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Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 22 April 2005 Thank you Celebrity Summit for an excellent cruise. People made the difference. To our new Cruise Critic friends, we enjoyed our time together alligator spotting, water bus riding, snorkeling, shopping, canopy walking, zip-lining, sharing cocktails and dinner, dinner, dinner, etc. From the Celebrity Staff we appreciated great overall service with smiles and excellence in food and entertainment. We had a great time and based on our experience, we would choose Celebrity again in the future. Several things are most notable during the 14-day cruise. Our critique is based on an experience base of only 3 Cruises of which this was the most recent. It was also our first time on Celebrity. The Summit's number one differentiator from our other cruises is the quality of entertainment. John Howell, Cruise Director, executed his responsibilities with creativity (Beach Party), caring (Cruise Critic gatherings), competence (Nightly Show Host), flexibility (modified schedules based on cruise dynamics) and genuine friendliness (he convinced us that we were a part of his family). He visibly led his staff by example and their teamwork was evident throughout the cruise. Our heart-felt well done and a nod of the hat to John. We would sail again with him even if he were the Cruise Director of the Titanic! (Just kidding). His service was beyond excellent and definitely outstanding (Not kidding). The second kudo is for the dinner cuisine and service in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. We were at late seating (Table 407) and under the watchful care of Vernon from South Africa and his assistant Rafael from Honduras. The food quality and diversity was a credit to the chef and food service staff. Everything was always fresh, hot and delicious. But this acknowledgement doesn't stop with the preparation and great taste. The personal delivery, cheerful good humor and overall ambiance were first class. Vernon and Rafael turned dinner into a dinner theatre experience with fun ventures into the art of pepper grinding, defining "Hearts of Iceberg Lettuce", the science of tableware positioning (and repositioning), and Rafael's now famous toothpick games and napkin folding. We looked forward to their service every night. Even Zanna from Lithuania, our sommelier, added to the experience (remind her she promised to provide us a fashion show). Not to be forgotten, our tablemates from Manchester, England and San Diego, CA made each meal an event of memorable camaraderie and day-in-review. (What time is it Margaret?) The Normandie dinner was extraordinary. In addition to great co-diners Ronni and Frank, we were very impressed with the 6-course menu, the chef's accommodation of our entrEe requests, the food quality and the accompanying wines. I can't think of a way they could improve this experience. It was perfect. The public areas of the Summit were well maintained and pleasantly staffed. A big round of applause for the daily "March of Sorbet" around the pool decks. But Celebrity! Please let those poor guys and gals wear shorts and polo shirts as they serve us instead of uniforms! 90+ degrees and high humidity should be factors in their attire selection. Cliff - thanks for the attention to detail on Mauricio's tour. You can be our tour guide anytime. Andrew - thanks for arranging the follow up meeting for CCs. John H. - thanks for your time and participation in Michael's Club CC sessions. The following observations are provided to Celebrity to consider in further improving the cruise experience. We consider these items minor in the context of our entire cruise, but detailed them so they would be better understood: 1. The Concierge Class Room and service were barely 3 Star hotel quality. Our critique in this area is a bit harsh, but Princess set that bar pretty high on both the Tahitian Princess and the Dawn Princess. The personal service we received on Princess set our cabin expectations for cruising. In perspective, our past experience was that the Room Steward met you in the hall on arrival, introduced himself, offered service at all times of the day and night (rarely needed), was constantly visible in the halls, and assured the room was 100% at all times without reminder or prodding. We found personal, attentive cabin service sorely lacking in our Celebrity experience. Although a special concierge number was provided if we needed assistance, we just didn't feel it was worth the time from our vacation to chase after our room attendant. Bottom line? We would not spend extra for Celebrity Concierge Class in the future. These are some specifics: · Upon arrival in Room 8102 we opened the curtains to find smudged, greasy windows. On this occasion we did chase down the room attendant to have the windows washed so we didn't have to have to see this every time we looked outside. · Once we could see outside, we discovered that 8102 has the smallest balcony imaginable, and angled with the contour of the ship. It's hard to believe that two chairs and a table fit on it. The adjoining suite obstructed part of our aft view. Our neighbors were very kind and kept the blinds closed overlooking our balcony so we could have privacy. The balcony definitely did not meet our Concierge Class expectations. In fact, we found ourselves consciously seeking time on the public ship deck rather than on the cabin balcony. · A cover plate from an electric outlet was lying on the desk and the 110v receptacle was pushed into the wall and unusable. It took a full week before it received attention from maintenance, and by the end of the cruise, it was back to its original state of disrepair. · Two ceiling lights were burned out on arrival as well. These also took a week to replace. · We never received the advertised Concierge pillow menu for a selection. · The daily fruit bowl was concerning in terms of freshness. The apples were bruised and mushy. The pears on multiple occasions had surface cuts from handling. On the last two days, the strawberries had mold on them. · CanapE delivery was unreliable. On two nights we had to hunt for the room attendant to get delivery. Delivery ranged from about 4:15 pm to 7 pm. On several occasions, the bread was stale. The selection was also quite repetitive. · Laundry Service was slow and expensive. We requested next day service. It took two days, returning late the second day. A 50% surcharge was added to our bill. If Celebrity is going to add a surcharge, why not just put the charge in the price to begin with. · Turndown service was inconsistent. On one night the Celebrity Today was not delivered. On two nights there were no weather cards or chocolates. Since Celebrity puts most planning information in the Celebrity Today and Weather on the Weather cards, we had no planning information on port arrival or weather conditions for our excursion the next day. · On several occasions we had to personally get ice to replenish the melted supply. · During one day, we returned to our cabin to change into swimming suits. The bathroom service attendant opened the door without knocking (Fast retreat followed). · Priority Tender privileges were overrated. We tried to go ashore for a brief visit to Fuerte Amador, and waited over 45 minutes before giving up and leaving in order to participate in other planned activities. When we left, the Concierge passengers were still waiting. Later in the week at a Cruise Critic meeting, John H. convincingly explained that the Port Authority was the culprit. For the sake of the customer facing staff however, Celebrity needs to provide them that information to convey in real time. They faced a fairly frustrated group of cruisers, and the only information they could give was "soon". They need to be better informed. It's not fair to put them in that situation.· Water in the bathroom sink on multiple occasions was light brown in color. · We experienced a sour smelling shower for several days. It was finally bleached once, which helped for a day or two. · We visited with CC friends in the Penthouse and Royal Suites, and found that the room service we were lacking was surely provided to some. Of special note, the suite butler service we observed was extraordinary (Xavier - A+). · Frankly, the highlight of our Concierge Class Service was the bottle of champagne on arrival. 2. Waterfall Cafe: · Not much to say about the Buffet. Breakfast and lunch were unremarkable. This is not solely a Celebrity deficiency. Princess has the same problem with repetition, cold food and lax preparation. On the Summit, the mixed fruit bowl contents were frozen on several days and you had to beat a chunk off and let it thaw before eating. Toast came in one flavor - burnt). The salvations for Summit Cafe eating were the omelet bar, waffle bar and in the afternoon, the pasta bar. · As a dinner alternative, the Sushi Bar was great. We went there when the CanapEs were late or inedible. Recommend that Celebrity expand the hours from 4 pm to 10 pm. · The Ice Cream bar was also great. Easily accessible, quick service, good choices of flavors. 3. The Aqua Spa · I used this every other day. The pool area and changing rooms were clean and well maintained. Towels were readily available and so were deck chairs. · The pool temperature was very acceptable. · The pool water was not very clean. This is likely due to the large number of people using it, the bubble jets and the power showers. Hair, skin and band-aids were in the mix. Perhaps the filters were not functioning properly? · The selection of light faire foods at the spa cafe was excellent. Nice job. 4. Shore Excursions through Celebrity · Kukoo Kanuku - Very good tour, dinner and bar selection. Only downside was we purchased a CD from the tour guide and when we got home to play it, the case was empty. Hope this isn't a regular occurrence. · ACA Beach Club - Very good tour, excellent pool facilities, lunch and drinks. Recommend the duration of this excursion be stretched to 3 pm. 5. Cirque "Experience" · Several months ago, as we searched for our next cruise, the hook that brought us to Celebrity in the first place was an expectation of the excellence of Cirque through a cruise media presentation of originality, performance and music. I think both Celebrity and the cruisers got a raw deal from Cirque in the "delivery" of the experience. The experience was not up to Cirque standards and we got the impression from the crew that it was not up to Celebrity's standards either. Regardless, we were disappointed. · White Night was over hyped. Expectations for a black-light florescence from the white clothing were much higher than reality. · The Cirque highlight was the balloon performance. · The Bar at the Edge was also over hyped. The drinks were very expensive, as they were throughout the cruise. As counterpoint, Princess has 3 size drink selections, and their drink of the day has a special price. Recommend you consider this option and give more value for the money. 6. Photos · Photographers did a great job using ad-hoc and staged backdrops. · We would have bought many more pictures if the price wasn't so blasted expensive. · We recommend package sales, e.g., Best of Formal Nights: One picture from each night to capture the Lady's different outfits; Best Individual Picture: Husband, Wife, Children, etc. individually; Best Port Pix: Pirates, Hombres and more. Get the price down, and capture sales up front so you don't waste prints needlessly. · We bought the cruise in review video. There were sound problems and an abundance of stock video from other cruises. Particularly noticeable was the acrobatic section from a previous voyage. Stock video does not enhance the memory of a personal cruise experience. Neither does an extended hula-hoop competition. Also, the photo shop showed video clips in the displays during the cruise. Many clips were edited out in the final product. Expectations were such that if you saw it on a clip, it would be on the video. Not so. In conclusion, our critique highlighted the excellent services we received and detailed some areas that we think could be improved. This does not imply the negatives were a major factor to detriment our cruise enjoyment. Based on our overall very positive experiences, we would choose Celebrity again for a future cruise (But we already said that).

Summit

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by Deb & Tom Hart

Trip Details
Celebrity Summit Panama Canal Transit 22 April 2005
Thank you Celebrity Summit for an excellent cruise. People made the difference. To our new Cruise Critic friends, we enjoyed our time together alligator spotting, water bus riding, snorkeling, shopping, canopy walking, zip-lining, sharing cocktails and dinner, dinner, dinner, etc. From the Celebrity Staff we appreciated great overall service with smiles and excellence in food and entertainment. We had a great time and based on our experience, we would choose Celebrity again in the future.
Several things are most notable during the 14-day cruise. Our critique is based on an experience base of only 3 Cruises of which this was the most recent. It was also our first time on Celebrity.
The Summit's number one differentiator from our other cruises is the quality of entertainment. John Howell, Cruise Director, executed his responsibilities with creativity (Beach Party), caring (Cruise Critic gatherings), competence (Nightly Show Host), flexibility (modified schedules based on cruise dynamics) and genuine friendliness (he convinced us that we were a part of his family). He visibly led his staff by example and their teamwork was evident throughout the cruise. Our heart-felt well done and a nod of the hat to John. We would sail again with him even if he were the Cruise Director of the Titanic! (Just kidding). His service was beyond excellent and definitely outstanding (Not kidding).
The second kudo is for the dinner cuisine and service in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant. We were at late seating (Table 407) and under the watchful care of Vernon from South Africa and his assistant Rafael from Honduras. The food quality and diversity was a credit to the chef and food service staff. Everything was always fresh, hot and delicious. But this acknowledgement doesn't stop with the preparation and great taste. The personal delivery, cheerful good humor and overall ambiance were first class. Vernon and Rafael turned dinner into a dinner theatre experience with fun ventures into the art of pepper grinding, defining "Hearts of Iceberg Lettuce", the science of tableware positioning (and repositioning), and Rafael's now famous toothpick games and napkin folding. We looked forward to their service every night. Even Zanna from Lithuania, our sommelier, added to the experience (remind her she promised to provide us a fashion show). Not to be forgotten, our tablemates from Manchester, England and San Diego, CA made each meal an event of memorable camaraderie and day-in-review. (What time is it Margaret?)
The Normandie dinner was extraordinary. In addition to great co-diners Ronni and Frank, we were very impressed with the 6-course menu, the chef's accommodation of our entrEe requests, the food quality and the accompanying wines. I can't think of a way they could improve this experience. It was perfect.
The public areas of the Summit were well maintained and pleasantly staffed. A big round of applause for the daily "March of Sorbet" around the pool decks. But Celebrity! Please let those poor guys and gals wear shorts and polo shirts as they serve us instead of uniforms! 90+ degrees and high humidity should be factors in their attire selection.
Cliff - thanks for the attention to detail on Mauricio's tour. You can be our tour guide anytime. Andrew - thanks for arranging the follow up meeting for CCs. John H. - thanks for your time and participation in Michael's Club CC sessions.
The following observations are provided to Celebrity to consider in further improving the cruise experience. We consider these items minor in the context of our entire cruise, but detailed them so they would be better understood:
1. The Concierge Class Room and service were barely 3 Star hotel quality. Our critique in this area is a bit harsh, but Princess set that bar pretty high on both the Tahitian Princess and the Dawn Princess. The personal service we received on Princess set our cabin expectations for cruising. In perspective, our past experience was that the Room Steward met you in the hall on arrival, introduced himself, offered service at all times of the day and night (rarely needed), was constantly visible in the halls, and assured the room was 100% at all times without reminder or prodding.
We found personal, attentive cabin service sorely lacking in our Celebrity experience. Although a special concierge number was provided if we needed assistance, we just didn't feel it was worth the time from our vacation to chase after our room attendant. Bottom line? We would not spend extra for Celebrity Concierge Class in the future. These are some specifics:
· Upon arrival in Room 8102 we opened the curtains to find smudged, greasy windows. On this occasion we did chase down the room attendant to have the windows washed so we didn't have to have to see this every time we looked outside. · Once we could see outside, we discovered that 8102 has the smallest balcony imaginable, and angled with the contour of the ship. It's hard to believe that two chairs and a table fit on it. The adjoining suite obstructed part of our aft view. Our neighbors were very kind and kept the blinds closed overlooking our balcony so we could have privacy. The balcony definitely did not meet our Concierge Class expectations. In fact, we found ourselves consciously seeking time on the public ship deck rather than on the cabin balcony. · A cover plate from an electric outlet was lying on the desk and the 110v receptacle was pushed into the wall and unusable. It took a full week before it received attention from maintenance, and by the end of the cruise, it was back to its original state of disrepair. · Two ceiling lights were burned out on arrival as well. These also took a week to replace. · We never received the advertised Concierge pillow menu for a selection. · The daily fruit bowl was concerning in terms of freshness. The apples were bruised and mushy. The pears on multiple occasions had surface cuts from handling. On the last two days, the strawberries had mold on them. · CanapE delivery was unreliable. On two nights we had to hunt for the room attendant to get delivery. Delivery ranged from about 4:15 pm to 7 pm. On several occasions, the bread was stale. The selection was also quite repetitive. · Laundry Service was slow and expensive. We requested next day service. It took two days, returning late the second day. A 50% surcharge was added to our bill. If Celebrity is going to add a surcharge, why not just put the charge in the price to begin with. · Turndown service was inconsistent. On one night the Celebrity Today was not delivered. On two nights there were no weather cards or chocolates. Since Celebrity puts most planning information in the Celebrity Today and Weather on the Weather cards, we had no planning information on port arrival or weather conditions for our excursion the next day. · On several occasions we had to personally get ice to replenish the melted supply. · During one day, we returned to our cabin to change into swimming suits. The bathroom service attendant opened the door without knocking (Fast retreat followed). · Priority Tender privileges were overrated. We tried to go ashore for a brief visit to Fuerte Amador, and waited over 45 minutes before giving up and leaving in order to participate in other planned activities. When we left, the Concierge passengers were still waiting. Later in the week at a Cruise Critic meeting, John H. convincingly explained that the Port Authority was the culprit. For the sake of the customer facing staff however, Celebrity needs to provide them that information to convey in real time. They faced a fairly frustrated group of cruisers, and the only information they could give was "soon". They need to be better informed. It's not fair to put them in that situation.· Water in the bathroom sink on multiple occasions was light brown in color. · We experienced a sour smelling shower for several days. It was finally bleached once, which helped for a day or two. · We visited with CC friends in the Penthouse and Royal Suites, and found that the room service we were lacking was surely provided to some. Of special note, the suite butler service we observed was extraordinary (Xavier - A+). · Frankly, the highlight of our Concierge Class Service was the bottle of champagne on arrival.
2. Waterfall Cafe: · Not much to say about the Buffet. Breakfast and lunch were unremarkable. This is not solely a Celebrity deficiency. Princess has the same problem with repetition, cold food and lax preparation. On the Summit, the mixed fruit bowl contents were frozen on several days and you had to beat a chunk off and let it thaw before eating. Toast came in one flavor - burnt). The salvations for Summit Cafe eating were the omelet bar, waffle bar and in the afternoon, the pasta bar. · As a dinner alternative, the Sushi Bar was great. We went there when the CanapEs were late or inedible. Recommend that Celebrity expand the hours from 4 pm to 10 pm. · The Ice Cream bar was also great. Easily accessible, quick service, good choices of flavors.
3. The Aqua Spa · I used this every other day. The pool area and changing rooms were clean and well maintained. Towels were readily available and so were deck chairs. · The pool temperature was very acceptable. · The pool water was not very clean. This is likely due to the large number of people using it, the bubble jets and the power showers. Hair, skin and band-aids were in the mix. Perhaps the filters were not functioning properly? · The selection of light faire foods at the spa cafe was excellent. Nice job.
4. Shore Excursions through Celebrity · Kukoo Kanuku - Very good tour, dinner and bar selection. Only downside was we purchased a CD from the tour guide and when we got home to play it, the case was empty. Hope this isn't a regular occurrence. · ACA Beach Club - Very good tour, excellent pool facilities, lunch and drinks. Recommend the duration of this excursion be stretched to 3 pm.
5. Cirque "Experience" · Several months ago, as we searched for our next cruise, the hook that brought us to Celebrity in the first place was an expectation of the excellence of Cirque through a cruise media presentation of originality, performance and music. I think both Celebrity and the cruisers got a raw deal from Cirque in the "delivery" of the experience. The experience was not up to Cirque standards and we got the impression from the crew that it was not up to Celebrity's standards either. Regardless, we were disappointed. · White Night was over hyped. Expectations for a black-light florescence from the white clothing were much higher than reality. · The Cirque highlight was the balloon performance. · The Bar at the Edge was also over hyped. The drinks were very expensive, as they were throughout the cruise. As counterpoint, Princess has 3 size drink selections, and their drink of the day has a special price. Recommend you consider this option and give more value for the money.
6. Photos · Photographers did a great job using ad-hoc and staged backdrops. · We would have bought many more pictures if the price wasn't so blasted expensive. · We recommend package sales, e.g., Best of Formal Nights: One picture from each night to capture the Lady's different outfits; Best Individual Picture: Husband, Wife, Children, etc. individually; Best Port Pix: Pirates, Hombres and more. Get the price down, and capture sales up front so you don't waste prints needlessly. · We bought the cruise in review video. There were sound problems and an abundance of stock video from other cruises. Particularly noticeable was the acrobatic section from a previous voyage. Stock video does not enhance the memory of a personal cruise experience. Neither does an extended hula-hoop competition. Also, the photo shop showed video clips in the displays during the cruise. Many clips were edited out in the final product. Expectations were such that if you saw it on a clip, it would be on the video. Not so.
In conclusion, our critique highlighted the excellent services we received and detailed some areas that we think could be improved. This does not imply the negatives were a major factor to detriment our cruise enjoyment. Based on our overall very positive experiences, we would choose Celebrity again for a future cruise (But we already said that).
Deb & Tom Hart’s Full Rating Summary
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