9 Los Angeles to Panama Canal & Central America Celebrity Summit Cruise Reviews

Our 13th cruise celebrating our 30th anniversary. We are 57 and 60. This was our 6th X cruise. We arrived in LA on Feb. 1 so we could relax and look around before we sailed on Feb. 3. We got our air and our hotel (Doubletree) on our own. ... Read More
Our 13th cruise celebrating our 30th anniversary. We are 57 and 60. This was our 6th X cruise. We arrived in LA on Feb. 1 so we could relax and look around before we sailed on Feb. 3. We got our air and our hotel (Doubletree) on our own. The hotel we got through Priceline as suggested on one of the boards. Doubletree was quite comfortable and just redone. They have a shuttle to the ship for free and took our luggage over in the morning before we left the hotel so when we got on the ship later in the day it was in our room. We were pleased with the Doubletree. Embarkation was probably the easiest I have ever experienced. There were lots of people on duty to check us in. And we had filled out all the necessary paperwork online before we arrived. The staff was most cordial and helpful. The ship is quite nice, very laid back, more of an English Country retreat decor, certainly nothing glitzy but elegant in it's own way. The art was a little too sophisticated for our taste. We've bought art on other ships but didn't find this appealing. It is different! Our cabin was well maintained and appeared to have just had the couch recovered. Others reported that their couches needed attention. Our cabin stewart was wonderful. He made sure we had crackers and cheese and a fruit platter in the afternoon after I complained about the inedible snacks served in Concierge Class rooms. Haven't heard anything good about those snacks yet, you would think X would notice. The flowers in the room were kept fresh. The towels were spa type towels. The robes were rough, scratchy and uncomfortable. The regular X robes are much more comfy. We enjoyed the extra room the CC room provided more than the extra amenities(?). They advertised quite extensively that the main sport of the Summit is bingo - enough said. The entertainment was good. The sidewalks rolled up quite early so to speak. We took a ship's tour in Cabo San Lucas. Wish we had gotten a car and a driver. In Huatulco, we got a boat and a driver and spent 3 hours touring the little private beaches, having lunch at a restaurant accessible only by boat. Just the two of us and we loved it. We were on the Cone. It was bringing a snorkeling tour from the Summit back at about 11 and we asked the driver if he would take us out. Loved Huatulco, still in it's undeveloped stages and not completely overrun with commercialism yet. Would love to return soon. We had vacationed in Acapulco before and since we were both picking up a cold that seemed to affect lots of passengers, we decided to take it easy and not get off the ship. Ship's staff was wonderful about making sure all hands were clean, ship kept everything sanitary but this was a plain old air born cold. Even the buffet was served to eliminate the spread of germs. No fault of X, just one of those things. Costa Rica and our tour with Charlie Soto was great. Enjoyed that as much as any tour on any ship. Just didn't buy enough coffee and vanilla. The Canal was fascinating. We were advised to stay on the ship since this was our first transit. I'm glad we did. My husband spent most of his time on the helipad which opened really early to accommodate passengers viewing. I went to the bar at the top of the ship. Once we figured out how to tie the dreaded curtains back (untie both sides and push all of the curtain to one side and wrap it around the pole) lots more people had a great view. Summit could have prepared that and washed the windows to make it better. Really enjoyed the Canal transit. We shopped at the docks at the end of the day and found lots of souvenirs to bring home. Only thing there was shopping that we saw. Aruba wasn't new to us so we walked around, got hot and sweaty, arrived back on ship to find a do not use until tomorrow sign in our shower. They had done grout maintenance. It would have been better if we had been told ahead of time that we were not going to be able to shower before formal night. Upset with the lack of communication, not the shower repair. The first night in the dining room there was a page on the left side of the menu which told the things that were available all of the time. Luckily I read it carefully because it was never there again, replaced by a suggested choices from regular menu. I did enjoy escargot almost every night. And everyone at our table enjoyed the shrimp cocktails and caesar salad in lieu of regular menu items. The service in the dining room was excellent our medium table with 6 other very nice people. The food was good. Some items were excellent. Our waiter got fresh berries for me for dessert most evenings and I really enjoyed those. I would give the dining room in general an A. Room Service was great! Would have liked a bigger menu but food was served in a timely manner and was temperature appropriate and good. Breakfast was great on our balcony most mornings. The CC choices were nice. And now for the buffet. I probably shouldn't comment since there is little positive to say. When it appeared a great table was available for seating one would go over and realize it wasn't occupied because the trays had been moved but the table had not been wiped. I pointed this out to the assistants in charge on several occasions when there were at least 4 messy tables. I compared it to taking my grandchildren out for fast food and having to wipe the tables before sitting. We did that several times. Others seemed to not mind the crumbs, etc. left over from the previous diners and just put their trays right on top. The servers were quick to clear the trays from the tables just not to wipe them off. Disembarkation was a joke. There were no disembarkation privileges for those booked Concierge Class except to sit in a crowded theatre where the speaker worked half the time. Took forever to disembark. Instead of the 8:30 am we were promised, it was closer to 11. There was no X rep in the theatre with us. She appeared when they came to take the water and coffee away so they could prepare for those coming on board. There seemed to be little concern for those disembarking. We enjoyed the cruise. I'm glad we went. The negatives I pointed out are because I hope X is reading this and starts paying more attention to detail. We were much younger than most on the ship. I should have realized that because it is a longer cruise. My husband was bored with the ship and doesn't want to cruise X again for a long while. The ship is fine, Cruise is wonderful but quite quiet. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
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
Sail Date January 2007
We have been on 8 cruises in various areas of the world and also, on different cruise lines. The cruise on the Celebrity Summit through the Panama Canal was wonderful. All of the Ports of Call were interesting and the highlight of the trip ... Read More
We have been on 8 cruises in various areas of the world and also, on different cruise lines. The cruise on the Celebrity Summit through the Panama Canal was wonderful. All of the Ports of Call were interesting and the highlight of the trip was the cruise through the Panama Canal. This was our 25th wedding anniversary, a second honey moon. It couldn't have been much better. Even the weather cooperated. Temperatures in Los Angeles were warm and comfortable, as they were in Cabo San Lucas, in the 70s. As we cruised to the south, the temperatures and humidity increased, peaking in Aruba in the 90s. We are from Wisconsin, so the 70s were warm and comfortable; the 90s were HOT causing us to fight for the shady side of the streets. The passengers on the ship were from all over the world. In Cabo San Lucas we took a sail on a very old two masted ship, over 100 years old. This was very nice and I would do it again. The primary purpose was to see whales, we did. It was a very relaxing mini-cruise into the Pacific on a very interesting old sailing ship. In Acapulco, we hired a taxi and toured the area for a few hours ending at the cliff divers location. We walked back to the ship; an interesting walk through the center of town. We took the tubing trip in Huatulco. The water was a little low, but the trip was fun and we saw many birds. It also took us into the county. Huatulco is a new developing resort. In the afternoon, we took a short taxi ride into a near-by town. This is an area that is not used to seeing tourists so it was very interesting to just walk around the city center. Puntarenas, Costa Rica was very interesting. We took the trip up into the mountains to see the cloud forest. We went from sea level to around 5,000 feet in elevation. The cloud forest is beautiful, very green and wet. It wasn't very cold, maybe around 70 degrees, but it was a bit wet. You will need a rain coat. We dressed as instructed with long sleeves and long pants, but didn't need them. The trip included several walks over long suspension bridges, a walk through a humming bird feeding area where we saw hundreds of birds, up close and personal, and a huge bug collection. Well worth the trip. Then, the Panama Canal, this was why we came. We got up early and were allowed on the helicopter pad on the bow. The ship entered the first lock at 8 AM. We got off the ship in Gatun Lake and took a nature walk and river cruise on a Disney Jungle Cruise style boat. We saw a sloth, many birds, monkeys and a crocodile. We also drove through the Gatun Locks and watched the Summit come through it at the tourist viewing area. The ship picked us up in Colon around 7 PM. The ship was little late. The Canal folks are in charge while in the Canal, so the ship has little control over the timing. Interesting fact: the cost for the Summit to use the Canal was about $240,000. The ship took a beating going through the Canal but by the time we left Aruba, the new paint was dry and the ship was ready to head north, back to the US; looking good. In Aruba, we tired a driver to tour the island. It took about 4 hours to see everything we wanted to view. The cost was $40 per hour, well worth it. Aruba was HOT, in the 90s! Positives: " While the ship was 5 years old, it was well maintained. You could see wear and tear, but nothing to be concerned about. " The food and staff were great. " The entertainment was the best we have seen on a ship. " The Celler Master, Fernando, and our Wine Stewart, Maggie, were wonderful, entertaining and knowledgeable. " The Ports of Call were all interesting. " The ice cream stations provided a large assortment of choices; the soft serve chocolate was specialty rich and flavorful. " Getting on and off the ship was uneventful. " Cold towels and drinks were provided every time was reboarded the ship. " The spa area, provided at no additional charge, included a sauna with a large window to the sea, whirlpools and a heated salt-water aquaspa with bubble jets (we called it the cooker). A specialty spa was available for an additional $120 for the cruise with all kinds of interesting features, but we didn't see anyone use them. Too bad ships have all this wasted space that few use. Negatives: " Passengers were allowed to smoke in many public areas of the ship. " Specialty coffee was not included after dinner; there was an extra charge for a cuppanico. " After dinner desserts were good, but not great. " This was our first cruise on Celebrity and we noticed that returning cruisers to Celebrity are treated a little better than us first timers. Other lines do this too, but not as openly as Celebrity. As you can see, there were few negatives. We had a good time. Our cabin was 2004, at the bow; one of the smallest on the ship. We sleep in the cabin, that's it, so we really don't care whether we have a window or not. We enjoyed the ship, our fellow passengers and the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Review of Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 12-26 February 2006 Embarkation at Los Angeles was no problem as we had been staying in the area for a few days. After dropping our Hertz car at Long Beach Airport a helpful Hertz guy got ... Read More
Review of Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 12-26 February 2006 Embarkation at Los Angeles was no problem as we had been staying in the area for a few days. After dropping our Hertz car at Long Beach Airport a helpful Hertz guy got us a shuttle bus to share with two other Cruise Critic members going on the same cruise, so we were there in no time and put faces to two Cruise Critic friends on the way. The lines at the terminal were quite long but we were on the ship and dropping our carry on bags in our cabins just after 1pm. My wife and I were in inside cabin 3071 on Plaza Deck and our friend travelling on her own was in the adjacent cabin 3067. We discovered that 3067 is alongside a staff access door that leads behind the cabin to a working/storage area and a metal staircase. Staff running up and down the staircase late at night and early in the morning sound like thunder in these cabins, but particularly in 3067. 3067 also suffers from noisy early morning staff activity in the storage/working area but this is not evident in 3071. After being woken at around 6am by the noise we complained. According to our cabin stewards notices were put up asking staff to take care to avoid noise. This had no effect. A second complaint resulted in more notices but we were still being woken up. On being woken at 6.10am again I rang guest services immediately whereas we had previously gone there on our way to breakfast. This resulted in parts of the area being taped off and staff were instructed not to use the access door adjacent to 3067 at night. We were each sent a bottle of wine and basket of fruit by Guest Services who also offered us a change of cabins further down the corridor, but we decided to see what effect the new regime had before facing the hassle of packing and moving. While there was occasional noise it was muted and we were never woken again. Ironically the cabins were exceptionally well insulated from noise in the corridors or between cabins. The cabin was quite spacious, with the beds arranged as a queen as we had requested, with a two drawer bedside unit on either side of the bed. There was a dressing table on one side of the cabin and a small two-seater convertible sofa on the opposite side. Then came the two double wardrobes, which were opposite the bathroom. There was a safe inside one of the wardrobes. The television and fridge were in an angled section of the wardrobe nearest the dressing table. We managed to find room for two weeks worth of clothes in the space provided, though with nothing to spare. Our cabin steward Sofyan from Indonesia and his assistant Godfrey from India kept the cabin spotlessly clean and were both very friendly. We had requested first sitting for dinner and were on table 529 on the higher level of the dining room. It was a table for six, though there were only ever five of us, my wife and I, our friend and Frank and his wife Yolande from Detroit. Sadly one of their cases went astray on the flight to LA and it never caught up with them. Our waiter Lloyd from India and his assistant Arnold were excellent and very friendly, which is more than could be said for the wine waiter. This was our third cruise on Celebrity so the menus and food no longer had the wow factor of our first Celebrity cruise but were nevertheless very enjoyable, even if spoiled as we have been there often seemed to be only one thing we fancied each night. We prefer to have breakfast and lunch at the buffet. The breakfast choices are a delight, especially the waffles. Lunch however, like our cruise on Galaxy last summer seems to cater more for those wanting yet another hot meal rather than those wanting cold choices. Fortunately the Aquaspa Cafe offered a small rotating selection of additional cold menu choices. In our view Celebrity still doesnt do as good a buffet as Holland America, even though it beats it hands down for the evening dining room food. The ship itself is spacious and attractively decorated and furnished with some whimsical artwork and statues. I discovered that I could use my wireless notebook anywhere in the Grand Foyer atrium to check my e-mail and the satellite connection was surprisingly fast. The Bar at the Edge of The Earth on deck 11 at the bow of the ship is its forward observation lounge, but its Cirque de Soleil beds diminish the available seating for busy times like going through the Panama Canal locks. The lounge was only used once for a Cirque de Soleil White Masquerade Party during the 14-night voyage. It is sometimes used for ballroom dancing, but is mainly used at nights as the disco. We spent more time in the Rendezvous Lounge on the Promenade Deck where a ballroom dancing duo or band could be found every night and where the two dance hosts were available to dance with unaccompanied ladies like our friend. We also enjoyed Paul Strowe singing to his own guitar accompaniment by the pool in the day and outdoors on the rear Lido deck at night. Like our cruise on Galaxy last summer we found the entertainment to be a mixed bag. The four production shows were superb, as was the first nights show by two of the production shows lead singers, the ventriloquist and the local Mexican Folkloric troupe in Acapulco. We failed to find a seat for the comedian as my wife was having a winning streak on the slots in the casino. The sound on the third level balcony was rather unclear but it was better lower down but we didnt feel like standing for the rest of the comedians show. The Cirque de Soleil show was disappointing. In fact the aerial artists in the production show Alex & Sally were far better than the Cirque de Soleil show. Then there were four instrumentalists, which is too many for our tastes, no matter how talented they are. We would rather have had a little more variety such as a magician and a solo vocalist. Ports: Cabo San Lucas: This is a small but fast growing town at the southern tip of the California Baja Peninsular. It is set on a beautiful bay with the famous Les Arches rock formation (also called Lands End) marking the meeting of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. We took a ships tour of the area that took us along the coast to the supposedly less commercialised town of San Jose del Cabo. Like Cabo there are lots of condos and hotels being built and it will soon be just another tourist haunt, but for now it does still have some semblance of an old Mexican town. Acapulco: Set on a huge bay with mountains behind, Acapulco is a big city by comparison to all the other ports of call. We took the city tour that included the not-to-be-missed cliff divers. The city spreads for over 4 miles along the beaches in the bay. We enjoyed the visit but we are not city people so it is bigger than we prefer. We sailed from Acapulco at 11pm, which gave us a beautiful view of the twinkling lights of the city all the way up the mountains surrounding the bay. Huatulco: This is one of our two favourite ports. It was originally a small fishing village that is now the location chosen by the Mexican government to develop an ecological tourist destination covering 27 miles of coastline. One third of the entire area is to be a nature reserve and no buildings are allowed to exceed 6 stories high. The whole area that we visited on a ships tour is beautiful, both naturally and in the quality of the development. If you want to see it at its best go soon because by 2030 the Mexican government expect it to be bigger than Cancun. Puntarenas: We had expected more of this port of call after hearing how prosperous Cost Rica is compared to most Central and South American countries, but we were disappointed. The overwhelming impression was of garbage everywhere. It was a Sunday and the beach by the jetty was thronged with locals who seemed to delight in dropping garbage everywhere, despite plenty of bins to put it in. There were craft and souvenir stalls along the boardwalk at the back of the beach and we strolled among them looking at the goods on offer. The stallholders were very friendly and not at all pushy so it was a pleasant way of spending an hour or so, but the dirty condition of the town didnt encourage us to linger. All the ships tours were far too long to appeal to us, so after our stroll ashore we enjoyed a lazy day on the ship. Panama Canal: This was the purpose of the trip and it lived up to our wildest expectations. It is difficult to convey how fascinating it is to see it in real life and to take in what a colossal undertaking it was to build it ninety-nine years ago. I had read David McCulloughs book The Path Between The Seas  The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870 -1914 before the trip, (as I would advise anyone to do before making the canal cruise). So I knew the history of the 33 years of effort by the French and the Americans and the 25,000 lives that it cost to build it, but experiencing it gave it a whole new dimension. We went on deck before 6.30am so we could see Summit go under the Bridge of the Americas. The sun was just rising, reflecting off the skyscrapers of Panama City. Then we entered the first of the two locks at Miraflores at about 7.15am. After Miraflores we sailed the short distance to the Pedro Miguel lock which raised us the last step to enter the eight-mile passage through the mountains. The mountains looked surprisingly low, but this had been and remains the most difficult part of the construction effort. Landslides continue to this day, such is the unstable nature of the soil and rock in this area in the wet season. Then we arrived at Gatun Lake. Those going on shore excursions were tendered off about 2pm and the ship anchored for over two hours awaiting our 4.20pm slot through the three Gatun Locks. We came out of the final lock at 6.15pm just as we were starting dinner. The ship berthed at Cristobal at 7.15pm and after finishing dinner we went ashore to explore the craft and souvenir shops in the Duty Free area by the berth, bring to an end our long but fascinating day in Panama. Aruba: This was our other favourite port. It is so clean with pretty Dutch style architecture and the people are so friendly. We walked into town the short distance from the berth, which was right by the marina in Oranjestad. The walk by the marina was punctuated by stops at the many craft and souvenir stalls where we made a contribution to the local economy. Then we found the pretty boardwalk that took us in front of the Radisson Hotel to their private beach before exploring the stores in the Seaport Marketplace by the hotel. The Radisson is on both sides of the road so we crossed to the side away from the beach to explore the Renaissance Mall that is an extension of the hotel. After taking pictures of the Dutch style buildings we also explored the Royal Plaza Mall before heading back to the ship. We were amazed to realise that we had been happily exploring for four hours though we did have two coffee stops during that time! In summary it was a very enjoyable cruise. No cruise line we have been on so far is perfect, and we have experienced eight different ones on fifteen cruises, but Celebrity, despite its faults is the nearest to perfect for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
My wife and I sailed on Summit from LA on 12 Feb for the eastbound trip to Ft Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. We have cruised on 10 occasions with three cruise lines; Celebrity, Carnival and RCCL. We had an outside view stateroom on ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Summit from LA on 12 Feb for the eastbound trip to Ft Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. We have cruised on 10 occasions with three cruise lines; Celebrity, Carnival and RCCL. We had an outside view stateroom on the Continental deck. Embarkation: There was a long lineup at the pier but it moved quickly and we were aboard the ship about a half hour after arrival at San Pedro. Documentation etc was done quickly and in a friendly manner. We have had faster boarding processing in San Diego and Vancouver but the system at San Pedro was certainly acceptable. Food. This was our fourth cruise with Celebrity and the quality of food has remained excellent over the years. The Waiter and his Assistant (an Indian and Thai, respectively) assigned to our table were the most efficient, polite and capable that we have ever had. Their memories for "the little things" and their good humor were very much appreciated. Stateroom. Although the stateroom was well laid out with ample storage and met our needs, the daily maintenance of the room was not satisfactory. Our stateroom attendant (a Filipino female) was consistent in her absence and made no effort to introduce herself or request if we had any special needs. The bathroom glasses had the same lipstick stains for four consecutive days. The beds were poorly made with badly wrinkled sheets and blankets. A disappointment to be sure. Staff. The multi-national staff on this ship were outstanding with the exception of the Stateroom Attendant. Waiting staff in the lounges, cafeterias, theatre and other areas were friendly and helpful in every respect. Facilities. The lounge on the eleventh deck that was once called "Revelations" before being changed to accommodate Cirque de Soleile has a decor that can only be described as gawd-awful ugly. With the demise of the Cirque we certainly hope the old decor is restored. The most popular lounge on the ship, Rondez-vous, was comfortable and relaxed in spite of furniture that looked to be a day or two removed from a rummage sale. The chairs were worn, torn and tattered and seemed to be screaming for replacement or rejuvenation. When we arrived in Ft Lauderdale we were told by a staff member that the ship had not been in that port (with the Head Office in nearby Miami) for about 9 months and an inspection was scheduled to take place shortly after our arrival. Hopefully, the discrepancies noted above will be seen and rectified at the soonest possible opportunity. Ports. Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Cristobal and Oranjestad were just fine and the only disappointment was Puntarenas which had all the charm and dignity of a garbage dump. Costa Rica touts itself as an environmental paradise but Puntarenas screams otherwise. Trash was everywhere with bins overflowing. Plastic bottles, cups and bags were strewn from one end of the town to the other including the beach area and greatly detracted from what could otherwise be a beautiful town. Disembarkation. We can't comment on this matter as we were scheduled for a shore tour to the everglades and our departure from the ship was arranged to meet the tour schedule. Summary. We were on Summit for 14 days which gave us plenty of time to find things to whine about but despite those anomalies mentioned above we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and believe we received good value for our money. Any complaints we have can be easily rectified and we expect the appropriate action will be taken. Celebrity certainly remains as our "preferred" cruise line and we will have no hesitation in selecting Celebrity for our next cruise with all things being equal with other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
Master: Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis Hotel Director: Daniel llias Cruise Director John Howell PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS Cruising, like everything, is subjective. A wonderful cruise for one person is not necessarily for another. Sometimes ... Read More
Master: Captain Panagiotis Skylogiannis Hotel Director: Daniel llias Cruise Director John Howell PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS Cruising, like everything, is subjective. A wonderful cruise for one person is not necessarily for another. Sometimes it's timing or simply our moods at the time. Some of us look for one experience, others look for something else. So with minor flaws, this is a rave review for Celebrity. This was was the cruise that sealed the deal for us -- we are now Celebrity loyalists. This is our third Celebrity cruise -- the first being on Horizon to Bermuda in 1997, the second on Millennium in the Western Caribbean in 2003 and now this 2-week adventure through the Canal on Summit. We booked another 10-day cruise in the Southern Caribbean in December 2006. We decided longer cruises are for us and cancelled our scheduled 7-day cruise on the Mercury in October 2006. Our experience with HAL, thus far, simply does not compare in service. Even visually, Summit is more appealing as we traveled about the ship. However, when I find a longer itinerary on HAL we will likely give them another try because I don't think it's quite fair to compare the 2 experiences without a longer cruise in the mix. It takes about 2 days to get "into the swing" of the cruise. And the last 2 days I anticipate its sad end. So a 7 day cruise only affords me about 3 days of total relaxation. A longer cruise gives us the opportunity to just revel in the absolutely joyous experience of cruising. I have never enjoyed being on the sea as much as I did these past 2 weeks. PRE-CRUISE INFO: We flew into LAX, rented a car and drove to Long Beach where we stayed at the Coast Hotel. We love the location; the hotel was clean and quite nice right on the water. The Queen Mary was within walking distance so that was a wonderful way to spend a part of Saturday. Finding the hotel was very difficult, but if we were to sail out of San Pedro again, I would stay here. OVERALL OBSERVATIONS ~ CELEBRITY VS. HOLLAND AMERICA: This cruise made Celebrity our #1 cruise line of choice. However, I've never done a 2 week cruise on HAL so this may not be a completely fair observation. But I can honestly say that other than some issues with a couple of shore excursions, there is absolutely nothing we didn't love about this cruise. We've cruised 15 times since the early '80s -- not a ton of experience. But we've cruised on Cunard, Regency, HAL, Celebrity, NCL, Royal Viking Line, Seawind Cruises and Windstar so we have a lot of compare. First to compare the ships Oosterdam (sailed 11/04) and Summit -- personally I feel the design, layout and general architectural details are far superior on Summit. The outside elevators alone and so much more open and encompass superior views as you glide up and down. There are 4 of them vs. Oosterdam's 2 and glass practically all around. I can't even compare the onboard shops. Oosterdam's were sparse and broken up in such a way that it reminded me of a maze. Summit has magnificent shops laid out similarly to walking down an avenue with two kiosks in the center where the merchandise is changed daily. The cabin's appointments are far superior. The dressing table/desk on the Oosterdam also held a TV and had little cabinet space. The Summit's dressing table is much larger and more usable. This was the most amazing cruise we've ever taken in every way. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier by taxi around 11:15 a.m. If there was a short line, I don't even remember it. We were Concierge Class so had "priority" boarding, but it would have made no difference at all. We were on the ship by 11:30 and able drop our carry-ons in our stateroom. Our cabin attendant, Lorna, apologized that it wasn't "quite ready," but promised it would be within half an hour. We happily headed to the Waterfall Cafe for lunch. STATEROOMS: We were in Concierge Class #6135 on Penthouse Deck (6th). As you may know, because 6135 is between 2 Royal Suites, the deck is considerably deeper than most CC class staterooms. There is plenty of room for 2 cushioned chaises and a small table plus 2 cushioned chairs and a round dining table. This cabin is also about 20 sq. ft. larger, I think, than a standard verandah cabin. The "living" area seemed a lot roomier than our cabin on the Millennium which was midships on the same deck. The closets are not great, but we were still able to somehow fit everything in. Unlike the HAL ships, there are 6 drawers and roomy shelf below the safe. But there is only one closet for hanging clothes for us. Luckily DH doesn't pack too heavy and there was room for all my "stuff." I do prefer the verandah furnishings on the Oosterdam (wicker) -- this furniture was not as nice, but the size made up for it and the cushions helped. Had we stepped up to a Sky Suite, I think we would have had wood which was really very nice. One thing I loved on the Summit was when you've ordered Room Service for Breakfast (CC gets the full menu); Lorna would always call me to say the tray was on its way. So much better than the knock on the door. I did love the little "extras" we got in CC class -- the fresh fruit everyday, the 2 pillows each were heavenly. The comfort of the bed was heavenly and I loved the duvet. Have to admit it didn't quite measure up to HAL's beds, but was so far superior in every other way that I overlook that completely. I'll use this opportunity to mention the Royal Suites. We had Cruise Critic friends who were lucky enough to grab one for a really great rate and they invited us for a party one night. This is an AWESOME suite with a huge verandah with hot tub, separate bedroom, dressing area and large bath. The living/dining area was beautifully furnished with luscious woods. They had large plasma screen TVs in both the bedroom and living room. I was sooooo jealous! PASSENGERS: A word about the passengers as a whole. I would say the age range was definitely in the over 60 department. But there were many in their 40s and 50s and a few younger. We had (I think) 5 small children who were so well behaved I thought they might be robots. There were also many Europeans onboard. We were fortunate that the ship was not completely full with about 1900 passengers (Summit can actually hold up to almost 2300 when used to capacity). Some of you might say "so old!!!" Sometimes someone might walk a bit slower than you might like, but everyone on this ship seemed to be having an equally wonderful time and I heard little or no complaining. Maybe I walked in a dream world, but I didn't hear it. We had a really nice Roll Call before we left and we knew 40+ had signed up for the Celebrity Connections party. Several of us also decided to hook up at Sail Away at the Mast Bar. The person who began the roll call made wonderful nametags for us and we all gathered there in wonderful moods ready for a great cruise. San Pedro was unseasonably cold that day, but our hearts were sure warm! We gathered the next day at Michael's Club for our party and what an amazing turnout! And what a fun, wonderful group with ages across the board from young to very old. But the very old guy just happened by! When I asked him what his CC name was, he said he just saw it was a party and decided to come on in! John Howell, the most wonderful amazing CD on the face of the oceans, came to greet us. When we had to break up because another party was coming in, they promised us another party the 2nd week. They came through for us and that party was equally well attended and enjoyed. Throughout the cruise, close bonds were made among several CC members and we really enjoyed getting together, sharing tours together and other activities. And because we had made contact on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas Roll Call before we left (knowing they'd be on a similar itinerary), we had fun shouting across the ships a couple of times ... especially as we made our way through the Panama Canal. Early on, one CC'er suggested that on Sea Days anyone interested in eating in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant should meet outside at 12:30. We did this a few times and were particularly pleased when we invited John Howell to join us one day after our second party. He graciously accepted and I was fortunate to have him sitting next to me. He shared a lot of fun stories and information we wouldn't ordinarily have. I said it before and I'll say it again: John Howell is, without question, the best CD I've ever known. It almost seemed he was everywhere at once, always accessible and always there with a smile. He's raised the bar for me -- that's for sure. DINING Cosmopolitan Restaurant Before dinner we would always go to the Rendezvous Lounge or Martini Bar for the Virgin drink of the day. If we wanted to watch the dancing, the Lounge was the place to be. But we really liked the Martini Bar and the Champagne Bar when we wanted to talk. We often didn't get to do this because the show was so frequently at 7:00. We had Table #436 right in the center of the dining room beside the Ms Rotterdam statue. We could not have had a better table. I thought the food was really good although I had much more beef than I would generally enjoy. I'm much fussier about food than many people are, but everyone else felt the food was really top notch. Personally I didn't like the potatoes except a couple of rare occasions, but the beef was amazing. Everyone who had fish said it was always wonderful as well ... even though we had never heard of any of the varieties they offered. For us, it was our Waiter, Julio, and Asst. Waiter, Francisco, who really made our dining experience the best of a lifetime. Their service was beyond description. And this was where Celebrity shines so far above HAL which doesn't begin to compare. I still fault HAL management decisions for this, but Julio had 3 tables during Late Seating so he had the time to give us so much. Both Julio and Francisco were so happy, so willing to meet our every whim. For our sitting, everyone seemed to adhere to the dress code throughout the week although I must admit it seems that "Informal" is a word not everyone quite "gets." To top off this amazing experience, we also had the only Assistant Maitre D' who has ever bothered with us at all. From the very first night Celito (sp?) came to our table and spent time with us. He would fulfill any request or desire we might have. The extras that we got which included a magnificent array of cheeses and biscuits every single night were just fantastic. The Normandie (Specialty Restaurant) We only dined here once because we were invited by 4 other CC'ers to join them one night. I'm so glad we did because just the "show" is worth the $30/pp cover. We had an 8:00 pm reservation and we left the restaurant at 11:30. It was superb from start to finish. Waterfall Cafe and Grill Everything here was so good. The Pasta Bar (made to order) was exceptional and so fresh. The pizza was terrific. I especially loved the vegetable one. I like the HAL ice cream better, I have to say. But Celebrity has improved their burgers, etc., and these were absolutely amazing. All the desserts here were so good. I also loved the Deli section with the "make your own but they'll do it for you" sandwiches. Which reminds me! The Belgian Waffles in this section in the morning (only until 10 so get yourself up there!) with strawberries in syrup and whipped cream all over them were beyond description. All the fruit (especially the cantaloupe) was wonderful as well. OTHER SERVICE The service overall was absolutely amazing. Everyone everywhere on the ship greeted us with a smile, a "hello" and a "good morning" or "good night." I never encountered anyone who did not deliver the epitome in service from the Concierge, to Guest Relations to Captain's Club and to Future Sales (and you can bet I was in there booking another cruise!). Just that friendly "good morning" when we emerge from the midship elevators for breakfast is an added touch you don't soon forget. If I'm going to criticize, it's the Shore Excursion desk. I realize it's a tough job, but there were not pleasant when all I asked for was a comment form to let them know about my shore excursion problem. Lorna, our Stateroom Attendant, was always just outside my door with a greeting and a smile. ENTERTAINMENT Amazing! From one night to the next, they never repeated one act. Each show was fantastic and fun. When I judge shipboard entertainment, I don't compare it to Broadway -- I compare it to other cruises we've been on. We went to almost every show. And I loved that many nights they had the Late Seating Show at 7:00 so that we could enjoy other entertainment throughout the ship. It also gave us a chance to get to bed before 1:00 in the morning! Some of the talent was beyond amazing. The Aerialists, Alex and Sally, were magnificent to watch. The featured singers, Travis and Denise Turpin were wonderful and just seemed to enjoy themselves every minute. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers were fantastic. Noodles Levenstein was just plain funny, Antonio Salci (Pianist) was so good I bought his CD, Jack Walker's voice got better with every song and by the end of his show I was on the edge of my seat. I ran to be the first to buy his CD. There were many nights that these entertainers received and deserved a standing ovation. Both DH and I agreed that it was the best entertainment we'd seen on any cruise. "ACUPUNCTURE AT SEA" If you've ever considered acupuncture and just haven't done it, this is a wonderful time to try it. They had several lectures explaining the process and I decided to bite the bullet and try it. I found it very helpful and plan to continue now that I'm back home. AQUA SPA The only service I used here was a manicure. Josh was the most amusing and amazing manicurist I've ever had and the hand ritual treatment was beyond anything I've experienced. I didn't every have a manicure before that includes massaging my neck and shoulders, but I'll take it!!! SEA DAY ACTIVITIES (We had 7 of these!) These were heaven! We're not big "activities" people so unfortunately I can't report on that very much. I do know there were a heck of a lot of people up on the pool deck having "Fun In The Sun". And I loved the "Sorbet Parade". Yummy! SHIP'S PHOTOGRAPHERS AND PICTURES: Loved that the photographers were not "in your face". They would ask if we wanted a picture taken. This made it a lot easier to find our pictures when we did want them because so many people declined. The cost has gone off the charts and the only one I purchased was our table picture. I'm glad I did because the one taken with my camera came out blurry. But I don't know why they won't print up a simply 5x7 rather than attaching 2 wallet size and a 4x6 in order to jack the price to $19.95. We didn't bother with the "studio" shots either because those cost even more. In this world of digital photography, it's just not worth it. The only thing I regret was not asking the photographers to come to the "Connections" parties so we could get a group Cruise Critic shot. I would have loved that and it would have been worth the $20. But I just never thought of it and no one else did either. PORTS AND TOURS Upon returning to the ship in every port, we were greeting with cold water, punches or lemonade and ice cold hand towels. These were soooo welcome in hotter ports and particularly while waiting for the tenders. We had 2 days a sea (aaaaah sweet bliss as we relaxed into the journey of a lifetime) before arriving at Cabo San Lucas on Tuesday, 10/25. Sailing along the Baja in the early morning light is an awesome experience. Rounding Lands End, we dropped anchor the farthest from shore that you can without being the Pacific Ocean. Summit gets last dibs at every port from what we saw. I have no idea why. So it was a loooong tender ride into port. I hate tendering anyway. Luckily for us, we had tours in both tendered ports so it was a piece of cake. I will say that the tenders on Summit are far better than HAL. They're more open, with more air flowing through and much lighter. So it was as good as it could be. We took a ship's tour in this port called: "Land's End Boat Cruise & Beach Tour": If you want to giggle a bit, go to the Celebrity site and read their description of this tour focusing on the part about the "beach club." The boat portion of this tour was just as we expected and I have no complaint whatsoever. It was wonderfully enjoyable and I just wish they could have dropped us off at Lover's Beach and leave it at that. Instead we were taken back to the port where we were herded like cattle toward a bus to take us to the "beach club." The problem here was there was a guy in the front with a sign who walked very fast and appeared to lose half of us (somehow we all ended up where we were supposed to be). We got on a very clean and pretty bus and were driven the short distance to the beach. This was mere moments from the pier and we could see our Summit anchored off shore (if we were smart enough to bring our binoculars with us). The RCI and Crystal ships were clearly visible. But this is where the joke began for us. We walked down a very steep hill and were led onto a crowded beach there in the harbor. They had roped off a section where about 50 or so plastic lounge chairs had been place with a bunch of market umbrella. The chaises were so close together that the only way to sit on them was to stand at the foot of the chair and sort of fall backward hoping the other end would not pop up and kick you in the head. The chairs were on such an angle that I basically went behind it and dug it deep into the sand just so I could sit on it without sliding off. We were told that the roped off section would keep the vendors from bothering us -- that they could only come over to us if "invited." Well, they were very good at making you feel guilty if you didn't "invite" them. On top of that, they pretty much blocked any view of the water. They were so sweet, actually, that is was hard to be angry but it certainly wasn't quite what we expected. We couldn't wait to get back on the bus and return to the ship. After another day at sea we arrived Thursday in Acapulco which I was prepared to hate, but was pleasantly surprised. Here we had booked a tour called: "Mayan Palace Beach Getaway": This was an excellent and wonderful tour. The Mayan Palace is a timeshare resort in the "future" section of Acapulco. As you may know, Acapulco is divided into the "old" section, the "new" section, and the "future" section. This is a magnificent resort like none I have ever seen. We spent the day sitting by the pool by the sea and had a wonderful lunch at a restaurant there. We spent 4 hours there and then returned to the ship. It was a wonderful day shared with some of our new Cruise Critic friends. All the guys bonded standing in the pool. When I've posted my pictures, you will see all of this and the pictures speak a thousand words. On Friday we docked in Huatulco which is a charming and delightful town. I will say, however, that I had gone on this cruise prepared to by sterling silver in our Mexican ports. Forget that! I'm sure if I'd gotten out of the main part of town I could have done better, but I can find much nicer silver here in the states for at least half the price and I told the merchants that. When I saw a piece I liked for $250, the salesman said "let's talk." We talked, but when he realized I wanted something under $100, he led me to their souvenir table. I left empty handed. We did not do a tour here because I'd been told you can easily walk about town and there's a wonderful beach right next to the pier. I found this difficult to believe, but they were right. It's a beautiful, clean, white sand beach and I enjoyed my time there. Huatulco is named for its nine beautiful bays and I would think seriously about returning to enjoy one of their resorts. They are trying to entice tourism there and I'd like to enjoy the beauty of the area before it becomes the next Acapulco. After another wonderful sea day (did I mention that once we got away from the cold dampness of California our weather was magnificent throughout? -- well, a little misty on the Panama Canal, but that kept it cool) ... we arrived on Sunday, 10/30, at Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Here we had booked a tour called: "Aerial Tram Pacific": We docked at the far end of the pier (of course) even though there was no other ship at the pier. They had a trolley with a "toot toot" engine that shuttled everyone to the flea market area. Sadly, I never got to enjoy shopping there since we were so late returning to the ship from our tour. Many people told me they did their very best shopping by the pier in Puntarenas. The bus picked us up right by the ship and drove the 1 ½ hours + to the park in the mid-Pacific. I want to say first that the aerial tram portion of this tour was magnificent and so worthwhile. But the walking portion which we were told was "optional" seem to take up the better portion of the time allowed and quite truthfully I didn't come all the way to Costa Rica to see plants that were not even native to the area. They plopped them in the ground and put little signs on them. They also walked us ever so slowly to see various types of snakes being kept in glass cages along the path. I found this very upsetting. Here we are in the wild and these snakes are housed in little boxes just so we could stare at them in groups of 10 and 20. Because there was a huge back-up at the tram, our guide would walk us about 5 steps and stop us to prattle on about something. I was terribly disappointed in this aspect of the tour, but all was forgiven after our wait for the tram because we really enjoyed our ride up above the canopy of the forest. Even the rain made it all seem that much more beautiful. I was particularly excited when I saw a Fiery Billed Aracari (variety of Toucan) which I pointed out to our guide! I even got a picture of "my" bird giving me a little wave. So late returning to the ship all I had time for was a few quick shots of the sunset before we left this magnificent country. At sea on Halloween with all sorts of shenanigans going on about the ship, we reached the entrance to the Panama Canal and the Bridge of the Americas early in the morning Tuesday, November 1st. We did not tour here because we wanted the experience of cruising "from sea to shining sea" -- the Pacific to the Atlantic. It was more amazing, magnificent and awesome than I ever could have imagined. Seven or eight years ago we did the "half way" portion of the canal through the Gatun Locks, into the Lake and out again. But that paled in comparison to the entire canal. Any of you who have done this cruise know what I mean. I had read and studied a great deal about it so it made the experience that much better. Along the way there was a lot of sharing with Radiance of the Seas as she passed through the canal with us. Again, my pictures will tell a better story than I can. Another day at sea and then we arrived at sunny, warm Aruba on Thursday, 11/3. Docked right in town, I shopped a little in the morning and then joined Rich and Sandy (Our Dream) for a beach day. One of the things that Celebrity does is give you huge beach towels in your cabin for your use throughout the cruise. When you bring them back, they give you a nice fresh new one. I like this so much better than grabbing 2 or 3 smaller towels on HAL. At our second Cruise Critic party, John Howell had told us about a wonderful beach where it wouldn't be so crowded. It isn't even on the map. Since that conversation, John asked me not to publish the name so I won't. But if you're lucky enough to cruise with John, he just might tell you about it. It is a heavenly beach ... a hotel where we presumably were not supposed to be able to rent the thatched umbrellas and lounge chairs, but when we told them we were happy to pay, they were happy to accommodate us. We found a huge umbrella under which all 4 chaises fit. We were right by the water so could all easily swim without worrying about our things. The water felt like liquid silk and the color of the water was incredible to behold. Having come from the Pacific where we did not see waters like this, it was all that much more appreciated. We had a wonderful day there. After 2 more days at sea, we arrived back home in Ft. Lauderdale -- a very sad day for me because as I have said before, this journey could not have been more fun, more enjoyable, more fulfilling or any better in any way. CLOTHING AND ATTIRE Couldn't come up with a name for this section, but did want to mention that DH after much thought did take advantage of Cruise line Formals. He has his own tux so was reluctant to pay $85 for this service. He did not regret it! First, it fit better than his own since they used his current measurements as opposed to those of several years ago when he was just a wee bit smaller. But beyond that, the ease of having it delivered to the stateroom and leaving it there was worth every penny. The tux was quite stunning and he looked wonderful. When I post our pictures later on this thread, you'll see how nice it was. I highly recommend it. I packed perfectly for dinner, but took way too many casual clothes. When you pack for a 2-week, remember to remove 1/3 of what you plan on taking -- maybe even more. If all else fails you can throw on a cover-up and pretend you're on the way to the pool. On our 14 night cruise we enjoyed 8 Casual nights, 3 Informal and 3 Formal. This threw me a little because I thought it was 7 Casual nights, but luckily I had an Informal outfit that could pass for Casual. DISEMBARKATION: We were told we would have "priority" disembarkation, but all this meant in the end was that we had a special lounge to wait where Danish and coffee were served. There were so many Europeans on this cruise who needed to fly from Miami that we could not disembark until 10:00. This was not a problem since we live in West Palm Beach and friends were meeting us. The entire process was a "piece of cake." We went for breakfast at 8:15 and returned to our cabin. Lorna told us we could wait there, but at 9:30 we went to the Cinema so we would hear when "Red4" was called. Suddenly we felt we were in a James Bond film waiting for the code word "Red4!" Promptly at about 9:45 we were called and left the ship with no jamming, elbowing or anything. All the bags were organized in their color categories and while the line through customs appeared very long, we whisked through literally in minutes and were in our car and on our way by 10:15. FINAL THOUGHTS: It's the people who made this journey so absolutely amazing. Many of them were fellow CC'ers and many we just met along the way. You may think this rave review is just too good to be true. But this was 2 weeks of pure bliss. I'm not easy to impress and you should also know that the entire first week I was trying to reach someone back home in West Palm Beach, FL, to see if our house was still standing after Wilma. But despite that anxiety and the $200 spent on the internet trying to get news, I still managed to have on of the most wonderful times in my entire life. I won't be forgetting any of it anytime soon and I hope the friendships we made onboard will last a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
This is a review, not an online journal. After 33 cruises, 9 with Celebrity, this is probably best read by someone with a similar background. Had this been a first cruise, I'd probably say that EVERYTHING was wonderful. The downside ... Read More
This is a review, not an online journal. After 33 cruises, 9 with Celebrity, this is probably best read by someone with a similar background. Had this been a first cruise, I'd probably say that EVERYTHING was wonderful. The downside of cruising often is that it's difficult not to become picky. Celebrity is a great cruise line and they do a great job. Some of the negatives mentioned below may have a lot to do with the fact that Summit's itinerary varies(a plus) but certain issues become a problem because they aren't in the same place every week. This particular 14 day cruise originated in LA with stops in Cabo, Acapulco and Huatulco in Mexico as well as a stop in Costa Rica and Aruba along with Panama Canal transit and a stop at Cristobal Pier there. If you consider this itinerary, bear in mind that there are 8 days at sea and many activities repeat themselves. There's a lot of time to relax!! Embarkation in LA, for example would have been perfect had it not been for the fact that each bus coming from the airport was "held" at the pier with passengers still on the bus for almost 30 min. This may have been a "port of San Pedro issue" rather than Celebrity's. After being on a plane for most of the day, this was not a pleasant experience to begin the trip. The public rooms are lovely on the ship, but due to the nature of the "older crowd" aboard, many lounges, the cinema, and the theater were extremely crowded at the earlier times rather than the later. Again, this is not something that the cruise line could really control but rather, something to note when booking a long cruise at a time of year when older people tend to travel. The cabin was exactly as promised. In this case, the balcony is well worth paying extra for, although one should be aware that it is hardly "private" is not always cleaned well by the cabin steward. Celebrity's fitness center, part of the Aqua Spa, is top notch with excellent equipment and fitness instructors and not too crowded even at peak exercise times. However, that could vary from cruise to cruise depending on the demographics of the passengers aboard. Certainly on this cruise, it was a great place to go. A look at the daily schedule indicated many recreational activities for one to select. Dining was outstanding in both the Normandie Restaurant as well as the main dining room. The buffet was better than on other cruise lines with a large variety to select from. Special note should be made of the "healthy" buffet near the Aqua Spa. This was a nice variation from the main buffet. Entertainment was very, very good when presented in the lounges or the theater. Two things that might improve this category would be less use of "prerecorded music" in some lounges and a greater use of the cinema for first run films...doing "pay for view" in a small cabin on a 19" television is hardly worth it. I thought it strange that the cruise director's information broadcast on tv was not specific to the particular day. After being on two other Millennium class ships where the cruise director always broadcasted "live" from an area of the ship and repeated their program throughout the day, I expected the same here. This was not only entertaining on the other ships, but also very informative. One might argue that the cruise director's responsibilities are huge and this would be time consuming. However, since the television is an important source of information and communication, live broadcasting was missed. The same applies to shore excursion listings over the television where some tours were never advertised while others that were not offered were shown to the viewer. Both these issues could be related to the fact that the Summit does some many different itineraries the it's easier to offer the "generic" rather than the "specific." For example, it would have been nice on the day before our canal transit for passengers to know that the video about the canal which was shown 3 times in the cinema would also be broadcast round the clock on television. A "hint" of the evening entertainment broadcasted during the day would have been nice as well. Again, on other Millennium class ships this was a very nice way to stay informed. Service on the ship was generally excellent, although our assistant waiter often made it difficult for our incredibly professional and competent waiter to maintain his high standards..the assistant seemed more interested in "setting up" for the second seating rather than dealing with his first seating diners. Getting his attention was sometimes difficult. The gentleman in charge of our section of the dining room often took up the slack in these situations. In the cabin area, our room was always cleaned well but our steward never seemed to get in the routine of knowing when we were gone. It was annoying to leave the cabin as early as 7:30 and come back six hours later to shower before lunch to shower and discover that the room was not yet clean. He also felt compelled each evening to knock on the door with paper work rather than just slide it under the door. Perhaps it's no longer company policy to do that. Special note has to be made regarding the Normandie dining room which was outstanding on our first visit and TREMENDOUS on our second. Dining here is not to be missed and well worth the additional expense. Overall, the pleasant nature of the entire staff was a very nice part of the Celebrity cruise experience. Shore excursions were excellent, although there were some changes to the "Coastal Highlights" tour in Cabo San Lucas that were very disappointing (a visit to "Cactus World" was not a high point of the trip.) One was not informed of changes in the tour itinerary until we were "lined up" for the bus and no one was offered the opportunity to choose not to go. The visit to Tabacon Hot Springs and Spa at the Arenel Volcano in Costa Rica, though, more than made up for any disappointment in Cabo San Lucas. Our guide was a well spoken and charismatic young man who made the 3-1/2 hour bus ride in either direction very interesting and informative. I'd recommend this tour to anyone. Along with shore excursions, the issue of tendering rather than docking often comes up, and while NO ONE prefers a tender to a docking situation, I noticed that the crew of the Summit goes out of their way to make tendering as pleasant as they can. Just watching other passengers on other ships and then comparing their treatment to ours drove that fact home extremely well. The Summit crew seems to time the tenders well. If you've never been treated to those lovely "cold towels" at the pier, you have missed something very nice. Overall this was an excellent cruise and an excellent value for the money. Celebrity makes is difficult for this passenger to want to cruise with any other company. Being treated "famously" is a great way to go! Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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