REVIEW: JUST BACK FROM THE SUMMIT: July 27, 2007-August 3, 2007
We had a wonderful cruise on the Summit to Alaska. We want to thank everyone on these boards for helping us with our cruise to Alaska.
PRECRUISE: We flew to Anchorage, rented a car from Hertz, and stayed at the Kingsview Bed and Breakfast, (up in the hills) about 15 minutes from the airport. Since this was our first stay at a B & B, we were a little apprehensive but it turned out to be a great experience. The B & B was immaculate and our room was quite large and comfortable with a private bath and extra sink area. We were served a nice breakfast in the morning and drove our rental car to Seward. The drive was absolutely beautiful with snowcapped mountains surrounding us on both sides of the road. A word of warning about Hertz car rental: they rented us a car that had less than ¼ tank of gas, unfortunately we didn't notice it until we were on the road. Luckily, we made it to the B & B and were able to get gas the next morning.
We drove to Seward and picked up wine at Safeway that had quite a large selection of wine for a grocery store. We ate a wonderful lunch of fish and chips at Ray's restaurant at the marina. After lunch we went on the Kenai Fjords (6 hour) Cruise. We read about this excursion on these boards and it was very enjoyable except for the fact that the boat was really rocking. We had to go to the lower level because the movement began to bother us and there were quite a few sick people on the lower level. After about 4 hours, we had seen enough scenery and were ready to get off the boat. The small glacier we visited was the highlight of this excursion. That night we stayed at the Bell In The Woods B & B in Seward. Our room was small with a private bath, but it served its purpose for a 1 night pre-cruise stay. The breakfast in the morning was wonderful and we met some nice people who were also sailing on the Summit.
EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier in Seward at 10 AM because we were very anxious to get on the ship. We were first in line to drop off our bags and by 11 AM we were walking on the beautiful Summit and greeted by Celebrity staff with our glass of welcome aboard champagne. Life doesn't get any better than this! A Celebrity staff member took our carry-on bag and led us up to the buffet area because the cabins would not be ready until 1:30 PM. We ate lunch in the outside area on the back of the ship surrounded by Seward's beautiful scenery. After lunch, we went to our cabin to drop off our bag and tour the ship.
PROBLEMS: Our cabin was quite warm and we asked our room steward to check on the air conditioning. Unfortunately, this was the one major problem that we experienced throughout the week on the Summit. We had an oceanview room, but our air conditioning never quite worked the way it should have. We placed numerous calls to Guest Relations about this problem, but the technician never could get it working for any period of time. Throughout the ship we experienced the same problem with the air conditioning. It was so stuffy in the dining room that many people were complaining, especially the men who were required to wear jackets on informal night.
SHIP: The Summit is a beautiful ship with a friendly crew who always greeted their passengers. The only place we noticed any signs of wear and tear were in the buffet area where many of the upholstered seats needed to be cleaned. Evidently, some of the seats were redone because some areas were much cleaner than others. Other than that, the rest of the ship was well maintained. The Revelations Nightclub on the top deck still hasn't been redone. We enjoyed the artwork throughout the ship. The atrium area is very striking with the gold metallic fabric on each side of the elegant stairway. Our cabin was very clean and well maintained. We also were lucky that we had new bedding in our cabin. It was very comfortable and when we left the ship in Vancouver we noticed more mattresses were being loaded on.
SERVICE: The service was excellent throughout the ship. Our dining room staff was very good and so was our room steward. Passengers seemed happy to be there and we never saw anyone complain. Even though we had a problem with the air conditioning, everyone tried to solve the problem.
CRUISE CRITIC GET TOGETHER: We had our Cruise Critic Get Together in the beautiful Michael's Club on the second day of the cruise. Celebrity provided refreshments and everyone was able to meet each other after chatting for so many months. The Cruise Director, Hotel Director, and the Event Director were at the get together and greeted all of us. It was great to finally put names to faces!
FOOD: The food was good throughout the week in the dining room, the buffet, and the sushi bar. Our only complaint is that Celebrity doesn't keep the dining room open on port days for lunch, so everyone has to eat at the buffet. We prefer to eat our meals in the dining room and wish Celebrity would keep it open like Princess does.
ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was enjoyable every night. We like to go to the shows and the performers put on three great production shows during the week. There was one comedian who was also very good and a ventriloquist too. The lounges all had singers every night.
EXCURSIONS: In Juneau we took the Mount Roberts Tram up into the mountains and purchased an audio recorder to hear the description of each marked site on the mountain. We hiked and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
In Icy Straight Point we went on the Remote Bush Exploration to look for bears. This was a lot of fun because we had a great guide who led us through the woods with an armed guide there to protect us if needed. We did see about 6 bears and it was very exciting. We read about this excursion on Cruise Critic and highly recommend it.
In Ketchikan we went canoeing in a twenty passenger canoe on a remote lake. We were served clam chowder and salmon at the dock and went on a walk through the woods. This was also a great excursion. After that we went to Creek Street, saw Dolly's house and shopped.
In Skagway we rented a car from Avis to drive to Emerald Lake. We walked a few blocks to the Avis location, picked up our car, and began our drive. When we got to the summit, the fog became so thick that we couldn't even see our sideview mirrors so we turned around and headed back to Skagway. The scenery that it was great until the fog came in. Now we know why people take the railroad instead.
Hubbard Glacier: The Summit got very close to Hubbard Glacier and it was gorgeous. We stood on the helipad for a 360 degree view. The weather was perfect for the glacier with very little wind. We wore our jackets and hats and were very comfortable.
DISEMBARKATION: Since we were driving to Seattle with another Hertz rental car, we didn't need to be in the first group off the ship. Everything went very smoothly and we went through customs in a few minutes and into the terminal at Ballantine Pier. This is where the chaos began. There were long lines for taxis and we had to wait almost 3 hours to get one. We even called Hertz to see if they could pick us up, but they wouldn't. Be aware that National, Budget, and Avis all had reps. with signs to load their clients on shuttles and drive them to their cars. By the time we got to the Hertz location it was after 12 PM and we waited in line again there to get our car. We didn't arrive in Seattle until late in the day because of the problems with the transportation to pick up the rental car. Unfortunately, we chose to fly home from Seattle because we wanted to spend the afternoon sightseeing, but it was too late to do much there.
OVERALL: This was a great cruise with good food and wonderful service on a beautiful ship. The scenery in Alaska is gorgeous and the weather was perfect (mostly in the 60's with no rain for us). We would cruise Celebrity again, but will probably stay away from the "M" class ships until the pod problems are resolved once and for all.