13 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Panama Canal & Central America Celebrity Summit Cruise Reviews

My husband and I are retired and travel extensively, taking 1-2 cruises annually. Celebrity was our favorite cruiseline. The Dec 7-21, 2007 Panama Canal Cruise on the Summit had highs and lows. We had air included. The flights to Ft. ... Read More
My husband and I are retired and travel extensively, taking 1-2 cruises annually. Celebrity was our favorite cruiseline. The Dec 7-21, 2007 Panama Canal Cruise on the Summit had highs and lows. We had air included. The flights to Ft. Lauderdale from Seattle were on the red eye and changed by the airline which rebooked us in middle seats - awful. To make matters worse when we arrived Celebrity's airport reps were disorganized. About 130 people arrived at the same time and we had to wait 2.5 hours for the busses to arrive to take us to the ship. Check in wasn't bad since we are Captain's Club and had a suite. The cruise itself was typical with the expected ports of call and tours. The entertainment was fantastic - better than the Jersey Boys production we saw in Seattle the night of our return. The musicians on board were very good but their repertoires were limited - we heard the same 10-12 songs for 14 days. Dining room and stateroom attendants were excellent. The crew in general was courteous and respectful. The food was a big disappointment - of the 14 nights there were only 4 I found something on the menu I would eat and then it was overcooked. My husband said the meats were very fatty and tough. Even the vegetarian menu was unappetizing. The ice cream was gritty. Quite a letdown from what we were used to on Celebrity. They changed executive chefs in 2007 and it shows. We were also disappointed with all the smoking allowed on board. Second hand smoke was every where and we frequently had ashes flying in our balcony from other staterooms. Security was lax all over the ship - in the theater people were permitted to sit in the aisles and take pics; poolside people saved chairs for hours; the dress code was ignored at night so after a couple nights my husband stopped wearing a coat and tie on informal evenings. We probably won't travel on Celebrity again although we like the suite class and entertainment. Bad food and second hand smoke outweigh the pluses. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
This is our 9th cruise and comparison contained in the following review was made with Royal Caribbean (Mariner, Legend, Serenade, Splendour), Princess (Golden), Holland America (Zuiderdam), Carnival (Ecstacy) ships that we had been on. ... Read More
This is our 9th cruise and comparison contained in the following review was made with Royal Caribbean (Mariner, Legend, Serenade, Splendour), Princess (Golden), Holland America (Zuiderdam), Carnival (Ecstacy) ships that we had been on. Embarkation: Quite efficient. We got to the pier at about 11:20 am. We waited in the waiting lounge for about 20 minutes and then being led to the check in counters, the process was reasonably smooth. It was about 1200 noon when we are on board Summit. Public rooms: The decor is very neutral and does not have the wow factor. It may be mistaken by some that they were in a hotel going to a business conference. Summit does not have what RCL ships got - an Atrium running the 10 or 11 decks delivering the grand perception. It was also showing its age with some of the elevators not working properly, the broadloom in the stairwell showing wear and tear. The "dance floors" in different lounges were substandard and was a big disappointment to us and should be an embarrassment to the cruise line. We were not the only one observing that, another couple told us they had complained to the staff but of course is not something that can be fixed very easily at the sea. Staterooms: Functional, about the same size as all the other cruise lines. Not much of a surprise and none was expected. The ship is seven years old and the wear and tear starts to show and I believe it is about time to have a make over. The attendant team (Paz and Daniel) were very pleasant, efficient and friendly. Their services certainly ranked top compared with my other cruises. Entertainment: The production shows generally been good. Overall, it was only average probably because of two main factors, the cliental is very "mature" and the whole ship comes to a stop at 10:30 pm. The "Newly wed" in the "Newly wed and not so newly wed show" been only married for 10 years (yup, years and not days) and the longest been married for 32 years. Another observation, hardly anyone is around in any of the lounges after dinner. Secondly, Cruise Director, she failed to bring the crowd together and I felt she was "just" doing the bare minimum she needed to do and I am not sure whether she was on her last cruise duty had anything to do with that. The other reason was no one was in sight! We were on the late sitting and had a lot of challenge with the shows, some were at 7 pm, some were at 10:45 pm. Not sure why not having all the shows for the late sitting at 7 pm. Food: The food quality, in general, compared to my previous experience was a touch better in this cruise. The Speciality Restaurant "The Normandie" is not to be missed. The quality of food and service both been exceptional. We did the wine pairing and worth the money they charged for. The only disappointment was the "Waterfall" - the buffet cafe, the selection was ok, but certainly not any better than other cruise lines. The Metropolitan Restaurant was above average and the Waiting team, Mahayasa and Jimmy, we had were very attentive and providing excellent service. They were there to please and a couple of times when the food was not liked by my cruisemates, they were promptly changed. Disembarkation: It was very well organized and we were off quickly and smoothly. A good experience to finish the cruise. Itinerary: It was ok, the sea days before the crossing of Panama Canal was a bit much especially when there was not much happening on the ship. The sea was a bit rough on the first few days and some people got sea sick. Not sure if that was attributed to storms or not. Overall: The most common question asked must be: Will you go with Celebrity again? Most likely but I like to choose ships that are not in service that long, may be the new ships launching in 2008 or 2009. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Background My family has been on many cruises, though this was our first on Celebrity. We consisted of myself, my husband, our 13 year old daughter and my in-laws. We booked 2 cabins on deck 2, both ocean view. Flights and pre-cruise ... Read More
Background My family has been on many cruises, though this was our first on Celebrity. We consisted of myself, my husband, our 13 year old daughter and my in-laws. We booked 2 cabins on deck 2, both ocean view. Flights and pre-cruise hotel My in-laws traveled from El Paso, Texas while we came from Colorado Springs, CO. We met up in Houston and flew together to Fort Lauderdale, FL the day before the cruise. I made independent air and hotel arrangements and was very pleased with our flights on Continental. We arrived in FLL and called the hotel, Sleep Inn and Suites in Dania for our free shuttle. I'd read many mixed reviews on this hotel, but with the free shuttle and breakfast, decided to try them out. It took 2 phone calls to finally get them to send the shuttle. My in-laws were surprised at check-in by their oldest friends who happened to be in Florida and spent the night at the hotel. All 3 of us had rooms on the second floor. We were surprised by how nice our rooms were, based on previous reviews, both from Cruise Critic and other sources. We did immediately check the bedding and found it to be fine. Sleep Inn and Suites is in a residential area. However, there is a Walgreen's next door and a strip-mall across the street. There is a Publix grocery store (they don't sell hard liquor, only beer and wine), a Chinese restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, an Italian restaurant (where we ate... the food was mediocre), and a "Dollar Tree" store in the mall. We set up our port shuttle at check-in, as did others who would become friends on this cruise. Make sure to reserve space for your trip to the port, or you will need to make your own arrangements! The pool was a bit chilly...this from my 13 year old daughter who will swim anywhere. The hot tub looked dirty. Breakfast was fine with an assortment of juices, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, fresh fruit, cereals, make-your-own waffles, breads and pastries, and hot biscuits and gravy. Fine fare for the price. We used our AAA card and got our rooms for $89 each. Embarkation The shuttle arrived as promised and took us on a 10 minute (or so) trip to the port. When we arrived, our luggage was dropped off with a porter who produced luggage tags for us (we were e-ticketed and didn't get our tags beforehand). We were leery about leaving our luggage, but did so anyway. We were then directed to the first of MANY LONG lines. I had expected check-in to be quicker and less painful than it was. And, though I knew that there would not be many children on this trip, I was as surprised as my daughter at the age of our fellow passengers. Even my in-laws who are in their late 70's were surprised by the elderly crowd. I'd guess that the median age on our trip was 70 years old. In all, there were 34 passengers on our trip who were younger than 18. More about that later. We spent over 1 ½ hours in lines to board the ship. We arrived at noon, and were onboard a bit before 2PM. Our first welcome to the ship was with a hand-sanitizer wipe....the first of hundreds we were handed. No welcome champagne or escort to our cabins was offered. Cabins, part one We moved in the direction we were pointed and found our way to our cabins. My in-laws were in cabin 2023 and we had cabin 2014. Very convenient for us to be so close yet so far apart! Our cabin was smallish, but serviceable. We immediately met Corazon who agreed to remove "anything that costs extra" from our cabin, including overpriced water, a bottle of wine, and the contents of our fridge. The cabin had been prepared for the three of us with 3 life jackets, beach towels, robes, etc. I was very pleased with our first room stewardess. MAJOR point here....while unpacking, I got out our power strip. This was not a brand new one, but one which we've used both in our house and on trips. Plugged it in (no, not in the bathroom "shaver only" outlet OR in the European plug...duh) and heard a pop, fizz sound and watched it as it began to smoke and melt. Unplugged it and tossed it across the bed to my husband who threw it into the shower and doused it with water. After that, we tried the nightlight (the least expensive plug in item we had) before we plugged in camera chargers, laptop, etc. Have NEVER had that result when plugging a power strip in. As I'd done a lot of research on the ship and prices, we had visited Publix the day before and used our spare "roll up" suitcase which we always pack to bring our own water, soda pop (I'm a Pepsi girl and the ship carries limited Coke products), and fruit juices (in case I'd somehow packed some rum in our suitcases for in-room drinks). This suitcase came to our room quickly, as did all of our other bags and fit well under our bed. Our daughter had a pull-out chair as her bed...smaller than a twin and probably not great sleeping for anyone over 5'2" and 100 LBS. After finding our rooms, we went to the Waterfall Cafe and Grill (aka: the buffet) for lunch. Seating was horrible for the number of guests trying to eat. More on that later, as well..... The Ship I'd expected the ship to be in much worse condition than I found it to be. Yes, there was some frayed carpet and peeling paint, but I spent the first day wondering why it was scheduled for dry-dock. I figured it out later, though! We split up from the in-laws and started at the top of the ship. It's a ritual we always do when we first arrive on-board. Since I prefer going DOWN stairs to climbing up, we took the elevator to deck 11 and started at the top. This tour allowed us to see some of the worst artwork I've ever imagined. Luckily, we didn't use most of the stairwells from then on. My daughter peered through the windows of The Tower and looked forward to going there. Unfortunately, they never did open the tower...even though the "meet and greet" the first evening was scheduled to be there. After waiting for 10 minutes for it to open, we were directed to the Fun Factory. I'd read that there would always be 6 counselors on any cruise, but there were actually only 3. Therefore, they didn't have the staff to open the Tower. So, we tried to find the Fun Factory. Be advised that it's difficult to find and can only be accessed by either passing though the Waterfall Cafe or by using the aft bank of elevators to level 11. It took 4 of us about 10 minutes and a lot of misdirection to find the place. Most of the ships public areas were nice. There were a number of nooks and crannies so that you rarely had the feeling of being on an overcrowded ship. Although I'd read that the Bar at the Edge of the World had horrid dEcor, we actually LIKED it. It was usually a pretty quiet place. Lifeboat Drill A fact of life onboard a ship. However, I fear that if this ship ever needs to use the lifeboats, it'll be absolute chaos! We mustered in the Celebrity Theater (along with hundreds of other passengers). My husband commented that on all of the cruises we've ever taken, it was by far the worst. We mustered, heard instructions, and were herded to a lifeboat. No roll-calls, so I suppose that anyone who chose to could skip this ordeal, if they found a place to hide-out. Dining I'd come onboard expecting marvelous food. Boy, was I ever disappointed! There were only two or three exceptional items served throughout the whole cruise. One night, my "medium rare" filet came out as VERY well done. Our server offered to send it back, but since we sat each night for nearly 2 hours at dinner, I refused. One night, my husbands' lamb dish came out with no meat! My in-laws ate most of their breakfasts and lunches in the dining room. We chose to eat in the buffet. Standard fare with little variety. We got late-seating dinner (though we'd been wait-listed for early). Hence, our daughter either had to skip evening kids' activities or eat elsewhere. She loved getting room service for dinner, but had little room to eat in our cabin. Entertainment The Party Band seemed to know 15 songs (and not too well). Jefferson Ang was a guitarist and we spent many evenings listening to his music. He. too, had a limited repertoire. Karaoke was a joke, with 2 guys who were pretty good and some truly awful singers, besides. Our daughter really enjoyed the juggler, but he off-loaded after only doing one show. There was a singer who was good, but she made sure that everyone knew that she was selling her CD's outside of the theater. The Acapella group was pretty good, but they reminded me of a small Mormon-boys-choir. I enjoyed them once, then skipped future shows. Also, there was a ventriloquist who was funny the first night and really stale by the second show. Mostly, the entertainment was geared towards the median age....slow during the day and nearly non-existent come night-fall. Enrichment There were a couple of lecture-series. One was an expert on the canal who got many of her facts wrong (though her slide show was correct). We sat through only one of her 3 part series. She also sold a book and map outside of the theatre. There was also a mystery writer. We skipped her talks. Activities Huh? The only great activity that we did was a kids-club "Family Scavenger Hunt". We were the only family to show up, so they pitted 4 teens against us. My daughter won a backpack filled with "X Club" merchandise. Otherwise, the activities were slow to dead. Kids Club Again, with so few kids, the kids' club activities were "modified". Apparently, they continued to offer the activities, but if the kids weren't interested, they let them pick what to do. I didn't bring our daughter on this trip to sit and watch movies and play endless rounds of "Guitar Hero". She, however, had a blast! DD notes that I haven't said enough "good" about the Fun Factory. So, to be fair to her, I'll add that they had a long wall filled with Playstations and they offered 30 minutes of free play in the arcade. They also had a ball pit and a small outdoor wading pool. When fully staffed, I'd say that the Fun Factory is probably a blast for the 7-12 y/o set. Photographers They were out in force. More photo opportunities than I've ever had. However, they didn't do a "hard sell" once the pics were done. Also, my daughter decided to get a "Mom and me" shoot done, and specifically asked to pose us, herself. Once the photographer understood what she was after, he did the best job I've ever seen, actually having us lay on the floor with him taking pictures on his stomach! That sure got a lot of watchers, and sold many more pics, as folks started requesting "special poses". Prices were high for photos ($19.95 for an 8x10), but we bought 8 (and I usually HATE getting my pictures taken). Service/Staff Second in my cruises only to Regent. Our room stewardess/stewards were good to excellent (more on that later). Our waiter was great…. Although the assistant was only fair. We were all surprised to see the Maitre'D each night…that's a first in all of our 20+ cruises. We had a very drunk and loud lady at the table next to us each night and by mid-cruise I asked him to intervene. From then on, she and the table-mate she argued with took turns in the dining room and it became much more peaceful. Our daughter LOVED the Ice cream lady. She put up with a lot of rude passengers, yet remained lovely. Guest Relations staff were terrific, within their abilities. The shipboard medical crew were a very mixed bag…from lovely to horrid…read on for details about that! Daughter and I availed ourselves of the spa one day. We did the "hands and feet" service. I've never done a spa treatment on a ship, and likely won't again. Our attendants were Jamaican and spoke to each other during the whole treatment in a language we didn't understand. Internet Cafe In a word….SLOW. Once, it took 7 minutes to load up their Yahoo front page. (I had their expert watching and he offered me a credit, but then I had to push a couple of times to get said credit. When it finally showed up, it was at $.65/minute as opposed to the plan I'd bought at $.42/minute. Wasn't going to hassle it for a couple of bucks….Also, we weren't able to access any computer until well over halfway through the trip. That sure felt weird on top of the other "events" which were happening to us, by then. Casino I've never seen such a stingy casino. Celebrity should up the payoffs on the machines. Very few people were in there, unless it was cold outside and they wanted to smoke. The casino is divided into smoking and non-smoking. Half the slots and all of the table games are non-smoking, while portside slots were for smokers. Surprisingly, the non-smoking part wasn't terribly smoky. Good ventilation, I guess. More on Smoking Many of the public rooms were divided into smoking/non-smoking. I'm pretty sensitive to smoke, but didn't seem to be bothered much by it (unless I was on the port side). I saw some horribly rude folks sit down on the smoking side in lounges and proceed to fan/hold their noses/etc. Hey, if it bothers you, go starboard! Also, in our final cabin (deck 7 balcony) we had a cigar smoker next door. Now, that's strictly prohibited, but as we were told numerous times by staff…."unless a passenger complains and can pinpoint an offender, we won't do anything about it". Funny, but EVERYONE who walked past the cigar smoker at the pool bar chose not to complain. Nor did folks complain about people in jeans and t-shirts at dinner…. Shore excursions We booked 2 prior to our trip. The first was the "Semi-submersible" in Grand Cayman. What a great trip for the family! Our daughter got to swim, husband and I got to snorkel, and the in-laws got to see loads of fish from the comfort of 6' below water benches. I'd highly recommend this to families. Our second Celebrity excursion was the interactive sea-turtle release program in Acapulco. My in-laws didn't sign up for this one, so it was just the three of us and 29 others. It was a long (boring) bus ride to the farm, but once there, we had a great time. My husbands' turtle won the race and his prize was a silly plastic turtle which he treasures. We did the other stops on our own, and generally hired a cab for city tours. I'd read to speak rapid-fire English in Columbia to get a good driver. It was great advice. However, the guide had his own ideas of where to go and had 11 of us in his van (fully air-conditioned, my behind!) Although none of us wanted to shop, many stops at shops still happened. Advice for the whole trip: If you have the advantage of speaking/understanding some Spanish, don't give away your secret too quickly. I found the drivers and "guides" discussing things which never would have been talked about had they known I understood them so well. Debarkation I'd heard that this goes well…. We were supposed to be called around 9:15, so had an early breakfast and went back to our staterooms. We were asked to go to public areas by 9AM and there we sat for over an hour. LONG lines, again. They never did call for our group to leave the ship, so eventually lots of us just left. Could have been much better. San Pedro to LAX I had researched this and decided to not take Supershuttle or Celebrity's shuttle. Instead, we got a cab after debarkation and spent $52 for all of us and our luggage to get to LAX. Was VERY disappointed with US Airways, as our flight to Phoenix was delayed over an hour, my husband, daughter, and I were removed from the plane because they gave our seats away to stand-by passengers, and our connecting flights were delayed, as well. We didn't get home until 2:30AM when we were supposed to be home at 9:30. I'm not sure I'll ever fly with them again. The Buzzards and the Vultures A strange title, but certainly the feeling I had when dealing with crew and fellow passengers. The Vultures were the folks who sold the gold-by-the-inch, "special priced t-shirts", art auctions, amber, spa treatments, etc. I was shocked by the "nickel and diming" throughout the cruise. I'd expected more refinement. The Buzzards were the ones who pulled the only XL tee-shirt left out of my hands, butted in the buffet line, etc. It was the feeling of being a "mark" to one group or the other for much of the trip. There were some nice folks on this trip. And then, there were the rest of them. There were a LOT of motorized scooters and their drivers were reckless, to say the least! I've never seen so many obese people in one place as I did on this trip. I also can't remember EVER meeting so many entitled and rude people in one place. The median age also affected us…I'm in my late 40's and felt like a kid. Now, to the dirty details of our trip and why I'm unhappy with X….. 12/7 FLL Embarked 12/8 At sea I woke up with some bites on my legs. Had our Cruise Critic Connections party and met a couple of the staff. We hadn't been "in" on the CC list for long, and I didn't feel really welcomed (besides the fact that the connections boards told me in no uncertain terms that folks didn't want kids on this cruise). 12/9 Grand Cayman MISERABLE night. Spent most of the night in tears with the feeling of being eaten alive. Took Benedryl at 4AM and slept until 8. Went to Guest Relations and was told to go to Medical between 9AM-noon. Since we had booked an excursion, I wasn't willing to skip the paid-for excursion, but had my complaint in prior to our first debarkation. They also said that they'd be changing out our mattresses while we were onshore. 12/10 at sea Went to medical, signed a sheet of paper which said I'd pay for all charges, and was told that I was allergic to bedbugs. Was told that I wouldn't have to pay for the consultation, after all. Apparently, I was the second passenger to have this problem, although it's an ongoing problem with the crew. This was by a lovely female doctor from Peru. (By this time, I had over 100 welts all over my body). Many folks in and out of the infirmary while I was there….Big problem with a virus which quarantined the sick person for 3 days and anyone else in the cabin for one. Nothing on the ship about sickness, but suddenly many more hand wipes showing up. I was put on Benedryl, Prednisone, and cortisone cream. We were told to stay out of our cabin for 2 hours while they removed our luggage to get it fumigated. Also was told to stay out of the sun and not drink alcohol until I was done with the Prednisone (3 days). Well, we got done with lunch and went back to cabin 2014. One whiff at the door, and our asthmatic daughter went into an attack. We kept her out of the room. Once we opened the door, we were assaulted by so much insecticide throughout the room that we could only stay in the cabin for minutes at a time. DH interjects here with "There were puddles of white liquid everywhere". My Mother-in-law got some wonderful pictures of wet EVERYTHING (and slipped in the bathroom while doing so) while I went directly to Guest Relations and brought back Janine, the manager. She was aghast at the amount of insecticide used (and all over…our daughters' lap-top screen is ruined, our toothbrushes were completely sprayed, and an assistant head-housekeeper was busily trying to wipe everything down while telling us that we were going to lose him his job). He proceeded to go the aft elevator area and cough so badly that I worry even now for the effects of his time spent in our cabin. Janine told us that the room was now uninhabitable, so we were asked to leave our luggage (which had not been removed) and move our belongings to room 3008. Of course, most of our clothing was wet, so X offered to launder 8 pieces of laundry for free. Our daughters' stuffed Snoopy was slathered, as well, and they put a rush on washing him so that she could sleep that night with her stuffed animal. We submitted about 15 of the worst of the wet, and didn't get a bill (though I haven't checked my Visa statement since I got home). So, we packed up everything in about 10 Celebrity bags and a bunch of Wal-Mart bags which we use to carry our shoes in. Talk about feeling like hillbillies! The stewards carted everything to our new cabin, but we had to spend a LOT of time in a poison-saturated room to get it all together. Had to make another trip to Medical, as the prednisone tablets had been put into an envelope which was doused with insecticide. I couldn't take those pills. People might say that all cabins are the same size, but 3008 was much smaller than 2014. Our daughters' bed went from small to what she fondly called her "big kid bed"….referring to it as a toddler bed. The table had to be removed, as it didn't fit with the bed pulled out. Also, I continued to itch in that cabin, so I asked Janine for help. She told me that if, in Columbia, a couple failed to catch up with the ship, we'd be moved again. 12/11 Cartagena The itching was nearly intolerable last night, so back to Medical. This time, I sat and waited a LONG time before seeing the chief doctor. Although his tag read that he was from the United States, he barely spoke English. He stated that it was NOT bedbugs, but was a contact dermatitis because while we waited, he went to 2014 and found no signs of bedbugs…well DUH! between the insecticide and replacement of the mattresses TWICE, do you think they'd have been dancing around in the sheets mid-day? Now, I'm told to avoid sun, alcohol, tight clothing (underwear!), and turkey and pork (the turkey is apparently basted in pork juices for flavor). I broke down and cried about the restrictions. The doctor informed me that since he doesn't drink alcohol, it shouldn't be an issue for me. Hey, it is my VACATION! Well, actually, it became my livers' vacation….. What a way to detox one's body. He put me on a triple dose of prednisone, use a "special soap" twice a day (which doesn't lather and smells a LOT like cabin 2014 did after the fumigation), and told me to use ice packs to numb the itching. He said that if it were bedbugs, everyone in our cabin would have the same reaction. By the end of the cruise, everyone in our group had welts…. Also, I spoke with one of the waiters stationed to pass out anti-bacterial hand wipes about their ineffectiveness against viruses. Within an hour, announcements began that nothing replaces hand washing. However, the staff now begins to wear gloves, some wear masks, and the ship is being wiped down with bleach. (Many folks later complained to Guest Relations about ruined clothes. New announcements commence about not leaning on wet surfaces.) In the meantime, the couple doesn't make the ship and we're moved again to 7047. We've got a balcony and I'm not getting any new bites in our cabin. Also, the second move was so much easier as our stuff wasn't wet with insecticide. The card room seems to have bugs, though, as each time we go there, we all get new bites. In our newest room, the steward does not remove contents of fridge, add another robe, or bring us an extra beach towel. He does get us the third life-jacket, though. He was a fair steward, but I'm fed up. Oh, by this time, I've had 6 room keys….2014, a replacement as my new one won't access the internet (nor does this one….couldn't get online until after Acapulco), 3008, a replacement because I can't charge anything (dh says he had to pay extra for that card!), 7047, a replacement because my key won't let me off the ship in Columbia….. Days pass with my liver on vacation and myself being in the shade and they're finally admitting a "Norwalk-like virus is on the ship and hand washing is the best way to deal with it". 12/14 Back to medical asking for a copy of my records. Request refused. 12/15 Late last night, we hear that one of the bar servers has bedbugs. I gave her some benedryl and dh told her to see the female doctor. She reports today that she's cleaning her cabin, but her cabin-mate won't let her go to medical, as it would mean the ruin of a lot of their things. Apparently, they all know what the fumigation team is capable of! Note from dh in our daily log: "12/15 There is noro-virus on the ship. All of their cleaning programs will be ineffective as long as people are keeping their symptoms to themselves. They have seen others go into quarantine, so they don't mention their diarrhea. Instead, they use the pool and public restrooms along with the healthy cruisers. I saw evidence today in the men's room by the T-Pool. Oh, by the way, I now have visible and itchy bites". 12/16 Waitress-friend goes to medical and gets diagnosis of bed-bugs. (More details which I've deleted to protect her privacy. Do have her name and that of another passenger on this trip and am awaiting response from corporate.) Also, have now heard that we're "Code Red". However, reading these boards tells me that "code red" means different things on different X ships. Still self-serve at buffet, still have salt/pepper shakers. However, no staff may leave the ship in LA and even back-to-back must debark in LA and won't be allowed right back on the ship. Has me wondering what time they began loading folks for the next trip. 12/16-12/19 Liver's still on vacation, but the "special soap" is helping. Still itching, though…. 12/19-12/20 Quit the prednisone and drink heavily of the fruit-juice I brought!!! Quit the soap and immediately start getting numerous new bites in multiple public areas. 12/21 OFF THE SHIP and headed home. Conclusion We're all of the firm belief that nobody has the power to ruin your day but yourself. Hence, it was a good trip. We hadn't seen the in-laws in 4 years and to get the experience of the Panama Canal with them was priceless…. The staff on this trip put up with some of the rudest people I've ever encountered, and (for the most part) handled them graciously. I saw a woman berate one of the guys at guest services and he stood and took it. (I made a point of going to Guest Relations daily just to say, "HI". After all they dealt with regarding my issues, I felt it important to show them my gracious side). HOWEVER, I expected X to immediately contact me. They haven't. Nor have they responded to my e-mail. I've asked my TA to find a remedy for this trip, but he's on vacation. Right now, though, I'm still trying to find out what the insecticide was, as our asthmatic daughter has had non-stop coughing since the fumigation and her doctor needs the information. No word yet….. Karen Jones Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
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
We were first time cruisers on Celebrity and sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal. We expected a little more than we received on the Summit. This was the fault of the TV advertising. We had previously cruised ... Read More
We were first time cruisers on Celebrity and sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal. We expected a little more than we received on the Summit. This was the fault of the TV advertising. We had previously cruised four times on Holland America and once on Renaissance. We expected an outstanding cruise experience and instead had an average one that was similar to Holland America's formula. The Cosmopolitan dining room service was excellent and the waiters were attentive and pleasant. The service on the Summit was better than that offered on four Holland America ships we had previously sailed on. However, we were not impressed by the shore excursions. We booked the Aerial Tramway tour in Costa Rica at $118 each. We saw one squirrel, hardly any flowers, and one yellow bird at the forest sanctuary. We do not recommend this tour as it is not a good value! The food and presentation in the restaurants was of a generally high quality but not outstanding. The entertainment had greater variety and more virtuoso performances than usual. The modern art decor is not than interesting. There are many photographs and modern sculptures but we prefer Holland America's antiques. The pools are good but the poolside music can be annoying. The casino is gloomy as it has an absence of windows, and the casino staff could be more inspiring and customer-orientated. The destinations were quite interesting but the time spent at each location only permitted a cursory inspection. Aruba is bigger than we expected and more interesting than anticipated. We saw very little of Panama but what we did see looked modern and up-to-date. The same could not be said for Costa Rica. Puntarenas had an abundance of iron bars on windows and graffiti. We were told that many Nicaraguans illegally emigrate to Costa Rica in order to escape poverty and high unemployment. What with this fact and the crocodiles we could not see why so many Americans want to retire there! Huatulco in Mexico was delightful as was Cabo San Lucas. Acapulco is interesting too, particularly Fort San Diego - a good value at 33 pesos. There are seven days at sea on this trip and that is a little too long. The overall conclusion for the voyage was good but not outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
This 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
Embarkation - Quick and easy. Celebrity has a separate check-in area for people in suites. We were on the ship in 15 minutes, even though we had a cabin change and new room cards had to be made. Crew/Staff - Exceptional. Our Butler and ... Read More
Embarkation - Quick and easy. Celebrity has a separate check-in area for people in suites. We were on the ship in 15 minutes, even though we had a cabin change and new room cards had to be made. Crew/Staff - Exceptional. Our Butler and other room service staff treated us like a king and queen. Our dining room waiter and assistant waiter were friendly, humorous and extremely efficient. Crew members we encountered in passing, on stairways, in hallways, on decks, all had a friendly smile and cheerful hello. Dining/Food - Wonderful. Portion sizes were just right in the dining room. Many cruise lines serve too large of portions. Special requests were granted with no problem. Dining in our stateroom was just as wonderful as in the dining room. Even though some items weren't on the room service menu, such as eggs benedict or Belgian waffles for breakfast, we had no problem getting them and everything, including the eggs over-easy, were still hot and delicious. The fresh fruit was sweet and juicy. The homemade ice creams (large variety from day to day) were marvelous. All the sauces were excellent, as were the fresh vegetables. Ports of Call/Shore Excursions/Getting on and off ship - Great ports of call and numerous shore excursions to choose from. Trip in Costa Rica to La Paz Waterfalls was unbelievable. Easy to get on and off ship, even at tender ports. Shore excursions were clearly marked, plus most left and returned on time. Ship was on-time or early at every port. Cold towels were wonderful when getting back on the ship. Stateroom - We were upgraded to an incredible stateroom and found it spacious, well-appointed and a pleasure to be in, especially on sea days. Loved the goose down on the beds and the "pillow menu," the thick robes and towels, fresh flowers, afternoon "treats," private spa on the deck, in-room entertainment system and in-room computer station. Public areas/lounges - All were very comfortable and non-glitzy; plenty of seating, pleasant music, appropriate to the main age group of guests. We didn't care for the "Cirque" experience or the decorations in Reflections - too much "hype" and not much substance. Entertainment - Above average; very talented singers and dancers. Spa/Gym facilities - Spa specials were wonderful and the staff very professional; no one tried to shove spa "products" down my throat. The gym is much larger and has much more equipment than on any other ship we've been on - never crowded. Persian Garden was a bargain at $99 for the 14-day cruise and is almost a secret. It was never crowded and the 2 steam rooms and 1 dry sauna were marvelous. The lounge area was tranquil and relaxing. Best cruise and best ship we've ever been on! Would definitely go on this ship or any other "Millennium" class ship with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 22 April 2005 Thank you Celebrity Summit for an excellent cruise. People made the difference. To our new Cruise Critic friends, we enjoyed our time together alligator spotting, water bus riding, ... Read More
Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 22 April 2005 Thank you Celebrity Summit for an excellent cruise. People made the difference. To our new Cruise Critic friends, we enjoyed our time together alligator spotting, water bus riding, snorkeling, shopping, canopy walking, zip-lining, sharing cocktails and dinner, dinner, dinner, etc. From the Celebrity Staff we appreciated great overall service with smiles and excellence in food and entertainment. We had a great time and based on our experience, we would choose Celebrity again in the future. Several things are most notable during the 14-day cruise. Our critique is based on an experience base of only 3 Cruises of which this was the most recent. It was also our first time on Celebrity. The Summit's number one differentiator from our other cruises is the quality of entertainment. John Howell, Cruise Director, executed his responsibilities with creativity (Beach Party), caring (Cruise Critic gatherings), competence (Nightly Show Host), flexibility (modified schedules based on cruise dynamics) and genuine friendliness (he convinced us that we were a part of his family). He visibly led his staff by example and their teamwork was evident throughout the cruise. Our heart-felt well done and a nod of the hat to John. We would sail again with him even if he were the Cruise Director of the Titanic! (Just kidding). His service was beyond excellent and definitely outstanding (Not kidding). The second kudo is for the dinner cuisine and service in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. We were at late seating (Table 407) and under the watchful care of Vernon from South Africa and his assistant Rafael from Honduras. The food quality and diversity was a credit to the chef and food service staff. Everything was always fresh, hot and delicious. But this acknowledgement doesn't stop with the preparation and great taste. The personal delivery, cheerful good humor and overall ambiance were first class. Vernon and Rafael turned dinner into a dinner theatre experience with fun ventures into the art of pepper grinding, defining "Hearts of Iceberg Lettuce", the science of tableware positioning (and repositioning), and Rafael's now famous toothpick games and napkin folding. We looked forward to their service every night. Even Zanna from Lithuania, our sommelier, added to the experience (remind her she promised to provide us a fashion show). Not to be forgotten, our tablemates from Manchester, England and San Diego, CA made each meal an event of memorable camaraderie and day-in-review. (What time is it Margaret?) The Normandie dinner was extraordinary. In addition to great co-diners Ronni and Frank, we were very impressed with the 6-course menu, the chef's accommodation of our entrEe requests, the food quality and the accompanying wines. I can't think of a way they could improve this experience. It was perfect. The public areas of the Summit were well maintained and pleasantly staffed. A big round of applause for the daily "March of Sorbet" around the pool decks. But Celebrity! Please let those poor guys and gals wear shorts and polo shirts as they serve us instead of uniforms! 90+ degrees and high humidity should be factors in their attire selection. Cliff - thanks for the attention to detail on Mauricio's tour. You can be our tour guide anytime. Andrew - thanks for arranging the follow up meeting for CCs. John H. - thanks for your time and participation in Michael's Club CC sessions. The following observations are provided to Celebrity to consider in further improving the cruise experience. We consider these items minor in the context of our entire cruise, but detailed them so they would be better understood: 1. The Concierge Class Room and service were barely 3 Star hotel quality. Our critique in this area is a bit harsh, but Princess set that bar pretty high on both the Tahitian Princess and the Dawn Princess. The personal service we received on Princess set our cabin expectations for cruising. In perspective, our past experience was that the Room Steward met you in the hall on arrival, introduced himself, offered service at all times of the day and night (rarely needed), was constantly visible in the halls, and assured the room was 100% at all times without reminder or prodding. We found personal, attentive cabin service sorely lacking in our Celebrity experience. Although a special concierge number was provided if we needed assistance, we just didn't feel it was worth the time from our vacation to chase after our room attendant. Bottom line? We would not spend extra for Celebrity Concierge Class in the future. These are some specifics: · Upon arrival in Room 8102 we opened the curtains to find smudged, greasy windows. On this occasion we did chase down the room attendant to have the windows washed so we didn't have to have to see this every time we looked outside. · Once we could see outside, we discovered that 8102 has the smallest balcony imaginable, and angled with the contour of the ship. It's hard to believe that two chairs and a table fit on it. The adjoining suite obstructed part of our aft view. Our neighbors were very kind and kept the blinds closed overlooking our balcony so we could have privacy. The balcony definitely did not meet our Concierge Class expectations. In fact, we found ourselves consciously seeking time on the public ship deck rather than on the cabin balcony. · A cover plate from an electric outlet was lying on the desk and the 110v receptacle was pushed into the wall and unusable. It took a full week before it received attention from maintenance, and by the end of the cruise, it was back to its original state of disrepair. · Two ceiling lights were burned out on arrival as well. These also took a week to replace. · We never received the advertised Concierge pillow menu for a selection. · The daily fruit bowl was concerning in terms of freshness. The apples were bruised and mushy. The pears on multiple occasions had surface cuts from handling. On the last two days, the strawberries had mold on them. · CanapE delivery was unreliable. On two nights we had to hunt for the room attendant to get delivery. Delivery ranged from about 4:15 pm to 7 pm. On several occasions, the bread was stale. The selection was also quite repetitive. · Laundry Service was slow and expensive. We requested next day service. It took two days, returning late the second day. A 50% surcharge was added to our bill. If Celebrity is going to add a surcharge, why not just put the charge in the price to begin with. · Turndown service was inconsistent. On one night the Celebrity Today was not delivered. On two nights there were no weather cards or chocolates. Since Celebrity puts most planning information in the Celebrity Today and Weather on the Weather cards, we had no planning information on port arrival or weather conditions for our excursion the next day. · On several occasions we had to personally get ice to replenish the melted supply. · During one day, we returned to our cabin to change into swimming suits. The bathroom service attendant opened the door without knocking (Fast retreat followed). · Priority Tender privileges were overrated. We tried to go ashore for a brief visit to Fuerte Amador, and waited over 45 minutes before giving up and leaving in order to participate in other planned activities. When we left, the Concierge passengers were still waiting. Later in the week at a Cruise Critic meeting, John H. convincingly explained that the Port Authority was the culprit. For the sake of the customer facing staff however, Celebrity needs to provide them that information to convey in real time. They faced a fairly frustrated group of cruisers, and the only information they could give was "soon". They need to be better informed. It's not fair to put them in that situation.· Water in the bathroom sink on multiple occasions was light brown in color. · We experienced a sour smelling shower for several days. It was finally bleached once, which helped for a day or two. · We visited with CC friends in the Penthouse and Royal Suites, and found that the room service we were lacking was surely provided to some. Of special note, the suite butler service we observed was extraordinary (Xavier - A+). · Frankly, the highlight of our Concierge Class Service was the bottle of champagne on arrival. 2. Waterfall Cafe: · Not much to say about the Buffet. Breakfast and lunch were unremarkable. This is not solely a Celebrity deficiency. Princess has the same problem with repetition, cold food and lax preparation. On the Summit, the mixed fruit bowl contents were frozen on several days and you had to beat a chunk off and let it thaw before eating. Toast came in one flavor - burnt). The salvations for Summit Cafe eating were the omelet bar, waffle bar and in the afternoon, the pasta bar. · As a dinner alternative, the Sushi Bar was great. We went there when the CanapEs were late or inedible. Recommend that Celebrity expand the hours from 4 pm to 10 pm. · The Ice Cream bar was also great. Easily accessible, quick service, good choices of flavors. 3. The Aqua Spa · I used this every other day. The pool area and changing rooms were clean and well maintained. Towels were readily available and so were deck chairs. · The pool temperature was very acceptable. · The pool water was not very clean. This is likely due to the large number of people using it, the bubble jets and the power showers. Hair, skin and band-aids were in the mix. Perhaps the filters were not functioning properly? · The selection of light faire foods at the spa cafe was excellent. Nice job. 4. Shore Excursions through Celebrity · Kukoo Kanuku - Very good tour, dinner and bar selection. Only downside was we purchased a CD from the tour guide and when we got home to play it, the case was empty. Hope this isn't a regular occurrence. · ACA Beach Club - Very good tour, excellent pool facilities, lunch and drinks. Recommend the duration of this excursion be stretched to 3 pm. 5. Cirque "Experience" · Several months ago, as we searched for our next cruise, the hook that brought us to Celebrity in the first place was an expectation of the excellence of Cirque through a cruise media presentation of originality, performance and music. I think both Celebrity and the cruisers got a raw deal from Cirque in the "delivery" of the experience. The experience was not up to Cirque standards and we got the impression from the crew that it was not up to Celebrity's standards either. Regardless, we were disappointed. · White Night was over hyped. Expectations for a black-light florescence from the white clothing were much higher than reality. · The Cirque highlight was the balloon performance. · The Bar at the Edge was also over hyped. The drinks were very expensive, as they were throughout the cruise. As counterpoint, Princess has 3 size drink selections, and their drink of the day has a special price. Recommend you consider this option and give more value for the money. 6. Photos · Photographers did a great job using ad-hoc and staged backdrops. · We would have bought many more pictures if the price wasn't so blasted expensive. · We recommend package sales, e.g., Best of Formal Nights: One picture from each night to capture the Lady's different outfits; Best Individual Picture: Husband, Wife, Children, etc. individually; Best Port Pix: Pirates, Hombres and more. Get the price down, and capture sales up front so you don't waste prints needlessly. · We bought the cruise in review video. There were sound problems and an abundance of stock video from other cruises. Particularly noticeable was the acrobatic section from a previous voyage. Stock video does not enhance the memory of a personal cruise experience. Neither does an extended hula-hoop competition. Also, the photo shop showed video clips in the displays during the cruise. Many clips were edited out in the final product. Expectations were such that if you saw it on a clip, it would be on the video. Not so. In conclusion, our critique highlighted the excellent services we received and detailed some areas that we think could be improved. This does not imply the negatives were a major factor to detriment our cruise enjoyment. Based on our overall very positive experiences, we would choose Celebrity again for a future cruise (But we already said that). Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
This was our second cruise with Celebrity and was our best of the 15 we have done. We stayed the day before at the Marriott Marina an excellent hotel with great views of the ships so we couldn't wait to go. We arrived at the ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Celebrity and was our best of the 15 we have done. We stayed the day before at the Marriott Marina an excellent hotel with great views of the ships so we couldn't wait to go. We arrived at the terminal at 11:15 and were walking to our veranda cabin by 11:45. Embarkation was a breeze with online doc's etc.. Our cabin wasn't ready,but we were allowed to leave our carryons and use the safe. After lunch and exploring we were greeted by our steward Santano,we discussed our daily needs with him and never had to ask for another thing for 11 days. THE SHIP--Summit is a very easy ship to get around on, our cabin was plush and plenty of storage space, the veranda was angled in due to location next to Xsuite, but never a problem. Having just come out of dry dock everything looked new and fresh, this is a modern design ship with soft lighting and colors that don't hit your face. Plenty of comfortable seating everywhere padded seating at the pool, teak chairs at the waterfall bar, padded teak loungers at the thasolltherapy pool. These are some of the things that set X apart. DINING AND FOOD-- We ate breakfast and lunch most days at the waterfall,the food was always fresh and a nice variety. Don't miss the omelette station or the waffle station in the morning. Pasta bar at lunch was good and the burgers at the pool cafe were the best at sea. Tried the aqua spa several times at lunch and was very surprised at the offerings and the excellent quality. Dinner was just what you would expect from X. Table 416 almost stern with great view. Our waiter Mushi was excellent and knew what was the best choice that night and never missed a beat. Wine steward Antonio had our bottle waiting everyday and was a great conversationist. THE Normandy-- Not going to the Normandy at least once during a cruise would be missing a 5* Epicurean delight. The service, food, presentation, and conversation with the staff was the best we had at a specialty cruise restaurant. Try the goat cheese souffle, caesar salad, any entree, dessert surprise, you won't be sorry. The surcharge is really small for the experience. CRUISE CRITIC PARTY-- Held in the morning with coffee, tea and donuts. We were hosted by the cruise director John Hall & ships Activity Officer. The discussion after meet and greet was mostly about Cirque and what we had to say about it both + & -. THE STAFF-- Everybody seemed to have a smile and hello from the ships officers to the early morning cleaning crew. The entire staff on this ship really seemed to enjoy their jobs. ENTERTAINMENT-- We can't give a rating as we really didn't go to the shows or bar areas that often to give an opinion. SHIP EXCURSIONS-- Tortugero Canals, very nice view of the rain forest and wildlife. Dome Train Panama-- book it early and you will learn more in 5 hr. with Marty than a semester in Geography or politics. On your own in Cozumel--Paradise Beach OVERALL--Best cruise so far, just booked Summit for '06 Hawaii 14 days SAY ALOHA Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
This was our sixth cruise, previously cruising twice on Princess and three times on RCCL. Three of those were my wife and I by ourselves and two were with out two daughters in their late teens/early twenties. I am writing this review for ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, previously cruising twice on Princess and three times on RCCL. Three of those were my wife and I by ourselves and two were with out two daughters in their late teens/early twenties. I am writing this review for people that are planning a cruise and trying to select a cruise line and ship that best suits their age and lifestyle and have broken my review into the sections that I believe are key in that selection. The Ship. The ship was built in 2002 and is about 92,000 tonnes yet it seemed no bigger than the Princess and RCCL ships we cruised on earlier in the 75,000 tonne range. There was no atrium to speak of nor a grand mall such as the RCCL Voyager class ships boast. The ship was very understated which I assume is to make it "classier" than some of the competition, but I preferred the artwork and a bit more glitz on some of our earlier cruises. Overall we were a bit disappointed in the ship itself, perhaps because our expectations were higher since Celebrity is advertised as a premium line. The one feature that we loved was the glass covered indoor pool/spa. The water was about 95 degrees F and had jets and recliners around the perimeter. There were also two hot tubs and a sauna that were not over crowded at all. Restaurants. The main restaurant was nice but certainly no nicer that those on our previous cruises and not in the same class as the three story restaurant in the Voyager. The Waterfall grill and cafe on the pool level (where we ate breakfast and lunch each day) were long and narrow which seemed unusual because the other ships all had a round restaurant at the top. This resulted in long walks to inspect the buffet lines and to find a table. The upside was that all tables were close to a window. There was also an outside section at the back which we enjoyed. We found that the various sections along the buffet lines were closed and covered a great deal of the time which we found somewhat frustrating. A number of people commented that the buffet was more refined than other ships because the serving trays had white linens on them and because there were servers to dish out the food rather than spooning it out yourself. I suppose that's a nice touch but wasn't a big deal for me. One evening we missed the early seating in the main dining room and didn't want to wait till 8:45 for the late seating so we decided to try the Waterfall grill/cafe for supper. We were surprised to find there was no buffet, but rather a section had been cordoned off and that full service meals were offered. After a bit of a lecture from a self-important restaurant manager about the need for a reservation (who knew?) we were seated and had a very nice meal and still made the early show. Food quality. The food was very good in general, but again, nothing out of the ordinary compared to our past experiences. Each night there was a fish dish, chicken, beef and one other like lamb, pork or veal. I don't know if it was the selection or just me, but I found myself having the steak more often than I usually do on cruises - I get great steaks at home and like to try different things on my cruises. We didn't eat in the Normandy Room because we couldn't see paying $60 when the meals in the main dining room were more than adequate. We did get feedback from others and I would say they were split 50/50 between those who loved it and those who were very disappointed. The food quality in the Waterfall grill was the same as other buffets. The hamburgers by the pool were great and the pizza was good as well. One of our favourite touches was the sushi bar but it was opened from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. only - and since we had the early sitting at 6 p.m. and the show ran till 10 p.m. our only option was to go after dinner, load up a plate and take it back to our room to enjoy after the show - probably "frowned upon in better circles". The Shows. Far and away the best entertainment of any cruise we've been on. The four Broadway style shows were the best we've seen and they had two male and two female singers - one of each was outstanding. Other shows included a female soloist who had been the lead in Les Mis and Evita in London's West End; a young woman in her 20's who played violin, clarinet and saxophone and had played an Prince Charles' 50th birthday party; and a pianist who we truly enjoyed. Of course there was a magician and a comedian the other two nights - both quite good. The Itinerary. The itinerary was great and probably the main reason we selected this cruise. We had not been to Costa Rica, Panama or Aruba and found them all very interesting, particularly Costa Rica and Panama since they were not simply Caribbean tourist stops. One suggestion I would offer is to do some research and try to book excursions privately ahead of time. You will save money, Get a more personalized service and see things you wouldn't see on the ships' excursions. You can do so safely by reading reviews and following chat rooms to find the local providers who get the positive comments. The Demographics. We found this cruise had the oldest group of cruisers that we have yet encountered. Apparently out of 2000 passengers there were 18 children. We saw almost no teenagers or young adults. If we had brought our daughters on this cruise it would have been a disaster, both because of the lack of people their age and the lack of fun activities around the pool or after the shows - there was some but very little compared to other ships we've been on. It was a bit too quiet for us as well, but clearly their target audience was retirees who want peace and quiet to have a relaxing vacation Conclusion. We very much enjoyed the cruise because of the itinerary, the shows and because we enjoyed our table mates (all of whom were older than us - a couple of pups at 52). However we probably wouldn't go with Celebrity in the near future simply because we're not really their target audience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
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
This was cruise #13. Others include the Norway, Norwegian Wind, Ocean Princess, Grandeur of the Seas, Carnival Destiny, Celebrity Horizon, Celebrity Mercury, and others whose names have passed from memory. Maybe I am getting jaded but ... Read More
This was cruise #13. Others include the Norway, Norwegian Wind, Ocean Princess, Grandeur of the Seas, Carnival Destiny, Celebrity Horizon, Celebrity Mercury, and others whose names have passed from memory. Maybe I am getting jaded but they seem to be losing their lustre. The ports on this last cruise were not the most memorable, especially Costa Rica and Panama. Costa Rica is very poor and does not encourage solo trips outside the port area. Panama could not protect the cruise line tours from labour problems forcing the cancellation of all tours. Took a taxi to the canal on our own, not much to see other than the canal locks that we could tell. Not even pleasant scenery. The tall ship tour in Key West was cancelled without notice. Finally we were told on the pier after waiting for some time. We purchased the tour on board but after being spoken to like we were less than human by one of the tall ships crew members, we were then told that the tall ship never ever had offered a tour at that time of day. Celebrity, hello there !! Key West and Aruba are good stops, Curacao is a bit iffy. Embarkation is slow, probably due to the staff resembling that of the cast of Cocoon but not as fast moving. Debarkation was quite good compared to others we have experienced. Food was just acceptable to O.K. Buffets were nothing special. The dining room service was very good, probably gratuity driven but whatever it was good. Entertainment was very good, especially the singers and dancers. The cruise director was invisible except at the end of each show in the theatre. Perhaps he felt he might have to mingle with the passengers, heaven forbid. He certainly paid a great deal of attention to the officers at the special Celebrity hosted functions. One member of the staff in the shopping area of the ship, not sure of his name but he had a British accent and gelled black hair, was probably the most arrogant and useless clerk I have encountered anywhere. Nice ship and cabin staff but most ships offer the same features to some degree or other (with the exception of the Norwegian Wind, what a mess). Not the best cruise I have been on but probably due to the choice of ports, so so food, and the ridiculously high average age of the passenger list, which appeared to be much higher than we have experienced in the past. I believe one of our table mates was called Methusaleh. Two members of our dining room table were on dialysis and one managed to spoil every ones dinner by being sick at the table just before the main course. Not done on purpose of course but it certainly didn't do much to enhance anyone's appetite. Maybe it is time to look at an island/golf vacation at a nice resort for a change. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
As previously avid supporters of Celebrity (Century, Galaxy, Millennium and Constellation) this little four-night junket left us with doubts about our favorite cruise line for the first time. Perhaps Celebrity isn't geared up for the ... Read More
As previously avid supporters of Celebrity (Century, Galaxy, Millennium and Constellation) this little four-night junket left us with doubts about our favorite cruise line for the first time. Perhaps Celebrity isn't geared up for the four-night experience and maybe it was just dumb bad luck on our part to book it, but we came away slightly bewildered, somewhat disappointed and wondering if our favorite cruise line is changing its focus? This was our first cruise on Summit. Once you've experienced the M Class ships, getting around is a piece of cake. Summit did not however, seem quite as well appointed or elegant as Constellation and our Category 2A balcony cabin looked somewhat tired and perhaps in need of refurbishment. EMBARKATION: Timely, except that a pleasant gentleman with a big smile handed out Debarkation Forms (the ones you fill out to get OFF the ship) in the embarkation lounge and failed to advise us we needed to complete them prior to boarding. This proved to be embarrassing and a bit awkward when we got to the Captain's Club desk to check in. The agent wasn't pleased, nor polite, that we hadn't completed the form and questioned my statement that we'd not been told to fill them out before boarding. I scrambled for our return flight information and filled out the form but I couldn't help but wonder what would have happened had I packed our return flight info in our checked luggage? And also, the last thing you want to think about on sailaway day, is debarkation! CABIN: This was partially my mistake, but forewarned is forearmed. I asked for Cabin 9173, slightly aft of mid-ships on the Sky Deck because it had an angled balcony. We've been in cabins on the Sky Deck before on two other Celebrity ships and never had a problem, but 9173 had a major flaw. In the wee (wee) hours of the night/morning, there was something very noisy going on upstairs in the Waterfall Cafe that sounded for all the world like a roller derby. We learn something new everyday. I learned never to book this cabin! One additional lesson learned...some cabins have drop-down third berths in the ceilings. Unless you're not opposed to potentially having a family with children in the next cabin, you might want to avoid locating next to one of these cabins. So check your deck plans before you make your cabin selection. We are empty-nesters with a grandchild. We love babies, especially our own, but were not necessarily ecstatic when we discovered the couple in the adjoining cabin had brought along their two year old grandchild. I don't know why I thought families with children were put in specific areas on each deck. Obviously, they are not. FOOD AND SERVICE: We had requested a table for ten (there were four of us, two couples in our 50's). We got a table for six on the upper level. The two gentlemen assigned to the remaining two seats at our table had requested a table for two and the maitre'd had told them not to worry because we were all "about their age". NOT. Thank Heavens they were delightful guys but a little offended by the suggestion they looked twenty years older than they were! It appeared the usual matching of tablemates wasn't deemed important for a four-night cruise as I heard this complained about more than once. Some people had it worse, assigned to tables taken up mainly by family groups traveling together. This can be a miserable situation. Or perhaps we were all just displaced by the corporate groups? Either way, it was a disappointment and didn't appear to have been given thought to. Service was very good to excellent and we loved our 2nd in command at table, Milton Alexander from Honduras who had a lovely smile and a great sense of humor. We all like and expect competence in the dining room wait staff, but personality is important as well. Celebrity seems to be overlooking this lately. The food was shaky the first night, but excellent every other night of the cruise. The Normandie was superb, thanks to the excellent staffers who rotate between Summit and Millennium. I knew I recognized them! Top notch food and service! There cannot be much of an excuse for the ship's not having received their wine order before our sailing. Two out of the four nights onboard, the wines we ordered were not in stock for this reason. Disaster! Cafe Cova...read my lips. Starbucks would be better, much. Understaffed and sometimes unpleasant wait staff. We've noticed this trend on other M-class ships. What's up here? ENTERTAINMENT: Went to The Night of Stars, the first night's entertainment in the Celebrity Theatre. It was pathetically amateurish and rather creepy. It came off looking like a porno film with everyone wearing their clothing. Weird. We didn't bother after that. Where were the comedians? Where was The Newlywed Game? Every time I cruise on Celebrity, I wonder why on earth they don't bring in some small jazz groups. I'm tired of Yellow Bird and steel drums. SCARY STUFF: Returned to our cabin on sailaway night shortly after 1 AM. Hubby removed his shoes and immediately stepped on something sharp. Ouch! We flicked on the cabin lights and picked up what amounted to an entire pile of large, sharp shards of glass embedded in the carpeting all over the floor on his side of the bed! Someone had broken something in the bathroom, cleaned the bathroom and hadn't bothered to check or vacuum the rest of the cabin. Housekeeping had to send someone up at 1:30 AM to do so and I'm sure the noise woke up the two year old next door. CELEBRITY HAS GONE CORPORATE? Arranged to meet our fellow cruisers in the Martini Bar before late seating. We were astonished to discover a corporate meeting going on down in the public atrium below the Martini Bar, where normally there is a dance band between dinner seatings. My husband cruises to get away from corporate speak. I can't print on this website what he said about this one. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Only two stops on this four-nighter. Both times there were as many as four to six other large cruise ships in port. Wow, lots of folks! Getting to our shore excursion in Cozumel was a disaster. Many people missed their group because ship's shore excursion personnel didn't know where groups were assembling. Just too many people in port for the transportation to be appropriately handled. Instead of the usual large, air-conditioned bus we were stuffed into van taxis four passengers per seat for a thirty five minute drive over unpaved roads. Corporate groups got the big buses with a/c. Most unpleasant and mildly sweaty. OVERALL: Maybe, after all, it was just dumb bad luck. Read Less
Sail Date April 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 3.7
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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