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Sail Date: December 2007
This past holiday season my wife and I decided to combine our 40th anniversary, a desire to finally make it to Hawaii and a chance to celebrate Christmas and New Years on the high seas... We have traveled on Celebrity transatlantic and ... Read More
This past holiday season my wife and I decided to combine our 40th anniversary, a desire to finally make it to Hawaii and a chance to celebrate Christmas and New Years on the high seas... We have traveled on Celebrity transatlantic and through the Panama Canal, and it truly was our only choice of a line, after having tasted Holland America and Carnival on other occasions. My son had traveled on one of Celebrity's sister ships to the Summit, and for the last two years extolled the virtues of having booked a Concierge Class room, with the additional service and amenities. We had always booked a balcony room, but this time we were convinced to go all out and book into Concierge Class (CC). .. for which we paid a premium. It ran us nearly $8k for the two of us, without shore excursions. Boarding at LA was a pain... We were told we had priority boarding with CC, and to show up no sooner than 1 PM to board for a 5:00 sailing. We got their about `12:30 and found many lines and much confusion. When I asked about priority, I was told to just get in the line!.. I am on a cane, and standing isn't my strong point, but we managed to get through and then were told to go sit on a bench with the rest of the hundreds. I again asked about priority boarding and was greeted with.. " That was at 11:00 this morning... sit down and wait until your number is called. I asked about my handicap and was asked if I needed a wheelchair. I said no, and was told to have a seat... only there were no available seats. I found a sign marked elevator in the back of the room, and my wife and I worked our way there and up the elevator, where we found a line, about 100yds long leading up to the gangplank! We got up to the ship in about 50 minutes time. It was LA, but windy and cool. Once onboard we were handed a quick champagne and sent to our rooms. Even on the infinity we were offered to be escorted. The whole front lobby was crowded and looked fairly disorganized, We finally made it to the room and found our rooms to be the same size as the balcony rooms we had on the other 2 ships. They were up under the Pool deck so the noise was fairly heavy at all hours, and the overhang of the above deck sheltered the skyline and set us in shade for most of the trip. The cabin staff was great as always on Celebrity... But, the only amenities that Concierge brought us were some stale snacks at 5 (6 each day!) and a bottle of cheap champagne on the first day. There were a lot of kids on this trip, but that is to be expected on all vacation cruises. They over ran the Spa's thermospa pool however and we didn't get a chance to use it. Food at the special restaurant was first class as was the service, I wish I could say the same for the dining room, however. The food was not well prepared, though it looked great, but the service was just fine. Spa Food for lunch was the best! This was the best entertainment we'd seen on a ship, but the shops were full of a lot of touristy junk, unlike the other cruises on Celebrity. The worst part of the cruise was shuttling to shore on the launches. It was totally disorganized and PRIORITY tickets left on our bed in the Evening before were worthless. We waited 3 hours to get into port, one time. Another was 1 ½ hrs. The itinerary was everything we expected and more. I rate this a 3, Could have enjoyed it more by flying out there. And spending the extra $ of great dining Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Sorry I took so long to post, but I figured better late than never... In June / July of 2007 I took a trip to Alaska on the Celebrity Summit (Southbound from Seward). It was an amazing trip and I was very much impressed with the ship: so ... Read More
Sorry I took so long to post, but I figured better late than never... In June / July of 2007 I took a trip to Alaska on the Celebrity Summit (Southbound from Seward). It was an amazing trip and I was very much impressed with the ship: so much so that I booked another trip on the Summit to Hawaii from LA. This time there were a lot more sea days, but I knew it was a great ship, so I wasn't worried. My parents, my grandparents, myself and my husband went on the trip, so I'm going to include observations from all in my review. I'll start with the ship review / getting on from LA and then get into what I did at each stop. Kona, Hilo, Maui, Oahu, and Escondido will all be included. Flight was non-eventful. We flew in the day before our trip (December 20th). We rented a car through Hertz @ LAX, drove to our hotel (Manhattan Beach Marriott), stayed the night, and then got up early the next morning. DM and DH both forgot things so we stopped quickly at a mall & got the forgotten items. Then we went to breakfast at Uncle Bill's in Redondo Beach. DF talked to some of the locals while we were in the mall and they suggested we go there. At 10am there was about a 20 minute wait, so DH and I walked down to the beach (not far, just all downhill which made coming back a bit of a workout). Then the 4 of us took the car over to the Hollywood sign. DH had never seen it, so we figured he should see Griffith Park. I'm SO glad we decided to do this. I've heard that the best time to do this is right after a huge rain storm and it was pouring the few days before we arrived. We had PERFECT weather. Albeit, a little cold, but it was so clear we could see everything. If you are renting a car in LA, I HIGHLY recommend the navigation upgrade. If we didn't have that, I wouldn't know where we were at all. After we finished with Griffith Park / Hollywood Sign, we started back towards an off airport Hertz location to return the car. (Quite close to the pier) Embarkation: When we arrived at the pier it was a mad house. MUCH more so than Alaska. My grandparents arrived about 15 minutes before us and since my grandma's in a wheelchair; they were whisked away and got on board in about 15 minutes tops. By the time we got there and got on line, my grandfather was in his room and they went to get lunch. After about 45 minutes of waiting on line outside we got into the building. Right before we did though there was SUCH a cute owl we saw napping in the planks above. (had to add that because it brightened my mood on line) Then it was another hour until we got to the front of the line and got our cards to board. Then they gave us a boarding number. By the time they called our number another 30 minutes went by and what we were unaware of is that there was another line after your number called to then get on the ship. That line was another 45 minutes. There was a very nice gentleman in charge of the situation talking to us (wish I could remember his name). He explained that they were only allowed 1 gangplank and that was what the hold up was for. I felt bad for him because so many people felt the need to yell at him for something that wasn't Celebrity's or his fault. The pier really needs to make another gangplank available for ease of checking in. Lesson: If you are leaving out of LA, make sure you don't arrive at the busy times. We wanted to see things before hand, so we got there at prime time which was a mistake. On Board Finally: *sigh* Thank goodness we finally got on board. DH & DF headed straight for the buffet. Even though we were starving, we got a special for the spa for a raffle drawing while we were on-line, so DM and I headed there. Sadly, by the time they got there the raffle was over. I suggested they not hand those specials out for those who wouldn't be able to make the drawing on time and headed to the spa with DM (we were all starving at this point). Great service at the buffet, same as I remembered! After we skarfed down some food, DM and I headed for the Normandie to make reservations for one of the days we were there. DH & DF went to check out the rooms. The ship was as gorgeous as I remembered. DM & I were on our way down to the Normandie, but we saw on the side of the buffet, they had a station setting up reservations. What a great idea! So, we did it right there and then headed back to the spa for one of their spa tours. I was excited to see if the Rasul treatment was open this time. It was and I made 1 appointment for a massage for me, 1 for DH, and the Rasul on a different day for the both of us! (super excitement!) Okay, to the room. This time I didn't have an aft, but the room was still nice. I have to say that my best experience and something that will stay with me forever was our room Steward. His name is Santana and he was AMAZING!!!!!!!! He went OUT of his way to help us whenever and I swear he had GPS on me because every time I went back to the room, he was there to open my door! I hope someone from the cruise line is reading this part because they need to give Santana MAJOR credit for how amazing he is. Something my grandma wants to add: Santana went so far out of his way for us it isn't even funny. We (my grandparents) like to keep the door open to the bathroom at night for a little bit of light. But, they were having issues with the door bouncing open and slamming closed during the night. So, Santana made something to put under the door so it wouldn't slam at night. Really, if that isn't going above and beyond, I don't know what is! The rest of the staff was very friendly and courteous and they also treated us like Celebrities. In particular, I also really liked our wine sommelier, Maggie. She was great! You can still get over-the-counter seasickness meds at customer service or the purser's desk. Free, dispensed a couple of tablets at a time. The sailing from LA to Hawaii was one of the roughest and the crew even said it hadn't been that rough in a long time. PLEASE take precautions. Also, if you see that they are doing a Internet class, you an get free internet for 30 minutes (you just have to sit though the class). I didn't see that happen during this cruise though. Since it's so expensive, this would be worth it. I was depressed I missed the culinary demonstration (was busy with something else DH wanted to do). Again, I say to make sure to go to this. Art Auctions: I go to these each cruise. My first reason is because I like looking at the pieces of art and my next reason is because I am a collector. The last cruise to Alaska I ended up buying 8 pieces. Eik, right! I liked that auctioneer and he was very helpful to me and not pushy. This cruise I did not like the auctioneer and helpers. I found them pushy and rude. Also, because I am younger I felt they did not take me seriously at all. I'm on vacation, so I didn't feel the need to wear a suit to the auction and I felt talked down to. I even ended up not attending the last auction (a first for me). Cova: This time I went to the cova and people watched. It was great! Had coffee (which you pay for), but the pastries are free and yummy! The 6 of us even played some monopoly. (they have boards free for use in the main areas there) Spa Treatments: I had the Ocean Wrap (nice seaweed wrap). It was a nice seaweed wrap (which they let you try on the spa tour). Then afterwards while you relax (basically in a waterbed) while wrapped you get a massage on your hands and feet. Then you shower everything off and get a full body massage. It was very nice and I would do it again. Just so everyone's aware: spa services have the gratuity built in already, but you can add more. DH had a massage and loved it too. Rasul: That's a whole story. First let me explain what it is. You're in an outer area which is free of steam / water and you apply a seaweed wrap. (very nice) Then you go & sit in the steam area which looks like a Turkish bath type of place. After a while it gets pretty hot in there. I enjoyed the hot, but DH didn't enjoy it and just wanted to get out of there. I guess he felt a little claustrophobic. Here's where the fun comes in.....as I'm still enjoying my time in the steam I hear him yelling, so I walked out. We were locked in there! Also, it's a bit far away from everything else, so he was trying to get someone's attention to help get us out. DH is a pretty strong guy and after playing with the lock, he did get the door open. I got dressed quickly and got out of there as well. (I didn't want to be stuck!) We went to the front desk, explained, and one of the ladies went with DH to see the problem. He showed her and they came back. They didn't charge us for the Rasul (I'm glad because we weren't in there long) and that was that. I'm sure they fixed that lock right after we left, but make sure the lock works before you get stuck too! Normandie: The food and experience were spectacular and gourmet, while the people were friendly, pleasant, and we were treated like royalty. A couple of highlights—the Caesar salad is made table-side. DF ordered the steak diane (again—same thing last cruise) which was again made tableside. He couldn't stop raving about this either. I had the Goat Cheese appetizer (again). It was still amazing. For those who are weary on ordering this as I was the first time, please try it. YUM! This time I knew they were bringing a cheese cart after dinner, but I still wasn't prepared. My stomach just doesn't expand like that! Dinner was $30 per person + a 15% tip. We tipped more. Tons of people were waiting on us the entire time. Even though I know this is part of going to this restaurant, we had a great time here. Wine Tastings: I went to 3 events on the ship. The Riedel Glasses Tasting, Wine & Food Pairing, and the Different Regions Wine Tasting. Wine & Food Pairing: I did this last time and I focused on different things, so it was still great! Again, different than Princess though. When I was on Princess, once you were done with your glass, you were done. But, Celebrity is different. When you finish one glass, they will refill it so you can get the most out of the talk. I thought this was very interesting so I started drinking what I wanted to so I could fully experience what was going on. If you ask me, $9.95 for 4 bottomless glasses of wine is a GREAT deal. I drank more than 4 glasses. It was entertaining, interesting, and I learned a lot. I highly recommend going. Regional Wine Tasting: GREAT! I got to try lots of wines I hadn't tried before from different regions. I enjoyed it immensely. Big tip here. PLEEEEEASE come after you eat something. They serve a few things here, but not lunch. You need something in your stomach to counteract all the alcohol you are going to drink! Trust me there! Riedel Glasses Tasting: By far, my favorite event. Before going on this cruise I had never heard of Riedel. It was an experience. They had 4 different Riedel glasses and 1 "joker" glass which I've seen at my restaurants. We drank wine out of glasses they weren't supposed to be in. Ie: Chardonnay out of a Bordeaux glass. Then we transferred them to the joker (the worst of all) and then into their rightful glass. The changes were astounding. I STILL cannot believe the differences and how much better wine tastes in the right glass!!!!!!! I know it's an expensive event, but it comes with the 4 Riedel glasses. Attend if you're a wine lover! Ports: Kona: Here we decided to book a rental car through Thrifty. My main motivation for this was that the rental car area was a walk from the pier and we didn't have to drive anywhere to get here. It was easy to pick up the car and right after we drove up to Hapuna Beach. It was beautiful there and our first experience with Hawaii. We got some chairs, sat, and went into the water for a bit. There were a TON of people there, but we still got a spot and enjoyed ourselves. It was nice and I wish we could have stayed there longer. We decided to leave and go to Greenwell farms to do a coffee tasting. This wasn't as organized as I thought at all. It is a short 10 minute tour of the equipment and then you taste coffees that have been sitting out (in a stay warm container). The coffee tasting was the best part and it was good coffee. We ordered some to ship back. I also wanted to go to the seahorse farm, but we didn't have time to stop this time. So, we headed back to the ship. All in all, it was a great beach, but a little far and a lot of traffic for a 1-day visit. Hilo: We were here from 8-6. Our itinerary was volcano national park and then I wanted to stop and get macadamia nuts. The day before I signed onto the computer and checked the NPS website to see about volcano activity. (http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm) All was fine, so our day went on as scheduled. DH, DM, and I (DF decided he wasn't going to come) got off the ship as soon as we were able and got on the Hertz bus that was waiting for us. (we were the first ones there) We left the airport at 8:30 and arrived at VNP around 9:15. I printed out the guide on what to do, but we stopped at the visitors center first. Since people were arriving, we skipped the movie and went straight across the street to Volcano House to see the view out the back. It was amazing. (a tip I got from the board) Please make sure you see that when you are there. Then we got into the car and started on the way. Sadly, it started raining a little and I was glad at this point I brought my waterproof jacket. Since we were ahead of all the groups, we had most of the stops to ourselves. We also brought coolers with us so we had snacks along the way. Some of our stops included Steaming Bluff & Sulphur Bank: Whew—it stunk a little bit here, but the steam vents were really cool to see. Southwest Rift Zone, Halemaumau Crater Overlook (VERY cool), Keanakakoi Crater Overlook, Puu Puai Overlook, Thurston Lava Tube. This was great. DM went and saw the main part, but DH and I took our flashlight and went into the creepy part. It was AMAZING. We couldn't see at all. While scary, it was really fun. Then we drove back around to the main area and out. On the way back we stopped at the Macadamia plantation and bought some things. We even shipped some directly back. YUM! Then back to the ship. All in all, a fun day. Wish it wasn't raining, but it was very cool to see. A day later DM realized she lost something (wallet like thing containing money). She was upset, but didn't let it ruin the trip. When we got home Hertz had sent me a letter noting we left something in the car and to call them. DM had to describe it and it was shipped back to her by Hertz. No questions asked and they even paid for shipping! She was so relieved and I have to say that was very professional and a great Hertz experience. Maui: This was our relaxing island. During the day, we decided to take a shuttle to the Whaler's Village and then stay at Kaanapali Beach. We sat there for about 4 hours. It was beautiful. On the way back to the pier we took a cab to the Japanese Jodo Mission, took pictures for a few, and then took the cab back to the pier to get ready. We had pre-booked a luau called the Feast at Lele. We walked there from the ship. It was gorgeous. Upon arrival we got a lei and a table. Then we sat back and watched the show. The way they handle it is that for each portion of the show, they give you something to represent that region. Some of the food was odd, but it was a great experience. That night was Friday night and Lahaina (where we were docked) hosts an Art Night from 7-10pm. DH and walked through a bunch of them and if nothing else, it was interesting. Very festive. We got back to the ship as soon as we could after that because we had a Bike Trip down Haleakala the next morning. At 1:30 we were out of our rooms and down by the tender. We were nervous about not catching a tender and having to wait more than ½ hour. We actually just ended up catching one, so we were outside the tenders on land at 1:45. Since we had until about 2:45 our pick up time for someone to pick us up, we decided to sit on a curb a little further up in some kind of light because it was a bit dark where we were. We were chased away by cops who told us not to loiter... Then DH decided he had to use the facilities, so we hunted around for a while for one and finally found a public one. At 3am another couple joined the wait (made me wonder what time they had). At 3:30 the van finally showed up. They apologized for the delay and said another couple never showed up at their first pick up. We got into the van and rode to the base. On the way up the mountain DH & I slept on each other. Finally we got to the top and were told we had about 45 minutes until the sun would rise. So, we stayed in the van because it was cold! Outside! Just to give you an idea of our attire: I was wearing a tank top, long sleeves over that, my Columbia lined jacket with fleece liner on top of that. On the bottom I was wearing my super warm pants. Then sneakers, my ear liners, a hat, & my gloves. When it got closer to sunrise DH & I got out of the van to get closer to view the sunrise without buildings / other things blocking the way. It was freezing and rainy. Colder than parts of Alaska! Unfortunately, here's my regret. We saw NOTHING. The people meeting us outside the national park with the bikes further down said they saw an amazing sunrise, but we were stuck in the cloud. It's a shame because the point of the trip for me was to see the sunrise and it never happened. *sigh* Moving onto the bike ride. We took the bus out of the park to where a van with bikes was waiting. We loaded up on gear and formed a line of lightest to heaviest. (per the guides) They instructed us on safety and then started us down. It was amazing. I hadn't bike rode in a while and there was a stretch of about 200 yards which was hard for me. But, otherwise I pushed through and made it from the top to the beach. To look back and see where we came from was just amazing and breathtaking. I would do it again, even without the sunrise. The guides were professional and I can't say enough great things. (I used mountain riders) Oahu: We were here from 7am - 2pm. This was the only stop my grandparents agreed to get off the ship at. So, I decided to hire a limousine to take us around so they wouldn't have to worry about climbing on a bus and the 6 of us could just be together. After a lot of searching on the boards, I found abc limo. They were great. Before I came, they set up everything with me and gave me a cell number to call when we got off the ship because they couldn't park there long. DH & I wanted to go to Pearl Harbor, but the rest of the group already went. So, we got off the ship as early as possible, got in the limo and he took us there. There was a HUGE wait. It was nuts. But, DH wanted to do it, so I stayed with the plan. In the meantime Marvin from ABC went and picked up my grandparents and parents. He gave them a tour and by the time they were done, he picked us up. He took us to the most beautiful places. My favorite was Hanauma Bay. It was gorgeous. (He also took us to a fast-food type place for lunch the locals go too—that was great too!) VERY professional and I HIGHLY recommend you use ABC. Since this was our last stop in Hawaii, I wanted a pretty lei before I got back on the ship. We were told to go to China town, but it was too late. One of the locals said to try to grocery store, so DH & I walked there. It's about 3 blocks from where we were docked. I got a gorgeous lei there for $10. Escondido: My least favorite. I guess they to stop here just to include an international stop. I wish they didn't, but nothing we can do. In retrospect, I wouldn't have even gotten off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was the best vacation we ever had! We are a couple in our fifties. This was our thirteenth cruise and our second cruise to Hawaii. This was our seventh Celebrity cruise. We have also cruised on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess. ... Read More
This was the best vacation we ever had! We are a couple in our fifties. This was our thirteenth cruise and our second cruise to Hawaii. This was our seventh Celebrity cruise. We have also cruised on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess. Luckily for us we did not read the cruise reviews before booking this cruise. We would have missed out on a wonderful cruise experience. When we read the Cruise Critic reviews as we prepared to depart we were dismayed to see comments about worn furnishings, housekeeping problems, poor food, mediocre service and mechanical problems. There were so many negative descriptions of the Summit that we were anxious about what we would find. We are very happy to report the ship is beautiful and in excellent condition. The food was meticulously prepared and presented in every venue including the buffet. The service is exemplary and the staff members in every area were friendly, knowledgeable and committed to anticipating and exceeding customer expectations. The common areas are beautifully appointed and spacious. The ship was spotless. EMBARKATION- We arrived the day before the cruise and spent the night in a hotel (Hyatt Regency Long Beach) arranged through Celebrity. The next morning we opted to take a cab to the ship rather than waiting for the 1:00 pm shuttle provided by the cruise line. We arrived at the pier at a little after 11 am and breezed through security. We had checked out our cabin and were at the buffet by 12 noon. This was one of the quickest embarkations we have ever experienced and certainly the fastest post 9/11. FOOD - From the multiple courses at the Normandie Restaurant to the daily buffets the food on the Summit was wonderful. The buffet area is thoughtfully laid out. There are not only trays for carrying your plates (unlike Princess) but there are linen placemats and napkins. In addition, Celebrity continues the tradition of providing multiple waiters to assist passengers in carrying their trays to a table. The dining area around the buffet is oversized so there is never any difficulty in finding a table in any area you prefer. This is certainly not the case on other, larger, cruise ships especially Princess. There are multiple buffet areas to suit every taste. We particularly enjoyed the pasta station, the sandwich area, the outdoor grill with its daily barbecue specials, the international specials (especially the Asian selections) and the breakfast stations. We loved the waffle/pancake and omelet stations! In the main dining room the food and service were excellent. We especially appreciated our dining room waiter, Andy. He made every meal enjoyable. Our dining guests were two lovely couples from Britain who kept us laughing with their dry humor for two weeks. We also enjoyed the prompt and courteous service of Joseph who worked in a specific dining area in the buffet every morning. This is certainly the first cruise where we've found a favorite buffet waiter! But that is just one small example of the level of service which epitomized the entire Summit experience. This ship is passionately committed to service. LOUNGES - The first night of the cruise we headed to the Cova Cafe for cappuccinos. We had the pleasure to be waited on by Wendy. The very next time we went to the Cova Cafe Wendy remembered our names! We were impressed. She was so friendly and attentive we found ourselves there every night. We also spent some time every evening at the Martini Bar where Maria became our regular server. She also always remembered our names and favorite drinks. Thanks to these two staff members we thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent each evening before our late seating dinner. ENTERTAINMENT – This was our thirteenth cruise so our expectations were not really high as far as entertainment goes. We were happily surprised by the talent of the Celebrity Singers and Dancers who enthusiastically performed ambitious Broadway shows such as Le Mis (complete with a barricade) and Phantom of the Opera. That was only the beginning. A female vocalist (I apologize that I cannot recall her name) was breathtaking. In the evening she performed a selection of Broadway favorites mixed with opera. Then, the next day, a special performance of opera was held in the afternoon. She was wonderful. We also enjoyed the talent of a male vocalist, Darren Williams, who had a beautiful voice. We loved the understated humor of Cruise Director Allan. The ship overflowed with talent. The string quartet, Prelude Strings, should not be missed. Jefferson Ang, a vocalist/guitarist was a favorite as was the classical harpist. There was always something going on, in every area of the ship. ACTIVITIES – The ship is equipped with a beautiful, fully equipped Spa and gym. I did indulge in a “spa day” and, (surprise!) no one tried to sell me anything! It was wonderful. The thallisotherapy pool was peaceful, soothing and free. Most fitness classes were also at no additional charge. It was wonderful to be on a cruise where people weren’t “nickel and diming” you to death. While we were in Hawaii the ship had several cultural advisors on board who held many classes intended to acquaint the guests to the unique history and art which is Hawaii. There were classes in the Hula and in playing the ukulele. There were at least two classes in Hawaiian lei making where mounds of fresh picked, gently fragrant orchids were available to string into beautiful leis. There was a class in making Hawaiian bracelets. These classes as well as the materials were all free. HAWAII – We did manage to tear ourselves from the ship long enough to see Hawaii. On Oahu we went on the “Explore the North Shore” tour which included stops at Turtle Bay Beach where we saw many sea turtles, several prime surfing areas and, most interesting to us, stops at various spots on the island where the television series, Lost, is filmed. At Kona we went on the Zodiac excursion which was great. The snorkeling was wonderful. We saw multiple pods of dolphins. We were overnight in Maui so we went to a restaurant we were familiar with from our previous trip. We enjoyed the evening sail past Mount Kilauea where we saw lava splashing into the ocean creating rising plumes of steam. DISEMBARKATION – It was managed well but we hated to leave. CONCLUSION – This cruise was perfect. We loved every minute of it. We have already booked a cruise to the Mediterranean on the Summit and even booked the same stateroom! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Overall - This was our third cruise, but first on Celebrity. Our other two cruises were on Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed our first cruise on X and would recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxed experience and doesn't need to have an ... Read More
Overall - This was our third cruise, but first on Celebrity. Our other two cruises were on Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed our first cruise on X and would recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxed experience and doesn't need to have an exciting nightlife. Even though the passengers on our cruise tended to be older, bringing children on this cruise was not an issue at all - they had plenty of fun. Embarkation - We drove to the pier from our home in Orange County. We arrived about 1:00 pm and found unloading our luggage and parking our vehicle to be very easy. We waited inside for about 15 minutes before boarding the Summit. The entire process was very smooth and easy. So with the exception of not being offered champagne upon boarding, we were quite happy. Public Areas - We found all the public areas to be clean and maintained very well. After taking previous cruises on Royal Caribbean Grandeur and Rhapsody, we found the central area of the ship to be rather disappointing and not very elegant. Wear and tear of the carpets, furniture, etc. were what we would expect given the amount of traffic in these areas and were rather surprised at the number of negative comments in the member reviews regarding this. The pool area was laid out very nice and having the Waterfall Grill at one end of the pool area was very convenient. One complaint that we have concerned the hot tubs on the pool deck - the water temperature was very tepid, even cold sometimes. This problem seemed to go away once we arrived in the warmer climate around the islands, but during the days at sea they were too cold to enjoy. They close at 6 pm, which is too early. The indoor pool and hot tubs were always warm and very comfortable. The gym was excellent. They had very good equipment and lots of it. I had no problem finding a bike and my wife could always find an elliptical to work out on. The weight machines seemed new and were very nice. Everything was extremely clean and didn't notice any locker room smell. Most people were very good at cleaning up the machines after they used them, and I noticed that crew would come by and clean the machines periodically. Room - We were very disappointed in the size of the room. It was smaller than either room we had aboard RC. Granted, the rooms we had on RC both had balconies, so they seemed bigger. On previous cruises we had been on decks 8 and 9, so we were concerned about having a room on such a low deck (deck 2). But it turned out that except for the lack of a balcony there wasn't much of a difference in terms of noise and movement. We booked our Summit cruise late and didn't have much of a choice in rooms that would accommodate five people and frankly, we were very surprised that Celebrity would put five people in a room that small. The furnishings were clean and not very worn; however the decor was done in very unattractive shades of orange and yellow. Yuck. That being said, we did not spend much time in our room and really only found the small size to be a detriment when we were getting ready in the mornings and before dinner. We had no complaints about the comfort of the beds/bunks. The bathroom was small and could accommodate two people only if one of them were in the shower at the time. Service - Overall the service was very good. Our wait staff in the dining room was excellent and very entertaining for our children. They were very good at accommodating our children's food choices - they knew what our children liked to drink with dinner and would have their drinks waiting for them when we arrived at our table. We encouraged our children to try new foods and our waiters were very good about substituting other dishes if they found ones they didn't care for. Our cabin attendant was very attentive and responded to our requests very quickly. It seemed like we always had fresh towels in our bathroom. Even if we took showers during the day, we would have fresh towels in the evening. We usually went to the martini bar in the evenings before dinner, and our waitress would bring us mixed nuts and bread sticks, and even cherries over ice for the children. We were slightly disappointed in the pool deck service and would have liked the attendants to come around more frequently, although the service did seem to improve somewhat later in the cruise. The entire staff was very good at remembering our names and trying to personalize our experience as much as possible, such as remembering our drink preferences and how we liked our food prepared, etc. Food - Reviewing the food is very difficult. We had dinner in the main dining room almost every night. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals, but we don't recall raving over any particular dish. The fish was good, the soups were good, the salads were good, etc. The beef, however, was usually excellent. Desserts were almost always disappointing. Overall, we did not notice a big difference in the quality of the food on the Summit and the food we enjoyed on our previous RC cruises. The Summit fare did tend to be more gourmet, with pate, escargot, frog legs, etc. Perhaps that is why we are not raving about it, as our tastes tend to run more simple. As an aside, the late seating was not a good option for our children, although they handled the late meal very well. Our personal preference is to go to the shows after we eat dinner rather than before, but the show times seemed geared for the early diners. The sommelier in the main dining room was not very good. He offered few suggestions and no descriptions of the wines we were interested in. He clearly had too many other diners to attend to as it usually took him at least ten minutes after we were seated to bring us the wine from the bottle we had not finished the night before. The midnight buffet was amazing to look at, but with our late dinner seating we were not able to sample any of the food since our dinner ended only about an hour and a half before the buffet started. The breakfast food at the Waterfall Cafe was very good. We had freshly made waffles almost every morning, as well as Omelets made to order. We rarely ate there for lunch and never for dinner. There generally seemed to be a lot of different choices such as sushi, stir fry, and always lots of different sandwiches. Many days we would stop by in the afternoon for some ice cream. The hamburgers at the Waterfall Grill were good and the fries were excellent. The light fare in the indoor pool area was delicious. Entertainment – We didn’t see any shows other than the talent show and a movie in the cinema, so we really can’t comment on their quality overall. The lounge band in the Rendezvous was below average, but then again, like most entertainment on the ship seemed geared toward the older crowd. My wife and I are in our late 30’s, so we were a little disappointed in the night life. The “Party Band” was fun, although their selection of tunes was very limited. I hope to never hear YMCA again, but my wife and kids loved it. The crowd in the disco was usually very small and reluctant to get up and dance unless the ship activities staff was there to encourage them. Kids Activities – The kids club was clean and well maintained, with plenty of toys and activities including a ball pit and slide. There were plenty of children ages 3 to 12. Our 6 year old had a fantastic time playing and meeting new friends, as did our 9 year old although she did get bored at times with the “leap frog” games. Overall, they enjoyed the staff and the program and even wanted to stay for the late night session (10:00 pm to 1:00 am). Our 14 year old was concerned about the lack of teenagers upon arrival on the Summit, but soon met some great friends and ended up having an excellent time. He enjoyed playing card games and dancing in the Teen Tower. He also had a great time playing basketball on the sports deck and liked the video arcade. He still maintains contact with a small group of teens he met onboard. Overall, 2 weeks was a little long for our teenager, as he missed his friends, etc. at home. Our younger ones seemed fine with the whole experience and were well entertained. Excursions – Hilo was our least favorite destination. We took the “Best of Hilo” excursion to the Mauna Loa Nut Factory, the gardens and to Akaka Falls. The gardens were beautiful and the falls were a highlight. Other passengers went on volcano excursions and seemed to enjoy them. There did not appear to be much else on that side of the island of interest. The area near the ship was fairly industrial and not conducive to exploring. Most passengers went to either Wal-Mart or Hilo Hatties to shop. Maui was very enjoyable. We loved snorkeling and trying snuba at Molokini Crater. The town of Lahaina is great for shopping and dining. We really enjoyed eating at the Lahaina Fish Company…..great Mai Tai’s! Everyone needs to visit the big Banyan tree. Kona was our favorite excursion! We went on the Zodiac and Snorkel excursion. If you enjoy snorkeling, this is a must. The amount of unique and beautiful sea life in Kealakekua Bay was incredible. And Chad from Captain Zodiac was a riot! After several hours of incredible snorkeling and sightseeing, we had a very good lunch at the Fish Hopper restaurant near the tender dock. In Honolulu we went on the Arizona/Mighty Mo excursion. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing both memorials, although the tour was rather disorganized. We heard of people renting cars or taking taxis and doing the tours themselves, and that seems to be the way to go. We recommend going early as the wait at the Arizona Memorial can be very long. We also did the Paradise Cove Luau later that evening. The activities and dancing were very enjoyable, but very long lines for drinks. The food was okay. Our only other luau experience at the Royal Lahaina Luau was better overall, but Paradise Cove was fun. In closing, even though we experienced some minor disappointments, this cruise is well worth going on and our family had a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
We have cruised with many different cruise lines, P&O, Princess, RCI, but this was our first time with Celebrity. We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to see Hawaii and this included some relaxing sea days prior to ... Read More
We have cruised with many different cruise lines, P&O, Princess, RCI, but this was our first time with Celebrity. We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to see Hawaii and this included some relaxing sea days prior to visiting the islands at the time of year we wished to travel. Having travelled from Scotland we spent two days in Long Beach prior to the cruise. This let us get over the jet lag, do some shopping and get into a relaxed mode ready for our cruise. We took a taxi from the hotel to the pier and arrived around 1pm earlier than advised but this was not a problem and indeed we later discovered embarkation had started at 11am. Clearly Celebrity try to stagger arrivals by suggesting times in the pre cruise literature. Checking in was relatively simple and quick although our priority boarding was disappointing as it seemed everyone had some sort of priority. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and were quickly in our cabin and back out again to explore our new home for two weeks. Our initial thoughts were good and everything was easy to find. We even had a snack in the Waterfall Cafe. The choice of food was great just what we needed for a late lunch. We had chosen late sitting dining. We love the restaurant experience and meeting new friends for dinner each evening. Our table was for 10 so we had eight new people to get to know, although after the first evening two did not return. The waiter, Marshall from Turkey, introduced himself and his assistant, Gusti, and explained the menu and what we could expect. The choice was really good and throughout the cruise items were not repeated. There was a regular choice, beef or salmon, in case the main menu did not meet your taste. One small complaint and this is not just Celebrity but the food was never really hot. I believe this is an American trait. One particular policy we liked though was that Marshall waited until everyone had finished their choice for each course before removing plated and bringing the next selection. Overall the service in the Cosmopolitan restaurant was very good, the food excellent and experience most pleasing. We were astonished at the choice of eating places on board the Summit. There was the main restaurant as described but also the Waterfall cafe (24 hours), Sushi bar, sandwich bar, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, light menu and room service and of course there was the speciality restaurant The Normandie. We tried the Normandie one evening having received very good recommendation from other guests on board. At $30 pp extra it was the highest supplement we have paid for this dining choice but I have to say it was well worth the money. The restaurant has Michel Roux name attached. The menu choices were excellent and all entrees are prepared tableside by your waiters. The food was absolutely first class and although the meal took three hours to prepare and eat the time flew by and at the end we were delighted to have visited the restaurant. Make sure you do too. As I have said we found getting around the ship easy. The public rooms were well cared for clean and freshly decorated although being non smokers we did find that the bars designated for smoking very smoky. Time to rethink your smoking policy Celebrity! Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar on deck 5. Perhaps it was the strength of the drinks or the excellent service we received from Virginia but we visited every night. We like a small flutter and enjoyed our time in the casino but again spoilt somewhat by the smoky atmosphere everywhere. We were disappointed with the evening entertainment. Perhaps this was more to do with the different nationality, we did not understand the jokes. Some of the Broadway production shows did have a lack of professionalism but we did discover this was a new team for this cruise. The aerial artistes were excellent. We also spent some time listening to the lecturer on board who spoke in very humorous tones about crossing and cruising, yes there is a big difference. Well finally after four sea days we arrived in Hilo on Hawaii and it was raining which meant out helicopter tour of the volcanoes was cancelled. So we were not happy and unless you see the volcanoes there is nothing else to do in Hilo. Lahaina on the other hand was completely different. Our tour took us whale watching and snorkeling. A great day weather wise and the tour guides were very well informed and knowledgeable and we visited the Banyan tree. Kona was disappointing as a place to visit, just where is the beach? Finally to Honolulu and Waikiki and all that has to offer. We did go to the Paradise Cove luau in the evening. The entertainment was lively and very good although the food was dreadful, no one at our table seemed to eat everything and the queues for drinks were extremely long. Probably not worth the money. We used the spa quite a lot really and this is where we had our main grumble. The prices of course were high but the experience was enjoyable but this was all spoilt by the high pressure selling of products which followed your treatment. And now for the main problem which spoilt the last few hours, tipping. I know there is a cultural difference between the US and UK about tipping but the constant badgering for tips from just about everyone you encounter became a nuisance almost to the point of deliberately not giving recognition for good service. Isn't it about time cruise lines paid their staff a proper salary and stop this begging. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday aboard the Summit. The Celebrity cruise experience is up there with the best and we will certainly be using the company again. Hope you do too. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
It is Saturday Afternoon, 03-17-2007, at about 5:00 PM. We got off the Summit this morning and it should be sailing right now from Los Angeles to head back to Hawaii. I wanted to write this article for several reasons. First, it is our ... Read More
It is Saturday Afternoon, 03-17-2007, at about 5:00 PM. We got off the Summit this morning and it should be sailing right now from Los Angeles to head back to Hawaii. I wanted to write this article for several reasons. First, it is our first cruise on Celebrity and the first cruise that we used a lot of the resources on Cruisecritic.com to make our decision on. Because of some of the reviews on the Summit, I strongly considered canceling this cruise and selecting a different one. Today, my wife and I agree that we have never had a better vacation in our 25 years together. Here are our comments based on comments we read from member reviews. Nothing that we write is intended to suggest others are wrong in their comments. We are all different and we all care about different things. I wanted a luxury cruise for my wife for our 25th anniversary (which was a week before the cruise). I also wanted an extended cruise to get away from the busy office for more than a week. We are 45 years of age. Embarkation: We live in the Southern California area and drove to the San Pedro cruise terminal. We arrived at the terminal at 11:45 AM and we were on-board at 12:08 PM. There is something to be said for arriving early. There were no lines. We looked down on the pier and saw a long line to board at 3:55 PM. We were told that our room would be ready at 1:00 PM and were directed to Deck 10 to eat lunch in the buffet area. Our lunch was fine. We saw about 100 people already eating when we got our food. At 1:00 PM we walked to our Celebrity Suite (8106). It was ready and our luggage was not yet there. We prepared to set out to explore the ship. Condition of Our Suite: I read and worried about the comments about the ship being "worn out" and in bad shape. There are many of these comments in the member review area. Upon opening our room, I noticed ware marks on the walls (from luggage, I presume) and the sofa looked very worn. One of the two sinks in our bathroom had a large crack in it that had been filled with putty instead of being replaced. I worried that the comments in the reviews would come to be true. Our butler arrived, introduced himself and pointed out that the sofa was going to be replaced within an hour. When we returned to the room after exploring, a brand new sofa was in the place of the old one. I would think that the sink should be replaced. However, there was nothing present that was any worse that any luxury hotel that we have stayed at. At the end of two weeks, we found ourselves very pleased with our room. In fact, we meet follow travelers at our door and we ended up providing several quick tours of the room. Condition of Our Ship: Like the comments about the rooms, I was worried about comments about the ship. We agree that we found nothing wrong with the ship. The public areas were always clean. This ship is not brand new. It's been used; but, there was nothing that disappointed us with regards to the condition of the ship. We saw people cleaning all the time. Food: We have read that the food is not up to expectations. Gosh, we ate tons of it and loved all of it. We had breakfast in our room every morning. Most morning meals were omelets, breakfast meats, and fresh fruit. We ate lunch on Deck 10 every day. We selected some items from the Spa because they seemed healthy and we were eating all the time. The cheese, bread, and basic salad areas were good. There was nothing very spicy. We always ate lunch on the outdoor aft dining deck. It was great. But, there were some smokers who would not respect the designated smoking areas. One comment to a crew member and they would instantly address the issue professionally with the passengers. During a 14-day cruise you came to realize that it was the same people who disrespected the designations over and over again. This problem was nothing but standard human nature. Desserts rotated. There were about 15 different kinds and appeared on different days. We ate dinner almost ever night in the dining room. We ate a beef dish every night and were very happy with the quality of the food and the excellent service. Our table mates ate a lot of fish dishes and they were not always pleased. We lost a pair of table mates to a serious ankle injury in Honolulu. We knew no one at the table before the trip and we loved eating with our group. Everyone at our table was more experienced at cruising and everyone of them has been on many Celebrity cruises. We were invited to eat at the Captain's table on the final formal "gala" evening. That was a wonderful experience. We ate at the Normandy Restaurant twice. Once while en route to Hawaii and once on the return. The menu was the same; but, we loved it. We will do it again. The cover cost was well worth the attention and courtesy that the waiters afforded my wife. Hawaii - Our Destination: I've lived in Hawaii and my wife wanted to go there since the day we were wed. It took me a while; but, I did get her there. We only did one excursion from the ship. It was nice. We rented a car in Honolulu and drove all around the island and did a lot of shopping at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We ate on Waikiki Beach the first night. On the second day, we took a taxi to the Arizona Memorial ($15.00) and spend most of the day at this free site before taking a taxi back. We saved a lot of money on this excursion. We should have rented jet-skis in Kona (we will next time). Our Peers: This cruise was filled with a majority of people that I would estimate were over 65 years of age. The ship seemed to go to sleep at 9:30 PM. It was great for those of us that did want to stay out. There were no lines, no crowds, no loud or rude drunk fools. I found that people in electric chairs were often dangerous. Many did not seem to care that they were putting others at risk. Lots of people were very nice and deserved to have a nice quiet ship to enjoy their vacation on. It takes some of these people a lot of time to turn a corner, board or exit a tender or get out of a chair. If you are not prepared to slow down and relax, this little issue will make you appear to be a grouchy ogre. I saw some of them and it was disappointing to have to see people older than me act like children. We specifically picked this cruise knowing this about the travelers and we wanted a slower pace. If we wanted a hopping, dancing, drunken "Fun Ship" we would have gone back to Carnival. Service: This is the item that will bring us back to Celebrity over and over again. We had a top category suite on our last Carnival cruise. We rarely saw our cabin attendant. We saw our butler on this cruise 20 times a day. Service was outstanding. We laughed at the waiters trying to carry trays for everyone. However, I was very pleased to see them take the time to help many elderly people get their food. If I could get my 76 year old mother to travel on a cruise, I would want this kind of extra service for her all the time. Sailing crew helped people with tendering. Everyone said hello. I could go on and on about the excellent service. Entertainment: The shows seemed to be geared towards the majority of our travel mates who were older than us. But, we liked all of the shows and went to almost every one. We were treated to several lectures from naval historian John Maxtone-Graham. He was wonderful. He packed the theater and we made sure that we had front row seats every time he talked. The shipboard television was weak. We watched the same 50's and 60's black-and-white classics over and over. The classics channel was neat; but, its inventory needs to be expanded. The Travel Channel was filled with static. The music channels could have been wonderful if they had come from XM or Sirius. I would have happily paid a premium. Bring some of your favorite CD's and your own DVD's. We both read 3 books. It was great to have time to sit and read. Shipboard Internet is available but it is slow, troublesome, and expensive. I had to complete an assignment for a graduate class that ended on the second day of the cruise. Because it was a final exam, I could not do it in advance. I spent $250.00 on Internet and had terrible connection problems because of the slow speed. We sent a couple emails via the shipboard email because it was cheaper. Avoid the Internet service if at all possible. The web service on Carnival worked much better. General Comments: We loved the service. The food was fine for us. It was nice to see the crew be so helpful to elderly passengers. The pace was slower and entertainment was focused on the generations before ours. The ship was clean and on-time. We would have liked better Internet services We would have liked better in-room musical service. We used the on-board gratuity system and provided personal extras for superb extra service. We are not involved in the travel industry. We have to start a diet in the morning. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Our 13th cruise celebrating our 30th anniversary. We are 57 and 60. This was our 6th X cruise. We arrived in LA on Feb. 1 so we could relax and look around before we sailed on Feb. 3. We got our air and our hotel (Doubletree) on our own. ... Read More
Our 13th cruise celebrating our 30th anniversary. We are 57 and 60. This was our 6th X cruise. We arrived in LA on Feb. 1 so we could relax and look around before we sailed on Feb. 3. We got our air and our hotel (Doubletree) on our own. The hotel we got through Priceline as suggested on one of the boards. Doubletree was quite comfortable and just redone. They have a shuttle to the ship for free and took our luggage over in the morning before we left the hotel so when we got on the ship later in the day it was in our room. We were pleased with the Doubletree. Embarkation was probably the easiest I have ever experienced. There were lots of people on duty to check us in. And we had filled out all the necessary paperwork online before we arrived. The staff was most cordial and helpful. The ship is quite nice, very laid back, more of an English Country retreat decor, certainly nothing glitzy but elegant in it's own way. The art was a little too sophisticated for our taste. We've bought art on other ships but didn't find this appealing. It is different! Our cabin was well maintained and appeared to have just had the couch recovered. Others reported that their couches needed attention. Our cabin stewart was wonderful. He made sure we had crackers and cheese and a fruit platter in the afternoon after I complained about the inedible snacks served in Concierge Class rooms. Haven't heard anything good about those snacks yet, you would think X would notice. The flowers in the room were kept fresh. The towels were spa type towels. The robes were rough, scratchy and uncomfortable. The regular X robes are much more comfy. We enjoyed the extra room the CC room provided more than the extra amenities(?). They advertised quite extensively that the main sport of the Summit is bingo - enough said. The entertainment was good. The sidewalks rolled up quite early so to speak. We took a ship's tour in Cabo San Lucas. Wish we had gotten a car and a driver. In Huatulco, we got a boat and a driver and spent 3 hours touring the little private beaches, having lunch at a restaurant accessible only by boat. Just the two of us and we loved it. We were on the Cone. It was bringing a snorkeling tour from the Summit back at about 11 and we asked the driver if he would take us out. Loved Huatulco, still in it's undeveloped stages and not completely overrun with commercialism yet. Would love to return soon. We had vacationed in Acapulco before and since we were both picking up a cold that seemed to affect lots of passengers, we decided to take it easy and not get off the ship. Ship's staff was wonderful about making sure all hands were clean, ship kept everything sanitary but this was a plain old air born cold. Even the buffet was served to eliminate the spread of germs. No fault of X, just one of those things. Costa Rica and our tour with Charlie Soto was great. Enjoyed that as much as any tour on any ship. Just didn't buy enough coffee and vanilla. The Canal was fascinating. We were advised to stay on the ship since this was our first transit. I'm glad we did. My husband spent most of his time on the helipad which opened really early to accommodate passengers viewing. I went to the bar at the top of the ship. Once we figured out how to tie the dreaded curtains back (untie both sides and push all of the curtain to one side and wrap it around the pole) lots more people had a great view. Summit could have prepared that and washed the windows to make it better. Really enjoyed the Canal transit. We shopped at the docks at the end of the day and found lots of souvenirs to bring home. Only thing there was shopping that we saw. Aruba wasn't new to us so we walked around, got hot and sweaty, arrived back on ship to find a do not use until tomorrow sign in our shower. They had done grout maintenance. It would have been better if we had been told ahead of time that we were not going to be able to shower before formal night. Upset with the lack of communication, not the shower repair. The first night in the dining room there was a page on the left side of the menu which told the things that were available all of the time. Luckily I read it carefully because it was never there again, replaced by a suggested choices from regular menu. I did enjoy escargot almost every night. And everyone at our table enjoyed the shrimp cocktails and caesar salad in lieu of regular menu items. The service in the dining room was excellent our medium table with 6 other very nice people. The food was good. Some items were excellent. Our waiter got fresh berries for me for dessert most evenings and I really enjoyed those. I would give the dining room in general an A. Room Service was great! Would have liked a bigger menu but food was served in a timely manner and was temperature appropriate and good. Breakfast was great on our balcony most mornings. The CC choices were nice. And now for the buffet. I probably shouldn't comment since there is little positive to say. When it appeared a great table was available for seating one would go over and realize it wasn't occupied because the trays had been moved but the table had not been wiped. I pointed this out to the assistants in charge on several occasions when there were at least 4 messy tables. I compared it to taking my grandchildren out for fast food and having to wipe the tables before sitting. We did that several times. Others seemed to not mind the crumbs, etc. left over from the previous diners and just put their trays right on top. The servers were quick to clear the trays from the tables just not to wipe them off. Disembarkation was a joke. There were no disembarkation privileges for those booked Concierge Class except to sit in a crowded theatre where the speaker worked half the time. Took forever to disembark. Instead of the 8:30 am we were promised, it was closer to 11. There was no X rep in the theatre with us. She appeared when they came to take the water and coffee away so they could prepare for those coming on board. There seemed to be little concern for those disembarking. We enjoyed the cruise. I'm glad we went. The negatives I pointed out are because I hope X is reading this and starts paying more attention to detail. We were much younger than most on the ship. I should have realized that because it is a longer cruise. My husband was bored with the ship and doesn't want to cruise X again for a long while. The ship is fine, Cruise is wonderful but quite quiet. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
My wife(57) and I(61) booked the cruise as a winter "get away" and for the interesting itinerary. Although we have been to Europe many times, we have never visited Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean. The only other cruise ... Read More
My wife(57) and I(61) booked the cruise as a winter "get away" and for the interesting itinerary. Although we have been to Europe many times, we have never visited Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean. The only other cruise that we had taken was on the old Radisson Diamond to the Aegean. We made many friends from the Cruise Critic message board, and sat with two other couples from the message board at the early seating. Passengers: Mostly Americans and Canadians who were elderly. There was a large contingent of British and some other Europeans, who were generally younger than the Americans. The staff said there were 28 children on board. Embarkation & Disembarkation: We arrived at the pier in San Pedro at 1:00PM and were whisked aboard with no wait except for the fact that there was no boarding card for me. This was quickly taken care of, and we were in our Concierge Class cabin by 1:15. Unfortunately it took over 7 hours to get our luggage! When we called the useless concierge desk they uttered platitudes but did nothing to help us. Leaving the ship was the opposite experience. Priority exiting in reality did not exist, and we waited on a huge line to leave the ship; this was caused by the large number of passengers who were not US citizens and were slowed down by the immigration process. Once we entered the terminal there was no line and we quickly got our luggage. The Cabin: It was very clean and well-maintained by our steward. There was however, a large stain on the bedspread which was changed when I requested it. But, why was it there in the first place??? I ordered flowers for the cabin and they lasted two weeks; the other flowers that were part of the package were replaced as needed. Every evening we received 6 hors d'oeuvres which occasionally were edible. The fresh fruit was nice as was the champagne (sparkling wine). The other amenities were OK but they do not provide hair conditioner...bring your own! The private stationary were 4 pieces of pathetic paper. In fact, they don't sell pads or decent paperback books on the ship. (perhaps they don't want you taking notes?) The cabin had enough storage space for the contents of our seven bags which we were able to place under the bed! The balcony was essential to us, but I did not like the overhang from deck ten. The supporting stanchions got in the way of taking pictures, and although we had lots of shade (a premium on a cruise ship)it had a heavy, oppressive feeling. Public Areas: These were clean and in very good condition. Food: Believe it or not, we both lost weight on the cruise! We had coffee in our cabin and ate most breakfasts and lunches (followed by ice cream) in the Aqua Spa cafe which features excellent lighter fair. I had pancakes once in the buffet, but what they claimed was maple syrup was awful "breakfast syrup". The food in the lunch buffet was on the quality of good cafeteria food; but not really appetizing; the pizza tasted like microwave pizza. Dinners were good; we ate all five courses served in the main dining room. The problem was the food often was incredibly bland; nothing had an interesting or memorable flavor. Perhaps this was because most passengers were elderly and don't want spicy food? Dinner in the Normandie Restaurant was excellent and superbly served by its Turkish staff; make sure you get the menu with the wine included. When we ate in the Normandie there were only 6 passengers eating. Service: Service was superb on the ship. The entire staff went out of their way to make the experience a wonderful one for the guests. They seemed to really care about you. We both purchased "soda cards" and had no trouble being served; in fact the servers knew our tastes, approached us and asked if we wanted our sodas! Entertainment: By 11:00 at night we felt that we were on a "Ghost Ship". We would go to the wonderful Edge of the World Bar on the 11th floor to dance to the super band "Great Ideas" and listen to their lead singer. There usually were about 12 people, and one night by 12:00 there were just 4 of us! The production shows at night were very good; ranging from the quality of good regional theater to Broadway. The comics were OK if you like bathroom humor. The "Diamonds Quartet" was bizarre, and seemed to be unhappy. The string quartet was very nice. Activities: This was the greatest disappointment. I was barely able to stop myself from screaming when every evening the jerky cruise director would say "Where are my bingo players!!" Somehow, I survived. I wonder if he was responsible for the "culture and history" part of the daily bulletin. It was replete with errors. Activities were aimed at elderly people who like to play bingo and sit by a pool. The signs in the Aqua Spa Thalassatherapy pool said no one was allowed under 18 and diapers were not permitted! We did partake of the ballroom dance (taught by Laura) and computer classes. The activities staff seemed to go out of their way to ruin good events. The 50's Sock Hop, the Mexican Fiesta, the Western Night were all ruined when they stopped the people who were already dancing and screamed out "Line Dancing" "Macarena Time" "Twist Contest". The Casino was a smoke-filled area that I could not enjoy. Excursions: In Cabo (expensive yet tacky) we just walked around. Acapulco was fascinating. We walked up to the old fort and along the beach watching fishermen clean and sell their catch. Huatulco was also great for walking, and we walked into the interesting local villages. (These self-directed walks saved us about $150) We had excellent ship purchased tours in Costa Rica (in Manuel Antonio National Park we saw a variety of wild life) and Aruba (the submarine ride; 150 feet down!) The trip through the Panama Canal was a memorable experience, particularly thanks to two of the people at our table who hosted a wonderful party in their cabin at the stern of the ship. Internet: My wife's Cingular phone with international service worked well on ship and on shore. We purchased the 500 minute internet package. We were warned that the service was slow, and it was. This was due to the nature of their routers and how the satellite service went thru their server on the mainland. The wireless "hotspots" were very limited to a few areas. Cost Cutting: Celebrity has cut down on amenities and services to raise profits. Food seemed to lack spices and portions in the main dining room were small (although seconds were available). The fact that they no longer have real maple syrup is indicative of their attitude. "Notes", the music room no longer exists (although still on their web site) and has been replaced with revenue generating rooms: Acupuncture and Computer Instruction. Cirque De Soleil is gone. Michael Roux is gone at the end of the month; and there was a rumor that they were firing the sommeliers. This is a ship on which they sell you water when you leave. Will I go on another cruise? Certainly. Will I go on Celebrity? possibly Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
We are a mid-50s married couple. This was our first cruise on Summit, though we have cruised on other Celebrity ships. We used Celebrities air travel arrangements and were satisfied. We had to travel from the DC area to LA to board ... Read More
We are a mid-50s married couple. This was our first cruise on Summit, though we have cruised on other Celebrity ships. We used Celebrities air travel arrangements and were satisfied. We had to travel from the DC area to LA to board Summit. Doing it all in one day was somewhat nerve racking, because every travel segment had to work as planned. Next time I will travel the day before and know there is some slack. We arrived at Summit about 3:30 PM. There were no lines. We completed the check-in and walked aboard Summit. Initially, I thought the bathroom smelled bad, but found the same smell all around the ship. I concluded the smell was from a disinfected cleaner. After the first night, the bathroom never smelled again, but I continued to smell the cleaner now and then...nothing obnoxious. We found that we like the many days at sea between port calls. It allowed us to relax. Overall, Summit was very clean. As Captain's Club Select members, we were able to participate in a galley tour...actually just one of the four galleys. We were very impressed on the cleanliness of the galley...it seemed spotless. We like Celebrity because we think the food is quite good. The food on Summit was on par with our previous Celebrity cruises. My only complaint was the ice tea in the buffet area was consistently way too strong...I had to dilute it about 3 to 1. We thought the pastries at breakfast were better than those we had on previous Celebrity ships. We thought the entertainment was generally better than we had on previous Celebrity sailings. The Panama Canal transit is the reason for such a cruise. The other port calls were not exciting. Huatulco was the nicest port on the Pacific portion of the cruise. For us the Canal transit was the highlight of the trip. The locks are of course very interesting, but the transit through Gatun Lake and Culebra Cut is also quite beautiful. Debarkation was easy, but once off the ship it is somewhat of a zoo. Hundreds of people trying to board buses to the airport. Then at the airport (Ft lauderdale), people from 6 or 7 ships are trying to check in for their flights. A small price to pay for 14 relaxing days. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
Panama Transit Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale on Summit January 2007 The Panama Canal Cruise is an incredible journey. Bill (65) and Sandy (62) actually "started" our holiday six months previous to the cruise and before ... Read More
Panama Transit Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale on Summit January 2007 The Panama Canal Cruise is an incredible journey. Bill (65) and Sandy (62) actually "started" our holiday six months previous to the cruise and before booking our cruise. Researching for cruises is an essential part of the experience for us. During this period, we stumbled upon the cruise critic site and this has added so much information and enjoyment for us as well as establishing contacts before boarding. As so many other reviews have already described Summit and the Ports of Call, this review is more of a chronicle of our experiences and impressions. January 5, 2007: We live on Vancouver Island, B.C. and left home in the dark in a rare early morning snowstorm. We dropped our dog at the kennel and then continued to Nanaimo for a ferry ride to the B.C. Mainland and then to our hotel in Richmond, B.C. We chose the Abercorn Best Western as we have stayed there before; it is close to the airport, offers shuttle service and provides free parking for our car while we are away. January 6: No wake up call was necessary! We woke at 4:00 a.m. and caught the 4:25 shuttle to YVR. The flight to LAX was good but after our arrival we had a long wait before being bussed to the ship. As Celebrity had handled our air, we knew we would eventually get there but it was frustrating to go all that way and then have to sit on our suitcases at curbside for a couple of hours. Other people complained that they were put on a bus right away but then were driven around to see the sights of Los Angeles for hours with no food or water being offered. Certainly there were some unhappy travelers but the Celebrity (X) ground staff at the terminal remained very pleasant and tried to be reassuring that no one would be left behind. Finally approaching the pier we could see Summit and she looked huge. Embarkation was easy and we were quickly through security and enjoying a second glass of champagne. We were starved and proceeded to the buffet. Sanitation stations were set up outside every dining venue and crew remained stationed at these places throughout the cruise to force passengers to use them. After filling our trays waiters were there to assist in carrying them, finding a table, and taking our drink orders. Our first impressions of the ship were its impressive size and beauty. Our second impression was of black water in the stateroom toilet bowl and from the taps! Our stateroom attendant came at about that time to introduce himself and assured us that the water problem had been fixed. They had been cleaning the pipes and the water cleared within a couple hours. We loved our stateroom (6003). It has an ocean view with a large porthole overlooking the center of the bow and the helicopter pad. We wanted this room, as it would enable us to watch the transit through the canal in air-conditioned comfort. The stateroom actually had more walk a round room than balcony rooms on the same deck. We had an apartment-sized sofa/hide-a-bed instead of the love seat in the balcony cabin. The room was very comfortable and had lots of storage space. A wall of mirrors made the room seem even larger. We did not like the food stained blue print carpet and the orange plaid bedspread. Carpeting is vacuumed regularly but it really needed cleaning. The shower was great and it was wonderful to shower two or three times a day and always have clean, fresh Egyptian cotton towels. The location of our stateroom ensured privacy, as there was only one cabin beyond ours on our side of the ship. The location also ensured that we would walk off some of the calories we planned to consume! The artwork throughout the ship is beautiful. The furniture in the public areas is attractive and comfortable. Of concern was the frequent smell of cigarette and cigar smoke in hallways, in the casino and in lounges. The staff was consistently helpful and friendly. Lifeboat drill at 16:30 was very efficient and was completed within about half an hour. Our CC friends and we had planned to meet at sail-away but only eight of us showed up. As it was time to dress for dinner, this was a brief visit but it was nice to actually meet some of the people we had been "talking to" on the boards. This group met repeatedly on board and became close friends. Two of the CC couples were our tablemates and we enjoyed excellent dinner conversation. Passengers in general were very friendly but most had never heard of cruise critic and some were quite interested. By dinner, all but one of our pieces of luggage had been delivered. We asked our stateroom attendant about it and he said he would check for us. After about an hour we started calling the guest relations desk and were assured that they would search the ship for it. Shortly before midnight a passenger only about 7 rooms down the hall, but on the other side of fire doors, called to ask if we were missing a suitcase. She said it had been in the hallway in front of her room for several hours. Bill called the desk to let them know it had been found. Jan 7: After breakfast we went to the guest relations desk and asked to speak to the guest relations manager. She was in a meeting but we made an appointment for later in the morning. The desk clerk had just called our room to see if we had found our luggage and was not aware that Bill had called to let them know that all was well. We expressed our concern to the manager that X tried to "pass the buck" concerning our piece of luggage. At first, the airline was to blame, then the bus driver and the staff continued to deny any blame. We assured the manager that we still loved X but their communications with us and with each other was a problem that needed to be fixed. In effect, with crew looking for our luggage for several hours, it had been sitting outside a stateroom not far from our room and a passenger retrieved it for us. We told her that we wanted the ship to do something nice for the lady who called us and the manager agreed to send a bottle of wine and a fruit basket. Soon after we returned to our stateroom a bottle of wine and a fruit basket arrived for us as well. It is nice to pack light for a trip but we were so glad that we had shared suitcase space in each bag. Each suitcase has "his' and "hers" clothing and a mix of casual and dressy so we can cope with a lost bag. We also take photos of our luggage and maintain lists of the contents in case of loss. Our Cruise Critic party was on Sunday morning in Michael's Club. We had a good turnout of about 25 people. At dinner that evening, another CC couple joined us as two of our regular tablemates were dining at the Normandie. This caused confusion for our waiter, Willie, but he handled the changes as efficiently as he handled everything else. Willie and his assistant, Rondel, were excellent. The staff really seem to enjoy their work and their passengers. We met Arif, our assistant Maitre' D, and as the cruise progressed we had a lot of contact with him. The dining room service throughout the cruise was excellent. The first theater production was very good but the sound system in the theater was poor and the sound level tended to be painful. It distorted sounds such that it was difficult to understand performers. We did not participate in shipboard games or spend time in the casino but others did and enjoyed them. Jan 8: Sunrise happens so quickly on the ocean! We woke in time to watch the sun come up and from a small bit of light the sun was fully up within a couple of minutes. Beautiful. As we cruised into Cabo San Lucas there were many dolphins playing around the ship. We tendered ashore on large, comfortable tenders which accommodate over 100 passengers. We had a very quick and smooth tendering process. Upon return to the Summit we were met with cool towels, cold drinks and hand sanitizers. In the evening I tested the thallasotherapy pool and whirlpools and enjoyed them. The pools were less used than I had expected, especially in the evenings. It is a great way to relax. Jan 9: We awoke to a clear sunny sky and had coffee and the famous almond pastry in the Cova Cafe which was a disappointment. There was poor service and the staff was not particularly helpful. We paid for our regular, black coffee and found a table but no coffee refills are included. We enjoyed some sun tanning until Bill had an adverse reaction to the sun! We needed to keep sunning sessions brief. For us the Great White North just means white skin. I went to the conservatory and was surprised at how small it is. In the virtual tour of Summit on Internet the conservatory looked quite large. I was looking forward to spending time there but it is very small. The highlight today was the impressionist in the theater who ran the gamut from ABBA to ZZ Top. Jan 10: Arrived in Acapulco at 0500 and enjoyed the city lights before dawn. We hired a cab (inexpensive) to take us to the market and then to Fort San Diego and felt that the museum in the fort is excellent. It was 110 degrees outside but comfortably cool inside the shelter of the fort's massive walls. The displays are awesome. We walked back to the ship, all downhill and a nice walk. The port building is large with a lot of shops as well as computer and telephone access. More water problems on the ship today and the water was turned off for 45 minutes while we were in port. Jan 11: Huatulco must surely translate as "to fall in love with". It is a beautiful little town with a relaxed pace. We walked on the beach, had cervesa (Mexican beer) under the palapas and enjoyed talking with local people. There were many crafts - everything from beautiful to tacky. Back on the ship we watched the pilot disembark - that was an acrobatic feat and passengers applauded when he jumped into the pilot boat! Huatulco is definitely on our list of places to return to, next time for an all inclusive resort stay. Jan 12: A day at sea and we took stock of what the ship provides in the staterooms. There were bathrobes hanging in the closet and large beach towels for shore excursion use. The bath was stocked with hand lotion, soap, shampoo (but no conditioner), a hair dryer, cotton balls, Q-tips, tissues and wonderful thick absorbent towels. We also found logo shopping bags and umbrellas. We were told that motion sickness pills were available at the desk. Extras that we found helpful: We took some suction hooks which attached to walls or ceiling for hanging things, a small plant mister and a battery operated fan for hot weather! We also took post it notes for reminders and notes to the room attendant. Jan 13: Punta Arenas. We spent the morning on the beach talking to the venders and buying souvenirs. We did not go on any tours as they were quite long. We wandered out of the tourist area and found ourselves in a poor area with a lot of thin dogs, scrawny cats, sewage smell and graffiti on the buildings. We returned to the pier area and spent over an hour in a pub/cafe across the street from the pier where we enjoyed talking to locals. Jan 14: Another relaxing day at sea. We were questioned by the Maitre D, Arif, concerning the quality of the food. He was disappointed that we rated it only as good. Bill found the food to be both bland and over cooked but the presentations were quite nice. Arif said that he would prepare curry for us at dinners. The chicken, beef and shrimp curries were excellent! We enjoyed a two-hour lunch with friends we had met prior to boarding our plane in Vancouver. That afternoon was the Captain's Club cocktail party. The party was elegant and everyone had an opportunity to talk with the Captain and have photos taken with him. The guests were served wine or bar drinks and the hors deuvers looked wonderful but we left shortly for our special dinner at the Normandie. Don't miss the opportunity to dine here as it is an amazing experience. Food, service and ambiance were superb. Our daughter had ordered a corsage and boutonniere for us as well as paying the $30/pp cover charge for Normandie. We paid the extra fees for the Menu Exceptional that includes a six course dinner with appropriate wine pairings for each course. The waiters serve the meal as a choreographed presentation responsible for one's table. The following day we received a formal thank you card from the Maitre D'Hotel for dining with them! Jan 15: Canal Day! We were up at 0400 and saw ships waiting for passage. The skyline of Panama City was impressive with its many skyscrapers. We had room service breakfast and watched as we approached the Mireflores Locks. Summit and the APL Egypt were the largest and therefore priority vessels and went through the locks first. Passengers filled the front of the bow at the helicopter pad to watch the process. It is fascinating that a system of locks so old and yet so simple is still working perfectly. We spent some time with friends who had an aft balcony suite and watched the canal passage slip by. Sandy went on the Embera Indian Village tour up the Chagress River and this was a high point of the entire trip for her. She also spent an enjoyable hour at Cristobal Pier but the next three hours at the Pier were not as happy but it was necessary to wait for Summit to dock. Some passengers were quite angry at the delay. Jan 16: Rough sea today with winds at 40 knots and 20-foot seas. The ship handled the conditions without us feeling any discomfort but a heavy banging noise in our cabin continued for hours {Bill thought it must be the Hammer of Thor}. Saltwater spray hit our porthole on Deck 6 and there was too much wind to comfortably walk on deck. Jan 17: Oranjestad today and again we were notified that water would be turned off for 45 minutes for regular maintenance which seemed to indicate that the ship still had a fresh water problem. We docked at 0900 and arranged a private 2+ hour tour of the island for $15 per person. We shared an air-conditioned van with eight passengers from a Princess ship. The driver took us all over the island stopping where people asked him to stop and at the normal tourist venues. The island is very barren and windswept on the Atlantic side with rocky shores and high surf. The Caribbean side has white sand beaches with luxury homes and resorts. Arubans are very nice people and the Dutch architecture is very pretty. We enjoyed Aruba but probably will not return. Jan 18 and 19: These were sea days and a time to begin packing. We had our third formal night, which featured the parade of waiters with baked Alaska. This was lively and entertaining and the crew especially seemed to enjoy their animated diners! The meal was disappointing for those who chose the lobster tails which were tough and bland. Our prime rib was excellent and cooked perfectly. The disembarkation talk in the theater included the farewell from the crew as they were introduced by departments and paraded up to the stage. These days also gave us a chance to hit the on board shops one more time. Jan 20: Disembarkation could have been staged for the Keystone Cops! We were told to be in the Champagne Bar at 0930 and when Bill called Guest Relations to see if there would be time to catch our 1225 flight he was assured that there would be lots of time. We waited a very long time without any communication from the crew. This was a time to make more new friends. At last we were herded to the disembarkation area where we again waited for a long time due to delays in U.S. immigration and customs. With the clock ticking down to flight time we got through disembarkation and lined up for a bus to the Fort Lauderdale airport. Luggage was slowly loaded and we got onto the bus where we waited until the bus was completely full of guests and extra luggage that did not fit into the luggage bays and which was placed in the aisle. On arrival at Terminal One, some passengers and all the luggage was off-loaded and reloaded. When people claimed their luggage the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. Then a couple realized that this was their stop and they got off and all the luggage was again off-loaded. Then onto Terminal Two where all luggage was again off-loaded, more passengers got off, and the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. At Terminal Three the bus driver locked the door so all passengers had to remain on the bus while he unloaded all the luggage. This was the terminal for our flight, which had already departed for DFW. After getting off the bus we had to arrange for a later flight which got us to DFW with a few minutes to spare to catch our original flight to Vancouver. No food was served on the flights and we had no time for dinner at DFW as we had anticipated. We flew back to Vancouver and another hotel night before loading our car for the ferry ride and drive back to our home on Vancouver Island. We enjoyed the cruise but feel that Celebrity needs to pay a lot more attention to the details. Our next cruise will be on Oceania in November with 27 nights from Rome to Singapore. We hope that this smaller cruise line and 684-passenger ship will pay better attention to the details, which make cruising what it should be. We have sailed on Celebrity prior to this cruise with the cuisine and attention to details being much better. It appears to us that Celebrity is cutting corners to increase profits. There was talk on the ship of the sommeliers being eliminated to save money. Also we had expected performances by Cirque du Soleil in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth (which had been terminated without notice to potential guests). It is also nearing the end of the relationship with Master Chef, Michael Roux Read Less
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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