1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Celebrity Summit
General This was our first cruise and first trip to Alaska so most of this is at face value and not a comparison to any other ship or cruise line. This was ultimately a fine cruise. It was, however, marred by damages to the ship prior to the cruise which caused us to be kept in port in Seward for neatly 3 days causing us to miss 2 of the scheduled ports, Juneau and Skagway. These itinerary changes were not reported until after we boarded the ship and we're "updated" irregularly over the time in port. There was much consternation throughout the ship, and most people were not pleased with the 'compensation' package that Celebrity offered. However, I imagine, much has been reported about that on the [Cruise Critic message] board, so I'll stick to the land tour and cruise itself (and stay on the positive side). Quick summary... Trip My wife and I did the Celebrity Cruisetour 8, 4 days on land, and 7 sailing. OverallGreat service, very good food, very good entertainment. Cabin On ship we had a 1B cabin on Deck 8. Very fine, big enough with enough storage and a veranda Service very attentive throughout. FoodVery good, with a great variety and availability. EntertainmentSame as the food, very good and variety. ShipFirst rate throughout. Land Our trip covered Fairbanks > Denali > Talkeetna > Anchorage (lunch) > Seward (Embark). In general, the land portion was a 7 (of 10). The is well laid out with most of the time planned. On the positive side, that the itinerary gave you a nice basic 'tip of the iceberg' look at Central Alaska, on the down side, it seemed like we spent a large amount of time on our tour coach (never call them a bus!). Day 1 = Arrived Fairbanks. Basically went to the hotel (Pike's Waterfront Lodge) and met our guide, Martin. He struck me as a nice guy, with a lot of energy, but on the unorganized side. One tip... book your land excursions IMMEDIATELY once you arrive. Our guide casually insisted that there was no rush to book these side trips, and subsequently, we were shut out of a few things that we wanted to do. We walked to the Chena Riverside restaurant for a terrific dinner and our first taste of Alaskan salmon... mmm... Day 2 - Fairbanks The trip had two trips planned. First to the El Dorado Gold Mine, a stop in Downtown for lunch, then to the Riverboat Ride on the Chena River. Both trips fine, albeit, on the touristy side. There is no apology about merchandising [on] just about anything, T shirts, post cards, gold, local art, salmon, etc. I guess this is expected for several reasons, not the least of which is that the tourist industry in the area has a 4 month season and need to make all their cash in this time. It reminder me of the shore towns in the summer at the New Jersey shore. My advice is... Do not buy anything the first time you see it, as you will see the same things over and over. Ultimately, we found the best prices in Ketchikan (last port stop). Highlights of the day... panning our own gold at the gold mine, the marriage of the rivers on the boat trip... happy hour on the deck of the pike's restaurant at 'sunset' over looking the river... Day 3 - Fairbankds >> Denali , Denali We had to "load up" at 7 am for our transport to the Alaska RR and the famed glass top train car. The car was seating on the second level and a dining area on the first level. There was some confusion within our group regarding breakfast, and many people had scrambled to eat before the trip and skipped the meal on the train. We found the meal to be very good ($10). There was a guide - Katie - on the train who narrated and pointed out local scenery and told stories of local traditions. The views were as advertised, and got better and better as we approached Denali. At Denali, we entered - as Katie put it - Glitter Gulch. In contrast to the awesome beauty of the National Park, the town is a complete tourist construct, lined with hotels, RV parks and shops selling everything. After a hurried lunch at the Chalet, we caught the shuttle to the National Park Visitors Center. The scene was totally confused. We had been told by Martin that we could tour the park easily on our own by simpy getting on a park green bus and riding as far into the park as we wanted and then returning. While this was accurate, we found when we got there, that most of the buses were sold out. The only one with room left at 2 pm (for a 8.5 hour / 125 mile round trip tour to the Eilisen Visitor Center). This would have been fine, but that last shuttle to our hotel left at 9 pm. There is a local cab service - the Caribou Cab - but they only run on demand after 9 as well, and are costly ($7 pp). We threw caution to the wind and took our chances on getting back. The ride was worth it. 62 each way on a school bus with no amenities at all. Despite a sore gluteus, we saw just about all the wildlife in the park, Moose, Bears, Caribou, Eagles, etc. However, 90% of what we saw was 80% of the way into the park. Many people left the bus after mile 20 and saw only the views. At Elison we did not get our hoped for view of Mt. McKinley which was under cloud cover but we did have some generally tremendous views of the Alaskan scenery and the wildlife... We were able to see just about all that we wanted to. Of all the places on the trip, I would have liked to have had more time here. We didn't make it back to the visitors center until after 1030 (still very light out!), and our driver - Laurel - was kind enough to arrange transport to the hotel by a park service van. There was quite a party going on in the tavern of the lodge which we visited for about 15 minutes before getting to our room. It was 1145 pm and fully light out! As our room was about 50 yards from the tavern, we could hear the revelry go on for quite some time. Day 4 - Denali > Talkeetna We spent the morning on a white water rafting trip on the Nenana River (Celebrity Code D-9) which was very well done and exciting. Just getting in and out of the 'dry suit' was an experience... Most of the afternoon was spent on a 5 hour ride (with 1 hour waiting in traffic due to construction) to Talkeetna. If you blink you miss the town as it is only about 200 yards long. Since the ride was much longer than expected, several people on our bus missed their land excursions and scurried to book alternatives. Also, it was cloudy and many of the flightseeing tours were not running. We did the "Talkeetna Canyon Boat tour" (T - 3) which was a 5 hour speed boat ride up the Talkeetna river. The ride was quite beautiful and also educational. As it was Salmon fishing season we saw hundreds of people camped out along the river fishing (some had been there for weeks!). Every was getting large fish too. After the ride, our driver took us on a tour of the town and explained all the local gossip and rumors. He told many stories of how the locals get by. We stopped at the local general store (also a resaurant / tavern) for some supplies and ended up having a beer with him. There we met several locals, including a guide who leads people up and down Mt. McKinley. He had just gotten back from a 3 week climb that afternoon! We finally got back to the lodge about 1 am and went to sleep. Day 5 Talkeetna > Anchorage > Seward This was a 9-hour day in the coach and a 2 hour stop for lunch. We did find out that while my wife and I were pleased with the land tour in general, many of our bus mates were not as pleased. Most were unhappy having missed land excursions that they wanted to do, and others were generally dissatisfied with Martin, and some, well, both. They had spoken to people in other buses (our land tour had 4 buses of roughly 30 people each designated A B C D, each with a separate guide) and found there their guides were simply much better. There was talked of filing complaints once on the ship... I should mention that our driver Joel, was very professional and very good. Not much to tell except that the area south of Anchorage, the Kenai peninsula, seemed to be a great place to visit. We didn't get a chance to tour there at all, and would like to in the future. Once at Seward, we got our first shot of the Summit docked at the port. Martin did secure our Seapasses while we were on the bus and we were ready to board. Since we were on a land tour, embarking was quite fast. We were off the bus, and on the ship in less than 15 minutes. This was also about the time at some chaos prevailed. We received letter stating that there was damage to the ship and that the sailing was delayed. The (first) letter was very general. Having learned our lessons about booking excursions in Fairbanks, I immediately got into a long line to book excursions at the ports while my wife went to secure some complimentary Bon Voyage beverages... It was while in line that an announcement was made that the repairs were taking longer than scheduled and that we would be missing out port call to Juneau. Frankly, this nearly caused a riot. For most people, including us, Juneau was the starting point for the most desirable land excursion, particularly glacier trips and whale watching. I felt sorry for the staff at the excursions desk as they were bombarded with complaints. We were able to book somewhat similar trips from Skagway, and also booked out excursions in Sitka, and Ketchikan. Warning...land excursions are costly, especially anything that involves flying (average flight seeing is $250 US and up per person). We finally made it to our room, unpacked and set out to explore the ship. The Summit is a terrific ship. It is beautifully designed and has just about every amenity that you can thing of... We spent about 2 hours simply walking around the ship, peaking into the champagne bar, martini bar, aquaspa and gym, pool deck, the theatres, the rendezvous lounge, before settling at our 630 pm dinner seating in the Cosmopolitan restaurant. There was a production show in the Celebrity theatre that was nicely done... (in fact, all the shows were very well produced and very professional). In general, we found the food on the ship to be very good. I try to eat on the healthy side, and there were also plenty of salads and fruit every where. I personally ate often at the aquaspa cafe and it's spa cuisine... tasty and healthy. The most popular casual dining spot on the ship was easily the Waterfall grill (pizza and burgers). There certainly is no shortage of food, or availability. It is probably well known that you can eat just about 24 hours a day in a variety of places and cuisines. There was a huge combination of buffets, sit down and room service for just about anyone. Day 6 = Seward This day was supposed to be at sea with a stop at the Hubbard Glacier... but... the repairs weren't complete yet. We were given conflicting information about departing times, but ultimately, we were told that we would be leaving Seward about 6 pm. We took a tender boat to shore and walked around the town. We visited the wildlife center and (tried) to hike up a trail to a waterfall...steep!! It was a beautiful day (88 degrees and sunny) and we spent most of the afternoon on the pool deck relaxing and listening to the bands play... Five 4 U... great "party band".... Occasionally there would be announcements from the captain concerning the status of repairs, but they became more and more vague as the day went on. The general mood on the ship was a combination of frustration and confusion really. We did have dinner (by arrangement) in the Normandie Restaurant which was first class all the way. They advertise it as a dining experience - and they are right. The food is fabulous, the service is tremendous. We were there nearly 4 hours. In the middle of dinner, there was an announcement that we would sail "shortly after midnight" which was met with applause in the dining room. After dinner we spent some time in the Revelation night club dancing to the band and a DJ. Day 7 = Seward Well, we didn't leave as planned and our scheduled stop in Skagway was cancelled, and modified sailing itinerary was published. There was no announcement, but a letter put under our doors over night stating that the repairs were taking longer than expected and that our planned leaving was now mid afternoon. Most people did not take well to this news and there was a near mutiny at the customer service desk. Ultimately the hotel manager emerged and tried to placate the crowd. He claimed that he was doing all that he could and that he had to wait for word from Celebrity corporate (in Miami) for word on compensations, etc. There were several people wanting to simply leave the ship, but was persuaded to stay at the promise of "fair financial compensation" for our troubles, and change of itinerary. We spent the day on ship, doing cruise types of things.. bingo, cooking demonstrations, eating, going to the cinema (they were showing first run movies most of the day), and finally to the pool deck for the scene there. Finally, at 3:30, there was an announcement that we would be departing at 6 pm... Celebration!! ... there was a full happy hour at all public bars on the ship (to try to make everyone happy) and the mood finally started to improve. Fortunately for Celebrity, the weather while in Seward was just about perfect. High 80's and sunny and clear. If the weather had been poor (and not allowed for pool side I think there would have been much more major mutiny in the ship). At about 6 pm, we finally set sail to cheers... This evening was our first chance to dine at our appointed seating (late table 408a). Both our waiter - Sunchai - and asst - Budi, were terrific. They made suggestions on want to get and not to get, brought everyone things that weren't on the menu, and generally did whatever they could to make us happy. For example, some tablemates of ours wanted olive oil to dip their bread, after the first night, it was there on the table waiting for us each night, along with glasses of ice tea, that were requested. The food was very good. I think it depended what you ordered in general though. I would liken it to a good restaurant in terms of quality. The simple truth was, if you didn't care for what you got, you could simply got something else! More than once, people at my table did. I also found that over the course of the cruise, the variety of the menu was very good. After dinner we show the show at the theatre (piano and singer... a bit on the slow side for me, but very good), and returned to the Revelations for Motown night... Day 8 = at sea / Hubbard Glacier Once at sea, it got much chillier (and windier). We sailed to the glacier which is a spectacular sight. Everyone rushed up to the viewing decks to see it. We stayed fairly close to the glacier for about 3 hours, so everyone had plenty of time to see it and take pictures, etc. They were able to have the boat rotate 360 degrees a few times so everyone had a good view. We spent some viewing time eating in the Waterfall Cafe (poolside) and some on our veranda... Leaving the glacier area there were many jokes on boards about not hitting rocks... but we seemed to be fine... The show this night was a comedian who was hilarious... he had many 'cruise jokes' and even made fun of the whole repair debacle... it was also 50's sock hop night in Revelations... Day 9 = Sitka Finally... we were able to do a land excursion. It was somewhat confusing getting on and off for the excursions as there were only so many tender boats. We were told by others that at some points there was a 90-minute wait for a ride to shore... It turned out that our excursion met us right along the side of the ship... We did the Wildlife Quest Cruise which was well worth it. We saw Sea lions and otters, eagles, and a whale! and some very nice scenery. The tour was well narrated and informative. They also provided coffee, and snacks including some very tasty salmon spread... I would recommend it. We were dropped off under the suspension bridge in Sitka. We walked around town ... full of shops and some Russian history... If you like to shop, there is plenty there for you (both nicer jewelry and fur, and touristy souvenirs), if not (we're not shoppers)... there is some history, a very overlook point and a national park which was about 1 mile from the dock. We saw many people making the walk to the park, and back to the ship. It was very doable. The park featured a combination of Russian history in the area (is commemorated a battle in which the local natives defeated the Russians, only to later be defeated) and was adorned the totem poles throughout the park. There were some great views of the ocean and also a stream where we saw bald eagles catching salmon!! and salmon spawning in the stream. We made our way back to the ship (after a 45 minute wait to get on the tender boat) and had lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing... the dinner was also at the Cosmopolitan. The show was a cirque de soliel (sp?) type of thing that was just ok. They tried, but didn't really pull it off. I've seen much better in Las Vegas and Orlando. This night it was 70's disco night in Revelations... Day 10 = Ketchikan This was the only day of the trip we had any rain (and did it rain!). It turns out that Ketchikan is in a rain forest and gets over 200 inches of rain a year. This is a gauge right of the port that kept track of annual rainfall. Locals call a light rain Ketchikan sunshine... and this was by far, the most touristy place we went. There were souvenir shops everywhere!! We did a mountain bike ride (in the rain) that was fine. This was not for the out of shape.. there were some fairly long climbs up 'graded' hills, but we were rewarded with some great views of both the pacific ocean, and the harbor areas, and as well many waterfalls and streams. We also visited a Salmon hatchery. It was much easier to get back on the ship since there was a ramp. I will say that Celebrity's service was first class. At the boarding point they had tables set up with Hot Chocolate and coffee. There were always people to point out where to go, and to help people on and off the ship. Dinner tonight was the unanimous favorite... surf and turf with baked Alaska for dessert. All the wait staff made quite a production out of it... (as with many cruises I have been told). This was also the night of the famed midnight buffet magnifique... the buffer was so vast, that they had a 45 minute period to simply view and photograph it. The culinary display was really awesome, not so much for the food, but the presentations... watermelons carved to looked like flowers... potatoes made to look like birds.. etc. etc.. and the desserts... frankly I wasn't the least bit hungry, but just looking at everything made you want to try it... We didn't go to the show, and spent our only time in the casino. I'm told that the casino is very large for a cruise ship, but this is not my area to really comment on. We did win about $50 playing blackjack though... We did go to the karaoke which was very professional.. some of those people were just great... Day 11 = At sea / Inner Passage My wife went to see a movie in the morning while I went to the gym. We met at a food carving demonstration where some of the chefs showed some of the techniques used at the grand buffet. The inner passage was much hyped for it's beauty, but I found it to be just ok. Maybe we were jaded at this point but all the glaciers and mountains. We spent the whole ride on the pool deck with our new cruise friends watching the scenery go by and relaxing (and accepting the reality that the trip was almost over...). We had another stellar dinner at the Normandie. I was surprised (or maybe I shouldn't have been) when the maitre d' greeted us by name (he remembered from the first visit). The meal was just great again. I strongly recommend trying it to anyone on the summit (especially for the $25 charge... best deal on the ship). By the time we got done dinner, it was nearly midnight and we had to have our luggage packed and out in the hallway... which we were just able to do! Day 12 = Vancouver / Disembark I have to comment on the organization on the Summit. They have it all down. There was a great system for delivering the luggage and a very organized disembarkation. We were given color-coded tags for the luggage (we were red 1), which also indicated where to go and when to be there the next morning (in our case, the Martini Bar at 745 am). We were led directly off shore, through Canadian customs, and directly only a bus for the airport. After a 30-minute ride (with a very entertaining driver) we were delivered to our terminal. You do have to be prepared for some long lines and waits here, both at gate check in, and through US customs (we were flying to Chicago, then on to Philadelphia). We spent 30 minutes in United's check in line (there is no curbside or Eticket) and nearly 45 in US customs. The up side was that we got to the gate about 10 minutes before it was time to board so there was no wait at that point.... makethegrade@comcast.netJuly 2003

Summit

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by makethegrade

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 1899
  • Destination:
General
This was our first cruise and first trip to Alaska so most of this is at face value and not a comparison to any other ship or cruise line.

This was ultimately a fine cruise. It was, however, marred by damages to the ship prior to the cruise which caused us to be kept in port in Seward for neatly 3 days causing us to miss 2 of the scheduled ports, Juneau and Skagway. These itinerary changes were not reported until after we boarded the ship and we're "updated" irregularly over the time in port. There was much consternation throughout the ship, and most people were not pleased with the 'compensation' package that Celebrity offered. However, I imagine, much has been reported about that on the [Cruise Critic message] board, so I'll stick to the land tour and cruise itself (and stay on the positive side).

Quick summary...

Trip My wife and I did the Celebrity Cruisetour 8, 4 days on land, and 7 sailing.

OverallGreat service, very good food, very good entertainment.

Cabin On ship we had a 1B cabin on Deck 8. Very fine, big enough with enough storage and a veranda

Service very attentive throughout.

FoodVery good, with a great variety and availability.
EntertainmentSame as the food, very good and variety.

ShipFirst rate throughout.

Land
Our trip covered Fairbanks > Denali > Talkeetna > Anchorage (lunch) > Seward (Embark). In general, the land portion was a 7 (of 10). The is well laid out with most of the time planned. On the positive side, that the itinerary gave you a nice basic 'tip of the iceberg' look at Central Alaska, on the down side, it seemed like we spent a large amount of time on our tour coach (never call them a bus!).

Day 1 = Arrived Fairbanks.

Basically went to the hotel (Pike's Waterfront Lodge) and met our guide, Martin. He struck me as a nice guy, with a lot of energy, but on the unorganized side. One tip... book your land excursions IMMEDIATELY once you arrive. Our guide casually insisted that there was no rush to book these side trips, and subsequently, we were shut out of a few things that we wanted to do. We walked to the Chena Riverside restaurant for a terrific dinner and our first taste of Alaskan salmon... mmm...

Day 2 - Fairbanks

The trip had two trips planned. First to the El Dorado Gold Mine, a stop in Downtown for lunch, then to the Riverboat Ride on the Chena River. Both trips fine, albeit, on the touristy side. There is no apology about merchandising [on] just about anything, T shirts, post cards, gold, local art, salmon, etc. I guess this is expected for several reasons, not the least of which is that the tourist industry in the area has a 4 month season and need to make all their cash in this time. It reminder me of the shore towns in the summer at the New Jersey shore. My advice is... Do not buy anything the first time you see it, as you will see the same things over and over. Ultimately, we found the best prices in Ketchikan (last port stop). Highlights of the day... panning our own gold at the gold mine, the marriage of the rivers on the boat trip... happy hour on the deck of the pike's restaurant at 'sunset' over looking the river...

Day 3 - Fairbankds >> Denali , Denali

We had to "load up" at 7 am for our transport to the Alaska RR and the famed glass top train car. The car was seating on the second level and a dining area on the first level. There was some confusion within our group regarding breakfast, and many people had scrambled to eat before the trip and skipped the meal on the train. We found the meal to be very good ($10). There was a guide - Katie - on the train who narrated and pointed out local scenery and told stories of local traditions. The views were as advertised, and got better and better as we approached Denali.
At Denali, we entered - as Katie put it - Glitter Gulch. In contrast to the awesome beauty of the National Park, the town is a complete tourist construct, lined with hotels, RV parks and shops selling everything. After a hurried lunch at the Chalet, we caught the shuttle to the National Park Visitors Center. The scene was totally confused. We had been told by Martin that we could tour the park easily on our own by simpy getting on a park green bus and riding as far into the park as we wanted and then returning. While this was accurate, we found when we got there, that most of the buses were sold out. The only one with room left at 2 pm (for a 8.5 hour / 125 mile round trip tour to the Eilisen Visitor Center). This would have been fine, but that last shuttle to our hotel left at 9 pm. There is a local cab service - the Caribou Cab - but they only run on demand after 9 as well, and are costly ($7 pp). We threw caution to the wind and took our chances on getting back. The ride was worth it. 62 each way on a school bus with no amenities at all. Despite a sore gluteus, we saw just about all the wildlife in the park, Moose, Bears, Caribou, Eagles, etc. However, 90% of what we saw was 80% of the way into the park. Many people left the bus after mile 20 and saw only the views. At Elison we did not get our hoped for view of Mt. McKinley which was under cloud cover but we did have some generally tremendous views of the Alaskan scenery and the wildlife... We were able to see just about all that we wanted to. Of all the places on the trip, I would have liked to have had more time here. We didn't make it back to the visitors center until after 1030 (still very light out!), and our driver - Laurel - was kind enough to arrange transport to the hotel by a park service van. There was quite a party going on in the tavern of the lodge which we visited for about 15 minutes before getting to our room. It was 1145 pm and fully light out! As our room was about 50 yards from the tavern, we could hear the revelry go on for quite some time.

Day 4 - Denali > Talkeetna
We spent the morning on a white water rafting trip on the Nenana River (Celebrity Code D-9) which was very well done and exciting. Just getting in and out of the 'dry suit' was an experience... Most of the afternoon was spent on a 5 hour ride (with 1 hour waiting in traffic due to construction) to Talkeetna. If you blink you miss the town as it is only about 200 yards long. Since the ride was much longer than expected, several people on our bus missed their land excursions and scurried to book alternatives. Also, it was cloudy and many of the flightseeing tours were not running. We did the "Talkeetna Canyon Boat tour" (T - 3) which was a 5 hour speed boat ride up the Talkeetna river. The ride was quite beautiful and also educational. As it was Salmon fishing season we saw hundreds of people camped out along the river fishing (some had been there for weeks!). Every was getting large fish too. After the ride, our driver took us on a tour of the town and explained all the local gossip and rumors. He told many stories of how the locals get by. We stopped at the local general store (also a resaurant / tavern) for some supplies and ended up having a beer with him. There we met several locals, including a guide who leads people up and down Mt. McKinley. He had just gotten back from a 3 week climb that afternoon! We finally got back to the lodge about 1 am and went to sleep.

Day 5 Talkeetna > Anchorage > Seward
This was a 9-hour day in the coach and a 2 hour stop for lunch. We did find out that while my wife and I were pleased with the land tour in general, many of our bus mates were not as pleased. Most were unhappy having missed land excursions that they wanted to do, and others were generally dissatisfied with Martin, and some, well, both. They had spoken to people in other buses (our land tour had 4 buses of roughly 30 people each designated A B C D, each with a separate guide) and found there their guides were simply much better. There was talked of filing complaints once on the ship... I should mention that our driver Joel, was very professional and very good.

Not much to tell except that the area south of Anchorage, the Kenai peninsula, seemed to be a great place to visit. We didn't get a chance to tour there at all, and would like to in the future. Once at Seward, we got our first shot of the Summit docked at the port. Martin did secure our Seapasses while we were on the bus and we were ready to board. Since we were on a land tour, embarking was quite fast. We were off the bus, and on the ship in less than 15 minutes. This was also about the time at some chaos prevailed. We received letter stating that there was damage to the ship and that the sailing was delayed. The (first) letter was very general. Having learned our lessons about booking excursions in Fairbanks, I immediately got into a long line to book excursions at the ports while my wife went to secure some complimentary Bon Voyage beverages... It was while in line that an announcement was made that the repairs were taking longer than scheduled and that we would be missing out port call to Juneau. Frankly, this nearly caused a riot. For most people, including us, Juneau was the starting point for the most desirable land excursion, particularly glacier trips and whale watching. I felt sorry for the staff at the excursions desk as they were bombarded with complaints. We were able to book somewhat similar trips from Skagway, and also booked out excursions in Sitka, and Ketchikan. Warning...land excursions are costly, especially anything that involves flying (average flight seeing is $250 US and up per person). We finally made it to our room, unpacked and set out to explore the ship.

The Summit is a terrific ship. It is beautifully designed and has just about every amenity that you can thing of... We spent about 2 hours simply walking around the ship, peaking into the champagne bar, martini bar, aquaspa and gym, pool deck, the theatres, the rendezvous lounge, before settling at our 630 pm dinner seating in the Cosmopolitan restaurant. There was a production show in the Celebrity theatre that was nicely done... (in fact, all the shows were very well produced and very professional).

In general, we found the food on the ship to be very good. I try to eat on the healthy side, and there were also plenty of salads and fruit every where. I personally ate often at the aquaspa cafe and it's spa cuisine... tasty and healthy. The most popular casual dining spot on the ship was easily the Waterfall grill (pizza and burgers). There certainly is no shortage of food, or availability. It is probably well known that you can eat just about 24 hours a day in a variety of places and cuisines. There was a huge combination of buffets, sit down and room service for just about anyone.

Day 6 = Seward
This day was supposed to be at sea with a stop at the Hubbard Glacier... but... the repairs weren't complete yet. We were given conflicting information about departing times, but ultimately, we were told that we would be leaving Seward about 6 pm. We took a tender boat to shore and walked around the town. We visited the wildlife center and (tried) to hike up a trail to a waterfall...steep!! It was a beautiful day (88 degrees and sunny) and we spent most of the afternoon on the pool deck relaxing and listening to the bands play... Five 4 U... great "party band"....

Occasionally there would be announcements from the captain concerning the status of repairs, but they became more and more vague as the day went on. The general mood on the ship was a combination of frustration and confusion really. We did have dinner (by arrangement) in the Normandie Restaurant which was first class all the way. They advertise it as a dining experience - and they are right. The food is fabulous, the service is tremendous. We were there nearly 4 hours. In the middle of dinner, there was an announcement that we would sail "shortly after midnight" which was met with applause in the dining room. After dinner we spent some time in the Revelation night club dancing to the band and a DJ.

Day 7 = Seward
Well, we didn't leave as planned and our scheduled stop in Skagway was cancelled, and modified sailing itinerary was published. There was no announcement, but a letter put under our doors over night stating that the repairs were taking longer than expected and that our planned leaving was now mid afternoon. Most people did not take well to this news and there was a near mutiny at the customer service desk. Ultimately the hotel manager emerged and tried to placate the crowd. He claimed that he was doing all that he could and that he had to wait for word from Celebrity corporate (in Miami) for word on compensations, etc. There were several people wanting to simply leave the ship, but was persuaded to stay at the promise of "fair financial compensation" for our troubles, and change of itinerary.
We spent the day on ship, doing cruise types of things.. bingo, cooking demonstrations, eating, going to the cinema (they were showing first run movies most of the day), and finally to the pool deck for the scene there. Finally, at 3:30, there was an announcement that we would be departing at 6 pm... Celebration!! ... there was a full happy hour at all public bars on the ship (to try to make everyone happy) and the mood finally started to improve. Fortunately for Celebrity, the weather while in Seward was just about perfect. High 80's and sunny and clear. If the weather had been poor (and not allowed for pool side I think there would have been much more major mutiny in the ship). At about 6 pm, we finally set sail to cheers...

This evening was our first chance to dine at our appointed seating (late table 408a). Both our waiter - Sunchai - and asst - Budi, were terrific. They made suggestions on want to get and not to get, brought everyone things that weren't on the menu, and generally did whatever they could to make us happy. For example, some tablemates of ours wanted olive oil to dip their bread, after the first night, it was there on the table waiting for us each night, along with glasses of ice tea, that were requested. The food was very good. I think it depended what you ordered in general though. I would liken it to a good restaurant in terms of quality. The simple truth was, if you didn't care for what you got, you could simply got something else! More than once, people at my table did. I also found that over the course of the cruise, the variety of the menu was very good. After dinner we show the show at the theatre (piano and singer... a bit on the slow side for me, but very good), and returned to the Revelations for Motown night...

Day 8 = at sea / Hubbard Glacier
Once at sea, it got much chillier (and windier). We sailed to the glacier which is a spectacular sight. Everyone rushed up to the viewing decks to see it. We stayed fairly close to the glacier for about 3 hours, so everyone had plenty of time to see it and take pictures, etc. They were able to have the boat rotate 360 degrees a few times so everyone had a good view. We spent some viewing time eating in the Waterfall Cafe (poolside) and some on our veranda... Leaving the glacier area there were many jokes on boards about not hitting rocks... but we seemed to be fine... The show this night was a comedian who was hilarious... he had many 'cruise jokes' and even made fun of the whole repair debacle... it was also 50's sock hop night in Revelations...

Day 9 = Sitka
Finally... we were able to do a land excursion. It was somewhat confusing getting on and off for the excursions as there were only so many tender boats. We were told by others that at some points there was a 90-minute wait for a ride to shore... It turned out that our excursion met us right along the side of the ship... We did the Wildlife Quest Cruise which was well worth it. We saw Sea lions and otters, eagles, and a whale! and some very nice scenery. The tour was well narrated and informative. They also provided coffee, and snacks including some very tasty salmon spread... I would recommend it. We were dropped off under the suspension bridge in Sitka. We walked around town ... full of shops and some Russian history... If you like to shop, there is plenty there for you (both nicer jewelry and fur, and touristy souvenirs), if not (we're not shoppers)... there is some history, a very overlook point and a national park which was about 1 mile from the dock. We saw many people making the walk to the park, and back to the ship. It was very doable. The park featured a combination of Russian history in the area (is commemorated a battle in which the local natives defeated the Russians, only to later be defeated) and was adorned the totem poles throughout the park. There were some great views of the ocean and also a stream where we saw bald eagles catching salmon!! and salmon spawning in the stream. We made our way back to the ship (after a 45 minute wait to get on the tender boat) and had lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing... the dinner was also at the Cosmopolitan. The show was a cirque de soliel (sp?) type of thing that was just ok. They tried, but didn't really pull it off. I've seen much better in Las Vegas and Orlando. This night it was 70's disco night in Revelations...

Day 10 = Ketchikan
This was the only day of the trip we had any rain (and did it rain!). It turns out that Ketchikan is in a rain forest and gets over 200 inches of rain a year. This is a gauge right of the port that kept track of annual rainfall. Locals call a light rain Ketchikan sunshine... and this was by far, the most touristy place we went. There were souvenir shops everywhere!! We did a mountain bike ride (in the rain) that was fine. This was not for the out of shape.. there were some fairly long climbs up 'graded' hills, but we were rewarded with some great views of both the pacific ocean, and the harbor areas, and as well many waterfalls and streams. We also visited a Salmon hatchery. It was much easier to get back on the ship since there was a ramp. I will say that Celebrity's service was first class. At the boarding point they had tables set up with Hot Chocolate and coffee. There were always people to point out where to go, and to help people on and off the ship. Dinner tonight was the unanimous favorite... surf and turf with baked Alaska for dessert. All the wait staff made quite a production out of it... (as with many cruises I have been told). This was also the night of the famed midnight buffet magnifique... the buffer was so vast, that they had a 45 minute period to simply view and photograph it. The culinary display was really awesome, not so much for the food, but the presentations... watermelons carved to looked like flowers... potatoes made to look like birds.. etc. etc.. and the desserts... frankly I wasn't the least bit hungry, but just looking at everything made you want to try it... We didn't go to the show, and spent our only time in the casino. I'm told that the casino is very large for a cruise ship, but this is not my area to really comment on. We did win about $50 playing blackjack though... We did go to the karaoke which was very professional.. some of those people were just great...

Day 11 = At sea / Inner Passage
My wife went to see a movie in the morning while I went to the gym. We met at a food carving demonstration where some of the chefs showed some of the techniques used at the grand buffet. The inner passage was much hyped for it's beauty, but I found it to be just ok. Maybe we were jaded at this point but all the glaciers and mountains. We spent the whole ride on the pool deck with our new cruise friends watching the scenery go by and relaxing (and accepting the reality that the trip was almost over...). We had another stellar dinner at the Normandie. I was surprised (or maybe I shouldn't have been) when the maitre d' greeted us by name (he remembered from the first visit). The meal was just great again. I strongly recommend trying it to anyone on the summit (especially for the $25 charge... best deal on the ship). By the time we got done dinner, it was nearly midnight and we had to have our luggage packed and out in the hallway... which we were just able to do!

Day 12 = Vancouver / Disembark

I have to comment on the organization on the Summit. They have it all down. There was a great system for delivering the luggage and a very organized disembarkation. We were given color-coded tags for the luggage (we were red 1), which also indicated where to go and when to be there the next morning (in our case, the Martini Bar at 745 am). We were led directly off shore, through Canadian customs, and directly only a bus for the airport. After a 30-minute ride (with a very entertaining driver) we were delivered to our terminal. You do have to be prepared for some long lines and waits here, both at gate check in, and through US customs (we were flying to Chicago, then on to Philadelphia). We spent 30 minutes in United's check in line (there is no curbside or Eticket) and nearly 45 in US customs. The up side was that we got to the gate about 10 minutes before it was time to board so there was no wait at that point....
makethegrade@comcast.netJuly 2003
makethegrade’s Full Rating Summary
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Celebrity Summit price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email