We sailed on the Celebrity,Summit, Feb 17, for 14 days on the Panama Canal cruise. We arrived in Miami the day before, stayed at the Hampton Inn. The hotel was clean and served our needs.
EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier at 12:30pm ... Read More
We sailed on the Celebrity,Summit, Feb 17, for 14 days on the Panama Canal cruise. We arrived in Miami the day before, stayed at the Hampton Inn. The hotel was clean and served our needs.
EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier at 12:30pm and very quickly went thru the line and boarded the Summit. As usual we were greeted with lovely music by the harpist and a glass of champagne. What a wonderful way to start a vacation!. For me, its the perfect beginning. A steward escorted us to our cabin. Our cabin was 7203. This was our first Concierge cabin as well as our first aft cabin. The room was very clean, the bathroom was spotless. After reading some negative reviews about the cleanliness of some cabins, I actually looked under the bed for "bunnies" and saw none. The only flaw i noticed was that our balcony floor was somewhat littered. When I pointed it out to out steward it was quickly taken care of. The room was well equipped , had plenty of space for all our needs. The champagne was well chilled and the fruit was fresh and the flowers in the cabin and bathroom were lovely. Every evening canapes were delivered. As stated by other posters, the canapes left much to be desired, so after the first day we requested the cheese and fruit plate to be delivered instead. The cheese was fabulous and for the first several days we made gluttons of ourselves enjoying it. Out steward was from Indonesia, his name was Vithal. He was excellent. He was so extremely polite, friendly and saw to our every request and need.
THE SHIP: After we saw the room we went for lunch at the buffet-explored the ship. Took the tour of the spa area-always fun to do. Went to the mandatory life boat drill and then went to meet some of our fellow CC'ers . We met at the martini bar, many of us wearing mardi gras beads, in order to recognize one another. It was a wonderful first of many get togethers. And so nice to put a face with the people I have become friends with. Many of us tried the martini tasting sampler. Worth trying, very good and fun. Just a side note*** JOIN YOUR ROLL CALL-we have met some of the nicest people that way and have maintained many friendships. It always is a refreshing feeling to realize how many truly nice people their are in this world. The ship itself is well maintained. Extremely clean. Yes, I saw some wear but the ship is lovely. It is a very understated ship, it is not a "WOW" factor decorated ship. The crew was very careful about cleanliness, with the possibility of the noro virus- there were soap dispensers everywhere. Everywhere you went there was a smiling pleasant face, wishing you a good day. A person could get truly used to this
CONCIERGE CLASS: Decided to comment on this. I have read many a post "is it worth it?". All said and done it is a matter of personal opinion. I liked the slightly larger rooms. The perks for me are not worth it. The flowers were a nice touch. The linens though fine were not pretty or plush. The towels felt good and absorbed well. The bathrobes were very thick but actually harsh and heavy feeling. Not at all luxurious feeling. The canapes were awful- the cheese was great but you can order that every day from room service from a regular cabin. The chilled champagne was lovely. The aft cabin, NOW, that was worth everything to me.
DAYS AT SEA : The sea days were filled with relaxation, sun, reading good books, swimming in the outdoor pools and enjoying the other friendly, chatty cruisers. I loved my sea days, and enjoyed the slow pace, yet it would have been nice to have more of a varied offering of activities, in regards to the activities themselves and the energy levels. In m y opinion Celebrity is very lacking in this category. An example of activities: bingo, napkin folding, bingo, flower arranging, bingo........ Every sea day we made sure to go to the lectures by the cruise guest speaker. If any of you have the opportunity to hear him speak, run don't walk quickly to get a front row seat. I am not a history buff but i absolutely enjoyed this speaker. The historian's name was John Maxtone Graham and he was a true pleasure to listen to. He was informative, intelligent and very witty. A wonderful combination indeed! We purchased for $99 a pass for the two weeks to the Persian Gardens. I enjoyed this very much. Spent some time every day there-the warmth was wonderful for my aching muscles and the aromatherapy was so peaceful. Anyone with arthritis or fibromyalgia I would highly suggest this nice interlude. The changing rooms in the spa area are very clean and nice to use. Also spent an hour a day in the thallo pool and hot tubs. Nice way to relax. I like the fact that the thallo pool is for 18 years of age or older. The shops were fun to browse thru and every day they offered certain specials out in the center of the shopping area. I purchased several pieces of fun jewelry . There was always a daily raffle to try your luck. I wasn't so lucky but others were. Wanted to see a movie at the theater but never seemed to get the right time to do so. The choices seemed good. Discover shopping guide-- talks given about the best places to shop were given by Ray. Sad waste of time. The same shops are mentioned every talk---not very helpful. Supposedly Celebrity guarantees some of these stores. There has been quite allot of discussion on the boards about this and the lack of help from Celebrity when and if you have a problem with the stores. Also, they sell a "shopping book" cost $20. A HUGE waste of money. Not enough coupons or freebies to be of any worth. Idle chatting with other woman on the ship---THEY ALL felt the same way. DO NOT bother, save your money or spend it on something else.The coupons and the freebies did not come close to the price of the book.* If you are interested, ask to see a book first and see what you will use. For example on this cruise several collector coins were offered, free pair of earrings ( the stones fell out almost immediately ), and a free bottle of vanilla ( cost of the vanilla at the store was 69 cents ) SPA: The first day, as mentioned, we purchased the Persian Garden pass, the cost $99 for two weeks. Good value. Used it every day to just unwind and made the bones feel good. Also during the cruise I purchased a deep tissue massage and an aromatherapy hot stone massage. Both were very good and not a single sales pitch was given for me to buy anything else. (side note ) a very small girl gave me the deep tissue massage and my first reaction was "oh, NO !" I was so wrong-she did a great one and leaned her entire body into it. Some days when they are not busy you will see some of them at the opening to the spa offering massage for $1/minute. Great buy! I also bought a half hours worth. Wonderful ! I like the spa area. I like the look of it, the scents, and the changing rooms are very nice. More expensive then at home but- for me it was worth while.
EXERCISE AREA: Every other day I used the tread mills. What a great way to exercise and look out at that beautiful ocean.
MEALS : Room Service: Several days we ordered breakfast on our veranda. Every hot order came cool. Eggs, french toast, pancakes all too cool to enjoy. One day I even wrote on the menu to please make it hot. It wasn't. Cereal, granola parfait, fruit, pastries were all excellent. Lovely to have breakfast on the veranda, but suggest to stick with the cold options The regular coffee on the ship was not very good. Juices and hot tea assortment very good. Iced tea unfortunately is not brewed. I usually drink allot of iced tea but abstained on the cruise. Buffet: The buffet food was pretty good. It was buffet food... enough said . I thought the made to order options were very good- that included, for breakfast -waffles, made to order eggs, omelets. For lunch and dinner the made to order pizza, pasta and sandwiches are also very good. All the bread is homemade and excellent and the fresh fruit was a pleasure. The buffet area was always very clean-to the point of immaculate. The tables were always clean and I like the way the trays have linen cloths on them and the availability of waiters to carry your tray to the table. Nice touch.
DINING ROOM: Never went to the dining room for breakfast. Much preferred eating at the far aft of the ship in the a.m. We had lunch three times in the dinning room, the first time we went the meal was wonderful the last two were good. *Check the menu at the door ahead of time and see if its to your liking ( before you commit ) We dined at the second seating, at a table for 10. Our table mates all became friends and the service was very good. Our waiter and assistant waiter seemed busier then on previous cruises and I wondered if it may be due to cut backs ( more cruisers/wait staff )?? We found most of the meals to be very good, some where excellent. I especially loved all the bread, bread sticks and pastries (throughout the ship it is excellent), the cold soups, shrimp cocktail, escargot, all the beef entries (except the rib eye ). The pastries on the ship were excellent but in my opinion the dessert after the evening meal were good but had no "wow" factor. The pasta was ordered several times by my table mates and every time it was cold ( so be forewarned )This was our first time at a table for ten, I prefer a table for 8-easier to hear everyone talk. Always a topic for discussion: "like or dislike assigned dining", I love it. I like getting to know my table mates beyond, "hi, I am from ......" and I like getting to know my waiter and assistant waiter. Adds so much to the ambiance of the cruise. Overall I think the dining room food is very good, presented very well and amazing to me that it all goes sooo smoothly.
COVA: We went there every day about 4pm for a mocha, we ordered it either hot or frozen. It was always wonderful and always came with a piece of Cova chocolate. Then of course there are the pastries, nice selection and very tasty. **the coffee you have to pay for but worth it, the pastries are free.
OTHER FOOD OPTIONS: the Waterfall grill, pool side -- is good. Hamburger and hot dog when I tried them were fresh, fries good. The aqua spa cafe--excellent. Everything we tried was good. Dont over look this area. You will be missing out. Evening sushi-- I am not a sushi gourmet but i really enjoyed it very very much. Gourmet bites---the ones I tried were all very good. Never went to any of the evening buffets since we never left the dining room till almost 11pm each night. We enjoyed the slow dining, good conversation. Afternoon tea-- went only once-very good but instead we went to the cova cafe.
CASUAL DINING: Never ever have I tried this on my previous cruises. But, this was the longest cruise I ever took so we tried it twice. Once went with fellow cruise critics and once with our table mates. It was excellent. And even better service then at our regular table. The waiters were actually falling over us. Try it.
NORMANDIE: I booked a table for 8 of us prior to sailing. It was a 5 star meal and service. Wonderful experience! Had the goat cheese souffle, chaetaubrian (sp?), and the chocolate mousse. The cheese selection looked sooo good but I could not do it! I was rolling out of there. Well worth the extra $30. * to me its a must do.
ENTERTAINMENT: The Celebrity singer and dancers were excellent. They were given standing ovations. These kids were very talented. On previous cruises they were not as good. I was so glad we got to experience these excellent young singers and dancers. The other evenings varied with the entertainment. Some were good others so-so. The pool side band, GREAT IDEAS, were very good. Wished they played more often. Singer and guitar player, Jefferson Ang, was excellent. Many times he played late at night on the 10th deck in the aft. We would lounge on our balcony, sipping a drink, looking out at the stars and enjoying his music. Does not get much better then that! The string quartet , the Prelude Strings were excellent. Also very much enjoyed the A Cappella group, the Dischords. Cute group of boys. The only entertainer that I tried to restrain myself from bursting out laughing- he was sooo awful was the man who sang at the Rendez-Vous lounge. I am sorry, he reminded me of a cheesy lounge singer, with a dark black hair piece. UGH!!!! COME on Celebrity---you can do much-much better Misc. shipboard entertainment, as mentioned before was --so-so....eg. napkin folding, flower arranging and allot of bingo. I would like to see more offered and much more variety. This was my 4th Celebrity cruise in a row and will have to try a different line just for a variation of on board entertainment. In some ways it was almost non existent. I dont really know who they were gearing it too. I am 52. Most of the cruisers were in their 40's to late 60's. My aunt is 77, and was dismayed by the lack of varying entertainment.
FORTUNES CASINO: Went every evening after dinner and contributed to the Summit "charity". Actually I should not joke. I spent $20/night ( that was my limit )and I actually won twice on the quarter slots. I then donated the cash to the jewelry store on the ship.
POOLS: Two pools outside. One deep, the other shallow. four hot tubs. Enjoyed them all. Wish the hot tubs would be still open late at night-lets say till 1a.m.-unfortunately that is not the case. The thallo pool is under a glass dome, with two hot tubs. I love this pool and enjoyed it daily. Children under 18 not allowed. Very nice. It slightly heated, has jets for massaging- do not over look this area. Especially nice after the first dining group has left to prepare for dinner. PORTS: ARUBA- prior to sailing I had booked a spa day at a local hotel. We have been to Aruba before and enjoyed the sites. The spa day was lovely, we then enjoyed a lunch at one of the local restaurants, and a bit of shopping. I bought two small sapphire, white gold rings for my daughters (for their souvenir )So glad I did. The other ports did not have near as good of buys.
PANAMA CANAL- We decided not to leave the ship and just experience the canal from morning till evening. We got up early to go to the front of the boat to see the ship entering the first lock. What a phenomenal experience! Then we spent a good portion on the aft balcony-seeing where we have been and watching other boats enter the canal. We were very lucky as we had a lovely breeze all day. Gatun lake was lovely. I took dozens and dozens of photos. Attending the lectures by the ship historians was a great way to gain insight as to how many sacrificed and even died to accomplish the building of the Panama canal. What a wonder! I was so honored to be able to experience it all.
PUNTARENAS,COSTA RICA- We booked pre cruise with Charlie Soto. Read many good recommendations about him. Several years ago we toured with Oscar Brown on the Limone side. We very much liked Oscar. Thought Charlie would be as good. Perhaps those who thought Charlie was great had no one to compare him to. He was ok. You could do as well with a taxi driver . Charlie had no microphone set up, so those in back could hear nothing. Also Charlie did not give a "talk" while driving us around. I knew allot about CR because of Oscar but if I did not have previous knowledge I still would not. We saw cute monkeys, and a Chapel. Went on the Crocodile Man tour, This was very good. Saw tons of wild life-the men who took us on this tour gave a great talk and pointed out allot of things to see. Charlie did purchase and share with us some fruit. It was by far the best watermelon and mangoes any of us ever tasted. We also went to a grocery store to buy coffee and vanilla. Ahead of time we told Charlie that we wanted to purchase bean coffee. When we got there, there was only ground coffee, Charlie knew this. So, that side trip was a waste of time because ALL of us wanted the bean coffee. We did purchase the whole beans at the pier. An episode that occurred : Charlie passed a truck on a double line going up a blind grade. Scared the heck out of all of us. Being careless is not worth the five minutes of getting to Point A faster. OK tour but after talking with other passengers they did better with private taxi drivers that they met.
HUATALUCO- This was a beautiful little island that i very much enjoyed seeing. We booked a bay tour with a man named Jesus. His little boat, 25 foot Panga boat was very clean. Had a tarp type cover to keep the sun from baking down too much. The boat holds 8 guests. Jesus and his co-sailor offered an iced cooler with water, beer and pop. He charged $150 for a 5 bay tour and $200 for a seven bay tour. The cost is the same for two or eight passengers. Very reasonable when we divided the cost between all of us. We were able to see his beautiful bays. He talked about the area. Very informative. We chose to also swim and snorkel and have lunch .The restaurant was on the beach, all the food was seafood, no other items where offered.( side note ) if someone on the tour cannot eat fish or does not like it, you should discuss this with Jesus ahead of time. We had cold beers and a wonderful shrimp salad . I bet there was at least a pound of shrimp on that plate. It was impressive enough that we had to take a picture. At that spot various vendors approached us attempting to sell there wares (silver bracelets, beads, food.) When we said we were not interested-they were respectful of that. The swimming was wonderful-the water was so warm and you could see to the very bottom. Lovely! Dont miss this opportunity !
ACAPULCO- We booked a day with Rosie , the taxi driver, before the cruise. Per recommendation of the ports of call board. Our ship was not in this port that long so our tour was slightly shortened. Rosie gave us as much as she could fit in. She is very professional, her van is clean, air conditioned, and she has a microphone hook up so all could hear her talk. She was very knowledgeable and a very safe driver. We saw the beaches, the main strip, hotels, and where the affluent lived. We shopped for awhile, saw a beautiful chapel, and had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant on the beach. Best fajitas that I ever had. We were the ones that asked Rosie to take us shopping-I would skip this next time-the shop prices where high and I could tell that Rosie was trying to take us to reasonable places. ( the cost of silver---we can do better in the States ) Also saw the cliff divers. AWESOME !! * Good choice
CABO- This is another tour that we booked ahead of time. It came with rave reviews and we agree, We boarded the Rissalena, a white catamaran. The cost was $50/person. The captain of the boat is Mr. Eduardo Padilla. He is very professional, as is his crew. The cat is pure white and in immaculate shape. We were treated to a lovely day of cruising, whale watching and a great homemade lunch, not to mention a fantastic homemade margarita. The best we ever had. They also offered beers, soda pop and juices. The lunch consisted of very tasty chicken, rice and pasta salad, fresh fruit and homemade guacamole and chips. We were in Cabo during whale season. we were lucky to see some but what we also got to see was a large group of dolphins ( about 20 of them )that followed the boat. Very cool, indeed ! This tour I would highly recommend. * the boat holds about 20-22 people. ( Side note ) If your group does not use the entire boat, he will book others to sail with you. Cabo is a lovely area to view from the cat and also to take awhile and walk around, shop and have lunch. Lovely day.
This was my first 14 day cruise. The first week flew by so quickly. We were glad to have the extra days to enjoy and relax. Little touches that Celebrity does that I love: -iced wash cloths waiting for us, on silver trays, as we are coming back to the ship after a day in port -on sea days, at the pool around 2pm, waiters in full dress carry on silver trays cups of homemade sherbet -all cruise staff being so smiley and polite and welcoming -bed turn down and chocolates waiting on the pillow
DISEMBARKATION: Went very smoothly.We sat in the movie theater,where coffee and pastries were available for us to cry over since we all have to go back to the real world. It amazes me that as we are leaving, in a short few hours, the Summit will be starting all over and welcoming their new guest with a smile and a glass of champagne and giving them that knowing feeling that they are the "only" and the "first and most important" cruiser they have ever had
IMPRESSIONS: Excellent vacation. Money well spent, with excellent value. I want to try a different cruise line ( for more on board and varied entertainment )but I will eagerly look forward to my next Celebrity cruise in the future. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Nadine Read Less