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Panama Transit Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale on Summit January 2007 The Panama Canal Cruise is an incredible journey. Bill (65) and Sandy (62) actually "started" our holiday six months previous to the cruise and before booking our cruise. Researching for cruises is an essential part of the experience for us. During this period, we stumbled upon the cruise critic site and this has added so much information and enjoyment for us as well as establishing contacts before boarding. As so many other reviews have already described Summit and the Ports of Call, this review is more of a chronicle of our experiences and impressions. January 5, 2007: We live on Vancouver Island, B.C. and left home in the dark in a rare early morning snowstorm. We dropped our dog at the kennel and then continued to Nanaimo for a ferry ride to the B.C. Mainland and then to our hotel in Richmond, B.C. We chose the Abercorn Best Western as we have stayed there before; it is close to the airport, offers shuttle service and provides free parking for our car while we are away. January 6: No wake up call was necessary! We woke at 4:00 a.m. and caught the 4:25 shuttle to YVR. The flight to LAX was good but after our arrival we had a long wait before being bussed to the ship. As Celebrity had handled our air, we knew we would eventually get there but it was frustrating to go all that way and then have to sit on our suitcases at curbside for a couple of hours. Other people complained that they were put on a bus right away but then were driven around to see the sights of Los Angeles for hours with no food or water being offered. Certainly there were some unhappy travelers but the Celebrity (X) ground staff at the terminal remained very pleasant and tried to be reassuring that no one would be left behind. Finally approaching the pier we could see Summit and she looked huge. Embarkation was easy and we were quickly through security and enjoying a second glass of champagne. We were starved and proceeded to the buffet. Sanitation stations were set up outside every dining venue and crew remained stationed at these places throughout the cruise to force passengers to use them. After filling our trays waiters were there to assist in carrying them, finding a table, and taking our drink orders. Our first impressions of the ship were its impressive size and beauty. Our second impression was of black water in the stateroom toilet bowl and from the taps! Our stateroom attendant came at about that time to introduce himself and assured us that the water problem had been fixed. They had been cleaning the pipes and the water cleared within a couple hours. We loved our stateroom (6003). It has an ocean view with a large porthole overlooking the center of the bow and the helicopter pad. We wanted this room, as it would enable us to watch the transit through the canal in air-conditioned comfort. The stateroom actually had more walk a round room than balcony rooms on the same deck. We had an apartment-sized sofa/hide-a-bed instead of the love seat in the balcony cabin. The room was very comfortable and had lots of storage space. A wall of mirrors made the room seem even larger. We did not like the food stained blue print carpet and the orange plaid bedspread. Carpeting is vacuumed regularly but it really needed cleaning. The shower was great and it was wonderful to shower two or three times a day and always have clean, fresh Egyptian cotton towels. The location of our stateroom ensured privacy, as there was only one cabin beyond ours on our side of the ship. The location also ensured that we would walk off some of the calories we planned to consume! The artwork throughout the ship is beautiful. The furniture in the public areas is attractive and comfortable. Of concern was the frequent smell of cigarette and cigar smoke in hallways, in the casino and in lounges. The staff was consistently helpful and friendly. Lifeboat drill at 16:30 was very efficient and was completed within about half an hour. Our CC friends and we had planned to meet at sail-away but only eight of us showed up. As it was time to dress for dinner, this was a brief visit but it was nice to actually meet some of the people we had been "talking to" on the boards. This group met repeatedly on board and became close friends. Two of the CC couples were our tablemates and we enjoyed excellent dinner conversation. Passengers in general were very friendly but most had never heard of cruise critic and some were quite interested. By dinner, all but one of our pieces of luggage had been delivered. We asked our stateroom attendant about it and he said he would check for us. After about an hour we started calling the guest relations desk and were assured that they would search the ship for it. Shortly before midnight a passenger only about 7 rooms down the hall, but on the other side of fire doors, called to ask if we were missing a suitcase. She said it had been in the hallway in front of her room for several hours. Bill called the desk to let them know it had been found. Jan 7: After breakfast we went to the guest relations desk and asked to speak to the guest relations manager. She was in a meeting but we made an appointment for later in the morning. The desk clerk had just called our room to see if we had found our luggage and was not aware that Bill had called to let them know that all was well. We expressed our concern to the manager that X tried to "pass the buck" concerning our piece of luggage. At first, the airline was to blame, then the bus driver and the staff continued to deny any blame. We assured the manager that we still loved X but their communications with us and with each other was a problem that needed to be fixed. In effect, with crew looking for our luggage for several hours, it had been sitting outside a stateroom not far from our room and a passenger retrieved it for us. We told her that we wanted the ship to do something nice for the lady who called us and the manager agreed to send a bottle of wine and a fruit basket. Soon after we returned to our stateroom a bottle of wine and a fruit basket arrived for us as well. It is nice to pack light for a trip but we were so glad that we had shared suitcase space in each bag. Each suitcase has "his' and "hers" clothing and a mix of casual and dressy so we can cope with a lost bag. We also take photos of our luggage and maintain lists of the contents in case of loss. Our Cruise Critic party was on Sunday morning in Michael's Club. We had a good turnout of about 25 people. At dinner that evening, another CC couple joined us as two of our regular tablemates were dining at the Normandie. This caused confusion for our waiter, Willie, but he handled the changes as efficiently as he handled everything else. Willie and his assistant, Rondel, were excellent. The staff really seem to enjoy their work and their passengers. We met Arif, our assistant Maitre' D, and as the cruise progressed we had a lot of contact with him. The dining room service throughout the cruise was excellent. The first theater production was very good but the sound system in the theater was poor and the sound level tended to be painful. It distorted sounds such that it was difficult to understand performers. We did not participate in shipboard games or spend time in the casino but others did and enjoyed them. Jan 8: Sunrise happens so quickly on the ocean! We woke in time to watch the sun come up and from a small bit of light the sun was fully up within a couple of minutes. Beautiful. As we cruised into Cabo San Lucas there were many dolphins playing around the ship. We tendered ashore on large, comfortable tenders which accommodate over 100 passengers. We had a very quick and smooth tendering process. Upon return to the Summit we were met with cool towels, cold drinks and hand sanitizers. In the evening I tested the thallasotherapy pool and whirlpools and enjoyed them. The pools were less used than I had expected, especially in the evenings. It is a great way to relax. Jan 9: We awoke to a clear sunny sky and had coffee and the famous almond pastry in the Cova Cafe which was a disappointment. There was poor service and the staff was not particularly helpful. We paid for our regular, black coffee and found a table but no coffee refills are included. We enjoyed some sun tanning until Bill had an adverse reaction to the sun! We needed to keep sunning sessions brief. For us the Great White North just means white skin. I went to the conservatory and was surprised at how small it is. In the virtual tour of Summit on Internet the conservatory looked quite large. I was looking forward to spending time there but it is very small. The highlight today was the impressionist in the theater who ran the gamut from ABBA to ZZ Top. Jan 10: Arrived in Acapulco at 0500 and enjoyed the city lights before dawn. We hired a cab (inexpensive) to take us to the market and then to Fort San Diego and felt that the museum in the fort is excellent. It was 110 degrees outside but comfortably cool inside the shelter of the fort's massive walls. The displays are awesome. We walked back to the ship, all downhill and a nice walk. The port building is large with a lot of shops as well as computer and telephone access. More water problems on the ship today and the water was turned off for 45 minutes while we were in port. Jan 11: Huatulco must surely translate as "to fall in love with". It is a beautiful little town with a relaxed pace. We walked on the beach, had cervesa (Mexican beer) under the palapas and enjoyed talking with local people. There were many crafts - everything from beautiful to tacky. Back on the ship we watched the pilot disembark - that was an acrobatic feat and passengers applauded when he jumped into the pilot boat! Huatulco is definitely on our list of places to return to, next time for an all inclusive resort stay. Jan 12: A day at sea and we took stock of what the ship provides in the staterooms. There were bathrobes hanging in the closet and large beach towels for shore excursion use. The bath was stocked with hand lotion, soap, shampoo (but no conditioner), a hair dryer, cotton balls, Q-tips, tissues and wonderful thick absorbent towels. We also found logo shopping bags and umbrellas. We were told that motion sickness pills were available at the desk. Extras that we found helpful: We took some suction hooks which attached to walls or ceiling for hanging things, a small plant mister and a battery operated fan for hot weather! We also took post it notes for reminders and notes to the room attendant. Jan 13: Punta Arenas. We spent the morning on the beach talking to the venders and buying souvenirs. We did not go on any tours as they were quite long. We wandered out of the tourist area and found ourselves in a poor area with a lot of thin dogs, scrawny cats, sewage smell and graffiti on the buildings. We returned to the pier area and spent over an hour in a pub/cafe across the street from the pier where we enjoyed talking to locals. Jan 14: Another relaxing day at sea. We were questioned by the Maitre D, Arif, concerning the quality of the food. He was disappointed that we rated it only as good. Bill found the food to be both bland and over cooked but the presentations were quite nice. Arif said that he would prepare curry for us at dinners. The chicken, beef and shrimp curries were excellent! We enjoyed a two-hour lunch with friends we had met prior to boarding our plane in Vancouver. That afternoon was the Captain's Club cocktail party. The party was elegant and everyone had an opportunity to talk with the Captain and have photos taken with him. The guests were served wine or bar drinks and the hors deuvers looked wonderful but we left shortly for our special dinner at the Normandie. Don't miss the opportunity to dine here as it is an amazing experience. Food, service and ambiance were superb. Our daughter had ordered a corsage and boutonniere for us as well as paying the $30/pp cover charge for Normandie. We paid the extra fees for the Menu Exceptional that includes a six course dinner with appropriate wine pairings for each course. The waiters serve the meal as a choreographed presentation responsible for one's table. The following day we received a formal thank you card from the Maitre D'Hotel for dining with them! Jan 15: Canal Day! We were up at 0400 and saw ships waiting for passage. The skyline of Panama City was impressive with its many skyscrapers. We had room service breakfast and watched as we approached the Mireflores Locks. Summit and the APL Egypt were the largest and therefore priority vessels and went through the locks first. Passengers filled the front of the bow at the helicopter pad to watch the process. It is fascinating that a system of locks so old and yet so simple is still working perfectly. We spent some time with friends who had an aft balcony suite and watched the canal passage slip by. Sandy went on the Embera Indian Village tour up the Chagress River and this was a high point of the entire trip for her. She also spent an enjoyable hour at Cristobal Pier but the next three hours at the Pier were not as happy but it was necessary to wait for Summit to dock. Some passengers were quite angry at the delay. Jan 16: Rough sea today with winds at 40 knots and 20-foot seas. The ship handled the conditions without us feeling any discomfort but a heavy banging noise in our cabin continued for hours {Bill thought it must be the Hammer of Thor}. Saltwater spray hit our porthole on Deck 6 and there was too much wind to comfortably walk on deck. Jan 17: Oranjestad today and again we were notified that water would be turned off for 45 minutes for regular maintenance which seemed to indicate that the ship still had a fresh water problem. We docked at 0900 and arranged a private 2+ hour tour of the island for $15 per person. We shared an air-conditioned van with eight passengers from a Princess ship. The driver took us all over the island stopping where people asked him to stop and at the normal tourist venues. The island is very barren and windswept on the Atlantic side with rocky shores and high surf. The Caribbean side has white sand beaches with luxury homes and resorts. Arubans are very nice people and the Dutch architecture is very pretty. We enjoyed Aruba but probably will not return. Jan 18 and 19: These were sea days and a time to begin packing. We had our third formal night, which featured the parade of waiters with baked Alaska. This was lively and entertaining and the crew especially seemed to enjoy their animated diners! The meal was disappointing for those who chose the lobster tails which were tough and bland. Our prime rib was excellent and cooked perfectly. The disembarkation talk in the theater included the farewell from the crew as they were introduced by departments and paraded up to the stage. These days also gave us a chance to hit the on board shops one more time. Jan 20: Disembarkation could have been staged for the Keystone Cops! We were told to be in the Champagne Bar at 0930 and when Bill called Guest Relations to see if there would be time to catch our 1225 flight he was assured that there would be lots of time. We waited a very long time without any communication from the crew. This was a time to make more new friends. At last we were herded to the disembarkation area where we again waited for a long time due to delays in U.S. immigration and customs. With the clock ticking down to flight time we got through disembarkation and lined up for a bus to the Fort Lauderdale airport. Luggage was slowly loaded and we got onto the bus where we waited until the bus was completely full of guests and extra luggage that did not fit into the luggage bays and which was placed in the aisle. On arrival at Terminal One, some passengers and all the luggage was off-loaded and reloaded. When people claimed their luggage the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. Then a couple realized that this was their stop and they got off and all the luggage was again off-loaded. Then onto Terminal Two where all luggage was again off-loaded, more passengers got off, and the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. At Terminal Three the bus driver locked the door so all passengers had to remain on the bus while he unloaded all the luggage. This was the terminal for our flight, which had already departed for DFW. After getting off the bus we had to arrange for a later flight which got us to DFW with a few minutes to spare to catch our original flight to Vancouver. No food was served on the flights and we had no time for dinner at DFW as we had anticipated. We flew back to Vancouver and another hotel night before loading our car for the ferry ride and drive back to our home on Vancouver Island. We enjoyed the cruise but feel that Celebrity needs to pay a lot more attention to the details. Our next cruise will be on Oceania in November with 27 nights from Rome to Singapore. We hope that this smaller cruise line and 684-passenger ship will pay better attention to the details, which make cruising what it should be. We have sailed on Celebrity prior to this cruise with the cuisine and attention to details being much better. It appears to us that Celebrity is cutting corners to increase profits. There was talk on the ship of the sommeliers being eliminated to save money. Also we had expected performances by Cirque du Soleil in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth (which had been terminated without notice to potential guests). It is also nearing the end of the relationship with Master Chef, Michael Roux

Celebrity Summit - Central America/Panama Canal

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by UB & AS

Trip Details
Panama Transit
Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale on Summit January 2007
The Panama Canal Cruise is an incredible journey. Bill (65) and Sandy (62) actually "started" our holiday six months previous to the cruise and before booking our cruise. Researching for cruises is an essential part of the experience for us. During this period, we stumbled upon the cruise critic site and this has added so much information and enjoyment for us as well as establishing contacts before boarding. As so many other reviews have already described Summit and the Ports of Call, this review is more of a chronicle of our experiences and impressions.
January 5, 2007:
We live on Vancouver Island, B.C. and left home in the dark in a rare early morning snowstorm. We dropped our dog at the kennel and then continued to Nanaimo for a ferry ride to the B.C. Mainland and then to our hotel in Richmond, B.C. We chose the Abercorn Best Western as we have stayed there before; it is close to the airport, offers shuttle service and provides free parking for our car while we are away.
January 6: No wake up call was necessary! We woke at 4:00 a.m. and caught the 4:25 shuttle to YVR. The flight to LAX was good but after our arrival we had a long wait before being bussed to the ship. As Celebrity had handled our air, we knew we would eventually get there but it was frustrating to go all that way and then have to sit on our suitcases at curbside for a couple of hours. Other people complained that they were put on a bus right away but then were driven around to see the sights of Los Angeles for hours with no food or water being offered. Certainly there were some unhappy travelers but the Celebrity (X) ground staff at the terminal remained very pleasant and tried to be reassuring that no one would be left behind.
Finally approaching the pier we could see Summit and she looked huge. Embarkation was easy and we were quickly through security and enjoying a second glass of champagne. We were starved and proceeded to the buffet. Sanitation stations were set up outside every dining venue and crew remained stationed at these places throughout the cruise to force passengers to use them. After filling our trays waiters were there to assist in carrying them, finding a table, and taking our drink orders.
Our first impressions of the ship were its impressive size and beauty. Our second impression was of black water in the stateroom toilet bowl and from the taps! Our stateroom attendant came at about that time to introduce himself and assured us that the water problem had been fixed. They had been cleaning the pipes and the water cleared within a couple hours.
We loved our stateroom (6003). It has an ocean view with a large porthole overlooking the center of the bow and the helicopter pad. We wanted this room, as it would enable us to watch the transit through the canal in air-conditioned comfort. The stateroom actually had more walk a round room than balcony rooms on the same deck. We had an apartment-sized sofa/hide-a-bed instead of the love seat in the balcony cabin. The room was very comfortable and had lots of storage space. A wall of mirrors made the room seem even larger. We did not like the food stained blue print carpet and the orange plaid bedspread. Carpeting is vacuumed regularly but it really needed cleaning. The shower was great and it was wonderful to shower two or three times a day and always have clean, fresh Egyptian cotton towels. The location of our stateroom ensured privacy, as there was only one cabin beyond ours on our side of the ship. The location also ensured that we would walk off some of the calories we planned to consume!
The artwork throughout the ship is beautiful. The furniture in the public areas is attractive and comfortable. Of concern was the frequent smell of cigarette and cigar smoke in hallways, in the casino and in lounges. The staff was consistently helpful and friendly. Lifeboat drill at 16:30 was very efficient and was completed within about half an hour.
Our CC friends and we had planned to meet at sail-away but only eight of us showed up. As it was time to dress for dinner, this was a brief visit but it was nice to actually meet some of the people we had been "talking to" on the boards. This group met repeatedly on board and became close friends. Two of the CC couples were our tablemates and we enjoyed excellent dinner conversation. Passengers in general were very friendly but most had never heard of cruise critic and some were quite interested.
By dinner, all but one of our pieces of luggage had been delivered. We asked our stateroom attendant about it and he said he would check for us. After about an hour we started calling the guest relations desk and were assured that they would search the ship for it. Shortly before midnight a passenger only about 7 rooms down the hall, but on the other side of fire doors, called to ask if we were missing a suitcase. She said it had been in the hallway in front of her room for several hours. Bill called the desk to let them know it had been found.
Jan 7:
After breakfast we went to the guest relations desk and asked to speak to the guest relations manager. She was in a meeting but we made an appointment for later in the morning. The desk clerk had just called our room to see if we had found our luggage and was not aware that Bill had called to let them know that all was well. We expressed our concern to the manager that X tried to "pass the buck" concerning our piece of luggage. At first, the airline was to blame, then the bus driver and the staff continued to deny any blame. We assured the manager that we still loved X but their communications with us and with each other was a problem that needed to be fixed. In effect, with crew looking for our luggage for several hours, it had been sitting outside a stateroom not far from our room and a passenger retrieved it for us. We told her that we wanted the ship to do something nice for the lady who called us and the manager agreed to send a bottle of wine and a fruit basket. Soon after we returned to our stateroom a bottle of wine and a fruit basket arrived for us as well.
It is nice to pack light for a trip but we were so glad that we had shared suitcase space in each bag. Each suitcase has "his' and "hers" clothing and a mix of casual and dressy so we can cope with a lost bag. We also take photos of our luggage and maintain lists of the contents in case of loss.
Our Cruise Critic party was on Sunday morning in Michael's Club. We had a good turnout of about 25 people. At dinner that evening, another CC couple joined us as two of our regular tablemates were dining at the Normandie. This caused confusion for our waiter, Willie, but he handled the changes as efficiently as he handled everything else. Willie and his assistant, Rondel, were excellent. The staff really seem to enjoy their work and their passengers. We met Arif, our assistant Maitre' D, and as the cruise progressed we had a lot of contact with him. The dining room service throughout the cruise was excellent.
The first theater production was very good but the sound system in the theater was poor and the sound level tended to be painful. It distorted sounds such that it was difficult to understand performers. We did not participate in shipboard games or spend time in the casino but others did and enjoyed them.
Jan 8:
Sunrise happens so quickly on the ocean! We woke in time to watch the sun come up and from a small bit of light the sun was fully up within a couple of minutes. Beautiful. As we cruised into Cabo San Lucas there were many dolphins playing around the ship. We tendered ashore on large, comfortable tenders which accommodate over 100 passengers. We had a very quick and smooth tendering process. Upon return to the Summit we were met with cool towels, cold drinks and hand sanitizers.
In the evening I tested the thallasotherapy pool and whirlpools and enjoyed them. The pools were less used than I had expected, especially in the evenings. It is a great way to relax. Jan 9:

We awoke to a clear sunny sky and had coffee and the famous almond pastry in the Cova Cafe which was a disappointment. There was poor service and the staff was not particularly helpful. We paid for our regular, black coffee and found a table but no coffee refills are included.
We enjoyed some sun tanning until Bill had an adverse reaction to the sun! We needed to keep sunning sessions brief. For us the Great White North just means white skin. I went to the conservatory and was surprised at how small it is. In the virtual tour of Summit on Internet the conservatory looked quite large. I was looking forward to spending time there but it is very small. The highlight today was the impressionist in the theater who ran the gamut from ABBA to ZZ Top. Jan 10:
Arrived in Acapulco at 0500 and enjoyed the city lights before dawn. We hired a cab (inexpensive) to take us to the market and then to Fort San Diego and felt that the museum in the fort is excellent. It was 110 degrees outside but comfortably cool inside the shelter of the fort's massive walls. The displays are awesome. We walked back to the ship, all downhill and a nice walk. The port building is large with a lot of shops as well as computer and telephone access.
More water problems on the ship today and the water was turned off for 45 minutes while we were in port.
Jan 11:
Huatulco must surely translate as "to fall in love with". It is a beautiful little town with a relaxed pace. We walked on the beach, had cervesa (Mexican beer) under the palapas and enjoyed talking with local people. There were many crafts - everything from beautiful to tacky. Back on the ship we watched the pilot disembark - that was an acrobatic feat and passengers applauded when he jumped into the pilot boat! Huatulco is definitely on our list of places to return to, next time for an all inclusive resort stay.
Jan 12:
A day at sea and we took stock of what the ship provides in the staterooms. There were bathrobes hanging in the closet and large beach towels for shore excursion use. The bath was stocked with hand lotion, soap, shampoo (but no conditioner), a hair dryer, cotton balls, Q-tips, tissues and wonderful thick absorbent towels. We also found logo shopping bags and umbrellas. We were told that motion sickness pills were available at the desk. Extras that we found helpful: We took some suction hooks which attached to walls or ceiling for hanging things, a small plant mister and a battery operated fan for hot weather! We also took post it notes for reminders and notes to the room attendant.
Jan 13:
Punta Arenas. We spent the morning on the beach talking to the venders and buying souvenirs. We did not go on any tours as they were quite long. We wandered out of the tourist area and found ourselves in a poor area with a lot of thin dogs, scrawny cats, sewage smell and graffiti on the buildings. We returned to the pier area and spent over an hour in a pub/cafe across the street from the pier where we enjoyed talking to locals.
Jan 14:
Another relaxing day at sea. We were questioned by the Maitre D, Arif, concerning the quality of the food. He was disappointed that we rated it only as good. Bill found the food to be both bland and over cooked but the presentations were quite nice. Arif said that he would prepare curry for us at dinners. The chicken, beef and shrimp curries were excellent! We enjoyed a two-hour lunch with friends we had met prior to boarding our plane in Vancouver. That afternoon was the Captain's Club cocktail party. The party was elegant and everyone had an opportunity to talk with the Captain and have photos taken with him. The guests were served wine or bar drinks and the hors deuvers looked wonderful but we left shortly for our special dinner at the Normandie. Don't miss the opportunity to dine here as it is an amazing experience. Food, service and ambiance were superb. Our daughter had ordered a corsage and boutonniere for us as well as paying the $30/pp cover charge for Normandie. We paid the extra fees for the Menu Exceptional that includes a six course dinner with appropriate wine pairings for each course. The waiters serve the meal as a choreographed presentation responsible for one's table. The following day we received a formal thank you card from the Maitre D'Hotel for dining with them!
Jan 15:
Canal Day! We were up at 0400 and saw ships waiting for passage. The skyline of Panama City was impressive with its many skyscrapers. We had room service breakfast and watched as we approached the Mireflores Locks. Summit and the APL Egypt were the largest and therefore priority vessels and went through the locks first. Passengers filled the front of the bow at the helicopter pad to watch the process. It is fascinating that a system of locks so old and yet so simple is still working perfectly. We spent some time with friends who had an aft balcony suite and watched the canal passage slip by. Sandy went on the Embera Indian Village tour up the Chagress River and this was a high point of the entire trip for her. She also spent an enjoyable hour at Cristobal Pier but the next three hours at the Pier were not as happy but it was necessary to wait for Summit to dock. Some passengers were quite angry at the delay.
Jan 16:
Rough sea today with winds at 40 knots and 20-foot seas. The ship handled the conditions without us feeling any discomfort but a heavy banging noise in our cabin continued for hours {Bill thought it must be the Hammer of Thor}. Saltwater spray hit our porthole on Deck 6 and there was too much wind to comfortably walk on deck.
Jan 17:
Oranjestad today and again we were notified that water would be turned off for 45 minutes for regular maintenance which seemed to indicate that the ship still had a fresh water problem. We docked at 0900 and arranged a private 2+ hour tour of the island for $15 per person. We shared an air-conditioned van with eight passengers from a Princess ship. The driver took us all over the island stopping where people asked him to stop and at the normal tourist venues. The island is very barren and windswept on the Atlantic side with rocky shores and high surf. The Caribbean side has white sand beaches with luxury homes and resorts. Arubans are very nice people and the Dutch architecture is very pretty. We enjoyed Aruba but probably will not return.
Jan 18 and 19:
These were sea days and a time to begin packing. We had our third formal night, which featured the parade of waiters with baked Alaska. This was lively and entertaining and the crew especially seemed to enjoy their animated diners! The meal was disappointing for those who chose the lobster tails which were tough and bland. Our prime rib was excellent and cooked perfectly.
The disembarkation talk in the theater included the farewell from the crew as they were introduced by departments and paraded up to the stage. These days also gave us a chance to hit the on board shops one more time.
Jan 20:
Disembarkation could have been staged for the Keystone Cops! We were told to be in the Champagne Bar at 0930 and when Bill called Guest Relations to see if there would be time to catch our 1225 flight he was assured that there would be lots of time. We waited a very long time without any communication from the crew. This was a time to make more new friends. At last we were herded to the disembarkation area where we again waited for a long time due to delays in U.S. immigration and customs. With the clock ticking down to flight time we got through disembarkation and lined up for a bus to the Fort Lauderdale airport. Luggage was slowly loaded and we got onto the bus where we waited until the bus was completely full of guests and extra luggage that did not fit into the luggage bays and which was placed in the aisle. On arrival at Terminal One, some passengers and all the luggage was off-loaded and reloaded. When people claimed their luggage the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. Then a couple realized that this was their stop and they got off and all the luggage was again off-loaded. Then onto Terminal Two where all luggage was again off-loaded, more passengers got off, and the remaining luggage was reloaded onto the bus. At Terminal Three the bus driver locked the door so all passengers had to remain on the bus while he unloaded all the luggage. This was the terminal for our flight, which had already departed for DFW. After getting off the bus we had to arrange for a later flight which got us to DFW with a few minutes to spare to catch our original flight to Vancouver. No food was served on the flights and we had no time for dinner at DFW as we had anticipated.
We flew back to Vancouver and another hotel night before loading our car for the ferry ride and drive back to our home on Vancouver Island. We enjoyed the cruise but feel that Celebrity needs to pay a lot more attention to the details. Our next cruise will be on Oceania in November with 27 nights from Rome to Singapore. We hope that this smaller cruise line and 684-passenger ship will pay better attention to the details, which make cruising what it should be.
We have sailed on Celebrity prior to this cruise with the cuisine and attention to details being much better. It appears to us that Celebrity is cutting corners to increase profits. There was talk on the ship of the sommeliers being eliminated to save money. Also we had expected performances by Cirque du Soleil in the Bar at the Edge of the Earth (which had been terminated without notice to potential guests). It is also nearing the end of the relationship with Master Chef, Michael Roux
UB & AS’s Full Rating Summary
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