Sail Date: June 2003
Ok, I admit it. I was really, really ready for this cruise, and had every intention of enjoying it. It should surprise no one, then that I did enjoy myself. What is surprising is the degree. I have been booking my clients on Celebrity ... Read More
Ok, I admit it. I was really, really ready for this cruise, and had every intention of enjoying it. It should surprise no one, then that I did enjoy myself. What is surprising is the degree. I have been booking my clients on Celebrity ships in Alaska all summer, so I decided that I just had to try my own wares. Everything I have heard about Celebrity was good, and I had done a ship inspection of Millennium in Ft. Lauderdale in April, so I was pretty sure of what to expect. I did want a suite, and was pleased to be able to pay to upgrade immediately on boarding to Sky Suite 6120. I couldn't talk my teens into the Celebrity Suite a few doors down which was also available, as they really wanted a balcony. I told some very nice folks about the Celebrity suite though, and they enjoyed it greatly. First thing, the butler, Jonathan was wonderful. He was sweet and non-intrusive, but managed to show up every time I needed him or Julio, the cabin steward, even when it was something as mundane as helping my son knot his tie correctly. The suite was not huge, but perfectly adequate for three adults, including a lanky 6 foot tall teen-aged boy and had a lovely deep bath-tub, plenty of storage and room for three deck chairs and a small table on the lanai. There was a bowl of fresh fruit and a full ice-bucket with a nice bottle of champagne waiting for us on the table. The fruit was replenished daily by Jonathan, along with all sorts of little goodies throughout the day. We really enjoyed the breakfast service in our suite, and used it every day of our cruise. Jonathan would quietly slip my coffee tray inside the door at 6, without waking the my teens, then arrive brightly with a 2 course serving of breakfast complete with white linen and flowers. In the afternoon, he would bring me my cup of tea and little cakes for everyone to enjoy on the balcony. Before dinner he would show up with canapes. While we were at dinner, he would turn down the wonderful deep feather beds, leave good-night cards and Italian chocolates on the pillows and lay out the special body pillow I ordered from the pillow concierge. He looked great in his tails, but I could easily imagine him rocking out with my son in a band---it turned out that he also played electric guitar, and he and my son spent time talking shop. Right around the corner was "Notes" the music library, where my son set up shop with his electric guitar and headphones, and spent much of the week. I used it quite a bit too, and we found that our taste for rock, alternative and metal was satisfied by the selections. We were able to save our playlists all week. I often got my headphones and settled down to listen before dressing for dinner. Dinner was just plain fun. Our fun-loving waiter Nyoman was from Bali, and loved to do magic tricks and challenge his tables to puzzles. We often stayed long after everyone else had left to watch Nyoman's tricks and listen to his stories of home. Alex, his young assistant waiter was from Latin America, and my client's daughter (who spoke fluent Spanish) and my daughter flirted shamelessly with him to everyone's giggles (and his blushes). The food was very good, varied and fresh. The best food we had on board, however, was in the specialty restaurant, the Normandie. It was well worth the surcharge. The meal took over three hours, and we were treated royally by a well-trained team of waiters. The spa was another high point of the trip for me. I discovered the Turkish gardens the first day, and bought a trip-long pass for myself and my daughter. We both used it at least once, sometimes twice each day. I especially liked the floral scented turkish bath and peppermint scented showers. We all enjoyed the thalassotherapy pool, and I discovered that I could have a light meal nearby...cold soup and fruit and vegie plates. One of the most outstanding things that I noticed was the efforts of every single staff member, from the guy I startled while climbing out of the engine casing to the officer grabbing a quick bite at the sushi bar to greet me with a smile and an enquiry as to how I was enjoying the cruise. Everyone seemed delighted to share stories of home and showed and honest interest in my children and myself. It really made us feel at home and among friends during our entire trip. The single sour note on the entire trip had nothing to do with Summit itself. I had signed us up for a number of shore excursions, and really had an uneven experience. The rock-climbing in Skagway, Seaplane flight in Ketchikan and sportfishing in Juneau were excellent. Otherwise the shore excursions varied from hokey to downright awful. We could have enjoyed, for instance, the white-water rafting in Valdez if not for the fact that the protective gear they gave us to wear stank so horribly of body odor that it was apparent that it had not been washed in recent memory. All of our clothes, including our jackets reeked afterwards, and could not be worn for the rest of the trip. The driver and guide was informative but unfriendly and on occasion downright rude, which surprised me as he was a local high school teacher. We do not blame this on Celebrity of course, but I do think they should keep tabs on the companies they book tours with. The only unpleasant part of the cruise was, predictably, leaving the warm cocoon of the ship. The concierge and guest relations had little information about services in Seward, and I felt let down, as no help was offered to help us get the information we needed. We were leaving on the evening train, and needed information on where we could leave our luggage. We were given an address which we were told was a place to pay to store the bags---it turned out that the train officials were glad to store our luggage free of charge, as well as keep our hand-carried items locked up in the office so we could get to them throughout the day. When we assembled in the theater to await our group's call to leave, CNN was playing loudly on the screen with scenes of the war and the stock market quotes I had not looked at all week. What a rough way to leave our little fantasy world! I would have much preferred them to show the week's ship video, leaving us with happy memories of our trip. My daughter commented that perhaps someone should tell them to practice "gentle release", just as a hand-fed wild animal is allowed to leave it's comfortable cage a little at a time. Those welcoming glasses of champagne on boarding sure would have helped my mood on leaving as well! All in all, not only do we give Summit and Celebrity high marks, we are already planning our next cruise on the Summit when she is in our home waters in May of next year. I told my kids that when I get old, they needn't put me in home, just set me up in my suite on the Summit, and I'll sail happily into the sunset! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2003
Summit 7/11/03 - Alaska Southbound (Seward to Vancouver) Age: 40 Occupation: Business Analyst Number of Prior Cruises: 4 Cruise Line: Celebrity Ship: GTS Summit Sailing Date: July 11, 2003 Itinerary (abbreviated): Seward, Hubbard ... Read More
Summit 7/11/03 - Alaska Southbound (Seward to Vancouver) Age: 40 Occupation: Business Analyst Number of Prior Cruises: 4 Cruise Line: Celebrity Ship: GTS Summit Sailing Date: July 11, 2003 Itinerary (abbreviated): Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vancouver Beware, this is a long review About Us For this trip, I left my wife and son at home and headed off into the Last Frontier with my father-in-law. I had never done this since being married, but my wife wasn't interested in going to Alaska - her loss - and my mother-in-law thinks she doesn't like cruises - something that is inconceivable to me! We didn't plan this trip in advance, but fell upon a price I thought I'd never see again in my lifetime for an Alaskan cruise ($700pp inside guarantee), and booked it only 3 weeks before departure. This was my father-in-law's first cruise and my 5th. Previously, I had sailed on Premier's "Atlantic" for a 4-night Bahamas cruise, a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Disney's "Magic," a 10-night Circle Caribbean on RCCL's Grandeur of the Seas, and a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on RCCL's Enchantment of the Seas. About our Fellow Passengers On our cruise, the average age was about 55. The ship was full with almost 2000 passengers on board. As usual their was a wide range of age groups. There were about 30 children on board, another 20 teenagers, and a few some honeymooners. Everyone else was approaching mid-life crisis, soon to be retired or already retired. No loud partying - just the way we like it. If you like to relax on your vacation, Celebrity is for you. The Bad News I'll start off with the exciting (read "bad") news for this cruise. Then I'll leave that bit of trouble behind and give you the good news - because, despite the problems, we were in a beautiful place, the weather was terrific most of the time, and we had a great time! Please note that this information has been culled from various sources including my own experience, newspaper articles, web reports, and conversations with members of the Summit's deck crew. On 7/9/03, two days before our cruise's departure from Seward, the GTS Summit struck a rock below the water line in Yakutat Bay after visiting Hubbard Glacier. Although the collision was obvious to the crew and many of the passengers, we were told that some passengers did not even notice the event as it was occurring. At the next regularly scheduled stop at Valdez, divers were put over the side to inspect for damage. At that time, the divers noticed that the starboard prop had a "slice" in it. However, due to poor visibility, no other damage was evident and the Summit proceeded to its final port - Seward. During this leg of the voyage, the crew noticed that the water level in the starboard ballast tank was rising, indicating a possible breach. Upon arrival in Seward, divers performed a second inspection that resulted in the discovery of additional damage. There the divers found a 140-foot long crease along the hull - as if somebody drove their car along a post and it just put a dent all the way down the length of the side of the car. In the middle of this crease, the divers discovered a 10-foot long by 5-inch high hole through the hull of the ship that breached the starboard ballast tank. It was determined that the damage to the prop was not critical, and neither was the crease. However, it was obvious that the hole would need to be repaired before leaving Seward. The repair involved welding a temporary seal to the outside of the hole, then draining the ballast tank, and going into the ballast tank from the inside of the ship. Once inside the ballast tank, the repair crew fabricated a steal box that was welded to the inside of the hull over the hole, and finally, the entire box was filled with a marine compound to form a permanent seal. Once completed, both the Coast Guard and Lloyds approved the repair plan, and the ship was finally able to sail. The repair has been approved to be kept in place and monitored on a continuing basis until the next scheduled dry-dock for the Summit in 2005. What made this most frustrating for me personally was not the fact that the ship was damaged - hey, stuff happens - but rather the fact that complete information was not provided to the passengers, and worse, misinformation was given. For a company like Celebrity who is renowned for their service, I found this alarming. We did all our check-in (documentation, ticketing, proof of citizenship, cabin assignment, etc.) in Anchorage that morning. We were never told of a problem. Then, we spent several hours on the train to Seward (with a cruise rep on board) and were told nothing. We finally found out about the problem upon getting our room key in Seward. At that time we were handed a letter that started off "As you already know......." WRONG! The letter told only about the hole in the ballast tank, the fact that we would miss our port at Juneau and that Celebrity would be giving us a $300 per cabin credit, that there would be an open bar before dinner on Friday, that excursions were available for booking in Seward, and that the ship would depart Seward at 9:00pm on Saturday. We were never told about the crease or the damage to the prop. Most importantly, we were never told that this happened when the ship was under the command of a Marine Pilot, and not the Captain - it never occurred to many of the passengers that pilots are used for anything other than going in and out of ports. Next, was the issue of not reporting what was known when it was known. The captain had made periodic announcements throughout the day on Friday and Saturday stating that the repairs were moving along as expected. The only thing we noticed was that the language regarding our 9pm Saturday departure time was changing slightly as the day went along. First it was "confident." Later in the day it became "hopeful." Finally at 9:30pm on Saturday we were told that we would be leaving "sometime after midnight." On Sunday morning we awoke to a very familiar picture - Seward. During breakfast we were told that the repairs we taking longer than expected, that we would be missing our second port of call at Skagway, that we were again "hopeful" that we would be departing by 3:30pm, and that once we were under way, we would be advised of additional compensation. We were told that we could take a tender into town and that the last tender would be leaving at 3:00pm. With this in mind, we made our way to town to find a pharmacy. There we purchased a newspaper for the sole purpose of finding yesterday's baseball scores. It wasn't until we returned to the ship that we noticed that the Summit was on the cover of Sunday's Anchorage Daily News - top of the page no less. This is where we finally learned of the damage to the prop and the crease in the side of the ship. Most upsetting (from a customer service standpoint) was a quote from a Coast Guard officer that was made sometime on Saturday afternoon. The Coastguardsman was commenting on the cruise lines statements that the ship would be leaving on Saturday evening at 9pm: "But the Coast Guard was skeptical that the ship would leave so soon. 'I don't think that's possible Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jim Robertson said. They've got a lot of work to do.' Passengers apparently hadn't heard the official line." After reading that, we were just a bit peeved. We had been strung along with misinformation for at least a day. It appears that it had been obvious to everyone in the know that the ship would not be leaving on Saturday, yet Celebrity apparently kept that story alive until we woke up on Sunday morning. At 3:15pm on Sunday, we were told that the repairs we completed, that we were awaiting approval from the Coast Guard and Lloyds to sail, that we should be sailing by 6pm, and that there would be an open bar for the next hour. Mayhem instantly ensued at every bar on the ship. The sight of grown men and women fighting over six packs of beer was almost enough to make me wretch - and I do mean that they were walking away with a six pack in each hand. We finally left Seward at 6:30pm on Sunday. Shortly thereafter we were advised that Celebrity would be providing each passenger with a 50% off coupon for a future cruise as compensation for the delay - in addition to the previously announced $300 on-board credit per cabin. Now on to the good news! Flights and Embarkation For this cruise, we booked our own air and pre-cruise hotel using FQTV miles. We had non-stop flights on Continental from/to Newark, NJ. We arrived Anchorage at 8pm on Thursday, took a cab ($25 incl. tip) from the airport to the Anchorage Hilton. The next morning we got breakfast and walked the two blocks to Egan Center for check-in, arriving at 8:30am. We were one of the first passengers there. The check-in took us about 20 minutes. We were given a card that was to be exchanged for our room key in Seward. We were also told that we were being "upgraded" from a bus to the train departing at 12:30pm for Seward. We checked our bags there (trucked directly to the ship and delivered to our stateroom), and left our carry-on baggage with the attendants for retrieval prior to boarding the train. The concierge at Egan Center gave us information on what to do while we waited for the train. We ended up going to a Northern Lights slide show at the Arts Center across the street, walked down to the waterfront for a bit, and returned to Egan Center at 11:30am. Around 1:00pm, we were loaded onto a bus for a short trip to the train station. Each railroad car was set up with 4-person "booth-type" seating tables. We were seated with a very nice couple from northern Florida and had a great time with them. During the trip, light meals and beverages were offered and delivered right to our table by a crewmember. Simple snacks were also available in the bar car at the rear of the train. An on-board guide narrated portions of the trip and gave us advance notice of photo opportunities. The trip is about 4 ½ hours long - it may be frustrating for those eager to get to the ship. By contrast, the bus took only 3 ½ hours with an enroute stop. For the first 50 miles or so, the train parallels the highway used by the buses, and then turns inland away from the main road. The scenery was beautiful, sometimes spectacular. We were able to see large scenic sections of the Cook Inlet, a fly-in housing development with a grass runway in the backyards of the homes, a few eagles, sheep, moose, alpine glaciers, and lakes. Just before arrival in Seward, we were given additional forms to fill out - we don't why these were not given to us in Anchorage. Upon arrival at 5:30pm, we were ushered into the check-in building where we stood in line for another hour waiting to get our stateroom keys, get the now infamous letter announcing our late departure, go through security, and board the ship. We were in our stateroom at 6:30pm and our luggage was already there waiting for us. Upon boarding we were told that we had missed the first open seating for dinner and that we would have to wait till 8:30pm to eat - in Anchorage we had been told that tonight's dinner would be open seating from 6pm to 11pm and that we could go to the dining room any time we liked. Being that we had not eaten on the train, we went straight to the dining room anyway where we were immediately seated without question or comment along with several other people who had also just arrived from the train. Normally we play by the rules, but at that point in the evening we were tired, upset and hungry. We were frustrated that the "welcome party" advised us that we couldn't go to the dining room till 8:30, yet the dining room staff had no problem seating us right away. Overall the embarkation process could have gone better. Why we were told by Celebrity to be at Egan Center at 8am when no one departed for Seward until 1pm? Why did we have to check-in at Egan Center if we were made to stand in line again for an hour at Seward? Why the misinformation given to us in Anchorage about dinner that evening? This is a long tiring day, especially considering that people from the West Coast tend to fly into Anchorage that same morning, and Celebrity didn't make it any easier. This is an area that definitely needs improvement. Our Cabin We had booked this cruise at the last minute and had taken an inside guarantee. Previous to this cruise, I had always cruised outside with a verandah, so I didn't really know what to expect. Celebrity assigned us to a wheelchair accessible room on Deck 2 immediately adjacent to the forward stairs and lifts - cabin #2022. When we arrived we had to inform our Steward to separate the beds. Obviously our reservation request for beds apart had not been acted upon. The room was comfortable and about 50% larger than the standard staterooms. The bathroom was enormous by cruise ship standards. The room was decorated with veneer walls and furniture, had a mini-bar (you have to ask the Steward for the key), and a set of drawers in the closet along with the safe. Each bed had its own bedside table and lamp. Also included were a desk, chair, convertible loveseat/sofa bed, coffee table, interactive TV and VCR. Lighting in the stateroom was good. However, storage was inadequate - we basically lived out of our bags for the week. As I never got a chance to inspect a regular stateroom, I'll have to assume that the storage problem was unique to the wheelchair accessible room. Water pressure in the shower was rather poor also. On past cruises, I wanted to take the shower home with me, but not this one. Overall Level of Service With the exception of the way information about our delayed departure was handled, we felt that the service was exceptional! We were always greeted with a smile and a "good morning" by every crewmember we came into contact with. When we asked questions or advice from members of the crew we were always taken seriously and we never had the impression that the crewmember had given the same tired answer to hundreds of other people. If a photographer offered to take our picture or a bar waiter offered us a drink and we politely refused, they graciously left us alone. In the overall service category, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the crew a 9+. Overview of The Ship The Summit is a beautiful beast, and in almost spotless condition. The passenger to space ratio is excellent. Even though the ship was almost filled to capacity, we rarely encountered long lines. The layout is good and it is easy to find your way around. Every landing has directional signs and information about what is on each deck. The outdoor pool area is spacious although indigenous chair hogs took up many of the chairs - the outdoor pool was well used in Seward where the temperatures were in the 80s. The indoor pool (T-pool) was well used every day of the trip but never felt crowded. The exercise facility and spa looked great, although we never used them. And, the sauna's have picture windows! Food The Cosmopolitan dining room is on two levels. Dining assignments are found on a card in your stateroom upon boarding. The table numbering system is excellent with 400's on deck 4, 500's on deck 5, odd numbers on the port side and even numbers to starboard. When I travel with my wife, we prefer a table for two and we always had to stand in line at the Restaurant Manager's office to request it. On this cruise we requested a large table. Instead, my father-in-law and I were assigned a table for two - go figure. I felt that the food was excellent at every facility on the ship. The only exceptions were the scrambled eggs from the buffet line at breakfast - it's kind of hard to make good eggs when you're cooking 200 of them at once - and the first evening I got a cool prime rib. However, all meats I ordered were cooked exactly as requested. I had smoked salmon every morning, and shrimp cocktail every evening. The dinner menus varied and it is difficult not to find something to your liking. The presentation was excellent and our waiter answered any menu related questions we posed. Our assistant waiter remembered our drinks from the first day and he had them on the table before we arrived for dinner each night. Hint: even though they were not on the menu, shrimp cocktail is always available as an appetizer and New York Strip steak is always available as an entree. There is never a problem ordering multiple appetizers or entrees. If you want it, don't be afraid to ask for it. The breakfast and lunch menus in the Cosmopolitan dining room were very good although the breakfast menu never varied. The service during these meals was also very good. We did not eat at the Normandy Restaurant, but everyone we spoke to that had done so gave us rave reviews. They all said it was worth the $25pp cover charge. We ate at the casual dining area one evening. The menu was not as good as in the main dining room, but again, the food was delicious. On RCCL the casual dining was simply buffet style and not very good food. On the Summit, the casual dining is full service table seating. Our server there was very good. Important note: When we were done with dinner that evening, I handed our server our card to have the gratuity charged to our stateroom. He seemed surprised and I asked him if it was more appropriate to give cash instead. He replied that the card was fine - it was just that very few people actually tip in the casual dining areas as recommended by Celebrity. I guess that people think this is a cover charge that Celebrity keeps. Not true. This is a gratuity that goes directly to the server. Please note that most servers in the casual dining area during dinner hours are on their first contracts and almost never work in the main dining room during the length of that contract. These people work for $500 per month and never get to share in the tips given to the regular dining room staff. If you do eat in the casual dining area for dinner, please remember to tip your server. Several afternoons we ate at the Waterfall Grill on the pool deck. This is not RCCL's crappy pizza, burger, hotdogs and fries. Everything was really good, especially the pizza and hamburgers. On RCCL this area is an afterthought thrown in so people can grab a snack at odd hours and it really sucks. On Celebrity, this is a real dining venue - for fast food anyway. The breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent - far better than RCCL. One note, especially during lunch: I would suggest that prior to getting any food, you walk along the entire length of the buffet (and I mean all the way to the very back of the ship by the outdoor deck) and survey the offerings. The first time we ate lunch in the buffet area, we were finished with lunch, stuffed to the gills, and as we were walking out of the buffet we then found another serving station that we didn't even know was there. That day we missed out on carved ham, steamship round and the sautEed pasta station. BUMMER! The service in the buffet area is excellent. Trays are covered with linen. Servers will try to meet you at the end of the line to take your tray, escort you to an open table, and make sure you have something to drink. During breakfast I made a remark to my father-in-law about how I wished that they had cranberry juice in the buffet area. Evidently a waiter overheard me because two minutes later two glasses of cranberry juice appeared at our table. I asked the waiter where he found it - I thought I'd just hadn't seen it myself - and he told me that he went downstairs to get it for us. Now that's service! Entertainment I have never been on a cruise with better entertainment! I went to the show every evening. There were four Broadway-style shows. All of them were very good and appeared to be geared to all adult age groups. The cast of dancers and singers was larger than any previous cruise I had taken - 17 performers in all. The orchestra was awesome too! In addition to the regular cast, an acapella group and two Chinese acrobats were folded into the stage shows. In addition to the shows staged by the Celebrity Singers and Dancers, there were two headliner shows. The first of these was Craig Dahn, a concert pianist whom I'd seen previously on the Enchantment of the Seas. He is a very flamboyant guy and a little strange, but he is a very good pianist. However, the theme song to the movie "Titanic" didn't go over well with this group of passengers - go figure! The second headliner was Jeff Nease, an absolutely hilarious comedian who made good-hearted fun of everyone from the captain to members of the audience. The final night was a variety show with encore performances by the acapella group, the Chinese acrobats, Craig Dahn and Jeff Nease. I thought the stage entertainment was first rate! On-board entertainment included music acts at the pool and in several of the lounges. A quartet played each evening before and after dinner, and there was also a harp player and a piano player. There were two karaoke nights and although there were a few people that couldn't hold a tune to save their lives, many of the passengers were really talented. One woman was absolutely fabulous. As an encore, she did a duet with another gentleman who was equally as good. Casino The casino was quite large and had all the usual games of chance. I spent several evenings playing blackjack in the casino and actually managed to win all my money back by the end of the cruise. I even saw several people winning large jackpots at the slot machines - and that doesn't every day on a cruise ship. All the dealers were very friendly. Itinerary and Ports of Call Day 1 - Friday - Seward See Flights and Embarkation, above. Day 2 - Saturday - Seward A Princess Ship was in port at the main pier and overnight we had moved to the coal dock. Tender boats were now in use to/from Seward. After breakfast we went to the Excursions Desk and booked a 1:00pm Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise ($72.00pp) and then took a tender into town. The weather was perfect - not a cloud in the sky and temps in the mid-80s. Due to our delayed departure, Celebrity had arranged complimentary shuttles and free admission (normally $12pp) to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. It was a rather small facility (as compared to the major aquariums on the mainland's East Coast) but had quite a few interesting displays. There was a Harbor Seal tank, a Stellar Sea Lion tank, and a seabird tank (Puffins, Kittewakes, Murres, etc.) Tanks can be viewed from above the surface and below the surface. There was a hands on display for kids (and big kids) where they allow you to "pet" starfish, sand sharks, etc. This is a very interesting little place. Prior to our tour we stopped at a local waterfront eatery to get a bowl of clam chowder. Unfortunately I wasn't impressed by it - I've had much better in New England. Met our tour at the dock. The tour was run by Kenai Fjords Tours. This boats were large and in excellent condition. The tour was approx 3 hrs long. The boat takes you all the way down to the end of the bay. Along the way the captain will stop whenever an animal or group of animals is seen. On our tour we saw seals, otters, sea lions, puffins and murres, and a humpback whale. The whale put on a show for us - it was like we were at Disney! We got within a 200 feet of the whale. Immediately after the captain idled the engines, the whale breached! It continued for a total of 5 breaches! Then it showed us it tail flukes several times, and finally spent about 10 minutes slapping its pectoral fins on the water. The captain was amazed, the on-board biologist was amazed, and the passengers were in awe! We were told that a show like this is rarely seen here at this time of the year and that even in Hawaii we would have been very lucky to have seen that much so close up. Made the day stuck in Seward worth it. Returned to the ship around 4:30pm. Day 3 - Sunday - Seward Still moored to the coal dock and tenders in use. Went into town in the morning to go to a pharmacy as all the onboard shops were closed because we were in port. This is where we bought the infamous copy of the Anchorage Daily News. Returned to the ship and spent the afternoon in the pool, T-pool and hot tubs. Finally departed Seward at 6:30pm. Day 4 - Monday - At Sea (Hubbard Glacier) Weather was overcast, foggy and low 50s. Crewmembers advised us that as we got nearer to the glacier, the fog usually lifts. They also said that, believe it or not, the weather was perfect for viewing the glacier. Too much sun and you can't see the colors very well, plus the glare gives everyone headaches - even when wearing sunglasses. Because of our delayed departure we were at Hubbard Glacier on a different day than scheduled and earlier in the day than scheduled. In this regard we lucked out as we were the only ship in the bay that day and had plenty of time at the face of the glacier. We arrived Yakutat Bay area around 10am where an Alaskan Marine Pilot (we hoped not the same one as from the last cruise) and two Alaskan Native guides boarded. By 11am we had positioned ourselves on Deck 12 above the Revelations nightclub on the Observation Deck. The crew had removed all the chairs from this area for the day to allow room for the large crowds of people. They did leave all the small tables in place and people were using them to stand on to get their heads and cameras above the windscreen. We had guessed that this deck would be the best place for viewing. We guessed right! Get there early though. Once we were close to the glacier, it got very crowded. We saw several seals and sea lions sitting on small ice flows - they swam away as the ship approached. Entered Disenchantment Bay around 11:30am. There it was about 40 degrees with a light breeze. As predicted, the fog lifted, and a little bit of sun came out to enhance the colors of the glaciers. We able to get within ¾ of a mile of the glacier face, and spent almost 2 hours hovering there. The guides were on the PA system giving information about the native people and their legends about the bays and glaciers. The Captain slowly spun the boat around so everyone could get a good view. Words and pictures cannot adequately describe this place. I can only say that it is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. When the glacier calves it sounds like far off thunder. If you are patient, you'll see it calving too. If you are lucky enough to go to Hubbard Glacier on a cruise, bring a good camera with a long lens stabilizer, a good pair of binoculars, a warm jacket, hat gloves, and sunglasses. Pick your viewing spot carefully and early. The rest of the day was spent cruising offshore. Day 5 - Tuesday - Sitka Arrived Sitka at 7:00am in pea soup fog. At the sun warmed the air, the fog slowly lifted to reveal a naturally beautiful harbor area. There is no dock for large vessels in Sitka. All ships anchor in the harbor and use tenders. A Holland America ship was in port with us. We met our tour group (Russian American & Raptor Tour) in an on-board lounge and were then escorted to a reserved tender. As we were anchored at the far end of the harbor, the tender ride was almost 15 minutes long - plenty of time to check out the scenery. Our tour bus driver was a character and very informative. This tour includes a one hour stop at the Alaska Raptor Center where we were given an audience with a Bald Eagle named Volta for approx 10 minutes - The Eagle and his handler were sitting on a small stage not less than 10 feet from me. The handler gave an informative lecture about the bird and how he came to live at the Center. Then you are given some time to visit the gift shop, see the other bird pens outside, walk the nature trail and make phone calls. Next stop is the Sitka National Historic Park. It includes a small museum dedicated to the history of the battles fought between the local natives and the Russians in the early 1800s. Also on hand was a gentleman who was doing carvings. There is also a short nature trail that goes into the woods and the bus guide will point out a few things there. Not a terribly interesting stop, but that's just my opinion. Finally, this tour winds its way through town. The guide told us a few tales about the town and some of its key structures, and then dropped us off across the street from St. Michael's Cathedral - about a 5-minute walk back to the tender pier. We spent about 10 minutes there, did some window shopping (some nicer things can be had here but most prices are quite high) and then took the tender back to the ship. Day 6 - Wednesday - Ketchikan Arrived Ketchikan at 8:00am. Weather was in the low 60s with drizzle and rain all day. This is completely normal for Ketch. A nice day there is when the sky is overcast and it isn't raining. Although this was originally scheduled as a tendering port, we ended up at the dock - the Infinity was anchored in the harbor instead. There were two Princess ships at the dock. Later in the afternoon, one of these ships left port and the Infinity then weighed anchor and moved dockside. The tidal range in Ketch is huge - 30 feet or more. Because of this, the crew had to keep moving the gangway location. In the morning it was on deck 1. By late morning it was on deck 2, then on deck 3 by noontime, and finally moved to deck 4. Then the whole process reversed itself again later in the day. Our tour at Ketch was scheduled for 2pm so we spent most of the morning shopping, making phone calls and walking around. The shopping in Ketch is very good the prices for souvenirs are very reasonable. Tongass Trading Company is right at the pier. It is a large store with a very wide variety of items - they are a complete Alaskan outfitter. For this port we had selected the Totem Bite State Park & Town Tour. We met a rep on the pier and were pointed in the direction of our bus. We had a very informative driver/guide. She is a professional tour guide and has worked all over the world. The tour included a 20 minute narrated bus ride through town. Then, on to the park that is about 10 miles North of town. The tour guide provided umbrellas for the walking part of this tour. The forest trail into the park was jungle-like - Ketchikan is actually a rain forest. I thought the park was very interesting. There are several totems in the park and each one has its own story. There is also a Clan Lodge that was typical for the semi-nomadic natives many years ago. The building is big enough to house several families - although not in a style that we are accustomed to. No nails are used in its construction and the whole building can be dismantled and floated to a new location as needed. When the food supply fizzled, they just moved to a better location. The end of this tour was a 15-minute visit to the park's gift shop. Even if you don't buy anything, there are museum quality displays in the shop and sample of salmon and crackers were provided to each tourist. The tour ended with a trip directly back to the pier. Day 7 - Thursday - At Sea (Inside Passage) Weather was great. Highs in the mid-70s and sunny. Scenery is beautiful. Again, pictures and words will not do it justice so I won't go into much detail. I will tell you that as the day goes along and you get closer to Vancouver the scenery gets better. Much of the afternoon is spent going less than 10 knots. At points the passage is so narrow (with mountains shooting straight out of the water on both sides), that in order to make turns, the ship has to stop completely and thrusters are used to "swivel" the ship before continuing onward. Disembarkation (Vancouver) & Flight Home Best disembarkation process of any cruise I've been on! On past cruises we had been asked to get out of our rooms, find some place in a public area and then wait for our bad tag color to be called. This made for an absolute mob scene on the deck where the gangway is located. Even though people were told to stay clear of this area, no one ever seemed to pay attention. It always left a sour taste in my mouth and is a bad way to end a vacation. By contrast, Celebrity also uses colored tags, but combines them with numbers so that there are many more groups of people. Each group contains less than 100 people. When given your tags, you are also given a letter that tells you what public room to assemble in and what time to be there. Announcements are not made over the general PA system. Instead, announcements are only made in the room where that color is supposed to be assembled. This way, you don't have a ton of people hanging out in the gangway area waiting for their color to be called. They have to go to their assigned public room or they won't be able to hear their announcement. When your color is called, a member of the crew leads your group to the gangway. And because the groups are small, the waiting times are very short at each of the stations - immigrations, baggage, customs, etc. We were asked to meet in the theatre at 8:00am. Our color was called at 8:15am. We got off, went through immigration, got our bags, went through customs and went to the taxi line - all in less than 15 minutes. Dispatchers handle the taxi lines. The line was not long and we waited for less than 5 minutes to get a cab. We told our driver we were paying by credit card. Total cost including tip was $28CAD (about $20USD). We were at the airport at the check-in desk by 9am. Because we were so early, none of the lines were long. For those returning to the US, this is the procedure at the airport: You pre-clear US customs in Vancouver so you from that point on, it's like you're on a domestic flight. There is no curbside check-in. Porters are available, but if your luggage in not on rollers, I strongly suggest you rent a cart - you'll see why you need it in a moment. You check in at your airline's ticket counter where your luggage is tagged to its final destination and then given back to you to carry through the airport. Then you are ushered through the duty free shop - there is no option to avoid it. Once out of the duty free shop, you line up to pay the YVR airport improvement fee - $10CAD or $7 USD payable in cash or by credit card. Then, on to US immigration and customs where you fill out your US Customs declaration while waiting in line to see an immigration officer. Once past immigration, you hand your customs declaration to a customs officer - most people are just sent on their way at this point but some are asked to go into an inspection room for a formal interrogation and search of their luggage. After you clear customs you go through checked-baggage security where you are subject to a random search of your luggage. At this point you put your checked baggage on the conveyor belt. Then you take your carry-on baggage through a traditional magnetometer and x-ray security checkpoint. Finally, you are free to walk to your gate. We arrived at the gate two hours before our departure. Smoking lounges are provided in the gate areas. Typical airport vendors are also available in the gate area - food, newsstand, and souvenir shop. Our inbound aircraft was 20 minutes late arriving so our flight boarded and departed about 10 minutes late. Final Thoughts Even with all the problems in Seward, I'd do this trip again in a heartbeat. The scenery is spectacular. If you've never been to Alaska or the far Pacific Northwest, you need to go! The service on Celebrity was the best of any cruise I've taken. The food was a few notches better too. Although Celebrity is still a mass market carrier, they do a lot of little things that make you feel like you're part of a first class operation: Things like a welcome glass of champagne, personal assistance at the buffet, full service casual dining during dinner hours, robes in every stateroom, real terry cloth towels in the public restrooms, padded covers and throw blankets on all deckchairs (at the T-pool the deck chairs are teak and have lumbar pillows), abundant supply of towels by the pools (unlike RCCL where they give you two pool towels in your stateroom and have none on deck), no obnoxious announcements all day long for bingo, etc. All these small things add up to a very pleasant environment on the ship. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2003
7/11/03, the day we've been waiting for has finally arrived, we go to seward, alaska to day for the beginning of our cruise southward to vancouver. imagine our dismay when we check in and are handed a letter stating we will not be ... Read More
7/11/03, the day we've been waiting for has finally arrived, we go to seward, alaska to day for the beginning of our cruise southward to vancouver. imagine our dismay when we check in and are handed a letter stating we will not be leaving tonight due to the fact that they hit a rock coming out of hubbard glacier 2 days ago and divers are now working under the ship to repair the damage. damage control was on-- there would be a open bar this evening and each cabin would receive a $300 credit to spend on board. people were fairly understanding until the next night when we still did not sail and along with the cancellation of the port of juneau, we now learned that skagway would also be cancelled. luckily the weather cooperated! it was 85 degrees and the pool area resembled a Caribbean cruise, not alaska including marimba music. the bar was opened again for an hour prior to dinner. now people were becoming anxious, would we ever get to sail. met a man in the internet cafe who was working on a letter to celebrity management, possible class-action suit? the next day was sunday, i spent a great deal of it at the wonderful thalassotherapy pool in the aqua spa area. they have wonderfully designed loungers w/lumbar pillows, plaid blankets as well as large towels, and floor to ceiling windows, but people are beginning to complain about still looking at seward harbor. apricot sours were one of the drinks of the day and quite tasty. the bars were opened to free drinks once again at 3pm, music was wonderful at the pool, weather again was Caribbean- like, and many were getting a sunburn. quite a few missed the formal dinner that night, probably due to the open bar! we heard the engines rev during dinner and sail-away began. shortly thereafter the casino opened and the ship recouped most of the open bar money very quickly! my resolution was to spend very little time there, but of course resolutions are made to be broken and the next night i got my money back, winning a $250 jackpot on a jack in the beanstalk slot machine. fun, fun! mon, 7/14 up early to walk the jogging track on 11th deck. 3 times around is 5/8 mile. quite a few hardy souls were up there. foggy and cold, now people are wishing they were back in seward. stopped by the omelet station next for a cheese omelet. very difficult to remain on my dr. adkins diet with all the wonderful food around. 10 am we finally had a lifeboat drill, proof that we truly are sailing. we are on our way to hubbard glacier today. hope the fog clears so we can see. also some apprehension lingers about striking more ice or rocks. it did clear up and the glacier was indeed impressive. it even calved for us, sounded like thunder. the sun came out and the ice wall looked blue, what a sight! green pea soup was served in bread bowls and hot chocolate abounded. guess we are in alaska after all. at 4:30 an enrichment lecture was held, rivers of ice, i learned a lot about glaciers. that night a wonderful show was held in the celebrity theater. singers, dancers, and a pair of exquisite chinese acrobats performed. tuesday 7-15. we arrived in sitka at 7 am. so foggy you could barely see it, but by 9 when we exited the ship, the sun came out again. the amount of sunshine on this trip was incredible, it was as if god was trying to make up for the hole in the ship. by this time the front page of the anchorage daily news had circulated with the story of the "rock puts hole in cruise passengers' plans" www.adn.com 7/13/03. sitka is a beautiful little town. for $7 you can buy a shuttle ticket and get on and off all day at all the highlights. we headed for the raptor center where they rehabilitate injured birds. did you know a raptor is a bird who hangs on with his claws? medical treatment is sophisticated and many are able to return to the wild after retraining and flight training in a special room. those who are unable to fly again are made into educational trainers and either kept or sent to other areas for educational purposes. we next stopped at the totem park and museum which was quite interesting and was next to a very interesting trail into the rain forest. huckleberries, salmonberries, and blueberries abounded. good bear food, i didn't stay there long! had lunch at the shee-atica lodge. had a wonderful, sandwich, soup, and sampled alaskan beer which was quite good. rack of lamb in the dining room that night was wonderful, what has happened to my diet? wed, 7-16 ketchikan: a rainy day. natives here say this is their typical weather. decided to go see if we could go for a float plane ride to the misty fiords anyway. found an opening at taquan air. our bush pilot was ernie and it truly was a pleasurable flight. magnificent scenery and a landing in a quiet lake, sometimes bear are seen here, but we did not see any. salmon were jumping right out of the water however. the two men with us got out and stood on the floats, we were not that brave. after the flight, shopping was excellent right near the pier and i outdid myself. moose shirts for my grandchildren, a ring for me, alaskan fleece vests for my daughters, and an alaskan nativity scene with a rabbit fur to display it on. my views on hunting and trapping have changed since a trappers talk on the land portion of my trip. denali national park is an excellent example of a nearly perfect ecosystem and it has stayed that way for years and years with some help from the government. 7/17/03 last day of sailing was through the inside passage. again scenery was impressive and we sighted 2 humpback whales, some porpoises, and a sea otter. had dinner tonight in the normandie restaurant. you can step back in time as the ambience is of the first 1000 ft ocean liner. tableside preparation, a menu to die for, dozens of cheeses in the cheese course, and the chef michel roux's bite-size surprise dessert made it a 2 1/2 hour gastronomic experience. dr atkin's: see you on monday. all in all, despite the sad beginning, it was the experience of a lifetime. as i sit here playing a hobo jim cd and remembering sights, sounds, and quiet wildness, i know i want to go back! 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Sail Date: July 2003
Just returned from a 7 night cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver on the Summit. all i can say is "wow!". we were part of a large family gathering (18 people) ranging in age from 18 months to 85 years. i had some trepidation about ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver on the Summit. all i can say is "wow!". we were part of a large family gathering (18 people) ranging in age from 18 months to 85 years. i had some trepidation about taking our kids (including the baby) on this line, as i feared it might not be as "family friendly" as the other lines would be. i have cruised on carnival and rccl in the past and considered both a very good experience. when we first boarded the ship, we did the traditional "walk around" to explore. the first thing we noticed was the signs at the pools and on the playgrounds stating that no children in diapers (even swim diapers) were allowed in any of these areas. in my mind i was gearing up for a long week. however, from that point everything got surprisingly better. the itinerary was great, but what really surprised me was the service and attitude of the entire crew on board this ship. they were fantastic. from the housekeeper to the waiter even to the wine steward, everyone on board went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. our older kids found plenty to keep them happily occupied. my wife and i were treated like royalty. the shows were top caliber and family friendly (we found the carnival shows to be a bit risque for our kids to view). one night featured a comedian that had the audience roaring (and not a bit of profanity was used! - hadn't seen that in a while). the food was consistently excellent and served in a prompt and attractive fashion. even the children's menu changed nightly. we ate at the normandie one night (without the kids) and found that to be a delightful evening. we utilized in room baby sitting three evenings - that was both affordable and of high quality. in comparison to previous cruises, we found this ship to be very classy - not cutesy and not stuffy. we didn't find our bath towels folded into animal shapes when we returned to our rooms, and the waiters didn't perform card tricks tableside. however, we never got the raised eyebrow look of "why would you bring a child on board" either. i've always seen disney as being held up as the standard for excellent attention to customer service. i think celebrity should be added to the short list for other companies to model as well. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2003
Celebrity Cruises has once again surpassed our expectations and provided us with another valued memorable vacation experience. Firstly Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades is a pleasant port to embark from. Clean, organized and easy to ... Read More
Celebrity Cruises has once again surpassed our expectations and provided us with another valued memorable vacation experience. Firstly Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades is a pleasant port to embark from. Clean, organized and easy to navigate. We arrived early, were immediately received and guided across the gang plank with awaiting sincere smiles and cool Mimosa's. We were instantly impressed with the GTS Summit. A beautiful expansive ship that glistened from stern to bow offering the best, most friendly service at sea. The Aquaspa was a gorgeous, seriously relaxing, esoteric music laden haven ! A work of art itself. Never too crowded and with much to be enjoyed without paying additional fee's. The steam and dry sauna's were great, the Thallassotherapy Pool was quite large, beautiful and relaxing but didn't have quite the "oomph" compared to the "T" pool on Century. The Aquaspa cafe was a delightful find and comes highly recommended. The pool deck again was beautiful and somehow appeared even more beautiful as the sun drew to dusk across the aqua designer pool lighting. The Conservatory was very attractive and offered unusual floral gifts. The Celebrity Theatre was impressive, posh and offered open views from 3 levels. The Cosmopolitan Restaurant was everything and more of what you would expect from Celebrity's culinary excellence and the string ensemble offered yet another star to an already 5 star nightly dining experience. Our waiter and his asst., Cengiz Bengal & Hrvoje, never faltered even once. They were wonderful and even the Maitre'D staff were warm & friendly, insightful and helpful and even deserved their tip "which I have found quite rare are previous trips regarding asst. Maitre'D's....The gem on this ship is the speciality restaurant "Normandy" and is worth twice the 25.00pp surcharge. It was a beautifully orchestrated meal from start to finally finishing offering a historically correct 1st class setting, timeless classical offerings and superb service !! We had breakfast in the dining room and also at the Waterfall cafe sitting outside enjoying the warm morning air and found both to be wonderful experiences. Lunch was again great and we especially enjoyed the pasta station towards the rear of the cafe. The themed lunches were outstanding ! Our room was well appointed and the bed was much, much more comfortable than other cruise lines and even Century's. Maybe it was the mattress cover, regardless it was very nice. Our balcony was a bit smaller than we had hoped for but was adequate and enjoyed. I have the opinion all balcony's should accommodate 2 lounge chairs. The jogging track was great stretching out over a large portion of the upper deck. Lots of open equipment in the gym and their fitness instructor "Mirela" was another daily highlight ! The talent aboard this ship was truly amazing. All the musicians, especially the Mozart quartet and the Orchestra were just wonderful. The party band was good, quite good but not quite as good as a previous party band on Celebrity called Calypso aboard Century last year. Summits singers and dancers always amazed us and put on elaborate, very enjoyable shows. An acupella foursome called the Coverdales from Indy might someday soon become a national act. Reka & Farkass performed a most sensual, beautiful aerial ballet. A very talented illusionist that successfully combined comedy into his performance was great. But.... with all that in mind there was one true standout. The Cruise Director, Simon Weir, was absolutely sensational. By leaps and bounds the best C.D. on the ocean. He ooozed charisma and could in my opinion put Leno or Letterman out of a job. This guy was honestly worth the trip all by himself. The 10 night itinerary was again extremely enjoyed. Arriving almost always early and offering ample time to enjoy each place. St. Lucia was beautiful and looked more like a South Pacific paradise. Though poor, the locals were very warm and welcoming. We met up with a cab driver with quite a personality that took us over every mile of this small island. Stopping at some friend of his remote grill to get us casava pone cakes fresh from the griddle, they were wonderful. St. Kitts was again a beautiful place, with black sand lava beaches and friendly atmospheres. St. Maarteen is always enjoyed and Barbados is a place we want to return to as 1 day just isn't enough. St. Thomas is another place we love but the cab drivers there stink. They are rude, pesky, and have no regard nor respect for visitors. I would opt for an NYC cab driver wearing a turban anyday. The tourism dept. at St. Thomas might consider addressing this, again in my opinion. We opted walking to the shopping dist. about 3/4 mile, all sidewalk and catching a cab from there to Megans Bay instead of being herded into the cattle trucks that pull up to the port. The Celebrity staff didn't like them any better than myself and told me so. The Summit staff was a daily welcome, greeting us and offering assistance at every venue. We always enjoyed the islands but we more enjoyed returning to the ship. Sea days are filled with well planned activities. The Summit operated like rolex clockwork with all the gems ! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2003
SUMMIT - 10 night Caribbean - October 10-20, 2003 Embarkation: We (Captain's Club Elite members) were ushered right on to the ship. Regular boarding started at 11:30. By 12:30 we had unpacked our carry-on baggage and headed off to ... Read More
SUMMIT - 10 night Caribbean - October 10-20, 2003 Embarkation: We (Captain's Club Elite members) were ushered right on to the ship. Regular boarding started at 11:30. By 12:30 we had unpacked our carry-on baggage and headed off to the welcome aboard lunch. Our luggage was delivered at 4 just as we headed off to the lifeboat drill. Elite Captains Club: Priority embarkation and disembarkation was great. Received vase with 2 red roses and a small box of Cova chocolates as a welcome aboard gift. We received an invitation to Elegant Tea in the Normandy, which was wonderful, special on-board coupons for Fortunes Casino and The Aqua Spa, an invitation to Wine Tasting, a special Captain's Club cocktail party and a behind-the-scenes theatre tour invitation. Cabin: Our inside category 10 cabin, 3057, was perfect. My husband thought it would be difficult going back to an inside cabin after 3 cruises with a balcony but it was not a problem at all. The location was perfect, making negotiating the ship a breeze. The night light and umbrella were nice touches. While the hairdryer is still a little on the hot side for prolonged use, there was an improvement over the other ships we have been on. Dining: Cosmopolitan Restaurant: We had breakfast there every day, lunch twice and dinner 9 out of 10 nights. The service throughout was excellent and the quality of the food was reminiscent of the Celebrity of old. I had beef every night and the only minor disappointment was the N.Y. steak. My husband tried a great variety (veal, lamb, seafood, pork) and was pleased with every meal. The French Potato Pie, our absolute favorite, was wonderful but we found many of the lunch offerings a little on the exotic side for our taste. A nice improvement over recent trips was how amenable the staff were to requests for a table for two. Our table, 413, was a table for four set up for two which was wonderful. It was tucked away in the back corner out of the hustle and bustle but still allowing us a great view of the staircase. An ideal location. Waterfall Cafe: We ate there a few times but, with the exception of the Oriental Buffet, baked potatoes and fresh pasta, we found the food to be just warm. This problem is not just a Celebrity issue which is the reason we normally avoid buffets. The selection on the Oriental Buffet was wonderful. We found the Afternoon Tea selections to be much nicer than previous experience; they had more "normal" fare. The Chocolate Lovers midnight buffet was disappointing; the location doesn't make it appealing for photo opportunities and the selection made it just another excuse to eat. Waterfall Grill: We had lunch here most days and found the hamburgers, hotdogs and french fries appealing. The pizza was never hot, sometimes barely warm. Normandie Restaurant: Very enjoyable experience, excellent food and service and the dEcor is beautiful. We did not get the same feeling as our very first visit to the S.S. United States on the Infinity but will definitely book again for our next trip. Staff: Cruise Director Simon Weir was fantastic; charming, full of energy and a very visible presence at all the functions. It's no wonder he keeps so trim; running from one function to another. His "Old Macdonald" song had us rolling in the seats with tears streaming from our eyes. He was far better than the "professional" comedian and this was a "do not miss" event. Anne Lepki, Manager, Captain's Club and Cruise Sales was a delightful young lady and treated everyone like special guests. Noel Grzetic, Social Hostess, was absolutely delightful and a credit to Canada. Our cabin stewards, Albano and Sison, were excellent; invisible. Bartolome Funez, a cabin steward in our section, started every day for us on a positive note with his enthusiasm and sweetness. He really set the tone for the entire trip. Czajka Wlodzimierz, Poland, our Ass't. Maitre'd, was charming and attentive. Sylvanus and Bandarsak were wonderful in the dining room. Every single officer, staff and crew member were first class. Entertainment: Production Shows: The Magic of Broadway - skipped this, not our type of music A Night of Stars - excellent, familiar tunes Classique - La Danza - very good, especially Phantom of the Opera selections Encore - pretty good Miscellaneous: Welcome Aboard Show - great Farewell Variety Showtime (pre dinner)- skipped it Gossamer Magic - thought they were terrible Reka & Farkas, Aerialists - excellent Joe Mulligan, Comedian - thought he was terrible David Meyer (pre dinner) - not our taste Mozart Duo - Rendez-vous Lounge - music great, accents too strong for singing Nina Brooks - Cova/Cosmopolitan - excellent Mark Livingood, guitarist - pretty good Dan Loranger, pianist , Michael's Club - never went Celebrity Orchestra - excellent Celebrity Singers/Dancers - excellent Party Bands - Five 4U and Voltz - pretty good Ports of Call: St. Maarten: Ship was cleared at 8:20. The pier area is lovely, taxi prices are posted and the waiting areas are shaded and well marked. There were 8 of us going to Orient Beach so the cost was $5. p.p. The cost for 2 chaise lounges with umbrella was $15. We were swimming by 9 and left the beach at 12. There is lots of seaweed on the beach and unless you have a particular desire to see Orient Beach I would suggest you just swim right in Philipsburg. When we returned to the ship we were greeted with "frosty towels" which are actually very cold facecloths and a very nice, welcome touch. After lunch on board we took a water taxi ($5. each all day) to Philipsburg for a little shopping. There was a bad fire here two weeks ago and you can still smell the smoke in the town. Also, there is lots of renovations going on both to businesses and the beach. This is really going to be beautiful when it's all done. The price for a beer or bottled water on the pier was $1. but sodas were $1.50! Weather was perfect. St. Lucia: Arrived at 8; ship cleared at 9:05. The pier area is beautiful with lots of gorgeous tropical flowers. Sitting on deck you could listen to the birds and roosters and watch the planes at the airport. We had a torrential downpour which lasted for about an hour; otherwise, the weather was beautiful. The lovely shopping area was right where the Summit was docked so there were no transportation costs involved. Barbados: Ordered a bouquet of tropical flowers, complete with bamboo vase, for $15. at the Exotic Blooms cart in the port terminal. Arranged to pick it up when we returned to the ship in the afternoon. We had planned to go to Sam Lord's Castle but apparently due to mismanagement they are now out of business and no taxi would go there. We ended up taking a 20 minute taxi ride ($20.) to the Bougainvillea Beach Resort where we paid $15 for two day passes. There was a large washroom to change in and there was ample shade around the pool and on the beach. We paid $3. for 2 small plastic cups of Diet Coke from the hotel restaurant which tasted terrible. A guest suggested buying our beverages/snacks just 2 minutes down the road in a little variety store where we got 2-16 oz. bottles of Diet Coke and 2 bags of chips for $3. They also sold sandwiches which the local construction workers were buying. Maxwell Beach, where the hotel is located, was lovely and the water perfect. We found the beaches in Barbados superior to Orient Beach which was covered in seaweed. We had arranged for the same taxi driver to pick us up at 2 and he arrived as arranged. Weather was perfect. St. Kitts: A 3 hour taxi tour around the island and to view Frigate Peninsula cost $70. This cost would have been the same for 4. We visited Romney Gardens and Caribelle Batik where fine island cotton is hand painted. The grounds were beautiful and the prices very reasonable. We visited Brimstone Hill and the view was well worth the $5. per person admission; breathtaking. Black Rocks was impressive as was Frigate Bay Peninsula. The windward beach at North Frigate Bay is battered by the Atlantic surf. On the leeward side, the beach is met by the calm Caribbean waters of Frigate Bay. Taxi tour prices are set but I would not recommend our driver, Kenneth Burnham, as he tried frequently to get us to change our route/price when we came out of Caribelle Batik. When we wouldn't budge he lost all interest in being a guide and drove so fast we had to be very firm in telling him to stop for pictures. He finally said he would take us to view Frigate Peninsula without additional charge, we could just give him something if we wanted. As this detour only took an additional fifteen minutes I added $10. to the $60. quoted price. To be fair we did not hear any other comments on this subject so assume we just got a bad apple. We had the driver drop us at Independence Square and from there we walked to The Circus and back to the ship. The sunset was beautiful and numerous passengers agreed with us that St. Kitts reminded them of Hawaii. It is a truly awesome, naturally beautiful island and I am so glad Celebrity has it on their itinerary. The weather was perfect. We had wanted to visit Turtle Beach to see the monkeys which would be an additional $40. We decided to do that excursion next trip and were glad we didn't go when other passengers told us there were no monkeys on the beach as a result of a dog attack on the monkeys last week which had scared them off. St. Thomas: We caught the 8:40 shuttle ($3. each) into Charlotte Amalie and easily made the 9:00 ferry ($7. each) to St. John. It is a 45 minute trip and very scenic. We paid $45. for a tour of the island from 9:50 - 11:15 and, included in the cost, our driver dropped us back at Hawksnest Bay at 11:30 and picked us up, as agreed, an hour later. We saw some lovely sights but think you see the nicest parts of St. John on the $4. jitney ride to Trunk Bay. For a change we went to Hawksnest Bay. Although there were no facilities, with the exception of picnic tables covered with a roof, the beach was amazing and the water was incredible. We caught the 1:15 ferry back to Charlotte Amalie. The "frosty towels" were a wonderful touch and much appreciated. Weather was perfect. Observations: - We loved the really whimsical artwork; especially the glass seagull wall outside the Waterfall Cafe and "homeless" person on the pool deck. This is a job I would gladly apply for! - The water temperature in the Caribbean and, as a result, the outdoor pools, was fantastic. I don't ever remember the Caribbean being this warm and I normally find the outdoor pools too cold so it was just perfect. - Le Grand Buffet was incredible; the ice sculptures ever more magnificent than normal. - For the first time ever, every "flame" in the Celebrity Theatre was working - There were only 30 kids onboard and whenever we did see them they seemed very happy with their activities and we found the children's activities staff to be very friendly and enthusiastic. Disembarkation: We (Captain's Club Elite members) had our own departure lounge (Gamma meeting room) complete with coffee, juice and pastries. We went to the lounge at 8:30 and Anne Lepki, Manager, Captain's Club and Cruise Sales personally came and escorted each colour group as they were called. We had blue, air arrangements, and we left the ship at 9:25. We had no problem locating our three pieces of luggage and finding a porter. Air Arrangements: Fantastic. Flew American Airlines, no line-ups, no problems with customs or immigration. There was confusion at Miami Airport where we were told our luggage was on carousel #27, then #24, then, finally #23 but this had no reflection on Celebrity. We went directly to the bus and ten minutes later we were on our way for a forty minute drive to the port. On the return we waited on the bus for approximately 20 minutes then headed for Miami International Airport. By 11:47 we were at the boarding gate. There were long line-ups at Pearson International for customs clearance but it was well organized and the lines moved quickly. One note: The ship's departure was delayed due to mechanical problems with one of the airlines. If they hadn't booked through Celebrity the passengers would have been S.O.L. They say nothing is perfect so I've listed some minor Negatives to pacify those who truly believe this: - We could faintly smell the smoke from next cabin in bathroom only. - Immigration in St. Thomas was a bit disorganized but the Celebrity staff tried to rectify the stampede by checking the times on your "invitation". Lots of people for 7:15 showed up early hoping to get through quickly. When they called the 6:45 group it was bedlam until an announcement was made saying only 6:45 guests were to be in line. Once people saw that Celebrity staff were actually checking the documentation they sat and things settled down. - Tiles around pool are in very bad shape, many missing, more falling off daily. - I much prefer the "old" pillow chocolates, much superior to the new brand. - Lots of bare walls in the Waterfall Cafe; lacks the interesting artwork in the Infinity cafe. but, overall, we preferred the artwork of the Summit - Crew painting/using power wash on windy days at sea when guests were on deck. We had such a wonderful time we've booked the same ship, same itinerary for March and October 2004! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2003
It is so true when the commercial says, Celebrity is "SIMPLY THE BEST". The Summit is a beautiful lady of the seas and was a pleasure to be aboard her. She has more outside staterooms than many of the other ships that sail in ... Read More
It is so true when the commercial says, Celebrity is "SIMPLY THE BEST". The Summit is a beautiful lady of the seas and was a pleasure to be aboard her. She has more outside staterooms than many of the other ships that sail in the Caribbean. They are tastefully done and offer ample room. Although somewhat limited in drawer space is made up with more ample room to maneuver. We had an outside cat 2B with a veranda which was much larger than Princess. There was room for two chairs, small table, and a lounge chair. Her size is an well-engineered marvel, easy to get around and with public rooms that are not flashy but easy on the senses. In particular, her outside elevator makes for such pleasant rides between her floors. The pool and recreation areas are classy and fun areas. There were so many quiet areas to retreat, you never felt crowded nor confined sharing the ship with nearly 2000 guests and 300+ crew. The best feature I believe where simple touches of class. Crew in white gloves greeted you upon embarkation at the gangway to escort you to the stateroom. Cold towels awaited you at the gangway upon returning from a hot busy day ashore. Little things that set this cruise line apart form cheaper glitzy ships. My only dinning complaint was that the food in the main dinning room needs more variety. However, the quantity and the quality were more than adequate. There was everything from prime rib and filet mignon to lobster and escargot. Desserts knocked the buckle off your belt. The Normandie was a pay ($25/person) but was well worth it. You are attended to by at least 5 people and it is a 2-hour dining experience you would pay hundreds in a land based gourmet restaurant. The dEcor and other touches brought your sense back to the golden areas and you can almost close your eyes and go back in time. The other weakness was the cost of bar items, which ranged from $10 martinis to $4 beers. The spa prices were very high and we were not pleased with the treatments. The art work is somewhat weird but it made for some interesting dinner conversation. Free ice cream was included. Don't miss sherbet on parade severed by the waiters on the pool deck on the first or second sea day. It was a double wow! Pool was crowded at times but the pool attendants made sure it was clean and chairs that were un-used were cleaned. I tried to move a chair myself and was promptly told by an attendant that it was their job. They were so very helpful. The buffet lines were great and the pizza was terrific. Our itinerary brought us to Barbados, St Maarten, St Lucia, St Kitts, and St Thomas. All are jewels of the Caribbean. Our favorite excursions were the 5 Star Cat and Turtle Encounter in Barbados and the Pirates Extravaganza in St Lucia. Entertainment was so well done and professional. Simon Weir, the cruise director, was always about and was tops! It is an experience well worth the price. Please, Celebrity, keep doing what you do best! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2003
This was our first cruise with Celebrity, our only previous experience being with Royal Caribbean and river cruises in Europe. Overall we have had the best time on this cruise and rate it excellent overall. Celebrity Connections: We joined ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity, our only previous experience being with Royal Caribbean and river cruises in Europe. Overall we have had the best time on this cruise and rate it excellent overall. Celebrity Connections: We joined this group and it really enhanced our planning for the cruise and built up a sense of excitement. There were around 50 of us. Some of us met pre-cruise at the Hyatt Fort Lauderdale - expensive drinks but a great view. We also arranged to meet at the mast bar on the ship at 3-00 on embarkation day. Celebrity threw our party in Michael's Bar on day 3 - good pastries and Coffee. It was a nice occasion we had photos taken and got to know each other a little better. It was great to have a core group of people on the ship we already knew and we met up at other events, for drinks etc. during the cruise. Seventeen of our group booked a boat through Leisure yachts in St Lucia - Captain Fred. Well worth doing an excellent day - you'll find contact details on the boards. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11-00am. It was a little confusing to know what to do with the luggage but once we figured that out we walked straight on completing the necessary security procedures. We were on the ship around 11-30. We were greeted on board with Champagne, a very nice touch, and went straight to out stateroom 6136 which was ready for us. We were greeted by our fabulous stateroom team John and Tomas. They were very welcoming and made sure we has everything we needed both then and throughout the cruise. They couldn't be faulted. John gave us his pager number so we could always contact him. Tomas always seemed to be in the area if we needed something. Lunch was available at the Waterfall Cafe. We are not too keen on buffet food generally, however this was excellent quality and selection. Stateroom: It was spotless, lots of storage space, super verandah with 2 loungers and small table and chairs. Lots of space under the bed for our luggage. Much better than we expected. Dining: We usually prefer to eat in the restaurant for most meals. At Dinner (main seating) our team of Sasha, Vladimir and Jose were professional and catered for our every need. The menus provided something for everyone and we thought the standard of food and presentation was very high. We had dinner partners of different nationalities with a variety of tastes, and all were more than satisfied. Open seating breakfast and lunch provided a good choice and opportunity to meet others on the ship. Thanks to all those who provided sparkling conversation at table. We used room service for early morning tea / coffee and also for a snack on return to the ship. Always on time and well presented. We went to the Normandie and had an excellent time. The food service and wines were excellent and the staff love to assist you so let them! We both had Goats cheese souffle, chateaubriand, and then a selection of excellent cheeses followed by dessert (crepes suzette and Chef's surprise). We took the recommended wine for each course - pleased that this could be purchased by the glass. We had Pasta at the Waterfall Cafe - we enjoyed it very much. The sauces were made whilst you waited. Don't miss the aqua spa cafe for a light lunch - again quality excellent. The Grand Buffet on the last formal night should not be missed - It was a fantastic demonstration of culinary skills. Dress Code: It was made clear in the programme each day what was expected for the whole ship that night. The vast majority of passengers complied with the dress code with Tuxedos much in evidence. Everyone looked very smart and this added to the sensational atmosphere on the ship on those nights. It just made it so special. Drinks: All the drinks on the ship are well made and presented. Special mention though to the Martini Bar - those Olives with Blue cheese are sensational, and we heard very good reports of the Chocolate Martini. A great location for a pre-dinner cocktail. As everywhere service is excellent. Entertainment: Simon Weir is a sensation. He is so funny, and is always around the ship and available to passengers. He has established a great variety of entertainment from variety shows to classical concerts. Something for everyone and a really refreshing mix. Don't miss his wake up TV show talking through the programme for the day ahead and reviewing some of the highlights from the night before! Michael's Bar had been brought alive on this cruise by the arrival of Perry Grant. Wonderful piano and singing along with a sharp sense of humour. He soon had the audience eating out of his hand and attracted a regular following filling the Bar. Pity he has a contract with Raddisson coming up, but this seems to be the right tone of entertainment for this venue. All of the shows we went to were professional and enjoyable. Of course not everything is to everyone's taste but there are always lots of alternatives, dancing, quizzes, games, cinema. In the day there were lots of activities dancing classes were a particular favourite and lots of fun. Also the morning walkathon followed by sit and stretch with Tyler were a good start to the day. Hard to find the sports deck for this but worth it. Ship Decor: Beautiful all through the ship. We thought we would miss the huge Atrium but didn't. There are lots of intimate spaces around the ship and it never felt crowded. Really enjoyed the artwork around the ship. cova cafe a beautiful area with lovely music in the evenings, a contrast to the big production shows. The aqua spa area and pool areas were kept really clean - there seems to be a problem with some of the little mosaic tiles but I'm sure they will resolve it. I was glad to see the on-going cleaning and maintenance of the ship throughout the cruise maintaining high standards. Persian Garden is a gem - a little expensive but very relaxing especially on sea days when other areas become busier. Ports: Our favourite was Barbados, however we got off at all of the ports and enjoyed ourselves at each. An excellent balance of ports and sea days. It was really nice to get our frosty towel when we returned to the ship. Overall The no announcement policy is excellent and helps create a relaxing atmosphere. We particularly noticed a difference in not pushing drinks and photos which was a little too much on Royal Caribbean. The overall experience is stylish and passengers joined in to make occasions really memorable. The Celebrity team certainly surpassed our expectations. We have already booked same ship for next year! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2003
This was our 2nd Summit sailing, and it was just as wonderful as the first. Embarkation was painless with no wait. We arrived about Noon and were welcomed with champagne, we were not shown our rooms which was a first for us, but that was ... Read More
This was our 2nd Summit sailing, and it was just as wonderful as the first. Embarkation was painless with no wait. We arrived about Noon and were welcomed with champagne, we were not shown our rooms which was a first for us, but that was fine since we had been on Summit before and knew the layout. After much thought we had booked a Celebrity Suite, which has no veranda but has floor to ceiling windows in the living room, a dining area, a private bedroom, with vanity/dressing area and a bathroom with jacuzzi tub, and double sinks. The suite was marvelous, even without a veranda we were very happy and will book these suites anytime we cruise this class of ships with Celebrity. Our butler Kenneth did a wonderful job of pampering us and we couldn't have been more pleased with him or Ramon our Cabin Steward. The food was better in the main dining room than on Millennium last year and it was good then, just better now that they appear to be cooking beef as ordered rather than all medium to medium well. This was the first time we had a waitress rather than waiter and she was fantastic. Mildred made us all feel very special. We went to the Normandie twice and were so pleased to see it is still excellent. The Chateaubriand and Chocolate Souffle were to die for and the Gourmet Bites were wonderful too. On the second night I had the lamb and it was prepared perfectly. We recognized the Maitre d' from the Olympic on Millie in 2002 and he remembered us too (at least he said he did...who knows??), anyway he gave us the same table both nights which was in the corner where we could observe everything going on in the Restaurant all evening. It was great! The entertainment was good. The big shows were typical, but enjoyable. The comedian was surprisingly good, magician was OK, aerialists good but not as good as our first Summit cruise. The piano player, Perry King at Michael's Club had the place packed every night, we spent many late evenings there sipping Spanish Coffee and enjoyed his performances. Since I broke my arm halfway through the cruise our shore excursions were rather limited so I won't go into Ports except to say that sailing around the Islands was wonderful especially early in the mornings. St. Lucia is beautiful and I loved Barbados, will definitely go back there someday. Unfortunately I did not get to the Cruise Critic Party because it was held at a time that I already had an appointment booked with the spa and it was too late to cancel when I got the notice about the party. I was disappointed that my notice came so late. Other than that the cruise was wonderful! Debarkation was a breeze. We went to Michael's Club at 8:30, were called to leave by 8:40 and were off the ship by 8:45. Looking for another ship right now for next year's cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2003
I have been cruise-wary for a long time due to extreme seasickness fears, but after 10 days on the Summit, armed with the patch and dramamine, I can safely say - overcome your fears and go on this ship! I had no how heavenly a vacation ... Read More
I have been cruise-wary for a long time due to extreme seasickness fears, but after 10 days on the Summit, armed with the patch and dramamine, I can safely say - overcome your fears and go on this ship! I had no how heavenly a vacation could be. When I got on the ship and felt the slight rocking, I popped on the patch immediately and despite rough seas the first two days, I never got sick. It was a bit challenging walking down those narrow hallways, but after two days I had found my sea legs and started really enjoying the life on board. If you are prone to seasickness, don't leave home without the patch. You will need it. Now for the cruise itself. The only negative experience I had with Celebrity was the pre-cruise communication. They never answered my e-mails and gave me faulty info time and time again. Once on the cruise, however, all the negatives melted away. First, the Summit is magnificent. from the moment you walk on board after a painlessly fast embarkation process that was so well organized, a white-gloved porter greets you and walks you through the glittery casino area to glass elevators that whisk you to your stateroom's deck. A few steps later I entered my small but very adequate room, done in lovely detail, clean as a whistle, and amazingly comfortable for being so tight. There was ample storage areas, the bathroom was large enough to turn around in and the shower was very decent. But the best was the balcony. My stateroom attendant Rodel was only too pleased to bring down a padded deck chair for our comfort, making the verandah a true heavenly spot to rest throughout the cruise. There were fresh flowers, champagne on ice, fruit (all amenities of Celebrity's concierge class rooms), and plenty of information about the ship, the ports, etc. On the television were several channels dedicated to the cruise and a few other channels including CNN. There wasn't much to watch, but who wanted to lay in bed watching TV? We unpacked, a bit of a challenge in the cramped closet area, and then took a tour of the boat. The public areas were immaculately clean, impeccably decorated, comfortable, with views of the ocean. There were so many places to relax - poolside, on various decks, in the many lounges - it seemed that every nook and cranny had a couch and an easy chair for our comfort. The pool area was large, and included two small pools and four jacuzzi's - not very hot, however. There were plenty of deck chairs, but throughout the cruise, if you weren't there first thing in the morning, finding a free deck chair was next to impossible. People were reserving them, and on sea days, there were 2000 people scrambling for a third as many chairs. But that is where my balcony came to good use. I always had my own private chair and my own private view. The pools and jacuzzi's were never that crowded. The Aqua spa, with its Thalosotherapy pool, jacuzzis and outstanding state-of-the-art fitness center is better than any land-based equivalent, plus you get those amazing views. Even though there were never any free deck chairs, it was easy to find solace in the warm waters of the mineral water pool or the two additional jacuzzis, and the steam room and sauna always were empty. The spa offered many treatments that were out of my range financially, but the pool and fitness area and many classes were free of charge. Dining offered many choices. The main dining room offered sit-down breakfast and lunch, open seating, and an assigned seating dinner. The deck 10 casual restaurant offered buffet breakfast, then continental breakfast, then a theme-based lunch that was always outstanding, afternoon tea (I discovered this late in the cruise, probably a good thing since it was so delicious), and then in the evening, a casual sit-down dinner by reservation if you didn't want to dine in the main dining room. There was also a sushi bar open from 6-10 every night (fabulous) and pizza. At the pool there was a burger and hot dog grill with great french fries, and the ice cream bar was open daily from 10-6. The main dining room was very beautiful, but a bit stuffy for us. We ate there 6 times, opting for casual dining three times, and once in the Normandie, a very upscale dining option that charged $25 extra but was well worth the price for the extravagant meal. The main dining room's dinner menu always included appetizers, soups, salad (boring choices every night and tiny servings), a main course and dessert. The food was very good, on the upscale side, small portions of gourmet cuisine, but always enough. The dinner took 2 hours each night and got to be boring. The service seemed better for the other diners than for the two of us, but it was very good nevertheless. We just didn't always want to spend two hours dining when there were so many other things to do. Concierge class allowed us to order the main dining room menu delivered to our stateroom, which we did once and it was great. We would have liked more options for casual dining at dinner. The casual restaurant upstairs was very nice, but had the exact same menu every night, which after three visits, got very boring. A dinner buffet would have been a welcome addition, but that is a minor complaint. They had two midnight buffets. One at the pool, lovely, a fruit and dessert buffet, then the next night, the grand buffet in the main dining room. That was a let-down because of the poor organization. Which is a shocker on a boat where everything seemed well organized. First, they opened at 11:45pm for pictures with the ice sculptures (they took every opportunity possible for pictures at every event. Made me think they must be making a fortune in photos since they seemed so important), then the buffet opened at 12:15 for dinner. The line went half way down the ship and took an hour to get to the food. It moved unbelievably slowly and they only had two lines open for 2000 people. The food itself was fine, but an hour after dinner, I wasn't really hungry. The entertainment was very good. There was an excellent company of singers and dancers that did four great shows, a very funny magic act one night, a not so funny comedian, a musician who played the bells, a puppet act, and a variety show. We went every night to the shows and found them entertaining. The best part of the entertainment was Simon Weir, the cruise director. He was absolutely oustanding in every way. We visited five ports. Although Celebrity offered many excursions, we went on our own. In each port we went downtown, found an internet cafe and did our internet business. The ship charged an outrageous $.75 per minute to use the onboard internet service - fine for an emergency, but pricey for regular usage. I am sure if it was cheaper, many more people would utilize the service, but the onboard internet cafe was always empty. The port cities, with the exception of St. Thomas, were dirty, awful places. I am sure Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and St. Maarten have very beautiful places on the island, but the port cities were not among them. We usually spent an hour checking out the town and then returned to our oasis, the Summit. We never really wanted to leave anyway. St. Thomas was much cleaner, and we took a cab over to Magen's Bay. A lovely beach, one of the world's ten best, but very very crowded. On St. Maarten, we were advised to go to the French side which was supposedly nicer, but we found it to be as dirty and uninteresting as the Dutch port of Phillipsburg. Don't waste your time or money. We visited the casino quite a few times. I won $300! It was a very nice, large and enjoyable casino that was a great place to lose or win money and spend time at night. By the time the cruise was coming to a close, I didn't know how I would ever exist off the Summit. I had become intoxicated with its amenities, service and the depth of relaxation I experienced. I felt cleansed by the end, truly relaxed and ready to face life once again. I just didn't want to get off and felt so sad when it was over. The disembarkation was as smooth and easy as getting on, and as quickly as it began, it was over. I can't recommend the Summit highly enough. It is an absolutely perfect experience for anyone seeking relaxation and enjoyment. It is not for party-seekers, as it is not a party boat, but there were many mixed ages on the boat, just not many families with children. It is not a boat for families, or singles, or party goers. The value you get for what you pay is amazing. I don't know how they do it. Go for a cruise on the Summit, believe me, you will never forget it. Feel free to e-mail me for more info. Mikestage@aol.com Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
This was my second cruise on major ocean liner overcall (Carnival Conquest in Dec. 2002). EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at about 10:20am with two other couples staying in the same hotel. Apparently, we were too early, as people ... Read More
This was my second cruise on major ocean liner overcall (Carnival Conquest in Dec. 2002). EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at about 10:20am with two other couples staying in the same hotel. Apparently, we were too early, as people from last ship still dominated the luggage pick up/drop off area. At 11:10am, the boarding process started for Captain's Club members and guests with suite. We were the first group after that, and the whole process was very smooth. Since we did the online documentation at home, it took us less than a minute. At 11:45am, I had my welcome champagne onboard. THE SHIP: Summit was launched in 2001, and it is in an excellent shape now. Throughout our cruise, we could see the strong effort to keep the ship in its top form. At St. Kitts, we noted that the anchor was a bit rusty when leaving the ship. And, when we returned, they have painted it! Overall, it is a beautiful ship. THE CABIN: We had a standard balcony cabin at Penthouse Deck. The cabin is nice with plenty of storage. The bathroom is impressively organized, functional with neat layout. We liked the shower unit, spacious with heavier curtain which won't stick on you. The veranda was large enough for us to sit with a small table to hold coffee or drinks between us. FOOD: Our top interest of a cruise was not the food. However, we did have a high expectation onboard Summit because we heard a lot of positive comments about the food on Celebrity. And, we were not disappointed. When talking to other people, seems everybody agreed that the food on Celebrity is at the top of major cruise lines. I just list a few examples which I appreciated very much: 1. The delivery of breakfast to our cabin. People complained that the food arrived with a sudden knock on the door on other lines. With Celebrity, a phone call was made to the cabin informing breakfast was on the way. It was a nice touch and avoided the awkwardness of a surprise. 2. Wonderful fresh pastries every morning in the Cova Cafe Milano. Actually, we found the bakery on Summit was excellent. 3. Low Cal, Low Fat spa lunches in the Spa Cafe. They were well prepared with great taste and view. Everybody needs some light food sooner or later during the cruise. 4. The sushi bar at Deck 10 every evening. Since we were at first seating, sometime I had a few sushi after show. 5. The specialty restaurant, Normandie. The food in the main restaurant-Cosmopolitan was generally very good. The Normandie was outstanding with many extras. I love the rack of lamb and Michel Roux's sample dessert so much, the best I have ever had. 6. La Grand Buffet (midnight). We enjoyed watching, and photographing more than eating because not much room left. Downside: those meat dishes (steak etc.) in Cosmopolitan were not very good, though we had never complained it to our waiter. We ordered seafood, duck etc. later and liked them. The lobster at the final formal night was not impressive. When we had many other choices, we are ok with that. Another criticism: the Chinese food buffet on Dec. 20 (at sea) was so-so. Maybe because we are Chinese, and Chinese food won't be at their best when serving in a buffet style. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to almost all the evening shows, and we liked them. We heard many people comparing the show on Celebrity with those on Carnival. And, some people like Carnival the better. Comparing to Carnival Conquest we took last year, I would say both of them were excellent, with somewhat different style. For production show, Conquest was more like a Vegas show, while Summit was close to Broadway. Summit's magic show was better than Conquest's. IMO, the cruise director on Conquest was much better than the cruise director, Simon, on Summit. We appreciated great sense of humor (verbally) more than those funny gesture and body language. FITNESS: We did our regular exercise in the ocean-view gym every morning of sea day. There are so many equipment including treadmills, bikes, step units, rowers, free weights, and sequenced pieces of equipment for lower-to-upper body development. You need sign-up for the use of treadmill. In the famous AquaSpa resort, our favorite was thalassotherapy pool under a dome. We use it everyday at about 10pm, when usually no more than five persons were there. We spent little time in the main pool area. Maybe because of this time of the year (before Christmas) and the length of the cruise (10 nights), we did not see many kids there. SERVICE: At mid-thirties, among the younger group of fellow cruisers, we didn't use a lot of services available. However, we were impressed by service team's attitude of work. They were diligent and always willing to please you. That why we were happy to leave more than recommended amount of tips at the end of cruise. We like those hardworking people who love their job and deserve good rewards, though the service may not be always given to us directly. Those small touches, such as the cool towel provided when returning ship from a hot island visit, were great. What we like the most? The cabin attendant cleaned the rail, glass, and everything in the balcony, at least once a day. We felt that that balcony was more enjoyable than Carnival Conquest a year ago, although at that time, our balcony was one of the biggest on the ship and several times larger than the standard balcony this time. An area should be improved: the security personnel were cold and sometime rude. They could, with a poker face, grab your boarding card from your hand suddenly, put in the machine, return it to you without a SINGLE word. How about "welcome back" with a smile? PORTS OF CALL: St. Maarten/Martin, Dec. 15: We were not shopping for jewelry etc., so we took a public minivan bus from Philipsburg to Marigot ($1.5pp) on French side first. After strolling the town with a clear view of Fort St. Louis, and a shopping mall, we found not much to do if not shopping. We decided to catch another bus to Grand Case. Although we told the driver where we would like to, we were still on the bus when Grand Case was passed for quite a while. The next interesting place was the famous Orient beach, where the bus finally dropped us on the beach ($3 pp). The driver did us a favor by doing that because the beach was about 1.5 mile away from the bus route. Although Orient beach is famous as a nude beach, most people had their swimming suit on. Topless ladies were not uncommon as well. The beach itself, known as St. Tropez in Caribbean, is indeed beautiful, with lots of water sport equipment available to rent and enjoy. We hiked uphill back to the bus route. The effort was well worth it. We passed several villages with great view of the colorful villa, beaches and bay. We then caught another bus back to Philipsburg ($2.5pp) for some souvenir shopping. St. Lucia, Dec. 16: We spent most of time on the Land and Sea shore excursion booked with Celebrity. We prefer the Sea portion to the Land portion. We started with the Land on a minivan visiting downtown of Castries, a banana plantation, a fishing village, and finally to the volcano. We didn't feel too well on the way. In addition to people tried to sell you something everywhere which was not unusual in Caribbean Islands, the local people at St. Lucia went further. They wanted you to see their fishing stuff, take pictures with them. And, they asked you to PAY them for doing that. The volcano is still alive, but nothing spectacular. We have visited those live volcanoes with red lava flows in Hawaii many times. The Sea portion was fun with great view of the coastline of St. Lucia. The twin pitons and Marigot Bay were beautiful. Barbados, Dec. 17: First, we walked a while in Bridgetown. We heard some negative things about Bridgetown, such as dusty and dirty, before this cruise. But we didn't see that way. Actually, we like it and think it is an interesting place to spend sometime in. We started our bus adventure again after meeting a couple also from Maryland (Roger and Sara). The bus system of Barbados combining the normal bus and the private minibus is very convenient and cheap, 75c (1.5 Barbados Dollar) per ride. Originally, we planned to go to Gun Hill Signal Station and they liked to visit Sam Lord's Castle. Because there would be a long wait for the bus to either places, we ended up with a bus to Martins Bay at the east (Atlantic) coast. Nice place with great scenery. The wave was rough and high, which was not good for swimming. After a break for taking some nice pictures, we headed to Bathsheba Bay, also on the east coast, which provided one of the best views of the Atlantic coast. We saw those amazing rock formations frequently shown in Barbados postcards. We also collected some colorful shells and corals. With plenty of time left, we then went to the west (Caribbean) coast, swimming at Church point beach, part of the Golden Coast. We were glad to have the "bus tour" in Barbados, seeing and feeling the local people, their way of living, and their culture. St, Kitts, Dec. 18: I would like to go to the beaches in the Southeast pan handle while my wife liked to see Brimstone Hill Fortress. So, to show respect to my boss, we took a taxi tour to visit Brimstone Hill Fortress and Romney Manor. The Fortress had an entry fee of $5 per person. At beginning, I hesitated to visit it because we had visited quite a few fortresses before. But, I was glad that we did this one. It is a unique one, and you can see yourself why it is a World Heritage Site. The view at the top of the fortress was gorgeous. You could see several neighboring Caribbean islands in distance. The visiting of Romney Manor, a restored manor house originally built by Thomas Jefferson's brother William was also interesting. We liked the introduction and display of how the batik fabrics were printed 2500 years ago in Caribelle Batik, and did buy a big batik. We returned to the ship at 1:00pm. After a quick lunch, we were back on taxi to South Friar beach. We had a good time (about 1.5 hr) for swimming and some snorkeling in the coral reefs about 20-30 m offshore. St. Thomas, Dec. 19: We heard a lot about the Trunk Bay beach, Virgin Island National Park in St. John. So, we didn't want to miss that. A 30-min cab ride brought us to Redhook on the east side of St. Thomas, followed by a 20-min ferry ride to Cruz Bay, St. John, then another 10-min cab to Trunk Bay. Not easy, but it was definitely worth the efforts and many fellow cruisers did the same thing. Trunk Bay beach is claimed as one of the 10 best beaches. This is the best Caribbean beach we have ever seen so far, and very comparable to the best Hawaiian beaches. We enjoyed powder white-sand beach, calm and clear water, and people watching. I like snorkeling, though not an expert, and appreciated the underwater trail very much. This was also my best snorkeling during the whole trip. There was an incident on our way back, when taking a ferry directly to downtown of Charlotte Amalie. One of the two engines failed, and fire and smoke were found on the back of the boat. All passengers including us were asked to move to the front of the boat. No big deal, except a delay of 10-15 min. DISEMBARKATION: We had a 3:20pm flight back, so we were asked to go to Celebrity Theater no later than 9:15am after breakfast. Our color was called at 9:45am. We found our luggage easily. The security and custom were tighter than New Orleans a year ago. A cab ride put us in airport at 10:20am. After check-in our bags, we even spent sometime at Fort Lauderdale beach. Not bad, people were swimming there, not me though. OVERALL: A great, great vacation. And, we will be back on another Celebrity cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
This was my second cruise on major ocean liner overcall (Carnival Conquest in Dec. 2002) and I would like to share my full review (long) with you. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at about 10:20am with two other couples also staying ... Read More
This was my second cruise on major ocean liner overcall (Carnival Conquest in Dec. 2002) and I would like to share my full review (long) with you. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at about 10:20am with two other couples also staying at La Quinta Inn. Apparently, we were too early, as people from last ship still dominated the luggage pick up/drop off area. At 11:10am, they began the boarding process for Captain's Club members and guests with suite. We were the first group after that, and the whole process was very smooth. Since we did the online documentation at home, it took us less than a minute to finish. At 11:45am, I had my welcome champagne onboard. THE SHIP: Summit was launched in 2001, and it is in an excellent shape now. Throughout our cruise, we can see the strong effort to keep the ship in its top form. At St. Kitts, we noted that the anchor was a bit rusty when leaving the ship. And, when we returned, they have painted! Overall, it is a beautiful ship. THE CABIN: We had a standard balcony cabin at Penthouse Deck. The cabin is nice with plenty of storage. The bathroom is impressively organized, functional with neat layout. We liked the shower unit, spacious with heavier curtain which won't stick on you. The veranda was large enough for us to sit with a small table to hold coffee or drinks between us. FOOD: Our top interest of a cruise was not the food. However, we did have a high expectation onboard Summit because we heard a lot of positive comments about the food on Celebrity. And, we were not disappointed. When talking to other people, seems everybody agreed that the food on Celebrity is at the top of major cruise lines. I just list a few examples which I appreciated very much: 1. The delivery of breakfast to our cabin. People complained that the food arrived with a sudden knock on the door on other lines. With Celebrity, a phone call was made to the cabin informing breakfast was on the way. It was a nice touch and avoided the awkwardness of a surprise. 2. Wonderful fresh pastries every morning in the Cova Cafe Milano. Actually, we found the bakery on Summit was excellent. 3. Low Cal, Low Fat spa lunches in the Spa Cafe. They were well prepared with great taste and view. Everybody needs some light food sooner or later during the cruise. 4. The sushi bar at Deck 10 every evening. Since we were at first seating, sometime I had a few sushi after show. 5. The specialty restaurant, Normandie. The food in the main restaurant-Cosmopolitan was generally very good. The Normandie was outstanding with many extras. I love the rack of lamb and Michel Roux's sample dessert so much, the best I have ever had. 6. La Grand Buffet (midnight). We enjoyed watching, and photographing more than eating because not much room left. Downside: those meat dishes (steak etc.) in Cosmopolitan were not very good, though we had never complained it to our waiter. We ordered seafood, duck etc. later and liked them. The lobster at the final formal night was not impressive. When we had many other choices, we are ok with that. Another criticism: the Chinese food buffet on Dec. 20 (at sea) was so-so. Maybe because we are Chinese, and Chinese food won't be at their best when serving in a buffet style. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to almost all the evening shows, and we liked them. We heard many people comparing the show on Celebrity with those on Carnival. And, some people like Carnival the better. Comparing to Carnival Conquest we took last year, I would say both of them are excellent, with somewhat different style. For production show, Conquest was more like a Vegas show, while Summit was close to Broadway. Summit's magic show was better than Conquest's. IMO, the cruise director on Conquest was much better than the cruise director, Simon, on Summit. We appreciated great sense of humor (verbally) more than those funny gesture and body language. FITNESS: We did our regular exercise in the ocean-view gym every morning of sea day. There are so many equipment including treadmills, bikes, step units, rowers, free weights, and sequenced pieces of equipment for lower-to-upper body development. You need sign-up for the use of treadmill. In the famous AquaSpa resort, our favorite was thalassotherapy pool under a dome. We use it everyday at about 10pm, when usually no more than five persons were there. We spent little time in the main pool area. Maybe because of this time of the year (before Christmas) and the length of the cruise (10 nights), we did not see many kids there. SERVICE: At mid-thirties, among the younger group of fellow cruisers, we didn't use a lot of services available. However, we were impressed by service team's attitude of work. They were diligent and always willing to please you. That why we were happy to give more than recommended amount of tips at the end of cruise. We like those hardworking people who love their job and deserve good rewards, though the service may not be always given to us directly. Those small touches, such as the cool towel provided when returning ship from a hot island visit, were great. What we like the most? The cabin attendant cleaned the rail, glass, and everything in the balcony, at least once everyday. This made we felt that balcony was much more enjoyable than Carnival Conquest a year ago, although at that time, our balcony was one of the biggest on the ship and several times larger than the standard balcony this time. An area should be improved: the security personnel were cold and sometime rude. They could, with a poker face, grab your boarding card from your hand suddenly, put in the machine, return it to you without a SINGLE word. How about "welcome back" with a smile? PORTS OF CALL: St. Maarten/Martin, Dec. 15: We were not shopping for jewelry etc., so we took a public minivan bus from Philipsburg to Marigot ($1.5pp) on French side first. After strolling the town with a clear view of Fort St. Louis, and a shopping mall, we found not much to do if not shopping. We decided to catch another bus to Grand Case. Although we told the driver where we would like to, we were still on the bus when Grand Case was passed for quite a while. The next interesting place was the famous Orient beach, where the bus finally dropped us on the beach ($3/pp). The driver did us a favor by doing that because the beach was about 1.5 mile away from the bus route. Although Orient beach is famous as a nude beach, most people had their swimming suit on. Topless ladies were not uncommon as well. The beach itself, known as Caribbean St. Tropez, is indeed beautiful, with lots of water sport equipment available to rent and enjoy. We hiked uphill back to the bus route. The effort was well worth it. We passed several villages with great view of the colorful villa, beach and bay. We then caught another bus back to Philipsburg ($2.5/pp) for some souvenir shopping. St. Lucia, Dec. 16: We spent most of time on the Land and Sea shore excursion booked with Celebrity. We prefer the Sea portion to the Land portion. We started with the Land portion on a minivan visiting downtown of Castries, a banana plantation, a fishing village, and finally to the volcano. We didn't feel too well on the way. In addition to people tried to sell you something everywhere which was not unusual in Caribbean Islands, the local people at St. Lucia went further. They wanted to show you their fishing stuff, taking pictures with them. And, they asked you to PAY them for doing that. The volcano is still alive, but nothing spectacular. We have visited those live volcanoes with red lava flows in Hawaii many times. The Sea portion was fun with great view of the coastline of St. Lucia. The twin pitons and Marigot Bay are beautiful. Barbados, Dec. 17: First, we walked a while in Bridgetown. We heard some negative things about Bridgetown, such as dusty and dirty, before this cruise. But we didn't see that way. Actually, we like it and think it is an interesting place to spend sometime in. We started our bus adventure again after meeting a couple also from Maryland (Roger and Sara). The bus system of Barbados combining the normal bus and the private minibus is very convenient and cheap, 75c (1.5 Barbados Dollar) per ride. Originally, we planned to go to Gun Hill Signal Station and they liked to visit Sam Lord's Castle. Because there would be a long wait for the bus to either places, we ended up with a bus to Martins Bay at the east (Atlantic) coast. Nice place with great scenery. The wave was rough and high, which was not good for swimming. After a break for taking some nice pictures, we headed to Bathsheba Bay, also on the east coast, which provided one of the best views of the Atlantic coast. We saw those amazing rock formations frequently shown in Barbados postcards. We also collected some colorful shells and corals. With plenty of time left, we then went to the west (Caribbean) coast, swimming at Church point beach, part of the Golden Coast. We were glad to have the "bus tour" in Barbados, seeing and feeling the local people, their way of living, and their culture. St. Kitts, Dec. 18: I would like to go to the beaches in the Southeast pan handle while my wife liked to see Brimstone Hill Fortress. So, to show respect to my boss, we took a taxi tour to visit Brimstone Hill Fortress and Romney Manor. The Fortress had an entry fee of $5 per person. At beginning, I hesitated to visit it because we had visited quite a few fortresses before. But, I was glad that we did this one. It is a unique one, and you can see yourself why it is a World Heritage Site. The view at the top of the fortress was gorgeous. You could see several neighboring Caribbean islands in distance. The visiting of Romney Manor, a restored manor house originally built by Thomas Jefferson's brother William was also interesting. We liked the introduction and display of how the batik fabrics were printed 2500 years ago in Caribelle Batik, and did buy a big batik. We returned to the ship at 1:00. After a quick lunch, we were back on taxi to South Friar beach. We had a good time (about 1.5 hr) for swimming and some snorkeling in the coral reefs about 20-30 m offshore. St. Thomas, Dec. 19: We heard a lot about the Trunk Bay beach, Virgin Island National Park in St. John. So, we didn't want to miss that. A 30-min cab ride brought us to Redhook on the east side of St. Thomas, followed by a 20-min ferry ride to Cruz Bay, St. John, then another 10-min cab to Trunk Bay. Not easy, but it was definitely worth the efforts and many fellow cruisers did the same thing. Trunk Bay beach is claimed as one of the 10 best beaches. This is the best Caribbean beach we have ever seen so far, and very comparable to the best Hawaiian beaches. We enjoyed powder white-sand beach, calm and clear water, and people watching. I like snorkeling, though not an expert, and appreciated the underwater trail very much. This was also my best snorkeling during the whole trip. There was an incident on our way back, when taking a ferry directly to downtown of Charlotte Amalie. One of the two engines failed, and fire and smoke were found on the back of the boat. All passengers were asked to move to the front of the boat. No big deal, except a delay of 10-15 min. DISEMBARKATION: We had a 3:20pm flight back, so we were asked to go to Celebrity Theater no later than 9:15am after breakfast. Our color was called at 9:45am. We found our luggage easily. The security and custom were tighter than New Orleans a year ago. A cab ride put us in airport at 10:20am. After check-in our bags, we even spent sometime at Fort Lauderdale beach. Not bad, people were swimming there, not me though. OVERALL: A great, great vacation. And, we will be back on another Celebrity cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
Loved the cruise, but had very inadequate service in the cosmopolitan dining room for breakfast and lunch... mentioned it to our waiter Mario... who was wonderful... and he told us to complain, because they did not have enough kitchen ... Read More
Loved the cruise, but had very inadequate service in the cosmopolitan dining room for breakfast and lunch... mentioned it to our waiter Mario... who was wonderful... and he told us to complain, because they did not have enough kitchen help.. that's why everything was so slow.... the last time we tried it for breakfast we waited over 15 minutes for coffee....without stopping at our table ..... we had to flag waiters down....and the service staff was surly and gumpy...it was not up to Celebrity status.... also felt the Island tours were poor... we took a great one in St Maarten... and art tour, so we were so excited to sign up for others on St Kitts, st Thomas and St, Lucia.... on St Thomas and Kitts... the tours just led us to places that sold tacky items.... every stop!!!!also both tour guides had poor english and did not know anything... on St Kitts the guy would read all the signs... never explaining anything... nor could he answer questions.... we like to stay with the ship tours but these were expensive and disappointing... then in St Lucia... I found on a website the recommendation of jungle tours with Gerald Lecompte.... do not sign up with him...., the tour was awful... almost made us late for the boat and we missed one of the sites.... it cost us $80 per person... what a rip off.... never again will I take a recommendation from a website...not only that ...the tour guide drank rum punch the whole day... and fell asleep on the wild trip home.... I also thought that celebrity should have offered more snorkeling tours... I waited to sign up due to weather and stuff... and all were sold out immediately.... that's why we ended up with the island tours... in Barbados we rented our own cab and also rode the bus from the beach to the ship.... that turned out to be one of our better days... Needless to say.. it is buyer beware and I have certainly learned my lesson.... we cruise a lot and travel a lot... so this was a hard experience to have.., I thought I knew it all.... what a mistake that was.... Love celebrity line and will continue to use them... but with the understanding that I have to lower my expectations...I feel the cruise lines have to take a bit more responsibility for the trips they recommend... and should clarify that drivers need to speak english... Last year on the Infinity tour thro the Panama Canal... we had a young female student guide us through a full day trip in Costa Rica... she was grand and got a huge tip from all of us....Once again... I have just had such high quality from Celebrity in the past... that this experience has shaken my confidence... I hope all readers learn from my experience and do more research on the offered tours.... and fort lauderdales parking and baggage pickup was awful.... Read Less
Sail Date: February 2004
WE ENJOYED MOST OF OUR CRUISE BUT FOUND THE POOL AREA A LITTLE ANNOYING DURING THE DAY. THE PEOPLE WERE SAVING CHAIRS AT 6 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. THE MAJORITY OF THE CRUISE WAS GEARED FOR OLDER PEOPLE WHICH I THINK YOUR TRAVEL AGENT ... Read More
WE ENJOYED MOST OF OUR CRUISE BUT FOUND THE POOL AREA A LITTLE ANNOYING DURING THE DAY. THE PEOPLE WERE SAVING CHAIRS AT 6 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. THE MAJORITY OF THE CRUISE WAS GEARED FOR OLDER PEOPLE WHICH I THINK YOUR TRAVEL AGENT SHOULD KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS WHEN YOU BOOK. I THOUGHT THE NORMANDIE RESTAURANT WAS CHARMING AND THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT. I TRULY LOVED ALL OUR PORTS OF CALL EXCEPT GRAND CAYMAN, WE DECIDED TO DO SOME SHOPPING AND TOOK A TENDER OVER TO THE AREA. UNLESS YOU'RE SHOPPING FOR JEWELRY IT'S JUST OK. I WISHED THAT WE WOULD HAVE BOOKED AN EXCURSION INSTEAD. OUR WAITERS, MARIO & SOO WERE DELIGHTFUL AND THE SERVICE WAS EXCELLENT. THE SAME FOR OUR CABIN STEWARD, JUAN, HE COULDN'T DO ENOUGH FOR US. THE CELEBRITY SINGERS AND DANCERS WERE WONDERFUL. WE FELT THE SHOWS WERE GREAT AND ENJOYED THEM IMMENSELY. THE REVELATIONS LOUNGE WAS FUN AND THE VOLTZ BAND WAS TERRIFIC. I HAD A BALL ON ISLAND NIGHT, DANCED A LOT. MY HUSBAND ENTERED THE KARAOKE CONTEST IN THE RENDEZVOUS LOUNGE AND DID WELL. HE FELT THAT THE SOME OF THE STAFF DIDN'T RUN THINGS CORRECTLY, THEY DIDN'T SEEM TO KNOW HOW TO GET PEOPLE INVOLVED OR MAKE THINGS FUN LIKE ON OTHER SHIPS WE WERE ON EXCEPT WHEN THE CRUISE DIRECTOR WAS RUNNING IT THEN IT SEEMED TO GO BETTER. WE WERE WITH EIGHT OTHER PEOPLE SO WE ALL HAD DIFFERENT OPINIONS. WE THOUGHT THE WATERFALL GRILL WAS GOOD AND HAD BREAKFAST AND LUNCH THERE MOST EVERYDAY. WE JUST WISHED THAT WE WOULD HAVE BEEN ON A CRUISE WITH MORE LIVELIER PEOPLE, NOTHING AGAINST OLDER PEOPLE BUT EVERYWHERE WE WENT PEOPLE WERE SLEEPING BY THE POOL THE COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE WONDERFUL BAND THEY HAD PLAYING AND THEIR CHAIRS WERE ALL OVER THE DANCE AREA SO IT DIDN'T SEEM AS MUCH FUN AROUND THE POOL AREA AS OTHER CRUISES WE TOOK. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE AT SEA THE POOL AREA SHOULD BE EXTRA SPECIAL IN OUR OPINIONS AFTERALL YOUR ON VACATION.  THE SHIP WAS PRETTY NICE BASICALLY AND THE STAFF VERY CARING AND HOSPITABLE. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
Summit 10 day S Caribbean March 26, 2004 This was the fifth cruise my wife and I have taken, our first on Celebrity, and was definitely the best cruise we've taken. Favorite memories: ... Taking a bottle of champagne up on deck ... Read More
Summit 10 day S Caribbean March 26, 2004 This was the fifth cruise my wife and I have taken, our first on Celebrity, and was definitely the best cruise we've taken. Favorite memories: ... Taking a bottle of champagne up on deck during the sail away party as we left Ft. Lauderdale while listening to the great music of Voltz ... Dancing every night to the music of Voltz in the Revelations lounge! Voltz was a GREAT band playing everything from reggae to 70's, 80's, 90's and current hits - even earlier music on the 50's/60's night. . . . Laying in the sun around the pool in the afternoon listing to Voltz playing on deck, with occasional dips in the hot tub or pool. Mid afternoon an army of waiters would sometimes appear passing out cups of sorbet! . . . Sitting on the open aft deck ft of the Waterfall Cafe each evening before sunset sipping a drink while listening to the music of guitarist Ron Thompson . . . Coffee on our veranda in the morning. Coffee on board was very good. Only morning this didn't work out was the first morning or two when the wind kicked up a salt spray that kept the veranda relatively unusable - not a problem the last 8 days of the cruise. . . . Fancy Martinis in the Martini bar before dinner - my favorite was the "Citrus" martini made with flavored vodka. . . . Relaxing to a couples massage at the spa - what a way to relax and lose the tension! . . . Sailing around St. Kitts and Nevis on the Fan-Ta-Sea catamaran sailing, snorkeling and beach excursion. The view was fantastic, the sailing smooth, and the crew was great as were the snorkeling and serene beach on Nevis where we stopped to swim and eat a barbecue lunch . . . The view of Trunk Bay from a scenic viewpoint at the top of a hill in St. John. The taxis usually stop at this scenic point en-route from the ferry to the beach. . . . Dinner with our table mates met on board. We were fortunate to be seated with two very nice couples and had nice conversations each night, usually ending when we realized we were the last group in the dining room! Stateroom: We had a Concierge Class stateroom which was on deck 9 and had a Veranda. The Concierge class added some amenities including a special mattress pad and pillow selection. These made the bed the most comfortable we've found on a cruise ship. The bathroom also had a nice sized shower. A very nice room overall. Our steward did a fine job, although he had to be reminded about some special requests once or twice. We had him empty the mini-bar stuff out of the fridge so we could keep our own wine in it. Meals - we never made it to breakfast or lunch in the dining room. We found a nice selection of foods for these meals in the cafe or at various spots around the ship including the grill by the pool (pizza and burgers) and the aqua spa cafe which had great "lighter" meals. We had late dinner seating with a great waiter and assistant. We thought the food was the best of any cruise ship we've been on - especially the fish. Normally I dislike frozen fish (which is all you generally find on mass cruise ships) but the seafood dishes on Summit were great. Every dish I tried I loved. I heard a complaint from another passenger about the steaks, but I didn't eat much in that category preferring the seafood and an occasional veal or chicken dish. The wine list was very extensive. We'd brought our own wine which we enjoyed about half of the nights in the dining room ($12 corkage fee) as we hadn't seen wine lists like this on other lines, at least for white wine. We ate one night in the Normandy dining room - a $25/PP up-charge. Well worth it for this extravagant meal. We had room service every morning, at least for coffee, in the room or on the veranda. Orders left the night before were always timely and preceded by a phone call alerting you to the arrival, and orders phoned-in took about 20 minutes. Entertainment - Neither my wife or I enjoy the stage shows much, and passed on all the singing and dancing shows - preferring to get our evening entertainment in the lounges. However, we did see a comedian and a magician at shows which preceded the late dinner seating. We loved the party band Voltz. This is a great band with members from various Caribbean islands. They played everything from reggae to contemporary rock/pop music and we had a great time both listening to their tunes in the afternoon by the pool and at night in the Revelations dance lounge. We also enjoyed guitarist Ron Thompson who played contemporary and classical rock/pop music solo on the open aft deck of the Waterfall cafe. He played the guitar and keyboard accompanied by music he'd pre-programmed into his synthesizer. There was also a dance band and piano player playing more mature music in other lounges. Neither of these played a style of music we liked that much, although the quality of their playing seemed quite good. Additionally there were piano players, a harpist and a classical quartet that played at various venues around the ship and during dinner. Based largely on the party band Voltz we thought the entertainment on the ship was top notch. We danced past midnight every night, dancing to the DJ once Voltz finished for the night. Even the DJ did a great job and the disco was more suited to our style than the teenager/very young style we've seen on other cruises. Excursions: At St. Martin we took a cab to Orient Beach and camped out at Kakao - which is a bar/club with a nice restaurant, bar, gift shop and chairs/umbrellas for rent. Two chairs and an umbrella cost $20 for the day. Orient beach is just beautiful - a classic Caribbean beach. We enjoyed walking the long beach and swimming. We had a great seafood lunch at the open air restaurant. There are several establishments similar to Kakao at Orient beach. At St. Lucia we took the ship's full day snorkel & beach excursion with lunch. This takes a long (about an hour) boat trip to the south west corner of the island where you can get a nice view of the Piton mountains while off shore. We spent the day at a beach formed from black sand. This was different from your typical Caribbean beach and was a bit rough and rocky. But the snorkeling and view was very nice. The beach was at Anse Mamin which is on the grounds of the Anse Chastinet resort. At Barbados we walked around Bridgetown a bit and then took a cab to Mullins Bay beach. Mullins was on the west coast and about a 25 minute cab ride. The beach was very nice but was probably the only beach on Barbados where it was cloudy and rainy part of that day. Everyone else back on the boat had full sun all day! Our favorite excursion was at St. Kitts where we took the Fan-Ta Sea catamaran ride I described above. We had a great time. St. Kitts/Nevis was, overall, the most scenic spot I've seen in the Caribbean. At St. Thomas we went to Trunk Bay on St. John on our own. You catch a cab from the dock to Red Hook, a ferry from Red Hook to St. John, and a cab to Trunk Bay. Trunk Bay is in a US National Park and there is an underwater snorkeling trail there! Snorkeling was pretty good the day we were there and the beach is one of the prettiest you'll ever see. We got there early and left after a couple of hours so we'd have time to go back to the boat to clean up and have a late lunch then do some shopping in the downtown shopping area. We like our cruise so much we even signed up for a Celebrity cruise next year! Larry Simon lsimon@mail.com Link to pictures of our cruise: http://home.comcast.net/~lfsimon/Summit/index.html Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
Just returned from a very successful voyage. 11 days was very enjoyable on the Summit. This was our second time on Summit. Previous cruise was April 2003. This was a new experience for us. Prior cruises did not permit travel a day before ... Read More
Just returned from a very successful voyage. 11 days was very enjoyable on the Summit. This was our second time on Summit. Previous cruise was April 2003. This was a new experience for us. Prior cruises did not permit travel a day before cruise to the port. This time was a first for us. We booked the Holiday Inn in Ft. Lauderdale for the night before our cruise. Unfortunately this we during spring break and the hotel was over run with "spring breakers". Was a little noisy to say the least. Arrived at the pier on sailing day around 11:00AM. After checking in, we boarded almost immediately. Our cabin was not ready as yet so we went to the buffet for lunch. Around 1:00PM our cabin was ready. We checked it out and walked around the ship. Had lifeboat drill at 4:00PM. Sailaway at 4:30PM. We had arranged a get together with other cruise critics that we met on the internet at the Mast Bar during sailaway. Quite a few attended. We had another get together that the ship provided for us at Michaels Club later in the cruise. Cruise Director Don Fluke along with several of his staff including a ships photographer also were present. Coffee, danish, and other things were provided around 10:30AM at this get-to-gether. This was also well attended. Was able to put names to faces we met on internet. To say that the cruise was flawless would be untrue. No cruise is perfect by ours was very close. The only fly in the ointment was a problem at Costa Rico. We approached the pier at Costa Rica, and at that time noticed that we were about two hours late. The ship started tying up at the pier only to reverse everything and untie the ship and sail away. The Captain came on the intercom and announced that due to a broken pier tie and the rough swell, we would not be able to dock at Costa Rica. Also found out at that time that the reason for the late arrival was due to a delay during the night when the ship was stopped on the high seas for two hours to "offload" five or so passengers by the US Coast Guard. This was not mentioned by the Captain but found out later on the internet aboard ship and referred to an article in the Miami Herald Newspaper about a "drug lord" being removed by the United States Navy with the aid of a Guided Missile Cruiser. Everything we were told "officially" by the cruiseline was that it was a "test". Why the coverup and not the whole truth will never be known. Anyone with internet access will know the truth. As for the cruise itself, the food, service, and all activities aboard were top notch. The crew always had a friendly "hello" and smile for everyone we met. Entertainment was very good to excellent. Don the cruise director, did a fine job filling in for the vacationing Simon Weir. Cabin Stewardess, Dining Room Waitress, Dining Room Assistant waiter all did an excellent job and should be commended. This was our 24th cruise and one of the best yet. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
SUMMIT - 10 night Caribbean - March 26-April 5, 2004 Embarkation: We (Captain's Club Elite members) were ushered right on to the ship. We received the welcoming champagne/orange juice by white-gloved waiters, which was a nice touch. ... Read More
SUMMIT - 10 night Caribbean - March 26-April 5, 2004 Embarkation: We (Captain's Club Elite members) were ushered right on to the ship. We received the welcoming champagne/orange juice by white-gloved waiters, which was a nice touch. Everyone received notification that their cabins would not be ready before 1 and, instead of escorting passengers directly to their cabins, they were shown to the Welcome Aboard buffet lunch in the Waterfall Cafe, which was wonderful. Since we knew where our cabin was located we made our own way there and dropped off our carry-on luggage before heading for lunch. Our luggage was delivered well before the 4:00 lifeboat drill. Elite Captains Club: Priority embarkation/disembarkation. We received a vase with a long stem rose and five sweetheart roses and a small box of the wonderful Cova chocolates as a welcome aboard gift, which was delivered the first full day at sea. We received an invitation to Elegant Tea in the Normandie Restaurant, special on-board coupons for Celebrity On-line, the AquaSpa and Fortunes Casino. There was also a behind-the-scenes theatre tour, a demonstration by the Pastry Chef, and scheduled times with the shopping representative Kristy and Cruise Sales Manager Stephanie plus an invitation to the Captain's Table. Priority embarkation and disembarkation were of no value. The regular lines for embarkation were quicker so there was, in this instance, absolutely no advantage. Our disembarkation lounge was The Normandie Specialty Restaurant but we got there at 8:45 and were escorted off the ship (beige luggage tags) at 8:50. Tea in the Normandie was lovely and I won $140. using the casino coupons. The 10 free minutes internet use in the Internet Cafe was nice. The theatre tour was not very good, as there was a technical rehearsal underway so, according to what guests had viewed in the past, our tour was condensed. I found the sugar demonstration interesting and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening at the Captain's Table hosted by the Hotel Director Filippos Georgiou, a delightful and entertaining man. The Elite Captain's Club cocktail party was intimate but when we got off the elevator to attend the full Captain's Club cocktail party and saw the horrendous line-up we decided we didn't need a free drink that badly. Cabin: Our inside category 10 cabin 3057 was in an ideal location, which made navigating the ship easy. Night-light, umbrella and complimentary tote bag were nice touches. Dining: Cosmopolitan Restaurant: We had breakfast twice, lunch twice and dinner 9 out of 10 nights. The service throughout, food quality and temperature was excellent. Our table, 480, was without a doubt the worst table we have ever had. It was a table for two tucked under the stairs in a high traffic area where you couldn't see what was going on and we didn't feel a part of the festivities. Also, we were far enough away from our waiter's other tables that we felt excluded. They offered to move us but we didn't want Francis and Akhmed to think we didn't like them and it would have affected their tips. The up side was that everyone smiled or stopped for a few words as they passed by on their way to the kitchen/serving areas and my husband found the noise level much reduced which was great for his hearing. Someone has to have the bad tables! Waterfall Cafe: We ate there a few times but found the food on the buffet not hot enough. I tried the pasta station once but found it to be undercooked for my taste. The sandwich bar at the very back of the cafe was wonderful with different selections each day such as chicken wraps (excellent), pulled pork sandwiches, roast beef poor boys and baked ham. Breakfast was wonderful with the omelet/fried egg station and the waffles right at the back were incredible! Waterfall Grill: Hamburgers and hot-dogs were very good. Fries were appealing on the rare occasion when they were hot and the pizza was warm at best. AquaSpa Cafe: Breakfast was an enjoyable experience; uncrowded and relaxed. Most mornings I had the excellent oatmeal along with fresh fruit. This healthy breakfast eased my guilt when I dropped by Cova Cafe for my morning chocolate croissant! My husband had the muselli with fresh fruit. They serve the papaya with fresh lime, which apparently enhances the flavour. The serving staff were excellent, especially our favourite, Okan Bilir from Turkey. On our last cruise he worked in Cova Cafe and admitted he had once eaten TEN CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS - my hero!!!! We ate lunch here one day and enjoyed the chicken pita. Normandie Specialty Restaurant: Enjoyable experience but after four evenings in the specialty restaurants on three cruises the novelty has worn off and we've decided to give it a miss on future cruises unless Christian Bell is on board. The flair and expertise of our first two dining experiences has given way to being served by "regular" waiters who do not have the expertise or love of food we witnessed with Christian. Staff: Cruise Director Simon Weir was wonderful. Anne Lepki, former Manager Captain's Club and Cruise Sales, is now the Events Coordinator and treated us like special friends. Camilla Sullivan, Social Hostess, was delightful. Our cabin stewards, Albano and Jhonny, were excellent and only left us the milk chocolate pillow treats instead of the coffee ones. Romina De Angelis. Concierge, was very friendly, had a positive attitude and offered helpful suggestions. Although we don't drink wine, Dijana Simkewiciute from Lithuania, stopped by our table every single night for a few words and we found her delightful. Ivelyn Kolarov from Bulgaria was the bartender in Cova on our last Summit cruise in October. He is now the head bartender and stopped by our table every night for a chat. A delightful guy. Okan Bilir from Turkey is a server in the AquaSpa Cafe and the Normandie Restaurant. A real sweetheart. Entertainment: Entertainment is not a priority for us so we are not the best judges of talent. The production shows have a 3-5 year lifespan on the ship so we saw all the production shows on our October Summit cruise. We did go to A Night of Stars as this was the first cruise for the Celebrity singers and dancers and we wanted to check them out. We found these singers excellent, far superior to the last group which, to be fair, we also saw on their first cruise. As you can see, we did not go to many of the entertainment venues. Production Shows: The Magic of Broadway A Night of Stars - Excellent Classique - La Danza Encore Miscellaneous: Shows: A Touch of Things to Come (welcome aboard show) - Great Farewell Show (pre-dinner) featuring Mike Ivy, David Meyer and Becky Blaney - We had dinner reservations at the Normandie so we only saw the first 25 minutes of the show. David Meyer was good at what he does but it wasn't of great interest to us. Individuals: Mike Ivy, comedian (pre-dinner) - Okay David Meyer Samantha Jay, musician (pre-dinner) Becky Blaney, comedy/magic (pre-dinner) Frank Duo, Rendez-vous Lounge - The music was relaxing, mellow but I found their accents to be very noticeable. This was the same with the Mozart Duo in October. Surely Celebrity can find entertainers with excellent English skills. Barbara Kirchhoff, harpist - Excellent Ron Thompson, guitarist, Waterfall Cafe Bar - Excellent Dan Loranger, pianist, Michael's Club - We went one evening for a drink and left before ordering as we thought he had a terrible voice Celebrity Orchestra, Singers and Dancers - Excellent. Voltz, party band - Pretty good, better than their first cruise in October when we last heard them. Didn't find them to be very friendly and they blew off a sail-away party which isn't very professional. Off The Top, a cappella group - Excellent but we felt they were under utilized and would have enjoyed seeing them perform more than they did. Enrichment Series: Alan Schreiber, Investments Douglas Zimmerman, Radio Biographer - He covered Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Sammy David Jr., Elvis Presley and Dean Martin. I only attended the Elvis seminar and found Mr. Zimmerman's presentation disorganized much in part to the "assistance" of his wife. Bernard Slade, Screenwriter - This obnoxious individual was a legend in his own mind. A thoroughly dislikable guy who had nothing good to say about Celebrity, the Summit or her staff. If I hadn't been having such a great time I would have been interested in trying out my heckling skills by attending one of his lectures! Celebrity made a BIG mistake on this one. Ports of Call: St. Maarten: The pier area is lovely, taxi prices are posted and the waiting areas are shaded and well marked. We purchased the unlimited all day water taxi at the dock for $5 and used it to get to the beach in Phillipsburg and again for an hour's shopping in the afternoon. We had rain showers but they didn't interfere with our activities. The ship provided umbrella came in handy for shopping. The only other ship in port was RCI's Serenade of the Seas. St. Lucia: We were docked right at Seraphine Point, which has nice shops and lots of beautiful tropical flowers. On our first trip to St. Lucia we did the Land and Sea to Soufriere excursion ($76. 7.5 hrs.) and highly recommend this as a great way to appreciate the beauty of the island. We do not recommend venturing into Castries, it is NOT a pleasant experience and could leave you with a very unfavourable impression of an otherwise lush and beautiful island. The Carnival Jubilee was also in port. Barbados: Ordered a bouquet of tropical flowers, complete with bamboo vase, for $15. at the Exotic Blooms cart in the port terminal which we picked up on our return to the ship. We only wanted to visit the Barbados Wildlife Reserve but were paired up with another couple from the ship who were visiting Barbados for the first time and wanted a little tour. We were quoted $60. for return transportation to the Reserve for 2 so $80 total for the 4 of us for 3 ½ hours (9:50-1:20) was reasonable. Our 78-year-old driver Vernon was a friendly old guy and a very safe driver. We were advised by the ship's Concierge that we might not see any green monkeys, which was our main objective, but she assured us the scenery was lovely so we decided to take our chances. Admission to the Reserve was $11.50 U.S. each and the only green monkey we saw was an orphan named Pedro. We would not even have seen him if I hadn't struck up a conversation with one of the friendly workers. We saw deer, agoutis and lots of turtles. I would not recommend a trip to the Reserve. The highlight of the tour was a view of the Atlantic from Cherry Tree Hill. There were 2 other ships in port; one we didn't catch the name of and the Carnival Destiny. The Freewind Festival has been tendered in Barbados for three months now since it's bankruptcy and the case was going to court the day we were there. St. Kitts: We stayed on board and purchased a one-day Persian Gardens pass. I used it 4 times, my husband twice and only once was there someone else in there. It is one of the most relaxing things I have ever done and a bargain at $20. I loved the herbal and Sahara steam rooms, skipped the Turkish which even my husband found too hot. The heated tile benches cured my backache and even the showers were great; tropical, side spray and even a mint mist! I would consider purchasing a cruise pass at $99. for the next trip but wonder if it would be crowded on sea days. The masted Sea Cloud II shared the dock with us today. St. Thomas: Immigration call was very well organized and painless. We were docked right at Havensight Mall alongside the Celebrity Constellation and RCI's Brilliance of the Seas. RCI must have spent big bucks to have all 3 of their ships docked since the Sun Princess and Radisson Diamond ships were tendered. We did a little shopping and spent a relaxing day on board Summit. Observations: - The Gala Buffet was beautiful. - Apparently there were a number of kids on board but, until the last night, you would never have known. We were told that they acted like animals on the sports deck but, since we were never there, it had no affect on us at all. There was a baby in the cabin next to ours and we heard it crying in the early evening every night. I can't imagine what parents are thinking taking a baby (and there were a few) on a cruise. It can't be much fun for the little ones as there is no place for them to get out and crawl around. Disembarkation: Captain's Club Elite had their own departure lounge, the Normandie Restaurant, where they served coffee/juice/pastries. We finished breakfast at 8:30, arrived in the Normandie at 8:45 and were escorted by Camilla Sullivan, Social Hostess, off the ship at 8:50. We had no problem locating our luggage and finding a porter. Pre-cruise accommodation: We booked this ourselves and stayed at the Sleep Inn, Dania which offered complimentary breakfast and transportation to/from the airport and pier. The location was convenient, the breakfast adequate and the pool area small but nice. The staff were not overly friendly and they stuck to their 2 p.m. check-in but, for the price we paid ($100.95) and the fact it was only a one night stay, we were happy with what we got. I would not recommend this hotel for a longer stay. Transfers: We rented a car in Miami on the Thursday and returned it in Ft. Lauderdale Friday morning ($36.87 total). My husband was delighted; it was a brand new bright blue PT cruiser with only 6 miles on it. It boasted only 100 miles ($9. gas) when it was returned. It was a very comfortable car to drive/ride in with high seats which are great for bad backs! We pre-paid the pier-Miami Airport transfer and found it to be very convenient and well worth the $15 p.p. cost. We boarded the bus at 9:05, left at 9:18 and arrived at Miami airport at 10:03. They made three stops with ours being the last at 10:35. There were no line-ups at the Air Canada check-in (apparently Monday travel is light) and we were checked in by 10:44. Weather/Seas: We had early morning showers in Ft. Lauderdale. The first day at sea we had very light rain and a mix of sun/cloud. The second day at sea saw the same sun/cloud mixture but the strong winds made it cool and rain late in the afternoon. We changed course to avoid the rough seas but the first 2 days still brought 9-ft. waves and high winds. We even got ocean spray on Deck 11. We had showers in St. Maarten and heavy rain late in the afternoon in St. Lucia but the weather for the remainder of the trip was perfect; blue skies, light cloud and, if you stayed up on deck 11, always a pleasant breeze. Our second last day at sea started out totally cloudy but cleared nicely by 10:15. Fellow passengers: There was a good mix; honeymooners, middle-aged couples and couples with children, gay/lesbian couples, seniors and elderly people. With the exception of two, the older generation was great. One old guy was so rude he started banging his fork at the grill demanding a hot dog when he didn't get the immediate service he felt he needed. The majority of the passengers were English speaking. Negatives: - The drinking water on board was undrinkable. When I commented on this I was advised that due to the number of virus' around and SAR's, the chlorine in the drinking water has been increased. Better safe than sorry but we were glad to have the bottled water alternative for dinner and in our cabin. - Don't rush to the tanzanite talk; the "grand prize pendant" should come with a magnifying glass. New/Updates: - Celebrity will be changing the menus in September. Sure hope they leave our favourite French Potato Pie and crème brulee alone! - Due to the high number of Captain's Club members, changes are in the offing. - They offered a Fisherman's midnight buffet, which was a change. We didn't go so can't comment on the content. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
Departed Ft. LAUDERDALE on Friday March 5th, 2004 after a terrific night at the Renaissance Hotel on 17th St. Got to the pier around 11:30PM and on the ship by 12:00PM. The fastest embarkation process I've ever experienced. I kept ... Read More
Departed Ft. LAUDERDALE on Friday March 5th, 2004 after a terrific night at the Renaissance Hotel on 17th St. Got to the pier around 11:30PM and on the ship by 12:00PM. The fastest embarkation process I've ever experienced. I kept waiting for the long line up around the next corner but it just didn't happen. These guys have this process perfected. Once on board were escorted to a beautifully laid out cabin 3005. The window was very large at 4 feet in diameter affording an excellent view. A balcony would have been nice but with a view like this, trust me, a balcony is not necessary. The rooms aren't huge, but are well laid out and very clean. The shower was bigger on this ship than others I've been on. The common areas were very clean and elegant. The ship was being cleaned from stem to stern on a continuous basis. The entertainment was excellent. Excellent singers and the Celebrity orchestra is unparalleled in talent. The food in the main dining room was five star and the service truly amazing. A very attentive staff. I did not think it could be topped until eating at the Normandie restaurant. This is the specialty restaurant on board for which reservations are required. For $25.00/person, well worth the price. This was an absolutely fantastic experience. The food melted in your mouth and the service was astounding. If you leave your table for any reason, they remove your linen napkin and replace it with a fresh one while you are out...now that's service. I have a couple of minor complaints. Those people who reserve the deck chairs with a book, magazine, towel or a shoe should respect those of us who have better things to do than race to the sun deck every morning to reserve a chair!! That got a little annoying after a while. The pool police could do a better job in that area. We had a table for two the first night which was great except for the location. It was at the back of the restaurant next to the bussing station, the matre'd's station and practically half way out the exit door. The next night we were moved to the main area and found it to be excellent. Again, What Service!! I'm afraid that's it for complaints!! Very minor for sure and mention them only as a hope the chair thing can eventually be worked out. There were plenty of deck chairs in other spaces and no problem to find one. Just not in the main sun deck area with the nice soft covers on them. You could hardly feel the boat moving even though at times the seas got a little rough. We visited St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. The ports of call are nice and have been talked about so often, it's not worth going any further. If your looking for an absolutely wonderful ship with five star service, then this is your best value. This cruise line continues to deliver a quality product. Post Cruise....Debarkation was easy and smooth, had our bags within five minutes of leaving the ship. I'm sorry I can't say the same for FLL airport. They've got a serious problem with space and as a Canadian, trying to get out of there is a nightmare. It's like lining up at Disney World. Didn't ruin our trip though, we'll be back again next year. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
My wife and I just got back from the 10 day Summit Southern Caribbean cruise and it was great! I read just about every review I could find about the ship before we left so I figured when we got back I would put my two cents worth in. I ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from the 10 day Summit Southern Caribbean cruise and it was great! I read just about every review I could find about the ship before we left so I figured when we got back I would put my two cents worth in. I will try to be as informative as possible. And so it begins.... We live in Charleston,SC so we decided to drive down to Fort Lauderdale the day before. I read from a forum post that the Wyndham Airport hotel was running a park and go special. For about $100 you can stay the night and leave your car in their parking garage for the length of your cruise. Since the port parking garage is $12 a day we figured this was a good way to save money. We booked a room online and I printed out the receipt. The fun began right when we got there. As I was checking in another patron was screaming to speak to the manager (not a good sign). When we got to our room the king size room we booked was replaced with a smokers room with two double beds, complete with stained spreads, and a barely functioning air conditioner. Too bad for the hotel they didn't know who they were dealing with. After a stiff drink my wife and went to the front desk. They tried to say that King sized rooms were not "guaranteed". I showed them my print out and my wife say she has asthma and would die in a smokers room ( she doesn't really but people don't want a medical lawsuit). They agreed to move us into a handicapped King room which was clean and had AC. Score one for the home team! All aboard...... Day 1 embarkation. We took a taxi to the port around 10:30am because we want to be on the boat early to start our fun. We huddle around in a room filled with people before they finally usher us to a seating area to wait to board. We have to wait for suite people and Captains Club people to board first. I offer to trade our children for concierge class accommodations but no one seems interested (little joke there). The boarding staff try to make the experience better by making a few jokes about the food being all gone etc. We finally board at noon. We arrive in our stateroom 2055. It's very nice with plenty of room and a huge mirror behind the bed. There are two white robes, water and ice on a silver tray, and a decent size shower. Our room on Holland America was bigger but this room is better than our Royal Caribbean sardine can. We quickly head to the buffet and have lunch then decide to enjoy the Fort Lauderdale sun poolside. I however made a grave error. I left my shorts in the suitcases. Since 9/11 it takes a while for your luggage to get checked in. Quickly I asked my room steward for a pair of scissors and the jeans I am wearing become cut-offs. I look a little red-neck but at least I can relax poolside. We order what would become the first of many Pina Coladas onboard and toast our trip. Their Pina Coladas are great! Sun & Fun... Day 2 At Sea We got up early and decided to stake out a pool chair before they become extinct. We know all about chair hogging and decide to play it safe by nabbing one early (editors note: we never leave a chair marked for more than 30 minutes so I don't believe this constitutes hogging, if you believe it does then too bad, I'll wave to you from poolside while you walk around aimlessly with your towel). After our 10am Pina Colada breakfast we spend the day listening to the band "Voltz" and laying in the sun. The band is very good playing a wide variety of tunes, everything from Island music to Rock to Blues. Their female lead singer has a phenomenal voice. During our day poolside we are brought cold towels (nice). Later about 2:30pm they do their first sorbet parade. The restaurant staff wearing white gloves parade around with silver trays filled with small cups of sorbet. It's a lot of fun and a nice cool off on a hot day. It's the first formal night so we go put on our Sunday best. There is one minor flaw to completing our elegant picture, my red glow in the dark face. I guess a month in a tanning bed cannot compete with the power of mother nature. My wife decides we better not keep our pictures since I look scary. Dinner was excellent. The prime rib we ordered melts in your mouth. We cap our evening off with a couple of crown royals and call it an early night. Feeling hot hot hot.... Day 3 At Sea I am lobster man. My face looks like a red relief map of the desert. Small children run in terror. Despite my efforts I get horrible sunburn on my face. The rest of me is not too bad, but my face looks like a stop light. We still go to the pool but I end up wrapping up in towels like the mummy to keep from burning further (plus I want to heal up for our St Martin trip to the beach). My wife and I enter a few poolside trivia contests since they are in the shade. I won the TV tunes trivia and scored us a couple of cool key chains. The day has cold towels and sorbet as well. That night we decide to try the Normandie restaurant. If you go let me give you a couple of tips. Don't eat much that day and expect your dining experience to be about 2+ hours long. The ambiance was spectacular. The whole room has gold overtones and is very subdued. The paneling from the original Normandie was very impressive. There was a classical trio playing next to us. It was a very elegant surrounding. We start with soup. My wife has lobster bisque and I have French onion, both very good. We have Caesar salad which they prepare tableside. Finally we enjoy the Chateau Briand which was as smooth as butter. Later they brought around a cheese tray (which we passed on). Finally we had dessert which was good but they poured coffee on my wife's chocolate soufflE (we thought it was chocolate sauce). I would recommend trying this experience at least once on your cruise. Off to bed to get ready for port #1. Naked as a jaybird..... Day 4 St. Martin We decided to spend the day at Orient Beach in St Martin. We went to Orient on one of our previous cruises but only stayed a short time. This time we want to spend the day on this pristine beach. We get off the boat and make our way to the car rental area. We had reserved a car with dollar rental and figured we could use that as a bartering tool to get a good rental rate. The hawkers were everywhere trying to get us to rent one of their cars. We finally settled on a car for $40 after some haggling. The island is very easy to drive since you drive on the right side and the main road circles the whole island. We arrive at Orient make our way to the front of the Coco beach club, set up our towels, and get our morning Pina Colada. Orient beach is one of St Martins best. It's very clean and scenic. Since it's clothing optional you avoid big crowds and screaming children. There are various naked people floating around which provides my wife with great amusement. It seems that people who like to get naked have no business being naked. There are lots of old fat men with their tackle dangling down and naked old women flopping around. I saw an older naked woman jogging down the beach and I'm hoping over time that memory will fade from my brain cells. After lunch we do some souvenir shopping for the boys and head back to the boat. Ride'm Cowboy Day 5 St. Lucia We decided on horseback riding at International stables for the day. It will always be one of the most memorable experiences of my wife and mine. First they provided transportation to and from the cruise terminal. Ms Floria was very charming and accommodating. You could really tell she has a love of her animals. The horses were well cared for and the staff went out of their way to make sure our horses were the right fit for our riding experience. They have horses that cater from novice rider to pro. We then set out on a ride across a beautiful St Lucia beach. We stopped at a ledge and our guides snapped pictures of us on our horses with the ocean in the background. Then we dismounted at small bar on the beach which had local venders offering drinks and souvenirs. A vender, seeing my bad sun burn, proceeded to fetch an aloe plant and coated my face with cool aloe. He then gave me a stalk of the plant to use later. Then it was the swim time. My wife and I mounted my Black Arabian and headed into the ocean. It was an incredible sensation to be on the back of this powerful animal as it strode along in chest deep water. More pictures were taken by our guides using our cameras. We dried off and returned to the stables. During our return riders were permitted to trot or gallop along the shore if they desired. We cannot recommend these people more. They were gracious hosts and a class act all the way. If you book though make sure you go for the two hour swim. For $50 a person it is definitely a value. We later tried the market area and found that to be a mistake. The market area was dirty and filled with cheap trinkets. I also have reservations about walking the streets where they sell voodoo candles and live chickens. We give up on shopping and call it a day. Turtle, turtle, turtle.... Day 6 Barbados We decided to book the turtle swim and wreck shore excursion for this day. Ocean Adventures did a great job. First the excursion waiting area is shaded (whew). After a short bus ride we boarded a uncrowded catamaran around 9am. The crew was very accommodating. We motored along the coastline and our host provided interesting items about the islands as well as a few jokes. Sodas and water were provided on the way to the turtles (no alcohol till after snorkeling unless you don't want to snorkel). We arrived at our turtle sight about 30 minutes later where masks and snorkels were provided (no fins since it upsets the turtles). The turtles were beautiful and amazing to behold. There were at least 10 of them swimming all around and under us. After about 10 minutes we boarded and headed to the shipwreck sight. Fins are allowed here and you are given more freedom to explore. The area is teaming with fish and beautiful coral lines the white sandy bottom. After this it is rum punch and beer time. The crew then provides all the rum punch and beer you want (a very good local Barbados beer I might add). The beach is right next to the wreck site so we stopped off for a short beach stay about 25 minutes. Finally we headed back to the ship with island music playing on board. One of the crew offered us some delicious banana bread to eat on the ride back. We arrived and made it back on the boat by about 1pm well in time for lunch. The whole excursion on Celebrity cost us $45 a piece which was a steal for all they give you. I can't recommend this tour more! Once again in the afternoon we decide to shop. The town is a very long walk from the dock. The town seems very crowded to me and lacks the charm of the smaller places we have visited. Some of the store clerks are rather surly as well. Cab fees are outrageous. I get my wife to promise that this is the last shopping trek we will undertake. Her sore feet agree with me. We are definitely praising our friend Crown Royal when we get back to the boat. Monkey Business... Day 7 St Kitts For our day in St. Kitts we decided to take a taxi to the turtle beach restaurant on the southern tip of the island. We read it was a great place to spend the day and that on occasion you might get to spot monkeys wandering around. The taxi ride was $20 to get there and the driver agreed to meet us at 3pm to pick us up ($40 round trip). We arrived just as a small sprinkle was letting up. The restaurant was very quaint and everything you would expect from a beach bar & grill. We grabbed a couple of beach chairs (which are free to use) and a small table and started about the hard business of relaxing. One of the workers there was busy raking up the sea grass from the beach. We had a great view of the bay and Nevis off in the distance. Soon my wife had her first visitor. One of the cats from the bar meandered over and decided he found an easy mark. This was the case as my wife fed him cheese from the cooler we had brought with us. Afterwards the cat stretched out and relaxed on our cooler earning him the name "Cooler Kitty". As the day progressed my wife got her wish when one of the waitresses announced that the monkeys have arrived (We had heard rumors that they had all been chased off by local dogs). A group of about 10 small monkeys came foraging around for goodies. A local man gave my wife a cup of mango juice which one of the monkeys walked up and accepted from my wife. They were not, however too thrilled with the watermelon I brought from the boat. When I handed it to the monkey he sniffed at it and threw it to the ground like an angry small child. It was really fun watching their antics. Our final animal visit came from a huge hog who seems to think the beach is his private grounds. It was funny watching him mess with various patrons belongings until he took a fancy to our cooler. I had to shoo him off when he tried to stick his whole head into our cooler grunting and sniffing the whole time. "Cooler Kitty" was not too thrilled as his intrusion as well. All in all it was a great day at the beach. The only drawback was the endless amount of hawkers cruising the beach trying to sell you necklaces, bird feeders and island music CDs, most of them were not too pushy though. At 3pm our driver picked us up and we returned to the boat. The town of St. Kitts is quaint and had the best shopping deals other than St Martin. A warning however, my wife and I went to a local drug store to buy sun block and sun burn relief stuff and the cashier tried to rip us off. We used our charge card and she tried to put the total down as US$23 instead of $23 EC, a big difference. I caught her mistake and she corrected it but I felt it was intentional. Life is a beach.... Day 8 St Thomas (St John) My wife has always wanted to see St John. We read about how most of the beaches there are undeveloped because they have been declared a park area. We spent a lot of time debating which beach to try there. At first we were leaning towards Hawksnest but in the end we decided to go to Trunk Bay since they have facilities. The day begins with lots of shuttling. Taxi to Red Hook $8 per person, ferry to St John $3 per person, taxi to Trunk Bay $4 per person, Trunk Bay admission $4 per person. Was it all worth it? Answer a resounding yes! The taxi reached the crest of a hill and stopped to show us Trunk Bay beach from above and the view was spectacular. The whitest sand we have ever seen and waters that have about every shade of crisp blue you could imagine. Most pictures you see on the internet of Trunk bay are taken from this high point. We are glad we didn't go with Hawksnest because they had construction going on with all kinds of workers and equipment milling about. We arrive at the park and it is very clean and modern. The have large bathrooms, freshwater showers, a small store, and a little grill. All the facilities are back away from the beach so as not to interfere with the majestic scenery. I have to say without a doubt that of all the beaches I have been too, domestic and abroad, this is by far the most beautiful beach I have every laid eyes on. It's like walking into a picture post card. The sand is clean and white and silky soft. The waters are so clean and clear you feel like you are looking into a swimming pool. We were concerned about the beach being crowded but overall I would say everyone had ample breathing room. We spent most of the day here soaking up the sun, enjoying lunch from our cooler (stocked with sandwiches from the ship), and taking in the wonderful scenery. When it came time to go it was almost painful to part from these surroundings, but we vowed that on our next St. Thomas visits we will definitely return to Trunk Bay. This is a place you have to experience at least once in your life. Back to the sea... Day 9 at Sea Once again it is time to bask poolside on our floating resort. I go out at 6:30am and scout out a good chair. I have now found myself in the company of other hunter-gatherer husbands whose wives have sent them chair foraging as well. Its almost like a morning social club, sipping coffee, comparing our chair catches of the day. The day consists of the usual poolside day activities, cold towels, sorbet, trivia and pool games, music by Voltz, etc. We retire a little early to get ready for the final formal night onboard. It's lobster night so my wife is very excited. At dinner we order two tails each and judging from what I overhear other people do the same. After dinner we get the baked Alaska parade which is pretty much a standard on all boats. The waiters seem to have a lot of fun with it. Our waiter put his gloved hand into the fire and raised it like the Statue of Liberty. At midnight that night was the Grand Buffet. This is my third cruise so the novelty of the buffet has kind of worn off. You have the usual ice sculptures and food carvings. The hard thing is trying to eat a bunch of extremely rich food then go back to bed. After a night of listening to our moaning stomachs we decide we may pass on next cruises buffet. The last dance.... Day 10 at Sea The last day has arrived. We do the usual pool routine but mother nature only cooperates till about noon. We play the pool games & enjoy Voltz for the last time. We spend the day packing and getting ready for tomorrows sad day. We enjoy some poolside hamburgers for our last dinner. The poolside grill has really good hamburgers as well as great pizza and a different past dish each day. That night we ordered pizza which came to our room in little pizza boxes (nice touch). We go to sleep hoping our boys haven't burnt down the house or starved the dogs in our absence (they didn't). I don't wanna go.... Disembarkation We are given color coded tags on our luggage to identify when we get off the boat. We let them know in advance of our very long drive home. They have announcement free disembarkation. Basically they assign you a waiting area and instead of announcing whose next over the ships speaker they have a ship representative in your lounge announce what color is getting off next. We wait and wait and wait. Finally around 9:15 we get to exit the ship. We give up on the idea of grabbing the rail and kicking and screaming and reluctantly leave our floating paradise. Back to reality, sigh. When we got back to the Wyndham our car was right where we left it so we hit the road and bade adieu to Fort Lauderdale. The Mighty Summit Cabin 2055 Our cabin was nicely furnished, very clean, and spacious enough to meet our needs. There was plenty of closet space and drawer space. We had a small night stand with a water pitcher, ice bucket, and two ice tea glasses. The room comes with a mini-bar which to me is a waste. I would have much preferred a decent refrigerator. We tried to use the mini-bar fridge but our stateroom attendant would not empty it for us so we had to empty it ourselves every time we wanted to use it. It wasn't very cold as well. The shower was ok. They give you a shampoo dispenser and a lotion dispenser by the toilet. The bed was about as comfortable as most ship beds we have had (foam mattress rather firm). After spending most of the day baking in the sun, eating large amounts of food and drinking we found no trouble sleeping. Food Glorious Food Cosmopolitan Dining Room The main dining room is the cosmopolitan restaurant and we found the dEcor to be quite attractive. They have screens which cover the windows including the huge window in the back. During our dining they would raise the screens to reveal the waters outside. We insisted on a table for two since we hate forced dinner conversation. They put us right next to the waiter's station which was kind of noisy. Our waiter was Ok but a little over the top trying to be friendly. I like polite quiet service but this guy insisted upon trying to make conversation, all with a rather pretentious overtone. A good waiter can pick up on how much interaction his patrons want. I guess he was worried about getting his tip. The food was good. The best items my wife and I agreed were the salads (always fresh and different) and their beef dishes (very tender and juicy). A lot of the dishes were a little to rich for us, a lot of veal, duck, quail, and cod just to name a few items. It seems the menu caters more to a European taste. Casual Dining Boulevard We really enjoyed this option. You can make a reservation to eat in the back of the Waterfall restaurant. They make up the tables real nice with table clothes and offer the same level of waiter service as the main dining room. The menu has two variations both with steak, chicken, salmon, pasta and made to order gourmet pizza. We found the service here the best on the boat. The waiters are honestly friendly and professional and the Maitre d' went out of his way to ensure you were enjoying yourself. The view was superior to our dining room view. They sat us in front of a huge window where my wife and I could watch the sunset. I highly recommend people try this option if you want a relaxing meal in a casual setting. The steak was excellent. Waterfall Dining Room This is your classic buffet dining room. We ate our breakfasts and lunches here. The breakfasts were good but not as abundant as Holland America. Some items were only available on some days. Overall there was plenty to choose from. They had a good omelet station which offered various ingredients and would also fix fried eggs. I liked this because I would rather have a fried egg cooked to order. Lunches were good but not great. At sea they had themed buffets (Italian, Mexican, etc) but overall we only could find one or two things we liked. For example the lasagna only had ground beef, noodles, and mozzarella cheese. No Ricotta cheese or anything else. This left it rather bland. A lot of the dishes were lacking in this fashion. There is a pasta bar during lunch as well as a sandwich bar in the very back. The sandwich bar was good and offered a wide variety of breads and meats as well as a special sandwich of the day. My wife almost jumped for joy when they did Steak sandwiches since this is her favorite and I was thrilled to see Reuben sandwiches one day. Everyday there is a station offering 100% real ice cream, it was delicious, with lots of toppings to choose from. Poolside Grill The poolside grill was a favorite stop for us. They have delicious hamburgers with every topping you could want. The fries were quite good. They also have four different kinds of pizza. My wife and I both liked the pizza which had a great crust. There was also a pasta dish of the day. All in all the food was good and it's a great place to grab a quick snack while sunning. Normandie The Normandie was a worthwhile alternative to the usual routine. I have already described our dining experience above. I would heartily recommend trying it as least one day. You would probably want to go on a non-formal night since formal nights in the cosmopolitan shouldn't be missed. Entertainment One of the weak points on this ship is the entertainment. The comedian Mike Ivy was horrible and both my wife and I fell asleep. They had a magician who did a sort of vaudeville routine which was kind of annoying. They had a xylophone player which was not very entertaining (he seemed more excited than the audience). We didn't even bother to check out the violin player. The Celebrity singers and dancers are pretty much par for the course. This was our third cruise and over all the song & dance shows just don't wow us anymore. How many salutes to Broadway & the movies can you watch before they become passE. Someone should have told the singers that "Titanic" might not be a good movie choice to salute on a cruise ship. On cruises we like to see unique acts. They had a couple who were acrobats but they were not given their own show (they meshed them in with the singers & dancers). This is too bad because they were quite talented. I wish they would use some of their bars onboard for late night comedy, maybe of a more risquE mature. As mentioned earlier we really enjoyed the band Voltz. They played a wide variety of music, anything from country to rock to island music. Their female lead singer has a phenomenal voice. We also enjoyed Ron Thompson who was a solo guitarist who played about the ship (usually on the back deck at sunset). It was very relaxing to listen to Jimmy Buffet tunes while watching the sun sink into the Caribbean Sea. The T-Pool This was an area we would come to visit a lot. During the day the T-Pool was always crowded. But at night it was all but abandoned. A few nights my wife and I opted to skip the show to check out the T-Pool and we are glad we did. We went around 8:30pm-9pm and most of the time we either had the whole thing to ourselves or shared it with one or two others. The T-Pool is a small warm salt water swimming pool that is flanked on each side with seating areas filled with Jacuzzi type bubbles. There are also four tall faucets shooting streams of warm water into the pool (these feel great if you let them hit your neck). There are two hot tubs outside the pool but they close at 9pm (which is silly since the t-pool stay open till 11pm). My wife and I loved to get in the middle of the pool and float on our backs and gaze at our reflections in the glass ceiling. It was a wonderfully relaxing experience. If you want a great way to wind down before hitting the sack ease up there at night and relax. The Main Pool. There are two small pools topside. One is a deeper pool (about 6' deep) which is used primarily for swimming. This is a salt water pool and as the ship is moving it creates waves that travel back and forth. When the waves really get rolling you can hear the pool goers laughing like kids in an amusement park. The other pool is shallower and is used more by children and people who want to just soak in the water. There are two hot tubs outside but it boggles my mind that someone would want to soak in hot water in the hot Caribbean Sun. It would be nice if they would leave the poolside hot tubs open at night but I guess that would make them liable to anything bad happening and they would have to worry about more amorous couples using them. It would be great though to hot tub under the stars. Announcements Announcements are all but nonexistent on this cruise. This is something we were really pleased with since we were subjected to the constant bingo call of "Mr. Bingo" on our Royal Caribbean cruise. On this ship they would do a noon update of where our position was and a couple of the days events and that was about it. Overall This was an overall great cruise experience for my wife and I. We have to give celebrity the thumbs up in the area of service. With this ship it's all about the little extras, from the champagne given at boarding to the cold towels given poolside and upon returning to the ship. There were just so many "nice touches". We heartily recommend this ship to anyone cruising. It's a quiet oasis from the storm of everyday life. The Blake's Cruise Tips: Pack a lunch Why risk traveler's diarrhea when you have such great food on the ship? Take a collapsible cooler, a box of freezer bags, and some hefty disposable containers. I also recommend bringing at least twelve water bottles, 20 oz Evian type. Keep the water bottles filled with water from the ship. Order sandwiches dry from the restaurant onboard or get them delivered by room service. Pack the sandwiches in the bags, chips in another bag, and if you want most ships have a fruit and cheese plate which can be put into your hefty containers. Get packets of condiments for your sandwiches. Ice the whole thing down by getting your cabin attendant to bring you extra ice. Now you have a wonderful, safe picnic lunch to take to the beach or ashore. Luggage Get large suitcases because less is better. We found a nice large travel suitcase at Wal-mart for $50. Get some colored ribbon or take apart an old Christmas bow and tie it around the handle. You can also put large stickers on your suitcase. This will make finding your bag a lot easier when you get off the ship since they tend to pile the luggage all together. BYOB To save money, pack your own liquor in your suitcase. We brought two 1.75 liter bottles onboard. Use room glasses and ice to fix your own drinks. When getting duty free liquor in a port pack it away in a backpack or travel bag. Most of the time the guys running the x-ray machines won't try to confiscate it. If they do take it so what, you'll get it back at the end of the cruise. We have never had them confiscate our bottles. Chair Hogging Endless posts have been written on this subject and everyone has a different opinion on what is and is not acceptable. Here is my two cents worth. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. People on all cruise ships are going to get up early and stake out a chair. It's a fact of life. Now you have two choices. One is to show up at the pool late in the morning and have no decent place to sit. The other is to set your alarm, get up early and stake your claim. We did the latter. I must note though that we never left our chair unattended for more that 30 minutes, usually to go eat a quick bite. I feel it's wrong to hold a chair all day and not use it till late afternoon but I also will do what it takes to provide my wife with a great spot to lounge in the sun. Now the chairs by the pool are the only ones with pads on them so they disappear fast. I would suggest to anybody who likes to sunbathe all day poolside to get up at 6:30am and put a towel, book, sunglasses, etc on a chair and enjoy your day. Nobody has ever thrown peoples stuff overboard and if they did they would probably get into a whole lot of trouble if not a fight. Stateroom Envy Some people like to boast about their staterooms or suites. How they get butler service or free fruit etc. My wife and I always go for the least expensive best deal. We usually book interior cabins near the bottom of the boat. For us the cabin is just a place to change clothes, sleep, or be alone together. We spend most of our time on deck or engaging in other activities. Now granted for our Honeymoon we booked a room with a deck and it was very romantic. But for vacation we like to save as much money as possible (so maybe we can cruise even more often). We recommend bottom of the ship as close to the middle as you can get. This area has the least motion and will save you from having to walk from one end of the ship to the other. Well I hope this has been informative or at least a little fun to read. Remember it's your vacation so enjoy it to the fullest and happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
My wife and I sailed on the Summit on 3/5/04 for 10 days to the Southern Caribbean. This was our second cruise on Celebrity (after a relatively poor experience a few years ago) and our sixth cruise overall. This was a great cruise on a ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Summit on 3/5/04 for 10 days to the Southern Caribbean. This was our second cruise on Celebrity (after a relatively poor experience a few years ago) and our sixth cruise overall. This was a great cruise on a beautiful ship with a wonderful crew. I apologize for the length of this review, but I've tried to use headings to let each reader find the subjects he or she is most interested in. PRE-CRUISE ARRANGEMENTS. We flew from S.F. to Miami the day prior to sailing and were met at the airport by my brother. We had dinner together and then he drove us to our motel in Ft. Lauderdale. Buying him dinner was far less expensive than paying for the car service I had arranged, and I highly recommend having a relative live in Florida to help with this transfer. We stayed at the Comfort Suites Airport and Cruise Port. This is about two blocks from the Embassy Suites which seems to be a popular spot. It was adequate - very large room (we were upgraded), a clean bathroom and a passable breakfast. I wouldn't want to vacation there, but for overnight it is fine and I would stay there again if the pricing made it a good deal relative to other nearby places. We used the Comfort Suites shuttle to the ship in the morning. They ask guests to reserve spaces, but only some did. We were on the 10:30 a.m. shuttle and there was room for everyone who showed up - but later shuttles were fully booked up and I don't know how that worked for those who didn't reserve in advance. The shuttle left at 10:35 and after stopping first to drop off Princess passengers it deposited us at the Summit around 10:55. EMBARKATION. Embarkation was something of a zoo. It was not very clear where to bring the bags, where to go to check in or whether anyone was in charge. It turned out that bags were handed over to porters by simply mobbing the porters near the luggage bins - not an organized process. We figured out where to line up and waited outside for about thirty minutes until they started letting people file in (around 11:30). Then we were asked to have a seat and wait some more - certain passengers were given priority for boarding, but why was a mystery and there were no signs to help out in this regard. Eventually our row of seats was called up, and then we went through security screening before lining up again to actually check in. This part went pretty quickly and we were on the ship by noon. While the waiting area was fairly comfortable, it seems this process is more bogged down than necessary - I don't know how Princess moves people through so much faster, but they do and Celebrity could take a few notes on this. Upon boarding we were offered "champagne" or a Mimosa, a nice touch. A flyer was handed to us letting us know the rooms wouldn't be ready until 1:00 and directing us to head for the buffet on deck 10. The buffet was decent and after lunch we checked out our room - it was before 1:00 and it was all ready for us. We dropped off our carry-ons and began to explore the ship. Maybe because I had spent so much time poring over the diagram of the ship, maybe because of a pretty logical layout, we had an easy time finding our way around. We returned to the cabin around 2:30 and all of our bags had already been delivered - we quickly unpacked them and found that the cabin had plenty of space for our stuff, even though we had over-packed for a 10-day cruise. CABIN. Our cabin was 6144, then a 1C but soon to become a 1A. It was a good size and very intelligently laid out. The wood and fabrics were light colors that made the room seem bright and cheery. This is one of those few cabins with an extra large balcony - perhaps three times the size of a typical category 1 balcony. The balcony had two cushioned lounge chairs, two regular little balcony chairs and a small table. After the normal overhang from the hull, there is an awning which goes all the way to the rail - this was a good feature which allowed us to sit in sun or shade depending upon where we put our chairs. Contrary to some rumors, this cabin is no wider than any other category 1 cabin. The bathroom is nicely laid out with plenty of shelving and cabinets (this is one place where Princess should take a few notes from Celebrity). BON VOYAGE GIFT. I had ordered some flowers for my wife for our anniversary, and I was rather nervous that they had not been delivered before we sailed. They eventually showed up by 6:30 or so, and the arrangement was lovely - and it lasted the entire 10 days. I think this was a very good value (better than from other cruise lines or private bon voyage gift companies) and would purchase flowers from Celebrity again. SHIP. The Summit is a truly beautiful ship, at least for those on board (the boxy design of Celebrity ships may not appeal to some from the pier, but we didn't take the cruise to stare at the ship from the shore). The public areas are tastefully decorated and have a varied look from room to room - not jarring but each space is decorated in its own style. Overall the ship exudes elegance. It is only two and a half years old and is well-maintained. As with every other ship I've been on, there is constant cleaning and maintenance work being performed (although I noticed that the rail on our cabin's balcony was in bad need of some varnish). The public restrooms were especially clean. There is no "ooh and aah" atrium like on many other newer ships - not a negative, just one less photo to share with the folks back home. The pool area is very pretty to look at but not necessarily well designed. It is as if someone went out of their way to minimize the number of lounge chairs which can be placed around the pool, especially in the sun. This did not bother us at all, as we are just as happy to find a quieter place to catch some rays, and there were tons of empty chairs to be had (although there is only one towel distribution area, right near the pool, which makes this less than convenient - and there is no obvious place to dispose of used pool towels). In any event, I have no idea of whether there was chair hogging going on, but all of the chairs near the pool were taken at all times the ship wasn't in port - not sure why the mystique about being right next to the pool, but I'm obviously in the minority. FELLOW PASSENGERS. Given that this was a 10-day cruise, there were very few children and the passengers skewed a bit older than we see on 7-day cruises. The typical passenger was probably mid-40's to early 70's, with most being between 50 and 65 (no, I did not take a survey). Most of the passengers were Americans, but there were a number of Canadians, Brits and other Europeans. People seemed to be enjoying themselves in all corners of the ship, but this was not a boisterous group to be sure. The mix seemed to be very similar to that we see on Princess ships. In short, not a wild party crowd, which was fine with us. We are non-smokers, and we never felt that smokers were lighting up where they shouldn't have. Yes, the smoking side of the ship had a fair number of smokers, but we rarely felt overwhelmed by smoke - and we had drinks most nights with friends who smoked and thus we sat in a smoking lounge. I would have to conclude that this was a respectful group. FOOD.  It would be impossible to simply say "the food was good" or "the food was bad" - it really depends upon which venue and which time you're discussing. Most mornings we had breakfast in the Waterfall Cafe buffet area. The food was fine - nothing exceptional but good variety (I think the only thing that changed was some mornings they had smoked salmon and other mornings they had herring). The coffee was pretty darn strong; also, many mornings one or more coffee stations were shut down, so lines built up quickly where coffee was available. There was a waffle station and omelet station - we never tried them but they seemed to have loyal followings. At lunch the buffet food was not terribly interesting - menu changed daily, but it never looked terribly appealing. Most days we got something light at the Aquaspa Cafe, and that was always tasty - I think this is one of the best things going on this ship, with never more than a few people on line. We had hot dogs for snacks from the grill by the pool, and they were quite good (the fries were pretty good, too); we never tried the burgers. My wife had pizza once and said is was fine, but nothing like that offered by Princess from the pizzerias on the Sun class ships. We had sushi a couple of times for a late afternoon snack (available from 6 to 10 p.m.). The selection was decent, the fish seemed fresh and overall it was nice to have it available - I wouldn't swap it for a good local sushi bar, but it was far better than the pre-packaged stuff they sell at the local supermarket. Dinner in the Cosmopolitan restaurant ranged from okay to very good - all was made better by the fabulous service we got from our waiter (Oz) and his assistant (Boban). Oz was the best waiter we've ever had. Celebrity seems to do red meats nicely, but they don't do as well with fish or seafood - the lobster tail on the last formal night was tasteless rubber, so you had better take the butter on it if you order it. Lamb was consistently excellent. Starters went from blah to excellent, soups were very good, salads were okay, breads were very good and desserts were good to excellent (unfortunately, this made them hard to pass up). We had dinner one night in the Normandie and it was wonderful. The room is beautiful, the service was excellent and the food was wonderful - far better than the Cosmopolitan and well worth the extra charge. Only downside is a somewhat limited menu, so eating there multiple times can be tough (the food is so rich you might not want to go more than once anyway). ENTERTAINMENT. We missed all of the production shows. We saw the comedian, Mike Ivy, and he was fairly dismal. But he looked like a giant of the entertainment industry compared to Gossamer Magic, perhaps the worst show I've seen anywhere (and I am including amateur talent shows in this); the only thing slightly entertaining was watching some of the audience actually laugh at lame jokes that perhaps would amuse a second-grader. Voltz was entertaining with a great lead singer. Barbara, the harpist, was good, and the Frank Duo were good if you didn't watch the drummer/singer perform as if he were going to die of boredom. Don Fluke, the cruise director, was a bit of a parody of a lounge singer, but one-on-one he is almost shy and a genuine and nice guy. CREW. This ship has the best crew I've ever seen - extremely well-trained for their jobs. Even the guys vacuuming the landing by the elevators stop and say "good afternoon, sir" when you walk by, always with a smile on their faces. The bar wait-staff was friendly and efficient. Our cabin stewardess and her assistant did a very good job (but I think they are stretched too thin and sometimes work too quickly, so they might leave a used plate or glass on the balcony table) and they were very friendly. CRUISE CRITIC PARTY. We had a very active group online - around 1,300 messages posted before we sailed. Many of the folks got together for a pre-cruise drink in Fort Lauderdale (we missed it due to late arrival) and again for sail away just after the muster drill. By the time of the party - second sea day, around 10:15 in the morning, the thrill was a bit gone. Still, we had maybe 15 people show up for coffee and Danish with the cruise director and the social hostess (Camilla Sullivan). It was fun - but my wife wisely didn't reschedule a massage for it. DINNER WITH THE CAPTAIN. Because it was our anniversary, we ended up being invited to dinner with the captain on the last formal night. This was fun and we got to meet interesting new people at the dinner, but I will say we missed the last "fancy" dinner with our tablemates (whom we met online through Cruise Critic and enjoyed immensely). If you get invited, you should do this at least once. Maybe the best perk was being invited to a bridge tour, something not done routinely any more for security reasons (they "wanded" all of us and checked the women's handbags before the tour started). SHORE EXCURSIONS. We had arranged two shore excursions online months before the cruise. One was cancelled due to lack of interest. This was the Captain Nautica Power Raft and Snorkel trip from St. Thomas to St. John - something I'd done two years ago with my son and found to be the best shore excursion I'd ever been on. They cancelled so late that the concierge said she couldn't help me book it privately on my own (something about needing at least 48 hours to do this). I find it hard to believe that with the Summit, the Constellation and Brilliance of the Seas all in port together they couldn't find 10 people out of 6,000 who were interested. Worse, because they offer it as a ship's excursion, Captain Nautica won't let you book on your own in advance if you're on the ship. So, Celebrity's manner of handling this actually prohibited me from spending my day in port as I desired. This was the worst thing they did (not malicious, just indifferent, although the concierge had a pretty poor attitude). PORTS. We got at least some rain every day, but it did little to dampen our enjoyment of the great ports on this itinerary. On St. Maarten we rented a car, shopped and had lunch in Marigot, went to Orient Beach for a while, and then got in some quick shopping in Phillipsburg. On St. Lucia we got a taxi and went to the Caribelle Batik workshop (sort of disappointing) and Eudovic's wood-carving studio and gallery (pretty interesting place). This was our lazy day - but I'll note that there is some pretty good shopping right at the pier. At Barbados we did the sail, snorkel with turtles and shipwreck and swim at the beach shore excursion. The turtles were interesting, the snorkeling at the shipwreck was fairly good, and the crew of the catamaran was a lot of fun. On St. Kitts we grabbed a taxi to Turtle Beach - a lot of fun, very good snorkeling once you wade through the sea grass, a nice (if expensive) restaurant and bar and a huge red pig on the beach to mingle with the tourists (hope that guy's Rolex wasn't ruined when the pig dumped it from the beach-bag trying to grab a banana). On St. Thomas we took a snorkel trip to Buck Island - okay, not spectacular - and did the obligatory final round of shopping. MISSING THE SHIP. No, not us, but at St. Lucia two couples can running up to the pier as the ship was floating away. They signaled to the harbor pilot's boat and it seemed they had to negotiate two things - having the captain of the Summit permit them to board by jumping from the pilot boat onto the Summit while it was leaving the harbor, and determining the amount of the "payment" to the pilot boat's captain to take them to the Summit - I'll bet that was by far the most expensive 150-yard trip they ever took. DISEMBARKATION. This went far more smoothly than embarkation - unlike Princess, which just leaves it to each person's devices to find a place to sit, Celebrity assigns you to a lounge area so that seating is available. It is a bit tough walking through any public spaces during this time, but otherwise it worked well. Our bags were easily located and out we went. SHUTTLE TO MIA. We used the Celebrity bus to Miami airport and that went well - except that the driver seemed determined to deafen us all with the occasional 3-second, 150-decibel blast of Spanish language radio. He was also quite liberal using the horn - but we arrived in one piece no worse for the wear. OVERALL. This was our first cruise of more than 7 days, and the extra few days made it a lot more relaxing - we particularly liked the 4 sea days. We already had another cruise booked on Infinity to Alaska this summer, and we are now very encouraged by this great experience on Celebrity. Is Celebrity better than Princess? Not to us - they are each great lines with strengths in different areas. At that, my wife still wants to try Royal Caribbean again - last time was 10 years ago on our honeymoon and we had a good time there, too. I guess any cruise would have to be pretty awful for us to not have a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
Review of the Celebrity Summit - Eastern Caribbean March 5, 2004 Susan and I booked our winter vacation almost a year ago. We had been on the Constellation a couple of times and all the Century class ships in both Europe and the ... Read More
Review of the Celebrity Summit - Eastern Caribbean March 5, 2004 Susan and I booked our winter vacation almost a year ago. We had been on the Constellation a couple of times and all the Century class ships in both Europe and the Caribbean, but had heard marvelous things about the Summit - and the itinerary looked just right - 10 days, including 2 sea days in the beginning and end. Another plus was that the cruise left from Fort Lauderdale - just a 2-½ hour flight for us. We originally booked 6131, one of Sky Suites with an oversize verandah. Then we were able to switch to 6146, one of two Sky Suites that adjoin the Penthouse Suites. This is a beautiful room, decorated just like the Penthouse Suites, slightly larger than the normal Sky Suites, also with a larger balcony - and a really great bathroom. Even though we had read some complaints on the boards about noise from the Penthouse, we decided it was too beautiful and special to pass up. We ended up thrilled with our decision. We had an absolutely great time with the added bonus of the best weather we have had on a cruise in the Caribbean in the past 4 years. The review will be in four parts - 1) Pre-Cruise, 2) The Ship, 3) The Ports and 4) Post Cruise and Wrap-up. I hope you find the review helpful if you are considering a cruise on the Summit or one of the other great Celebrity Ships to the Caribbean. Pre-Cruise We are pretty active on the boards, so we quickly registered for the Cruise Critic Party and found the specific cruise thread. The cruise thread was very active, but mostly with the same 15-20 folks. This is pretty typical. We were able to make some friends on the boards ahead of time, and arranged to be at the same dinner table - as well as make some other plans. This worked out great - and now that Celebrity lets you request dinner companions ahead of time, is something I am sure more and more cruisers will do in the future. We did some research on hotels and restaurants, since we were flying in a day early (always a good idea!), and decided to try Price line for the hotel. We weren't able to get one of the better hotels on the beach, unfortunately, and ended up at the Wyndham by the Airport. Because the hotel wasn't really near anything, we rented a car from Hertz for the day. We got a full size car for $40 and it did make it easier to run errands, meet up with the pre-cruise folks for cocktails - and would have allowed us to drive down to Hollywood Beach for dinner, had not the bridge gotten stuck!! When we do this again, we'll be a little more savvy on how to get one of the better hotels - but renting the car was a great idea - especially since Hertz had transport right to the ship the day of the cruise. The Wyndham was fine for the price ($90 in high season). Check in was easy and our room was clean and the bed was pretty good. There were a couple large groups also using the hotel - I believe all booked through tour agents for one of the ships leaving the next day - but the hotel was not overly crowded. One guest complained that his room was dirty and he couldn't get ice - but we had no problems. We looked around the pool area, and it was nothing special, and since we didn't have much time the afternoon of the 4th, didn't hang out down there. We brought 3 special bottles of wine with us, but wanted to purchase a few more bottles for the ship, along with some rum for our flask. Rosie from the boards (JNL Rose) had recommended a liquor store across from the Embassy Suites on 17th street, and her recommendation was right on. We found some very nice wines, well priced, and some good Tortuga Rum to help spice up our drinks. We had brought an extra piece of carry on luggage to bring it on board, and had no trouble. We then went to the Hyatt Pier 66 to meet some of our fellow cruisers for cocktails (this was arranged by Tommycruiser). It was a very pretty bar at the top of the hotel, and it rotates in a circle in about an hour. There is also a nice observation deck from where we saw a beautiful sunset. There were about 20 of us who met for cocktails and conversation and it very nice. Around 6 p.m. we stepped outside to the observation deck as others were leaving for dinner. We met some great folks from Ireland there on vacation, and chatted about our upcoming end of summer trip to their great Island and watched the sunset. It was then time to drive down to Hollywood where we had dinner reservations at an Argentinean restaurant we found through Fodor's, right on the beach. Unfortunately, we never made it. As we left the hotel to turn east on 17th to back over the bridge traffic was stopped. After 20 minutes cars started turning around and coming back towards us the wrong way!! Finally, someone came down and said the bridge was stuck, and it could be an hour before it was fixed. We joined the convoy in illegal U turns and went back to the hotel and had a great dinner at their outdoor restaurant right on the water. Great conversation with our waiter from Philadelphia, a super martini or two and great veal made us quickly forget our original plans!! We'll get there next time!!! Of course, 10 minutes after we sat down for dinner the bridge was fixed - and we later found out we could have turned the other way, gone down the coast road and crossed over another bridge a mile down the road - but not being from there, we wouldn't have known. The next morning we slept in, re-packed our carry on bags and returned the rental car around 11:30. We were at the ship by 12 noon. Since we had E Tickets, we had to prepare our own luggage tags at the pier - but the porter was very helpful and we wound our way into the holding area. In the holding area there must have been about 300 folks already there waiting to board. But because we were both Select CC Members and in a suite, we got moved to the head of the line, and we were on the ship by 12:30. Very smooth embarkation. The Ship The Summit is the third of the 4 M class ships, and it was almost an exact copy of the Constellation, which we have been on a couple of times. We liked the color scheme and art more on the Summit - a little more subdued and classy, we thought. Our suite - 6146 - was just as beautiful as we had seen before on the Constellation - especially the bathroom. The bath was all marble, with large double sinks, an extra large 2 person shower and a separate full size bath. The balcony already had two deck chairs with covers, 2 chairs and a small table. When we met our butler, Kenneth, we asked for a larger table so we could eat our breakfasts outside and one appeared later that afternoon. Drawer storage in the room is more than adequate but the closet is a tad small - especially for a 10 day cruise with 3 formal nights - but we did fine. We needed some items pressed right away for the first formal night which was the next day and the service was prompt and the prices reasonable. I mentioned our butler was Kenneth from a Portuguese part of the Indian subcontinent. He was superb. He took the time to get to know us - always brought us 3 cappucinos in the morning - always asked if we wanted 1 or 2 in the late afternoon - and if we weren't in, always knew to leave us some cookies in our room. He arranged for wines to be delivered to our table for dinner, shined my shoes, got our cleaning back promptly, and set up a beautiful table each morning for breakfast. We ate outside 8 mornings and it was the perfect way to start our day. We had read on the boards where some butlers were late, or didn't set up the table with proper linens, but Kenneth did a great job with everything. If you are lucky enough to get Kenneth for your butler you will be treated royally. And say hi from us! To be perfectly honest, we rarely saw our cabin steward(ess) and her assistant, but the room was kept sparkling clean. If we needed anything, though, including extra towels, it was Kenneth who was there to help us. The cabin stewards must love working the suites with active butlers - I'm sure they have a lot less to do. Everything in the room worked like clockwork (unlike our Royal Suite on the Constellation last year which always seemed to need some repairs). The 19 inch TV comes with a DVD player, that can also play CD's for music. While not as grand as the plasma TV's in the Royal and Penthouse Suites, it was fine for us, since we didn't spend an inordinate amount of time in our suite. We usually watched a bit of CNN to catch up on the news and used the DVD player to listen to music. But if you book a suite and like to watch movies, feel free to bring some on board. They also have some you can borrow while on board - ask your butler for the current list. You may need to ask for directions on how the lights and window shades/curtains operate as it is a rather unique button system. It took us until half the cruise to figure it all out. There is a door adjoining the room to the Penthouse - and the Penthouse bedroom is just on the other side - so, yes, you can hear some noise. Our neighbors were relatively quiet, the only constant being that their wake up calls always seemed to come a half hour before ours, and since we could hear it, we were always awake a little earlier than we would have otherwise liked. It has been our experience that most of the cabins on M Class ships are very quiet, and it was only because of the adjoining door we heard anything at all. We had second seating in the main restaurant. Because we changed our table from one of 12 near the center of deck 4 to a table for 6, we were in the back alcove on the starboard side. It turned out to be a great table - the two couples we had met earlier on the boards were super company and our waiter was the Great and Powerful Oz. Oz is from Istanbul, has been with Celebrity for 10 years, and his professionalism, polish and sense of humor were outstanding. He wasn't shy in recommending dishes (or not, as the case may be) and he was usually right on the money. He constantly teased Susan for never finishing everything, and another couple at our table who, no matter how great the regular desserts were, always ordered Sherbet. One day they asked, as usual, what the sherbet of the day was and he answered cooley and objectively, "Garlic", and proceeded to write down the order. He was kidding of course, and after that, each night we would try and come up with some outrageous sherbet they could be offering (Brussel Sprout sherbet, anyone?). The food was excellent - much better than our last cruise on the Connie. The beef was tender and always cooked to order, the fish was not fishy and the duck and veal were sublime. The lamb chops were exquisite. Overall, these were probably the best entrees we have had on a Celebrity Cruise. The only disappointment was the cold soups - which are usually out of this world. For some reason they were very watery - and not very cold. Also, the lobster was so-so. Still, the salads were fresh - crisp lettuce every night, and the hot appetizers were scrumptious. The few desserts I did have were worth the calories! We ate at the Normandie specialty restaurant twice - on the first Sunday with our regular tablemates, and then later in the week on Thursday just the two of us. The food was great - some dishes clearly unique and different than the regular restaurant, and the service, if a bit slow, was still way over the top. On a longer cruise, eating there twice was a nice break and clearly worth the money. On a shorter cruise, I would do it only once. We rarely ate at the cafeteria on 10 - just not our style, but the few sea days we did the food was fresh and service fine. A great place to eat lunch is on the back of the ship. The grill made adequate burgers - although the wait for 10 minute turkey burger did shine brightly. Later in the day, the sushi bar was also quite good, and very popular. Our friends spoke highly of the healthy food served in the Thelossatherapy pool area, but the strong smell of chlorine in that part of the ship kept us away. There is always somewhere on the ship to get food now, unlike the old days when you would come back from an excursion at 3 or 4 and have nothing. This is a real improvement!! Overall, I'd give the food an A-. Susan used the spa a couple of times and said they were very nice and helpful. For the last formal night, she went in to have her nails done - and after the evening was over, a couple needed to be re-done. The spa did them again for her the next day, gratis. The workout room - like the Connie, is at the front of the ship, with plenty of equipment and great views. I used it twice and had no waiting, although it was pretty busy. Because the weather was so pleasant most of the time, the pool area was pretty crowded on the sea days from about 8 a.m. on. Still, we never had a problem finding a place to hang out - usually on deck 11 (although it did get a bit windy up there). Of course, we always had our balcony - which got plenty of sun - even with the overhang. We actually liked the overhang since we could also get some nice shade during the day. We were regulars at the Champagne/Martini bar every evening before dinner. Our cocktail waitress was the lovely Emma from New Zealand. She made wicked martinis and cosmos - and, per my special request, made plenty of blue cheese olives for the whole cruise. I helped get one of our new ship-made friends hooked on em!! The duo in the Rendez-Vous Lounge were pretty lame, and seemed to repeat the same set night after night. Still, there were always plenty of dancers, so clearly some folks enjoyed them. We went to the disco a couple of times - and the DJ seemed pretty accommodating and the place was really hopping - especially for a Celebrity Cruise. A couple of our tablemates were excellent latin dancers, and the DJ would always plays one or two pieces from their own CD's for them to dance to after dinner. As for the rest of the ship's entertainment - we didn't take in any of the shows. Our tablemates felt the comedy was pretty lame but the musical shows were pretty good. The harp player and pianists we heard on board were very good, but the string quartet made everything sound like a dirge. The guitar quartet in the Normandie was excellent and the guitarist who played happy hour on the back of the ship was also very good. The only time we went to Michael's was for the Cruise Critic party on the second sea day, but I heard it was pretty empty most nights. There were a number of cigar smokers on this cruise - and they pretty much hung out at the back of the ship, but I'm sure they would have appreciated Michael's being converted back to a cigar bar. Our overall impression of the Summit was that it was absolutely tops in service, and the most elegant Celebrity ship afloat. While on board we booked next years trip - this time we will do the Western Caribbean in 11 days in February - with the added bonus that we get the same suite, and $400 in credits ($200 for booking on board and $200 for being stockholders and booking prior to March 31). By the way, if you are planning a future cruise, always try to book it on board, and do it early before it gets crowded. The Ports We went to St. Maarten/St. Martin; St. Lucia; Barbados; St. Kitts and St. Thomas, in that order. In St. Martin, one of our cruise critic friends, tablemates and, as it turned out, next door neighbors (6144, not the Penthouse) rented a car and we went with them on a drive around this relatively small and desert-like island. We spent most of the morning in Marigot - the capital of the French side. They had some very nice shops, but the prices were not all that great. We had a marvelous lunch and then drove further around the island to Orient Beach. For a few bucks, we got some nice chairs and a rum drink and soaked in the sun and the sights. Yes it is a clothing optional beach, and yes, most people should think twice before choosing to go without clothes. The water was warm, and swimming was good, but didn't try to snorkel. We then drove back to Phillipsburg and parked in town and did some more serious shopping. Better shopping here, especially for clothes, jewellery, tobacco and liquor. Our friends were more active than us, but it was fun to look. We then had to return the car and they hit us up for an outrageous extra charge for gas (I think we only used an 1/8 of a tank - it's a very small island). If you want to rent a car there, my recommendation is to wait until you land, negotiate the best price you can among the 3 or 4 rental agencies near the ship, and make sure you put gas in before you return it. Overall, a fun if somewhat expensive day. St. Lucia was second. We booked our only ship's excursion here, as we wanted to see the Pitons and get in some snorkeling, and the best way to do it without an arduous bus trip was on a half day catamaran sail. It was beautiful and tons of fun. I only wish we had more than 25 minutes for snorkeling, as it was really clear and there were lots of fish. St. Lucia is one of the most scenic islands - very lush, partly because they get lots of rain - and we did get some for about an hour right after we snorkeled. Who cared - we were already wet, and enjoying the rum punch immensely!! The excursion was $58 per person and well worth it. After lunch on the ship, we walked around the shopping area near the ship and spent a relaxing afternoon aboard. We'd love to spend more time here. Our next stop was Barbados. After a walk through town we caught a cab and went to Malibu Beach, which is pretty close to town and where the ships dock. It was very crowded, but we found a nice shady spot under a banyan tree, got pleasantly buzzed with Pina Coladas spiked from our stash, and got wet when it got too warm. Also a mid day shower here, but not as strong as on St. Lucia. We weren't interested in a tour of the rum distillery and the food didn't look all that great so we headed back to the ship around 1 for a light lunch and nap. A pleasant beach day, and not very expensive. The next day we docked at St. Kitts and with our shipboard friends, shared a cab to Turtle Beach, which is a good drive away ($8 per person each way). Free chairs and a beautiful beach including some wonderful snorkeling and views of Nevis. But watch the drink and lunch charges which are very high. We did have some interesting entertainment from someone pet hog, who woke up after lunch and proceeded to try to undress one of our shipmates, then rummaged through another one's bag to gorge on a banana or two and almost ate this gentleman's Rolex, until the unafraid Paula (one of our tablemates and neighbors) saved the day by distracting the pig and snaring the expensive would be lunch before the hog could swallow it. We lunched during the mid day shower here, and the water and snorkeling were particularly good after lunch. At 2:30 our intrepid taxi driver, the 6'5" Socrates, picked us up, played us his homemade CD's cut on Trinidad the previous year and dropped us off in town for a bit of shopping. Found some nice clothing here for both of us - some of it made locally, and pretty good quality. The town was very clean, the people very friendly, and St. Kitts remains one of our favorite islands. Not an inexpensive day, but mostly because of the lunch and shopping. Our last stop was the intrepid St. Thomas. Here, we had booked a private excursion with Sharon of the Winifred. We taxied over to Red Hook (also $8 per person) and met Sharon and her first mate and the 2 other couples for our sailing and snorkeling adventure. On the plus side, it was a gorgeous day, and the sailing was superb. The negative was the guided snorkeling trip off of Caneel Bay in St. Johns was an unmitigated disaster for me when our guide, the aforementioned first mate, left me behind. Here I am one minute trying to get used to their annoying fins, and following some fish and trying to enjoy myself - and the next thing I know, I raise my head and there isn't a soul around. I had somehow started heading towards the beach while the rest of the group headed in a 90 degree angle towards some distant rocks. Also, I am pretty blind in the water (can't wear my glasses - and though I can see pretty good through my mask in the water, am blind as a bat above water) and when I looked around to at least try and spot the boat, there were a number of them parked off shore and I wasn't sure which one was ours. After some loud yelling on my part, one of our group heard me, and waived her orange floatie in the air and I started heading in that way. Fifteen minutes later I caught up with her, but we were now 5 to 10 minutes behind the rest of the group so we swam hard to catch up to them. At that point our leader came up to me and asked me if I was alright. It took a lot of patience for me to not belt him one. Anyway, 10 minutes later we were pretty much where I had been 40 minutes earlier, and I got fed up with the fins, and swam to shore (beautiful beach areas there - drop dead gorgeous) where I ditched the fins and did some great snorkeling near some rocks. Finally, everyone seemed to be heading back towards one of the ships, and Susan, thank God, stayed behind and the two of us made it safely back to the ship (Susan was using a flotie so could carry my fins back with her - since they were the ship's and not ours -we had our own masks etc.). Then we had our "gourmet" lunch, which was a small piece of chicken and a salad, and some rum punch, and we sailed back to Red Hook. Nice sailing. Still, I cannot recommend this trip. It is overpriced at $110 per person plus recommended tip for the ubiquitous first mate, so do yourself a favor, and if you want to go snorkeling on St. John, do it yourself. When we got back to port, did our typical last minute booze shopping (since the prices are good and you can take back more from here than other islands), and got ready to enjoy our last two sea days. In summary - we loved St. Lucia and St. Kitts, and can see ourselves spending more time on both of those islands. The other stops were also fun, but those two were the most special. Post Cruise We had a relatively early flight back at 11:25 a.m. and were beige 2 for disembarkation. The various colors were given different times to meet in different areas of the ship - ours was in Michael's Club at 8:30. At 8:45 the cruise director came in and informed us we could leave the ship - and our color and the whites (wherever they were) were first off the ship. We had our luggage at 9, were in a taxi by 9:15 and having a Starbucks coffee at the airport by 9:30. We had read some horror stories on the boards about disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale, but ours was very easy. We had arranged our own air, and there were very few taxis - so, we do recommend if you are doing it on your own, to try to get off early so as to avoid a long wait for a taxi. Still, can't beat the airport being 10 minutes away - overall, a piece of cake. We made some great friends on the cruise - from England, Dallas, Northern California and Minnesota - and had incredible service from our butler, Kenneth, waiter, Oz and cocktail waitress Emma. We can't wait to be on the Summit again next winter!! Jeff Taxier Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
We have sailed on Summit before, doing the 10 day last year. We are Celebrity fans, and this ship is 'IOPO' the best!! Our boarding was very smooth, champagne was handed out when boarding, a really nice touch, and then we were ... Read More
We have sailed on Summit before, doing the 10 day last year. We are Celebrity fans, and this ship is 'IOPO' the best!! Our boarding was very smooth, champagne was handed out when boarding, a really nice touch, and then we were able to unload our travel bags in our cabin before going for lunch. Our luggage arrived by 3pm, and we unpacked and got ready for the wonderful time we knew we would have. After 17 cruises and 9 (10 at the end of April) with Celebrity, the service is the best we have had on any ship and the food is probably the best we have had also. Although their pizza was not as good as we remember. They have cut back on portion size, but just ask and the waiter will bring you trays full of anything you want. We went to the specialty dining, Normandy Room, and had a lovely time dining there, but prefer eating at our regular table with our cruise mates. We had a great waiter, Oz, and asst. waiter, Milton. Oz, is a delight and just what you would want in a waiter. He made every meal special. We are Trivia buffs, and had a great and fun time with the Activities staff, have to mention what great assets they are to Celebrity, and hope they are still there on our return April 26th. Mentioning them, Quentin Lemmer, who is from S. Africa, what a great cruise director he will make, someday. Jennifer Rogers, from Canada, a real pro at her job, Simona Pitena, a very sweet and fun gal, and the newbee; Lauren Orenga, a Cleveland, Ohio native. She is so fun and bubbly. they added to our pleasure and fun while on board. Cruise director, Don Fuke, was very good and has a great singing voice, they should let him sing more! This is the cruise that was boarded by the coast guard, taking off a drug kingpin, so we were late getting into Costa Rica. Then the seas were so rough the ship actually pulled out a concrete piling, so the Capt. thought it was better to leave than possibly having damage done to the ship. They gave us free drinks at happy hour for both main and late dining seatings, which was very nice of them to do. We have missed other ports on other cruise lines and never received even a "sorry about that" from them. Celebrity knows how to treat their guests and we appreciate that. I know we'll hear from others that have "bad things and experiences happen" but we have learned through cruising other lines, Celebrity is Our Kind Of Cruiseline! Disembarking was hurry up and wait, but we are used to that also. Find a nice quiet place in the upper decks to sit out the wait unless you like to feel like cattle, but this is on any cruise line, unless you have top status and get to sit in the elite section. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
First of all let me state we had a GREAT time. [B]Pre-cruise:[/B] We arrived one day early and stayed at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Hollywood. Got the room from the internet for $60. This is a good location. If you want to go to an ... Read More
First of all let me state we had a GREAT time. [B]Pre-cruise:[/B] We arrived one day early and stayed at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Hollywood. Got the room from the internet for $60. This is a good location. If you want to go to an excellent dinner try Argentango. This is an Argentinean steak house that certainly rivals Morton's or Ruth's Chris for a fraction of the cost. The trip to Port Everglades is a short taxi ride away. Embarkation: Excellent. We showed up at the published time (12 noon). They had already started boarding. Since we had all our docs filled out we were through the process in less than 10 minutes. As soon as we stepped on board there was a glass of chilled champagne handed to us. Great start! Stateroom: Booked a category 2B stateroom - 7103 on the Vista deck. Wonderful location and really enjoyed the balcony. However... the tile in the shower was full of black, yucky mildew. I even took a picture that I will be sending to Celebrity so they are aware of the quality of cleanliness in our bathroom. Unbelievable! Service: Mixed. I loved the fact that ALL staff greet you with a smile and a look in the eye - from service crew to officers to seamen. Our stateroom attendant was reluctant to put out any extra effort and let it be known. One time we ordered room service and he told us he wouldn't be able to put our order in for over an hour because if he did it right away he would have to "stand in this big long line". Hummphh. Then there's the matter of the dirty shower that was never rectified. The dining room staff was excellent. All of them. Truly enjoyable people. As is true with human nature, we got friendly and not so friendly service at the bars. I wondered more than once if they had given up being nice since they get tipped no matter what service they provide. All in all I was pleased with the bar staff Entertainment: Excellent. Top of the line production shows. Good, first run movies in the cinema, with a variety throughout the week. Wonderful band by the pool. The comedian was hilarious. Plus there is lots going on on a small scale throughout the ship, from a four piece ensemble playing classical music to a harp player. Food: Wonderful. The dining room food was first rate. The food in the Normandy restaurant was worth every dollar. It was really nice to be able to get room service 24 hours a day, and they also had a service where you could hang a tag on your door to order breakfast delivered to your room at a certain time. The buffet was just so-so, but I find that to be true of most buffets. Pizza on board was truly good. Ship: Really nice. Public areas are very clean and well maintained. The layout is such that you never feel crowded (except at the pool on sea days). The Emporium (shopping area) has a great selection, and prices certainly rivaled those to be found on shore. Dining room is lovely although noisy. Lots of comfortable seating throughout the ship - inside and out. We loved the glass elevators. Visiting ports of call: Mixed. When we had to tender it was REALLY slow. In fact, we lost 2 hours on Grand Cayman waiting our turn to get on a tender. BUT, there's nothing like being greeted with an ice cold wash cloth after spending a hot humid day - which is what they do when returning to the tenders for the trip back to the ship. When we actually docked it was usually early and easy access on and off. Shore excursions: Only booked one through the ship. That was for a barrier reef snorkel in Belize. Had a really good time. The catamaran picked us up right at the ship. Great company and I would recommend them to anyone considering a snorkel trip in Belize. Booked two things outside of the ship. First was the Royal Swim with the Dolphins in Cozumel. Truly the experience of a lifetime. Do it if you're ever there. You will love it. The other was a day at the Sante Wellness Center in Roatan Honduras. They picked us up at the ship (my husband and I plus another couple), drove us to the center about 45 minutes way, where we had massages and hand and foot reflexology sessions. Got to lay about for awhile then they served a wonderful lunch of chilled shrimp and salad. I'd recommend it to anyone, but book early because they only take a maximum of 10 people per day in order to keep the quality of their service up. Disembarkation: Best I've ever experienced. The main dining room and the buffet are open on disembarkation day. You get to take your time getting out of the room, then you go to one of the lounges (assigned I believe by the time your transportation home is scheduled for) and wait to be called for disembarkation. You get to leave with a good impression. Other: The published schedule of evening dress was different from what was actually scheduled on the ship. All the brochures and the website said 3 casual, 2 formal and 2 informal. There was only 1 informal and 4 casual. Which means I bought an outfit I didn't need. Luckily I left the tags on and was able to return the dress. My husband ordered a tux from the ship. It was delivered to our stateroom the first day, fit perfectly and was picked up on the last night. Couldn't have been better. We brought our own wine. 6 bottles. Paid the 12 dollar corkage fee in the dining room. This was more a matter of wanting to be sure we had wine we liked than trying to save money. Worked out well, and the Sommelier was more than pleasant to us with her service. Once again the published information was incorrect. This time it was the cost of the Normandy. One of the pages in the in-room binder said $25 and another page said $30. It was $30 - and worth every cent. I found the people on board to follow the dress code for the evening pretty faithfully. Lots of evening gowns, tuxedos, and dark suits on formal nights. Cocktail dresses and suits or sportscoats on informal nights and what I would call "resortwear" on casual nights. In the daily flier they state that they enforce the dress code, but I saw a few people out of sync with what was requested and they were still allowed into the dining room. Final thoughts: We are long time Princess cruisers and thought to try Celebrity for the first time. Celebrity was about equal. We will probably return to Princess for future cruises because we get special incentives for being past cruisers. Every time we've been on Princess we've received a free upgrade of at least 1 category and once all the way to a balcony stateroom. From the sounds of the info on Celebrity you have to pay $30 to be a member of their captains club, whereas it is free on Princess. I hope this information is helpful. Happy cruising everyone! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
Summit- My wife (Julianne) and I had the pleasure of cruising on Celebrity's Summit April 30 - May 7th in the Western Caribbean. I found the cruse reviews to be very helpful so I vowed to post one after our journey. First, I think it ... Read More
Summit- My wife (Julianne) and I had the pleasure of cruising on Celebrity's Summit April 30 - May 7th in the Western Caribbean. I found the cruse reviews to be very helpful so I vowed to post one after our journey. First, I think it should be mandatory that anyone who leaves a review give their age and a bit about who they are and what is important to them. I am 37 and Julianne is 35. We are very active, water & beach enthusiasts and are NOT "partiers" at all. Julianne had never cruised before and I did once 14 years ago. Celebrity and its Summit were amazing. The ship is beautiful and the service incredible! We had the time of our lives! What a terrific vacation experience! With that said, I would not give as strong of a recommendation for the hard core, die hard partier types out there. Don't look for any "Girls gone wild aboard the Summit" videos anytime soon! The Summit was anything but that type atmosphere. It was a first class, refined experience maybe so much so that the very few party animals that were aboard appeared to find some aspects of Celebrity somewhat frustrating. Dining We had late seating and dined in the main dining room (The Cosmopolitan) every night, except the one night we spent at the specialty restaurant - the Normandie. At dinner we received excellent service and were served fantastic food at the Cosmopolitan, so good that we did NOT dine in the less formal waterfall cafe even once for dinner! Our waiter Ibraham was superb and treated us like royalty and our assistant waiter Lawrence was excellent. For breakfast we had room service deliver us croissants and coffee at 6:30 or 7 AM every day. The croissants are the best we have ever tasted and it was a great way to start our day. For our breakfast meal we mostly dined at The Waterfall Cafe buffet. Overall the food was great with tons to choose from including the yummy Belgium waffles, omelet station, pastries and fresh fruit (the scrambled eggs were not very good and bacon a little cold). The buffet was also a little bit faster then the Cosmo so we could investigate the port cities a bit earlier than most others. For lunch we did 50/50 Cosmo vs. Waterfall Cafe just depending on when we got back on the ship and how we felt. Both had great lunches. The specialty restaurant (The Normandie) was the greatest dining experience of our lives. We asked for and got a table for 2 which made for a more intimate dining experience for our special occasion. Best foods ever eaten in our lives include the CHEESE SOUFFLE, Chateaubriand, Sea Bass and Bombay (dessert). Well worth the $60 bucks, believe me! Spa/ Gym We did some spa treatments, it was nice but if you need to cut costs you might want to bypass it. Adjacent to the spa is the gym which many were saying is the best afloat. We used it everyday except one and absolutely loved it! It was a big part of why our cruise experience was so great. In the Spa area there is a lite menu cafe (there are so many places to eat on the Summit it is hard to keep track of them all). We were told the Spa Cafe is also run by the Normandie group (management/ chefs) and it shows! Pool The pool deck was awesome! Voltz played music with a Caribbean flair in the afternoon which gave the deck a nice feel. At peak times it was difficult to find a chair on deck 10 but deck 11 overlooking the pool always had spots. The indoor Theasotherapy pool was absolutely great! The bubbles and everything were great. Cabin #2138 outside cabin, mid-ship. Our cabin assistant (John) was excellent! If you are looking to save a few bucks go with this lowest cabin deck, mid-ship (a cabin in the #2128 range would probably be even a bit better). To me these cabins should be the MORE expensive cabins than upper decks because for the most part you never feel you are moving and with the gas turbine engine it is super quiet (completely inaudible from our cabin) and has no "cut through" traffic that some upper decks have. Sure you have to spend an extra few minutes per day on the stairs (it's healthy) but it's was no big deal for a fairly young couple like us. Julianne had gotten sea sick on tiny (less than 100 passenger boats) in her life and was nervous about cruising but never once even got even close to being sea sick the entire week. Shows Several guests aboard said other ships had better, whatever. The cruise director Simon was great! We did go to all but one show, overall we enjoyed the shows. The comedian, Ray, was hilarious! We did NOT book a cruise for the shows so we really didn't care much whether they were Broadway caliber or on par with our local high school drama club. Games/ Activities/ sports activities The activities staff tried their hearts out but with so many I-can-care-less-about-games-and-activities-passengers on board they really didn't get much participation. We did a few poolside games and other ship activities and had fun. Ship/ cruise summary At the all important post cruise "weigh in" I gained 2 lbs and Julianne just 1, taking the stairs, walking the ports and working out all helped make that possible for us (I don't believe we missed a single meal). Tips- snorkeling is great fun so if you are planning to snorkel a lot buy your own gear at home and bring it. Depending on where you go many places have good snorkeling right off the beach! There is a mini bar in each cabin so you can save some bucks by packing a few beverages (pack it in bags with lots of cushioning). The cabin attendants can care less if they are alcoholic beverages or not. Research the ports (internet/ travel mags) before you leave. If you can afford the extra vacation day go down a day early. We stayed at Sleep Inn for just $59 which had nice free shuttles from the airport and to the ship port. Nice deal, nice, newish, very clean place, it allowed us to arrive at the ship port at 11:15 AM and be nearly first on board at noon! First thing- book your excursions - talk to the rep about what you want to do over the entire trip and take their advice as to best excursions!!! Book the Normandie before the masses get to it. Join the captain club while on board, its free. WE LOVED CELEBRITY'S SUMMIT! Ports (WESTERN CARIBBEAN) Some Western Caribbean ports like Key West, Grand Cayman and maybe Cozumel "doing it yourself" excursions might be the way to go but for some suspect locations you are better off going with the celebrity sponsored excursions! Key West was great. Walked around and shopped for an hour. Rode bikes for a few hours seeing sites (this is a great island for bikes) ONLY $4 a day rental at Keys Mopeds and Bikes on Truman Ave. Found a local beach for an hour to sun bathe and swim. What a fantastic day! Cozumel- Went with Catch the Wave excursion via Celebrity, what a joke! We were disappointed but we heard from many other passengers that the other 4 Celebrity snorkeling excursions were all very good. We booked Catch the Wave via the internet a month before the trip and the excursion rep at the Summit desk said Catch the Wave had changed and they were telling folks to avoid it. Too late for us. ? The water in Cozumel is super clear and beautiful. Belize- We had planed to do it ourselves in Belize. It was the first time the Summit ever visited in Belize. It was disorganized and after talking with some locals we had an uneasy feeling about our plans to grab a water taxi to Geoff Cay so we got back on board (we really wanted to snorkel Belize's Cays, no luck). (Cozumel and Belize days were mostly spent on the ship which wasn't exactly what we had planned but because the ship is so great we did enjoy those days). Roatan- Breathtaking island with hilly terrain. Did the Celebrity excursion to West Bay Beach (Tabayana Club). One travel book had West Bay Beach as the most beautiful in the entire Western Caribbean, it's hard to argue, WOW. A picture postcard beach and snorkeling was very good with a huge barrier reef a mere 3 minute swim off shore. Nearby West End is suppose to be nice but we never found time to take the 10 minute water taxi ride over. Grand Cayman- We honeymooned in Cayman 8 years ago. Cayman is so beautiful words can not do it justice. Eight years ago, we had done everything Cayman has to offer including sting ray city, 7 mile beach, hell, turtle farm, everything (all great) so we did our favorites this year, Rum Point! We rented a jeep, took the very scenic 50 minute drive to Rum Point which is still quite, secluded, and absolutely beautiful!! After a few hours we jumped back in the jeep, drove through Cali Kia stopped at the blowholes all of which were on the way to Smith Cove which is close to the port and so nice! It is quaint, beautiful, scenic and completely un-crowded beach with good snorkeling. Then we hopped back in the jeep snorkeled at Eden rock, shopped in Georgetown and grabbed the last tender back on board. Bye Cayman, we love you! Budget car rental had a great cruise special $49, EVERYTHING (gas, license, transfers) included with very convenient transportation from the pier to the vehicle at the airport. WE LOVED CELEBRITY'S SUMMIT! -Mike (mrenz@vscat.com) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
PleHi-- first let me tell you-- this was my 5th celebrity cruise....but this one definitely had some problems... The first was embarkation in FLL...got there at 11 am and did not get into line up for ship til 1 1/2 hours later (and YES, ... Read More
PleHi-- first let me tell you-- this was my 5th celebrity cruise....but this one definitely had some problems... The first was embarkation in FLL...got there at 11 am and did not get into line up for ship til 1 1/2 hours later (and YES, we are Captain's Club-not that that made any difference).............Everyone was complaining because after waiting standing up in line, we were then marched to seats to sit for another 1/2 hr and then move to the last set of seats for the final 15 min...TOTALLY unacceptable..and TOTALLY disorganized.. Finally got on board--went to cabin- 3063--cabin was fine- and the cabin steward, Albano was a dear--but the LOCATION of the cabin was right across from the pantry that the stewards bring you room service...Mornings were the pits due to the NOISE level from that pantry...we complained 3 times during the cruise to the guest services, and each time we complained, the noise stopped for a day or so and then proceeded to get bad again...Got to the point, we just went up to pool deck way earlier than usual and slept up there in the am...WOULD DEFINITELY NOT get this cabin again, even if it were FREE---But the location was good-totally midship and easy to get to other areas in ship.... Food on this ship was exactly how another poster described it....skimpy and not as good as past Celebrity cruises...Prime rib was about 1/2 inch thick== sirloin steaks looked like minute steaks and were almost impossible to get cooked medium rare due to the thinness...RACK of LAMB was FABULOUS!! Lobster was the pits--all rubbery or mushy from being previously frozen--plus they only brought out 1 lobster tail at a time---FISH was SUPER SALTY--we tried it 3 nights in a row and gave up on fish.... Service in the main dining room - the Cosmopolitan- was FABULOUS!! Our waiter, Lance-from South Africa and Lazaro from India (asst. waiter) were top quality..and right on the ball with our likes and dislikes..the cruiseline tried to move Lance to another section of the dining room- AFTER we had him for 2 nights and fell in love with him..A talk with the maitre'd 2 days later got him back to our table... Tables in the dining room--MOST all were for 6 people MAX except for a few table for 10 and a few table for 2.. we were used to tables for 8 from past cruises--so this was surprising....However, we did have a FABULOUS table with old friends and new friends.. The Waterfall Cafe on the pool deck was GREAT for breakfast--WAFFLES were fantastic- and there was also an omelette station--plus the normal breakfast items..breads were to die for! As were desserts during lunch... Our BEST lunches daily were at the AquaSpa lunch buffet..WONDERFUL- Low CAL beautifully presented spa food..Wanted to take THAT chef home! Room service was on time--but got the orders mixed up on a continued basis--we just laughed it off and went up to the Waterfall if the room service breakfast arrived wrong..however, serving OUT OF DATE milk was a definite NO NO!! and that happened on day 1 for room service! Nothing like curdled milk in your cereal! Yuck! Dinner in the NORMANDIE RESTAURANT was FABULOUS and sooooooooooo worth it...service was impeccable and food was totally awesome...had a leisurely 3 hr dinner-- not that you were eating that long-only that the courses were carefully spaced out and left time for food to settle and tablemates to talk.......truly FINE DINING!! and well worth the price for the service alone. We had the Cheese souffle, chateaubriand, cheese course and chocolate souffle for dessert PLUS a second dessert of a sampler plate of desserts-one of which was passion fruit creme brulee........and then they bring out petite fours...INCREDIBLE!! The Martini Bar was our favorite place to sit before dinner- gorgeous room and you have to order a weird martini--I fell in love with the Chocolate Martini... Pool chairs were held like in previous cruises..everyone was doing it.. Thallosotherapy pool was wonderful only one day someone turned up the heat so much that the regular pool felt like a jacuzzi.... Entertainment on this ship was some of the BEST we have ever had...Samantha Jay- a English female who played the obo, violin, piano and saxophone was TERRIFIC.. Elliot Finkel-pianist-was also good..the COMEDIAN- Steve Solomon is NOT to be missed--extremely funny!! and their aerialists were also good...The Celebrity entertainers were FABULOUS...the voices on these people were TERRIFIC-- Islands--- St Martin- we did our usual shopping. ST Lucia- we stayed on the ship and did it as a ship at sea day as we did not want to do any excursions here... St Kitts- FABULOUS- got our own guide- toured the island and stopped at Rawlins Plantation for a traditional West Indian Lunch- $26 pp and well worth it...Need reservations-and our guide made them for us after he picked us up... Barbados--AWESOME catamaran sailing excursion- booked on our own..boat only held 12 people and we were only 8--so it was perfect..Day started off cloudy,then rainy, then the sun came out and it was wonderful---swam with turtles and went snorkeling.. St Thomas--shopped... BEST BUY for watches or jewelry were on St Martin..although a friend got some gorgeous things in St Thomas at Lucky's..................... Saw a friend's AFT cabin-- HUGE DECK-but don't know if I would want if due to the movement... First 2 days at sea felt like you were rocking and rolling out of Ft Lauderdale..then it calmed down... We arrived home in Ft Lauderdale at 2am for maintenance....wonder if that was why ship was so rocky???Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Met cruise director- Simon Wier-super funny man and a terrific cruise director. All in all, a good cruise...would I take the Summit again- YES- IF they got rid of the chef and decided to cook things properly...and PLEASE CHANGE THE DINING TO PERSONAL CHOICE like PRINCESS-- I hate eating at 830pm and 630pm is too early for me... To me, Princess had MUCH BETTER food. ( we went on the Golden in Dec.03) than Celebrity and it USED to be the other way around.......... But we did LOVE the ship- and all the public places-- the pool band, Voltz, was TERRIFIC~ This was NOT the CELEBRITY that we were used to cruising on............cutting back bigtime-- Come on Celebrity--go back to 2 years ago when we last cruised on you! Read Less
Celebrity Summit Ratings
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Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1