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Celebrity Summit Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2383 reviews
38 Awards

Celebrity Summit - Alaska

Review for Celebrity Summit to Alaska
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First Time Cruiser • Age 60s

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Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Aug 2007
Traveled with children

We - a family of two adults and a 8yrs old child - took #7 Alaska tour followed by a Southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver on the Summit. It was my second trip to Alaska, and my DH and DS's first. First of all, let me thank all the posters in this great site because their information was priceless and as you'll see, we made great use of it during our cruise. LANDTOUR - Many claim doing the land tour before the cruise is the way to go in Alaska. I agree, since the rhythm on the land portion is quite gruelling, and you enjoy the relaxation on the ship even more. We arrived to Anchorage in the evening, to be transferred to the Marriott downtown. There were many flights arriving so the transfer took quite a while. The hotel is a nice one but there as well mayhem seemed to be reigning (we were checked in three times, since the first two rooms had not been made). The day after, we travelled to Denali on the Wilderness express - it was a very beautiful and smooth ride, and the fact that the weather was so clear we could see Denali from Anchorage certainly helped. After a short visit of Talkeetna (walk to the creek for a wonderful view of the mountain range from there) we went to Denali. The Grande Denali Lodge was a huge letdown (room reeked of smoke, and had a magnificent view of the dumpster and the parking lot). Enjoyed the visit to the dog mushing training facility and learned a lot. The day after we visited Denali Park - the tour (included in the landtour) was the short one, so we didn't go enough inside the park and didn't get to see any bears. We got up very early and felt it really wasn't worth it. Travelled to Talkeetna and stayed at the beautiful Lodge there. Since the weather was glorious, we took the McKinley flight with glacier landing with Talkeetna Taxi. Enjoyed the flight very much. The day after we travelled to Girdwood, with a stop in Anchorage. The Alyeska lodge is really luxurious and we enjoyed our stay there - and the tram ride included in the tour - very much. We took the Glacier jet boat safari, which was truly spectacular and very recommended. The day after we took a bus to Seward, where we boarded the ship. There were many busses leaving together and the company timed the arrival in Seward so there wouldn't be any queuing - we stopped at the Wilderness Sanctuary on the way and enjoyed the detour very much. All in all, we felt the landtour was well organized and very pleasant. A special thanks to our tour director, Styeve and to all tour companions who were very nice, friendly, pleasant and considerate. CHECK -IN went like a breeze. In ten, fifteen minutes we were inside the ship, with our cards, all set. We had checked in online, which of course helped, but still there were no lines at all and the whole process was very efficient. Our luggage was waiting outside our stateroom when we arrived. STATEROOM - Here came the big (and I mean big) letdown of our vacation. Notwithstanding having booked the stateroom almost a year before the cruise, when the choice of cabin was very wide, and after a long research, we ended up with the window washer on the front half of our stateroom (#8063), in a way which obstructed more than partially our view and seriously marred our enjoyment of the stateroom. It appears the washer has been parked in front of that specific cabin (and the one next to it, #8061) for quite a while, but Celebrity does not think it should share the information with its customers or anybody else, or charge less than the full price for that cabin. Unluckily, Celebrity's attitude towards this is not what one should expect from a company which prides on the quality of its service and up to this very moment, no suitable solution is being offered, since Celebrity refuses to take the blame (their executive office even told me it's the ship's blame....). I feel I have been taken for a ride, and that is greatly influencing my overall outlook on the cruise. The stateroom itself was comfortable, the bedding new (I saw crew changing the bedding on deck 3 when we left the ship in Vancouver), the furniture not new but not scruffy either. I strongly recommend upgrading to Concierge Class, due to its many perks - I enjoyed the fluffier towels and bathrobe, my husband enjoyed the stronger showerhead, we all liked and needed the extra space, and priority tendering was definitely worthwhile in Icy Strait Point. We didn't use the room service a lot (since in the morning there was no room to eat in the stateroom due to the sofabed being open and the acrobatics to reach the balcony were not worthwhile due to the obstructed view) but liked the fresh fruit and the tidbits in the afternoon. SHIP - the ship is very comfortable, and full of many different areas which cater to varied tastes. It's not new, but very well maintained. We liked the artwork - especially the great photographs in the corridor, the serendipitous sculptures all over and the glasswork in the main stairway. The service is outstanding, and the crew (whose ratio is almost 1:2 - 950 crew to slightly over 2000 passenger at full capacity) does its very best to be friendly, courteous and helpful. They go to great pains to remember the passengers' names and special requests, even in the common lounges. I enjoyed my morning coffee at cafe Cova, with the day's crossword - which you can pick up at the library on deck 8 - the thalassotherapy pool, an oasis of calm, the Aquaspa cafe and the Gymnasium. Didn't go to any of the shows or movies due to our schedule and the fact that we thought our son should go to bed around ten, even if we could have left him in the Fun Factory for longer. Appreciated the cloth napkins and placemats in the buffet and the offer of help and coffee replenishments from the buffet waiters. Our son liked, all in all, the Fun Factory, the kiddies special area on deck 11. He would have liked to be able to play outside more, and missed the fact that on his first cruise (on Jewel of the Seas) the sports area was attached to the kid's area, whereas on the Summit it is on deck 12 above, and the kiddies' outside playing area is mostly occupied by the pool and a slide for younger children. We would have liked more enrichment programs for him - for example, during our cruising of Hubbard glacier, the children were drawing inside and didn't even notice the glacier if their parents didn't think of picking them up and taking them outside. We enrolled our kid in the VIP programme, whose perks were basically a discounted rate for the extra hours - since the private captain's deck tour and the private theatre tour were a repetition of tours given to all the kids - and a wide screen movie with popcorn. Even if there were over 200 children on board, less than 30 registered for the Fun Factory. The FF staff is caring and professional and we felt comfortable leaving our son with them. The food is really very good and varied and the hygienical standards very high. We spoke to many people during the cruise and everybody seemed to be very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food as well. The fact there are no public announcements on the loudspeakers, as a rule, contributed to the relaxed atmosphere in the ship. Even if I am strongly allergic to smoke, I didn't suffer from it on the ship and the smoking passengers seemed to be very considerate of non smokers. We had no pod issues whatsoever, got to each and every port before the stated time and marvelled at the ship's engines silence. SHORE EXCURSIONS - Due to the fact that for us it was a very long trip and a very special vacation, I chose many excursions, also basing myself on the fact that due to the fickle Alaskan weather we might end up missing a few. In fact, the weather was clear and sunny all the way through the cruise and we ended up doing a few things twice, but since they were very unique, we didn't feel we wasted our money. On the first day, the ship got extremely close to Hubbard Glacier and got a very good running commentary from the ship naturalist. The calving was impressive. On our first stop, Juneau, DH and myself took a very good and scenic helicopter flight with Taku Glacier landing (Era - arranged through Celebrity), and the three of us went on a whale watching trip which I arranged directly with Harv and Marv. It was very nice to be able to go on a smaller ship (6 people max) and we got very close to a pod of nine whales. Jay (Marv) is friendly, warm and really cares that you have a good trip and really loves to share with you his life and experiences. On the way back, we picked up some customers of H&M from Mendenhall glacier, so we got to see it too (and still recommend you do the glacier helicopter flight). I am happy in joining the many of you who recommend Harv & Marv. In Skagway DH and myself went to a White pass bus tour (I am pleased to say I went but it really wasn't very impressed by it) and then I went back to the ship, whilst DH and DS went on a Northern Inside Passage Glacier flight which they both enjoyed a lot (their pictures definitely explain why). In Icy Strait Point all three of us went with Floyd Peterson (F.I.S.H.E.S) on a whale watching tour, which was one of the highlights of our vacation. Floyd is a former fisherman, very quite but he knows his whales; that, the small size of his ship and the relatively calm waters made sure we saw a pod of six whales which came very close to us (we could even smell them and got sprayed by them), together with a jocular sealion. It was very touching and exciting. In Ketchikan, we flew to Neets Bay (spectacular views), and took a short walk to a nearby salmon hatchery, to have a close look at black bears. There were four of them and we spent quite a while looking at them feeding, and could have stayed much longer. It was interesting to hear about the hatchery and the efforts to plump up the salmon population as well. The last day of the cruise we sailed through Inside Passage. The weather was getting worse, which was ideal for the last day of cruising anyways and made for some great misty pictures. DISEMBARKATION - Again, smooth and well organized. We got a letter stating the time we had to get to our (CC) meeting point, got there ten minutes before and in little over fifteen were shepherded out. Canadian customs was quick and friendly and locating the suitcases was not chaotic. We were at the taxi curb in little more than 35 minutes from the time we went to the meeting point in the ship. All in all, we enjoyed our cruise. But we strongly agree with all those who feel that Celebrity is an excellent choice for sunny days. As soon as something gets wrong and you have an issue (either a general one, like a malfunctioning in the ship, or a specific one like a fault in your cabin which was not revealed precruise, which happened to us), then you're on your own, and the level of customer care drops dramatically. And this makes me very wary of recommending the company to others, or considering taking other cruises with them in the future. Which is a great shame, especially for the exceptional crewmembers who really go to great length to give you the experience of your lifetime and take great pride in what they do - and rightly so.

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