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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
Celebrity Summit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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