Summit, 7th may 2006 to 20th may 2006 LA to Vancouver via Alaska.
Our annual, budget holiday was planned for 12 mths in advance, the itinerary seemed perfect for us travelling to the west coast for the first time from the UK. We Arrived 2 days prior to embarkation for LA and arranged to stay 2 days in Vancouver to get the most our of our holiday.
Arrival at port -- Summit was not in berth as ticketed. (Later we heard that it had arrived back late from Hawaii and RCL ship took the berth!) Long lines, as priority suites etc, hadn't been able to get on early. Waited 3 hours until number called, then another 1 hour in line. Lukewarm champagne/fizzy drink! on arrival and shown to cabin as on QE2.
Balcony cabin adequate, but worn/tatty in places, cracked floor tiles in shower. Cabin steward lovely, but working against the tide. Room service poor, couldn't get it right ordered via TV menu, pretty straight forward or should have been.
Although initial food seemed good in both Cosmopolitan and Waterfall,and other food station positions around the ship, after a few days, our experience was that it was no fresh vegetables at all and very little fruit. Buffet staff didn't understand a word, and because they had the Norwalk virus on the boat recently, most food was served to you in the buffet area, therefore causing more queues.
The sanitation arrangements were left to chance, guests had choice of whether to use the alcohol hand wash or not as they entered the food area, we observed most did NOT.
The wait staff everywhere do their best, but the majority have very poor basic English understanding and communication skills are poor. Our wait staff in the formal restaurant were excellent, as usual, but fighting a losing battle when the fare is poor. Although steak, chicken or salmon should be available at any time if the menu is not suitable, when we asked for chicken, it was not available. We only were offered it once on the 13 day menu and were refused it when asked for as an alternative. No themed nights as previously encountered on Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas, Panama trip the year before.
The atmosphere on the ship is nonexistent, it hasn't any, too many old people wanting the same thing year on year we suspect.
Entertainment: WELL!!, the singers and dancers were good, the Cirque du Soleil short preview is excellent, comedian good, we should have had him on earlier in the cruise, he was needed. But other than that the shows were boring, short, 35 mins and other entertainment around the ship again not modern enough, (we are in our fifties) for our taste. Harpists, string quartets very nice but funereal.
We found the ship's entertainment director John, to be pompous, irritating and patronising. Nothing extra organised on forced sea days after Seattle and Sitka cancelled even the cinema not showing until 6pm at night. We have all of the daily's to prove it if disputed!!
Our impression from this cruise is that the line wants to SELL, SELL and SELL AGAIN, anything any time. ie: usual bingo, casino, extra large area, WINE TASTING CHARGE!, hire of equipment in Gym, Art Auctions, Wine Auctions, shopping seminars, A LA CARTE Normandie dining @ $30 per head, last year $25 we believe. We didn't use it, as we believed we were on a 5* cruise. CLASS OF SHIP:- Next level up from RC!! NOT our experience. Believed we would be getting that type of meal, a la carte, as standard, not army camp/holiday camp style fast food and service.
As some of you will know, we had more than our fair share of problems on this trip with the thrust bearing going yet again and the company using us to get the ship up to dry dock in Victoria. Captive audience, a play on words, to get us spend, spend and spending again, at sea missing 2 ports, cut down on time in four and then the final straw, due to the SAFETY OF THE SHIP, NOT THE PASSENGERS FIRST AND FOREMOST. re the bearing, no close up of Hubbard, WE WERE AT LEAST 5 MILES OFF AND HAD TO WATCH HAL Zaandam 360 SEVERAL TIMES and only 1/4 of inside passage and that was at night!
Shore excursions!! Well when we got them after being cancelled of course, they were cut to the minimum, due to time in port! We found that they were more expensive than booking on shore. Some were cancelled when under booked, but they didn't tell us until last minute! Poor value, poor organisation, book them yourselves on dock side is our advice to anyone brave enough to still book the Millennium class whilst burdened with the mermaid pod system.
CHILDREN:- LESS THAN 10 ON BOARD, WE WOULD NEVER BRING THEM ON THIS CLASS OF SHIP, THEY DON'T WANT THEM.
DISEMBARKATION:- Well another not organised debacle, people directed to wrong areas, waiting over an hour because they couldn't get the luggage ramp in place at a different dock than we should have been taken too, we were taken to Ballentyne, not Vancouver Central Cruise Terminal, we had a hefty taxi ride when we finally disembarked 90 minuted later than we should. By this time people from other later slots had joined us and it was chaos to get off, many very traumatised expecting to miss flights other connections etc. SUMMARY:- We are hard working, we own our own business for last ten years, this was our 4th cruise. We realise at our age, this mode will get us to see the world and enjoy top class hotel features on the journey. From this experience, we have realised also that maybe all cruise lines try to absolve themselves from any eventuality whatsoever and can change itineraries whenever they like to whatever they like especially under the guise of safety. We are moderate, discerning people, who also realise that things can go wrong, on our Panama last year passenger taken ill, captain tuned ship round back to Panama. We missed Costa Rica day, WE DIDN'T COMPLAIN, YES WE WERE DISAPPOINTED, BUT WE REALISED THAT HE HAD NO CHOICE AND ACCEPTED THAT. We got nothing from the company not even a drink and we personally asked for nothing. BUT when a known problem exists and it was known before we set off from LA we won't accept that. Passengers who didn't get their cruise on May 20th got full reimbursement and full free cruise for their disruption. We should have been told at San Francisco and been given a choice as to stay on with their offer or leave and make our own way where we wanted with money back, but that may have meant we would spend it with another line providing the holiday we had booked without any problems. They didn't want that did they.
CAVEAT EMPTOR! Check your terms and conditions, book with a credit card and ring them to dispute the payment if you do not get what you paid for, and check out review sites and comments to gather all info you can to make an informed decision.
DO NOT ASSUME THAT A FIVE YEAR OLD MODERN SHIP WILL BE PROVIDING YOU WITH THE BEST EXPERIENCE YET.
We have made some wonderful friends following on from this debacle and we have experienced amazing scenes of people power and community spirit lifting our hearts in today's world of 'keep your distance' personas. We will never book with Celebrity again, the board and shareholders need to look long and hard at policies to survive, if they don't we hope they get what they deserve. ATTENTION TO DETAIL is their complaints system, lip service if you ask us, they do not implement it.
Passengers speak with their feet please, if you want to be treated famously as a celebrity, you'll never get your 15 minutes with this line. Celebrity talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. Sad, but we will not be intimidated and our group voice will be heard.