price was reasonable for the area and they also had a shuttle that would take us to the Train Depot in the morning for our trip to Seward. After seeing the hotel, I have to say it was much smaller and run down than I would have expected from a Ramada. It was clean, and the staff was friendly but the room we were promised was not available and our newly assigned room (at 4pm) was still not ready. They were within walking distance to a bunch of restaurants and shopping, which was good since the weather was raining terribly. The next morning we headed off to the train station to hear that we were lucky that we were heading to Seward. If we had been heading in the opposite direction, our trip by train would have been canceled. It had been raining so much that a landslide had happened and flooding was a concern for all of the areas. The train ride on the Alaska Railroad was wonderful. We were in the same car that had the glass top observation area. It was very convenient to go up and down as room permitted. The seats reclined and there were foot rests. There was also plenty of room to wander through the cars to get food (dining car) or buy souvenirs. Even with the rain showers, the view was spectacular and I would highly recommend it. Best part was that they took our luggage at the Anchorage train depot and it went directly to the ship. We arrived in Seward around 11am and it was still pouring. According to our cruise book from Celebrity, they said that you couldn't board the boat until after 6pm. We had a dog sledding excursion at 3pm, but would have liked to get unpacked, have some lunch and dry off before we left for it. Not knowing that we could have gone earlier, we wandered the streets dealing with the weather until our excursion van picked us up. We later found out that we could have gotten on the boat right away. :-( We did the Iditarod dogsled tour (operates rain or shine). It was a nice tour. We heard about the Iditarod, the dogs, met the dogs and went for a 2 mile ride. We were dropped back at the dock around 5:30pm where we went through the embarkation process. We had Concierge class and there was no wait to be processed. We had filled out all of our information on line prior to the trip, so it was about a 2 minute check in time. The staff was extremely friendly and the hot chocolate that was passed out was much appreciated with the cold/damp weather. (Infact in every port they passed out hot chocolate as you came back on the boat) Our cabin was on the 9th deck, balcony, and left side of the boat. We were told ahead of time that this was the best side to have our cabin on. The room was nice and already set up. Our luggage was waiting for us at the door and we were quickly met by our cabin steward and a bottle of chilled champagne. One of our CC perks. Our only complaint with our cabin was with the overhang that went out over the balcony. Being on the 9th floor we were one floor below the pool deck. There was a very large overhang and support beams that, to us, should be considered obstructed view. This would be true for any cabin on the 9th deck. I found that I had to make a conscious effort when taking a picture to shoot between the overhang and beams. Additionally, it was annoying when trying to pan with the video camera. In my opinion, the 8th or 7th deck would be best. We wandered the boat a bit before dinner. It was a beautiful boat. Classy, not overly gaudy like others I had been on. It was also immaculate. There is constant staff cleaning the boat. I never once saw a glass or piece of paper left that wasn't picked up immediately by someone. The bathrooms were extremely clean and they had not only paper towels to dry your hands, but actual individual towels if you preferred. Very impressive. We ate some of our meals in the dining room and some at the buffet. The food in the dining room was very good and there was a good variety from night to night. The buffet food needed more variety. Each time they had a beef, chicken, pork and fish dish, but we would have liked to see more theme meals (ie. Chinese, Mexican, etc.) Also, after the normal meal times, there was always a pizza bar or pasta bar available. We would have like to see the pasta bar change out for something different for at least one night. The service on the entire ship was excellent. Everyone is extremely friendly and takes their jobs very seriously. I think it was the best service that I had ever received on a cruise. This included everyone from the tender crew to the Captain. The shows were also fabulous. The Celebrity Singers, Dancers & orchestra were Broadway quality and Celebrity went all out with costumes and special effects. It is an amazing theater, with no bad seat in the house. The other entertainment was: a ventriloquist who was also excellent; a comedian who needed to get some new material; and a Circ de Sole show which was entertaining. From what other musicians that I heard wandering through the boat, they were all great. No complaints with the entertainment. The ship had activities each day, but I found that they were mostly during the day while you would be in port. I felt they needed to have more activities at night, besides the show and gambling. There was musicians playing all around the ship, but I was looking for games to play. We booked most of our shore excursions through the cruise line, for ease. We took the Whale watching tour in Icy straight and saw about 10 whales eating and swimming around. It was very cool. In Skagway we took the White Pass Railway and Liarsville tour. I enjoyed this trip and the gorgeous scenery. Liarsville tour felt rushed, but was an enjoyable addition to the day. I would recommend this tour. In Juneau we took the Mendenhall Glacier and Gardens tour. This was nice, but after seeing Hubbard glacier, I wasn't as impressed as I would have hoped. The gardens were pretty and made a nice ending to the tour. In Ketchikan we were unsure what we wanted to do, so we booked online before we came, the DUCK tour. We were disappointed with the tour for the price. We would have better spent our money on the wilderness tour (booked at the dock), which I was told saw plenty of bears (something that I never got to see while in Alaska). After the DUCK tour we went to the lumberjack show. It was a typical tourist show. The crowd got into the competition and we found the show to be enjoyable. For my favorite excursion I never had to leave my balcony. It was the cruising by Hubbard glacier. It was incredible to hear the ice cracking and massive chunks fall into the water. The glacier had beautiful blue colors. I loved it. Our disembarkation was easy. As part of CC class we were told to meet in the Cinema by a certain time and we were guided off the boat about 15 minutes after that. No complaints there. Then we grabbed our luggage and got into the nightmare airport transport line. We bought an airport transfer through the cruise ship for $25 per person. They would drive us to the airport for this price. It was very disorganized and people were starting to get quite upset with their disorganization. We were a little concerned that we would miss our flight if they didn't get on the ball. 1 hour after getting off the boat, we left for the airport (which was 30 minutes away). The airport also seemed unorganized and we were shuffled from line to line to get through the different customs lines and luggage check lines. They did, however, go quickly. In summary, I thought that Celebrity did a very good job with the cruise. I only had a few complaints about the ship and nothing major: more variety in the buffet food, more activities at night, and let people know you can get on the ship before 6pm. The fantastic service and shows far outweighed any complaints that I had. I would cruise with Celebrity again! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
My husband and I just arrived home after a 5 day land excursion (pre-cruise) and then a 7 day cruise aboard the beautiful Summit. This was our first cruise, but the regular cruisers we chatted with also thought the Summit was the most ... Read More
My husband and I just arrived home after a 5 day land excursion (pre-cruise) and then a 7 day cruise aboard the beautiful Summit. This was our first cruise, but the regular cruisers we chatted with also thought the Summit was the most beautiful ship they had ever experienced. The land trip started at Anchorage, then we went by train to Talkeetna for 1 night then also by train to Denali for 2 nights, then bussed to Fairbanks for 1 night, flew back to Anchorage and bussed to Seward. Hotels were ok&Both the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and the Grande Denali Lodge were disappointing as they were Plain Jane hotels&clean, comfortable and sterile. Nothing lodgy about either other than the fabulous locations. The 3.5 hour train ride to Talkeetna was fun and comfortable; breakfast on the train was delicious (loved the reindeer sausage) as were all the wonderful coffee drinks served while we waited for the second seating. I wish they had had some munchies available as we boarded train at 8 am and were not seated for breakfast until after 10 and we were really hungry. We had not booked an extra activity and the town was small, but full of options for munching on local flora (fern curls), locally concocted fireweed jam and fauna-moose, caribou, reindeer, etc. The fresh baked pies found mid-town were not too shabby either! Other than the jelly, most of the gift shops wares came straight from elsewhere (Taiwan, China, etc.). The dining room at the Lodge was pretty good and they have a wonderful (if a bit too short) hiking trail that takes you into the forest for a few minutes. There were no air conditioners and the windows did not open much so that the fan did not cool the room down sufficiently so we did not sleep well. We were gloriously lucky however, as early the next morning, we got a wake up (by request) call announcing the clouds were breaking up and the top of Denali was visible. Within the next hour the clouds melted away (very unusual) and the entire mountain range, capped by the magnificent Denali, was not just visible, but glowed in the sunlight. The clouds stayed away for the next 2 days, so that the 7 hour train ride to Denali was spectacular as was the 8 hour guided tour into the park. We got a brand new bus (certainly not as comfortable as the Celebritys land cruisers, but not the school bus we had been warned about) and had a terrific driver as well as great weather so we ventured about a half hour further in than is the norm to the closest viewing point of Denali. Spotted our first moose before even reaching the park entrance, calmly walking by the road, then only moments into the park, someone spotted a moose mom and her kid on a tiny rise the guide had not even realized existed. After taking dozens of photos of them, we went on, with a snowshoe rabbit or family of Ptarmigans posing every minute or so. Shortly after our first pit stop, we found 2 large Grizzlies, either a mated pair or a mom and adult male cub sunning themselves not too far off the road. We also were lucky enough to see a few elk, but fairly distant and some white specks on a mountain that did look to be sheep using binoculars. The incredibly clear day and spectacular views made up for the lack of more wildlife. Pretty much everyone ran out of capacity on their cameras, even those that brought two! The service in the dining room at the Denali Lodge was so poor that after 20 minutes of being ignored (by which time a large group had come in and it looked like all staff were being diverted to them) we left and took the van that goes back and forth into town every half hour. There we found a very casual restaurant, the Salmon Bake, that had great food. We ended up having dinner there both nights. The local pizza parlor was also rumored to be terrific. Because of our early starts, we ate breakfast at the lodge buffet&overpriced and not well staffed, so people were mildly ticked about no plates, or empty serving platters. The brief ride to Fairbanks got us there in time for lunch downtown. Not much there other then restaurants and one large gift shop that had a side variety of expensive to cheap gifts. Then we went to the steamboat depot for the Riverboat Discovery Tour for the afternoon. The ride is a bit hokey but really lots of fun. We enjoyed the history of the family that built the boats and various sites, the float plane landings and takeoffs next to the river boat, the demonstration of the dog sleds (from aboard the boat yet) and the various demonstrations at the Indian village. Their gift shop rivals that of Disneyland! The Sophie Station Hotel was OK, although very limited dinner choices in the immediate area. In spite of boarding a morning plane (we were the second shift, only had to have our luggage out the door by 8:30) and arriving at the Anchorage airport by about noon, the bus took us directly to Seward with only one brief bathroom stop. I dont understand why they could not have arranged a one hour stop at the Wildlife rescue station that those who had arrived early enough to go on their own had really raved about. Concierge class paid off big time as we exited the bus and were aboard the Summit in about 5 minutes. Our room had a wonderful veranda, a large and pretty comfortable bed, lots of closet, drawer and cabinet space and a hand held shower head that had a fairly good range of spray adjustment on it. We found the food in both the casual areas as well as the main dining room to be OK to good. Lots of variety, wonderful eye appeal, great service, but not consistent when it came to taste (beef in casual area was the toughest Ive ever encountered at a commercial buffet). The sushi was a big disappointment¬ very fresh and little variety. The entertainment was darn good, both the large shows and at the various venues. If you did not like something, there was always another venue to check out. Glacier Bay was everything we had heard and more! We got there a bit ahead of schedule. The bay was filled with small ice bergs, but they were off to the side and not immediately blocking the ships path to the glacier the captain took us within about 1000 ft of the Hubbard glacier and we were lucky enough to see two very large pieces shear off as well as dozens of smaller ones. Watching the large ice bergs slowly emerge from the water after several minutes below the surface and hiss and pop and turn and twist as air continued to escape was fascinating. . The accompanying thunder was impressive. We understand that because of the incredible activity of the glacier. Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan were all full of the ridiculous jewelry and gift shops with permanent 50%-70% off everything, but once past those, we found a number of independent merchants who were interesting to talk to and loved their towns. Some even had some unique and not over priced merchandise. Icy Straight was interesting, had a great lunch there. The weather during the cruse was low clowns and light drizzle, so we werent too surprised that our Mendenhall helicopter ride and glacier walk was canceled,(some others going to other glaciers were lucky enough to get to go). The bus tour to the Mendenhall Glacier was a bit disappointing after the spectacular close-ups we had had of Hubbard, but the Alpine Garden tour turned out to be much nicer than we had expected. The ride in the golf carts there went into some natural forest areas that gave us a close-up view of the incredible variety and beauty of the forest, with a variety of wild berry bushes, all sorts of ferns, molds and fungi carpeting the ground. The very best tour we took was the evening whale watch in Juneau. Within 10 minutes, our pilot had pulled up near a pod of about 12-15 Humpbacks who were bubble fishing. They would emerge simultaneously in a circle, straight up, then swim around spouting and taking in air and then dive in ones, twos and threes and then resurface 5-10 minutes later, once within 20 ft of our boat! After watching this incredible behavior for an hour or so, we went into another part of the bay and found a smaller pod of 5 Humpbacks including one youngster with a perfectly intact, barnacle free tail. One of the others in the group was well known (Spot) and a third had some recent damage to its fluke, with a chunk missing as if a shark had taken a large bite). They did the bubble thing once or twice, then swam near the surface for the better part of an hour, going under our boat a few times, so that we saw them from pretty much every angle. Between this, Hubbard and Denali, I guess missing the Helicopter was not so bad! My husband enjoyed the casino, which was more impressive than either of us had imagined. He did have a bad banking experience&when he put in his bank card into an auto teller on board, he got the confirmation receipt but not the money. No one in the casino was interested in assisting him, with someone eventually directing him to the main service desk. The person at the desk was not able to help him either and there was no manager on duty (the clerk had no idea what to do). The next day he did get a call telling him they would email the Bank Atlantic to find out if the transaction had gone through (he checked his bank account online and saw that it had) but also informing him that Celebrity could not do anything about it (such as give him the $300 or at least a credit on our account or even count and reconcile the machine). A day later they told him that his bank account would be credited. On the final afternoon, he again checked his account and when he found no credit, he again went to the desk, and was told it would take up to 3 days. As it had been 5 at this point, that did not make him very happy. However, he checked this afternoon and they did indeed finally credit the full $300 plus the processing charge. I really think they should have had a better procedure for this so that the initial clerk could have explained the entire process to him and should have given him some sort of written document acknowledging the event as when we debarked, he really doubted the money was going to reappear without a few dozen phone calls and letters. On one of the cruise days, I decided to try a hot stone message in spite of the many warnings I got about how I would be deluged with sales pitches for the various products and was delighted that I did not get any. It turned out to be the best message I have ever had! The length of time was perfect, the stones added a fabulous new dimension of relaxation. . I did check out the secret inner sanctum of the health club, but did not think that the heated bench and steam was worth the $99 fee given that I did not think I would be able to use it more than once or twice. Instead I tried out the Thallasotherapy pool a few times, which was fun. The whirlpools were not very hot and had very little action and the sauna was too hot on one occasion and too cold on another, but that just gave me more time to curl up on my snug private veranda and enjoy the incredible and always changing scenery. We spotted a group of Orcas while gliding slowly through the inside passage, and since I had already packed my binoculars, the CC binoculars in the cabin really paid off that day. The days ended earlier as we traveled south toward Vancouver and I was torn between going to the show the last night and remaining on my veranda for another hour. I went to the show, but rushed back to enjoy the last few minutes of a beautiful sunset and another moment or two of the wonderful scenery. Being first timers meant that we had not understood the timing of disembarkation. Not the waiting to get off, but that we had to get off so early. Our plane did not leave until 5 so we probable should have taken the city tour option. By the time I understood the mandatory exit time, it was too late to do so, so we spent the day sitting around the airport and the attached Fairmont hotel which had much more comfortable chairs and a good dining room for lunch. Other than this one bit of poor planning, everything else was timed well. Only complaint I had was they allow smokers in all public areas other than the restaurants, yes, only on one side, but smoke drifts! The cruise more than lived up to our expectations! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
I guess I should begin with the original situation that occurred about a year ago. My husband and I were ready to take a cruise for our 1 year Wedding Anniversary and decided to choose Celebrity Cruise Lines Summit because we liked their ... Read More
I guess I should begin with the original situation that occurred about a year ago. My husband and I were ready to take a cruise for our 1 year Wedding Anniversary and decided to choose Celebrity Cruise Lines Summit because we liked their itinerary through the Inside Passage of Alaska. The original sailing was for June 3rd of 2005. The night before we were scheduled to fly out my husband received a phone call late in the evening by a Celebrity Rep. They stated that our cruise had been canceled because of a propulsion problem, and we would receive our money back and a free voucher for a future sailing. Although I was very disappointed that our Anniversary plans were thwarted, we were happy that they were accommodating. We then made arrangements for our replacement Alaskan cruise which was set for May of 2006. Now comes the start of our issues with this cruise line. We, by chance decided to call the cruise line approx. 5 months before our sail date to confirm our reservations and ensure that our room was on the side of the ship facing land. When I called the cruise line they informed me that our prior booking had been canceled because they updated their computer system and any bookings that were not "paid for" were canceled. I promptly told the rep that we did not need to pay for our cruise because it was supposed to be comped. After she put me on hold for well over 20 minutes, she proceeded to tell me that all she could do was offer me another room on the other side of the ship. I told her that this was unacceptable and we wanted Celebrity to honor our original booking agreement made when the other cruise was canceled. She again stated that all she could do was give us another room. I asked her if it was then possible for us to move our sail date since she could not accommodate our needs. She began to get an attitude with me and told me that we can just take the other room and leave it at that. At this point my frustration level was clearly rising and I asked her if I could speak to a supervisor. She proceeded to tell me that she was the highest level of employee in which I could speak to concerning this matter. I hung up the phone with her, utterly angry at the situation at this point and called Celebrity back a couple of hours later and was able to speak to a woman that informed me of the Cresso desk. This is a customer service type sector of Celebrity that is supposed to go above and beyond to accommodate their customers. I had my husband speak to the woman at the Cresso desk because of my frustration, I did not want to lose my temper. After about an hour of back and forth with the Cresso rep, my husband was able to move our cruise to a July sail date (which by the way was not a date near our 2 year Anniversary such as the second canceled booking for May of '06). He also spent another 30 to 45 minutes on the phone with her reaching an agreement on what added amenities they could provide because of the situations we had encountered. She relented and provided us with complimentary wine on two of our formal nights and complimentary certificates for 2 to the Summit's specialty restaurant. After this exchange we were back to being happy with the cruise line until I tried to receive my credit for our airfare changes, which was a part of the original cancellation agreement from the cruise in June of '05. In January of '06, we made our flight arrangements for our new booking in July. I had the airline fax my receipts over so they could be forwarded to the cruise line in order to have my credit card reimbursed. I spoke with a Celebrity rep and they told me to fax the info and they would credit me. I did so the same day. After two weeks had passed I phoned the cruise to inquire about my credit. They proceeded to tell me that they had not received the fax and to please resend it. I did so the following day. After about a month of checking my credit card bill I still did not see a credit. I then phoned the cruise line again and inquired. They stated that they had not received it and to refax. At this point I was utterly ticked. To make an even longer story short. We finally received our credit the week before our sail date of July 7, '06. After all of this my husband and I still kept an open mind because this was a free cruise and we were looking for a cruise line that we could use on a regular basis and we had heard good things about Celebrity. We finally boarded the ship on Sat. the 7th and the ship was nice. The first thing we did was reserve our dinner at the specialty restaurant. The MD had our voucher for the free meal. We also received our comp. bottles of wine on two nights during the cruise. There were a few things that did not meet our standards with Celebrity: -the food was not very good, the portions were small. -the buffets and food areas closed early. -the only activities onboard after 10:30pm was a disco and the casino. -the activities throughout the trip were not geared to anyone under the age of 65. -Icy Strait Point was a huge disappointment. Souvenirs were very expensive and there was nothing to do unless you had an excursion planned. The town of Hoonah, which is about a two mile walk from the dock was a dilapidated, run down, poor excuse for a destination location. -the service on board was excellent in the casino and our stateroom attendant was great. However, the rest of the service was poor. -the entertainment was also very poor, the comedian was good but aside from that the other shows were terrible. The Cirque De Soliel show only lasted about 30 minutes, and it was nothing like a real Cirque show. -we booked a concierge class room, it was very small, not functional at all (i.e. no real space for luggage) and the bathroom was worn down and extremely small. The tiles in the shower were coming up, the shower curtain was dirty, and the toilet seat was worn to the point the paint was coming off. Also, there were no outlets in the restroom for a curling iron. On a final note we have now checked our credit card bill and they seem to have overcharged us $100 from our final statement. This ought to be fun trying to get this resolved. Overall, this was a very disappointing experience and I could not recommend this cruise line to a fellow cruise traveler. We would rate Carnival higher than Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
My first cruise with Celebrity was a pleasantly memorable one. My 14 year old daughter and I embarked in Vancouver following an overnight stay that I had booked on my own. Although my cruise packet indicated that we should not arrive prior ... Read More
My first cruise with Celebrity was a pleasantly memorable one. My 14 year old daughter and I embarked in Vancouver following an overnight stay that I had booked on my own. Although my cruise packet indicated that we should not arrive prior to 2:45 pm, I took a chance and arrived at 1:00. To my surprise, there was a sign at the terminal stating that boarding would begin at 11:00am. Embarking was short and quick, as I had registered online prior to leaving home. We were greeted with punch, drinking water and cookies prior to going through customs, then with a glass of champagne once stepping onto the ship. The cabin was quite modern compared to the last two cruise ships I sailed on. I liked the interactive TV, where you can order complimentary room service, book shore excursions, and keep informed of daily activities. The water pressure in the shower was wonderful, and there was a great hand held shower head. There was an abundance of cabinets and storage, which was necessary for the additional clothing needed for Alaska. Also included were complimentary bathrobes (nice for going up to the pool and spa) and umbrellas for use at the ports (were needed most of the time). Following a wonderful welcome aboard buffet, we took a tour of the premium Aquaspa. It was actually a sales pitch, and I ended up purchasing a week long Persian Room sauna package for $99.00. It was well worth it, to be able to relax in peace and quiet in a hot sauna following the cold temperature of the ports. It was also a nice place to retreat after a half hour or so in the Thallasotherapy pool. The pool was a plus, as it was indoors, and was not for use for anyone under 18 years. Since my daughter and I did not feel like sitting at a table with strangers making small talk this particular cruise, we ate most of our meals in the Casual Dining room. Although the menu was not as elaborate as that of the main dining room, it was still a five course menu and the food was delicious. Reservations have to be made for the casual dining. It was a nice alternative for those of us who did not feel like dressing in formal attire, as there were two formal nights on the ship. There was no buffet for dinner, however the sushi bar, pasta bar, pizza bar, and hamburger/hot dog bar were open late. I also liked the dining option at the aquaspa, which offered low calorie choices. many of the items were quite tasty, particularly the fresh blueberry tart. Actually, all the food offered on the ship was made from scratch, including the breakfast pastries. First class all the way, in my opinion. No plastic forks and spoons on this ship! The ship offered numerous shore excursions at each port. There was something for everyone. I had booked the shore excursion in Juneau independent of the cruise line, which was a whale watch tour with Captain Larry of Orca Whale watching. The other 2 shore excursions with the cruise line in Skagway and Icy Straight Point were booked online prior to the cruise. Some of the shore excursions were not displayed on the interactive TV. I'm not sure if it was because they were already full, but I would recommend reviewing the excursions prior to the cruise. The naturalist on board the ship was a native Hoonah who spoke mostly about his people who we would encounter in the Icy Straight Point port. The day we landed in this port was the first day of sunshine on our cruise. There was a wonderful beach to walk around on if you did not want to book a shore excursion. There really was not much else to do, so I would recommend booking an excursion. It was a very interesting destination. We arrived and departed from each of our ports on time. The last day of our cruise was difficult. The water was extremely turbulent and the boat was rocking back and forth all afternoon and evening. I'm sure there were many ill persons that day, including my daughter. Disembarkation was based on your activities following the cruise. Since we were touring independent of the cruise liner and not immediately for the airport, we were the last to leave the ship. Then there was a mad dash for the Hertz shuttle to pick up the rental car. Others chose to walk with their luggage to the area hotels. It should be noted however, that the hotels are not in the immediate vicinity of the port. This was my best cruise ever, and I would not hesitate to sail with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
We took the land-cruise 13 day option from July 16 through July 29 on the Celebrity Summit. We started off in Fairbanks and the two excursions there were the Discovery Riverboat and the El Dorado mine. They were okay but nothing ... Read More
We took the land-cruise 13 day option from July 16 through July 29 on the Celebrity Summit. We started off in Fairbanks and the two excursions there were the Discovery Riverboat and the El Dorado mine. They were okay but nothing spectacular. We took the train to Denali on Tuesday and the only wildlife we saw was one moose in the distance. We did the Tundra Wilderness Tour at Denali and we saw some caribou and two moose relatively close to the bus but the only bears we saw were at least one mile away and visible only with the driver's personal telescope. I think that the impression is sometimes conveyed that if you drive through Denali all kinds of animals will be right next to the bus and that is certainly not the case. The third day we stopped at Talkeetna to primarily view Mt. McKinley and we lucked out with a clear day and the view was spectacular. On Thursday morning we took a small plane and landed on a glacier at McKinley and that was very good (if pricey). Starting on Thursday is when I began to get the impression that we were going places simply to fill out the week. We arrived in Anchorage on Thursday afternoon and all we did was walk around the city and go out to dinner. Friday morning we went to a Native American cultural center in Anchorage and that could have been skipped as far as I was concerned. Friday night we went to the Alyeska Lodge in Girdwood and there was really nothing to do there. We had reservations to eat at the very pricey (but good) Seven Glaciers restaurant on Friday night. On Saturday morning, everyone just hung around the lobby waiting for the bus to leave at 1:30 to go to the ship in Seward. Once we left Talkeetna and saw Mt. McKinley, we were just killing time until Saturday in Seward. Let me point out that the tour was extremely well organized by Celebrity from the moment we hit the airport in Fairbanks on our first day. Luggage was moved very efficiently and every detail was carefully explained. There was no excuse for getting lost or not knowing what was next on the itinerary. Boarding the Summit on Saturday went well and the buffet was open when we got on and a full course dinner was offered right thereafter. We were on the Concierge level on deck 9. To summarize the food, we had no complaints about any of the three meals we had every day, be it in the buffet or in the Cosmopolitan restaurant. I thought that all of the choices were excellent and our waiter and assistant waiter were very good. At almost any time of day, you could find something good to eat if you were hungry. A Midnight buffet was offered on one night and the presentation was spectacular with ice sculptures, etc. The entertainment was pretty good considering that it was a cruise ship and not a large Vegas hotel. The comedian was funny and a Cirque de Soleil was pretty good, considering the small cast. The bands that played in the various lounges also were good. You can't expect a full blown Broadway production on a cruise ship and I think Summit does a pretty good job. I will give brief comments on the shore excursions that we took. White Pass Railroad was overpriced for what is basically a slow train ride with some modest scenery. I would not recommend it and Skagway is just one big gift shop that is open from May to September. The Mendenhall Float Tour in Juneau was also overpriced for what is nothing more than a ride in a pontoon boat. You get nowhere close to the glacier and you don't see any wildlife. Again, I would not recommend it at the price of over $100. At Icy Strait we took the "Bear Tour" and saw no bears and it ended up being another $104 to ride in a school bus. There is really very little to do at Icy Strait and I question why the ship stops there. Thursday was Ketchikan and that is another dazzling array of t-shirt stores and jewelry stores. I saw where the Lumberjack Show is located and it is simply attached to a gift shop on the pier and it does not look like it is worthwhile but some people have to be entertained when they are off the ship so more power to them if they can get people to pay to see it. The staff on the Summit is excellent and our room attendant was very good and attentive. Our room was certainly big enough for us and I wondered how big some of the smaller rooms were in comparison but I was not able to see any. It is a beautiful ship with very little signs of wear and tear. I would certainly cruise on it again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
ALASKA CRUISETOUR JUNE 2006 REVIEW INTRODUCTION -- After planning on an Alaska cruise for over a year, we finally came upon an announcement in the church bulletin offering an Alaskan Pilgrimage cruisetour, the very cruise we were hoping ... Read More
ALASKA CRUISETOUR JUNE 2006 REVIEW INTRODUCTION -- After planning on an Alaska cruise for over a year, we finally came upon an announcement in the church bulletin offering an Alaskan Pilgrimage cruisetour, the very cruise we were hoping to take. We signed up with thirty other prospective pilgrim cruisers with a priest as our spiritual guide and after months of preparing for this, our prayers were answered. This cruisetour was a 7 night cruise on Celebrity Lines-Summit ship from Vancouver, B.C. northbound to Seward, AK; 3 day land tour by motorcoach to Anchorage & Talkeetna & Denali National Park & by train to Fairbanks, then fly out to Seattle-to- Charlotte, NC & Jacksonville,FL. June 3----Sat. (Partly Cloudy & Cool) -- This day had finally arrived & we all met at the Jax airport at 6:30am, for a long flight to Vancouver, B.C. The flight departed on time . After some 10 hrs., we arrived at 11:30am PCT. We were promptly escorted thru the Vancouver air terminal in an orderly manner. Led thru the Pacific Passage area displaying the Vancouvers native cultural history in sculptured forms in wood, metal fabric weaved tapestry. We were assembled in an area for transporting by bus to the pier. After arriving at the pier, we walked up the long ramp to the Summits main lobby, with exquisite dEcor & met by a waitress offering Mimosa or Champagne which we opted out of & led by a white gloved crew member who showed us to our cabin-(forward & starboard- 7066) with a veranda. The cabin was slightly smaller than motel size but clean with mirrored walls & ceiling. More than adequate closet & draw space. Embarkation went better than we expected boarding the ship around 1:30pm PCT. After settling in, we headed for the the Waterfall Cafe(WFC). Lots of food with a selection similar to a cafeteria but oh so much better in quality & presentation especially the desserts. After a self guided tour, we returned to the cabin. Vancouver was visible from the veranda as was the pier. At 5:15pm sharp we had to participate in a life boat drill. All ships crew & passengers assembled in the Celebrity Theatre & eventually led out to our boat stations for further instructions. Dining in the Cosmopolitan restaurant was delightful experience. Menu selection was superb&from soups to salads to entrees to desserts. Served in elegant style. WanWan a first class waiter as was his assistant Kusamo were both from Indonesia, we became fast friends to the last days serving. June 4-----Sunday (Cloudy, Misty & Cool) -- Ship was cruising the INSIDE PASSAGE----[scenic pristine waterway reaching 1000 miles from British Columbia to Skagway, AK; viewed the fjords & mountainous/forested islands occasionally seeing sea lions, bald eagles]----for a good part of the day. After attending Sunday Mass, we had breakfast at the WFC..waffles were great as was the omelets prepared to your liking. Spent the remainder of the day socializing & viewing areas of the ship. Lunch time -- back to the WFC, but discovered the pizza shop so we lunched on pizza. For dessert, I had a delicious cheese cake & eyeballed the French pastry..flan. I returned to the cabin & all hell broke loose, upset stomach & got sick. Had a miserable evening & was not getting any better. Could I have contracted a "bug"? I skipped dinner that evening but Marie was fine & went to dinner. She was overwhelmed with the shrimp cocktail of which you could request additional servings. Our cabin attendant. Edwin (from Colombia), was concerned about my illness & had followed up on whatever I needed to make me comfortable. June 5-----Monday (Cold, Windy, Rainy & Overcast) -- Ship docked at JUNEAU around 12 pm. Since I was not feeling too well, we decided to stay on board. Weather was not good for walking the area. Did see the the tourist traps in proximity to the dock & the cable car rising to mountain top. This being the capital of Alaska, it is only accessible by float plane. June 6-----Tuesday (Partly Cloudy, Windy & Cold) -- Docked at SKAGWAY with three other ships. This town is typical of gold rush mining period of the 1890s with wooden boardwalks & wooden store front shops ready to take your money. We skipped the White Pass railway & did not get to the Red Dog Saloon; however, we did cruise the stores most of which were jewelry shops but displaying rather unique pieces. Marie spent quite sometime before deciding on a pearl bracelet with a beautiful setting. The main drag was populated with passengers from the four ships, seemed like 42nd St. in NYC. A couple of hours of shopping was enuf & on returning to the ship we were greeted with hot chocolate being passed out by a crew member; this was the norm at subsequent ports. June 7------Wednesday (Clear, Sunny, Cool & Windy) -- Upon arriving near SITKA, the ship dropped anchor offshore. We had to assemble in the Celebrity Theatre to receive a numbered card for boarding a tender to shore. Once on shore we came upon a private tour operator offering a tour of areas bald eagle, sea lion(s) & general history in a 8 seat van. This proved to be a very informative tour; saw many eagles in their various habitats & a huge sea lion named Earl, who is the resident pet. The driver related a number of historic events that took place in past years. Returned to the ship to go to an evening dinner & take in the Cirque Du Soleil (35 min. long) which was fabulous. Production show of "Broadway Tunes" was quite good but not outstandingly original in dance routines. Singing of principal performers was great. Comic & magician was very entertaining. Also, the unbelievable stunts performed by an aerialist team of Rebecca & Phillippe were marvelous. June 8-----Thursday (Clear, Sunny, & Cool) -- ICY STRAIT POINT --At this port the ship had to anchor offshore & again we were tendered to shore. Only one ship can anchor here which made it much easier to stroll leisurely around. Toured the salmon cannery museum & packing company. We had just missed getting a glimpse of Humpback whales feeding in the area bay. We attended a performance of the Tlingit natives in the theater as they acted out their ceremonial dances in colorful costumes & narrating the legends in their native language & English. We then boarded a bus to a remote bush river valley where a local native guide led us on a short hike to a wooden platform to view wildlife. Just in time to observe two grizzly bear cubs playing in the stream bed. Back to the ship with hot chocolate in hand. June 9-----Friday (Clear, Sunny, Cold & Windy) -- Cruising toward HUBBARD GLACIER. This was the one of the highlights of the cruise. Viewing the mountains, ice flows & glacier was awesome. The ship was within 3 miles from the glaciers where you could hear the cracking & thunder like sounds of the glaciers moving & calving; viewed this from the 11th deck & our balcony as well. This was our last day to enjoy the ships amenities before packing. However, as the ship entered the Gulf of Alaska, we encountered rough sea swells putting the ship in a "rolling & pitching" motion. This prevailed thru the day & evening hours. Motion sickness pills were the order of the day. Trying to pack under these conditions was a challenge. June 10-----Saturday (Cloudy, Drizzle, Cold) -- Docked at SEWARD around 3 am. Disembarkation was at 8:30 am, which went quite smoothly & well organized. After a 4 hour motorcoach trip, we reached ANCHORAGE in time for lunch. We happened on a very large & crowded flea market/craft show. Had the local fast food favorite&"Reindeer Sausage-dog"(consists of reindeer meat w/ some pork). This was the "BEST" tasting hot dog. On the motorcoach for another 3 hour ride to TALKEETNA ALASKAN LODGE (partly cloudy & cool). Scenery along the way was wonderful&&flora & mountainous ranges. This lodge is a luxury resort for skiers. Beautiful setting on a hill where you can view Mt. McKinley. It features a 50 ft. high stone fireplace in the lobby. Marie & a friend, opted for a plane ride (single engine) over glaciers & a landing near Mt. McKinley which was aborted due to turbulent conditions. Had a pleasant & relaxing evening here; spacious room with comfy bed. June 11-----Sunday (Clear, Sunny & Cool) -- Today we continued on to DENALI NATIONAL PARK. We were led to a site to board a "school bus" for a 5 hour tour of the far reaches of the park to observe the vast Tundra & wildlife. Peering out the bus window, we saw moose, caribou, deer & an adult brown (grizzly) bear. Our driver was quite knowledgeable giving us a running commentary on the parks history. Later that day we were driven to the train station to board the Wilderness Express train for a 4 hour scenic ride to Fairbanks. Once in Celebritys dome car outfitted with large leather seats, we settled in for a comfortable ride. Bar service was available at reasonable prices. We then were led to the dining area below the dome car. Superb & elegant menu. I had prime rib which was the best I have tasted in sometime. Marie had baked halibut seasoned with herbs & lemon. Arrived in FAIRBANKS & on to another motorcoach ride for a two night stay in Pikes Waterfront Lodge; this place was the worst we encountered. Room was o.k. but the temperature was 85 deg.F. & the A/C was not working properly. Hotel personnel were uncooperative & unconcerned. June 12------Monday (Clear, Sunny & Hot) -- This morning we were bussed to the El Dorado Gold Mine for a mini-train tour of the old (abandoned) mining area. Given a demo on how panning was done during the gold rush. We then were escorted to an area where we had a hands-on experience of panning of gold. Between Marie & I, we panned $11 of gold once weighed. Marie had a pendant/bracelet made with the gold chips. Back to Fairbanks for lunch. Later that day we were bussed to the River Boat Discovery dock. This was a 3 hour paddle-wheel boat narrated trip down the Chena & Tennana rivers. Stopping at different spots to observe the Iditarod dog camp & native villagesgiving an narrative of tribal customs & life the natives had to endure. Back to the hotel/motel to prepare for the arduous trip back home. June 13------Tuesday (Sunny, Clear & Warm) -- This morning we are scheduled for a 6:30 am flight to Seattle. Arrived in Seattle & trekked the terminal for our flight to Charlotte, NC. Two hours into the flight, an elderly lady had a heart attack; attendants called for an M.D. Luckily there were two on board with an EMT. Pilot had to make an emergency landing in Cedar Rapids, IA. On the tarmac for two hours & local rescue personnel removed the lady. We believe she did not survive. Obviously, we missed our connecting flight to Jax. Upon arriving in Charlotte at 11 pm, we were set up in a motel. With only a few hours of sleep, we were scheduled for a 8 am flight to Jax on the morning of June 14th. All in all, we had a very pleasant & enlightening experience on the Summit. May do again sometime soon.............. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
There are lots of chronological reviews of cruises, so I try to take a different slant with each review I write (e.g. ABC's of Xpedition). This cruise on Summit sailing June 3 from Vancouver to Seward was one of three firsts for us; ... Read More
There are lots of chronological reviews of cruises, so I try to take a different slant with each review I write (e.g. ABC's of Xpedition). This cruise on Summit sailing June 3 from Vancouver to Seward was one of three firsts for us; the first on a Millennium class ship, the first as Select members of Captain's Club, and a first cruise replacing a cancelled one. So, this review will provide our comparative experiences on these three levels. Our previous cruises on Celebrity have been on board Mercury, Horizon (sob & she is gone) and Xpedition. We have a preference for smaller over larger, and had some apprehensions about the larger Summit. But, with a couple of exceptions, size did not matter. Embarkation at the Ballantyne Pier was smooth despite the fact that it was (due to the cancelled May 20th cruise) the first for the season for Summit out of Vancouver. Our only delay was in the taxi after we had entered the Port area. A train loaded with containers blocked our access to the pier, and we waited and waited as the meter ticked over. Xpress Pass and Select status had us on board just 15 minutes after leaving the taxi; and that included Security, US Customs and Immigration, dodging the photographers and registering our mug-shot on the SeaPass. We had glass of champagne in hand and were escorted to our cabin at 1.40pm. Our luggage arrived outside our cabin around 4pm. This was faster than on the smaller ships, go figure. Due to the cancellation of the May 20th cruise, we had to accept a cabin which does not suit our preferences. We opt for lower decks, midships, oceanview. On Summit we had forward, up on deck 9, with balcony. We prefer the layout (and the few extra square metres of space) on Mercury (some area lost to balcony I think), but, we did smile as we used the balcony from time to time. The cabin service was unobtrusive, thoroughly professional, and when we had special requests (like the ice-bucket with ice early each afternoon to chill our pre-dinner bottle(s) of wine) they were filled without fuss. The larger Summit gave us several features we came to admire (love). We are both keen walkers and enjoyed the longer jogging track on Summit. But we missed the wrap around, teak promenade walking deck on Mercury which we used often on windy days. Summit has a long, straight stretch of stretchdex sprayed on the promenade decks. This is somewhat lacking in character, and you either walk up and down or cut through a lounge to the other side. We soon learned to meet for breakfast and lunch in the Spa Cafe. We are admitted foodies but we try to be logical and careful about our first two meals each day. This little gem gave us healthy options, small but adventurous choices, and (almost as importantly) respite from the numbers in the Waterfall Cafe. The staff of this delightful spot are regulars in the Normandie (specialty restaurant) and very well trained and friendly. On mornings when we craved an omelette or pancake, the walk from the stern of Waterfall Cafe to the Spa Cafe was noticeable. Then (did I keep the icing on the cake till last?) there is the Normandie - we had made reservations for the night we wanted for the May 20th cruise. To our surprise, we could switch to the same second formal night (we will do anything to avoid lobster and the Baked Alaska parade) on the replacement cruise. An old (1983) St. Emilion just happened to find its way from our cellar at home into our suitcase - Sommelier Roman smilingly did it proud with the full decanting with candle treatment. The food and service were as advertised - what a fine evening. Now when are they going to refit Mercury with one of these restaurants? Dining in the main dining room on Summit was comparable to that on smaller ships. I think some of the recent changes to the menu are improvements but are probably fleet wide by now and not specific to Summit. We did have the best team yet experienced at our table for two -- Agustinho and Jose worked perfectly together, remembered our preferences, gave reliable advice, and never pushed us to eat more than we ordered. We did find the main dining room for second sitting less crowded than on smaller ships, but I put that down to the unexpected demographics of this June 3 sailing. There were 170 under 18s, and only 270 Captain's Club members. We guess that there was a lot of dining in other spaces -- grill bar, cabins, sushi bar, and pizza. That meant more space for the waiters and a quieter time generally at second sitting...very relaxing. Cova Cafe on Summit seems smaller; but excellent service (waiter Bailon taught us to order a bottle of wine rather than wines by the glass...what we did not drink, he kept for our next visit), and the wonderful work of the string Quartet (Viva) and the acoustic guitar (Glen) made this our favourite place before and after dinner. Having Michael's Club as a non-smoking area (versus a cigar bar on Mercury) suits us, but other than one evening when Viva played there, the entertainment was not an attraction. The other major difference between smaller ships and Summit is the presence of Cirque du Soleil. While this means the bar on the top deck (Bar at the Edge of the Earth) is still outlandishly decorated but used for the masquerade night just once (pack a mask if you plan to attend), it also results in one show in the Celebrity Theatre with the Cirque performers. While the introduction to their show is somewhat unfocused (in our opinion) and being ad-libbed is often under-lit (computer lighting boards do not know where they are going next), there were two outstanding segments of the show which had our hearts in our mouths and our jaws dropping open. WOW! The flip side is that this takes the place of the additional professional musician we enjoyed on previous cruises; a classical pianist, a xylophonist, a banjo specialist etc. Although there will be many of the rookie sailors on June 9th who will disagree, we found Summit handled really well in the 8 hour squall which hit early afternoon en route to Seward after leaving the Hubbard Glacier. Horizon would have rolled much more...and Mercury too? Our top deck forward cabin moved less than we had feared. I am not sure that the next comment is relevant in terms of ship size. Prior to the cruise we had been concerned that we would not be able to go very close to the Hubbard Glacier. Watching webcams of previous cruises showed Infinity and Mercury standing well off the glacier and just for a short time. We were again lucky. Cruise Director John (and several crew members we spoke to) boasted of how lucky we were; longest time at the glacier, closest in 20 years, calm sunny weather, and so much calving that some people worried the glacier was going to break up completely. What an event! I cannot wait to set a slide show of my pics to music. The main disadvantages of the larger ship are results of larger numbers on port days. Tendering resulted in some waiting (especially in Sitka) and lines did form in the cafeteria when many had early tours ashore. The small towns like Sitka and Skagway are somewhat overwhelmed when four or five ships our size or larger are there on the same day. Combat shopping seems to be the order of the day...especially when it rains. Compared to the smaller ships (and this may be itinerary related not size), there did not seem to be a sense of camaraderie in the Activity Program on Summit. I was the only attendee at the first ping pong and first shuffleboard sessions at sea the first day. Sports Coordinator Andrei suggested the cooler weather and the large number of first time cruisers (who were still finding their way around the ship, and trying everything) might be responsible. On Mercury, we developed several rivalries and friendships with other passengers at these activities, and the Sports Coordinator fostered these. Turning to the Select category difference there is not much to report. There was a sense of disappointment with the bonuses booklet in the cabin...most coupons require that you spend money to earn the bonus. Not to our liking this trend. But we did appreciate the free wine seminar with Roman in the Normandie, the Galley Tour with executive chef Frederic, and the (higher quality of) drinks served at the Select and Elite cocktail party with senior officers and staff. There were offers of special events with the Art Auction staff (not a way we like to spend our time on board) and with the Wine Auction staff (Canadians need not register and bid because of importing regulations -- what a pity!)...so, for us, these offers were not really a step up from Classic status. We surmise that our Select status (and the small numbers of members in this category on the June 3 cruise) did prompt the invitation from the Hotel Director to dine at the Captain's Table. Unfortunately it arrived on Wednesday evening for the Thursday dinner and clashed with our Normandie reservation, and switching at that late stage was not possible. We regretfully declined. Maybe our luck will hold on another cruise, and we will be invited again? Finally, what was the consequence of a cancelled cruise and re-booking? Well, after the panic of learning of the cancellation, and the stress of trying to re-book everything, there was a continual feeling of wonder that we were able to switch it all (sailing date, ship-board credits on file, post-cruise visit with Anchorage friends, independently booked shore tours in Skagway and Juneau, even one of two frequent flyer reward tickets for the cruise back from Anchorage to Vancouver). With a refund from the cancelled cruise paid to our credit card a couple of days before we sailed, we felt blessed all over again. The only negative was that the Bon Voyage gifts we had purchased for each other never did arrive. Our phone call to Celebrity on learning of the cancellation resulted in having to cancel the orders for the first cruise and re-order for the second. Maybe the fact that we called just 16 days before the June 3 sailing meant the order (and that of our Travel Agent who always sends us a bottle of wine) went into the ether somewhere? Guest Relations staff politely tried to sort out the missing items on the first two days, but we cancelled them after three days of waiting. There has been some comment on CC threads about the compensation offered to those booked on the original cruise. In our case, it seems adequate to generous. We had expenses of $55 and $300 dollars to change our return flights, and Celebrity offered up to $200 per person, so we will receive all but $100 of that. However from reading posts on the May 20th thread, we were lucky in that many others did not manage to recoup expenses, or could not manage rebooking as easily; the one size fits all offer did not work for back-to-back cruisers or those from long distances with hotel bookings or tours pre-and post-cruise. Me thinks it is time to end this prattling. Millennium Class or smaller? We tip the scales slightly in favour of the larger class with advantages just winning out over drawbacks, though our next cruise booked is on Century which may give us the best of both worlds? Select versus Classic membership status? Hardly a big jump in perks here given that the one category up-grade is still the draw in being a CC member anyway. And what about sailing on a replacement cruise instead of one that was cancelled? We do not want it to ever happen again, given that there was anxiety and confusion initially...but if the cruise-gods could guarantee that we two young retirees can be sure of a refund and replacement cruise just two weeks later, I suppose we would have to hope it does re-occur. Questions? Post and I would be happy to answer them. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
My boyfriend and I sailed with Celebrity Summit on June 17, 2006. We booked the cruise portion through an online agency and handled our airfare separately. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before, and stayed at the Best Western ... Read More
My boyfriend and I sailed with Celebrity Summit on June 17, 2006. We booked the cruise portion through an online agency and handled our airfare separately. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before, and stayed at the Best Western Richmond, located near the airport. Several days before this, we booked the Vancouver Shuttle (888-941-2121), the cost was $12, and they took us directly from the hotel to our ship. We arrived at the ship at approximately 2:30, and embarkation was a breeze. We had room 6048 on the Penthouse Deck (Deck 6). It is the port side stateroom that has an extra large balcony as the ship gets wider just past our room. The room was clean and our preordered flowers and alcohol package were waiting for us. Dining was superb; we ate nearly every dinner in the Cosmopolitan restaurant. We did need to make a seating change the first night, but it was not a problem and the rest of the evenings were just perfect. They anticipated our beverage needs (we had a soda pass), and anything extra that we wanted. We did dine at the Normandie restaurant one evening. The food and service was wonderful, but if you miss it, no worries, the main restaurants food was excellent as well. One note, we loved everything except the breakfast in the Cosmo restaurant. It was awful, and we never ate there again. Room service was great. We had coco or tea every night with either cookies or crackers and cheese. On the last night, they were even able to get one of the desserts that I had enjoyed from the dining room. We are in our 30s and we felt that the activities were limited aboard the ship. We went to about half of the shows, but didnt feel like we missed out as the view from our balcony was a better show. We spent most evenings on the balcony just enjoying the view. My only serious complaints were the smokers who seemed like they were everywhere. One other complaint would be the AquaSpa. My boyfriend had a massage, and the entire time that he had his treatment, they were attempting to up sell him on other services. He found it difficult to relax while under hard sell tactics. I have mixed feelings about the shore excursions. We took the Gold Rush tour in Juneau, and while I enjoyed it, I feel that the Mendenhall glacier tour would have been much more appealing. In Skagway we took the Pilots Choice Helicopter tour. It was wonderful. I would definitely do this one again. You land right on the glacier and get to walk around. Sitka was the biggest disappointment. We took the Russian Historical Tour, believing that we would learn about the Russian history of Sitka. The tour was nothing more than a $43 pp bus, that took us to two sights that were well within walking distance, and then to a Russian dance performance that was very amateurish with standing room only. Icy Straight Point offered very little as far as culture. However, we did take the whale watching tour. We saw nearly a dozen humpback whales that surfaced, flipped there tails and flapped their arms in the water. One even jumped out of the water. It was amazing and completely unexpected. Disembarkation went smoothly enough with the exception that to take the train to Anchorage, we had to be out of our stateroom and in the meeting place by 5:45. The train was wonderful and we saw many different types of wildlife. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
INTRO Me and my family traveled on the Celebrity Summit June 2006 and had so much fun. Let me start by saying vancouver is gorgeous and the most amazing city ever! Embarkation was a breeze, mainly because we had a suite and took us to the ... Read More
INTRO Me and my family traveled on the Celebrity Summit June 2006 and had so much fun. Let me start by saying vancouver is gorgeous and the most amazing city ever! Embarkation was a breeze, mainly because we had a suite and took us to the front of the line, even though the main line wasn't long either. Me and my sister stayed in a oceanview room with a balcony while my parents stayed in a sky suite, which was huge and very well furnished. Let me also start off by saying my mother hates cruises and picks on everything when we travel. When we boarded the ship it was beautiful, we were guided to our rooms and sat on the balcony until while the ship started to leave. My mother noted that the carpet in her room was very dirty and old. I didn't care what as wrong with her carpet. The next day the carpet was pulled up (while we were in port) and re-upholstered. If that is not celebrity service i don't know what is. Fruit and other snack were in our room and our rooms were spacious and the beds very comfortable. The bathroom was bigger than most with a bathtub and shower. Our balcony was enormous. ENTERTAINMENT and the SHIP The ship itself is very beautiful and has many places to go. Unlike Carnival ships, the Celebrity Summit has much more subtle art, furniture, and lighting. There are not disco lights and neon everywhere! The entertainment on the ship was great! Some nights there were the broadway style shows, which we didn't go to, but we went to all the comedy shows and they were beyond hilarious. A big thing with my family is the gym, which was not very big but the spa was beautiful and amazing. The gym was small but the cardio machines were placed directly in the front windows of the ship, it was gorgeous. FOOD Food on the ship was beyond great. The food was always fresh and well prepared. MAny restaurants including our favorite, sushi. The buffet was not crappy like they normally are. Many healthy foods are available. The main dining room is amazing. The back of the room is an enormous window that you can see everything as it passes you by. PORTS I will be very brief with the ports (not in order): 1. Juneau- we were very disappointed with Juneau. Our (private) bike tour did not show up and the day was very cloudy, rainy, and cold. We decided to go to the tourist sites which were ok, nothing special. The town wasn't any special either. The only plus in mendenhall glacier and the skylift. 2. Skagway was one of my favorites, many things to do and small cute town. Take the white pass and yukon route railway to different destinations. We were the only ones to do the hiking (a 4 hour hike) it felt like forever. I think i burned off the buffet. 3. Hoonah(i think called icy strait point)- Hoonah was another one of our favorites. A small town in the middle of nowhere has an extremely small town and mountains surrounding you. We took a private tour away from the crowds and saw a large pod of whales and many seals and puffins and bald eagles. The town is nice and quaint. 4. Hubbard Glacier Cruising- The hubbard glacier is amazing and we were lucky enough to see a large part of it fall of. (which i guess is not a good thing) It was nice to sit on the balcony watching the glacier go by. 5. Vancouver(departure port)-There is too much to say about Vancouver. What an amazing city! Stay at the westin bayshore if possible. 6. Sitka-Sitka was a very very nice town, mainly touristy but lost of things to do. We went kayaking around the small islands in the harbour. The town has many good restaurants. 7. Anchorage/Seward- We took the sightseeing transfer train from the cruise dock in seward to the airport in anchorage. our flight wasn't until later that night so we spent the day in anchorage and had a blast. Great restaurants and we went to the zoo, which is nice. Overall the cruise was an amazing experience and my mom couldn't find anything bad to say about it. She liked it and thought it was a great new experience for her, since shes never been on a cruise. The staff is amazing, food is great, and entertainment is above average. We did not do any of the shore excursions because we like to do those things by ourselves. But ours were great. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. All the ports were great except Juneau. For some reason our cruise did not go to ketchikan and instead went to sitka. But that was ok. I hear ketchikan is nice but nothing great. The only complaint we had was on the last night on our way to Seward, the seas were extremely rough and the waves must have been 50-75ft and the clinic ran out of all of their sea-sickness treatments. My mom is the only one who gets seasick but even we were getting seasick. It was pretty bad, lets just say we were happy to be in seward on land. Otherwise everything was excellent, i would definitely go on Celebrity again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Background: June 3 Summit NB from Vancouver was 3d AK cruise with X. Previously with X, the DW and I have noshed to Nassau, burped to Bermuda and punched thru the Caribbean. Like many, we were again drawn to this last outpost of the rugged ... Read More
Background: June 3 Summit NB from Vancouver was 3d AK cruise with X. Previously with X, the DW and I have noshed to Nassau, burped to Bermuda and punched thru the Caribbean. Like many, we were again drawn to this last outpost of the rugged individualist, an attitude aptly captured on a Tee shirt: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms -- who's bringing the chips? And the AK guys are even tougher! I also prefer the Alaskan itineraries because I am not blessed with the rugged good looks of Dr. Phil. In the Caribbean it's embarrassing when I lie on the sand and cats come over and keep trying to cover me up. My inclinations for Celebrity sprung from early experiences as a bathtub admiral at age two. My azipod was failing once and I had to skip Port Rubber Ducky. Some pax complained and I had to give them a time out. Even then I had a habit of wearing formal diapers two nights every week. Being only two however, circumstances beyond my control often prevented me from wearing the formal diaper all evening. Embarkation: Our party arrived a day early and took a limo from the Vancouver airport's ground transportation area (limos were waiting like cabs). It's a fixed fare of C$45 to downtown hotels and a good value for four adults with four large cases and four small roll-ons. I doubt one regular compact cab could have handled all this. The same limo cost C$64 for the 20-min trip to Balantyne Pier from Hilton Metrotown (at C$125 for standard room, Burnaby section of Vanc). We arrived at 12:30pm and lines were short -- we processed on board in about 15 minutes. Our last-minute cabin switch meant that our preprinted bag tags were wrong but the loaders had blank bag tags to fill out. I was growing anxious because everything was going too smoothly so far. I will explain at the end of this report. Staterooms MIL/SIL had Cat 2C -- 6016. This is the first of eight Penthouse deck forward 2Cs that feature the oversized balcony not depicted on the M-class deckplans. We upgraded 30 days before sailing (at big discount) to Corner Cat FV 9197 that popped up available on the X-website. This FV had the large partitioned sitting area - it was great to be able to lay my clothes around on the sofas just like at home. All the 9000-level aft Cat FVs have the issue of being below the patio of the casual Waterfall Cafe. This outside seating had nice but heavier wooden tables, chairs whose movement transmitted dull scraping noise through the Cat FVs ceiling. This was an occasional distraction from 7:30am to 9pm during cafe hours but we were in the cabin for limited periods then. CruiseCritic Connections Social: We had barely gotten over the 25-minimum registration. About 12-15 attended the visit held in Michael's Club at 10:30am the morning after sailing. CD Howell hosted and, in response to questions, indicated how difficult it had been for the staff to be pleasant while dealing with some over-the-top pax during the mid-May cruise when Summit had Azipod trouble. Captain's Club Had the usual socials and ship tour opps. Roxanna indicated there were 74 combined Elite and Select members on board. The couple with the most X cruises had 23 (I didn't get a chance to ask them if they thought X was a premium cruiseline. Now we'll never know.) The Summit's senior staff shook hands with pax in the receiving line whereas in May the Galaxy senior staff had announced an intentional no shake approach to reduce Norovirus risk. Would it have been bad form for these Summit hand-shakers to place an antiseptic dispenser at the end of the receiving line? Ship's Medical heard a couple reports of very high fees for medical treatment. Don't know all the details, but those reporting were very unhappy. Trip insurance sure would be helpful. Besides the Norovirus risk and other global health concerns, I am curious why no one is alerting pax to the early symptoms of Avian Bird Flu? A human indicator of bird flu is the urge to go to the bathroom on car windshields. X Security Some real backsliding by Summit security on this AK trip. There were over a hundred kids on board. On our May Galaxy Transatlantic Security had managed to keep all but 22 young'uns off - I suspect some collusion by the parents in those cases -- an inside job of a sort. After the low kid count on Galaxy and the general aging of the population, I entertained fanciful illusions of blessed finality to the diaper controversies if X would convert the kiddee pools to seniors-only. But I guess it just depends. Entertainment Skipped the musical productions but caught Taste of CdS, two comedians, one who combined juggling with short one-liners. The better was Jeff Nease (sp?) who early on commented about how young the X audience looked (and got a laugh). He then said X crowd was definitely young compared to his audience on QE-2 recently. There, when the bright stage lights came on, many in the QE2 audience started walking towards the light. Maybe you had to be there. Taste of Cirque was in theater at 9:15 for main seating. By 10 mins before show, crowd was standing room only. There were 3 10-min acts and the audience applauded as loud as I have ever heard on 11 X cruises. White Night party started at 10:45pm and, based on video, about half wore basic Mardi-gras masks. Condition of Facilities Ship looked fine, fresh, clean. Windows in Summit's upper observation lounge were in much better condition than on Galaxy. Some rug seams separating in Waterfall cafe (I had to ding something or some readers would think I hadn't really looked.) Tenders were used in Icy Strait Point and Sitka. I noted that Summit's lifeboats had capacity stencils 120 pax tendering, 150 pax lifeboat while HAL's Veendam, Osterdam stencils indicated 90 pax tendering, 150 pax lifeboat. This board has already established that X trails HAL in mattress thickness, comfort. For reasons only my psychoanalyst can fathom, this reminds me of the US-Soviet space missile gap of the 1960s. Now we are faced with a butt-space gap on X's tenders compared to HAL. I doubt HAL's pax have smaller butts on average, so I reluctantly conclude that X's pax are exposed to a -33% butt-gap on X tenders. Food - Main Dining Room had upper level table for 4 at top of stairs at main seating. As mentioned, I was seated with my DW, SIL and MIL. I don't know why, but every night when I approached this table, Tennyson's famous words drifted into my head: Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered into the jaws of Death, Rode the six hundred. Go figure? I stayed with beef entrees and found them very good, slightly better than on the Galaxy. The waiter indicated that they often see variation in quality due to different suppliers in different regions. Beef en brochette flavor was a little weak. Coq au Vin was very good. I often went with the optional off-menu shrimp cocktail and Caesar salad. In general, main DR meals were very satisfactory. We always did casual restaurants for breakfast/lunch for convenience. Dress code observance in main DR: a few odds and ends but many odd ends. Normandie Specialty Restaurant >>> Menu Exceptionnel! This was our fourth specialty restaurant experience, including one on Zaandam. We tried the Menu Exceptionnel which requires ALL at the table to participate. This dinner costs the $30 service charge plus $27 per head for 5 wine accompaniments. We all enjoyed the experience but felt limited in the narrower choices, especially for entrees. Will stick with regular specialty menu in future. Creamy lobster broth or tangy tomato/red pepper soup, Goat cheese soufflE or pan-fried foie gras, Filet of sole filled w lobster mousse or baked rack of lamb in pastry. Selection of cheeses, Chocolate soufflE or dessert mini-samples. Weather - Season was excellent, mostly sunny, dry, mild with one gray drizzly day in Juneau that caused early flightseeing cancellations (with refunds). The Summit encountered large rolling ocean swells when crossing the Gulf of Alaska on the last day before Seward. About half attended the main seating dinner that night. Evening twilight started around 10pm at night and dawn was around 4am. By June 14 it was bright at midnight and dawn at just after 3am. Even with heavy cabin curtains, light sleepers will be bothered -- strongly recommend bringing the eye shades that airplane travelers often wear for darkness. Oddest conversation overheard or Newsflash for Archimedes -- A pax at breakfast stated to companions that Summit must have at least as many decks below water as above water in order to keep itself from tipping over. Rumored X initiatives: Tuxedo rental has been around for many years. A super-concierge class featuring full cruise wardrobe rental is in test mode - you will only need to pack toiletries and personal items. For the Baltic cruises, you would order the "Nicolas and Alexandra" outfits, "Jimmy Buffet" outfits in Caribbean. The program was first tested on Hawaii cruises where testers ordered "Don Ho" outfits. Unfortunately, miscommunications when ordering the "Don Ho" outfits resulted in a few lady testers being arrested while standing on Hawaiian street corners. These outfits will be renamed "Tiny Bubbles" outfits. Juneau Docked. Drizzly 50's low-clouds day that interfered with doing Mt. Roberts Tramway. A few pax caught up with the ship in Juneau. Because we visited Mendenhall Glacier before, I was aware that it and other glaciers throughout Alaska has been dramatically receding in recent decades. Based on TV commercials, the solution for receding would seem obvious - ice implants or ice weave. Many pax already bring liquor from home on board - if such cruisers to AK would also bring ice cubes in a cooler. Help out like the motto "if everyone lit just one little candle" - no wait, that's more global warming. If you can't bring a cooler with ice from home, join others every morning by the restaurant's ice dispenser for an ice bucket brigade line. Skagway Docked at 7am, five ships in port, cloudy early. We were first to pickup at 8:15am at Avis rental. We had Murray Lundberg's Photographic Road Log of the South Klondike Highway - from http://www.explorenorth.com/library/...e-photos1.html. We drove 74 miles inland past Carcross to Emerald Lake. Weather was mild, partly sunny above White Pass along our route. Had good homemade ice cream (mega-scoop $4) at Watsons General Store (built 1908) in Carcross - a town so small the dog sleeps in the road. Rental was under $100 with all costs included for four compared to about $145 each with a group tour along same routes (but they stop to let you hold a husky puppy). Road conditions were generally good (55 mph many sections) except for some areas under repair. Sitka tendering, 9am arrival, mild partly sunny. There is a Visitors Transit bus from dock that circles the town and costs $10pp for all day on/off. It turns out the walk to downtown is less than .5 miles on sidewalks. We waited 20 mins for this bus and rode it for 15 mins in city traffic to Raptor Conservation Center where 1-2 miles of easy walking trails start, winding through an old-growth state park forest. Saw a six-inch slug (the insect kind). We walked through park back to dock in an hour. Icy Strait Point tender, anchor at 7am, mild sunny day, only ship in port. I got wrangled into X's whale watching tour with about 200 others (cost $120pp - 4 hours). They announced they were going further into bay to improve chances for whales over previous trips. Ended up seeing a couple partial breaches at about 300 yards, several humpback pods at 300 yards or more, no sea otters, three adult seals for 10 minutes within 50 yards. Afterwards the commentator indicated our luck was much better than recent prior trips. At least we had pleasant weather, again. Here's a tip to get rail space for a whale photo when others are crowding in front of you. When the best whale photo opp happens, yell in a loud serious voice "Honey, hand me the HARPOON, quick!" This momentarily stuns, confuses other pax causing them to clear away from you - giving you clear picture shot. Ate big bowl ($8) of very good clam chowder at lodge past the ceremonial fire pit. As I took in the beautiful wild vista it seemed natural to wonder if movies like In the Heat of the Night or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof had been popular at ISP. Hubbard Glacier yet another sunny mild day, only ship in Yakutat. Summit eased through a field of scattered ice floats to within few hundred yards of Hubbard face. Not much calving but remarkable thunderous booms from deep within shifting ice pack. Opening Founders-level "Friends of Don Knotts" - The Friends of Don K. is a support group for X-pax who are anxious and nervous about how long their string of great X cruises can run. After reading these boards, I am incredulous on beating odds against having 11 great X cruises in a row. How could I be so fortunate? - just an average guy, bifocals, thinning hair, and (according to DW of 30 years) with bad breath and smelly feet. How infinitesimal the odds of getting to twelfth great X cruise - the fates must be toying with me. Is there a molar-busting rubber steak or a rogue wave lurking in my future? Did I miss a past memo that would have put me in the wrong place at the wrong time? As this Summit AK cruise approached, knowing the extreme odds against yet another great cruise, I had premonitions of what mishap might occur and what the news headlines might be: X-fan in fluke accident while whale watching X-fan bitten at Totem Bight X-fan trampled in stampede after glacier calving Famous Kecthikan rain guage falls, hits X-fan on head - injury diagnosed as "water on the brain". Sitka church's onion-roof falls -- hits x-fan -- everyones crying. So "Friends of Don K.", I know I'm doomed - way overdue for a bad X cruise. As I walk up the next X gangway anxiously, I will be zig-zagging mentally like a squirrel on espresso, on high alert to dodge the inevitable. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
ALASKA CRUISETOUR JUNE 2006 REVIEW INTRODUCTION After planning on an Alaska cruise for over a year, we finally came upon an announcement in the church bulletin offering an Alaskan Pilgrimage cruisetour, the very cruise we were ... Read More
ALASKA CRUISETOUR JUNE 2006 REVIEW INTRODUCTION After planning on an Alaska cruise for over a year, we finally came upon an announcement in the church bulletin offering an Alaskan Pilgrimage cruisetour, the very cruise we were hoping to take. We signed up with thirty other prospective pilgrim cruisers with a priest as our spiritual guide and after months of preparing for this, our prayers were answered. This cruisetour was a 7 night cruise on Celebrity Lines-Summit ship from Vancouver, B.C. northbound to Seward, AK; 3 day land tour by motorcoach to Anchorage & Talkeetna & Denali National Park & by train to Fairbanks, then fly out to Seattle-to- Charlotte, NC & Jacksonville, FL. June 3----Sat. (Partly Cloudy & Cool) This day had finally arrived & we all met at the Jax airport at 6:30am, for a long flight to Vancouver, B.C. The flight departed on time . After some 10 hrs., we arrived at 11:30am PCT. We were promptly escorted thru the Vancouver air terminal in an orderly manner. Led thru the Pacific Passage area displaying the Vancouvers native cultural history in sculptured forms in wood, metal fabric weaved tapestry. We were assembled in an area for transporting by bus to the pier. After arriving at the pier, we walked up the long ramp to the Summits main lobby, with exquisite dEcor & met by a waitress offering Mimosa or Champagne which we opted out of & led by a white gloved crew member who showed us to our cabin-(forward & starboard- 7066) with a veranda. The cabin was slightly smaller than motel size but clean with mirrored walls & ceiling. More than adequate closet & draw space. Embarkation went better than we expected boarding the ship around 1:30pm PCT. After settling in, we headed for the the Waterfall Cafe(WFC). Lots of food with a selection similar to a cafeteria but oh so much better in quality & presentation especially the desserts. After a self guided tour, we returned to the cabin. Vancouver was visible from the veranda as was the pier. At 5:15pm sharp we had to participate in a life boat drill. All ships crew & passengers assembled in the Celebrity Theatre & eventually led out to our boat stations for further instructions. Dining in the Cosmopolitan restaurant was delightful experience. Menu selection was superb&from soups to salads to entrees to desserts. Served in elegant style. WanWan a first class waiter as was his assistant Kusamo were both from Indonesia, we became fast friends to the last days serving. June 4-----Sunday (Cloudy, Misty & Cool) Ship was cruising the INSIDE PASSAGE----[scenic pristine waterway reaching 1000 miles from British Columbia to Skagway, AK; viewed the fjords & mountainous/forested islands occasionally seeing sea lions, bald eagles]----for a good part of the day. After attending Sunday Mass, we had breakfast at the WFC&..waffles were great as was the omelets prepared to your liking. Spent the remainder of the day socializing & viewing areas of the ship. Lunch time&back to the WFC, but discovered the pizza shop so we lunched on pizza. For dessert, I had a delicious cheese cake & eyeballed the French pastry&..flan. I returned to the cabin & all hell broke loose, upset stomach & got sick. Had a miserable evening & was not getting any better. Could I have contracted a "bug"? I skipped dinner that evening but Marie was fine & went to dinner. She was overwhelmed with the shrimp cocktail of which you could request additional servings. Our cabin attendant. Edwin(from Colombia), was concerned about my illness & had followed up on whatever I needed to make me comfortable. June 5-----Monday (Cold, Windy, Rainy & Overcast) Ship docked at JUNEAU around 12 pm. Since I was not feeling too well, we decided to stay on board. Weather was not good for walking the area. Did see the the tourist traps in proximity to the dock & the cable car rising to mountain top. This being the capital of Alaska, it is only accessible by float plane June 6-----Tuesday (Partly Cloudy, Windy & Cold) Docked at SKAGWAY with three other ships. This town is typical of gold rush mining period of the 1890s with wooden boardwalks & wooden store front shops ready to take your money. We skipped the White Horse railway & did not get to the Red Dog Saloon; however, we did cruise the stores most of which were jewelry shops but displaying rather unique pieces. Marie spent quite sometime before deciding on a pearl bracelet with a beautiful setting. The main drag was populated with passengers from the four ships, seemed like 42nd St. in NYC. A couple of hours of shopping was enuf & on returning to the ship we were greeted with hot chocolate being passed out by a crew member; this was the norm at subsequent ports. June 7------Wednesday (Clear, Sunny, Cool & Windy) Upon arriving near SITKA, the ship dropped anchor offshore. We had to assemble in the Celebrity Theatre to receive a numbered card for boarding a tender to shore. Once on shore we came upon a private tour operator offering a tour of areas bald eagle, sea lion(s) & general history in a 8 seat van. This proved to be a very informative tour; saw many eagles in their various habitats & a huge sea lion named Earl, who is the resident pet. The driver related a number of historic events that took place in past years. Returned to the ship to go to an evening dinner & take in the Cirque Du Soleil (35 min. long) which was fabulous. Production show of "Broadway Tunes" was quite good but not outstandingly original in dance routines. Singing of principal performers was great. Comic & magician was very entertaining. Also, the unbelievable stunts performed by an aerialist team of Rebecca & Phillippe were marvelous. June 8-----Thursday (Clear, Sunny, & Cool) ICY STRAIT POINT --At this port the ship had to anchor offshore & again we were tendered to shore. Only one ship can anchor here which made it much easier to stroll leisurely around. Toured the salmon cannery museum & packing company. We had just missed getting a glimpse of Humpback whales feeding in the area bay. We attended a performance of the Tlingit natives in the theater as they acted out their ceremonial dances in colorful costumes & narrating the legends in their native language & English. We then boarded a bus to a remote bush river valley where a local native guide led us on a short hike to a wooden platform to view wildlife. Just in time to observe two grizzly bear cubs playing in the stream bed. back to the ship with hot chocolate in hand. June 9-----Friday (Clear, Sunny, Cold & Windy) Cruising toward HUBBARD GLACIER. This was the one of the highlights of the cruise. Viewing the mountains, ice flows & glacier was awesome. The ship was within 3 miles from the glaciers where you could hear the cracking & thunder like sounds of the glaciers moving & calving; viewed this from the 11th deck & our balcony as well. This was our last day to enjoy the ships amenities before packing. However, as the ship entered the Gulf of Alaska, we encountered rough sea swells putting the ship in a "rolling & pitching" motion. This prevailed thru the day & evening hours. Motion sickness pills were the order of the day. Trying to pack under these conditions was a challenge. June 10-----Saturday (Cloudy, Drizzle, Cold) Docked at SEWARD around 3 am. Disembarkation was at 8:30 am, which went quite smoothly & well organized. After a 4 hour motorcoach trip, we reached ANCHORAGE in time for lunch. We happened on a very large & crowded flea market/craft show. Had the local fast food favorite&"Reindeer Sausage-dog"(consists of reindeer meat w/ some pork). This was the "BEST" tasting hot dog. On the motorcoach for another 3 hour ride to TALKEETNA ALASKAN LODGE (partly cloudy & cool). Scenery along the way was wonderful&&flora & mountainous ranges. This lodge is a luxury resort for skiers. Beautiful setting on a hill where you can view Mt. McKinley. It features a 50 ft. high stone fireplace in the lobby. Marie & a friend, opted for a plane ride (single engine) over glaciers & a landing near Mt. McKinley which was aborted due to turbulent conditions. Had a pleasant & relaxing evening here; spacious room with comfy bed. June 11-----Sunday (Clear, Sunny & Cool) Today we continued on to DENALI NATIONAL PARK. We were led to a site to board a "school bus" for a 5 hour tour of the far reaches of the park to observe the vast Tundra & wildlife. Peering out the bus window, we saw moose, caribou, deer & an adult brown (grizzly) bear. Our driver was quite knowledgeable giving us a running commentary on the parks history. Later that day we were driven to the train station to board the Wilderness Express train for a 4 hour scenic ride to Fairbanks. Once in Celebritys dome car outfitted with large leather seats, we settled in for a comfortable ride. Bar service was available at reasonable prices. We then were led to the dining area below the dome car. Superb & elegant menu. I had prime rib which was the best I have tasted in sometime. Marie had baked halibut seasoned with herbs & lemon. Arrived in FAIRBANKS &on to another motorcoach ride for a two night stay in Pikes Waterfront Lodge; this place was the worst we encountered. Room was o.k. but the temperature was 85 deg.F. & the A/C was not working properly. Hotel personnel were uncooperative & unconcerned. June 12------Monday (Clear, Sunny & Hot) This morning we were bussed to the El Dorado Gold Mine for a mini-train tour of the old (abandoned) mining area. Given a demo on how panning was done during the gold rush. We then were escorted to an area where we had a hands-on experience of panning of gold. Between Marie & I, we panned $11 of gold once weighed. Marie had a pendant/bracelet made with the gold chips. Back to Fairbanks for lunch. Later that day we were bussed to the River Boat Discovery dock. This was a 3 hour paddle-wheel boat narrated trip down the Chena & Tennana rivers. Stopping at different spots to observe the Iditarod dog camp & native villagesgiving an narrative of tribal customs & life the natives had to endure. Back to the hotel/motel to prepare for the arduous trip back home. June 13------Tuesday (Sunny, Clear & Warm) This morning we are scheduled for a 6:30 am flight to Seattle. Arrived in Seattle & trekked the terminal for our flight to Charlotte, NC. Two hours into the flight, an elderly lady had a heart attack; attendants called for an M.D. Luckily there were two on board with an EMT. Pilot had to make an emergency landing in Cedar Rapids, IA. On the tarmac for two hours & local rescue personnel removed the lady. We believe she did not survive. All in all, we had a pleasant & enlightening experience on the Summit. May do again sometime soon. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Background Us: myself (39), my girlfriend (40ish) and her 22-year old daughter. We are loyal Royal Caribbean fans; always happy with the reliable and consistent product we have received on our 20+ RCI cruises. We've been on Princess ... Read More
Background Us: myself (39), my girlfriend (40ish) and her 22-year old daughter. We are loyal Royal Caribbean fans; always happy with the reliable and consistent product we have received on our 20+ RCI cruises. We've been on Princess twice (with nothing nice to say about either trip), Carnival several times (Carnival is, well Carnival...), and a smattering of a couple other ships. We have been on Celebrity one previous time, a Caribbean 10-day on the Millennium 4 years ago. To this point, that was by far our favorite cruise. So much so, in fact, that I was afraid we were expecting too much from this Celebrity trip! However, we were not disappointed. I can happily report that Celebrity well exceeded our expectations. Pre-Cruise We arranged our own flights, and flew Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles to Vancouver one day early. We always go a day early; it's just something I learned as a young buck with my parents, having missed our very first cruise, literally by minutes. We stayed at the Hyatt in downtown. Nicely updated room for around $320. Toured Stanley Park on foot, and had an incredible Italian dinner at Cin Cin (pronounced Chin Chin, but not the same chain of Chinese from the states) on Robson Street. Taxi from hotel to Ballantyne Pier was around $15 Canadian dollars. Beware of the Vancouver taxis that try to charge a $10 surcharge for handling our bags! What a racket. Embarkation The security x-ray line seemed a little long, but we may have been overly anxious to get onboard after planning for 13 months! Once through security, check-in and US immigration was a breeze. We arrived around 1pm, and it was no more than 45-minutes from taxi to suite. Luggage arrived very shortly after us. However, it was expedited due to our being in a Penthouse Suite. I cannot state that it would or would not have been different in another cabin... The Ship The ship was beautiful; many people have said there are signs of wear here and there. I'm on vacation, so to go hunting and nit picking for these things is ridiculous. The ship spends its time in a very harsh environment (both from the sea and weekly passengers), and I believe the crew does an excellent job keeping up with the wear and tear. The most recent pod problem is definitely fixed, as we made all our ports and spent the full time in each. The Captain confirmed the issue was properly repaired in drydock. The Penthouse Suite A gift to my girlfriend, I had booked Penthouse Suite 6148 some 13-months ago. As Alaska is notoriously more expensive, I figured I would go all out. It turned out to be a good idea, as my girlfriend's 22-year old daughter joined us in the suite, and we were all able to have plenty of our own space for the entire week. Not sure how things would have turned out in a standard cabin. Our Butler Rikki (from the Philippines) and Stewardess Nicoletta (from Romania) were outstanding! Rikki anticipated everything before we had to ask, and even made suggestions for things we had not thought of. He served us lunch on the balcony in the Inside Passage, and balcony breakfast while we were in Hubbard Glacier. He was always instantly available, and almost seemed to appear out of nowhere when we left or returned to the suite. I'm assuming he was attending to others, however, he treated us as if we were his only concern. Rikki checked to see when we were returning from port, and always had afternoon tea and snacks waiting for us. I mentioned early in the cruise that I liked shrimp cocktail, as well as watermelon and pineapple. I never again had to want for either. In fact, Rikki constantly restocked the refrigerator with more than I could eat... Those snacks, as well as the daily cheese and cracker plates, and the afternoon teacart stocked with never-ending finger sandwiches and desserts was enough to keep us fed all week! The room was always spotless (not always easy with the daughter's clothes), and we had everything we needed. Nicoletta was kind enough to open the sofa bed every night, and return it to a sofa every morning. High marks go to both, and they always had bright cheerful smiles and good wishes for us. They were both very well tipped when we left. I had originally considered the "pre-tipping" as has been discussed on these boards, but then I decided that it seemed like a bribe more so than a tip. The ship offered to charge your tips to your shipboard account, but that process seems so cold, so I chose to do the tipping in cash, along with a very appreciative handshake and very warm "Thank you" from us all at the end of the cruise. The huge balcony was a wonderful bonus during our Inside Passage transit and time in Hubbard Glacier. We invited some friends and tablemates to join us, as well. With the wraparound to the side, we could essentially see 270-degrees around the ship. Imagine a clock; we could see everything from 12:00 all the way around to 9:00. We never got around to using our Jacuzzi's, as the time and weather were not always convenient. However, Rikki and Nicoletta repeatedly pleaded with us to let them prepare the jacuzzi for our use. The in-room computer had spotty satellite service, and at 0.75 cents per minute (not free on Celebrity, not even for Penthouse passengers or Captain's Club Elite members), the charges add up quickly. Better to just leave the office, and everyone else, behind for the week and be out of touch. Truthfully, while it was very enjoyable, the suite was overkill. The extra space and amenities (including such things as binoculars and umbrellas) are nice, but for two travelers, where views may be limited (such as traveling from island to island in the Caribbean), a simple cabin with balcony is more than enough. Would we do it again? Yeah, maybe, depending on the circumstances. But, certainly not as an every-time experience. The Cosmopolitan Restaurant and Staff We were originally seated at a table by ourselves, next to the window on the second floor. Choice window location for the week, but we thoroughly enjoy meeting and making new friends at our dinner table. We've been very lucky over the years with the other passengers we've met. A quick request was made to Maitre d' Denuta, and she seated us smack in the center of the first floor with two wonderful couples whose company we enjoyed for the rest of the week. Waiter Carlos and Assistant Ketut were outstanding. Make a request once, and you can count on consistent follow-through for the rest of the week. Very high praise for excellent and efficient service from them both. By the way, I mentioned Maitre d' Denuta. She was the greatest Maitre d' I have ever met! Very sweet, very friendly, always around and offering a truly genuine "Hello!" She helped out with several other "non-issues" throughout the week, and she couldn't have been more gracious about everything she did for us! I can't say enough about her, and she was tipped accordingly. This is the first tip I've ever given to a Maitre d' and she deserved every bit of the $50 I gave her. By the way, the "recommended" gratuity for her was $15.75. Food The dining room food was good, maybe just short of great. Certainly better quality than what we are used to on RCI, and much better than our recent experience on Princess. They appear to have cut back on quantity, which is fine by me. Better to serve less food, and have passengers ask for seconds, than to waste a lot on the first plate. You eat too much on a cruise anyway, so smaller portions at dinner may actually curb your intake. If it's not in front of you, you are less tempted. Selections and variety are good, as well. Breakfast and lunch at the Waterfall Grill and Waterfall Cafe lacked variety, in my opinion. Sure, you could always find enough to eat, but I always seemed to be going back for the same things, day after day. And, I am not a picky eater! The pizza, however, was always fresh, hot and very tasty! The make-it-to-order pasta station was good, as well. Breakfast waffles were delicious. We never ate in the Spa Cafe. I had a sample of Sushi one afternoon, and I was pleased with what I found; fresh with fairly good variety and quality. Not exactly what I would find at my favorite places back home, but certainly much better fare than I've seen and tasted over the years. Small food hint from assorted crew: Celebrity does "most" of their provisioning for the 2-week Vancouver-Seward-Vancouver run while in Vancouver. Therefore, towards the end of the second week (the southbound Seward-Vancouver trip), certain food (fruit, vegetables, etc...) can get a little, shall we say, "old." Apparently, the crew passageways below decks are "a little crowded" after leaving Vancouver until they find room for everything! Normandie Restaurant We had made reservations before we left. Dinner was around a 2-1/2 hour affair. Impeccable service and delicious food. You have to try the Lobster Bisque and the Goat Cheese SoufflE! My scallop and lobster dinner was a little bland, but admittedly, I was so full by that time, I don't know that anything would have tasted good! We did not try the "wine-with-every-course" offering, as we are not big wine drinkers. We did have one bottle with dinner for $36 plus 15% tip. Dinner was $30 per person, and worth every bit for the experience, and change of pace from the dining room. Staff and Crew Everyone we met had a bright cheery smile and attitude. I never once saw anyone who appeared like they did not want to be there. We always got a "Good morning / afternoon / evening" from everyone we passed in the hallways or stairs. Purser's desk & Shore Excursion desk were helpful, and able to properly assist, when needed. Cruise Director John Howell appeared to be fairly well received by most. He was very personable and friendly to talk to, although his occasional Public Announcements and incessant speeches in the Celebrity Theatre seemed to drone on forever. I am not a fan of most CD's I've met, but I gave him a good evaluation, and I wouldn't cringe knowing he was the CD on an upcoming cruise. A very interesting observation from me, considering several crewmembers had the exact same sentiment; none of the crew was very fond of him, however, they all thought that he does his job VERY well. Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis was one of the nicest Masters we have met. We were invited to dine with him, and we were extremely honored by the gesture. We've had dinner with other ship Masters, but Captain Skylogiannis was by far the nicest. Friendly to talk to, willing to answer relentless questions, eager to share his knowledge and experience with those interested in hearing about it. He is a young family man with a wife and two small children in England. He is very proud of his command, as well he should be. The table shared several complimentary bottles of white and red wine throughout dinner, but the Captain was sure to not even take a taste. Captain Skylogiannis courteously arranged a tour of the Bridge for us. We have had others, but this one just felt different. Usually we feel as if we are interrupting their day, and they could not be more unenthusiastic about passengers invading their space. The Summit Bridge Crew on duty actually appeared to be happy to have us there. They, like their Captain, are very proud of what they do, and they were extremely friendly about sharing it with us, showing us how everything worked, and answering every question we could throw at them! Entertainment We enjoyed the Production Shows. They had lots of imagination and energy, attractive outfits and sets, and very professional dancers and singers. Interesting tidbit of info; they were short several performers due to injuries. We never knew it while watching the shows. A taste of Cirque du Soleil was very enjoyable. It had a variety of different individual events, some that worked, and some that didn't. Overall very good, and I would have liked to have seen more... Aerialists Rebecca & Philippe were amazing. They do several shows throughout the week, all a small part of a larger production. Their act centers around a long piece of material hung from the top of the stage. They climb, spin, swing, balance and hang from this material. Some of the maneuvers they do are unbelievable. I can't really describe it very well, other than to say it was one of most imaginative and fascinating performances I have ever seen. I could have spent the whole week watching only them night after night. Don't miss this if you ever get the chance! Comedian Jeff Nease was very good. Fairly standard "cruise" jokes, and other observations on life, but he put his own spin on them, which we happened to really enjoy. He mentioned that he had just been signed to do a TV program (or something like that), and I will be eager to check it out. Thien Fu was billed as "Action Comedy." The moment we realized we had already seen him on another ship, we left. I don't recall him doing much for us the first time, and his act seemed familiar and not worth sticking around for. Casino My first trip to the Summit casino was after we left Juneau on Monday night. I guess we were not far enough from port yet, so everyone was just standing around looking forlorn. Within minutes, the machines lit up, and the dealers snapped right to it. It was fascinating to witness the transformation. An onboard friend and I hit the craps table. We never really got the table jumping, but we did clean-up nicely. The rest of the week was craps and blackjack, and although I started playing big (as it was Celebrity's money), I never gave it all back. The last night I hit big on blackjack, and walked off the ship very happy with my time in the casino. The casino was much quieter than any other ship I've been on, perhaps due the older-age of the passengers or possibly the itinerary? The dealers were a joy, and they made it fun even when you were losing. Helen & Mark get high marks from us all! The Bar at the Edge of the Earth The bar was the venue for several events throughout the day, and it is a fascinating space. Obviously still dressed for the Cirque du Soleil shows that they used to have there. We only made it to the nightclub once, on the last night. My girlfriend's daughter and I were the ONLY passengers there. However, we did enjoy the company of several assorted crewmembers, some of which we had already befriended throughout the week. Fellow Passengers We assumed the crowd would be older than our usual Caribbean jaunts, and it was. The ship appeared to "die" after dinner. In fact, even the dining room was never packed. The show lounge always had choice seats available, even for the production shows. The casino was virtually dead. Even during the day, the ship almost seemed like it was empty. None of the venues became busy. Not even bingo! The only lines were waiting to tender back to the ship in two of the ports. But, you can expect that on any ship, and the line moved quickly. There were some young children onboard, but except for one minor incident, you never noticed them. We were in one of the stair banks waiting for an elevator, and we heard some noise as if elephants were roaming the ship. Soon we realized it was a gang of young kids coming down the stairs. Each was jumping down the stairs by skipping as many as they could at once. One was even able to jump from landing to landing, skipping every step! They seemed completely unfazed by the stares they were getting. The raucous was unbelievable, but it was short-lived, and only that one time. I guess some excess energy needed to be spent. Ports and Shore Excursions We booked all of our shore excursions online long before the cruise. We had chosen what we wanted to do, and we did not want to be disappointed by fully-booked excursions. Juneau: We were due in at noon, but we actually docked shortly after 11:00am. The morning had been gray and overcast, and it started to rain shortly after we arrived. The rain continued all day and night. Our first excursion, Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier via Helicopter @ 1:45 ($468 pp) was canceled due to the weather. Disappointing, but anticipated... So, we took the Mt. Roberts Tramway ($23.95 pp, purchased there, not onboard) up the mountain. Magnificent views of the city below (despite the weather), and we took a 1/2-mile hike on a designated trail. They also had an injured Bald Eagle in a sanctuary up at the top. Very sad for the eagle, but beautiful to see her so close! We came down the mountain, did a little shopping in town, and hit the Red Dog Saloon for a drink or two. It's just something that needs to be experienced when in Juneau... That evening we did the Gold Creek Salmon Bake @ 6:30 ($36 pp). A little hokey for my tastes, but the food was pretty good and plentiful. The salmon was delicious! There was a river and waterfall with some nice picture taking opportunities. We didn't stay long after dinner, as they have buses running continuously back to the ship. Skagway: Our second chance at dog sledding!!! However, once again our excursion, Dog Sledding & Glacier Flightseeing @ 9:45 ($436 pp) was canceled due to the weather. The weather at the port was nice, although it was a little windy and cold. Apparently the weather at the dog camp was not so good, although they did start flying the excursion at 11:00. Too late to get ours going, and the rest of the day was booked, as you can imagine! Others that went later in the day raved about the experience. The Shore Excursion Manager said she had never had any passenger canceled on twice in two days. Dog sledding was one of the highlights we were most looking forward to, and we thought we had covered all our bases. Obviously, we would rather not fly for safety concerns than risk our lives. Disappointing for sure, but we absolutely understand! The assorted refunds were a nice bonus, but I still would have rather done the excursions! Hmmm, I'm predicting another Alaskan cruise in our future... Next up in Skagway was the White Pass Scenic Railway @ 12:40 ($106 pp). The weather had cleared up considerably and had even started to warm up somewhat. The train ride is long, but takes in some incredible views and vistas. The farther we went, the more snow there was. At the top of the mountain there was tons of snow. Later in the year, when the snow has melted, I could imagine this excursion being a little mundane, but we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. We even got to see a bear, who seemed fascinated by what we were doing there. The train drops you off in town for shopping (which we did, of course), or you can go back to the dock. Sitka: Ship's Tender port. We did the Captain's Choice Wildlife Quest & Beach Quest @ 11:15 ($166 pp). We were not really excited about any of the shore excursion offerings in Sitka, but chose this one as "the bests of all evil's." This ended up being a fantastic excursion that we all really enjoyed. The boat met us right at the tender dock. They take you out to sea, where you go searching along with the crew for any wildlife you can find. There were two very knowledgeable Naturalists onboard along with the Captain. They communicate by radio with the other boats in the area to ensure that you see the most. On our trip we encountered whales, sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles, and one woman was convinced she saw puffins... The crew said we made about a 50-mile round-trip. Then they dropped us off on a beach for about 45 minutes of self-guided exploration. The Naturalists are there to answer questions and point out assorted things, but you are on your own. Very interesting, and entertaining. This excursion was just as well liked as all the rest we did. Back in town, we did more shopping, of course! Great Swarovski collection at one place, if anyone is interested... Icy Strait Point: Ship's Tender port. Here is what I've gathered about this wonderful little port. It is situated at the town of Hoonah, Alaska (population 880). Icy Strait Point used to be a salmon cannery, and Royal Caribbean/Celebrity has now turned the abandoned cannery into a private destination, along the lines of Labadee or CocoCay, but Alaskan-style. The Hoonah locals work the stores and excursions, and I suspect they are all on Royal Caribbean's payroll. They are all proud of their town, as well they should be. I find it a little humorous that these big cruise ships pull in and overwhelm their small town with three times their population worth of passengers and crew! Since our ship does not do Glacier Bay, we chose to do the Glacier Bay Flightseeing @ 12:15 ($299 pp). Great choice!!! The view from the air was spectacular, and a very nice, different perspective from when we did Hubbard Glacier the next morning. From what we saw on this excursion, I don't feel the least bit slighted that I went on an Alaskan cruise that did not do Glacier Bay. And, of course, we did the customary shopping... Hubbard Glacier: This was technically not a port, but a very important, and incredible, part of the trip nonetheless. I cannot be sure of the exact times, but I will go by the timestamp on my (220-plus) pictures. By a little after 7am we were already well into Yakutat Bay headed for the glacier. The helicopter deck on the bow of the ship was opened (apparently not always?) for sightseeing. By 7:30 it was already VERY crowded. A look back at the forward facing upper decks (above the bridge) appeared to be crowded, as well. The wind and biting cold were a little tough to endure, but worth every moment when the ship actually stops in front of the glacier. Get out there and do not miss it! We heard they were serving Pea Soup in bread bowls on the open decks, and hot chocolate was in abundance (for a price) out on the helicopter deck. By 8:00 we were already passing some good size chunks of ice. By 8:30 we were pretty close to the glacier, but it almost seemed that we kept getting closer and closer. The Captain turned the ship port side to the glacier, and we sat there for sometime. Then he turned the ship starboard side in, and we sat there again. There was no 360-degree spinning as I've read others describe. Around 9:45-10:00 we started to head away from the glacier, but the ice around the ship continued well past 10:30, and the views were still magnificent around 11:30. Weather and Clothing Aside from the rain in Juneau, and a squall with heavy seas (dining room half-empty for dinner) on the last day while heading to Seward, our weather was superb. Sure, a little cold in spots, but while we were in the Inside Passage, I was warm in shorts and a t-shirt. I wore jeans for the Glacier Bay Flightseeing in Icy Strait Point only because I thought the plane flight might be cold. However, it was not, and I was actually uncomfortably warm the rest of the day. What a gorgeous day! Most of the time, a light jacket was all that was really needed. The wind at night while at sea was a bit nippy, but tolerable while outside for brief moments. We over-packed, as most usually do, not really knowing what we would encounter. I've heard many mention that the weather can change 5 times a day in Alaska. I believe it! I brought my hiking boots, and used them extensively. I had a lightweight jacket with a hood, as well as my heavy ski jacket. While I didn't really need the latter, anything could have happened with the weather, and I was happy to have it along. I would probably pack the same way for another Alaska cruise. Better to have more than I need, than to be missing something, and sorry I had not bothered to bring it. We were overweight on 3 of our 6 bags. I convinced the agent to not charge us on the way to Vancouver, and we only paid for one bag on the way home. Again, I'd pay the $25 charge to ensure I have everything I might need or want to bring. Dress in the evenings I own a tuxedo, purposely for our cruises, as I use it very infrequently at home. I always bring it, and Alaska was no exception. We were invited to dinner with the Captain on the first formal evening (second night of the cruise), and I personally, would have felt very underdressed had I not been wearing my tuxedo. However, others were in dark suits, and were dressed suitably. It's just my personal preference to be wearing a tuxedo when dining with the Captain... There was one other formal night (on the second to last night), tuxedo, as well. Others were dressed in everything from tuxedos to dark suits to slacks with and without ties and jackets. I know there is considerable discussion as to what is "guideline appropriate." I don't prefer to get into those discussions, other than to state that I find it reasonable to follow the "guidelines" for my own enjoyment of the experience. Others can interpret what they will from the guidelines, and I don't let it bother me, either way. The fifth night is noted as informal, but I did not notice different dress than the casual nights. That happened to be the night we went to the Normandie Restaurant, and I needed a jacket for the restaurant, which I had brought. However, I do not know that I would have worn it had we not gone to the Normandie Restaurant on that evening. Jeans are not acceptable in the dining room, and even I bend the rules, but only on the very last night! What with packing and all, I find it tough to dress up, only to change after dinner in order to have my bags out on time. Jeans can be shoved into my carry-on, whereas I would never do the same with my dress pants. However, new, dark jeans along with a nice button-down are still mandatory, for me. Disembarkation Could not have been easier!!! Of course, we technically cleared US Customs when we boarded in Vancouver a week earlier, so there was no need to do so in Seward. We had a 1:30pm Alaska Airlines flight out of Anchorage, so we were required to be in the Martini Bar by 6:30am. We arrived in the bar only minutes before 6:30. Within minutes we were led to the atrium, and right of the ship onto waiting buses. No crowd, no wait, no problem! Show your SeaPass card one last time, and that was it. As usual, you tag your luggage (with Celebrity provided tags, specific for what your post-cruise schedule dictates) on the last night, and leave them outside your cabin before midnight. In our case, Celebrity takes your bags from the ship straight to the airport, and you claim them when the bus gets there. Walk them a few feet, and you can check them in. The bus ride ($74 pp through the ship) was somewhere a little less than 3 hours. It was a very scenic ride, but somewhat hard to really enjoy as our adventure was essentially over. We were at the airport with plenty of time to spare. First class seats afforded us a MUCH shorter line through security. A meal at Chili's in the airport, and a 2-segment 7-hour flight, and we were home. And, ready to go back!!! Assorted Other Things We heard nothing about anyone being sick on our ship. We ordered very few drinks, as we were provided more than enough in our suite. The service and quality was good, however, with the standard 15% added to the reasonably priced drinks. We did not use the pools or whirlpools. The gym was never crowded, but it was rather warm. Final Thoughts We had a magnificent time, and everyone agreed they would absolutely go back. The scenery got better as we headed farther north. Northbound was a good choice (a suggestion I had read from many others). The ports and the weather were spectacular. Everything about the ship was very nice. I really have nothing but good to report about our trip. I give everything about it very high marks. Due to time constraints, we were not able to do a land portion. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
This was a very disappointing cruise and not at all what we expected from Celebrity Cruises. Our first cruise was last year on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean, which was fabulous. We chose Celebrity to Alaska this ... Read More
This was a very disappointing cruise and not at all what we expected from Celebrity Cruises. Our first cruise was last year on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to Eastern Caribbean, which was fabulous. We chose Celebrity to Alaska this year because we thought it would be spectacular and of an even higher standard but, oh boy, were we wrong; it was dreadful! The embarkation was disorganised and confused with Celebrity staff looking flustered and check-in being suspended for quite a while. The ship looked 'tired' and in need of some refurbishment both inside and out. Varnish was well worn on hand rails, paint was flaking, carpets were stained and communal area toilets had broken seats and faulty taps. The cabin was pleasant enough but the wardrobe cupboards didn't fit properly and there was much creaking of the cabin fixtures when the ship was at sea. We spent the first few days stuffing wads of paper in various gaps to stop the creaks so we could get some sleep. The cruise itinerary was substantially changed when the ship suffered a damaged starboard propeller-pod bearing right at the start of the cruise. Two significant ports were missed altogether, most other port calls were shortened and the two special sea days at the Hubbard Glacier and Inside Passage were so badly degraded they were barely worth doing at all. Celebrity handled the issue appallingly and caused widespread anger amongst the passengers. Discontent became so bad that Celebrity embarked two Customer Service Representatives at the first Alaskan port to try and calm the situation. In reality they worsened things as they had no authority and no proper plan of how they were going to deal with the large community of disgruntled passengers. The entertainment provided in the Celebrity Theatre was poor at best. We did try it out but generally left after ten or fifteen minutes because it was so amateurish and juvenile. Given that we ended up having more days at sea than initially scheduled, there was no additional entertainment laid on and there was little to do. All very boring really. The only saving grace of the entire cruise was the serving staff. They were great but the ships officers were morose and unfriendly. The staff assigned to our second sitting dinner table were just the greatest and looked after us really well and helped compensate for all the other shortfalls Celebrity accomplished. Our cabin butler was also fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he was always cheerful and helpful. The excursions booked through Celebrity were rushed and somewhat disorganised. We always felt under time pressure having to see and experience things in a hurry. The best excursions were the ones we organised ourselves once ashore. The final excursion was a Vancouver city tour before being dropped off at the airport for the journey home. We waited over two hours at the assigned meeting point aboard the ship before disembarking and then another hour clearing customs formalities and awaiting a bus. By the time we got going there was very little time left for the tour so we had a very rushed tour of Vancouver in order to get to the airport on time. NEVER AGAIN WITH CELEBRITY. The after sales service from Celebrity is virtually non-existent. Despite numerous letters and telephone calls they have failed to communicate with us at all. The local UK Customer Service Manager refuses to speak with us on the phone and will not reply to our letters. Customer service just isn't their priority once they've got your money. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Arriving in LA to board this ship at three in the afternoon is a good idea, arriving later is better. The two o'clock crush turned literal on this cruise when a pile up occurred at the top of the escalator because the upper level ... Read More
Arriving in LA to board this ship at three in the afternoon is a good idea, arriving later is better. The two o'clock crush turned literal on this cruise when a pile up occurred at the top of the escalator because the upper level was filled but the people kept coming up with no place to go when they reached the top. The food was excellent and always served with a smile in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. My visits to the buffet were rare, but what I ate was good. Buffet fans I spoke with complained only about the chopped up arrangement of the buffet, and the lack of a full dinner buffet. All of the staff from every department were courteous and seemed to go out of their way to greet you as you passed by. It seemed like they were all genuinely happy you were on board. Entertainment in the public areas was quite good and diverse. Some nights in the Celebrity Theatre the entertainment was exceptional and the other nights it was standard cruise fare. This specific cruise got into a problem that originated from the propulsion system but led to mistakes, miscalculations and a near passenger mutiny that ultimately left a bad feeling with everyone, but the ship itself is beautiful and sparkling clean with a wonderful group of people in all the departments that I encountered.I plan on sailing on the Summit again in December for a round trip to Hawaii out of LA and I hope they have new mattresses by then. My first mattress was very lumpy and worn to the point you could not find a smooth surface on it. The second mattress was not nearly as bad but it, too, had seen better days (or nights, as it were). Overall, it's a good cruise for the over 50 group who prefer a more traditional, elegant cruise experience. If you have kids, book on Carnival or RCCL where far more is offered for the young families to do. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
We planned our trip meticulously. Because of my husband's ill health, we flew independently to LA & stayed three days in a hotel where we talked & planned what to do whilst on our trip. On the 7th of May, we headed for the ... Read More
We planned our trip meticulously. Because of my husband's ill health, we flew independently to LA & stayed three days in a hotel where we talked & planned what to do whilst on our trip. On the 7th of May, we headed for the port. Seeing the GMT Summit from a distance was impressive & the staff who noted our disabilities were pleasant & very helpful. We were ushered to the front of the embarkation line. This is where things started to go wrong. We spent almost two hours & numerous denials of already having received our cabin keys to eventually be escorted on deck (no chance of a photo call for us) by a crew member to the guest relations desk. Here we were given a key & asked to return the following day for duplicate keys as they could not do them at the time as the printer was not working. Nor was it working the following day. We eventually made it to our cabin. It was clean, tidy & adequate. The wardrobe needed some tender loving care, but we had made it to our first big cruise. It would have been lovely to make ourselves a cup of drink but there were no other facilities available except housekeeping. Our experience in the dining room was pleasant, the staff were very polite & attentive & we were made to feel welcome. After spending the next day at sea, it was announced from the bridge that evening that the ship would be docking later at night in San Francisco & not as expected the next morning. We arrived just after 1am so no Golden Gate Bridge. Because we left later than planned the same day, we did not get to see it when we left either as it was dark when we went under the bridge. The captain informed the passengers that an inspection of the ship was carried out successfully whilst in port. On the 10th of May at approximately 13.00 hrs the captain again addressed the ship & announced from the bridge that due to a problem with one of the steering pod bearings, we had to greatly reduce our speed from 22.5 knots to a maxium of 17.5 knots. The reduced speed meant that the ship could continue on its course to Vancouver, however we would not be able to go into the ports of Seattle or Sitka. It also meant that our visits at the ports we did go into would be considerably shorter. He also informed us that the Summit was due to go into dry dock at the end of our cruise 20th May in Victoria. Whilst in the port of San Francisco, the ship had been inspected by a Rolls Royce Engineer & a Lloyds Inspector (who had been flown out from the UK to examine the ship) & was certified safe to continue cruising at the reduced speed until reaching Vancouver. He then went on to say that as compensation, each cabin would receive $200.00 which would be added to our onboard account to spend on board, this detail was later changed but as we were at sea it would get spent anyway. We immediately submitted to the guest relations desk our request to have this money removed from our account but was told this could not be done. I left a written statement that I did not accept this money as compensation for what was fast turning into a diasterous holiday, especially as I received information from friends who where to join the ship on the 20th May that their cruise had been cancelled & that they had got a full refund plus a free cruise to be taken any time up until october 2007. We were disgusted. We felt extremely insulted. A very large proportion of the passengers were angry & upset at the announcement & eventually the captain & some of his crew took a questions & answers session in the packed theatre. The cruise director John addressed the guests in such a patronizing way that he added more fuel to the problem of missing out some ports of call. People were very upset at his attitude. As the situation was not calming, we were advised that the company would be sending out representatives from Miami to the ship when it docked in Ketchikan to deal with individual complaints. Did they really think that the guests would be fobbed off with a denial of not knowing the ship had a problem before it left San fransico. Why then were staff due to leave the ship in Seattle told to leave in San Francisco? No golf pro left on board. On the 12th of May it was again announced that the captain had agreed to 2hrs of complimentary drinks (very nice but neither of us drink) & the captain & some of his crew mingled with the guests & encouraged photo shoots. It was obvious that they were trying to get the spirits of the guests lifted, it worked for a few for a short while, but more disappointments to come as it did not last. On the 13th, we were fortunate to have our meeting with the company representatives from Miami. We had waited almost three hours to see them, still we had nothing else to do. This was a total waste of our time, we gained nothing & Carlos told us that we should be grateful for the cruise we were having. I think not, this could possibly be the last time my husband & I spend a holiday together & we did not plan to be stuck at sea for so long especially for the money we had paid to get on the cruise. The evening of the 15th of May after the show in the theatre, it was announced by John that as we would be entering the Hubbard Glazier Bay the next day, the captain had agreed to the helipad being opened for use by the guests in order to get the best possible views. Unfortunately, on the 16th of May whilst sailing towards the Bay, it was announced by a tour guide who had joined the ship with his aunt & was to give a commentary whilst cruising the Bay, that the ship was unable to proceed any further as there was already a ship in the bay. It was the next day that the captain informed the ship that due to local regulations, the Summit could go no further because entering would cause danger to the ship already in the bay. I am afraid that we came to the conclusion that we did not enter because of concern for the proplusion propeller & maneuverability of the ship. So we sat bobbing about at sea for close to 5hrs. whilst we waited for a pilot to board to take us down the inside passage. Again, what a disappointment. Dense fog prevented us from seeing the scenery & as we had to wait until 17.00hrs to sail, it was time to go to the main seating dining for a formal dinner, so again we did not see anything. The night before we disembarked, we received a letter in our cabin offering us a 30% discount off a future Celebrity Cruise if it was booked before we left the ship. This offer was to make up for the disappointment at not seeing the Hubbard Glasier Bay. Had we have gone to the travel office at any time during this fiasco we could have obtained 30% off any cruise just the same. So what favours did they think they were doing us? To sum it all up...a ship advertising 5-star quality but providing less that 3-star treatment to its guests. Although the crew for the most were friendly & helpful, there were those who continually insulted & patronised the guests. The food in the dining room was appetising, but the menu was staid & unimaginative. As for the Buffet, the food was almost always cold to luke warm. There was very little fresh fruit & vegetables available. The lack of sanitization was blantantly obvious. Although there were dispensers available for general use, we were not encouraged to use them. This from a ship that had already had outbreaks of the Norwalk Virus. Although at sea longer than was planned, there was no extra entertainment provided. The shows at best were mediocre, and the final evening with the comedian was diabolical. The shore excursions were disorganised, but the ones we did go on were good. However, we lost 6 excursions due to the change in itinerary. Disembarkation was a total disaster. We were glad to be off the ship because it was an extremely disappointing holiday, which we feel we may never have the opportunity to repeat. It was very expensive travelling from the UK & we will certainly never recommend this cruise line to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Summit Cruise to Alaska May 5, 2006 We. too, were on this cruise and had a wonderful relaxing time. The service, pampering and food were very special. It was just a wonderful time for us as a couple of reconnecting and celebrating 45 ... Read More
Summit Cruise to Alaska May 5, 2006 We. too, were on this cruise and had a wonderful relaxing time. The service, pampering and food were very special. It was just a wonderful time for us as a couple of reconnecting and celebrating 45 years of marriage. The entertainment that we chose to attend was of very good quality. While it was disappointing to not be able to see the Hubbard Glacier up close, it did not ruin our trip. We intend to do an Alaska cruise in 2007 and hope to get in closer. We enjoyed our relaxing at sea days so much that it wasnt a biggy to us to not see some of the ports with their incessant tourist traps. The scenery was awesome everywhere we went and weather was exceptional. It could be understood that some folks were meeting family or friends in the ports that had to be cancelled. BUT, the huge upsurge of anger and ugly feelings were not even reasonable in trying to be considerate of the captain and crew. Nothing at all could pacify the crowd that spent nearly 12 days raising a ruckus and trying to make everything into a terrible calamity. We have much doubt that these folks would have chosen to get off the cruise in San Francisco. They enjoyed the same dining that we did and all the service that is exceptional. The cruise was not shortened at all. Once that atmosphere was spreading, the complaints were against the food, the upholstery in the dining room and many irrational observations that had little grounding. Some of the shore excursions we took were great and one a little disappointing. The White Pass Scenic Railway was a very worthwhile trip. We would do it all over again, even with some of the changes that unfortunately happened. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
I was on the "ill-fated" Summit cruise that was affected by pod issues, resulting in two missed ports and various other "problems" including only a distant view of the Hubbard Glacier and a late (night-time) sail ... Read More
I was on the "ill-fated" Summit cruise that was affected by pod issues, resulting in two missed ports and various other "problems" including only a distant view of the Hubbard Glacier and a late (night-time) sail through the inside passage. While these issues were disappointing, they were not enough to significantly hamper my enjoyment of the trip. More troubling (to me, at least) was the pervasive negativity of a large group of disgruntled passengers who met frequently and publicly to complain about the situation and discuss possible courses of action. Still, I found the ship, the trip, and the entire experience to be quite good to excellent. Just as some background, I'm a 37-year-old guy traveling with my 64-year-old father. I have cruised twice before (both times on Carnival), and my dad has cruised twice before, (once on Cunard many years ago, and more recently on Princess). I think that both of us are relatively easy to please, although we are certainly not lacking in all standards... EMBARKATION - We showed up way earlier than we had been told to, and the ship had arrived a bit late from Hawaii, which led to some waiting. Interestingly enough, the very first people I spoke to while waiting happened to be from our roll call! So already, before even boarding, I had some Cruise Critic friends! We waited outside for about an hour, then were allowed inside to do our paperwork. This step took no time at all. We then were handed "A" cards (first group to board) and asked to wait in a seating area. This wait turned out to be quite long (at least 45 minutes). Because the line kept moving and more people (group B, group C) came over to the seating area, all the chairs were soon full and there was barely room to stand. Finally, they allowed group A to make their way onto the ship. If they hadnt been ready (or close to ready) to allow people onto the ship, I think it would have been better to keep them outside... We got our picture taken and then proceeded up an escalator to make our way onto the ship. Shortly after we got up there, we heard a commotion behind us. We couldn't see what had happened, but it turns out that people kept boarding the escalator even though there was no room at the top to clear away, and a pile-up with some injuries resulted. I never did learn how serious these injuries were, but I hope a lesson is learned and that security guards (from the port, I would think, rather than from Celebrity) are placed at this escalator. We entered the ship, I got a mimosa, but we were told that we couldn't go to the room yet. I would have loved to have at least dropped off my carry-on, but I didn't want to inconvenience the room steward, so I waited. We went to the spa first to purchase Persian Garden passes (as I thought - incorrectly - that there were only a limited number available at the $99 rate). We then went to the excursions desk to book a tour that hadn't been available online. Next was the Normandie, where we reserved a dinner for later in the week, and finally, the computer lab where I signed up for a class and my father signed up for a package plan of internet minutes. In a very short time, we had spent an AWFUL lot of money!!! We then went to the Buffet for lunch (which was just average -- more on that later). CABIN - After lunch we made our room down to our room, Aft corner FV #7199. Well, I had been told that this was a great room, but I wasn't really prepared for how great it would be. It is really a suite with two completely separate rooms as well as an ENORMOUS balcony. My dad and I were going to have two twin beds, but after seeing the room, he decided that he would be happier sleeping on the fold-out couch in the sitting room with me in the queen bed in the bedroom. Fine by me!!! The room was very smartly designed, making it even roomier than it would otherwise have been. There was an abundance of counter space, drawer space, and closet space. I had been concerned about having room for all the stuff I had packed for a 13-day Alaskan cruise, but it was no problem at all. Even the tiny bathroom was functional. My only problems there were the fact that you had to lower the toilet lid to flush (what a stupid design, but that was the case throughout the ship) and the fact that the temperature in the shower was very difficult to regulate (either scaldingly hot or a bit too cold with very little middle ground). I wouldn't say that the decor of the room was fantastic. It was fine, clean and everything was in reasonably good shape, but it clearly hadn't been decorated with the highest of standards. That was fine with me, but I expected Celebrity (with all of the hype) to be better than Carnival in this regard. Instead, it was pretty even between the two lines (and I haven't sailed with Carnival since they upgraded the bedding). My cabin steward was Elizabeth and she was EXCELLENT. She wasnt the most warm and fuzzy cabin steward I have seen, but she had a great personality and a nice sense of humor. She far exceeded our needs and expectations. SAIL AWAY  After a very easy and uneventful muster drill, I got to enjoy the sail away with a group of Cruise Critic folks from the roll call on the 10th floor aft deck. It was a beautiful afternoon, and aside from a blowing flag that was determined to attack us, it couldnt have been more lovely. I was very glad to meet some of these people here (and again at the CC party the next morning), but with a couple of exceptions (notably, my T-Pool buddy Carol), I didnt get to hang out much with these people over the course of the cruise. Next time, I hope. FOOD: DINING ROOM  At our first late-seating dinner, we were taken to our table, and I have to admit, I was not pleased. Our table was close to the entrance of the Cosmopolitan on deck 5, and you couldnt even see most of the beautiful room. I would have MUCH preferred to have been seated more aft in the main part of the restaurant. Moreover, we were at a 6-person table, and I would have preferred a bigger one, as I really enjoy meeting my tablemates. The four tablemates we had seemed perfectly nice, but quiet. They all spoke English fine, but it wasnt a first language for any of them. I dont think we had much in common. I considered asking to switch tables, but I didnt want to hurt anybodys feelings. As it turned out, I grew to really like our tablemates a lot, and I wasnt disappointed that we had decided to stay. From the beginning, I really liked our waiter and assistant waiter. Our waiter was quite formal and stern, but the assistant was a big clown and VERY funny (although still extremely good at his job). It made for a good mix. The food selection was extremely good. I eat seafood, but no other meat, and I wasnt sure how many choices I would have. As it turns out, when I added the vegetarian menu to the regular menu, I nearly always had two or more choices I could eat per course. The food quality was mixed, although certainly much better than what I normally eat. Some courses were fantastic. Others were just good. I dont think I had more than one or two dishes over the entire cruise that I DISliked, so that was pretty good. My main comment for the dining room would be that I would have preferred to have SMALLER portions. I was usually getting full during the salad course, stuffed beyond capacity by the entrEe, and forced to skip dessert because there was just no room. With smaller portions, I could have eaten all five courses without feeling TOO stuffed. If others wanted more food than offered in the smaller portions, they could always order more than one of any given course& I also think this would cut back on waste. I find a great deal of waste to be downright IMMORAL, and I was distressed to see just how much food leaves the table uneaten (and thats not even considering how much is probably wasted behind the scenes). NORMANDIE ROOM  We dined here twice, and Im really glad we did it. The room is beautiful and the service is the best Ive ever experienced. The selection (for me, at least, given my limitations) was trickier. There were a number of appetizers that appealed to me, but not a lot of entrees. I think I exhausted them in my two visits, and would have had to repeat if we had gone back. I wonder if I had asked for a second appetizer instead of an entrEe, if that would have been acceptable? Given the size of the appetizers, it would have definitely been enough food& As for the quality of the food, I enjoyed it, but it was definitely not the best food I have ever had. I was disappointed by the goat cheese soufflE. Based on the word soufflE, I expected something light and airy with some kind of bread-like characteristics. Instead, it was very dense and custard-like. It was quite tasty, but I was expecting it to be the be-all-and-end-all the way I have heard it described. Other dishes were very good, but I wouldnt say great. My father would disagree. He ordered the same thing both times we went (foie gras and Dover sole), and said it was the best he had ever had. My favorite part was the cheese course. Im not a big cheese fan, and I simply let the cheese steward choose for me, and I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the variety. Bravo! SPA CAFÉ  This was one of my favorite places on board to eat. The food here (particularly the desserts) was quite yummy. Once again, portion size was too big, especially since they are trying to be light and healthy. I do think the set-up here was bad. There is just a narrow walkway between the serving area and the drink station. It often ended up congested as patrons getting food, getting drinks, waiters, and even just folks trying to cross to the other side of the T-Pool area jammed it up. If they ever re-design, they should move the drink area& BUFFET  I thought this was the worst food venue on board. Neither the selection nor the quality was particularly great, and the traffic flow was AWFUL (due largely to the waiters who were there to help people carry their trays). If people need to have their trays carried, they should hand them over promptly and GET OUT OF THE WAY. Instead, we ended up with crowds of people and waiters standing around waiting to move (should I get that extra roll?) oblivious to how much they were in the way! PASTA/PIZZA/DELI/WAFFLE/SUSHI/ICE CREAM STATIONS  I really appreciated this variety, and it was nice to know that there would always be something good to eat. I availed myself mostly of the sushi (basic, but pretty good quality), but when the mood struck, it was nice to get pasta made to order, etc. CASUAL DINING  Never did it, so I cannot report. COVA CAFÉ PASTRIES  I DID avail myself of several almond croissants. Yum! OTHER SHIP FEATURES: GYM/SPA/T-POOL  I spent a great deal of time in this part of the ship. I think they do a great job of utilizing the space to keep it functional and pleasant. The gym was busier than I expected, but at most times of day, it was very adequate for everybody. It was well laid out and very nice. I wasnt that thrilled with the Persian Garden, as it was kind of dull (although pleasant enough). It was almost always empty, so there was nobody to talk to, and it was too dark and moist except in the outer room to read or do anything else. If it were free, Id avail myself again, but I dont think Id pay for it. I would simply settle for the free sauna in the changing room, which was quite nice with a window out to the ocean. The locker room itself, though, was not maintained often enough. There were always wet floors and towels strewn about. The guests should clean up after themselves, but absent that, there should be cleaning staff checking in REGULARLY. I had two spa treatments (a facial and a seaweed wrap), and neither one was beyond serviceable. I have gotten facials at a number of spas, and this one did not compare favorably. I hadnt really understood what a Thallasotherapy Pool was before I experienced it, but it was actually really nice. I would prefer fresh water to salt, but the added buoyancy was interesting. The hot tubs here were nice, but Im not sure why there was so much sand in them. The area around the T-Pool was a great place to relax with a book or a friend& CASINO  I spent an inordinate amount of time here! I had horrible luck, but the dealers were SO nice (especially Helen) that they made losing money much easier to swallow! I dont play slots/video poker, so I cant really comment there. There were 4 blackjack tables  1 regular, 1 single deck, 1 non-smoking, and 1 higher limit (usually $10/hand), although they werent all open most of the time. There were also 2 Three-Card Poker tables, a Caribbean Stud table, 2 Roulette tables, and a craps table. I actually feel that they should have had MORE Blackjack tables. The Caribbean Stud table was almost always empty (if it was even open), the second Three-Card Poker table wasnt open EVER on the whole cruise (as far as I can remember). Even the second Roulette table rarely got any play. The blackjack tables, especially the sole regular table ($5, multiple-deck, smoking allowed) were FAR AND AWAY the most popular tables when they were open. COMPUTER LAB  It was really nice to be able to use their computers FREE to upload and organize photos. The interior computer room where they held classes was fine, and the instructors there were very helpful. The 24-hour computer room with windows overlooking the sea was GREAT. CINEMA  It was a great, comfortable room. Unfortunately, I didnt make it to any movies, but I did attend one lecture here. CELEBRITY THEATRE  It is an EXCELLENT space. I saw several of the shows here, as well as a few enrichment lectures. I almost always sat towards the front, but I think that all of the seats were pretty good. SHOPPING EMPORIUM  I was not impressed with this area (although Im not much of a shopper, and Im clearly not the one they are designing it for. I just found it confusing. The different stores are not clearly defined nor labeled. At one point, I wanted to buy some Chapstick. I had NO IDEA which store would have it  there wasnt one that was called Gifts and Sundries, for example. Eventually, I found it in the duty-free liquor store behind a display of Scotch. Right! That makes sense! ATRIUM AREA (INCLUDING COVA CAFÉ, GAME & CARD AREAS, ETC.)  This was a lovely part of the ship, but not one I utilized often (with the exception of the computer room). Part of the reason for this was that it was the preferred meeting area of the disgruntled passengers, so I tried to stay far away. LIDO DECK/SPORTS DECK  This, too, was a nice part of the ship that I never used because it was Alaska in May. On a Hawaiian or a Panama Canal itinerary, Im sure Id be there all the time! CONSERVATORY  I completely dont get this space. They advertise it like its such a great feature, but WHAT PURPOSE DOES IT SERVE?! Its not a place that guests can hang out or anything  there is basically no furniture. The two times I went up there, there was NOBODY THERE. Im confused& BARS & LOUNGES  My favorite one as far as the appeal of the room was THE BAR AT THE EDGE OF THE EARTH. I thought it was slightly over-the-top but still fun and beautiful. I sometimes went up to the beds at the front of the room overlooking the bow with a cup of coffee and a book and just relaxed there in the mornings. My favorite bar to DRINK was the Martini Bar. I have to admit, Im not a big drinker, and I maybe had 7 or 8 cocktails over the course of the 13-day cruise, but after I discovered the Martini Delight, that was the ONLY drink I had from then on& ENTERTAINMENT  I probably went to about half of the main shows. I would have gone to more, but too much of the time, they scheduled the show for late-seating guests for 7:00 (BEFORE dinner). Well, the reason I prefer late-seating is because I dont want to have to rush to get ready for dinner, and I CERTAINLY dont want to have to rush because of a show& I much preferred the nights when the shows were after dinner. To me, the taste of Cirque du Soleil was the best show. The production shows were mixed. The singers were quite talented, but not tremendously appealing or exciting. The dancers were just okay  rarely was the whole group in synch, and its not like they were doing such difficult dances! My favorite element of these shows was the aerialist team of Rebecca and Phillippe (and I doubt I am alone in that assessment). The stunts they do are so gorgeous and unbelievable that they took my breath away every time I saw them. Whatever Celebrity is paying them, it is NOT ENOUGH. I didnt see any of the musicians or comedians. ACTIVITIES  I didnt really participate in any of the trivia games/crafts/etc. Its just not my style. Fortunately, there were always other things I wanted to do. ENRICHMENT SERIES  I made it a point to attend 4 out of the 5 lectures given by Nature Lady Leneh Trowbridge. It would have been all 5, but the first one conflicted with my Cruise Critic party  I caught it later on TV. This was a real highlight for me. I learned so much, and it made the sights I saw in port so much more meaningful. I couldnt recommend this series enough. Im not sure if she will be with the ship throughout the season, but if she is, seek her out. There was also a physicist on board giving enrichment lectures, but I didnt go to his. PORTS: SAN FRANCISCO  My dad and I rented a car and drove out to Napa Valley, as he is a wine connoisseur. It was gorgeous, and I had a lot of fun (although I drank too much wine at the tastings). I would have liked to have seen more of San Francisco itself, as the weather was FANTASTIC, but by the time we drove back, it was almost time to leave. The docking location was awesome  right next to Fishermans wharf. KETCHIKAN  Cute town with some nice little shops, but nothing too out of the ordinary. We did an excursion with a raft ride and a rainforest hike. The excursion itself was fun (we saw a BUNCH of bald eagles), but the drive to get there was quite long, and the fact that people were complaining ON THE TOUR BUS about the problems with our cruise was a bit much to take. Even if they were not willing to let it go and try to enjoy themselves, they should try to allow others to do so& Once again, we had absolutely gorgeous weather (a rarity in Ketchikan). JUNEAU  We bought a pass to ride up to the top of the mountain, saw some spectacular views, and watched a Tlinget film. I wanted to hike around on the trails up there, but my dad thought it was too dangerous given the snow levels. We then explored Juneau a bit before returning to the ship for lunch. After lunch, we took an excursion involving a helicopter ride and a landing on the Mendenhall Glacier with a hike (approximately 45 minutes) on the glacier. It was potentially quite fun, but we had an older gentleman in our group who was probably not up to the task physically. He was much slower and had a few problems (falling down and the like). None of this would have bothered me much, but on top of that, he would always dilly-dally around with his video camera and absolutely refused to follow directions, even when all of our safety was involved! Seriously, when we got off the helicopter and were told to proceed directly to a spot about 30 yards away where our gear and our guide were waiting, he took 3 steps from the helicopter, turned around, and started filming! We were still under the rotor, and him standing there blocked every other person from getting off and going where we were supposed to go. To me, that was dangerous. If I were running the tour, I would not have allowed him to proceed& While we hiked, he fell behind (partly due to his camera shenanigans), and we had to wait for him repeatedly, thus shortening the distance we covered on our hike& It was still a great trip, though. The glacier itself was fascinating, and my first helicopter ride was interesting. Somebody else on the helicopter said he saw a family of bears crossing a stream, but he didnt bother mentioning it to the rest of us! Can you believe that?! SKAGWAY  I really enjoyed the tiny town of Skagway, and I thought it had the best souvenir shopping of any port we visited. We also took the BEST excursion here! We basically took a catamaran ride across the fjord (seeing eagles and mountain goats, along with amazing scenery) to the town of Haines, then rode a bus 25 miles upriver, then floated down the river in 8 person rafts through the heart of an eagle preserve. It was such a gorgeous day, and the feeling of being right in the middle of nature was unmatched (the rainforest we hiked in Ketchikan had an actual wooden boardwalk built through it so it wasnt so natural, and the glacier in Juneau constantly had people and helicopters coming in and out). This river felt isolated enough that you could feel like youre seeing the real Alaska. Moreover the guides who paddled the rafts were AWESOME. They are all young people who spend their Summers out there because they absolutely love it. Their passion is infectious, and they know SO MUCH about everything we saw& HUBBARD GLACIER  While this is not a port per se, it was a destination. We didnt get in close, and I wasnt particularly impressed. However, if people hadnt been complaining so much, I dont know that I would have realized how much we missed -- I will say that I learned (almost by accident) that they opened up the front of the ship where helicopters land for viewing of the glacier, and when I got there, it was a right party! Now, I dont think this was announced anywhere, and I think that most of the people there were Captains Club and suite guests -- If they were the only ones invited, Im a bit put off by that. I find that quite exclusionary. If everybody was invited, Im not sure why I didnt hear about it sooner. Does anybody know? INSIDE PASSAGE  Once again, not a port, but what was supposed to be a full day of phenomenal scenery turned into an hour or two of full-on gorgeousness before we had to go to dinner and then it turned dark. This was a disappointment to me, as I was really looking forward to the opportunity to see so much& VICTORIA  I absolutely loved this city, and could see myself living here. We shopped and explored in the morning, then did a whale-watching excursion in the afternoon. The excursion was VERY successful, as we got to see a huge pod of orcas over the course of close to an hour. We may have even seen all 26 members of the pod, and we got to witness a variety of behavior including 3 separate breaches! Wow!!! We also saw bald eagles, seals, and various other wildlife. The problem, though, was that this tour was TERRIBLY OVERBOOKED. They brought about 45 passengers, and the boat probably shouldnt have carried much more than 35 TOPS. Even if EVERY seat was utilized on the top deck, the back deck, and the interior cabin, there wasnt enough room for everybody to sit (I stood for most of the 3 hour + excursion). Never mind the fact that as crowded as it was, we certainly couldnt pick a preferred viewing location! I would have given this tour a very high ranking if there had been 25-30 people aboard& DISEMBARKATION  We ended up waiting quite a while in the Celebrity theater while they called tons of colors and numbers before ours. Im really not sure why we couldnt stay in the cabin till our number and color was called. I believe that is how they do it on Carnival. Still, it was no big deal and the process once they called us, including customs and immigration, was amazingly quick and efficient. I was very sad to end the trip, though, so I wasnt going to be happy on this day, no matter how well everything went! If only I could go back and do it all over again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
My wonderful experience on this cruise demands I address some of the negative comments appearing here. The ONLY negative thing about this cruise was the poor manners of some passengers. The vitriolic of some revealed their motive as pure ... Read More
My wonderful experience on this cruise demands I address some of the negative comments appearing here. The ONLY negative thing about this cruise was the poor manners of some passengers. The vitriolic of some revealed their motive as pure greed. Their critiques also demonstrate they do not understand the contract they entered with the cruise line and presume that all lines are the same. Each has a niche market. Just because you have a favorite detail from another cruise (e.g. children's programs), you can't assume it will be repeated by every line in the same manner. The printed and TV advertising of Celebrity clearly demonstrates it quietly elegant adult product. That's what I experienced and that's why I'll always choose Celebrity. Embarkation was interrupted by an accident on an escalator which resulted in many staff members rushing to aid the passengers affected. Since this happened outside the sight of most persons in line, the reasons for the temporary delays were unknown. DINING: The main dining rooms feature a menu by Michele Roux. The expectation is Continental fare. The choices were so varied as to create daily debates on what to choose. Vegetables are used more as a decoration with the protein. If a person wanted additional vegetables, a word to the waiter would produce a platter full. Our waiter IGOR was very knowledgeable about the menu and helpful in making choices. Some critics focus on the buffet. It seems that they were unaware of other wonderful dining options such as the SPA Cafe which offered fruit and vegetable based spa cruise for breakfast and from 12 to 8pm. If people read the daily paper or the brochures their travel agent provided, they would have realized that there were many more options available than they utilized. FRESH FRUIT was part of every dining venue and I personally brought whole fruits back to my room. The NORMANDE has a $30 upcharge. The quality of the service and food were 6 star! If you were fortunate enough to have a Restaurant on land available to you with the same fare and level of service, the meal would cost you at least $150. The Harpist and the String Quartet played a wide variety of selections from classics to popular show tunes. The harpist was happy to perform Bach-like variations on "Happy Birthday" for a friend. On another occasion, she played selections which subtly connected to my profession (she was aware of this through a conversation I had with her at breakfast in the Spa cafe). Entertainment: Good but did not attend all offerings. On the extra sea days, additional day time concerts were provided. Unfortunately, the demonstrations in the Atrium made it impossible for the musicians to function in the Cova cafe during the afternoon orgy of bad manners and greedy demands. Overall, a fabulous cruise was affected by a mechanical problem. The captain did everything he could to focus on preserving the major destination ALASKA. Our weather was fabulous. Having met the Captain personally he is a true gentleman. If Celebrity wants to improve its product, they need to develop a policy to prevent the unpleasant public meetings initiated by disgruntled passengers. I believe their contract would allow them to discharge disruptive persons at the next port FOR THE SAKE of the MAJORITY of passengers who were denied what they paid for, NOT by Celebrity but by other passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Arriving in LA boarding early in the afternoon is a good idea. There was a pile up at the top of the escalator because the upper level was filled, poor planing. The food was good and the service was excellent in the Cosmopolitan ... Read More
Arriving in LA boarding early in the afternoon is a good idea. There was a pile up at the top of the escalator because the upper level was filled, poor planing. The food was good and the service was excellent in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. The buffet and burgers were not good, one step above leftovers. Buffet fans stay home, the chopped up mess was disappointing to say the least. The pizza was good and always open, great idea. The ice cream bar was great. Everyone complained about the chopped up disorganized arrangement of the buffet, and the lack of a full dinner buffet. All of the staff were friendly and seemed to go out of their way to greet you. It seemed like they were all genuinely happy you were on board. Entertainment was so, so. This specific cruise got into a problem with the propulsion system that was poorly handled by management which led to mistakes, miscalculations and a near passenger mutiny. We missed practically every sight seeing opportunity and many stops were skipped and also many short stays in ports. This left a bad feeling with everyone. In other words, the management on the ship and at headquarters LIED over and over again. I do NOT plan on sailing on the Summit again. The rooms and furniture were worn and faded. The rails were not varnished and the decks had rust marks, the patio furniture was discolored and smelly, it looked like a 20 year old ship. Several first time cruisers said they would never cruise again. I tried to explain this was not a good cruise experience, try another cruise line. Several passengers who enjoy cigars have been BANNED to the back deck, outdoors in the wind and rain, hardly a pleasant experience. My wife used to enjoy having a drink with me when I had my cigar after dinner, NOT ON THIS SHIP. Very unpleasant. After 67 cruises, this was the 9th cruise to Alaska, this was the WORST cruise I have EVER been on. But, I still enjoyed being with my wife on a cruise. Don't count on me next time, Celebrity. enter your review. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
We stayed at the Harbour Hotel in San Pedro, LA, less than 10 mins from the port. However, it took nearly three hours to board the ship. Having been picked up at 1.30, we waited at the dock in a holding area before joining a further queue ... Read More
We stayed at the Harbour Hotel in San Pedro, LA, less than 10 mins from the port. However, it took nearly three hours to board the ship. Having been picked up at 1.30, we waited at the dock in a holding area before joining a further queue to check in. Our stateroom, no. 2075, was located on deck 2 - it was clean and tidy, but no tea/coffee making facilities were provided. San Francisco - We arrived into port 7 or 8 hours early. Did not see Golden Gate Bridge as it was dark. Didn't leave San Fran until 20.00 hrs, so it was going dark again when we went under Golden Gate Bridge. Captain advised that a routine inspection had successfully taken place whilst we were in port. At around 13.00 hrs the following day whilst at sea, the Captain made an announcement that we would not be visiting the ports of Seattle or Sitka and that our remaining ports of call would be for shorter periods, due to there being a problem with a bearing. It would be necessary for the ship to reduce its speed from enable us to continue our course and then place the ship in dry dock on Saturday 20 May in Vancouver. He advised that engineers had been flown out from England and had given the ship a certificate to sail at a rate of 17.5 knots. Furthermore, the Captain advised that each Stateroom would receive an onboard credit of $200, not per person. We asked for this to be removed from our onboard account, we were told that this could not be done. Funny how they managed to put it onto the account, but couldn't remove it ! Passengers due to take a 7 day cruise commencing 20 May had been given a full refund, together with a free cruise. Due to the large number of guests complaining, we were advised that Guest Relations employees from Miami would be boarding at Ketchikan to deal with complaints on an individual basis. We personally overhead a member of staff on a telephone call to her family, during which she stated that there was a member of staff onboard the ship undertaking training, who was due to disembark at Seattle, but who had been advised to disembark at San Francisco. It was very apparent that the fault with the ship was known before we arrived or even left San Francisco. On 12th May the Captain announced that there would be 2 hrs of complimentary drinks available. The Captain and members of his crew mingled with guests and it was very obvious that this course of action had been taken to try and smooth over the actions of the previous day. On 13th May we met with the Guest Relations employees and put forward our complaint. We were told that they were unable to offer any compensation themselves and that details were being taken and forwarded back to the Head Office in Miami. The way in which appointments were handled was totally unsatisfactory, causing delays, confusion and irritation amongst the guests. On Tuesday 16th May we were due to sail to the Hubbard Glacier. Whilst sailing into the bay an announcement was made by an onboard tour guide that we were unable to travel any further into the bay as there was already another ship there. It was not until 12.30 the following day that the Captain announced that we could not go any further into the bay as local regulations did not allow two ships into the bay at any one time. He also stated that he was concerned for the ships safety. When we entered the bay there were two other ships there at the time, the Mercury and a Holland America ship. We feel that the reason for us not entering any further into the bay was more to do with the problems with the ship, maneuvering the ship would have been difficult. The final straw came on Thursday 18th May at 09.50, when the Captain announced that due to dense fog and the chance that we might miss the Inside Passage, it had been arranged with the Pilot that the ship would depart from its present location at 17.00 hrs as it would be clearer at that time. We were therefore stationary bobbing in the water for at least 7 hrs or more. The Guest Relations Desk advised that there was not a pilot onboard and there would not be one until at least 15.00 hrs. We were on main dining sitting at 18.00 hrs. It was also a Gala Dinner evening, which meant that again we missed most of our excursion down the Inside Passage. We received a letter from the Captain offering a 30% discount off a future Celebrity cruise for the disappointment we had experienced. When the Guest Relations employees arrived onboard, we were advised that each complaint would be dealt with on an individual basis, however the complaints appear to have been dealt with on a global basis. Entertainment - No significant additional entertainment was added to the itinerary for additional days at sea, unless you loved bingo, the casino, quizzes, art auctions or wine tasting (which was a chargeable event). The shows were not bad - not fantastic though. However, the show on the last evening was absolutely diabolical. Shore Excursions - In one word - disorganized. Although the excursions we did take were good, we were very disappointed with one particular excursion we were looking forward to taking - a helicopter landing on a glacier with dog sledging. We had booked our excursions back in January due to availability, but were not advised until several days into the cruise that the dog camp had not been set up and this part of the excursion was therefore unavailable. Had we been advised of this earlier, we would have been able to take another excursion which included this. Disembarkation - TOTALLY disorganized. It took 1.5 hours to finally disembark and then we had to stand a further 45 mins in the port whilst transport was arranged. This meant that we only had around 1.5 hrs in Vancouver. Were they not expecting people to disembark ! Sanitization  There was an obvious lack of it. If there were dispensers at the entrance to restaurants (which on occasions there werent), people were allowed to walk past without using them, even though members of the crew were standing at entrances. Food - Barely warm, never hot, apart from soup. Very little vegetable accompaniment. Fixtures & Fittings  Parts of the ship are in definite need of refurbishment. Chairs and upholstery are shabby and warn. Spa - treatments - expensive Summary - We feel very disappointed at our Celebrity experience. We expected a lot more from such a renowned leader in cruising. There is an advertisement onboard  First Impressions. We were left feeling very UNIMPRESSED with our first and LAST experience of Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2006
This was our twelfth cruise to Alaska. Ten were on Princess and the other was on Holland America. As you can tell we are both big Alaska fans. This was our second cruise on the Summit. Our embarkation was only about one-half hour, but ... Read More
This was our twelfth cruise to Alaska. Ten were on Princess and the other was on Holland America. As you can tell we are both big Alaska fans. This was our second cruise on the Summit. Our embarkation was only about one-half hour, but priority embarkation was one of the perks of a CC cabin. Some of those who did not have a CC or higher cabin had to wait up to three hours to embark. Our luggage arrived in almost record time. The cruise started out like it was going to be one of our best ever. Unfortunately the recurring problems with the propulsion system on the M-Class ships once again raised its ugly head. This initially caused us to miss two ports and cut time from other ports. As the cruise continued our visit to Hubbard Glacier was cut back to a peek from six miles away. Our Inside Passage cruise was delayed for eight hours due to Celebrity failing to arrange for a pilot to be on board. Were it not for missing over one-half of the Itinerary that we purchased it would have been a great cruise. The reaction of the majority of the passengers has been well documented on these boards, so I will not go into any more detail here in this review. The compensation by Celebrity is also well documented on these boards. Our service in the dining room was excellent. Little things mean a lot in the dining room, like having your favorite beverage on the table before you arrive. The food was very good and the menu offered a nice variety of selections. Service from our room steward was also excellent. Our refrigerator in our cabin was not cooling very well and I mentioned it to our room steward to see if he knew how to adjust it to a colder setting. That night when we returned to our cabin there was a brand new refrigerator in our cabin that worked perfectly. Entertainment was good. The Celebrity theater is one of the best show rooms that we have ever seen on any cruise ship. The highlight of the entertainment, for us, was seeing Brooks Aehron who is a concert pianist and Brooks was just outstanding. He only performs a few concerts per year on cruise ships. Disembarkation was supposed to also be priority for CC cabins or higher. Here the only perk was that you waited in the movie theater until your color was called. The wait in the movie theater was about two hours. The ship is beginning to show signs of its age, but the most obvious sign of neglect was the balcony railings which were in terrible condition with varnish peeled off exposing bare wood. In summary, we were very lucky with our fine service, good food and great weather, but were not so lucky with missing over one-half of our Itinerary. M-Class ships are good if you are lucky and not involved in the once every year, or so, canceling of a cruise for repair or told after you have sailed that you are not going to see what you paid for. I really liked the overall layout of the Summit and if ports and Itinerary are not important to you, I would recommend the Summit. Except for the on-going mechanical problems we will miss the Summit, but we are not willing to take another chance on M-Class failures curtailing our vacation enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
We stayed in cabin 2052 and were pleased with this basic outside class cabin. This ship has many rooms with balconies which are nice for this type of cruise. This was our first time with Celebrity and our third time cruising SE Alaska. ... Read More
We stayed in cabin 2052 and were pleased with this basic outside class cabin. This ship has many rooms with balconies which are nice for this type of cruise. This was our first time with Celebrity and our third time cruising SE Alaska. The ship had mechanical problems with the starboard stabilizer requiring the vessel to reduce maximum speed to 17 knots. We were informed of this fact after departing San Francisco on the fourth day at Sea. We were to skip Seattle and Sitka (which were important ports to us) and given $200 credit as fair compensation. Despite the media reporting 4 or 5 unsatisfied customers aboard, that number was much larger when you consider a packed theater meeting and daily public meetings in the foyer. Company representatives were sent to us in Ketchikan and we had an opportunity to express our unhappiness. The corporate staff was unconcerned about their reputation or repeat customers. They listened, but made no offer for reasonable compensation. We missed two ports and did not get close to Hubbard Glacier. We left prematurely due to icy water and another ship that was in the bay. If they had not changed the schedule, we might have gotten in during our allotted time. They missed the pilot to cruise the Inside Passage during the day so we sat at sea until 5 pm waiting for the next one. We cruised The Passage in the evening missing many scenic views. We came into San Francisco and Vancouver early (1 AM) docking where pier lighting and noises disturbed your rest on the starboard side of the ship. We spent more days at sea and where many activities are very costly. Drinks and activities were much higher than our past cruises. The attitude of the crew was very good but I grew tired of the cruise director and his lip service. I did not trust him after the fifth day. Embarking was okay but disembarking was frustrating. They have a smooth get off the ship that is favorable for the cruise line, but a real pain after you get to the airport. You will lug your bags around along time going through immigration, security, and customs. Bottom line on this cruise is: The cruise line is in control of the schedule and you are going to be subject to their best interest and schedules. Long itineraries are open to changes and you have no control. The food and service crew was exceptionally good. They took very good care of us during dining. The ship had many lounges and places to sit. Weather was clear and snow covered the mountains. Towns were crowed when you unload 4 ships in a port. Elevators worked well to move people about the ship. Room Service was fair. We enjoyed the cruise but will consider this experience on future vacations. People that were not there have no room to attack cruisers that went through this experience. People can chose to hear the truth or disregard it...We won't do it again with Celebrity or a long sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Celebrity Cruise: Summit, 13 Night West Coast and Alaska 07. May. 2006 Schedule -- Altered schedule and passenger experience May 7/Los Angeles/departure at 5pm May 7/Los Angeles/We took a room at Best Western in San Pedro, right next ... Read More
Celebrity Cruise: Summit, 13 Night West Coast and Alaska 07. May. 2006 Schedule -- Altered schedule and passenger experience May 7/Los Angeles/departure at 5pm May 7/Los Angeles/We took a room at Best Western in San Pedro, right next to the port. Went out with my camera gear to take pictures of the arrival of the GTS Summit, but the ship was late for reasons I dont know. Warm welcome on board, very friendly stateroom attendant (Isma). I am happy and enjoy sailing out of the port of San Pedro. May 8/At sea/ We enjoyed the life on board and were very fond of the captain, who seemed to be free of any arrogant manners and he proofed to be a great entertainer at welcome show. We were a little anxious about arrogant officers on the Summit because of such experience we made on this ship 9/2002. I was able to take pictures on whales, all was perfect. May 9/San Francisco/8am - 6pm/sailing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge when sun is rising, maybe a little fog on the waters, what a great picture that will be. May 9/San Francisco/midnight - 8pm/last night, before I went to bed, I went out on the balcony and couldnt believe my eyes. Golden Gate Bridge right ahead, in the middle of the night. San Francisco had not even gone to sleep by the time we arrived. I was wondering how we got to SF so very fast. Than I found the not very detailed map of the ships route on cabin-TV and was sure, that I could keep track from now on. Wrong, the computer routing on cabin-TV broke down several times during this trip (or was shut down, who knows). OK, I said to myself, missed that bridge at daylight, I will take a picture on our way out. Wrong, we were sailing late and it was dark when we reached the bridge. We were informed about an inspection which had to be done on the engines by US authorities. May 10/at sea/early this morning, we were informed by radio about the malfunction of the engine and that we only could make a speed of 17,5 knots instead of 22,5 knots. (It was here that we were offered a $200 per cabin as compensation - later it was altered to a $200 gift.) Therefore we could not hold to our original itinerary and were informed about the changes. Many passengers were angry, because they had appointments and arrangements for Seattle. Since the captains radio message was very brief, passengers (not the ships management) requested a meeting in the ships theatre to clear things. Some 1000+ passengers attended this meeting including my wife and me. I did not have any questions and up to this time I still said to myself: these things happen, happened before, will happen again and this will not ruin my holidays or my good mood. But already at this meeting I felt very strong a tense atmosphere between the ships management and passengers. We felt uncomfortable because of strong ships-security presence on all locations of the theatre as well as a huge crowd of ships officers around the stage. After the captain made clear how lucky we are that he came to this meeting to answer our questions (other captains would not do that) he in fact was very patient to answer everything. Only later I found out, that he is only a string puppet of the Celebrity Corporation and his word means nothing. Anyhow, here he admitted, and that was videotaped, that a full refund would be appropriate. He also told the passengers, that the engines problem only showed an hour or so after departure from SF?? Well, everyone on board knew better already. After this meeting I never have seen the captain again on board. He also did not show up on the photo session with captain!!! But back to the meeting, every second sentence was about that he can make no decisions and the big company has to decide (Blame not me, blame the ones out of reach). He promised that 2 company executives will be flown to Ketchikan (4 days later) to take care of this matter. Wrong again, the 2 company people were no executives, but office clerks who would report back to the company. Another very poor impression was left by the cruise director, who told 1000+ angry passengers, that we, the passengers, would not be the only ones missing on something. He was to celebrate an anniversary and for that reason expected his sister to come on board the Summit in Seattle. With grief he told us, that he is still very happy. I admit, I was thinking: wrong approach, really unprofessional, who cares. May 11/Seattle/we were scheduled to see the Boeing plant -- May 11/at sea/we have not been to Seattle so far, so it would have been our first time. Missing the Boeing plant hurts, but we still kept our good mood. Tension between passengers and ship management builds up. I feel like a school kid without any rights. May 12/at sea/I decided not to accept $200 as compensation and asked the reception to take the $200 off my board-account. I was told, that it is not possible to take the $200 off my board-account. Consequent I wrote a line, saying that I do not accept $200 as compensation and take it only under protest, handed it over to the reception and asked to acknowledge the receipt of my lines on a copy. Unbelievable, neither the lady in charge nor her supervisor did sign or chop the receipt. The company would not allow such action. I was just waiting for the argument, that the reception of my lines could not be acknowledged because of security reasons. Fortunately another passenger waiting in line stepped up and signed as witness. Thanks again to him. I was speechless but still kept up my good mood, only it was getting harder to be happy. May 13/Ketchikan/7am - 4pm -- May 13/Ketchikan/7am - 2pm/missing 2 hours. May 14 / Juneau / 7am - 10pm May 14 / Juneau / 8am - 10pm / missing 1 hour. May 15/Skagway/7am - 8pm -- May 15/Skagway/7am - 7pm/missing 1 hour but still enough time to ride the train and making sensational pictures. May 16/cruising Hubbard Glacier/9am - 1pm/we wanted to repeat the experience we made last August, cruising the Hubbard Glacier with the Radiance of the Seas --  May 16/cruising Hubbard Glacier/11am - 2pm/in fact the Summit did not even get over the entrance of Yakutat-Bay. The ship turned around once at an estimated distance of 5 to 7 miles away from the glacier and sailed away (pictures can be provided). We may just spend 30 minutes to watch an Holland-America cruise ship sailing very close to the glacier. I heard that the reason for this short turn should be, that there are no two ships allowed near the glacier. I do not believe that, because last years August, the Radiance of the Seas, with us on board, was not the only ship in Yakutat-Bay. I stood under the impression, that the Summit would make the most of what was left to see on this cruise. But the did exactly the opposite, they did everything to avoid to show their customers the many beauties of Alaska. At this point the water in my glass swept over, this was the end of my patience. Now I was certain, that they did not care at all about their paying customers. We were the fortunate ones who knew already about the beauty of this glacier from our last cruise in Aug, '06. We knew about the "out of this world sound" this glacier produces, we knew about the calving action and its fascination, we knew about the brilliance of the blue colour. But all that could not be experienced on this cruise. May 17/Sitka/7am-3pm -- May 17/at sea/the Celebrity Reps had been on board since Ketchikan, doing single??? interviews with the passengers. Today it was said, that the German passengers can take their interview. I went early to take a number and spend the whole day waiting for my turn. (Half an our reading a book, running back to 3rd floor looking if my number has been called already). But the 2 Reps accepted so many other passengers for interview in between (Passengers who did not have to pull a number) that it was after 8pm when I finally could see the Reps. Very polite people they were, but not allowed to say anything of any substance. Another lost day. May 18/Inside Passage/whole day -- May 18/daytime at sea - nighttime Inside Passage/this morning we were informed by the captain, that a pilot would be coming on board at 5pm that afternoon. Until than, we would stay on one spot somewhere in nowhere. The fog was blamed, but have an hour after this announcement, the fog was gone and we had pretty sunshine. Another lost day. The time we wasted there was more than scheduled for Sitka. Why did they not go to Sitka then? Did the captain forget to ask for a pilot? Why, why, why? And no answers. Right at dinnertime we went into the interesting part of the Inside Passage. I did not go to dinner just to catch the last rays for a good photo. Another wasted day. May 19/Victoria/8am - 5pm -- May 19/Victoria/8am - 5pm, we are already somewhat through with this cruise and enjoy only the beauty of Victoria and only the sight of the Summit makes me sick. And the bad experiences didnt stop. My wife wanted to send an birthday-mail to a friend. We had not used the internet so far, but in my documents, downloaded 1 week before cruise started, it said. As a "Select" member of the Captains Club, which we are (no more with pride), we were entitled to 10 minutes free internet access. Enough time to send a "Happy Birthday". In asking for this 10 Minutes at the desk of the Captain's Club, I must have forgotten for a moment were I was. "We changed policy", was what I heard from the lady in charge: "you have to buy now 100 minutes and than you get 15% off". What??? At least I had the guts to tell that lady that I actually did not expect anything different. Again the ship's management missed a chance to shine. This evening we got a written message, that we will receive, in 4-6 weeks time, an offer for 30% off any other cruise within the next 18 month. The passengers who were scheduled for the following cruise May 20, which was cancelled, received their money back and an additional free cruise on top. I was told by the Celebrity Reps. May 20/arrival Vancouver/7am/it will not surprise you, that we arrived in the middle of the night and Celebrity, as a last act, did not allow us to sail under Lions Gate Bridge and the beautiful port of Vancouver at daylight. This is our experience with Celebrity Cruise 07/05/2006. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
This was our first ever cruise and also our first ever flight, which was from the UK to Los Angeles. We were terrified on the plane and had to be given injections of tranquillisers by one of the Pilots who was also a trained neurosurgeon ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and also our first ever flight, which was from the UK to Los Angeles. We were terrified on the plane and had to be given injections of tranquillisers by one of the Pilots who was also a trained neurosurgeon and champion jockey (rode the Derby winner a few years ago). So the flight was somewhat hazy in our memories. On arrival at the port, after spending an uncomfortable night hitch-hiking from LAX to San Pedro, we spent several hours in line. Going up the escalator, my wife caught her expensive mink coat in the machinery and brought everything to a standstill. She was lost for words - a minor miracle. After having our welcome photos taken, I accidentally stumbled into the photographer and broke his camera - he was very nice about it and actually apologised to me ( well, I think he did. It was in Spanish and I couldn`t be sure.) On boarding the ship we eventually found our balcony cabin and proceeded to settle in. The ship, itself, is very big and it was quite easy to lose one`s way. In fact my wife disappeared on the first night and I haven`t seen her since. I found the casino very amenable and often slept there after spending pleasant evenings in the Champagne Bar, the Martini Bar, etc. Food was a huge disappointment. No decent chips, no meat pies, no tripe and onions. Just a range of snobby menus which even my French tablemates couldn`t understand. Ate most of the time in the crew`s cafe with the Chief Engineer and his mates. Some problem with the propellors affected the ship`s speed, but the Captain assured us that we would not sink and that even if we did we would be suitably compensated. He mentioned the "Titanic" much to everyone`s amusement. Ports of call were OK but isn`t Alaska cold ? No one warned us that we would need warm clothing and I found it distinctly chilly just wearing shorts and sandals. Still, the nice young ladies in the Red Onion Saloon at Skagway did their best. Embarkation was a breeze. Just got on the first bus at Vancouver and finished up in the middle of nowhere. All in all, a salutary experience which I would readily wish upon my worst enemy. Read Less
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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