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Sail Date: July 2003
Summit 7/11/03 - Alaska Southbound (Seward to Vancouver) Age: 40 Occupation: Business Analyst Number of Prior Cruises: 4 Cruise Line: Celebrity Ship: GTS Summit Sailing Date: July 11, 2003 Itinerary (abbreviated): Seward, Hubbard ... Read More
Summit 7/11/03 - Alaska Southbound (Seward to Vancouver) Age: 40 Occupation: Business Analyst Number of Prior Cruises: 4 Cruise Line: Celebrity Ship: GTS Summit Sailing Date: July 11, 2003 Itinerary (abbreviated): Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver Beware, this is a long review About Us For this trip, I left my wife and son at home and headed off into the Last Frontier with my father-in-law. I had never done this since being married, but my wife wasn't interested in going to Alaska - her loss - and my mother-in-law thinks she doesn't like cruises - something that is inconceivable to me! We didn't plan this trip in advance, but fell upon a price I thought I'd never see again in my lifetime for an Alaskan cruise ($700pp inside guarantee), and booked it only 3 weeks before departure. This was my father-in-law's first cruise and my 5th. Previously, I had sailed on Premier's "Atlantic" for a 4-night Bahamas cruise, a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Disney's "Magic," a 10-night Circle Caribbean on RCCL's Grandeur of the Seas, and a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on RCCL's Enchantment of the Seas. About our Fellow Passengers On our cruise, the average age was about 55. The ship was full with almost 2000 passengers on board. As usual their was a wide range of age groups. There were about 30 children on board, another 20 teenagers, and a few some honeymooners. Everyone else was approaching mid-life crisis, soon to be retired or already retired. No loud partying - just the way we like it. If you like to relax on your vacation, Celebrity is for you. The Bad News I'll start off with the exciting (read "bad") news for this cruise. Then I'll leave that bit of trouble behind and give you the good news - because, despite the problems, we were in a beautiful place, the weather was terrific most of the time, and we had a great time! Please note that this information has been culled from various sources including my own experience, newspaper articles, web reports, and conversations with members of the Summit's deck crew. On 7/9/03, two days before our cruise's departure from Seward, the GTS Summit struck a rock below the water line in Yakutat Bay after visiting Hubbard Glacier. Although the collision was obvious to the crew and many of the passengers, we were told that some passengers did not even notice the event as it was occurring. At the next regularly scheduled stop at Valdez, divers were put over the side to inspect for damage. At that time, the divers noticed that the starboard prop had a "slice" in it. However, due to poor visibility, no other damage was evident and the Summit proceeded to its final port - Seward. During this leg of the voyage, the crew noticed that the water level in the starboard ballast tank was rising, indicating a possible breach. Upon arrival in Seward, divers performed a second inspection that resulted in the discovery of additional damage. There the divers found a 140-foot long crease along the hull - as if somebody drove their car along a post and it just put a dent all the way down the length of the side of the car. In the middle of this crease, the divers discovered a 10-foot long by 5-inch high hole through the hull of the ship that breached the starboard ballast tank. It was determined that the damage to the prop was not critical, and neither was the crease. However, it was obvious that the hole would need to be repaired before leaving Seward. The repair involved welding a temporary seal to the outside of the hole, then draining the ballast tank, and going into the ballast tank from the inside of the ship. Once inside the ballast tank, the repair crew fabricated a steal box that was welded to the inside of the hull over the hole, and finally, the entire box was filled with a marine compound to form a permanent seal. Once completed, both the Coast Guard and Lloyds approved the repair plan, and the ship was finally able to sail. The repair has been approved to be kept in place and monitored on a continuing basis until the next scheduled dry-dock for the Summit in 2005. What made this most frustrating for me personally was not the fact that the ship was damaged - hey, stuff happens - but rather the fact that complete information was not provided to the passengers, and worse, misinformation was given. For a company like Celebrity who is renowned for their service, I found this alarming. We did all our check-in (documentation, ticketing, proof of citizenship, cabin assignment, etc.) in Anchorage that morning. We were never told of a problem. Then, we spent several hours on the train to Seward (with a cruise rep on board) and were told nothing. We finally found out about the problem upon getting our room key in Seward. At that time we were handed a letter that started off "As you already know......." WRONG! The letter told only about the hole in the ballast tank, the fact that we would miss our port at Juneau and that Celebrity would be giving us a $300 per cabin credit, that there would be an open bar before dinner on Friday, that excursions were available for booking in Seward, and that the ship would depart Seward at 9:00pm on Saturday. We were never told about the crease or the damage to the prop. Most importantly, we were never told that this happened when the ship was under the command of a Marine Pilot, and not the Captain - it never occurred to many of the passengers that pilots are used for anything other than going in and out of ports. Next, was the issue of not reporting what was known when it was known. The captain had made periodic announcements throughout the day on Friday and Saturday stating that the repairs were moving along as expected. The only thing we noticed was that the language regarding our 9pm Saturday departure time was changing slightly as the day went along. First it was "confident." Later in the day it became "hopeful." Finally at 9:30pm on Saturday we were told that we would be leaving "sometime after midnight." On Sunday morning we awoke to a very familiar picture - Seward. During breakfast we were told that the repairs we taking longer than expected, that we would be missing our second port of call at Skagway, that we were again "hopeful" that we would be departing by 3:30pm, and that once we were under way, we would be advised of additional compensation. We were told that we could take a tender into town and that the last tender would be leaving at 3:00pm. With this in mind, we made our way to town to find a pharmacy. There we purchased a newspaper for the sole purpose of finding yesterday's baseball scores. It wasn't until we returned to the ship that we noticed that the Summit was on the cover of Sunday's Anchorage Daily News - top of the page no less. This is where we finally learned of the damage to the prop and the crease in the side of the ship. Most upsetting (from a customer service standpoint) was a quote from a Coast Guard officer that was made sometime on Saturday afternoon. The Coastguardsman was commenting on the cruise lines statements that the ship would be leaving on Saturday evening at 9pm: "But the Coast Guard was skeptical that the ship would leave so soon. 'I don't think that's possible Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jim Robertson said. They've got a lot of work to do.' Passengers apparently hadn't heard the official line." After reading that, we were just a bit peeved. We had been strung along with misinformation for at least a day. It appears that it had been obvious to everyone in the know that the ship would not be leaving on Saturday, yet Celebrity apparently kept that story alive until we woke up on Sunday morning. At 3:15pm on Sunday, we were told that the repairs we completed, that we were awaiting approval from the Coast Guard and Lloyds to sail, that we should be sailing by 6pm, and that there would be an open bar for the next hour. Mayhem instantly ensued at every bar on the ship. The sight of grown men and women fighting over six packs of beer was almost enough to make me wretch - and I do mean that they were walking away with a six pack in each hand. We finally left Seward at 6:30pm on Sunday. Shortly thereafter we were advised that Celebrity would be providing each passenger with a 50% off coupon for a future cruise as compensation for the delay - in addition to the previously announced $300 on-board credit per cabin. Now on to the good news! Flights and Embarkation For this cruise, we booked our own air and pre-cruise hotel using FQTV miles. We had non-stop flights on Continental from/to Newark, NJ. We arrived Anchorage at 8pm on Thursday, took a cab ($25 incl. tip) from the airport to the Anchorage Hilton. The next morning we got breakfast and walked the two blocks to Egan Center for check-in, arriving at 8:30am. We were one of the first passengers there. The check-in took us about 20 minutes. We were given a card that was to be exchanged for our room key in Seward. We were also told that we were being "upgraded" from a bus to the train departing at 12:30pm for Seward. We checked our bags there (trucked directly to the ship and delivered to our stateroom), and left our carry-on baggage with the attendants for retrieval prior to boarding the train. The concierge at Egan Center gave us information on what to do while we waited for the train. We ended up going to a Northern Lights slide show at the Arts Center across the street, walked down to the waterfront for a bit, and returned to Egan Center at 11:30am. Around 1:00pm, we were loaded onto a bus for a short trip to the train station. Each railroad car was set up with 4-person "booth-type" seating tables. We were seated with a very nice couple from northern Florida and had a great time with them. During the trip, light meals and beverages were offered and delivered right to our table by a crewmember. Simple snacks were also available in the bar car at the rear of the train. An on-board guide narrated portions of the trip and gave us advance notice of photo opportunities. The trip is about 4 ½ hours long - it may be frustrating for those eager to get to the ship. By contrast, the bus took only 3 ½ hours with an enroute stop. For the first 50 miles or so, the train parallels the highway used by the buses, and then turns inland away from the main road. The scenery was beautiful, sometimes spectacular. We were able to see large scenic sections of the Cook Inlet, a fly-in housing development with a grass runway in the backyards of the homes, a few eagles, sheep, moose, alpine glaciers, and lakes. Just before arrival in Seward, we were given additional forms to fill out - we don't why these were not given to us in Anchorage. Upon arrival at 5:30pm, we were ushered into the check-in building where we stood in line for another hour waiting to get our stateroom keys, get the now infamous letter announcing our late departure, go through security, and board the ship. We were in our stateroom at 6:30pm and our luggage was already there waiting for us. Upon boarding we were told that we had missed the first open seating for dinner and that we would have to wait till 8:30pm to eat - in Anchorage we had been told that tonight's dinner would be open seating from 6pm to 11pm and that we could go to the dining room any time we liked. Being that we had not eaten on the train, we went straight to the dining room anyway where we were immediately seated without question or comment along with several other people who had also just arrived from the train. Normally we play by the rules, but at that point in the evening we were tired, upset and hungry. We were frustrated that the "welcome party" advised us that we couldn't go to the dining room till 8:30, yet the dining room staff had no problem seating us right away. Overall the embarkation process could have gone better. Why we were told by Celebrity to be at Egan Center at 8am when no one departed for Seward until 1pm? Why did we have to check-in at Egan Center if we were made to stand in line again for an hour at Seward? Why the misinformation given to us in Anchorage about dinner that evening? This is a long tiring day, especially considering that people from the West Coast tend to fly into Anchorage that same morning, and Celebrity didn't make it any easier. This is an area that definitely needs improvement. Our Cabin We had booked this cruise at the last minute and had taken an inside guarantee. Previous to this cruise, I had always cruised outside with a verandah, so I didn't really know what to expect. Celebrity assigned us to a wheelchair accessible room on Deck 2 immediately adjacent to the forward stairs and lifts - cabin #2022. When we arrived we had to inform our Steward to separate the beds. Obviously our reservation request for beds apart had not been acted upon. The room was comfortable and about 50% larger than the standard staterooms. The bathroom was enormous by cruise ship standards. The room was decorated with veneer walls and furniture, had a mini-bar (you have to ask the Steward for the key), and a set of drawers in the closet along with the safe. Each bed had its own bedside table and lamp. Also included were a desk, chair, convertible loveseat/sofa bed, coffee table, interactive TV and VCR. Lighting in the stateroom was good. However, storage was inadequate - we basically lived out of our bags for the week. As I never got a chance to inspect a regular stateroom, I'll have to assume that the storage problem was unique to the wheelchair accessible room. Water pressure in the shower was rather poor also. On past cruises, I wanted to take the shower home with me, but not this one. Overall Level of Service With the exception of the way information about our delayed departure was handled, we felt that the service was exceptional! We were always greeted with a smile and a "good morning" by every crewmember we came into contact with. When we asked questions or advice from members of the crew we were always taken seriously and we never had the impression that the crewmember had given the same tired answer to hundreds of other people. If a photographer offered to take our picture or a bar waiter offered us a drink and we politely refused, they graciously left us alone. In the overall service category, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the crew a 9+. Overview of The Ship The Summit is a beautiful beast, and in almost spotless condition. The passenger to space ratio is excellent. Even though the ship was almost filled to capacity, we rarely encountered long lines. The layout is good and it is easy to find your way around. Every landing has directional signs and information about what is on each deck. The outdoor pool area is spacious although indigenous chair hogs took up many of the chairs - the outdoor pool was well used in Seward where the temperatures were in the 80s. The indoor pool (T-pool) was well used every day of the trip but never felt crowded. The exercise facility and spa looked great, although we never used them. And, the sauna's have picture windows! Food The Cosmopolitan dining room is on two levels. Dining assignments are found on a card in your stateroom upon boarding. The table numbering system is excellent with 400's on deck 4, 500's on deck 5, odd numbers on the port side and even numbers to starboard. When I travel with my wife, we prefer a table for two and we always had to stand in line at the Restaurant Manager's office to request it. On this cruise we requested a large table. Instead, my father-in-law and I were assigned a table for two - go figure. I felt that the food was excellent at every facility on the ship. The only exceptions were the scrambled eggs from the buffet line at breakfast - it's kind of hard to make good eggs when you're cooking 200 of them at once - and the first evening I got a cool prime rib. However, all meats I ordered were cooked exactly as requested. I had smoked salmon every morning, and shrimp cocktail every evening. The dinner menus varied and it is difficult not to find something to your liking. The presentation was excellent and our waiter answered any menu related questions we posed. Our assistant waiter remembered our drinks from the first day and he had them on the table before we arrived for dinner each night. Hint: even though they were not on the menu, shrimp cocktail is always available as an appetizer and New York Strip steak is always available as an entree. There is never a problem ordering multiple appetizers or entrees. If you want it, don't be afraid to ask for it. The breakfast and lunch menus in the Cosmopolitan dining room were very good although the breakfast menu never varied. The service during these meals was also very good. We did not eat at the Normandy Restaurant, but everyone we spoke to that had done so gave us rave reviews. They all said it was worth the $25pp cover charge. We ate at the casual dining area one evening. The menu was not as good as in the main dining room, but again, the food was delicious. On RCCL the casual dining was simply buffet style and not very good food. On the Summit, the casual dining is full service table seating. Our server there was very good. Important note: When we were done with dinner that evening, I handed our server our card to have the gratuity charged to our stateroom. He seemed surprised and I asked him if it was more appropriate to give cash instead. He replied that the card was fine - it was just that very few people actually tip in the casual dining areas as recommended by Celebrity. I guess that people think this is a cover charge that Celebrity keeps. Not true. This is a gratuity that goes directly to the server. Please note that most servers in the casual dining area during dinner hours are on their first contracts and almost never work in the main dining room during the length of that contract. These people work for $500 per month and never get to share in the tips given to the regular dining room staff. If you do eat in the casual dining area for dinner, please remember to tip your server. Several afternoons we ate at the Waterfall Grill on the pool deck. This is not RCCL's crappy pizza, burger, hotdogs and fries. Everything was really good, especially the pizza and hamburgers. On RCCL this area is an afterthought thrown in so people can grab a snack at odd hours and it really sucks. On Celebrity, this is a real dining venue - for fast food anyway. The breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent - far better than RCCL. One note, especially during lunch: I would suggest that prior to getting any food, you walk along the entire length of the buffet (and I mean all the way to the very back of the ship by the outdoor deck) and survey the offerings. The first time we ate lunch in the buffet area, we were finished with lunch, stuffed to the gills, and as we were walking out of the buffet we then found another serving station that we didn't even know was there. That day we missed out on carved ham, steamship round and the sautEed pasta station. BUMMER! The service in the buffet area is excellent. Trays are covered with linen. Servers will try to meet you at the end of the line to take your tray, escort you to an open table, and make sure you have something to drink. During breakfast I made a remark to my father-in-law about how I wished that they had cranberry juice in the buffet area. Evidently a waiter overheard me because two minutes later two glasses of cranberry juice appeared at our table. I asked the waiter where he found it - I thought I'd just hadn't seen it myself - and he told me that he went downstairs to get it for us. Now that's service! Entertainment I have never been on a cruise with better entertainment! I went to the show every evening. There were four Broadway-style shows. All of them were very good and appeared to be geared to all adult age groups. The cast of dancers and singers was larger than any previous cruise I had taken - 17 performers in all. The orchestra was awesome too! In addition to the regular cast, an acapella group and two Chinese acrobats were folded into the stage shows. In addition to the shows staged by the Celebrity Singers and Dancers, there were two headliner shows. The first of these was Craig Dahn, a concert pianist whom I'd seen previously on the Enchantment of the Seas. He is a very flamboyant guy and a little strange, but he is a very good pianist. However, the theme song to the movie "Titanic" didn't go over well with this group of passengers - go figure! The second headliner was Jeff Nease, an absolutely hilarious comedian who made good-hearted fun of everyone from the captain to members of the audience. The final night was a variety show with encore performances by the acapella group, the Chinese acrobats, Craig Dahn and Jeff Nease. I thought the stage entertainment was first rate! On-board entertainment included music acts at the pool and in several of the lounges. A quartet played each evening before and after dinner, and there was also a harp player and a piano player. There were two karaoke nights and although there were a few people that couldn't hold a tune to save their lives, many of the passengers were really talented. One woman was absolutely fabulous. As an encore, she did a duet with another gentleman who was equally as good. Casino The casino was quite large and had all the usual games of chance. I spent several evenings playing blackjack in the casino and actually managed to win all my money back by the end of the cruise. I even saw several people winning large jackpots at the slot machines - and that doesn't every day on a cruise ship. All the dealers were very friendly. Itinerary and Ports of Call Day 1 - Friday - Seward See Flights and Embarkation, above. Day 2 - Saturday - Seward A Princess Ship was in port at the main pier and overnight we had moved to the coal dock. Tender boats were now in use to/from Seward. After breakfast we went to the Excursions Desk and booked a 1:00pm Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise ($72.00pp) and then took a tender into town. The weather was perfect - not a cloud in the sky and temps in the mid-80s. Due to our delayed departure, Celebrity had arranged complimentary shuttles and free admission (normally $12pp) to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. It was a rather small facility (as compared to the major aquariums on the mainland's East Coast) but had quite a few interesting displays. There was a Harbor Seal tank, a Stellar Sea Lion tank, and a seabird tank (Puffins, Kittewakes, Murres, etc.) Tanks can be viewed from above the surface and below the surface. There was a hands on display for kids (and big kids) where they allow you to "pet" starfish, sand sharks, etc. This is a very interesting little place. Prior to our tour we stopped at a local waterfront eatery to get a bowl of clam chowder. Unfortunately I wasn't impressed by it - I've had much better in New England. Met our tour at the dock. The tour was run by Kenai Fjords Tours. This boats were large and in excellent condition. The tour was approx 3 hrs long. The boat takes you all the way down to the end of the bay. Along the way the captain will stop whenever an animal or group of animals is seen. On our tour we saw seals, otters, sea lions, puffins and murres, and a humpback whale. The whale put on a show for us - it was like we were at Disney! We got within a 200 feet of the whale. Immediately after the captain idled the engines, the whale breached! It continued for a total of 5 breaches! Then it showed us it tail flukes several times, and finally spent about 10 minutes slapping its pectoral fins on the water. The captain was amazed, the on-board biologist was amazed, and the passengers were in awe! We were told that a show like this is rarely seen here at this time of the year and that even in Hawaii we would have been very lucky to have seen that much so close up. Made the day stuck in Seward worth it. Returned to the ship around 4:30pm. Day 3 - Sunday - Seward Still moored to the coal dock and tenders in use. Went into town in the morning to go to a pharmacy as all the onboard shops were closed because we were in port. This is where we bought the infamous copy of the Anchorage Daily News. Returned to the ship and spent the afternoon in the pool, T-pool and hot tubs. Finally departed Seward at 6:30pm. Day 4 - Monday - At Sea (Hubbard Glacier) Weather was overcast, foggy and low 50s. Crewmembers advised us that as we got nearer to the glacier, the fog usually lifts. They also said that, believe it or not, the weather was perfect for viewing the glacier. Too much sun and you can't see the colors very well, plus the glare gives everyone headaches - even when wearing sunglasses. Because of our delayed departure we were at Hubbard Glacier on a different day than scheduled and earlier in the day than scheduled. In this regard we lucked out as we were the only ship in the bay that day and had plenty of time at the face of the glacier. We arrived Yakutat Bay area around 10am where an Alaskan Marine Pilot (we hoped not the same one as from the last cruise) and two Alaskan Native guides boarded. By 11am we had positioned ourselves on Deck 12 above the Revelations nightclub on the Observation Deck. The crew had removed all the chairs from this area for the day to allow room for the large crowds of people. They did leave all the small tables in place and people were using them to stand on to get their heads and cameras above the windscreen. We had guessed that this deck would be the best place for viewing. We guessed right! Get there early though. Once we were close to the glacier, it got very crowded. We saw several seals and sea lions sitting on small ice flows - they swam away as the ship approached. Entered Disenchantment Bay around 11:30am. There it was about 40 degrees with a light breeze. As predicted, the fog lifted, and a little bit of sun came out to enhance the colors of the glaciers. We able to get within ¾ of a mile of the glacier face, and spent almost 2 hours hovering there. The guides were on the PA system giving information about the native people and their legends about the bays and glaciers. The Captain slowly spun the boat around so everyone could get a good view. Words and pictures cannot adequately describe this place. I can only say that it is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. When the glacier calves it sounds like far off thunder. If you are patient, you'll see it calving too. If you are lucky enough to go to Hubbard Glacier on a cruise, bring a good camera with a long lens stabilizer, a good pair of binoculars, a warm jacket, hat gloves, and sunglasses. Pick your viewing spot carefully and early. The rest of the day was spent cruising offshore. Day 5 - Tuesday - Sitka Arrived Sitka at 7:00am in pea soup fog. At the sun warmed the air, the fog slowly lifted to reveal a naturally beautiful harbor area. There is no dock for large vessels in Sitka. All ships anchor in the harbor and use tenders. A Holland America ship was in port with us. We met our tour group (Russian American & Raptor Tour) in an on-board lounge and were then escorted to a reserved tender. As we were anchored at the far end of the harbor, the tender ride was almost 15 minutes long - plenty of time to check out the scenery. Our tour bus driver was a character and very informative. This tour includes a one hour stop at the Alaska Raptor Center where we were given an audience with a Bald Eagle named Volta for approx 10 minutes - The Eagle and his handler were sitting on a small stage not less than 10 feet from me. The handler gave an informative lecture about the bird and how he came to live at the Center. Then you are given some time to visit the gift shop, see the other bird pens outside, walk the nature trail and make phone calls. Next stop is the Sitka National Historic Park. It includes a small museum dedicated to the history of the battles fought between the local natives and the Russians in the early 1800s. Also on hand was a gentleman who was doing carvings. There is also a short nature trail that goes into the woods and the bus guide will point out a few things there. Not a terribly interesting stop, but that's just my opinion. Finally, this tour winds its way through town. The guide told us a few tales about the town and some of its key structures, and then dropped us off across the street from St. Michael's Cathedral - about a 5-minute walk back to the tender pier. We spent about 10 minutes there, did some window shopping (some nicer things can be had here but most prices are quite high) and then took the tender back to the ship. Day 6 - Wednesday - Ketchikan Arrived Ketchikan at 8:00am. Weather was in the low 60s with drizzle and rain all day. This is completely normal for Ketch. A nice day there is when the sky is overcast and it isn't raining. Although this was originally scheduled as a tendering port, we ended up at the dock - the Infinity was anchored in the harbor instead. There were two Princess ships at the dock. Later in the afternoon, one of these ships left port and the Infinity then weighed anchor and moved dockside. The tidal range in Ketch is huge - 30 feet or more. Because of this, the crew had to keep moving the gangway location. In the morning it was on deck 1. By late morning it was on deck 2, then on deck 3 by noontime, and finally moved to deck 4. Then the whole process reversed itself again later in the day. Our tour at Ketch was scheduled for 2pm so we spent most of the morning shopping, making phone calls and walking around. The shopping in Ketch is very good the prices for souvenirs are very reasonable. Tongass Trading Company is right at the pier. It is a large store with a very wide variety of items - they are a complete Alaskan outfitter. For this port we had selected the Totem Bite State Park & Town Tour. We met a rep on the pier and were pointed in the direction of our bus. We had a very informative driver/guide. She is a professional tour guide and has worked all over the world. The tour included a 20 minute narrated bus ride through town. Then, on to the park that is about 10 miles North of town. The tour guide provided umbrellas for the walking part of this tour. The forest trail into the park was jungle-like - Ketchikan is actually a rain forest. I thought the park was very interesting. There are several totems in the park and each one has its own story. There is also a Clan Lodge that was typical for the semi-nomadic natives many years ago. The building is big enough to house several families - although not in a style that we are accustomed to. No nails are used in its construction and the whole building can be dismantled and floated to a new location as needed. When the food supply fizzled, they just moved to a better location. The end of this tour was a 15-minute visit to the park's gift shop. Even if you don't buy anything, there are museum quality displays in the shop and sample of salmon and crackers were provided to each tourist. The tour ended with a trip directly back to the pier. Day 7 - Thursday - At Sea (Inside Passage) Weather was great. Highs in the mid-70s and sunny. Scenery is beautiful. Again, pictures and words will not do it justice so I won't go into much detail. I will tell you that as the day goes along and you get closer to Vancouver the scenery gets better. Much of the afternoon is spent going less than 10 knots. At points the passage is so narrow (with mountains shooting straight out of the water on both sides), that in order to make turns, the ship has to stop completely and thrusters are used to "swivel" the ship before continuing onward. Disembarkation (Vancouver) & Flight Home Best disembarkation process of any cruise I've been on! On past cruises we had been asked to get out of our rooms, find some place in a public area and then wait for our bad tag color to be called. This made for an absolute mob scene on the deck where the gangway is located. Even though people were told to stay clear of this area, no one ever seemed to pay attention. It always left a sour taste in my mouth and is a bad way to end a vacation. By contrast, Celebrity also uses colored tags, but combines them with numbers so that there are many more groups of people. Each group contains less than 100 people. When given your tags, you are also given a letter that tells you what public room to assemble in and what time to be there. Announcements are not made over the general PA system. Instead, announcements are only made in the room where that color is supposed to be assembled. This way, you don't have a ton of people hanging out in the gangway area waiting for their color to be called. They have to go to their assigned public room or they won't be able to hear their announcement. When your color is called, a member of the crew leads your group to the gangway. And because the groups are small, the waiting times are very short at each of the stations - immigrations, baggage, customs, etc. We were asked to meet in the theatre at 8:00am. Our color was called at 8:15am. We got off, went through immigration, got our bags, went through customs and went to the taxi line - all in less than 15 minutes. Dispatchers handle the taxi lines. The line was not long and we waited for less than 5 minutes to get a cab. We told our driver we were paying by credit card. Total cost including tip was $28CAD (about $20USD). We were at the airport at the check-in desk by 9am. Because we were so early, none of the lines were long. For those returning to the US, this is the procedure at the airport: You pre-clear US customs in Vancouver so you from that point on, it's like you're on a domestic flight. There is no curbside check-in. Porters are available, but if your luggage in not on rollers, I strongly suggest you rent a cart - you'll see why you need it in a moment. You check in at your airline's ticket counter where your luggage is tagged to its final destination and then given back to you to carry through the airport. Then you are ushered through the duty free shop - there is no option to avoid it. Once out of the duty free shop, you line up to pay the YVR airport improvement fee - $10CAD or $7 USD payable in cash or by credit card. Then, on to US immigration and customs where you fill out your US Customs declaration while waiting in line to see an immigration officer. Once past immigration, you hand your customs declaration to a customs officer - most people are just sent on their way at this point but some are asked to go into an inspection room for a formal interrogation and search of their luggage. After you clear customs you go through checked-baggage security where you are subject to a random search of your luggage. At this point you put your checked baggage on the conveyor belt. Then you take your carry-on baggage through a traditional magnetometer and x-ray security checkpoint. Finally, you are free to walk to your gate. We arrived at the gate two hours before our departure. Smoking lounges are provided in the gate areas. Typical airport vendors are also available in the gate area - food, newsstand, and souvenir shop. Our inbound aircraft was 20 minutes late arriving so our flight boarded and departed about 10 minutes late. Final Thoughts Even with all the problems in Seward, I'd do this trip again in a heartbeat. The scenery is spectacular. If you've never been to Alaska or the far Pacific Northwest, you need to go! The service on Celebrity was the best of any cruise I've taken. The food was a few notches better too. Although Celebrity is still a mass market carrier, they do a lot of little things that make you feel like you're part of a first class operation: Things like a welcome glass of champagne, personal assistance at the buffet, full service casual dining during dinner hours, robes in every stateroom, real terry cloth towels in the public restrooms, padded covers and throw blankets on all deckchairs (at the T-pool the deck chairs are teak and have lumbar pillows), abundant supply of towels by the pools (unlike RCCL where they give you two pool towels in your stateroom and have none on deck), no obnoxious announcements all day long for bingo, etc. All these small things add up to a very pleasant environment on the ship. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2003
7/11/03, the day we've been waiting for has finally arrived, we go to seward, alaska to day for the beginning of our cruise southward to vancouver. imagine our dismay when we check in and are handed a letter stating we will not be ... Read More
7/11/03, the day we've been waiting for has finally arrived, we go to seward, alaska to day for the beginning of our cruise southward to vancouver. imagine our dismay when we check in and are handed a letter stating we will not be leaving tonight due to the fact that they hit a rock coming out of hubbard glacier 2 days ago and divers are now working under the ship to repair the damage. damage control was on-- there would be a open bar this evening and each cabin would receive a $300 credit to spend on board. people were fairly understanding until the next night when we still did not sail and along with the cancellation of the port of juneau, we now learned that skagway would also be cancelled. luckily the weather cooperated! it was 85 degrees and the pool area resembled a Caribbean cruise, not alaska including marimba music. the bar was opened again for an hour prior to dinner. now people were becoming anxious, would we ever get to sail. met a man in the internet cafe who was working on a letter to celebrity management, possible class-action suit? the next day was sunday, i spent a great deal of it at the wonderful thalassotherapy pool in the aqua spa area. they have wonderfully designed loungers w/lumbar pillows, plaid blankets as well as large towels, and floor to ceiling windows, but people are beginning to complain about still looking at seward harbor. apricot sours were one of the drinks of the day and quite tasty. the bars were opened to free drinks once again at 3pm, music was wonderful at the pool, weather again was Caribbean- like, and many were getting a sunburn. quite a few missed the formal dinner that night, probably due to the open bar! we heard the engines rev during dinner and sail-away began. shortly thereafter the casino opened and the ship recouped most of the open bar money very quickly! my resolution was to spend very little time there, but of course resolutions are made to be broken and the next night i got my money back, winning a $250 jackpot on a jack in the beanstalk slot machine. fun, fun! mon, 7/14 up early to walk the jogging track on 11th deck. 3 times around is 5/8 mile. quite a few hardy souls were up there. foggy and cold, now people are wishing they were back in seward. stopped by the omelet station next for a cheese omelet. very difficult to remain on my dr. adkins diet with all the wonderful food around. 10 am we finally had a lifeboat drill, proof that we truly are sailing. we are on our way to hubbard glacier today. hope the fog clears so we can see. also some apprehension lingers about striking more ice or rocks. it did clear up and the glacier was indeed impressive. it even calved for us, sounded like thunder. the sun came out and the ice wall looked blue, what a sight! green pea soup was served in bread bowls and hot chocolate abounded. guess we are in alaska after all. at 4:30 an enrichment lecture was held, rivers of ice, i learned a lot about glaciers. that night a wonderful show was held in the celebrity theater. singers, dancers, and a pair of exquisite chinese acrobats performed. tuesday 7-15. we arrived in sitka at 7 am. so foggy you could barely see it, but by 9 when we exited the ship, the sun came out again. the amount of sunshine on this trip was incredible, it was as if god was trying to make up for the hole in the ship. by this time the front page of the anchorage daily news had circulated with the story of the "rock puts hole in cruise passengers' plans" www.adn.com 7/13/03. sitka is a beautiful little town. for $7 you can buy a shuttle ticket and get on and off all day at all the highlights. we headed for the raptor center where they rehabilitate injured birds. did you know a raptor is a bird who hangs on with his claws? medical treatment is sophisticated and many are able to return to the wild after retraining and flight training in a special room. those who are unable to fly again are made into educational trainers and either kept or sent to other areas for educational purposes. we next stopped at the totem park and museum which was quite interesting and was next to a very interesting trail into the rain forest. huckleberries, salmonberries, and blueberries abounded. good bear food, i didn't stay there long! had lunch at the shee-atica lodge. had a wonderful, sandwich, soup, and sampled alaskan beer which was quite good. rack of lamb in the dining room that night was wonderful, what has happened to my diet? wed, 7-16 ketchikan: a rainy day. natives here say this is their typical weather. decided to go see if we could go for a float plane ride to the misty fiords anyway. found an opening at taquan air. our bush pilot was ernie and it truly was a pleasurable flight. magnificent scenery and a landing in a quiet lake, sometimes bear are seen here, but we did not see any. salmon were jumping right out of the water however. the two men with us got out and stood on the floats, we were not that brave. after the flight, shopping was excellent right near the pier and i outdid myself. moose shirts for my grandchildren, a ring for me, alaskan fleece vests for my daughters, and an alaskan nativity scene with a rabbit fur to display it on. my views on hunting and trapping have changed since a trappers talk on the land portion of my trip. denali national park is an excellent example of a nearly perfect ecosystem and it has stayed that way for years and years with some help from the government. 7/17/03 last day of sailing was through the inside passage. again scenery was impressive and we sighted 2 humpback whales, some porpoises, and a sea otter. had dinner tonight in the normandie restaurant. you can step back in time as the ambience is of the first 1000 ft ocean liner. tableside preparation, a menu to die for, dozens of cheeses in the cheese course, and the chef michel roux's bite-size surprise dessert made it a 2 1/2 hour gastronomic experience. dr atkin's: see you on monday. all in all, despite the sad beginning, it was the experience of a lifetime. as i sit here playing a hobo jim cd and remembering sights, sounds, and quiet wildness, i know i want to go back! 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Sail Date: July 2003
Just returned from a 7 night cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver on the Summit. all i can say is "wow!". we were part of a large family gathering (18 people) ranging in age from 18 months to 85 years. i had some trepidation about ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver on the Summit. all i can say is "wow!". we were part of a large family gathering (18 people) ranging in age from 18 months to 85 years. i had some trepidation about taking our kids (including the baby) on this line, as i feared it might not be as "family friendly" as the other lines would be. i have cruised on carnival and rccl in the past and considered both a very good experience. when we first boarded the ship, we did the traditional "walk around" to explore. the first thing we noticed was the signs at the pools and on the playgrounds stating that no children in diapers (even swim diapers) were allowed in any of these areas. in my mind i was gearing up for a long week. however, from that point everything got surprisingly better. the itinerary was great, but what really surprised me was the service and attitude of the entire crew on board this ship. they were fantastic. from the housekeeper to the waiter even to the wine steward, everyone on board went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. our older kids found plenty to keep them happily occupied. my wife and i were treated like royalty. the shows were top caliber and family friendly (we found the carnival shows to be a bit risque for our kids to view). one night featured a comedian that had the audience roaring (and not a bit of profanity was used! - hadn't seen that in a while). the food was consistently excellent and served in a prompt and attractive fashion. even the children's menu changed nightly. we ate at the normandie one night (without the kids) and found that to be a delightful evening. we utilized in room baby sitting three evenings - that was both affordable and of high quality. in comparison to previous cruises, we found this ship to be very classy - not cutesy and not stuffy. we didn't find our bath towels folded into animal shapes when we returned to our rooms, and the waiters didn't perform card tricks tableside. however, we never got the raised eyebrow look of "why would you bring a child on board" either. i've always seen disney as being held up as the standard for excellent attention to customer service. i think celebrity should be added to the short list for other companies to model as well. 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
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
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
Summit, 7th may 2006 to 20th may 2006 LA to Vancouver via Alaska. Our annual, budget holiday was planned for 12 mths in advance, the itinerary seemed perfect for us travelling to the west coast for the first time from the UK. We Arrived ... Read More
Summit, 7th may 2006 to 20th may 2006 LA to Vancouver via Alaska. Our annual, budget holiday was planned for 12 mths in advance, the itinerary seemed perfect for us travelling to the west coast for the first time from the UK. We Arrived 2 days prior to embarkation for LA and arranged to stay 2 days in Vancouver to get the most our of our holiday. Arrival at port -- Summit was not in berth as ticketed. (Later we heard that it had arrived back late from Hawaii and RCL ship took the berth!) Long lines, as priority suites etc, hadn't been able to get on early. Waited 3 hours until number called, then another 1 hour in line. Lukewarm champagne/fizzy drink! on arrival and shown to cabin as on QE2. Balcony cabin adequate, but worn/tatty in places, cracked floor tiles in shower. Cabin steward lovely, but working against the tide. Room service poor, couldn't get it right ordered via TV menu, pretty straight forward or should have been. Although initial food seemed good in both Cosmopolitan and Waterfall,and other food station positions around the ship, after a few days, our experience was that it was no fresh vegetables at all and very little fruit. Buffet staff didn't understand a word, and because they had the Norwalk virus on the boat recently, most food was served to you in the buffet area, therefore causing more queues. The sanitation arrangements were left to chance, guests had choice of whether to use the alcohol hand wash or not as they entered the food area, we observed most did NOT. The wait staff everywhere do their best, but the majority have very poor basic English understanding and communication skills are poor. Our wait staff in the formal restaurant were excellent, as usual, but fighting a losing battle when the fare is poor. Although steak, chicken or salmon should be available at any time if the menu is not suitable, when we asked for chicken, it was not available. We only were offered it once on the 13 day menu and were refused it when asked for as an alternative. No themed nights as previously encountered on Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas, Panama trip the year before. The atmosphere on the ship is nonexistent, it hasn't any, too many old people wanting the same thing year on year we suspect. Entertainment: WELL!!, the singers and dancers were good, the Cirque du Soleil short preview is excellent, comedian good, we should have had him on earlier in the cruise, he was needed. But other than that the shows were boring, short, 35 mins and other entertainment around the ship again not modern enough, (we are in our fifties) for our taste. Harpists, string quartets very nice but funereal. We found the ship's entertainment director John, to be pompous, irritating and patronising. Nothing extra organised on forced sea days after Seattle and Sitka cancelled even the cinema not showing until 6pm at night. We have all of the daily's to prove it if disputed!! Our impression from this cruise is that the line wants to SELL, SELL and SELL AGAIN, anything any time. ie: usual bingo, casino, extra large area, WINE TASTING CHARGE!, hire of equipment in Gym, Art Auctions, Wine Auctions, shopping seminars, A LA CARTE Normandie dining @ $30 per head, last year $25 we believe. We didn't use it, as we believed we were on a 5* cruise. CLASS OF SHIP:- Next level up from RC!! NOT our experience. Believed we would be getting that type of meal, a la carte, as standard, not army camp/holiday camp style fast food and service. As some of you will know, we had more than our fair share of problems on this trip with the thrust bearing going yet again and the company using us to get the ship up to dry dock in Victoria. Captive audience, a play on words, to get us spend, spend and spending again, at sea missing 2 ports, cut down on time in four and then the final straw, due to the SAFETY OF THE SHIP, NOT THE PASSENGERS FIRST AND FOREMOST. re the bearing, no close up of Hubbard, WE WERE AT LEAST 5 MILES OFF AND HAD TO WATCH HAL Zaandam 360 SEVERAL TIMES and only 1/4 of inside passage and that was at night! Shore excursions!! Well when we got them after being cancelled of course, they were cut to the minimum, due to time in port! We found that they were more expensive than booking on shore. Some were cancelled when under booked, but they didn't tell us until last minute! Poor value, poor organisation, book them yourselves on dock side is our advice to anyone brave enough to still book the Millennium class whilst burdened with the mermaid pod system. CHILDREN:- LESS THAN 10 ON BOARD, WE WOULD NEVER BRING THEM ON THIS CLASS OF SHIP, THEY DON'T WANT THEM. DISEMBARKATION:- Well another not organised debacle, people directed to wrong areas, waiting over an hour because they couldn't get the luggage ramp in place at a different dock than we should have been taken too, we were taken to Ballentyne, not Vancouver Central Cruise Terminal, we had a hefty taxi ride when we finally disembarked 90 minuted later than we should. By this time people from other later slots had joined us and it was chaos to get off, many very traumatised expecting to miss flights other connections etc. SUMMARY:- We are hard working, we own our own business for last ten years, this was our 4th cruise. We realise at our age, this mode will get us to see the world and enjoy top class hotel features on the journey. From this experience, we have realised also that maybe all cruise lines try to absolve themselves from any eventuality whatsoever and can change itineraries whenever they like to whatever they like especially under the guise of safety. We are moderate, discerning people, who also realise that things can go wrong, on our Panama last year passenger taken ill, captain tuned ship round back to Panama. We missed Costa Rica day, WE DIDN'T COMPLAIN, YES WE WERE DISAPPOINTED, BUT WE REALISED THAT HE HAD NO CHOICE AND ACCEPTED THAT. We got nothing from the company not even a drink and we personally asked for nothing. BUT when a known problem exists and it was known before we set off from LA we won't accept that. Passengers who didn't get their cruise on May 20th got full reimbursement and full free cruise for their disruption. We should have been told at San Francisco and been given a choice as to stay on with their offer or leave and make our own way where we wanted with money back, but that may have meant we would spend it with another line providing the holiday we had booked without any problems. They didn't want that did they. CAVEAT EMPTOR! Check your terms and conditions, book with a credit card and ring them to dispute the payment if you do not get what you paid for, and check out review sites and comments to gather all info you can to make an informed decision. DO NOT ASSUME THAT A FIVE YEAR OLD MODERN SHIP WILL BE PROVIDING YOU WITH THE BEST EXPERIENCE YET. We have made some wonderful friends following on from this debacle and we have experienced amazing scenes of people power and community spirit lifting our hearts in today's world of 'keep your distance' personas. We will never book with Celebrity again, the board and shareholders need to look long and hard at policies to survive, if they don't we hope they get what they deserve. ATTENTION TO DETAIL is their complaints system, lip service if you ask us, they do not implement it. Passengers speak with their feet please, if you want to be treated famously as a celebrity, you'll never get your 15 minutes with this line. Celebrity talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. Sad, but we will not be intimidated and our group voice will be heard. 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: 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
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
Sail Date: July 2005
After reading other reports it would seem that our experience as first time cruisers on the Summit does not agree with anyone else. We found the atmosphere on board attuned to one object only, that of fleecing their captive customers of ... Read More
After reading other reports it would seem that our experience as first time cruisers on the Summit does not agree with anyone else. We found the atmosphere on board attuned to one object only, that of fleecing their captive customers of their last dollar at every opportunity (hot chocolate at the Hubbard Glacier sir ? $10 - yeah, right). Port excursions were far cheaper when booked ashore (Juneau - Taku Lodge flight/Salmon Bake $244 aboard compared to $180 at the pier). The Alaskan ports were great fun to visit (the object of the cruise) but we were bored rigid on board between ports. The entertainment in the theatre was crass in the extreme, resulting in our leaving each show after 20 minutes. Amateur would just about describe it. I will spare you any comments on the grotesque feeding habits of our fellow passengers The ship was ugly and the internal furnishings banal. Our first cruise will certainly be our last. Value for money?, I'll take Sandals on the Caribbean over the Summit anytime. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2005
I was on the Summit cruise of 5/7. First I want to say the crew was GREAT. To our waiter Bobbo and assistant waitress Tamera, we miss you. I have read many of the comments from people calling many of us cry babies or so what if you were ... Read More
I was on the Summit cruise of 5/7. First I want to say the crew was GREAT. To our waiter Bobbo and assistant waitress Tamera, we miss you. I have read many of the comments from people calling many of us cry babies or so what if you were at sea, you had a cruise experience. The first thing I have to say is if I wanted days at sea, I would have taken a Cruise to Nowhere, out of New York and saved the airfare to the west coast. How much BINGO can one take at $30.00 a pop per person, twice a day ($120.00 a day) when at sea? How much Pictionary, Name That Tune or battle of the sexes trivia can you play? How much time are you going to spend in the pool sailing the North Pacific in May? I have to admit it was funny seeing people on lounge chairs around the pool dressed from head to toe and with a blanket. How many drinks can you down (at 5.95 to 9.95 per drink plus 15% gratuity) a day. I did enjoy the Martini Sampler Special they had twice during the cruise. Six varieties of martinis at 2 oz. each. After a couple of specials you forget about the rest of the day! Did I mention the Wine Auction, the Art Auction or the diamond and jade specials, how about the gold chain by the inch, starting at 99 cents per inch! If that does not interest you, the Casino is open when we are not in Port. This cruise was doomed from day one! I was told the ship got in late from Hawaii. When we went to board the ship, we had to go up an escalator and at the top was an enclosed area with a doorway going out to a walkway that led to the gangplank to board the ship. The line backed up and people piled on top of each other at the top of the escalator. People were screaming for help and to stop the escalator. Two people were cut up and hurt pretty badly. Celebrity had no personnel at the top of the escalator. A few days later we were talking to one of the people hurt and they told us Celebrity tried charging them $300.00 for medical care!! After we left port later that night, one of the crew members I was talking to told me they had a problem with the ship coming back from Hawaii and that is why they were late. We were to dock in San Francisco on Tuesday at 8 am, but on Monday night the Captain announced we would be docking at 12 am due to some maintenance needed. SF was nice and we were supposed to leave at 6 pm. We sat at the dock in San Francisco till about 7:00, when there was an announcement that it would be another hour till we left. The ship FINALLY left a little after 8:00 pm. Late Wed. morning the Captain announced that due to a bearing problem we would not be docking at Seattle or Sitka because the ship could only due 17.4 knots to be safe instead of 22 knots. Later the Captain stated that Lloyds of London inspected the ship and they were told if they kept the speed of the ship at no more then 17.4 knots per hour they could continue the cruise. The problem with that was at that speed, they could not make all the ports and had to cut time at the rest of the ports. People were very upset and they demanded a meeting. I have to give the Captain credit; he stayed at the meeting until every question was answered. When the captain was asked if he knew about the ship problems while we were in SF, his answer was I would not insult your intelligence and tell you no. When someone got up and asked for a show of hands how many people thought they should get a full refund, the Captain raised his hand. This was all on video tape. This meeting started about 1 pm PT on Tues. May 10. The same day, at 12:16 pm ET (9:16 am our time) it was posted by South Florida Business Journal; Celebrity will dry-dock Summit and cancel May 20 cruise to Alaska. Passengers will be given a full refund AND a FREE CRUISE!! We did not find out about this until the next day. Celebrity gave us a $200.00 credit per cabin. In Ketchikan we left at 2 pm instead of 4 pm so we had to cancel one of our excursions. We arrived in Skagway late. On May 16th we were supposed to arrive in Hubbard Glacier at 9:00 am and stay till 1:00 pm. We did not arrive until 11:00 am and then we never got near the Glacier. The Captain said it was because there was another ship in there and only one at a time could go in. We left there at 1:00 pm. The only way I could see the Glacier was with a pair of binoculars. On May 18th we were suppose to Cruise the Inside Passage. We did not cruise the first 775 miles of the passage, only the last 225 miles. We arrived at that point of the Inside Passage about 9:00 am. The Captain announced that because of the fog, and that we would not be able to see anything, we would sit in the Bay until 5:00 pm when the fog would lift. By 11:00 am the fog lifted, at 3:30 pm the fog rolled back in. We found out that was a lie, the reason we sat there was because they had no pilot to take us in and he would not arrive until 5:00 pm. At 4:52 pm I was standing on our balcony and watched the pilot boat drop off the pilot. He boarded right below me. Then we took off but you could not see more then 60 feet ahead due to fog. Our dinner was 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. When we left the dinning room the passage was clear so we got to see the Inside Passage for 1 hour then it got dark. There were other things that happened, there were meetings in the grand foyer each day we were out at sea with anywhere from 300 to 600 passengers at each meeting. Over 1000 people signed a petition to join a class action suit. On the last day Celebrity said they were giving us 30% off our next cruise. That means I have to save up the other 70% and the airfare to see what they took away from us. What are the highlights of a cruise to Alaska? The things you can only see from a ship, Hubbards Glacier, the 1000 mile trek along the Inside Passage with wondrous wildlife and waterfalls. Spotting whales and orca and just the natural beauty of it all from your balcony or up on deck. If anyone tries to tell me that Hubbards Glacier and the Inside Passage are days at sea I must say no way, those are spectacular sightseeing days. Why else did we take a cruise? To unpack once, and besides, its impossible to drive from town to town in Alaska. If I had been given the choice of disembarking in SF and taking another cruise, I would have. We saved for 2 years and booked 9 months in advance. I spent 9 months researching as much as I could so that we would have the best experience possible. Unfortunately I did not research Celebrity or the parent Royal Caribbeans corporate treatment of customers. I hope Celebrity does the right thing on their own without having to file the class action suit. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
Just got back from our first and, I fear, our last cruise to Alaska. Celebrity Summit, Concierge Class, one week, Northbound to Alaska, May 2007. Alaska impressed us beyond words. Celebrity did not. I'll admit right away that the ... Read More
Just got back from our first and, I fear, our last cruise to Alaska. Celebrity Summit, Concierge Class, one week, Northbound to Alaska, May 2007. Alaska impressed us beyond words. Celebrity did not. I'll admit right away that the vast majority of passengers had a wonderful time. I'll also admit that at a basic level, Celebrity does a very good job: the new, larger ships have a remarkably smooth ride (when they don't break down...we'd originally been scheduled for last year's cancelled Summit cruise to Alaska), even on high seas, the cabins are of good size, with ample storage and nice amenities, the balconies are worth the extra cost, the beds are comfortable, the food is both good (as has been stated before on the Cruise Critic Boards, we're talking high-class hotel catering good, not three-to-four star restaurant good...but I had no complaints here!) and plentiful, the gym was first rate, and most facilities and functions were clean and in working order throughout. But Celebrity sells itself as more than the basics. Celebrity is about the "experience," about the service and the attitude and feeling like your being taken care of (especially for a Concierge Class passenger). The service we "experienced" ranged from barely adequate to utterly thoughtless. And this put a serious crimp on what was supposed to be a special occasion. Our original room had placed us next to a suite on deck 8. Based on reports we heard through Cruise Critic, we became suspicious that this meant a smaller balcony. Celebrity assured our travel agent this was not the case, but we persisted and changed to another cabin. I've now got photographic proof that, in fact, those balconies ARE smaller. Our travel agent was MOST interested in the picture. Where I come from, we call this "not telling the truth." That pretty much set the tone from then on. It started with our air travel: the cruise air plan had us flying home at a bad hour, with multiple stops, for a trip that would have taken almost twelve hours. We were able to cancel this and book through our travel agent, which cut our travel time in half, gave us a full day in Anchorage, and ended up saving us $100 even after penalties. When we arrived at our hotel in Vancouver (by the way, Vancouver is an AMAZING city...you could easily spend a week there, and we'll post about it on the Boards), we were told that they couldn't give us the king bed we'd requested...this is a 600-room hotel, and we arrived at noon...yeah, right. They at least gave us a 30th-floor room. Embarkation was a complete fiasco. Concierge Class lists "expedited embarkation" as one of the perks...too bad the folks running the show didn't know which line was which, and held us up while they whisked the folks who HADN'T paid the extra $100 for their room through in record time. I finally accosted someone to find out what was going on, at which point they admitted the error. They were not the least bit apologetic; more like annoyed. And even then, they kept it up for a while before expediting properly. GREAT WAY to start your relaxing vacation. While the ship is clean and well maintained, anyone expecting luxury needs a dose of reality: this 1900-passenger ship is in constant use throughout the season, with a four-hour turnaround between cruises, and the wear and tear shows. Our cabin had stains on the carpet, wine stains on a robe, the bath mat was visibly frayed, the TV and telephone occasionally malfunctioned, there was litter in the corner of the balcony...and the room STANK of cleanser when we embarked (smelled like there'd been a fire in the room). It took two days to fully air it out. And let's also be realistic about the staff: most (even the staff members with several years' experience) speak only rudimentary English, which makes anything other than basic requests an exercise in repetition (our next-door neighbors locked themselves on their balcony the first day out, and it took me almost five minutes to explain to the cabin steward that they needed to be rescued). They are not particularly well trained (the sommelier was a joke). And they have an incredible amount of work to do, so while they were very good at responding to direct requests, we didn't have a single instance during the entire trip when someone actually took the initiative to ask us what we wanted, list options that were available to us, or offer a moment's time. A lot of people mention how, once they request something, it keeps happening for the rest of the trip. Well, yes, this does occur. But that's not service. Service is asking. I had coffee set up after dinner every night after the first evening. I don't WANT coffee every night. No one ever asked my wife if she wanted tea, which she often does. This is not great service. It's MINDLESS service. I'm not slagging the staff; they work very hard at a job that is strenuous, monotonous and often humiliating (would YOU want to spend four hours in a fuzzy dolphin costume hawking disembarkation picture, or sit in a men's room that no one visits offering men spritzes of aftershave?). I AM slagging Celebrity, which promises a level of service they don't deliver. Their prime directive is to serve Celebrity's needs, not yours. Concierge Class does offer some nice amenities (the towels are particularly good), but the cabin steward? Fuggedaboudit. We had one meeting during which we asked for the things that hadn't (and should have) been placed in the cabin, and that was the last we saw of him (beyond the hallway). So no, there were no extra tips on this trip. Which brings us to the other reality of cruising on Celebrity: relentless, relentless marketing to induce you to spend more money. EVERY conversation with a Celebrity employee seems directed at some additional expenditure which he/she just HAS to bring to your attention. This all led up to the intriguing spectacle of the Baked Alaska Parade (actually Neapolitan ice cream in a gooey meringue) on the last formal night, which was followed by a prolonged spiel from our waiter soliciting extra tips. Waiters actively soliciting tips? Tacky, tacky, tacky. Of course, this might explain why we got the vouchers for the two bottles of wine our travel agent sent us AFTER dinner on the third night. We bought a bottle on the second night. Wonder when we'd have gotten them if we hadn't. The one excursion we booked through the ship, a late trip on the White Pass Railway, almost left without a bunch of people. The trains have tracks that extend out near the ships, and the early trips left from there. Ours, it turns out, did not. We passed a knot of people, including a woman in a wheelchair, waiting at that spot. Being suspicious, we continued down the dock to the ship...which is where we were supposed to go. If we hadn't told the White Pass representative (no one from Celebrity was around) about the other people (she was very surprised), and gone back and told them, they all would have missed the trip. Also, the trip started way late, and since there was no one from Celebrity around, there was no way to verify whether or not the ship was going to leave without us. We ended up back on board two minutes before they pulled the gangplank. Fifth day, my wife opened one of her drawers before bedtime to discover that two plastic bags (one for Scott's bubble wrap and the other for Barnes and Noble) had been put IN the drawer during turndown. Kinda creepy, since WE didn't bring those bags into the room. We had requested a walkoff disembarkation (Celebrity has a press release claiming this is offered on all cruises). In response to an item in the daily schedule specifically telling us to verify with the Guest Relations Desk if we wanted to do this, we filled out a request....only to be told it wasn't going to be offered. We asked them to double-check this and get back to us, which they did...at HALF PAST MIDNIGHT, waking us out of the first sound sleep of the trip. When we were assigned disembarkation, despite having told them on three separate occasions that we wanted to get off as early as possible, we were assigned to the LAST group to leave. They did, when we went to the Service Desk, fix this. The last night, we decided that we wanted to do a room service dinner. Too bad they'd already removed the cabin book so they could update it for the next trip. They told us to use the TV, but it was on the fritz. When I finally, after about three tries, convinced the cabin steward over the phone that we needed the room service menu back, he finally, grudgingly, showed up...with the dining room menu, not the room service menu. This was another example of the English-language problem, but it was also another example of a Cabin Steward who had better things to do that pay attention to a passenger. My wife wanted a pizza, not a pork chop. Just how far did they go to get you to spend? The hot tubs next to the outdoor pools (the free ones) ran throughout the cruise. The water was never above tepid, and often stone cold. A stone cold hot tub in Alaska? But hey, the hot tubs in the Thalassatherapy room next door were nice and warm. Of course, you have to PAY to use those one.... I could go on, there's more. But you get the drift. If you can look past all this, the cruise is fine. But you shouldn't have to look past this. Celebrity promises more, and they don't deliver. We payed a lot of money to spend a few days with OTHER people taking care of the details...and I'm sorry, cruise prices may have dropped a lot, but this was still a very expensive vacation. And we never felt that we could trust anyone to do anything. So next time we visit Alaska, we'll take the road. Even though it's a long, and not a very winding, road. Read Less
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: 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2005
My wife and I joined the Celebrity Cruise 7 night cruise/4 night land Tour Southbound commencing 29th August, 2005. Unfortunately my baggage was lost for 4 days so it didn't start well. We can only say we were extremely disappointed ... Read More
My wife and I joined the Celebrity Cruise 7 night cruise/4 night land Tour Southbound commencing 29th August, 2005. Unfortunately my baggage was lost for 4 days so it didn't start well. We can only say we were extremely disappointed by Celebrity's Land Start. The day trip to Denali (THE PARK WAS FANTASTIC) was to say the least terrible. The bus was an old school bus and we were on it for 8 hours, with only 4 rest stops for about 10-15 minutes each - no air conditioning, toilets or facilities. LUNCH (AND I USE THAT WORD LOOSELY) was a disgraceful cardboard lunch box that only one person ate (and was then sick in the afternoon), we were supposed to eat on the bus as we drove. We did see a few animals. We renamed our selves "DLB" Denali Lunch Box Group. The White Water Rafting trip was cold but great as was the dog sled homestead tour. On the second day we then commenced our trip back towards Seward by Coach, again, another lunch box, but at least a better quality and we stopped by the side of the road at a war veterans memorial and just found somewhere to sit to eat. RATE THIS LAND CONTENT OF THE TRIP: 1 OUT OF 5. We would not recommend this to anyone and our Tour director (Chrystal) treated us like children throughout the trip. We then headed back off to Seward, the train trip was really enjoyable, especially after the coach. The booking in at the ship left a lot to be desired, after boarding we were just handed over to a crew lady (who could speak very little English and told to follow her to our room - no welcome or smile or anything - who then guided us to our room and then just left us. On the first day we sent my brand new suit to be pressed as it was crushed from all the travelling. Upon having it returned we discovered it had been pressed with too hot a press and was shiny and the pockets hadn't been straightened out and were showing on the pants - after 3 tries at pressing the pants they concluded that they couldn't fix them and from then on we were in a continual discussion with "Guest Relations" who really weren't that helpful and I had to keep chasing them - Bottom Line they told us to have our Travel Agent (in Australia) talk to Celebrity Cruise Head Office (in USA) about compensation. Still no resolution. Overall the food was plentiful and good quality but the service was very ordinary in most areas, except for Winston and Darwin at the aft bar who were excellent. We booked a couple of tours and one in particular we were looking forward to was the "Glacier View Kayaking" (don't bother) we were kayaking on a lake approximately 12 miles from the glacier - talk about false and misleading advertising. Another major issue was the automatic 15% gratuities added to all beverage purchases which we found extremely hard to justify when a majority of the waiters and bar persons couldn't understand our requests. The fellow passengers we met were the saving grace of the cruise as the majority all were complaining about similar issues. After travelling from Australia specifically to take Celebrity Cruises to see Alaska we were very disappointed and for the first time in our travelling lives completed a critical guest questionnaire and surprise/surprise have heard nothing back from Celebrity at this time. Would we travel Celebrity Again? Depends on the response of Celebrity as we have planned to go cruising to the Caribbean in 2006. But I really doubt that we would spend a lot of money for so little or no enjoyment with this cruise line who treated us like second class citizens. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
The following is a review of my recent experience with the Celebrity Cruise I took on September 7, 2007 from Seward to Vancouver. Please note this is my travel companion's and my experience. I am 39 and this was my 14th cruise. My ... Read More
The following is a review of my recent experience with the Celebrity Cruise I took on September 7, 2007 from Seward to Vancouver. Please note this is my travel companion's and my experience. I am 39 and this was my 14th cruise. My travel companion is 50 and this is his first ever cruise. On Celebrity this is my 3rd cruise. I am not going to review the ports just our ship experience. We arrived in Anchorage a day before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Captain Cook. Small rooms but we were on their Concierge level which was totally worth it. We booked the Alaska Railroad trip on our own to Seward. This was no problem and our luggage was taken aboard and then on to the ship, just like they do if you book the railroad trip through Celebrity. We did a little exploring in Seward and checked in about noon. No problem getting on the ship less then 5 minutes, but the room was not to be ready until 2pm. We were able to drop off our carry-on bags and get lunch at the buffet. The food there was ok not great. That opinion stayed the same the entire cruise. Eat in the main dining room as it is much better, unfortunately, when you're docked in port the dining room is closed for lunch. After lunch we got off the ship and walked to Safeway to get some 6 packs of soda and bottled water. FYI a can of soda including the 15% gratuity is $2.24. Then back on to the ship. We both thought the ship was well maintained and had no problems with our room. Our room steward was nice and did a fantastic job. The biggest let down on our trip was the communication difficulty we had in the dining room. When I was on the Millennium in 2001 most of the dining room staff were from Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and other Eastern European countries. This trip most of the wait staff were from India and the Philippines. Normally this would not matter, however, on this trip the waiters and bus persons could not understand many common English questions which made getting your questions answered very difficult. Our waiter actually lied when I asked him about the "always available" food option. I asked about the "Marinated Chicken Supreme" and what it is marinated in. He told me that it's boiled chicken but never answered the marinade question. My companion asked him specifically what the marinade was and he replied that it's a misprint and that it's plain chicken. I cannot digest garlic so the question was important to me. The assistant Maitre D was a great guy by the name of Fazli and he explained the garlic marinade and then I advised him that the waiter needs to be better aware of what's in the food and that he lied. All he had to do was say I am not sure let me check, but he really did not seem to care. In the dining room it is always nice when they bring stuff without being asked i.e. I need a glass of ice as I bring my own drinks to dinner. This only happened once the entire cruise not a big deal but I noticed. The food overall in the dining room was good a few dishes where great. The service was not as good as it used to be on my previous Celebrity cruise. There was a definite language problem in the dining room. We also learned that they do not have English language classes for the staff, which would be a very useful thing seeing as the cruise line mostly caters to Americans. Overall, we enjoyed Alaska very much but I felt the service slipped in the dining room and buffet. The food quality appears to have gone down a bit but still better than my last Princess cruise in 2004. If you have any additional questions please feel free to email me. Sorry the review is kinda long. Tim Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
We took the southbound cruise on August 10 . We chose to hire a car and drive from Anchorage to Seward at our own pace - enjoying the scenery whilst our 2 year old slept. We embarked at 1pm which was quick and easy. Whilst we had a suite ... Read More
We took the southbound cruise on August 10 . We chose to hire a car and drive from Anchorage to Seward at our own pace - enjoying the scenery whilst our 2 year old slept. We embarked at 1pm which was quick and easy. Whilst we had a suite and preferred boarding at that time there were no waits for either line. In the cabin we hit exactly the same problem as Anon 60. We had selected a CS for the extra internal space and 4 floor to ceiling glass panes - perfect arrangement for a toddler. There are 2 Celebrity Suites side by side. We were in the aft of the 2 so forwards view is limited as you would expect. However, the 4 window and thus most of the rearward view was taken up by a window washer moored to a box ladder frame. Having paid full price and at the time of booking not being advised of the restricted view we justifiably felt ripped off by Celebrity. At a theater a restricted view is advertised as such and carries a discount. However we don't buy RV if CS6106 was at a discount we still would have chosen another. To add insult to injury the windows were not clean and were not cleaned during our 7 days and by the rust on the rails it appeared the cleaner was used infrequently! Celebrity offered a 10% discount on another cruise taken within a year. Having to travel again from Australia, this is worthless to us. As at the date of posting this offer has not been mailed to us, so it may have just been an expedient response shipboard. As to the cruise, many of the tours and attractions of Alaska are 'age barred' to a toddler. However, this was no problem as we just spent more time on ship - with always something to entertain. We found the staff friendly. With many having children at home our toddler was fussed over continuously. She loved the staff at the Cova and the Patisserie. We didn't submit fellow diners in the Cosmopolitan to our toddler at evening time choosing to either use the buffet or eat in the suite. David our butler ensured we got the full Cosmopolitan menu which was good. Only problem was that similar to any hotel, all courses arrive together. We enjoyed sampling all the food outlets. Our daughter loved her daily bowl of ice cream with sprinkles! We especially enjoyed the healthy eating near the spa. We also took a baby sitter one night to enjoy the Normandy experience. The crew continuously commented on how good the weather was and I'm sure that this lifted the demeanor of all on board. We had fantastic viewing most of the time and weather so good the pool was utilized well. What we saw of the entertainment was good. Again, with a toddler 9pm was the latest we would stay up to. Simple pleasure: Buy a crab and an icy alaskan beer at the crab shack at Icy Straights. The freshness combined with the view creates an ambience that will enhance this crab to one of lifes best! Bizarre: Being in the nightclub area (great viewing area at the front of the ship) at 1.30pm sailing toward natures grandeur of the Hubbard Glacier with a cha cha class in the background! Nice Touch: as a suite guest we were invited to a captains club function Embarkation - again fast and easy. Only problem was that I had booked the Fairmont Waterfront expecting to be able to walk across from the Vancouver cruise terminal. The ship docked outside town at an overflow center. If I had of known we would have to take a cab anyway I could have booked cheaper 5* options than $500pn All in all, we had a good time, marred only by the cabin view obstruction. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
We - a family of two adults and a 8yrs old child - took #7 Alaska tour followed by a Southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver on the Summit. It was my second trip to Alaska, and my DH and DS's first. First of all, let me thank all ... Read More
We - a family of two adults and a 8yrs old child - took #7 Alaska tour followed by a Southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver on the Summit. It was my second trip to Alaska, and my DH and DS's first. First of all, let me thank all the posters in this great site because their information was priceless and as you'll see, we made great use of it during our cruise. LANDTOUR - Many claim doing the land tour before the cruise is the way to go in Alaska. I agree, since the rhythm on the land portion is quite gruelling, and you enjoy the relaxation on the ship even more. We arrived to Anchorage in the evening, to be transferred to the Marriott downtown. There were many flights arriving so the transfer took quite a while. The hotel is a nice one but there as well mayhem seemed to be reigning (we were checked in three times, since the first two rooms had not been made). The day after, we travelled to Denali on the Wilderness express - it was a very beautiful and smooth ride, and the fact that the weather was so clear we could see Denali from Anchorage certainly helped. After a short visit of Talkeetna (walk to the creek for a wonderful view of the mountain range from there) we went to Denali. The Grande Denali Lodge was a huge letdown (room reeked of smoke, and had a magnificent view of the dumpster and the parking lot). Enjoyed the visit to the dog mushing training facility and learned a lot. The day after we visited Denali Park - the tour (included in the landtour) was the short one, so we didn't go enough inside the park and didn't get to see any bears. We got up very early and felt it really wasn't worth it. Travelled to Talkeetna and stayed at the beautiful Lodge there. Since the weather was glorious, we took the McKinley flight with glacier landing with Talkeetna Taxi. Enjoyed the flight very much. The day after we travelled to Girdwood, with a stop in Anchorage. The Alyeska lodge is really luxurious and we enjoyed our stay there - and the tram ride included in the tour - very much. We took the Glacier jet boat safari, which was truly spectacular and very recommended. The day after we took a bus to Seward, where we boarded the ship. There were many busses leaving together and the company timed the arrival in Seward so there wouldn't be any queuing - we stopped at the Wilderness Sanctuary on the way and enjoyed the detour very much. All in all, we felt the landtour was well organized and very pleasant. A special thanks to our tour director, Styeve and to all tour companions who were very nice, friendly, pleasant and considerate. CHECK -IN went like a breeze. In ten, fifteen minutes we were inside the ship, with our cards, all set. We had checked in online, which of course helped, but still there were no lines at all and the whole process was very efficient. Our luggage was waiting outside our stateroom when we arrived. STATEROOM - Here came the big (and I mean big) letdown of our vacation. Notwithstanding having booked the stateroom almost a year before the cruise, when the choice of cabin was very wide, and after a long research, we ended up with the window washer on the front half of our stateroom (#8063), in a way which obstructed more than partially our view and seriously marred our enjoyment of the stateroom. It appears the washer has been parked in front of that specific cabin (and the one next to it, #8061) for quite a while, but Celebrity does not think it should share the information with its customers or anybody else, or charge less than the full price for that cabin. Unluckily, Celebrity's attitude towards this is not what one should expect from a company which prides on the quality of its service and up to this very moment, no suitable solution is being offered, since Celebrity refuses to take the blame (their executive office even told me it's the ship's blame....). I feel I have been taken for a ride, and that is greatly influencing my overall outlook on the cruise. The stateroom itself was comfortable, the bedding new (I saw crew changing the bedding on deck 3 when we left the ship in Vancouver), the furniture not new but not scruffy either. I strongly recommend upgrading to Concierge Class, due to its many perks - I enjoyed the fluffier towels and bathrobe, my husband enjoyed the stronger showerhead, we all liked and needed the extra space, and priority tendering was definitely worthwhile in Icy Strait Point. We didn't use the room service a lot (since in the morning there was no room to eat in the stateroom due to the sofabed being open and the acrobatics to reach the balcony were not worthwhile due to the obstructed view) but liked the fresh fruit and the tidbits in the afternoon. SHIP - the ship is very comfortable, and full of many different areas which cater to varied tastes. It's not new, but very well maintained. We liked the artwork - especially the great photographs in the corridor, the serendipitous sculptures all over and the glasswork in the main stairway. The service is outstanding, and the crew (whose ratio is almost 1:2 - 950 crew to slightly over 2000 passenger at full capacity) does its very best to be friendly, courteous and helpful. They go to great pains to remember the passengers' names and special requests, even in the common lounges. I enjoyed my morning coffee at cafe Cova, with the day's crossword - which you can pick up at the library on deck 8 - the thalassotherapy pool, an oasis of calm, the Aquaspa cafe and the Gymnasium. Didn't go to any of the shows or movies due to our schedule and the fact that we thought our son should go to bed around ten, even if we could have left him in the Fun Factory for longer. Appreciated the cloth napkins and placemats in the buffet and the offer of help and coffee replenishments from the buffet waiters. Our son liked, all in all, the Fun Factory, the kiddies special area on deck 11. He would have liked to be able to play outside more, and missed the fact that on his first cruise (on Jewel of the Seas) the sports area was attached to the kid's area, whereas on the Summit it is on deck 12 above, and the kiddies' outside playing area is mostly occupied by the pool and a slide for younger children. We would have liked more enrichment programs for him - for example, during our cruising of Hubbard glacier, the children were drawing inside and didn't even notice the glacier if their parents didn't think of picking them up and taking them outside. We enrolled our kid in the VIP programme, whose perks were basically a discounted rate for the extra hours - since the private captain's deck tour and the private theatre tour were a repetition of tours given to all the kids - and a wide screen movie with popcorn. Even if there were over 200 children on board, less than 30 registered for the Fun Factory. The FF staff is caring and professional and we felt comfortable leaving our son with them. The food is really very good and varied and the hygienical standards very high. We spoke to many people during the cruise and everybody seemed to be very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food as well. The fact there are no public announcements on the loudspeakers, as a rule, contributed to the relaxed atmosphere in the ship. Even if I am strongly allergic to smoke, I didn't suffer from it on the ship and the smoking passengers seemed to be very considerate of non smokers. We had no pod issues whatsoever, got to each and every port before the stated time and marvelled at the ship's engines silence. SHORE EXCURSIONS - Due to the fact that for us it was a very long trip and a very special vacation, I chose many excursions, also basing myself on the fact that due to the fickle Alaskan weather we might end up missing a few. In fact, the weather was clear and sunny all the way through the cruise and we ended up doing a few things twice, but since they were very unique, we didn't feel we wasted our money. On the first day, the ship got extremely close to Hubbard Glacier and got a very good running commentary from the ship naturalist. The calving was impressive. On our first stop, Juneau, DH and myself took a very good and scenic helicopter flight with Taku Glacier landing (Era - arranged through Celebrity), and the three of us went on a whale watching trip which I arranged directly with Harv and Marv. It was very nice to be able to go on a smaller ship (6 people max) and we got very close to a pod of nine whales. Jay (Marv) is friendly, warm and really cares that you have a good trip and really loves to share with you his life and experiences. On the way back, we picked up some customers of H&M from Mendenhall glacier, so we got to see it too (and still recommend you do the glacier helicopter flight). I am happy in joining the many of you who recommend Harv & Marv. In Skagway DH and myself went to a White pass bus tour (I am pleased to say I went but it really wasn't very impressed by it) and then I went back to the ship, whilst DH and DS went on a Northern Inside Passage Glacier flight which they both enjoyed a lot (their pictures definitely explain why). In Icy Strait Point all three of us went with Floyd Peterson (F.I.S.H.E.S) on a whale watching tour, which was one of the highlights of our vacation. Floyd is a former fisherman, very quite but he knows his whales; that, the small size of his ship and the relatively calm waters made sure we saw a pod of six whales which came very close to us (we could even smell them and got sprayed by them), together with a jocular sealion. It was very touching and exciting. In Ketchikan, we flew to Neets Bay (spectacular views), and took a short walk to a nearby salmon hatchery, to have a close look at black bears. There were four of them and we spent quite a while looking at them feeding, and could have stayed much longer. It was interesting to hear about the hatchery and the efforts to plump up the salmon population as well. The last day of the cruise we sailed through Inside Passage. The weather was getting worse, which was ideal for the last day of cruising anyways and made for some great misty pictures. DISEMBARKATION - Again, smooth and well organized. We got a letter stating the time we had to get to our (CC) meeting point, got there ten minutes before and in little over fifteen were shepherded out. Canadian customs was quick and friendly and locating the suitcases was not chaotic. We were at the taxi curb in little more than 35 minutes from the time we went to the meeting point in the ship. All in all, we enjoyed our cruise. But we strongly agree with all those who feel that Celebrity is an excellent choice for sunny days. As soon as something gets wrong and you have an issue (either a general one, like a malfunctioning in the ship, or a specific one like a fault in your cabin which was not revealed precruise, which happened to us), then you're on your own, and the level of customer care drops dramatically. And this makes me very wary of recommending the company to others, or considering taking other cruises with them in the future. Which is a great shame, especially for the exceptional crewmembers who really go to great length to give you the experience of your lifetime and take great pride in what they do - and rightly so. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
Celebrity Summit June 1, 2007 Alaska (Anchorage to Vancouver) I am a 43 year old who took the cruise with my parents for two reasons. First, I wanted to introduce them to cruising and secondly, I wanted to see Alaska. My purpose in ... Read More
Celebrity Summit June 1, 2007 Alaska (Anchorage to Vancouver) I am a 43 year old who took the cruise with my parents for two reasons. First, I wanted to introduce them to cruising and secondly, I wanted to see Alaska. My purpose in writing this review is to help others through my experience cruising. I have had the opportunity to cruise all the major lines to destinations around the world and have found most cruises are what you make of them. The ship's market focus: Each ship and its itinerary appeal to a certain market. The market focus of this particular ship/itinerary was the 50-70 year old age group. Everything from the entertainment to the level of service catered to that group. If you do not enjoy the entertainment that 50-70 year-olds enjoy, then you will not enjoy the entertainment on this ship. The Broadway-style shows were average but the acrobatics featuring Alex and Sally were great. Most of the entertainment in the bars and lounges also catered to the 50-70 year old age group. If this ship sailed with a Caribbean itinerary, I think it would cater more to the 35-50 year old market. Staterooms were what I would expect, being efficient with space but certainly adequate. The ship provided bathrobes, hairdryer, Q-tips, cotton balls, shampoo, soap, and conditioner. There were also plenty of towels and the cabin service was outstanding. One could call between rooms by dialing the number of the cabin you wished to contact. Room service could be ordered through interactive TV or by phone and was excellent to average depending on how busy they were. There were no laundry facilities or irons on board; however, the ship offered dry cleaning and laundry service at a reasonable price. Dining: I thought the food was outstanding. We chose not to dine in the Normandie cover-charge restaurant because we did not think the food or service could be $30 per person better than what we had in the main formal dining room. The waiters in the main dining room really do attempt to make your experience excellent in every way. The Waterfall Cafe is the buffet with basically the same food every day but with the food changing during different times of the day. For example, the homemade pasta and salad bar were open 12-5 in the Waterfall. Sushi could be found there from 5:00-10:00. There were other food stations open and there were set breakfast and lunch buffet times. There was also healthy choice dining most of the day in the Aqua Spa Cafe. A hamburger/hotdog station was available 12:00-6:00 and an ice cream station 12:00-10:00. The create-your-own pizza station was available 12:00-5:00. During the breakfast and lunch buffet hours, options were plentiful, but the options were basically the same each day. Anyone who complains about the food and service on this ship makes me envious of the quality of food and service they obviously get at home. Health Club: The Celebrity Summit was no better or worse than most cruise lines in this area. They did make you pay for some services and access areas standard on other ships. A dedicated workout and/or health nut would not suffer on this boat. Alcohol: Celebrity Summit had the absolute most expensive drinks of any ship I have ever been on. But in their defense, they have drink prices very much in line with what is charged in Alaska. When a draft beer costs $5+ with tip then you know Dorothy is not in Kansas anymore. After reading most of the reviews and the Celebrity policy on bringing alcohol on board, my advice would be to bring as much as you want on board at the departure port. The ports are in charge of security that day and port security does not care the amount of alcohol you bring to the ship. You merely carry the alcohol on in a bag. My recommendation is to have each bottle in a brown paper bag and put the paper bag bottles in another bag so it is not absolutely obvious what you are doing. Celebrity scans your items after the embarkment day so there is the possibility you could get caught after the first day. For those following Celebrity's alcohol policy, you can only bring two bottles of wine on board per stateroom the day of departure and none after that. The ship's layout was fine once you got accustomed to what was where. I did find the ship in excellent shape for its age and very clean. The hand sanitizer entering all dining rooms was certainly a nice touch. It is easier to utilize the elevators in the area where your room is located so you have a home base elevator. There are three main elevator systems: one in front of the ship, one in the rear, and one at mid-ship. I used the elevator closest to my room to navigate the ship. Shore Excursions: I book most excursions myself, finding I save 20-40% over excursions booked through the ship. I have done this across the globe but found Alaska the easiest because the ports are American ports and practically anyone can book independently with little worry. This does take some advance planning and I hope to make this planning easier for readers of this review with the following suggestions in each port. A bonus to independent travel is you are not on the ship's tour schedule, allowing you to see more for less with flexibility. Pre-Cruise: We stayed five days in Anchorage using Anchorage as a home base to see Alaska's interior. We visited Denali National Park with a flight-seeing tour. We also took the park service six-hour bus ride into the park. The one thing I encourage each person to do is to purchase the Great Alaskan Tour Saver coupon book. It is valuable if you are going to do a pre- or post- cruise independent tour in or around Anchorage/Denali/Seward. The coupons are good all over Alaska, but most are helpful in and around Anchorage, Denali, and Inside Passage. The coupons are buy-one-get-one-free featuring BOGOF tours and hotel reservations. Purchase the toursaver at www.toursaver.com or call (907) 278-7600. We stayed at two different hotels in Anchorage where we paid for one night and received the second night free. We also rented a car from the Avis downtown location getting one day rental free while saving the airport car rental fees. Our flight-seeing tour in Denali was buy-one-get-one-free. Seward, Alaska: We rode the train from Anchorage to Seward. It was an absolutely beautiful trip. We spent the night in Seward before boarding the ship at 11:30am the next morning. If you choose to do this, book your hotel and train trip early as many cruise ship passengers go this route. Seward is around three hours from Anchorage. A rental car is not necessary in Seward. A cab or shuttle can get you to most places of interest. My suggestions for excursions while in Seward include the resurrection bay tour from Renown Tours and the Sealife Center. Both have BOGO coupons in The Great Alaskan Toursaver book. We also took the shuttle to exit glacier. We boarded the ship early to become familiar with the ship's layout while few people were on board. Embarkment was well organized. Hubbard Glacier Cruising: My best advice while cruising the Hubbard Glacier and the surrounding icy water is as follows: 1. View approaching the glacier in "The Night Club" at the front of the ship Deck 11. Enjoy the majesty of the glacier while taking no pictures. Arrive in "The Night Club" an hour before your closest point to the glacier for best seating. 2. View the departure from the glacier at the Waterfall Cafe Bar on Deck 10 at the back of the ship. This is where you can take the best pictures without fighting the crowds. The ship's initial approach to the glacier is characterized by passengers fighting to get the best position to photograph the glacier. The departure from the glacier is characterized by very few people taking pictures on Decks 10 and 11 where the best photo opportunities exist. Juneau, Alaska: We rented a car in Juneau and my advice is to book early. Car rental companies sell out when cruise ships are in port. We chose Rent-a-Wreck [(907) 789-4111] because they were the only company that would pick up and drop off at the dock. This is a good choice if you do not mind older cars. The ladies at the agency were also very helpful in pointing out places of interest. We visited the Mendenhall Glacier, the Alaskan Brewing Company, Glacier Gardens Rainforest, and the Shrine of St. Therese, all outside the city of Juneau. The price just for the Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Gardens tour through the cruise ship was $61 per person. That would have cost us $183. Our total for the rental car was $57.50 Admission to the Glacier Gardens Rainforest was $22 each, but we had BOGO coupons from the Great Alaskan Toursaver. We did much more for our money by renting a car and using the toursaver. The area around the cruise dock is completely touristy featuring a tram, shops, and bars. I recommend the Red Dog Saloon for its entertainment value and you can order a Coke if you prefer not to drink. Skagway: This was another car rental port for us. We went with Avis and booked directly with the Skagway office at (907) 983-2247. Sourdough rentals is another option if you do not mind older vehicles. Both companies are in the tourist district near the cruise ship docks. Skagway is all about the Gold Rush of 1896. The two major tours are the scenic White Pass Railway and the Skagway Street Car Tour. The ship charges $112 per person for the 3.5 hour rail tour and $42 per person for the two hour street car tour. A couple would shell out $308 for the two excursions through the cruise ship. My advice would be to rent a car and take Klondike Highway 2 into Canada. (You will need a passport/proof of citizenship.) The Klondike Hwy follows the same route as the railroad but at a substantially cheaper price. The bonus for car rental tours is that one can stop to take pictures at their leisure. We took the road all the way to Whitehorse. Most tourist turn around returning to Skagway in either Carcross or the Emerald Lake. The Red Onion Saloon is a good place to visit a brothel museum although the entertainment is not as lively as the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau. The Red Onion is near the cruise ship dock. I also heard good things about the Days of '98 show that plays at 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, and 7:00pm. The show plays at the Fraternal Order of The Eagle Hall located at 6th avenue and Broadway near the cruise ship dock. One could take the two hour Skagway Street Car Tour at the end of the day depending on when your ship departs. Icy Strait Point: There is not much at Icy Strait Point but the visitor center and the Zip Rider Zip Line experience. We toured the visitor center (about an hour) and then caught the shuttle to the town of Hoonah. Hoonah was what I believe to be a very authentic Alaskan fishing village. The town is walking distance from the cruise ship dock. There is a path that follows the road into the village. Sample the halibut pizza at the grocery store. Hoonah had very friendly people and the highest concentration of bald eagles of any place we visited. The shuttle was around $5 dollars per person for the round trip into Hoonah. Ketchikan: No rental car is needed in this port because most attractions are located within walking distance. My recommendations are as follows: Visit the Totem Heritage Center and Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery/Eagle Center. They are located next to each other at the top end of town less than one mile from the cruise ship dock. The last part is up hill so I suggest a cab/shuttle going up. Walk and follow the creek back down through the Creek Street Boardwalk. It is a beautiful walk and there is history, restaurants, and shops throughout Creek Street. Both the Tribal Hatchery and Totem Heritage center open at 8:00am in the summer. The Hatchery is informative and an extra special experience if the salmon are in town. The Hatchery offers the most up-close bald eagle experience you will get in Alaska. The Totem Pole Heritage Center is all about history and heritage. You can buy a combination ticket to both and each offers a guided tour. My other suggestion for Ketchikan is a Misty Fjords floatplane tour with a lake landing in the fjords. You can save between $30-$70 by booking yourself online instead of through the cruise ship. We went with Southeast Aviation (www.southeastaviation.com), booking a month in advance. Other highly recommended floatplane companies include www.promechair.com and www.islandwings.com . Book early for best prices. Disembarkment: Very easy in Vancouver. The airport shuttle was $12 per person and I left immediately for my flight back to the East Coast. Vancouver is a beautiful city if you have time to visit. I wish I could have stayed two nights but needed to return home to earn money for my next cruise. I hope this helps. Happy Travels! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
June 1, 2007, this was the day that my mother, myself and approximately 70 others would wrap up our Celebrity operated tour portion of our Cruisetour and board the Summit. We had flown into Fairbanks on May 26th and spent the days seeing a ... Read More
June 1, 2007, this was the day that my mother, myself and approximately 70 others would wrap up our Celebrity operated tour portion of our Cruisetour and board the Summit. We had flown into Fairbanks on May 26th and spent the days seeing a very small segment of Alaska's interior. (Remember approximately 1% of Alaska is inhabited.) Roberta, our Tour Director and Sheila, our driver had provided us with a week of boat rides (Riverboat Discovery III), city tours, panning for gold and enough scenes of Alaska's vast wilderness to boggle the mind. I know this isn't "cruise related" but I heard not ONE negative comment concerning Roberta or Sheila from anyone. They were supremely professional, fun to be with, informative while also sensing when enough talk was just enough. Anyway, onto our cruise.... Roberta said good-bye to us at our last loading of the motorcoach (they get cranky when you call it a bus), and left us in the capable hands of Sheila. She provided commentary while driving us safely to the last leg of our journey, delivering us to the port of Seward and the dock where Celebrity's GTS Summit was berthed. The bus pulled onto the dock early afternoon and we said our farewells to Sheila as Celebrity's cruise representatives met us and guided us through embarkation. We had a rear cabin, stateroom 7206 Concierge Class awaiting us. Embarkation went very smoothly and my mother and I were cheerfully checked in very quickly (I would estimate under 10 minutes). We then took the short walk from the side doors of the processing center to the gangway of the Summit, with the obligatory stop in front of various signs to allow the ship's photographers to capture the moment of our boarding the Summit. Upon entering the Grand Foyer we were greeted by smiling faces and glasses of champagne to set the tone and a subtle reminder to assure us we were now in the capable hands. We took our room keys and handed them over to the room staff that would walk us to our stateroom. Outside our stateroom upon our arrival was all our baggage waiting for us, as they had been delivered early in the day, so we would not have to wait for them to off-loaded from our bus we had been riding. Before our door closed, Victor, our room attendant was introducing himself and assuring us if we needed ANYTHING, that we were to pick up the phone and push one button (he demonstrated) and his beeper he kept pinned to his belt, in the small of his back went off immediately. We had been handed tickets as we left the embarkation building with an opening dining time for us to eat our first meal aboard. Victor informed us we could, as CC passengers head to the dining area at our convenience to eat whenever we pleased that first night. We opted to take a few moments, catch our breath and do some room/veranda inspection and a minimal amount of unpacking. The beds were separated per our request and on our desk where fresh flowers along with a card stating our seating information for our evening meals along with an envelope that contained our tickets for the various excursions we had pre-booked online months before our journey was to begin. The veranda doubled our living space as the aft facing cabins have huge outdoor spaces, covered partially by the deck above and much of the remaining overhead had canvas sections whipped to pole structures providing protection from the weather and the decks above. On the veranda were four adjustable lounge chairs, a dining table, two chairs accompanying that along with a small side table. After settling in, we headed down to their Cosmopolitan Restaurant to taste their fare. The first meal, (the general seating one) was a bit lack luster, taste wise. I chalked it up to it being nearly impossible to show off with people coming in over the course of the afternoon, however that meal, as did the next two evening meals had us walking away afterward going "It was okay, but...." The food was certainly edible, but lacked that final touch or flourish to put the meals over the top. Let me say right now, the breads and bakery department, responsible for all the pastries were just outrageously good from the start. They did not miss a beat. I heard one woman mention she didn't care for them due to the pastries not being sweet enough for her taste. I prefer the taste of fruits in my danish versus "sweet". So you'll hear nothing but accolades from me in that department. My sister had cruised with Celebrity on the Millennium a couple months previous and came away with the same concern about the food. "It was ALMOST really, really good... but" She thought it might have been that they had gotten a new executive chef on board and they hadn't quite worked out all the kinks yet. Sadly, I was afraid that it was just a general malaise that had settled over the whole of Celebrity's kitchens. I am more than pleased to announce however, that just about half way through our cruise someone in the kitchen started tasting the dishes prior to them being served. From that point on the plates were all spot on! Served at proper temperatures, seasoned properly and with a certain flair that put them in that category where you just KNEW the chefs were on there game. The plates were always pleasant to look at, now the taste was there to back it up. It was a pleasure to walk away from the evening meal with a huge smile on one's face, reflecting back on what you had just shared with table mates. Speaking of table mates, on our first night of scheduled seating,one of the two formal nights, we were the only two at a table for six. Herculano, our superb server, eased our fears that we would continue to eat by ourselves. We were, after all, there to meet folks; laugh together and share tales. Sure enough by the next night others that had eaten by themselves got moved to our table and we had just a terrific time with our new acquaintances from Ohio and Colorado. Both couples were wonderful company and a pleasure to share a meal with. Our last night aboard we opted to make reservations for the Normandie. I can't say enough positive things about the whole experience in the Summit's specialty dining area. This was the "finest" dining my mother had ever experienced and they absolutely made her feel welcomed and explained in very non-threatening terms how the evening was scheduled and the menu options. The maitre'd was warm, funny and very approachable. The whole staff there took great pride presenting what was surely one of the best evenings we had ever shared. It was truly memorable. The solo harpist was directly in front of us and played through out the evening adding nicely to the ambiance. If you are a wine drinker I would recommend paying the additional $29 dollar surcharge (above the $30 pp for the evening meal) for a five course meal married to a glass of wine chosen by the chef for each coarse. My mother isn't a wine drinker so we opted for the four course meal that exceeded our expectations. I have to say clearly, I went in there with pretty high expectations. My mom just loved the experience and the food and I was thrilled we had such a wonderful time. On the other end of the spectrum from the luxury that is the Normandie Restaurant is the 10th deck eateries. Buffet lines galore with pasta and pizza stations, shepherds pie, sandwiches, the ice cream bar along with many international foods available for you to try. Don't miss the sumptuous waffle station where the deep waffles are made fresh to your order as your turn comes in line. Want to eat healthy? They have a section at the forward end devoted for you. I personally didn't feel cheated by their curry chicken and rice plate. Try the figs in light syrup for a desert a time or two. You may change your mind if you thought healthy meant depriving yourself. Onto other things, but obviously food, coming first in my review hints at my priorities! LOL The entertainment aboard the Summit was generally very good. The Celebrity Theatre is very nicely layed out. With excellent lines of sight from nearly every seat. I will admit now, I was hoping to have the daily schedule in front of me now to help refresh my memory of the names of some of the entertainment. I do not. There was the Theatre, there were performances by a ventriloquist one evening that was very funny, at times I was concerned that he might go past the point of good taste, however everyone rolled with laughter and he kept it edgy and fun without seriously over-stepping that boundary. There was a female/male team of "aerialists" that performed amazing feats and kept the audience captivated. Of particular note was young Mr. Meyer. (his name I recall clearly) I don't want to give too much away, but he's a musician that plays a unique instrument and had the majority of the audience in attendance giving a standing ovation at the end of the evening. The musical cast were in fine form and gave a very nice show and provided good entertainment. The Celebrity Theatre Band was just top notch for a cruise line. The musical director and pianist (one and the same) ran a very tight group of musicians. Kudos to her. The one group that I didn't really enjoy was a group of four young male a cappella singers going by the name of The Dischords. They certainly didn't sing discordantly, however as a former singer their blending wasn't quite there, their tune selection suspect at times and they generally didn't do much for me. They were certainly nice enough gentlemen and their enthusiasm was there, but just came up short in my humble opinion. The member with the curly head of longish hair, singing, I believe 2nd tenor didn't get highlighted nearly enough. When he did take the lead in a song, I tended to enjoy his portion the best. For the "lounge acts", I generally really enjoyed them. There was a young man soloing with a guitar that had a clear voice, sang well and chose songs that were both appropriate for him and was very enjoyable in an intimate arena. Another group I initially had concerns with was "Guys and Doll". As I was passing through the ship I heard them and continued on, as her voice was a bit rough. Much to my pleasure, perhaps half an hour later I was passing back through and this time she caught my attention with her singing, in a positive way. As I sat down in the Martini bar, able to look down on their forum and ordering up a "martini flight" (a sampler of 6 different mini-martinis) I realized that on my first pass through the ship hearing them, they had just started their first set and were getting warmed up. After the lead singer's chords got going they presented a most enjoyable show with a small dance floor that often had several couples out dancing into the night. Her voice, after she his full stride has hints of Ernestine Anderson minus much of the vibrato. On to the room and the one or two concerns. The layout didn't seem to be as tidy and sensible as compared to the staterooms aboard Holland America's Zaandam. The beds on the Summit were between the television and the sofa. That led to my MAJOR concern: My bed. My mother's was sleepable, however mine had so many lumps and the foam was so broken down I had to call Victor, the attendant to the rescue on two occasions. After two attempts of adding feather mattress pads (or were they simply feather duvets called to another purpose?) Victor made the bed semi-sleepable. Other than those two points the room was quite nice and the shower(only) was sized to make for comfortable showering. The Summit had something in between the automatic gratuity charges that many cruise lines appear to use. Several days prior to disembarkation they leave a note in your stateroom saying that if you want to give the standard tips for all those that made your cruise something to remember, simply return a slip and they'll add it to your final bill. If not, the following day your attendant will leave a series of envelopes, nicely banded in your room to divvy gratuities as you see fit. It a nice option to be able to work it either way. We certainly appreciated the efforts of some more than others so opted to deliver our gratuities via the envelopes, ensuring those that performed above and beyond were properly compensated. During the cruise, both berthed and tendered, operations allowing us to get ashore were smooth and seamless. If one is scheduled for an early morning excursion through Celebrity, they provided passes to ensure one was able to at the designated pick up area in plenty of time. The variety and depth of excursions available through Celebrity seemed more than sufficient for us first time Alaska visitors. The cruisetour and excursions provide a very nice overview of many different areas that Alaska has ready to be explored. Nature, history and cultures are wonderfully diverse and varied. If, on the other hand shopping is high on your priority list, Chez and her husband present many informational seminars on what stores ashore will assist you in making your jewelry, craft and fine arts purchases. Don't overlook the onboard art auctions if you're in the market for a new piece for your wall. They're great fun to participate in, or just observe. Sadly, disembarkation must also be discussed. Not that it was handled poorly, simply that meant our journey was over and it was time to return to reality. As Allan, the cruise director said so succinctly, "Now it's time to make your own meals, make your own beds, and remember the chocolates that sat upon your pillow each evening." Prior to arrival in Vancouver the ship's staff verified everyone's departure times and then issued tags for your luggage and cards for the passengers. It told you where to gather and the proper time to arrive. Don't get there too far ahead of your scheduled time, as you'll find the crowd is constantly shuffling in and out as various colors and numbers are called. Listen closely to the staffs directions, if you're to disembark forward or aft. Then it's passing through customs, inspections and on to your intermediate or final destinations. We opted to visit Victoria for a couple days post cruise, so after clearing customs we had a short wait for the Pacific Coaches motorcoach to arrive where we boarded and went via ferry to Vancouver Island. It is my understanding upon my return to home that there were 3 cruise ships that essentially were trying to clear Canadian Customs all at the same time. They apparently were understaffed and the nerves of many travelers got a bit frazzled. Hopefully this was a fluke, as when we passed thru Vancouver one year earlier (we were originally scheduled to be on the May 20th Summit cruise that was canceled due to pod problems) it was very smooth and what we thought was a huge crowd that would take us a couple hours to clear, we actually made it in well under an hour. In summary,did we love the cruise? Absolutely! The tour portion also. The excursions? Fantastic. The food; nothing to complain about. The entertainment, nice quality for cruising. Our treatment aboard, very, very nice. With all that said, will I cruise the Summit again? Most likely not. Nor are we likely to take any other Celebrity ship that has the pod propulsion system. It is incredibly smooth, to the point when we originally backed away from our dock, and I was standing at the aft end, I didn't realize we were underway. Try that with a conventionally powered vessel. But you be four days away from a vacation that you've planned nearly a year ahead of time, got all excited about then to have them reach into your chest and yank your heart out and tell you it has been canceled. Due to a problem that has plagued this class ship for what? Over 10 years now? My question is simply, why can't you fix it? With the brain trust that HAS to have been puzzling over this issue for so long, when will it be behind you? When the fleet of the Millennium Class ships is retired? Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We did a 13 night land sea cruise. We were greatly disappointed with the air arrangements made with Celebrity. We flew from Vancouver to Seattle to Fairbanks arriving in Fairbanks at 1:30 A.M...We started our land tour at 7:55 the ... Read More
We did a 13 night land sea cruise. We were greatly disappointed with the air arrangements made with Celebrity. We flew from Vancouver to Seattle to Fairbanks arriving in Fairbanks at 1:30 A.M...We started our land tour at 7:55 the following morning this made for a very short night at the Sophie Station Hotel..accommodations at this hotel are just adequate...Restaurant: breakfast buffet was good but the dinner service was very poor. We were very fortunate to have an excellent tour director and bus driver for the land portion of our tour. They were both very knowledgeable and friendly. We enjoyed the Riverboat cruise and sights on the route, with the visit to an Indian village. The tour of the El Dorado Gold Mine was just a little bit of fun. Train ride on the Denali Wilderness Express was enjoyable with excellent breakfast and lunch offered at a reasonable price although we had to wait for good while for our turn to eat...we had a small breakfast early before we got on the train. Tour guide on train very informative. Denali Wilderness Lodge a very poor choice of lodging..rooms cheaply furnished, dining room service almost non existent and very over priced. Would not recommend to anyone. Wilderness tour was a little long in the school bus, saw some wild life..moose, Dall Sheep, black wolf, but no bears. In Talkeetna, we did the McKinley Glacier Flight, did get to see the face of Mt. McKinley even though snow storms were all around us, did not land on Glacier as an aircraft from another airline was stuck in the snow...we were all happy with our pilot and flight. Talkeetna Lodge was much better than Denali Anchorage Hotel O.K.  Free time to roam. Visited the Alaska Native Heritage Centre..We enjoyed this as it gave alot of history on the settling of the land by various tribes. Alyeska Prince Resort excellent accommodations, enjoyed dining at the Seven Glaciers on the mountain. A little pricey, but well worth the money. The next day was a lost day waiting to board the ship at Seward. Embarkation very rapid, stateroom al little smaller than on some other cruise ships. Dining Room experience excellent, waiters both very good,food delicious. Buffet Experience not as good...one person making omelettes one at a time, with line ups. Buffet stations somewhat disorganized butter not beside buns at omelette station etc. There didn't seem to be the natural flow so people could pass through the line as quickly as there is on some other ships.. there were alot of individual stations, you would have to wander to several different stations to get what you wanted. Food also was somewhat redundant with not a great variety, especially in the evening if you came back late from excursions and had missed the main seating. Entertainment shows were not as good as we have seen although did enjoy the Celebrity Orchestra and ventriloquist. Music in the other areas often very good but much to loud for our liking. WE did excursions from the ship and although pricey did enjoy them.. In Skagway did the 6 hour motorcoach and train tour into B.C.,with the visit to Liarsville for Alaskan Salmon, a theatre show, and a visit to THe Red Onion Saloon. In Juneau did the Helicopter Flight onto the Mendelhall Glacier...we were crowded in the helicopter, they should think about only putting 3 people into the back seat or less depending on the size of the individuals. Icy Strait Point was a stop of interest, but because of the rainy weather were not able to visit the village proper. Ketchikan was the most disorganized stop,with some of the clerks in the stores not as friendly as we had found people in other destinations. We toured the Saxman Village, the tour bus left a half hour late which then put us at the wrong time to go into the LumberJack Show which we had to wait almost an hour in very rainy weather. The LumberJack show was worth the wait. Lots of gift stores and jewellery stores in all the ports, but that is one's choice to visit or not... Skagway had some very interesting buildings could do a walking tour. Hubbard Glacier was beautiful with the icebergs calving etc. Disembarkation was much better than some of the other ships we have been on even though you did sit in the movie theatre and wait till your number was called. As for sailing with Celebrity again I am not sure, never say never! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
This was our 7th cruise, first on Celebrity. Additionally, this was our first try at a 14-day cruise. We arrived in Vancouver the night before and stayed at the Riviera Hotel. Good location, but the hotel was "aged." ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise, first on Celebrity. Additionally, this was our first try at a 14-day cruise. We arrived in Vancouver the night before and stayed at the Riviera Hotel. Good location, but the hotel was "aged." Embarkation on the Summit was excellent, no delays in getting paperwork (as long as you completed the "X-pass" ahead of time) or in processing through U.S. Customs. We found our cabin, 7173, to be nice, and though we asked Elizabeth for an egg-crate mattress pad, none was to be found. The balcony was very nice, a little larger than normal, which came in handy while we were at Hubbard Glacier. The M-class ship was nice, not too big, not too small. The grand foyer was very drab/professional and not decorated for extended viewing. The Internet Cafe was fabulous - though some of the connections were a little slow, service (by Dennis) was exceptional. The Normandie was a very nice treat, and we were fortunate to get the "Wine Room" for our dinner. The food was great as well as the service, but honestly, since it took over 3-hours to accomplish the dinner, I was getting a little restless at the end. The Theater was fabulous, great seating, great shows. The cast had 5-singers with every one having a first-rate voice. Clear and above, the best singing group we've heard on the high seas. In the Main dining room, we had the late seating and a table of 10 (fellow CC members) that made evening dining a blast. Lets just say I didn't have a bad meal, and most were very, very good. Most of my selections were the beef, but i will add that several of the others had fish and poultry dishes and their reactions were different; some good, some bad. My advice is to choose wisely. I took out the Spa package to use the Persian Gardens, and really got my money's worth. The Thelassopy Pool was a real treat and loved the built in seats. The three steam rooms were very relaxing, thou one room only had enough for 4-adults. The fitness facility is one of the largest I've seen and the treadmills and bikes were always working. We did experience some medical issues, as Pebbles needed to use a wheelchair for several of the ports due to a leg injury shortly before the cruise. That cost us $171 to "rent" the wheelchair for 12 days. Then in San Francisco, I developed a mild ear infection and went to the infirmary at 9am and was second in line. At 11:30, I left the infirmary and missed my excursion. Bottom line, don't get sick on the Summit and don't be in a hurry with the Dr's Staff. The reason: All crew members go first, all followup visits go next, and new customers go last. As for the ports, all of the Alaska ports were fantastic. Individually beautiful with a multitude of things to do and see. The captain proceeded to amaze one and all by getting the Summit within 80-yards of Hubbard Glacier. We had a fantastic show of calving, cracking and shooters; in fact I ran out of film and had to switch over to the digital camera. Seattle, however, was another matter. Celebrity was at its worse as they required all passengers to get off the ship to clear US Customs. Well, that meant close to 2,000 folks getting off the ship and onto a port area that was not designed for this size of a crowd. Add to that the monstrously under-supply of buses (4-yep, that's right, 2000 people and 4-buses) that for $3 per person, we could catch a ride to any of 5-stops in Seattle. Well, 90 minutes after waiting in an unbelievable line, we finally got on a bus. The story was they couldn't get drivers; and when we got back to the cabin, we had a not saying they would refund the $3 per person charge. Would we sail on Summit again, maybe. Will we sail on Celebrity again, probably not as HAL, RCCI, and Carnival are all ranking higher on our list. The Summit is a well maintained, well staffed ship and folks will get their money's worth. But #5 in the world (Conde Nast 2006 rankings)???? Really... Read Less
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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