29 Celebrity Summit Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

This is our 9th cruise and comparison contained in the following review was made with Royal Caribbean (Mariner, Legend, Serenade, Splendour), Princess (Golden), Holland America (Zuiderdam), Carnival (Ecstacy) ships that we had been on. ... Read More
This is our 9th cruise and comparison contained in the following review was made with Royal Caribbean (Mariner, Legend, Serenade, Splendour), Princess (Golden), Holland America (Zuiderdam), Carnival (Ecstacy) ships that we had been on. Embarkation: Quite efficient. We got to the pier at about 11:20 am. We waited in the waiting lounge for about 20 minutes and then being led to the check in counters, the process was reasonably smooth. It was about 1200 noon when we are on board Summit. Public rooms: The decor is very neutral and does not have the wow factor. It may be mistaken by some that they were in a hotel going to a business conference. Summit does not have what RCL ships got - an Atrium running the 10 or 11 decks delivering the grand perception. It was also showing its age with some of the elevators not working properly, the broadloom in the stairwell showing wear and tear. The "dance floors" in different lounges were substandard and was a big disappointment to us and should be an embarrassment to the cruise line. We were not the only one observing that, another couple told us they had complained to the staff but of course is not something that can be fixed very easily at the sea. Staterooms: Functional, about the same size as all the other cruise lines. Not much of a surprise and none was expected. The ship is seven years old and the wear and tear starts to show and I believe it is about time to have a make over. The attendant team (Paz and Daniel) were very pleasant, efficient and friendly. Their services certainly ranked top compared with my other cruises. Entertainment: The production shows generally been good. Overall, it was only average probably because of two main factors, the cliental is very "mature" and the whole ship comes to a stop at 10:30 pm. The "Newly wed" in the "Newly wed and not so newly wed show" been only married for 10 years (yup, years and not days) and the longest been married for 32 years. Another observation, hardly anyone is around in any of the lounges after dinner. Secondly, Cruise Director, she failed to bring the crowd together and I felt she was "just" doing the bare minimum she needed to do and I am not sure whether she was on her last cruise duty had anything to do with that. The other reason was no one was in sight! We were on the late sitting and had a lot of challenge with the shows, some were at 7 pm, some were at 10:45 pm. Not sure why not having all the shows for the late sitting at 7 pm. Food: The food quality, in general, compared to my previous experience was a touch better in this cruise. The Speciality Restaurant "The Normandie" is not to be missed. The quality of food and service both been exceptional. We did the wine pairing and worth the money they charged for. The only disappointment was the "Waterfall" - the buffet cafe, the selection was ok, but certainly not any better than other cruise lines. The Metropolitan Restaurant was above average and the Waiting team, Mahayasa and Jimmy, we had were very attentive and providing excellent service. They were there to please and a couple of times when the food was not liked by my cruisemates, they were promptly changed. Disembarkation: It was very well organized and we were off quickly and smoothly. A good experience to finish the cruise. Itinerary: It was ok, the sea days before the crossing of Panama Canal was a bit much especially when there was not much happening on the ship. The sea was a bit rough on the first few days and some people got sea sick. Not sure if that was attributed to storms or not. Overall: The most common question asked must be: Will you go with Celebrity again? Most likely but I like to choose ships that are not in service that long, may be the new ships launching in 2008 or 2009. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Background My family has been on many cruises, though this was our first on Celebrity. We consisted of myself, my husband, our 13 year old daughter and my in-laws. We booked 2 cabins on deck 2, both ocean view. Flights and pre-cruise ... Read More
Background My family has been on many cruises, though this was our first on Celebrity. We consisted of myself, my husband, our 13 year old daughter and my in-laws. We booked 2 cabins on deck 2, both ocean view. Flights and pre-cruise hotel My in-laws traveled from El Paso, Texas while we came from Colorado Springs, CO. We met up in Houston and flew together to Fort Lauderdale, FL the day before the cruise. I made independent air and hotel arrangements and was very pleased with our flights on Continental. We arrived in FLL and called the hotel, Sleep Inn and Suites in Dania for our free shuttle. I'd read many mixed reviews on this hotel, but with the free shuttle and breakfast, decided to try them out. It took 2 phone calls to finally get them to send the shuttle. My in-laws were surprised at check-in by their oldest friends who happened to be in Florida and spent the night at the hotel. All 3 of us had rooms on the second floor. We were surprised by how nice our rooms were, based on previous reviews, both from Cruise Critic and other sources. We did immediately check the bedding and found it to be fine. Sleep Inn and Suites is in a residential area. However, there is a Walgreen's next door and a strip-mall across the street. There is a Publix grocery store (they don't sell hard liquor, only beer and wine), a Chinese restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, an Italian restaurant (where we ate... the food was mediocre), and a "Dollar Tree" store in the mall. We set up our port shuttle at check-in, as did others who would become friends on this cruise. Make sure to reserve space for your trip to the port, or you will need to make your own arrangements! The pool was a bit chilly...this from my 13 year old daughter who will swim anywhere. The hot tub looked dirty. Breakfast was fine with an assortment of juices, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, fresh fruit, cereals, make-your-own waffles, breads and pastries, and hot biscuits and gravy. Fine fare for the price. We used our AAA card and got our rooms for $89 each. Embarkation The shuttle arrived as promised and took us on a 10 minute (or so) trip to the port. When we arrived, our luggage was dropped off with a porter who produced luggage tags for us (we were e-ticketed and didn't get our tags beforehand). We were leery about leaving our luggage, but did so anyway. We were then directed to the first of MANY LONG lines. I had expected check-in to be quicker and less painful than it was. And, though I knew that there would not be many children on this trip, I was as surprised as my daughter at the age of our fellow passengers. Even my in-laws who are in their late 70's were surprised by the elderly crowd. I'd guess that the median age on our trip was 70 years old. In all, there were 34 passengers on our trip who were younger than 18. More about that later. We spent over 1 ½ hours in lines to board the ship. We arrived at noon, and were onboard a bit before 2PM. Our first welcome to the ship was with a hand-sanitizer wipe....the first of hundreds we were handed. No welcome champagne or escort to our cabins was offered. Cabins, part one We moved in the direction we were pointed and found our way to our cabins. My in-laws were in cabin 2023 and we had cabin 2014. Very convenient for us to be so close yet so far apart! Our cabin was smallish, but serviceable. We immediately met Corazon who agreed to remove "anything that costs extra" from our cabin, including overpriced water, a bottle of wine, and the contents of our fridge. The cabin had been prepared for the three of us with 3 life jackets, beach towels, robes, etc. I was very pleased with our first room stewardess. MAJOR point here....while unpacking, I got out our power strip. This was not a brand new one, but one which we've used both in our house and on trips. Plugged it in (no, not in the bathroom "shaver only" outlet OR in the European plug...duh) and heard a pop, fizz sound and watched it as it began to smoke and melt. Unplugged it and tossed it across the bed to my husband who threw it into the shower and doused it with water. After that, we tried the nightlight (the least expensive plug in item we had) before we plugged in camera chargers, laptop, etc. Have NEVER had that result when plugging a power strip in. As I'd done a lot of research on the ship and prices, we had visited Publix the day before and used our spare "roll up" suitcase which we always pack to bring our own water, soda pop (I'm a Pepsi girl and the ship carries limited Coke products), and fruit juices (in case I'd somehow packed some rum in our suitcases for in-room drinks). This suitcase came to our room quickly, as did all of our other bags and fit well under our bed. Our daughter had a pull-out chair as her bed...smaller than a twin and probably not great sleeping for anyone over 5'2" and 100 LBS. After finding our rooms, we went to the Waterfall Cafe and Grill (aka: the buffet) for lunch. Seating was horrible for the number of guests trying to eat. More on that later, as well..... The Ship I'd expected the ship to be in much worse condition than I found it to be. Yes, there was some frayed carpet and peeling paint, but I spent the first day wondering why it was scheduled for dry-dock. I figured it out later, though! We split up from the in-laws and started at the top of the ship. It's a ritual we always do when we first arrive on-board. Since I prefer going DOWN stairs to climbing up, we took the elevator to deck 11 and started at the top. This tour allowed us to see some of the worst artwork I've ever imagined. Luckily, we didn't use most of the stairwells from then on. My daughter peered through the windows of The Tower and looked forward to going there. Unfortunately, they never did open the tower...even though the "meet and greet" the first evening was scheduled to be there. After waiting for 10 minutes for it to open, we were directed to the Fun Factory. I'd read that there would always be 6 counselors on any cruise, but there were actually only 3. Therefore, they didn't have the staff to open the Tower. So, we tried to find the Fun Factory. Be advised that it's difficult to find and can only be accessed by either passing though the Waterfall Cafe or by using the aft bank of elevators to level 11. It took 4 of us about 10 minutes and a lot of misdirection to find the place. Most of the ships public areas were nice. There were a number of nooks and crannies so that you rarely had the feeling of being on an overcrowded ship. Although I'd read that the Bar at the Edge of the World had horrid dEcor, we actually LIKED it. It was usually a pretty quiet place. Lifeboat Drill A fact of life onboard a ship. However, I fear that if this ship ever needs to use the lifeboats, it'll be absolute chaos! We mustered in the Celebrity Theater (along with hundreds of other passengers). My husband commented that on all of the cruises we've ever taken, it was by far the worst. We mustered, heard instructions, and were herded to a lifeboat. No roll-calls, so I suppose that anyone who chose to could skip this ordeal, if they found a place to hide-out. Dining I'd come onboard expecting marvelous food. Boy, was I ever disappointed! There were only two or three exceptional items served throughout the whole cruise. One night, my "medium rare" filet came out as VERY well done. Our server offered to send it back, but since we sat each night for nearly 2 hours at dinner, I refused. One night, my husbands' lamb dish came out with no meat! My in-laws ate most of their breakfasts and lunches in the dining room. We chose to eat in the buffet. Standard fare with little variety. We got late-seating dinner (though we'd been wait-listed for early). Hence, our daughter either had to skip evening kids' activities or eat elsewhere. She loved getting room service for dinner, but had little room to eat in our cabin. Entertainment The Party Band seemed to know 15 songs (and not too well). Jefferson Ang was a guitarist and we spent many evenings listening to his music. He. too, had a limited repertoire. Karaoke was a joke, with 2 guys who were pretty good and some truly awful singers, besides. Our daughter really enjoyed the juggler, but he off-loaded after only doing one show. There was a singer who was good, but she made sure that everyone knew that she was selling her CD's outside of the theater. The Acapella group was pretty good, but they reminded me of a small Mormon-boys-choir. I enjoyed them once, then skipped future shows. Also, there was a ventriloquist who was funny the first night and really stale by the second show. Mostly, the entertainment was geared towards the median age....slow during the day and nearly non-existent come night-fall. Enrichment There were a couple of lecture-series. One was an expert on the canal who got many of her facts wrong (though her slide show was correct). We sat through only one of her 3 part series. She also sold a book and map outside of the theatre. There was also a mystery writer. We skipped her talks. Activities Huh? The only great activity that we did was a kids-club "Family Scavenger Hunt". We were the only family to show up, so they pitted 4 teens against us. My daughter won a backpack filled with "X Club" merchandise. Otherwise, the activities were slow to dead. Kids Club Again, with so few kids, the kids' club activities were "modified". Apparently, they continued to offer the activities, but if the kids weren't interested, they let them pick what to do. I didn't bring our daughter on this trip to sit and watch movies and play endless rounds of "Guitar Hero". She, however, had a blast! DD notes that I haven't said enough "good" about the Fun Factory. So, to be fair to her, I'll add that they had a long wall filled with Playstations and they offered 30 minutes of free play in the arcade. They also had a ball pit and a small outdoor wading pool. When fully staffed, I'd say that the Fun Factory is probably a blast for the 7-12 y/o set. Photographers They were out in force. More photo opportunities than I've ever had. However, they didn't do a "hard sell" once the pics were done. Also, my daughter decided to get a "Mom and me" shoot done, and specifically asked to pose us, herself. Once the photographer understood what she was after, he did the best job I've ever seen, actually having us lay on the floor with him taking pictures on his stomach! That sure got a lot of watchers, and sold many more pics, as folks started requesting "special poses". Prices were high for photos ($19.95 for an 8x10), but we bought 8 (and I usually HATE getting my pictures taken). Service/Staff Second in my cruises only to Regent. Our room stewardess/stewards were good to excellent (more on that later). Our waiter was great…. Although the assistant was only fair. We were all surprised to see the Maitre'D each night…that's a first in all of our 20+ cruises. We had a very drunk and loud lady at the table next to us each night and by mid-cruise I asked him to intervene. From then on, she and the table-mate she argued with took turns in the dining room and it became much more peaceful. Our daughter LOVED the Ice cream lady. She put up with a lot of rude passengers, yet remained lovely. Guest Relations staff were terrific, within their abilities. The shipboard medical crew were a very mixed bag…from lovely to horrid…read on for details about that! Daughter and I availed ourselves of the spa one day. We did the "hands and feet" service. I've never done a spa treatment on a ship, and likely won't again. Our attendants were Jamaican and spoke to each other during the whole treatment in a language we didn't understand. Internet Cafe In a word….SLOW. Once, it took 7 minutes to load up their Yahoo front page. (I had their expert watching and he offered me a credit, but then I had to push a couple of times to get said credit. When it finally showed up, it was at $.65/minute as opposed to the plan I'd bought at $.42/minute. Wasn't going to hassle it for a couple of bucks….Also, we weren't able to access any computer until well over halfway through the trip. That sure felt weird on top of the other "events" which were happening to us, by then. Casino I've never seen such a stingy casino. Celebrity should up the payoffs on the machines. Very few people were in there, unless it was cold outside and they wanted to smoke. The casino is divided into smoking and non-smoking. Half the slots and all of the table games are non-smoking, while portside slots were for smokers. Surprisingly, the non-smoking part wasn't terribly smoky. Good ventilation, I guess. More on Smoking Many of the public rooms were divided into smoking/non-smoking. I'm pretty sensitive to smoke, but didn't seem to be bothered much by it (unless I was on the port side). I saw some horribly rude folks sit down on the smoking side in lounges and proceed to fan/hold their noses/etc. Hey, if it bothers you, go starboard! Also, in our final cabin (deck 7 balcony) we had a cigar smoker next door. Now, that's strictly prohibited, but as we were told numerous times by staff…."unless a passenger complains and can pinpoint an offender, we won't do anything about it". Funny, but EVERYONE who walked past the cigar smoker at the pool bar chose not to complain. Nor did folks complain about people in jeans and t-shirts at dinner…. Shore excursions We booked 2 prior to our trip. The first was the "Semi-submersible" in Grand Cayman. What a great trip for the family! Our daughter got to swim, husband and I got to snorkel, and the in-laws got to see loads of fish from the comfort of 6' below water benches. I'd highly recommend this to families. Our second Celebrity excursion was the interactive sea-turtle release program in Acapulco. My in-laws didn't sign up for this one, so it was just the three of us and 29 others. It was a long (boring) bus ride to the farm, but once there, we had a great time. My husbands' turtle won the race and his prize was a silly plastic turtle which he treasures. We did the other stops on our own, and generally hired a cab for city tours. I'd read to speak rapid-fire English in Columbia to get a good driver. It was great advice. However, the guide had his own ideas of where to go and had 11 of us in his van (fully air-conditioned, my behind!) Although none of us wanted to shop, many stops at shops still happened. Advice for the whole trip: If you have the advantage of speaking/understanding some Spanish, don't give away your secret too quickly. I found the drivers and "guides" discussing things which never would have been talked about had they known I understood them so well. Debarkation I'd heard that this goes well…. We were supposed to be called around 9:15, so had an early breakfast and went back to our staterooms. We were asked to go to public areas by 9AM and there we sat for over an hour. LONG lines, again. They never did call for our group to leave the ship, so eventually lots of us just left. Could have been much better. San Pedro to LAX I had researched this and decided to not take Supershuttle or Celebrity's shuttle. Instead, we got a cab after debarkation and spent $52 for all of us and our luggage to get to LAX. Was VERY disappointed with US Airways, as our flight to Phoenix was delayed over an hour, my husband, daughter, and I were removed from the plane because they gave our seats away to stand-by passengers, and our connecting flights were delayed, as well. We didn't get home until 2:30AM when we were supposed to be home at 9:30. I'm not sure I'll ever fly with them again. The Buzzards and the Vultures A strange title, but certainly the feeling I had when dealing with crew and fellow passengers. The Vultures were the folks who sold the gold-by-the-inch, "special priced t-shirts", art auctions, amber, spa treatments, etc. I was shocked by the "nickel and diming" throughout the cruise. I'd expected more refinement. The Buzzards were the ones who pulled the only XL tee-shirt left out of my hands, butted in the buffet line, etc. It was the feeling of being a "mark" to one group or the other for much of the trip. There were some nice folks on this trip. And then, there were the rest of them. There were a LOT of motorized scooters and their drivers were reckless, to say the least! I've never seen so many obese people in one place as I did on this trip. I also can't remember EVER meeting so many entitled and rude people in one place. The median age also affected us…I'm in my late 40's and felt like a kid. Now, to the dirty details of our trip and why I'm unhappy with X….. 12/7 FLL Embarked 12/8 At sea I woke up with some bites on my legs. Had our Cruise Critic Connections party and met a couple of the staff. We hadn't been "in" on the CC list for long, and I didn't feel really welcomed (besides the fact that the connections boards told me in no uncertain terms that folks didn't want kids on this cruise). 12/9 Grand Cayman MISERABLE night. Spent most of the night in tears with the feeling of being eaten alive. Took Benedryl at 4AM and slept until 8. Went to Guest Relations and was told to go to Medical between 9AM-noon. Since we had booked an excursion, I wasn't willing to skip the paid-for excursion, but had my complaint in prior to our first debarkation. They also said that they'd be changing out our mattresses while we were onshore. 12/10 at sea Went to medical, signed a sheet of paper which said I'd pay for all charges, and was told that I was allergic to bedbugs. Was told that I wouldn't have to pay for the consultation, after all. Apparently, I was the second passenger to have this problem, although it's an ongoing problem with the crew. This was by a lovely female doctor from Peru. (By this time, I had over 100 welts all over my body). Many folks in and out of the infirmary while I was there….Big problem with a virus which quarantined the sick person for 3 days and anyone else in the cabin for one. Nothing on the ship about sickness, but suddenly many more hand wipes showing up. I was put on Benedryl, Prednisone, and cortisone cream. We were told to stay out of our cabin for 2 hours while they removed our luggage to get it fumigated. Also was told to stay out of the sun and not drink alcohol until I was done with the Prednisone (3 days). Well, we got done with lunch and went back to cabin 2014. One whiff at the door, and our asthmatic daughter went into an attack. We kept her out of the room. Once we opened the door, we were assaulted by so much insecticide throughout the room that we could only stay in the cabin for minutes at a time. DH interjects here with "There were puddles of white liquid everywhere". My Mother-in-law got some wonderful pictures of wet EVERYTHING (and slipped in the bathroom while doing so) while I went directly to Guest Relations and brought back Janine, the manager. She was aghast at the amount of insecticide used (and all over…our daughters' lap-top screen is ruined, our toothbrushes were completely sprayed, and an assistant head-housekeeper was busily trying to wipe everything down while telling us that we were going to lose him his job). He proceeded to go the aft elevator area and cough so badly that I worry even now for the effects of his time spent in our cabin. Janine told us that the room was now uninhabitable, so we were asked to leave our luggage (which had not been removed) and move our belongings to room 3008. Of course, most of our clothing was wet, so X offered to launder 8 pieces of laundry for free. Our daughters' stuffed Snoopy was slathered, as well, and they put a rush on washing him so that she could sleep that night with her stuffed animal. We submitted about 15 of the worst of the wet, and didn't get a bill (though I haven't checked my Visa statement since I got home). So, we packed up everything in about 10 Celebrity bags and a bunch of Wal-Mart bags which we use to carry our shoes in. Talk about feeling like hillbillies! The stewards carted everything to our new cabin, but we had to spend a LOT of time in a poison-saturated room to get it all together. Had to make another trip to Medical, as the prednisone tablets had been put into an envelope which was doused with insecticide. I couldn't take those pills. People might say that all cabins are the same size, but 3008 was much smaller than 2014. Our daughters' bed went from small to what she fondly called her "big kid bed"….referring to it as a toddler bed. The table had to be removed, as it didn't fit with the bed pulled out. Also, I continued to itch in that cabin, so I asked Janine for help. She told me that if, in Columbia, a couple failed to catch up with the ship, we'd be moved again. 12/11 Cartagena The itching was nearly intolerable last night, so back to Medical. This time, I sat and waited a LONG time before seeing the chief doctor. Although his tag read that he was from the United States, he barely spoke English. He stated that it was NOT bedbugs, but was a contact dermatitis because while we waited, he went to 2014 and found no signs of bedbugs…well DUH! between the insecticide and replacement of the mattresses TWICE, do you think they'd have been dancing around in the sheets mid-day? Now, I'm told to avoid sun, alcohol, tight clothing (underwear!), and turkey and pork (the turkey is apparently basted in pork juices for flavor). I broke down and cried about the restrictions. The doctor informed me that since he doesn't drink alcohol, it shouldn't be an issue for me. Hey, it is my VACATION! Well, actually, it became my livers' vacation….. What a way to detox one's body. He put me on a triple dose of prednisone, use a "special soap" twice a day (which doesn't lather and smells a LOT like cabin 2014 did after the fumigation), and told me to use ice packs to numb the itching. He said that if it were bedbugs, everyone in our cabin would have the same reaction. By the end of the cruise, everyone in our group had welts…. Also, I spoke with one of the waiters stationed to pass out anti-bacterial hand wipes about their ineffectiveness against viruses. Within an hour, announcements began that nothing replaces hand washing. However, the staff now begins to wear gloves, some wear masks, and the ship is being wiped down with bleach. (Many folks later complained to Guest Relations about ruined clothes. New announcements commence about not leaning on wet surfaces.) In the meantime, the couple doesn't make the ship and we're moved again to 7047. We've got a balcony and I'm not getting any new bites in our cabin. Also, the second move was so much easier as our stuff wasn't wet with insecticide. The card room seems to have bugs, though, as each time we go there, we all get new bites. In our newest room, the steward does not remove contents of fridge, add another robe, or bring us an extra beach towel. He does get us the third life-jacket, though. He was a fair steward, but I'm fed up. Oh, by this time, I've had 6 room keys….2014, a replacement as my new one won't access the internet (nor does this one….couldn't get online until after Acapulco), 3008, a replacement because I can't charge anything (dh says he had to pay extra for that card!), 7047, a replacement because my key won't let me off the ship in Columbia….. Days pass with my liver on vacation and myself being in the shade and they're finally admitting a "Norwalk-like virus is on the ship and hand washing is the best way to deal with it". 12/14 Back to medical asking for a copy of my records. Request refused. 12/15 Late last night, we hear that one of the bar servers has bedbugs. I gave her some benedryl and dh told her to see the female doctor. She reports today that she's cleaning her cabin, but her cabin-mate won't let her go to medical, as it would mean the ruin of a lot of their things. Apparently, they all know what the fumigation team is capable of! Note from dh in our daily log: "12/15 There is noro-virus on the ship. All of their cleaning programs will be ineffective as long as people are keeping their symptoms to themselves. They have seen others go into quarantine, so they don't mention their diarrhea. Instead, they use the pool and public restrooms along with the healthy cruisers. I saw evidence today in the men's room by the T-Pool. Oh, by the way, I now have visible and itchy bites". 12/16 Waitress-friend goes to medical and gets diagnosis of bed-bugs. (More details which I've deleted to protect her privacy. Do have her name and that of another passenger on this trip and am awaiting response from corporate.) Also, have now heard that we're "Code Red". However, reading these boards tells me that "code red" means different things on different X ships. Still self-serve at buffet, still have salt/pepper shakers. However, no staff may leave the ship in LA and even back-to-back must debark in LA and won't be allowed right back on the ship. Has me wondering what time they began loading folks for the next trip. 12/16-12/19 Liver's still on vacation, but the "special soap" is helping. Still itching, though…. 12/19-12/20 Quit the prednisone and drink heavily of the fruit-juice I brought!!! Quit the soap and immediately start getting numerous new bites in multiple public areas. 12/21 OFF THE SHIP and headed home. Conclusion We're all of the firm belief that nobody has the power to ruin your day but yourself. Hence, it was a good trip. We hadn't seen the in-laws in 4 years and to get the experience of the Panama Canal with them was priceless…. The staff on this trip put up with some of the rudest people I've ever encountered, and (for the most part) handled them graciously. I saw a woman berate one of the guys at guest services and he stood and took it. (I made a point of going to Guest Relations daily just to say, "HI". After all they dealt with regarding my issues, I felt it important to show them my gracious side). HOWEVER, I expected X to immediately contact me. They haven't. Nor have they responded to my e-mail. I've asked my TA to find a remedy for this trip, but he's on vacation. Right now, though, I'm still trying to find out what the insecticide was, as our asthmatic daughter has had non-stop coughing since the fumigation and her doctor needs the information. No word yet….. Karen Jones Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
My husband and I are retired and travel extensively, taking 1-2 cruises annually. Celebrity was our favorite cruiseline. The Dec 7-21, 2007 Panama Canal Cruise on the Summit had highs and lows. We had air included. The flights to Ft. ... Read More
My husband and I are retired and travel extensively, taking 1-2 cruises annually. Celebrity was our favorite cruiseline. The Dec 7-21, 2007 Panama Canal Cruise on the Summit had highs and lows. We had air included. The flights to Ft. Lauderdale from Seattle were on the red eye and changed by the airline which rebooked us in middle seats - awful. To make matters worse when we arrived Celebrity's airport reps were disorganized. About 130 people arrived at the same time and we had to wait 2.5 hours for the busses to arrive to take us to the ship. Check in wasn't bad since we are Captain's Club and had a suite. The cruise itself was typical with the expected ports of call and tours. The entertainment was fantastic - better than the Jersey Boys production we saw in Seattle the night of our return. The musicians on board were very good but their repertoires were limited - we heard the same 10-12 songs for 14 days. Dining room and stateroom attendants were excellent. The crew in general was courteous and respectful. The food was a big disappointment - of the 14 nights there were only 4 I found something on the menu I would eat and then it was overcooked. My husband said the meats were very fatty and tough. Even the vegetarian menu was unappetizing. The ice cream was gritty. Quite a letdown from what we were used to on Celebrity. They changed executive chefs in 2007 and it shows. We were also disappointed with all the smoking allowed on board. Second hand smoke was every where and we frequently had ashes flying in our balcony from other staterooms. Security was lax all over the ship - in the theater people were permitted to sit in the aisles and take pics; poolside people saved chairs for hours; the dress code was ignored at night so after a couple nights my husband stopped wearing a coat and tie on informal evenings. We probably won't travel on Celebrity again although we like the suite class and entertainment. Bad food and second hand smoke outweigh the pluses. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We are early 50's, fit and adventurous, on our the cruise, 5th with Celebrity. Our experience on board the Summit convinced us once again that we should stick with Celebrity. We stayed over at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, and quite ... Read More
We are early 50's, fit and adventurous, on our the cruise, 5th with Celebrity. Our experience on board the Summit convinced us once again that we should stick with Celebrity. We stayed over at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, and quite easily pulled our luggage across the street to the ship. No one requested a tip at the baggage carts but we left one anyway. Longer line-ups inside the terminal than we expected at 12:30, since boarding time was listed as 2 pm. It took a short while to get processed but longer to get on the ship. This may have been because they didn't take the i.d. photos until we were on the gangway of the ship, which created a bottleneck. However, once on board we checked out our room and went for lunch by 1:30. Luggage was delivered to the room in a very reasonable time. The Summit is beautiful, almost identical to the sister ship Millennium which we had cruised before--classy and elegant, not 'Vegas' style. Everything appeared clean and in good repair. I lost my card within two hours of coming on board and the GR gal was very pleasant about replacing it. This was not a very port-intensive cruise for 14 days so we had a lot of sea days. This would have been our only concern as there doesn't seem to be a lot to do during the day other than sun, play bingo or trivia games. The gym however is great and machines always available. Never had a problem finding a lounge chair by the pool although the usual chaise hogs are on all ships. Appreciated that the thalassotherapy pool is accessible to all on Summit and not hidden within the spa. Service was impeccable on Summit, from the most menial jobs to the stewards, waiters, maitre d's, guest relations. Excursions desk seemed to be unmanned much of the time. We booked only one excursion through the ship. Bravo River Rafting in Acapulco was great and worth the booking. The other ports we did our own thing or hired a driver. Our inside stateroom (our preference) on the Continental deck was mid-ship/aft. It was the first time we were in a room that runs parallel to the hallway. This meant we were gently rocked to sleep side to side instead of head to toe! The hall door placement meant we didn't have the usual little settee and table which we found to be one less place to accumulate 'stuff'; never missed it. The TV fare got really boring...the same Lucy, Beverly Hillbillies etc. over and over ad nauseam. Decent movies played but it was hard to catch the beginning. Used the cinema a few times. They played one dreadful ?R rated movie that was simply a horrible, pointless movie. Inappropriate entertainment for a mixed crowd. Evening entertainment in the theater was very good. Large production crew, usual broadway themes. Unfortunately, the singer was often two bars into the song before the sound man kicked in. Enjoyed concert pianist (amazing night of Chopin), Hammer Dulcimer player, ventriloquist, slight of hand guy, comedian. Theater is 3 floors but occasionally was completely full, standing room only. Ah, the Cosmopolitan Dining Room. Never had one bad meal and no one at our table of 12! ever sent anything back. Service was sometimes a little slow as the waiter seemed to have too many tables and left the big one to last. However, wait staff was excellent and very accommodating. The beef was tender and superb, seafood excellent. Fruit soups were amazing, as were all the Celebrity dressings. Most desserts also excellent. We did not opt for the Normandy restaurant experience at $30 each as the DR had wonderful food. The buffet had a great variety for breakfast and lunch so we only used the DR a couple times for lunch which was very good. Disembarkation was certainly not the best we've had. This however may have been because we chose (for the first time) to do the 'drag your bag' option to get early disembarkation as we had an early flight. Customs seemed unready and inadequate in Ft Lauderdale so was held up a bit. Bigger problem was probably all the people joining our ranks who were supposed to be waiting in the lounge for their color to be called. Overall a wonderful two weeks with beautiful sunshine, calm seas, amazing food and good company. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
This was our 12th cruise,a first with Celebrity.We chose this cruise because of the destination. We arrived in San Diego on Nov. 22 by air and transferred to the Best Western Bayside Inn downtown.The room on the 10th floor was both clean ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise,a first with Celebrity.We chose this cruise because of the destination. We arrived in San Diego on Nov. 22 by air and transferred to the Best Western Bayside Inn downtown.The room on the 10th floor was both clean and quiet.We found the staff friendly and very helpful. W We transferred to the ship terminal at 1:00pm.The driver set our on the curb and the porter would not load them on a cart without a tip first. After about 15 min.I took the bags to the nearest cart,put them on myself,and waited until the cart was picked up by a fork lift and taken to the ship. Embarkation was probably the worst we have encountered, too many people not knowing what they were supposed to do or how to do it. In approx. 2 hrs. we were on the ship. We had an inside stateroom #7067 and upon arrival our room stewart Willian greeted us and explained the room features, his functions and gave us his cell phone number in case we required anything.The room was large comfortable, and very clean. We took a walk to find the library,theatre,dining room and pool area,and were very impressed with the condition of the ship. No papers, empty cups,half eaten plates of food,etc.the clean up was super. We had first seating in the upper dining room, at a table for 6 very friendly dinner companions.The assistant Maitre D, our waiter Jeorge, and assistant waiter Edward all went out of their way to see that we enjoyed our meals. The food was presented very well,but in some cases it had no taste to it,or just did not taste good at all. I have never sat at a table where so many dinners were sent back.On the second day we had breakfast in the dining room,and never went back.Never tried it at lunch, we stuck with the buffet. There were plenty of activities on sea days to keep you going,the only problem was that the ones we were interested in were offered at the same time. Someone has spent a lot of time and effort selecting the staff for this ship.They all appear to enjoy their job and were more than willing to go out of their way to answer questions or help where needed. when it comes to entertainment theships singers and dancers put on two of the best performances we have seen on a ship.With one exception the guest performers were very talented and great entertainment .When you really enjoy 13 out of 14 shows,it says a lot. There was no shortage of very good musical entertainment in the lounges.To our suprisewe found that the music was very listenable or danceable without the usual assault on our hearing. Shore excursions were not foremost on our minds as we have been to the Mexican Rivera twice before so we stayed on board at Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco. At Huatulco Mexico, we disembarked and walked in to the village.Was very surprised at the lack of hustlers, you could walk freely without being pestered to buy. It is a beautiful village with very little evidence of tourism. At Puntarenas Costa Rica we took a bus tour of the surrounding villages. The tour guide was very well informed and gave a very factual description of his country,both the good and the bad. All but 3 of the Panama tours were cancelled due to our late arrival at Guntan lake. We were allowed off the ship at the Cristobal terminal since one of the tours had a problem returning to the ship. Cartagena Columbia was a surprise,the tour of the old town made you think you were in Europe.A walled city with great historic buildings and churches. the one big problem was that the city licenses individuals to hustle and harass you in hopes that you will buy whatever it is that they are trying to sell. When we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale I dreaded having to go through another day like we had getting onboard.Now I have to apologize for all the thoughts that I had.The disembarkation of the Celebrity Summit was the best organized of any of the previous 11 cruises we have been on. It was a great cruise with great people and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone,after a full explanation about the food. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
Based on our 3 prior Celebrity cruises, we thought they were the greatest thing on water since Noah's Ark, but after our problems on this one, I'm not sure we still feel that way. I'll give my overview first and enumerate ... Read More
Based on our 3 prior Celebrity cruises, we thought they were the greatest thing on water since Noah's Ark, but after our problems on this one, I'm not sure we still feel that way. I'll give my overview first and enumerate the problems at the end We stayed pre cruise at the Holiday Inn on the Bay at San Diego; a better location cannot be had. If not for all our luggage, and my wife being a wheelchair, we could have walked straight across the street to the cruise terminal. We had a on-line printed "CONCIERGE CLASS EXPRESS PASS". What a joke; there was just one big long line, although they finally shuttled us off to the side at a special location for the disabled. Then after check-in, another long line to board. At our cabin, was as promised, an electric scooter which I'd rented from Special Needs at Sea. It did fit into the room, but if it was in there, there was no way to get in or out. A short hallway across from our room proved to be a handy place to stash it when not in use. Ship folks loaned us an extension cord to use at recharge it at night. For the most part, it was a good cruise; weather near-perfect; our ports were Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco (all Mexico), Puntarenas, CR, Panama and Cartagena, Colombia. At Huatulco, we took a cab to nearby La Crucesita for shopping. We did a "Pacific Train Boat & Bus Adventure" in Puntarenas. The train was very rough, but it was a nice tour. Our only other shore excursion was "Best of Cartagena", which was a long, hot and tiresome 4+ hours. Our guide was good, but had such a heavy accent that we had trouble understanding him. We stopped for a couple hours of shopping at the market at Christobal Pier in Panama. It was somewhat startling to see several tables manned by wild looking native women that were topless. We later heard that in the past, they were completely naked but after complaints, they had to put on loincloths on their waists! There were 3 formal nights, which is 3 too many for me, but I think 2 would have sufficed. There was a Cruise Critic party, with maybe 35 present. I had a 30 minute foot massage for $35 in the Spa, but their rate for full body massage, $120 for 50 minutes is very high. My wife had one accupunture treatment for a leg problem; $125; she did not feel they did much good. The Photo Gallery prices were ridiculous, seemed like every day they got higher; at the end it was $19.95 for a 5x7. I used the Thalassotherapy pool once, but found it very hard to get onto the massage area and even harder to get off it. On board entertainment was pretty much run of the mill; the Theater had the usual song & dance extravaganzas. One night there was a halfway decent ventriloquist. A Chinese fellow played a huge hammer dulcimer, good & loud, mostly loud. Also comedian Rich Ceisler, who supposedly has been on HBO, at Las Vegas, etc. Lots of old jokes. Some of the audience was rolling in the aisles with laughter; maybe my sense of humor is outdated. I'd hate to pay good money to see him in Vegas. The bar entertainers were pretty good; Voice Males, an a capella quartet had big crowds, likewise Jefferson Ang, a guitar player & vocalist. The Elk Island quartet was a nice young combo with an attractive vocalist who did mostly 1940-50's standards. Then there was the Odessa Strings, a Russian quartet who did classical music. They got a nice round of applause after each number, but never bothered to smile, nor nod nor say thanks. At the end of their set, they just packed up their instruments, walked away, looking straight ahead. Very rude in my opinion. CONCIERGE CLASS ROOM - I don't know how much extra we paid for this, about $250 a person I think and was it worth it? In a word NO!! Promised benefits: Early embarkation & debarkation; that did not happen. Shore Excursion preference - what preference? Personalized stationery - yes 2 sheets without name on them, big deal! Extra pillows, which were just in the way, daily canapes, fresh fruit & flowers, okay I guess but not worth several hundred $$. Welcome bottle of champagne; that was nice I guess. Express luggage delivery - another joke, it took longer to get our luggage to our room than on any of the other 10 cruises we've been on. My suggestion: pass on Concierge, spend that in the casino - you'll get more enjoyment. NOW THE PROBLEMS: As soon as we stepped on board (my wife rolled on in her wheelchair), trouble began. Our cruise cards would not work, and prompted the machine to give a stern recorded message: INVALID CARD; DO NOT ACCEPT". They pushed us aside with a security guard watching over us to make sure we didn't pull any fast moves. After about 5 minutes of discussion between various officers, they then began to shuttle back and forth to the Guest Relations desk. This went on for 15 minutes while everyone passed by, looking at us like we had been caught sneaking on board. I then had to dig out my reservation credentials and finally they got us cards that would work. On top of that, they didn't offer to help us to our stateroom; I had to push her wheelchair, plus handle her and my carry-on luggage. Several days later, more problems. I went to Guest Relations to turn in my pre-paid gratuity form. The guy forgot to give my cruise card back, which I didn't discover until I got to the room. I went right back down; he was off duty by then and hadn't left my card there. A girl then made up a new card. Went to the room; it did not work. Went back down to GR; she made another card; it also did not work. Went back the 3rd time and after more delay she told me she would call the cabin steward to let me in and they would send up a new card later. They did that, but then that afternoon my wife's card would not work. She went to GR and they then gave her a new card and told her my card wouldn't work either, so they gave her a new card for me. The next morning, we try to disembark for a shore excursion and neither of our cards would work. They again take us aside in custody of a security guard and call GR come and get our cards. Quite a while later, a GR person comes down, takes cards and disappears. Finally a helpful girl (Kirsty) from the activity staff went up to GR and finally got us cards that worked, and we barely made our shore excursion. That evening I went to see Conny Hammelmann, the Hotel Director who is one of 3 officers that reports direct to the Captain. It was like talking to a brick wall. First she told me that we must have de-magnetized our cards. I said how could we when we were holding them in our hands before embarkation, and when I was going back & forth between GR and my room that day. Well, its just a common computer problem that they often have, she tells me. If its common, why don't they fix it? I left her office very unsatisfied. She did not seem to understand all the hassle and frustration we went through on this cruise. It definitely left us with a bad taste in our mouth for Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
We left Belfast, Northern Ireland early (on US Thanksgiving Day) on bmi - British Midland checking our bags through to San Diego although having to take them through US Customs at Chicago. The strange routing was not our choice - BA to ORD ... Read More
We left Belfast, Northern Ireland early (on US Thanksgiving Day) on bmi - British Midland checking our bags through to San Diego although having to take them through US Customs at Chicago. The strange routing was not our choice - BA to ORD and then AA to SAN. At Chicago it dawned slowly that our bags were still at LHR - Heathrow is currently notorious in this regard. As this is not an airline review suffice it to say that 2 bags caught up with us at Acapulco and one is still missing now that we are back home. Thankfully we had booked air through Celebrity as Violeta the Concierge on Summit never gave up in the daily battles with AA's lost bags call center. No luggage for 5 days is not good for cruising or one's stress levels but Violeta's persistence - including twice daily 45 minute calls to AA gave us some hope and reassurance. Hotel Manager Connie also played a positive role. So what of the cruise itself? Embarkation: Delayed due to a problem with security equipment leading to a long line to board. Stateroom - deck 7 rear with the large balcony. In good condition with excellent attendant Lawrence assisted by Joseph. Very helpful to us in our no luggage period and always courteous and cheerful. Dining - up to the excellent standards of our previous Celebrity Cruise in 2006 on Infinity. Interesting menus in main restaurant at dinner - late seating, while for breakfast and dinner we used the Aqua Spa cafe. Again excellent and very popular with the many Europeans on board. The Normandie we found well worth the charge and our three visits confirm this. Entertainment - we went to most of the shows including all the 7pm sessions being less keen on late shows after second dinner sitting. Standards were high among the booked in 'acts' although other reviewers comments on the singers and dancers rang a bell - OK but not memorable. We do not attend trivia or suchlike so cannot comment on this. Shops - having no luggage means continuing shopping as the days pass. Even with free laundry we had to buy on board and ashore as time passed. Initially we had spent a very rushed hour in Macy's in San Diego starting from scratch! The shops did have a reasonable emergency selection particularly for my wife and the staff were very helpful. We did not attend any shopping 'lectures' and ignoredthis aspect of shipboard life holding it in the same low esteem as art auctions. Gym - new equipment in past year and always a machine available. Plenty of classes and all well attended. We did not use the spa. Shore excursions - we booked 3 in advance - Cabo san Lucas Rhino Adventure; Puntarenas tropical rainforest walk and Cartagena City Tour. The last is really a necessity for Colombia where there is sense in travelling as part of a group - the first 2 we booked as we had not had time to research for independent tours. All were of good standard and even good value for money. Ports - we had not done this routing before and overall were pleased with it. Cabo - tendering the only downside although it was well organized and as we had a Celebrity tour we had no delay getting off. Acapulco - too many hustlers ashore and one passenger was mugged by a group of men. Huatulco - now with a cruise pier so no longer tendered. Interesting growing resort and taxis good value around the area. Puntarenas - interesting market by the pier but the town is dirty and taxi drivers untrustworthy in some instances. Our table mates in contrast had a very good taxi tour. The litter and grime of the port is in contrast to eco tourism claims of Costa Rica as a destination. Cartagena - well worth visiting especially for the Fort, the old city and the Spanish Inquisition Museum. In addition the temptation to buy an emerald may be (and was) irresistible. The Canal - we did not get off the ship and found the day both fascinating and exhilarating. The 'experience' is memorable and the scale of the engineering feat overwhelming. With a rear balcony we had a Panama Canal Party for our friends which was a great success! Disembarkation - our CC group had the cinema to wait in - and we hard some complaints about this. We were off the ship only ten minutes after the promised time. Waiting for 20 minutes in the sun for our coach to Miami Airport rather spoilt this. Flights home were on time with all connections working even amazingly for our remaining and new bags! Summary - the loss of all luggage for 5 days is clearly a bit of a showstopper and rather stressful. Good work by Celebrity on board helped recover the situation. Our markings are based on setting aside the bags issue. The Summit is in good condition and standards all round are high. Food and service remain highlights of a Celebrity cruise - in our opinion. PS As non smokers we were lucky that there were fewer on this cruise than our experience in 06 Having said this we still hope for an Azamara style policy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
We sailed on the Celebrity,Summit, Feb 17, for 14 days on the Panama Canal cruise. We arrived in Miami the day before, stayed at the Hampton Inn. The hotel was clean and served our needs. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier at 12:30pm ... Read More
We sailed on the Celebrity,Summit, Feb 17, for 14 days on the Panama Canal cruise. We arrived in Miami the day before, stayed at the Hampton Inn. The hotel was clean and served our needs. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier at 12:30pm and very quickly went thru the line and boarded the Summit. As usual we were greeted with lovely music by the harpist and a glass of champagne. What a wonderful way to start a vacation!. For me, its the perfect beginning. A steward escorted us to our cabin. Our cabin was 7203. This was our first Concierge cabin as well as our first aft cabin. The room was very clean, the bathroom was spotless. After reading some negative reviews about the cleanliness of some cabins, I actually looked under the bed for "bunnies" and saw none. The only flaw i noticed was that our balcony floor was somewhat littered. When I pointed it out to out steward it was quickly taken care of. The room was well equipped , had plenty of space for all our needs. The champagne was well chilled and the fruit was fresh and the flowers in the cabin and bathroom were lovely. Every evening canapes were delivered. As stated by other posters, the canapes left much to be desired, so after the first day we requested the cheese and fruit plate to be delivered instead. The cheese was fabulous and for the first several days we made gluttons of ourselves enjoying it. Out steward was from Indonesia, his name was Vithal. He was excellent. He was so extremely polite, friendly and saw to our every request and need. THE SHIP: After we saw the room we went for lunch at the buffet-explored the ship. Took the tour of the spa area-always fun to do. Went to the mandatory life boat drill and then went to meet some of our fellow CC'ers . We met at the martini bar, many of us wearing mardi gras beads, in order to recognize one another. It was a wonderful first of many get togethers. And so nice to put a face with the people I have become friends with. Many of us tried the martini tasting sampler. Worth trying, very good and fun. Just a side note*** JOIN YOUR ROLL CALL-we have met some of the nicest people that way and have maintained many friendships. It always is a refreshing feeling to realize how many truly nice people their are in this world. The ship itself is well maintained. Extremely clean. Yes, I saw some wear but the ship is lovely. It is a very understated ship, it is not a "WOW" factor decorated ship. The crew was very careful about cleanliness, with the possibility of the noro virus- there were soap dispensers everywhere. Everywhere you went there was a smiling pleasant face, wishing you a good day. A person could get truly used to this CONCIERGE CLASS: Decided to comment on this. I have read many a post "is it worth it?". All said and done it is a matter of personal opinion. I liked the slightly larger rooms. The perks for me are not worth it. The flowers were a nice touch. The linens though fine were not pretty or plush. The towels felt good and absorbed well. The bathrobes were very thick but actually harsh and heavy feeling. Not at all luxurious feeling. The canapes were awful- the cheese was great but you can order that every day from room service from a regular cabin. The chilled champagne was lovely. The aft cabin, NOW, that was worth everything to me. DAYS AT SEA : The sea days were filled with relaxation, sun, reading good books, swimming in the outdoor pools and enjoying the other friendly, chatty cruisers. I loved my sea days, and enjoyed the slow pace, yet it would have been nice to have more of a varied offering of activities, in regards to the activities themselves and the energy levels. In m y opinion Celebrity is very lacking in this category. An example of activities: bingo, napkin folding, bingo, flower arranging, bingo........ Every sea day we made sure to go to the lectures by the cruise guest speaker. If any of you have the opportunity to hear him speak, run don't walk quickly to get a front row seat. I am not a history buff but i absolutely enjoyed this speaker. The historian's name was John Maxtone Graham and he was a true pleasure to listen to. He was informative, intelligent and very witty. A wonderful combination indeed! We purchased for $99 a pass for the two weeks to the Persian Gardens. I enjoyed this very much. Spent some time every day there-the warmth was wonderful for my aching muscles and the aromatherapy was so peaceful. Anyone with arthritis or fibromyalgia I would highly suggest this nice interlude. The changing rooms in the spa area are very clean and nice to use. Also spent an hour a day in the thallo pool and hot tubs. Nice way to relax. I like the fact that the thallo pool is for 18 years of age or older. The shops were fun to browse thru and every day they offered certain specials out in the center of the shopping area. I purchased several pieces of fun jewelry . There was always a daily raffle to try your luck. I wasn't so lucky but others were. Wanted to see a movie at the theater but never seemed to get the right time to do so. The choices seemed good. Discover shopping guide-- talks given about the best places to shop were given by Ray. Sad waste of time. The same shops are mentioned every talk---not very helpful. Supposedly Celebrity guarantees some of these stores. There has been quite allot of discussion on the boards about this and the lack of help from Celebrity when and if you have a problem with the stores. Also, they sell a "shopping book" cost $20. A HUGE waste of money. Not enough coupons or freebies to be of any worth. Idle chatting with other woman on the ship---THEY ALL felt the same way. DO NOT bother, save your money or spend it on something else.The coupons and the freebies did not come close to the price of the book.* If you are interested, ask to see a book first and see what you will use. For example on this cruise several collector coins were offered, free pair of earrings ( the stones fell out almost immediately ), and a free bottle of vanilla ( cost of the vanilla at the store was 69 cents ) SPA: The first day, as mentioned, we purchased the Persian Garden pass, the cost $99 for two weeks. Good value. Used it every day to just unwind and made the bones feel good. Also during the cruise I purchased a deep tissue massage and an aromatherapy hot stone massage. Both were very good and not a single sales pitch was given for me to buy anything else. (side note ) a very small girl gave me the deep tissue massage and my first reaction was "oh, NO !" I was so wrong-she did a great one and leaned her entire body into it. Some days when they are not busy you will see some of them at the opening to the spa offering massage for $1/minute. Great buy! I also bought a half hours worth. Wonderful ! I like the spa area. I like the look of it, the scents, and the changing rooms are very nice. More expensive then at home but- for me it was worth while. EXERCISE AREA: Every other day I used the tread mills. What a great way to exercise and look out at that beautiful ocean. MEALS : Room Service: Several days we ordered breakfast on our veranda. Every hot order came cool. Eggs, french toast, pancakes all too cool to enjoy. One day I even wrote on the menu to please make it hot. It wasn't. Cereal, granola parfait, fruit, pastries were all excellent. Lovely to have breakfast on the veranda, but suggest to stick with the cold options The regular coffee on the ship was not very good. Juices and hot tea assortment very good. Iced tea unfortunately is not brewed. I usually drink allot of iced tea but abstained on the cruise. Buffet: The buffet food was pretty good. It was buffet food... enough said . I thought the made to order options were very good- that included, for breakfast -waffles, made to order eggs, omelets. For lunch and dinner the made to order pizza, pasta and sandwiches are also very good. All the bread is homemade and excellent and the fresh fruit was a pleasure. The buffet area was always very clean-to the point of immaculate. The tables were always clean and I like the way the trays have linen cloths on them and the availability of waiters to carry your tray to the table. Nice touch. DINING ROOM: Never went to the dining room for breakfast. Much preferred eating at the far aft of the ship in the a.m. We had lunch three times in the dinning room, the first time we went the meal was wonderful the last two were good. *Check the menu at the door ahead of time and see if its to your liking ( before you commit ) We dined at the second seating, at a table for 10. Our table mates all became friends and the service was very good. Our waiter and assistant waiter seemed busier then on previous cruises and I wondered if it may be due to cut backs ( more cruisers/wait staff )?? We found most of the meals to be very good, some where excellent. I especially loved all the bread, bread sticks and pastries (throughout the ship it is excellent), the cold soups, shrimp cocktail, escargot, all the beef entries (except the rib eye ). The pastries on the ship were excellent but in my opinion the dessert after the evening meal were good but had no "wow" factor. The pasta was ordered several times by my table mates and every time it was cold ( so be forewarned )This was our first time at a table for ten, I prefer a table for 8-easier to hear everyone talk. Always a topic for discussion: "like or dislike assigned dining", I love it. I like getting to know my table mates beyond, "hi, I am from ......" and I like getting to know my waiter and assistant waiter. Adds so much to the ambiance of the cruise. Overall I think the dining room food is very good, presented very well and amazing to me that it all goes sooo smoothly. COVA: We went there every day about 4pm for a mocha, we ordered it either hot or frozen. It was always wonderful and always came with a piece of Cova chocolate. Then of course there are the pastries, nice selection and very tasty. **the coffee you have to pay for but worth it, the pastries are free. OTHER FOOD OPTIONS: the Waterfall grill, pool side -- is good. Hamburger and hot dog when I tried them were fresh, fries good. The aqua spa cafe--excellent. Everything we tried was good. Dont over look this area. You will be missing out. Evening sushi-- I am not a sushi gourmet but i really enjoyed it very very much. Gourmet bites---the ones I tried were all very good. Never went to any of the evening buffets since we never left the dining room till almost 11pm each night. We enjoyed the slow dining, good conversation. Afternoon tea-- went only once-very good but instead we went to the cova cafe. CASUAL DINING: Never ever have I tried this on my previous cruises. But, this was the longest cruise I ever took so we tried it twice. Once went with fellow cruise critics and once with our table mates. It was excellent. And even better service then at our regular table. The waiters were actually falling over us. Try it. NORMANDIE: I booked a table for 8 of us prior to sailing. It was a 5 star meal and service. Wonderful experience! Had the goat cheese souffle, chaetaubrian (sp?), and the chocolate mousse. The cheese selection looked sooo good but I could not do it! I was rolling out of there. Well worth the extra $30. * to me its a must do. ENTERTAINMENT: The Celebrity singer and dancers were excellent. They were given standing ovations. These kids were very talented. On previous cruises they were not as good. I was so glad we got to experience these excellent young singers and dancers. The other evenings varied with the entertainment. Some were good others so-so. The pool side band, GREAT IDEAS, were very good. Wished they played more often. Singer and guitar player, Jefferson Ang, was excellent. Many times he played late at night on the 10th deck in the aft. We would lounge on our balcony, sipping a drink, looking out at the stars and enjoying his music. Does not get much better then that! The string quartet , the Prelude Strings were excellent. Also very much enjoyed the A Cappella group, the Dischords. Cute group of boys. The only entertainer that I tried to restrain myself from bursting out laughing- he was sooo awful was the man who sang at the Rendez-Vous lounge. I am sorry, he reminded me of a cheesy lounge singer, with a dark black hair piece. UGH!!!! COME on Celebrity---you can do much-much better Misc. shipboard entertainment, as mentioned before was --so-so....eg. napkin folding, flower arranging and allot of bingo. I would like to see more offered and much more variety. This was my 4th Celebrity cruise in a row and will have to try a different line just for a variation of on board entertainment. In some ways it was almost non existent. I dont really know who they were gearing it too. I am 52. Most of the cruisers were in their 40's to late 60's. My aunt is 77, and was dismayed by the lack of varying entertainment. FORTUNES CASINO: Went every evening after dinner and contributed to the Summit "charity". Actually I should not joke. I spent $20/night ( that was my limit )and I actually won twice on the quarter slots. I then donated the cash to the jewelry store on the ship. POOLS: Two pools outside. One deep, the other shallow. four hot tubs. Enjoyed them all. Wish the hot tubs would be still open late at night-lets say till 1a.m.-unfortunately that is not the case. The thallo pool is under a glass dome, with two hot tubs. I love this pool and enjoyed it daily. Children under 18 not allowed. Very nice. It slightly heated, has jets for massaging- do not over look this area. Especially nice after the first dining group has left to prepare for dinner. PORTS: ARUBA- prior to sailing I had booked a spa day at a local hotel. We have been to Aruba before and enjoyed the sites. The spa day was lovely, we then enjoyed a lunch at one of the local restaurants, and a bit of shopping. I bought two small sapphire, white gold rings for my daughters (for their souvenir )So glad I did. The other ports did not have near as good of buys. PANAMA CANAL- We decided not to leave the ship and just experience the canal from morning till evening. We got up early to go to the front of the boat to see the ship entering the first lock. What a phenomenal experience! Then we spent a good portion on the aft balcony-seeing where we have been and watching other boats enter the canal. We were very lucky as we had a lovely breeze all day. Gatun lake was lovely. I took dozens and dozens of photos. Attending the lectures by the ship historians was a great way to gain insight as to how many sacrificed and even died to accomplish the building of the Panama canal. What a wonder! I was so honored to be able to experience it all. PUNTARENAS,COSTA RICA- We booked pre cruise with Charlie Soto. Read many good recommendations about him. Several years ago we toured with Oscar Brown on the Limone side. We very much liked Oscar. Thought Charlie would be as good. Perhaps those who thought Charlie was great had no one to compare him to. He was ok. You could do as well with a taxi driver . Charlie had no microphone set up, so those in back could hear nothing. Also Charlie did not give a "talk" while driving us around. I knew allot about CR because of Oscar but if I did not have previous knowledge I still would not. We saw cute monkeys, and a Chapel. Went on the Crocodile Man tour, This was very good. Saw tons of wild life-the men who took us on this tour gave a great talk and pointed out allot of things to see. Charlie did purchase and share with us some fruit. It was by far the best watermelon and mangoes any of us ever tasted. We also went to a grocery store to buy coffee and vanilla. Ahead of time we told Charlie that we wanted to purchase bean coffee. When we got there, there was only ground coffee, Charlie knew this. So, that side trip was a waste of time because ALL of us wanted the bean coffee. We did purchase the whole beans at the pier. An episode that occurred : Charlie passed a truck on a double line going up a blind grade. Scared the heck out of all of us. Being careless is not worth the five minutes of getting to Point A faster. OK tour but after talking with other passengers they did better with private taxi drivers that they met. HUATALUCO- This was a beautiful little island that i very much enjoyed seeing. We booked a bay tour with a man named Jesus. His little boat, 25 foot Panga boat was very clean. Had a tarp type cover to keep the sun from baking down too much. The boat holds 8 guests. Jesus and his co-sailor offered an iced cooler with water, beer and pop. He charged $150 for a 5 bay tour and $200 for a seven bay tour. The cost is the same for two or eight passengers. Very reasonable when we divided the cost between all of us. We were able to see his beautiful bays. He talked about the area. Very informative. We chose to also swim and snorkel and have lunch .The restaurant was on the beach, all the food was seafood, no other items where offered.( side note ) if someone on the tour cannot eat fish or does not like it, you should discuss this with Jesus ahead of time. We had cold beers and a wonderful shrimp salad . I bet there was at least a pound of shrimp on that plate. It was impressive enough that we had to take a picture. At that spot various vendors approached us attempting to sell there wares (silver bracelets, beads, food.) When we said we were not interested-they were respectful of that. The swimming was wonderful-the water was so warm and you could see to the very bottom. Lovely! Dont miss this opportunity ! ACAPULCO- We booked a day with Rosie , the taxi driver, before the cruise. Per recommendation of the ports of call board. Our ship was not in this port that long so our tour was slightly shortened. Rosie gave us as much as she could fit in. She is very professional, her van is clean, air conditioned, and she has a microphone hook up so all could hear her talk. She was very knowledgeable and a very safe driver. We saw the beaches, the main strip, hotels, and where the affluent lived. We shopped for awhile, saw a beautiful chapel, and had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant on the beach. Best fajitas that I ever had. We were the ones that asked Rosie to take us shopping-I would skip this next time-the shop prices where high and I could tell that Rosie was trying to take us to reasonable places. ( the cost of silver---we can do better in the States ) Also saw the cliff divers. AWESOME !! * Good choice CABO- This is another tour that we booked ahead of time. It came with rave reviews and we agree, We boarded the Rissalena, a white catamaran. The cost was $50/person. The captain of the boat is Mr. Eduardo Padilla. He is very professional, as is his crew. The cat is pure white and in immaculate shape. We were treated to a lovely day of cruising, whale watching and a great homemade lunch, not to mention a fantastic homemade margarita. The best we ever had. They also offered beers, soda pop and juices. The lunch consisted of very tasty chicken, rice and pasta salad, fresh fruit and homemade guacamole and chips. We were in Cabo during whale season. we were lucky to see some but what we also got to see was a large group of dolphins ( about 20 of them )that followed the boat. Very cool, indeed ! This tour I would highly recommend. * the boat holds about 20-22 people. ( Side note ) If your group does not use the entire boat, he will book others to sail with you. Cabo is a lovely area to view from the cat and also to take awhile and walk around, shop and have lunch. Lovely day. This was my first 14 day cruise. The first week flew by so quickly. We were glad to have the extra days to enjoy and relax. Little touches that Celebrity does that I love: -iced wash cloths waiting for us, on silver trays, as we are coming back to the ship after a day in port -on sea days, at the pool around 2pm, waiters in full dress carry on silver trays cups of homemade sherbet -all cruise staff being so smiley and polite and welcoming -bed turn down and chocolates waiting on the pillow DISEMBARKATION: Went very smoothly.We sat in the movie theater,where coffee and pastries were available for us to cry over since we all have to go back to the real world. It amazes me that as we are leaving, in a short few hours, the Summit will be starting all over and welcoming their new guest with a smile and a glass of champagne and giving them that knowing feeling that they are the "only" and the "first and most important" cruiser they have ever had IMPRESSIONS: Excellent vacation. Money well spent, with excellent value. I want to try a different cruise line ( for more on board and varied entertainment )but I will eagerly look forward to my next Celebrity cruise in the future. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Nadine Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Our 13th cruise celebrating our 30th anniversary. We are 57 and 60. This was our 6th X cruise. We arrived in LA on Feb. 1 so we could relax and look around before we sailed on Feb. 3. We got our air and our hotel (Doubletree) on our own. ... Read More
Our 13th cruise celebrating our 30th anniversary. We are 57 and 60. This was our 6th X cruise. We arrived in LA on Feb. 1 so we could relax and look around before we sailed on Feb. 3. We got our air and our hotel (Doubletree) on our own. The hotel we got through Priceline as suggested on one of the boards. Doubletree was quite comfortable and just redone. They have a shuttle to the ship for free and took our luggage over in the morning before we left the hotel so when we got on the ship later in the day it was in our room. We were pleased with the Doubletree. Embarkation was probably the easiest I have ever experienced. There were lots of people on duty to check us in. And we had filled out all the necessary paperwork online before we arrived. The staff was most cordial and helpful. The ship is quite nice, very laid back, more of an English Country retreat decor, certainly nothing glitzy but elegant in it's own way. The art was a little too sophisticated for our taste. We've bought art on other ships but didn't find this appealing. It is different! Our cabin was well maintained and appeared to have just had the couch recovered. Others reported that their couches needed attention. Our cabin stewart was wonderful. He made sure we had crackers and cheese and a fruit platter in the afternoon after I complained about the inedible snacks served in Concierge Class rooms. Haven't heard anything good about those snacks yet, you would think X would notice. The flowers in the room were kept fresh. The towels were spa type towels. The robes were rough, scratchy and uncomfortable. The regular X robes are much more comfy. We enjoyed the extra room the CC room provided more than the extra amenities(?). They advertised quite extensively that the main sport of the Summit is bingo - enough said. The entertainment was good. The sidewalks rolled up quite early so to speak. We took a ship's tour in Cabo San Lucas. Wish we had gotten a car and a driver. In Huatulco, we got a boat and a driver and spent 3 hours touring the little private beaches, having lunch at a restaurant accessible only by boat. Just the two of us and we loved it. We were on the Cone. It was bringing a snorkeling tour from the Summit back at about 11 and we asked the driver if he would take us out. Loved Huatulco, still in it's undeveloped stages and not completely overrun with commercialism yet. Would love to return soon. We had vacationed in Acapulco before and since we were both picking up a cold that seemed to affect lots of passengers, we decided to take it easy and not get off the ship. Ship's staff was wonderful about making sure all hands were clean, ship kept everything sanitary but this was a plain old air born cold. Even the buffet was served to eliminate the spread of germs. No fault of X, just one of those things. Costa Rica and our tour with Charlie Soto was great. Enjoyed that as much as any tour on any ship. Just didn't buy enough coffee and vanilla. The Canal was fascinating. We were advised to stay on the ship since this was our first transit. I'm glad we did. My husband spent most of his time on the helipad which opened really early to accommodate passengers viewing. I went to the bar at the top of the ship. Once we figured out how to tie the dreaded curtains back (untie both sides and push all of the curtain to one side and wrap it around the pole) lots more people had a great view. Summit could have prepared that and washed the windows to make it better. Really enjoyed the Canal transit. We shopped at the docks at the end of the day and found lots of souvenirs to bring home. Only thing there was shopping that we saw. Aruba wasn't new to us so we walked around, got hot and sweaty, arrived back on ship to find a do not use until tomorrow sign in our shower. They had done grout maintenance. It would have been better if we had been told ahead of time that we were not going to be able to shower before formal night. Upset with the lack of communication, not the shower repair. The first night in the dining room there was a page on the left side of the menu which told the things that were available all of the time. Luckily I read it carefully because it was never there again, replaced by a suggested choices from regular menu. I did enjoy escargot almost every night. And everyone at our table enjoyed the shrimp cocktails and caesar salad in lieu of regular menu items. The service in the dining room was excellent our medium table with 6 other very nice people. The food was good. Some items were excellent. Our waiter got fresh berries for me for dessert most evenings and I really enjoyed those. I would give the dining room in general an A. Room Service was great! Would have liked a bigger menu but food was served in a timely manner and was temperature appropriate and good. Breakfast was great on our balcony most mornings. The CC choices were nice. And now for the buffet. I probably shouldn't comment since there is little positive to say. When it appeared a great table was available for seating one would go over and realize it wasn't occupied because the trays had been moved but the table had not been wiped. I pointed this out to the assistants in charge on several occasions when there were at least 4 messy tables. I compared it to taking my grandchildren out for fast food and having to wipe the tables before sitting. We did that several times. Others seemed to not mind the crumbs, etc. left over from the previous diners and just put their trays right on top. The servers were quick to clear the trays from the tables just not to wipe them off. Disembarkation was a joke. There were no disembarkation privileges for those booked Concierge Class except to sit in a crowded theatre where the speaker worked half the time. Took forever to disembark. Instead of the 8:30 am we were promised, it was closer to 11. There was no X rep in the theatre with us. She appeared when they came to take the water and coffee away so they could prepare for those coming on board. There seemed to be little concern for those disembarking. We enjoyed the cruise. I'm glad we went. The negatives I pointed out are because I hope X is reading this and starts paying more attention to detail. We were much younger than most on the ship. I should have realized that because it is a longer cruise. My husband was bored with the ship and doesn't want to cruise X again for a long while. The ship is fine, Cruise is wonderful but quite quiet. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We are a mid-50s married couple. This was our first cruise on Summit, though we have cruised on other Celebrity ships. We used Celebrities air travel arrangements and were satisfied. We had to travel from the DC area to LA to board ... Read More
We are a mid-50s married couple. This was our first cruise on Summit, though we have cruised on other Celebrity ships. We used Celebrities air travel arrangements and were satisfied. We had to travel from the DC area to LA to board Summit. Doing it all in one day was somewhat nerve racking, because every travel segment had to work as planned. Next time I will travel the day before and know there is some slack. We arrived at Summit about 3:30 PM. There were no lines. We completed the check-in and walked aboard Summit. Initially, I thought the bathroom smelled bad, but found the same smell all around the ship. I concluded the smell was from a disinfected cleaner. After the first night, the bathroom never smelled again, but I continued to smell the cleaner now and then...nothing obnoxious. We found that we like the many days at sea between port calls. It allowed us to relax. Overall, Summit was very clean. As Captain's Club Select members, we were able to participate in a galley tour...actually just one of the four galleys. We were very impressed on the cleanliness of the galley...it seemed spotless. We like Celebrity because we think the food is quite good. The food on Summit was on par with our previous Celebrity cruises. My only complaint was the ice tea in the buffet area was consistently way too strong...I had to dilute it about 3 to 1. We thought the pastries at breakfast were better than those we had on previous Celebrity ships. We thought the entertainment was generally better than we had on previous Celebrity sailings. The Panama Canal transit is the reason for such a cruise. The other port calls were not exciting. Huatulco was the nicest port on the Pacific portion of the cruise. For us the Canal transit was the highlight of the trip. The locks are of course very interesting, but the transit through Gatun Lake and Culebra Cut is also quite beautiful. Debarkation was easy, but once off the ship it is somewhat of a zoo. Hundreds of people trying to board buses to the airport. Then at the airport (Ft lauderdale), people from 6 or 7 ships are trying to check in for their flights. A small price to pay for 14 relaxing days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Panama Transit Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale on Summit January 2007 The Panama Canal Cruise is an incredible journey. Bill (65) and Sandy (62) actually "started" our holiday six months previous to the cruise and before ... Read More
Panama Transit Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale on Summit January 2007 The Panama Canal Cruise is an incredible journey. Bill (65) and Sandy (62) actually "started" our holiday six months previous to the cruise and before booking our cruise. Researching for cruises is an essential part of the experience for us. During this period, we stumbled upon the cruise critic site and this has added so much information and enjoyment for us as well as establishing contacts before boarding. As so many other reviews have already described Summit and the Ports of Call, this review is more of a chronicle of our experiences and impressions. January 5, 2007: We live on Vancouver Island, B.C. and left home in the dark in a rare early morning snowstorm. We dropped our dog at the kennel and then continued to Nanaimo for a ferry ride to the B.C. Mainland and then to our hotel in Richmond, B.C. We chose the Abercorn Best Western as we have stayed there before; it is close to the airport, offers shuttle service and provides free parking for our car while we are away. January 6: No wake up call was necessary! We woke at 4:00 a.m. and caught the 4:25 shuttle to YVR. The flight to LAX was good but after our arrival we had a long wait before being bussed to the ship. As Celebrity had handled our air, we knew we would eventually get there but it was frustrating to go all that way and then have to sit on our suitcases at curbside for a couple of hours. Other people complained that they were put on a bus right away but then were driven around to see the sights of Los Angeles for hours with no food or water being offered. Certainly there were some unhappy travelers but the Celebrity (X) ground staff at the terminal remained very pleasant and tried to be reassuring that no one would be left behind. Finally approaching the pier we could see Summit and she looked huge. Embarkation was easy and we were quickly through security and enjoying a second glass of champagne. We were starved and proceeded to the buffet. Sanitation stations were set up outside every dining venue and crew remained stationed at these places throughout the cruise to force passengers to use them. After filling our trays waiters were there to assist in carrying them, finding a table, and taking our drink orders. Our first impressions of the ship were its impressive size and beauty. Our second impression was of black water in the stateroom toilet bowl and from the taps! Our stateroom attendant came at about that time to introduce himself and assured us that the water problem had been fixed. They had been cleaning the pipes and the water cleared within a couple hours. We loved our stateroom (6003). It has an ocean view with a large porthole overlooking the center of the bow and the helicopter pad. We wanted this room, as it would enable us to watch the transit through the canal in air-conditioned comfort. The stateroom actually had more walk a round room than balcony rooms on the same deck. We had an apartment-sized sofa/hide-a-bed instead of the love seat in the balcony cabin. The room was very comfortable and had lots of storage space. A wall of mirrors made the room seem even larger. We did not like the food stained blue print carpet and the orange plaid bedspread. Carpeting is vacuumed regularly but it really needed cleaning. The shower was great and it was wonderful to shower two or three times a day and always have clean, fresh Egyptian cotton towels. The location of our stateroom ensured privacy, as there was only one cabin beyond ours on our side of the ship. The location also ensured that we would walk off some of the calories we planned to consume! The artwork throughout the ship is beautiful. The furniture in the public areas is attractive and comfortable. Of concern was the frequent smell of cigarette and cigar smoke in hallways, in the casino and in lounges. The staff was consistently helpful and friendly. Lifeboat drill at 16:30 was very efficient and was completed within about half an hour. Our CC friends and we had planned to meet at sail-away but only eight of us showed up. As it was time to dress for dinner, this was a brief visit but it was nice to actually meet some of the people we had been "talking to" on the boards. This group met repeatedly on board and became close friends. Two of the CC couples were our tablemates and we enjoyed excellent dinner conversation. Passengers in general were very friendly but most had never heard of cruise critic and some were quite interested. By dinner, all but one of our pieces of luggage had been delivered. We asked our stateroom attendant about it and he said he would check for us. After about an hour we started calling the guest relations desk and were assured that they would search the ship for it. Shortly before midnight a passenger only about 7 rooms down the hall, but on the other side of fire doors, called to ask if we were missing a suitcase. She said it had been in the hallway in front of her room for several hours. Bill called the desk to let them know it had been found. Jan 7: After breakfast we went to the guest relations desk and asked to speak to the guest relations manager. She was in a meeting but we made an appointment for later in the morning. The desk clerk had just called our room to see if we had found our luggage and was not aware that Bill had called to let them know that all was well. We expressed our concern to the manager that X tried to "pass the buck" concerning our piece of luggage. At first, the airline was to blame, then the bus driver and the staff continued to deny any blame. We assured the manager that we still loved X but their communications with us and with each other was a problem that needed to be fixed. In effect, with crew looking for our luggage for several hours, it had been sitting outside a stateroom not far from our room and a passenger retrieved it for us. We told her that we wanted the ship to do something nice for the lady who called us and the manager agreed to send a bottle of wine and a fruit basket. Soon after we returned to our stateroom a bottle of wine and a fruit basket arrived for us as well. It is nice to pack light for a trip but we were so glad that we had shared suitcase space in each bag. Each suitcase has "his' and "hers" clothing and a mix of casual and dressy so we can cope with a lost bag. We also take photos of our luggage and maintain lists of the contents in case of loss. Our Cruise Critic party was on Sunday morning in Michael's Club. We had a good turnout of about 25 people. At dinner that evening, another CC couple joined us as two of our regular tablemates were dining at the Normandie. This caused confusion for our waiter, Willie, but he handled the changes as efficiently as he handled everything else. Willie and his assistant, Rondel, were excellent. The staff really seem to enjoy their work and their passengers. We met Arif, our assistant Maitre' D, and as the cruise progressed we had a lot of contact with him. The dining room service throughout the cruise was excellent. The first theater production was very good but the sound system in the theater was poor and the sound level tended to be painful. It distorted sounds such that it was difficult to understand performers. We did not participate in shipboard games or spend time in the casino but others did and enjoyed them. Jan 8: Sunrise happens so quickly on the ocean! We woke in time to watch the sun come up and from a small bit of light the sun was fully up within a couple of minutes. Beautiful. As we cruised into Cabo San Lucas there were many dolphins playing around the ship. We tendered ashore on large, comfortable tenders which accommodate over 100 passengers. We had a very quick and smooth tendering process. Upon return to the Summit we were met with cool towels, cold drinks and hand sanitizers. In the evening I tested the thallasotherapy pool and whirlpools and enjoyed them. The pools were less used than I had expected, especially in the evenings. It is a great way to relax. Jan 9: We awoke to a clear sunny sky and had coffee and the famous almond pastry in the Cova Cafe which was a disappointment. There was poor service and the staff was not particularly helpful. We paid for our regular, black coffee and found a table but no coffee refills are included. We enjoyed some sun tanning until Bill had an adverse reaction to the sun! We needed to keep sunning sessions brief. For us the Great White North just means white skin. I went to the conservatory and was surprised at how small it is. In the virtual tour of Summit on Internet the conservatory looked quite large. I was looking forward to spending time there but it is very small. The highlight today was the impressionist in the theater who ran the gamut from ABBA to ZZ Top. Jan 10: Arrived in Acapulco at 0500 and enjoyed the city lights before dawn. We hired a cab (inexpensive) to take us to the market and then to Fort San Diego and felt that the museum in the fort is excellent. It was 110 degrees outside but comfortably cool inside the shelter of the fort's massive walls. The displays are awesome. We walked back to the ship, all downhill and a nice walk. The port building is large with a lot of shops as well as computer and telephone access. More water problems on the ship today and the water was turned off for 45 minutes while we were in port. Jan 11: Huatulco must surely translate as "to fall in love with". It is a beautiful little town with a relaxed pace. We walked on the beach, had cervesa (Mexican beer) under the palapas and enjoyed talking with local people. There were many crafts - everything from beautiful to tacky. Back on the ship we watched the pilot disembark - that was an acrobatic feat and passengers applauded when he jumped into the pilot boat! Huatulco is definitely on our list of places to return to, next time for an all inclusive resort stay. Jan 12: A day at sea and we took stock of what the ship provides in the staterooms. There were bathrobes hanging in the closet and large beach towels for shore excursion use. The bath was stocked with hand lotion, soap, shampoo (but no conditioner), a hair dryer, cotton balls, Q-tips, tissues and wonderful thick absorbent towels. We also found logo shopping bags and umbrellas. We were told that motion sickness pills were available at the desk. Extras that we found helpful: We took some suction hooks which attached to walls or ceiling for hanging things, a small plant mister and a battery operated fan for hot weather! We also took post it notes for reminders and notes to the room attendant. Jan 13: Punta Arenas. We spent the morning on the beach talking to the venders and buying souvenirs. We did not go on any tours as they were quite long. We wandered out of the tourist area and found ourselves in a poor area with a lot of thin dogs, scrawny cats, sewage smell and graffiti on the buildings. We returned to the pier area and spent over an hour in a pub/cafe across the street from the pier where we enjoyed talking to locals. Jan 14: Another relaxing day at sea. We were questioned by the Maitre D, Arif, concerning the quality of the food. He was disappointed that we rated it only as good. Bill found the food to be both bland and over cooked but the presentations were quite nice. Arif said that he would prepare curry for us at dinners. The chicken, beef and shrimp curries were excellent! We enjoyed a two-hour lunch with friends we had met prior to boarding our plane in Vancouver. That afternoon was the Captain's Club cocktail party. The party was elegant and everyone had an opportunity to talk with the Captain and have photos taken with him. The guests were served wine or bar drinks and the hors deuvers looked wonderful but we left shortly for our special dinner at the Normandie. Don't miss the opportunity to dine here as it is an amazing experience. Food, service and ambiance were superb. Our daughter had ordered a corsage and boutonniere for us as well as paying the $30/pp cover charge for Normandie. We paid the extra fees for the Menu Exceptional that includes a six course dinner with appropriate wine pairings for each course. The waiters serve the meal as a choreographed presentation responsible for one's table. The following day we received a formal thank you card from the Maitre D'Hotel for dining with them! Jan 15: Canal Day! We were up at 0400 and saw ships waiting for passage. The skyline of Panama City was impressive with its many skyscrapers. We had room service breakfast and watched as we approached the Mireflores Locks. Summit and the APL Egypt were the largest and therefore priority vessels and went through the locks first. Passengers filled the front of the bow at the helicopter pad to watch the process. It is fascinating that a system of locks so old and yet so simple is still working perfectly. We spent some time with friends who had an aft balcony suite and watched the canal passage slip by. Sandy went on the Embera Indian Village tour up the Chagress River and this was a high point of the entire trip for her. She also spent an enjoyable hour at Cristobal Pier but the next three hours at the Pier were not as happy but it was necessary to wait for Summit to dock. Some passengers were quite angry at the delay. Jan 16: Rough sea today with winds at 40 knots and 20-foot seas. The ship handled the conditions without us feeling any discomfort but a heavy banging noise in our cabin continued for hours {Bill thought it must be the Hammer of Thor}. Saltwater spray hit our porthole on Deck 6 and there was too much wind to comfortably walk on deck. Jan 17: Oranjestad today and again we were notified that water would be turned off for 45 minutes for regular maintenance which seemed to indicate that the ship still had a fresh water problem. We docked at 0900 and arranged a private 2+ hour tour of the island for $15 per person. We shared an air-conditioned van with eight passengers from a Princess ship. The driver took us all over the island stopping where people asked him to stop and at the normal tourist venues. The island is very barren and windswept on the Atlantic side with rocky shores and high surf. The Caribbean side has white sand beaches with luxury homes and resorts. Arubans are very nice people and the Dutch architecture is very pretty. We enjoyed Aruba but probably will not return. Jan 18 and 19: These were sea days and a time to begin packing. We had our third formal night, which featured the parade of waiters with baked Alaska. This was lively and entertaining and the crew especially seemed to enjoy their animated diners! The meal was disappointing for those who chose the lobster tails which were tough and bland. Our prime rib was excellent and cooked perfectly. The disembarkation talk in the theater included the farewell from the crew as they were introduced by departments and paraded up to the stage. These days also gave us a chance to hit the on board shops one more time. Jan 20: Disembarkation could have been staged for the Keystone Cops! We were told to be in the Champagne Bar at 0930 and when Bill called Guest Relations to see if there would be time to catch our 1225 flight he was assured that there would be lots of time. We waited a very long time without any communication from the crew. This was a time to make more new friends. At last we were herded to the disembarkation area where we again waited for a long time due to delays in U.S. immigration and customs. With the clock ticking down to flight time we got through disembarkation and lined up for a bus to the Fort Lauderdale airport. Luggage was slowly loaded and we got onto the bus where we waited until the bus was completely full of guests and extra luggage that did not fit into the luggage bays and which was placed in the aisle. On arrival at Terminal One, some passengers and all the luggage was off-loaded and reloaded. When people claimed their luggage the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. Then a couple realized that this was their stop and they got off and all the luggage was again off-loaded. Then onto Terminal Two where all luggage was again off-loaded, more passengers got off, and the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. At Terminal Three the bus driver locked the door so all passengers had to remain on the bus while he unloaded all the luggage. This was the terminal for our flight, which had already departed for DFW. After getting off the bus we had to arrange for a later flight which got us to DFW with a few minutes to spare to catch our original flight to Vancouver. No food was served on the flights and we had no time for dinner at DFW as we had anticipated. We flew back to Vancouver and another hotel night before loading our car for the ferry ride and drive back to our home on Vancouver Island. We enjoyed the cruise but feel that Celebrity needs to pay a lot more attention to the details. Our next cruise will be on Oceania in November with 27 nights from Rome to Singapore. We hope that this smaller cruise line and 684-passenger ship will pay better attention to the details, which make cruising what it should be. We have sailed on Celebrity prior to this cruise with the cuisine and attention to details being much better. It appears to us that Celebrity is cutting corners to increase profits. There was talk on the ship of the sommeliers being eliminated to save money. Also we had expected performances by Cirque du Soleil in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth (which had been terminated without notice to potential guests). It is also nearing the end of the relationship with Master Chef, Michael Roux Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
My wife(57) and I(61) booked the cruise as a winter "get away" and for the interesting itinerary. Although we have been to Europe many times, we have never visited Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean. The only other cruise ... Read More
My wife(57) and I(61) booked the cruise as a winter "get away" and for the interesting itinerary. Although we have been to Europe many times, we have never visited Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean. The only other cruise that we had taken was on the old Radisson Diamond to the Aegean. We made many friends from the Cruise Critic message board, and sat with two other couples from the message board at the early seating. Passengers: Mostly Americans and Canadians who were elderly. There was a large contingent of British and some other Europeans, who were generally younger than the Americans. The staff said there were 28 children on board. Embarkation & Disembarkation: We arrived at the pier in San Pedro at 1:00PM and were whisked aboard with no wait except for the fact that there was no boarding card for me. This was quickly taken care of, and we were in our Concierge Class cabin by 1:15. Unfortunately it took over 7 hours to get our luggage! When we called the useless concierge desk they uttered platitudes but did nothing to help us. Leaving the ship was the opposite experience. Priority exiting in reality did not exist, and we waited on a huge line to leave the ship; this was caused by the large number of passengers who were not US citizens and were slowed down by the immigration process. Once we entered the terminal there was no line and we quickly got our luggage. The Cabin: It was very clean and well-maintained by our steward. There was however, a large stain on the bedspread which was changed when I requested it. But, why was it there in the first place??? I ordered flowers for the cabin and they lasted two weeks; the other flowers that were part of the package were replaced as needed. Every evening we received 6 hors d'oeuvres which occasionally were edible. The fresh fruit was nice as was the champagne (sparkling wine). The other amenities were OK but they do not provide hair conditioner...bring your own! The private stationary were 4 pieces of pathetic paper. In fact, they don't sell pads or decent paperback books on the ship. (perhaps they don't want you taking notes?) The cabin had enough storage space for the contents of our seven bags which we were able to place under the bed! The balcony was essential to us, but I did not like the overhang from deck ten. The supporting stanchions got in the way of taking pictures, and although we had lots of shade (a premium on a cruise ship)it had a heavy, oppressive feeling. Public Areas: These were clean and in very good condition. Food: Believe it or not, we both lost weight on the cruise! We had coffee in our cabin and ate most breakfasts and lunches (followed by ice cream) in the Aqua Spa cafe which features excellent lighter fair. I had pancakes once in the buffet, but what they claimed was maple syrup was awful "breakfast syrup". The food in the lunch buffet was on the quality of good cafeteria food; but not really appetizing; the pizza tasted like microwave pizza. Dinners were good; we ate all five courses served in the main dining room. The problem was the food often was incredibly bland; nothing had an interesting or memorable flavor. Perhaps this was because most passengers were elderly and don't want spicy food? Dinner in the Normandie Restaurant was excellent and superbly served by its Turkish staff; make sure you get the menu with the wine included. When we ate in the Normandie there were only 6 passengers eating. Service: Service was superb on the ship. The entire staff went out of their way to make the experience a wonderful one for the guests. They seemed to really care about you. We both purchased "soda cards" and had no trouble being served; in fact the servers knew our tastes, approached us and asked if we wanted our sodas! Entertainment: By 11:00 at night we felt that we were on a "Ghost Ship". We would go to the wonderful Edge of the World Bar on the 11th floor to dance to the super band "Great Ideas" and listen to their lead singer. There usually were about 12 people, and one night by 12:00 there were just 4 of us! The production shows at night were very good; ranging from the quality of good regional theater to Broadway. The comics were OK if you like bathroom humor. The "Diamonds Quartet" was bizarre, and seemed to be unhappy. The string quartet was very nice. Activities: This was the greatest disappointment. I was barely able to stop myself from screaming when every evening the jerky cruise director would say "Where are my bingo players!!" Somehow, I survived. I wonder if he was responsible for the "culture and history" part of the daily bulletin. It was replete with errors. Activities were aimed at elderly people who like to play bingo and sit by a pool. The signs in the Aqua Spa Thalassatherapy pool said no one was allowed under 18 and diapers were not permitted! We did partake of the ballroom dance (taught by Laura) and computer classes. The activities staff seemed to go out of their way to ruin good events. The 50's Sock Hop, the Mexican Fiesta, the Western Night were all ruined when they stopped the people who were already dancing and screamed out "Line Dancing" "Macarena Time" "Twist Contest". The Casino was a smoke-filled area that I could not enjoy. Excursions: In Cabo (expensive yet tacky) we just walked around. Acapulco was fascinating. We walked up to the old fort and along the beach watching fishermen clean and sell their catch. Huatulco was also great for walking, and we walked into the interesting local villages. (These self-directed walks saved us about $150) We had excellent ship purchased tours in Costa Rica (in Manuel Antonio National Park we saw a variety of wild life) and Aruba (the submarine ride; 150 feet down!) The trip through the Panama Canal was a memorable experience, particularly thanks to two of the people at our table who hosted a wonderful party in their cabin at the stern of the ship. Internet: My wife's Cingular phone with international service worked well on ship and on shore. We purchased the 500 minute internet package. We were warned that the service was slow, and it was. This was due to the nature of their routers and how the satellite service went thru their server on the mainland. The wireless "hotspots" were very limited to a few areas. Cost Cutting: Celebrity has cut down on amenities and services to raise profits. Food seemed to lack spices and portions in the main dining room were small (although seconds were available). The fact that they no longer have real maple syrup is indicative of their attitude. "Notes", the music room no longer exists (although still on their web site) and has been replaced with revenue generating rooms: Acupuncture and Computer Instruction. Cirque De Soleil is gone. Michael Roux is gone at the end of the month; and there was a rumor that they were firing the sommeliers. This is a ship on which they sell you water when you leave. Will I go on another cruise? Certainly. Will I go on Celebrity? possibly Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
We have been on 8 cruises in various areas of the world and also, on different cruise lines. The cruise on the Celebrity Summit through the Panama Canal was wonderful. All of the Ports of Call were interesting and the highlight of the trip ... Read More
We have been on 8 cruises in various areas of the world and also, on different cruise lines. The cruise on the Celebrity Summit through the Panama Canal was wonderful. All of the Ports of Call were interesting and the highlight of the trip was the cruise through the Panama Canal. This was our 25th wedding anniversary, a second honey moon. It couldn't have been much better. Even the weather cooperated. Temperatures in Los Angeles were warm and comfortable, as they were in Cabo San Lucas, in the 70s. As we cruised to the south, the temperatures and humidity increased, peaking in Aruba in the 90s. We are from Wisconsin, so the 70s were warm and comfortable; the 90s were HOT causing us to fight for the shady side of the streets. The passengers on the ship were from all over the world. In Cabo San Lucas we took a sail on a very old two masted ship, over 100 years old. This was very nice and I would do it again. The primary purpose was to see whales, we did. It was a very relaxing mini-cruise into the Pacific on a very interesting old sailing ship. In Acapulco, we hired a taxi and toured the area for a few hours ending at the cliff divers location. We walked back to the ship; an interesting walk through the center of town. We took the tubing trip in Huatulco. The water was a little low, but the trip was fun and we saw many birds. It also took us into the county. Huatulco is a new developing resort. In the afternoon, we took a short taxi ride into a near-by town. This is an area that is not used to seeing tourists so it was very interesting to just walk around the city center. Puntarenas, Costa Rica was very interesting. We took the trip up into the mountains to see the cloud forest. We went from sea level to around 5,000 feet in elevation. The cloud forest is beautiful, very green and wet. It wasn't very cold, maybe around 70 degrees, but it was a bit wet. You will need a rain coat. We dressed as instructed with long sleeves and long pants, but didn't need them. The trip included several walks over long suspension bridges, a walk through a humming bird feeding area where we saw hundreds of birds, up close and personal, and a huge bug collection. Well worth the trip. Then, the Panama Canal, this was why we came. We got up early and were allowed on the helicopter pad on the bow. The ship entered the first lock at 8 AM. We got off the ship in Gatun Lake and took a nature walk and river cruise on a Disney Jungle Cruise style boat. We saw a sloth, many birds, monkeys and a crocodile. We also drove through the Gatun Locks and watched the Summit come through it at the tourist viewing area. The ship picked us up in Colon around 7 PM. The ship was little late. The Canal folks are in charge while in the Canal, so the ship has little control over the timing. Interesting fact: the cost for the Summit to use the Canal was about $240,000. The ship took a beating going through the Canal but by the time we left Aruba, the new paint was dry and the ship was ready to head north, back to the US; looking good. In Aruba, we tired a driver to tour the island. It took about 4 hours to see everything we wanted to view. The cost was $40 per hour, well worth it. Aruba was HOT, in the 90s! Positives: " While the ship was 5 years old, it was well maintained. You could see wear and tear, but nothing to be concerned about. " The food and staff were great. " The entertainment was the best we have seen on a ship. " The Celler Master, Fernando, and our Wine Stewart, Maggie, were wonderful, entertaining and knowledgeable. " The Ports of Call were all interesting. " The ice cream stations provided a large assortment of choices; the soft serve chocolate was specialty rich and flavorful. " Getting on and off the ship was uneventful. " Cold towels and drinks were provided every time was reboarded the ship. " The spa area, provided at no additional charge, included a sauna with a large window to the sea, whirlpools and a heated salt-water aquaspa with bubble jets (we called it the cooker). A specialty spa was available for an additional $120 for the cruise with all kinds of interesting features, but we didn't see anyone use them. Too bad ships have all this wasted space that few use. Negatives: " Passengers were allowed to smoke in many public areas of the ship. " Specialty coffee was not included after dinner; there was an extra charge for a cuppanico. " After dinner desserts were good, but not great. " This was our first cruise on Celebrity and we noticed that returning cruisers to Celebrity are treated a little better than us first timers. Other lines do this too, but not as openly as Celebrity. As you can see, there were few negatives. We had a good time. Our cabin was 2004, at the bow; one of the smallest on the ship. We sleep in the cabin, that's it, so we really don't care whether we have a window or not. We enjoyed the ship, our fellow passengers and the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
This particular cruise was sailing from San Juan, PR on November 25, 2006. Family of 5, DH (30 yrs), DD (3 yrs), DM (61 yrs), DM in law (56 yrs) and me (29 yrs). Being from PR, there was no need to arrange pre cruise anything, so I'll ... Read More
This particular cruise was sailing from San Juan, PR on November 25, 2006. Family of 5, DH (30 yrs), DD (3 yrs), DM (61 yrs), DM in law (56 yrs) and me (29 yrs). Being from PR, there was no need to arrange pre cruise anything, so I'll proceed directly to embarkation. We arrived at 4 pm to the port and were left at entrance by sister in law. No lines, no rush, very easy. Once registered and given our sailing passes (which we opened with our credit cards) we proceed to enter the ship. Picture taken. Were received with champagne or mimosas (however nothing for the kid, who as you may know, wanted something for her, point down). We proceed to the buffet and then to see the entire ship. Not impressed about the looks of the ship, not fancy or glamorous, just modern, but IMO, very well laid. Before dinner, which was second seating (we prefer it), went to see assistant maitre'd (Yussef, from Turkey) to arrange all of us be seated in the same table (bookings were made through different travel agents). No problem at all. Went to dinner, meet our waiter (Sylvanus, from St. Vincent) and assistant waiter (Agus, from Indonesia), both very friendly and gave us outstanding service during our two weeks cruise. Food overall was just OK, however desserts were excellent!!! Night entertainment was sometimes better than others, but overall: entertaining. The Cirque du Soleil left us hunger for more as it lasted only half an hour. We booked two cabins, one balcony (8144) for DH, DD and me, and one interior (8174) for moms. Room was small and balcony was standard, bathroom was very comfortable. Overall room was just enough for what we needed. Interior room was surprisingly comfortable and spacious (for an interior - there is no way I'll change my balcony). Our cabin steward (Teodosio) was very helpful, although we hardly spoke more than a hello; which is ok for me. Ports of Call: Curacao: being there before. We arranged private taxi island tour for $15 e/o. Shopping has turned more expensive, though; and the Island seems to be in reconstruction or something. Like it more the first time (5 yrs ago). Aruba: being there before also. arranged private taxi island tour for $20 e/o. Beautiful beaches, beautiful island. Tour left us at one beach (we requested it) and we took a bus to return to the pier ($1.25 e/o). Very easy to get back and permitted us to see the island from another point of view. Panama Canal: extraordinary!!! Sailing through the Panama Canal was announced to begin early in the morning - 6 am (at least for me), so I slept a little longer and woke up at 8 am just to see our ship entering to the locks. A cargo ship (China Shipping) entered to the Canal at the same time, so I was able to see the functioning of the locks perfectly from my balcony. The experience was very impressive, and it is more when you know how it was built. Cruise TV (and also at the Cinema) continuously showed a documentary of the plan, construction and functioning of the Canal. It is very important to know how it was made to really appreciate what your are seeing. We were not able to get off the ship until we got to Puerto Amador in the Pacific Ocean. Puerto Amador - Panama: Tender begun at 6 pm and last tender will left the pier at 10:45 pm. Not a lot of time to see much, specially at night. However, we arranged a taxi city tour ($25 e/o), and enjoy it a lot. Want to go back, as soon as we have travel the rest of the world - I guess. Punta Arenas - Costa Rica: being in San Jose before. We did not care about this particular port as it have nothing interesting to see. However, clothes are inexpensive and of good quality. They were on elections, so no alcohol was sold. Coffee was very delicious (moms got some bags of coffee from a local supermarket that our driver got us to). We went to see crocodiles and local artisans. Private tour for $25 e/o. Huatulco - Mexico: cute!!! Nice beaches, nice people, nice place. We booked an excursion with the ship. Nothing extraordinary, just something to get to know the place. It was ok, but prefer to go on our on. Very inexpensive, also; we went to an Internet Cafe an they gave us 1 hour for $1 (at the ship 1 minute is $0.75, WAO!) Acapulco - Mexico: spectacular!!! Simply beautiful. We arranged a private tour $25 e/o) they took us to old and new Acapulco, and get us to divers - Amazing! Very well worth. Loved this place (beware that all food tastes hot - even Doritos!!!). Los Cabos, San Lucas - Mexico: Ok. Took a bicitaxi (very funny) and do shopping, tried to eat burritos and tacos, but did not like taste. Even pop corn was hot and spicy. Los Angeles - California: WOW! We rented a minivan with a navigation system, very well worth the $9.95 extra that we paid, a must. We went to the Hollywood sign, various studios, and walk of fame. We liked this place a lot, maybe because we felt right at home again. Disembarkation was very smooth also. We placed our luggage before 12 midnight outside our room the night before. The day we arrived to port, got off bed at 7 am, took a shower, went up to breakfast, which was available till 9:30 am. When they call our group, we went to the theater, where we wait until called. Once called just got our way to the exit. Luggage was easily found and carried out by a porter. Taxis were a long wait, so we took a shuttle to the airport in order to register our luggage. Our flight back to PR was not until 9:30 pm, so we did not wished to carry them with us. After registering, we got outside the airport, took any bus shuttle to the first rental that appeared (which was Dollar) and rented a car. No problems at all. Our kid attended sometimes to the Fun Factory. She does not speaks english, even though the language barrier Olga, from Estonia (who does not speak spanish) get along very well with her. Overall the Fun Factory was ok; however, inside and outside playgrounds, as well as kids pool, remained closed almost the entire cruise, because of sanitary reasons. The Casino was very nice, as well as the pools and the gym. I used the beauty salon and was very pleased. The bars were nice, although everybody disappeared at 12:30 am. The disco was a fiasco, not to mention the latin night. The karaoke nights were so or so, considering travelers of this ship are well passed the 50 yrs old. However, they should consider adding other language selections (even latin songs were in english). The Cinema was ok, although they might consider adding closed caption to movies. Spa was inviting, although I wanted, did not found time to go. The stores were just ok. The computer center is very handy and the personnel very helpful (you may download your pictures to an account that they will give you and at the end of the cruise they'll give you a CD with all your pictures for $15) I was very pleased with the service received at the Cosmopolitan. Our Asst. Waiter, Waiter and Ass. Maitre'D were awesome. One night my daughter told Yussef that he did not sang Happy Birthday to her, I told him that her birthday was on July, but that she sees him singing Happy BDay, Happy HMoon or Happy anniversary to other people, but not to her. He told us, ok, then tomorrow is her birthday. The following night he bring her a chocolate cake and they sang Happy BDay in both english and spanish. She is 3 yrs old, that just made for the entire cruise to us. Thank you Yussef, Sylvanus and Agus for that special moment. The cruise was constantly sanitized, extremely sanitized; however, that did not bother us. I think we just get along with what was happening. A special comment to let you know that Happy Happy was there and even Santa Claus made an appearance. Our daughter enjoy his visit as well as all the living toys that were with him. I know there is people that found the cruise outrageous, but we loved it as it was our vacation and nothing was going to spoil it. We were so much pampered that miss every second onboard the Summit. That said, the ship does not look as good as those of other lines, and needs painting for the exterior rusted areas. Balconies needs improvement, particularly to rugs and furniture. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Review of Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 12-26 February 2006 Embarkation at Los Angeles was no problem as we had been staying in the area for a few days. After dropping our Hertz car at Long Beach Airport a helpful Hertz guy got ... Read More
Review of Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 12-26 February 2006 Embarkation at Los Angeles was no problem as we had been staying in the area for a few days. After dropping our Hertz car at Long Beach Airport a helpful Hertz guy got us a shuttle bus to share with two other Cruise Critic members going on the same cruise, so we were there in no time and put faces to two Cruise Critic friends on the way. The lines at the terminal were quite long but we were on the ship and dropping our carry on bags in our cabins just after 1pm. My wife and I were in inside cabin 3071 on Plaza Deck and our friend travelling on her own was in the adjacent cabin 3067. We discovered that 3067 is alongside a staff access door that leads behind the cabin to a working/storage area and a metal staircase. Staff running up and down the staircase late at night and early in the morning sound like thunder in these cabins, but particularly in 3067. 3067 also suffers from noisy early morning staff activity in the storage/working area but this is not evident in 3071. After being woken at around 6am by the noise we complained. According to our cabin stewards notices were put up asking staff to take care to avoid noise. This had no effect. A second complaint resulted in more notices but we were still being woken up. On being woken at 6.10am again I rang guest services immediately whereas we had previously gone there on our way to breakfast. This resulted in parts of the area being taped off and staff were instructed not to use the access door adjacent to 3067 at night. We were each sent a bottle of wine and basket of fruit by Guest Services who also offered us a change of cabins further down the corridor, but we decided to see what effect the new regime had before facing the hassle of packing and moving. While there was occasional noise it was muted and we were never woken again. Ironically the cabins were exceptionally well insulated from noise in the corridors or between cabins. The cabin was quite spacious, with the beds arranged as a queen as we had requested, with a two drawer bedside unit on either side of the bed. There was a dressing table on one side of the cabin and a small two-seater convertible sofa on the opposite side. Then came the two double wardrobes, which were opposite the bathroom. There was a safe inside one of the wardrobes. The television and fridge were in an angled section of the wardrobe nearest the dressing table. We managed to find room for two weeks worth of clothes in the space provided, though with nothing to spare. Our cabin steward Sofyan from Indonesia and his assistant Godfrey from India kept the cabin spotlessly clean and were both very friendly. We had requested first sitting for dinner and were on table 529 on the higher level of the dining room. It was a table for six, though there were only ever five of us, my wife and I, our friend and Frank and his wife Yolande from Detroit. Sadly one of their cases went astray on the flight to LA and it never caught up with them. Our waiter Lloyd from India and his assistant Arnold were excellent and very friendly, which is more than could be said for the wine waiter. This was our third cruise on Celebrity so the menus and food no longer had the wow factor of our first Celebrity cruise but were nevertheless very enjoyable, even if spoiled as we have been there often seemed to be only one thing we fancied each night. We prefer to have breakfast and lunch at the buffet. The breakfast choices are a delight, especially the waffles. Lunch however, like our cruise on Galaxy last summer seems to cater more for those wanting yet another hot meal rather than those wanting cold choices. Fortunately the Aquaspa Cafe offered a small rotating selection of additional cold menu choices. In our view Celebrity still doesnt do as good a buffet as Holland America, even though it beats it hands down for the evening dining room food. The ship itself is spacious and attractively decorated and furnished with some whimsical artwork and statues. I discovered that I could use my wireless notebook anywhere in the Grand Foyer atrium to check my e-mail and the satellite connection was surprisingly fast. The Bar at the Edge of The Earth on deck 11 at the bow of the ship is its forward observation lounge, but its Cirque de Soleil beds diminish the available seating for busy times like going through the Panama Canal locks. The lounge was only used once for a Cirque de Soleil White Masquerade Party during the 14-night voyage. It is sometimes used for ballroom dancing, but is mainly used at nights as the disco. We spent more time in the Rendezvous Lounge on the Promenade Deck where a ballroom dancing duo or band could be found every night and where the two dance hosts were available to dance with unaccompanied ladies like our friend. We also enjoyed Paul Strowe singing to his own guitar accompaniment by the pool in the day and outdoors on the rear Lido deck at night. Like our cruise on Galaxy last summer we found the entertainment to be a mixed bag. The four production shows were superb, as was the first nights show by two of the production shows lead singers, the ventriloquist and the local Mexican Folkloric troupe in Acapulco. We failed to find a seat for the comedian as my wife was having a winning streak on the slots in the casino. The sound on the third level balcony was rather unclear but it was better lower down but we didnt feel like standing for the rest of the comedians show. The Cirque de Soleil show was disappointing. In fact the aerial artists in the production show Alex & Sally were far better than the Cirque de Soleil show. Then there were four instrumentalists, which is too many for our tastes, no matter how talented they are. We would rather have had a little more variety such as a magician and a solo vocalist. Ports: Cabo San Lucas: This is a small but fast growing town at the southern tip of the California Baja Peninsular. It is set on a beautiful bay with the famous Les Arches rock formation (also called Lands End) marking the meeting of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. We took a ships tour of the area that took us along the coast to the supposedly less commercialised town of San Jose del Cabo. Like Cabo there are lots of condos and hotels being built and it will soon be just another tourist haunt, but for now it does still have some semblance of an old Mexican town. Acapulco: Set on a huge bay with mountains behind, Acapulco is a big city by comparison to all the other ports of call. We took the city tour that included the not-to-be-missed cliff divers. The city spreads for over 4 miles along the beaches in the bay. We enjoyed the visit but we are not city people so it is bigger than we prefer. We sailed from Acapulco at 11pm, which gave us a beautiful view of the twinkling lights of the city all the way up the mountains surrounding the bay. Huatulco: This is one of our two favourite ports. It was originally a small fishing village that is now the location chosen by the Mexican government to develop an ecological tourist destination covering 27 miles of coastline. One third of the entire area is to be a nature reserve and no buildings are allowed to exceed 6 stories high. The whole area that we visited on a ships tour is beautiful, both naturally and in the quality of the development. If you want to see it at its best go soon because by 2030 the Mexican government expect it to be bigger than Cancun. Puntarenas: We had expected more of this port of call after hearing how prosperous Cost Rica is compared to most Central and South American countries, but we were disappointed. The overwhelming impression was of garbage everywhere. It was a Sunday and the beach by the jetty was thronged with locals who seemed to delight in dropping garbage everywhere, despite plenty of bins to put it in. There were craft and souvenir stalls along the boardwalk at the back of the beach and we strolled among them looking at the goods on offer. The stallholders were very friendly and not at all pushy so it was a pleasant way of spending an hour or so, but the dirty condition of the town didnt encourage us to linger. All the ships tours were far too long to appeal to us, so after our stroll ashore we enjoyed a lazy day on the ship. Panama Canal: This was the purpose of the trip and it lived up to our wildest expectations. It is difficult to convey how fascinating it is to see it in real life and to take in what a colossal undertaking it was to build it ninety-nine years ago. I had read David McCulloughs book The Path Between The Seas  The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870 -1914 before the trip, (as I would advise anyone to do before making the canal cruise). So I knew the history of the 33 years of effort by the French and the Americans and the 25,000 lives that it cost to build it, but experiencing it gave it a whole new dimension. We went on deck before 6.30am so we could see Summit go under the Bridge of the Americas. The sun was just rising, reflecting off the skyscrapers of Panama City. Then we entered the first of the two locks at Miraflores at about 7.15am. After Miraflores we sailed the short distance to the Pedro Miguel lock which raised us the last step to enter the eight-mile passage through the mountains. The mountains looked surprisingly low, but this had been and remains the most difficult part of the construction effort. Landslides continue to this day, such is the unstable nature of the soil and rock in this area in the wet season. Then we arrived at Gatun Lake. Those going on shore excursions were tendered off about 2pm and the ship anchored for over two hours awaiting our 4.20pm slot through the three Gatun Locks. We came out of the final lock at 6.15pm just as we were starting dinner. The ship berthed at Cristobal at 7.15pm and after finishing dinner we went ashore to explore the craft and souvenir shops in the Duty Free area by the berth, bring to an end our long but fascinating day in Panama. Aruba: This was our other favourite port. It is so clean with pretty Dutch style architecture and the people are so friendly. We walked into town the short distance from the berth, which was right by the marina in Oranjestad. The walk by the marina was punctuated by stops at the many craft and souvenir stalls where we made a contribution to the local economy. Then we found the pretty boardwalk that took us in front of the Radisson Hotel to their private beach before exploring the stores in the Seaport Marketplace by the hotel. The Radisson is on both sides of the road so we crossed to the side away from the beach to explore the Renaissance Mall that is an extension of the hotel. After taking pictures of the Dutch style buildings we also explored the Royal Plaza Mall before heading back to the ship. We were amazed to realise that we had been happily exploring for four hours though we did have two coffee stops during that time! In summary it was a very enjoyable cruise. No cruise line we have been on so far is perfect, and we have experienced eight different ones on fifteen cruises, but Celebrity, despite its faults is the nearest to perfect for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
My wife and I sailed on Summit from LA on 12 Feb for the eastbound trip to Ft Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. We have cruised on 10 occasions with three cruise lines; Celebrity, Carnival and RCCL. We had an outside view stateroom on ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Summit from LA on 12 Feb for the eastbound trip to Ft Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. We have cruised on 10 occasions with three cruise lines; Celebrity, Carnival and RCCL. We had an outside view stateroom on the Continental deck. Embarkation: There was a long lineup at the pier but it moved quickly and we were aboard the ship about a half hour after arrival at San Pedro. Documentation etc was done quickly and in a friendly manner. We have had faster boarding processing in San Diego and Vancouver but the system at San Pedro was certainly acceptable. Food. This was our fourth cruise with Celebrity and the quality of food has remained excellent over the years. The Waiter and his Assistant (an Indian and Thai, respectively) assigned to our table were the most efficient, polite and capable that we have ever had. Their memories for "the little things" and their good humor were very much appreciated. Stateroom. Although the stateroom was well laid out with ample storage and met our needs, the daily maintenance of the room was not satisfactory. Our stateroom attendant (a Filipino female) was consistent in her absence and made no effort to introduce herself or request if we had any special needs. The bathroom glasses had the same lipstick stains for four consecutive days. The beds were poorly made with badly wrinkled sheets and blankets. A disappointment to be sure. Staff. The multi-national staff on this ship were outstanding with the exception of the Stateroom Attendant. Waiting staff in the lounges, cafeterias, theatre and other areas were friendly and helpful in every respect. Facilities. The lounge on the eleventh deck that was once called "Revelations" before being changed to accommodate Cirque de Soleile has a decor that can only be described as gawd-awful ugly. With the demise of the Cirque we certainly hope the old decor is restored. The most popular lounge on the ship, Rondez-vous, was comfortable and relaxed in spite of furniture that looked to be a day or two removed from a rummage sale. The chairs were worn, torn and tattered and seemed to be screaming for replacement or rejuvenation. When we arrived in Ft Lauderdale we were told by a staff member that the ship had not been in that port (with the Head Office in nearby Miami) for about 9 months and an inspection was scheduled to take place shortly after our arrival. Hopefully, the discrepancies noted above will be seen and rectified at the soonest possible opportunity. Ports. Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Cristobal and Oranjestad were just fine and the only disappointment was Puntarenas which had all the charm and dignity of a garbage dump. Costa Rica touts itself as an environmental paradise but Puntarenas screams otherwise. Trash was everywhere with bins overflowing. Plastic bottles, cups and bags were strewn from one end of the town to the other including the beach area and greatly detracted from what could otherwise be a beautiful town. Disembarkation. We can't comment on this matter as we were scheduled for a shore tour to the everglades and our departure from the ship was arranged to meet the tour schedule. Summary. We were on Summit for 14 days which gave us plenty of time to find things to whine about but despite those anomalies mentioned above we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and believe we received good value for our money. Any complaints we have can be easily rectified and we expect the appropriate action will be taken. Celebrity certainly remains as our "preferred" cruise line and we will have no hesitation in selecting Celebrity for our next cruise with all things being equal with other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
We arrived Fort Lauderdale two days before sailing and were glad we did as there was a Pro-Football game on Sunday and about 5 ships in port hotels so the hotels were full. Some of the connection group coming in a day before sailing were ... Read More
We arrived Fort Lauderdale two days before sailing and were glad we did as there was a Pro-Football game on Sunday and about 5 ships in port hotels so the hotels were full. Some of the connection group coming in a day before sailing were moved to other hotels as they had over sold the hotels in the area. Almost everyone had to wait a hour or two for a room to be cleaned even if they did get in the original hotel. The night before we had a pre-cruise party of the Connection group and about 25 were able to show up. Storms in the North-East delayed many airplanes. The boarding went very fast once they were able to start. There was a delay due to off loading a medical problem and a car accident in the port area. We were on board and dropped our carry-on in our stateroom in about 30 minutes once they got things going. Our Connection group sail-away party had about 40 people out of 56 at the aft bar on deck 10. It was great to put names to the web sign on names. We had two days at sea before our first port Our Cruise Critic/Celebrity party was on the first day at sea and from what I could tell 90% showed up. The group was hosted by John Howell (Cruise Director) and Jennifer Prince (Captain Club Hostess) it lasted about one hour. Our Connection group had a stateroom tour after the Cruise Critic Party (about 20 couples attended) . We viewed 6 different staterooms that we had in the group. On the second day at sea we went to the Normandie Restaurant with another connection couple and I must say it was the best that Joann and I have had in the specially restaurants. The staff was very friendly and talked and joked with us in a nice way yet they were formal in their service. -- an outstanding evening. With that comment we must say that this Ships Staff is the best we have had on a Celebrity cruise. From the Master Captain Skylogiannis , Hotel Director Daniel Llias and all their staff their attitude and attention to details was outstanding. We had a butler for our SS stateroom who with out question was the best we have ever had (George) The greeter (security) as you leave the ship and return is a man we call MR HAPPY if he is on our next cruise to Hawaii ,you will know who I mean. (he was on the Baltics cruise earlier this year) The captain hosted two Captain tables of the three on this cruise (He may have hosted the 3rd as we missed one night, most cruises the captain hosts one and other staff hosts the others) Cirque Du Soleil the 30 minute performance was outstanding -- the Full Theater give them a STANDING curtain call. Do not miss it! Food -- As most Celebrity cruisers know they have a 14 day menu and it has not changed in years, we knew what was for dinner without looking. It is excellent and good, but, we are ready for a change, which we understand is in the works for 2006. (we are Elite w/Celebrity) Ports -- We had been to all ports before, so no comments on the tours from us -- the tours were all very good. Disembarkation was a little slow because Immigration/Customs was done on board before bags could be off loaded. Why was it slow -- well Immigration officers were to be there starting at 6:00 AM. Well, when we were to show up (7:30 AM) there were only two (2) officers there. Once the rest showed up it went fast and Celebritys part and bag finding went fast. From the time we left our stateroom to outside was 30 minutes. Breakfast was served in the buffet area, so we went to Immigration/Customs and then to breakfast. We were off waiting for our son at 10:00 AM and we had asked for late disembarkation. Other than the fact Joann and I both got sick for the first time on a cruise and it did effect our after cruise trip to Las Vegas, but all said and done it was a great cruise due to the attitude of the staff on this ship -- The Summit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
This was our 21st cruise & our second cruise on Celebrity. I say that only to give the reader an idea of our cruise experiences & knowledge. Service&&&I cant say enough about this ship's staff & their ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise & our second cruise on Celebrity. I say that only to give the reader an idea of our cruise experiences & knowledge. Service&&&I cant say enough about this ship's staff & their overall service. From the day we started this 14 day cruise we were amazed at how helpful & friendly everyone was on this cruise. It is among the best service we have ever received on any other cruise line. Food was good to very good at the dining room & at the Waterfall Cafe. We believe that cruisers are sometimes to critical of the food but we rated this cruise about equal to or better than HAL, Princess & RCCL. Their specialty restaurant, The Normandy, is worth the extra expense at least once during the cruise. We were in room 9088 which is a Concierge level room. The extra service was well worth the extra expense. From the flowers, canapEs, plush towels, comfortable bed & pillows, tender tickets, priority embarkation/disembarkation, & room service menu were some of the extras. The room itself was about average, no more/no less than most other rooms we have stayed in. One complaint, try & book the 8th deck as the noise from the pool deck can be a little loud. The ship is in fine condition. A little wear here and there but overall it is in great shape for the number of years it has been in service. This is the fastest ship I have been on & I clocked it at 27 mph on my GPS. The Panama Canal passage was good. Learned much about the canal from the narrator which stayed onboard through the entire journey. The helicopter pad was opened up during the passage to allow access to the bow for a great view of the locks. Some might be a little disappointed as far as ship activities & shows go but we were happy with it. If you expect a Carnival experience you will be disappointed. The age of our passengers was older than we expected (65 up) but we believe it was because it was a 14 day trip between Thanksgiving & Christmas. We were told that the next trip to Hawaii was to have 650 children on board, a big difference from our trip. I have to mention a few extras that we have never seen on a cruise before. Cold towels around the pool in the afternoon & dockside when coming onboard. Sherbet around the pool. Extra thick towels at the pool along with padded loungers. A light & lean food area by the mineral pool offering a healthy food alternative with limited selection. Free ice cream made onboard daily. Overall it was one of the best cruises we have been on. We hope to cruise with Celebrity again soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
We were first time cruisers on Celebrity and sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal. We expected a little more than we received on the Summit. This was the fault of the TV advertising. We had previously cruised ... Read More
We were first time cruisers on Celebrity and sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal. We expected a little more than we received on the Summit. This was the fault of the TV advertising. We had previously cruised four times on Holland America and once on Renaissance. We expected an outstanding cruise experience and instead had an average one that was similar to Holland America's formula. The Cosmopolitan dining room service was excellent and the waiters were attentive and pleasant. The service on the Summit was better than that offered on four Holland America ships we had previously sailed on. However, we were not impressed by the shore excursions. We booked the Aerial Tramway tour in Costa Rica at $118 each. We saw one squirrel, hardly any flowers, and one yellow bird at the forest sanctuary. We do not recommend this tour as it is not a good value! The food and presentation in the restaurants was of a generally high quality but not outstanding. The entertainment had greater variety and more virtuoso performances than usual. The modern art decor is not than interesting. There are many photographs and modern sculptures but we prefer Holland America's antiques. The pools are good but the poolside music can be annoying. The casino is gloomy as it has an absence of windows, and the casino staff could be more inspiring and customer-orientated. The destinations were quite interesting but the time spent at each location only permitted a cursory inspection. Aruba is bigger than we expected and more interesting than anticipated. We saw very little of Panama but what we did see looked modern and up-to-date. The same could not be said for Costa Rica. Puntarenas had an abundance of iron bars on windows and graffiti. We were told that many Nicaraguans illegally emigrate to Costa Rica in order to escape poverty and high unemployment. What with this fact and the crocodiles we could not see why so many Americans want to retire there! Huatulco in Mexico was delightful as was Cabo San Lucas. Acapulco is interesting too, particularly Fort San Diego - a good value at 33 pesos. There are seven days at sea on this trip and that is a little too long. The overall conclusion for the voyage was good but not outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
This is a review, not an online journal. After 33 cruises, 9 with Celebrity, this is probably best read by someone with a similar background. Had this been a first cruise, I'd probably say that EVERYTHING was wonderful. The downside ... Read More
This is a review, not an online journal. After 33 cruises, 9 with Celebrity, this is probably best read by someone with a similar background. Had this been a first cruise, I'd probably say that EVERYTHING was wonderful. The downside of cruising often is that it's difficult not to become picky. Celebrity is a great cruise line and they do a great job. Some of the negatives mentioned below may have a lot to do with the fact that Summit's itinerary varies(a plus) but certain issues become a problem because they aren't in the same place every week. This particular 14 day cruise originated in LA with stops in Cabo, Acapulco and Huatulco in Mexico as well as a stop in Costa Rica and Aruba along with Panama Canal transit and a stop at Cristobal Pier there. If you consider this itinerary, bear in mind that there are 8 days at sea and many activities repeat themselves. There's a lot of time to relax!! Embarkation in LA, for example would have been perfect had it not been for the fact that each bus coming from the airport was "held" at the pier with passengers still on the bus for almost 30 min. This may have been a "port of San Pedro issue" rather than Celebrity's. After being on a plane for most of the day, this was not a pleasant experience to begin the trip. The public rooms are lovely on the ship, but due to the nature of the "older crowd" aboard, many lounges, the cinema, and the theater were extremely crowded at the earlier times rather than the later. Again, this is not something that the cruise line could really control but rather, something to note when booking a long cruise at a time of year when older people tend to travel. The cabin was exactly as promised. In this case, the balcony is well worth paying extra for, although one should be aware that it is hardly "private" is not always cleaned well by the cabin steward. Celebrity's fitness center, part of the Aqua Spa, is top notch with excellent equipment and fitness instructors and not too crowded even at peak exercise times. However, that could vary from cruise to cruise depending on the demographics of the passengers aboard. Certainly on this cruise, it was a great place to go. A look at the daily schedule indicated many recreational activities for one to select. Dining was outstanding in both the Normandie Restaurant as well as the main dining room. The buffet was better than on other cruise lines with a large variety to select from. Special note should be made of the "healthy" buffet near the Aqua Spa. This was a nice variation from the main buffet. Entertainment was very, very good when presented in the lounges or the theater. Two things that might improve this category would be less use of "prerecorded music" in some lounges and a greater use of the cinema for first run films...doing "pay for view" in a small cabin on a 19" television is hardly worth it. I thought it strange that the cruise director's information broadcast on tv was not specific to the particular day. After being on two other Millennium class ships where the cruise director always broadcasted "live" from an area of the ship and repeated their program throughout the day, I expected the same here. This was not only entertaining on the other ships, but also very informative. One might argue that the cruise director's responsibilities are huge and this would be time consuming. However, since the television is an important source of information and communication, live broadcasting was missed. The same applies to shore excursion listings over the television where some tours were never advertised while others that were not offered were shown to the viewer. Both these issues could be related to the fact that the Summit does some many different itineraries the it's easier to offer the "generic" rather than the "specific." For example, it would have been nice on the day before our canal transit for passengers to know that the video about the canal which was shown 3 times in the cinema would also be broadcast round the clock on television. A "hint" of the evening entertainment broadcasted during the day would have been nice as well. Again, on other Millennium class ships this was a very nice way to stay informed. Service on the ship was generally excellent, although our assistant waiter often made it difficult for our incredibly professional and competent waiter to maintain his high standards..the assistant seemed more interested in "setting up" for the second seating rather than dealing with his first seating diners. Getting his attention was sometimes difficult. The gentleman in charge of our section of the dining room often took up the slack in these situations. In the cabin area, our room was always cleaned well but our steward never seemed to get in the routine of knowing when we were gone. It was annoying to leave the cabin as early as 7:30 and come back six hours later to shower before lunch to shower and discover that the room was not yet clean. He also felt compelled each evening to knock on the door with paper work rather than just slide it under the door. Perhaps it's no longer company policy to do that. Special note has to be made regarding the Normandie dining room which was outstanding on our first visit and TREMENDOUS on our second. Dining here is not to be missed and well worth the additional expense. Overall, the pleasant nature of the entire staff was a very nice part of the Celebrity cruise experience. Shore excursions were excellent, although there were some changes to the "Coastal Highlights" tour in Cabo San Lucas that were very disappointing (a visit to "Cactus World" was not a high point of the trip.) One was not informed of changes in the tour itinerary until we were "lined up" for the bus and no one was offered the opportunity to choose not to go. The visit to Tabacon Hot Springs and Spa at the Arenel Volcano in Costa Rica, though, more than made up for any disappointment in Cabo San Lucas. Our guide was a well spoken and charismatic young man who made the 3-1/2 hour bus ride in either direction very interesting and informative. I'd recommend this tour to anyone. Along with shore excursions, the issue of tendering rather than docking often comes up, and while NO ONE prefers a tender to a docking situation, I noticed that the crew of the Summit goes out of their way to make tendering as pleasant as they can. Just watching other passengers on other ships and then comparing their treatment to ours drove that fact home extremely well. The Summit crew seems to time the tenders well. If you've never been treated to those lovely "cold towels" at the pier, you have missed something very nice. Overall this was an excellent cruise and an excellent value for the money. Celebrity makes is difficult for this passenger to want to cruise with any other company. Being treated "famously" is a great way to go! Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Master: Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis Hotel Director: Daniel llias Cruise Director John Howell PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS Cruising, like everything, is subjective. A wonderful cruise for one person is not necessarily for another. Sometimes ... Read More
Master: Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis Hotel Director: Daniel llias Cruise Director John Howell PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS Cruising, like everything, is subjective. A wonderful cruise for one person is not necessarily for another. Sometimes it's timing or simply our moods at the time. Some of us look for one experience, others look for something else. So with minor flaws, this is a rave review for Celebrity. This was was the cruise that sealed the deal for us -- we are now Celebrity loyalists. This is our third Celebrity cruise -- the first being on Horizon to Bermuda in 1997, the second on Millennium in the Western Caribbean in 2003 and now this 2-week adventure through the Canal on Summit. We booked another 10-day cruise in the Southern Caribbean in December 2006. We decided longer cruises are for us and cancelled our scheduled 7-day cruise on the Mercury in October 2006. Our experience with HAL, thus far, simply does not compare in service. Even visually, Summit is more appealing as we traveled about the ship. However, when I find a longer itinerary on HAL we will likely give them another try because I don't think it's quite fair to compare the 2 experiences without a longer cruise in the mix. It takes about 2 days to get "into the swing" of the cruise. And the last 2 days I anticipate its sad end. So a 7 day cruise only affords me about 3 days of total relaxation. A longer cruise gives us the opportunity to just revel in the absolutely joyous experience of cruising. I have never enjoyed being on the sea as much as I did these past 2 weeks. PRE-CRUISE INFO: We flew into LAX, rented a car and drove to Long Beach where we stayed at the Coast Hotel. We love the location; the hotel was clean and quite nice right on the water. The Queen Mary was within walking distance so that was a wonderful way to spend a part of Saturday. Finding the hotel was very difficult, but if we were to sail out of San Pedro again, I would stay here. OVERALL OBSERVATIONS ~ CELEBRITY VS. HOLLAND AMERICA: This cruise made Celebrity our #1 cruise line of choice. However, I've never done a 2 week cruise on HAL so this may not be a completely fair observation. But I can honestly say that other than some issues with a couple of shore excursions, there is absolutely nothing we didn't love about this cruise. We've cruised 15 times since the early '80s -- not a ton of experience. But we've cruised on Cunard, Regency, HAL, Celebrity, NCL, Royal Viking Line, Seawind Cruises and Windstar so we have a lot of compare. First to compare the ships Oosterdam (sailed 11/04) and Summit -- personally I feel the design, layout and general architectural details are far superior on Summit. The outside elevators alone and so much more open and encompass superior views as you glide up and down. There are 4 of them vs. Oosterdam's 2 and glass practically all around. I can't even compare the onboard shops. Oosterdam's were sparse and broken up in such a way that it reminded me of a maze. Summit has magnificent shops laid out similarly to walking down an avenue with two kiosks in the center where the merchandise is changed daily. The cabin's appointments are far superior. The dressing table/desk on the Oosterdam also held a TV and had little cabinet space. The Summit's dressing table is much larger and more usable. This was the most amazing cruise we've ever taken in every way. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier by taxi around 11:15 a.m. If there was a short line, I don't even remember it. We were Concierge Class so had "priority" boarding, but it would have made no difference at all. We were on the ship by 11:30 and able drop our carry-ons in our stateroom. Our cabin attendant, Lorna, apologized that it wasn't "quite ready," but promised it would be within half an hour. We happily headed to the Waterfall Cafe for lunch. STATEROOMS: We were in Concierge Class #6135 on Penthouse Deck (6th). As you may know, because 6135 is between 2 Royal Suites, the deck is considerably deeper than most CC class staterooms. There is plenty of room for 2 cushioned chaises and a small table plus 2 cushioned chairs and a round dining table. This cabin is also about 20 sq. ft. larger, I think, than a standard verandah cabin. The "living" area seemed a lot roomier than our cabin on the Millennium which was midships on the same deck. The closets are not great, but we were still able to somehow fit everything in. Unlike the HAL ships, there are 6 drawers and roomy shelf below the safe. But there is only one closet for hanging clothes for us. Luckily DH doesn't pack too heavy and there was room for all my "stuff." I do prefer the verandah furnishings on the Oosterdam (wicker) -- this furniture was not as nice, but the size made up for it and the cushions helped. Had we stepped up to a Sky Suite, I think we would have had wood which was really very nice. One thing I loved on the Summit was when you've ordered Room Service for Breakfast (CC gets the full menu); Lorna would always call me to say the tray was on its way. So much better than the knock on the door. I did love the little "extras" we got in CC class -- the fresh fruit everyday, the 2 pillows each were heavenly. The comfort of the bed was heavenly and I loved the duvet. Have to admit it didn't quite measure up to HAL's beds, but was so far superior in every other way that I overlook that completely. I'll use this opportunity to mention the Royal Suites. We had Cruise Critic friends who were lucky enough to grab one for a really great rate and they invited us for a party one night. This is an AWESOME suite with a huge verandah with hot tub, separate bedroom, dressing area and large bath. The living/dining area was beautifully furnished with luscious woods. They had large plasma screen TVs in both the bedroom and living room. I was sooooo jealous! PASSENGERS: A word about the passengers as a whole. I would say the age range was definitely in the over 60 department. But there were many in their 40s and 50s and a few younger. We had (I think) 5 small children who were so well behaved I thought they might be robots. There were also many Europeans onboard. We were fortunate that the ship was not completely full with about 1900 passengers (Summit can actually hold up to almost 2300 when used to capacity). Some of you might say "so old!!!" Sometimes someone might walk a bit slower than you might like, but everyone on this ship seemed to be having an equally wonderful time and I heard little or no complaining. Maybe I walked in a dream world, but I didn't hear it. We had a really nice Roll Call before we left and we knew 40+ had signed up for the Celebrity Connections party. Several of us also decided to hook up at Sail Away at the Mast Bar. The person who began the roll call made wonderful nametags for us and we all gathered there in wonderful moods ready for a great cruise. San Pedro was unseasonably cold that day, but our hearts were sure warm! We gathered the next day at Michael's Club for our party and what an amazing turnout! And what a fun, wonderful group with ages across the board from young to very old. But the very old guy just happened by! When I asked him what his CC name was, he said he just saw it was a party and decided to come on in! John Howell, the most wonderful amazing CD on the face of the oceans, came to greet us. When we had to break up because another party was coming in, they promised us another party the 2nd week. They came through for us and that party was equally well attended and enjoyed. Throughout the cruise, close bonds were made among several CC members and we really enjoyed getting together, sharing tours together and other activities. And because we had made contact on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas Roll Call before we left (knowing they'd be on a similar itinerary), we had fun shouting across the ships a couple of times ... especially as we made our way through the Panama Canal. Early on, one CC'er suggested that on Sea Days anyone interested in eating in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant should meet outside at 12:30. We did this a few times and were particularly pleased when we invited John Howell to join us one day after our second party. He graciously accepted and I was fortunate to have him sitting next to me. He shared a lot of fun stories and information we wouldn't ordinarily have. I said it before and I'll say it again: John Howell is, without question, the best CD I've ever known. It almost seemed he was everywhere at once, always accessible and always there with a smile. He's raised the bar for me -- that's for sure. DINING Cosmopolitan Restaurant Before dinner we would always go to the Rendezvous Lounge or Martini Bar for the Virgin drink of the day. If we wanted to watch the dancing, the Lounge was the place to be. But we really liked the Martini Bar and the Champagne Bar when we wanted to talk. We often didn't get to do this because the show was so frequently at 7:00. We had Table #436 right in the center of the dining room beside the Ms Rotterdam statue. We could not have had a better table. I thought the food was really good although I had much more beef than I would generally enjoy. I'm much fussier about food than many people are, but everyone else felt the food was really top notch. Personally I didn't like the potatoes except a couple of rare occasions, but the beef was amazing. Everyone who had fish said it was always wonderful as well ... even though we had never heard of any of the varieties they offered. For us, it was our Waiter, Julio, and Asst. Waiter, Francisco, who really made our dining experience the best of a lifetime. Their service was beyond description. And this was where Celebrity shines so far above HAL which doesn't begin to compare. I still fault HAL management decisions for this, but Julio had 3 tables during Late Seating so he had the time to give us so much. Both Julio and Francisco were so happy, so willing to meet our every whim. For our sitting, everyone seemed to adhere to the dress code throughout the week although I must admit it seems that "Informal" is a word not everyone quite "gets." To top off this amazing experience, we also had the only Assistant Maitre D' who has ever bothered with us at all. From the very first night Celito (sp?) came to our table and spent time with us. He would fulfill any request or desire we might have. The extras that we got which included a magnificent array of cheeses and biscuits every single night were just fantastic. The Normandie (Specialty Restaurant) We only dined here once because we were invited by 4 other CC'ers to join them one night. I'm so glad we did because just the "show" is worth the $30/pp cover. We had an 8:00 pm reservation and we left the restaurant at 11:30. It was superb from start to finish. Waterfall Cafe and Grill Everything here was so good. The Pasta Bar (made to order) was exceptional and so fresh. The pizza was terrific. I especially loved the vegetable one. I like the HAL ice cream better, I have to say. But Celebrity has improved their burgers, etc., and these were absolutely amazing. All the desserts here were so good. I also loved the Deli section with the "make your own but they'll do it for you" sandwiches. Which reminds me! The Belgian Waffles in this section in the morning (only until 10 so get yourself up there!) with strawberries in syrup and whipped cream all over them were beyond description. All the fruit (especially the cantaloupe) was wonderful as well. OTHER SERVICE The service overall was absolutely amazing. Everyone everywhere on the ship greeted us with a smile, a "hello" and a "good morning" or "good night." I never encountered anyone who did not deliver the epitome in service from the Concierge, to Guest Relations to Captain's Club and to Future Sales (and you can bet I was in there booking another cruise!). Just that friendly "good morning" when we emerge from the midship elevators for breakfast is an added touch you don't soon forget. If I'm going to criticize, it's the Shore Excursion desk. I realize it's a tough job, but there were not pleasant when all I asked for was a comment form to let them know about my shore excursion problem. Lorna, our Stateroom Attendant, was always just outside my door with a greeting and a smile. ENTERTAINMENT Amazing! From one night to the next, they never repeated one act. Each show was fantastic and fun. When I judge shipboard entertainment, I don't compare it to Broadway -- I compare it to other cruises we've been on. We went to almost every show. And I loved that many nights they had the Late Seating Show at 7:00 so that we could enjoy other entertainment throughout the ship. It also gave us a chance to get to bed before 1:00 in the morning! Some of the talent was beyond amazing. The Aerialists, Alex and Sally, were magnificent to watch. The featured singers, Travis and Denise Turpin were wonderful and just seemed to enjoy themselves every minute. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers were fantastic. Noodles Levenstein was just plain funny, Antonio Salci (Pianist) was so good I bought his CD, Jack Walker's voice got better with every song and by the end of his show I was on the edge of my seat. I ran to be the first to buy his CD. There were many nights that these entertainers received and deserved a standing ovation. Both DH and I agreed that it was the best entertainment we'd seen on any cruise. "ACUPUNCTURE AT SEA" If you've ever considered acupuncture and just haven't done it, this is a wonderful time to try it. They had several lectures explaining the process and I decided to bite the bullet and try it. I found it very helpful and plan to continue now that I'm back home. AQUA SPA The only service I used here was a manicure. Josh was the most amusing and amazing manicurist I've ever had and the hand ritual treatment was beyond anything I've experienced. I didn't every have a manicure before that includes massaging my neck and shoulders, but I'll take it!!! SEA DAY ACTIVITIES (We had 7 of these!) These were heaven! We're not big "activities" people so unfortunately I can't report on that very much. I do know there were a heck of a lot of people up on the pool deck having "Fun In The Sun". And I loved the "Sorbet Parade". Yummy! SHIP'S PHOTOGRAPHERS AND PICTURES: Loved that the photographers were not "in your face". They would ask if we wanted a picture taken. This made it a lot easier to find our pictures when we did want them because so many people declined. The cost has gone off the charts and the only one I purchased was our table picture. I'm glad I did because the one taken with my camera came out blurry. But I don't know why they won't print up a simply 5x7 rather than attaching 2 wallet size and a 4x6 in order to jack the price to $19.95. We didn't bother with the "studio" shots either because those cost even more. In this world of digital photography, it's just not worth it. The only thing I regret was not asking the photographers to come to the "Connections" parties so we could get a group Cruise Critic shot. I would have loved that and it would have been worth the $20. But I just never thought of it and no one else did either. PORTS AND TOURS Upon returning to the ship in every port, we were greeting with cold water, punches or lemonade and ice cold hand towels. These were soooo welcome in hotter ports and particularly while waiting for the tenders. We had 2 days a sea (aaaaah sweet bliss as we relaxed into the journey of a lifetime) before arriving at Cabo San Lucas on Tuesday, 10/25. Sailing along the Baja in the early morning light is an awesome experience. Rounding Lands End, we dropped anchor the farthest from shore that you can without being the Pacific Ocean. Summit gets last dibs at every port from what we saw. I have no idea why. So it was a loooong tender ride into port. I hate tendering anyway. Luckily for us, we had tours in both tendered ports so it was a piece of cake. I will say that the tenders on Summit are far better than HAL. They're more open, with more air flowing through and much lighter. So it was as good as it could be. We took a ship's tour in this port called: "Land's End Boat Cruise & Beach Tour": If you want to giggle a bit, go to the Celebrity site and read their description of this tour focusing on the part about the "beach club." The boat portion of this tour was just as we expected and I have no complaint whatsoever. It was wonderfully enjoyable and I just wish they could have dropped us off at Lover's Beach and leave it at that. Instead we were taken back to the port where we were herded like cattle toward a bus to take us to the "beach club." The problem here was there was a guy in the front with a sign who walked very fast and appeared to lose half of us (somehow we all ended up where we were supposed to be). We got on a very clean and pretty bus and were driven the short distance to the beach. This was mere moments from the pier and we could see our Summit anchored off shore (if we were smart enough to bring our binoculars with us). The RCI and Crystal ships were clearly visible. But this is where the joke began for us. We walked down a very steep hill and were led onto a crowded beach there in the harbor. They had roped off a section where about 50 or so plastic lounge chairs had been place with a bunch of market umbrella. The chaises were so close together that the only way to sit on them was to stand at the foot of the chair and sort of fall backward hoping the other end would not pop up and kick you in the head. The chairs were on such an angle that I basically went behind it and dug it deep into the sand just so I could sit on it without sliding off. We were told that the roped off section would keep the vendors from bothering us -- that they could only come over to us if "invited." Well, they were very good at making you feel guilty if you didn't "invite" them. On top of that, they pretty much blocked any view of the water. They were so sweet, actually, that is was hard to be angry but it certainly wasn't quite what we expected. We couldn't wait to get back on the bus and return to the ship. After another day at sea we arrived Thursday in Acapulco which I was prepared to hate, but was pleasantly surprised. Here we had booked a tour called: "Mayan Palace Beach Getaway": This was an excellent and wonderful tour. The Mayan Palace is a timeshare resort in the "future" section of Acapulco. As you may know, Acapulco is divided into the "old" section, the "new" section, and the "future" section. This is a magnificent resort like none I have ever seen. We spent the day sitting by the pool by the sea and had a wonderful lunch at a restaurant there. We spent 4 hours there and then returned to the ship. It was a wonderful day shared with some of our new Cruise Critic friends. All the guys bonded standing in the pool. When I've posted my pictures, you will see all of this and the pictures speak a thousand words. On Friday we docked in Huatulco which is a charming and delightful town. I will say, however, that I had gone on this cruise prepared to by sterling silver in our Mexican ports. Forget that! I'm sure if I'd gotten out of the main part of town I could have done better, but I can find much nicer silver here in the states for at least half the price and I told the merchants that. When I saw a piece I liked for $250, the salesman said "let's talk." We talked, but when he realized I wanted something under $100, he led me to their souvenir table. I left empty handed. We did not do a tour here because I'd been told you can easily walk about town and there's a wonderful beach right next to the pier. I found this difficult to believe, but they were right. It's a beautiful, clean, white sand beach and I enjoyed my time there. Huatulco is named for its nine beautiful bays and I would think seriously about returning to enjoy one of their resorts. They are trying to entice tourism there and I'd like to enjoy the beauty of the area before it becomes the next Acapulco. After another wonderful sea day (did I mention that once we got away from the cold dampness of California our weather was magnificent throughout? -- well, a little misty on the Panama Canal, but that kept it cool) ... we arrived on Sunday, 10/30, at Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Here we had booked a tour called: "Aerial Tram Pacific": We docked at the far end of the pier (of course) even though there was no other ship at the pier. They had a trolley with a "toot toot" engine that shuttled everyone to the flea market area. Sadly, I never got to enjoy shopping there since we were so late returning to the ship from our tour. Many people told me they did their very best shopping by the pier in Puntarenas. The bus picked us up right by the ship and drove the 1 ½ hours + to the park in the mid-Pacific. I want to say first that the aerial tram portion of this tour was magnificent and so worthwhile. But the walking portion which we were told was "optional" seem to take up the better portion of the time allowed and quite truthfully I didn't come all the way to Costa Rica to see plants that were not even native to the area. They plopped them in the ground and put little signs on them. They also walked us ever so slowly to see various types of snakes being kept in glass cages along the path. I found this very upsetting. Here we are in the wild and these snakes are housed in little boxes just so we could stare at them in groups of 10 and 20. Because there was a huge back-up at the tram, our guide would walk us about 5 steps and stop us to prattle on about something. I was terribly disappointed in this aspect of the tour, but all was forgiven after our wait for the tram because we really enjoyed our ride up above the canopy of the forest. Even the rain made it all seem that much more beautiful. I was particularly excited when I saw a Fiery Billed Aracari (variety of Toucan) which I pointed out to our guide! I even got a picture of "my" bird giving me a little wave. So late returning to the ship all I had time for was a few quick shots of the sunset before we left this magnificent country. At sea on Halloween with all sorts of shenanigans going on about the ship, we reached the entrance to the Panama Canal and the Bridge of the Americas early in the morning Tuesday, November 1st. We did not tour here because we wanted the experience of cruising "from sea to shining sea" -- the Pacific to the Atlantic. It was more amazing, magnificent and awesome than I ever could have imagined. Seven or eight years ago we did the "half way" portion of the canal through the Gatun Locks, into the Lake and out again. But that paled in comparison to the entire canal. Any of you who have done this cruise know what I mean. I had read and studied a great deal about it so it made the experience that much better. Along the way there was a lot of sharing with Radiance of the Seas as she passed through the canal with us. Again, my pictures will tell a better story than I can. Another day at sea and then we arrived at sunny, warm Aruba on Thursday, 11/3. Docked right in town, I shopped a little in the morning and then joined Rich and Sandy (Our Dream) for a beach day. One of the things that Celebrity does is give you huge beach towels in your cabin for your use throughout the cruise. When you bring them back, they give you a nice fresh new one. I like this so much better than grabbing 2 or 3 smaller towels on HAL. At our second Cruise Critic party, John Howell had told us about a wonderful beach where it wouldn't be so crowded. It isn't even on the map. Since that conversation, John asked me not to publish the name so I won't. But if you're lucky enough to cruise with John, he just might tell you about it. It is a heavenly beach ... a hotel where we presumably were not supposed to be able to rent the thatched umbrellas and lounge chairs, but when we told them we were happy to pay, they were happy to accommodate us. We found a huge umbrella under which all 4 chaises fit. We were right by the water so could all easily swim without worrying about our things. The water felt like liquid silk and the color of the water was incredible to behold. Having come from the Pacific where we did not see waters like this, it was all that much more appreciated. We had a wonderful day there. After 2 more days at sea, we arrived back home in Ft. Lauderdale -- a very sad day for me because as I have said before, this journey could not have been more fun, more enjoyable, more fulfilling or any better in any way. CLOTHING AND ATTIRE Couldn't come up with a name for this section, but did want to mention that DH after much thought did take advantage of Cruise line Formals. He has his own tux so was reluctant to pay $85 for this service. He did not regret it! First, it fit better than his own since they used his current measurements as opposed to those of several years ago when he was just a wee bit smaller. But beyond that, the ease of having it delivered to the stateroom and leaving it there was worth every penny. The tux was quite stunning and he looked wonderful. When I post our pictures later on this thread, you'll see how nice it was. I highly recommend it. I packed perfectly for dinner, but took way too many casual clothes. When you pack for a 2-week, remember to remove 1/3 of what you plan on taking -- maybe even more. If all else fails you can throw on a cover-up and pretend you're on the way to the pool. On our 14 night cruise we enjoyed 8 Casual nights, 3 Informal and 3 Formal. This threw me a little because I thought it was 7 Casual nights, but luckily I had an Informal outfit that could pass for Casual. DISEMBARKATION: We were told we would have "priority" disembarkation, but all this meant in the end was that we had a special lounge to wait where Danish and coffee were served. There were so many Europeans on this cruise who needed to fly from Miami that we could not disembark until 10:00. This was not a problem since we live in West Palm Beach and friends were meeting us. The entire process was a "piece of cake." We went for breakfast at 8:15 and returned to our cabin. Lorna told us we could wait there, but at 9:30 we went to the Cinema so we would hear when "Red4" was called. Suddenly we felt we were in a James Bond film waiting for the code word "Red4!" Promptly at about 9:45 we were called and left the ship with no jamming, elbowing or anything. All the bags were organized in their color categories and while the line through customs appeared very long, we whisked through literally in minutes and were in our car and on our way by 10:15. FINAL THOUGHTS: It's the people who made this journey so absolutely amazing. Many of them were fellow CC'ers and many we just met along the way. You may think this rave review is just too good to be true. But this was 2 weeks of pure bliss. I'm not easy to impress and you should also know that the entire first week I was trying to reach someone back home in West Palm Beach, FL, to see if our house was still standing after Wilma. But despite that anxiety and the $200 spent on the internet trying to get news, I still managed to have on of the most wonderful times in my entire life. I won't be forgetting any of it anytime soon and I hope the friendships we made onboard will last a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Embarkation - Quick and easy. Celebrity has a separate check-in area for people in suites. We were on the ship in 15 minutes, even though we had a cabin change and new room cards had to be made. Crew/Staff - Exceptional. Our Butler and ... Read More
Embarkation - Quick and easy. Celebrity has a separate check-in area for people in suites. We were on the ship in 15 minutes, even though we had a cabin change and new room cards had to be made. Crew/Staff - Exceptional. Our Butler and other room service staff treated us like a king and queen. Our dining room waiter and assistant waiter were friendly, humorous and extremely efficient. Crew members we encountered in passing, on stairways, in hallways, on decks, all had a friendly smile and cheerful hello. Dining/Food - Wonderful. Portion sizes were just right in the dining room. Many cruise lines serve too large of portions. Special requests were granted with no problem. Dining in our stateroom was just as wonderful as in the dining room. Even though some items weren't on the room service menu, such as eggs benedict or Belgian waffles for breakfast, we had no problem getting them and everything, including the eggs over-easy, were still hot and delicious. The fresh fruit was sweet and juicy. The homemade ice creams (large variety from day to day) were marvelous. All the sauces were excellent, as were the fresh vegetables. Ports of Call/Shore Excursions/Getting on and off ship - Great ports of call and numerous shore excursions to choose from. Trip in Costa Rica to La Paz Waterfalls was unbelievable. Easy to get on and off ship, even at tender ports. Shore excursions were clearly marked, plus most left and returned on time. Ship was on-time or early at every port. Cold towels were wonderful when getting back on the ship. Stateroom - We were upgraded to an incredible stateroom and found it spacious, well-appointed and a pleasure to be in, especially on sea days. Loved the goose down on the beds and the "pillow menu," the thick robes and towels, fresh flowers, afternoon "treats," private spa on the deck, in-room entertainment system and in-room computer station. Public areas/lounges - All were very comfortable and non-glitzy; plenty of seating, pleasant music, appropriate to the main age group of guests. We didn't care for the "Cirque" experience or the decorations in Reflections - too much "hype" and not much substance. Entertainment - Above average; very talented singers and dancers. Spa/Gym facilities - Spa specials were wonderful and the staff very professional; no one tried to shove spa "products" down my throat. The gym is much larger and has much more equipment than on any other ship we've been on - never crowded. Persian Garden was a bargain at $99 for the 14-day cruise and is almost a secret. It was never crowded and the 2 steam rooms and 1 dry sauna were marvelous. The lounge area was tranquil and relaxing. Best cruise and best ship we've ever been on! Would definitely go on this ship or any other "Millennium" class ship with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 22 April 2005 Thank you Celebrity Summit for an excellent cruise. People made the difference. To our new Cruise Critic friends, we enjoyed our time together alligator spotting, water bus riding, ... Read More
Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 22 April 2005 Thank you Celebrity Summit for an excellent cruise. People made the difference. To our new Cruise Critic friends, we enjoyed our time together alligator spotting, water bus riding, snorkeling, shopping, canopy walking, zip-lining, sharing cocktails and dinner, dinner, dinner, etc. From the Celebrity Staff we appreciated great overall service with smiles and excellence in food and entertainment. We had a great time and based on our experience, we would choose Celebrity again in the future. Several things are most notable during the 14-day cruise. Our critique is based on an experience base of only 3 Cruises of which this was the most recent. It was also our first time on Celebrity. The Summit's number one differentiator from our other cruises is the quality of entertainment. John Howell, Cruise Director, executed his responsibilities with creativity (Beach Party), caring (Cruise Critic gatherings), competence (Nightly Show Host), flexibility (modified schedules based on cruise dynamics) and genuine friendliness (he convinced us that we were a part of his family). He visibly led his staff by example and their teamwork was evident throughout the cruise. Our heart-felt well done and a nod of the hat to John. We would sail again with him even if he were the Cruise Director of the Titanic! (Just kidding). His service was beyond excellent and definitely outstanding (Not kidding). The second kudo is for the dinner cuisine and service in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. We were at late seating (Table 407) and under the watchful care of Vernon from South Africa and his assistant Rafael from Honduras. The food quality and diversity was a credit to the chef and food service staff. Everything was always fresh, hot and delicious. But this acknowledgement doesn't stop with the preparation and great taste. The personal delivery, cheerful good humor and overall ambiance were first class. Vernon and Rafael turned dinner into a dinner theatre experience with fun ventures into the art of pepper grinding, defining "Hearts of Iceberg Lettuce", the science of tableware positioning (and repositioning), and Rafael's now famous toothpick games and napkin folding. We looked forward to their service every night. Even Zanna from Lithuania, our sommelier, added to the experience (remind her she promised to provide us a fashion show). Not to be forgotten, our tablemates from Manchester, England and San Diego, CA made each meal an event of memorable camaraderie and day-in-review. (What time is it Margaret?) The Normandie dinner was extraordinary. In addition to great co-diners Ronni and Frank, we were very impressed with the 6-course menu, the chef's accommodation of our entrEe requests, the food quality and the accompanying wines. I can't think of a way they could improve this experience. It was perfect. The public areas of the Summit were well maintained and pleasantly staffed. A big round of applause for the daily "March of Sorbet" around the pool decks. But Celebrity! Please let those poor guys and gals wear shorts and polo shirts as they serve us instead of uniforms! 90+ degrees and high humidity should be factors in their attire selection. Cliff - thanks for the attention to detail on Mauricio's tour. You can be our tour guide anytime. Andrew - thanks for arranging the follow up meeting for CCs. John H. - thanks for your time and participation in Michael's Club CC sessions. The following observations are provided to Celebrity to consider in further improving the cruise experience. We consider these items minor in the context of our entire cruise, but detailed them so they would be better understood: 1. The Concierge Class Room and service were barely 3 Star hotel quality. Our critique in this area is a bit harsh, but Princess set that bar pretty high on both the Tahitian Princess and the Dawn Princess. The personal service we received on Princess set our cabin expectations for cruising. In perspective, our past experience was that the Room Steward met you in the hall on arrival, introduced himself, offered service at all times of the day and night (rarely needed), was constantly visible in the halls, and assured the room was 100% at all times without reminder or prodding. We found personal, attentive cabin service sorely lacking in our Celebrity experience. Although a special concierge number was provided if we needed assistance, we just didn't feel it was worth the time from our vacation to chase after our room attendant. Bottom line? We would not spend extra for Celebrity Concierge Class in the future. These are some specifics: · Upon arrival in Room 8102 we opened the curtains to find smudged, greasy windows. On this occasion we did chase down the room attendant to have the windows washed so we didn't have to have to see this every time we looked outside. · Once we could see outside, we discovered that 8102 has the smallest balcony imaginable, and angled with the contour of the ship. It's hard to believe that two chairs and a table fit on it. The adjoining suite obstructed part of our aft view. Our neighbors were very kind and kept the blinds closed overlooking our balcony so we could have privacy. The balcony definitely did not meet our Concierge Class expectations. In fact, we found ourselves consciously seeking time on the public ship deck rather than on the cabin balcony. · A cover plate from an electric outlet was lying on the desk and the 110v receptacle was pushed into the wall and unusable. It took a full week before it received attention from maintenance, and by the end of the cruise, it was back to its original state of disrepair. · Two ceiling lights were burned out on arrival as well. These also took a week to replace. · We never received the advertised Concierge pillow menu for a selection. · The daily fruit bowl was concerning in terms of freshness. The apples were bruised and mushy. The pears on multiple occasions had surface cuts from handling. On the last two days, the strawberries had mold on them. · CanapE delivery was unreliable. On two nights we had to hunt for the room attendant to get delivery. Delivery ranged from about 4:15 pm to 7 pm. On several occasions, the bread was stale. The selection was also quite repetitive. · Laundry Service was slow and expensive. We requested next day service. It took two days, returning late the second day. A 50% surcharge was added to our bill. If Celebrity is going to add a surcharge, why not just put the charge in the price to begin with. · Turndown service was inconsistent. On one night the Celebrity Today was not delivered. On two nights there were no weather cards or chocolates. Since Celebrity puts most planning information in the Celebrity Today and Weather on the Weather cards, we had no planning information on port arrival or weather conditions for our excursion the next day. · On several occasions we had to personally get ice to replenish the melted supply. · During one day, we returned to our cabin to change into swimming suits. The bathroom service attendant opened the door without knocking (Fast retreat followed). · Priority Tender privileges were overrated. We tried to go ashore for a brief visit to Fuerte Amador, and waited over 45 minutes before giving up and leaving in order to participate in other planned activities. When we left, the Concierge passengers were still waiting. Later in the week at a Cruise Critic meeting, John H. convincingly explained that the Port Authority was the culprit. For the sake of the customer facing staff however, Celebrity needs to provide them that information to convey in real time. They faced a fairly frustrated group of cruisers, and the only information they could give was "soon". They need to be better informed. It's not fair to put them in that situation.· Water in the bathroom sink on multiple occasions was light brown in color. · We experienced a sour smelling shower for several days. It was finally bleached once, which helped for a day or two. · We visited with CC friends in the Penthouse and Royal Suites, and found that the room service we were lacking was surely provided to some. Of special note, the suite butler service we observed was extraordinary (Xavier - A+). · Frankly, the highlight of our Concierge Class Service was the bottle of champagne on arrival. 2. Waterfall Cafe: · Not much to say about the Buffet. Breakfast and lunch were unremarkable. This is not solely a Celebrity deficiency. Princess has the same problem with repetition, cold food and lax preparation. On the Summit, the mixed fruit bowl contents were frozen on several days and you had to beat a chunk off and let it thaw before eating. Toast came in one flavor - burnt). The salvations for Summit Cafe eating were the omelet bar, waffle bar and in the afternoon, the pasta bar. · As a dinner alternative, the Sushi Bar was great. We went there when the CanapEs were late or inedible. Recommend that Celebrity expand the hours from 4 pm to 10 pm. · The Ice Cream bar was also great. Easily accessible, quick service, good choices of flavors. 3. The Aqua Spa · I used this every other day. The pool area and changing rooms were clean and well maintained. Towels were readily available and so were deck chairs. · The pool temperature was very acceptable. · The pool water was not very clean. This is likely due to the large number of people using it, the bubble jets and the power showers. Hair, skin and band-aids were in the mix. Perhaps the filters were not functioning properly? · The selection of light faire foods at the spa cafe was excellent. Nice job. 4. Shore Excursions through Celebrity · Kukoo Kanuku - Very good tour, dinner and bar selection. Only downside was we purchased a CD from the tour guide and when we got home to play it, the case was empty. Hope this isn't a regular occurrence. · ACA Beach Club - Very good tour, excellent pool facilities, lunch and drinks. Recommend the duration of this excursion be stretched to 3 pm. 5. Cirque "Experience" · Several months ago, as we searched for our next cruise, the hook that brought us to Celebrity in the first place was an expectation of the excellence of Cirque through a cruise media presentation of originality, performance and music. I think both Celebrity and the cruisers got a raw deal from Cirque in the "delivery" of the experience. The experience was not up to Cirque standards and we got the impression from the crew that it was not up to Celebrity's standards either. Regardless, we were disappointed. · White Night was over hyped. Expectations for a black-light florescence from the white clothing were much higher than reality. · The Cirque highlight was the balloon performance. · The Bar at the Edge was also over hyped. The drinks were very expensive, as they were throughout the cruise. As counterpoint, Princess has 3 size drink selections, and their drink of the day has a special price. Recommend you consider this option and give more value for the money. 6. Photos · Photographers did a great job using ad-hoc and staged backdrops. · We would have bought many more pictures if the price wasn't so blasted expensive. · We recommend package sales, e.g., Best of Formal Nights: One picture from each night to capture the Lady's different outfits; Best Individual Picture: Husband, Wife, Children, etc. individually; Best Port Pix: Pirates, Hombres and more. Get the price down, and capture sales up front so you don't waste prints needlessly. · We bought the cruise in review video. There were sound problems and an abundance of stock video from other cruises. Particularly noticeable was the acrobatic section from a previous voyage. Stock video does not enhance the memory of a personal cruise experience. Neither does an extended hula-hoop competition. Also, the photo shop showed video clips in the displays during the cruise. Many clips were edited out in the final product. Expectations were such that if you saw it on a clip, it would be on the video. Not so. In conclusion, our critique highlighted the excellent services we received and detailed some areas that we think could be improved. This does not imply the negatives were a major factor to detriment our cruise enjoyment. Based on our overall very positive experiences, we would choose Celebrity again for a future cruise (But we already said that). Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
This was our second cruise with Celebrity and was our best of the 15 we have done. We stayed the day before at the Marriott Marina an excellent hotel with great views of the ships so we couldn't wait to go. We arrived at the ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Celebrity and was our best of the 15 we have done. We stayed the day before at the Marriott Marina an excellent hotel with great views of the ships so we couldn't wait to go. We arrived at the terminal at 11:15 and were walking to our veranda cabin by 11:45. Embarkation was a breeze with online doc's etc.. Our cabin wasn't ready,but we were allowed to leave our carryons and use the safe. After lunch and exploring we were greeted by our steward Santano,we discussed our daily needs with him and never had to ask for another thing for 11 days. THE SHIP--Summit is a very easy ship to get around on, our cabin was plush and plenty of storage space, the veranda was angled in due to location next to Xsuite, but never a problem. Having just come out of dry dock everything looked new and fresh, this is a modern design ship with soft lighting and colors that don't hit your face. Plenty of comfortable seating everywhere padded seating at the pool, teak chairs at the waterfall bar, padded teak loungers at the thasolltherapy pool. These are some of the things that set X apart. DINING AND FOOD-- We ate breakfast and lunch most days at the waterfall,the food was always fresh and a nice variety. Don't miss the omelette station or the waffle station in the morning. Pasta bar at lunch was good and the burgers at the pool cafe were the best at sea. Tried the aqua spa several times at lunch and was very surprised at the offerings and the excellent quality. Dinner was just what you would expect from X. Table 416 almost stern with great view. Our waiter Mushi was excellent and knew what was the best choice that night and never missed a beat. Wine steward Antonio had our bottle waiting everyday and was a great conversationist. THE Normandy-- Not going to the Normandy at least once during a cruise would be missing a 5* Epicurean delight. The service, food, presentation, and conversation with the staff was the best we had at a specialty cruise restaurant. Try the goat cheese souffle, caesar salad, any entree, dessert surprise, you won't be sorry. The surcharge is really small for the experience. CRUISE CRITIC PARTY-- Held in the morning with coffee, tea and donuts. We were hosted by the cruise director John Hall & ships Activity Officer. The discussion after meet and greet was mostly about Cirque and what we had to say about it both + & -. THE STAFF-- Everybody seemed to have a smile and hello from the ships officers to the early morning cleaning crew. The entire staff on this ship really seemed to enjoy their jobs. ENTERTAINMENT-- We can't give a rating as we really didn't go to the shows or bar areas that often to give an opinion. SHIP EXCURSIONS-- Tortugero Canals, very nice view of the rain forest and wildlife. Dome Train Panama-- book it early and you will learn more in 5 hr. with Marty than a semester in Geography or politics. On your own in Cozumel--Paradise Beach OVERALL--Best cruise so far, just booked Summit for '06 Hawaii 14 days SAY ALOHA Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
This was our sixth cruise, previously cruising twice on Princess and three times on RCCL. Three of those were my wife and I by ourselves and two were with out two daughters in their late teens/early twenties. I am writing this review for ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, previously cruising twice on Princess and three times on RCCL. Three of those were my wife and I by ourselves and two were with out two daughters in their late teens/early twenties. I am writing this review for people that are planning a cruise and trying to select a cruise line and ship that best suits their age and lifestyle and have broken my review into the sections that I believe are key in that selection. The Ship. The ship was built in 2002 and is about 92,000 tonnes yet it seemed no bigger than the Princess and RCCL ships we cruised on earlier in the 75,000 tonne range. There was no atrium to speak of nor a grand mall such as the RCCL Voyager class ships boast. The ship was very understated which I assume is to make it "classier" than some of the competition, but I preferred the artwork and a bit more glitz on some of our earlier cruises. Overall we were a bit disappointed in the ship itself, perhaps because our expectations were higher since Celebrity is advertised as a premium line. The one feature that we loved was the glass covered indoor pool/spa. The water was about 95 degrees F and had jets and recliners around the perimeter. There were also two hot tubs and a sauna that were not over crowded at all. Restaurants. The main restaurant was nice but certainly no nicer that those on our previous cruises and not in the same class as the three story restaurant in the Voyager. The Waterfall grill and cafe on the pool level (where we ate breakfast and lunch each day) were long and narrow which seemed unusual because the other ships all had a round restaurant at the top. This resulted in long walks to inspect the buffet lines and to find a table. The upside was that all tables were close to a window. There was also an outside section at the back which we enjoyed. We found that the various sections along the buffet lines were closed and covered a great deal of the time which we found somewhat frustrating. A number of people commented that the buffet was more refined than other ships because the serving trays had white linens on them and because there were servers to dish out the food rather than spooning it out yourself. I suppose that's a nice touch but wasn't a big deal for me. One evening we missed the early seating in the main dining room and didn't want to wait till 8:45 for the late seating so we decided to try the Waterfall grill/cafe for supper. We were surprised to find there was no buffet, but rather a section had been cordoned off and that full service meals were offered. After a bit of a lecture from a self-important restaurant manager about the need for a reservation (who knew?) we were seated and had a very nice meal and still made the early show. Food quality. The food was very good in general, but again, nothing out of the ordinary compared to our past experiences. Each night there was a fish dish, chicken, beef and one other like lamb, pork or veal. I don't know if it was the selection or just me, but I found myself having the steak more often than I usually do on cruises - I get great steaks at home and like to try different things on my cruises. We didn't eat in the Normandy Room because we couldn't see paying $60 when the meals in the main dining room were more than adequate. We did get feedback from others and I would say they were split 50/50 between those who loved it and those who were very disappointed. The food quality in the Waterfall grill was the same as other buffets. The hamburgers by the pool were great and the pizza was good as well. One of our favourite touches was the sushi bar but it was opened from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. only - and since we had the early sitting at 6 p.m. and the show ran till 10 p.m. our only option was to go after dinner, load up a plate and take it back to our room to enjoy after the show - probably "frowned upon in better circles". The Shows. Far and away the best entertainment of any cruise we've been on. The four Broadway style shows were the best we've seen and they had two male and two female singers - one of each was outstanding. Other shows included a female soloist who had been the lead in Les Mis and Evita in London's West End; a young woman in her 20's who played violin, clarinet and saxophone and had played an Prince Charles' 50th birthday party; and a pianist who we truly enjoyed. Of course there was a magician and a comedian the other two nights - both quite good. The Itinerary. The itinerary was great and probably the main reason we selected this cruise. We had not been to Costa Rica, Panama or Aruba and found them all very interesting, particularly Costa Rica and Panama since they were not simply Caribbean tourist stops. One suggestion I would offer is to do some research and try to book excursions privately ahead of time. You will save money, Get a more personalized service and see things you wouldn't see on the ships' excursions. You can do so safely by reading reviews and following chat rooms to find the local providers who get the positive comments. The Demographics. We found this cruise had the oldest group of cruisers that we have yet encountered. Apparently out of 2000 passengers there were 18 children. We saw almost no teenagers or young adults. If we had brought our daughters on this cruise it would have been a disaster, both because of the lack of people their age and the lack of fun activities around the pool or after the shows - there was some but very little compared to other ships we've been on. It was a bit too quiet for us as well, but clearly their target audience was retirees who want peace and quiet to have a relaxing vacation Conclusion. We very much enjoyed the cruise because of the itinerary, the shows and because we enjoyed our table mates (all of whom were older than us - a couple of pups at 52). However we probably wouldn't go with Celebrity in the near future simply because we're not really their target audience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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