Celebrity Summit Sept 18/09
Embarkation/ Disembarkation This process was amazingly smooth. The airlines could learn a great deal about efficiently and quickly dealing with this process. We were on the ship eating lunch at the wonderful buffet in the Waterfall cafe about 20 minutes after arriving in the port. Luggage was delivered promptly and accurately.
Cabin/Ship Our cabin was kept in a spotless condition throughout our journey. Our cabin steward cleaned about 3 times every day. Towels were replaced regularly, ice was placed in the ice bucket and the water jug was always full. We think he might have had radar because he seemed to clean and make up the cabin within moments of our departure. Our steward Des, noticed that we had purchased a bottle of white wine prior to embarkation and he put it on ice without even being requested to do so. Beds were turned down at night with a chocolate on the pillow. We wanted to change our disembarkation time and we had the new luggage labels delivered to us by Des about 15 minutes after the request was made. The ship was also kept meticulously clean and shining at all times, including the public toilets.
Food This was truly a highlight of the voyage! Every meal in the dining room was a great new experience. Attention was paid not only to taste, but the presentation was beautiful as well. I found that the beef dishes were so tender, you often did not require a knife. They have many chocolate delights for desert and once our waiter , Rodel, discovered that we had a weakness in this area, many different chocolate treats were produced which were not on the menu. Any time I wanted to change a detail about the meal, it was always met with "certainly" as a response. We also purchased the wine package and came to love our sommelier, Gabriel. We felt it was good value for the quality of wines presented. We also attended one of their wine tasting events on a sea day. This was a great deal of fun as we got to taste about 10 different wines, make notes and get lots of really interesting information on the wines.( We also got a few extra glasses at the end of our favorites which were left over.) We then asked our sommelier if we could include some of these wines in our package at night. Although it wasn't always possible ( I don't know why the $150. bottle presented a problem), he did accommodate us quite a bit. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Waterfall cafe most days and the salads were fabulous every day! They also had a whole range of hot foods etc. which changed daily. The ice cream bar was a terrific addition, when we felt in need of just a little pick-me-up around 3:00 pm!!! There is also an Aqua Spa cafe near the Thassolotherapy pool with lovely healthy food. Yes, I did try it and it was good too!
We did not attend all the events held in the main theatre due to the fact that we took a Mediterranean cruise and were often tired at night. However, the large production shows (with singing and dancing) were very well done. Many of the smaller lounges had singers, piano players, string quartets entertaining where you could just sit and relax in the evening. There was always dancing in the lounges after the main shows - which seemed to be very popular. The card room also seemed to have several people playing every evening.
One thing we particularly enjoyed was a seminar given on the sea days by Maria, in the photo shop, regarding digital photography. These sessions were free and held in Michael's lounge . She provided many tips on using our camera more effectively and how to take better travel shots. She also invited us to bring our cameras to the photo shop in the evening and she would help us with our particular cameras in person . She even gave me some tips on improving the photos I had already taken. I must admit, I enjoyed playing with my camera more while I was on shore excursions!
I loved the thassolotherapy pool! It is located in a large solarium near the spa area. The lounges have really comfy pads and there is very light spa music playing in the background. It was a lovely place to go for a quiet read, whirlpool or a small snooze! When I saw the giant waterfall taps running into the whirlpool, I wondered what they were for - other than a pleasant waterfall sound. However, I put my shoulder under one and found the massaging quality of this feature. The "loungers" in the whirlpool were also a pleasant surprise from the typical whirlpool setup. Best of all, I never found this area overly busy. The 2 story library was also a nice addition and included some very up-to-date paperback novels. If I had known this, I would have reduced my suitcase weight a touch by bringing one less book. You can also get daily newspaper updates there - if you care. I found the internet quite expensive- 65cents /minute- on board, so we just looked for an internet cafe onshore and saved quite a bit of money that way. By the way, if you have postcards they will provide stamps and mail them for you from the purser's desk - at a reasonable cost. There is an ATM onboard and of course, everything goes on your account in USD. The tipping goes on your account daily and you can access your bill on your TV in your room. In fact, the service was so good, that we got envelopes to give extra tips at the end of the voyage( we have never done this before).This was in no way expected nor encouraged. We just wanted to do it. They also have port lectures recorded on the TV which gives you a bit of a preview of the ports to come.
Shore Excursions We used Rome In Limo for Naples and Rome. We loved them. They were right on time in both ports and we maximized our time in those place. Although tired at the end of the days, we had seen and done all that we had wanted in comfort and with ease. When I saw the other passengers get back on the ship from their shore excursions and listened to their tales, I realized we had made the right choice with private excursions. Since there were 4 of us, it worked out cheaper than the ship excursions and we could do what we wanted, when we wanted in the comfort of a Mercedes van!When we had had enough, we just said " OK, that's enough- take us back."WE also got to say how long we wanted for each stop and when we were ready, we moved on. We also got to choose where and when we had lunch.The drivers, Gianni in Naples, were friendly and suggested local spots to eat which didn't take up too much of our days and yet gave us quiet spots to take a break. We used Port Promotions in Turkey and they were also terrific. Both guarantee to not miss the boat if you listen to the drivers and come back to the ship when they recommend. Both outfits also allowed us to miss some of the crowds as they both know the secrets to avoiding the worst of the crowds. You can do Nice by train or bus, Dubrovnik by taking a taxi to the old city walls and Venice by using the water vaporetto down the Grand Canal. Overall I would go Celebrity again in a heartbeat! Take private shore excursions when you can- especially for Naples and Rome. I would also do Florence that way if I could do it again!Save money in the other ports so that you can do it this way!