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Hawaii to Vancouver Deciding to take this cruise was a no-brainer as far as my husband & I were concerned. It included a chance to see a 4-island Hawaii and included 5 sea days aboard a beautiful new ship. Cinching the deal was the bargain basement airfare of $200/pp for a flight to Honolulu and a return flight from Vancouver. There was no way we could have replicated that on our own. We put the savings into a veranda cabin, category 1-A, cabin # 9125 amidships. Since the cruise departed on Monday, May 13, we thought a few pre-cruise days in Honolulu would be just the ticket to starting our vacation off the right way. Since we had booked the air arrangements through the cruise line, we didn't know until almost the last minute what our travel plan would be. We left on Saturday and flew on United to San Francisco, changed planes and then onto Honolulu. Leaving Chicago @ 8 AM, we arrived Hawaii @ 1:30 PM their time. After checking into our room we walked around the grounds and had a light dinner at the Tropics Bar. With the 5 hour time difference, we were totally wiped out by 6 o'clock. The choices for hotel package were the Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Hyatt. We opted for the Hilton and were not sorry in the least. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach and we had an ocean view room with a partial view of Diamond Head. The grounds are lushly landscaped with lots of tropical flowers & shrubs. The hotel room was equipped with 2 double beds, a hair dryer, iron & ironing board. (Another couple we met at the airport had the presence of mind to ask for a king upgrade which only cost them another $20.) Our room on the 12th floor had its own private balcony to sit out and admire the view. As I said previously, we were really jet-lagged and actually fell asleep by 7 o'clock. This was not a good thing to do even though it was midnight our time. I woke up the first time at 2 AM. I managed to doze till about 3 when my husband woke up and we started to chat. Well, no matter what we did, we could not fall back to sleep and found ourselves wide awake at 4:30 AM lying in bed looking at a map of Oahu and eating chocolate covered macadamia nuts since the first restaurant didn't open until 5:30. When we had checked in at the open air lobby next to the "Super Pool", the desk clerk had given us an envelope from the cruise line with a list of 3 pre-boarding excursions to Pearl Harbor to choose from. There was a representative from Celebrity in the hotel to help you book this. We chose the Arizona and the Honolulu highlights tour for Monday. Another thing I learned was if you are going to spend a few days pre-cruise, pack one suitcase with everything you will need for those few days. We were digging through 3 very packed suitcases trying to find a few items. Our plan had been to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center, but it is run by the Mormons and closed on Sunday. So we decided to hit the Flea Market @ the Aloha Bowl. Asking about transportation, a cabbie quoted us $30 one way. We played it smart and went to the concierge who arranged a bus ride for $8/pp round trip. This shuttle also went to the Arizona and had we known, we could have done both in one day. Celebrity had arranged for transfers from the hotel to the dock for us on Monday anyway. But we got our exercise in and shopped for very reasonably priced t-shirts and hats at the Flea Market. We had just missed the bus to go back by about 10 minutes and thought we had an hour wait when the guy got on his walkie-talkie and called the bus back for us! This was the first of the Aloha spirit that we saw in the islands. The tourist is king and they want us to come back. That day was Mother's Day and we went to a buffet in the hotel. I thought the $40/pp price tag was steep and told Karl so, but he wanted me to have a treat for Mother's Day since we were so far from our children. The buffet was lavish with prime rib and crab legs, but how much can you eat? But the thought was sweet and I didn't complain as I stuffed myself. The next day was boarding day and we went to take the excursion to the Arizona. We had the first of our very clever tour guides who entertained us with stories about the islands as we made our way to Pearl Harbor. We got our admission tickets (free) and then waited about an hour for our group number to be called. The movie is approximately 20 minutes and then you move to the shuttle boat for a trip to the Memorial. It is all very moving and solemn. The actual time on the Arizona is only about 15 minutes as you move through and then the next group is there and you leave. Some people had brought flowers for relatives entombed there and were assisted by the Navy personnel in placing them. We then went on our city tour and went to see Punchbowl Cemetery and I was actually a little disappointed in this as all the pictures I had ever seen had shown rows upon rows of white crosses. Well these are all gone due to the termite problem in Hawaii. The military has replaced them with flat bronze markers. Easier to maintain, I'm sure, but certainly not very impressive. We were not allowed to leave the bus due to time constraints and the fact that too many bus tourists trample too much of the vegetation. Everything we saw afterwards was also from the bus and that was not quite the way I wanted to see Honolulu. Granted, we didn't have to drive and didn't know where to go, but you really don't see any close-ups of anything. If we were to do it differently and had more time, we would have either taken the bus or hired a car & driver to show us the sights. Our tour ended at the pier around 3:30 for our first look at our home for the next 11 days, Summit. It was enormous, but so stylish and beautiful. The raked bow actually extended over the street. We had to identify our luggage to security and show our cruise documents and photo I.D. before they would let us enter the terminal. Porters took our suitcases and we just waltzed up to the Captain's Club desk, showed our documents, were issued our room keys and sent on our way. One more walk through a metal detector with our carry-ons and we were up the escalator to the dock. We skipped the boarding picture and headed up the gangplank where we were greeted with orchid leis. The final step in security was to have our picture taken with our room card for entering and leaving the ship in port. We were surprised not to find the usual line of cabin attendants with their white gloves waiting to escort you to your room. I hope Celebrity has not done away with this service. It was such a classy touch. I thought perhaps because we were now trickling in with the last of the passengers that it was too late for this. We found our room without any problem and were pleasantly surprised by the size and layout. We knew it would be a tad bigger than the regular, non-veranda cabins, but it still was nice to see in person. The Welcome-Aboard Buffet was still going on, so we walked up one deck for some lunch. After lunch, we went up to the top deck and started to work our way down familiarizing ourselves with the layout and being so overwhelmed by the beauty of this vessel. The Sun Deck has a jogging/walking track that 3x around is one kilometer or 5/8 mile. Also a full, screened court for either basketball or tennis, the Revelations disco, and a kiddies pool and play area completely screened in for safety. This ship had so many features that weren't on Century which was our last Celebrity cruise. Besides the 2 pools, there was the thalassotherapy pool which was enclosed and had bubble jets for a water massage. The spa was just forward from there with a nicely equipped gym. I can't speak for any of the spa services as we didn't partake of any of them. People who did utilize the spa spoke very highly of them. There was the library, the music library, the computer room with about 12 computers. (The charge for internet usage was 50 cents/minute.) Of course the casino, card room, Michael's Club for cigar smokers and various and sundry lounges and nooks and crannies. Everything decorated to a "T" and the famous Chandris art collection all over the ship. The art was pretty modern and I don't profess to understand it, but it fit in nicely and was the topic of more than one conversation. Considering that we had 5 days at sea, all the public rooms were utilized to an extent I have never seen before. First night was open seating dinner with the usual two seatings. I guess since we didn't sail until midnight, they wanted to make sure even late arrivals would be fed. There was a very nice show of Hawaiian music and dance by a hula school for children. I wish I could say we were up for the sail-away party, but we pretty much crashed in our room by 10 PM and didn't wake up until we were sailing into Nawiliwili, Kauai. Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth and it did not disappoint in that regard. We had booked an excursion to the Waialua River and Fern Grotto for our one day there. Unfortunately we didn't see the table at the ship exit which was offering umbrellas. Four buses from the ship all headed for this tour. We had very nice singers on the boat ride for the ride to the Fern Grotto. I have to mention at this point that fully 50% of the passengers were 65+. The others were a cross section of all ages. This was really apparent on this tour. Almost everyone had a cane, walker, splint or wheelchair. I have nothing against the elderly, since I am rapidly approaching that status, but this tour was quite challenging for the able bodied, much less the handicapped. At this point it was raining lightly only to become a downpour within a few minutes. We had to traverse an uneven, concrete path which was quite slippery and had handrails. I couldn't understand how the 2 ladies in wheelchairs were going to make it. The plan was for all of us to gather in the grotto while the singers sang "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" to demonstrate the acoustics of the place. I'm sure it's very lovely and romantic but we couldn't quite appreciate it. I felt sorry for the musicians having to take their instruments out in the rain. After that, Karl swore he would not go on any more excursions. We pulled out of the harbor around 4:30 while we sat and had tea in the Waterfall Cafe. It was lovely with the mist especially if you were warm & dry! This was the day we had booked at the specialty restaurant, the Normandie. This room was another one worth taking pictures of, it was that pretty. I have to say that having done it once, we would probably never do it again. The food was great, the portions larger than the regular dining room, the service very attentive with 3 waiters, but once was enough. It was very formal and I was afraid I'd drip something on myself. To tell the truth, we really don't like dining for 2 1/2 hours on 4 courses. Appetizer, entrEe, cheese, dessert was on the menu. It was quite an experience and I'm glad that we did it, once. This being an 11-day cruise, there were 3 formal nights, 3 informal nights and the rest casual. Our first night we were commenting about how we had forgotten how good their food really was. I did notice a change in the menu where there were now 2 fish selections every night instead of just one. I also found out that I could order a shrimp cocktail every night instead of the usual appetizers off the menu. This was especially helpful to me as I am a Weight Watcher and this was a very low calorie dish. The food was terrific and not having to cook and clean up was a bonus. Wednesday & Thursday we were docked in Lahaina, Maui. I hadn't pre-booked any excursions so we really didn't see anything except the town. Again, if I was to do it again, we would have rented a car and really driven around the island. As it was, we walked all over Lahaina the first day and did some shopping and site seeing, and spent Thursday just enjoying the pool and the ship. This was where our only complaint about the trip took place. The breakfast buffet closed at 9:30 on port days and if you are late sleepers like we are you never get a chance to eat there. Now there was what I would call a compensation breakfast at the back of the Waterfall Cafe from 10-11 with cereal, yogurt, fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, a few pastries to be had. After a few days, I was sick of this and on a couple of days, I just had coffee and waited for lunch to be served. It just so happens that breakfast is Karl's favorite meal and he really liked to eat it on the deck overlooking the back of the ship under the awning. We tried ordering it in by room service one day and eating it on our veranda but it was awkward and certainly not relaxing. The Waterfall Cafe had 4 buffet lines and farther down toward the back, an omelet station during breakfast and pasta station during lunch. Then at the very back were the late breakfast and themed lunch was served was also the site of the alternative dinner. They offered salmon, steak & chicken every night if you didn't want to go to the dining room. We never did try this. The pool grill was also busy serving hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and pizza. I had the pizza a couple of times but the crust wasn't as good as I remembered from Century. The aft deck outside the Waterfall Cafe was lovely. The wooden tables & padded chairs were a cut above the plastic I've seen on other ships. Everything about this ship showed class and elegance, but not in an obtrusive way or in a way to make you feel uncomfortable. On Friday, we arrived at Hilo which was another tender port. Maui was also tenders as the port was not deep enough to accommodate our ship. We again went into town and walked around a bit. This was much more modern looking than Lahaina and not as picturesque. Again, we did no tours and pretty much stayed on the ship. Saturday was our final port of call at Kona and we were able to dock here. I had pre-booked online a tour of Volcano National Park. This was an all day tour with lunch. We saw and walked on old lava flows to the ocean and saw the famous black sand beach. We went to the Kilauea crater and it was quite misty and cold. The Volcano House Hotel where we stopped for lunch did a brisk business in sweatshirts, jackets and long sleeved t-shirts. The volcano is still erupting but the lava is now venting about 6 miles away and we were not allowed to go there. Many roads on the Big Island are closed due to lava flows. This was a very informative tour. We learned a lot about the nature of volcanoes and saw some interesting things. We arrived back at the ship about 45 minutes before we sailed for Vancouver. The next 5 days passed all too quickly. The crossing was very smooth and only one day was overcast. However, after the first 2 days, it was too cold to sit out by the pool and a lot of activities were moved indoors. The cruise staff did a good job of entertaining all 2000+ people. I was certainly never bored. There were afternoon and evening shows. This brings me to the entertainment. It was the best I've seen at sea. The production numbers were lavish with many costume changes, often with every musical number. The singers and dancers were very talented. So outstanding were the singers that 2 of them put on an afternoon show one day which was very well attended. The cruise staff had variations on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", "Newlywed & Not so Newlywed Game", "Liar's Club" which were all hilarious. The featured entertainers were Noodles Levenstein, a comedian & juggler named Jeff, and a piano player/entertainer named Bob from San Diego. They were all fine. A few laughs here & there, but nothing to write home about. I thought the production shows were much better. The last day had a passenger talent show which again was very well attended. (I know, you are thinking, what else was there to do?) It was quite interesting and I sure give people credit for getting up there and doing their thing. I won about $350 playing bingo and it only cost me $250 to do so. Of course the casino was open and we quickly got to know several of our fellow passengers over blackjack. I even started to win some before we landed. On Thursday, we passed the first navigational buoy around noon and entered the Juan de Fuco straits about 2:30. This was our first site of land in 4 1/2 days. We did see some whales that morning spouting off our starboard side while we were playing bingo but that was the only thing we saw on the water all that time. Too soon, it was time to pack up all our belongings and put those suitcases out in the hall by midnight. We had booked a Vancouver city tour after disembarking so as not to sit at the airport for 6 hours. It was also very informative and I have to say that those Canadians sure love to garden! We saw lots of pretty flowers. It was a very sunny, cool day which from what the tour guide says was unusual as they get a lot of rain. I guess their climate is quite similar to Seattle. We ended up at the airport and passed through customs. We had to pay a $7/pp airport improvement fee in order to leave! I never had to pay to leave a country before. Our flight to Chicago was great as the plane was not completely full and we were able to have an empty seat between us. I snoozed most of the way and before we knew it, we were home. Our son's first words were: "Boy, are you guys tan!" So I guess we really were in Hawaii. Would we do this trip again? Absolutely we would. Would we recommend it? Again, absolutely. Celebrity hits the ball out of the park every time as far as we are concerned. And the best part, I only gained 1.6 lbs when I weighed in at Weight Watchers the next day! shofer1019@yahoo.comJune 2002

Summit

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by Susan Hofer

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 1899
  • Destination:
Hawaii to Vancouver


Deciding to take this cruise was a no-brainer as far as my husband & I were concerned. It included a chance to see a 4-island Hawaii and included 5 sea days aboard a beautiful new ship. Cinching the deal was the bargain basement airfare of $200/pp for a flight to Honolulu and a return flight from Vancouver. There was no way we could have replicated that on our own. We put the savings into a veranda cabin, category 1-A, cabin # 9125 amidships.

Since the cruise departed on Monday, May 13, we thought a few pre-cruise days in Honolulu would be just the ticket to starting our vacation off the right way. Since we had booked the air arrangements through the cruise line, we didn't know until almost the last minute what our travel plan would be. We left on Saturday and flew on United to San Francisco, changed planes and then onto Honolulu. Leaving Chicago @ 8 AM, we arrived Hawaii @ 1:30 PM their time. After checking into our room we walked around the grounds and had a light dinner at the Tropics Bar. With the 5 hour time difference, we were totally wiped out by 6 o'clock.

The choices for hotel package were the Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Hyatt. We opted for the Hilton and were not sorry in the least. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach and we had an ocean view room with a partial view of Diamond Head. The grounds are lushly landscaped with lots of tropical flowers & shrubs. The hotel room was equipped with 2 double beds, a hair dryer, iron & ironing board. (Another couple we met at the airport had the presence of mind to ask for a king upgrade which only cost them another $20.) Our room on the 12th floor had its own private balcony to sit out and admire the view.

As I said previously, we were really jet-lagged and actually fell asleep by 7 o'clock. This was not a good thing to do even though it was midnight our time. I woke up the first time at 2 AM. I managed to doze till about 3 when my husband woke up and we started to chat. Well, no matter what we did, we could not fall back to sleep and found ourselves wide awake at 4:30 AM lying in bed looking at a map of Oahu and eating chocolate covered macadamia nuts since the first restaurant didn't open until 5:30.

When we had checked in at the open air lobby next to the "Super Pool", the desk clerk had given us an envelope from the cruise line with a list of 3 pre-boarding excursions to Pearl Harbor to choose from. There was a representative from Celebrity in the hotel to help you book this. We chose the Arizona and the Honolulu highlights tour for Monday. Another thing I learned was if you are going to spend a few days pre-cruise, pack one suitcase with everything you will need for those few days. We were digging through 3 very packed suitcases trying to find a few items.

Our plan had been to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center, but it is run by the Mormons and closed on Sunday. So we decided to hit the Flea Market @ the Aloha Bowl. Asking about transportation, a cabbie quoted us $30 one way. We played it smart and went to the concierge who arranged a bus ride for $8/pp round trip. This shuttle also went to the Arizona and had we known, we could have done both in one day. Celebrity had arranged for transfers from the hotel to the dock for us on Monday anyway. But we got our exercise in and shopped for very reasonably priced t-shirts and hats at the Flea Market. We had just missed the bus to go back by about 10 minutes and thought we had an hour wait when the guy got on his walkie-talkie and called the bus back for us! This was the first of the Aloha spirit that we saw in the islands.
The tourist is king and they want us to come back.

That day was Mother's Day and we went to a buffet in the hotel. I thought the $40/pp price tag was steep and told Karl so, but he wanted me to have a treat for Mother's Day since we were so far from our children. The buffet was lavish with prime rib and crab legs, but how much can you eat? But the thought was sweet and I didn't complain as I stuffed myself.

The next day was boarding day and we went to take the excursion to the Arizona. We had the first of our very clever tour guides who entertained us with stories about the islands as we made our way to Pearl Harbor. We got our admission tickets (free) and then waited about an hour for our group number to be called. The movie is approximately 20 minutes and then you move to the shuttle boat for a trip to the Memorial. It is all very moving and solemn. The actual time on the Arizona is only about 15 minutes as you move through and then the next group is there and you leave. Some people had brought flowers for relatives entombed there and were assisted by the Navy personnel in placing them.

We then went on our city tour and went to see Punchbowl Cemetery and I was actually a little disappointed in this as all the pictures I had ever seen had shown rows upon rows of white crosses. Well these are all gone due to the termite problem in Hawaii. The military has replaced them with flat bronze markers. Easier to maintain, I'm sure, but certainly not very impressive. We were not allowed to leave the bus due to time constraints and the fact that too many bus tourists trample too much of the vegetation. Everything we saw afterwards was also from the bus and that was not quite the way I wanted to see Honolulu. Granted, we didn't have to drive and didn't know where to go, but you really don't see any close-ups of anything. If we were to do it differently and had more time, we would have either taken the bus or hired a car & driver to show us the sights. Our tour ended at the pier around 3:30 for our first look at our home for the next 11 days, Summit. It was enormous, but so stylish and beautiful. The raked bow actually extended over the street.

We had to identify our luggage to security and show our cruise documents and photo I.D. before they would let us enter the terminal. Porters took our suitcases and we just waltzed up to the Captain's Club desk, showed our documents, were issued our room keys and sent on our way. One more walk through a metal detector with our carry-ons and we were up the escalator to the dock. We skipped the boarding picture and headed up the gangplank where we were greeted with orchid leis. The final step in security was to have our picture taken with our room card for entering and leaving the ship in port.

We were surprised not to find the usual line of cabin attendants with their white gloves waiting to escort you to your room. I hope Celebrity has not done away with this service. It was such a classy touch. I thought perhaps because we were now trickling in with the last of the passengers that it was too late for this. We found our room without any problem and were pleasantly surprised by the size and layout. We knew it would be a tad bigger than the regular, non-veranda cabins, but it still was nice to see in person. The Welcome-Aboard Buffet was still going on, so we walked up one deck for some lunch.

After lunch, we went up to the top deck and started to work our way down familiarizing ourselves with the layout and being so overwhelmed by the beauty of this vessel. The Sun Deck has a jogging/walking track that 3x around is one kilometer or 5/8 mile. Also a full, screened court for either basketball or tennis, the Revelations disco, and a kiddies pool and play area completely screened in for safety.

This ship had so many features that weren't on Century which was our last Celebrity cruise. Besides the 2 pools, there was the thalassotherapy pool which was enclosed and had bubble jets for a water massage. The spa was just forward from there with a nicely equipped gym. I can't speak for any of the spa services as we didn't partake of any of them. People who did utilize the spa spoke very highly of them. There was the library, the music library, the computer room with about 12 computers. (The charge for internet usage was 50 cents/minute.) Of course the casino, card room, Michael's Club for cigar smokers and various and sundry lounges and nooks and crannies. Everything decorated to a "T" and the famous Chandris art collection all over the ship. The art was pretty modern and I don't profess to understand it, but it fit in nicely and was the topic of more than one conversation. Considering that we had 5 days at sea, all the public rooms were utilized to an extent I have never seen before.

First night was open seating dinner with the usual two seatings. I guess since we didn't sail until midnight, they wanted to make sure even late arrivals would be fed. There was a very nice show of Hawaiian music and dance by a hula school for children. I wish I could say we were up for the sail-away party, but we pretty much crashed in our room by 10 PM and didn't wake up until we were sailing into Nawiliwili, Kauai.

Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth and it did not disappoint in that regard. We had booked an excursion to the Waialua River and Fern Grotto for our one day there. Unfortunately we didn't see the table at the ship exit which was offering umbrellas. Four buses from the ship all headed for this tour. We had very nice singers on the boat ride for the ride to the Fern Grotto.

I have to mention at this point that fully 50% of the passengers were 65+. The others were a cross section of all ages. This was really apparent on this tour. Almost everyone had a cane, walker, splint or wheelchair. I have nothing against the elderly, since I am rapidly approaching that status, but this tour was quite challenging for the able bodied, much less the handicapped. At this point it was raining lightly only to become a downpour within a few minutes. We had to traverse an uneven, concrete path which was quite slippery and had handrails. I couldn't understand how the 2 ladies in wheelchairs were going to make it. The plan was for all of us to gather in the grotto while the singers sang "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" to demonstrate the acoustics of the place. I'm sure it's very lovely and romantic but we couldn't quite appreciate it. I felt sorry for the musicians having to take their instruments out in the rain. After that, Karl swore he would not go on any more excursions. We pulled out of the harbor around 4:30 while we sat and had tea in the Waterfall Cafe. It was lovely with the mist especially if you were warm & dry!

This was the day we had booked at the specialty restaurant, the Normandie. This room was another one worth taking pictures of, it was that pretty. I have to say that having done it once, we would probably never do it again. The food was great, the portions larger than the regular dining room, the service very attentive with 3 waiters, but once was enough. It was very formal and I was afraid I'd drip something on myself. To tell the truth, we really don't like dining for 2 1/2 hours on 4 courses. Appetizer, entrEe, cheese, dessert was on the menu. It was quite an experience and I'm glad that we did it, once.

This being an 11-day cruise, there were 3 formal nights, 3 informal nights and the rest casual. Our first night we were commenting about how we had forgotten how good their food really was. I did notice a change in the menu where there were now 2 fish selections every night instead of just one. I also found out that I could order a shrimp cocktail every night instead of the usual appetizers off the menu. This was especially helpful to me as I am a Weight Watcher and this was a very low calorie dish. The food was terrific and not having to cook and clean up was a bonus.

Wednesday & Thursday we were docked in Lahaina, Maui. I hadn't pre-booked any excursions so we really didn't see anything except the town. Again, if I was to do it again, we would have rented a car and really driven around the island. As it was, we walked all over Lahaina the first day and did some shopping and site seeing, and spent Thursday just enjoying the pool and the ship.

This was where our only complaint about the trip took place. The breakfast buffet closed at 9:30 on port days and if you are late sleepers like we are you never get a chance to eat there. Now there was what I would call a compensation breakfast at the back of the Waterfall Cafe from 10-11 with cereal, yogurt, fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, a few pastries to be had. After a few days, I was sick of this and on a couple of days, I just had coffee and waited for lunch to be served. It just so happens that breakfast is Karl's favorite meal and he really liked to eat it on the deck overlooking the back of the ship under the awning. We tried ordering it in by room service one day and eating it on our veranda but it was awkward and certainly not relaxing.

The Waterfall Cafe had 4 buffet lines and farther down toward the back, an omelet station during breakfast and pasta station during lunch. Then at the very back were the late breakfast and themed lunch was served was also the site of the alternative dinner. They offered salmon, steak & chicken every night if you didn't want to go to the dining room. We never did try this. The pool grill was also busy serving hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and pizza. I had the pizza a couple of times but the crust wasn't as good as I remembered from Century.

The aft deck outside the Waterfall Cafe was lovely. The wooden tables & padded chairs were a cut above the plastic I've seen on other ships. Everything about this ship showed class and elegance, but not in an obtrusive way or in a way to make you feel uncomfortable.

On Friday, we arrived at Hilo which was another tender port. Maui was also tenders as the port was not deep enough to accommodate our ship.
We again went into town and walked around a bit. This was much more modern looking than Lahaina and not as picturesque. Again, we did no tours and pretty much stayed on the ship.

Saturday was our final port of call at Kona and we were able to dock here. I had pre-booked online a tour of Volcano National Park. This was an all day tour with lunch. We saw and walked on old lava flows to the ocean and saw the famous black sand beach. We went to the Kilauea crater and it was quite misty and cold. The Volcano House Hotel where we stopped for lunch did a brisk business in sweatshirts, jackets and long sleeved t-shirts. The volcano is still erupting but the lava is now venting about 6 miles away and we were not allowed to go there. Many roads on the Big Island are closed due to lava flows. This was a very informative tour. We learned a lot about the nature of volcanoes and saw some interesting things. We arrived back at the ship about 45 minutes before we sailed for Vancouver.

The next 5 days passed all too quickly. The crossing was very smooth and only one day was overcast. However, after the first 2 days, it was too cold to sit out by the pool and a lot of activities were moved indoors. The cruise staff did a good job of entertaining all 2000+ people. I was certainly never bored. There were afternoon and evening shows.

This brings me to the entertainment. It was the best I've seen at sea. The production numbers were lavish with many costume changes, often with every musical number. The singers and dancers were very talented. So outstanding were the singers that 2 of them put on an afternoon show one day which was very well attended. The cruise staff had variations on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", "Newlywed & Not so Newlywed Game", "Liar's Club" which were all hilarious. The featured entertainers were Noodles Levenstein, a comedian & juggler named Jeff, and a piano player/entertainer named Bob from San Diego. They were all fine. A few laughs here & there, but nothing to write home about. I thought the production shows were much better. The last day had a passenger talent show which again was very well attended. (I know, you are thinking, what else was there to do?) It was quite interesting and I sure give people credit for getting up there and doing their thing.


I won about $350 playing bingo and it only cost me $250 to do so. Of course the casino was open and we quickly got to know several of our fellow passengers over blackjack. I even started to win some before we landed. On Thursday, we passed the first navigational buoy around noon and entered the Juan de Fuco straits about 2:30. This was our first site of land in 4 1/2 days. We did see some whales that morning spouting off our starboard side while we were playing bingo but that was the only thing we saw on the water all that time.

Too soon, it was time to pack up all our belongings and put those suitcases out in the hall by midnight. We had booked a Vancouver city tour after disembarking so as not to sit at the airport for 6 hours. It was also very informative and I have to say that those Canadians sure love to garden! We saw lots of pretty flowers. It was a very sunny, cool day which from what the tour guide says was unusual as they get a lot of rain. I guess their climate is quite similar to Seattle. We ended up at the airport and passed through customs. We had to pay a $7/pp airport improvement fee in order to leave! I never had to pay to leave a country before. Our flight to Chicago was great as the plane was not completely full and we were able to have an empty seat between us. I snoozed most of the way and before we knew it, we were home. Our son's first words were: "Boy, are you guys tan!" So I guess we really were in Hawaii. Would we do this trip again? Absolutely we would. Would we recommend it? Again, absolutely. Celebrity hits the ball out of the park every time as far as we are concerned. And the best part, I only gained 1.6 lbs when I weighed in at Weight Watchers the next day!

shofer1019@yahoo.comJune 2002
Susan Hofer’s Full Rating Summary
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