CELEBRITY'S NEWEST... THE SUMMIT We were delighted to have the opportunity to sail on the all too brief two night Media and Travel Agent Inaugural on board Celebrity's appropriately named Summit. We sailed from Port ... Read More
CELEBRITY'S NEWEST... THE SUMMIT We were delighted to have the opportunity to sail on the all too brief two night Media and Travel Agent Inaugural on board Celebrity's appropriately named Summit. We sailed from Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale in the early evening, Friday, September 28th and returned early Sunday morning. I can report, first, that security measures at the Port entrance and during embarkation at the pier are stringent... a pronounced increase from the norm, and quite welcomed by most! We were required to prove we had business in the Port before we were permitted to drive in and our luggage was thoroughly checked at the pier. We were asked for our photo identification not less than 3 times from our first entry into the pier until we embarked the Summit. Celebrity has many additional security measures in place and the atmosphere in the pier and on the ship was totally relaxed. It is not unusual for one ship of a class to stand out from the others... and, in the case of Millennium class vessels, the Summit's the one. She's the culmination of all that was learned in the development of the Millennium and the Infinity. Celebrity has blended tradition and superb ship design advancements to great effect on the Summit. What a special vessel she is! At first glance, Summit is little different from her two sisters... her basic statistics being virtually identical. She's 91,000 gross registered tons, 965 feet long, 105 feet beam and holds 1,950 passengers... a remarkable space ratio of 46.6; nothing different here. Also, I have always felt that the Millennium class vessels have an ungainly look on the outside... from a distance there is a distinct absence of smooth flowing lines one associates with new passenger vessels. It is curious but from the outside she's almost an ugly duckling. But that's where it ends. Inside, we have an elegant, beautiful Princess! Staterooms on the Millennium class ships are spacious and well designed, with all the amenities one comes to expect in ships of this caliber. Every cabin has a safe, mini bar (refrigerator), large lavatories with Celebrity's typical large shower area, loads of closet and drawer space. Standard Ocean View and Interior staterooms measure a comfortable 170 square feet. Upwards of 80% of the cabins on Summit are Ocean View and 85% of those have balconies. These cabins range from 170 to 191 square feet with balconies of varying sizes. And, Summit offers no less than 4 categories of suites ranging in size up to 1098 square feet. We had a Category 2C, forward, on the Penthouse Deck and it was delightful. (Secret: Cabins numbered 6016-6046 and 6021-6051 have great oversized balconies that are just delightful! We had 6030.) The public rooms and facilities on board Summit are chic, elegant, warm and inviting. This is unbridled elegance entwined with superb taste and an eye toward utility. The ship works! Where to begin... well... how about dining venues? The Main Dining Room, the Cosmopolitan is a remarkable two-story restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and ocean views. The Grand Staircase sweeps majestically down to the main level where one is greeted by the famous statue "La Normandie"... from the famous French liner of the thirty's and forty's the Normandie. As you may know, the statue was recently resurrected from an ignominious location in the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach. The restaurant is stunning... tables well spaced and a very low noise level. Service in the Cosmopolitan was warm, friendly and efficient... a trait we found everywhere on the Summit. Speaking of the Normandie, the Summit's Specialty Restaurant is so named... The Normandie Restaurant. The entrance is a repository of memorabilia from the original vessel and is a pure delight. The restaurant itself contains some original wall panels from the Normandie. This is just not to be missed by anyone who loves the sea or the ships that sail on it. Except for a special "invitation only" dinner, the Normandie Restaurant was only open for inspection during this short cruise. Word from folks who have sampled the service and fare in the Specialty Restaurants on board the Millennium and Infinity has been generally excellent. The venue is so stunning that I would be happy to spend a few hours at a table if they were serving bread and water! The Waterfall Cafe and Grill... Summit's buffet restaurant is beautifully laid out with plenty of bay window tables offering great views of the sea. We found the food here, and in the main restaurant, to be excellent... no surprise on Celebrity! Other features of the Summit are exactly in line with what you would expect on this class of vessel. A magnificent Aquaspa, huge and beautifully equipped, with loads of indulgences available, none of which I can even come close to pronouncing, is standard issue on Celebrity. Michael's Club is large, warm and inviting. I loved the great Martini Bar (and great Martini's)! Nearby is the Champagne Bar and both venues are extremely popular before dinner. Cova Cafe Milano offers a great cup of coffee and some exotic desert pastries. And, there is Notes... the great Music Library where you can select and sample music from an extensive collection of CD's; its soaring two deck high ceiling and too comfortable arm chairs make Notes a great place to pass a bit of time with yourself. I loved the Conservatory. So nice to sit up there... I felt transported back to another era on some of the great liners of the past. It's hard to say what is so attractive up there... just try it... you'll see. Revelations, Celebrity Theater, Rendez-Vous Lounge, the Card Room, The Tower, The Internet Cafe, Words, Fortunes Casino, Fun Factory, The Emporium... it goes on and on. And, here and there throughout the Summit are great "nooks and crannies"... small spaces in which to nestle, away from the world... adding to the remarkable small ship "feel" of the Summit. Two nights and three days were hardly enough time on this engaging vessel. She'll be sailing great ten and eleven night itineraries to the Southern Caribbean, followed by a trans-Canal, a fling to Hawaii and Alaska. I would be hard pressed to think of a ship I'd rather be on. Celebrity has gotten it exactly right with the Summit. elgmcc@bellsouth.netOctober 2001 Read Less
My husband and I returned home from the Summit Inaugural three days ago and I want to record some of my impressions while the cruise is still fresh in my mind. Since I can already see that much has been posted on the boards about the ... Read More
My husband and I returned home from the Summit Inaugural three days ago and I want to record some of my impressions while the cruise is still fresh in my mind. Since I can already see that much has been posted on the boards about the decor of the ship, this review will be limited to our personal experience. Travel arrangements and embarkation We flew into Miami several days early to get acclimatized before the cruise began. Every seat was filled on our British Airways trans-Atlantic flight, to the dismay of terrorists wherever they may be, I hope. We rented a car at Miami airport, which for two people is probably a more economical alternative to get to Fort Lauderdale than to take the ship's transfer or a taxi, and also meant that we could drive to the ship on our own time. By the way, all the major rental companies run a shuttle bus between their drop-off locations at Fort Lauderdale airport and the cruise dock, so this arrangement is relatively painless. Our only problem at embarkation was that Celebrity had not been able to provide us with luggage tags owing to the interruption in mail between the U.S. and Europe following September 11, and had advised us to request tags at the port. A simple request one might think, but alas the embarkation area (Pier 25) was a zoo when we arrived in the early afternoon and we were passed on to four different people who had no clue where to find tags. Eventually an officer informed us that he could obtain tags but that it would take some time and why did we not simply carry on our own baggage? By this time we were getting quite stressed as our rental car was parked as close to the building as we could get but not in what could be described as a proper parking spot, so we promptly took the offericer's advice. Our cases have wheels so it was not really a problem and nobody commented or found it unusual. In fact, as soon as we crossed the gangway onto the ship, crew members relieved us of our luggage and bade us to follow them to our cabin. Thus, we had all our things from the word go, whereas other passengers waited many hours for their bags to appear. We then disembarked and drove our rental car to the airport drop-off and were shuttled directly back to the port. In future, we shall seriously consider dispensing with luggage tags all together. Embarkation seemed to have started before 11.30 a.m. and a buffet lunch was available in the Waterfall Cafe from noon until 3.30 p.m. Cabin We were satisfied with our guarantee standard outside cabin (2098). The colour of the furnishings was soothing and blended well with the generous use of (cherry?) wood. Of course, everything was shiny and new, and our steward, Ardona, kept it that way. Situated low in the centre of the ship, we experienced almost no movement, although there was often a white-capped sea, and no noise, not even the shuddering that you normally feel and hear when the ship docks, so the gas turbines must be doing something right. Our friends from Cruise Critic's boards, Shadow, Doubld and Zukid, were less lucky in their suites on Deck 6, but that was due more to the racket made by a family's unruly children than to any technical shortcomings of the vessel. By the way, if you wish to use your own hairdryer in the bathroom on the Summit, you will need to bring an extension cord and plug it into the power point at the desk. Cosmopolitan Dining Room Our table for six was situated on Deck 4 by a window in one of the wings that lead to the entrance doors. Although slightly apart from the main seating area, this proved quite advantageous as we were not overwhelmed by the general gnashing and clashing produced by hundreds of knives and forks being worked at the same time. The atmosphere at our table was more like a restaurant than a dining room. Our waiter (Jusuf from Turkey) and assistant waiter (Matija from Croatia) were always friendly and efficient. They quite simply exceeded our expectations. Some years have passed since we last cruised Celebrity and in that time we have seen the quality of the food decline on other cruise lines. We were therefore anxious to discover whether Celebrity had also suffered. Reassuringly, we found both the meals and service to be of the same high standard that we remembered. Normandie Restaurant Shortly after embarkation our wanderings around the ship took us past the specialty restaurant. A waiter stood in the reception area and invited us in to look around, explaining the significance of the decor and the original panelling from the Normandie. There are really not many tables since they are quite widely spaced apart. The waiter made reservations for us on one of the semi-formal nights and allocated us a table for two, where I ended up dining on a red velvet couch. It really is a very elegant atmosphere and it is hard to keep track of all the waiters who serve you. We chose a chateaubriand for two, which was cooked just the way we ordered and carved at the table. By the way, there is a wine suggestion for each course, either by the bottle or glass. If you so desire, you may order a glass with the rack of lamb that will cost you over $70 (plus service charge, of course). We did not so desire. We ordered one bottle, which we considered good and normally priced, that saw us through for the whole meal. We savoured the whole experience of the Normandie, but really I do not think that the food in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room was in any way inferior. It was not so much "dining" as a celebration of dining, where the service staff endowed every course (and their guests) with a special importance. On our way out the maitre d' escorted us to the wine cellar, unlocked his cabinets and exhibited some of his best wines. (You could spend money here faster than in the casino!) As it happened, we were to dine again in the Normandie. This was not because we were not happy with the Cosmopolitan but rather because we had the opportunity to eat together with Zukid, Shadow and Doubld and their families, whose company we very much enjoyed. Reservations did not seem to be a problem throughout the cruise. James J. Feller's cocktail party J.J. very generously invited his fellow Cruise Critics for cocktails on the second day of the cruise to a lounge with no name on Deck 11, which turned out to be called "Revelations". There must have been about a dozen of us and, indeed, the only person missing at this point was Doubld. Since he and J.J. had recently had a slight misunderstanding on the boards, we assumed that Doubld had decided to duck out. Later we were to hear that he had missed the boat in Key West. Anyway, J.J. did us proud. He kept the cocktails coming and we got rowdier and rowdier. Otherwise, when there is not a Cruise Critic cocktail party being held, Revelations is a very quiet place to sit during the day as it is as far forward as you can get on Deck 11 with panoramic windows over the sea. After dinner it becomes a place to dance, and after that it turns into a disco. We bumped into one or another of our friends from these boards throughout the trip, but in one of the bottle shops in the port of Colon, we encountered several at once. Now, who would have thought it. Words and Notes On our first day on board we visited Words to borrow some books. There was already a good selection and new books were still being unpacked. The librarian informed us that we could take out as many as three books at a time but, with so much to do on a cruise, one each was quite sufficient. The library is spread over two decks joined together by a loose spiral staircase. Notes is located directly below with a similar staircase. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this room. The carpet is orange with electric blue stars and the armchairs are a lighter shade of orange. Normally this colour scheme would make me want to scream, but somehow it produced a warm and relaxed space - perhaps calmed by the unfussy wood panelling. The selection and quality of the audio system is quite incredible. I listened to some of the same recordings that we have at home, yet the clarity of the sound created a fresh experience. Entertainment Jim Cannon is an excellent cruise director. Not only was he ever-present, he was also cheerful whenever and wherever you found him. We did not attend all the shows but particularly enjoyed Michael James (the ladder man), Scott Record (impersonations), Mark Preston (ex-Letterman) and Andrei and Natalie (drop-dead stylish Russian dancers). The Celebrity Theatre would put many big city theatres to shame - take a look at the flame effects in the alcoves along the side walls. The pool-band, Onyx, is made up of obviously talented and able musicians. Yet we would have preferred to hear more reggae and island music on our Caribbean cruise, rather than the sometimes epic film music that they chose to play. Among other things they played "Never on a Sunday" and "Macarena" on country music night. Nice, but not country.... Art works The Summit is home to many impressive art works. Some were instantly likeable, such as the beaded heads of exotic Polynesian ladies gracing each level of the Grand Foyer staircase, or the still life paper cut-outs in the Waterfall Cafe (also don't miss the panel of shirts in Revelations by the same artist). Others, like the photographic works, took time to grow on you. And you might pass by still others for days without especially noticing them, such as the designer chairs strategically positioned in public areas. One of these seating arrangements on Deck 5 in the Atrium takes the form of a lady bending backwards at her knees and facing up; her torso provides a bench to sit on but her head hangs unsupported in the air. Anyway, after the second day at sea, one too many people must have taken a seat because the poor woman spent the rest of the cruise at an uncomfortable angle with her head on the carpet. Perhaps this particular work of art was not meant to sit on after all. Throughout the ship you will also find several stunning artificial floral arrangements in heavy glass vases signed by the artist. In the Waterfall Cafe there are more glass vases and jars but filled with conserved fruit and vegetables rather than flowers. Zukid's cocktail party Halfway through the cruise, on one of the days at sea, Zukid (alias Sandy, Dave and their daughter Cassie) invited their friends from the Cruise Critic boards and from diving tours to a cocktail party in their royal suite. Their butler, Carlton, made the necessary preparations. He brought in an extra table, set up a buffet and put the champagne on ice. Everyone came except Doubld, who had missed the boat a second time but had nevertheless managed to order two bottles of champagne to be sent to the Zukid suite. Sandy gave us a tour of the suite and we were suitably impressed. They had two hot tubs in there - indoors and outdoors. What a way to travel! We had a great time and our noise level was even higher than that of those kids. Thanks again, Zukid. Ports of call Key West (approx. 8am -2pm): As we have been to Key West before we did not take a tour. We simply walked the length of Duval St. towards the Atlantic Ocean. Although it is about a mile long, there are shops, galleries and cafes on either side, so no need to worry about not being able to find a T-shirt. A photo opportunity awaits at the end of Duval St. to the right - the cone marking the southernmost point of mainland U.S.A. We turned left towards a string of beaches with changing facilities. They are not very inviting compared to those we were to encounter later in Aruba and Grand Cayman, but it was a hot day and they did the job. Cozumel (all day): We took the tour to the Xcaret ecological park and were extremely pleased with our choice. From Cozumel we boarded a ferry to Puerto del Carmen and continued by bus to the park. Once in the park we headed straight for the underground river. Before entering the river, we were able to pack all our personal belongings into a large duffel bag with a padlock, which was transported to the river exit. The river is not entirely underground. Some sections are open on one side and there are several sink-holes in the roof of the caves. Here the river is dappled turquoise by the sunlight shining down. We swam and drifted through for at least half-an-hour and were greeted by a flock of flamingos at the river mouth. I will quote the comment of a man who swam out behind me. He said: "That was magnificent. I have had my money's worth right there. Anything else will just be a bonus". I could only concur. The cost of the tour is $68 per person and we noticed that the entrance fee to the park alone cost $45. The "bonus" included a turtle farm, an aquarium, a Mayan village, and a museum, as well as many other things that we did not get to view. When we arrived back at the pier, we saw a sight to behold - the Century was docked parallel to the Summit on the other side of the pier. Walking between them was like being on a street with high-density apartment buildings rising up on either side. As spectacular as they may be on the inside, from the outside ships just ain't what they used to be. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (all day): Unfortunately it was raining cats and dogs when we arrived in port. We had wanted to visit Cahuita National Park about 30-odd miles to the south, which encompasses a coral reef, but felt that it just was not worth going in the rain. (I asked a taxi driver what it would cost anyway and he quoted a price of $25 each way.) We had been told that there is nothing to see in Puerto Limon but decided to look around anyway as the port is right in town. In spite of the fact that this is not a tourist town, or maybe because of it, we found lots to see. Whilst it was still raining, we shopped for local coffee and beer in a supermarket. My husband then dropped into a convenient barbershop for a $3 haircut. Pity he couldn't have had two at that price! I found an Internet shop in the pedestrian zone that, at $1 for thirty minutes, beat the ship's prices by a mile (I was very anxious to keep in contact with home in these troubled times). Also in the pedestrian zone, there is a market where a row of hungry vultures ignore the discarded bits and pieces of tropical fruits, preferring to keep a sharp lookout for scraps of meat and bones. As the rain had stopped at this point we walked to a park at the sea end of the pedestrian zone. Here some young local boys asked us whether we wanted to see a sloth, which indeed we did. To our disbelief, there they were high up in the trees. We would never have spotted them on our own. The kids were collecting tips of course - the beginnings of the tourist trade in Puerto Limon. Continuing north along the sea wall we thought we might discover a beach but the port area is grey and slimy. As we were about to turn back we saw a bus-stop and asked a man waiting there whether we could get to a beach. He said that the bus was due any minute and that it was less than a 10-minute ride to Playa Bonita. We were game as we had some local money given to us in change at the supermarket - the fare was about 50 cents for both of us. A sandy bay surrounded by dense vegetation greeted us at Playa Bonita, with three open-air restaurants where we could get a drink or a meal. They allow their patrons to use their facilities. Unfortunately we could not take a swim because the surf was very rough after the storm, but we enjoyed a stroll on the beach with not another tourist in sight. Thus, we could not share the generally critical opinion of Puerto Limon. We did not feel in the least unsafe. In fact, just the opposite. Whether it was the salesgirl at the supermarket who assisted us in choosing coffee, the lottery ticket vendor who dropped into the barbershop to say hello to us foreigners, the informative man at the bus-stop, the gentleman who gave up his seat to me in the bus, or helpful people on the street who were always willing to stop and give us directions, we were consistently treated with friendliness and good humour by the people of Costa Rica. Colon, Panama (all day): The ship sold out of tours to the Canal but this turned out not to be a problem as there were plenty of taxi-drivers in the port area only too ready to meet the demand. When we enquired about the price, a taxi-driver produced a tariff list - the return fare to Gatun Locks was $40. That seemed fair enough to us and we felt no need to bargain. Our table companions, Bill and Pat from Northern Ireland, who had also not managed to book the ship's tour, were standing close by and we invited them to join us. Therefore, the price per person was a very reasonable $10. We were driven to the canal and escorted by our driver to the raised viewing platform, where there was a running commentary by canal staff describing what was going on. Whilst we were there a ship entered the lock with only two feet of space. It appeared to us as if there was no space at all, which is why ships have to be guided by trains, or "mules", on either side. Although it looks as if the ships are being pulled by the trains, in fact this is not the case. The ships are under their own steam but are held taught by the trains. The huge locks can be filled or emptied in eight minutes - faster than running a bath at home. On the way back to the port, our driver made a stop at the Washington Hotel. We walked though the lobby onto a patio that overlooked the sea area where ships line up waiting to go through the canal. Judging by the historical photos in the lobby, this hotel must have been very grand at the turn of the century but is now surrounded by ramshackle slums. After our taxi tour, my husband and I were ready to explore Colon on foot, since the port is directly in town. After walking a few blocks, we realized that we were being following by a young man on a bicycle. When he noticed that we had noticed, he asked us where we were going. Our first reaction would have been that it was really none of his business, but he was wearing a port staff uniform with an ID tag. He informed us that he would be our escort. We found this somewhat strange - it was Saturday lunchtime, families were out shopping, little boys were getting ready to play a baseball game, the market area was thronging with people, and we did not feel in the least bit threatened. Nonetheless, he shadowed us for two hours. He maintained a slight distance and let us go where we wanted, sharing with us some fruit that we bought in the market and some cold drinks from a supermarket. We sat for a while along a shady promenade in the middle of a broad avenue. Some passersby stopped to ask whether we were from the big ship in the harbour and seemed genuinely pleased when we replied that, yes, we were. Only once did our bodyguard warn us not to walk in a certain direction, but by this time we had developed a quiet understanding with him and docilely followed his advice. Before reboarding the ship, we browsed around the shops in the brand-new port terminal. The atmosphere was very festive, and we watched different groups playing music and performing native dances. The supermarket is very well stocked, with probably the best prices for liquor in the Caribbean. We bought some local beer, rum, wine and coffee as souvenirs. Colon appears to be making a major effort to attract tourists. Overall, our impression was positive, but there are obviously some areas that are off limits, day or night. Cartagena, Colombia (approx. 8am - 2pm): Again, we and our table companions did not take a tour here. And, once again, there were plenty of taxis waiting for us. They had a variety of tours on offer (not expensive at $40) but, as our time was limited, we just wanted to be taken inside the walls of the old city to walk around on our own. As the taxi-drivers closest to the ship were only interested in selling tours, we had to walk past them to find one who would accommodate us. No problem. The price was $5 for the approx. 3-mile trip. We visited all the tourist sights but you have to run the gauntlet of souvenir vendors to get to them. Otherwise we simply strolled around the side streets, where we were left alone to admire the brightly painted houses with their abundance of hibiscus and bougainvillea draping over the balconies. We did our usual beer-and-coffee thing in a local supermarket before popping into the Sofihotel, which is close to the Bovedas shopping area, for a short break in their shady courtyard. If we had not to get back to the ship, we could easily have spent many more hours in Cartagena. We felt perfectly safe. Aruba (all day): We have been here before and this time we had no plans other than to do a little shopping and go to the beach and snorkel. The bus terminal is opposite the port entrance. As we walked past on our way to the shops, a bus-driver flashed his lights at us to signal that he was ready to go. We quickly changed our plans and went straight to Palm Beach by bus ($2 for a return ticket), alighting at the Holiday Inn. We bought some drinks there and they had no objection to us using their facilities. The shops and the Internet cafe could wait until we were on our way back from the beach. Grand Cayman (all day): Pretty much the same story as Aruba, but more expensive! The taxi dropped us off at Cemetery Beach, where the beach was empty and the snorkelling was great but there were no facilities. People who had taken the ship's tour to the Colony Beach Hotel said that it was terribly crowded, but at least they had changing facilities. We had to pack our things after a short time and walk further down to a hotel. Sadly, our cruise was over all too soon. But we are already planning to take another one. Odds are that will be on Celebrity!j.kasten@ipp.mpg.deOctober 2001 Read Less
10-night Ultimate Caribbean This was our first Celebrity cruise, so forgive me if some of the things that impressed me have been prevalent throughout the cruise line all along. The Summit in General This is a spectacular ship and ... Read More
10-night Ultimate Caribbean This was our first Celebrity cruise, so forgive me if some of the things that impressed me have been prevalent throughout the cruise line all along. The Summit in General This is a spectacular ship and the crew, from the vacuumers to the cruise director, they were so incredibly friendly! Either they were the best actors in the world or they were seriously happy to see you--all the time! They never seemed perturbed or tired no matter how obnoxious some people could be. The food was fantastic, even in the Waterfall Cafe/Grill. There is an omelet station there and they¹ll also just fry you some eggs if you¹d rather not have an omelet. The pizza was great, too. For dinner, I mostly had the beef entrees and they were all perfectly cooked, beautifully presented, and tasted wonderful! Their bread is fabulous. The escargot is to die for, order two. The band at the pool, Onyx, was really good! They sang a wonderful rendition of Ray Charles¹ ³America the Beautiful,² which was very heartwarming. They also did the theme song from ³Gladiator² which was really cool. There¹s a great duo in Rendezvous lounge for good ballroom type dancing before & after dinner. Onyx played in Revelations at night for the younger at heart. We didn¹t do the production shows, sorry, heard they were really good, though. Juggler was pretty good. Comedian, Noodles Levenstein, was really funny. We had beautiful weather, which was fortunate, considering there were many cruises this week affected by Michelle, including my TA who said there were 40-foot waves hitting all the way up to the Windjammer cafe on the Enchantment of the Seas! Our cabin (8080) was one of the nicest we¹ve ever had. They do great things with mirrors, it really feels spacious. Plenty of storage (we bring lots of clothes & shoes). We even found a little corner cupboard on the side of the refrigerator cabinet on the last day. You can¹t tell it opens, I must have knocked into it or something and realized it was a door! They even have bars in the closet that fold down for shirts/slacks. It was wonderful having a veranda! It held two chairs and a small table. Great for coffee or cocktails -- and sunsets. On the last formal night, we had the pleasure of sharing champagne with ³Bob the banker² and his wife, Brigid, in their cabin (8026) whom we met on Cruise Critic's Celebrity board. Enjoyed many happy times with them throughout the cruise. Their cabin was a bit different in layout as they were in an adjoining cabin and further aft. Itinerary comments Thursday-Did the day-ahead program from Celebrity. Stayed at the Airport Sheraton. Nice enough hotel. Had dinner at Islamorada Fish Company (very close to the Sheraton)--absolutely fabulous (had stone crab, my favorite). Casual, and great atmosphere! Had to cab over to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy a new make-up mirror. Mine shattered in the suitcase and I can¹t see without it. The cab ride made it a rather expensive purchase, but worth it to me! Friday - Embarkation Pier 25. Ft. Lauderdale was kind of cloudy & cool. Made the mistake of using Celebrity¹s transfer by bus to the pier. We had to wait in the lobby for hours to be called by floor #. (This is where we met Robert & Brigid, however, so it was nice to pass the time getting to know one another.) We had to wait in queue for over an hour & a half at the pier as they only offloaded 2 buses at a time. We waited in the bus until all luggage was unloaded, then pointed it out to the porter (probably only so he could collect a tip). We¹ll never do that again! Had we just taken a cab (max. $10 fare), we would have gotten right in, had a porter actually carry our bags and been on the ship in much less time. Check-in will require some patience. It¹s a work in progress with the new security. I was impressed, though, by the sign & sail card system. They take your picture when you get it and it¹s stored in the magnetic strip on the back. Every time you leave or enter the ship, you put your card in a machine that takes your picture so security can make sure you¹re actually you. Finally got on the ship. Were immediately in awe. It¹s just gorgeous! Checked out the cabin & loved it, wandered around a little, then up to the pool for some frozen thingees & sail away. Really enjoyed the duo in Rendezvous to dance after dinner. Stayed up too late. Dress: Casual. Saturday - Day at sea. Sunny & warm day, a little rocking of the ship. The pool was sloshing like crazy, but you could barely feel the ship sway. (I take my Bonine two days ahead and one a day for the duration, whether I think I need it or not.) Captain¹s Sail Away party... I liked the way they presented the captain in that you didn¹t have to wait in line to get a picture with him before you could join the party. We never buy those anyway. They had the get-together in the foyer of the grand staircase. Served wine & champagne (maybe some other drinks, I¹m not sure). Dress: Formal. (DH estimated 50-60% tuxedos or dinner jackets.) Sunday - Day at sea. Another lovely day. Hung out at the pool. Getting a little irritated with the chair savers. Dress: Casual. Monday - St. Maarten. The only ship¹s excursion we did was the Golden Eagle Catamaran. Just a short walk from the pier. We had an absolute ball! They sail you to a private little beach, serving complimentary champagne, rum punch, cocktails, etc. on the way. The little island is beautiful. You can swim & snorkel (they provide all gear if you wish). The water was a bit rough, so they couldn¹t pull right up onto the beach as they normally do. They anchored off shore and you had to swim in. I have a waterproof fanny pack, so that wasn¹t a problem. A cute, young crew guy went up a hill and got volcanic mud. If you wish, he¹ll rub it all over you, then you let it dry and wash it off in the ocean. It leaves your skin very soft. On the way back, they serve yummy sandwiches & chips and more drinks. When you get close to the ship, they crank up the music and everybody sings Y-M-C-A. It was a hoot! Dress: Semi-formal (calling it Informal is too confusing). Tuesday - St. Lucia. Absolutely beautiful!! There are two piers. We were at the one that had a lovely little shopping area right off the ship. The other one was rather industrial. We did a day pass at Sandals St. Lucia. This was nice, floating around the pool and to the swim-up pool bar. It was really hot that day! They had a beautiful lunch buffet, too. All drinks & food is included. Dress: Casual. Wednesday - Barbados. We took a taxi tour of the island for $50. Our driver was very knowledgeable and interesting. The pier looks rather industrial, but there¹s a nice, air-conditioned little mall right there and a steel drum band was playing. This was a really, really hot day! Dress: Formal. Thursday - St. Kitts. This is the only port that we needed to tender in. They use four of the larger lifeboats, each holds about 120 people. This went surprisingly smoothly, too. We went to the island and walked around & shopped a little. We made the mistake of taking a less traveled street back and was approached by a woman begging for money so she could eat. The look in her eyes told me she wouldn¹t be using it for food. Again, supremely hot day. Dinner in the Normandie this night. Four courses are served: 1) Appetizer, soup or salad, 2) Entree, 3) Cheese selections, and 4) Dessert. Dessert is ordered at the beginning as it is prepared as ordered. This is really an event, the service is white glove, most things are prepared at your table. If this type of service is something you¹d like to see, I highly recommend the additional charge (this covers the tip, also). Dress: Jacket & tie required in the Normandie. (This was also the regular semi-formal night.) Friday - St. Thomas. You¹ll need to go through a little customs ritual before you get off the ship. That¹s all passengers--including Americans. You¹re asked to go up to Revelations lounge with your passport/ID. As you show up, you¹re given a number. They call the numbers in order and you show your passport to a customs official. You then get a pink card showing you took care of this so you can get off the ship. It was very well done, however, and didn¹t take much time at all. Took a cab over to Morningstar Beach. This is the one just below the Marriott you see as you sail in, on the point near the pier. All beaches are public on St. Thomas. This is a really nice beach and a short cab ride. It¹s kind of narrow, but long. There¹s bar service, chairs to rent, and a large iguana that meanders around for photo opps. Came back to the ship to clean up, then went back out and walked to the Paradise Point gondola ride up a small mountain. It¹s $15 pp and they have a restaurant, bar, shops and a twice-a-day bird show. We caught the one at 1:30pm. I think the other one is at 11:30am. The view from this point is just beautiful. Great photo opp with the ships at the pier and Charlotte Amalie. Cigarettes are cheapest here of all the islands, if you¹re so inclined. Carton price of $15. There¹s good shopping right at the pier if you don¹t want to cab to town. This is the latest sail away port, 6:00pm rather than 5:00pm for all the others. Dress: Casual. Saturday - Day at sea. Hung out at the pool. Forget trying to get a chair. Dress: Formal. Wait staff does the Baked Alaska parade, so bring your cameras. Sunday - Day at sea. Actually packed after breakfast so we could enjoy the rest of the day and evening. This was a great idea!! Took final walk around the ship, shopped. Dress: Smart Casual. Debarkation: Pier 18. Went very smoothly. We were in the bus to the airport by 10:00 am. Sorry for the length of this review, but it was truly one of our best cruise experiences and I just wanted to share some information I would like to have known ahead of time. Fellow passengers, please feel free to add your insights. Future Summit cruisers, you¹re in for a real treat! --Rumncoke cdavis@wiljohn.comNovember 2001 Read Less
Untitled Document Ultimate Western Caribbean, 11-nights. Itinerary: Ft. Lauderdale - Key West, FL - Cozumel, Mexico - Limon, Costa Rica - Colon, Panama - Cartagena, Colombia, South America - At Sea - Oranjestad, Aruba - ... Read More
Untitled Document Ultimate Western Caribbean, 11-nights. Itinerary: Ft. Lauderdale - Key West, FL - Cozumel, Mexico - Limon, Costa Rica - Colon, Panama - Cartagena, Colombia, South America - At Sea - Oranjestad, Aruba - At Sea - Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island - At Sea - Ft. Lauderdale Evening attire for this cruise: 3 formal / 3 informal / 5 casual nights. The SUMMIT made her first appearance in October. She is sister ship to INFINITY and MILLENNIUM, and like her sisters, she is gorgeous. She holds 1,950 guests with an excellent guest to staff ratio of two to one. SUMMIT is 965 feet long with a beam of 105 feet. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale without incident the day before the cruise. I recommend flying to the port at least a day before a cruise to allow some extra time in case of bad weather or other delays. We stayed at the Amerisuites near the port in Ft. Lauderdale because it's clean and has reasonable room rates. After getting our luggage at the airport, I used the nearby hotel courtesy phone to arrange for their free shuttle. Their shuttle service wasn't running that evening (driver absent), but the hotel desk clerk said to get a cab and bring them a receipt for reimbursement. Cabs are readily available just outside the luggage retrieval area at the airport; it's a 10 minute ride to the Amerisuites, and at check-in we were reimbursed in cash for the cab. The rooms at the Amerisuites include a separate living room area with a sofa bed, and there's a kitchenette with mini refrigerator, microwave oven, and coffee maker for your use. In the cabinets and drawers there are a few plates, cups, and silverware. There's a grocery store and liquor store within a few blocks' walking distance from the Amerisuites, just ask for directions at the hotel desk. Next door the hotel is an Outback Steakhouse, always good food. In the morning, the hotel has a continental-type breakfast in an area near the lobby. Since this was a Monday, there were only a few people milling about. On weekends, this place is bustling with activity and full of cruise passengers. The hotel's courtesy shuttle was running that morning but we decided to take a cab, total cost for two about $10. The taxi stopped at the security check point at the port to show ID and then was waved through. Day #1, boarding SUMMIT in Ft. Lauderdale We arrived at the terminal about 10:30 AM and had porters take our luggage. There were plenty of Celebrity representatives around, checking paperwork to make sure everyone had all the required documents completed in order to make check-in quick and easy. We sat in the designated area for Captain's Club members and Suite guests. We were on the ship quickly after first going through the metal detectors and having carry-on bags checked by x-ray. Celebrity has really made things comfortable for early embarkation; your cabin is ready by Noon. Until that time, guests can relax in public areas on the ship, some bars are open, and there's a 'Welcome Aboard' buffet at Noon in the Waterfall Cafe. We peeked in at our cabin shortly after embarkation and it was ready for occupancy, so we dropped our carry-on bags there and headed down to the specialty restaurant, Normandie, to make our reservations. The Normandie Restaurant The Normandie is SUMMIT's specialty restaurant, honoring the ship, SS Normandie that made her maiden voyage in 1935 from Le Havre, France, to New York City, US. The specialty restaurant seats about 150 per night in lovely surroundings, complete with original wall panels from the SS Normandie. Spend some time in the restaurant's foyer where you can learn about SS Normandie and see original menus and other interesting ship articles. We made our dinner reservations with the Maitre 'D, Dario Salinovic. A $25 per person fee is charged to your shipboard charge card. You will be served by three or four persons, sometimes simultaneously, as they do things with flair! Attire for the Normandie is dressy, a jacket and tie for men is required. The dinner is four courses and each has a suggested wine from the Normandie's extensive collection. Be sure to see where the wines are stored; the Sommeliers enjoy explaining about the wines. Some wines are reasonably priced and others, well, if you have to ask, you can't afford them! You will have an appetizer, a main course, a cheese course, the entree, and the dessert. For an appetizer, the goat cheese souffle is highly recommended. There is also lobster veloute, Caesar salad, onion soup, boned quail, and others. The entrees include rack of lamb that receives rave reviews, Chateaubriand that is fork-tender accompanied by fresh duck liver and sauce Perigourdine or Bernaise. Other choices include sea bass, Dover sole, shrimp Scampi wrapped in pancetta, and several other selections. All dishes are made to order and most are finished at the guests' table. Take your camera! Desserts are decadent. The chocolate souffle is totally yummy, and there are other temptations including a few bites of each of Michel Roux's favorite surprise desserts. To enhance the enjoyment of your 2.5 to 3-hour dining experience, live dinner music is provided. All this makes for a very memorable evening. Back to the cabin Our cabin was a Category 3, located aft. These cabins are few in number and have generous space, a 271 sq. ft living area and 242 sq. ft. veranda. The bedroom is separated from the living room via a frosted glass and wood sliding door panel, very nice for privacy if two couples or a family are occupying these cabins. In the living room there is a full sofa that makes into a single bed, plus a loveseat that makes into a double bed. A television, coffee table, night stand with drawers, end tables with drawers, and storage cabinet with drawers and shelves are all located in this area. In the bedroom, the twin beds make up into a queen size bed with firm mattress. Extra pillows and blankets are stored at the top of the large, multi-door closet where drawers and a pull down rod for men's trousers, plus a tie rack, are found. A safe with key pad is in the closet and written instructions are provided for use of the safe. A very nice vanity area with more storage, and a corner hutch with glass shelves and decorative pieces (affixed to the shelf for safety), plus more shelves behind wood doors were located in this cabin. There is a television set and VCR. The bathroom is small, wll-lit, with a shower. Nice quality shampoo/conditioner and vanilla-scented skin lotion are found in the bathroom in dispensers. There is ample storage on shelves and below the sink and vanity. A waste bin is also discretely provided below the vanity and pulls down like a bin for use. A hair dryer and shaver receptacle is in the bathroom. (Many veteran cruise passengers take along a multi-plug strip and extension cord for use in their cabin.) The veranda had a shaded area and a large and small table, two chairs, and two chaise lounges. Part of the veranda area is shaded. The colors in the cabin were blue carpeting and orange plaid bed spread, orange print draperies. At first, the orange seemed a bit overwhelming but as time passed, the color scheme seemed appropriate; probably just a sign that we were truly relaxed and enjoying everything! Our cabin steward, Lourence, introduced himself shortly after our arrival. He and his assistant, Munir, did a superb job of keeping the cabin and bathroom pristine, and a fresh supply of Egyptian cotton towels at the ready. Shower caps and vanity packs are supplied. There is a mini-refrigerator in the cabin, stocked with beverages and snacks for purchase; if you ask your cabin steward/ess to remove them, they will do so. A carafe of water and ice are provided twice daily or more if you ask. The Celebrity cabin attendants and Butlers all wear pagers/phones and respond immediately to your calls. If you want to dine in your cabin, you have many options. You may request the restaurant menus from your cabin steward/ess and be served from this menu during restaurant hours, you may order from the items on the cabin service menu, or you may place an order for a light breakfast from the cards at the back of the book you'll find in your cabin. You simply complete the card and place it on your door to have the light breakfast delivered at the specified time the following morning. They even call you several minutes prior to the delivery being made. The cabin service food was hot and tasty; we sampled these meals on several occasions. All of this, of course, is provided to you at no extra cost. The Waterfall Cafe Our luggage arrived shortly after we returned to our cabin so we unpacked and then headed up two decks to the Waterfall Cafe for the 'Welcome Aboard' buffet. Celebrity's white-gloved staff carries your tray to the table, a hint of how pampered you will be for the entire cruise. They will also bring you tea, coffee, water, or juices. These people really want to please you with their smiles and excellent service. Trays are lined with linen. There were many tempting salads, homemade dressings, raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, cold cuts, breads and rolls, various entrees, carved-to-order meats and poultry, fish, etc. Save room for the desserts! You will find some of the best pastries on Celebrity, not only tempting to the eye, but delicious. All foods are fresh, not frozen, and made on board the ship. That includes the delicious ice creams and sherbets in exotic flavors like coconut, passion fruit, guava, mango, banana and others. You must taste these! Frozen low fat vanilla and chocolate yogurt is available each afternoon along with 'tea'. The tea time on Celebrity is a misnomer since a wide variety of garnished finger sandwiches, fresh fruits, luscious cakes, pastries, and cookies are available. There are also sugar-free dessert selections. Oh yes, pizza is prepared fresh in the ovens at the grill just outside the Waterfall Cafe. You can also call to have a pizza (sized like a 'personal' pizza) delivered to your cabin at no charge, in a Celebrity pizza box. The Waterfall Cafe was a very popular place for buffets at breakfast and lunch. At the aft of the ship in the Waterfall Cafe, there is a separate buffet offering different foods each day, e.g., Mexican food, Alaska seafood, Oriental, American, Italian, and so on. Don't forget about the omelet stations; selections change daily and you can also go here to have your eggs freshly scrambled or fried to order (say hello to Tyrone Aiken, Omelet King!) These same areas at lunch turn into pasta stations; pasta selections and sauces change daily but the tomato marinara sauce is always available. Note that the buffets and the omelet/pasta stations are identical in their offerings on each side of the ship. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale Back to the first afternoon and evening on board SUMMIT, the muster begins at 4 PM and lasts about 20 minutes. All passengers are required to take part in the drill; instructions are provided in writing and on the television in your cabin. The place where you go with your life jacket to meet for muster is in the area assigned to your cabin. The crew reviews important safety information and shows everyone how to properly wear the life jacket. After this, you're led to the lifeboat deck with your assigned group until the drill has been completed. Don't forget your sunglasses as you may be assigned to muster on the sunny side of the ship during this drill. The best Caribbean band on the seas, Onyx, began playing at poolside after the muster. At about 4:30 PM, the ship leaves port and sets out to the Atlantic past the houses and high rise condos from which people wave, horns blow, and Celebrity flags fly! Bar wait staff walks around to offer special sail-away drinks, but some of these are in souvenir glasses you keep, so be aware of this and ask if you aren't sure or you may be buying something you really don't want. Shortly after leaving Ft. Lauderdale, the casino and the all the shops open. During the cruise there will be various tournaments held in the casino and many sales in the shops. You can buy anything from toothpaste to diamonds! There's also a cinema on board; however, the free movies shown were not recent releases. Pay-per-view movies are available on your cabin television. The free cabin television choices include the ship's information channels, CNN, music channels, and a couple of movie channels. Often, movies were dubbed over in Spanish. On your cabin television, you can also order wine for dinner, preview and book shore excursions, play casino games, order from the cabin service menu of food, and check the status of your on board charge account. Main seating for dinner was at 6:30 PM, with late seating at 8:30 PM. The Cosmopolitan Restaurant is lovely, a two-level room aft, all non-smoking. Just behind the Captain's Table is a spectacular wall of windows. At night, it's covered with different 'scenes' on draperies, but if you dine there for breakfast or lunch, the windows are not covered. Note that there is an intermittent vibration felt if you are sitting on the lower level of the dining room. This was not bothersome to most I spoke with. We were seated with friends at a table for four on the upper level. We had the best Waiter, Ercan, and the best Waiter Assistant, Deniz! Matter of fact, Deniz was serving as an assistant for the last time, having just received a promotion to Waiter. Always trust the judgment of your Waiter and seek his advice about what's best on the menu that evening. The first few nights, the fish dishes were overcooked, but for the remainder of the cruise, fish was delicious and prepared to perfection. One menu item to avoid is the sirloin strip steak. On every Celebrity ship we try this, and on every ship, it's tough. The menus are changing in January, and hopefully the strip steaks in the restaurant will just go away. I should point out that all the other steaks and beef dishes on board are just fine. There was a Welcome Aboard Show and Introductions in the main theater and later there was an Italian midnight buffet; we did not attend either. The show was called, 'A Taste of Things To Come' and featured the vocal styles of the a cappella group, Metro, and the Celebrity Orchestra, singers and dancers. Day #2, Key West, Florida Key West has arts, crafts, souvenir shops, restaurants, bars (including the famous Sloppy Joe's), water sports, and marine museums. For a small charge, you can take a trolley to tour the town but you can also cover a lot of ground in the downtown area by walking. Excursions available include catamaran sailing and snorkeling, kayak adventures, etc. Check out the Key West Aloe stores for great aloe lotions and similar products. Go to the Key Lime store and have a frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie slice on a stick but be aware, they are very, very rich. Always take your Celebrity ID card and a photo ID when you leave the ship, as it will be checked upon your return. Bags are subject to hand examination and x-ray. Late afternoon, I met with Nestor, the Assistant Food Manager of the Buffet. This nice gentleman is in charge of the Alternative Dining area, held each night in a roped-off area of the Waterfall Cafe. The menu changes every two days or so. I have menus and will be happy to give you more information if you send me an e-mail. Celebrity has realized that more and more cruisers are enjoying the option of no formal or dressy attire for dinners. One can call to make a reservation here and there is no charge for the meal or service. The entree is prepared to your specification; this and your beverages are served by wait staff. You go to a small buffet area to select and pick up your appetizer, salad, and dessert. I spoke to many passengers who ate here, and they all said the experience was very good, some returning several nights during the cruise. This is the night of the Captain's Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party, held in the grand foyer on decks 3, 4, and 5. The Scherzando String Quartet provided music. The show tonight was 'Encore!', a production show featuring the Celebrity Orchestra, singers, and dancers. There were some very nice vocals. I still think Celebrity has a way to go with providing great entertainment. Not that the singers and dancers don't give 100%, it's just that Celebrity remains weak in this area by not providing more headliner entertainment. Day #3, Cozumel, Mexico There is a lot to do in and around Cozumel including shopping for all kinds of souvenirs and liquors (buy your .925 or higher silver jewelry at great prices), water sports of all kinds, excursions to ruins, adventure tours, dolphin encounters, etc. We were in port with five other ships that day; oh yes, the town gets very busy. Taxis are abundant and cost about $5 per person from where most of the ships dock to the downtown area, a bit more to go to beaches. I had the pleasure of meeting today with Mr. Daniel Elias, Hotel Manager on SUMMIT. He was recently promoted to this position, and one can understand why immediately. This man leads by example, shows attention to detail without any fuss, and he is very charming and warm. His job is to provide Celebrity's guests with an exceptional cruise experience from a hotel perspective. He supervises all personnel and ship functions except, of course, for the Captain and the food and beverages. These things he accomplishes with perfection and sincere Greek hospitality. Tonight's show was 'The Hilarious Comedy of Noodles Levenstein'. We missed this show, but others said Levenstein was entertaining and they enjoyed his performance. The Tex-Mex celebration was held poolside beginning at 11 PM, with Onyx playing. There was also a Mexican buffet. Day #4, At Sea A day to catch sun or sit around the pool or take part in any of the on board activities including organized sports, culinary demonstrations, bingo, arts and crafts, wine tasting, etc. I have copies of all the scheduled activities for each day on board SUMMIT, so let me know if you would like specifics. Remember to read your daily ship's newsletter to keep informed of each day's events because Celebrity has a policy of making no announcements on the PA system. Don't try to go to everything or you will ruin your cruise! I think it was this morning that the ship had a problem. We decided to eat in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant for breakfast to sample the Eggs Benedict and the banana pancakes (the only things not available at the buffet). Suddenly, the ship began to list to one side and there was a pronounced shudder. The silverware and some plates and glasses slid off tables, and the sounds of breaking china could be heard from the galley. An announcement came on the PA system that the ship had suffered a loss of power in the electrical steering system and the technicians would be working on it. We were told that the ship would proceed slowly on course until the problem was resolved. This took about 30-45 minutes, and another announcement was made saying everything was once again normal. Over 700 souvenir mugs in the gift shops, Lalique crystal bowls in the suites, numerous pieces of china and glassware in the galley, were all lost due to sudden and severe listing. There were a large number of elderly guests on this cruise and most of them seemed to be enjoying themselves but unfortunately, there were a few who needed medical evacuation from foreign ports (a good reason to buy trip insurance!). There were many New York and Florida residents on board. And yes, there were some guests on board who seemed to find fault at every turn. So, if you happen to be on a cruise with one or more of these people who may be speaking out loud in the negative, remember that they are probably not very happy even when they're home. I believe that a cruise vacation is what you make it. If you ever encounter a situation on board any ship that you dislike, go see the staff at Guest Relations. You can believe it, no cruise line would purposely make a guest unhappy about their cruise experience. This morning I met with 'Sam' who is the Assistant Maitre D' in the AquaSpa Cafe , located forward in the ship in the thelassotherapy pool area. Sam can also be found in the Normandie Restaurant. He was obviously proud of the AquaSpa Cafe and encouraged us to be sure to feast on the poached salmon served with grilled asparagus and ratatouille for one of our on board lunches. (We did so and it was delicious!) In this cafe, you select from light and lean cuisine. A chef stands by to prepare your entree as you wish. If you don't like poached salmon, simply ask for it to be grilled. The menu here changes every couple of days. They also serve a spa cuisine breakfast. All of these offerings are well worth exploring, so don't miss them. The thelassotherapy pool on board SUMMIT is in a lovely indoor area, and use of it is included in the price of your cruise. The warm sea and mineral water bubbles up to soothe you. There are Jacuzzi tubs and saunas in this area, too. The teak deck chairs with lumbar supports and head rests are very comfortable, and one would see guests snoozing here or enjoying the quiet area with a good book. Soft, pastel blue towels are provided for use after the thelassotherapy pool or Jacuzzi, or to place on the deck chairs. The spa on SUMMIT is an amazing place and well-recognized as being one of the best and largest at sea. For spa enthusiasts, you will be in sensory heaven here with a wide choice of treatments including Rasul, aroma stones, salt rubs, aromatherapy wraps, massages, etc. Some 'ceremonies' take about 5 hours to complete and are advertised for 'guests who desire complete rejuvenation'. Spa treatments are not included in the price of your cruise, but are charged to the credit card you gave for on board charges. SUMMIT's gym contains state of the art equipment. It is at the forward portion of the ship, allowing for an unobstructed sea view while you walk or run on treadmills, or use the bicycles. We only saw about a dozen or so children on board SUMMIT for this sailing, but all of them had happy faces as they were escorted by the ship's children's program staff to various organized, age-specific activities. Tonight we dined at the Captain's Table, a large table all the way aft on the lower level of the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. We met first with Amanda Reid, Social Hostess, in the Champagne Bar, to enjoy a cocktail with our other tablemates. Amanda is truly gracious and makes all guests feel special. Shortly after the main restaurant opened for second seating, she led us all down the restaurant's grand staircase to the Captain's Table. Excellent wines, great food, and interesting conversation were had by all. What a special formal event to enjoy and as always, long stemmed red roses were presented to the ladies upon conclusion of the meal. The ship's photographer had delivered the complimentary Captain's Table photograph to our cabin by the time we returned there that evening. The show tonight was 'A Night of Stars!', featuring the Celebrity Orchestra, singers, and dancers. Day #5, Limon, Costa Rica To appreciate the beauty of Costa Rica, you have to book an excursion! Some excursions take you into the interior sections to view the rain forest; other excursions were available including sightseeing tours and white water rafting. Local vendors had set up tables and booths outside the small port terminal building. Handicrafts and souvenirs of all kinds were available for purchase and haggling over price was expected. Outside the fenced-in terminal building, you will be approached by local taxi drivers and tour operators. We walked a few blocks to the market area just to have a look. The area is dirty. The people here are obviously poor, but we were not approached by panhandlers. From the market, we walked along the sea wall. There's a city park near the market area, quite lush and overgrown with tropical plants and trees. Coffee is a recommended purchase in Costa Rica and if you have any questions, the ship's Port and Shopping Guide is available to assist you. Her talks run continuously on the ship's television in case you don't want to go to the Celebrity Theater to sit and listen. Of course, she does give away nice door prizes at these talks! Coupons for discounted merchandise in all the ports are available at her talks as well as at the ship's gangway when you exit for your day in the ports visited. As on other cruises, art is auctioned almost daily for those interested and free art is sometimes given away along with champagne, just for attending. This is in the area of SUMMIT where the Cova Cafe de Milano is, so stop by and enjoy some hot-from-the-oven croissants and pastries (no charge), and specialty coffees, liquors, and teas. Pleasant harp or other music is played in this area. The guest participation 'Newlywed - Not So Newlywed' show was held tonight in the Celebrity Theater. In the Revelations Club, Metro and Onyx performed. Day #6, Colon, Panama The port terminal building is fairly new and clean. A group of Panamanians performed as we exited the ship, dancing and playing their musical instruments. They were interesting to watch and hear. Tips were being placed in the hat of one member of their company. There are many excursions available, but we had arranged a private tour with Giovanni Smith, a tour conductor. His supervisor is Raul. Both speak English. Giovanni first drove us the 15-20 minutes to the Panama Canal Gatun Locks. It was of great interest to see this in person, up close, how the huge and heavy ships are moved along the Canal. Don't miss this tour! Full transit through the Canal takes 8-9 hours and ships have paid over $200,000 to do so, still less money than having to sail around South America. SUMMIT was built to Panamax standards, allowing her to go through the Panama Canal, but she barely fits with only inches to spare all around! After the Canal tour, our driver took us through what he called the 'rich' neighborhoods, homes he said were mostly occupied by Americans, with burglar bars on all windows and doors and lush, tropical landscaping. We also saw the Hotel Washington and El Catedral. We then went with him through the downtown area, an extremely busy and very noisy place. We didn't shop here, but waited until we were back at the various shops and vendor stands at the terminal building. Again, haggling for price is expected here. A word about arranging your own tours and shore excursions. It was unfortunate to witness and hear an American couple and Panama police deep in a 'lively discussion' about the couple's 'misunderstanding' of tariffs and taxi fares. Apparently, the couple did not set a price for exactly where they wanted to go in the taxi. The driver took them where they had asked to go, on a tour of the Gatun Locks at the Canal and then to a beach area. These tours are separated from one another by a large distance, and each costs $40 USD. The couple concluded their tour(s) and refused to pay the driver the $80 he was owed. Police became involved. Be sure you clarify with all taxi drivers or tour operators, the details and price of your tour or shore excursion before you get in the car. How did this end? Mr. Salama, President of the Panamanian equivalent of a US Chamber of Commerce became involved and kindly paid the driver $20 after the couple finally paid $60. We have never experienced this kind of misunderstanding with the many drivers and tour operators we have used. If you're uneasy about these things, it's probably best for you to participate in a ship-arranged shore excursion. Back on the way to the ship, a troupe of Panamanian children in brightly-colored dress performed dances and sang for the crowd. SUMMIT has an internet cafe where you can connect for 95 cents per minute. For $6.95 you can have a photo taken and send it with two e-mail messages. On board, there were classes available for how to use Word, Excel, etc. The show in the Celebrity Theater tonight was 'The Magic of Broadway', featuring the Celebrity Orchestra, singers, and dancers. Day #7, Cartagena, Colombia, South America Book an excursion to see Cartagena and surrounding areas. It is not advised to go out on your own here. Friends went to the Monastery and the Fort and enjoyed these tours, but said they were surrounded by hundreds of children panhandling and asking for American dollar bills. The excursion buses stop for a brief period of shopping on the way back to the ship. Coffee and emeralds are big sellers here. The ship's Port and Shopping Guide can provide valuable information. At the new terminal building, several shops and a bar have set up business and this is within walking distance of the ship. A wide variety of souvenirs are available here. While on SUMMIT, visit the Conservatory Floral and Gift Boutique where you will find a peaceful setting and beautiful Emilio Robba silk floral arrangements, orchids, plants, and candles. For formal nights and other special occasions, corsages and boutonnières are available for purchase. For cigar and pipe smoking guests, Michael's Club offers a private lounge that is well-ventilated and very comfortable. Enjoy a cognac here. Hannakuh services were held on board SUMMIT this week in the Celebrity Theater. For those interested in board games, cards, listening to music on CD's, or reading, all of these are available on SUMMIT in Words (the library) and Notes (music library). Tonight, the show features Metro and Kirby St. Romain, the 'sound effects' guy. Big Band dancing follows the show in Revelations, with music played by the Celebrity Orchestra. Day #8, Oranjestad, Aruba This is one happy island, really! That's what it says on their car license plates! Walking into town for shopping and a casino takes only a few minutes. There is a mall in which you will find designer clothes and various items. There are beautiful Dutch handicrafts and collectibles available in shops located a few blocks away from the immediate downtown. All kinds of souvenirs are also available from local vendors set up all along the main walkway. Many of us took excursions or tours to see the beautiful beaches and other island areas. Tonight in the Celebrity Theater, we are treated to the piano performance of international recording star Antonio Salci. Later, there is the fun 'Island Night Celebration' and be sure to take your camera to capture your favorite 'melons on parade!' Onyx plays at poolside for this event. Enjoy the tropical fruit and sherbet buffet (yes, there are lots of other things to eat at this buffet, too!) Day #9, At Sea Lots of deck chaise lounges for sunning were available on this cruise. Pool and deck chair towels are available pool-side. Your cabin attendant will put large, nice quality beach towels in your cabin each time the ship goes to a port. They ask that you return the towels to your cabin for pick-up. The towels are available for purchase for $29 each. The cotton, waffle weave bathrobes for use in your cabin are also available for purchase at $49 each. A lovely surprise tonight, chocolate-covered strawberries and fine wine, are delivered to our cabin! We very much enjoyed these as we sat on the veranda with only the sound of the ocean and the beautiful night sky full of stars. In the Celebrity Theater, comedian Noodles Levenstein entertained along with vocalist, Darby Pope. Day #10, Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island SUMMIT and all ships visiting Grand Cayman Island anchor off the island and tender (boat) service is provided to shore. Tenders run continuously throughout the day; it only takes about 10 minutes to accomplish. If you are not on a shore excursion purchased on board, you will go to the Celebrity Theater to get a tender ticket and in a matter of minutes, you'll board the tenders. Once on the island, we took a taxi ($3 per person) a few miles out of town to the part of Seven Mile Beach that's wide and has soft sand (towards Conch Beach). Close to town, the beach is narrow, the sand is very coarse and full of shell bits, and there are rocks immediately off shore. Although the beach is public property, there are some motels and hotels that have staff posted at their alley-way entrances charging $3-$5 per person to allow you to cross over onto the beach. This is supposedly because you might use the 'facilities' at their properties. These places also charge extra for chairs, umbrellas, etc. Some taxi drivers may take you to these places, so clarify this point with the driver if you want these facilities or not. If not, tell the driver to drop you at a public access. Grand Cayman Island like Cozumel and Aruba, has an abundance of shopping and excursion activities. If you have never snorkled with the stingrays, this is your chance! The excursion boat takes you out to a sand bar where you can stand in shallow water to watch or snorkel with the stingrays. Remember to take along a disposable underwater camera. Buy plenty of film and your disposable camera before you leave home. On board, a roll of 36-exposure Fuji film for 35 mm cameras is over $12. In the ports, it's not much less. If you are a fan of the Tortuga Rum Cakes available at the stores in Georgetown, they cost the same on the ship as they do in the stores. Tonight, 'Classique, La Danza' was the show in the Celebrity Theater. Also performing were Antonio Salci and the Chinese Acrobats, Ming Li and Guidon Xu. After the show, 'Le Grand Buffet' opened at 12:15 AM for guests who wish to take photos. Shortly thereafter, it reopens for those wanting to indulge in the impressive buffet. If you haven't seen this buffet, it's worth attending. Celebrity has done away with every night Midnight buffets. It was explained to me that there are so many opportunities to have food (this is an understatement!), the second seating dinner guests don't finish up their meals until 10-10:30 PM, and the amount of buffet food that they were discarding was enormous. On nights when there are no Midnight buffets, wait staff circulate throughout the ship's lounges serving 'Gourmet Bites' from Midnight until 1 AM. These are delicious tid bits of various kinds including excellent Beef Wellington and crab puffs. Dessert items such as chocolate truffles and lemon tarts are also brought. Day #11, At Sea A somewhat cloudy day, probably reflecting the gloom of knowing the cruise vacation is about to come to an end. Tonight, it's customary to tip those whom you feel have given you excellent service. Last night, envelopes were left in your cabin for this purpose. Tipping is by nature a very personal matter, but suggested guidelines for tipping are as follows: $3.50 per person, per day for the Waiter and Cabin Attendant, and Butler, if you had one; $2.00 per person, per day for the Waiter Assistant. There are other suggested tip amounts that are less, for the Chief Housekeeper and the Maitre 'D. This is the packing day and tonight before midnight, you will place your packed luggage outside your cabin for pick-up. Colored tags will be provided to you by your cabin attendant to affix to the luggage. The color represents when you will be leaving the ship the following morning. Captain's Club and Suites, and those with the earliest flights, leave the ship first. Don't forget to leave something out to wear tomorrow morning, plus medications, valuables, and any airline and other documents you need! The Farewell Show tonight featured comedian Kirby St. Romain, vocalists Metro, and the "Our Cruise in Review" video. Tonight is also the final jackpot bingo. The amount won on this cruise was well over $2,000 to a lucky retired woman. When asked what she would do with the money, she quickly replied, "go on another cruise!" Day #12, return to Ft. Lauderdale Since the tragic events that occurred on Sept. 11th, each cruise passenger including children are required to report in person this morning to US Immigration Officers on board the ship. A letter of instruction is provided to you by your cabin attendant the night before. You take this letter with you, along with proof of citizenship and photo. The times for reporting were staggered; we reported at 7:45 AM, our Canadian friends reported at 6:30 AM. The line was long, but the entire process moved right along and only took 15 minutes. Afterwards, we ate breakfast in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant with our friends. It's open seating (meaning you may be eating at a table other than where you were assigned for dinners, and you may be seated with strangers). Ercan, our Waiter, saw us and escorted us to 'our' table in his section, a very thoughtful gesture. If you wish to have breakfast elsewhere on the morning of debarkation, you may arrange for Cabin Service or go to the buffet in the Waterfall Cafe. We waited in our cabin until about 8:30 AM after breakfast, and we were off the ship by 9:15 AM. You'll locate and fetch your luggage down in the terminal building. It will be placed in the 'yellow' area if your colored luggage tag was yellow, red area if tag was red, and so forth. Porters are available to assist you with your luggage. Plenty of taxis are available outside and if you arranged transport via the cruise line, a bus will be waiting for you (and others) who've made such plans. A taxi ride to the airport is about $10 for two persons. There will be plenty of Celebrity staff to help you this morning. This cruise was wonderful! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like further information. This was my seventh cruise on Celebrity . Cheers, Kristine FL2NH@together.net January, 2002 Read Less
We just returned from a wonderful 10-day cruise on the lovely Summit. We live in the state of Florida and were able to obtain a bus (Cruise Connection) that came into our town to pick us up. This service is prompt and very comfortable. ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful 10-day cruise on the lovely Summit. We live in the state of Florida and were able to obtain a bus (Cruise Connection) that came into our town to pick us up. This service is prompt and very comfortable. They made one stop to stretch our legs, get a snack or have a cigarette. When we arrive at the port, all the buses were backed up at the terminal so we had about another half an hour wait to disembark. The procedures at the terminal had changed since the last time we cruised on the Century. We had to stay with our luggage and had to show the baggage attendant our tickets. After this check point, the baggage was then taken into the ship. We then proceed with our carry-ons to the terminal, where we were given a group number. We waited maybe another 15 minutes for this number to be called and we proceeded with our carry-ons to be x-rayed as we walked through the metal sensors. We then reached the area for our welcome aboard pictures to be taken. After this we went on to the counter to show our passports and tickets. We received our Summit card to be used for our cabin and for leaving and entering the ship. When we boarded our ship with this card, our picture was again taken to be reviewed each time we entered or left the ship with our cards. Our room had been upgraded from the 9th deck inside to 2nd deck with a window. The only problem this presented was our luggage. If I had known before, we could have written this new number on the tags (there is an area on the tags for any changes). The room attendants did not have this change, so we went up to deck 9 to meet the people who had our old room and gave him our new room number. "Thank you Jerome, for looking out for our luggage". My last piece of luggage wasn't showing up, so we went looking for it and we found it sitting at the end of the hall on deck 9. The ship and employees are all very pleasant, there are several shore excursion to choose from. The excursion to St. Johns Island to snorkel sold out early. Here are the excursion we did, these were booked before via internet: St. Maarten - We took the "French Connection". It gave you a good understand of the island, the sub was not that great. But we snorkel, so we have seen better. St. Lucia - We just went into town and walked around. WHAT A MISTAKE!! You should either stay on the ship or take one of the excursions. This island is very lush and has several excursions to choose from, take one. Barbados - We took the "Catamaran Sailing & Snorkeling". This is a GREAT trip and a very professional crew. We would do this again. St. Kitts - We walked around the town and this town had charm. St. Thomas - We took the "St. John Safari/Snorkeling" excursion. There is another excursion which is only a safari on St. John Island and that is an excellent excursion. The excursion on St. John that we took, takes you to snorkeling at Trunk Bay. This is a beautiful island, snorkeling is lots of fun using a marked trail. There are several excursion offered at St. Thomas, I don't think you could go wrong with a bad excursion. Also off of the docking pier is "shop till you drop" stores. We did this in the morning, liquor is very cheap and so are other items. You will enjoy the stores!! Also, when you arrive at St. Thomas you are now reentering a U.S. territory and you will have to met with immigration to show your passport. This is done early in the morning, our letter was 7:05 a.m. But once this is done which goes very quickly, you do not have to repeat it when you arrive at Ft. Lauderdale. We did not dine at the Normandie Restaurant, but from everyone who dined there, they all enjoyed it very much. The food selection was all tasty, especially the lamb for dinner. The Waterfall Cafe for lunch was fair, but the meatloaf was tasty. We only ate upstairs at the Cafe when the dinning room was closed for lunch. Never hesitate to return any meal you are not satisfied with. Our waiter was very accommodating and one day at lunch my husband found a hair in his meal and they were so apologetic. There are many activities to partake in aboard ship, if you like bridge, this is a ship for you. I found on the days we were out at sea, that after sunning in the morning I enjoy a afternoon reading my book in the room called "Notes". Check it out, the music selection if very extensive. The shopping aboard the ship offers several store selections. I really have nothing negative to say about the ship, except the incident of the room change and luggage find when we boarded the ship. The ship production shows are very good. The comedians are only fair, but this is a personal taste. When arriving in Ft. Lauderdale, our luggage was found quickly and our bus waiting for us. This is a wonderful ship, we were in the Western Caribbean on the Century and also on a short 4 day cruise on the Carnival Fantasy. The Celebrity line is first class and the Summit a joy too cruise on. Bon Voyage joanr@mpinet.netJanuary 2002 Read Less
10 Day Ultimate Caribbean Embarkation First, we'd recommend to all, if possible, to plan on arriving at your host port a day before sailing from two reasons: 1. with air travel, the way it is, you may not arrive in time for ... Read More
10 Day Ultimate Caribbean Embarkation First, we'd recommend to all, if possible, to plan on arriving at your host port a day before sailing from two reasons: 1. with air travel, the way it is, you may not arrive in time for sailing, and 2. after spending a night in the home port city, your stress level is not the same as the 'day of,' and worrying about 'getting there.' After a good night's sleep, and a relaxing morning at the Ft. Lauderdale AmeriSuites, we decided to go to the cruise terminal about 11AM, just to see if we'd be able to board early. Procedures started about 11:30AM, and was a bit confusing at first, but things smoothed out and we were on board the Summit before noon. Hint: If you are a 'Captain's Club' member, tell the host/hostess when they hand you a number, which allows you to go to the head of the line. Cabin: #9040, cat. 1A, Sky Deck. This was one of the larger cabins we've had (other than suites) Very roomy (191 sq. ft), with two beds made into a queen, a sofa-sleeper/couch, more than enough storage space, plenty of space to move around, safe with a keypad to enter your own code, interactive TV, so you can access your shipboard account, book excursions, order room service, pay-per-view movies (also, newly released movie videos - no charge), dresser/desk with chair, large glass coffee table, plenty of mirrors and lighting, brightly decorated, carpeted, and accessorized, good sized bathroom and shower that is large enough so the curtain isn't attracted to your body, and a refrigerator which is actually set up as a minibar. Hint: we removed all the items and stowed them away and replaced at the end of the cruise - otherwise, you would be charged for "missing" items. Before you do this, count the number of bottles and snacks, and if anything is missing (there's a list) tell your room steward/stewardess right away. The balcony, though not huge, was a little larger than standard balconies on other ships, maybe because it's a new ship. The balcony measure approx. 4.9' X almost 9,' with 2 chairs and a small cocktail table. Although stateroom #9040 was one of the best cabins we've ever had, the location was less than desirable, for several reasons. First, being on Sky Deck, we were directly below the Thalassotherapy Pool and the crew/staff started rolling the towel carts above us at 3AM.......... and it's like a train - you can hear them coming and hear them going........ all directly above your cabin! Second, we had a little rough seas our first 2 days out of Ft. Lauderdale, which in itself wasn't bad, but the location of our cabin's balcony (more toward the bow) prevented us from using it too much because of the salt spray. But the next 8 days were wonderful. And third, a problem for sun worshippers, because of the superstructure, there is about a 20' overhang above Sky Deck, so 90% of the day was shady, which didn't bother us. In hindsight, we would book an aft or stern cabin and, probably, on Panorama or Vista Deck. Dining Room The Cosmopolitan Restaurant is a very attractive, 2 level affair, with a beautiful mural curtain that covers the entire stern, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling picture window. There is also a center staircase between the two levels. Spacing of tables and chairs was uncrowded, and one could easily sit or leave without bumping into someone at the next table. Since we were on the second level, we didn't notice, but some guests said the first level was somewhat noisy, which kind of made sense, since it held almost twice the capacity as upstairs. A nice touch was the dinner music provided by a pianist or a instrumental quartet. Pools and Hot Tubs The main pool has 2 parts, sectioned off for the deep end (approx. 6' deep) and the wadding end (approx. 4' deep). There are ample lounge chairs (many with cushioned covers), and easy to find on the Pool Deck or Sun(rise) Deck, except on sea days, when you get the typical lounge hogs, who 'reserve' their spot at 6:30 in the morning and don't show up until Noon, or later. There are 4 hot tubs spaced around the pool, and most of the time, 1 or 2 remained unoccupied until the afternoon. Hint: The pool is chlorinated salt water, and was comfortably refreshing for this Northerner, but for some with thin blood, it was cool. The Thalassotherapy Pool is the latest fad on the Millennium Class ships, and a very nice one at that!. It's like entering a giant hot tub, but not too hot. There are jets of water shooting out from the sides and pool bottom, huge faucet-looking jets overhanging the four corners (great back massage), and chrome, in-water, loungers on two sides, with bubblers underneath (can accommodate 6 easily). There are two hot tubs, one on either side of the pool, and neither was crowded at any time. Hint: This pool is off-limits to children, and, it is also chlorinated salt water........ but, warm. Surrounding the TPool area are very comfortable, pillowed (lower back and head), teak lounge chairs. Again, gets busy, as does the main pool, in the afternoon. Celebrity Theater We aren't into shows! But, this theater is something to behold. We were fascinated by the decor, sight lines, comfort, lighting, etc., of this venue. Just the "flames" on each side of the gallery is something to check out (actually, light silk scarfing, lighting, and a blower, give the illusion of a flickering fireplace - great affect). We 'visited' often, but didn't see any shows (sorry). But, through the grapevine, we heard, "fantastic," to "very good." But, the productions were as follows: "A Taste Of Things To Come," "Encore," "The Comedy Of Cary Long," "A Night of Stars," "International Showman, Craig Dahn (pianist)," "The Magic Of Broadway," "Celebrity Variety Showtime," "Celebrity Showtime" (comedy & song), "Classique - La Danza," "Celebrity Farewell Showtime." Aqua Spa, Sauna & Gymnasium: Again, although we didn't use this facility, it is quite impressive. There are saunas for men, saunas for women, saunas for couples, and a fitness center and aerobics studio (treadmills, cycle machines, step/stair masters, weights, benches, etc.) that seemed to bring up, in my mind, 'Gold's Gym.' Again.......... sorry. I didn't do anything here, and I've never visited a 'Gold's Gym.' But, that's our impression. Other Public Areas While walking the ship, we frequented/visited the following: *Rendez-Vous Lounge - on Promenade Deck - nice lounge where we got together with other members of various cruise bulletin boards. *Reflections - on Sun(rise) Deck - deserted when we brought our (very) early morning coffee up to view the sunrise. Very nice! We're sure it was hopping late at night and into the wee hours of the morning, but we enjoyed it well after all that was done. *Waterfall Cafe Bar (area) - stern. Again, another nice place to have early morning coffee and pastries. Outdoors, and predawn to dawn. *Celebrity On-Line Room - Deck 4. Fun to play on the internet....... if you know what you're doing. You can send/get e-mail, surf, explore your favorite sites, check stocks, find out about upcoming ports, send postcards with a digital picture of you, or plan your next cruise. ($0.95 per minute for internet time; $6.95 to send postcards to up to 2 e-mail addresses). *Notes- music library - very interesting. Headsets, computer technology, lots of bells and whistles. Never quite got the knack, but it was fun and entertaining. *Conservatory (Floral & Gift Boutique) - Sunrise Deck - amazing plants and floral arrangements; some not real, but lifelike. Very interesting to see. Visited several times, and saw something different each time. *Fortunes Casino - WE LIKE THIS ROOM. Got lucky!!! We only played the quarter slot machines, and came away.......... well........... not big losers. The machines were kind to us this sailing. This is very busy between dinner and shows, and after shows. But you can always find a machine, either quarter or dollar ones. The nickel machines are something else. You have to reserve one before you board (joke) or wait for someone to die. The tables were busy and got more active as the night went on. *Emporium Gift Shops - much like the same on most other ships, just a little larger and with a little more "stuff." Enjoyable to visit each day to see what's "on sale," (or what they want to get rid of). Food Cosmopolitan Restaurant (main dining room) - Dinner: very good to excellent. Beef selections were outstanding, fish/seafood was very, very good, and poultry (duck) was good. Everyone seems to be interested in the dress code for evening dining. For the 10 day cruise, it was: Day 1 - casual, Day 2 - formal, Day 3 - casual, Day 4 - informal, Day 5 - casual, Day 6 - formal, Day 7 - informal, Day 8 - casual, Day 9 - formal, Day 10 - casual. - Breakfast: had breakfast in the main dining room 4 days; eggs benedict every time for me, fried eggs over medium for Barb; all with hash browned potatoes, bacon, toast and bagels, juice, coffee, and pastries. Everything was done perfect. - Lunch: never made it to the main dining room. A first - only cruise in 16, where we didn't experience lunch in the main dining room at least once. Waterfall Cafe - Dinner: alternative dining - main entree is ordered, appetizers, salads, desserts, are all buffet. Limited menu, but very good. Reservations are requested for dinner seating. Anyone with a late shore excursion (like us) might want to consider the Waterfall Cafe, especially if they have early seating. - Lunch: Buffet style, much of the same items every day, pasta bar different every day and ice cream bar (good stuff, i.e. nonfat free, goes fast). Also, there is a theme food bar in the aft section of the Waterfall Cafe, which varies daily - Italian, Mexican, etc. Most food items are portioned out by the servers, and if you want a little more of something, you have to ask; but that's not a problem - they're just programed to give one scoop! - Breakfast: Fair to good. No changes in the menu items from day 1 to day 10. Most items are warm when you get them, but then you have to wait forever (seems like it) for toast or bagel, and then move on to another station for eggs the way you want them (usually a line). Everything is lukewarm, at best. Waterfall Grill - Lunch: very, very good hamburgers, good hotdogs, and pretty good pizza. Normandie Restaurant - alternative dining with reservations and an additional charge. Jacket and tie are required all the time. A more upscale dining experience. Plan on dining for at least 2 1/2 hours. Minstrels visiting your table. Ambiance. People who dined in the Normandie compared it to the finest dining they've ever had. Rated 5-star by everyone. Shore Excursions On other cruises, we do no excursions or just one or two. This time we did three! *St. Maarten - Catamaran ride to a deserted island, on the Golden Eagle ($69pp). Nice, invigorating sail to and from the island, with all the beverages you could consume (this was an older crowd, so not too many took advantage of this), and a nice 1-1/2 hour stay on a pristine beach, with just us (small boatload of people), and another small group later on. Crystal clear, warm, water, pure white sand, and, oh, yes, more liquid refreshments. Also, you were entitled, if you dared, to get a mud bath done with the assistance of the crew. The sail back to the dock included sandwiches, all you could drink champagne, as well as other drinks. It sounds like a lot of liquid was consumed, but the operator made money on this excursion - most of the booze stayed in the bottles, and they didn't get carpal syndrome, by opening too many beers. This was one of the best excursions yet, and we will do the exact same thing next time. The Golden Eagle staff did everything right and enhanced this pleasurable trip. *St. Lucia - North Coast and Beach Tour ($35pp). Nice narrated bus ride through the Castries area, visited the Caribelle Batik Shop, Pigeon Island Park and then about 1 hour beach time at Reduit Beach. Nice bus ride and nice beach (some hawkers) but next time, we'll do it on our own. *St. Thomas - St. John Safari/Snorkeling ($48pp). Fun trip, but also one we'll do on our own next time. We've visited St. Thomas about 9 times, but have only been to St. John once, so we booked this excursion (on the internet, about 1 month before sailing). We, and passengers from the Dawn Princess boarded the Island Girls (a ferry/tour-type boat for the ride to Cruz Bay. Nice narrative/informative ride over. Once there, we boarded an open-air taxi bus for our ride over (this must have been the 'safari' part) to Trunk Bay. Trunk Bay was our very first Caribbean excursion ever, and this beach hasn't changed - it's still as beautiful as ever. Anyone who hasn't visited this beach at least once, should do so, whether by an excursion or on your own. Staff *Our cabin stewardess was excellent. She knew we were out (early) in the morning and, as most of them do, when we're gone for diner. We didn't see much of her, but she and her assistant did a great job of taking care of our cabin. *Dining room waitstaff -waiter, assistant waiter, head waiter - fair at best. Got the job done, sort of, but not with much enthusiasm, except for the sommelier - she was one of the best we've had the pleasure of dealing with. Again, talking to others, they gave their waitstaff rave reviews. We just happened to get a combination of duds. *Rest of the staff and crew - all were pleasant, smiled, said "hello," but not overly friendly. Can't really put our finger on it, but would have to say they were a little standoffish, but not offensively so. Passengers Since most longer sailings attract an older crowd, this cruise was no exception. A very rough breakdown is as follows: About 62% of the passengers were 50+ years old, the 30 - 50 year age group was about 27%, and then a big drop off, to 8% for young adults (20 - 30 yrs. old), and about 3% teenagers or younger. This was probably the friendliest group of passengers we've come in contact with. Most everyone struck up conversations with total strangers, whether it was in or around the pool areas, Waterfall Cafe, out on deck, in the hallways, on excursions, or cabin neighbors. People just wanted to chat. You could tell everyone was there for the same reason - to enjoy.R Disembarkation The Summit arrived back in Ft. Lauderdale around 6AM and was cleared by customs very early (a formality, since everyone had to 'visit' a customs official on board ship in St. Thomas). Since we had made air reservations almost a year in advance for a 10AM flight, we didn't think we'd have a prayer in making that flight. But, midweek, we spoke with the staff at the Guest Relations Desk (Purser's Desk), about our predicament, and they assured us that there wouldn't be a problem. We would be issued (and received) the appropriate colored tags for early disembarkation. The started the process about 8:20AM for those who needed assistance, and then our color was called, and we were off the ship by 8:35AM. We zipped through the terminal, grabbed our luggage, hailed a van taxi ($6 per person) who whisked us to the airport, dropped us off at the curbside checkin, and were at the gate with about 25 minutes to spare........ and that's even with all the tight security. We made it, and probably broke a record doing it! Ship Impressions: Overall, this 91,000 grt ship is very attractive and pretty well planned out. One drawback, in our opinion, is the lack of a centrum area. Of the 15 other cruises we've been on, most of the ships had a central atrium or centrum. The Millennium Class ships have a 2 deck area, with a staircase in the middle and there is a closed-in feeling to it. Also, the "Guest Relations Desk," aka 'Purser's Desk,' area is not as open and inviting as on most ships. And, finally, there are bursts of "art," or "art deco," throughout the ship that make you say, "Why?" An example is outside the casino near the middle of the ship. The wall is filled with squiggles of color and two plastic chairs are placed against the wall. We weren't alone in wondering why this would be here. Everything else about the ship is beautiful, from the cabins, public areas, pools, spa, sauna, gymnasium, shops, the Conservatory, to the lounges, and the open-air deck space. The itinerary appeals the those that like to island hop AND enjoy days at sea (2 days at sea, followed by 5 islands, and then 2 more sea days). The food was excellent, she sailed nicely, even though the first two days had rough seas, the ship was spotless and still had that 'new smell' to it. And the entire cruise went without a single glitch - smooth sailing, so to speak, from embarkation to disembarkation. If anyone has questions about the Celebrity Summit, feel free to ask. The next best thing to sailing is talking about it......... and planning the next one. Wes & Barb Carterwesnbarb@maine.rr.comJanuary 2002 Read Less
There's something about the anticipation of a cruise that's always the same. It's fun, it's exciting and after 15 cruises, we still look forward to arriving at the pier and getting that first glimpse of the ship as much ... Read More
There's something about the anticipation of a cruise that's always the same. It's fun, it's exciting and after 15 cruises, we still look forward to arriving at the pier and getting that first glimpse of the ship as much as ever. I'll start by telling you that we all had a fantastic time on this cruise. We shared plenty of smiles and laughter and created wonderful memories. Isn't that what vacations are for? This has become our "annual" January jaunt to the Caribbean. For the past several years, we have been joined by business colleagues, family and friends for our escape from the ice and snow. This January, from the 4 - 14th, found us onboard the beautiful new Summit, a member of Celebrity Cruise Line's growing fleet. Before we set foot on board, we knew we're going to love it. After all, we've never had a "bad" cruise. I spent a considerable amount of time on cruise message boards (particularly Cruise Critic's) researching ships and ports. St. Lucia and St. Kitts were going to be new islands for us and one of the reasons we liked this itinerary. One of the things that was a lot of fun about planning this cruise was that we had already met so many people who were going to be sailing with us. In addition to the eight people in our group, we had met another 20 - 25 on cruise message boards. It made the anticipation that much more fun. Plans were made to get together on the first sea day so that we could all meet each other. Since we sail every January, we booked this cruise more than nine months prior to sailing and were able to get our choice of cabins. We selected a CAT 3, cabin 8181 for ourselves, while others in our group were in a CAT 1B and 1C respectively. The size of the cabin and the oversized veranda of the CAT 3 was so appealing that we went ahead and held the same cabin for a future cruise to Alaska. Like many veteran cruisers, we now always arrive in a departure city the day prior to sailing. The risk of bad weather and airport and airplane delays make it well worth arriving a day early in the departure city. Fortunately, our trip to Ft. Lauderdale on Jan. 3 proceeded without incident. The snowstorm that paralyzed the Southeast missed us and it only took us 35 minutes to check our bags and get through security at the airport. Even the 2-hour wait at the gate for our flight flew by. We booked the AmeriSuites on 17th St. in Ft. Lauderdale for price and convenience. Many other cruisers were staying there as well. EMBARKATION While the AmeriSuites did provide a shuttle to the ship, we opted to take a cab since the hotel shuttle driver was insisting he couldn't drop passengers off at the pier prior to 11:30. We hopped in a cab at 10:30. It was $10 per cab load to the pier. We reached the pier by 10:45 as porters were just beginning to accept luggage for boarding passengers. As we walked into the terminal, a Celebrity employee greeted us to give us an embarkation number (which was #1). I mentioned that we were Captain Club members and she exchanged our #1 ticket with a #0. Be sure to tell the staff member if you are a Captain Club member since they don't ask. We were handed an additional departure form to complete and our #0 was called. It took another 10 minutes to go through the pier security (same procedure as airport security). After that, you enter the terminal where counters are set up. There is a Suite/Captain Club counter however, several other counters were empty and the Suite/Captain Club counter had about six people in line. Go to any empty counter to turn in your boarding forms and receive your keys. They did not activate our credit card for our ship board account on the pier. You had to visit Guest Services (the Purser's Desk) once on board to do this. While this created another line at Guest Services, the process did not take much time. The only challenge is that the Guest Services crew also has to answer the phone at the same time. It would be great if someone in the Guest Services office behind the "scenes" was answering phone at Embarkation instead of the staff out front who were trying to help people in line (more on this in the Comments section at the end). We were on board by 11:15 and had dropped our hand luggage in our room and were ready to explore the ship. THE SHIP Cabin 8181 - CAT 3 (Deck 8). I'd love to tell you that we hated this cabin and that no one should ever book it (so it would always be available!). However, I'm not good at telling a lie. We loved this cabin. It was one of our two all time favorite cabins. It was roomy, had a wonderful veranda and was extremely quiet. I'm not sure that the CAT 3 cabins above us were as quiet since the outdoor dining area of the Waterfall Cafe was directly above them. We learned a long time ago that it is best to be between passenger decks instead of above or below public spaces. The cabin included a king bed, plenty of closet and drawer space, a comfortable bathroom with shower, a wooden wall divider that separated the bed from a parlor area that contained a couch, love seat and coffee table. The veranda included a table, two stationary lounge chairs and two regular chairs. Can't wait to be back in this cabin on a future cruise! Dora was our cabin attendant and she took excellent care of us throughout the cruise. PUBLIC SPACES The ship is what we would term as elegant. It's not glitzy with lots of chrome and lights. It is subtle with pretty woods, lots of glass, soft or muted softgoods (bedspreads, carpet, chairs, etc.). THE ATRIUM The Atrium was more intimate than most of the new ships. There is no large open area. It consists of three levels of intimate lounges and sitting areas. On deck three you'll find Guest Services (the Purser's Desk on other ships), Shore Excursions, the Bank, and Future Cruises office. From deck three you can climb a large open staircase that is lined with Gold draping to the fourth deck with a piano and seating. Just above that you'll find Cafe Cova Milano with a coffee bar on one side and a pastry corner on the other. To the rear of this area on decks four and five, you'll find the Rendez-Vous Lounge and Martini/Champagne Bar respectively. You can sit in the Martini/Champagne Bar on deck 5 and hear the music from the Rendez-Vous Lounge below because there is a large opening in the middle of the Martini/Champagne Bar that overlooks the Rendez-Vous. Both of these lounges were very popular spots for the pre-dinner crowd. Both lounges were "walk-through" on both sides of the ship. Michael's Club, the cigar bar, is the only lounge on the ship that actually has "doors" that you have to actually walk "into". Michael's is a beautiful room, dark wood and big comfortable chairs and couches. When we visited pre-dinner one evening, the smoke was not too bad. On the Summit, in the lounges and pool deck, the port side of the ship is smoking. You'll find the Celebrity Theater at the front of the ship on Decks 4 and 5. It is a beautiful theater with fabulous sound and sight lines. There was always plenty of seats and unlike the pool deck, there didn't seem to be a lot of "seat saving." POOLS The pools on the Summit are terrific. However, the chair hogs discussed on the cruise message boards are prevalent. I did see a deck attendant picking up towels that were left on chairs if nothing else was left behind but the chair saving has gotten ridiculous (and this isn't just a Celebrity issue....it's a cruise industry issue). Here's what I don't get. If you go sit on a deck chair and leave when you're finished instead of trying to save it all day, there would be plenty to go around. Half of the time a fair amount of the chairs that were saved didn't have anyone in them for hours. Finding a chair actually wasn't as bad on this cruise as some previous cruises, except perhaps right around the pool. We like the upper pool deck with a view of the ocean better anyway. The Spa Pool area (Thalassatherapy Pool) on the Summit is also beautiful. It was always crowded, especially on the first two sea days (day one was kind of chilly). The cafe in the spa pool area is very nice and a great alternative place to have breakfast. But remember, when they say they serve a lighter menu, they mean it....no regular coffee, no cream, no butter, etc. There is no charge to use this pool on the Summit. The Pizza served on the Pool Deck is pretty darn good. The burgers and hot dogs are OK and the fries are top notch! Didn't have any ice cream from the ice cream bar this cruise, but I'm sure we will next summer. It, too, looked terrific. THE SPA The spa and health facilities on the Summit are terrific. Lots of planned classes and a wide variety of spa services. My husband and I each had a one-hour massage. Both of our therapists were great but the pricing in the spa continues to creep upwards and the cost for an hour massage is now $109 !!! That was one of the least expensive services available. This will likely be an area where we cut back in the future. DINING ROOM The Cosmopolitan Dining Room was lovely and we had a great table on the upper level in the middle of the room. Our waiters, Roy and Gabor were outstanding. We like traditional dining (eating at the same table with the same group of people every night). Let's face it, everyone seems to think that dining is a big part of cruising. Beyond the food, which for the most part was excellent, the friendships you form with the waiters (and other staff for that matter) can make your cruise truly memorable. Roy and Gabor definitely made dining on this cruise a fun adventure. The fact that Celebrity continues to offer traditional dining is one reason we'll keep coming back. We did dine in the Normandie alternate restaurant one evening (more on that later). ENTERTAINMENT It had been two years since we had cruised with Celebrity. I didn't recall the entertainment being good or bad on our last cruise. But in reading the message boards, many people think that the entertainment is an area that was lacking. If it was, it isn't any longer, at least not on this cruise. The production shows with the Celebrity Singers and Dancers were all outstanding (we made it to almost all of them); the comedians were all pretty funny and several of the other acts were outstanding. METRO, the vocal group that specialized in barber shop and a cappella harmony were incredible. They continuously packed the Cafe Cova Milano where they sang regularly and they garnered a standing ovation when then performed in the Celebrity Theater. Their rendition of "Somewhere" from West Side Story brought chills! The group "Family Duo" offered terrific pre- and post- dinner dancing music in the Rendez-Vous lounge. The lounge and the dance floor was always packed when they were playing. Additionally, the harpist that played in the atrium and the combo that played in the Normandie were also delightful. CRUISE CRITIC GET TOGETHER Approximately 25 cruisers who posted on the Cruise Critic message board gathered in the Rendez-Vous lounge on the second afternoon to meet and have drinks. It was great to meet people we chatted with for months prior to the cruise and it was fun to see people as we went along throughout the cruise. After introductions and chatting for about 30 minutes, the cruise staff showed up for "Battle of the Sexes Trivia." So we split the into men versus women laughed a lot! Of course, the women won (at least this round!). SHORE EXCURSIONS Before moving into the ports of call, I want to briefly discuss shore excursions. For the past several years, I have been researching and booking our own shore excursions. I find them to be much more personal and often get you off the beaten path that so many of the ship excursions take the masses to. I'm not against ship-sponsored excursions. In fact, if you are new to cruising, I'd recommend taking the ship-sponsored tours. There is a comfort level in taking a ship tour. The ship will wait for you if you are on one of their tours. They won't if you are on your own. We often took them when we first began cruising some ten years ago. However, we now feel comfortable arranging for our own tours with local people and we love the more personal attention and information you receive from a private tour. We always allow enough time to return to the ship and we've yet to have a personal tour that wasn't outstanding. That proved true on this cruise as well. THE PORTS OF CALL St. Martin/St. Maarten We had been here several times before but never to Orient Beach. We decided this was the trip to do it. It was a $5 per person cab ride (approximately 20 minutes) from the pier. It is a VERY pretty beach, filled with small restaurants/bars that dot the landscape. It's a great beach for walking and despite the hype that this is a "nude" beach, I'd say 98% of the people had their swimsuits on. When we returned from the beach, we shopped for a camera lens for my 35mm camera (I recently broke a lens and needed a replacement) and then stopped for a cool daiquiri at Everything's Cool before heading back to the ship. This is a great little spot among the shops that has a great view of the ship and great drinks. This is always a popular island and there is much to see here. There is a water taxi from the pier to the heart of the shopping area in Phillipsburg. It was $3 each way or $5 for a day pass. ST. LUCIA Without a doubt, this was our favorite stop on this cruise. I began researching private tours somewhat late in the game, but I located a company called Jungle Tours and booked them about two weeks before departing. This was probably the best overall shore excursion we've done in 15 cruises. To start, everyone in our group of 8 decided to take this tour. The cost was $70 per person and it included 7 hours of island exploration, all entrance fees and lunch. Our tour guide's name was Shal, owner of the company. He picked us up shipside (he was waiting for us when we walked down the gangplank). The first thing I said to him was that we wanted to have fun. He took that to heart! He turned on the music and began singing as we boarded his open air Land Rover that accommodated 8 passengers. There was a padded bench on either side and roll bars that could be leaned against. We began by sitting but before long we were standing and singing along, marveling at the spectacular scenery. We quickly departed Castries (the port city) and headed to the country. We drove through banana and cocoa plantations on our way to our first activity....a hike to a waterfall. A word of caution to everyone taking shore excursions - Be sure to wear the proper shoes for your excursion. Exploring an island like St. Lucia (where there is a lot of rain forest to hike) includes a great deal of walking, sometimes through uneven terrain. We were amazed how many tourists wore sandals and open-toed shoes to hike. Wear rubber-soled shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots if you are going to take these excursions. Just prior to arriving at the rain forest for our trek to the waterfall, we stopped was at a roadside stand for bananas and fresh fruit and to get a glimpse of our ship in the port far below. The walk to our first waterfall was what I would consider moderate hiking. Some uneven terrain, walking over rocks in streams, etc. Shal was very cautious with the eight of us, waiting and helping each person as we went. Our group ranged in age from 30 - 59. We did come across several other tour groups in this section of the rain forest and Shal had to stop and help them because their guide was far beyond them and not paying attention. The waterfall was a great backdrop for a group photo! Our next stop was at a "bakery" where they made Cassava bread. It was delicious and you could watch them make this island specialty at this roadside bakery. Cassava is a root vegetable that is grated to make a sweet or salted bread. Next stop was The Volcano to view the steam vents and watch the earth "bubble." This was the only spot on the daylong tour that was crowded with other tourists. Our stop here was short...the sulfur smell is overwhelming. Back into the Land Rover we headed to what was to become our favorite stop. A hike (easier than the first hike) to a natural mineral spring and waterfall. Here, you could (and all the women did) smear yourself with volcanic mud, dry in the sun and then rinse in the warmth of the natural spring waterfall. There were only a handful of other people at this spot and it was special. The laughter began when the mud went on and the photos were taken. More singing ensued. We are still laughing. Our final stop was at a beautiful beachside restaurant (Still's) for lunch in the town of Soufiere at the foot of the Pitons, St. Lucia's landmark mountains. The food was delicious and the scenery spectacular. We could have sat here all afternoon! A couple of important notes: Shal was a very cautious and courteous driver. He had a cooler filled with water, soft drinks, beer and rum punch for consumption throughout the day. Shal's enthusiasm and love of his island was apparent throughout the day. It made all of us look forward to returning in the future and exploring this beautiful island even more. If you are looking for a great tour, we highly recommend contacting Shal at www.jungletoursstlucia.com. BARBADOS I have a favorite spot on Barbados where I love to purchase pottery. It's called Earthworks. For years, I've wanted a set of dishes from Earthworks and we agreed that this would be a Christmas gift this year. The reason I love the pottery so much is that they primarily use the colors of the Caribbean (blues, teal, greens) in creating their dishes, casseroles, platters, coffee mugs and more. When I get home, it reminds me of how pretty the Caribbean sea is. I spoke with a cab driver and explained we wanted go to Earthworks and then onto a beach. He agreed to take us to Earthworks, wait for us (we were in the store about 45 minutes), take us to Surfside beach in Holetown and then come back and pick us up later in the day and return us to the ship. The cost was $20 per person - a very reasonable charge considering the distance and time involved. The beach was nice and had several open-air restaurants but there were quite a bit of people trying to sell their wares. ST. KITTS A $3 per person cab ride found us on a very pretty spot called Friar's Beach. There was a beautiful view of Nevis in the distance and we were surrounded by mountains. It was much more quiet than the beach in Barbados and there was one small place to eat - but it was REALLY good. They were cooking chicken, ribs and whole lobsters on a grill beach side. When you arrive at the beach, if you go all the way to the right, it's very quiet and there are very few people. On our way back, we were dropped off in town to shop. We looked for batik from St. Kitts but it was all pretty expensive. It was a short walk from town back to the ship. ST. THOMAS/ST. JOHN We've been visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands for a few years now and always catch the Red Hook ferry to St. John for the day. Without question, the beaches of St. John are among the prettiest in the entire Caribbean. No one tries to sell you anything on these beaches and with the exception of Trunk Bay, they are uncrowded and quiet. We always grab a cab in Cruz Bay when we get off the ferry and go to either Cinnamon or Maho Bay. Cinnamon has more facilities (a general store, restaurant, restrooms). Maho is secluded and without facilities but spectacular! Lunch is high atop St. John at the patio of Chateau Bordeaux, overlooking Coral Bay and the British Virgin Islands. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and many flavors of daiquiris are the only things on the lunch menu. But the food is good and the view breathtaking. We had planned a small sailaway party on our veranda upon departing St. Thomas, our last port of call. Besides a gorgeous sunset and the twinkling lights of St. Thomas as darkness fell upon us, we were very fortunate to be joined on our deck by the wonderful vocal group METRO. They performed three AWESOME songs as we pulled out of the harbor. It was a highlight of the trip and a special evening we will all long remember. NOTE ON CABS: On all of the islands, the cab driver that took us to a beach returned later in the day to pick us up and return us to the ship. Confirm your price and time with the cab driver; get their name, be pleasant and you'll get terrific service. They love to tell you about their islands and are typically glad to have us there. And they always return for you! THE NORMANDIE One of the first things we did when we got on board was make a reservation in the Normandie for the seventh night. It was an informal night and even though we hated to leave our regular waiters, we had to try Normandie after all we read. The experience was unforgettable. The food, the staff, the laughter, the music - it all added up to another memorable evening with friends. That's the most important thing - a memorable evening with friends. Everything you've read on the boards about the food and service is true. It was all outstanding. With eight of us, many things on the menu were tried and all were wonderful. But what made the evening special was the laughter and conversation we shared with our waiters for the evening: William and Peter in particular. And a surprise visit from our dining room waiter, Roy, completed the night. CRUISE STAFF & ACTIVITIES Jim Cannon, the cruise director, and his staff did an outstanding job to make passengers feel welcome and they continuously encouraged passengers to participate. All of the typical cruise activities - pool games, bingo, horse racing, trivia, art auctions, etc. - were here. The friendliness of the cruise staff made them more enjoyable. FINAL COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS When all was said and done, our 10-day cruise on the Summit was one of the best experiences we've had in our ten years of cruising. Part of it stems from the fact that we aren't going to let anything ruin a cruise vacation. I'm amazed at the people who complain and complain throughout the cruise. If you don't have a good experience on the Summit, chances are it's your fault. Not that the crew or the ship is perfect. Nothing is. But if you approach a problem with a smile and positive attitude, you'll find a staff that will go above and beyond to help. Yelling at crew members (I witnessed this first hand and it was uncalled for) doesn't accomplish anything and it's terribly unfair to a staff member who most likely had nothing to do with problem in the first place. Here's a rundown of what made this cruise so special: The Staff & Service - They were fabulous. Everyone smiled all the time. They greeted guests with a friendly "hello, how are you today?" They jumped whenever you asked for something. The cruise staff, led by Cruise Director Jim Cannon, helped passengers have a great time all cruise long. Everyone should stop at least once throughout the cruise and think about just how hard all of the staff on cruise ships work. "Thanks" and a smile goes a long way! Steph, Roy, Gabor, Vesna, Dora, Eric, Sean, Del, Mike and the rest of the terrific crew - YOU ARE THE BEST! The Ship - She is beautiful. The cabins were warm and comfortable. Getting around the Summit was very easy and three sets of elevators/stairs made navigating quick. We walk everywhere so we can eat those extra goodies that we'd pass on at home. I had read that many people didn't care for the art. What do they say? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Much of the passenger hallways was filled with terrific photography and the various sculptures and other art pieces were interesting and fun. I like looking at different things so I'm glad that the "art" differs from ship to ship. The Food - There was plenty of excellent food on the Summit. I really think that people obsess way too much over the food on ships. Celebrity's food is still far better than RCI and on most nights better than our last Princess cruise. If there is something you don't care for, tell your waiter and ask for something else. They understand and want you to be happy. Don't miss the pasta station and daily specialty station at the back of the Waterfall Cafe. These stations are just before you go out the aft doors to the outdoor seating area. In the morning, the pasta station is an egg/omelet station. Many people didn't find these until late in the cruise. Lighten up on the criticism of the food and start enjoying more! Entertainment - Outstanding all the way around. We already miss METRO and can't wait for their first CD to hit the streets in the next month! The Itinerary - All of the ports were terrific. We'd go back in a heartbeat! The Weather - Other than the first 24 hours when it was rather chilly leaving Ft. Lauderdale, the weather was perfect - 83 and sunny! The chilly weather did introduce us to a great bar server, Vesna! She brought us warm coffee drinks as we pulled out of Ft. Lauderdale and she continued to take care of us throughout the rest of the cruise. AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT Most of these items are minor and did not impact our overall enjoyment of the cruise. But we did see a couple of areas that could be improved: Guest Services Answering Phones - On embarkation day, the staff working out front shouldn't have to answer phones while trying to help passengers in line at the Guest Services Desk. With credit card activation being handled here, the staff needed some relief from ringing phones. Keep in mind, these crew members are constantly trying to solve challenges someone else created. Try to be a little nicer to them! Credit Card - Why aren't credit cards activated pier side prior to boarding? It would have made a big difference and saved everyone a lot of time. Computerized Spa Appointments - With today's technology, why are the spa's on ships still making appointments by hand on paper? They are constantly falling all over one another, grabbing appointment sheets. Seems like having them computerized would make life a lot easier for everyone. Repeaters Party - Did anyone from late seating go? Having a cocktail party at 5:15 on a formal night when late seating is at 8:30 made no sense. What happened to 5:15 for early seating and 7:45 for late seating? Jogging Track - It needs to be somewhere else other than around the upper pool deck. There just isn't enough room for joggers/walkers to make their way through the maze of deck chairs and people sunning. In closing, remember that different people like different things and therefore feel differently about their cruise. However, we are each ultimately responsible for our own experience and whether it is good or bad. Realize that "stuff" happens but keep smiling and the crew, more often than not, will do their best to help resolve any challenges you face. In these days of uncertainty, shouldn't we make the most of every day and enjoy them as much as possible? I know we are and we hope you will, too. Trust me, it makes for a much happier cruise all the way around. A BIG thanks to everyone who contributed to making this one terrific cruise for us! Happy Cruising! aygoyer@one.netFebruary 2002 Read Less
Hawaii to Vancouver Deciding to take this cruise was a no-brainer as far as my husband & I were concerned. It included a chance to see a 4-island Hawaii and included 5 sea days aboard a beautiful new ship. Cinching the deal was ... Read More
Hawaii to Vancouver Deciding to take this cruise was a no-brainer as far as my husband & I were concerned. It included a chance to see a 4-island Hawaii and included 5 sea days aboard a beautiful new ship. Cinching the deal was the bargain basement airfare of $200/pp for a flight to Honolulu and a return flight from Vancouver. There was no way we could have replicated that on our own. We put the savings into a veranda cabin, category 1-A, cabin # 9125 amidships. Since the cruise departed on Monday, May 13, we thought a few pre-cruise days in Honolulu would be just the ticket to starting our vacation off the right way. Since we had booked the air arrangements through the cruise line, we didn't know until almost the last minute what our travel plan would be. We left on Saturday and flew on United to San Francisco, changed planes and then onto Honolulu. Leaving Chicago @ 8 AM, we arrived Hawaii @ 1:30 PM their time. After checking into our room we walked around the grounds and had a light dinner at the Tropics Bar. With the 5 hour time difference, we were totally wiped out by 6 o'clock. The choices for hotel package were the Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Hyatt. We opted for the Hilton and were not sorry in the least. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach and we had an ocean view room with a partial view of Diamond Head. The grounds are lushly landscaped with lots of tropical flowers & shrubs. The hotel room was equipped with 2 double beds, a hair dryer, iron & ironing board. (Another couple we met at the airport had the presence of mind to ask for a king upgrade which only cost them another $20.) Our room on the 12th floor had its own private balcony to sit out and admire the view. As I said previously, we were really jet-lagged and actually fell asleep by 7 o'clock. This was not a good thing to do even though it was midnight our time. I woke up the first time at 2 AM. I managed to doze till about 3 when my husband woke up and we started to chat. Well, no matter what we did, we could not fall back to sleep and found ourselves wide awake at 4:30 AM lying in bed looking at a map of Oahu and eating chocolate covered macadamia nuts since the first restaurant didn't open until 5:30. When we had checked in at the open air lobby next to the "Super Pool", the desk clerk had given us an envelope from the cruise line with a list of 3 pre-boarding excursions to Pearl Harbor to choose from. There was a representative from Celebrity in the hotel to help you book this. We chose the Arizona and the Honolulu highlights tour for Monday. Another thing I learned was if you are going to spend a few days pre-cruise, pack one suitcase with everything you will need for those few days. We were digging through 3 very packed suitcases trying to find a few items. Our plan had been to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center, but it is run by the Mormons and closed on Sunday. So we decided to hit the Flea Market @ the Aloha Bowl. Asking about transportation, a cabbie quoted us $30 one way. We played it smart and went to the concierge who arranged a bus ride for $8/pp round trip. This shuttle also went to the Arizona and had we known, we could have done both in one day. Celebrity had arranged for transfers from the hotel to the dock for us on Monday anyway. But we got our exercise in and shopped for very reasonably priced t-shirts and hats at the Flea Market. We had just missed the bus to go back by about 10 minutes and thought we had an hour wait when the guy got on his walkie-talkie and called the bus back for us! This was the first of the Aloha spirit that we saw in the islands. The tourist is king and they want us to come back. That day was Mother's Day and we went to a buffet in the hotel. I thought the $40/pp price tag was steep and told Karl so, but he wanted me to have a treat for Mother's Day since we were so far from our children. The buffet was lavish with prime rib and crab legs, but how much can you eat? But the thought was sweet and I didn't complain as I stuffed myself. The next day was boarding day and we went to take the excursion to the Arizona. We had the first of our very clever tour guides who entertained us with stories about the islands as we made our way to Pearl Harbor. We got our admission tickets (free) and then waited about an hour for our group number to be called. The movie is approximately 20 minutes and then you move to the shuttle boat for a trip to the Memorial. It is all very moving and solemn. The actual time on the Arizona is only about 15 minutes as you move through and then the next group is there and you leave. Some people had brought flowers for relatives entombed there and were assisted by the Navy personnel in placing them. We then went on our city tour and went to see Punchbowl Cemetery and I was actually a little disappointed in this as all the pictures I had ever seen had shown rows upon rows of white crosses. Well these are all gone due to the termite problem in Hawaii. The military has replaced them with flat bronze markers. Easier to maintain, I'm sure, but certainly not very impressive. We were not allowed to leave the bus due to time constraints and the fact that too many bus tourists trample too much of the vegetation. Everything we saw afterwards was also from the bus and that was not quite the way I wanted to see Honolulu. Granted, we didn't have to drive and didn't know where to go, but you really don't see any close-ups of anything. If we were to do it differently and had more time, we would have either taken the bus or hired a car & driver to show us the sights. Our tour ended at the pier around 3:30 for our first look at our home for the next 11 days, Summit. It was enormous, but so stylish and beautiful. The raked bow actually extended over the street. We had to identify our luggage to security and show our cruise documents and photo I.D. before they would let us enter the terminal. Porters took our suitcases and we just waltzed up to the Captain's Club desk, showed our documents, were issued our room keys and sent on our way. One more walk through a metal detector with our carry-ons and we were up the escalator to the dock. We skipped the boarding picture and headed up the gangplank where we were greeted with orchid leis. The final step in security was to have our picture taken with our room card for entering and leaving the ship in port. We were surprised not to find the usual line of cabin attendants with their white gloves waiting to escort you to your room. I hope Celebrity has not done away with this service. It was such a classy touch. I thought perhaps because we were now trickling in with the last of the passengers that it was too late for this. We found our room without any problem and were pleasantly surprised by the size and layout. We knew it would be a tad bigger than the regular, non-veranda cabins, but it still was nice to see in person. The Welcome-Aboard Buffet was still going on, so we walked up one deck for some lunch. After lunch, we went up to the top deck and started to work our way down familiarizing ourselves with the layout and being so overwhelmed by the beauty of this vessel. The Sun Deck has a jogging/walking track that 3x around is one kilometer or 5/8 mile. Also a full, screened court for either basketball or tennis, the Revelations disco, and a kiddies pool and play area completely screened in for safety. This ship had so many features that weren't on Century which was our last Celebrity cruise. Besides the 2 pools, there was the thalassotherapy pool which was enclosed and had bubble jets for a water massage. The spa was just forward from there with a nicely equipped gym. I can't speak for any of the spa services as we didn't partake of any of them. People who did utilize the spa spoke very highly of them. There was the library, the music library, the computer room with about 12 computers. (The charge for internet usage was 50 cents/minute.) Of course the casino, card room, Michael's Club for cigar smokers and various and sundry lounges and nooks and crannies. Everything decorated to a "T" and the famous Chandris art collection all over the ship. The art was pretty modern and I don't profess to understand it, but it fit in nicely and was the topic of more than one conversation. Considering that we had 5 days at sea, all the public rooms were utilized to an extent I have never seen before. First night was open seating dinner with the usual two seatings. I guess since we didn't sail until midnight, they wanted to make sure even late arrivals would be fed. There was a very nice show of Hawaiian music and dance by a hula school for children. I wish I could say we were up for the sail-away party, but we pretty much crashed in our room by 10 PM and didn't wake up until we were sailing into Nawiliwili, Kauai. Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth and it did not disappoint in that regard. We had booked an excursion to the Waialua River and Fern Grotto for our one day there. Unfortunately we didn't see the table at the ship exit which was offering umbrellas. Four buses from the ship all headed for this tour. We had very nice singers on the boat ride for the ride to the Fern Grotto. I have to mention at this point that fully 50% of the passengers were 65+. The others were a cross section of all ages. This was really apparent on this tour. Almost everyone had a cane, walker, splint or wheelchair. I have nothing against the elderly, since I am rapidly approaching that status, but this tour was quite challenging for the able bodied, much less the handicapped. At this point it was raining lightly only to become a downpour within a few minutes. We had to traverse an uneven, concrete path which was quite slippery and had handrails. I couldn't understand how the 2 ladies in wheelchairs were going to make it. The plan was for all of us to gather in the grotto while the singers sang "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" to demonstrate the acoustics of the place. I'm sure it's very lovely and romantic but we couldn't quite appreciate it. I felt sorry for the musicians having to take their instruments out in the rain. After that, Karl swore he would not go on any more excursions. We pulled out of the harbor around 4:30 while we sat and had tea in the Waterfall Cafe. It was lovely with the mist especially if you were warm & dry! This was the day we had booked at the specialty restaurant, the Normandie. This room was another one worth taking pictures of, it was that pretty. I have to say that having done it once, we would probably never do it again. The food was great, the portions larger than the regular dining room, the service very attentive with 3 waiters, but once was enough. It was very formal and I was afraid I'd drip something on myself. To tell the truth, we really don't like dining for 2 1/2 hours on 4 courses. Appetizer, entrEe, cheese, dessert was on the menu. It was quite an experience and I'm glad that we did it, once. This being an 11-day cruise, there were 3 formal nights, 3 informal nights and the rest casual. Our first night we were commenting about how we had forgotten how good their food really was. I did notice a change in the menu where there were now 2 fish selections every night instead of just one. I also found out that I could order a shrimp cocktail every night instead of the usual appetizers off the menu. This was especially helpful to me as I am a Weight Watcher and this was a very low calorie dish. The food was terrific and not having to cook and clean up was a bonus. Wednesday & Thursday we were docked in Lahaina, Maui. I hadn't pre-booked any excursions so we really didn't see anything except the town. Again, if I was to do it again, we would have rented a car and really driven around the island. As it was, we walked all over Lahaina the first day and did some shopping and site seeing, and spent Thursday just enjoying the pool and the ship. This was where our only complaint about the trip took place. The breakfast buffet closed at 9:30 on port days and if you are late sleepers like we are you never get a chance to eat there. Now there was what I would call a compensation breakfast at the back of the Waterfall Cafe from 10-11 with cereal, yogurt, fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, a few pastries to be had. After a few days, I was sick of this and on a couple of days, I just had coffee and waited for lunch to be served. It just so happens that breakfast is Karl's favorite meal and he really liked to eat it on the deck overlooking the back of the ship under the awning. We tried ordering it in by room service one day and eating it on our veranda but it was awkward and certainly not relaxing. The Waterfall Cafe had 4 buffet lines and farther down toward the back, an omelet station during breakfast and pasta station during lunch. Then at the very back were the late breakfast and themed lunch was served was also the site of the alternative dinner. They offered salmon, steak & chicken every night if you didn't want to go to the dining room. We never did try this. The pool grill was also busy serving hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and pizza. I had the pizza a couple of times but the crust wasn't as good as I remembered from Century. The aft deck outside the Waterfall Cafe was lovely. The wooden tables & padded chairs were a cut above the plastic I've seen on other ships. Everything about this ship showed class and elegance, but not in an obtrusive way or in a way to make you feel uncomfortable. On Friday, we arrived at Hilo which was another tender port. Maui was also tenders as the port was not deep enough to accommodate our ship. We again went into town and walked around a bit. This was much more modern looking than Lahaina and not as picturesque. Again, we did no tours and pretty much stayed on the ship. Saturday was our final port of call at Kona and we were able to dock here. I had pre-booked online a tour of Volcano National Park. This was an all day tour with lunch. We saw and walked on old lava flows to the ocean and saw the famous black sand beach. We went to the Kilauea crater and it was quite misty and cold. The Volcano House Hotel where we stopped for lunch did a brisk business in sweatshirts, jackets and long sleeved t-shirts. The volcano is still erupting but the lava is now venting about 6 miles away and we were not allowed to go there. Many roads on the Big Island are closed due to lava flows. This was a very informative tour. We learned a lot about the nature of volcanoes and saw some interesting things. We arrived back at the ship about 45 minutes before we sailed for Vancouver. The next 5 days passed all too quickly. The crossing was very smooth and only one day was overcast. However, after the first 2 days, it was too cold to sit out by the pool and a lot of activities were moved indoors. The cruise staff did a good job of entertaining all 2000+ people. I was certainly never bored. There were afternoon and evening shows. This brings me to the entertainment. It was the best I've seen at sea. The production numbers were lavish with many costume changes, often with every musical number. The singers and dancers were very talented. So outstanding were the singers that 2 of them put on an afternoon show one day which was very well attended. The cruise staff had variations on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", "Newlywed & Not so Newlywed Game", "Liar's Club" which were all hilarious. The featured entertainers were Noodles Levenstein, a comedian & juggler named Jeff, and a piano player/entertainer named Bob from San Diego. They were all fine. A few laughs here & there, but nothing to write home about. I thought the production shows were much better. The last day had a passenger talent show which again was very well attended. (I know, you are thinking, what else was there to do?) It was quite interesting and I sure give people credit for getting up there and doing their thing. I won about $350 playing bingo and it only cost me $250 to do so. Of course the casino was open and we quickly got to know several of our fellow passengers over blackjack. I even started to win some before we landed. On Thursday, we passed the first navigational buoy around noon and entered the Juan de Fuco straits about 2:30. This was our first site of land in 4 1/2 days. We did see some whales that morning spouting off our starboard side while we were playing bingo but that was the only thing we saw on the water all that time. Too soon, it was time to pack up all our belongings and put those suitcases out in the hall by midnight. We had booked a Vancouver city tour after disembarking so as not to sit at the airport for 6 hours. It was also very informative and I have to say that those Canadians sure love to garden! We saw lots of pretty flowers. It was a very sunny, cool day which from what the tour guide says was unusual as they get a lot of rain. I guess their climate is quite similar to Seattle. We ended up at the airport and passed through customs. We had to pay a $7/pp airport improvement fee in order to leave! I never had to pay to leave a country before. Our flight to Chicago was great as the plane was not completely full and we were able to have an empty seat between us. I snoozed most of the way and before we knew it, we were home. Our son's first words were: "Boy, are you guys tan!" So I guess we really were in Hawaii. Would we do this trip again? Absolutely we would. Would we recommend it? Again, absolutely. Celebrity hits the ball out of the park every time as far as we are concerned. And the best part, I only gained 1.6 lbs when I weighed in at Weight Watchers the next day! shofer1019@yahoo.comJune 2002 Read Less
Southern Caribbean Embarkation With all of our flight re-scheduling and changes we were very happy just to arrive at the pier. This was around noon . We have had most people recommend that you plan to arrive the day before in the city ... Read More
Southern Caribbean Embarkation With all of our flight re-scheduling and changes we were very happy just to arrive at the pier. This was around noon . We have had most people recommend that you plan to arrive the day before in the city of your port. We agree with this as it will lessen your stress levels knowing you can bump to a later flight and pick up some extra free flights on the airlines. These days with the extra security and the lack of direct flights this seems to be the rule. Once on the ground in the home port your home free. Relax it's just a short drive to the ship. I will say I had never had my id checked so many times in one day as our travel day through the airport and on the pier. After a great flight down to Miami - First class the airline over booked our original flight - we found the Super Shuttle service from Miami to the pier in Ft. Lauderdale. About an hours ride - driver got lost - and not as expensive as I had thought. This was only $23 per person to the pier. A good value from a limo standpoint service. We relaxed once we got our luggage and were seated in the van. As I said before we arrived about noon at the terminal and dropped off our checked luggage with the porters on the pier. Making sure we had our bag tags for the ship now on our luggage. No problems here. Boarding was already taking place. The original line to get inside was about 100 deep at this point but moved rather quickly. They were checking id and tickets here and also giving out some cruise card to fill out and also your boarding group number. We are in the Captains Club so we just showed our cards and bypassed the wait for the group area to the line for carry bags screening. After the baggage screening we checked in for our room keys. While we were waiting we asked about getting our Credit card hooked into our ship charge account. They did this right on the pier. We also met Amanda the Cruise hostess. We had met her on one of our previous trips on the Galaxy. Like others have stated being part of the Captains club get you past some of the wait lines. Onto the Ship. We met one of the Cruise staff up on the deck - Donnell. If he knew what he was in for from me he would have us put off the boat at this point. I have a great time with the cruise staff while on board. Cabin: #3058, cat. 10, Plaza Deck This is one of the regular sized cabins on the ship. 170 sq. ft. We have always found the Celebrity cabins to be slightly larger than the industry standard at this level. Very roomy for two. We had the two beds made into a queen, there is a small one person sofa-sleeper/couch, 2 large closets and a pull down bar for doubling your shirt storage or short hanging garments. The third closet has 6 drawers to store other things in. There is also a cabin safe with a keypad to enter your own code, an interactive TV which we barely used, so you can access your shipboard account, book excursions, order room service, pay-per-view movies (also, newly released movie videos - no charge), dresser/desk with chair, small glass coffee table, plenty of mirrors in front of the desk and the wall the bed is on. We found the side storage space on the side of the dresser on the 4th day out. The light wood panel tones were perfect for the lighting provided for the room. Also a night light next to the plugs on the dresser. The bathroom is perfectly sized for the room. If you bring any beer or wine onto the ship just ask your cabin steward to open the refrigerator under the TV. Then stow your wine or beer in the fridge. If you remove and keep / use any of the items they will be charged to your shipboard account at the end of the cruise. Just tell the cabin steward you are doing this so he will know not to replace missing items. We are most always inside cabin bookers and users. This being our 18th cruise we have booked about half the time between inside and outside cabins. Now we prefer the inside cabins. This was in a great location for both of us. Just down the hall from the main lobby. 2 decks down to walk to the gangplank to get off the ship. We both like to walk a bit more on the ship when we can. This location got us to walk the length of the ship through the lounge areas or past the cinema to go to the dining room for sit down meals. Also walk up the central stair case to go to the Shops, Casino, Theater. Our most used location was to the card room on deck 5 when we needed. Taking the central area elevators enclosed by glass was great. Being able to look out to sea or to the inside if you wanted. We were told that the ship had hit some rough seas just before we got back into Ft. Lauderdale. This was at night and we did not feel any rocking at all. The weather for all 10 days was great. It looked like we would get rain the second sea day out but it went right over us. Dining Room The Cosmopolitan Restaurant like all the Celebrity and Millennium service ships is spectacular. Soft lines and the flowing stairway to the upper level was picture perfect. The space between tables was more on this ship than I had remembered on past cruises. We were lucky in that there was always two people missing from the table next to ours as they preferred informal dining upstairs each night. The waiters central work area(s) are now in just a few places in the dining room. Not the 20 or so small ones you are used to seeing. The only negative thing is if there are any handicapped people on board in wheel chairs. Their access paths into and out of the dining area are a bit cramped. Meaning you would have to move your chairs to allow them in or out. But no worries there. It's their cruise also. You don't own the ship. The dinner music was fine. If we had a table you could see the musicians playing so much the better. I did go into the first seating for dinner one night to look for someone. There were a lot of tables not full near the entrance and upstairs. This owing to the fact that more people prefer late seating for dinner. Service provided by Jose and Fernando was excellent as we have come to expect on the Celebrity ships. I did take someone's advice and on the first night pre $20 tip the bus boy - Fernando - requesting he bring my wife and I Ice tea each night. And he always kept the glasses full. As always another wonderful dining experience by both of us. You can also get Shrimp Cocktail each night even if it is not on the menu. They carry certain items like this each night. Central Foyer AreasThis includes the shops on deck 5. We found the Cova Cafe Milano on deck 5 to be a nice area to sit and watch the people go by. If you did not notice the Coffee bar is on the Starboard side of the ship. This had Espresso and other Coffee delights on their menu. Just across from this area was the small bakery and sweet shoppe. They would have some great treats displayed here every day. This area was bypassed by most. The Offices on the ship seemed to enjoy this area when taking their breaks from ship work. The shops and the specialty boutiques had a nice selection of merchandise. The daily sales the shop staff offered covered a lot of items. From gold and silver chains to watches, and plaster statues. Their area on deck 5 Just on the opposite side of the cafe forward hosted the Art auction area for the ship. We walked through the shop area. They had a fine selection of Liquors priced just a little bit more than on land. They did not carry all the local brands for the Caribbean, but enough to cover a wide range. So check the prices before you go ashore to save yourself the time and effort of bringing back a bottle you save .25 cents on onshore. The shops also had a $10 watch sale, on quartz watches, that the wife and some of her cruise friends bought. Pools and Hot Tubs The main pool was about 45 feet in length from front to back and about 20 feet wide. The shallow end was 5 feet and the deep end 6. If the ship was going in and out of port, as it did on our trip 5 times you got a few waves in this pool. Real nice to be in as you pulled away and music was playing on deck. Just drift with the waves. There are a lot of pool chairs in the well open area on deck 10 around the pool. But beware of the chair takers. They are out in force on the sea days starting about 7:00 am or so. These are the people who put a towel and book or shoes on a bunch of deck chairs and use them for less than an hour each day. The ship does it's best to try and stop this practice but.... Everyone's on vacation and why argue with someone as trivial as a deck chair. Good hint if you need a quiet place in the sun. On the starboard side forward of deck 11 their is a stairway that looks like it goes nowhere. Wrong. This is up to deck 12 forward. Bring a towel there are lots of chairs here. And the wind screen cuts down the breezes coming over the ship as it moves. On port days their are plenty of chairs available to use all day. So don't bother marking a spot. They also have cushions for those in the well and around the pool. There are also 4 hot tubs in this pool area. so you would not have to wait to get a spot. If their not full just amble up and into the warm water. Join the conversation or just relax in the bubbles. The second pool just behind the larger pool looked to be about 20 feet long by 15 feet wide. The depth of this pool was about 3 and half fee to 4 feet. Great for the kids and adults to lounge in while the deck games were played and leaving port to the band playing. Remember the pool is chlorinated salt water, and was comfortably refreshing. Some days when they exchanged water it was a bit cool till later in the day. The Thalassotherapy Pool This area is just forward of the open pool area. It's the bubbles pool with the water spouts. This is a new feature on all the Millennium Class ships. They also have the lite breakfast and lunch served in this area. And it is lite. Not a big selection but in the right spot if you need it. I found this is another great hid away. If you are not a Sun worshiper. the glass ceiling and front part of the ship block a lot of the direct light. This is like entering a giant tub, but not as hot as the regular hot tubs. . There are jets of water shooting out from the sides and pool bottom, huge faucet-looking jets overhanging the four corners (great back massage). One each side of this pool there are chrome, in-water, loungers. The bubbles come from under this area and refresh you slowly. One of our dinner table mates, when the bubbles were not working, stopped two officers as they were walking through the area and asked are one of you in charge of getting the bubbles turned on in this pool. You guessed it. The Captain. He stopped at a house phone and twenty seconds later there were bubbles. The pool area itself was not too crowded but the bubble beds were. They also have two hot tubs in this area one on each side. Around this pool area are very comfortable, pillowed (lower back and head), teak lounge chairs. This area does get crowded as the afternoon progresses. But later in the day - about 5pm or so empties out. Celebrity Theater I'm not big into the shows. Being we have been on a lot of cruises. But the theater is great. The best looking one I have seen on any ship to date. The chairs are way to comfortable - fell asleep during the first show. The fake flames in boxes on the side are a nice touch. We just went in to see the welcome aboard show and the comedians. We liked Noodles, but his act is just re-cycled ship jokes. The best show was Kirby St. Romain. Great topical humor and got the entire audience singing. All the dancers were great along with the Metro the 4 singers. Aqua Spa, Sauna & Gymnasium Used this facility each morning. To say the least it's large. Great place to get a massage and other spa treatments. Gym has a large floor for aerobics and other workout related exercises. They have a small free weight area to one side. There are about 20 nautilus machines of all types you can use. Me I stuck to about 6 or 7 machines that I worked on my knees and legs with. There are also about 12 walking / running machines you can sign up for when the morning use crush is on. They look forward where the ship is going. A great place to work out in the Early AM - see the sun come up and watch the ship dock all while getting in shape. There are also a lot of different types of bikes you can use and another 4 machines the looked like a cross between skiing and running. There were also a few stair steppers. A lot of workout equipment for a ship. Great area. Deck 11 Running / Jogging / Walking track: A good idea to use on calm days for everyone. First the deck is not measured correctly. They sat 3 laps equals about 5/8 ths. of a mile. Well not even close as far as I see. I would like to think that six laps around is closer to one mile than anything. If your going to run or jog be sure to do this before 7:30 am - you finish time for your workout - or you will hit a mass of walkers. I also like to reverse run some days. This because of things walkers do not understand. Like when you are turning on the curves and stress on your legs and knees. But if your walking then you should stay single file as you move between the chairs so as to allow others room to move past you. I had the pleasure to meet a group of three ladies on board that would walk in the early AM for about 40 minutes. They all met each morning and were religious about this. Their outfits always matched. There were just a few runners on the boat so we were in the minority. My wife and I would also walk the deck for her exercise about 5:30 PM each night to catch the sun going down and the beautiful sunsets at sea. I always try to keep in mind that this is others vacation also and I do not own the deck so I try to adjust my running. Did so on land two times. In St. Kitts and Barbados. But it's hot out there. Another great treat for the wide range of passengers to use. Sports Deck 12 Mid ship: This is where most of the outdoor games are played. Each day the Cruise staff has a Darts, Basketball, and other competitions up hare. They also have Volleyball , paddle tennis and other games you can play out here. It's a bit windy when the ship is at sea but on port days just fine. We did not have a lot of dedicated Volleyball players here as we could only get one game going the second sea day. Rendezvous Lounge - on Promenade Deck - nice lounge where they cruise staff hosted the daily Trivia challenge and some nights had team trivia and other things going on. There was also the Battle of the Sexes team trivia that was played 5 times on the cruise. Sorry ladies - the men won all 5 on our trip. Just great fun if Rani is the host. Champagne / Martini bars Deck 5: This is just above the Rendezvous Lounge. This is another quiet place to hide just before dinner. Have a quiet drink to discuss the nights activities or reflect on the day gone by. This has a large hole in the floor to look down into the Rendez - Vous Lounge if you had wanted to. *Revelations - on Sunrise) Deck Forward - deserted most of the day. This is another great place to escape to with an early morning coffee and view the sunrise from inside. They held the Anniversary party here. I could not tell you what was up here in the late night. But there's a great dance floor and room for a band here. They have bar service in this lounge from 5:00 PM till the last person leaves for the night. *Waterfall Cafe Bar (area) - stern. This is where the morning and lunch buffet area are served. As you get to the stern - rear - of the boat in the early AM to the sides is a station that will prepare an omelet of the day for you. And at lunch these stations turn into a pasta of the day station. At the back just before you go outside - at lunch time is another specialty area. Don't miss this if you can. Some great treats await you as you go for lunch. The best cake we had was when we had our welcome aboard lunch up here. Just at the end of the buffet line. Remember - your on a cruise - They make it - you eat it. Or at least sample a bit. The area inside around the waterfall during the morning and noon meal hours is always busy and crowded. We found walking outside to the stern - back of the boat outside afforded us a table available all the time. *Celebrity On-Line Room - Deck 4. Great furnished room for Internet use. Not used much by this group of passengers. Hey I'm on vacation. But if you have to be an on-line junkie this is the place. *Notes- music library - One place on Decks 6 & 7 that I missed completely. Looked nice - Library setting. *Conservatory (Floral & Gift Boutique) - Sunrise Deck - This is just above the midship entrance to the Waterfall Cafe. They have their own stairway up to it. I had a hard time trying to figure out what plants were fakes and what were real. You can get on-board flowers from the shop every day. *Fortunes Casino - Had a nice selection of different slot machines. From Nickels to the big buck ones. The layout of the room puzzled me a bit - where they placed the tables. And I think there was only one Caribbean Stud poker table. The crowd from the theatre had to pass through this room to get back to the lounge areas. Also they have gone to the automated deck shufflers so the house picks up a big advantage here. The wife like the video poker machines but played and lost her money there. Food: Cosmopolitan Restaurant (main dining room) - Dinner: Excellent as far as I could see. Beef selections were outstanding as my wife had told me. I had the fish/seafood dinner offered each night. This and the sauces offered were the highlight of my trip. The food was as usual up to the Celebrity standards. - Breakfast: I had breakfast in the main dining room 4 or 5 days; Ordered something different each day. One time I just ordered scrambled eggs with some bacon and sausage. The plate came and it was more food than 2 could have eaten. I tried but had to push it away after getting just over half through it. Wifey did not get up early except for the last day and missed out. Something to do with beauty sleep I guess. As with the dinner menu here all was done to perfection. - Lunch: Made it here only 3 or 4 times. Good variations off the luncheon upstairs at the waterfall. Being on vacation and getting waited on is great. Take the shore. I'll take the cruise and the service. Waterfall Cafe Dinner: alternative dining - This is in the back of the ship. Our friends did this most every night. They would order their main entree. But the appetizers, salads, desserts, are all buffet. Limited menu. They said everything was very good here. You were requested to make reservations. This is a good alternative if your out on a tour and coming back late and do not want to rush to dinner. Also good for kids who meet others and don't want to sit down in the main dining room and wait. Waterfall Grill Outside at the pool. Lunch: Get in line for your hamburgers, good hotdogs, and pizza. Drinks are right nearby. Normandie Restaurant - alternative dining with reservations and an additional charge. Jacket and tie are required all the time. This is a more upscale dining experience. They tell you to plan on dining for at least 2 1/2 hours. Believe it! They had a three string musicians that played throughout the evening. We dined there on Sunday night. The inside is spectacular. The 5 star rating is well earned and deserved. We did this off a recommendation of a past cruiser. Well worth the cover charge for each person. Where can you dine in a 5 star restaurant for just a cover charge. They also have an expanded wine list to cover most everyone's selection. Some of these wines and champagnes are not offered anywhere else on the ship. Me I thought it was well worth it. Dario the assistant MaterD waited on us. Each dish was more spectacular than the last. I can only say there is a difference dining in a 3 and a half star restaurant upstairs and a 5 star in the Normandie. Try it. You will be pleased. They can only serve about 120 people a night. So when you get on board. Find the elevators on Plaza Deck 3. Just behind them is the entrance. Book it for one night. If your with friends take them. They have tables that we saw could accommodate up to 8. Shore Excursions: We don't do them. Just got off the ship and looked around and shopped in the port area. Golfers beware. Your trip to Mahogany Run will tie you up for the full day on land. Staff: *Our cabin steward was excellent. It was like he was a ghost. I saw the others working in the area but not him. We would only give him about an hour in the AM to clean up and whenever we returned, the room was perfect. He also opened the small ship fridge in the room and let me store - cool my beer. What service. *Dining room wait staff -waiter, assistant waiter, head waiter - Great. Although we never saw our area MaterD. They worked tirelessly for our group. Getting everything and not missing a beat. Those 6 and a half Lobster tails the brought me were the capper of the trip. We did not order wine upstairs with dinner but our wine stewardess was always asking if we would like anything. Smiles all around. We requested the first night and got Ice Tea on the table every night of the cruise. Something we really appreciate. Passengers: This was the shorter 10 day cruise. And some of the northern schools were out on vacation. Hence a few more kids on board. It would have been nice if those darn kids didn't keep beating me at the adult games. Darn you Katie. But any sailing over 7 days attracts a bit older crowd. I would have to say the average age was about 50 years old. There were a lot of young kids on the cruise and we saw them with their camp counselors playing about the ship each day. They have a real good program for the younger kids on board. As the kids get into their teens they tend to stay away from the ship programs. This was a normal friendly group as you will meet on most any ship. Just relax sit down listen - strike up a conversation and the sit back and listen. One thing I am catching onto is that just about everyone we talked to has cruised at least 10 times. The long timer on this trip was 32 cruises with Celebrity. Darn this was only our 9th. The 10th will be in February 2003 out of Tampa. It's never too early to plan. Met a lot of nice groups of people by doing different games and thing on the ship. As everyone who cruises each to his own. Me I'm active and see a big cross section of people. Cruise Staff: Donnell, Rani White, Mike, Lisa & Peter. There was also Bingo Bob but we did not run into him much. This had to be one of the best cruise staff on the Celebrity ships. By the third day they all knew who I was. By the 6th they were wondering if we pay the line can they send this guy off the ship.... Laughing here. I have a great time doing games and Trivia with the cruise staff and anyone I meet along the trip. They make the trip special if you like to be active and do these types of activities. Disembarkation: The Summit arrived back in Ft. Lauderdale some time in the early AM and was cleared by customs at about 8. We had air reservations out of Miami for a 1:20 PM flight. So there was no rush to go anywhere. Just one bag misplaced this time around. Off our record 3 a few trips ago. But some luggage looks similar to others. We got a porter then went outside to find our Super Shuttle limo. They did not show up. Got Van service over to the left of the terminal to Miami airport. Took about 45 minutes to get there to our terminal - American. The van service was even less than we paid for the trip to the pier - just $31 for both of us. The American attendant helped us find a cart for luggage and put us into the correct line area to check in. They also checked all our baggage before it was sent onto the plane. Is this one of the few airports that does this? Well no problems here. In the air and back in Jersey by 4:35 PM. Darn it's cold up here. Ship Impressions: This ship is the most attractive one we have been on. The Celebrity ships just get better and better. I liked the central atrium area. Not the top to bottom of the ship. Too large and you get too much noise in the area. The artwork is placed at intervals about the ship. You may or may not like some of it. But it is all tastefully done. Ship is also laid out real well. I would have to say that everything about the ship is beautiful, and tastefully put together. From the cabins, public areas, pools, spa, sauna, gymnasium, shops, the Conservatory, to the lounges, and the open-air deck space. The ports we traveled to were fine. Most people like to island hop. We liked the 2 days at sea, followed by the 5 islands, and then 2 more sea days. If anyone has questions about the 10 day cruise on the Summit, just email back and I'll try to answer them. We have already booked our next Celebrity trip - August and working on our trip for next winter out of Tampa. Keep planning - Keep Cruising.... With Celebrity. Tom Treimel June 2002 Read Less
This is my little review of my cruise on the Summit May 13-May 24, 2002. Plus a little tongue in cheek. Deb & I landed on a muggy Mother's Day, in time for a get-together at the Hawaiian Hilton. It was SO great to actually meet ... Read More
This is my little review of my cruise on the Summit May 13-May 24, 2002. Plus a little tongue in cheek. Deb & I landed on a muggy Mother's Day, in time for a get-together at the Hawaiian Hilton. It was SO great to actually meet some of the people I've been reading to/about/with!! In spite of the "monsoon!" Now, please bear in mind this is the opinion of a 2nd cruiser only. As for the Summit, I was disappointed (she said with tongue in cheek). First of all, I knew as soon as I saw those beautiful gold panels hanging from the Grand Foyer and extending down that I was in trouble: it matched one of my formal night outfits!! No standing by those for me!! I enjoyed the Martini Bar -- not for the martinis, but because it was less crowded than other areas. I didn't venture into Michael's Club; probably because I was afraid I'd buy too many cigars instead of all those great little souvenirs!!! I liked the size of our cabin (8045) -- large balcony, and I didn't mind the closet door being right in front of the bathroom door. Actually, I figured it would present some great pictures of Debbie; but that didn't work out because my camera wasn't working (unbeknownst to me at the time) and she would graciously yell "I'm coming out" before she did so. Although the mirror in front of my bed was a little disconcerting: I'm not used to watching myself dress up, and it took a few seconds before I realized it was ME in the mirror so I didn't have to turn around! Never mind the nite(s) I almost yelled at the woman who must have been drunk when she was sitting in my bed - oops, it's me! My gripe is/was the bed(s) -- actually, they separated the queen into what I like to call cots (they probably consider them twinbeds). I'm used to spreading out all over the bed; I couldn't do that without the floor meeting my face and since I was never formally introduced to my carpet floor, that was probably a blessing. The color scheme had me puzzled though -- especially the carpeting -- it was bluish with I'm not sure if it was tropical fish or flower petals. Guess it depended on how many Bahama Mamas I had, and I couldn't ask Debbie as she was asleep by the time I hit the bed. Now the bedspreads (Deb would want me to mention that it took 2 calls before we got bedspreads - in case she wanted to entertain and the beds weren't made) were a reddish-orange color, which to me is not very quieting at all. I figure it explains why I wanted to punch the pillows every night (isn't red a confrontational color?) My favorite place was the Rendezvous lounge -- I particularly enjoyed Errol the bartender and winning Trivia contests!! Ooh -- and Debbie and I were on winning $100,000 Pyramid teams, twice!!! We ended up with 2 Celebrity t-shirts and a keychain. Debbie and I ate mostly in the dining room, late seating for dinner. Buffet'd it for breakfast and lunch except for once. I liked choices in buffet, but I'm a salad, fruit lunch person so I had no quibble with that. And I'm very proud to say I only got lost ONCE in the Buffet, trying to head back to the deck at the end of the ship (I never remember if I'm going stern or aft; it's sometimes difficult for me to figure out if I'm coming or going, at least on a ship!) -- don't laugh!! YOU try remembering if you turned right or left!! Thankfully, the third time I passed the same couple who waved & smiled, I figured out I should try turning the other (other) way, and it worked!! It only took 20 minutes to get back, and Deb only wondered what took me so long -- her very last guess was that I got lost! Oh -- Deb did do Alternative Dining on the night I attended the Old Lahaina Luau. So far the $2.00 charge has not shown up, but she liked it and thought the food was good. Our room service was great!!! Cabin steward Marylou kept us neat and tidy. Food was OK; all staff extremely personable and friendly. I got to see 3 movies in the Theater: I AM SAM (wonderful!); PRINCESS DIARIES (cute); THE SCORE (so-so). I enjoyed the 5 days at sea. But there was a difference from the 7-day Vision to Alaska: on the Vision, I found myself agonizing over the activities, which to do because there were so many choices at the same time. I didn't find it so on the Summit, more disappointed that there weren't more! But then of course Deb & I wouldn't have gotten into an argument during our Scrabble game! I enjoyed the Summit, but since I only have one cruise to compare it to, I liked the Vision of the Seas better. It looked newer; I didn't want to fight my pillows; I thought the Vision's Grand Buffet more creative; their panels didn't match my formal outfit, and I didn't get lost in the Buffet. And on the Summit, it only took until into the week at sea to discover that if I turned left from my cabin and went down the stairs, I'd be in front of the Celebrity Theater (so I'm slow -- put me on another cruise!!) JRyan@ropesgray.comJune 2002 Read Less
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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