14 Celebrity Summit Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
Summit's 11 night 11/15/2004 cruise to the Western Caribbean & Panama - a once in a lifetime experience. This is a long review. If you have questions, feel free to email me. I found that before booking a cruise one must do lots ... Read More
Summit's 11 night 11/15/2004 cruise to the Western Caribbean & Panama - a once in a lifetime experience. This is a long review. If you have questions, feel free to email me. I found that before booking a cruise one must do lots of research to learn the options about the ports and the cruise line as well as the particular ship. That way there are no surprises or disappointments. I stumbled online onto Cruise Critic and made friends there on our board before the cruise. They gave me lots of good information that I could not find in ads. It was nice to put names with faces in person when we met at the designated place prior to sail away. Celebrity furnished a half hour reception in Michael's Club for us to meet on a sea day, as well. The ship is more beautiful than photography can capture. It is meticulously maintained daily, full of light so one does not have to go outside to feel he is outside. There were so many special surprises. In the bay windows of the Waterfall Cafe, there were 2- 1/2 foot window circles on the floor that allowed you to see the water! The outside glass elevators also gave you a view of the sea. The windows in the Thelosotherapy pool and restaurant (which runs from starboard to port) afford you the ability to see from both sides of the ship, offering lots of light. The unexpected artwork between floors or in the Emporium are whimsical. There is clever use of mirrors which pick up yet more light, as well. Even the passages which contain only staterooms are beautiful. Some staterooms have mirrored panels on either side of the doors. It is so tastefully done. There are public restrooms outside all the restaurants , and they, too, are tastefully done. Boarding was very efficient from the moment you arrived at the pier. The bellmen took your luggage (there is a sign in Ft. Lauderdale saying no tip is required since the employees are paid a salary) and it miraculously arrived at our stateroom shortly thereafter. You enter the terminal and are ushered to a waiting room with lines of plastic chairs. (These were the ONLY plastic chairs we saw, and remember that this is Port Everglades and not Celebrity offering plastic chairs!) The wait was not long. There was just enough time to meet the people seated ahead of you to your left before the entire row was asked to move to the next station. From there you are ushered to a large room with not long lines (because there are so many desks) where you will be given your plastic sea pass (which is your room key as well as your credit card) since the ship is cashless except for what you spend in the casino or on tips) and a small folder showing the ship's layout, after your ID and tickets are checked. If you wish to upgrade your cabin, that is the place to do so. Any vacant staterooms can be had for a pittance compared to their original asking price. A friend in a booked sky suite upgraded to the royal suite for $600 total. The people behind them had a concierge class booking and upgraded to the now vacant sky suite for $300. Your photo is taken and is incorporated into your sea pass (but is not shown ON the sea pass), so that when you enter or exit the ship the person at the scanner can match you to your ID. You should carry some photo ID with you when you exit the ship. Although I never had occasion to show it except in reboarding, it is a safeguard. They recommend you make a copy of your passport photo page and carry it ashore, leaving your passport in your room safe. The room safe is large enough to accommodate many items, but probably not a woman's handbag. When you approach the ship, your photo will be taken (you can purchase it later) with your traveling companion(s). There is no pressure to take the picture or to purchase it. There is a photo gallery where you can find any photos of yourselves that you wish to purchase. There will be a photographer in the dining room on formal nights to take your picture if you wish it to be done. We did not purchase any "professional" photos. As soon as you are actually on board, you will be approached by a bellman to carry your hand luggage and direct you to the Waterfall Cafe (we arrived before 1 p.m. when the rooms are ready), and given a champagne or orange juice cocktail. Had we arrived after 1 p.m. he would have shown us to our stateroom, and we'd have gone to the buffet on our own. There was a crowd amassed around the champagne when we arrived, and before we were whisked to the restaurant, we could sit in a comfortable sofa and wait while the steward brought us our drinks. It was understandably a little bit rushed there. We deposited our hand luggage on the aft deck and went through the buffet line. There is so much food that you may not even see it all. My husband chose selections I had not seen! There are often signs above the food item, but not always. Some is self serve and other food is served to you on another plate. It was very crowded since that is the only restaurant open on embarkation day at lunch time. Other than embarkation day, you could always find a table. Only once during the cruise did a couple ask if they could share a table with us because they could not find one. The waiters are very efficient at cleaning the tables, so you do not have to sit at a dirty table at any time. Your trays are lined with a linen placemat and you have a linen napkin and cutlery on the napkin. Our mid ships cabin, 6093, a 2C, was perfect for us. We lacked nothing & were quite comfortable. We asked for extra pillows and they were brought. It was decorated in pale orange and brown, with matching draperies and bedspread. There is a sheer curtain behind the draperies you may use if in port if there is another ship beside you and want more privacy. We particularly enjoyed seeing the new ports from our verandah. The verandah was like a second room. If one wanted to watch tv and the other wanted to read, one only had to switch positions. I read 5 books on the cruise. There was adequate storage for our clothes and suitcases. There is a tie/belt rack, and many drawers besides the permanent hangers. We brought many hangers with us. The bathroom was just the right size. It was not cramped at all, and we are both tall. It is provided with Q-Tips, cotton swabs, a plug for a shaver, a hairdryer of sorts, shampoo and hand cream. There were always fresh towels and shower mat. There is a leather bound book in the stateroom enumerating all the services available. There is also a magazine rack filled with books about your ports of call, shopping, and about cruising in general. These you leave in the room. Tickets for your shore excursions booked previously on line, and invitations were on the dresser/table in the room upon arrival. People who had ordered special birthday or anniversary packages, or gifts from their travel agents found them in the stateroom, or if they didn't find them, asked, and they were found! Finding our way around the ship was not difficult. The beautiful elevators listed the public rooms on each floor, and as you stepped from the elevator there would be signs directing you. These postings are in good taste and never offensive. Everything is designed to blend in, and does that well. Our stateroom attendants were attentive without being obstreperous. There was always a pitcher of water, a bucket of ice and clean glasses. When my husband came down with a cold, they could be counted on to bring him hot water for gargling, and coffee for soothing his throat, or a partial meal if he felt like eating. Summit has been in service for 3 years and is still new. Its sanitation rating has been 100 and 98%. Returning from ports there is often a sanitizing agent in a clear liquid, dispensed similarly to soap in a public bathroom except that you do not have to touch it to receive the sanitizer. This is done to prevent any land bourne germs from entering the ship. There were advisories in Celebrity Today to wash your hands frequently, especially just after coming ashore. If the port had had warm weather, there were also cold wash cloths offered before reboarding. The mini bar in the stateroom was convenient, but expensive. We had brought on a 12 pack of diet 7-up which came in handy. We brought king size coffee mugs with lids, so could bring juices back to the cabin at breakfast which saved a bit of walking. Although the mini bar contains some snacks, I can't imagine being hungry enough to buy them since we were so well fed throughout the cruise! The choices for meals were numerous. Everyone on board is assigned an evening meal reservation, by table number, in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. But there is a casual alternative meal served in the evening at the Waterfall Cafe, by reservation ($2 tip expected per person). There is also an alternative dining room, the Normandy, with a $30 per person surcharge, reservations required, and tip required. And if you wanted to skip dinner, food was still served up until 6 p.m. in the Aqua Spa buffet and the Waterfall Grill. For breakfast and lunch if you were in a hurry you could go through either side of the Waterfall Cafe, or through the Aqua Spa self-serve buffet, or the Waterfall Grill outdoors by the pool for burgers or hot dogs and fries at lunch (or all of the above!). If you wanted to meet people and have a leisurely meal you could choose the Cosmopolitan Restaurant where your selections will be cooked to order. That is the only place you can get eggs Benedict and banana pancakes. In all venues "floating" waiters would come around serving extra juices, coffee, pastries, etc. Or you can order room service 24 hours a day. There is a limited room service menu when the restaurant is not open (you may order it on your interactive tv or by phone), but during official meal times you may order from the restaurant menu from room service by phone. Sometimes it is brought by your room steward and other times by a person you have never seen. Tipping $2 is standard for this service regardless of the volume of food/beverage served. In the Waterfall Cafe, toward the outdoor seating aft, there is an omelet station at breakfast and a pasta/pizza station at lunch and later. There is also a Belgian Waffle station for breakfast with all sorts of berries, whipped cream, butter and jams for toppings (and syrup). On certain days this area would serve sandwich meats/cheeses/bread or an international theme menu. One day it served tacos. The international buffet was also served in the main line of the Waterfall Cafe. During our cruise there were Italian, Mexican and Oriental buffets. You will not find home cooking flavors in any of the restaurants, however (by my definition that means heavy on the onion and garlic!). Cooking for 2000 people every meal precludes excessive seasoning that you may be accustomed to at home. You will, however, find delicate and subtle flavors in the salad dressings and sauces. The Cosmopolitan is a wonderful opportunity to try foods you have never had before. Some you will like and others maybe not if they are too unfamiliar. Our assistant waiter knew I was interested in all the flavors and became accustomed to putting a small amount of a different salad dressing on my bread plate for me to try. A five course meal is served in the Cosmopolitan nightly (appetizer, soup, salad, entree and dessert). If you can't make up your mind, you may order several of any course, or skip any course. If you do not want anything from the menu, they can bring you a steak and baked potato, a shrimp cocktail, or a Caesar salad even when they are not listed on the menu. I found that if you ordered one of each of the 5 courses you had just enough to eat. But it is hard not to order more than one dessert. A few times I skipped the soup, salad and entree, knowing I was going to indulge in sweets! Your waiters call you by name and know your preferences. If you ordered decaffeinated coffee the first night, you would have it all through the cruise. There are numerous bars on the 4th, 5th, 10th and 11th decks where you can have an alcoholic drink, or a soda, or specialty coffee, at most hours of the day and evening. You can always order a drink through room service or make one in your stateroom with items in the mini bar. You may purchase a soda card which allows you to drink an unlimited number of cokes etc. each day. It runs a little over $5 per day. Live music is performed in the Cosmopolitan at dinner on deck 5, (the balcony where we dined), overlooking the larger part of the restaurant on the 4th deck. Music is also provided on deck 10 at the Waterfall Cafe in the evening, and throughout the various bars in the evening. We heard a harpist, a violin duo, the Mozart quartet (two violins, piano and keyboard), an a capella male vocal group & a guitarist. When the performers are taking a break recorded music is played. There are two nightly Broadway/Las Vegas type shows, one for each dining room seating. The seating facilities were excellent. Everyone had a clear view of the stage. Although the seating was theater style, in rows, there were tables for drinks like in a nightclub. The stores in the Emporium sell all kinds of items, from gold & diamond necklaces to duty free cigarettes and even made to order suits. I broke my manicure scissors and found a nice kit in a leather container for $10, about the price of just the scissors on land. On deck one you will find the medical facility. I saw people waiting for dialysis! There is a vending machine for common medications on the wall at its entrance, in case they are not open. Again, hours are posted, but are also listed in Celebrity Today. If you read Celebrity Today you will save yourself lots of walking and extra trips. There are hand rails (for stabilized walking during rough seas) on most walls in the halls by the staterooms. We did not experience any seasickness but we heard that a few did. some said they took Dramamine and the symptoms ceased. I had the prescription transpatch as a back up. There may be 3-4 things within any one hour that you would like to do, so reading Celebrity Today helps you plan out your activities. Some lectures and presentations are repeated, but mostly are not repeated. Art auctions and lectures concerning art are presented many times. There is no pressure to purchase. There are a couple of inspirational speakers, as well as the "shopping in port" lectures, some of which lure you by the offer of a free drink or gift. There were "Acupuncture at Sea" lectures, and treatments available for a fee. There is bingo twice a day most days, and the casino daily, which is closed when in port. There are cooking demonstrations, daily movies in the theater or on your room's tv. The room tv gives you several satellite stations such as ESPN and CNN, but no local channels. There are pay per view movies for $9.95. There were floral arranging seminars (standing only) in the Conservatory just off the pool area. There are pool games, trivia contests etc. which we did not attend, but were enjoyed by some of our associates. I do not like to sit in the sun, so did not experience the sorbet parade in the afternoon by the pool. Those who did "lay out" said it was quite impressive! Despite all the above activities, if you just want to be quiet, that is possible, too. One only attends what one wants to attend. There is no need to have your spouse with you, so singles are as welcome as couples anywhere on the ship. For relaxation there are treatments in the Aqua Spa. Specials are offered each day, advertised on the back page of Celebrity Today. There is free use of the Thelosotherapy pool on all Millennium class ships. This area also contains two hot tubs, but not very hot, and wooden chaise lounges, some with padded cushions. There is a gigantic sky light, so although you are indoors you have windows on both sides of the ship and from above. You may use the Persian Gardens for a fee. There are handicap facilities including staterooms, with wheelchair access to all public areas etc. Those in wheelchairs seemed to be having a good time. There is a book library and a music library on board, mid ships, each being a two level venue. Hours of operation are posted on the door as well as in Celebrity Today. Although the predominant language heard on board is English, many other languages were evident. Likewise, although we traveled to three Spanish speaking, and two Dutch speaking countries, all tour guides and sales persons spoke adequate English, and accepted dollars, so you did not have to convert your currency at any time. Prices on land were usually cheaper than on the ship. On shore excursions, it is wise to take water or canned soda with you. There may or may not be a place to purchase a beverage during the tour. Although it is autumn in the states, it was hot in Cozumel, warm in Key West and Costa Rica (take bug spray), pleasant in Panama since it was raining on and off, and warm in the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao. If you do not like hot weather, be sure your tour provides air conditioned transportation. If it doesn't say air conditioned, it won't be. And use sunscreen and/or carry a sun hat or visor if your tour takes you outside the bus. These ports of call, being so close to the equator, do not have seasonal changes that we have in the states and you may burn more easily than at home. We took the shortest tours possible, just to see the countryside and the towns without having to walk too much. How good your guide is will affect your enjoyment of the information/views you receive. Instead of pointing out various plants, rock formations, birds etc., our guide in Cozumel wanted us to sing La Cucaracha! Several of us wrote comments about the tour and were provided a half credit without our asking for a refund. Celebrity wants to know which are its good tours and which are lacking and they depend upon the passengers to provide the information. When booking your cruise you may have chosen a particular itinerary because you wanted to experience a particular thing. We booked this cruise because it went to Panama and Costa Rica. I had just read David McCullough's The Path Between the Seas and definitely wanted to experience the canal, so took a longer trip on a ferry. This shore excursion was the highlight of the trip for me. We drove to the Pacific Coast at Balboa to board our ferry. Our guide was completely fluent in English and kept us entertained and informed (telling us when we were crossing the Chagras River or the Continental Divide. The guide on the ferry was also well learned and fluent in English. When we disembarked at Gamboa, our bus arrived to take us back to the port. Both guides were amenable to questions, also. We had extra time due to a special crossing, not having had to wait for a cruise ship ahead of us, so we were taken to the Madden dam where we could exit the bus to take photos. When the driver would spy wildlife, he would pull off the road and allow us to take photos. We found that to be true of our guide/driver in Costa Rica on the Pontoon River Boat excursion whether we were in the boat or in the bus. We appreciated the bus stopping to see a monkey or a sloth. You may tip your guide at the conclusion of the trip, especially for this extra service. You can tell when a guide enjoys his job, because he wants you to love his country like he does. Our Costa Rica guide even picked about two dozen species of flowering plants to pass among us on our trip back to the ship. I found it interesting that the Cozumel guide wanted us to be sure that we understood that the Mayans were a peaceable people, and did not offer human sacrifice like the Aztecs had. He also made reference to the Spanish conquistadores trying to change their culture. He seemed proud of his Mayan roots that had not been corrupted by mixed marriages. Our guide in Costa Rica, on the other hand, pointed out that there were many Spanish descendents from the conquistadores who had white skin like he did, and many who were of native Indian descent, and combinations thereof. Our guide in Panama asked, "If you met me in the States, would you know that I am Pamanian?" She answered her own question by saying, "Of course not. There is no Panamanian 'look.' Our population is a compilation of descendents of the Spanish conquistadores, the native Indians and the black men from Jamaica and Barbados (whose ancestors had been brought to the West Indies as slaves) who came to Panama to build the Panama Canal." There was no talk about ancestry on the tours in the Dutch islands. There are no annoying public announcements made on board. If you want to attend a certain event, you just make note of it and go there. On this cruise, an announcement was made when the ship had been cleared and passengers could disembark (telling you, for instance, deck 1, mid ships or deck 3 aft). Other than that the Captain made one announcement when we were in sight of Cuba, giving us our bearings. This is one of the reasons I chose Celebrity! When we docked beside a "party ship" in Cozumel, we were awakened by the constant announcements being made there! The next day's weather forecast is presented in a card on your turned down bed (along with Celebrity Today for the following day) and a chocolate on your pillow when you return from dinner or a show. The weather, including UV forecast is run across the bottom of the screen on the channel which shows you the view from the bow. There is also a channel that shows a nautical map with the ship's current position and bearing. When you see that you are near any body of land, you need only go to the verandah to have a look with binoculars. There were whale and porpoise sightings on our trip, but no announcements, unfortunately. If you have not opted for tipping by credit card (there will be a notice left in your stateroom for this choice, with a deadline clearly stated) the next to last night of your cruise you will be provided envelopes for tips to be given on the last night, for your steward (split equally with his assistant), the asst. head housekeeper (who had to fix our safe once, and had to let me into the cabin once), the asst. maitre 'd who is the person responsible for your table assignment and any special needs you might have for dinner. Everyone at our table was approximately the same age, and we all lived on the same section of deck 6, your waiter and the assistant waiter. Guidelines are given, but you may tip extra if you feel your service was exemplary! You are also given two evaluation forms to fill out and drop at the Guest Relations desk in a drop box. Your servers rely upon your evaluations for their promotions! There is a shore excursions desk, a bank, & the concierge desk in case the Guest Relations personnel could not immediately fill your need. If Guest Relations says they'll have someone call you, you WILL receive the call! Very efficient and pleasant, whether in person or on the phone. Some hard working people take cruises to relax, and do not particularly care what are the ports of call. They enjoy the activities or doing nothing, relaxing in the warmth of the sunny skies and the sea breezes. The activities page in Celebrity Today, printed front and back for morning and afternoon into evening, are printed on a separate page so you can take it with you without carrying the entire document. A cruiser can appreciate all the organization and preparation made for each and every voyage so that the cruiser does not have to worry about anything. Like anything in life, you have to be able to go with the flow. If a port is closed to the ship because of rough waters, or in our case, because a hurricane had destroyed Grand Cayman, you will be given either another day at sea, or an alternate port of call. Usually this alternate port will be announced a few days before sailing (ours was Curacao). But you would have no prior notice if rough seas prevented docking. We had an unusual occurrence in Colon, Panama. Fortunate for me and a hundred others who were booked on the ferry through the canal excursion, our trip left at 7:15 a.m. so was not involved in any of the fracas that occurred about 7:20 a.m. Apparently another bus line protested Celebrity's using Aventuras as its shore excursion company, and blocked the gates, not allowing ANY tours to depart. (including the 4th bus that was to have been with us on the ferry). I was told that there were armed guards present, but no one knew if they were the police, or agents of the bus company. I was told by a friend that Celebrity immediately produced a revised activities sheet and distributed them to all passengers via their stateroom attendants, meaning that the activities staff has a few cards up their sleeves, so to speak, and can give you yet more to do! As our Panamanian guide told us, when she received this information by cell phone, the protesting company simply didn't understand that tourists would not be happy in an un-air conditioned bus in poor repair (she pointed out to us as we drove to the Pacific, the number of the competing bus line's busses which were off the road in a ditch etc. due to bad driving, or mechanical problems. Perhaps this bus line did not understand the contract that Celebrity makes with its shore excursion companies! And this reinforces the comment cards available when a tour is not all you expected it to be. On the Cozumel tour that did not include everything we expected, we also lost our transmission about a mile from the dock. A replacement bus was provided within 5-10 minutes, and we did not delay the departure of the ship! Celebrity wants its passengers to be happy with everything. Hence the reduction in fare for the Cozumel tour. When we returned to the dock in Colon, Panama, the gates were still closed (with all the Aventuras busses still locked inside), so we were told we would access the ship via an escalator inside one of the buildings. This was so, but I was accosted by a uniformed person (I do not know what his uniform signified) who did not speak English, who asked me several questions after he blocked the escalator so that I could not pass. I speak some Spanish and had great difficulty understanding what he wanted to know (in other words he was confrontative and did not use the pleasantries or usual phrases one would expect to have to respond to). I point blank asked him in Spanish, what he wanted to know, as I reached in my bag for my ID and purchases. He did not seem interested in identification which I showed him, nor what was in my shopping bag which he did not look into. He did not smile or act the least bit friendly, either. Only for a short moment did I question to myself whether I was in a jam and might be unable to rejoin the cruise! My husband had not taken this excursion, so I don't know if my presence alone was the reason for stopping me. No one else I talked to from the ferry excursion said they were stopped. I finally heard ONE word I recognized, "hizo" (what did I do) and I replied in Spanish that I'd been to see the Panama Canal. He did not ask by what means of transportation I got to the Canal, nor whether it had been the Colon side or the Panama City side, but he did step aside, reluctantly and begrudgingly. I still do not know the purpose of his stopping me other than to harass me. We did not have to use tenders in any port. Nor did we have to walk long distances to find our tours. We just had to show up 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time and everything ensued like clock work. No crowds, no pushing. Disembarkation was also a breeze. Depending upon your connecting flight time, you were assigned a time to be in a public room after breakfast on the last day. The evening before we were given new luggage tags, with a color and number, and the name of the public area we were to wait in (always with comfortable chairs). When purple 2 was called (not on a public address system, but by an employee of the ship) we all moved en mass to the customs line which had no delays, just a brief glance at the declaration, and into the baggage terminal which at first seemed to be chaotic because of the number of people there. But upon closer inspection I saw that all our bags were within 10 feet of our other bags, in good condition, all set upright, no bags piled on top of other bags etc. and that a porter was there to transport them to the street for our transportation. It was just rather crowded with so much luggage on the ground! Cruising is probably more pleasurable if you know others aboard. But even if you do not know a soul beforehand, you will meet other, diverse and interesting people if you put yourself into the situations where you will meet them, like the Cosmopolitan Restaurant's open seating at breakfast and lunch. I did not see much intermingling at the buffet, however. But I would join people I had met earlier when I saw they were finishing their meal, and could ask them what activities they'd been partaking of etc. It was nice to be able to call someone by name. Would I cruise again? If the price were right and the itinerary one I desired. Would I choose Celebrity again if I were to cruise? Definitely if the price is competitive. They have instituted a new policy in the last few months that means no reduced fares, or incentives by travel agents. Our original fare, purchased over 9 months ahead of departure, increased by almost $500 per person after the policy went into effect. No, I would not have booked this cruise for $1000 more per stateroom when I could book a comparable cruise on Holland America or Princess for less (or could take advantage of Radisson's half price sales for the same amount). I enjoyed everything about Celebrity and their employees but cost is a real factor! If I MUST say something negative, to be fair, it would be that I did not like having to walk through the Casino on the 4th deck in order to traverse that floor. I disliked it so much that I would take the elevator to the 5th floor, walk the length of the Casino through a lounge to the next elevator and go down a floor to resume my travels on deck 4. I did the same on deck 10 to avoid having to walk in the heat among the sun bathers while I was fully attired. But the ship has been built and that cannot be changed! Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
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 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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